Hello, my hoary hosts of Hoggoth! I don't know where Hoggoth is, or how hoary its hosts are, but I assume they must be pretty hoary, right? I mean, hoarier than, say, Albuquerque. Because otherwise we'd all be saying "hoary hosts of Albuquerque." This is the crap you think about when TVs stopped working 30 years ago.


To Err Is Inhuman

Kevin F.:

Is Agents of SHIELD ever going to say the word “Inhuman”? Or are they not allowed to? If not, why not? It’s really getting on my nerves how they’ve introduced all this stuff and refuse to use the right name.

First of all, let me address the inevitable complaint that Agents of SHIELD has used the word Inhuman in some of its promos and commercials. This is true, but there is a strange but major difference between the show and the show’s promotion.

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I sincerely doubt that Marvel Studios will allow Agents of SHIELD to use the word Inhuman anywhere in the show (although the promos are clearly fair game). Marvel doesn’t want the TV series — which does all right — to interfere with their Inhumans movie, which stands to make a ton of money when it’s released in 2019 or so. In order to make sure the Inhumans movie is as accessible as possible, it needs to introduce the Inhumans to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or more specifically be the real, proper introduction to the characters. If Agents of SHIELD jumps the gun and starts calling Skye and her fellow ”chosen” “gifted” people Inhumans, then suddenly Agents of SHIELD becomes a part of the Cinematic Inhumans’ origins, and it won’t be one every Marvel movie-goer will see.

That’s their reasoning. Does it seem really esoteric and kind of dumb? Because it is. Oh, maybe there’s some kind of copyright law that makes certain things in TV shows problematic to bring to movies, but that seems way less likely than the TV show being a second-class citizen compared to the movies.

But what’s the real harm in letting cast of SHIELD actually say the word “Inhuman”? How would it actually negate the future movie in any way? If the Inhumans movie script is somehow dependent on no one actually using the word “Inhuman” for the next four years, shouldn’t someone try and write a better script? If Marvel’s so worried about the Inhumans tanking along with Agents of SHIELD (on the off chance that happens), shouldn’t they look to make a movie of a stronger property?

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At any rate, the end result is that Agents of SHIELD has a whole storyline about the Inhumans that can’t ever go into real detail or get very far, because it has to wait for the movie to come out first. It’s like how the show had to completely ignore HYDRA until Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, then they were allowed to make the villains their primary antagonists. Here, they get to use a weird vestige of the Inhumans, but there’s no chance they’ll ever be able to take it deeper, at least until 2019.

So be prepared for a lot of unknown characters in unknown, nondescript locations talking about Inhumans without ever being able to say Inhumans. Sigh.


Flash Facts

Ray A.S.:

Hello Rob,

Okay I've been wondering ever since they announced Ezra Miller as The Flash how could they do that because everyone loves Grant Gustin that it seemed weird to announce another actor to play him in the film franchise. It would also cause instant like problems because you instantly create the Grant fans and the Ezra fans. Which most would like Grant cause he has a three-year head start. Then it hit me while I've been at home on vacation I was watching Ezra Miller films and in most he plays an openly gay character and in real life he's openly gay.

My question have you heard if they are going to make the Film Flash an openly gay character? It would mark the first major comic book character as being openly gay and give a fresh take on a character we would have been watching on TV for three years by that time. Also it would completely diffuse any talk of Grants better or Ezra is better because they would be playing two totally different versions of Flash.

What do you think of my theory? I think that's what they want to do and why they announced casting Ezra Miller with the announcements of the other films.

Much like Marvel Studios does not want Agents of SHIELD to interfere with their infinitely more lucrative movie franchises, Warner Bros. doesn’t want their DC TV shows to interfere with their potentially infinitely more lucrative DC movie franchises. The only difference is that Marvel is trying to make Agents of SHIELD work with their movies, while WB has the benefit not needing to care about their TV shows at all.

My point is that no one working on The Flash movie will give the tiniest consideration to The Flash TV show. They aren’t worried about it. They don’t care how the movie affects the show at all. If The Flash show somehow gets canceled because of the movie, they’re 100% fine with that, because it’s the Flash movie that will make them the real money. So if WB/DC does decide to make the movie Flash gay, it won’t be doing so for The Flash TV show’s benefit.

But is this a decision Warner Bros. might possibly make? A year ago I would have said no way in hell, but then WB went and cast a genuinely diverse group as Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. Honestly, I’m not sure if that was an actual attempt at broadening the DCU’s diversity or a happy accident. If it was the former, it’s not out of possibility that this push will continue, and make one of DC’s top-tier superheroes homosexual. That would be fantastic, in my social justice-loving opinion.

That said, I’m guessing WB/DC imagines casting a Pacific Islander, an Israeli and a real-life gay person to have fulfilled their diversity quota for the time being, and thus can safely stick standard, heterosexual romances in all their DC movies for the time being. I’d say the odds that an Iris West shows up in The Flash movie as opposed to an Ira West are 85/15%. But here’s hoping.


Shell Games

Nero E.:

Greetings postman,

What's up with this whole Ghost in the Shell (G.I.T.S.) white washing? When I first heard that Scarlett Johansson Was going to "play" the major I thought please God no. The article I read roughly said; that she would be perfect for the major due to her recent performance in the movie Under the skin. Having just seeing this movie I was terrified at the thought of her playing the major.

The only solution is simple, cast Scarlett Johansson in the role of the topless dismembered torso controlled by the puppet master (with male voice over). After all what actor doesn't want to be the villain. And the role of the major should be played by Maggie Q.

Why Maggie Q one may ask:

1. She's gorgeous.

2. She kicks butt. (Live free or Die hard & Nikita)

3. She's known. With a leading role in 2 tv series Stalker & Nikita. (Her current one on CBS the most watched network)

4. She's got the voice complete with all the cop jargon down. (This is important)

5. She'll get naked. She was the star of a film called naked weapon.

6. She's got acting cred in Asia because she lived and worked there.

7. She's half American & her American side is Hawaiian the closest you can get to Asian on American soil (not counting native Alaskan)

Am I right Rob or am I wrong? its driving me crazy.

So many questions. Well, to answer your first one, “What's up with this whole Ghost in the Shell (G.I.T.S.) white washing?” I can only say “The same thing that happens to practically any adaptation of a foreign work, especially genre films, which is that they hire more locally/nationally known stars to play the main roles, because they’re the ones with the most box office draw and thus the chance to have the film the most money.”

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Surely you admit that in America, Scarlett Johansson is a somewhat bigger box office draw than Maggie Q, whose last big movie before her supporting role in Divergent and Insurgent was 2007’s Mission: Impossible III. Certainly if she was still a box office draw she wouldn’t currently be on the ludicrous TV show Stalker. Anyways, to address your points by number:

1) So is Scarlett Johansson.

2) So does Scarlett Johansson, e.g. Lucy, every appearance as Black Widow ever.

3) She’s not nearly as known as Scarlett Johansson.

4) They’re actors. They’ll all supposed to be able to get the cop jargon down.

5) Not only is nudity non-essential to Ghost in the Shell, I guarantee you if/when it gets made it’ll be PG-13 with nary a hint of female nipple to be seen.

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6) Hollywood cares first and foremost about the North American box office, not the Asian box office. That’s important, but not at the sacrifice of the former. Scarlett Johansson can bring the bigger worldwide box office overall.

7) There are a variety of Asian-American actresses who have more “heat” than Maggie Q, including Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi and Furious 7’s Levy Tran. Whether they’d be better than Maggie Q is likely a matter of opinion, but I guarantee Hollywood would choose one of them way before giving the role to Maggie Q.

Look, I would have loved to have seen an actress of Asian decent in the role of Motoko Kusanagi, but Ghost in the Shell is one of those series that can be transposed to pretty much any nationality. It’s not like The Last Airbender, where the racial diversity is an integral part of the series’ identity, or Dragonball Z, where the main character is so hugely popular and fundamental to the franchise that you can’t change anything about him without diminishing the final result (either his ethnicity or his silly hair). In essence, you can’t turn Goku into a character named Steve and end up with anything that resembles Dragonball Z, but you can turn Motoko Kusanagi into Margaret Kurtis and still make a solid adaptation of Ghost in the Shell.

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I’m not saying racial diversity in Hollywood isn’t an important cause — it very much is — but I do think you can make a case for a U.S. Ghost in the Shell to be a simple transposition of a story from one setting to another, as opposed to straight up white-washing. Now, if they ever make that live-action Akira with white dudes? I’ll be first in line to complain.


Live Kree or Die

Dana W.:

Here’s a good one for ya. Will we ever see Mar-Vell in the MCU? If so why and where? If not how come? Carol’s gotta get the Kree DNA and name from somewhere doesn’t she? I know the answer is probably no but I’m just looking for some hope.

My guess is that he shows up, at least briefly, in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in order as a set-up for his appearance in the Captain Marvel movie as part of Carol Danvers’ origin story. In Captain Marvel, he’ll arrive on Earth with some kind of Kree device which explodes, which somehow gives Carol partially Kree DNA and her superpowers. Mar-Vell will absolutely die in the explosion. Think of him as Carol Danvers’ Abin Sur.

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But Mar-Vell doesn’t need to be there for Carol to get her powers. She can find a Kree device (on Earth, or maybe in space), it can explode, and boom, she’s one of Marvel’s biggest badasses. Obviously, the character doesn’t actually need to be introduced in GotG2, but since seems like one of those easy links the Marvel Cinematic Universe likes to do, and by introducing part of her origin story in the immensely popular GotG franchise, it would tie the lesser-known Captain Marvel to the greater MCU marvelously (pun, as always, intended).


Straight and Arrow

Peter A.:

A very simple question this time. I rewatched the Arrow pilot recently, and of course it's hard to miss how much it is essentially Batman Begins on a CW budget with more murder. After going back and forth with my friend comparing the two, there's one thing that stuck out in my mind: Ollie's had much better training, and we argued about it a bit, about who would win, Oliver Queen from Arrow or Christopher Nolan's Batman?

My money is on the Arrow. What say you all-knowing postman?

I agree. Before anyone freaks out, I don’t believe comic book Green Arrow could beat Batman, and I certainly don’t believe Arrow’s Arrow could beat comic book Batman. But the Batman of Batman Begins — and in fact the whole Dark Knight trilogy — isn’t that impressive to me. He gets his ass kicked a lot, he needs to violate the civil rights of the entirety of Gotham City to stop the Joker, and the only reason he manages to save Gotham in Dark Knight Rises (after Bane hands him his ass) is because he has a small army of people doing the heavy lifting. Also, DKR Bruce Wayne quits being Batman to have endless brunches in Paris with Catwoman. This is not a dude obsessed with fighting crime.

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Also, in terms of murder, please recall Begins’ Batman 1) killed an incredibly large amount of people in order to not kill a convicted criminal, even burning down a building with people in it, which seems to me to be wildly problematic, and 2) despite taking an oath to not kill anybody, let Ra’s Al Ghul die when he easily could have saved him, which is tantamount to murdering him himself. It’s called “reckless disregard” in legal terms, and you can be arrested for it (like, if you leave an unmarked glass of poison on the table and wait for someone to pick it up and drink it). Certainly comic book Batman would take movie Batman to task for it.


Mail Enhancement

Eleanor S.:

Hello Post Man,

I know you have this whole thing about delivering the mail, but does your title have a deeper meaning? Have we, as a species transcended gender by your future date?

I am fully human, although I’ve heard about a race of half-mail, half-human mutants living in a bizarre kingdom far to the south. I keep thinking I should visit it, but I can’t decide whether they’d make me their king or murder me as an unholy abomination who seemingly keeps distributing their little mail-children to various strangers to be ripped open and their succulent insides read. I’ve decided it’s probably better safe than ritually sacrificed.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!