Super Crooks' First Trailer Is an Anime Smorgasbord @ io9

Image: Netflix

What if a bunch of cool My Hero Academia villains banded together for a heist like the Lupin the 3rd gang? And they were opposed by various heroes who were huge assholes, like The Boys? And, uh, occasionally they had Akira-like motorcycles? The answer to these questions is the same: You’d get Super Crooks, a new anime series based on Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu’s comic book Supercrooks (yes, with no space), which has debuted its first trailer.

It doesn’t look bad, but it all feels eerily familiar despite its Western source material:

Studio Bones animates the immensely popular superhero anime My Hero Academia, so I suppose the immense similarity between the two is somewhat inevitable. However, I’m also getting real Cowboy Bebop vibes from the overall style, which shouldn’t be hugely surprising given that the anime show Studio Bones was formed by the makers of Bebop. Or maybe I’m specifically getting Spike Spiegel and his tumultuous relationship with Julia from Super Crooks’ two leads, Johnny Bolt and Casey, changed from the comic’s Johnny Lightning and Kasey for some reason.

I don’t know what else the anime has changed from the original comics (which were published under Marvel’s Icon imprint) but here’s the official synopsis: “Luck’s never been on their side, but this crew of small-time crooks with super powers recruited by none other than Johnny Bolt are rolling the dice on one last heist. Their target: A ruthless super-powered crime boss. What can go wrong?”

Additionally, the original comic was also only four issues, Super Crooks the anime series is made up of 13 30-minute episodes, so the show has a lot of time to fill. Clearly, Netflix is really excited by the Super Crooks premise—so much so that back in June it announced a live-action series, inexplicably titled Supercrooks this time, to replace the canceled Jupiter’s Legacy... also based on a Mark Millar comic, albeit a longer and more successful one. So get ready for Super Crooks-mania, I guess, when Netflix’s anime series premieres on November 25.


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In This First Look at Legendborn's Sequel, a Young Woman Meets Her Magical Ancestors @ io9

There’s enchantment in the air.Image: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn—billed as a blend of the legend of King Arthur and Southern Black Girl Magic—was released last year and soon became a YA sensation. Today, io9 is thrilled to have the exclusive first look at the cover and an excerpt from its sequel, Bloodmarked, which sees the return of teenager Bree as she further embraces (and tries to learn to control) her newly awakened powers—all while finding herself caught in the middle of a fantastical war.

First up, here’s a description of Bloodmarked, to give you a bit more context:

The shadows have risen, and the line is law.

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights​—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s own powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

Here’s the full look at the cover—jacket illustration by Hillary Wilson; jacket design by Laura Eckes—featuring Bree holding... Excalibur? Read on for a peek at the Bloodmarked prologue to learn more!

Image: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Prologue

My veins burn with the spirits of my ancestors.

Twenty-four hours ago, I pulled Excalibur from its stone—and the ancient blade shattered me. Who I was, who I could be, who I’d never be again. My identity, split and spread like shards. I knew in that moment that some of those pieces would never come back. Like a weapon made of coalescing aether, the Briana Matthews who held Excalibur had been broken apart—and forged into something new.

Something new.

That’s how William described me.

But the truth is, I am both old and new. When I’d raised Excalibur high, two focal spirits for ancient power were pounding inside of me like dual drums: Vera, my ancestral foremother, and Arthur Pendragon himself. They each locked their power in my blood centuries ago. Vera, with a plea to her ancestors. Arthur, with a spell for his knights. They both claimed me last night, and when the battle was done, they faded.

‘There is a cost to being a legend, daughter. But fear not, you will not bear it alone.’

Vera’s last words to me were not a farewell.

They were a warning.

Twenty-four hours ago, I pulled Excalibur from its stone. Now, I am paying the price.

I lie in bed at the Lodge, the Legendborn’s historic home at the edge of campus, but I am not resting. I am alone in the wee hours, eyes squeezed shut, covers shoved off the bed, my skin too tight to hold all that I have inherited. My curls lay damp against my neck and behind my ears. My breath comes in short gasps.

Too much. Too...much.

I twist to my side, and crawl to the ground. My fingers curl into the floor, nails scraping..

When my eyes open, the room around me is gone.

I am not myself. I am Vera.

It is night. Long ago. I and two others are being ushered into a home by a white man with a bushy mustache, eyes darting over my head the way I have come. “Hurry, hurry!” He whispers.

He leads me to a door set into the floor at the back of the house. Lifts it to reveal a hidden cubby of earth and rotting wood.

I will pause here for a moment, but tomorrow I will run again.

I blink, and the Lodge bedroom returns. Dark and familiar. Shiny, wide planks of oak stretch out beneath me.

Inhale. Exhale.

Close my eyes. Open them.

I am in a diner. My name is Jessie. I am twenty years old.

My brown hands hold a stack of menus. Fifties music plays from a jukebox.

“Hey, you! Girl!” A rough, rude voice yelling my way. I find the white man in the booth near the entrance, wearing the smug grin of someone who knows he will not be stopped. “Service, please?” He sneers, voice sarcastic. A jeer and a lure. Daring me to talk back.

A flare of anger, the furnace of root magic in my chest lit and growing—but a smile on my face as I walk toward him through the restaurant.

I’d like to ignore him, shout at him, but I can’t.

Not here, not today. But somewhere, someday.

As I pass by another booth, a white woman in a black and silver dress whips her head around. Her hand shoots out, fingers gripping my elbow. She narrows deep amber eyes at me, and her hand squeezes tighter. She is one of them. The magicians my mother, Emmeline, warned me about when she said, “Do not let them catch you. If you see their blue flames, run.” 

Heart racing, I swallow the furnace, douse it. Hide it away.

“Ma’am?” I ask, voice clear and steady.

She looks me over. Doubt flickers across her face. “Nevermind.” She releases me, turns back to her meal.

I shut my eyes tight against the fear. Grateful for the close call, sighing with the escape.

I will face them.

Not here, not today. But somewhere, someday.

When I return to the room in the Lodge this time, two sweaty palm prints stain the hardwoods beneath my hands.

Inhale. Exhale.

Eyes close. Eyes open.

I am walking past a park at sunset with a friend. My name is Leanne. I am fifteen. We are giggling. Silly.

In the darkness, faint and yards away, a creature. A near-translucent glowing hound in the park—a figure surrounding it. Drawing weapons made of light. The figure moves faster than he should be able to. Ozone fills my nose. The smell of honey, burning.

I freeze. Draw a silent breath. Become as stone.

My friend stops, her brown eyes confused and laughing. “Leanne, what—”

I don’t hear her speak. All I hear is the mantra I inherited from my mother, Jessie. It beats in my chest like a drum: “Never let them find you. If you see them, run.”

I slip off my shoes, down to my stockings. Quieter that way. Mumble an excuse to my friend. And run.

I am flung back and forward, writhing between time and space. Eight visions of myself. Eight memories that aren’t mine. Eight bodies I inhabit, sucked down into lives I’ve never lived. Eventually, I slide into a dark space with no walls. A pair of naked brown feet surrounded by flames in front of me.

“Daughter of daughters.”

I push to standing to see Vera. She is much as she’d been before: a woman in an empty, dark world. Blood and flame swirl around her deep brown arms, hair stretching up and wide like it is reaching for the universe.

“You brought me here,” I pant. “Before I pulled the sword.”

She nods once. “The stream between life and death. Your bloodline, made manifest.”

The stream...I look around at the darkness and feel the waiting of it, and the completion, too. Like smoke, ready to become matter or dissipate. Sound, ready to be heard or silenced. This is an almost and already place.

I speak around the tears, through the memories that ache in my chest. “All of those lives...all of the running.”

“We have brought you here, because you need to understand who you are.”

“We...?”

When Vera speaks again, her voice grows louder with every word. “You are the point of our arrow. The tip of our spear. The bow of our ship. The flare of our long-simmering heat. You are the living embodiment of our resistance. The revelation after centuries of hiding. The pain-welded blade. Wound turned weapon.”

“I know,” I say between gasps. “I know...”

“No. You do not.” Many voices echo and meet and reverberate into a thick cloud around me.

“From the first daughter to the last, our furnace has grown. Each life burning hotter than the life before, building one on top of the other. You are my lineage, at its sharpest and strongest.” The flames on Vera’s skin glow brighter. “With all that flows through you, you have the power to protect what evil would destroy. You can face what must be faced.”

Suddenly, Vera is not alone. Eight other women made of flame surround me in a circle. I spin, searching their faces, but it is hopeless. Their features are obscured in dancing crimson and yellow, hair like curled smoke.

I don’t realize I am looking for my mother until I can’t find her.

At once, their voices converge, Vera and the others. Nine streaks of fire flow into my chest, searing me from every direction.

“We ran to protect ourselves. We ran to preserve the power. We ran so we would not be destroyed, so that our daughters could live.”

Vera steps forward, and her voice is slow and rich, lava against my skin. “Do you know why else we ran, Bree?”

I shake my head. “No.”

The flames on her skin grow higher, her hair extending out and up so that I cannot see where it ends. I blink again…and I am a shivering, sweat-soaked teenage girl on the floor of a historic home. I am sucking air into burning lungs. I am shedding tears that are mine and not mine.

But Vera is not done. If her voice was once volcanic flow, it has now cooled into obsidian, razor sharp. A laceration to the bone, before you realize your skin was cut.

“We ran so you would not have to.”


Excerpt from Tracy Deonn’s Bloodmarked reprinted by permission from Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Jacket illustration © 2022 by Hillary Wilson; jacket design by Laura Eckes © 2022 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn will be released July 26, 2022. You can pre-order a copy here.


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Could the Batgirl Movie Be Casting a Familiar Face From DC Comics? @ io9

Barbara could have a good friend on her cinematic side.Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Hocus Pocus 2 adds to its cast. Mark Hamill ruminates on whether or not neighborly proximity could get him a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The cast of Marvel’s Eternals talk up director Chloé Zhao. Plus, a look at the return of Resident Alien and Animaniacs. Spoilers now!

Hocus Pocus 2

According to THR, Sam Richardson (Werewolves Within, Veep) has joined the cast of Hocus Pocus 2 in a currently undisclosed role.


Batgirl

A new casting call from Warner Bros. has Batgirl fans (and writer/creator Gail Simone) convinced the new movie is looking to cast Barbara Gordon’s roommate, Alysia Yeoh.


Curfew

Deadline reports Adam Randall (Night Teeth) is attached to direct Curfew, “a fun monster movie that harks back to Amblin movies of yore” for Paramount Players. The story is said to concern “a rebellious teenage girl who is sent to stay with her grandmother in a sleepy town whose quirky traditions include a curfew banning anyone from going out at night. However, when the girl ventures out after dark she discovers the murky truth behind the town’s mysterious history.”


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Comic Book asked Mark Hamill if he could appear in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie upon learning James Gunn is a close neighbor of his.

I’m a huge fan of James Gunn, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve seen all of his stuff, from Slither through the Guardians movies, and I think he’s great. We touched base because one Sunday night, I discovered he said something on Twitter and I replied back to him, he was answering a question, he said, ‘I suppose I could ask Mark, I hear he’s a neighbor of mine,’ which was news to me. So we went back and forth and it was great fun and I said, ‘I’d love to meet you, not only as a good neighbor, but also as an out-of-work actor.’ I was hardly subtle about it. He came over with his girlfriend and spent the afternoon, we had a great time, but we never talked about me working for him or anything like that. He was just a friend. I’d never put him on the spot like that, so we’ll see what happens. But he doesn’t need me, his movies are really well cast and I just really enjoy watching them.

I’m at the stage in my career where I’ll be offered things and I’ll say, ‘You know who’d be really good in this? Peter MacNicol. I start suggesting other actors because it was hard for me to go to The Machine. It was in Serbia, it was three months or something and I’m one of these people that loves puttering around the house. I have a nice, little, one-acre plot of land, I have my wife and my dogs and my pool, I really don’t need anything else. I’m always saying, ‘I want to take it easy,’ and my agent says, ‘Stop talking like that! Get back to work!’


Halloween Ends

In conversation with Fandom, David Gordon Green revealed Halloween Ends is set four years after the events of Halloween Kills.

We’re jumping time a little bit in [Halloween Ends] but part of what we’re exploring is how Laurie and a few of our characters have processed those years between Halloween 2018 and that night’s events and tragedies to Halloween 2022 [tracing the journey] to where they will come to fruition in their psychological aftermath.


Silent Night

Bloody-Disgusting has a new photo from the apocalyptic Christmas movie, Silent Night, premiering December 3, 2021 on AMC+. 

Photo: AMC+

Eternals

The cast of Eternals discusses director Chloé Zhao in a new featurette.


Ghosts

Ghosts has received a full-season order at CBS. [TV Line]


Mythic Quest

Apple TV+ has also renewed Mythic Quest for both a third and fourth season with Anthony Hopkins and Jason Sudeikis helping announce the news.


Dexter

A true-crime podcaster catches on to Dexter in the synopsis for his November 21 episode, “Smoke Signals.”

Dexter hopes to have a chance to makes things right with Harrison, which is proving to be tough to do when there’s a full-fledged crime investigation that Dexter himself has caused. Harrison joins the high school wrestling team and quickly makes a name for himself at school. Meanwhile, a true crime podcaster from LA arrives in Iron Lake and befriends Dexter’s police chief girlfriend.

Written by: David McMillan

Directed by: Sanford Bookstaver

[Spoiler TV]


Legends of Tomorrow

The seventh season of Legends of Tomorrow now has a new opening title sequence inspired by 1920's Texas.


Resident Alien

Finally, the cast of Resident Alien previews season two in a behind-the-scenes featurette.


Banner art by Jim Cook

Tom Hanks' Comfy Finch Suit Sounds Like the New Gold Standard @ io9

Finch surviving out in the open thanks to his special suit.Screenshot: Apple+

In director Miguel Sapochnik’s upcoming post-apocalyptic drama Finch, Tom Hanks stars as the titular inventor who finds himself living in almost complete solitude after a cataclysmic event wipes out the vast bulk of the world’s population save for him and his dog. Keen on making sure that his canine companion is taken care of once he dies, Finch sets out to construct an intelligent robot meant to protect the pup, and Finch follows as the unlikely family leans on one another in the end times.

Though Finch’s trailers have made the film out to be far more bright and hopeful that other features with similar themes like I Am Legend and The Road, that isn’t necessarily a reflection of how much easier it was to bring the story to life. During a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where he compared his experiences working as a director on both Game of Thrones and Finch, Sapochnik said that it’s “harder to do something with any sort of hope or lightness for many reasons,” but that it’s immediately apparent when the is working.

While Finch largely revolves around Hanks’ character, who often interacts with a live dog, Sapochnik said that the actor’s grounded, relaxed demeanor played a large role in the smoothness of the production. Because the outside world Finch and his pet live in is so inhospitable to living organisms, he has to don a specialized suit at multiple points throughout the movie to survive the elements. Bulky exosuits are common enough in sci-fi films that everyone’s heard horror stories of people being made to stand around in what amounts to heavy, wearable saunas for hours on end—but Sapochnik described how Finch’s creative team made a point of building something Hanks could reasonably work in.

“He would come onto set in the suit, do his scenes, then sit in a chair, close his visor, turn on the AC and go to sleep,” Sapochnik recalled. “Then when we were ready, he’d open the visor and go. That might not sound unique, but it has this cumulative effect. Everybody else was ‘on’ as a result.”

Finch is releasing just a little over a year after Tom Hanks became one of the first major celebrities to reveal he’d contracted covid-19, and Sapochnik said that the events of the real world definitely ended up shaping the arc of the new film. But rather than trying to “club an audience” with direct parallels between Finch and our reality, Sapochnik said that his goal was always to make a story about a family on a road trip. “The sci-fi is incidental,” Sapochnik said of Finch. “We realized you didn’t need the world turned completely upside down for it to feel very close to home. The problem with making post-apocalyptic movies is we’re getting closer and closer to the truth and that’s kind of terrifying, you know?”

Finch is slated to hit Apple TV+ on November 5.


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Hideaki Anno's Thunderbirds Compilation Movie Is Getting an HD Remaster @ io9

Get in the Thunderbird, Scott.Image: ITV

Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno loves three things: existential trauma, tokusatsu, and movie titles with the word Shin in them. His latest project has... hmm, let’s go with two out of three, sort of. One and a bit.

Anime News Network reports that Anno, currently sandwiched between saying farewell to Evangelion earlier this year with the release of Thrice Upon a Time, and with two theatrical projects on the way in the form of Shin Ultraman and Shin Kamen Rider, actually has a “new” project in the works too: an HD remaster of the 1985 Thunderbirds Complete, his first professional work as an editor. Released in Japanese theaters, the film condensed the classic 1960s Gerry Anderson supermarionation sci-fi series—about the Tracy family and their role as International Rescue, an elite team of pilots and search-and-rescue agents battling the sinister threat of the Hood, a mysterious, mystical agent of the dark arts—into a standalone movie project.

The original material for the film, thought lost, has recently been recovered, and Anno is now supervising a restoration and HD remastering for re-broadcast in Japan in 2022 as Shin Thunderbirds Complete. We might as well make it part of Anno’s unofficial Shin saga, between the Evangelion rebuilds, and his work on Godzilla, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider. Anno’s not the only one doing it either—his collaborator on Shin Ultraman and Shin Godzilla, Shinji Higuchi, recently compiled three brand-new episodes of Thunderbirds crowdfunded for the series’ 50th anniversary in 2015 as Thunderbirds 55/GoGo, celebrating the 55th anniversary of the series’ debut in Japan, earlier this month.

After all, it’s not hard to see why people like Anno and Higuchi would be drawn to the fantastical series’ practical effects work and use of puppetry: if anything Thunderbirds is just as part of the tokusatsu oeuvre, even if it was with puppet actors rather than men in rubber suits, just from a Western creator. Shin Thunderbirds Complete will broadcast on Japan’s BS 10 Star Channel in 2022.


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Of Course Dune Has Already Been Pirated @ io9

Timothée Chalamet as Paul in Dune.Image: Warner Bros.

After some frustrating covid-releated delays, Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga Dune is almost here; it launches in theaters and on HBO Max in mere hours (HBO Max will have it at 6:00pm ET today). But naturally, and no doubt to the streaming-averse director’s chagrin, online pirates have already gotten there first. Was it the lure of the beard?

As Variety reports, “at least three major illegal streaming sites are hosting HD quality streaming copies of Dune, complete with bells and whistles such as English, Danish, Spanish, and Arabic subtitles. Beyond that, thousands of users are hosting and sharing copies on torrent sites.”

The trade notes that the fact that Dune is already online (insert your own “the spice must flow” joke here) isn’t all that shocking; other recent blockbusters like Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Black Widow are also readily available—really, just about any movie you want to find online is probably there if you know where to look. It’s the fact that Dune has been leaked in HD quality with all those “bells and whistles” that makes this situation unusual.

Dune, of course, has already been released overseas—Variety reports it’s already made $129 million internationally—and there’s no telling whether the proliferation of pirated copies will have any impact on its U.S. box office take. While Villeneuve has said he’s hopeful most fans will take in the film on the big screen (read io9's review here), he’d probably prefer anyone who wants to play it safe and watch it at home do it via HBO Max’s streaming platform and not a torrent site, even if the small-screen quality is the same.

Are you planning to watch Dune today, tomorrow, or this weekend—and how will you be watching it if you do?


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How ‘Star Trek' writer Ron Moore pulled off this underrated ‘TNG’ episode @ Syfy Wire

How ‘Star Trek' writer Ron Moore pulled off this underrated ‘TNG’ episode otssupport Thu, 10/21/2021 - 16:30 How ‘Star Trek' writer Ron Moore pulled off this underrated ‘TNG’ episode Phil Pirrello

30 years ago this week, on October 21, 1991, Star Trek: The Next Generation delivered "Disaster," a riveting (and vastly underrated) hour of TNG’s fifth season inspired by Irwin Allen's popular '70s disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure. Writer Ronald D. Moore swapped out Posideon's cruise ship vs. rogue tidal wave premise for a gripping sci-fi tale centered on Picard and crew's disparate and desperate attempts to survive aboard the Enterprise after their starship is crippled by an anomaly known as a quantum filament.

Returning to Tabletop Has Re-Stoked My Love of Physical Games @ io9

The seas part for we alone!Photo: James Whitbrook/Gizmodo

Like many people in the last year and a half, a retreat indoors and away from public events to grapple with the scope of the covid-19 pandemic led to a retreat to the indulgence of past hobbies and nostalgic loves. As the prospect of staying inside went on for longer and longer, I binge-watched old favorites, discovered things I missed, and rekindled my teenage loves of the likes of Gundam, Lego building, and model-making. One such rekindling—covid-induced or mid-life crisis a decade or two early, it’s hard to say—was diving back into the wonderful world of Games Workshop’s Warhammer tabletop games.

It’s something of an inevitable tradition to wax and wane as a fan of rolling D6s to wound and figuring out charge ranges as a Warhammer fan. You get into it as a kid, build your armies, back out when everything’s insanely expensive because you’re a kid and can’t just drop hundreds of pounds on paints, rulebooks, and models for another army, and then by the time you’re an adult with a wage, you find yourself pulled back in. As a kid I was hugely into both versions of Warhammer—the futuristic Warhammer 40,000, home to my beloved space elves, the Eldar, and later the mecha-piloting T’au Empire—and what was, back then, Warhammer Fantasy Battles (home to my beloved not-space elves, the High Elves). I was also just the right age to be all in on Games Workshop’s expansion into its licensed Lord of the Rings strategy game (you’ll never guess which army I played), based on the then-new movies. I built armies (badly), painted them (badly), and played regular (only mostly badly), but eventually got out of the game as maintaining multiple armies was too much for a cash-strapped teenager-turned-young adult.

And so now, a decade-plus later and with so much changed—Fantasy Battles is done and gone, replaced by the rebooted iteration Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, the Lord of the Rings strategy game has been widened to the Middle-earth strategy game, including characters from The Hobbit and beyond—I found myself compelled back in. Mostly thanks to family getting sucked in, too, but also because it suddenly appealed again: a career and most of my hobbies that leave me stuck at a computer monitor more often than not made me crave something physical to experience. I wanted social hobbies that let me touch and move things with my own hands and be together with other people. Suffice to say, getting that feeling mid-lockdown was not ideal.

Behold Susano’s Revelry, in all their fishy luster.Photo: James Whitbrook/Gizmodo

I tried to persevere. I ummed and ahhed on what game I’d get back into, opting for Age of Sigmar. I theory-crafted which army faction I’d go for, settling on the underwater, soul-stealing, eel-riding aelven (not elves anymore, easier to trademark for a company as trademark-happy as Games Workshop) armies of the Idoneth Deepkin. Because I couldn’t play yet with stores and hobby clubs still closed, I immersed myself in the lore; reading tie-in books and other armies’ rule books just to get a touch of the world, thought up strategies and conjured army lists in my head as I tried to decide just what kind of games I’d want to play with my models. And that’s all I could do, for months on end. You can try to play Warhammer remotely; Games Workshop even encouraged fans to do so through an admittedly very over-the-top and kind of awkward remote system. But clunkiness aside, it just wasn’t the same. My Idoneth eels sat in their case waiting, yearning for the chance to smash their watery cavalry lines into some foes, to sup on a little soul or six now and then, as a treat. It just didn’t feel the same, excited as I was, to not be able to do much more—the luster waning a little, all this potential energy left to simmer. That is, until fairly recently.

Finally getting the covid vaccine gave me the confidence to venture back out, and with transport and venues becoming more accessible again after 18 months of multiple lockdowns in the UK, I got the chance to head down to London, see my brother for the first time in the best part of two years, crack open a rulebook, and roll some dice over a few weekends. Reader, I got thrashed. Thoroughly. Sure, it was my first games in years—and a new edition of Sigmar had just come out—so I was more than rusty. But still, try as I might, no matter my opponent, my Idoneth crashed like a wave and then receded like a wave with many, many less eel-riding aelves that had done the aforementioned crashing. A losing streak so profound that, frankly, if I was playing a video game, I probably would’ve quit midway through with a string of curses. And yet, I didn’t find myself angry, or disappointed, or even frustrated: I was ecstatic.

Warhammer is fun enough to think about in a theoretical sense—it’s a bonkers, over-the-top universe of hilariously grim and absurdly badass heroes and villains. As a hobby, there’s so much around the act of actually playing to enjoy you can always be thinking about it in one form or another. But really, nothing can compare to actually playing it. The feel of watching two forces interact as they try to hack each other to bits, the dance of weaving units of model through and over scenery to make the perfect choke point or flank. The hilarity of random dice rolls either turning your master plan into abject chaos or making it so the smallest, weakest unit in your army somehow manages to nibble a massive rival beast to death.

It was more than just being able to hang out in person with other people again—to do all that theoretical discussion with an actual human being to bounce off of—but the tangibility of it all offered to transport me back to the kid I was that first saw a box of Eldar Guardians in their same, static pose decades ago, and was entranced. Suffice to say I’m all in again, and excited to play and learn systems that I’ve not thought about for years and years (I’m already planning a second Sigmar army in the Lumineth Realm-Lords, because while time changes, a love of elves does not). But after a year and a half of virtual experiences, the chance to roll some dice and push some miniatures about a board galvanized something in me. On occassion, there’s something satisfying about being able to just get stuck in and involved with a hobby with your own bare hands.


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Night Raiders Uses a Sci-Fi Dystopia to Throw Light on a Real-Life Tragedy @ io9

Niska (Elle-Maija Tailfeathers) prepares to defend her daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart)Image: Samuel Goldwyn Pictures

Science fiction dystopia stories are a dime a dozen: The Handmaid’s Tale, Minority Report, The Hunger Games—the list goes on. But here’s why you shouldn’t pass over first-time director Danis Goulet’s sci-fi dystopia movie, Night Raiders: although it’s set in 2043, it’s much more about the horrors of the past than it is the future.

First, the synopsis and trailer: “In a dystopian future, a military occupation controls disenfranchised cities in post-war North America. Children are considered property of the regime which trains them to fight. A desperate Cree woman [Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers] joins an underground band of vigilantes to infiltrate a State children’s academy and get her daughter back. A parable about the situation of the First Nations, Night Raiders is a female-driven sci-fi drama about resilience, courage and love.”

The “situation” the synopsis alludes to is the Canadian government’s forced assimilation of the peoples of the First Nations throughout the 18th century, and even into the 20th. Under the fervent belief that European culture was the “correct” culture, Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs created schools for Indigenous children—intentionally locating them far from their peoples to disconnect them from their cultures, and forcing them to learn English and French language and values. A few years ago, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission said it amounted to cultural genocide, and just this year NPR reported, “An Indigenous group announced the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at a former boarding school in the province of British Columbia.” Things are still far from settled when it comes to Canada’s treatment of First Nations.

Using a futuristic, faceless, fascist government that steals children and turns them against their own people isn’t the most subtle metaphor, but it doesn’t have to be, and arguably shouldn’t be. Just as the Watchmen TV series shone a light on the unforgivably ignored Tulsa massacre of 1921, Night Raiders looks to do the same for another chapter of Colonial monstrousness, through the lens of science fiction. “There is so much loss when it comes to what happened in Canada to Indigenous people,” said Goulet in a recent Variety interview. “And yet there is so much that survives. Setting a story in the future frees you up creatively to talk about the past and the present in an imagined context.”

Written and directed by Goulet, executive produced by Taika Waititi, and starring Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Gail Maurice, Amanda Plummer, Alex Tarrant, Violet Nelson, and more, Night Raiders arrives in theaters, digitally, and on-demand on November 12.


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The Game of Thrones Prequel Will Have Its Own Unique Tone @ io9

King Viserys shows off his sword and Targaryen sigil ring while sitting on the Iron Throne.Screenshot: HBO

While HBO might be betting on House of the Dragon becoming the (actual) next Game of Thrones in terms of its possible ratings success, one of the more promising things about the show from an audience perspective has been its potential to explore the history of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros with a story distinct from its predecessor.

Though House of the Dragon is a canonical Game of Thrones prequel, showrunner Miguel Sapochnik and the rest of the show’s creative team very much wanted their series to have its own identity that, while complimentary to Game of Thrones, could also stand on its own. In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sapochnik went into detail about how much respect for Game of Thrones the team came to the new project with, and how everyone felt that there was no need to reinvent the wheel regarding certain elements of the show’s storytelling.

House of the Dragon has its own tone that will evolve and emerge over the course of the show,” Sapochnik said. “But first, it’s very important to pay respects and homage to the original series, which was pretty groundbreaking. We’re standing on the shoulders of that show and we’re only here because of that show.”

Sapochnik, who directed six episodes of the original Game of Thrones, explained how his previous experience with the franchise made taking on his new role as showrunner smooth in certain regards, but more complicated in others. Rather than putting energy into things like drastically differentiating House of the Dragons’ color palettes from Game of Thrones’, Sapochnik said he’s found himself prioritizing working with people he knows. He hopes that Game of Thrones fans will be able to appreciate House of the Dragon as its own thing, but he believes the show “will have to earn that—it won’t happen overnight.”

“Hopefully fans will enjoy it for the thing that it is,” Sapochnik said. “We’ll be lucky if we ever come close to what the original show was, so we’re just putting our heads down and getting on with it and hoping what we come up with is worthy of having a Game of Thrones title.”

House of the Dragon hits HBO and HBO Max in 2022.


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Star Wars Saved Its Best Entrance for Carrie Fisher @ io9

Leia gets ready to take her shot against the Empire.Gif: Lucasfilm

Darth Vader’s black figure stalking a bright, white corridor enshrouded in smoke. The too-cool casual slouch of Han Solo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. The alien noise and hooded mystique of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hell, even the childish, relatable angst of Luke Skywalker just wanting to go to Tosche Station and pick up some power converrrterrrrssss. Star Wars—even before its rise to the stratosphere—is packed with deft, brilliant introductions to its icons. But, as always, it was Princess Leia Organa that gave us the most brilliant of all.

Much has been said about Fisher—who would’ve turned 65 today, October 21—and her portrayal of Leia across the original Star Wars trilogy and eventually its sequels. Yet, there is still something profoundly inspiring in going back to those earliest moments where we’re introduced to her. Aboard the Tantive IV, as the Empire butchers its way down hallways and we, from the perspective of C-3PO and R2-D2, are invited into this alien world in a moment of sheer fear and panic, our first glimpse of Leia is equally alien. Seen briefly from afar, hooded as she nestles down to pass something to Artoo, this is perhaps the entrance befitting a princess we may come to expect from a fantastical world like Star Wars, sci-fi or otherwise. In her flowing white robes, she’s ethereal, mysterious, fleeting, and graceful. It’s not until, moments later, we’re properly introduced to Leia, that some of those initial impressions are re-enforced—and upended.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Leia slides into our view from behind cover as Stormtroopers search the interior corridors we had just glimpsed her floating through, her mission as secret to us as it is to her pursuers. Crucially, unlike before, we immediately see moving into view alongside her is a blaster, held up high and ready to fire. Which is what immediately happens: a Stormtrooper spots her, and Leia isn’t afraid, frustrated that she was spotted, or even brash enough to yell and alert the rest to her immediate presence. She just shoots. It’s brilliant, and made more so by what we’re told just seconds beforehand: “Set for stun!”, the Stormtrooper that eyes her says—as if, in some way, the bloody conflict we just saw unfold throughout the Tantive IV is unbefitting a princess, a political soon-to-be-prisoner. She can’t be maimed or harmed, she’s just some senator with a fancy title, she has to be captured untouched. And everything we need to learn about Leia, who she is as a character, is unfolded in that simple decision: her captors want her stunned, and she just wants them dead. This is no fairytale princess, but a rebel in her own right, a soldier the same as any we’d just seen attempt to shrug off the Imperial assault.

That entire moment displays a simple practicality and determined confidence that exudes throughout Fisher’s performance across the film, and it’s something we return to in scene after scene. Her defiance when she recognizes Govenor Tarkin’s foul stench. The way, even captive, she stands up to Vader’s intimidation. Even when she’s meant to be rescued by Han and Luke, it’s upended by how distinctly unimpressed she is by her would-be heroes, immediately taking charge herself and blasting their way out of captivity: a leader and a fighter. Every time we are given the chance to have Leia perceived as the typical female supporting lead—the object of desire, the subdued token the men of the piece are to fight for control of—Fisher is there burning and biting, charisma and confidence exuding from her sharp lines and sharper actions to tell us that Leia is anything but.

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And it all starts with that simple slide into view, to take her first shot (of many) against the Empire. Princess Leia was never going to be anything like we could’ve expected from the get-go, and Carrie Fisher let us know that immediately.


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How does the ‘Uncharted’ movie connect to the video game series? Our 3 biggest questions @ Syfy Wire

How does the ‘Uncharted’ movie connect to the video game series? Our 3 biggest questions incindiar@yahoo.com Thu, 10/21/2021 - 13:41 How does the ‘Uncharted’ movie connect to the video game series? Our 3 biggest questions Benjamin Bullard Uncharted 1Uncharted 1

After five years since the final installment in Naughty Dog’s epic video game series, it’s good to see Nathan and Sully together again — even if the sight of Tom Holland as Nathan Drake takes a minute or two to sink in.

The CW's 4400 Reboot Is All About Believing Black People's Truths @ io9

Shanice and a group of her fellow abductees demanding to know where and when they are.Image: The CW

Like its 2004 predecessor, the CW’s 4400 reboot—from co-creators Anna Fricke and Ariana Jackson—is an ambitious, multi-genre series trying to tell a complicated story about humanity being confronted with the consequences of its actions, and being given a chance to put some things right. Obvious as that reality might be to viewers, it’s something few of 4,400 titular characters can wrap their minds around as they meet one another for the first time and find themselves in a strange and new, but still familiar world.

More X-Files than Heroes, both versions of the show follow as 4,400 disappeared abductees from different points across the 20th century suddenly reappear in the present day with no awareness of how much time has passed. They also gradually discover that they’ve all gained superhuman abilities. But where the original show led with the mystery of the abductees’ disappearances in order to ease viewers into its more nuanced narratives about societal transformation, the CW’s 4400 leads with the fact that it has something to say about these “extraordinary” times.

Out of the many updates the CW’s 4400 brings to the table, the show’s predominantly Black cast and the way its story has been shifted slightly to focus more on the experiences of Black and other historically marginalized groups are the most significant and noticeable—in a good way. Rather than being set in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, this series traces the different paths that led to people like Shanice (Brittany Adebumola), a lawyer who disappeared in 2005, Claudette (Jaye Ladymore), a ‘50s housewife, and Andre (TL Thompson), a doctor from the ‘20s, suddenly winding up in 2021 Detroit with thousands of others who were presumed missing or dead. While this aspect of 4400's plot is more or less the same as the original, the new series further switches things up by changing the exact mechanics of how the abductees arrive, and how the public responds to them.

Image: The CW

Instead of landing together in a massive ball of light that countless people across the world can see approaching from space, the new 4400 arrive in the dead of night with barely any witnesses present who can confirm or deny the stories they begin to tell local law enforcement, like Keisha (Ireon Roach). Through flashbacks to their abductions, 4400 shows you how unprepared and utterly terrified the abductees all were when they were taken, and how many of them were snatched at pivotal moments that would have bent the arc of their histories in other directions. Rev Johnson (Derrick A. King), the scion of a powerful Black church family, would have left it all behind for the woman he loved if only he hadn’t been spirited away. But as Rev and the other 4400 come to grips with being transported to what’s—to them—the future, it’s clear whatever plans they may have had for themselves have been deprioritized by an unknown, unseen party.

As the 4400 are rounded up under suspicion of being activists engaged in disorderly conduct, Keisha emerges as one of the show’s earliest antagonists whose uncertainty about the alleged time-travelers pushes her to be hostile towards them. The 4400's quarantine is another way the new show echoes the original, but here, their internment is explicitly presented as an outsized show of force from the state, which instinctively assumes that groups of Black and brown people are immediate threats. Though the CW’s 4400 is very much a CW show—which is to say that tonally, it can sometimes feel a bit uneven and unsure of itself—it’s one working with a set of weighty, complex ideas deserving of more time in the spotlight.

Image: The CW

Through Keisha’s confrontations with the 4400, and the uneasy partnership she forms with social worker Jharrel Mateo (Joseph David-Jones), the series asks you to really consider what “justice” actually looks like in a society whose justice system has regularly abused some of its most vulnerable people. Answers about what the hell is going on aside, what all of the 4400 want most is their freedom, and to feel like they’re in control of their destinies again.

It’s only when a handful of the 4400 begin to manifest their new abilities for the first time that they start to feel like gaining that same control is an actual possibility. Of course, it’s an uncertain one because of how people might respond upon learning what they can do. By veering away from flashier VFX, 4400 manages to keep itself feeling relatively grounded in a way that the original couldn’t, and it’s going to be very interesting to see whether that stays the case over the new show’s first season, or if things are going to become increasingly fantastical as things go on. As much time as the original 4400 spent playing with ideas about people being abducted by aliens and traveling through time, the CW’s playing things much more straightforward in order to get at the heart of what all socially-minded sci-fi tales want to talk about, but don’t always have the heart or ability to.

Created by Fricke (Being Human) and Jackson (Riverdale), the CW’s 4400 also stars Khailah Johnson, Amarr Wooten, Autumn Best, Kausar Mohammed, Wilder Yari, and Theo Germaine. The show premieres on the network on October 25.


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Pokémon Legends: Arceus' Newest Monsters Might Be Killers @ io9

A Hisuian Zorua gazing down at an unfortunate human.Screenshot: The Pokémon Company

Nintendo’s upcoming Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set in the distant past, at a point in time when the modern day Sinnoh Region was still known as the Hisui region, and people did not live in especially close harmony with wild Pokémon. Unlike some older Pokémon games where you play as a young trainer born into a world where bonding with Pokémon is quite common, in Arceus, you’re part of one of the earliest generations of researchers to thoroughly study the creatures in their natural habitats.

Keeping in with that idea about the new games, the Pokémon Company’s just released two versions (one blurry, and one clear) of a found-footage video teaser in which an unseen Pokémon researcher trudges through a snowy landscape. The video has a decided New Pokémon Snap vibe to it all throughout—recorded presumably on the Arceus Phone, a piece of incredibly anachronistic technology in the new game that is basically a smartphone thrown into a feudalized past by the Literal Creation God of Pokémon. But that anachronism aside, it’s more focused on the particulars of nature, as the researcher points out details about common monsters like Snorunt, and how beautiful the scenery is.

But the real point of the short and somewhat spooky clip is to introduce a pair of related Pokémon who, while gorgeous, appear to be quite dangerous. After stumbling into a snowy thicket of trees, the researcher catches a glimpse of a small white and red fox that immediately takes an interest in the stranger. Before the human can get a proper look at the creature, however, a massive roiling mass of shadows emerges from behind it and charges at the camera, seemingly to attack the unsuspecting human.

Though the human in the video might not have known what he was looking at, Pokémon fans will immediately identify the smaller fox and the larger bipedal creature that joins it at the end of the video as forms of Zorua and Zoroark, two Pokémon who were first introduced in Pokémon Black and Pokémon White, set in the Unova region. One of the more exciting things about Arceus aside from its new time period and focus on the Pokémon world’s history is the introduction of a growing number of Hisuian Pokémon, regional variants of monsters from other games. While regional variants have appeared in other Pokémon games like Sun/Moon and Sword/Shield, Arceus’ Hisuian Pokémon are somewhat more fascinating because of the implication of their having gone extinct over time. For example, Kantonian, Alolan, and Galarian forms of Meowth all exist in the world contemporaneously, where as the ancient Hisuian form of Growlithe appears to be a distant ancestor (who does not directly “evolve” in the traditional Pokémon sense) of modern-day Growlithe, which are native to the Kanto region.

Despite only popping briefly in the new video, there’s quite a bit to glean from Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark’s short appearances. Like their Unovan counterparts, Hisuian Zorua and Zoroak seem to prefer keeping to their own kind, and are a bit skittish around humans. Because Unovan Zorua and Zoroak are known for their ability to create convincing illusions, it stands to reason that the Hisuian variants have somewhat similar abilities, which may explain what the shadowy figure attacking the human in the video was. Unlike Unovan Zorua and Zoroark, which are pure Dark types, the new monsters have been confirmed by the Pokémon Company as Normal/Ghost dual types, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how all that typing is further reflected in the movesets they can learn. What’s also fascinating to consider about Hisuian Zorua and Zoroark, especially because of their new Ghost typing, is whether the attack in the new video was just a playful greeting, or if that was a legitimate instance of a Pokémon murdering a human in cold blood. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to wonder!

Pokémon Legends: Arceus drops on January 28, 2022.


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Buffy's vampire with a soul returns in exclusive reveal of BOOM! Studios' new 'Angel' comic series @ Syfy Wire

Buffy's vampire with a soul returns in exclusive reveal of BOOM! Studios' new 'Angel' comic series Matthew Jackson Thu, 10/21/2021 - 12:05 Buffy's vampire with a soul returns in exclusive reveal of BOOM! Studios' new 'Angel' comic series Matthew Jackson Angel 2022 #1 main coverAngel 2022 #1 main cover

Everyone's favorite vampire with a soul is back for a new adventure. Today, SYFY WIRE can exclusively reveal the launch of BOOM!

Broadcast Signal Intrusion's Director Explains Its Creepy, Tech-Fueled Mix of Y2K Paranoia and Film Noir @ io9

James (Harry Shum Jr.) behind a camera at the end of his rope.Image: Dark Sky Films

We first saw Broadcast Signal Intrusion at SXSW earlier this year. Its story—about a grieving Chicago man named James (Harry Shum Jr.) who becomes consumed by a sinister mystery hidden in a series of vintage videotapes—stuck with us. At last, it’s arriving in theaters and on digital this week, so we eagerly hopped on a video call with its director, Jacob Gentry (Synchronicity, The Signal), to talk more about the film.


Cheryl Eddy, io9: The movie is set in 1999, sort of right when old technology like VCRs and land-line phones were giving way to a newer wave of tech that was “the future” at the time. How did you approach filming a movie so specifically set in the not-so-distant past and what were the challenges with that?

Jacob Gentry: The biggest challenge, obviously, was logistical—on a modest budget, trying to avoid cars and things that give away the time period. But also it was a challenge in terms of—you know, I’m old enough to remember, I was an adult at that time. But a lot of the collaborators on the movie had to study information [about the time period] because they were too young to remember. So it was a really fascinating process to go, “I remember it this way,” and they’re like, “Well, this says that’s not what it was like.” So it’s interesting to see what the historical record in your own memory is. But yeah, I really felt that [1999] was a perfect time for, you know, we have high-speed internet, everything is starting to gear up in that way, and cell phones are really starting to proliferate. But at the same time, it’s still close enough to the time when the broadcast signal intrusions occurred that it could potentially still be a fresh thing—there could be kind of a middle ground, where we can find some relevance in something that happened [in the mid-1980s] through the experience of someone living [in 1999].

There’s also paranoia in the air at the time that was very palpable, just in terms of our fears about the turn of the century, Y2K, and what have you. But until a couple of years later, we didn’t even realize how naive we actually were in 1999; there are some things we know better now in hindsight about that time. So I just find all those things really fascinating—to study the past in order to understand the present.

io9: What was your introduction to the script by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall, and what grabbed your attention and made you want to make the movie?

Gentry: A producer friend of mine sent it to me and I’ll be honest, the main reason was because I read a lot of horror scripts and thriller scripts—this is kind of a hybrid of the two genres—and I don’t ever really get freaked out. But this freaked me out, and I didn’t know why, and that was the biggest part of it. I got existentially anxious but I didn’t understand what was causing it, because there was no direct antagonistic force. There was no direct threat to the life of the character, it was just literally someone watching a tape, but for some reason it really affected me. And then when you start to dig into all this stuff, like the Max Headroom incident, which we took a lot of inspiration from, you start to see—it’s seemingly benign in a sense, or it seems sort of almost juvenile, but there’s something about it that is just very, very unsettling.

io9: And I mean, he could just turn that tape off, but he can’t stop himself from digging further into the mystery. So that’s scary, too. Like, why won’t he stop?

Gentry: Yeah, exactly.

Hang up, James!Image: Dark Sky Films

io9: You mentioned the Max Headroom thing, and I was going to ask you, how much did you know about the real-life incidents before you started and how much research did you do into those?

Gentry: I did a lot of research. As we were developing the script, that wasn’t actually something that I discussed with the writers, and it wasn’t as explicit in the original script. The connections weren’t as tightly wound. I went deep on it and found it fascinating, and almost like the character in the movie, I kind of went into my own little rabbit hole with that. But just broadcast signal intrusions, in general, are very fascinating to me. The Max Headroom incident, because it’s unsolved, is always going to hold the most fascination, and it’s the most famous one because it happened on such a grand-ish scale, meaning like [it used] sophisticated equipment to take over a major network in a major city.

io9: Those were more of a prank, though, weren’t they? There wasn’t sinister intent? Or do we know?

Gentry: I mean, if you’re an Occam’s razor kind of person, then yes. If you’re prone to connecting dots that may or may not potentially be there, then… you know? There’s a lot of fascinating theories about it—some that actually seem like they have some legitimacy—but ultimately it does feel like a prank. It’s just that it would need such sophisticated equipment for the time, and it would take a lot of know-how to even do it in the first place. So what would be the point of doing such an elaborate scheme, if it’s just to be anarchic? Maybe I just answered that with my own sort of query right there, but that’s why it continues to fascinate. And that’s also a conflict in the movie: is it just a prank or is there something more sinister behind it?

io9: It feels very sinister because the intrusions are so terrifying. Can you talk about the director you worked with to create them, including how you came up with the design for the segments, especially the mannequins?

Gentry: I worked with an effects artist named Dan Martin, a fantastic, brilliant guy. We just had a lot of conversations about all kinds of stuff. One of our north stars for the aesthetic idea was a creepypasta called “I Feel Fantastic,” better known as Tara the Android—if you google that, anyone will immediately see [how Broadcast Signal Intrusion used it for inspiration]. We’re both lovers of the cinema fantastique and the odd and what have you; he’s in the UK and we had a lot of conversations about “video nasties” too. It was just about trying to find the perfect balance of, “What is the level of mundanity which makes this really, really unsettling?” I think that that’s both true of the Max Headroom incident and a creepypasta such as Tara the Android: there’s something so banal about it that it makes it even more upsetting. It’s got an uncanny valley idea to it, you know? [We used] animatronics and in some instances, there was this wonderful actor that Dan Martin works with named James Swanson—he has this just amazing physicality and characteristics to his face. He’s almost like a Doug Jones type of actor. So there’s a mix of actual animatronics or puppeteering in the movie, and also him being more robotic to create that gradual shift. I thought he did a fantastic job. Both of those guys did.

io9: It feels like you’re watching something that you shouldn’t be watching.

Gentry: That’s a more concise way of answering the first question that you asked, which is just like it just feels like, “I shouldn’t be watching this” or “I shouldn’t be reading this script.”

io9: I have to ask about Stepbot and Don Cronos, the two made-up TV series in the movie. How did you come up with the looks for those—Small Wonder and Doctor Who, I’m guessing, were the inspirations. Can you tell me more about those?

Gentry: Yeah, I mean, you nailed it right there. One of my favorite things is to kind of come up with fake versions of real-life things, and there’s a lot of fun with just imagining pop culture ephemera. Small Wonder was obviously very inspirational for Stepbot from the standpoint of, there is nothing in this movie that is as creepy as that sitcom from the ‘80s. It’s so unnerving and you really don’t know why, but it’s upsetting. Don Cronos was [us] trying to come up with a Doctor Who-type show and digging into that. I’m a casual fan of Doctor Who, but it was just trying to find our own version of that which felt like it could be real. That kind of stuff is really fun to do.

io9: Broadcast Signal Intrusion has some very noir vibes (the score backs this up) but it’s also very much a mystery thriller about discovering something that most people haven’t noticed. How did you strike that balance in tone?

Gentry: I’m such a lover of noir in my life, and my previous film was very much in the form of a noir movie with those tropes. But for this one, it was really about ‘70s paranoia thrillers, movies which are a descendant of noir in a lot of ways—like Alan J. Pakula’s paranoia trilogy Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President’s Men, and then the other triptych of Blow Up, The Conversation, and Blow Out. Blow Out is a touchstone movie for me, it’s one of my favorite movies. I’m a [Brian] De Palma super fan. So, of course, all those things start to come together. The score, which a lot of people say sounds noirish, is actually—if you listen to some of the Michael Small music from movies like Marathon Man and Parallax View and Klute, it has very much the DNA of those, which I think pulls from the sort of prime period of film noir, and it’s almost an identifier for the audience. There’s this darkness, there’s mystery, but there’s also kind of like a sleaziness. You want to build paranoia, but you also want to kind of give the idea of loneliness and isolation and those sorts of things. Ben Lovett, the composer, obviously does a lot of that heavy lifting.

io9: I definitely thought of Blow Out during the scene where James and Alice (Kelley Mack) are listening closely to one of the tapes, trying to hear the hidden sounds.

Gentry: Yeah, there’s definitely some—I call it “process porn,” and it’s something I love. You know, whether it’s something like John Travolta forensically analyzing his sound tapes to discover a conspiracy, or James Caan [in Thief] with the intricate Michael Mann shot process of breaking into a safe. I love watching that if it’s done well and it’s always fun to try to make compelling.

io9: The ending, without giving too much away, dips into a very surreal place, kind of capping off the movie’s slow descent into a world that doesn’t quite feel real. What do you want audiences to take away from that last scene?

Gentry: I think the ultimate reaction, the sort of hope or dream, would be a really good parking lot conversation, or whatever [the equivalent of that would be] if you were to watch it at home and discuss it online. Some of my best moviegoing experiences are when you have a really good discussion about it afterwards and it sticks with you. Even if you don’t like it at first, there’s perhaps things you can discover about it. Some of my favorite movies or movies are ones that I was a little bit conflicted on. We took a lot of inspiration from Zodiac, a movie I was kind of unsure about when I first saw it, or even more recently, something like Under the Silver Lake. My wife and I were coming out of that and it was like, “I don’t think I like that movie,” and then we proceeded to talk about it the entire ride home. You know what I mean?

So that’s really the goal—hopefully it will be compelling and exciting and thrilling and unsettling. But also, if you so choose, there’s interesting things that can be discussed. Some of the most interesting conversations about this movie I’ve heard are when there’s someone who was like, “I hated the end of that movie,” and another person who wanted to defend it. And I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.


Broadcast Signal Intrusion arrives in theaters and on digital October 22.


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C'mon, Marty! So how close are we to having real-life hoverboards like in Back to the Future Part II? @ Syfy Wire

C'mon, Marty! So how close are we to having real-life hoverboards like in Back to the Future Part II? Cassidy Ward Thu, 10/21/2021 - 11:03 C'mon, Marty! So how close are we to having real-life hoverboards like in Back to the Future Part II? Cassidy Ward Back To The Future HoverboardBack To The Future Hoverboard

Back to the Future Part II helped define visions of the future in a way most other forward-facing sci-fi franchises just couldn’t. That was due in large part to the incredible, yet vaguely familiar feel of the technology presented in the flick. Alongside the spookily prescient vision of Biff as a powerful corporate overlord, were flying cars, magic pizzas, and the mode of transportation every ‘80s kind wanted: the hoverboard.

Doctor Who Teases the Beginning of the 13th Doctor's End @ io9

Get ready for more spooks than usual, Doctor.Screenshot: BBC

Tom Hardy just can’t stop teasing Venom crossovers. The cast of the Marvel’s Eternals introduce their heroes. Get a glimpse of Legends of Tomorrow’s 100th episode. Plus, David Gordon Green talks about the challenge of the competing Hellraiser reboots. To me, my spoilers!



The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections has been rated “R” by the MPAA for “violence and some language.”


Venom 3

Tom Hardy teased an upcoming Spider-Man crossover in an Instagram story captured by Comic Book. Click through to have a look.


Mother/Android

A recent Vanity Fair article contains new images from Mother/Android, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Algee Smith, and Raúl Castillo and premiering December 17 on Hulu.


Eternals

The cast of Eternals personally introduce their characters in a new featurette.




Last Night in Soho

Bloody-Disgusting has two new clips from Last Night in Soho.

Meanwhile, Anya Taylor-Joy performs a “downtempo” cover of Downtown in a tie-in music video.




The Accursed

Yancy Butler contends with killer vines and a family curse in the trailer for The Accursed, available on-demand November 12.



Doctor Who

Doctor Who’s thirteenth season premieres October 31 with its first-ever Halloween special—an episode appropriately titled “The Halloween Apocalypse.”




Hellraiser

In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, David Gordon Green stated it’ll be a “fun cultural experiment” to see his Hellraiser TV series compete with David Bruckner’s upcoming reboot.

It’s going to be fascinating because it’s a different platform, different concept, different creators, but the same properties,” Green said. “I’m not sure where that ends up and how that goes, but I’m very curious. It is a fun cultural experiment, right? To think there’s a crew with a concept for a series [and] a crew with a concept for a movie taking the same mythology. I don’t know, does it become like Deep Impact and Armageddon?


Batwoman

Marquis Jet debuts in the trailer for next week’s episode of Batwoman.


Legends of Tomorrow

Finally, the O.G. Waverider crew pays a visit in the trailer for next week’s 100th episode of Legends of Tomorrow.


Banner art by Jim Cook

Uncharted's First Trailer Sees Tom Holland Hanging on for Dear Life @ io9

Screenshot: Sony

Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg have been holding onto the Uncharted movie for years, In fact, it’s been so long that Wahlberg was holding precariously onto the edge of the cliff, having been cast as lead Nathan Drake—only to age out of that role into the role of Drake’s mentor Scully. Holland made his way to the cliff in 2017, only to find himself in mortal danger as well. But now that the first Uncharted movie trailer has arrived, what will they find? Treasure... or yet another deadly trap?

The Uncharted movie is a prequel to the video games, which is why the rough-and-ragged visage of the game’s Nathan Drake has been replaced by the eternally adorable babyface of 25-year-old Holland. However, one thing that clearly has been replaced is the constant mortal danger Drake finds himself in, whether it be ancient booby traps, collapsing bridges, or massive shadowy organizations determined to kill him by sending several thousand heavily armed goons after him, which inevitably means Drake ends up leading the bad guys to whatever treasure he wants to get before they do. I highly suspect young Nathan Drake to be any better about this.

For the record, it’s only taken a mere 13 years for Uncharted to finally get an official movie trailer. In 2008, producer Avi Avid had announced a movie adaptation of the first game, which only came out the previous year. While there have been eight more Uncharted videogames released since then, the movie has gone through so many scripts and casts that it felt like it would never get out of movie development hell, even once Holland came on board. There’s still plenty of time for disaster to strike the project between now and February 18, 2022, when the movie ostensibly premieres.


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The Beetlejuice Sequel Isn't Dead, But It Isn't Alive Either @ io9

It’s (not yet) showtime!Image: Warner Bros.

A favorite movie for this time of year is Beetlejuice—Tim Burton’s 1988 horror comedy featuring Michael Keaton as a raunchy, wisecracking bio-exorcist. And while watching Beetlejuice for the 20th or 30th time this Halloween, you may find your thoughts drifting to a certain subject in between Harry Belafonte sing-alongs: whatever happened to that Beetlejuice sequel Hollywood kept trying to make?

In a new interview with Collider, scriptwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (whose current project is Disney+’s R.L. Stine-inspired Just Beyond; he’s also working on HBO Max’s Green Lantern series) offered what almost passes for an update. Turns out he hasn’t talked with Tim Burton about Beetlejuice 2 in five years—and there’s a very good reason the film has taken so long to get off the ground, and may never get made at all, from his point of view. “The reason that it’s so hard to get going is because so many people love it and because there are 10 million ways to get that sequel wrong and four ways to get it right,” he said. “It’s such a very fine needle to thread that I certainly ... didn’t get it there, on the script side. I didn’t thread the needle. There are things that were cool and some interesting ideas. I’ve certainly emotionally moved on from it and just said, ‘If it happens someday, it happens.’”

That certainly makes it sound like Grahame-Smith won’t be involved with Beetlejuice 2 moving forward, but he added a shred of optimism that if someone could make the busy duo of Keaton (who’s currently in Hulu’s new drama Dopesick and has Morbius and The Flash coming up) and Burton (whose last feature was Dumbo with Keaton; he also has Netflix series Wednesday on the way) intrigued by the story, it still might happen. Maybe. Possibly. “Michael Keaton is just as relevant as ever and, and Tim Burton is just as relevant as ever, but you have to have both of those people excited about something to do it,” he said. “I couldn’t get it there personally, as a writer, but maybe somebody else can,” he said.


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Nia DaCosta Plans to Finally Give Captain Marvel an Identity @ io9

Nia DaCosta at the premiere of Little Woods at NeueHouse Hollywood on April 1, 2019.Photo: Rachel Murray (Getty Images)

Despite Captain Marvel being one of the most significant characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’d be hard-pressed to describe who Carol Danvers, the person, really is—going by the handful of appearances she’s made throughout the franchise so far as the ultimate ringer who can take a punch. Director Nia DaCosta (Candyman) wants to change that with The Marvels.

After appearing in a few episodes of Marvel’s What If animated series (all of which is canon, if set in the far reaches of the multiverse), Captain Marvel is set to appear next in The Marvels, DaCosta’s follow-up to Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s 2019 Captain Marvel. While tackling a flagship character’s second major cinematic outing would be a significant challenge in any situation, DaCosta’s upcoming film will also bring Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan and Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau to the big screen for the first time as allies to Brie Larson’s Danvers. In a recent interview with Roxane Gay for Inverse, DaCosta opened up about how she’s been thinking about The Marvels as the movie’s begun production, and she explained how her biggest desire heading into the project was really digging into the essence of Carol’s identity.

“I want to know more about Captain Marvel,” DaCosta said. “Who is she? What are her fears? What drives her? How do you actually deal with being the most powerful being in the universe?” Though Captain Marvel was ostensibly an origin story, Carol spent the bulk of the movie not knowing who she was—until the third act when she triumphantly became a full-on superhero with no real grounding to her home planet. Carol’s presence in the larger universe and how she went on to become a well-known hero has been alluded to in Avengers: Infinity and Avengers: Endgame, but in both of those films, she was really only there to show up at the very last minute to fight before peacing out again.

To DaCosta, superheroes should be complicated figures who often exist in morally grey areas, and she pointed to DC’s Batman and Superman, and Magneto of the X-Men, as examples of why characters are stronger when you interrogate them beyond their idealized surfaces. “In terms of the most successful heroes, no matter how much power you have, you never really have control over yourself,” DaCosta said. “That’s something you see in characters like Magneto, for example. His emotional life is always going to overpower his actual power.”

In terms of her own emotional life, DaCosta’s trying to not let the pressure of working on a major Marvel movie—and her third film to date—get to her by living in the moment and not allowing herself spend too much time thinking about The Marvels’ gravity. A big part of that, DaCosta stated, has boiled down to reckoning with the reality that she’s been very busy these past few years, but also reminding herself that work isn’t everything.

“I’m trying to put less significance on my worth through work,” DaCosta said. “That helps me shoulder that pressure because I’m also thinking, ‘Am I a good friend? Am I a good sister? Am I living in the right city?’ I also try to come at it like, I’m a fan. I’m doing the best I can as a fan as well as a creator and storyteller.”

The Marvels is currently in production, and slated to hit theaters on February 17, 2023.


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A24's Deeply Unsettling Lamb Will Stream for One Night Only @ io9

One of the many wooly critters featured in A24's Lamb.Screenshot: A24

Lamb, A24's new horror-thriller from director Valdimar Jóhannsson, has already hit theaters in cities across the United States. But actually getting into a screening depends on whether you’re in a city where the movie is showing, and how comfortable you are going to theaters during the covid-19 pandemic. If those are hurdles for you, you’re in luck.

While studios as a whole are rolling back their pandemic-era readiness to release new projects via digital platforms more quickly, Lamb’s full-on home release is still in the future. But, following a release strategy it used previously with The Green Knight, A24 plans to make Lamb available to stream for a limited time via its virtual screening room. Today, the studio announced that ticket holders will be able to check Lamb out from the comfort of their homes for a short window on October 26. Ticket holders will have the ability to play the movie on their Apple TV or Roku devices after 9 p.m. EDT, and viewers will also have access to special pre and after shows hosted by an Icelandic herding couple, per A24's website.

While Lamb coming home for Halloween is sure to delight some, the event may remind others of how they felt somewhat burned by A24's move to release The Green Knight to own just days after that movie’s limited-time digital screening was hyped up. If The Green Knight was any indication, folks who haven’t absolutely been clamoring to see the feature about a shepherd who seems to have had sex with a sheep might hold off, as A24 might be close to dropping it. But Lamb enthusiasts, it won’t be long until you can finally see the movie for yourselves.

Lamb is now playing in theaters.


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Dune Nearly Went Without Oscar Isaac's Lustrous, Well-Oiled Beard @ io9

We love a space dad, don’t we folks.Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Dune seems like it’s going to be a big, sweeping sci-fi epic, full of big fights, big ideas, and the cinematic dazzle that director Denis Villeneuve has craved. Interestingly, and perhaps less reported, we averted a horrifying reality based on one terrible decision.

While there’s plenty of wonderful vistas to gawk at in what we’ve seen of Dune so far, perhaps the most wonderful of all has been the stoic, bushy face of Oscar Isaac’s Duke Leto Atreides, the powerful patriarch of his house and the new ruler of the planet Arrakis. He’s got nice coats. His family seems a bit weird but all right. But above all, he is Oscar Isaac, and more specifically, he is Oscar Isaac wearing one of the most gloriously thick beards to grace any kind of screen in 2021. Shockingly, according to Dune makeup and hair department head and prosthetic designer Donald Mowat, there very nearly could’ve been no gloriously thick beard at all.

“I personally didn’t see Oscar Isaac with the beard initially,” Mowat said in an interview with GQ this week, dedicated to, of course, the most important makeup decision of the entire movie. “When I was working on my Photoshops and concept characters—I kind of diligently pull reference materials—I didn’t. When I heard that this could happen and Oscar and Denis had talked about it, I was a little bit surprised.”

In Frank Herbert’s classic novel, Leto isn’t described as having a beard but has had one in past adaptations, including David Lynch’s 1984 film, where he was played by Jürgen Prochnow. It’s a price worth paying for a smidgen of creative license in adaptation then, that we got Isaac’s commanding, Daddy-Duke-worthy facial hair, something that caused Mowat to turn to European royalty like Tsar Nicholas II and Prince Michael of Kent for inspiration. As far as care for said beard goes, GQ writes: “Maintenance involved shampooing and conditioning, brushing it out, and trimming it regularly—and, of course, the beard oil must flow.”

So majestic was Isaac’s beard growth—which took roughly 14 weeks—that it influenced Mowat’s hair choices with other members of House Atreides, in particular Timothée Chalamet’s Paul, the Duke’s son. “We kept [Paul’s] hair very wavy, a lion-like mane,” Mowat. “He’s like the young lion to the old—this mane of hair blown in the sand and the dust and the spice—but he is Lady Jessica’s son. He’s pale, he’s statuesque, he’s beautiful, but he’s got his father’s hair.” So powerful a beard it influences generations. Given that there’s enough smoothness in Dune right now as it is, it’s for the best we avoided more.


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Marvel's Black Widow Scene-Stealer Yelena Belova Will Now Steal Your Wallet @ io9

Image: Marvel Studios/Hot Toys

The Black Widow movie (which is now available to Disney+ subscribers for free instead of forcing you to cough up an extra $30 for it) was surprisingly fun for a story delving into the Black Widow’s dark past as an assassin. That fun came primarily from Natasha’s little sister Yelena, played by Florence Pugh, whose sarcasm and pocket enthusiasm won over audiences immediately. I’m certain at least a few of those audience members can’t wait at the chance to pay hundreds for this typically outstanding 12-inch action figure of Yelena from Hot Toys.

Vested Interest

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Cloth action figures clothes are notoriously hard to do, but Hot Toys figured it out years ago. Here, Yelena’s green vest “zips up” with the magic of magnets.

Vested Interest II

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

The magnets allow the vest to be posed open, all without having to deal with buttons or velcro or all the other weird crap lesser action figures usually use.

Ahead of the Curve

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Here, you see Yelena wielding her baton in its separated, flexible mode, allowing the spy to use them like ersatz nunchakus.

Such a Poser

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Just a better view of the same.

Fight Night

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Yelena’s always ready to wield her knives, courtesy of the easy-to-reach holster of three located on her left thigh. On her right thigh is located the holster for her gun, which as you’ve seen previously is removable.

Fore!

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

You’ve seen the curvy half-staff sticks, now enjoy the full staff in all its lengthy, rigid glory!

Staff Meeting

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

And here’s the two straightened half-staffs. to be clear: Yelena comes with one full-length staff, these two batons, and two curved batons, for five accessories total.

Hot Pockets

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Strong pocket game.

Stick It to ‘Em

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Hot Pockets II

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

The Right Tools for the Job

Image: Hot Toys/Marvel Studios

Other than her various weapons, Yelena here comes with 10 extra hands, the usual posing stand, and a pilot headset so she can shout dry, yet hilarious quips at her older sister. You can pre-order her here for $270 from Sideshow Toys, but it’ll be a full year at least before she arrives at your door. Also, in case you missed it, Hot Toys also recently revealed a Loki and Sylvie...


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Batwoman's Ruby Rose Accuses the CW of Abuse and Harassment in Scathing Post @ io9

Ruby Rose attends the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California.Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty (Getty Images)

Batwoman fans were stunned last year when Ruby Rose announced their sudden and unexpected departure from the Warner Bros. series after just one season as the titular DC hero. Rose’s exit was shocking, in part, because of how much enthusiasm she’d expressed about the series ahead of its premiere, but also because of how committed to the show’s success the CW seemed to be from the get-go.

According to the Rose, however, whatever impressions the public might have gotten about the CW’s commitment to treating its employees right were incorrect. In a series of troubling posts shared to her Instagram story on Tuesday stating “enough is enough,” the actor detailed at length their negative experience working on Batwoman, and accused former Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Peter Roth of workplace sexual harassment. The posts—which also tagged Batwoman executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, and producer Caroline Dries—alleges, among many other things, that Roth coerced at least one female colleague into interacting with his groin and that Roth made a concerted effort to oust Rose from her job.

“[N]ot sure if you left after getting promoted to the highest position because you just couldn’t stop making young women steam your pants, around your crotch while you were still wearing said pants or if you left after putting a private investigator on me who you fired as soon as the report didn’t fit your narrative, either way,” Rose said. “[W]hen it comes to you there’s already an army waiting for [you].”

Screenshot: Instagram

Separate from their claims about Roth—but nonetheless concerning—were Rose’s accusations of the CW’s callous behavior towards them following a 2019 on-set accident that took place during the filming of Batwoman’s first season. Rose opened up then about how, following the accident that injured her neck and spine, she had to undergo emergency surgery after concerns were raised about her potentially being paralyzed. At the time, her comments were taken as a reminder about what kind of precautions need to be taken to ensure people’s safety on film sets. Rose’s new posts claim, though, that the CW was less concerned about their well-being after the accident than it was getting Batwoman’s first season in the can. She said of her injuries, “It’s worse than abnormal, this was diagnosed years ago on set but if I got an X-ray ‘we wouldn’t make our day,’ I have documented this for years.”

Along with text posts and photos of her injury scans, Rose also shared old footage of herself speaking with a doctor from her hospital bed soon after being X-rayed and learning that the damage was more serious than initially thought. Rose also claimed that, after the accident, the CW refused to adjust its shooting schedule to accommodate their healing process. “To everyone who said I was too stiff on Batwoman... imagine going back to work 10 days after this ... 10 DAYS!!!!!!”, Rose wrote in a caption of an image in the hospital bed. “(Or the whole crew and cast would be fired and I’d led every one because Peter Roth said he would recast and I just lost the studio millions (by getting injured on his set) this is ... the one who cost so many people their jobs. Instead of spending [half a] day to rewrite me out for a few weeks to heal.)”

Screenshot: Instagram

Ahead of 2019's San Diego Comic-Con, Rose shared a video announcing that she wouldn’t be able to join the rest of Batwoman’s cast for the show’s inaugural panel. At the time, Rose said that their absence was due to a particularly “ambitious episode” not yet being finished production, but in her new posts, she alleges she couldn’t attend the convention due to the studio refusing to adjust its shooting schedule. The video in which she apologized for not coming to Comic-Con, Rose said, was only recorded because the CW refused to release an announcement on its own. “Imagine taking a huge pay cut to play a passion project and being so excited about Comic-Con and then being told they would not adjust the schedule so I could attend,” Rose alleged in their more recent posts. “But then saying ‘We won’t announce it, you have to.’ And me putting my foot down and sayin why must I be the face of this??? Only to be told if I didn’t do this video they would be silent and people would turn up to find out on the day I wasn’t there... I folded.”

Throughout her posts, Rose reiterates how, despite the impression people got from the entire situation, it was never her desire to quit Batwoman, but rather that her firing was, she said, part of a larger pattern of abuse and gross negligence that all seemingly came to a head quite fast. Rose added that, in addition to her injuries, others on set sustained serious injuries that the studio did not handle with care, but unlike Rose, these people worked behind the camera. “A woman was left quadriplegic and they tried to blame it on her being on her phone, so much so CW didn’t [even] help her to start with because they needed to ‘investigate’ so she had to do a GoFundMe,” Rose alleged. “She’s a PA, they work via phones. Her accident occurred because our show refused to shut down when everyone else did because of covid.” She also alleged another crew member suffered third-degree burns that the cast and crew witnessed.

io9 reached out to multiple representatives at the CW for comment about Rose’s multiple allegations. A representative of WBTV said in a statement to io9: “Despite the revisionist history that Ruby Rose is now sharing online aimed at the producers, the cast and crew, the network, and the Studio, the truth is that Warner Bros. Television had decided not to exercise its option to engage Ruby for season two of Batwoman based on multiple complaints about workplace behavior that were extensively reviewed and handled privately out of respect for all concerned.”

Screenshot: Instagram

Rose publicly left Batwoman in May of 2020, and as notable as that was, that year was also a complicated and difficult one for the television and film industries as a whole because of the covid-19 pandemic. But it was unclear at the time whether the actor’s departure was tied to how the production dealt with the public health crisis. She says now that Dries “has no heart and wanted us to finish the season throughout the pandemic ... seeing Riverdale, The Flash, and Supergirl shut down already, I felt something bad would happen.” Additionally, Rose alleges Dries admitted the injuries happened on set but later denied it and said it happened during yoga, which Rose says she doesn’t do. Rose also alleged her co-star Dougray Scott—who plays Kate Kane’s father Jacob—“hurt a female stunt double” and “abused women.” Scott gave a comment to TV Line stating: “I absolutely and completely refute the defamatory and damaging claims made against me by [Ruby Rose]; they are entirely made up and never happened.”

Rose did not initially explain her departure but a few weeks later said those close to her knew her reasons for leaving, and it seemed like the show’s future might be in jeopardy. An unnamed source talked to TV Line a day after the initial announcement alleging Rose was “distressed by the long hours” required by a lead role, and “It wasn’t 100-percent her decision. It was a breakup. She wasn’t happy working on the show, and did that make her fun to work with? No. So everyone decided it would be in the best interests of the show, and for all concerned, if they parted ways. It just wasn’t a good fit.”

Just two months later, though, the CW threw everyone for a loop by announcing actress Javicia Leslie was joining the Batwoman cast as Ryan Wilder, a new character created specifically for the television series who quickly becomes Gotham’s new Batwoman after Kate Kane is thought to be missing or dead. Multiple vigilantes using the same supername is quite common in comic books and their adaptations, but what’s somewhat less common is for original TV characters to be swapped in as headliners, and for those same characters to almost immediately be brought over into the comics universe as Ryan Wilder was. Some time later, however, the role of Kate Kane—who was still alive but living with a different face—was recast to be played by Wallis Day.

To say that Ryan Wilder was fast-tracked into Batwoman would be putting it mildly, and Rose’s new accusations definitely cast a shadow over the character’s introduction given how unceremoniously Kate Kane was cast aside from the series to make room for her. Regardless, Rose was adamant she did not quit the show. “They ruined Kate Kane and they destroyed Batwoman, not me. I followed orders, and if I wanted to stay I was going to have to sign my rights away,” they wrote. Looking forward, it’s not clear if and how the CW will further respond to Rose’s allegations, but she is standing by the fact that she went toe-to-toe with their colleagues “not because I wanted to but because I wanted safety.”

Update 10/20/2021, 4:36 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to include Dougray Scott’s statement.


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io9 Halloween Costume Show Week 3: Open Wide, Mr. Allen @ io9

Who needs Warner Bros. when io9 readers could just do their own Flash movie right now?Photo: Gordon Shumway/Kinja, Mike/Kinja

This month we kicked off our returning, mostly annual Halloween Costume Show, giving you the chance to share what you’re planning for this year’s spooky event. There’s still time to show us what you’ve got planned, with Halloween sneakily getting closer and closer!

With just under two weeks to go until Halloween, here’s our first progress point along the way for you to reveal what you’re working on for your costume so far—or if you have one sorted already! Like, say, maybe you just attended a nice first-time-in-a-while comic convention and decided to double up for your Halloween costume this year too? But even if you’re still working on your own costume, or haven’t even started thinking about it yet, you’ve still got time to share your plans with us. Like io9 commenters Gordon Shumway and Mike up above, who showed us some smashing costumes in the form of the Big Mouth skin from Fortnite, and DCEU’s take on Barry Allen!

Every Wednesday in the run up to Halloween we’ll be running weekly check-in posts highlighting submissions so far to keep you inspired—or give you a place to share your costume if you’re not quite done yet. Next week on the Friday before the big day, October 29, we’ll round up every shared costume to feature here on io9 and on our social feeds, in celebration of your collective awesomeness.

If you need some inspiration to get started, be sure to check out previous years’ Costume Shows, but otherwise, get sharing in the comments section! And don’t forget, as always: please post pictures of yourself (and only yourself), and tell us who you are, what you’re dressed as, and a little bit about how you put your costume together. We’ll be back next week to share some pictures along the way!


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The Medium Blends Paranormal Activity, The Exorcist, and Its Own Particular Terrors @ io9

The ceremony has begun.Image: Shudder

Horror movies that offer genuine surprises and jaw-dropping shocks can be hard to come by. The Medium, a Thai-Korean production that arrived on Shudder last week, is one of those movies you’re best not knowing much about when you sit down to watch—but suffice to say it has both of those sought-after qualities in spades.

As we begin, the film is styled as a documentary titled Shaman Bloodline, following a woman in Northern Thailand named Nim (Sawanee Utoomma) who is “possessed,” as she calls it, by a goddess named Ba Yan. It’s a calling that’s long been passed down the female bloodline of her family, and it mostly means she serves her community by helping cure those suffering from “unseen” (as opposed to medical) ailments, including but not limited to those caused by black magic. It’s not the life she chose—the life chose her—but it seems peaceful enough. Lots of praying, lots of counseling, lots of strolls in the woods. That’s just the first of many carefully plotted misdirects that unfurl over the course of this two-hour film from Thai writer-director Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter) and South Korean producer Na Hong-jin (The Wailing). It takes a little while to get going, but then delivers one of the absolute wildest final 30 minutes of any horror movie in recent memory. You think they tossed “black magic” in the opening and weren’t going to deliver on it later? Not. A. Chance.

Nim prays as Noi watches,Image: Shudder

As filming on Shaman Bloodline progresses—from time to time, we get title cards to explain what’s happening when the scene changes; we also hear an off-camera voice asking questions during interviews—the crew follows Nim to her brother-in-law’s funeral, where she greets her semi-estranged sister Noi (Sirani Yankittikan) and Noi’s twentysomething daughter Mink (Narilya Gulmongkolpech). There’s been tension between Nim and Noi ever since Noi, Ba Yan’s first chosen vessel in this generation, rejected her inheritance and converted to Christianity, thereby forcing shaman duties on Nim. That’s not the only bad blood in the family’s past, and Nim casually drops a ton of tragic history during one of her interviews—facts framed as a way to get to know her better, but viewers who pay close attention will be rewarded when The Medium begins its shift from straightforward documentary into full-on found-footage horror, complete with shakey-cam and creepy green night vision.

At any rate, the crew of Shaman Bloodline decides to stick around Nim’s extended family once it becomes apparent that the pretty, vivacious Mink, who’s started acting oddly and complaining of strange physical pain, is being readied to serve as Ba Yan’s next shaman. Pure documentary gold in the making! Or, it sure seems that way—to Noi’s annoyance; she didn’t want to be a shaman and she doesn’t want her daughter to be one, either—until everyone starts to think that Mink’s deteriorating condition might be caused by a different sort of spiritual transformation.

Mink looking absolutely sinister.Photo: Shudder

For a found-footage film, The Medium is more elegantly shot than most—it helps that it’s ostensibly being made by a professional documentary crew, a gimmick that also helps audiences who aren’t well-versed in Thai culture get a window into its intriguingly unfamiliar setting. The acting is both naturalistic and, when necessary, completely over-the-top; Gulmongkolpech in particular is equally as convincing as a bright-eyed party girl and a dead-eyed monster. And the special effects range from subtle yet distressing to full-on, stomach-lurching splatter.

To go into too much detail about The Medium’s twists would deprive the viewer the fun (and terror) of watching them happen, but let’s just say this movie does not shy away from any taboos. Nothing is sacred, and nobody is safe, not even Shaman Bloodline’s intrepid cameramen. Once you’ve unclenched your jaw and other body parts after witnessing The Medium’s outrageous finale, you’ll see why it was a summer hit at the Korean box office. It is not for the faint of heart. But horror fans on the hunt for a gruesome treat this Halloween will not be disappointed.

The Medium is now streaming on Shudder.


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The Batman Trailer Works Shockingly Well With The Animated Series Footage @ io9

Screenshot: WB Animation

A lot of nerds try to mash-up superhero movie trailers with footage from other movies, shows, cartoons, etc., and a lot of nerds fail. Either the creator doesn’t have the patience to truly hunt down the perfect footage, or the source material doesn’t work because it doesn’t have any appropriate footage, or a million other things. So let me be clear when I say this recreation of The Batman’s new trailer from classic Batman: The Animated Series is pretty astonishing.

All credit goes to frequently nerd pop culture masher-upper Darth Blender for the video. Now watch, enjoy, and then we’ll discuss:

Here’s why I assumed this mash-up couldn’t work: the Batman of The Batman trailer is incredibly angry, and there are many, many shots of him being incredibly angry and taking that out on criminals. But Darth Blender has managed to find a collection of shots in TAS where Batman absolutely owns a big bad, which really resonate as substitutes. The reveal of the big “?” box is actually scarier than the “?” sitting on top of Riddler’s cup of coffee, thanks to Michael Giacchino’s score. The few blips of comedy are also great. The Batman’s conspiracy floor getting replaced with Batman reading a newspaper is absolutely outstanding, as is Riddler’s head popping out of a drum in lieu of the live-action movie’s Riddler waving his face around on a giant, Times Square-esque TV screen.

For your convenience, here’s the original trailer revealed this past weekend at DC Fandome, to better compare and contrast the two.

The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/the Penguin, and Paul Dano as the Riddler is set to premiere on March 4, 2022.


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Are No Time to Die's designer diseases possible in real life? The science behind Bond @ Syfy Wire

No Time to Die may have been Daniel Craig's final appearance as James Bond, but it introduced new characters and a terrifying new type of warfare — a weapon that could find its way to the real world with insidious implications.

**Spoilers ahead for No Time to Die**

No Time to Die presents James Bond with a weapon he can't outsmart. Safin (Rami Malek) has obtained access to a novel biological weapon, nanobots which act like a virus, spreading from person to person. They don't kill or even make ill everyone they infect. Instead, they spread until they reach their target, having been programmed to the DNA of a specific person or persons.

It's a wicked type of weapon in the way it makes unwitting accomplices of ordinary people as they carry the disease and pass it along. Nanobots are a favorite of genre fiction for the way they can seemingly do just about anything from making new kinds of form-fitting armor to dismantling people or objects at an atomic level. To date, nanobots don't have anywhere near that sort of functionality. This type of targeted bioweapon, however, might be much more possible as a virus.

BIOWEAPONS

Bioweapons are nothing new. They've been around just about as long as warfare has existed, which is to say a long time. Methods of the past lacked the sort of evil elegance which is possible today, but they weren't any less effective.

Nearly a thousand years ago, Emperor Barbarossa poisoned well water with human corpses. A couple of centuries later, Mongols catapulted plague-infected bodies over the walls and into the Black Sea port in modern-day Ukraine. It's possible ships from that port returned to Italy with the pathogen, jumpstarting the Black Death in Europe, killing millions. European colonists infected indigenous peoples with smallpox through contaminated blankets. Poisons have been used to assassinate individuals since the beginning of recorded history.

The use of biological agents as weapons is so ubiquitous there are animals, like poison dart frogs, who derive their names from the way we've co-opted them as weapons. However, biological warfare is, sadly, not a thing of the past.

The development and use of biological weapons continued through the world wars and the cold war until the enforcement of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) treaty in 1975. Even still, the Soviet Union continued developing biological weapons until its fracturing in 1991.

Credit: Aitor Diago / Getty Images

Today, officially, there are no ongoing biological weapons programs in any of the 190 countries that are signatories to the BWC, but that's difficult if not impossible to validate. There are no verification procedures in place and the nature of biological weapons development is such that it can be done relatively easily, inexpensively, and in secret with materials present in labs all over the world.

As our understanding of pathogens evolved, so too did our ability to develop biological weapons. Now, with the advent of genetics and technologies like CRISPR and other gene-modifying tools, a whole new class of biological weapons is possible.

GENE-SPECIFIC WEAPONS

One of the biggest barriers to crafting bioweapons is access to dangerous pathogens. Pathogens like smallpox are wisely well-protected and exceedingly difficult for researchers to get their hands on. The ubiquity of genetic technologies could overcome those barriers.

In a July 2002 paper published in the journal Science, researchers were able to synthesize the Polio virus from scratch following the known genetic recipe as guidance. This opens up the possibility of reconstituting extinct or uncommon pathogens for use as weapons, or altering existing pathogens to make them more deadly, more transmissible, or resistant to existing treatments. This too was completed by the Soviet Union when they modified anthrax making it resistant to vaccines.

So far as we know, no bioweapons have been developed to target specific genetic markers but the possibility has caused worry enough to spark conversation among government officials, at least as far back as 1997. A Department of Defense news briefing from April of that year includes the following conversation: “There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races.”

Credit: Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Thousands of viruses have been sequenced, with many of their genomes available to the public online. As sequencing and technology advance and become more affordable, one can imagine how a pathogen might be devised by taking an existing disease and reconfiguring it to favor infection of individuals with specific genetic markers. And there is some research to suggest that could be possible relatively soon.

If it's happened already, no one is publishing papers about it. Such a pathogen would be devastating in its ability to preferentially impact individuals across ethnic lines. The same technology could potentially be taken to an extreme, targeting not ethnic markers but unique individual ones.

A fictional article from The Atlantic outlined a process by which a disease might be constructed, using gene therapy and crowdsourcing, to target a political leader. The larger question perhaps, is why bother? Existing weapons, whether biological, kinetic, or otherwise, are effective enough as they exist today. Crafting a designer disease seems like an awful lot of work for a single individual, especially when other methods exist. Of course, humanity might be best served by getting out of the business of killing one another altogether. Barring that, we should probably quit inventing new ways to do it. Viruses do enough damage without our help.

Titans: Dick Grayson actor Brenton Thwaites warns of 'some goodbyes' in Season 3 finale @ Syfy Wire

Titans has officially been renewed for a fourth season on HBO Max, but don't expect all of your favorite characters to make it through the conclusion of Season 3. Which is saying something, considering who we've already lost this season.

Speaking with TVLine ahead of the season finale on HBO Max this Thursday (Oct. 21), principal cast member Brenton Thwaites alluded to "some goodbyes at the end." The actor who plays Dick Grayson/Nightwing didn't go into specifics about who will be departing, though he did add that fans should "feel excited to see the Titans cooking with gas and really collaborating, working towards essentially the recapturing of Gotham and saving the people of Gotham."

With Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow (played by Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser) about to carry out his nefarious plan from his base of operations at Wayne Manor, the titular team of heroes decides to spread out for a divide and conquer approach.

"There could be an option for a big, grandiose fight where Crane has a bunch of his cronies trying to kill us, but  we’ve gone down that path before," Thwaites said. "It’s nice to have more of a segregated approach to defeating [the Big Bad]. Also, it explains the grandeur of the episode, that it’s all of Gotham that we’re trying to save. We need people all over the city to put out separate fires."

The news of Titans' renewal broke at DC FanDome over the weekend along with the announcement of additional seasons for other DC projects like Doom Patrol and Pennyworth (the latter will move from Epix to HBO Max for its third outing).

“The feedback from HBO Max and Warner Brothers and the producers was very positive, but obviously we had to wait for that feedback from the people watching the show,” Thwaites said on the topic of a fourth season. “We all felt pretty good about renewal, but it’s a wild world out there, man. We had to wait and see if the COVID-ness of it all would raise the question of whether a Season 4 was worth it — and it turns out it is.”

The Titans season finale hits HBO Max this Thursday, Oct. 21.

All the sneaky Easter eggs you missed in Chucky Episode 2, 'Give Me Something Good to Eat' @ Syfy Wire

Halloween isn’t usually the holiday folks associate with Easter eggs, but when you’re talking a Chucky Halloween, there are plenty to go ‘round. In Episode 2 of SYFY & USA’s Chucky, it’s All Hallows Eve, and the series’ teen stars find themselves at a particularly disturbing Halloween party. Lexy Cross (Alyvia Alyn Lind) pulls her cruelest prank yet on Jake (Zackary Arthur) and Chucky might have managed to get into Jake’s head… 

For all the gritty details, check out SYFY’s recap here. Otherwise, take a look at the biggest Easter eggs in Chucky Episode 2, “Give Me Something Good to Eat.”

A FIRST TASTE OF VIOLENCE

At this point, it feels safe to say that each episode of Chucky will give us more and more insight into Charles Lee Ray’s backstory. The future serial killer is shown at the top of Chucky Episode 2 finding a razor blade in a shiny green apple one Halloween. Rather than, y’know, telling his mom or even throwing the apple away, he takes a huge bite and revels in the pain. 

Not concerning for the development of a child. At all.

CHUCKY'S CHILD

Just as Jake seems to be expecting Chucky to mock him for having a crush on Devon Evans (Bjorgvin Arnarson), Chucky takes him by surprise by revealing that he has a child of his own, and that child is queer. This is, of course, a reference to Chucky and Tiffany Valentine’s (Jennifer Tilly) child, who’s the embodiment of twin consciousnesses Glen and Glenda and identifies as gender fluid. 

Glen/Glenda was first introduced in Seed of Chucky (2004), and when asked at the Chucky panel at New York Comic Con 2021 whether or not the character would be making an appearance in the series, series creator Don Mancini’s only answer was a cheeky “keep watching.”

 

REFLECTIONS

The final shot of Jake in this episode is a callback to a Child’s Play series mainstay. A character’s reflection getting caught in the mirror surface of a knife blade is a familiar sight for fans, and it’s always a promise of violence to come. 

Will Jake choose violence? Or will this little devil on his shoulder fail in his mission of chaos?

Wanna play? Download SYFY's free app to watch full episodes, highlights, interviews and more!

RIP Chris Ayers, Voice of Dragon Ball's Frieza @ io9

Golden Frieza as seen in Dragon Ball Super.Image: Toei Animation/Funimation

If you’ve watched the immensely popular Dragon Ball Z Kai or Dragon Ball Super anime, you know his voice. If you’ve watched an English dub of any anime made over the past couple of decades, there’s a better than even chance you’ve heard him. Christopher Ayres was the voice of Frieza, the Dragon Ball franchise’s most iconic villain, and many other characters through his work at the anime licensor Funimation and beyond. He passed away Monday, October 18, at age 56.

While Ayres will certainly be best remembered as Frieza among fans, he played roles in series and movies such as Black Butler, Sengoku Basara, Claymore, Gantz, Godanner, Hetalia: Axis Powers, Initial D, One Piece, and countless others (seriously, look at his list of credits over at his Anime News Network encyclopedia entry, and try to count them—it’s a lot—and that’s not even counting his prolific ADR directing work). Ayres started his acting career at age 6, starring in a commercial for Lollipop Soft drinks. He worked on and off-Broadway before moving into the world of dubbing, starting at the now-defunct ADV Films, and later at Funimation, where he took over the role of Frieza from previous actor Linda Young in 2009, when Dragon Ball Z Kai premiered. Ayres was a frequent guest and panelist at anime conventions and taught fight choreography for school and stage plays.

In 2017, Ayres was diagnosed with end-stage COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and required a double-lung transplant to survive. He announced in 2019 he had one of the necessary transplants but suffered years of health complications until his death earlier this week at the age of 56. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this unfortunate time.


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Cancel Columbus Day: Sun storms pinpoint Europeans being in Canada in 1021 A.D. @ Syfy Wire

New research pinpoints an exact date Vikings from Europe were in North America: 1021 A.D. (one millennium ago this year), 430 years before Christopher Columbus was even born.

How was this determination possible? Because the Sun erupted in an immense series of storms that altered Earth's atmosphere, leaving measurable changes in tree rings at the time.

In the 1960s, archaeologists discovered a Norse Viking site in L'Anse aux Meadows, in the northern tip of Newfoundland. By looking at the styles of the remains there as well as examining Icelandic sagas (oral stories told over generations, and not written down until centuries later), they were able to get a rough date of the site of around 1000 A.D. But this is a relative date, found by comparing events at different times (so, say, they could tell it was after some other event, but not exactly how long after).

L’Anse aux Meadows is a Norse Viking site in Newfoundland, Canada, now dated to 1021A.D. Credit: Google Maps

This is where the Sun comes in. In the years 774 and 993 the Sun blasted out some truly epic explosions called solar storms, most likely in the form of solar flares. These are spectacular events that occur when the Sun's magnetic field lines get tangled up and suddenly short circuit, releasing their stored-up energy. This can easily equal hundreds of millions of times the energy released in a one-megaton nuke — the 774 A.D. event was the biggest in 10,000 years and was strong enough to power all human energy use for 300,000 years!

These flares send out huge waves of subatomic particles into space. When they slam into Earth's atmosphere they can generate aurorae and power outages, but they also create isotopes of certain atoms — for example, the majority of carbon on Earth has six protons and six neutrons in the atomic nucleus (called carbon-12), but a flare can increase the amount of the isotope carbon-14, which has 8 neutrons. The relative amounts of these isotopes can be measured in the lab; tree rings around the world were seen to have elevated amounts in both 774 and 993 A.D. (by 12 and 9%, respectively), and in fact those solar storms were first discovered by examining tree rings.

As you may know, a tree grows one ring per year, allowing the tree's age to be measured (this science is called dendrochronology). It can also be used to determine when the tree was felled, if the outer bark edge is still intact — somewhat amusingly, this is called the waney edge.

A team of scientists looked at wood found at the L'Anse aux Meadows Viking site. In three cases the trees had been physically cut down, and moreover, they were clearly cut with metal tools — Vikings had metal implements at the time, but indigenous people did not. The wood was all from different trees (one was fir, and another juniper, for example). The key parts here are that the wood was all from trees that had been alive for many decades, and all had their waney edge intact as well.

Microscopic photo of tree rings from a sample of wood taken at a Norse Viking site in Newfoundland, Canada, used to get an exact date for when the tree was cut down: 1021 A.D. Credit: Petra Doeve, University of Groningen

The scientists extracted 127 samples from the wood, and 83 rings were examined. They used two methods to secure dates. The first was to compare the amount of carbon-14 in each ring with known atmospheric amounts from the time. This gives a rough date for the waney edge of the wood. They also then looked for an anomalous spike in carbon-14 in an inner ring, knowing this would have come from the 993 A.D. event, and then simply counted the rings outward from there to get the date of the waney edge.

In all three samples the waney edge was dated to the same year: 1021 A.D. This would be incredibly unlikely to occur at random.

This means that Vikings were definitely in North America, specifically Newfoundland, Canada, more than four and a half centuries before Columbus. And mind you this may not have been the first visit, just the first we have evidence for. So Vikings were there in 1021 A.D. at the latest.

In fact, looking at different kinds of cells in the wood the scientists could tell one tree was felled in the spring of that year, while another was in the summer/autumn, indicating the Vikings were there for several months.

An aurora — the northern lights — shimmer over an ancient Viking village in Iceland. Aurorae are caused by the solar wind impacting Earth, and can be very strong during solar storms. Credit: Fred Concha (www.fredconcha.com @ All Rights Reserved) via Getty Images

This is historically very interesting, especially since it's still erroneously taught in American schools that Columbus discovered America. That's ridiculous on its face, since he and his crew met indigenous natives*, and it's known the Vikings were in Canada long before. But now, with this new work, we know exactly when they were there.

There's a lot of scientific value to this as well. The sagas tell of Vikings peacefully meeting indigenous people in America, and there was likely an exchange of flora and fauna. They may have swapped pathogens, too, which is common in such events, and makes for interesting epidemiology. There may also have been some, ah, genetic material exchanges as well, though testing of the population in Norse Greenland doesn't show evidence of it. That doesn't preclude it, though, and knowing humans it does seem like something like that may have happened. I'd bet that way.

I've said many times that science is a tapestry. In this case the metaphor is strong: It took the wildly different fields of solar astronomy and magnetism, cosmochemistry, dendrochronology, and archaeology all woven together to examine the evidence that led to understanding when exactly Europeans visited North America.

Science! I love this stuff.


*Also, he is presented as some sort of noble explorer who proved the Earth was round. This is grossly wrong. The Earth had been known to be round for at least 1700 years before Columbus, and in fact he thought the Earth was far smaller than already known; he expected the trip to be short and packed provisions accordingly. If he hadn't stumbled on the Bahamas by accident his crew might've starved due to his error. Also, his stature of "noble" is, um, highly arguable.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is kicking Jason Momoa's butt: 'I'm an aging superhero right now' @ Syfy Wire

Jason Momoa literally scratched his cornea while filming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But you won't hear the actor complaining about the various injuries he's sustained while filming Arthur Curry's sophomore adventure on the big screen.  

“I love my job and I get a little too excited," he said during a virtual guest appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this week. "I’m an aging superhero right now.”

Just because he plays the durable king of Atlantis on camera, doesn't mean he's not vulnerable to human weakness. “I’m getting old, is what’s happening," Momoa explained. "I messed up my eyes and just got something in it that kind of cut it up. I gotta get surgery, I have a hernia, I got ribs out. I’m just getting beat up."

Despite the fragility that comes with getting a little long in the trident, he's happy to endure all of this punishment for the fans. "It’s gonna be a great movie!" he exclaimed after detailing his litany of ailments. "You’re gonna love it!"

Watch the full interview below:

Warner Bros. showed off a slew of concept art and behind-the-scenes footage from the submerged sequel at DC FanDome over the weekend. “I think fans are gonna be very happy,” Momoa teased during the livestream's short featurette. “I think James is really excited to go all out. It’s gonna be a fun adventure, like it was the first time — just better!”

Very little is known about the The Lost Kingdom's plot, which will see the return of Arthur's underwater cohorts like Mera (Amber Heard), Orm (Patrick Wilson), Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park). Newcomers to the sopping franchise include Momoa's fellow Game of Thrones veteran, Pilou Asbaek.

“The first movie took a lot of people by surprise, right? And that's partially because they were not familiar with the comic book, which deals in this very lurid, strange world,” Wan said back in August. "People were taken aback that I didn't throw all that stuff away and make a dark, heavy film. But I didn't feel that would have been right for it. So with the second film, I feel it will be easier for people to accept where we go because I've already laid the foundation."

The comic book sequel dives into theaters everywhere on Dec. 16, 2022. Production began over the summer and continues through the fall.

Star Trek: Prodigy's Cast and Crew on the Enduring Heart of Captain Janeway @ io9

Welcome back, Captain.Screenshot: Paramount+

Star Trek is boldly going into another new future at the end of the month with Prodigy, its first-ever CG animated series. It’s also the first to be explicitly aimed at families and younger audiences, compared to Trek’s usual demographics. But while there’s so much new to explore with the show—new heroes and villains, new worlds, and a perspective outside the Federation—there’s one important aspect Prodigy has revered from Star Trek past.

Captain Kathryn Janeway—Kate Mulgrew’s legendary character from Star Trek: Voyager—is returning for Prodigy, but not quite as we know her. Introduced as a Command Training Hologram aboard the primary ship of the series (the experimental Starfleet cruiser U.S.S. Protostar), Mulgrew’s return is not in the flesh, as Sir Patrick Stewart’s was for Picard. But as io9 learned from her fellow cast and crew at New York Comic Con recently, as well as from the Captain herself, Janeway’s comeback is an aspect of Prodigy that doesn’t just tie the whole series together but provides a beacon for newcomer and fan alike to be guided into a new kind of Star Trek altogether.

Screenshot: Paramount+

Janeway isn’t Prodigy’s only touchstone to connect its alien teen heroes to the wider Trek franchise—she’s not the only Voyager character even, as we recently learned that Robert Beltran will reprise his role as Commander Chakotay from the series, albeit now as the Captain of his own ship at this point in the timeline. But for Dan and Kevin Hageman, Prodigy’s showrunners, Voyager and Janeway herself were natural first choices when it came to bringing in a familiar face who could guide a rough-and-ready young crew of kids in the ways of Starfleet exploration. “I think it was Voyager—I wouldn’t say we’re using just Voyager, as you’ll see later in the series we touch a lot of the shows—but it was in the first 30 seconds when we came up with this idea of an outsider’s point of view, who would be the worst first crew and seeing them become a great crew,” Dan Hageman told io9 over video, in the wake of Prodigy premiering its first episodes to fans at NYCC. “We knew they wouldn’t be able to fly a starship from out of a planet on their own, you know?”

“Captain Janeway was the only consideration. I think we got Chakotay through hologram Janeway,” Kevin added. “We’re always thinking about heart. What do these characters care about? So I think that’s the reason why Robert Beltran as Chakotay got involved, too.”

Screenshot: Paramount+

That heart is what Mulgrew felt in joining the series. “It felt very good for exactly that reason,” she added. “It is an important time for Voyager, it’s an important time for Star Trek. I think in terms of pop cultural history, now is the time to target this young demographic and introduce to them the wonderful mysteries of Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry’s splendid philosophy.” The differing circumstances of her return also gave the actor an interesting challenge for her performance: how do you play a holographic representation of someone you embodied 26 years ago? “There is a certain discipline I have to practice here: a hologram would not have the dimensions of a practical Janeway,” Mulgrew explained, “but she also has additional qualities that I wanted to bring into her—a sense of whimsy. A sense of almost child-like irreverence—which is one way to get a kid’s attention, right?”

Janeway was known for being a little ruthless with her opponents when her back was against the wall as a Captain, but as a hologram—and with a crew of kids under her care—her sternness comes through in other ways. “A little joke. A little practical joke,” Mulgrew teased of her character’s approach to educating Prodigy’s unlikely new recruits. “The punishments that this holographic Janeway issues are not so punitive as they are, ‘Well, if that’s the way you want to do it... you’re gonna have to learn the hard way.’ It’s good. She’s a wonderful teacher.”

Screenshot: Paramount+

That approach is something her younger co-stars appreciated, even if, thanks to recording amidst an ongoing pandemic, most of Prodigy’s youngest stars didn’t get a chance to meet Mulgrew in person until they came together for the recent convention. “I wish that we could have done it in person. Because of covid, we all have to isolate while doing our sessions and I wonder had we all been in the room together, and we’d all been there... how would that have influenced us?” Ella Purnell plays Gwyn, the daughter of John Noble’s sinister villain, the Diviner—she gets whisked along for the series’ ride across the Delta Quadrant. Purnell, who wasn’t able to attend NYCC and meet Mulgrew in person, told io9, “I think I would have been too afraid to do anything —I’d so desperately want her to like me. She’s just so cool. She just exudes this grace, she’s an icon, she’s a legend. And I’m very jealous I haven’t yet met her in person and these two [co-stars Brett Gray and Rylee Alazraqui] have.”

“I got to sit next to her today at Comic Con—and it is, it’s palpable,” Gray (arguably Prodigy’s primary star as Dal, the young man who discovers the Protostar and helps his new friends escape a life of servitude under the Diviner’s authoritarian grip) said. “You can feel her next to you, when you speak to her she’s looking directly at you. And she’s speaking directly to you. The words that she chooses are the exact thing that she wishes to get across to you, and it’s very inspiring. There’s a majesty that she has, and you can feel it when we announced she was coming out today. Just to walk on stage for the panel was like— the audience was deafening. She is an icon. And so, I feel very lucky that the first iteration of Star Trek we get to be a part of has someone like that we get to model and watch. People who are incredible fans of Janeway and all of that get to now have a way into our show, too, and see what it’s like for people who know nothing.”

Knowing there was a figurehead like Janeway attached to Prodigy pushed Mulgrew’s co-stars in the recording booth, too. “Working with her was a pleasure, and I’m really grateful to be working with her,” said Alazraqui, the young girl who voices the larger-than-life (yet very sweet) Brikar Rok-Tahk. “She’s definitely inspired us to be our best and she’s so well known and an amazing, amazing actress and person, herself, I think that we’re all totally inspired by her. I think she’s going to help us along the way—and already made me realize what Star Trek is all about just by talking to her, and hearing her talk about it.”

Screenshot: Paramount+

The experience is a humbling one for Mulgrew too, to revisit a character that now means so much to so many people—and will mean just as much as Prodigy looks ahead. “It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a thing of great value and dignity in my life as both an actress and in pop culture, and certainly in more meaningful valleys of real thought—science, for instance, how Janeway has affected women in science and STEM... it’s been an extraordinary trip, let me tell you that,” Mulgrew ruminated. “And it’s not about to end. So, there’s something about this that is deeply mysterious, and I’m not going to argue with it.”

“It feels good, feels lucky... but it also feels nostalgic. I’m not a sentimental person—and neither is Janeway. By nostalgic, I mean... I can’t help but feel stirred up by what was, and what we are now going forward into a new future, and into a new way of telling this story. So, it’s moving, to me.”

Star Trek: Prodigy begins streaming on Paramount+ on October 28. After the series is complete, it will then begin airing on Nickelodeon.


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The 'Chilling' crossover begins: Sabrina finally reaches 'Riverdale' in full Season 6 trailer @ Syfy Wire

Riverdale Season 6 is about to get a whole lot witchier. Following the news earlier this month that a long-awaited crossover is finally happening, a promo for the upcoming season of the hit CW series has revealed a first look at Kiernan Shipka reprising her role as teenage witch Sabrina Spellman, setting the stage for a magical meet-up.

Shipka played Sabrina on two seasons (spread across four installments) of Netflix's original supernatural series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the Archie comic of the same name, until that show came to an end in 2020. According to Riverdale and Sabrina creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, having Sabrina visit the show is something the writers have discussed since the beginning, and now certain circumstances in Riverdale have made it not just possible, but very fitting.

Season 5 of Riverdale saw one of the town's most powerful young women, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) get a little closer to her own magical ancestry, as she made certain discoveries about relatives burned at the stake, and even went so far as to put a curse on the whole town by the Season 5 finale. That magical storyline is set to continue in Season 5, as Cheryl gets deeper into her own spellwork, so deep that she apparently has to call in backup for a particular spell. Enter Sabrina, who will arrive in the fourth episode of the new season, and appears briefly in the trailer below.

Check out the trailer below:

 

Of course, Sabrina's arrival is far from the only major thing going on in Riverdale at the moment. Veronica and Jughead have plans of their own, as do Archie and Betty, who survived the literal bomb at the end of Season 5 and now seem set to become parents, or to at least seriously talk about becoming parents. Then, of course, there's the issue of just how far Cheryl might go with her magical ambitions in Season 6. If it's big enough for Sabrina to show up, it's probably big enough that the whole town needs to be paying attention.

And of course, this isn't the only new Sabrina content you should be paying attention to. Archie Comics announced earlier this year that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would finally continue its long-paused original comic book run this fall, and would be joined by The Occult World of Sabrina, a new comics series that will pick up right where the character's Netflix story laid off. Maybe it really is only a matter of time until Sabrina Spellman has her own show again.

Riverdale returns November 16 on The CW.

'Warning' Star Alex Pettyfer on why immortality would be way overrated @ Syfy Wire

As the film's title suggests, writer/director Agata Alexander’s Warning is an admonishment against the potential evils of too much technology. Like Black Mirror, it’s a very grounded sci-fi, told in an anthological manner  — one which paints a terrifyingly-real portrait of the future evils of space communications, AI, VR, androids, mind control, and, in the vignette starring actor Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike), immortality.

**SPOILER WARNING ABOUT Warning: It’s very hard to talk about this movie without spoiling a few things, so if you want to go into the film fresh, proceed with caution as there are some minor spoilers below.**

Pettyfer plays Liam, who forebodingly brings his serious girlfriend, Nina (Annabelle Wallis), to meet his parents (Annabel Mullion and Alex’s real-life dad,, Richard Pettyfer) for the first time at their sleek and secluded mansion. The massive homestead is maintained by a very efficient staff of androids. It doesn’t take long for things to get uncomfortable, though, as their Romeo and Juliet-esque storyline plays out in intense ways. Though, in this scenario, instead of Montagues and Capulets, it’s mortals and immortals. Yep, Nina is a mortal, and you can just guess what Liam’s immortal mum thinks of that.

Like all the vignettes in the film –– which also stars Alice Eve, Thomas Jane, Kylie Bunbury, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Rupert Everett –– this segment is not just frought with dramatic tension, but also emblematic of the double-edged sword that technology can wield.

With Warning opening in theaters and On Demand this weekend, SYFY WIRE caught up with Pettyfer to discuss this cautionary tale, what it was like to work with his dad for the first time, and the intricacies of immortality, including whether or not immortals get wrinkles.    

Why is the film properly titled as far as your vignette goes?

I think we’re in a place where we have to be mindful of technology, and how we proceed forward as a human race. I think that technology helps us, and is hugely beneficial towards healthcare, bringing unity to certain groups that have very powerful messages, but I think we are on the precipice of something that can become dangerous, like anything that is overindulgent. And in this movie, we explore that. And it is a warning, and it’s thought provoking in a way, because we are very close to that.

What did you learn or better appreciate by working on this film?

That Agata is an incredible visionary, an incredible director. It was amazing to watch her work, as someone who’s obviously continuously aspiring to direct, and I’ve only directed one film in the past, but being on her set, and the way that she holds the narrative that she’s created. Working with the producer Cybill [Lui Eppich], who I actually have another project now with, and the way she’s commanding a set, being intricate with the details — because obviously the movie has many different storylines that are interwoven. And then, from the personal matter: I got to work with my dad. And that was a huge honor, a big honor, very emotional for me; I’ve never worked with my dad, and my dad plays my dad. I was very grateful that Cybill and the producers allowed me to have that experience.

How did that come together?

I asked. I asked if my dad could play my father, and they agreed. So I was very lucky.

Credit: Lionsgate

I’m sure you learned a lot about acting from your father previously, but what did you learn actually having acted across from him?

You know, my father has a musical theater background, and I can’t sing to save my life. My father is a good singer and a good musician. And we come from completely two different spectrums of entertainment. I commend anyone who goes on stage, because I think that’s the purest form of acting. At this point in time, I don’t think I would ever have the courage to do that, maybe later on in my life. But I feel very blessed when I get to make a movie, it’s very hard to put a film together, and to be on a film set is where I feel most comfortable. And so it was actually interesting to see the dynamic of my dad and myself in the way that we approach the work.

I love being on film, and I love watching how different actors approach coming to the work. I just did a movie with Guy Pearce, and ... I was like a pig in s**t. Sitting there, watching this guy that was iconic to me, his process and the way that he works, it’s like taking a Master Class 2.0 to be in front of these guys. So yeah, it was a huge honor, and I feel very grateful. Actually, funny enough, I’m producing a movie that I’m in that we start in two weeks, a biography on John Bindon’s life, The Chelsea Cowboy, and my father’s gonna play my dad in that again.

Well, he seems like the guy for the job.

He’s the guy for the job, sure. [Laughs.]

So was it hard to bring family tension to the dinner table?

What’s funny [is], when you are making a film — whether it’s a romantic comedy, a horror, or action film — the dynamic on set is you have to become very close to the people that you’re working with very quickly. You experience a lot of different emotions, a lot of different connections. So it was nice because I’d known Annabelle Wallis for a very long time, she was an old friend of mine, and to get to work with her finally was also fantastic. She is beyond talented. And then having my father be there… the environment was very familiar, which made it very easy to go to work every day.

Credit: Lionsgate

Were you aware of the other vignettes or were you only aware of what was going on in your part of the story?

I read the script, because obviously you want to know what film you are signing on to. But then after reading the script once, I just focused on my segment. But then I watched the film a month or two ago, and I’m a fan. It’s great when you’re only in this much of the movie, and that you get the opportunity to actually enjoy the film as a whole, and not nervously watching what your performance has turned out like.

Is there any benefit to immortality?

Life is about impermanence, we are ever changing. And immortality is only an egotistical view of holding onto the rigidness of something. So, no, I don’t think there is any benefit; I think we are constantly evolving, and the circle of life is something that’s beautiful.

It’s a cool and subtle take on androids, but it’s not one we’ve seen before.

It’s very obscure in the way that Agata has created it, because you’re kind of in this dystopian world, but you’re not, and then there’s like a relative reality. It’s super intricate, so that [for] people who love science fiction and are fans of that genre, there are very subtle things that are put in the film, and the aesthetic that she creates. Personally, as I said, I’m a fan. It’s really well done.

Warning drops in select theaters, On Digital and On Demand Oct. 22.

Now that 'Lucy' is in the sky, what would it be like to take a ride on NASA's latest mission? @ Syfy Wire

NASA’s Lucy mission launched on Saturday, October 16 — and SYFY WIRE was there to see it blast off (check out the video below) on a ULA Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canveral, Florida. It flashed in the sky like a scene out of Thor and is now headed towards Jupiter’s orbit to explore the primordial Trojan asteroids.

Lucy was able to pull off the launch on the very first day of its 23-day window, but what now? The spacecraft will not get close enough to perform a series of flybys on one main-belt asteroid until 2025 and seven Trojans until 2027, and distance is not the only reason, though to give you an idea of around how far from Earth they are, Jupiter itself is about 419 million miles from us. That kind of journey isn’t so easily achievable without a warp drive.

“What makes the Trojans so compelling is that they are fairly easily accessible with a spacecraft,” Lucy Principal Investigator Hal Levison told SYFY WIRE. “If all these ideas we have about solar system formation are true, the most interesting thing that could come out of Lucy is proof.”

Say you’re along for a ride that will end up being at least 4 billion miles until you reach the Trojans. Humans cannot survive the vacuum of space unprotected, but for the sake of a virtual reality experience, imagine being able to take it like a tardigrade. You are now cruising along at about 39,000 mph on a trajectory that will take you around the Sun three and a half times. Eventually, you’ll need a boost, but since no one outside of the Star Trek universe has actually invented a warp drive yet, Lucy will be relying on three gravity assists from Earth.

For about the next year, you’ll find yourself trying to kill boredom as Lucy orbits the Sun, until you realize you’re flying towards Mars. The Martian orbit will accelerate the spacecraft and shift its trajectory towards Earth, within about 186 miles of our planet. Wait — what? No, Lucy won’t exactly be returning to the home planet to hang out. Brace yourself, because you're going to be flying through Earth's shadow and in the dark for 24 minutes whlie Lucy keeps going on battery power. What you are going through is a gravity assist.

"During Earth Gravity Assist 1 (EGA-1), Lucy will be moving 27,000 mph, which is 12 times faster than the world’s fastest aircraft, the SR-71," Lockheed Martin Lucy mission architect Brian Sutter told SYFY WIRE. "EGA-2 will be moving 34,000 mph, 19 times faster than a bullet."

Then you'll get taken for a sudden turn. Earth’s gravity will change the direction of Lucy’s velocity, though you will still be going about as fast as you were for a while until you find yourself holding on in terror as it speeds ahead, but don’t worry because that won’t last long.

You won’t have to worry about another gravity assist for two more years, but after the second assist, during which you will be within some 219 miles from Earth and everything will go dark for 20  minutes, you’ll finally be on a legit path to the Trojans by 2024. A year later, the main belt asteroid Donaldjohanson will come into view.

“Donaldjohnason is simply a rehearsal,” said Levison. “We will be passing it between 3.7-6.2 miles per second, and as a result, the upcoming encounters have to work. We have new tech and particularly want to test our ability to have the spacecraft figure out the target it’s flying by to have the imaging stuff pointed at it.”

Named after Donald Johanson, the paleoanthropologist who discovered the hominid fossil Lucy is named for, since the Trojans are considered the “fossils” of the solar system, Donaldjohanson is the smallest object you will encounter on the journey. You’re going to have to wait two more years after that flyby to set eyes on your first Trojan. There are thought to be over a million of these objects in each swarm, and Lucy will be arriving at the swarm trailing Jupiter first. You will be closing in on a grayish hunk of rock. This is Eurybates, orbited by the satellite Queta.

Lucy will gather data from Eurybates and beam it back to Earth before heading onward. It will glimpse one more asteroid in 2027, Polymele. This asteroid is the first one you’ll fly by in the swarm orbiting in front of Jupiter. While Eurybates was chosen because of how much it stands out from the other Trojans, Lucy almost wasn’t scheduled to fly by Polymele or Leucus (which you’ll see half a year later in 2028). Levison and his team added them because they could.

“Leucus and Polymele were added late, but we added them because we had enough fuel to get to them,” he said. “So they weren’t chosen in any real way, but they’re interesting in and of themselves.”

Around seven months after you zoom by Leucus, you will approach a reddish-gray object that is about the same size as Eurybates and also rotating backwards (at least what we perceive as backwards because it rotates in retrograde). This is Orus. It may or may not have a satellite, something that was suspected when it was first imaged by Hubble. Unfortunately, the Trojans are so faint that even Hubble’s unreal telescopic vision cannot really see them as much more than blurry specks in the sky. Keep in mind you might see a smaller object orbiting Orus.

Though they are both fascinating in their own right, and Lucy will have already passed enough tests by making it this far, the Lucy team had decided Eurybates and the darker Orus were the best bet for making sure the spacecraft would pick up the scientific data they expected when it reached the Trojans. Being so similar to each other means that these asteroids will tell scientists back on Earth whether the spacecraft is gathering and processing the same types of data in the same ways. Meaning, its instruments are consistently working and not glitching in space.

“Eurybates and Orus were the first two objects that we decided to study because we wanted to run a control science experiment,” Levison said. “Orus and Eurybates are approximately the same size, and because they are similar in size, that was the idea — we know they’re in the same orbit with same sun exposure, impact, and things like that.”

Lucy blasting off. Credit: George Wilson Photography

Bad news. After that, you’re going to have to hold on for another Earth flyby and gravity assist, during which you'll be the furthest away from Earth at  389 miles, and only in its shadow for 11 minutes, but also flying over the North Pole at 37,000 mph (like bolting from Chicago to Denver in 98 seconds). At least this won’t happen for another two years after the Orus encounter. It is also going to the very last one before you’re flung back out towards Jupiter’s orbit one last time, and you'll have to wait three years until you see anything of interest to NASA. When you do, this is a target that the Earthbound team is especially anxious to observe.

On March 3, 2033, you will pass an orbiting pair of asteroids, Patroclus and Menoetius. That is the grand finale — or is it?

Lucy will probably keep going so long as it has enough fuel to maintain flight. The team is already thinking of proposing a mission extension to NASA, so it could possibly fly by other Trojans that might be keeping secrets of the early solar system we could never imagine. It’s like finding out you get to ride a monster roller coaster again and again without waiting in line. If the timing for the planned targets is right on, others could be added.

“We need to make the best use of every second that we have as we fly by these objects,” Lucy Deputy Principal Investigator Cathy Olkin also told SYFY WIRE. “We made sure we could gather data simultaneously with all three instruments, because time is a precious commodity.”

Too bad Lucy can’t actually take us with it in VR (how awesome out that be?). Maybe someday, we really will be able to virtually ride along with a mission just by putting on a headset.

New Eternals Updates, Indiana Jones 5 Set Pictures, and More @ io9

Screenshot: Marvel Studios

David Gordon Green wants more classic Halloween characters back for Halloween Ends. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City shows off just how much it wants to recreate the beloved games. Plus, new looks at what’s to come on Chucky, La Brea, and Supergirl. Spoilers get!

Halloween Ends

In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, David Gordon Green hinted Lindsey Wallace will return in Halloween Ends.

[Kyle Richards] was fun. In the ’78 film, you see that moment with her and Tommy upstairs in the hallway after their confrontation with Michael Myers, and Laurie is pleading with them to get out of the house and go get help, and she’s their protector. So it was cool to be able to take that character full circle to a sequence we have on the playground where she has a very similar, protective moment with kids on a playground. It was fun to be able to see her role reversal, her maturity as a character. I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of Kyle Richards in our franchise.


Eternals

Director Chloé Zhao revealed she pitched Marvel her Eternals idea with a William Blake poem and was “still allowed to stay in the room” in a recent interview with /Film.

Well, it started with me showing [Feige] a macro photo of sand and then quoting a poem from William Blake. So I still was allowed to stay in the room, so it was really nice. But in that poem, Blake was trying to convey that you can see the endless beauty and the meanings of the cosmos within the smallest things you can find on Earth. So the vision of film was to set out to capture that scale—something as large as the creation of the sun, and as intimate as whispers of lovers. So I think, you know, going on location and doing this kind of immersive shoot and having the support of understanding of this amazing cast was kind of how we got here today.

Elsewhere, producer Nate Moore confirmed to Comic Book that “no two” of the film’s Deviants “will look the same.”

As you know, the Deviants in the comics are called the Changing People, no two Deviants look the same. So in our film, no two Deviants will look the same. But you do see as sort of these parasitic predators, when they do kill off a predator in the film, they do take the shape of that predator. So they’re sort of bat-like Deviants. There’s a wolf-like Deviant. There’s a Deviant that look like all sorts of creatures from myth and legend in history. And these are the Deviants that the Eternals were sent again to eradicate, to help humanity advance. Because the Deviants are the Changing People, they come in all different shapes and sizes.

Ikaris also makes a heroic entrance while Sersi turns a truck to rose petals in a new clip.


Indiana Jones 5

Additional set photos of Harrison Ford with Phoebe Waller-Bridge have surfaced. View them at JustJared.


Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Principal photography has wrapped on Rise of the Beasts, according to director Steven Caple, Jr. on Instagram.


Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The surviving Ghostbusters (top left), a terror dog (top right), and a Gozer the Gozerian statue (just above the dog to the left) make sly appearances in a new Afterlife poster courtesy of Bloody-Disgusting.

Photo: Sony

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

A brief Welcome to Raccoon City featurette includes side-by-side comparisons of scenes and locations from the Resident Evil video games.


The Feast

IFC Midnight has released a new trailer for The Feast, an “extreme eco-horror fable” about a family dinner gone awry.



The Continental

Variety reports Colin Woodell, Mishel Prada, Hubert Point Du-Jour, Jessica Allain, Nhung Kate, and Ben Robson have joined the cast of The Continental. Woodell will play “a young Winston Scott” while is Prada is a new character named K.D., Point is Miles, Jessica Allain is Lou, Nhung Kate is Yen, and Ben Robson is Frankie.


Extrapolations

THR also has word Meryl Streep, Kit Harrington, Matthew Rhys, Gemma Chan, Sienna Miller, Tahar Rahim, Daveed Diggs, David Schwimmer, and Adarsh Gourav have joined the cast of Apple TV+’s upcoming climate change horror anthology series, Extrapolations.


Ghosts

TV Line additionally reports Matt Walsh will appear on Ghosts as Elias, a “gregarious robber baron” and “philandering scoundrel of a man” from the 19th century who “also happens to be the husband of Sam’s ancestor, Hetty. Elias has spent the past 130 years of his afterlife locked in a vault in Woodstone Mansion, left alone to think about the choices he made while he was alive.”


A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts

Deadline reports 108 Media is developing an animated horror anthology based on Ying Chang Compestine’s A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts from writer Tricia Lee and director Lester Hsi. “Set across different epochs surrounding Chinese culture across the world, the series is made up of eight self-contained hungry ghost stories, laid out as eight courses of a banquet in a live-action appetizer/dessert bookends (filmed unique to each language and market) wrapped around its animated main course.”


Mob Psycho 100

A teaser trailer reveals a third season of Mob Psycho 100 is now in production.


La Brea

The sinkhole gang explores an abandoned fort in the trailer for next week’s episode of La Brea.


Supergirl

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor proclaims “Nyxly is the love of my life” in a trailer for next week’s episode of Supergirl.


Chucky

Finally, Chucky’s plan to kill Lexi makes major headway in a trailer for next week’s “I Like to Be Hugged.”


Banner art by Jim Cook

'Captain America/Iron Man' writer on getting Steve Rogers & Tony Stark to play nice in new comic miniseries @ Syfy Wire

Two of Marvel’s biggest heroes are joining forces for a new comic miniseries event, and SYFY WIRE caught up with the writer behind the project to dig into why — and how — you team-up a couple of the publisher’s biggest heroes in Captain America/Iron Man.

The new miniseries hits shelves on Nov. 24 and is written by Derek Landy, with art from Ángel Unzueta and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. The story kicks off with a prison break that brings the two heroes together, and ramps up when Steve Rogers and Tony Stark realize they share a connection with one particular prisoner now on the loose.

So what drove Landy to want to mash-up these two heroes? He says he took a deep dive into the Marvel omnibus editions reliving the history of heroes like Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, and the Avengers, rediscovering those worlds at his kitchen table to revisit those stories and history. What he found was that he didn’t know those old stories quite as well as he’d thought, which turned into the perfect primer for a throwback team-up for two Marvel greats.

“All of these stories that I technically knew, had absorbed by osmosis, or had just seen retold and reimagined down the line, I was now reading for myself,” he told SYFY WIRE. “I didn't know it at the time, as I made my way through the first Iron Man and Captain America adventures, but this was actually very diligent research I was conducting — and so when I got the chance to team up Tony and Steve I drew very heavily on all that stuff.”

Check out an exclusive first look at Captain America/Iron Man below:

As for piecing the story together, Landy noted there’s “always the tightrope you’ve got to walk” when dealing with core members of the Avengers in a story. Namely, you have to nail the scope and focus for why it’s only about these two heroes, and where it fits into the larger Marvel universe.

“You've got to make the adventure big enough to make it worthwhile, but not so planet-worryingly huge that they're forced to call in the rest of the team,” Landy explained. “I reckon the key is to start off with a situation they can handle — in this case, a prison break — and then every issue increase the stakes until they're in too deep and it's just too late to call for reinforcements.”

Though fans familiar with Steve Rogers and Tony Stark’s relationship in stories like Civil War might expect the duo to be trading blows before the arc comes to an end, Landy said he found it more interesting to dig into what brings them together and makes them allies through decades of Marvel Comics history. Sure, they’ve butted heads, but they’re still founding members of the Avengers. They have to have a few things in common, right?

“The natural instinct for a writer would be to immediately put them at loggerheads. Nothing generates drama better than tension, after all,” Landy said. “But Tony just wants to protect people, and Steve is one of the kindest characters in comics, so I pretty much embraced the opportunity to step away from the tension and explore that friendship. It's funny, because when the miniseries was announced, there was quite a charmingly vocal element on Twitter who were all about the friendship. That confirmed to me that this approach was the right one.”

Landy noted these two heroes have decades of connections to mine, and even looking at their ongoing and recent Marvel Comics history, he found a through line to tell a story about two friends leaning on one another as they process their personal trauma with one of their few friends who can actually understand what they’ve been through.

“What people need to see right now is two old friends helping each other come to terms with some pretty major upheaval in each of their lives. Tony's still coming to terms with who he is ever since he returned, and Steve has unresolved issues from 'Secret Empire,'” he explained. “It's been bucketloads of fun coming up with ways of helping these two, and to see it all on the page — thanks to Ángel Unzueta's gorgeously precise artwork — is just an absolute thrill. I'm just hoping that, 60 years from now, someone will be sitting down at their kitchen table with a giant-sized omnibus, reading our story, and thinking to themselves, ‘How quaint!’”

Captain America/Iron Man is set for release on Nov. 24 from Marvel Comics.

Dorky Geeky Nerdy #143 | HP Lovecraft Trivia @ Bureau 42

Don’t stare into the abyss, my friends! This week, we’ve got 30 questions about HP Lovecraft Trivia. We’re covering his life and works. That’s right, this week Dorky Geeky Nerdy is taking on Cthulhu and the eldritch horrors!

Three rounds of ten questions each. The Dorky round is full of easy questions, the Geeky round has intermediate questions, and the Nerdy round has the hardest questions. But you’ve got this!

(more…)

Recap: Chucky Episode 2 takes 'Trick or Treat' to a whole new, unhinged level for Halloween @ Syfy Wire

It's Halloween in Episode 2 of SYFY & USA's Chucky, "Give Me Something Good to Eat," which means everyone's friend 'til the end is wreaking havoc All Hallows Eve style in this town that just can't seem to catch a break.

Luckily for the residents of Hackensack, New Jersey, Devon Evans' (Bjorgvin Arnarson) podcast has the lowdown on its dark history. Mentions of candy store break-ins and self-inflicted pumpkin-carving injuries aside, this year's Halloween falls on a full moon.

Not to mention Chucky's back in town.

**This recap contains spoilers for Chucky Season 1, Episode 2, "Give Me Something Good to Eat."**

First, though, we get a small glimpse into Junior Wheeler's (Teo Briones) hang-ups. His dad Logan (Devon Sawa) puts "It's not my dream, Dad, it's yours" levels of pressure on his teenage son to perform in sports and relive his own glory days. Just as Logan's criticizing Junior, he and Bree (Lexa Doig) are doing their best to make Jake (Zackary Arthur) comfortable in their home, giving him time to recover and providing him with money for school lunch, but Jake is (understandably) resistant.

Popular kid Oliver (Avery Esteves) invites Jake to his Halloween party — an invite Lexy Cross (Alyvia Alyn Lind) can't believe is being extended to his "Walmart ass" as she makes a crude joke about Luke Wheeler's (also Devon Sawa) death. When Junior asks what her Halloween costume is for that evening, she teases that it's a surprise.

Devon approaches Jake in the hall before class and Jake, visibly flustered, accepts Devon's condolences as they talk about their shared experience of losing a father and Devon's hope that Jake will come to the Halloween party with Chucky.

Speaking of that little devil: Chucky's been left at home with the Wheelers' housekeeper, Annie, who's going about her usual business for the day when Chucky strikes, marking his second (or third if you count poor Binx the cat) victim of the series. He pushes her into a dishwasher filled with knives, the blades sticking straight up (which just seems like a bad idea to begin with if we're being honest). Upon returning home from school, Jake and Junior discover her body as they're arguing about Jake making himself too comfortable in Junior's home.

Credit: Steve Wilkie/SYFY

They call the police, and Logan and Bree reveal just how little they knew Annie while insisting she was "part of the family," building on their legacy of clueless (however well-intentioned) suburban bliss. Detective Evans (Rachelle Casseus) is reticent to let her partner presume someone pushed Annie, even with her death being the second "freak accident" of the week. No one else was in the house at the time of death, as shown by the front door camera. That doesn't stop the detectives from asking if Jake, or Junior, had any issues with Annie, though…

This is, of course, when Jake finally gets a chance to go up to his room and demand to know why Chucky killed Annie. He denies it, and Jake is luckily savvy enough to know when a doll is lying to him, especially when said doll is currently digging through his journal. Chucky ribs Jake for writing so much about Devon, but softens a bit when it's clear he's upset him. Chucky lets Jake know he has a kid of his own who's queer. Child's Play fans will recognize the reference to Chucky and Tiffany's genderfluid child Glen/Glenda from Seed of Chucky (2004). When Jake is taken aback by Chucky being "cool" with his kid identifying as queer, Chucky hits him with "I'm not a monster, Jake."

Jake knows better, though. Chucky killed Annie, even if he keeps denying it, saying that people like him and Jake only kill people "who have it coming." The gaslighting continues until Chucky reveals his current end goal: killing people who deserve to die.

Credit: SYFY

The first person on his list? Lexy, as we discover when Junior pulls up Jake's browser history and finds someone (read: Chucky) has been looking into her.

On that note, we get some more insight into Lexy in this episode. Her mother, Mayor Michelle Cross (Barbara Alyn Woods), and father (Michael Therriault) clearly have more interest in Lexy's little sister Caroline (Carina Battrick), who's developed an obsession with Chucky after witnessing last episode's talent show.

And Devon, after a conversation with his mom in which she asks him about Jake, seems more interested in having Jake around than ever before. He texts Jake to see if he's coming to the Halloween party, and Jake at first tries to shrug the invitation off after a physical altercation with Chucky, clearly fearing that if he goes to the party, the doll will tag along to take down Lexy.

Chucky, however, takes it upon himself to track Jake's bully down. Jake, frantic, ends up attending the party anyway because Chucky — wearing a Hello Kitty mask — has strutted along the streets of Hackensack and threatened a neighbor lady to find out where the party is going down. To "thank" her, Chucky gives her a razor blade-laced apple, much like he ate when he was a kid.

Arriving at the party, Jake and Devon get locked in a closet together for a game of "Seven Minutes in Hell," and while they don't kiss, they are given an opportunity to talk some more and connect.

Credit: SYFY

As this is all going on, Little Caroline finally gets to hang out with Chucky, and as the two are playing a violent video game, Chucky regales the kid with the wonders of killing people, including her sister, in real life. When he asks where Lexy is, she tells him she's somewhere kissing Junior, and when Chucky finds the pair, he crawls under the bed, butcher knife in hand, and attempts to stab them to no avail.

This gives Lexy — not dead — the opportunity to unveil her costume for all to see. Much to Jake's horror, Lexy has decided to dress up as his father being electrocuted to death. Their classmates stand around her and cheer, and Jake storms out, followed by Devon, who's quick to (accurately) note how "f*cked up" it is that she's done this.

Credit: Steve Wilkie/SYFY

Raging, Jake comes this close to letting Chucky sneak up on Lexy and kill her, but saves her at the last minute and takes Chucky home. The two have another bedside chat that night, with Chucky promising not to hit Jake again (Jake's heard that one before) and reiterating that some people just deserve to die, calling the world "a Super Bowl of slaughter."

He offers Jake his trusty knife, telling Jake he needs to "man the f*ck up" and kill Lexy before she humiliates him again. Slowly, Jake takes the knife from Chucky's hand, and, in that instance, seems to choose his path.

New episodes of Chucky premiere every Tuesday on SYFY & USA at 10/9c.

Wanna play? Download SYFY's free app to watch full episodes, highlights, interviews and more!

Want to be 'Chucky' this Halloween? Your go-to guide for dressing up as everyone's favorite killer doll @ Syfy Wire

The second episode of SYFY and USA Network's Chucky has been unleashed, and everyone's favorite murderous doll is going trick or treating. The episode, "Give Me Something Good to Eat," is the show's nod to All Hallows Eve, and it includes everyone going out in costume... even Chucky himself.

Halloween is almost upon us in our world as well, and that means we need our own costumes. And what better costume is there for a Chucky fan than to dress up as Chucky himself?

Here are some ideas for pulling your own Chucky Halloween costume together before Oct. 31.

Option 1: Buy a pre-made Chucky costume

The easiest but more expensive route is to simply buy a pre-made costume. A simple internet search reveals that there are a ton of Chucky-inspired costumes out there, some with Chucky masks and some with just a red wig to match Chucky's hair. They come in adult and children's sizes and range anywhere from $29.99 to $59.99, though this extra-horrifying mask goes for $49.99 just on its own. Even your baby can get in on the Chucky Halloween festivities with their own sized costume.

If you're looking for something horrifying in its own special way, there are also "sexy Chucky" knock-off costumes out there, because the internet.

Option 2: Make your own Chucky costume

If you don't want to go the pre-made route, matching Chucky's style is pretty easy, especially if you're a redhead and/or have a pair of overalls already in your closet. All you need is a pair of jean overalls, a rainbow-striped shirt, and red hair, which you can put together by buying a wig, dying your hair or — if you're already a ginger — just messing it up a bit and going au natural. Simply throw those items on, add a few freckles to your cheeks if you don't have any already and practice your Chucky smile — you're good to go scaring your friends and neighbors.

Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif on the new horror-thriller television series CHUCKY. Credit: SYFY

Option 3: Give your Chucky costume a costume

Whether you go the pre-made or DIY route, you could add on an extra layer of intrigue by dressing up as a Chucky who is dressing up in his own Halloween costume. What would Chucky himself wear if he were to go trick or treating? A Hello Kitty! mask seems like something up his alley, or at least something he'd look creepingly cute in, judging by the latest episode of the SYFY/USA series. And plus, if you wore that, you wouldn't have to worry about painting on those freckles.

New episodes of Chucky are set to premiere on SYFY & USA every Tuesday evening at 10/9c.

Wanna play? Download SYFY's free app to watch full episodes, highlights, interviews and more!

Netflix's Dogs in Space Isn't Lying About the Dogs or the Space @ io9

The least false advertising possible about a show called Dogs in Space.Screenshot: Netflix

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched a dog named Laika into orbit. It was a major milestone in the space race, but it did not end well for Laika. Hopefully, the canine stars of Netflix’s new animated series Dogs in Space will fare better.

I have to assume they will, because they’re drawn Hello Kitty-level cute, and this very much looks like a cartoon made for children with bright colors and silly jokes and seemingly no inclinations toward skewing anything for older audiences. Here’s the trailer:

And just in case you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the show’s title, here’s a description from Netflix instead: “In the not-so-distant future, genetically enhanced dogs are sent across the universe in search of a new home for the human race. It’s a giant cosmic game of fetch, as the canines seek a planet that will save humanity and—more importantly—let them return to their beloved owners.”

I’m skeptical of any owners who allowed their pets to be launched into space for a mission that surely would be better handled by humans, but I do appreciate that the show seems to go very light on the dog-based jokes, e.g. no gags about a planet where the aliens look like fire hydrants. Given that show’s first season includes 10 19-minutes episodes, stale dog tropes would get very old very fast.

Dogs in Space, a show about animals called canines that is set in the endless, inky, empty expanses of the universe, stars Haley Joel Osment as Garbage, Sarah Chalke as Stella, Kimiko Glenn as Nomi, Chris Parnell as Ed, David Lopez as Chonies, William Jackson Harper as Loaf, and J.P. Karliak as Happy. It will premiere on Netflix on November 18.


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It's time for Marvel and DC to embrace change, retire their legacy characters @ Syfy Wire

The comic book industry has historically had a difficult time getting noticed by the mainstream media. Despite having long ago left behind its disposable pulp roots behind, comics have always struggled to get even a smidge of the attention movies and television get.

Not last week.

Credit: John Timms/DC Comics

As word got out that Superman's son, Jon Kent, would come out as bisexual in November's Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, written by Tom Taylor and drawn by John Timms, the story took on a life of its own. Everyone covered it, including SYFY WIRE, of course. But so did NPR, the Washington Post and the newspaper of record, the New York Times, and dozens of other outlets who never write about comics unless a character is being killed or there's a lawsuit involving the ownership rights to a well-known superhero.

Back when I worked in morning television news, we'd always look for stories like this, "the talker of the day." You could build a big chunk of your morning show around something that served as a magnet for conversation. It's increasingly rare to have a story break out from a Twitter trending topic into a watercooler story where everyone has an opinion. But that's what happened with the Jon Kent news. 

Credit: DC Comics

 If I'm a member of the DC Comics staff, I'm feeling proud in light of the announcement — because as writer Tom Taylor said during an interview on CNN with John Berman, representation matters to all those people who can now can see a bit of themselves in the son of Kal-El. 

Credit: Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain/DC Comics

To have Jon Kent come out as bisexual as time is a very progressive and intelligent move on DC's part. But if I'm a DC staffer, I'm also thinking that Jon Kent could be the beginning of something even bigger and bolder. It's an idea DC and Marvel may never have the guts to do, but one it should seriously consider: Retire some of the oldest legacy characters at Marvel and DC.  

Marvel artist Sean Izaakse posted a great thread on twitter where he shared his thoughts on why some of comics' greatest heroes could/should be retired and it inspired me to write about this. What Izaakse wrote made entirely too much sense. As comics fans, we always know that Bruce Wayne/Batman has a plan to survive anything and save the day. We know Peter Parker/Spider-Man will overcome what ever insurmountable odds are stacked in front of him, and that Clark Kent/Superman will do the right thing.

Marvel and DC, the holders of the keys to the superhero kingdom, are trapped in an eternal "wash, rinse, repeat" cycle. How can they possibly break free of it?

Not by getting get rid of Superman — but by getting rid of Clark Kent;

By retiring Peter Parker, and creating a new alter-ego for Spider-Man;

By keeping Batman, and dumping Bruce Wayne.

The youngest character mentioned above is 60 years old. We have mountains of stories depicting these guys. The same goes for Diana Prince, Hal Jordan, the Richards family, Dr. Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers and Logan. Who's to say that they must always be the people in the costumes and masks of our favorite heroes? Batman may have been borne from tragedy, but why should it only be a rich guy whose parents were gunned down in Crime Alley?

It's drastic, yes. But the more I think about it, the better it sounds.Why? One reason is that it gives readers a clear jump-on point. Just as the Ultimate universe provided a nice, uncluttered entry into a Marvel universe untethered from decades of past continuity when it debuted in 2000, retiring some of these characters could be the avenue toward extending a true welcome to new readers. It's what comics publishers always talk about, finding new readers to give their comics a try. Except most attempts by DC and Marvel to do this with legacy heroes like Batman, Superman, the X-Men and Spider-Man are "not inviting" in the least.

Need examples? The Jonathan Hickman-curated X-Men books are gorgeous and have some fascinating concepts, but for new readers — heck, even veteran comics fans — it's almost impenetrable. Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley and Pat Gleason's Amazing Spider-Man was really entertaining for longtime fans, but the entire run was steeped in Spidey lore. If you had no idea about Peter's long, troubled ties to the Osborn family, then how in the world could you have truly appreciated the climax to the run?

The same goes for the Batman run scripted by Tom King in tandem with artists like Mitch Gerads, Joelle Jones, Clay Mann and Tony Daniels. If you had years of Gotham reading experience under your belt, it was incredibly rewarding. But good luck if you just decided to jump in because you saw the Christopher Nolan movies on cable and wanted more Batman adventures. 

Besides the conundrum of continuity, there is the simple truth that at a certain point, there are diminishing returns for stories with Bruce Wayne in the Batcave, or Clark Kent at the Fortress of Solitude. By replacing them with fresh faces, it could energize creators to breathe new life into these characters. DC already has moved in this direction with Future State, showing future versions of heroes, such as Yara Flor as the new Wonder Woman, Jesse Chambers as the new, gender fluid Flash, Tim Fox as the new Batman. But don't just make them "future versions." Make them the primary versions of these heroes on Earth-One. 

Also, let's face it, replacing the lineup of typical white male characters who have held these roles for decades could prove interesting for readers looking to see a bit of themselves in the heroes they read about. It's also worth noting that introducing a gay Batman -- and at some point, it is going to happen -- will be much easier to do with someone other than Bruce Wayne beneath the cowl.

Marvel and DC have both always been scared to death to make radical changes to their publishing lines, for fear of losing their entrenched fanbase. Nevermind that that fan base is shrinking because a sizable chunk of those readers who still buy handfuls of Marvel/DC comics each month are getting older. We can't overlook that history shows fans actually do want and will embrace change in their comics, as long as its done within the context of good stories. 

The Avengers have changed lineups countless times, the FF have lost one of its core four more than once (remember when Reed and Sue left to join the Avengers?), Hal Jordan was not the Green Lantern for a long time, and Tony Stark wasn't always in the Iron Man armor. Changes to the status quo of some of comics' most recognizable heroes have happened before, and it's been just fine. There are several examples to point out, but Wally West taking over as Flash after Barry Allen sacrificed himself in Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of the best. Kyle Rayner replacing Hal Jordan as GL is another.

The problem is, the Powers That Be have always felt the need to revert back to the same old, same old. And it's not just a DC issue. Marvel suffers from the same lack of institutional fortitude.

Remember the Clone Saga in Spider-Man? Yes, the story was... messy, but it did give us Ben Reilly. Well, Ben is back and he's taking over from Peter Parker in the flagship Amazing Spider-Man title. It's just one issue in, and I'm into the story. Hopefully, it's a permanent change.

Not because I don't like Peter Parker. I love Peter Parker. He might be my favorite comic book character. Not Spider-Man, but Peter. He's always been the most interesting character in any Spidey book. But there are 60 years of stories involving the Parker luck. I never ever thought I could see another person being Spider-Man. And then Miles Morales came along.

Peter Parker is IMHO the greatest out-of-costume character in comics history. Retiring him might be the toughest move. But Miles proved that the Spidey legacy could carry on without Peter on the webs, that the kid in the Spider-Man mask doesn't have to be a wallflower from Midtown High with an elderly aunt. Hell, Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man saga, when Doc Ock took over, also went a long way toward showing that the Spidey mantle of heroism, loyalty and responsibilty can be passed on.

Will there be backlash? Of course. So what?

Staying the course and continuing to churn out more of the same isn't going to grow the readership. But taking a big-league swing for the fences may do it. Call it a changing of the guard, and use it as a way to expand the reach of comics. As long as Clark Kent is in the red & blue longjohns, or Oliver Queen is still firing off arrows, or Bruce is still brooding in his cave, we, the readers, know how every story they're involved in will end. And that sort of defeats the purpose of dramatic storytelling. Instead of simply telling another Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent story, why not build the canon of the new heroes who wear the capes and cowls?

As Izaakse said on Twitter: "New stories and new characters don’t take away from the stories we’ve had before." 

Let these new heroes reflect the diversity of the world of today. Keep the older characters' memories and copyrights alive with reprints and occasional stand-alone stories. But commit to bringing in new blood. By doing so, they can find new readers who can actually recognize and relate to the people whose adventures they follow.

It's time. It's long overdue. Change is good. Comics should finally embrace it.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBCUniversal.

Some 5 percent of the people on Earth have (probably) watched Squid Game @ Syfy Wire

There are 456 contestants in Squid Game. But across the world, there are a whole lot more than that — and we mean a whole lot more — plugged in to Netflix and hanging on the edge of their seats to see which ones cross the finish line.

Thanks to newly-reported Netflix streaming numbers, it’s fair to assume that somewhere in the neighborhood of five percent of the entire planet’s population has now seen Squid Game protagonist Seong Gi-hu (Lee Jung-jae) make at least one tiptoed trip across the dystopian series’ deadly playground. Deadline reports that no fewer than 142 million households worldwide have streamed some portion of the South Korean series during its first four weeks on the platform.

If we assume an average Netflix “household” has at least two people (and possibly more) with access to the service, even a conservative calculator tally suggests that close to 300 million people have witnessed the Netflix nightmare that unfolds when thugs with guns referee innocent kids’ games like “Red Light, Green Light.” Multiply that 142 million "household" figure by three people (or even factor in all the undisclosed account sharing that, ahem, probably occurs every now and then), and that number climbs above 425 million people…or, in other words, more than 5 percent of the world’s entire population, estimated at between 7 and 8 billion.

No matter how you finesse the numbers, that’s a lot of eyes on Squid Game in a short amount of time. Netflix doesn’t report specifics about all of its shows’ performance with viewers, but revealed earlier this month that Squid Game had seized the most-viewed top spot from past huge hits like Bridgerton, Stranger Things, and The Witcher to claim the title of most successful original series debut in the platform’s 14-year streaming history.

“A mind-boggling 142m [million] member households globally have chosen to watch the title in its first four weeks,” the platform informed investors in comments reported by Deadline. “The breadth of Squid Game’s popularity is truly amazing,” the company added, describing the show’s success as having “pierced the cultural zeitgeist” in nearly every corner of the world.

There’s no word yet on whether Netflix will follow up on all the Squid Game debut buzz by green lighting the show for a second season. But if it does, the way we measure its near-ineveitable success is likely to change. TV Line reports that the streamer has revealed plans to change the way it tallies viewership, switching from the “household” method mentioned above to a more precise system that counts up the number of actual hours that member accounts have spent plugged in to a particular movie or show.

Not that it’ll matter much in Squid Game’s case. Measure it in households, hours, or even in screams, and the result’s likely gonna stay the same: Since its Sept. 17 premiere, people everywhere can’t seem to get enough of Netflix’s new number-one series. If you’re up for even more fight-or-flight frights in the same suspenseful horror vein as Squid Game, check out our list of what to watch next — once, that is, you’ve fully finished following the anxiety-ridden misadventures of Player 456.

Sabrina Arriving in Riverdale Is Not What We Need to Talk About @ io9

Look what the black cat dragged in, indeed.Gif: The CW

Riverdale’s original idea of crazy was that Archie Andrews was sleeping with his teacher and Jason Blossom was very dead. Five seasons and a cult, several murders, some supernatural monsters, and two teachers randomly leaping out of the same damn window, anything goes—so at this point, the fact that a new trailer heralding a long-awaited crossover is so bananas should be unsurprising. And yet, reader. And yet.

The CW has revealed a look at the five-part event, “Rivervale,” that will both kick off Riverdale’s sixth season of shenanigans and bring in Kiernan Shipka’s dearly missed Sabrina Spellman, from the cancelled Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Although initially the weirder of the two shows given that it was, well, literally about Satanic practitioners of the dark and violent mystical arts, Shipka’s teenage witch might as well be the most normal person in Riverdale at this point.

Cheryl Blossom—Queen of the Bees—is busy leading her own cult-slash-coven-slash-excuse-for-fabulous-robes after learning that one of her ancient Blossom ancestors was burned at the stake in Ye Olden Riverdale, the most wonderful approach to leaning into spooky season imaginable. There are multiple ghouls and at least one man claiming to be the Literal Devil. Betty is talking a distressing amount about how she wants Archie’s Baby. All of this is taking place after Cheryl cursed the town and also Hiram Lodge tried to remotely denotate a bomb and kill Archie mid-sexytimes with Betty. The looking glass is so far behind us that the looking glass is a dot that executive producer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa gleefully stamped on while screaming “Queen of the Bees! Queen of the Bees! Queen of the Bees!

Anyway, Sabrina’s here to help sort things out. Or make it weirder, I dunno, probably that actually. Riverdale returns November 16, so you have almost a month to prepare for whatever psychic damage it will throw at you.


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Marvel’s Kevin Feige on that shocking Venom mid-credits scene: ‘It took a lot of coordination’ @ Syfy Wire

Those who have seen that game-changing mid-credits scene for Venom: They Might Be Carnage may still be trying to wrap their heads around what this could mean for future Marvel movies and Spider-Man-adjacent Sony films. And although MCU head honcho Kevin Feige is not saying much about the scene (granted, he’s usually a man of few words), he has admitted that yes, it took some work and a considerable amount of coordinating between the two studios. 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter during the premiere for The Eternals on Monday, the Marvel Studio head said that the sequence took “a lot of coordination” from not only the folks at Sony, but also at Marvel. 

“There was a lot of coordination — and if you don’t know all the coordination yet, I’m not going to be the one to tell you — but yes, between Sony and Marvel and the Venom team and the No Way Home team,” Feige told the media outlet. “We worked together on it.”

**SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Venom: Let There Be Carnage!**

The scene in question shows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) having been transported to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) is on TV ranting about Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Considering the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has Alfred Molina reprising his role of Doctor Octopus from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, it’s safe to assume that Eddie’s been pulled into the MCU through Dr. Strange’s spell. It also strongly implies that Venom could be one of many Spidey villains to appear in No Way Home (an implication that Let There Be Carnage director Andy Serkis confirmed in an interview with IGN last month).

But what does this mean for the Sony films? The original plan was to make a series of movies based on Spider-Man villains without the famous wallcrawler (see also: Morbius). But with Venom seemingly entering the MCU shortly after that Morbius trailer suggested that Michael Keaton would be reprising his role of the Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming, it seems as though the walls between the two narrative universes are being torn down. 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in theaters now, while Spider-Man: No Way Home makes its way into theaters Friday, Dec. 17.

Fortnite's Dune Crossover Gives Us the Real Mind Killer: Smooth Timothée Chalamet @ io9

Who is this man and what has he done with Paul Atreides?Image: Epic Games

The sun has risen and set, the earth has turned, which means that it’s time for another massive collaboration for one of the biggest pop cultural behemoths on the planet—Star Wars, and Marvel canon continuity destroyer and a surprisingly good vehicle for BatmanFortnite. This time it’s Dune, and while that’s not weird anymore, a cheekbone-less Timothée Chalamet certainly is.

Director Denis Villeneuve isn’t offering audiences a chance to watch a clip or some of his past movies within the battle royale game like his fellow directors Chris Nolan and J.J. Abrams—I think his head would possibly explode—instead Epic Games has recruited Chalamet and Zendaya, or at least their likenesses, to promote new skins for Paul and Chani available in the game. Gamers will be able to buy themselves the alternate skins, as well as accessories recreating Paul’s knives and Chani’s Fremen Maker Hooks, backpacks inspired by the Fremkits in the movie, a glider based on the Ornithopter, and, hilariously, an emote that makes your character walk like they’re trying to avoid disturbing a sandworm:

Anyway, it’s not that Dune is coming to Fortnite that’s the disturbing thing here. Fortnite is perfectly fun for the zillions of people who play it, and that audience base means that a movie tie-in is kind of like a line of Funko pops or weird ads where people playing immortal godlike beings shill cars: it’s to be expected. What’s not to be expected is how Fortnite’s cartoony art style—its blessing that manages to cohesively put Rey Skywalker, Deadpool, Lara Croft, Ripley from Aliens, and a banana in a tuxedo all in the same game so Superman can shoot them with a gun—has given us perhaps the most cursed visual to come from Dune yet: Smooth Chalamet.

Reader, it disturbs me. Everything we’ve seen of Paul’s gaunt demeanor in the new Dune is gone here, and Chalamet’s unique face has been filed down into that Fortnite style. A great thing was lost in the trip from Arrakis to Fortnite’s violent island, and for that, we must mourn. Or at the very least make Smooth Chalamet do the Floss.

The Dune cosmetics for Fortnite are available in-game starting today.


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Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania writer shares funny fake ‘script’ page to tide fans over through MCU movie delays @ Syfy Wire

Why should time even matter when it’s the Quantum Realm you’re talking about? Alas, unlike with our nano-sized screen superheroes, it does matter to movie fans — especially when it’s the next batch of Marvel movies that’ve been pushed to later-than-expected release dates.

Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania was among the long list of Marvel films that Disney said this week would be delayed from their originally-announced theatrical debuts. And while that kind of news might’ve momentarily disappointed fans, it also apparently had the same effect on Quantumania writer Jeff Loveness.

In a silly social media olive branch to expectant Marvel movie lovers, Loveness shrugged aside news of the Ant-Man threequel’s delayed premiere by sharing a totally not-real, completely phony page taken from the Quantumania “script” — and all we can say is, it’s too bad we won’t get to see this insane exchange between Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and one of his minute insect minions unfolding in the actual finished movie.

Yesterday, Loveness tweeted a picture of him holding his drink in front of the open page on his computer. In line-by-line script form, here’s how his alternate scene (and again, keep in mind that it's all just an ant-agonizingly silly joke) plays out:

 

EXT. ANT HILL

Ant-Man is there. He's about to go small.

ANT-MAN

I'm gonna go small now.

ANT

No, Ant-Man. Don't! That's too small.

ANT-MAN

F*** you. Even smaller now.

ANT

Please... please no.

He does. The Ant Weeps.

ANT-MAN

Say I am your Christ.

ANT

(Inaudible over Ant weeps)

ANT-MAN

Say it.

 

Oof, that’s definitely a lot to unpack. Aside from delivering what would’ve been the MCU’s first-ever F-bomb, the joke scene would definitely rebalance the delicate ant-whispering dynamic that (we thought) gave our size-shifting hero such a terrific rapport with his six-legged pals. In Loveness’ hilarious hands, though, that dynamic just swerves straight toward the terrifying instead — at least for the poor lil’ ant.

“Not sure why you would push this but ok???” wrote Loveness atop his script-bearing tweet, evidently a confident nod toward all the goofy goodness that the real Ant-Man 3 script already does contain. As it stands, Quantumania is being pushed down Disney’s Marvel film release calendar by five months, creeping from its originally-scheduled Feb. 17, 2023 premiere to later that summer. Captain Marvel's sequel, The Marvels, meanwhile, will step in to fill Quantumania’s vacated Feb. 17 release date.

Don’t hold your breath to see Ant-Man shatter the faith his prickly little pals place in him the way Loveness teases in his joke script, but the real, finished version of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is slated to creep into theaters on July 28, 2023.

The 12 Best (or at Least the Most Reasonable) Halloween Costumes of 2021 @ io9

Screenshot: Starline, Leg Avenue, Yandy, ForPlay

Whenever we write our annual round-up of the Worst Halloween Costumes of the Year, we try to make clear we’re never trying to shame anyone who wants to wear a sexy costume, we just want to make fun of bad costumes full stop. So this year, we thought we’d put our metaphorical candy where our mouth is, and celebrate the Best or at Least the Most Reasonable Costumes of 2021!

One quick protip: In researching this, we discovered Dreamgirl Costumes, which seems to have a plethora of great costumes available. If you’re actually looking for one, go give it a peek. If you’ve already got something in the works, please share it in our annual Halloween Costume Show post!

Wife Life Sexy Cartoon Character Costume

Image: Forplay

Many sexy “Wilma from The Flinstones” outfits go too far by turning the dress into a two-piece to expose the midriff, which makes it harder to tell it’s Wilma (she only has a few visual signifiers, after all, especially if you have a completely un-Wilma-like wig on). The curve of the shoulder strap exposes some flesh without being ridiculous, which is subtly accentuated by the smallness of the stone necklace. Likewise, the bottom of the dress rides higher on the leg, but not so far it stops being a dress. (Forplay, $89)

Player One Sexy Video Game Character

Image: Forplay

Yeah, this is meant to be Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat games, and this has possibly been taken out of Forplay’s storage bins and dusted off because of the recent Warner Bros. movie. But millions of crossplayers have shown, it is entirely possible to take male pop-culture characters and turn them into something great. If you’re not a cosplayer, well, you could do much worse than “Player One Sexy Video Game Character.” (Forplay, $68)

Under Construction Sexy Construction Worker

Image: Forplay

When I ran this choice by io9's Editor-in-Chief Jill “Fantasy” Pantozzi, she asked me why I has chosen a costume of a non-nerdy construction worker. I told her it was an incredibly subtle Minions costume. The denim blue shorts, the yellow safety jacket, the safety glasses—I truly believe from the bottom of my heart this is meant to evoke Minion-ness without being obviously a Minion. Maybe my brain is so broken from years of perusing “sexy” costumes in general and Sexy Minion costumes in specific and now I see them where they aren’t. However, let me posit this: there is and never has been a Sexy Minion. It’s an oxymoron, as they are two utterly incompatible ideas. So the only way someone could make a genuinely sexy Sexy Minion costume was by taking so much of the Minion-ness out that 99% of people don’t recognize it—only broken people like me. (Forplay, $69)

Atlantis Queen

Image: Yandy

Speaking of crossplay, this Aquaman approximation is the perfect marriage of pop culture and allure. Of course, you might think she should be wearing a Mera costume instead of Aquaman, to which I say that’s dumb. She can dress like Aquaman if she wants to, especially since Mera wears a giant green Spandex bodysuit, and the more you carve out of it the less it’s recognizable as Mera. There’s absolutely no question who this is despite the briefs (which were a superhero tradition anyway) and plunging neckline thanks to the perfect colors, the great scales on the top, and the simple trident accessory which, shockingly, is included with this one. (Yandy, $67)

Eternal Queen

Image: Yandy

At first, I thought this was a Princess Fiona from Shrek costume, and it could work well for the character. Obviously, it emphasizes the décolletage, but the sheer fabric of the dress over the legs is an inspired idea. But here’s the thing: The more I looked at it, the more I realized it reminded me of someone else. Then it hit me—that’s Queen Marlena from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! See for yourself! And she’s called Eternal Queen because He-Man takes place on the planet of Eternia! The only problem is that it is bananas to think of someone in 2021 making a Queen Marlena costume, because although ‘80s cartoons are goldmines for costume makers, that someone would make Teela, Evil-Lyn, the Sorceress, or She-Ra costumes—the four most prominent female characters in the cartoon—way, way, way before He-Man’s mom, who only appeared in a handle of episodes anyway. So I have no idea what’s happening here, but I personally am a fan. (Yandy, $64)

Mad Gambler

Image: Starline

While this costume is clearly inspired by the Joker, it has so much going on that I don’t think you could truly call it a Joker costume, and it’s certainly not Harley Quinn. If anything it’s a mash-up of the two characters, but not some mere amalgam. It’s taking inspiration from their various looks over the years to create something new and interesting! (FYI: I am well aware of the villain calling herself the Joker’s Daughter, and no, she never looked anything like this.) I love that the purple suit jacket coattails are part of the shorts underneath the... whatever that is. (Starline)

WOW Girl

Image: Starline

Hey, do you know what pop culture character has worn a traditional “sexy” outfit for that vast majority of her long career in comics? Why, that would be Wonder Woman! Even if you make the shorts a little short and drop her eagle emblem to expose the chest a bit, that’s fine. Or look for a costume closer to the one Lynda Carter wore in the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series. Don’t overthink it! (Starline)

Poison Temptress

Image: Leg Avenue

After the debacle that was the faux-Poison Ivy outfit that made this year’s Worst Haloween Costumes list, I knew I was destined the remind people that decent Poison Ivy costumes exist. Actually, you don’t really need to clarify Poison Ivy as “sexy” at all; she’s been depicted in countless provocative outfits in every medium Batman’s been in. It’s hard to get it wrong, frankly. This outfit isn’t stellar—it’s definitely a Poison Ivy Bikini, but it’s certainly authentic to the character. (Leg Avenue, $81)

Devil Doll Killer

Image: Leg Avenue

Chucky from Child’s Play. Easy. Get it. The overalls descend into tight-fitting short shorts. Love it. No notes. What I want to commend this outfit for is the Power Girl-style circle in her shirt, which makes no sense, is obviously inauthentic, and exists solely to let people get a better look at your cleavage. It usually spells doom for a decent outfit, but here it works. Why? Because the overalls cover up the tiniest bit of the boob window, and by trifurcating it the window becomes less obvious but not any less sexy. I don’t know how it works and I doubt it was intentional, but you go, Leg Avenue! (Leg Avenue, $65)

Lost Slipper Princess

Image: Yandy

Pin-up versions of characters rule. The retro style can be elegant and titillating yet classy. Look, countless Disney princesses and female superheroes and fairy tale regulars get the pin-up treatment in costumes, comics, and more, so it’s almost a cheat to have a “new” take on Disney’s Cinderella in here. But let this be a PSA: you can do this kind of Disney Princess costume without a bare midriff or a boob window if you so choose. (Yandy, $86)

Evil Burger Babe

Image: Yandy

“Sexy” costumes that are also great costumes are rare, but they’re not non-existent. It’s a great costume of Wendy’s mascot Wendy on a murderous rampage (sure, why not?), and the only “sexy” element from what I can tell is the tiny spot highlighting her cleavage. It’s like the anti-Sexy Costume—instead of being weird lingerie with a slight nod to the character it’s supposed to be representing, it’s vice versa. (Yandy, $62)

Creepy Chicken Colonel

Image: Yandy

You may have noticed there are no other Best or at Least the Most Reasonable men’s costumes on this list, and Evil Colonel Sanders certainly isn’t either. However, in looking for reasonable men’s costumes, I have realized a terrible truth—there are only two types of costumes for men, and that’s 1) vaguely-themed stripper outfits and 2) costumes. Just... all the other men’s costumes available. So enjoy this quality Evil Colonel Sanders, one of the scariest people to walk this Earth while also creating excellent fried chicken. (Yandy, $68)


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