Greetings, my special self-adhesive stamps! In this week’s mailbag, we’ve got questions about whether the new Star Trek TV series will do more thinking than shooting, if The Force Awakens will get a director’s cut, and where all Marvel’s sidekicks went. Also, you see that question in the headline above? The answer is “absolutely.” Read on!


Zack Attack

Ben T.:

Hello Mr Postman,

So I’ve spent the morning with a troubling premonition. It’s very apparent that Zack Snyder is ready and willing to shit on fanboys’ hopes and dreams, but what if we’ve all underestimated him up to this point? What if he’s willing to go even further and completely crush us like the villainous bastard he really is?

Opening of the Justice League movie: the sun is shining in a glistening white Metropolis, where a gathering of heroes are happy and relaxing in peace. Superman is smiling and optimistic, an inspiration to all. Batman is calm and well-adjusted in his older years. Other key league members appear in their classic Golden Age styles – Aquaman with his pretty boy looks and bright colors, Flash in a bold red, Wonder Women in a patriotic outfit, etc. And then the world is abruptly and suddenly destroyed by Darkseid. No warnings, no monologues, just swift and utter annihilation.

The only person who gets away is the Flash, who quickly decides to hop to an alternate world with his time/dimension-traveling powers. He ends up in the Murderverse, the last survivor of his reality and a messenger of the devastation, and starts to warn this world’s gloomy heroes.

So what just happened? Zack Snyder teased us with the briefest glimpse of the cinematic DC universe we could only hope for, realized in all of its beauty and glory and accurate characterizations, and then violently murdered it in front of our eyes. It’s the biggest, grandest middle finger in cinematic and comic history. It’s also, begrudgingly, an incredibly effective way to set up the stakes inherent with a powerful villain like Darkseid.

So I’m torn – as someone who’s already written off the DCU, I’d go see that movie just for the spectacle and brazen ballsiness alone, but it also seems scarily possible given Snyder’s adolescent and spiteful treatment of the fans and the source material. Do you think this nightmare scenario could come true?

Jesus.

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We’re probably safe from this idea. Mainly because I doubt most WB movie executives can wrap their heads around the idea of the multiverse, or, if they can, they almost certainly assume mass audiences are too dumb to wrap their heads around it. (Even though The Flash TV show has shown it can be done.) For simplicity’s sake, I’d guess that Bruce Wayne’s drunken nightmares about the DC Murderverse’s Extra-Murder-y Future are about as close to an alternate reality as the films will get.

If it makes you feel any better, even if Snyder did want to start Justice League by murdering an entire universe, it probably wouldn’t be the ideal DC cinematic world you might have hoped. After all, this would pretty much mean that the Flash that appears to Bruce in BvS would be from this world (unless the DCMU is doing time travel and alternate dimensions, which is definitely not happening). But this Flash isn’t wearing red spandex but is instead in some dumb, overdesigned armor-thing and needing a shave. I assume these other “Earth-2” DC heroes would follow with similarly non-classic outfits, even if they had positive outlooks and, you know, didn’t murder people all the time.

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All that said, if I were Zack Snyder, this would be the greatest goddamned idea I’d ever heard. If this ends up happening I’m pretty sure it’ll be your fault.


Series on the Edge of Forever

Adam/Spessartine:

Hello post-apocalyptic Postman,

I might have literally squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed like the fan I am at the notion that the new Trek TV show would be set in the original Trek universe. I read today, on your old home of io9, no less, that there is apparently some discussion over that fact, that some parties want it set in the nu-Trek universe, and it is not as set in stone as I might wish.

With your future knowledge, please tell me which way will the new Trek TV show will fall. Original recipe space western, or extra-lens-flary action? Are we forever doomed to nu-Trek? I feel like my favorite trek stories (“City On The Edge of Forever”, “Darmok”, and “The Inner Light”, for example) are too quiet, too introspective, and too philosophical to be part of nu-Trek. Is there a place for philosophical introspection in nu-Trek? Could it be TV?

It’s definitely not happening in the movies, so by default TV is where it would have to go.

First of all, if I were a betting postman, I’d put my money on the new show being set in nu-Trek. Katharine laid out the reasons pretty clearly here, but basically, it has two major advantages over the old universe: 1) it gives the new show much, much more space to play around, and less canon to try and work around, and 2) the new movies are much, much more popular than the old series, making a nu-Trek show more accessible for new audiences. So it’s better for the people making the show and the show’s potential audience. It’s kind of a slam-dunk.

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Now, just because it’s set in the new continuity doesn’t mean it’s going to be all action, no thoughtfulness. In fact, I’d also put my money on the show scratching your philosophical itch for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being that Bryan Fuller is running the show, and he makes good programs that have a lot of complexity while still being very entertaining. Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, the good season of Heroes… and he cut his TV writing teeth on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Plus, Nicholas Meyer, the director of The Wrath of Khan, is also on the writing staff. Honestly, it’s kind of a Trek dream team already.

There’s another reason why I believe the show will return to some old-fashioned Trek thinkpieces, and that’s because it’s on TV… and there’s not a TV budget in the world that could maintain anything close the new Trek’s movies’ focus on action. I’m certain the first few episodes will be action-packed, to help draw in fans of the recent films, but after that... there’s a budget to stay under. And if you don’t have money for 45 minutes of lasers and explosions, then the next best thing is to tell a damn good story.


Director’s Cut It Out

Jason H.:

Hi, postman. Now, I know a lot of people are a little (lot!) worried about the Rogue1 reshoots. Apparently, they’re really shifting the entire tone of the movie back to traditional Star Wars. I completely understand- this is the first one without any of the “main” characters, it has to be good, and kinda traditional.

But, NOONE is saying the original cut was BAD, just WRONG. So, now I’m wishing I could see it- as a fan of Star Wars and dark war films, it sounds like it would’ve been right up my alley.

What do you think the odds of a “director’s cut” or something are? Honestly, I think slim-to-none, because I don’t think Disney would want to confuse canon/not-canon, etc. Buuuutt... maybe 10 years from now? One side of me says, “yeah, in 10 years, they’ll realize that there’s money to be made with an ‘alternative vision’ DVD” while the other side says, “Oh, HELL no. ‘Song of the South’ is practically an urban legend at this point and will never be rereleased; if Disney wants it buried, it goes dark and never comes back.”

No chance whatsoever. When has Disney ever released a director’s cut for anything? Disney isn’t about the art of cinema or promoting auteurs; it has no interest in or need to position Star Wars as anything other than a Disney (and to a lesser extent Lucasfilm) product. For instance, if they released a director’s cut, it would effectively be “The Force Awakens that J.J. Abrams wanted you to see!”

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Disney don’t play that. Disney doesn’t want you thinking any product of theirs is inferior in any way. J.J. Abrams may have directed The Force Awakens, but Star Wars is not J.J. Abrams’—it’s Disney’s. Once they’ve put their seal of approval on it, it’s done. Disney does not release products that need fixing (or so they maintain). To be fair, Disney has generally been pretty good at trusting directors to do what they think best., like J.J. Abrams, Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, the Marvel guys, etc. But once it’s in theaters? It’s done.

The only exception is the original trilogy, because the original trilogy was of course not made by Disney; it’ll just be distributed by the company. So I still hold there’s a decent chance we’ll get those non-Special Editions eventually. But even then, I don’t think Disney would bother except that 1) George Lucas absolutely has an HD remaster of the original print and he’s a damned liar for pretending he threw it out, and 2) they know that with barely any effort they could release a DVD/Blu-ray that would make then tens of millions. And, most importantly, all without even slightly tarnishing the good Disney name.


Age of Heroes

Carl P.:

Two days ago, over on TheMarySue.com, Maddy Myers wrote a nice piece on ageism in the film versions of comic book heroes, “Wolverine, Iron Man, and Hollywood’s Infinite Chances for Middle-Aged Male Superheroes” [ ], which made me suddenly realize: I’m watching “The Flash” for Martin and Shipp and I’m watching “Arrow” for Paul Blackthorne’s “Det. Quentin Lance”.

Then came the realization that even though I came to “Legends of Tomorrow” because of Arthur Darvill’s work on “Doctor Who”, I was staying to see Victor Garber’s “Dr. Martin Stein” more than I was “Rip Hunter”. And my favorite time in “Gotham” is when it become the “Jim and Harvey Show”.

As a 59 year old fan of WB putting “Supergirl” on Mondays, “The Flash” on Tuesdays, “Arrow” on Wednesdays, and “Legends Of Tomorrow” on Thursdays, I hope they take Shipp and “Arrow’s” Katie Cassidy, and make the two of them part of another “group” show: Shipp as EARTH 3 Flash, Cassidy as its Black Canary, pull Hawkman and Hawkgirl from “Legends of Tomorrow” and the Martian Manhunter from “Supergirl” to create - - - “The Justice Society of America”.

Besides having a show designed of middle-aged superheroes for a middle-aged audience, they could plant it on Friday nights and turn the first hour of the WB into the “DC Network”.

Your thoughts? Is this a good idea, or am I having a midlife crisis and trying to “cure” it with comic book programming?

I apologize for having to break it to you, but you have passed the CW’s target demographic. If it makes you feel any better, I’m 39, and also far past the age range where the CW gives a shit about my viewership.

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So the bad news is that the CW had zero interest in creating a show targeted to anyone over 29 (the cut-off is probably younger, actually), so there will be no “Justice Society,” at least as you envision it. In fact, if the network somehow made a show that accidentally appealed primarily to people in our “35-the grave” demographic it would likely cancel that show, no matter what the ratings were, for something more young whippersnapper-friendly, because they’d be afraid of it scaring off young audiences from their other series.

There is a plus side, though. It seems like the Justice Society is going to play a role in the next season of Legends of Tomorrow, and I highly suspect that John Wesley Shipp will return as Jay Garrick at least in a supporting role. More importantly, if this is indeed your midlife crisis, congratulations to you. This is infinitely better that buying an expensive sports car or trying to woo someone several decades your junior.


Sidekickstarter

Kittd:

Hi Postman, it’s been a few weeks now here in the pre-pocolypse since the sad news about Agent Carter and NO I’M STILL NOT OVER IT.

I think we can all agree that it’s a travesty that the show didn’t find its true footing and while I will be gently weeping over the loss of Peggy from the big and small screen perhaps forever, the character I really want to talk about is Jarvis.

How is it possible that Edwin Jarvis of all people is the only true sidekick in the MCU? Why aren’t there any others? I know that *technically* both War Machine and Bucky are sidekicks buuuuut let’s face it, they are more independent bros, than legit sidekicks.

So what makes Mister Jarvis such a great sidekick anyway? Will we ever see his like again? Or are our modern times too cynical for having some delightful dork following our heroes around?

As a whole, Marvel superheroes have rarely had sidekicks. Bucky is the exception, and it has a lot to do with the fact that Captain America was created in the ‘30s, at the same time Batman was, another hero who very quickly got a youthful sidekick. It’s a practice that was by no means universal, but it did continue in the ‘50s, as The Flash got Kid Flash, Aquaman got Aqualad, Wonder Woman got as Wonder Girl, and etc..

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These kids were 100 percent sidekicks. They assisted the main heroes, but never outshone them, and they also served as helpful plot devices by getting captured almost ceaselessly.

When Marvel took began in the ‘60s, kids were looking for a new brand of superhero—it may seem hilarious now, but the fact that Marvel’s characters had real-world issues and experienced actual emotions made them “gritty” in comparison to DC’s heroes—and they didn’t want to read about a bunch of dumb kids calling themselves “Whatever Lad.” So Marvel just didn’t have them. When they brought Captain America back in 1964, they decided poor Bucky had died in Cap’s final mission of World War II. And when Bucky finally came back in 2005, he was the Winter Soldier—no longer a sidekick, but a character in his own right.

All of this is to explain why Marvel movies and shows don’t have sidekicks; they were never there to begin with. Agent Carter is of course an anomaly in this way, as it is in so many ways—it didn’t have a comic to adhere to, so it could do whatever. Plus, part of Agent Carter’s entire raison d’etre is to show a woman not just being capable, but being the biggest, most capable badass in a five-state radius in a time when society couldn’t even imagine such a thing. What better way to highlight her awesomeness than by giving her a male sidekick—not actually dumb, but occasionally bumbling, and capable in many respects, but still prone to needing help and/or rescuing—next to which her skills, competence, and all-around awesomeness would shine even brighter?