Your vaguely friendly, dilapidated neighborhood fake postman here before Fourthbay, which is the holiday I believe you used to call “The Fourth of July.” I vaguely recall hearing about how you guys celebrated it—grilling? Fireworks?—but nowadays we basically just strap explosives to meat. Cuts out the middleman.


The Ice Age

Mike A:

Dear Mr. Postman,

When our current superhero renaissance began I, as an ardent geek, rejoiced. In addition to being a huge nerd, I also happen to be a gay man. Now I knew better than to expect any major LGBT representation right off the bat, but I’m starting to get impatient. Wave after wave of TV and film adaptations and the only real LGBT hero I can see is Black Canary in Arrow/Legends. Constantine got straight-washed and Northstar, Hulking, Wiccan, and Midnighter seem too obscure to ever hit the screen. Now that Bobby Drake has been outed I’m thinking we might FINALLY see a LGBT male hero represented in film. Do you think I’m getting my hopes up for nothing? Who do you think the first gay hero to hit the big screen might be?

Iceman might be our best bet. Marvel Studios Kevin Feige says an LBGT superhero will come to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, but given that we know Marvel’s plans for the next several years I’d say he or she won’t be debuting any time soon.

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However, apparently X-Men: Apocalypse will be the end of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, which makes it a perfect time to end this iteration of the franchise (it also means they don’t have to worry about setting the next movie in the ‘90s or something). X-Men makes too much money for Fox to shelve it for long, and a new X-Men movie franchise means the possibility of a new Iceman. Plus, I think it’s easier for Hollywood executives to include diversity in an ensemble movie, because that way they can still have enough white heterosexual male characters that they don’t need to worry that affecting the potential box office.

I wish I had better news for you, but I’d bet all my vast riches that whichever studio adds a gay character first, it will be in a supporting role first. Look, it’s taken Marvel a decade to get up the nerve to make Back Panther and Captain Marvel movies—the idea of a film actually starring a homosexual superhero probably scares the hell out of them. I’m guessing all the studios will wait to see how those two movies do before they venture out into greatest big-screen diversity.


Wigging Out

K:

Wat the hell is up with Lex Luthors hair

Great question, assuming you’re referring to the photo of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor from the batch of Batman V. Superman that were released earlier today. We’ve already seen that Eisenberg has shaved his curly locks for the role of Superman’s archvillain, so it is kind of confusing to see that Lex has basically taken off the bottom part of a mop and draped it casually on his head.

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Actually, I don’t know what’s more baffling: 1) the fact that Lex Luthor is a billionaire who can clearly afford a decent wig if he wants to but clearly doesn’t want to, or 2) that Batman v. Superman, which probably has a budget of about $150 million minimum, also has more than enough money to purchase a decent wig for the movie’s antaognist, but chose instead to steal one off a discarded mannequin from 1968.

The fact that Lex feels the need to wear a wig at all has me deeply worried that BvS will use the “Superman accidentally made Lex Luthor’s hair fall out” story as the origin of Lex’s hatred for Supes, which would just be unbelievably awful. Frankly, all the pictures make me uneasy for one reason or another, which probably comes as no surprise to those of you who think my hate for the movie comes from an agenda and not objective evidence like a photo of Superman recreating Game of Thrones “Mhysa!” scene from the end of season 3.

But hey, I do think Gal Gadot looks great as Wonder Woman, especially now that we can see her outfit in color. So maybe that’s something?


Silk Stalkings

NLD:

Dear Post Man,

Now that The Spider Man has been picked (Peter Parker) and the Actor has been almost picked, the next logical question is who is going to be the Leading Lady in the Next Spider Man? Some people I work with have been going back and forth between MJ, Felicia, and Gwen. But give than Gwen died in the movies, the comics are anti-Mary Jane, and Felicia has too much in common with DC’s Catwoman, that leaves only one person they could use: Cindy Moon aka Silk.

Marvel is really pushing her in the comic verse so far as I can tell and the fans I talk to seem to like her. She is Asian-American and after the Miles Morales mess, they could use some diversification on the set. Plus, if this movie does well (which, come on , it the God Damn Spider-Man) , it could be a jumping point for a Silk movie, which would give Sony the franchise they’ve been salivating about. Most people shoot this down, (or have no idea who she is), but I think she is a strong contender, if not number 1 pick. What do you think?

I think you’re crazy, but I admire your moxie. The next Spider-Man movie will bring back Mary Jane as Peter Parker’s love interest, there’s no doubt about it. Mainly because Gwen Stacy is now poison like everything in Amazing Spider-Man, and because Catwoman bombed so hard all cat-themed morally-ambiguous female thieves are essentially radioactive. They won’t be safe to touch for another 50 years.

You can see my notes on superhero movie diversity above, but also they’re not going to pair Spider-man with another character who has equivalent powers, especially not in the first installment of the new franchise. Don’t want to dilute that brand!


Cut It Out

Cavey:

Greetings Fellow Vault Dweller!

Would Disney/Marvel ever allow extended version of their films if it would make them better? I am fan of the MCU and I own all of the current movies but I have noticed a complete lack of “Director’s Cut” or “Extended Version” available for any of them. IMOP, one of the non-riot starting problems with “Age of Ultron” was that it suffered from cramming too much into 2 hours and 20 minutes. The Lord of the Rings movies were too long in the theater but Peter Jackson just makes longer versions for home viewing. Does Marvel have such tight grip on their overall universe that we will never get to see all of the things that were left on the cutting room floor?

Well, Age of Ultron is getting an extended edition eventually, so the answer is unequivocally “yes,” they will allow it. Of course, it’s not a matter of “making the films better” as much as it is “if it will make them more money.”

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Granted, all the Marvel movies are popular, and technically all of them would probably bring in some extra dough if Marvel released extended cuts of them. But to have an extended cut, you have to have footage that was cut, and with the exception of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, films don’t go out with the intention of making extra stuff. Films are expensive, and no one wants to waste time and money on stuff they don’t think will be in the theatrical release. The goal is to only shoot what you’re gonna use.

Sometimes stuff happens, though—like the movie feels too long or bogs down in bits, and you have to trim stuff. Or Marvel wanting to insert scenes that tie into future MCU movies, and then you to cut out other scenes to keep the movie from being three hours. In that case, then you can think about finishing that extra footage and releasing an extended/director’s cut.

But as for all the other Marvel movies? I doubt there’s too much footage left on the cutting room floor—at least not enough to justify extended editions. Or, rather, not enough to convince consumers that they should buy a whole new copy of the movie.


Bran Flakes

Claire:

But Rob, hasn’t Game of Thrones now told us we’re really watching The Brandon Stark show? S0E101 seems to prefigure that, it is really all about him, the archery is not just a conceit to introduce them, he reply is the centre of it all, try rewatching … Bran can warg, he is with the magicians, who told him he will fly …

Bran clearly has an important part to play in the rest of the series, but he’s not the star. The books and the show have gone so far out of their way to push the savior figure of Azor Ahai and The Prince That Was Promised and The Dragon Has Three Heads that this is clearly where the story is coming. Given that there’s no reason to believe Bran has any Targaryen blood in him, and that he’s had only 21 chapters compared to more likely “dragon candidates” Jon Snow (42 chapters), Daenerys (31) and Tyrion (47), I’d say his role will continue to be pivotal but he’ll hardly be saving Westeros from the White Walkers singlehandly.


Blah and Order

unimportantrantings2:

I was thinking about what someone with superhero type powers could or should try to accomplish in the real world. Should that someone with Avengers, Xmen, Justice League type powers be working with local cops? The FBI? The military? Search and Rescue squads? Can we even make an argument for going vigilante in the real world?

Oh god no. If there really were superpowered people in the world, it would be a nightmare if they decided to take the law into their own hands. See, in the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders (the fabulous Brandon Bird made the above image, by the way). This system has more than enough problems without adding a third group that is completely unsupervised and potentially unbalanced.

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I mean, it’s all well and good for Batman to tie-up criminals and leave them on the side of the road for the police to pick up, but the Gotham City PD only has Batman’s word that they were doing something wrong. It’s not like he leaves a clear trail of evidence showing these guys were apprehended in the act of committing a crime. Comic books kind of breeze over this, because it’s one of those things that makes zero sense if you think about it at all.

I mean, what if Batman was unknowingly a little bit racist? What if he tended to take down ethnic criminals a little more often than white ones? What if he felt a little more comfortable messing with the evidence for certain crooks? Hell, what if a superhero hated poor people, but never told anybody? He or she could beat up all the vagrants he or she found, pin a note to them reading “I TOTALLY CAUGHT THESE DUDES ABOUT TO ROB A BANK” and they’d be arrested purely on the word of this “hero.” There’s no accountability for superheroes.

Obviously, the criminal system has plenty of problems of its own, but there’s supposed to be a semblance of checks and balances so that it’s more difficult for a bad cop or judge to railroad someone. The system has problems, obviously, but there is the idea that if you have been wrongly arrested or convicted, you can make an appeal to correct this.

You can’t appeal getting the shit kicked out of you by Batman.

About the only way superheroes could work is by fighting groups that don’t have American citizenship, and thus don’t have legal rights. So they’d need to stick to fighting alien invaders, rebelling robots and Nazi war criminals who have inexplicably popped up in the modern day in order to keep from being constantly sued.


Thing About It

David Y.:

As many, many people have been noticing, it appears from the marketing so far that the Thing does not wear pants in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, and has no visible genitalia. It’s not that I want to see Thing’s thing (ok, maybe a little), but this fills me with so many questions. I haven’t seen any shots of Thing from behind yet in any ads, but I think we can assume there’s no hole around back, either. So with both parts of the normal male human excretion system missing, how does this version of the Thing expel waste products? Does he even need to eat or drink? And if he doesn’t, what does this say about his internal organs if he doesn’t require food to fuel those organs — e.g., is he rocky on the inside too? If so, how would this inorganic material be able to keep him functioning as a thinking, speaking humanoid? If not, how would his organic insides survive without food or water? And even if he can survive without food or water, what would happen to him if he ate or drank anyway — where would that go?

They should have just given him pants so I wouldn’t have to think about these things.

Okay. First off, the Thing is 100% just rock on the outside. If somehow something manages to piece his orange hide, he does bleed, and we can safely assume all the inside bits are the same. As such, we can also assume the Thing needs to eat and drink and breathe and all that good stuff organic beings not covered in minerals do.

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So he must have a system to expel waste. I can easily imagine an orange, rocky butthole hiding among the crooks and crannies of the Thing’s ass—too easily, I might add—and while I would guess it can open and close like a regular butthold (the Thing is still able to move despite being covered in rock, so there’s clearly some elasticity going on there) even if it was just a tiny, static hole Benjy could still expel waste like pushing Play-doh out through a very tiny aperture. It would take a long time, but it’s still doable.

The same is true of the front side, although it gets trickier in that you’d think his Li’l Clobberer would still be somewhat visible. Maybe there’s a point out there that juts out slightly? But then there’s the question can the Thing get a boner? Again, based on his ability to move, I think he would, which 1) makes his pantslessness in the new Fantastic Four movie even more disturbing, and 2) is tragic, because while there are plenty of superpowered women in the Marvel universe who could withstand the Thing’s lovemaking, I doubt any of them would particularly want to.


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!