Okay, we missed a bunch. We didn’t even talk about how cool Nightcrawler was — and he was REALLY cool. But we put on a 2 minute timer on our phone to quickly review X-Men: Apocalypse and just went with what came out (and for us we had to start with Mystique, Storm, Jean Grey, Psylocke & Jubilee). This mini-extra ep clocks out at 3 minutes because, you know intro/outro….and Maddy had to give you the info on Essex Corp just because you need to know that.
First column of the new year. We’re already over 1% through the year. How’s it treating you so far?
Switching gears from last week where I was reflecting on 2015, I’ve been thinking about what we have in store for us in the year to come. Upon pondering what’s awaiting us over the course of the next twelve months, I realized that we may not be moving forward as fast as I was hoping. Particularly when it comes to the movies.
I’m starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as it’s still making money and hasn’t even opened in China yet. This may be considered a minor spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and any plot detail revealed may cause you to succumb to an unimaginable rage, then I suggest you skip to the next paragraph. Anyway, the opening scroll of the movie reveals that the major plot point is that our heroes need to find a straight cis white guy, Luke Skywalker, to save them all. Sound familiar? And while the new main characters are a more diverse crew, they’re still not only serving to find previously stated straight cis white guy, but the movie gets hijacked by another straight cis white guy, Han Solo, the moment he comes on screen. Not quite the kind of progress you’d hope to see in a movie that was billed as being diverse.
How about the superhero/geeky movies coming up? Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is about a couple of straight cis white guys who are up against a straight cis white genius with a straight cis white woman tacked on as an afterthought. That’s not to say it won’t be a good movie or we shouldn’t give it a chance, but that doesn’t change those facts.
DC may be offering us more diversity with Suicide Squad. Will Smith as Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller do give me hope that we will be seeing a more diverse cast in a superhero movie, possibly the most diverse yet in the Marvel and DC universes big budget films. However, this could just as easily end up being primarily about The Joker and Harley Quinn. Will Smith did indicate that Deadshot and Joker would both be pursuing Harley Quinn, so Deadshot may have a significant role in the film. However, this may also indicate that we’ll have a straight Harley Quinn as opposed to her bi comic counterpart. Not to mention the heteronormative nature of a love triangle involving two men going after one woman who is only allowed to enjoy one of them intimately.
As for Marvel’s offerings, we’re looking at Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange from Disney and Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse from Fox. Starting with Captain America, we do have the introduction of Black Panther into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Falcon and War Machine will also have roles in the film, in addition to Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. That being said, the movie is being carried by Captain America, a straight cis white guy, protecting his friend Bucky, a straight cis white guy, primarily from Iron Man, a straight cis white guy. Noticing a pattern?
The Doctor Strange movie, from what we know of the casting and plot synopsis so far, is that it will be about a magical straight cis white guy that needs to stop another magical straight cis white guy.
Deadpool is about a cis white guy, but this one is supposedly pansexual. We’ll see what this ends up meaning. It could be an actual representation of a pansexual character. It could also easily be used to have Deadpool jokingly hit on guys while only having a more realistic interest in women. I’m hopeful, but I’ll believe he’s pansexual in the film when I see it.
X-Men: Apocalypse, while having some diversity in its cast, doesn’t mean it’ll be about diversity. These movies tend to revolve around Xavier and Magneto, two straight cis white guys. Cyclops and Jean have been recast and brought back into the fold of the X-Men movie franchise. A straight cis white heteronormative relationship is just what the X-Men franchise needs! It’s not like Storm could have ever had an interesting relationship in the comics that could translate to film. To be clear, she has, and I was being sarcastic. Also, casting Oscar Isaac, a Hispanic actor, to play the Egyptian villain Apocalypse is a bit troubling too.
As I was saying earlier, none of this means that these movies will be bad. This may very well be the best slew of superhero movies yet. However, they are lacking quite a bit in the diversity department. Having slightly more diversity in the cast of a movie while still having straight cis white guys moving the plot forward and taking up the majority of the screen time is really missing the point.
The point being that we need to be exposing ourselves to people of different backgrounds, points of views, and people who have had radically different life experiences than we commonly see depicted in media. We don’t get that by having them walk on screen or onto the pages of a comic. We get that by having them be an integral part of the plot, or better yet, the focus of the plot. A radical concept, I know.
The comics and the TV series are doing a bit of a better job this year. Shows like Supergirl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., comics like Midnighter, the new Black Panther series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates starting this year, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and many other examples exist that show that we’re continuing to make some progress in both of those mediums. That said, out of the 11 oversized 50th issues DC has coming out in a couple of months, eight of them star straight cis white guys, two of them star straight cis white women, and one stars a bisexual white woman.
The movies really do need to step up their game in the diversity department. It may be too late for 2016 already. We do at least have the Wonder Woman movie coming out next year. Let’s hope for better luck in 2017.
Greetings, ComicMixers! Did everyone have a good weekend? I hope so! But I know, I know, there was probably one thing missing from your hopefully glorious and relaxing weekend – my SDCC coverage! Yes, that’s right – Along with Part I(the con floor!); Part II(the Her Universe Fashion Show!); and Part III (The party round-up!), here comes Part IV – the panels!
Contrary to what folks who see me at cons might think, I can actually sit still for at least an hour at a time, and sometimes I even want to. In particular, I do like to try and see a few panels whenever I’m at a con; and going into SDCC, I definitely had some on my agenda. This year, unlike many, I actually even managed to see most of them, and I’m glad I did, because they were awesome and I want to share them with you. So here we go!
Look, the day they have voice actor panels at a con and I don’t make it to at least one is the day you’ll know I’ve lost my joy in life (the same goes for any panel featuring the delightful Rob Paulsen – and since I couldn’t make the TMNT panel (and see the awesome TMNT SDCC mini scene in person!) due to a scheduling conflict, this panel was definitely a must). The panel featured Susan Eisenberg, Rob Paulsen, Caitlin Glass, Anthony Bowling, Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal, and Genese Davis, and was primarily a Q&A, with the usual fun (and funny voices) that goes on at a VO panel.
Genese Davis was a fantastic moderator, and you could just feel the love these VO folks have for their work and the fans. It was also neat to hear, e.g., Eisenberg discuss what voicing Wonder Woman has meant to her, and other great and inspiring stories from the panelists. My favorite funny bit of the panel was Lowenthal’s explanation for why he has a mohawk, which basically varies depending on the moment and his mood. “You know, a fan will ask me, ‘Did you get a mohawk because your character has one?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, what a good idea – of course that’s why I got it!'” Hah!
The Black Panel
For those who don’t know, The Black Panel is an SDCC staple that’s been happening since 1997. It primarily features black creators in and connected with the genre entertainment industry (although often there is also a “token white person” on the panel) and discusses their impact on and experiences within the industry. While the panel is known for the irreverent humor and moderating style of organizer Michael Davis , it’s also known for the impressive list of top-tier creators it’s featured over the years, and the valuable advice they have shared for young creators and others in the audience.
This year, the panel featured Joe Illidge, Eric Dean Seaton, Don McGregor, Tatiana EL-Khouri, and of course, moderator Davis. Although distilled wisdom and good advice were shared with the audience by all of the panelists, as usual, this panel was also bittersweet and truly the end of an era, as we learned that this was going to be the last SDCC Black Panel. It then featured a scrolling list of all of the luminaries who have been on the panel, as well as at least two fans whose Q&A questions consisted of talking about how valuable the Black Panel has been to them over the years in raising awareness of black talent (one woman in particular, a librarian, discussed how the panel had helped her to find black-created comics to include in her library stock). It was truly an inspiring panel, both in hearing what the panelists shared, and in hearing what the panel has meant to people; although of course, the trademark humor of the panel was still present. In classic Black Panel style, Davis closed the final Black Panel with, “Oh yeah: white people, get out!”
Dark Horse: An Afternoon with Joss Whedon
This panel was an absolute delight (and can be watched in its entirety here, thanks to others who actually filmed it). Whedon started with a nice thanks to Dark Horse and a funny Oz joke: ” I want to talk about how ridiculously grateful I am to everybody at Dark Horse for doing what is honestly one of the hardest jobs in the world. When you take a licensed product, something that already exists, and you have to continue those stories, you have to be so faithful and yet so inventive to make the stories come to life. And that is a tightrope act. It is really difficult for someone; for anyone, to carry on something that is so beloved, and take it to another level, while still being true to all the voices and the characters and what we were trying to do way back when. Thank you to Scott, who’s been my editor forever, and Sierra, who is working on the books; Mike Richardson, who built the house we’re all in, and particularly the writers and artists – Christos Gage has been killing it, Rebekah Isaacs, and Georges Jeanty of course; Zack Whedon. …I feel like five years ago a tornado ripped up my house and dropped it in the land of Marvel, and it’s been a very weird time. And (pointing to the audience) you were in it, and you were there, and you were there…and all that while, all these people have been working so hard and doing such beautiful work, and it’s been so great for me to know that the things I care most about are being taken care of. So I want to give Dark Horse a shout-out for their amazing work.”
Following that was some big news from Whedon; the announcement of a new Dark Horse six issue book, The Twist, about which Whedon said, “it basically deals with the most important moral question facing us, which is why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?” He then decided to impart some life and creative advice to all of us, which was, ” Continue to earn what you already have.” Followed quickly with more witty repartee, including discussion of the Marvel movies, about which he observed, “What’s exciting was that everyone was so perfectly pleased with how I handled Natasha.” Followed by, “Yeah, I still got it,” in response to the ensuing laughter.
The whole panel is well worth a watch, but in particular Joss’s answer to this fan question is worth paying attention to. The fan said, “I, like many of us, gain a lot of peace from your work, even though it’s about people who exist in very non-peaceful situations. My question is: what is the world, what is existence, why are we here, how can I and all of us feel more sane and purposeful in our own lives, and how do you represent that philosophy in your writings?”
Whedon replied with, “You think I’m not going to…but I’m going to answer that! The world is a random and meaningless terrifying place, and we all, spoiler alert, die. Most critters are designed not to know that. We are designed uniquely to transcend that. To understand that…Ooh, I can quote myself, this is fun! ‘A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.’ That what we have right now, right here, has as much meaning as anything we’re afraid of. And the way we’re designed to do this is that the main function of the human brain, the primary instant function, is storytelling. Memory is storytelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and we would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and we learn to also distort, and from the very beginning, we’re learning to tell a story about ourselves.
I keep hoping to be the hero of my story; I’m kind of like the annoying sidekick. I’m like Rosie O’Donnell in the Tarzan movie that Disney did. I’m that annoying. I was like, “But I’m Tarzan, right?’ And they were like, “No. You’re that weird ape that we don’t know if it’s a girl.” But, it is still a narrative. And since we’re doing that from the moment we’re alive, living stories that we then hear and see and internalize and wear hats from and come to conventions about; we all come here to celebrate only exactly that: storytelling. And the shared experience of what that gives us. And it may give us strength; it may distract us. It can do almost anything. And that, for me, is how we live peacefully, and how we live with ourselves, and each other. We understand our story, everybody else’s story, that we’re all part of that; and that story is going to be with us, and can be controlled by us, and can be surprising and delightful and horrifying and all those things, but it’s something we can survive because, unlike me, you all are the hero of the story. That is my answer.”
Wow. And after that profoundness, I’ll end my summary of this panel with this quote from Whedon, which clearly needs no context: “This is very simple, and I think everyone can relate to where I am on this. I love bees. I just want to put bees in my clothes. And have bee-time.”
Thanks for that, Joss. And for being awesome.
20th Century Fox
Ohhhhh, you guys know where this is going, right? Okay, so the Fox panel showcased a bunch of projects, including The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Victor Frankenstein (which featured the most hilariously homoerotic panel I have experienced in person), Fantastic Four, and X-Men: Apocalypse, several of which I’m excited about (X-Men in particular); but you all know why I sat my butt on those hard seats in the Most Depressing Room of SDCC for two hours after Joss Whedon left, right? Deadpool. (Look, I’m not the only one. The Wall Street Journalis all about the Deadpool, too. As is Nicholas Hoult, who, when asked about his character Beast on the X-Men panel, replied, “I can’t concentrate because I’m still psyched about the ‘Deadpool’ trailer.”)
In the midst of all of the other cool Fox stuff going on, moderator Chris Hardwick of Nerdist started the Deadpool ball rolling with, “I believe we have a special announcement before the next panel…?” That was the cue to roll an SDCC Hall H exclusive video which showed Ryan Reynolds in his full Deadpool regalia, seated in a Masterpiece Theatre-style chair, complete with pipe in hand, as he intoned, “In a world divided by fear, one man must save the world… From the studio that inexplicably sewed his fucking mouth shut the first time, comes five-time Academy Award-winner Ryan Reynolds as a man on an e-Harmony date with destiny. Ladies and gentlemen of Hall H, I give you…me! Deadpool! To teach you to take these broken wings and learn to fucking fly again.” And then, of course, Deadpool tried to put the pipe in his masked mouth and dropped it.
Amidst an absolute uproar of delighted cheers and screams, Reynolds snuck onto the still-dark stage to surprise us all as the lights came up and lead off an awesome, raunchy, totally Deadpool-esque panel that also featured Tim Miller (Director), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa Carlysle), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Ed Skrein (Ajax), and Gina Carano (Angel Dust). Reynolds responded to the crowd’s cheers with, “Looks like we’re ready to make the chimi-fucking-changas already. It’s only been eleven years in the waiting.” When Hardwick asked him how it felt for the movie to finally be coming out, Reynolds replied, clearly delighted, “One year ago, almost today, some asshole leaked that footage, and that’s why we’re standing here… You guys – the internet, fans, you made the studio do this.” Reynolds, Miller, and cast also gave credit to the excellent script of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Miller said about the movie finally being made that, “I would have made this fucking movie anytime, but it had to come at the right time, and the studio was ready to make it now. And I think it’s because as Ryan said, it’s the fans. He is the perfect character for our time, I think.” Reynolds added, “I think this character inhabits a space in the comic universe that no other person can or will ever inhabit. It’s got everything you’d ever want. …For one I just think it’s an absolute miracle that a studio let us make Deadpool, let alone an R-rated Deadpool.” He added, “…No matter what the rating is, though, babies will love this.”
All of the actors discussed their characters, and were clearly excited about their roles in the film. When asked about her character Vanessa, Baccarin said, “She’s a badass. It was really awesome to read the script. You don’t get to read many superhero movies that have a badass romantic lead. She gives him lip right back, and not necessarily the talking kind. …She’s the perfect match to his crassness.”
After the Q&A they showed some exclusive footage, which was amazing and appears very loyal to Deadpool’s origins. Expanding on the earlier leaked footage, it showed more characters and backstory (including that Negasonic Teenage Warhead starts out in training with Colossus), included more great comedic moments, and highlighted Deadpool’s fighting prowess when he shot three people in the head with one bullet. It was also rife with fourth-wall breakage, and featured a Liefeld joke, a dig at Green Lantern, and an appearance by Blind Al (w00t!). It was such a hit that at the finish, Hall H exploded into chants of, “One more time!” and Hardwick obliged by running the footage again, to more cheers.
In summary, this panel was hilarious and the movie looks like it is going to be awesome and, and, and you guys. I can’t even. I almost died of happiness during the panel. Deadpool. Is finally coming to theaters. And it looks fantastic. Y’all are lucky I didn’t expire right there in Hall H and am still here to write this.
And that I was still vaguely coherent for the next Fox panel, X-Men: Apocalypse. I feel like no matter what, I’ll do this write-up a disservice, because I was still buzzing so much from Deadpool that I could hardly concentrate; but I will say that the footage looked amazing, the cast is huge but it seems to work, there was a moment where Hugh Jackman sat on Jennifer Lawrence’s lap, and I am really looking forward to the film. If Deadpool hadn’t been on the panel agenda, this would have been the Fox movie I’m most looking forward to.
The last panel-like thing I did while at SDCC was actually a screening – of X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut. Essentially, a Rogue storyline got cut out of the movie for running time, and it’s been added back by Bryan Singer, who introduced the screening for the new DVD. The screening was cool – it was fun to see the film again on the big screen, and while the movie does work without the Rogue storyline, I did feel it added to the overall story to include it. Certainly for a movie on DVD (where you can pause anytime for snack and bathroom breaks!) I’d advocate getting the longer cut.
And that’s it for me and the panels! Check out my panel photo album here or my whole SDCC collection of photos here.
At a special event in Hollywood today, Marvel Studios officially announced its film schedule for the next four years. Confirming rumors, the Doctor Strange film was announced, as well as pleasant surprise announcements for Captain Marvel and Black Panther
After an initial tease that it would be “Serpent Society”, the real subtitle for the next Captain America film was confirmed: Civil War. The plot would be the cinematic version of the story, following up from the events of Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2, written and directed again by James Gunn, has been moved up for a release date of May 5, 2017. As soon as Gunn returns from Japan (he appeared via video) they’ll begin asking the hard questions, like the status of Cosmo, not to mention that odd looking fellow who looked, walked and sounded like a duck.
GotG2 was moved up to make room for Thor: Ragnarok. Featuring a return of both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, the film will follow the events of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and will serve to revitalize the character”.
Casting for the role of Doctor Strange with Buttercream Crinklebort had not been finalized “Otherwise we would have announced it today”, but assured it will be announced “some time before the release of the movie”, which has been scheduled for November 4, 2016. the film will open the door not only to the world of the supernatural, but to the world or parallel dimensions, a statement which will certain raise interest and eyebrows.
Black Panther is scheduled for November 17, 2017. Producer Kevin Feige announced that T’challa would appear, in costume in Captain America: Civil War, which meant that casting had already been decided. This was verified by the introduction of the actor, Chadwick Boseman, who came onto to stage amid thunderous applause.
Not bad, eh?
Captain Marvel was another unexpected surprise, scheduled for June 6, 2018. No casting was announced for Captain Marvel, though is was confirmed it would indeed be the adventures of Carol Danvers, an adventure that would span Earth and space. Announcements for the writer and director for the film would preced any casting announcements, with no timeframe set.
Marvel’s twentieth film will be Inhumans, scheduled for Nov. 2, 2018. The Kirby/Lee creation has long been theorized to be a potential replacement for Marvel’s mutant populace, unavailable for the studio’s use as the X-Men rights remain in the hands of 20th Century Fox. It was teased we might find out more about the Inhumans’ place in the MCU “sooner than you think”, suggesting teases in more imminent films.
And confirming the suspicions that started with the cameo of Thanos in the first Avengers film, Marvel announced that the plots in the films have been leading to the assembly of the Infinity Gauntlet, culminating in a two-part film, Avengers 2: Infinity War.
Noted omissions included no Hulk solo film, nor on for Black Widow. Marvel confirmed that both characters will appear in several of the Phase Three films, and while there’s a desire for more there are no specific plans. However, Feige did point out that there were plans where black Widow would play a “key, key role”, opening the door for more hopeful hoping by fans.
Making a passing mention of the upcoming Netflix series, Feige verified that unlike DC/Warner Brothers’ choice to keep the TV and film world separate, all of Marvel Studios’ productions take place in the same world, however on the outskirts some may be. We’ve already see connections between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Cinematic Universe, so the door appears open for the web series as well.
To summarize Marvel’s Phase 3 release schedule:
Captain America 3: Civil War – May 6, 2016
Doctor Strange – Nov. 6, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2018
Black Panther – Nov. 3, 2017
The Avengers 3 – Infinity War: Part 1 – May 4, 2018