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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Links and Updates

I don't think I've ever had two "Links and Updates" posts this close together before, but – wow! It's been one heck of a weekend. Maybe I should wait until Comic Con (which starts in a matter of days) but so much has been thrown at us by Disney and the BBC that I have to post about it now.

First of all, the thirteenth Doctor has been revealed ... and it's Jodie Whittaker. A woman. The Doctor has officially switched gender.
I have decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present and not read ANY of the comments on ANY of the message boards. I can well imagine what it's like out there, and I can't be bothered exposing myself to that sort of drama (my eyes automatically start rolling whenever I recall the Ghostbusters furore).
In all honestly, I'm feeling surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing. Obviously I'm not rending my garments and clutching my pearls over the reality of a female Doctor, but I'm not bouncing off the walls in delight either. I chalk it up to my lack of emotional investment in the show: though I've been watching, it's strictly as a casual viewer.
But despite this not being a political blog, I do want to say one thing. At about same the time Donald Trump was elected as POTUS, I stumbled across a comment on an article for Rogue One that disparaged the diversity of the casting. It said (for real): "hopefully Donald Trump can put a stop to this sort of thing."
Discounting the hilariously stupid assumption that the casting of film and television shows somehow falls under the purview of the United States President, this guy is seriously kidding himself if he thinks there's going to be less of this type of thing. The election of Trump pretty much guaranteed there's going to be much, much more of it.
A new behind the scenes featurette for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been released, and yes – I cried. Not full on sobbing or anything like that, but there were definitely a few tears. Regardless of some rather eye-opening interviews in recent months (they're apparently making up this story as they go along) I'm fully on board with the characters and creativity that's on display in this video:
Where to start? There's plenty of emphasis on how this totally isn't going to be like The Empire Strikes back. We get a better look at Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico (and her sister is totally gonna die, isn't she?) I love Laura Dern's purple hair. Surprisingly little focus on the villains. Finn is up and about, which is a huge relief (obviously they weren't gonna keep him in stasis, but it's still a relief). Gwendoline Christie is such an articulate speaker that they always have a voiceover from her, despite her relatively minor role.
They're gonna sell a trillion of those porgs (the little birds on Luke's island) as soft toys. Finn and Rose pull a Jyn and Cassian by disguising themselves as Imperials. Looking forward to Canto Bight, the casino planet for the rich and decadent. Finn and Rey reunite! The tears started with the glimpse of Billie Lorde, and continued with Carrie Fisher's observation that it's "about family."
But again, I've had to avoid some of the comments on-line. Not to go all "get off my lawn!" on everyone, but surely it's not just me who's noticed the increase in negatively throughout fandom. Wasn't there a time when we used to just enjoy things? And ignore the stuff we didn't like? I was browsing through the comments at The AV Club and I had to stop as it just devolved into sniping and moaning – at both the franchise and other people.
At some point it's my responsibility to simply not read any comment section (a step I've already taken) but you know things are bad when people can't even get excited over a Star Wars movie.
A couple of months ago I re-read A Wrinkle in Time in anticipation of the upcoming movie, only to discover I wasn't particularly fond of it. It's an odd duck that gets rather heavy-handed at times (communism = bad, Jesus Christ = good) as well as unbearably twee, but I have to say I'm intrigued by the look of the trailer.
It's dropped some of its quaintness in favour of epic adventure and CGI spectacle, but I love the casting for Meg Murray and Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. (Strangely, there's not much of Charles Wallace). And those visuals! You can tell it was filmed in New Zealand, and there's a lot of cool costuming and makeup here, especially with Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindi Kaling.
Next up is a short teaser for the Big Hero 6 cartoon, which looks a lot more stylized than the movie (much like Tangled) but with a lot of potential for fun science/superhero mashups.
Mostly though, I'm just happy to see GoGo and Honey Lemon again. I love those girls, and a television series will give writers the chance to explore their characters (and in fact, all of the heroic six that aren't Hiro) in more depth.
I can't believe I didn't write about this in my last post, but – Black Panther! I've been looking forward to this one for a while, especially with that incredible cast and the chance to move the Marvelverse out of America (not counting the space travel in The Guardians of the Galaxy).
Can you believe we get Amazons in 2017 and the Dora Milaje in 2018? What did we do to deserve this? Wakanda itself looks glorious, and the James Bond-esque vibe is equally exciting. It's like how Ant-Man was more of a heist movie than a superhero one; hopefully Black Panther will lean heavily into the espionage thriller genre.
Of all the comments that have been made on T'Challa's character, the most intriguing would have to be that he's more of a politician than a superhero (or an amalgamation of the two), and on a fannish note, I'm fascinated by whether or not fandom will chose to woobify Killmonger to the same extent they did Loki (and Kylo and Snape and any other number of white male villains). Apparently he has a sympathetic backstory and a viable point-of-view, so who knows what will happen.
And while we're in the Marvelverse, they're really starting to crank up the promotion surrounding Infinity War. I trust you've already seen this picture of Thanos's Black Order:
Though I'm a semi-casual (though occasionally enthusiastic) fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, I have to admit that what they're trying to pull off here is pretty unprecedented. Every time I think about it, I'm surprised all over again by how long this story has been brewing and how many characters will be involved. 
Finally, the release of The Legend of Korra comic book is fast approaching, and a few pages have been leaked on-line. I don't want to give too much away, especially when I have my own copy on-order – so let's just say Korrasami is alive and well.
I can count the number of ships I have on one hand, and for whatever reason these two together make me so happy. I would have been perfectly content with a slow-burn depiction of their relationship, but who am I to complain if the comics kickstart their romance?
I can't waaaaaaaaait.
So with Game of Thrones returned to our screens, and me finally starting Killjoys, and all of the above on the horizon, it's going to be a pretty exciting few months...


  1. Quite a mixed week for Doctor Who fans, as Trevor Baxter died yesterday. Probably not a name that means anything to you, but he played a character in a much-loved Tom Baker serial that was so popular they made an audio spin-off 30 years later!

    The pro-Trump Star Wars fans baffle me. Do they not realise it's about Nazis in space?

  2. The pro-Trump Star Wars fans baffle me. Do they not realise it's about Nazis in space?

    Well, on the article I accidentally clicked on, most of the commentators had plans to cheer for the Empire. :/