Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame may be the final story in this phase of Avengers storytelling, but it leaves the door open for new stories and pairings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We already know that several of Endgame‘s dangling threads will be tied up in the form of Disney+ television series, but we have to assume there are still big-screen MCU stories to be told. One of those takes form as the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, which we already know is getting a third volume. And Endgame implies there’s a new addition to the team: Thor.
At the end of Endgame, Thor retires from his role as King of New Asgard—an Earth settlement located in what appears to be Norway—and passes his torch to Valkyrie. It’s a good move for the God of Thunder after the events of the film tested his strength, character, and worthiness; the closure with his mother in a past timeline seems to have assuaged some of his issues. By the film’s end, he’s no longing binge drinking or languishing in the startling effects of his post-snap PTSD. He may not be fully restored to his former status, but trauma has shaped him into a new iteration of himself: one who is once again worthy of his hammer, Mjölnir, and one who has passed the torch to a deserving successor so he can live out the rest of his days in retirement.
Turns out his retirement plans involve fellow space friends, the Guardians, who are still collectively mourning the loss of Gamora. Thor’s presence in the Guardians brings a lot of questions to the forefront. Here are some ways that his inclusion in the “Asguardians of the Galaxy” could shape Vol. 3.
When Thor met Peter Quill in Avengers: Infinity War, there was some immediate tension. The insecure Quill was envious of Thor’s near-perfect body, his way with the ladies, and his stoic sense of humor. To make it worse, the rest of the Guardians took to Thor pretty quickly. At the end of Endgame, when Thor leaves New Asgard behind and joins the Guardians, Quill is once again made uncomfortable by his presence. If Thor does indeed appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a balancing of these two strong personalities will be one of the key challenges. Luckily, writer/director James Gunn is back for the film (after some lengthy behind-the-scenes drama) and if there’s one person who can mine the dichotomy of these two broad personalities for humor, it’s him. The two are so similar that there’s a ton of fun to be had, and we imagine the butting of their heads will be the centerpiece of future Guardians films.
Thanks to some time travel shenanigans, past Gamora is brought to the present timeline in Avengers: Endgame. After Tony acquires the Infinity Gauntlet and snaps away Thanos and his army, Gamora is now trapped in the present thanks to the closing of the time loop – although she flees the scene in the closing moments. This is a convenient way of “resurrecting” Gamora after her death in Infinity War, and it also gives the Guardians a mission in Vol. 3. Quill is using his ship’s computer to try to find Gamora when Thor joins the group, alluding to the fact that the next film will involve the Guardians tracking their lost comrade down and filling her in on the five years that she “skipped.”
This is where Thor’s upbringing could come in handy. The rest of the Guardians have experience roaming outer space—it’s literally part of their name—but it’s possible Thor could have specific insight about where Gamora could be hiding. Perhaps he’s familiar with Zen-Whoberi, her home planet. Or maybe he has intimate knowledge of other locations that could be important to her or Thanos. It’s handy having another space guy in the mix, and Vol. 3 will likely make use of that.
Thor made it pretty clear that he was done with Avengers-type missions at the end of Endgame. It’s possible, then, that he’ll play more a laid-back, serviceable advice-giver in Vol. 3, and not necessarily be a major part of the action. Maybe he’ll stick to the ship, doling out wisdom as he sees fit. After Endgame, and after witnessing the effect trauma has on our lovable Asgardian god, we hope he learns how to take it easy in his next iteration. It’s what he deserves. We’ll be along for the ride either way.
Images: Disney, Marvel
Warning: This piece contains Major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Proceed at your own risk!
Though there are many things to love about Avengers: Endgame, one of our absolute favorite choices: Professor Hulk.
Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner has long been one of the most interesting parts of the MCU, with his turn in Thor: Ragnarok leading to him becoming a firm fan fave. But in the face of Thanos and amid Infinity War, he suffered from a case of PTSD, which left him unable to transform. In Avengers: Endgame we’re given a look at how he solved that very unique problem, and his solution comes right from the pages of some of the Hulk’s most outrageous comic book outings.
This iteration of the character first appeared in Incredible Hulk #377 from Peter David, Dale Keown, Bob McLeod, Glynis Oliver, and Joe Rosen. The fragmented aspects of Bruce, Savage Hulk, and the Grey Hulks all fight for supremacy, but come together after an emotional therapy session in which the two sides of the Hulk are forced to watch the moment when Bruce’s abusive father killed his mother. There’s even a little Hulk kink here as the group explore his romantic past, and eventually, the three parts of Bruce merge, creating an intelligent, green-skinned, muscled amalgamation known as Professor Hulk.
Bruce’s transformation into the new, stylish Hulk in the movie takes some liberties with this origin. Banner explains that he’d been seeing the Hulk as a problem to solve. But after his struggles in Ragnarok and Infinity War, he realized that the Hulk was actually the solution, and after some serious gamma experiments he managed to balance the two sides of himself. With the strength of the monster and the mind of the man, Bruce seems as happy as he has ever been. He’s become a local celebrity and can’t wait to team up with his friends to head back in time to take down the Mad Titan who dusted half of the universe.
In the comics, this version of Hulk could represent Banner’s best self, and eventually the Professor personality became the fourth distinct version of the hero. In the movie. Bruce is more at peace than we’ve ever seen him. His face resembles Banner’s more clearly, and while he is able to communicate clearly, he doesn’t Hulk-out in the same way as his usually unhinged alter ego. Sadly, we don’t get the Professor’s weird ponytail in the film, which was a key part of his comic book look. However, we do think that this decidedly ’90s iteration of the Big Green Guy is here to stay!
The following contains minor SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame. Please read with caution.
Over the years the MCU has become synonymous with cameos from one comic book creator, Stan Lee, who established himself as the face of the medium in a series of appearances throughout the history of Marvel movies. But Avengers: Endgame surprised us with an appearance from one of comics’ most cosmic and outspoken creators: Jim Starlin!
During one of the film’s most moving moments, Captain America attends a support group of snap survivors, including director Joe Russo, to speak about how they’re trying to move on following the fallout of Thanos’ cataclysmic actions. The member that you might not have recognized, though, was cartoonist and comic book extraordinaire, Jim Starlin, known in the credits as Support Group Man #1. The reason this moment hit us particularly hard is that he created–alongside scripter Mike Friedrich–the Mad Titan himself, Thanos.
It’s a particularly satisfying inclusion as historically Starlin has had a rocky road with Marvel on both the publishing and cinematic side. Despite being the mastermind behind much of the cosmic side of the comic book universe which inspired the MCU, Starlin was vocal and upset about his lack of involvement in the creation of the original movie which introduced his creation.
2012’s Avengers set up the future of the MCU with the introduction of his Big Bad, but according to posts on his Facebook page, the creator was unhappy about how much he was paid, including this statement about how his royalties from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were more than all of his Marvel checks combined despite the fact that he created multiple characters in the MCU. “Just received a very big check from DC Entertainment for my participation in Batman V Superman, Dawn of Justice (Anatoli Knyyazev), much bigger than anything I’ve gotten for Thanos, Gamora and Drax showing up in any of the various Marvel movies they appeared in, combined.”
Starlin was one of the few creators who spoke publicly about the controversial topic of creator reimbursement. In a now-deleted interview in 2012 with the LA Times Hero Complex blog, he spoke about how, at that point, he apparently hadn’t been paid at all. “This is the second film that had something I created for Marvel in it–the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor being the other–and both films I had to pay for my own ticket to see them. Financial compensation to the creators of these characters doesn’t appear to be part of the equation.”
Since the Russo brothers took over, though, there seems to have been a distinct shift. Starlin first expressed interest in Avengers: Infinity War in 2017 after noticing a copy of Infinity Gauntlet in the making-of featurette about the film that was heavily decked out with Post-its. After he posted it to his Facebook page, the Russos responded in now-deleted post with, “We’ve got your close up ready, Mr. Starlin.” It seems like that was a prophetic statement as we’ve now seen Jim in the newest Avengers movie. He’s made it clear he was happy with the finished project stating, “My firstborn leaves the nest to wreck [sic] havoc on the heavens. What more could a proud father hope for?”
It’s a big moment for Starlin, and for Marvel as well, as the company has a rough history when it comes to creator rights. In a film full of emotional moments, this one that had real-world ramifications and we loved it.
Images: Marvel, Disney
Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
We are as emotionally prepared to discuss Tony Stark’s funeral about as much as we’re physically prepared to stick our head in an active volcano. However, as the camera panned over the many mourners who came to bid their friend and colleague a fond farewell, we couldn’t help asking one question: “Who the hell was that skinny kid and how do we know him?”
Well, he’s a young man who had a special connection with Iron Man, and his presence in Avengers: Endgame could be a sign of a bigger role for him in the future of the MCU.
That solitary teenager you vaguely recognized was Ty Simpkins, who played young Harley Keener in Iron Man 3, the boy who helped Tony after he crashed in Tennessee. Without Keener’s assistance, Tony would have never survived the attacks by Mandarin/Extremists agents. And at the end of the movie, “the Mechanic” rewarded the budding engineer by outfitting his garage with some serious high-end tech.
We weren’t totally surprised to see Simpkins show up after his name was included on the film’s IMDb page in January (along with Tilda Swinton’s). Plus, he was at the movie’s premiere in Los Angeles. We didn’t immediately recognize the now 17-year-old actor though, since he has grown up quite a bit since 2013’s Iron Man 3.
The question now is what, if anything, did his presence at the funeral mean? He was important enough to be there with major figures from both the MCU and Tony’s life, but that could simply be another great callback to the franchise’s past, one of many littered throughout the movie.
Or it could be a subtle hint of what’s to come. While Tony didn’t leave Harley Keener with an Iron Man suit, he did give him some advanced technology to further his studies and passion in engineering. And while we didn’t get an after credits scene, we heard an intriguing bit of hammering over the film’s final title card, which was reminiscent of when Tony built his first suit in a cave.
Tony Stark is gone, but Iron Man could return if someone else — maybe a young man who knew “the Mechanic” personally, whose life was changed by him — takes up the mantle as the man in the iron suit.
Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
We knew it had to happen. Since his very first film, Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers has dreamt about his dance with his one true love, Peggy Carter. In his final moments before crashing into the Arctic, just before he was frozen in the ice for seven decades, Steve thought of his dance date with Agent Carter. “I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.” Peggy, knowing full well he was about to die, comforted him through tears. “Alright, a week next Saturday at the Stork Club. Eight o’clock on the dot, don’t you dare be late. Understood?” After his rescue and restoration by S.H.I.E.L.D., he thought only of that dance – for years and years.
That dance is part of why the ending of Endgame is such a tearjerker. After Thanos is defeated and the vanished are brought back to life, Steve steps back in the Quantum Realm time machine to take the Infinity Stones into the past and put them back, closing the time loops. But instead of returning to the present, he travels further into the past, where he presumably marries Peggy. The film closes with a flashback of them dancing together in their living room.
It’s a beautiful moment, but one that poses a lot of timeline questions. How far back did Steve go? What about Peggy’s husband that she mentions in The Winter Soldier? Here’s a rundown of Endgame‘s final moment, what it means, how it works, and what it could mean for the future of the MCU.
If we’re going off the time travel logic presented to us in Endgame, then Steve went back to 1970, when he and Tony traveled to in an effort to get the Tesseract prior to when Loki ran away with it. Also to acquire more Pym particles to continue their time traveling efforts. By going back to that time, as well as the times and places visited by the other Avengers, Steve would have effectively closed the time loops the Avengers created. But instead of jumping back to the present, he decided instead to go back in time – most likely to the 1950s, a.k.a. after the events of ABC’s Agent Carter – to live out the rest of his days with his long-lost love.
That means the elderly Steve we see at the end of Endgame is actually present-day Steve, who presumably lived in hiding and away from the major events of the Avengers films. He went back in time and stayed there, aged normally, and waited until the exact moment he could pass along his shield to Sam Wilson.
Old Steve Rogers is wearing a visible wedding ring when Sam speaks to him. Sam asks who the lucky lady is, and Steve respectfully refuses to talk about it. We can assume, given the scene we see next, that the woman he married was Peggy. That lends a whole new perspective to the scenes we see in films like The Winter Solider and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Knowing that Steve and Peggy were married all along makes their “reunion” in The Winter Soldier more layered. Peggy is saying goodbye to the young Cap – “it’s been so long” – while her husband, the aged Cap, is somewhere offscreen.
But this does present another possible wrinkle in the timeline…
In The Winter Soldier, we see Peggy in the WWII museum talking about her husband, a man who served as the member of a battalion over one thousand soldiers and was rescued by Captain America. Fans have wondered since Agent Carter‘s cancellation who this mystery man might be. It was never answered on that show, or in the films, but Endgame presents a few possibilities. The first is that Peggy married some random veteran we’ve never met, and the second is that this whole interview was a smokescreen to hide her secret marriage to Steve Rogers.
The latter seems more likely. Especially when you re-watch her scene in The Winter Soldier. On her deathbed, Peggy talks to a young Cap, and we see photographs of her children on her bedside table. Conveniently, there are no pictures of her husband, meaning he could be anyone. It’s likely, then, that the husband Peggy refers to in the film is actually Steve, and she never mentions their peculiar situation to his younger self because she knows it would compromise the series of events that led them to one another. Instead, she acts as if she hasn’t seen him in decades.
We see Steve pass the torch (shield, really) to Sam at the end of Endgame. We don’t, however, get a definitive “death scene.” Even so, it seems pretty obvious that this is Chris Evans’ last film in the MCU. He’s hinted as much for a long time, and ending the film on his dance with Peggy feels pretty finite. The best way to look at Avengers: Endgame is as his swan song. He may not have literally died, but those final frames are his spiritual “death.” Knowing that the main events of the Avengers films end on Cap and Peggy’s final dance makes this entire journey feel worth it, and means it’s come almost totally full circle. Who can be mad at that?
Images: Disney, Marvel
Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
Of all of the Marvel Easter eggs, callbacks, and references in Avengers: Endgame, the best might be Steve Rogers’ ingenuous way of avoiding the second elevator fight of his life. With his knowledge of the future and two simple words, “Hail Hydra,” he tricked his enemies and delivered the funniest line of the movie, in a moment that turned a comic book controversy into comedy gold.
Present day Captain America went back to 2012’s Battle of New York to get Loki’s scepter because it contained the Mind Stone, which ended up in possession of secret Hydra agent Jasper Sitwell (played by Maximiliano Hernández). When Cap got on the elevator with him and was surrounded by Sitwell’s team of Hydra fighters, including Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) and Jack Rollins (Callan Mulvey), it looked certain we were in for an elevator fight like the iconic one Cap had with them in 2014’s The Winter Soldier, which is when he learned who they really served.
To make matters worse, Cap’s comment about how Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a Hydra operate, told him to take the case made no sense, since Sitwell had just received different instructions from Pierce on the phone. But all of that misdirection made Cap’s actual plan even more brilliant and hysterical.
“Hail Hydra” turned a sequel (uh…prequel?) to that famous elevator fight into a battle of wits. Using what he learned about Hydra in 2014, Cap cleverly let his secret enemies think they were on the same team, letting him walk away without breaking a sweat (at least until he ran into “America’s ass”).
As great as that exchange was within the context of the MCU, it was an even better reference to an infamous and controversial moment from the comic books. In 2016, issue one of Nick Spencer’s new comic series Steve Rogers: Captain America ended with a twist that had fans freaking furious. Captain America appeared to murder his sidekick Jack Flag before saying, “Hail Hydra.” Spencer then insisted this Captain America with a giant Hydra tattoo on his chest was the real Steve Rogers all along, and always had been for his 75 years of existence.
Needless to say, no one was happy with this implausible twist or the obvious lie of an explanation Spencer offered up to convince people it was sincere. That lie was confirmed when we later learned that a sentient Cosmic Cube warped Steve memories and Captain America believe he had always been a Hydra agent. That outcome didn’t make anyone less frustrated with the whole sequence of events, though.
But hearing Steve Rogers say the iconic line in Endgame was anything but maddening. We know Cap can win an elevator fight with his fists, but he’s also smart enough to win one with his mind.
Saying “Hail Hydra” to fool his enemies instead of us is a lot more fun.
Most people don’t get excited to hear the word “cocksucker” in their daily lives, but when it involves Al Swearengen, there’s a genuine cause for celebration. HBO premiered a profanity and violence-laden trailer Thursday for Deadwood: The Movie, a long-awaited, feature-length finale for David Milch’s acclaimed western series of the same name.
Back for more bad language and worse deeds is Ian McShane (John Wick 3: Parabellum) as Swearengen, the Gem Saloon proprietor who is none too pleased to discover that George Hearst (Gerald McRaney) has leveraged his financial and political power to become a politician. In so doing, he’s put Deadwood’s denizens further under his control. Also returning for the film is Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock, the unforgiving, ramrod-straight former sheriff of Deadwood who, like Swearengen, sees Hearst’s return as a big problem for the town’s little people.
Despite a recent profile highlighting Milch’s Alzheimer diagnosis, the storyteller and showrunner’s feverish creativity worked overtime since 2015 to get this wrap-up film made, recruiting almost every actor who appeared in the show’s original run – at least whose character is still alive – and enlisting frequent episode director Daniel Minahan to helm the project. Though he’d been working steadily since the early 1960s, McShane made his stateside breakthrough with Deadwood, and the show really helped introduce or otherwise boost a number of actors who went on to even bigger challenges, including Molly Parker (House of Cards), Paula Malcolmson (Ray Donovan, the Hunger Games franchise), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, The Sessions), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy), Kim Dickens (Fear the Walking Dead) and Titus Welliver (Lost, Bosch), though Welliver will not be returning.
Suffice it to say that longtime fans will be pleased to learn that almost all of their favorite characters have survived in the 13 years since the show’s end, but Milch was one of HBO’s first purveyors of the kind of “no one’s safe” unpredictability that the showrunners of series like Game of Thrones picked up and ran with, so who knows who will make it to the end. Meanwhile, the short clip certainly evidences a continuation of the storytelling style and tone that defined the series, pairing inventive, anachronistic forms of profanity with florid, wonderfully multilayered lines of dialogue, while violence unfolds insidiously in the streets of Deadwood as well as the back rooms where real demonstrations of power and control are exercised. (“Hearst won’t take long before he honors the rigors of his putrid fucking nature,” observes Swearengen in just one example of Milch’s filthy, irresistible poetry.)
Deadwood: The Movie premieres on HBO Friday, May 31 at 8:00pm.
Prince wasn’t only revered for his years of amazing pop hits; he was known also for the songs he wrote for other artists. We’re talking huge hits like Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and the Bangles’ “Manic Monday,” which were all written by the Purple One. And soon, Prince’s versions of many of those songs will become available to fans for the first time.
Prince always recorded a version of those tracks himself first as demos, many of which have never been heard by anyone. Until now that is. Via Variety, the Prince Estate has announced that Originals, a 15-track album of Prince’s versions of songs he wrote for other artists is arriving in June, just in time for what would have been the artist’s 61st birthday. Originals will be streaming exclusively on Tidal starting on June 7, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records. These tracks were chosen by Troy Carter, on behalf of The Prince Estate, and producer Jay-Z.
The Tidal stream will be exclusive for 14 days, and then Warner Bros. will release the album via all download and streaming partners and physically on CD on June 21. More serious collectors will be able to get hands on the 180 gram 2LP and limited edition Deluxe CD+2LP formats on July 19. The image for the cover is taken from publicity photo sessions of Prince during the “Dirty Mind” era of the early ’80s, just before he broke out into mega stardom with 1999.
Among the more well known hits included on this album are “Sex Shooter,” the 1984 hit from Vanity 6, and “Jungle Love” from Morris Day and the Time. Both songs were performed in Purple Rain the movie. The previously released Prince version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” will also be included. You can pre-order Originals by clicking here.
Images: Warner Brothers Records one
Whether or not the events of “The Snap” will be reversed, Avengers: Endgame marks the climax, and culmination, of 11 years of Marvel movies, as the stories of now dozens of superheroes continue to evolve, presumably in some cases towards definitive conclusions. That epic journey prompted a lot of reflection, and speculation, at the recent Los Angeles press day for Endgame, but in the interest of protecting the movie’s surprises, produced few real answers. Nevertheless, a showcase of new costumes from the upcoming film paired nicely with the observations of cast and crew members old and new as they celebrated this benchmark in Marvel’s cinematic history.
“I’m super excited for this to come out – mostly just so that I can talk about it,” said Brie Larson, whose Captain Marvel just crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. “I want to be able to talk about my experience!” Larson went on to talk about how her ensemble turn in Endgame was so meaningful.
“This film will always be personally dear to me because it was my first time playing Captain Marvel. We shot this first” she explained. “So I had to stumble and try to figure out who this character was with no script for this – and no script for Captain Marvel either – and perform for the first time in front of legends. But as big as it is, it still feels like a bunch of kids – just like what I was doing over summer break, making movies in my garage. There is still this sense of wonder and play and encouragement. And of course this film deals with some heavy subject matter. So you’re bouncing in between things that feel very deep and serious. And then we’re going off and playing boggle. So there is no other word I can describe it as other than surreal.”
Of course, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man 2, and Johansson remembered the curiosity and even trepidation she felt when first taking on the role of a character she knew fans had so many preconceptions and expectations about. “The character really started as a sort of sexy secretary with a skill set on the side – well, posing as,” she said. “I certainly didn’t know how the audience would react to my interpretation of the character. And then the next time that we saw her in Avengers, she was sort of one of the boys, for better or worse, and that made sense then.”
Sitting on stage with Larson, Gillan, and Danai Gurira, Johansson celebrated the shift that took place to make room for strong, sophisticated women characters, and the close-knit family of actors that developed over the course of the MCU’s evolution. “As audiences have really pushed studios and filmmakers to represent the zeitgeist and wanting to see diverse films and casts that represents their own aspirations and how they feel, I feel the character has sort of grown in reaction to that.”
“I remember when [Elizabeth Olsen] signed on, Coby [Smulders] was there, and we were all clinging to each other; it was so nice to see other female cast members,” she recalled. “And then with Brie coming on and Karen and Danai, it’s just grown beyond my wildest dreams. I could never have imagined where this would take us – all of us. It’s been quite a journey.”
Endgame and Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo discussed the process, and challenge, of creating a satisfying and emotionally resonant conclusion to the Avengers saga. Anthony said, “one of our favorite story telling adages is write yourself into a corner – put yourself in a place on a narrative level where you have no idea how you could possibly move forward from here. It forces you to come up with some really creative ways forward. And we’ve tried to do that with the endings of every single Marvel movie we’ve done and never more so of course than Infinity War.”
“We are very committed to the ending of that movie,” he continued. “We think that stories lose their meaning and relevancy and resonance unless there are real stakes. And for us, moving into this new movie into Endgame, the story is very much about, how do these heroes deal with resounding loss. And our road into this story is how is everybody on an individual level dealing with that experience and then how do they collectively deal with it?”
Joe agreed: “With Endgame, we get the opportunity to think to finish off one of the grandest experiments in movie history and bring it to an epic conclusion,” he said. “So what we’re hoping for is that people feel satisfied with the conclusion.”
It’s difficult to remember how different the stakes were for Marvel’s first movie as a studio, Iron Man, and its latest, a three-hour opus that is expected to break box office records on its opening weekend. But especially for Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Endgame feels like an understandable, even appropriate time for reflection on the studio’s serpentine history, not to mention the interconnected storytelling that has enraptured audiences across the globe.
“The bar for success [on Iron Man] was pretty low; it was comparable to other Marvel films that had been out in that general area, which is what we wanted to compete with,” Feige said. “But as we were making the movie, we realized that this was really going to be special and even perhaps more special than we thought. And there started to be a much bigger sort of wind behind our back. Combined with Sam Jackson’s cameo that we secretly did and then secretly leaked the next day, people picked up that that meant this interconnected universe which everybody knew from the books, but had never been done in the movies.”
“About four or five years ago, we talked about what haven’t we seen in films based on comic characters? And we haven’t seen an ending. A definitive conclusion to an overall saga. So that’s why it’s called Endgame, and why I think it’s very, very special.”
Repent! Repent! The Apocalypse is nigh! And so is Amazon’s adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s tale of Armageddon, Good Omens, where the end times start with the birth of the most adorable little Antichrist ever. Now, to bring their Devil-loving music to the masses, the most talkative group of Satan-worshiping nuns in the world have released their own music video celebrating the arrival of their little Dark Lord, who comes with fire, blood, and that new baby smell.
When the ground below rips open and darkness fills the skies above, the streets and rivers will run with blood of the innocent and guilty alike, as Heaven and Hell will meet on the battlefield for a final showdown. Unless of course the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon can stop the whole bloody mess from happening, in the upcoming adaptation of Good Omens. But as readers of the beloved novel know, not everyone on Earth is eager to stop it.
The Chattering Order of St. Beryl, who helped bring the Antichrist into the world (and also helped mess up Satan’s grand plan eeeever so slightly), have been welcoming the coming of the end with song. Now to spread their demonic gospel they have released a music video for their hymn, “That Brand New Baby Smell.” And they got a very special someone to make a cameo.
We meant Neil Gaiman was the special someone, not Becky the Goat. (Good job on naming that demon goat, internet!)
As for this sweet/sinister a cappella song, which features some great Easter eggs from the novel, they might worship the Devil, but The Chattering Order of St. Beryl sound like angels. Of course this is now going to be stuck in our head for weeks, which is probably what they wanted.
As if worrying about the end times wasn’t already hard enough without an earworm. Though that’s better than the actual worms we’ll probably have in our ears during the Apocalypse.
Good Omens comes to Amazon Prime on May 31.
Featured Image: Amazon Prime
The Men in Black franchise has treaded mostly familiar territory so far. The first three films co-star Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K, and are primarily set in New York City. But a new sequel starring new leads needed to shake things up a bit, and as we can see in the second trailer for Men in Black: International, the series is taking its familiar black suits and secret agency and expanding them globally.
The new film, directed by F. Gary Gray, stars Tessa Thompson as newbie Agent M and Chris Hemsworth as top-dog Agent H. The trailer, which builds upon the first released look at the film, shows their personal journeys in the film and the beautiful locations they traverse together on their mission.
According to the plot description, “The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.” That mole-hunting is on display here, as we see M and H trekking around the globe in pursuit of their secret agency’s foe. We also get a good look at the MIB offices in London, a shiny white space loaded with creatures that Nerdist was able to see in the flesh on our visit to the set.
Men in Black: International also features Tessa Thompson as the first female lead in the franchise, and her story is unique to the universe. As we see in the trailer, a childhood encounter with an alien led to a lifetime of curiosity. She found the Men in Black herself, and becomes a know-it-all rookie agent, partnered with Hemsworth’s heroic H. Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebecca Ferguson co-star.
Men in Black: International arrives in theaters June 14, 2019.
Images: Sony Pictures
Brandon Stark has never explained what it means for him to be the Three-Eyed Raven. With a blank stare and a flat, inhuman delivery, he only offers vague replies that leave everyone, characters and viewers alike, confused. Fortunately Game of Thrones’ “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” offered the best insight yet into what he has truly become, when Sam Tarly explained Bran’s importance beyond his powers: Bran is the keeper of all history, the memory of the world.
“That’s what death is, isn’t it?” Sam said of Bran. “Forgetting. Being forgotten. If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore. Just animals. Your memories don’t come from books, your stories aren’t just stories. If I wanted to erase the world of men, I’d start with you.”
It was a description the show has previously tried, and failed, to convey.
Bran is potentially the most powerful warg in the world, and he had prophetic dreams and visions long before he entered the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave. Combined with his mastered ability to see through time itself by touching a weirwood tree, he is something far beyond any other man. (All of which is why he might be able to warg into a dragon—maybe even a dead dragon.)
Yet his transformation from a young apprentice into a dead-(three)-eyed weirdo was so abrupt it felt unearned and unexplained. In season six, he was still himself despite having gone through a series of devastating events. He was marked by the Night King, learned he was responsible for destroying Hodor’s mind, and became the Three-Eyed Raven before he was ready. Though we understand that all of that would logically change him, the depiction of his metamorphosis in season seven was jarring. In terms of his own timeline, it had only been a few days since we had seen him last, yet suddenly he was no longer human.
The problem was that Game of Thrones failed to show what actually happened to Bran in season six. Right after the Night King touched him, we only saw the Three-Eyed Raven bring him into one last vision, when young Wylis’ mind broke from experiencing his own death in the future. But in the episode’s behind-the-scenes vignette, show co-creator David Benioff said a lot more happened in that moment. “As soon as the Three-Eyed Raven realizes there is no more time, he’s got to try and upload all of this knowledge into Bran.”
In the next Inside the Episode, D.B. Weiss went further: “Bran had to absorb the entire history of the world in imagery. They talk about the Three-Eyed Raven, it’s not just a title that you get. There’s a part of him that’s no longer Brandon Stark, but is the Three-Eyed Raven, and the Three-Eyed Raven is not entirely human.”
Those quotes help explain Bran’s sudden shift, despite the short timeline, but none of that was clear in the episodes themselves. What we saw Bran go through was nothing like what Benioff and Weiss described. The closest we’ve ever come to the show referencing that life-altering “upload” was when Bran told Sam he “remembers everything.” But even then, Bran had yet to learn about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s marriage. Clearly he didn’t actually “remember” everything; he merely had access. That’s the difference between having a book on your shelf and having memorized every word of it.
That’s what made Sam’s quote about the Three-Eyed Raven’s purpose so critical to understanding what makes Bran dangerous to the Night King. After Bran said the Night King wants to “erase this world,” Sam put Bran’s role as the keeper of the world’s history the into a far greater context.
The lives are men are fleeting, but mankind endures by building on their experiences, both the failures and the successes, of those who came before us. If we lose those memories, what are we? Like the archmaester told Sam, we’d be dogs who can only think of their last meal and their next. Targaryens who can’t learn from the mistakes of our fathers, and Starks who don’t remember the lessons of our parents. We’re people who risk being wiped out of existence by the Night King.
Bran stopped being human when he became the Three-Eyed Raven. He became mankind’s memory. It makes sense that he became strange in the process; it just took the show a long time to make that clear.
Just shy of 60 years since James Bond first graced the big screen in Dr. No, the twenty-fifth 007 movie saunters down the pike. (Well, technically it’s the twenty-seventh, but that official list doesn’t account for the original Casino Royale, a spy movie parody, and Sean Connery’s non-canonical return to the suit in 1983’s Never Say Never Again). Though we’re still wanting for an official title, the team behind the latest Bond outing—including franchise producer Barbara Broccoli and the new installment’s director Cary Fukunaga—gathered with a camera crew on the beaches of Jamaica to give fans a few details on the latest outing.
Joining returning players like Daniel Craig, Ralph Feinnes, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, and Jeffrey Wright are a few noteworthy newcomers, not least of all being Bohemian Rhapsody and Mr. Robot star Rami Malek, who’ll be playing the movie’s chief villain. Accompanying Malek into the spy game for the first time are Billy Magnussen, Blade Runner 2049‘s Ana De Armas, Captain Marvel‘s Lashana Lynch, Top of the Lake‘s David Dencik, and Dali Benssalah.
We also got word of a couple of exciting names who’ll be joining the Bond team behind the scenes. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Killing Eve and Fleabag, and star of the latter as well as the voice actor behind Solo‘s breakout droid L3-37, will be co-writing the script with Scott Z. Burns, who has written The Bourne Ultimatum as well as several Steven Soderbergh-directed films, namely The Informant!, Contagion, and Side Effects. And as we learned in 2018, True Detective‘s Cary Joji Fukunaga will be helming the picture, having replaced Danny Boyle after some backstage shake-ups.
At this point, all we know about the plot is that it will kick off with James Bond estranged from active service and that it will take him to Jamaica, Norway, London, and Matera, Italy.
Images: Sony/20th Century Fox
If you’ve seen the trailers for Men in Black: International, chances are you were wowed by one extremely rad sequence. Surrounded by some off-camera villains, possibly of the extraterrestrial variety, Chris Hemworth’s Agent H and Tessa Thomson’s Agent M deconstruct their company Jaguar, which is loaded with an impressive amount of shiny MIB guns and weaponry. On my recent visit to the London set of MIB: International, myself and a small group of press learned more about these special props, and even got to try them out ourselves!
“There is a sequence where basically H and M get into a fight on the London streets,” explains Pierre Bohanna, the prop designer for the film, “and their personal weapons are not really cutting the mustard.” Instead, they pull apart H’s car, which is loaded with weapons in all sorts of hidden compartments in places like the sideview mirror and the gas tank.There’s even a gun rack that slides out of the break lights.
The pair cycles through the car’s various weapons, starting with small handguns, working their way up to the biggest. For H, that’s a giant gun with a hubcap magazine, and for M it’s an exhaust pipe gun that she shoots “like she’s Arnold Schwarzenegger,” according to Bohanna, holding it from the bottom and blasting away like a boss. There are even more secrets in the Jaguar, but we’ll save that for the movie’s release.
We were able to take a look at the various weapons created for the film, which were lain out on a table and which Bohanna described to us in detail before letting us pose with our favorite. The Jag weapons were surprisingly heavy, which was part of their functionality in the film, adding to the realism for both the viewers and the actors.
For Bohanna, designing props for the film was a unique and interesting challenge. This is a different sector of the MIB world than we’ve seen onscreen before, since it’s set mainly in London, and not the New York City of the previous films. That meant an opportunity to create new designs, while also paying homage to familiar weapons from the past. Bohanna confirmed, for instance, that the “noisy cricket” firearm from the first film will make an appearance in International, too.
The weapons in the film are only one aspect of the action. We were also able to sit down with famed stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, perhaps best known as the stunt guy for the new Mission: Impossible films. (He’s the guy who trained Tom Cruise to hang off a helicopter in Fallout.) He explained the specific skills both Thompson and Hemsworth brought to the table, and discussed training Hemsworth specifically for the driving sequences.
“He picked it up like ridiculously fast,” Eastwood explained, noting that while Hemsworth has done a ton of action stuff, driving stunts were new to him. Through their training, both in driving and elsewhere, the two developed a physical language for the character of H. “Actors get a lot more influence [on their characters] these days,” Eastwood said.
Both Bohanna and Eastwood referenced a set of characters known as “the twins,” but details about them were kept mostly under wraps. Bohanna implied that they’re the villains H and M are fighting in the Jaguar sequence, and Eastwood spoke of their “synchronized” training, but who they are and how they fit into this sequence and the movie as a whole remains a curiosity—one we can’t wait to discover when Men in Black: International hits theaters June 14, 2019.
Images: Sony Pictures
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have insane chemistry. That’s the biggest takeaway from my trip to the London set of Men in Black: International, a massive production brought to life in the iconic Leavesden Studios, just outside of the European metropolis. There were other giant projects in the works beyond the walls of MIB’s European headquarters – Wonder Woman 1984, Spider-Man: Far From Home – but it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of movie magic when you’re seated in front of the mega-watt smiles of two brilliant young actors like Hemsworth and Thompson, who ooze oldschool Hollywood charisma.
Thompson likens their dynamic in International – the fourth film in the Men in Black franchise and the first to feature leads other than Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones – to Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, or to Han Solo and Princess Leia. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they play love interests in the film.
“There are so many directions where [their] relationship can go,” Thompson told a small group of reporters on the set. “I think the thing that really is the most exciting about these relationships is the true meeting of mind and of wit and a back-and-forth that creates tension.”
Thompson plays Agent M in the film, a newly minted MIB professional who is drawn into the world after an encounter with aliens in her childhood. Upon her induction to the secretive agency, she’s paired with Hemsworth’s Agent H, a hero in the London offices whose reputation does not live up to M’s expectations; she imagines him as a suave, slick, top-of-his game agent, and instead finds him cocky and unprofessional. In the scene we watched them film that day, their diametric dynamic really comes through. M is straight-laced and serious, H is an aloof jokester. It’s almost an inverse of Smith’s silly newbie Agent J and Jones’ dry and established Agent K in the first 1997 Men in Black film.
Opposites often attract in situations like these, but both downplay the romance angle. Instead, they emphasize the friendship they created in Marvel’s Thor: Ragnorak, the first film to pair them up as co-leads. The bond they established in that Marvel Universe film carries over to MIB: International, and into their off-camera banter. The two had a lot of fun with us, joking about deleted Ragnorak scenes (like multiple kissing scenes that only appear in the “DVD extra extra extras,” according to Thompson), and which MCU character they’d like to see in the MIB world. (“I’d love to see Korg in the lobby here,” Hemsworth told us. “Could you imagine? The movie would just do a complete turn in his direction.”)
The pair also got giddy about donning the famous MIB suits, which were custom-made for the film by designer Paul Smith, and styled by costume designer Penny Rose. “They have a sort of elasticity feel, nice for the movements and stunts that we do in this film,” Hemsworth said. Thompson agreed that they were an iconic part of the process, and how much she loved wearing the Smith designs as a fan of his work.
“It’s better than the Thor and Valkyrie costumes,” Hemsworth teased.
Stepping into the suits is one thing, but stepping into the giant shoes that Smith and Lee have left behind is another thing entirely. While they admitted they haven’t yet spoken to either original actor, they did speak to the legacy the two have left behind. That, they said, made it easier to find their footing in the franchise. “The original movies have such a particular kind of tone and feel,” Thompson explained. “There’s something sort of inherent in the world of MIB.”
But that didn’t mean they were backed into a corner, performance or character-wise. Under the guidance of director F. Gary Gray, they were able to find their footing and their dynamic through improvisation, something we witnessed first-hand on set. After several on-book takes, the two were able to play around with dialogue for the rest of the set up, often yielding hilarious, fresh interactions unique to their working relationship. “[Gray] wants the best version of what’s on the page, but he’s always sort of searching for what else can we get, and he gives us a free take each time,” Hemsworth explained, adding that the off-book stuff has helped him really find the character of Agent H.
This may be a fresh new take on the world of MIB, set in global locations unique to this film, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some standby references. When asked which real-life celebrity they’d like to be an alien in International – just like Sylvester Stallone and Michael Jackson are revealed to be aliens in the first film – Thompson replied, “>My current pitch is Cardi B.”
We’ll see if she got her wish when Men in Black: International zaps its way to theaters on June 14, 2019.
Images: Sony Pictures
Netflix’s Lost in Space is the heartfelt reimagining of the classic show that we all needed. We have to wait for the second season to hit screens, but you can now take home the first wonderful entry on Blu-ray and DVD from June 4. To celebrate, we have an exclusive clip about the creation of the show’s breakout star: the sexy robot formally known as Robbie.
This behind the scenes featurette focuses on the intricate process of creating the Robot, who is the show’s incarnation of Will Robinson’s close friend and intergalactic caretaker, Robbie. Their relationship is absolutely key to the story and the Robinson family‘s ultimate survival, but when the series hit Netflix last year fans were taken aback by the new Robot’s shapely form. The character quickly became a viral hit, and fans even queued up to have their picture taken with the heartthrob at SDCC.
Practical effects are a dying art and it’s super exciting to see the dedication and work that went into creating this iconic new representation of one of pop culture’s most famous robots. If you’re into this kind of cool BTS footage you’ll likely enjoy the home video release of Lost in Space which includes multiple featurettes, deleted scenes, and even the (Blu-Ray exclusive) colorized pilot of the original series.
If you’ve yet to fall in love with the Robinsons, you can check out the trailer for the first season below and stream the entire thing on Netflix. Or you can run out to your local electronic goods store on June 4 and purchase the whole thing to enjoy at home!
If you love sad stories, epic adventures, and chosen families then you’ll likely fall head over heels in love with Lost In Space.
Images: Legendary, Netflix
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks
American Horror Story has been subverting and shaping horror tropes for the last eight years. Now entering its ninth season, the show is taking on one of the most controversial and coolest horror subgenres with American Horror Story: 1984.
Clearly inspired by slasher movies like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, this choice is an incredibly fun one. It immediately ignited interest from genre fans as well as opening up the potential to bring some complex, strong women to the small screen. Historically, slasher movies have a reputation as shallow and even exploitative, with huge body counts and morally driven deaths at their center. But something that makes slashers stand apart is the fact that the heroes are usually women. Over the years, slashers have carved out an important and entertaining niche for strong female representation.
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American Horror Story has already established itself as a platform for interesting female-led storytelling. Showrunners Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have made sure the female experience is at the center of their show. The original season’s exploration of grief and ghosts of all kinds gave us regulars Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Connie Britton, and Frances Conroy. Many more brilliant women joined thereafter, including Emmy-winning series stalwart Sarah Paulson. As the series moved forward, they’ve begun to do the work to diversify those experiences, introducing iconic actors like Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, and Adina Porter.
With a wealth of female talent and decades of Final Girls to take inspiration from, AHS: 1984 could really be onto something special. So just what should slasher fans watch out for when the show hits the screens later this year? Well, with the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in last year’s record breaking Halloween sequel, it’s the perfect time for AHS to deliver some complex and interesting older women. Slasher movies have long played with viewers’ expectations when it comes to who they can trust and believe. So, with the influence of films like the aforementioned Friday the 13th, perhaps we might see Jessica Lange in a vengeful mother role, inspired by Jason’s own loving mom, Mrs. Voorhees.
Another highlight of the slasher genre is a focus on the survival instincts of strong young women. It defies the concept of the damsel in distress. Despite showcasing plenty of women struggling and suffering, they almost always end with the triumph of a Final Girl over her (usually) male tormenter. With a sterling set of women who could return for the ninth season, AHS could truly offer up something subversive and fresh by focusing on the strength of the women at its core rather than on their suffering. It’ll be especially interesting to see if Murphy and Falchuk’s tongue-in-cheek take on slashers will be closer to the intelligent meta-satire of Scream or their own more outlandish and silly Scream Queens.
Speaking of Scream, we would love to see Sarah Paulson take on a Sidney Prescott-esque survivor, heralding the next generation of victims through the horrors of a spree killer. There’s some great crossover potential here as Emma Roberts–who’s been confirmed to return–starred as Sidney’s niece in the horribly underrated Scream 4. Another key player is the wonderful Angela Bassett, who’s become a staple of the anthology show. The legacy of slasher movies and particularly Final Girls wouldn’t exist without the women of Blaxploitation horror, like Scream Blacula Scream and Ganja and Hess. Centering Bassett and Porter (and hopefully a whole bunch more great Black actresses) could be a great way to pay homage to and highlight this oft-forgotten part of slasher history.
Another way that the series could properly respect its origins would be to hire women to direct the episodes. Not only are there plenty of splendid female horror directors out there, but many women made classic slashers. Some of the most well-known examples are Amy Holden James’ Slumber Party Massacre, Rachel Talalay’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, and Sorority House Massacre by Carol Frank. It would be rad to see those women invited to helm episodes as well as newer talent like Karyn Kusama, Maria Wilson, Jennifer Kent, and Julia Ducournau.
It’s worth noting that the real 1984 saw the release of a few very important slashers. These include A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. Don’t be surprised if we see nods to all of the above. We’ll have to wait until September to truly discover if the show lives up to the storied genre history it’s sampling this season, though… and we cannot wait!
“The dead are already here” in new photos for next week’s Game of Thrones, when the White Walkers and the living will meet at the Battle of Winterfell.
A showdown thousands of years in the making will finally commence on Sunday night, as Winterfell makes its stand against the Night King. It’s a battle that will be the longest ever filmed, and it has us absolutely terrified over our favorite characters’ chances of survival. The episode’s sneak peek gave us a glimpse of what we can expect, but newly release photos for the episode give look even more ominous.
Brienne and Jaime leading the Knights of the Vale at the left flank was included in the teaser video, and if they’re all going to die, they’ll dive bravely.
Although they might not be in any more danger than those who are hiding in the Crypt, which includes Tyrion and Varys.
At some point, Sansa will also join them down there, which is reminiscent of when she hid with Cersei during the Battle of Blackwater.
The question is whether Sansa will go there before or after this moment, when the Stark sisters stand on the castle’s walls. Sansa looks truly horrified.
Our bet is that Sansa heads to the Crypt after this because Arya is not engaged in the Battle yet. We can’t imagine her staying out of the fray for long.
As for Jon’s questionable grand plan, this haunting shot of him and Daenerys overlooking the battle from afar, in hopes of luring the Night King into a Bran-trap in the Godswood, gives us an idea of just how outnumbered the living truly are. It also has us worried our fears the dead will be able to swarm the castle from the sides because they have put so many of their resources into defending a direct onslaught will sadly prove right.
Jon won’t stay out of the fight for long, though. This shot shows when he does engage it probably won’t go the way he hopes.
If this takes place where we think it does – the Godswood – the Battle of Winterfell could be the Night King’s greatest victory.
Curious about all the history of Game of Thrones you might not know? Check out our extensive lore compendium!
Country music is often the subject of parody, with satirical takes on the genre homing in on its would-be proclivity for maudlin tales about marital dissolution or the death of a beloved bloodhound. And while artists like Cledus T. Judd may make a living with a harmonized celebration and mockery of these and other nuts and bolts of the time-tested American music genre, none have mastered quite the feat undertaken by the song “You Can’t Take My Door”—a proverbial dissertation on the ins and outs of the country twang.
So who is the masterful artist who composed such a genre-defining—nay, genre-reinventing number? As a matter of fact, it’s not a whom at all. It’s barely even a what. As it turns out, the little ditty was written by a neural network. Take a listen to the game-changing power ballad, which we found over at Laughing Squid, below.
To be more specific, “You Can’t Take My Door” was written by Recursive Neural Network, which was developed by Botnik Studios to ingest myriad country songs and reproduce a specimen of the like. In a tweet that Botnik posted in October of 2018, when the video first hit the web, the studio claimed it trained its network “on all of country music’s greatest hits,” and then couriered the results to the production line to create the above video.
And the results? Something occasionally incoherent but—let’s face it—effectively moody and damn catchy! So all in all, a pretty good country song.
To be clear, the singing, instrumentals, and video work were not likewise handled by a neural network, but by actual human beings. (Primitive and boring, I know, but hey—that’s the music biz for ya.) Elle O’Brien and Timothy Joyce contribute their vocal abilities, and the video is the handiwork of Jonah Cooper.
Image: Comedy Central
Nickelodeon will join CBS on another journey to the final frontier, with an all new Star Trek animated series aimed at a much younger audience.
Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios have announced they are partnering for an original, CG-animated Star Trek series that will be developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters and Ninjago). The show, which will debut exclusively on Nickelodeon (and not CBS All Access) and be targeted at a “new generation of fans,” will follow “a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.”
This series is the second animated show to be announced in the ever-growing Star Trek franchise. Last October, CBS ordered Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan’s adult-oriented cartoon, Star Trek: Lower Deck. Trekkie superfan McMahan described his shows’s premise as being a series “about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end.” This will be dramatically different from this newly announced show.
Based on the description for the Nickelodeon series, we expect it to be a lot more like classic Star Trek TV shows, with mostly serialized episodes that can stand alone as their own installments. However, while we expect even more of an action-adventure feel, we’d also guess the series won’t be as heavy with the sci-fi elements many fans love (minus lots of aliens who can become popular toys). One thing we don’t expect to change is Star Trek‘s inclusive message. What better theme could there be for kids than the one that drove Gene Roddenberry’s idea for a better universe?
And between this new animated series, Lower Decks, “Short Treks,” Discovery, and Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard on his own series, there will be plenty of chances to explore that inclusive message for viewers of all ages.
DC Universe is swiftly carving out a name for itself as one of the most interesting places for comic book content. With releases like Titans, Doom Patrol, and Young Justice: Outsiders, the publisher’s platform has already got some seriously original offerings, but things just got even more exciting with our first proper look at the streamer’s highly anticipated Swamp Thing project.
As it is executive produced by James Wan, Gary Dauberman, and Len Wiseman, among others, we shouldn’t be too surprised that the show looks like it will be seriously horror-heavy. Still, we were pleasantly taken aback by the sincerely spooky tone.
In case you aren’t already a huge Swampy fan, what you need to know is this: Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, the story focuses on Alec Holland who, depending on the origin, either gets transformed into a magical Swamp creature or becomes a part of a new ecologically based creature’s conscious. The show is set in New Orleans and follows Abby Arcane (who in the comics is Alec’s love interest) as she returns home to investigate some deadly and mysterious goings on in the bayou.
The first full trailer is a straight up horror-fest that showcases the unbelievably stacked cast including Jennifer Beals, Henderson Wade, Andy Bean, Derek Mears, Virginia Madsen, Will Patton, and Kevin Durand. It also hints at the inclusion of some of the most iconic moments from the comics, such as a mortuary resurrection straight from the pages of Alan Moore’s beloved Saga of the Swamp Thing run.
We’ve been waiting to get more of a tonal feeling for the project and it seems like it’s going to lean in on the horror origins of the character as well as the body-horror-friendly nature of Alec’s affliction. As Swamp Thing is usually a hero, it seems like we may have even gotten a glimpse at the villainous Floronic Man, as there are some very violent branches that feature in the teaser. But we’ll have to wait until May 31 to find out just who is using their plant powers for evil!
Images: DC Universe
Welcome, Wednesday Warriors! It’s new comic book day! Before you head to the local comic shop, arm yourself with a few recommendations, because there is an insane amount of stuff hitting the shelves this week. Seriously, we’re buried in awesome comics over here and if this is how we die then at least we died doing what we love. So get thee to the comic store and bring some joy into your life! And don’t worry, for you big spenders out there, we also have a complete list of this week’s releases.
As usual, we will touch on a plot detail or two below, which means you are officially entering spoiler territory. I’m warning you, friends!
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Ed McGuiness with Mark Morales
Colors By: Justin Ponsor
Letters By: VC’s Cory Petit
Jason Aaron’s run on Avengers has been freaking brilliant so far. War of the Realms is his most epic work in the Marvel Universe to date. It’s unsurprising then that an issue of Avengers that serves as a War of the Realms tie-in is spectacular, even when it doesn’t feature any members of the title team. Aaron and Ed McGuiness unleash their full powers of superhero awesomeness on The Squadron Supreme, giving the Marvel-does-DC heroes a new origin and sinister background. It feels like this is a setup for Aaron’s plans after War of the Realms but who knows? This could just be more gasoline on the fire that is Marvel’s latest event and we’d be perfectly okay with that! We’re just enjoying the ride.
Written By: Jeff Lemire
Art By: Dustin Nguyen
Colors By: Steve Wands
Letters By: Will Dennis
Ascender is Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s follow-up to the gorgeous Descender, so you know right away this comic is going to be quality. If you never read Descender, you’ll still enjoy this issue and the world building layered into its pages. Nguyen’s beautiful, brushy artwork is nothing short of enchanting and it pairs perfectly with this fantastical science fiction tale. Lemire is one of the comic book industry’s’ greatest storytellers, and he’s working his usual magic here, slowly unfolding a story that is deeply personal while be galactic in scope. Ascender is an unflinching work of beauty that you simply must read.
Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Eddy Barrows with Eber Ferreira
Colors By: Adriano Lucas
Letters By: Andworld Design
Sometimes it’s easy to look over the comics at the Big Two that exist in their own little bubbles. You get lost in all the events and then you miss a great book like Freedom Fighters. This book is just insane and everything in it is cranked to eleven in the best possible way. Robert Venditti is swinging for the fences in this series and it’s paying off big time. You’ve got Uncle Sam, spouting off speeches about what America stands for while battling fascists in the streets and narrowly escape a giant death machine called The War Wheel. It’s ridiculous and that’s a good thing. Plsyu. you’ve got Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira on art just cranking out more frantic energy than seems humanly possible. Freedom Fighters is practically exploding off the page and that is something to be admired. You owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Written By: Cullen Bunn
Art By: Adam Gorham
Colors By: Jose Villarrubia
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
We’ve loved Punk Mambo ever since she first appeared in Shadowman. Voodoo and punk rock make for odd bedfellows, but something about the chaotic and anarchistic nature of this character has always been appealing. She’s popped up in a few different Valiant titles, but she’s finally got a proper series that’s all her own and that is something to celebrate. Cullen Bunn is an inspired choice for this book since the character works best in a low-key horror setting and Bunn is one of the best horror writers in the business. He nails the voice of Punk Mambo right away and sets a path for the book that feels like a mixture between Preacher and Hellblazer. Adam Gorham’s artwork is great and his storytelling is graceful and detailed, even when scenes get chaotic with blood and mud. Jose Villarrubia’s colors are positively glowing, which makes the moments when magic explodes across the page look absolutely unreal. Punk Mambo #1 is required reading, whether you are a regular Valiant reader or not.
Written By: Michael Avon Oeming
Art By: Michael Avon Oeming
Colors By: Taki Soma
Letters By: Shawn Lee
IDW’s Dick Tracy books have been good, but not quite great, up until now. Something just wasn’t clicking, but all that has changed with Dick Tracy Forever. The missing piece, it turns out, was Michael Avon Oeming. This comic is amazing and literally everything you could possibly want in a Dick Tracy series. Oeming strikes a nostalgic tone throughout this first issue, but his storytelling is modern and elegant. There’s a lively, kinetic feel to every page, with the character often leaping out of the panels. Every page is a work of art, the sort of comic page you’d want to own and hang on your wall and show off to all your friends. You could have your family over for a nice dinner and then point to the wall and revel in their gasps as they witness the glory of Oeming’s Dick Tracy for the first time. This is Grade A comic bookery through and through.
Written By: Zac Thompson
Art By: Arjuna Sushini
Colors By: Dee Cunniffe
Letters By: Marshall Dillon
The Replacer is scary. Really scary. It hits in that sweet spot of relatability and horrifically unimaginable. Zac Thompson and Arjuna Sushini are doing some serious Stephen King worship on these pages and they are absolutely nailing it. The Replacer feels deeply personal and caustically dark, like Pet Semetary or It. Seriously, this is easily one of the best comic books of the year, and we say that well aware of the fact that it’ only April. This comic is nothing short of brilliant and it’s destined to be a classic, no doubt. The Replacer is some seriously scary shit and that’ll haunt you long after you read the final page.
Okay, that’s it for us this week! Let us know what comics you are picking up in the comments below!
Featured Image: Marvel Comics
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One of the great pop culture artifacts surrounding A Nightmare on Elm Street is a very early track from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, called “A Nightmare on My Street”. Yes, the very same Fresh Prince then went on to international superstardom only a few years later. This ode to slasher icon Freddy Krueger was a love letter to all of the Nightmare films, which at the time this came out were at their peak popularity. Especially with teenagers.
Although a proper version of the music video was thought destroyed for decades, thanks to Bloody-Disgusting we’ve learned that Will Smith’s former musical partner DJ Jazzy Jeff recently uploaded a proper version of the video to YouTube. Finally, all the Freddy faithful can now watch a decent version of it for the first time in years. Although Freddy couldn’t appear in the video for obvious reasons, it’s still a fun throwback to time when copyright infringement didn’t seem to be much of a concern for young musicians. (see, also: Robocop.) Also, the Freddy stand-in monster is a hoot and half.
Released shortly before A Nightmare on Elm St. 4: The Dream Master hit theaters at the height of “Freddy Mania,” the song was a big hit and went to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. If you were around during the summer of 1988, you couldn’t get away from it if you listened to Top 40 radio. But the song sampled the original A Nightmare on Elm Street theme by Charles Bernstein without permission, and this apparently didn’t sit well with New Line Cinema. This resulted in the video essentially never seeing the light of day for decades, except for a very fuzzy VHS dub that would end up on YouTube. But thankfully, this has now been corrected, and fans can enjoy this campy trip down memory lane.
Images: New Line Cinema
We are all now intimately familiar with the opening credits for Game of Thrones, which features an artistic and intricate rendering of a map of Westeros. In fact, those opening credits have now become as iconic as the ones for classic shows like The Twilight Zone. But what if the artfully done landscapes and buildings of Westeros were a little less medieval style, and little more high tech and modern?
Thanks to Bored Panda we’ve learned about an artist named Julio Lacerda, who decided to apply a little modern satellite technology to the topography of George R.R. Martin’s imaginary land. Aside from being an accomplished illustrator, Lacerda is also a cartography enthusiast. So he probably figured that one hell of a unique way to usher in the show’s eighth and final season was to create a map of Westeros, as it would look via Google Maps. And he wasn’t wrong, as you can see his original Facebook post below. And for a larger version, click here .
Lacerda consulted the different existing maps from various A Song of Ice and Fire sources, while managing to give the whole thing a realistic flavor. The map was created using everything from NASA aerial photographs to the latest 3D software. But the most impressive part of all of this? He managed to do this in only two days.
Some fans have noticed that Westeros looks like the real world topography of Ireland and the U.K. combined. While this has probably always been the case, it certainly looks more that way when presented in a realistic fashion. For those of us who haven’t read the books, this map is actually really helpful at visually realizing just how far the distances are in Westeros, something that’s easy to forget on the show due to the abstract nature of the map in the credits. And how fast everyone seems to get around.
This review of Avengers: Endgame will be as SPOILER FREE as possible. We want to keep the integrity of the movie going experience for everyone and still provide our impressions. There will be a very spoiler-filled review later.
Since press for Avengers: Infinity War began a year ago, we’ve talked about how Kevin Feige and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a singular idea. A single, all-encompassing universe for a group of characters across 20 movies and 10 years. It’s not a movie franchise as much as it’s a season of television…or Marvel Comics themselves. Every event, every saga, every Earth-shattering arc has to end. Regular service has to return. Back to normal. Status quo.
Infinity War left audiences wondering what could possibly happen next. Half of all life in the universe blinked away in an instant: half of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gone, done and dusted. But Avengers: Endgame is more than just the second part of a cliffhanger, it’s a celebration of the entire 21 movie saga.
Most of what you’ve seen in the trailers–if you’ve watched them–tells you the basic set-up. The remaining Avengers get back together and go off and attempt to either reverse Thanos‘ snap or avenge it. But what the commercials don’t show is how much time is devoted to these characters as individuals, as each other’s adopted family. At this point, we love them. We’re worried for them, and that’s something I didn’t think was possible even a year ago.
It’s not particularly surprising all of the original Avengers survived the Snap. Endgame is as much a reflection on Phase 1 as it is a celebration of it. Tony, Steve, Natasha, Thor, Bruce, and Clint are a family and we need to see them together again. The other characters aren’t afterthoughts, though. Nebula and Ant-Man get to shine. Everybody lost people in the Snap, and they all have things to lose thereafter.
Much more said about the plot will risk spoiling things, but I’ll just say that Endgame proved far more emotionally and logically satisfying than I ever expected. It’s a long movie, but you almost wanted more. I reveled in every interaction, every nod, every air-punching moment and every quiet moment of reflection. The gravity of the situation and the stakes couldn’t be higher, and yet the trademark humor is there. It wouldn’t be the MCU without it.
If you have anything close to the bond with these characters as the filmmakers hope you do, you’ll be satisfied. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll shout “yeah!” and clap. Endgame acknowledges that not every entry in the saga is perfect. Times have changed and so have tastes. But it also acknowledges we all know every inch of these movies and what they’ve meant to a generation. It’s the endgame, but it’s also a new beginning. The past is golden, but the future is bright.
Bottom Line: – I loved it.
We’ve seen teens turn into wolves, robots turn into cars, and orphan children turn into adult superheroes. But the notion of a priest turning into a dinosaur has thus far evaded us. Thankfully, visionary director Brendan Steere has recognized that we as a species have been so long wanting for this very thing, and has brought it to life in the form of the new horror comedy film Velocipastor.
Yes, that’s quite right—a feature film devoted to the story of a hapless man of the cloth who finds himself cursed with the ability to transform into a fresh-hungry dinosaur, and all existential qualms that come with this new parlor trick (and accompanying uptick in violent, carnivorous rage). If you’re skeptical that such a concept can work as a film—we know, you think it’s better suited to the stage—then take a look at the first trailer below, which is indeed a treat.
As if the central conceit of a priest who turns into a dino weren’t enough, apparently there are ninjas involved, too!
The film is actually an adaptation by director Steere of a short by the same name that he helmed in 2011. In the grand tradition of all those cursed transformers before him, the priestly protagonist seems to want nothing to do with his new powers. Of course, that could be just where his journey begins. A little goading from a lady friend, plus his undeniable rage problems and the new outlet that they have found in his scaly alter ego might end up convincing the father (played by Gregory James Cohan) that what he once believed to be a curse might actually be a gift.
A mercilessly bloody, cannibalistic, and altogether insane gift, but a gift nonetheless. Below is a poster for The Velociraptor, which has yet to find an official release date.
Image: Cyfuno Ventures/Hollow Tree Films/Laika Come Home
Whatever you may have thought about Bohemian Rhapsody, one thing is undeniable: its massive financial success has created an entire new generation of fans for Queen and Freddie Mercury. And that is absolutely a good thing.
With a $900 million global gross for the film, Freddie is now standing neck and neck with the biggest Hollywood superheroes. So it’s only appropriate that legendary singer should get the superhero treatment himself. In a new series of prints (via The Laughing Squid), Brazilian artist Butcher Billy has reimagined the Queen frontman as various comic book heroes, with classic Queen song titles as the names of the stories showcased on the fictional covers. The series is called “Planet Mercury Comics,” which we think Freddie would have approved of.
Freddie gets a turn at filling the tights of several major comic book characters, ranging from Superman to Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. And in an homage to Freddie’s drag look from the infamously banned video for “I Want to Break Free,” we see Freddie don the iconic tiara of Wonder Woman herself. The Joker, Flash, and Shazam get included too, as well as an illustration which references the Superman/Batman fight from The Dark Knight Returns. But it’s not all DC characters, as Marvel gets represented with a little bit of Freddie “Hulking out.”
And although it’s not a comic book per se, one of these illustrations has Freddie Mercury doing his best Game of Thrones “Ned Stark in season one promo pic” pose while sitting on the Iron Throne. Of course the title is now “Queen of Thrones,” which we think is only fitting. And the iconic onstage moment when Freddy sat on Darth Vader’s shoulders while on stage in a Flash Gordon t-shirt gets its due as well.
Vans has been a reliable purveyor of pop culture-themed kicks for years now. The company has given us casual footwear designed to celebrate the likes of Marvel Comics, classic Disney cartoons, NASA, Vincent Van Gogh, and plenty of other pillars of geek-friendly fanfare. But such a catalogue is incomplete without representation of one of the most beloved pieces of fiction to make its mark on the literary, cinematic, and theatrical worlds this century: Harry Potter.
Before you get too jazzed, there hasn’t been an official announcement yet that Vans will be releasing a Harry Potter-themed shoe and accessories line, much less what these articles will inevitably look like. But we got the next best thing: a tease of the very same from Vans themselves. The company graced Twitter on Tuesday with a message suggesting that we admirers of all things Hogwarts should keep our eyes open wizarding wafflestompers.
SERIOUS WARNING: Any readers who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy may want to avoid activating the below tweet.
At this point, we have no further information to answer the various whats and whens we have buzzing around in our heads, so all we have is our imaginations to get us through until Van drops the word (and, more excitingly, pictures) properly. That said, we can make some educated guesses; for instance, if Vans plans to operate as it did with its Marvel line, it may be releasing distinct sneaker styles corresponding with different Harry Potter characters. If that’s the case, we’re excited to find out whom we can expect to be represented. All we know is that any Hagrid-themed shoes ought to come in extra extra extra extra extra large, and Moaning Myrtle kicks had better be waterproof.
Images: Warner Bros
With Avengers: Endgame just about here, many fans are speculating that Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet might not be as down for the count as the end of Infinity War implied. Another popular theory for the big finale is that Tony Stark creates his own version of the Gauntlet (the Iron Gauntlet?). But we think we just discovered the coolest new version of the Gauntlet yet… and it’s made entirely from balloons.
Thanks to Geeks Are Sexy, we’ve learned about a balloon artist named Jackie Ochitwa, who has an Instagram account for her What a Twist balloon designs. As a tribute to the MCU, she’s now created her own balloon version of Thanos’ ultimate weapon. The balloon version of the Infinity Gauntlet even comes complete with a series of blinking lights, to make each of the Infinity Stones really pop. Well, hopefully not literally pop, seeing how this is still a balloon we’re talking about here. That wouldn’t be good for anyone.
Imagine for a moment that this was the DC Universe and not the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and another non-Thanos character got to make their own version of the Infinity Gauntlet. If the Joker or Harley Quinn got their shot at wearing that big yellow glove, then we might see one that looks a little something like this rather festive and fun version of the universe’s deadliest weapon.
Aside from the Gauntlet, Jackie has made similarly cool balloon art based on other Marvel characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk. There’s even a Santa Claus version of Deadpool she made during the holiday season. DC characters get some love too, with both Supergirl and Wonder Woman. And yes, Star Wars gets to represent as well. You can check out some more of Ochitwa’s other fabulous and geeky balloon creations down below.
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Wonder Woman was my favourite Superhero growing up because she had black hair like me – and we’re both freakishly tall (that last part isn’t true). 😂 #shortgirl #wonderwoman #wonderwomanmovie #wonderwomanfan #wonderwomanballoons #balloon #balloonart #airdrieballoonartist #withatwist
Images: Marvel Studios
The second episode of season eight of Game of Thrones, “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” was the calm before the storm. And that storm is coming in episode three, when the Night King’s army of the dead makes its siege against Winterfell. And though we don’t quite know how it’ll play out, many signs point to Game of Thrones‘ biggest battle yet sharing a few parallels with a classic DC Comics story.
While the Night King’s approaching hordes might just be a bunch of anonymous corpses, a lot of fans are speculating that we are about to see a ton of famous faces from the show’s past—characters who died untimely deaths in previous seasons—reborn as soldiers of the White Walker army. After all, what better form of psychological warfare could the Night King wage than forcing his adversaries to kill their undead loved ones? Should this scenario take place, does that mean that Game of Thrones’ executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and perhaps even George R.R. Martin himself, were influenced by a fairly recent comic book epic?
Back in 2009, DC Comics released one of their most popular crossover events ever, Blackest Night. Centered on Green Lantern but spilling into the entire line of comics, Blackest Night shook the characters of the DC Universe to their cores.
Much like Game of Thrones’ current season is, Geoff Johns’ Blackest Night was the culmination of years of stortytelling. It all dates back to when he started writing Green Lantern some five years earlier, at which point he began to plant the seeds. At the basis of this story is the entity known as Nekron, the personification of death itself, seeking to eliminate all life from the universe.
To achieve these goals, he creates a “Black Lantern Corps” with black power rings that reanimate the shambling corpses of the deceased. Most of the corpses that come back are the allies and loved ones of the DC heroes, reanimated to throw the heroes off balance in battle. In some instances, those corpses also have super powers, which doesn’t exactly hurt Nekron’s odds.
Even more disturbing than the concept of dead Justice League and Teen Titans members coming back as zombies to fight their old allies, there are many instances when a hero’s friends and family are used against them in macabre ways. Nightwing has to fight his murdered parents! In a twisted take on Pet Sematary, both Aquaman and the former Wonder Girl contend with the reanimated corpses of their dead children. Yup, Blackest Night went there. And just as Blackest Night was one of the most memorable events for the DC Universe, Arya and Jon Snow fighting their beloved family members who rise from the Winterfell crypts could be one of the most harrowing moments in the show’s history.
But could the end of Blackest Night give us some clues as to how this entire scenario could end for Westeros? The two stories are already different in that the zombie Black Lanterns have the memories of the dead, and can talk. So far, the Wights are speechless. But we think it’s possible the end of the DC epic could be very telling on how Game of Thrones comes to its conclusion.
Blackest Night ended with a triumph for the DC heroes, when the White Energy of Life brings back several of the Black Lantern corpses as true living beings once more. The power of life conquers Nekron and his army of the dead. Game of Thrones has the option of a similar path thanks to the Lord of Light. We could see many dead heroes return properly if Melisandre comes back and pulls a last minute save, as many fans suspect. Lord of Light vs. Army of Night anyone?
Now, I don’t see long dead characters like Ned or Hodor coming back to life for real thanks to the Lord of Light. But if we lose some of our favorites in battle in episode three, maybe they get a “Brightest Day” ending to their very own “Blackest Night.” After all everyone has been through, we think the heroes of Westeros has earned their own Brightest Day!
Images: HBO / DC Comics
Will Smith plays an aging assassin facing off against an opponent who can anticipate his every move, in the first trailer for Ang Lee’s Gemini Man. He also plays the man who is chasing after him: his own younger clone.
The first trailer for Ang Lee’s next movie, Gemini Man, is here and it features double the amount of Will Smith found in most Will Smith movies. Smith plays Henry Brogan, “an elite assassin who is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move.” The reason Henry can’t seem to out think or out maneuver his would-be killer is because he too is Henry—specifically, a clone 25 years younger, though neither knew about the other’s existence before this mission.
“Siri, show me Looper without time travel.”
Okay, there’s a whole lot to like here, but we can’t ignore the obvious problem of this trailer: the de-aging… it’s not great. In most (though not all) shots, the younger Smith looks too glossy, like he was cloned in a lab located in the Uncanny Valley. He looks more like Leia in Rogue One than he does Nick Fury in Captain Marvel.
Aside from that, we’re very into the premise of this movie and Will Smith playing two roles, because we can’t wait to see how Ang Lee handles the existential questions of life and identity the story raises.
This first trailer seems to only be scratching the surface of what looks like a far bigger mystery. Why was Henry cloned in the first place, and why has Clive Owen’s character tasked the younger version with killing the older one? Someone should really explain how much we’ve liked every version of Will Smith, both young and old.
Gemini Man, which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong, comes to theaters this fall, on October 11.
Featured Image: Paramount Pictures
Keanu Reeves is getting his very own film festival. It will celebrate four decades of his big screen career, including two of his most iconic roles, John Wick and Ted “Theodore” Logan III.
We don’t know what the greatest word in the English language was before, but we know what it is now: “KeanuCon.” Late in April, fans of the action star will come together to honor his long career, thanks to a first-of-its-kind film festival dedicated entirely to a man who made the word “whoa” iconic.
The event is being put together by Matchbox Cineclub, “an independent exhibitor for cineoutcasts, orphans and outliers,” at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, Scotland (which we learned about at Little White Lies) for two days, on the weekend of April 27 and 28.
The slate will feature a wide range of his Reeves’ movies, starting with 1985’s One Step Away. Included are some of his most famous films, like both Bill & Ted movies, Constantine, and Speed, as well as some deeper cuts from his career, like Permanent Record. The festival will end with his most recent film he co-starred in with Winona Ryder, Destination Wedding. (Unfortunately, Bram Stoker’s Dracula will not be screened.)
The question isn’t whether we’d want to attend KeanuCon (just typing that phrase feels good); the question is why haven’t we had one before. It’s like, whoa, this is a great idea, and the best word ever.
You can purchase your tickets through Matchbox Cineclub’s website, and you can find the full two-day lineup of Keanu movies (which sadly also does not include Point Break) and special events* listed below.
One Step Away (Robert Fortier, 1985)
Permanent Record (Marisa Silver, 1988)
My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991)
Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994)
The Matrix (Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, 1999)
John Wick (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, 2014)
Man of Tai Chi (Keanu Reeves, 2013)
Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005)
Challenge Death with Dice Roll Cafe*
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989)
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Peter Hewitt, 1991)
Wyld Stallyns Live*
Destination Wedding (Victor Levin, 2019)
Images: Summit Entertainment, Matchbox Coneclub/Vero Navarro
Godzilla is mankind’s only hope to stop a unified pack of terrifying creatures in the final trailer for King of the Monsters.
The previous promos for Warner Bros. upcoming Godzilla movie have shown us a planet under attack from giant beasts that mankind believed to be nothing more than myths. And we already know the only hope for survival will require them to work with a former foe to save them from total annihilation. However, the film’s final trailer might be the most terrifying look at the movie yet. While trying to stave off attacks from Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah is scary enough, they’re far more menacing when they are working together. And it will all lead to the greatest battle the world has ever known, a fight that will truly determine who is the King of the Monsters.
Did he say there are 17 of these god-like beasts? We heard that correct, right? And they are all working together as a “pack” hellbent on destroying everyone and everything as they reclaim their title as titans of the world? And their King is the three-headed Ghidorah, the “alpha” they are all following and which the monster Godzilla must defeat to stop them all, in what looks like it could be the best looking film in franchise history?
Especially because it’s always way more fun when Godzilla is on our side. Sure, some buildings and cities are going to be destroyed, but at least they’ll be destroyed for a good reason—survival.
Long live the King.
Directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus), and starring Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, and David Strathairn, Godzilla: King of the Monsters comes to mankind’s rescue just in time for summer, on May 31.
Featured Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment
Arya Stark isn’t a little girl anymore. She’s seen death and dismay, she’s trained with the faceless men, and she’s lost shards of her humanity in her journey from girl to young woman. In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” she got another major milestone under her belt: She slept with her longtime crush Gendry on the eve of a great battle at Winterfell.
The scene immediately sparked controversy among Thrones fans. Some of that is the understandable shock value of seeing Maisie Williams, an actress we’ve watched grow up onscreen, get naked on camera for the first time. Williams was 12 when the show began, and as the kid sister of the Stark family, she’s filled a similar role in the eyes of the viewer. But watching her grow into a woman is part of the ride, and her development into a sexual being shouldn’t be a reason to balk at the scene, which is fully in Arya’s control. Watching a young female character consensually sleep with a male of her choosing is almost revolutionary for Thrones.
But for me, the scene still has its issues—issues removed from the conditions of Arya’s agency, which are perfectly in place. There are both textual and practical reasons why it didn’t quite land for me, and why the Arya and Gendry dynamic has always skirted the line of unease. A big chunk of that has to do with the show’s inability to juggle its timeline.
When we meet Arya in season one, she’s a very young girl. In the real world, it’s been a decade since our introduction to the character. Maisie Williams is 22 years old; an adult woman. But how old is Arya? The official HBO Twitter account went out of its way to clarify that she’s of-age, but does that actually track with what we’ve been told? Baby Sam, for instance, can’t be more than two or three on the show, and he was born in season three. Honestly, none of this matters much on a show where travel times are condensed whenever its convenient for the sake of plot movement. But it can mess with our perception when it comes to certain characters, so it’s no wonder many were thrown when Arya made clear her intentions with Gendry. It’s one of the side effects of complicated time management.
By age 18 in Westeros you should have:
– Had a pet.
– Moved out on your own.
– Travelled extensively.
– Had a kill list.
– Pretended to be the opposite sex to evade capture.
– Been blind for a while.
– Ticked at least three people off of your kill list.
— HBO (@HBO_UK) April 21, 2019
There’s also the question of just how old Gendry was when he met Arya. Both are clearly consenting adults at the time their sex scene happens, but if Gendry was an adult when he first met the preteen Arya, it makes the optics a little uncomfortable. That didn’t personally weigh too heavy on my conscience, but coupled with Joe Dempsie’s comments on the scene to Entertainment Weekly—”It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old,” he said—and his clear discomfort onscreen, it was hard to not feel slightly removed from what was going on.
But that gets to my biggest gripe with the scene. That feeling of removal. For seasons now, Arya’s storyline has struggled to fully coalesce. The plotting of her time in the House of Black and White was always slightly off, and her motivations never fully realized. She could never quite let go of her identity, refusing to fully shed the name “Arya Stark,” and eventually opting to leave and use her skills to enact vengeance on the people who betrayed her family. But her slaying of the Freys initially came at a cost. Sansa feared Arya when she returned to Winterfell with a bag of faces and a bloodthirsty attitude. We’re meant to think that, like Bran, Arya has lost a part of herself on the road home. But did she really?
Given the after-the-episode segment and Maisie Williams’ post-script interview with EW, the sex scene with Gendry was meant to be Arya reclaiming her humanity in whatever way she could. And while on paper that sounds lovely, the moment in action felt a bit blurred. Are we to believe Arya is so lost that she needs a human interaction to bring her back to the surface? Or has she slowly assimilated back to her old self and needs a reminder of where she stands? A little bit of clarity on Arya’s perspective might have eased the surprise of that scene, and made the seasons of build-up between the two characters resonate more positively. For me, it just didn’t; what should have been a beautiful, cathartic moment—like Jaime knighting Brienne, or even Jon admitting his heritage to Daenerys—felt abrupt and a little confusing.
It’s possible the remaining episodes will find a way to add context to the scene. Then again, I’m not betting on Gendry’s odds of surviving the Battle of Winterfell against the White Walkers. Regardless of how the final episodes play out, I’m happy Arya was able to have a moment of happiness before the coming doom. I only wish I could have known what to feel during her big moment.
Avengers: Endgame is finally here. After a seemingly eternal wait (really it has just been year since Infinity War, but it has felt like 90!) the grand finale to 22 films has arrived, and a lucky few got the chance to see the film at its premiere on April 22. And the first (non-spoiler) social media reactions are in.
The general consensus is that Kevin Feige and the Russo Brothers have indeed stuck the landing. So you can breathe a sigh of relief, everyone. It seems they did it. Here’s a sampling of what folks thought while walking out of the big finish of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity Saga”—almost all are raving. And who better to start off this wave of positivity than the King of the Nerds himself, Kevin Smith…
3 hours later and I’m shook! My God, @Avengers Endgame is beyond epic! It’s everything you hope it will be and more – an absolute @MarvelStudios marvel! And I’m pretty sure it will make all the money ever printed! Loved it and would watch again instantly! pic.twitter.com/7D3qLfrxV1
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) April 23, 2019
#AvengersEndgame is every bit the masterpiece it deserves to be. It’s extraordinary. It is a conclusion worthy of the greatest cinematic saga of all time! Congratulations to everyone who had anything to do with this film, or the 21 films before it. I am emotionally spent. pic.twitter.com/2Yiu3ZIimC
— Sean Gerber (@MrSeanGerber) April 23, 2019
Imagine the best possible version of #AvengersEndgame and somehow the film still surpasses all expectations. I cried 5-6 times. It’s the most emotional, most epic, MCU film. A tribute to ten years of this universe and holy shit the great fan service in this movie. Soooo good.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) April 23, 2019
#AvengersEndgame is A LOT. Too much at times. But wow the payoff is huge. Left me proud to have invested over a decade in a franchise that delivers an inspiring exploration of what it means to be family & a hero. (Endgame also now has one of my favorite shots in the entire MCU.)
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) April 23, 2019
Man #AvengersEndgame kicked my ass. It was an epic conclusion to 11 years of films. It had laughs, incredible action and absolute emotional rollercoaster. It was the series finale for these cast of characters that I had been hoping for. Congrats to all for pulling off the feat.
— Kristian Harloff (@KristianHarloff) April 23, 2019
Don’t know how any @MarvelStudios fan walks out of #AvengersEndgame disappointed. Movie is loaded with incredible set pieces and tons of small character moments that leave you wanting more. An epic conclusion to 10 years of Marvel movies. Thank you to everyone that worked on MCU. pic.twitter.com/HbXkwuYL5y
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) April 23, 2019
Avengers Endgame: A mediocre first 2 hours that’s equal parts cool moments and problematic moments that ends with a final hour that’s an absolute magnificent geek wet dream. Need to see it again (tomorrow) to solidify my thoughts.
— John Campea (@johncampea) April 23, 2019
What an absolutely perfect ending to the journey that began over a decade ago. #AvengersEndgame is everything & yet nothing you expect. I cannot wait to see where the MCU.
Bravo Russo bros and Kevin Feige. Thank you for giving us and our kids heroes to dream of.
— Yolanda Machado (@SassyMamainLA) April 23, 2019
The scope of Avengers: Endgame is impossible to put into words. What Fiege & MCU achieved over last 10-years has lead to this gloriously masterful moment in cinema & it’s truly mind-blowing how beautifully paced this storytelling is. Perfectly balanced. As all things should be.
— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) April 23, 2019
INCREDIBLE!! #AVENGERS #ENDGAME brings the entire MCU to a rousing, exciting, deeply moving & wholly satisfying conclusion! It’s a *BEAUTIFUL* film! Fun, smart, clever, BRILLIANT! Perfect blend of action, heart & humor! This is as good as it gets! Greatest superhero movie EVER! pic.twitter.com/dMeLtvO7Gy
— Scott Mantz (@MovieMantz) April 23, 2019
Wow. #AvengersEndgame is staggering. It’s surprising in ways I never saw coming and satisfying in ways I didn’t realize I needed. It’s kind of the ultimate gift to fans of the MCU. It’s very long and has a few hiccups, but is everything you’re hoping for and more. pic.twitter.com/RO97kw9fs5
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) April 23, 2019
Images: Marvel Studios
The sweeping majesty of towering turrets emblazoned with the Triforce. Princess Zelda’s cozy study. A library filled to the brim with more books than you can read in a lifetime. You won’t find all of this in the ruins of Hyrule Castle in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Thanks to expert builders of Team-Kyo (Team-京), you’ll only see it in dazzling detail in Minecraft.
Nintendo Japan featured the staggering Breath of the Wild-inspired build on the official website. Included is an interview with the creators, who shared what it’s like to take on a Minecraft build of this size. The tour video shows the major features of the castle, set to a calming rendition of the classic Zelda theme,”Epilogue” from the Breath of the Wild soundtrack. Slow down, take a deep breath, and just marvel at the majesty of Hyrule Castle.
Team-Kyo is made of seventeen professional builders, reveals the interview, and much of their Minecraft building experience has been in recreating cities in block form. The initial design was based on screenshots and official artwork from Nintendo. Two weeks of design and two months of building later, Hyrule Castle was restored to its former glory before the arrival of Ganon.
The amount of bricks and time it must have taken to build the audience room alone is staggering.
While it’s not currently possible to actually explore the pre-destruction Hyrule Castle in either Breath of the Wild or Minecraft, this amazing creation does make it easier to imagine what life was like for young Princess Zelda. Maybe if they make that Legend of Zelda television series or the animated series we’ve always dreamed of, we’ll get to see the castle in its full glory again.
Which version of Hyrule Castle is your favorite? Tell us in the comments.
Images: Nintendo and Team-京
Is Daenerys Targaryen destined to be a Mad Queen, just like her father and many Targaryen kings and queens before her? Game of Thrones has teased her potential turn towards the dark for seasons now, although it’s never been more than mere flirtation. This is the still the Daenerys who freed the slaves beyond the Narrow Sea, and who leads with a tender heart and profound empathy.
But as she moves closer and closer to the Iron Throne, her grip on what she once held dear seems to be loosening. In episode two of the final season, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” she finally learns that her lover Jon Snow is actually her nephew, and the rightful heir to the throne. Elsewhere in the episode, she bristles with Sansa Stark about leveraging power in the North. At this point, we have to wonder if Dany’s entitlement might overrule the good in her heart. If that’s the case, it’s possible she might find validation in an unlikely source: The Night King.
That may sound a little out there, but there are a lot of clues to back this theory up. Namely, quotes that Emilia Clarke has given about Daenerys’ journey in the final season. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Clarke revealed that her character’s arc messed her up. “Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone’s mouth of what Daenerys is…”
We’re only two episodes into the final season, and Dany is already doubling down on her severity while in the North. We’re reminded of how she killed most of House Tarly. She seemingly threatens Sansa. Her face is filled with fury when she regards Jaime Lannister, who murdered her father, and Jon, when he reveals his true identity.
“You gave up your crown to save your people,” Sam tells Jon in the Winterfell crypts, when he reveals the truth about Jon’s parents and rightful claim to the throne. “Would she do the same?”
From all we’ve been shown, it would be surprising if Dany did, in fact, cede her claim just to protect the realm. At this point, her motivation for winning seems less a sense of duty and love—even though she claims Jon is the reason she’s come North—and more a way to save a humanity that can later worship her. But perhaps the war will break her spirit even more, and she’ll turn to the Night King in a moment of weakness, the only access to almighty power that’s left.
This wouldn’t be totally out of nowhere. In George R.R. Martin’s books, there is a character of lore known as the Night’s Queen, who was a female White Walker that fell in love with a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who became known as the Night’s King. He was lured into her web of death, and together the two performed ghastly human sacrifices for the White Walkers, until they were ultimately defeated by the Free Folk and House Stark.
The Night’s King is a very different character than the show’s icicle-crowned Night King, but we could see the inverse of that mythic story playing out with a twist. Perhaps the Night King seeks a queen, and Dany turning to his side could end the war. In a way, she’d be sacrificing herself for the people of Westeros, while also getting to rule in power in the far north. Perhaps she makes this choice after another of her dragons is killed, to be able to ride atop Drogon forever. Maybe she’ll even leave the surviving dragon, Rhaegal, to Jon, so he can carry out the Targaryen legacy of dragons without her.
It’s a grim fate, but Martin and the showrunners have always said the end of the series is “bittersweet.” This sounds like an ending both fitting and tragic for our central heroine. It could also be an inverse of what we’ve always thought the series’ title, A Song of Ice and Fire, could mean. Maybe Dany becomes the ice, and Jon the fire. It could be the great culmination of the series, one both powerful in how it fulfills Dany’s arcs, and tragic in how it bookends her journey.
Could the return of the Emperor have been foretold centuries before he even lived? Claudia Gray’s remarkable prequel-era book Star Wars: Master & Apprentice gives us insight into Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s early years. Inside its pages you’ll also find ancient Jedi prophecies revealed not only to Qui-Gon for the first time, but to Star Wars fans in the real world as well. And like the steadfast Jedi Master, try as we might, we can’t stop thinking about them.
There are several thought-provoking prophecies Qui-Gon and his Master Dooku study over the course of his Padawan years, Gray skillfully reveals in the novel, but one in particular might stop a reader in their tracks:
“When the righteous lose the light, evil once dead shall return.”
With the first look at Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker fresh on readers’ minds, it’s impossible not to immediately think of Sheev Palpatine. The righteous, Han, Luke, and Leia, lost their light—young Ben. And evil once dead, you say?
The Jedi often warn not to dwell too much on prophecies; it often leads to the Dark Side, as we saw with Count Dooku. It’s still very intriguing nonetheless. The book also contains the complete prophecy of the Chosen One that forever dominated Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s destinies:
“A Chosen One shall come, born of no father, and through him will ultimate balance in the Force be restored.”
We know for certain this is Anakin Skywalker, confirmed by George Lucas himself years ago. If this ancient Jedi prophecy came true, couldn’t others as well? It’s easy to see why a Jedi even as unflappable as Qui-Gon Jinn could become endlessly fascinated thinking about the ramifications.
Another prophecy revealed in the pages of Master & Apprentice can get the mind spinning as well: “The danger of the past is not past, but sleeps in an egg. When the egg cracks, it will threaten the galaxy entire.” Could it be the Death Star? Starkiller Base? An actual egg? Or…? They’re not kidding about prophecies leading to the Dark Side.
Realistically, we know it’s unlikely that author Claudia Gray crafted her novel with direct input from J.J. Abrams and the Episode IX production team. But the Lucasfilm Story Group is heavily involved in both the books and films, so it’s possible. Could there be other hints of what’s to come from the ancient Jedi? Will the Emperor fully return, or will he be revealed as a Dark Side vision or Force ghost? December can’t get here fast enough for us to find out.
Star Wars: Master & Apprentice is now available in bookstores everywhere. Pick it up this month as the perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Featured Image: Del Rey Books
Other Images: Disney/Lucasfilm
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of Game of Thrones‘ final season, was one of the show’s best in years. It was a quiet, emotional installment that focused on our favorite thing about the series: the characters and their relationships. And next week they’re probably all going to die.
Okay, maybe not all of them. Most of them. While we weren’t optimistic about many of them surviving before the season, we’re downright terrified about the bloodbath we’re going to witness during the Battle of Winterfell. Especially after the show spent its final moments before the Great War reminding us how much we care about these people.
Here are our odds for each of them making it out of next week’s episode alive, but be warned: the night is dark and full of terrors, and so is our optimism.
Jaime will fight beside Brienne at the front of the living’s left flank. Combine that with Bran’s cryptic question about how Jaime can even be sure there will be “an afterwards” and these odds might be 20% too high.
Ser Brienne’s closest friend finally bestowed her with a title she was long worthy of, during a beautiful, heart-crushing moment years in the making. Now her death next week will make Hodor’s seem fun.
If Brienne isn’t surviving, Podrick isn’t either, especially because his magical little Pod won’t work on the dead the way it does on the ladies.
How much is having a Valyrian steel sword worth? 15%. Seriously, we would have had Jorah at zero had Sam not given him Heartsbane.
All Grey Worm and Missandei’s conversation about moving away was missing was him saying he’s two days away from retirement, his daughter’s about to graduate from college, and when they defeat the Night King they’re going to sail to Naath on their boat “The Live-4-Eva.”
Fully redeemed, Theon shared a hug with Sansa and made good on an old promise to fight with the Starks. Next week he’ll be dead and we can call him Reek again. (Get it? Cause he’ll be a dead body and they smell? What? Not in the mood for a little gallows humor right now? FAIR.)
What the here happens if the Night King kills Bran? It’s such a crazy “What if” we can’t imagine there’s any way Jon would actually let this happen, right? As vulnerable as Bran will be out in the open of the Godswood, he’s going to have two dragons ready to rescue him. This is a coin flip, which is as good as anyone can hope for.
She won’t be fighting, which increases her odds, and we don’t think she’ll be trapped underground either since she’ll want to oversee the battle. For the same reason we think Bran could be rescued, we think Sansa might get out alive, too. Seven hells, Daenerys might spite-save her to prove a point.
We know she’ll live long enough to be terrified of something, but that’s also a really bad sign. Honestly, if she didn’t just have a special weapon made, we’d lower her odds even more.
Well, at least he had a pretty good last night alive.
He admittedly isn’t a good fighter, and everyone who sat around that fire felt like they were saying goodbye to the world, so this could be when the Onion Knight finally goes bad.
Maybe he’ll be killed by that giant he murdered, the one whose wife took him to teat. That would be still be awful, but, it would be kinda funny—no, no it won’t. Tormund dying is going to kill us.
After coming back from the dead six times already, Beric has a role to play. We just think it will be to teach everyone else a lesson when he dies the seventh time.
Know what kills wights? Fire. Know who hates fire? The Hound. Being afraid of fire and being surrounded by fire all while fighting the dead—not a great combo.
On any other show, killing the fierce young girl would seem ludicrous, but on Game of Thrones it’s crazy to think she will make it.
He’s a survivor; making it out of impossible situations is what he does. We also doubt he’ll be at the forefront of the battle, increasing his odds to a whopping 20%!
Burn his body after the battle, please.
Yas, one fricking percent, after everyone spoke about the Crypt being the safest place at Winterfell like it was the counselor bunk at Camp Crystal Lake. It feels like the most dangerous place anyone can be during the Battle, and if anyone says, “I’ll be right back,” before they walk into the Crypt, this number immediately goes to negative 400%.
If you have a dragon you have the chance to fly away if the Battle is lost, so we give both Jon and Daenerys decent odds of making it out of this showdown alive. We fully expect some lucky allies will also make it out with them on the backs of Drogon and Rhaegal.
…unfortunately, that’s why we also give the Night King the same odds.
Do we think he’s going to kill everyone? No, but the odds are better than zero.
“A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms,” the 69th episode of Game of Thrones, was undoubtedly the most romantic one yet.
From Gendry and Arya to Tormund’s continued pursuit of “The Big Woman,” everyone was trying to get some before the long dark night. But at the center (and title) of this entry was what seemed like the conclusion of one of the most satisfying and complex relationships the Seven Kingdoms has ever seen. In the warm gaze of a burning fire and the eyes of some unexpected friends, the Kingslayer himself knighted Brienne of Tarth as a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. It was a moving moment and got us thinking of our other favorite Jaime and Brienne moments!
Writer Vanessa Taylor delivered the spark that would light the fire of season three’s most beloved friendship after the pair met a merchant on a bridge in the Riverlands. Though Jaime implored Brienne to kill him, she wouldn’t. Later, the Kingslayer managed to take one of Brienne’s swords and the two squared off. Unfortunately, a man recognized Jaime from a joust and brought the bannermen of Roose Bolton to capture both Jaime and Brienne. It’s the moment that would change both their lives forever.
During their time captured by Locke, Jaime managed to save Brienne from rape by convincing Locke’s men that her father was a rich jewel merchant and would be able to pay them if they kept his daughter’s honor intact. It’s one of the first times that we truly get to see Jaime think of someone other than his sister and himself. Sadly for the conflicted knight, though, he tries to establish a similar price for himself. Locke finds the offer insulting and in retaliation cuts of Jaime’s sword arm, taking away the one thing he is most known for.
From here on out, Jaime and Brienne’s fates are intertwined. His one selfless act meant that the woman he saved can’t let him die. No matter how much he might want to, and after losing his fighting hand that’s all he can think of. Though they’re hardly friends, Brienne finds her own way to keep him alive, goading him into surviving with the promise of vengeance against the man who dismembered him.
In what is likely one of the best episodes of the entire eight seasons, series writer Bryan Cogman offered up a tender moment between the pair which was also an absolutely huge reveal about Jaime’s backstory. The name “Kingslayer” haunted Jaime throughout the first two seasons and it’s become synonymous with his desperation for power and greed. Here though, after his arm has been treated by the de-chained Maester Qyburn, he’s taken to baths where Brienne happens to be. As she holds the weakened man, she calls him by his nickname and he begs her to call him Jaime before telling her the truth about why he killed Aerys Targaryen II. Despite the common belief that he stabbed the Mad King in the back so his sister’s husband could take the throne, the reality is that Aerys was going to burn down King’s Landing and all of the citizens in it. It’s a striking juxtaposition to what we’ve been told, and it forges an undeniable bond between Jaime and Brienne that continues through the next five seasons.
After Jaime is freed and given a guard to take him back King’s Landing, Brienne is left in Harranhall in the hands of the evil Locke and his men. Brienne is resigned to her fate as long as Jaime promises to keep his oath to return the Stark girls home. Convinced that she will be ransomed and allowed home, Jaime leaves. But after realizing Locke’s true intentions, the former Kingslayer returns to find his ally in a pit. She’s made to face off against a bear with nothing but a wooden sword. It’s a brutal punishment that serves to prove just how masochistic Locke and his crew are. After attempting to bargain for her life, Jaime jumps in the pit to help her. It’s a powerful moment as the two fight the beast, and Jaime finally uses his stature and privilege to help someone other than his massively messed up family.
Though he was back in King’s Landing and once again at the bidding of his sister-lover, Jaime hadn’t forgotten the oath that he made to Catelyn Stark, via Brienne. He gave Brienne new armor, a squire, and his Valyrian steel sword. In one of the most impactful sequences in the show’s history, Brienne renames the weapon Oathkeeper. It’s an homage to the man who has turned his back on his house to protect the daughters of his enemy. Their farewell is bittersweet, and though it by no means marked the end of Jaime’s conflicted and confused journey, there is no question that Brienne was instrumental to the making of him.
After a couple of fleeting moments onscreen Jaime and Brienne were finally reunited for real when the former arrives at Winterfell to “fight for the living.” He appears to truly be a changed man and after Brienne vouches for him Sansa allows him to reside within the chilly fortress. During the night before what may well be the final battle of Winterfell a strange group huddles for warmth in a stone-walled room. Tyrion, Tormund, Podrick, Davos Seaworth, look on as Jaime makes Brienne’s life long dream come true. Making her a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is the correct thing to do on so many levels and it was a brilliant and fitting (potential) end for the relationship between the two unlikely friends.
A few months before his death in April of 2016, the usually interview-shy and private Prince shocked everyone with the news that would write his memoir. It was given the title The Beautiful Ones, after one of the singer’s most beloved songs from Purple Rain. Originally set to publish in 2017, Prince’s untimely death shattered many fan’s hopes we’d ever get this personal insight into the creative genius of the Purple One. But according to Deadline, this memoir is indeed coming out, with a publication date of October 29th, 2019.
Random House released a synopsis of the 288 page book, which said “From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time – featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death”. The announcement was made on the three-year anniversary of Prince’s death.
The book will be broken into four parts, with the first consisting of the the memoir he was writing before his death. The rest will chronicle the iconic musician’s rise to fame, using a scrapbook format based on Prince’s own notes and other writings from his youth. The third part will be mainly images, with a fourth and final part dedicated to Prince’s original treatment for Purple Rain.
It will be interesting to see how much of Prince’s own words and thoughts really do end up in this book. He was only able to work on it for a very brief time, after all. Still, for longtime Prince fans, any peek into his creative process is going to be welcomed with a lot of excitement. We’ve only ever just guessed about what some of his classic songs mean, and who they were about. Hopefully this memoir gives us the window into Prince’s unique mind that we’ve always wanted.
Images: Warner Brothers
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the second episode of Game of Thrones‘ final season.
Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons has no room in her heart for insolence. She might have once. But years into her stalwart quest for the Iron Throne, she’s no longer interested in brokering deals with other realms in the Seven Kingdoms. She doesn’t care much for questions about her claims or entitlement. She’s keen to protect Westeros from the threat of the White Walkers, but only—it seems—so there will be people left to worship her.
For Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell, entitlement feels different. Though she grew up with the dream of being a princess, she never imagined she might find herself head of her ancestral home, after the deaths of her parents and true-born brothers. And while Jon is technically King in the North, it’s clear that Sansa is keeping the Stark stronghold in operation. She’s new to her place of power, and she isn’t about to give that up.
While catty tension between female characters can often be a lazy trope used to create drama, the tenuous relationship between Daenerys and Sansa makes sense. These are two intelligent leaders with largely clashing ideals. Their moment in the second episode of the final season, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” laid those issues on the table.
“We’ve both known what it means to lead people who aren’t inclined to accept a woman’s rule,” Dany says to Sansa in a private meeting. “And we’ve both done a damn good job of it from what I can tell. And yet I can’t help but feel we’re at odds with one another. Why is that?”
It’s because Dany wants claim to all of the Seven Kingdoms, including the North, which swore—under Jon and Sansa’s guise—to never bow to an outsider again. When Sansa asks what will become of the North if the battle against the undead is won, Dany recoils. She’s beginning to realize it will take more than defeating the White Walkers to secure her place on the Iron Throne.
The moment between Dany and Sansa is rich with character drama, but it’s also the latest hint that the show may end with the destruction of the Iron Throne. Sansa questioning the fate of the North doesn’t feel like a simple bit of character-driven conflict. It also brings up a question viewers have been speculating on for years now. Instead of one fateful ruler, will Westeros instead break into separate kingdoms, each with a different ruler?
That may not be what Dany wants to hear, but she is the one who, back in season six, told Tyrion that her intentions were not to continue the great wheel of conflict in her native land, but to “break the wheel.” From her point of view, that meant creating a more just and noble reign. But what if she was instead prophesying her involvement in the destruction of the monarchy, breaking the wheel of common logic and bringing democracy to Westeros?
It’s hard to say how things will shake out between Jon and Dany, but we can’t imagine his revelation that he’s the rightful king won’t put a dent in Dany’s plans, even if he has no desire to rule. It’s possible one or both of them will be killed, but it’s also possible they’ll make the joint decision to prioritize their love and together create a new system of government. If the Iron Throne is destroyed or done away with, and if Jon publicly acknowledges his Targaryen heritage, that would make Sansa the rightful heir of Winterfell and the default Queen in the North. (The title would go to Bran, but Bran isn’t Bran anymore.)
It’s also possible that the conversation in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” between Dany and Sansa is planting seeds in Dany’s mind. Maybe, instead of it being a moment of conflict, it’s the first time Dany is realizing that the best way to bring peace to her home country is to let the people already there rule it for themselves.
Of course, it’s just as possible that she’ll turn evil and side with the Night King. Anything is possible at this point, and that’s part of the excitement of this closing chapter of Game of Thrones. We hope both ladies survive and find a way to work together, but that seems far too easy for a show that eschews happy endings whenever it can.
This post contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones’ “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”
The dead have finally arrived at Winterfell, and while the living aren’t at full strength (thanks Cersei) or completely focused (super timing on that whole “Aegon” thing, Jon), they do have a plan to defeat the White Walkers. The giant war council gave us a clear idea of how the living plan to both defend the castle and lure the Night King into a trap. We’re just not sure it will work.
The living are not going to hide behind Winterfell’s walls, nor should they. The White Walker army is at least 100,000 strong, and wight soldiers unburdened by their own safety would easily swarm the castle and overrun it. Winterfell’s forces will instead meet them in the field from a fortified position. They have built a massive, spiked trench they will turn into a ring of fire. This will help stop the wights, but not the White Walkers themselves. (We saw the Night King easily pass through fire outside the Three-Eyed Raven’s cage.) They also have catapults to shoot balls of fire into the dead, and caltrops (those big, static wooden Xs) to slow them down. Brienne also said they are fighting on “good ground,” and Winterfell’s elevated position should give them an advantage.
As for the men and women fighting, the Targaryen forces made up of Dothraki and Unsullied, the largest contingent in the living’s army, will take the center. Ser Brienne will lead the left flank, with the Knight of the Vale at the forefront reinforced by Northerners. On the right will be an entire company of Stark men, with a small force from Bear Island inside the walls and the Iron Born in the Godswood. All non-fighters will hide in Winterfell’s Crypt during the battle, which might be a disaster.
Unfortunately, as we can see on this map, the White Walker army is three to four times larger than the army of the living.
As for the living’s biggest advantage, their two dragons, Jon plans to keep them away from the field in hopes of luring in the Night King into a war-ending trap.
Bran is convinced he is the White Walker’s primary target, because Bran is the memory of a world the Night King wants to erase. He will stay “out in the open” (though still within the castle’s walls) where the Night King will be able to find him thanks to the mark he put on Bran’s arm. The goal is to lure the Night King there and kill him, because Jon believes it will lead to every other White Walker and dead soldier dying, like in season seven when Jon killed a White Walker and all of the wights he raised died too. This is why Jon and Daenerys will keep their dragons nearby, but not engaged in the fight, despite how much they could help. Jon thinks the dragons’ presence will make the Night King wary of coming close, no matter how much he wants to kill Bran.
If the Brandon Bait works and the Night King does enter the Godswood, Theon Greyjoy and his Iron Born will be there to defend the Three-Eyed Raven, and Jon also seems ready to also swoop in. Bran can always warg into a raven and let him know, or someone can blow a horn three times to alert Jon when the time has come.
The living seem resigned to the possibility of defeating the White Walker army on the battlefield. Even with a fortified position, the sheer numbers of the White Walker army, combined with the fact they never tire, never feel fear, and grow in number every time they kill an enemy, makes it only a matter of time before they reach Winterfell’s walls.
Trying to delay that for as long as possible while they lure the Night King into a single showdown could end the Great War in a single blow; they can take away the White Walker’s greatest advantage. The dead have more soldiers, but they might all be beaten if Jon defeats one of them.
The living have enough men to adequately withstand a direct onslaught for a time, but appear vulnerable to being outflanked. The dead might reach Winterfell’s walls far too fast for the rest of the plan to work, assuming the main part of the plan isn’t doomed to fail anyway.
If Bran is wrong and he’s not the Night King’s primary target, or the Night King is too smart to fall into their trap, the living will be keeping their dragons away from the battle for no reason. They will give up their greatest advantage while needlessly sacrificing their best fighters, who will then rise up to fight against them.
Winter is here and with it comes the dead. We’re not sure the living can beat them.
We’ve teamed up with Freeform and Marvel to bring you exclusive art from some of comics’ most impressive artists, highlighting each new episode of the second season of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger.
Mild spoilers follow—beware!
We’ve already been treated to creative posters from the likes of Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez, Afua Richardson, and David Nakayama. This week’s intriguing image is by Christian Ward, an Eisner Award-winning artist whose work you might have seen in Marvel books like Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, and The Ultimates. For the fifth episode of the season, Tyrone, a.k.a. Cloak, looms large in this exclusive art.
Ward colorfully captures the tense conflict between Tyrone Johnson and Connors, the man who killed his brother, and all without any of the characters uttering a single word. Tyrone will be facing off against Connors in this week’s suspenseful episode, “Alignment Chart.”
On last week’s episode, Tandy freed the corrupt cop after a harrowing journey through the Dark Dimension, and now Tyrone must confront his brother’s murderer, perhaps once and for all. We have a few big questions going into this episode: Will Tyrone let the darkness consume him and exact revenge for the loss of his loved one? Or can he work with Connors to clear his own name as the New Orleans police pursue him?
Tyrone is faced with a hard decision when presented with an opportunity to clear his name from an unlikely source. Meanwhile, Tandy is letting her anger get the best of her as she becomes frustrated with a possible dead end to her investigation into the sex trafficking ring.
There are never any easy decisions when you’re a superhero. Find out what Tandy and Tyrone will do next on Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, airing this April 25 at 8 PM ET on Freeform.
All Images: Marvel/Freeform
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for this week’s Game of Thrones.
Jaime knighting Brienne made for one of Game of Thrones’ most emotional scenes ever. Their bond is one of genuine love and respect, built over years and shared hardships, and no man alive deserved that honor more than she did. But if you have read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, you may have picked up on the fact that this was a knighting a hundred years in the making—one that connects Brienne to another famous knight whom she shares more than blood with.
The episode took its name from the scene in which Jaime pronounced Brienne “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” but that’s also the name of a collection of George R.R. Martin novellas about one of the most famous pairs in Westeros’ past, Dunk and Egg. A century before Jaime put a sword on Brienne’s shoulders, another knight—a giant of a man named Ser Duncan the Tall—gained a new squire at a tourney, and their time together would make Duncan a legend.
The young boy was called Egg thanks to his bald head, but would one day he would be known as King Aegon Targaryen V. Over the years Dunk and Egg traveled Westeros together, with Duncan proving to be an honorable knight and fearsome fighter. When Aegon became king after his older brother Aemon (yas, that Maester Aemon), rejected the crown, he named his loyal friend Ser Duncan as the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard.
The Realm remembers Dunk as one of the most respected knights to ever serve, maybe even the greatest. Even Joffrey talked about Ser Duncan’s impeccable reputation in season four (as he mocked Jaime for not living up to his own potential).
Sadly, Dunk died alongside his friend Egg during the Tragedy of Summerhall. The king, desperate to enforce new laws benefiting the common people, tried to hatch dragon eggs with wildfire. Something went wrong, and the Targaryen pleasure castle burned. (Prince Rhaegar was born that very night, which is why he was said to be “born in grief.”) Everyone inside Summerhall’s walls would have died had Duncan not saved some in his final moments, though exactly what he did was lost to time.
No one in Westeros can live up to Ser Duncan the Tall’s legacy like Brienne, which is only fitting because she is his descendant. Fans long speculated she might be, thanks to her height and Dunk’s shield being found in the armory on Tarth, and George R.R. Martin confirmed their familial connection in 2016. However, that’s not what made her knighting an event 100 years in the making.
Duncan was himself a squire once, to a hedge knight named Ser Arlan of Pennytree. He served him for many years, until Ser Arlan died on the way to the very tourney where Dunk met Egg.
But Duncan lied about being knighted by Ser Arlan. The old man died without ever bestowing the honor on his squire, and Dunk said he had so he could compete at the tourney. It was dishonorable, but it was an easy lie. As Jaime said, any knight can make a knight, and since Duncan certainly looked like one and Ser Arlan was well known, people believed he had knighted his squire.
One of the greatest knights Westeros has ever known was not actually knight, at least not officially, just like Brienne wasn’t before Jaime named her Ser. Of course, like Duncan, Brienne was one before anyone put a sword on her shoulder.
She has always been brave. She has always been just. She has always defended the innocent.
“Ser” is a title you are given, and seeing Brienne be recognized for an honor she deserved more than any man alive was an amazing, emotional moment. But being a true Knight of the Seven Kingdoms isn’t something someone gives you, it’s something you are.
Ser Duncan the Tall would be proud.
Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the second episode from Game of Thrones‘ final season. It also has a lot of funny jokes and people excited about a CGI-ed wolf.
Game of Thrones‘ second episode of season eight, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” didn’t feature anyone dying or being turned into a zombie, or even any dragons. And we loved it. We weren’t the only ones either. These are Twitter’s best reactions to highlights like Brienne’s knighting, Arya and Gendry’s intimate moment, the long-awaited but brief return of Ghost, Jon dropping a truth bomb on Daenerys, and more.
When #GOT gives us:
Arya + Gendry
Sansa + Theon
Greyworm + Missandei
Sam + Gilly
Sansa + Dany
Lannister Brothers Reunion
Mormont Fam Reunion
Tormund + The Giant’s Wife
Aegon + Daenerys
But all I can think about is…
“Arise, Brienne of Tarth. Knight of the Seven Kingdoms!” Yas! pic.twitter.com/rZxuKya5vV
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 22, 2019
While Jaime and Brienne made fans cry, Arya and Gendry elicited very different reactions.
The part of the episode that garnered the best reactions was the unheralded return of Ghost, Jon’s direwolf who has been missing for roughly 17 seasons.
all i want from this season of game of thrones is for somebody to pet ghost. just give him a nice pat on the head or an ear scratch or two.
honestly if the night king can offer belly rubs i wouldn’t even be mad if he switched sides
— Andrew Goldfarb (@garfep) April 22, 2019
You would think being a Queen of people who hate you while an army of ice demons marches towards you would be as bad as it gets, but Jon Snow and the worst-timed conversation in history proved things can always be worse for Daenerys.
It’s too bad Daenerys didn’t get to hear Podrick sing. It definitely would have cheered her up.
Of course, a powerful episode focused on characters’ relationships comes with a catch – a catch the size of an army of the dead. And we know what that means for next week.
Bran: “The things we do for love”
Me: how could this episode get better? It literally can’t.
*rare footage of ghost*
*the hound gets sentimental*
*arya gets hers*
*Missandi and Greyworm 4EVA*
*Podrick has pipes*
Me, preparing for next week: pic.twitter.com/PcC5MCenpr
— Kristie Sims (@kristiegrube) April 22, 2019
We have a feeling the reactions to next week’s Battle of Winterfell won’t be nearly as funny.
Warning: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones season eight, episode two.
The first female knight in the Seven Kingdoms. It has a nice ring to it, right? There were so many satisfying aspects of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. But seeing Brienne of Tarth finally get to shine, and finally get to feel reciprocated love from a man she admires, is why she’s our Most Valuable Player this week. She was the heart of this episode, one of the greatest in recent Thrones history, so much so that the title refers to her big moment. In a series where women are often brutalized and humiliated by men, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was a welcome respite.
The episode saw the arrival of Jaime Lannister in Winterfell, the first time he’s stepped foot in the Northern hold since the pilot episode. Face-to-face with Bran, the boy he threw from a window to protect his incestuous relationship with Cersei, it was hard to imagine how things might go down. Would Bran tell Daenerys and Sansa that Jaime almost murdered him? Would Dany order his death for executing her father during Robert’s Rebellion? Instead, after Jaime had explained that he and Tyrion were duped by Cersei, Brienne leapt before the Winterfell council to plead Jaime’s case.
“You don’t know me well, your grace,” Brienne says to Dany. “But I know Ser Jaime. He is a man of honor. I was his captor once, but when we were both taken prisoner and the men holding us tried to force themselves on me, Ser Jaime defended me. And lost his hand because of it.”
Brienne then turned to Sansa and explained how Jaime is the reason either of them are alive. “He armed me, armored me, and sent me to find you and bring you home, because he’s sworn an oath to your mother.”
She easily could have left him to a more grim fate, but Brienne’s trust in and love of Jaime won out, and built on seven seasons’ worth of relationship payoff. The episode also showed Brienne’s affection for another man in her life: her squire, Podrick Payne. The admiration between all of these people led to the great sequence near the hearth, as a select few stationed in Winterfell gather before the Army of the Dead arrives, enjoying what could be their last night of happiness and company.
After Tormund, erm, delights the group (which includes himself, Brienne, Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, and Podrick) with a story about how he got the name “Giantsbane,” he asks why Brienne isn’t a “Ser.” Women can’t be knights because of tradition, she explains. When he scoffs at tradition, Jaime suddenly realizes that as a knight himself, he has the power to knight others. This leads to one of many tear-jerking moments in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” where Brienne kneels before Jaime and becomes “Ser Brienne.” It’s worth it for her happy face alone.
But it’s also worth it to see a room full of men look at Brienne with admiration and pride. She’s finally received the praise she never thought women like her were allowed to have.
She also gets personal validation from Jaime, whom she loves.
Of course, all of this happiness could be the calm before the deafening, destructive storm that is bound to be episode three. Now that the White Walkers have arrived at Winterfell, it’s hard not to wonder if Brienne becoming a knight was one last positive moment before a storm of death claims our favorite characters left and right.
That may be the case, but we’ll always have “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the moment when Brienne of Tarth got to feel as important as she is.
Game of Thrones has a hearty history of songs, ballads, and bawdy poems. In the sophomore episode of the eighth season, Podrick sang an emotive new ditty which might have teased the future of the battles to come.
As the last bastion of Winterfell sat around and wondered what was to come in the long, dark night, Tyrion requested a song. After most of the group declined, it was Podrick, Brienne’s faithful squire, who delivered. Fans of the books were likely shocked when the first words that left his lips were “High in the halls of the kings who are gone, Jenny would dance with her ghosts.”
The line hails from a ballad known in the books as “Jenny’s Song.” It’s one of A Song of Ice and Fire’s most enigmatic and potentially (in this case) impactful riddles. Canonically, the only known lyrics from the song are the ones quoted above. Here we get an entire song, complete with an official lyric video and performance from Florence + The Machine. This might just seem like another chance for Game of Thrones to show off its celebrity fanbase, but the official title of the track, “Jenny of Oldstones,” actually hints at a connection to the future of Westeros. Particularly the vitally important prophecy of The Prince That Was Promised.
An interesting piece of Westeros history, Jenny of Oldstones’ story seems to be one that reflects the love affair which led to the birth of Jon Snow, A.K.A. Aegon Targaryen. The beautiful and strange woman claimed to be a descendant from the First Men. However, it was her marriage to Duncan Targaryen that would set off a series of events that changed Westeros forever. The pair were so enamored with each other, just like Rhegaer and Lyanna, they married against the wishes of their families; Duncan broke an engagement to the daughter of a Baratheon. During her time at court, Jenny introduced a wood witch, who prophesied that a union between siblings Prince Aerys and Princess Rhaella would lead to the birth of The Prince That Was Promised.
That marriage was swiftly arranged by the pair’s father and the rest, as they say, is history. Aerys was better known as the Mad King, the father of Daenerys Targaryen, and the great uncle/grandfather of Aegon “Jon Snow” Targaryen. It’s long been thought that Jon or Dany could fulfill this prophecy. Is this inclusion a nod at the prophetic words coming true? Or is it just a super fun Easter Egg for fans of the book? We’ll have to wait to find out, but we sure will miss getting to pick the epic lore apart when the season ends in just a few weeks. Prepare though, as if you watch the lyrics video you may uncover some serious secrets, as well as crying over some of the most emotional moments from the past eight seasons.
For more of Game of Thrones extensive lore, check out our complete histories.
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the second episode of Game of Thrones final season.
Game of Thrones has been undergoing a personality crisis since season seven, which was so different from everything that preceded it that the series felt like a totally different show. There were two primary reasons for that. 1) Characters started acting totally out-of-character (mostly by being really dumb). 2) Everything was rushed, both distance traveled and the pace of episodes. Those problems continued with the season eight premiere, “Winterfell.” Petty fights, silly dragon rides, and a lack of focus on the coming Great War were so frustrating, we asked if the living even deserved to win. It also had us worried the show might not stick the landing on one of the most anticipated final seasons ever.
We can stop worrying now, because this week’s Game Of Thrones returned to greatness. The final season’s second episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” focused on what has always been the driving force of the show and what has always made it great, the characters and their relationships.
Huge set pieces, epic battles, Red Weddings, and face swapping men are cool and vital to the show’s success, but we only care about any of that because we love the characters. Game of Thrones might be a fantasy series, but it’s one anchored by empathetic people facing a harsh world. That’s why it has always been engrossing to watch two enemies sit across from one another, sharing a drink together as they size each other up, like Littlefinger and Varys would, or Tyrion and Cersei. Olenna Tyrell never picked up a sword, but her sharp tongue was riveting no matter whom she spoke to. Those were the scenes that used to take up the majority of episodes and entire seasons, not the spectacles those seasons built toward. The show created a fascinating world where the political ramifications of people sitting around a table felt more important than the war those moments led to. When those people experienced a crushing loss, or yet another beloved person died, it meant so much to us because the show invested in their personal stories and so did we.
That’s what this week’s episode did so perfectly, like during its best seasons. We got to slow down and reinvest in these people. Whether a bunch of former enemies sat around a fire and drank, waiting to die together, or friends stood on a wall making jokes; this episode’s moments were better than any of season seven’s action sequences. That room, those glasses of wine (and one horn of wildling…something), the old stories and the long silences–all had more weight than any Loot Train Attack ever could.
When you think of everything everyone has been through together – Brienne and Jaime, Arya and Gendry, Jorah and Daenerys, Jaime and Bran, Tyrion and Daenerys, Grey Worm and Missandei, Sam and Jon, Sansa and Theon – it’s remarkable how much they’ve endured to be here in this moment of reckoning. Spending a few quiet, unrushed moments with them–as Jaime knighted Brienne, Jorah defended Tyrion, and Tormund tackled Jon in a hug–was a chance to feel the gravity of everything that has brought them–and us–to this moment.
After a disappointing season premiere followed the show’s worst season, we feared the Game of Thrones we loved was gone for good. This week the show finally remembered what made us love it in the first place.
When we’re watching the Battle of Winterfell next week, we’re going to enjoy the spectacle of it, just like we always have. Game of Thrones wouldn’t be the same without ice demons, special swords, and fire-breathing dragons. But we’re going to care about the episode and what happens at Winterfell for the reason we’ve always loved the show: we care about the people.
How you respond to shocking news can say a lot about you as a person. For instance, Daenerys Targaryen’s reaction to Jon Snow’s shocking news on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” reveals an uncomfortable truth that could have powerful ramifications for the remaining four episodes in the fan-favorite fantasy series.
Editor’s note: this post is dark and full of spoilers for Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, so if you haven’t seen it yet, what is wrong with you? Oh, you were busy? Oh, well it must be nice to have plans on a Sunday. My plan was to watch this episode in a timely fashion. If those weren’t your plans too, then you please consider this your last chance to avoid getting the ever-loving heck spoiled out of this episode.
“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” neatly wrapped up storylines that have unfolded over the the last decade. From Jaime Lannister’s deeply uncomfortable return to Winterfell to the culmination of Arya’s “friendship” with Gendry to Brienne of Tarth finally getting the recognition from her peers she so sorely deserves, it is one of the best episodes of Game of Thrones in years. But it also ended with a bombshell revelation that will have far-reaching consequences in the final episodes. Consequences that could take two of our protagonists and rend them asunder like the Night King turning Stark bannermen into contemporary art.
During the episode’s final moments, we were treated to the single worst version of the “We need to talk” text in television history. It was reunion that we had been dreading for the entire hour-long run, ever since Jon Snow received his unexpected Ancestry.com results from Samwell Tarly at the end of the season eight premiere. Daenerys Targaryen descended into the crypts of Winterfell expecting to have a private moment with her new boyfriend, free from the prying eyes of one very judgmental dragon. Unfortunately for Dany, Jon Snow actually knew something for once.
During the season eight premiere, Jon learned the terrible truth about his parentage: that his true name is Aegon Targaryen. He is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, who were wed in a secret ceremony. He is the last living male Targaryen heir, which means that he has a claim to the Iron Throne. In a monarchy built on primogeniture such as Westeros, this means that Jon not only has claim to the Iron Throne, but a more legitimate and stronger one than Daenerys does.
Now, there’s no good way to tell your new girlfriend that not only are you related, but you are potentially interviewing for the same job that she wants. But this has to rank among the worst ways to do it. Nevertheless, in a damp, musty tunnel full of the skeletal remains of his loved ones and ancestors, Jon Snow drops the bomb on Dany and, to no one’s surprise, it does not go over well.
Emilia Clarke’s facial gymnastics during this revelation are worthy of 1,000 GIFs as the crushing weight of history bears down upon Daenerys. “That’s impossible,” she tells Jon, reeling from the shock. She rapidly progresses from shock to denial when Jon explains that Bran and Sam were the ones who told him the truth. “A secret no one in the world knew except your brother and your best friend…doesn’t seem strange to you?” Dany rightfully asks.
But through Bran’s greensight, we have seen the past. We have known this shoe was going to drop ever since they prepared one another to be boarded during their ocean voyage to Winterfell. The horror of banging a relative, though, is nothing compared to what this means for Daenerys’ lifelong mission to reclaim the Iron Throne.
“If it were true, that would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen,” Dany says very slowly and deliberately. “You’d have a claim to the Iron Throne.”
In that moment, Dany does not mourn for the romantic partner she may have lost, but she steels herself for the political rival she gains. Much digital hay has been made about whether Daenerys would be a good and just ruler if she ascended to the Iron Throne or if she would follow in her father’s footsteps and become the Mad Queen. She has never been one to tolerate dissent in her ranks. Case in point, she displays a fiery temper when Randall and dinkon Tarly refuse to pledge fealty to their dragon-riding conqueror. So what would Dany do if her allies in the war for the living, people that she feels close to, don’t align with her visions for the future? It’s a question that Sansa asks her point-blank during their tête-à-tête following episode one’s icy introduction.
“All my life, I’ve known one goal: the Iron Throne,” Dany tells Sansa. “Taking it back from the people who destroyed my family, and almost destroyed yours. My war was against them. Until I met Jon. Now I’m here, half a world away, fighting Jon’s war alongside him.”
The moment of sincerity and sisterhood is fleeting. Sansa has evolved into one of the smoothest political operators in all of Westeros and wisely wants to know what happens after the dust settles. “We defeat the dead, we destroy Cersei, what happens then?” she asks. As expected, Dany asserts that she would ascend to the Iron Throne and become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
But the North is done with the old ways of Westeros. They have had their fill of Southern rulers telling them what to do. “What about the North?” Sansa asks with increasing grit. “It was taken from us and we took it back. And we said we’d never bow to anyone else again. What about the North?”
The question is left to hang in the ether as the two are interrupted. The same thing happens at the end of Jon and Dany’s conversation when a horn signaling the arrival of the White Walkers interrupts them, officially makes it the horniest thing to happen between them this episode (and oh what a horny episode it was).
While they’ll have 82 minutes of glorious battle between them and a satisfying resolution to this revelation, it does raise major concerns for what will happen once the battle between the living and the dead has come to an end. Will Jon continue to bend the knee (and the D) to Daenerys? Will Dany ultimately turn on Jon and have him eliminated? Will the final episodes of the show be a showdown between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, two people’s heroes who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve greatness? The true song of ice and fire, it seems, is between the King in the North and the Mother of Dragons, but how it ends is anyone’s guess.
For the final episodes, I cannot help but hearken back to the surprisingly wise words of one of the worst people ever to grace the small screen, Ramsay Bolton: “If you think this was going to have a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
Unfortunately for Jon and Dany, Game of Thrones is far from a fairy tale. The night is dark and full of secrets, and now that the long night is upon us, all of our secrets are coming out at long last.
Featured Image: HBO/Helen Sloan
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