News broke last week on Collider.com that the showrunners of popular HBO series Game of Thrones will be writing and directing a brand new Star Wars trilogy, presumable after Episode 9.
On the surface, it’s sort of like, cool, these guys have some Emmy’s under their belts and have made a fantasy series into a household name and visually, Game of Thrones is gorgeous to look at, from costume design to sets to character minutiae. It’s been wildly successful, so why not be joyous these dudes are gonna have a go at one of the richest universes in sci-fi?
That’s where it gets complicated for me.
It’s not a secret I love A Song of Ice and Fire and its television counterpart Game of Thrones (as evidenced by our Youtube series A Game of Theories). However, I can love something and criticize it at the same time, much like I already do with Star Wars. The handing over of a trilogy to Benioff and Weiss means it’ll be that much longer before a director of color or a female director gets a shot at expanding the universe. While it might not matter to some, for me, and other people of color like me, it feels like a missed opportunity at the least.
“But they have a fantastic resume!”
Do they, though? Benioff wrote X-Men: Origins in 2009 (which most of were very lukewarm towards), and Weiss hasn’t done much in the way of big budget films.
My point is, something like Star Wars in the hands of someone with a different lens on life would be refreshing. Plus, a successful trilogy does wonders for the resume of someone who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to helm them. I’m not suggesting anyone in particular here, but it’s something I would love to see, sooner rather than later.
My main issue is how they have portrayed women.
Game of Thrones is known for pushing the envelope. Mostly in a negative way regarding female characters. In a series where rape and incest is prevalent, it makes zero sense to add MORE. A strong character does not need a traumatic backstory based in assault of some kind. I understand that seems to be a mindblowing concept, but I’m loathe to embrace a Star Wars universe in where this could be allowed. I have some trust in how iron of a grip Kathleen Kennedy has on the property as a whole, but her endorsement of Benioff and Weiss gives me some pause. No, I don’t think we will see rape onscreen, but based on their track record, it’s safe to say we will get a Disney friendly, Whedonesque rapey backstory for whoever the female character may be.
“But Leia, there’s not any mention of rape in Star Wars!”
Maybe not outright, but I guess Oola the slave girl, just danced and didn’t encounter any sexual assault ever. I guess Leia didn’t encounter any sexual assault while she was Jabba’s prisoner. I guess Rey didn’t encounter anything against her will by Kylo.
Look, I’m always a diehard for Star Wars, but I’m hesitant about this development. I’m hesitant that we will get Confederate (their so far failed HBO series about what if the South had successfully seceded and slavery became legal and modernized, oh wait, that’s the prison system, isn’t it), but in space cause there ARE slaves in the Star Wars universe.
I’m just plain hesitant.
It’s 2.45 in the morning, and I have just returned from the latest instalment of the juggernaut that is the Star Wars Saga.
I actually went to a double bill screening of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, to ensure that I was caught up on the new characters and their introduction. It became quite clear that very little back story is explored with the new generation, and The Last Jedi begins to address that.
To bring us up to date, the Republic was decimated by Starkiller Base, Rey had departed in search of Luke Skywalker, and Finn was left in medical care.
Fast forward two years and we now have Rey meeting Luke, and looking for answers about The Force and how she can use it. Finn is still in the medical bay, and Poe Dameron is becoming a reckless and daring pilot.
As you would expect, there is quite a lot of the movie devoted to Rey seeking guidance from Luke, who has gone to great lengths to isolate himself from the galaxy. We are also introduced to the species native to the island, who have looked after the ancient Jedi temple for thousands of years, and also the Porgs, cuddly looking birdlike creatures that are clearly only in the movie for their cuteness. The setting felt very reminiscent of Fight Club, with recruits following around the master, waiting for some recognition and acceptance.
Towards the end of The Force Awakens we saw that The First Order had confirmed the location of the Resistance headquarters, and were powering up for a second shot when the base was crippled and destroyed. We now have the Resistance evacuating the base ahead of the inevitable counter-attack, in a move that feels very reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back. If I am honest, I was a little worried that this would set the tone for the entire movie as simply a reskin of Episode V, in the same way that some people consider The Force Awakens to be a reskin of Episode IV.
Luckily, the movie wisely chose to change things around by making a bold decision to introduce new characters quite early on, who become central to the film’s plot.
Finn wakes up from his recovery and wants to go and find Rey, but instead meets Rose, who changes his mind, and becomes his companion for much of the film.
Supreme Leader Snoke was presented as a hologram throughout Episode VII, but here we see him take a central role, as he tries to manipulate his subjects, as any decent villain would do.
We still see regular sniping between General Hux and Kylo Ren, as they vie for favour with Snoke aboard his flagship, and by the end of the movie there is a clear winner in this infantile struggle.
Captain Phasma returns which a much more interesting role, in that she does a lot more than simply walk about ordering others to do as she commands. She proved to be one of my favourites with her increased use as a character, and seeing her engaging in combat is encouraging.
BB-8 seems to have been upgraded from central character with the occasional comedy moment to occasionally on screen, but always commanding attention when he is. BB-9e was introduced in the summer as a First Order version of the new favourite droid, but he is in and out of the movie so quickly a more cynical person might think he was only featured in order to sell more toys.
Rey and Kylo Ren had an intense fight towards the end of The force Awakens, and there is a large investment in exploring the relationship between the force-wielders.
This is one aspect which frustrates me a little. Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One, and was supposed to be one of the best Jedi. In this movie we see a lot of new Jedi powers, and whilst it is good for the story, it did leave me beginning to predict the next series of new powers that we would have seen.
I would suggest that there is plenty of space combat to keep fans happy, plenty of drama, and loss of characters, though some new tricks you didn’t see coming are generally well received. The humour is a little more abundant, but some of the jokes miss the mark, but they can’t all be golden. There is also a cameo of a character that was very well hidden from the media, so I will not mention who it is, but it was great to see.
My biggest criticism of the movie is that it felt like it was 2.5 hours long, which is was, but that is like saying I was fed up with The Return Of The King for going on another 20 minutes or so after they could have ended the movie. I will almost definitely see the movie again at the cinema, but it began to feel like so much needed to be crammed into this movie that the Episode IX team will need to work hard to create some form of peril for our new heroes.
This film is definitely much darker than the previous one, but it feels like it is constantly trying to throw in a joke or sidewards glance to remind you that there are other factions and allegiances being represented, and I have already mentioned the Porgs.
Overall I enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it, although not before advising of a trip to use the toilet prior to the film starting.
– Justin Smith has been a podcaster for over 6 years, and has been visiting the cinema regularly for 4 of them. When he’s not playing games with Star Wars themed miniatures, he spends time with video games.
It’s that time of year again! No, not Halloween (though that is sneaking up on us faster that I realize). I’m talking about New York Comic Con time! Though not as prolific as San Diego Comic Con, NYCC is the East Coast’s biggest comic and media convention, boasting hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees.
Just like its West Coast counterpart, NYCC attracts countless collectors and, as such, has become a haven for exclusive merchandise. This is where Funko comes in. Over the summer we showed you all of Funko’s SDCC exclusives, the Pop!s, Dorbz, Rides and Vnyls that were only available at the con. Luckily, they’re bringing a pretty strong game to New York Comic Con as well.
Since they’re revealing all of their exclusives in waves so make sure to check back often as we update to see everything you can expect to find at NYCC.
San Diego Comic Con is just about a month away and there’s a ton of stuff that we’re excited to see come out of the show, like the big announcements from all of the major movie and TV studios and comic book big (and little) shots. However, one of the major draws to the West Coast mecca for geek culture is the exclusive toys that are available at the show.
Over the last couple of weeks, Funko, the purveyor of fine Pop! vinyls, has announced their lineup of SDCC exclusive figures. We have compiled everything right here for you so you can decide before you go which ones you can’t live without (or salivate over the exclusives you’ll need to hunt down on eBay if you can’t make it to San Diego).
Taking place after Return of the Jedi, Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath tells the story of a group of people dealing with the transition between the downfall of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic. This comes after a move by Disney/Lucasfilm to put aside the previously published canon, that was established through comics and other novels, and start clean with the Clone Wars series and the films. With a clean slate and a movie release approaching in December, fans are eager to rediscover the Star Wars universe with Aftermath.
One of the more striking aspects of the book, and potentially the goal of the new canon, is the shift away from the previous generation of core cast. Of course it wouldn’t be a Star Wars narrative if the staple lines weren’t included. You can always bet there’s somebody uttering, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” The cast in Aftermath is designed to reflect the attitudes of the galaxy as the story develops, each one adapting to the new status quo amid the war between the New Republic and the Imperials.
My favorite character is by far the ex-loyalty officer, representing the disillusioned and tired Imperials. His story was an interesting development and watching his interactions with other Imperials and the other core characters was a highlight. The bounty hunter gave us some good insight into what is happening with the criminal underworld: what’s happening to a galaxy that doesn’t take to bad guys as well as it used to? Lastly, there’s the mother and son. The mother went off to war to find the husband that went to do the same, leaving the son behind to raise himself and now the two are thrown back together to pick up the pieces. The relationship between parent and child is a theme that runs through out the book, as we see parents teach their offspring the way of the galaxy and how they interpret the cycle of war and peace.
Much like how Han, Luke, and Leia were forced to depend on each other to defeat the Imperials, this new group is banded together by the threat of an Imperial attempt to regroup after the events of Return of the Jedi. They each have their own moralities and differences, but learn to adapt them to thwart the Imperials from establishing a foothold against the New Republic.
Adaptation is the key focus for the New Republic and Imperials as well. The New Republic is struggling to maintain its identity of freedom and democracy while maintaining a semblance of order and security in a war torn galaxy. This was the same type of conflict that transformed the previous republic into the Empire and that’s a idea that sticks around throughout the book. The Imperials are faced with reinventing their own identity from once being the most powerful organization in the galaxy to the new “Rebel Scum,” and are forced to survive using the tactics once employed by their enemies in the Rebel Alliance. For me the best part of the story came from the Imperials scrabbling to figure out what their next move is; ultimately there is an interesting conclusion that I didn’t really see coming.
Overall I would say this book is probably something like Avengers 2 for the Star Wars universe. A great blockbuster that was full of everything we could’ve expected, but at times felt the burden to help introduce the next phase of the story. Just like Avengers 2, Aftermath isn’t without its faults. How the story is structured, with seemingly frequent interludes breaking up the action, is a little annoying at times. Keeping that in mind, Aftermath is still an extremely important book for Star Wars fans. It’s the first branch of canon growing toward Force Awakens, so it’s a valuable bit of story to tide us over till December. However, it might not be as fun for people who are new to Star Wars. To keep with the metaphor, it would be like watching Avengers 2 and not having watched any other movie before it; you just wouldn’t get the point. If you are a fan of the Thrawn trilogy, the part of the old canon that used to be where Aftermath now stands, you would enjoy the parallels between it and Aftermath. In total I would say Aftermath has me excited to see where the story is going, and even more excited to see Force Awakens in December!
If you’re interested in other Star Wars books establishing the new canon, check out our review of Heir to the Jedi.
The basic story is that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, has grown old and has discovered that his former pupil, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), is very close to replicating his secret shrinking technology. Pym then recruits former criminal Scott Lang, masterfully played by the unaging Paul Rudd, to use the Ant-Man suit to thwart Cross with the help of his estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly).
Read on to see how four members of the Sub-Cultured team break down the film as well as their feelings on how this stands against previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
To say I entered Ant-Man with minimal expectations is putting it lightly. I wasn’t quite sure how the whole Hank Pym/Scott Lang story was going to fit in the MCU. Since announcements that Ultron would be Iron Man-created instead of the brain child of Pym, I had been feeling bitter; production issues added to the sour taste in my mouth. Luckily, Marvel has churned out another hit with the charmingly handsome Paul Rudd in the title role. Although the villain is laughably cheesy (seriously, Marvel, write your villains better), and the one female lead is frustratingly sidelined (but there’s Hope for the future), there’s still a lot of really good heart in the film.
Toss in a few cameos, and a scene stealing side character, and I was entertained enough to leave the theater grinning. Also, minus the handful of swear words, Ant-Man is definitely friendly for the whole family. But be warned, all viewers may leave with a soft spot for the ants themselves!
There were quite a few things I enjoyed about Ant-Man. The biggest feature is the focus on humor, perhaps borrowing a note from Guardians of the Galaxy and moving away from the intensity of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While I can appreciate the darker nature of Winter Soldier, I don’t believe it would’ve been a good fit for Ant-Man. I am a firm believer that humor is a better way to attract audiences and since we’re so unfamiliar with Scott Lang, it’s a wise approach to get us invested because Lang is so new to viewers.
The second most prominent feature would is been the fight scene with the Falcon. It sort of felt stuck in, but it was used quite effectively when Hydra became involved in the story and of course in the second post credits scene showing how Ant-Man is going to be drawn into Captain America: Civil War. Not only did that fight give Ant-Man an informal introduction to the rest of the Marvel franchise, it was a great demonstration for how powerful the Ant-Man suit is and helped develop another point in the plot: Hydra is coming back.
There were two things that did annoy me in Ant-Man, not that I’d refuse to see it again, but are big enough for me to mention them as problem areas. The first would be that the humor I appreciated so much during the film sometimes made characters into unflattering caricatures. I am talking mostly about the side characters Lang works with for the heist scenes and to a lesser degree Darren Cross as a villain. It’s tough to create minor or opposing characters that aren’t punch lines in some way, but it might have been nice to give them some depth beyond their respective skill sets and roles. The other, which is more pressing, is a huge lack of Hope. Aside from the generic training montage, we don’t actually get to see much of her in action and that’s disappointing. Throughout the movie we are given a first rate education on how she’s so much better at controlling ants and being in charge of the suit than Lang. It’s even a huge part in the dialogue that she’s more qualified in every way to stop Cross than Lang, but the plot and Hank Pym prevent Hope from doing so. Alas all we get is a post credits scene and the vague promise she’ll be in a future film; not even her own film.
I liked Ant-Man. I liked Paul Rudd, especially when he was wearing his hoodie. I think the cinematography was the best part of the movie. I haven’t read any Ant-Man books, but I thought that this fit well into the MCU. I wish that there had been more for Hope to do, or that she had actually been trained after her fight with Hank, instead of just agreeing to train Scott. It felt like a strong attempt for a feminist hero, but ultimately a failed one. I hope that the final scene means that the next movie will be called “Wasp” –but realistically that’s not going to happen.
Sam Wilson’s extended cameo was fan-fucking-tastic. The post-end credits scene certainly wasn’t long enough–I miss me some Bucky on the big screen. In conclusion, Bucky.
While Ant-Man was an enjoyable movie, in my opinion it was the worst Marvel movie to date. Hank Pym was a weaker character and not at all like the Hank Pym from the comics that I know. I would have like to see them push the envelope and show a bit more of his aggression/ego issues. Especially since he isn’t the main character. Darren Cross was incredibly flat as a character, which made him a super one dimensional villain which annoyed me and felt he could have been done significantly better.
Images and video courtesy of Marvel.com