Is the Postman suddenly giving out marital advice? He is! He’s also offering parents tips about nerdy child psychology for some reason! But he still has time to discuss Rey’s parents, why comic movies only get the names right, and why the hell the hero named after a flying mammal doesn’t fly. He will also stop talking in the third-person… now.

Game Stop

Matthew V:

Dear Mr. Postman man,

My wife and I are fans of ASOIAF, having read through them all, and we watched the first two seasons of the show. Now we’re debating whether to watch season 6 when it premieres or watch seasons 3 through 5 first.

My wife doesn’t want to watch the 6th season unless we catch up because GRRM says they’re “different stories” now. I think [catching-up] is dumb since we know what’s already happened. Plus I did some reading, and except for some plots being shuffled from book order, it seems that the show and books are pretty much at the same place.

What should we do?

There are two arguments, one on each side, that you two aren’t thinking of.


On the “catch up first” side: Dude. The Game of Thrones TV show is really good. It’s not perfect, and it certainly has its issues, but if you skip three seasons you’re only denying yourself some fantastic TV. Even if you know that Jon and Night’s Watch fight the Wildings in a desperate battle at the Wall, don’t you want to see it? Or the fight between Prince Oberyn Martell and the Mountain? I certainly knew what was going to happen, and it was still totally awesome. Also, last season’s battle at Hardhome was literally one of the greatest episodes of TV I’ve ever seen—a masterpiece of pacing and editing—and nothing even close to it appears in the (published) books. You are missing out.

On the “just watch season 6” side: This is the season where things are almost completely new. We’re getting some answers, including apparently what happened at the Tower of Joy. If you don’t watch every episode as it premieres, you are absolutely going to get spoiled by the millions of viewers that don’t lag behind. If you are any type of Game of Thrones fan, this is clearly untenable.


So here’s the solution: Marathon seasons 3-5 before season 6 premieres on April 24. You have almost a month and a half to watch 30 episodes. Easily doable. You are also legally required to follow this advice because it is correct. Get to it.

Rey Ban

Jenny E.:

Hi Rob,

Regarding Rey’s parents, don’t you think it’s in the franchise’s best interest to NOT have her part of a family we’ve heard of before? From my perspective, giving her a lineage unrelated to the current/past cast of characters means the opportunity to write (sell) a zillion stories about her family without treading on anything that had been developed even in the non-canon expanded universe.

“Best” is subjective. While I understand (and personally agree with) the idea it would be better for the entire Star Wars galaxy not to revolve solely around a single family, there’s an equally valid argument that people care about the Skywalker clan, and thus making Rey some form of Skywalker is not only a better solution, but necessary to the franchise. If this is the case, Disney’s going to run into trouble eventually, because Skywalker drama is going to get redundant and boring.

For the time being, though, if Rey is a Skywalker of some sort, Disney can still sell a zillion stories about her family. These stories will just star Luke and/or Leia, which, honestly, Disney was going to do anyway. They’d definitely sell better than stories about Rey’s unknown parents Steve and Denise.

Kid Stuff

George H.:

I’m a classic Transformers fan with a young son. He just turned five and I’ve been waiting to introduce him to the original G1 cartoon that I grew up with. I know it’s really for me, not him, but I would love to share this cartoon I loved growing up with him

I’ve tried to watch it with him a couple of times and he’s not interested and it’s bumming me out. I tried showing him some of the more recent cartoons, thinking maybe it was the old animation that he couldn’t get into, but he didn’t care. I’ve also gotten him a variety of Transformers toys, but he’d just rather play Disney Infinity.

Is there a way to get him interested in the good Transformers? Or am I being a jerk for trying to force it on him?

Well, it’s not great that you’re trying to force it on him, that’s for sure, and it’s likely contributing to his aversion to all things Transformer. It’s like a parent trying to get their kid to eat broccoli for the first time. Kids don’t know what broccoli tastes like, but they know their parents are trying suspiciously hard to get them to eat it, and back away slowly. The same thing is at least partially happening here.



The other thing that may be going on is that your kid doesn’t give a crap about transforming robots. If that’s the case, you gotta let it go. Trying to force him to like it is just going to make both of you miserable, and him resentful, too. Please remember all the nerd kids in the ’80s who were forced by their parents to play sports that they wanted nothing to do with. This is absolutely the same thing, with the only difference being that sports parents were at least making their kids get some fresh air.

The right thing to do here—which also happens to be the only way your kid might get into Transformers—is to let him come by it naturally, if at all. What you can do is watch your classic Transformers cartoons, and maybe if he sees you’re interested, maybe he’ll start to get interested as well. (I have a friend whose kid became a Beatlemaniac at age 4, all by watching his dad play Beatles Rock Band over and over). Also, if he’s into video games, there are some solid Transformers options out there, especially the recent (G1-centric!) Transformers: Devastation. If he sees you play that, he may want to join in, and if he plays those characters for a while it’s quite possible he’ll want to know more about them.


The caveat to all of this is that I am childless and thus have, less than usual, any idea what I’m talking about. On the other hand, I have a cat, and if he sees I am interested in any book or comic, he is fascinated and immediately comes and sits on it, so I’m not wholly without experience.

I Recognize the Name...

Nathaniel K.:

Dear Mr. Postman, sir.

In quite a number of superhero films and TV shows, it is rather common to introduce a character who has the same name as a character from the comics, but is completely different in backstory, personality, moral alignment, etc.

Why does this keep happening?

Because other than Marvel Studios, pretty much everyone in Hollywood thinks that comic books are dumb. Obviously, they understand that movies based on comic books make tons of money, and they like that. So they use the main character’s (or characters’) name and likeness, and a few specifics to maintain brand recognition. Everything else? Hollywood assumes it knows better.

Oh, it’ll keep the names of minor characters because it appeases the fans and hey, they have to be named something. But there’s no way dumb comic book writers know better than the producers and directors who get paid millions to make these movies! So Jimmy Olsen is a handsome, non-nerdy, award-winning photojournalist hanging out in National City. Bane is a buff version of Goldfinger. Dr. Doom is suddenly a computer nerd with an attitude problem-turned-half-melted crash test dummy. Parallax becomes some kind of Space Cheeto. Ma and Pa Kent are weird assholes who care nothing for their fellow man.


Not all of these decisions are bad, of course, but think how many DC movies there have been over the years. Has a single one of them ever approached being accurate to the DC comics universe, in the same way the Marvel Studios movie has? No. They’re all Elseworlds tales. Again, they aren’t all necessarily bad, but for the most part Marvel Studios has taken their comic stories—stories they know have worked—and adapted them for the screen, and gotten a pretty consistent success rate.

Bat-Fight or Bat-Flight

Deggsy’s Midnight Runners:

Dear Mr Postman,

While perusing some Facebook photo of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman in a lift with the caption “That awkward moment when you have to take the elevator because one of your friends cannot fly” (Hi-Larious!) it occurred to me: given that the Batman has facilities for creating all manner of devices, and given that he’s dressed as the only flying mammal, why doesn’t he have some sort of flying mechanism, a jetpack or antigrav harness? He’s as rich as Iron Man so he can afford it, he wouldn’t need a Batmobile or Batplane, and he can get around as quickly as the rest of the Justice League. (Yeah, I get that he glides, but big whoop!)

It’s entirely an aesthetic choice by DC, and not by Bruce Wayne. If Bruce Wayne were alive and psychotically punching all the criminals he could find, he would absolutely have a jetpack or rocket boots or some other manner so he could fight his airborne enemies, if not get around Gotham City more quickly than his grapple-gun or Batmobile. If the man has a Bat-cloning machine with Bat-memory programmer, then he’s a man who has recognized the advantages of having a personal method of flight.


So it’s DC’s call that he doesn’t have one, and there’s a simple reason why: He’s human. He’s the only full human of DC’s Big Three, and he can’t fly for the basic reason that Superman and Wonder Woman can. It doesn’t matter that technology exists—especially comic book technology—that would give him this power, it matters that Batman would lose a fundamental aspect of himself, his human physical limitations, that sets him apart from DC’s other heroes and makes him so compelling.

Let’s put it this way: People give Superman grief for being too overpowered to be interesting all the time. If Batman, who is already a tactical genius, could fly or was invulnerable like Supes, he would be even more overpowered.

Kylo Ren Fair

Tobias F.:

Mr Postman sir,

While this may seem like a simple ‘who’d win in a fight’ type, I feel the answer is essential to understanding the state of the Star Wars universe as of The Force Awakens: Who’s stronger between Darth Vader and Kylo Ren?

Obviously training and the like would come into play here, meaning Vader would likely come out on top in any actual fight but in terms of pure power? Kylo Ren was ready to extract the location of Luke Skywalker from Rey’s memory and psychically interrogated/tortured her for information. There was also that awesome bit where he stops Poe’s blast in midair and continues to have a conversation. I think the only time Vader has ever came close to this was his rage at losing Padme at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

This has come from a debate with a friend, who argues that it comes down to the visual effects being better but I think it’s more reflective of the state of the Force as a whole - it has become stronger. This would also explain how easily Rey gets to grips with persuasion and combat. Any thoughts?

First, we can safely say the Force in TFA is stronger than it’s been for several decades, and maybe even since the fall of the Jedi. The movie is named The Force Awakens, for goodness’ sake. The new Lucasfilm appears to view the Force as an entity which can wax and wane, while in the original trilogy it seemed to be a fixed element of the fabric of the universe. (There is, of course, no third interpretation.)


Even if the Force has woken up and had coffee, and given Kylo Ren a boatload of extra potential Force power, I’ve got to go with Darth Vader. In a lightsaber fight, Vader’s combat skill would absolutely trounce Kylo Ren.

It’s not like Vader wasn’t still plenty powerful during the original trilogy. Kylo Ren may have stopped a laser in mid-flight, but in ESB Han shot Vader at the Cloud City dinner and Vader’s hand just ate the blast. Absorbing blaster fire seems like it would be much more difficult than freezing it in mid-air. Additionally, if you’re reading Marvel’s Darth Vader comics—which are 100 percent in canon—Vader is a terrifying badass who can take out a fleet of Rebel ships while on foot and push over an AT-AT like it was a folding chair.

Fun thought: If the Force is really much larger in the sequel trilogy than it was in the original, then Luke’s power level should also be crazy in Episode VIII. Like, lift islands out of the sea powerful. Or direct a highly important map to a random girl on a random while chilling on an island planet powerful. Should be fun, by which I mean it will likely make me wet my pants in delight.

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