Greetings, my beloved stamp-scavengers! Today I bring you a Hot Take on the lack of The Winds of Winter, why Bruce Wayne isn't worried about an heir, and how Star Wars would be different if Luke Skywalker had been a narc for the Empire. It's marginally more fun than being stung by a giant, irradiated scorpion!


Throne Unknown

Jason P.C.:

Dear postman,

With the recent totally surprising and not at all suspected because it's totally out of character for GRRM announcement that Winds of Winter will not be out in 2015, is it time to embrace two realities? The first that GOT the tv series is about to depart from the book and will at best be a loose interpretation for what Martin has planned, or more likely it's own thing entirely? The other reality that we will never get to the end of this series's in book form anyway.

Uh, yes. Seeing as GRRM hasn't even come close to finishing the book — and I'm of the personal opinion we're going to end up getting at least two more books after The Winds of Winter, despite his assurance there'll be only one — the show has no recourse but to end on its own terms. Oh, sure, there are probably going to be some major events and reveals the show that GRRM has planned that the show will use, because they're built into the narrative that both the books and TV series have told so far, but I suspect at the end of the day, when both series are finished, they'll be at least as different as they are similar.

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And I, for one, have decided this is great. Admittedly, like so many others, I was really bummed out when it finally became clear that the show would not be the nigh-perfect adaptation of the fantasy book series that had rocked my world. But as the show has gone on, and gotten more confident, and started tailoring A Song of Ice and Fire to best suit its medium, as opposed to slavishly retelling the events of the books, the Game of Thrones TV series has only gotten better. Certainly, as a pretty hardcore fan of the books, I've been even more excited to watch the show now that I have less idea of what's going to happen — which means things like the Brienne/The Hound fight and the trip up north to see the White Walker's babysitting service had me at the edge of my seat.

And, now that the show has no books to work off of, but only GRRM's notes, it has the freedom to do whatever it wants. It has the characters and the story so far, and showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff can decide what will make the best, most epic conclusion for them — which may not be what GRRM agrees with. Rather than this invalidating the show, I find I'm pretty much as excited to see how the show will end as I am the books.

Now, granted, without the books to follow, the TV series could go completely off the rails. It could suck, hard and immediately. But I doubt it. When the show has gone off-script, so to speak, before it's usually done so with scenes that have strengthened the narrative, been awesome, or both. Even the changes coming up in season 5 — and there are some mild spoilers here — the lack of the new Aegon, the fact that Varys seems to have thrown his support behind Dany, bringing Jaime to Dorne to strengthen that storyarc — all of these things seem like really good choices to me. Now, I'm not saying it sucks that Martin decided to throw in the young Aegon as a potential savior for Westeros in the books — I'm sure he has a great plan for the character in mind — but I also sincerely doubt that dropping this arc from the show is going to lessen the series in any way.

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So honestly, given that a completely accurate adaptation of the books is completely impossible, this is the best possible solution to my mind. We're getting two versions of the story, both told really well! It's like an official DC story and an Elseworlds tale, where they're both really goddamned good! And I honestly think now that Game of Thrones the TV series has its freedom from the books, we could be in for a tremendously awesome last three seasons of TV. You realize, of course, that in all likelihood we'll be able to watch Daenerys riding a dragon into Westeros in the next few years? That alone makes me very, very happy.


As the Heel Turns

Geoff J.:

Postman,

Love the column. As well as a big SF/horror nerd, I'm also a big fan of Pro Wrestling (seriously, it can be great fun). One of the great building blogs of that 'sport' has forever been the good guy turning bad, the famed 'heel' turn. Everyone from Hulk Hogan to The Rock did this at one or more points during their in ring careers.

Anyhoo, I have often wondered why both major comic companies have never gone this route with any of their lesser heroes, save Maxwell Lord a few years back (I'm not counting Cyclops' new anti-villian stance here). I can well understand why their A & B list good guys never change, but surely characters like say Stingray or Agent Liberty would only benefit from a permanent turn to the darkside? Better to reign in Hell and all that. Thoughts?

You're looking at this the wrong way. The difference isn't that superhero comics don't do heel turns, it just rarely does heel turns that are permanent. Wrestlers turn good and evil all the time, and sometimes those "heel turns" and "face turns" (when they go from bad to good) end up lasting a very long time, depending on how the fans react to them.Then sometimes the wrestlers get hurt or retire, and the turns end up being permanent.

Unlike professional wrestling careers, superheroes never end, which means there's always a chance for a superhero's heel turn (or vice versa) to change back. For instance: Hal Jordan famously lost his shit and became the evil Parallax in 1994. This was supposed to be permanent, but the DC brass relented a few years later and had Hal sacrifice himself and then become the semi-heroic Spectre for a while. But at the time Hal first turned evil, the plan was for the change to be permanent.

If you think about all the times superheroes have turned evil — when Ant-Man became Yellowjacket, Spider-Man turned into the Superior Spider-Man, Iron Man turned into Superior Iron Man, Wonder Man, Jason Todd, Jean Grey, Bucky/Winter Soldier — it's as standard a narrative practice in comics as it is in wrestling. And if wrestlers were as eternal as comic book characters, I guarantee you'd see every heel turn become a face turn and back to a heel turn and vice versa.

But if you really just want to know about good guys who became villains who haven't changed back — yet — there is Maxwell Lord. Superboy Prime is also an excellent example, although I'd place even money you'll see him become a good guy again in the next decade for one reason or another. Seriously, "yet" is the operative word for these guys.

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Also: The difference between superhero comics and professional wrestling is shockingly thin.


Lucky Luke

Joe S.:

Hey Rob,

I was watching Star Wars again and noticed something.

We all know Obi-Wan had questionable morals.

What if, since Luke refused "the call to action" at first, he contacted the Empire and told them where to find the droids to remove the things preventing Luke (his aunt, uncle, the harvest, and going to the academy) from accepting his "call to action" and thus starting him on his heroes journey.

Hmm. I'm not exactly sure when you mean for Luke to have contacted the Empire. Let's assume Luke contacted the Empire the minute he saw the recording of Princess Leia while cleaning Artoo. Chances are when the Stormtroopers arrived to pick up the droids the next day, they would have still killed Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru and Luke in order to keep the whole "Darth Vader attacked a diplomatic ship"-thing under wraps, at which point the Rebellion probably would have been completely fucked because Obi-wan and Yoda would have had little ability to rescue Leia from the Death Star and train her to beat Vader.

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Now, say Luke contacted the Empire, gave the droid over, and the Stormtroopers were so impressed with his loyalty that they let him and his family live. I have to assume that Obi-Wan would have tried to contact Luke before he joined the Imperial Academy next year — yes, it seems like Obi-Wan was just sitting on his ass and waiting for Luke to come to him, but surely he had some kind of active plan to save the goddamned galaxy — at which point things could have continued as normal, except Leia would have been imprisoned for a long, long time and the Death Star probably would have blown up many, many planets.

Of course, if Luke was obsequious enough to call the Empire about his droids, it stands to reason he'd be equally excited to rat out Obi-Wan when he first met him, and it's likely Darth Vader would have personally come down to Tatooine personally and murdered Obi-Wan in his one-bedroom apartment. The Empire wins forever. Fun!


Waynes' World

Red Tech:

Greetings, fellow radioactive internet wasteland dweller!

This question starts off with a caveat, since Bruce Wayne does appear to have a son (Damian Wayne). As a filthy casual fan, this wasn't known until I looked it up, as it seems to have been avoided in any larger cinematic representation. It seems as though Batman was not even aware of his son until he dropped in on him years later.

To the rub: Why doesn't Bruce Wayne (intentionally) have a child? Wayne Manor is described as having belonged to the family for 'several generations' - this, along with a billion-dollar family business, and an abiding love of his mother and father, one would surely assume that Bruce would be the type of man to consider a legacy, i.e., having children to carry on the name. Now, as to whether he would want them to continue in his vigilante footsteps, that's another discussion - perhaps he wouldn't want that life for them. But - to further the Wayne dynasty through history, take over Wayne Enterprises, or just raise a totally awesome badass - wouldn't that surely rank as a top priority for The Batman?

Well, ostensibly Bruce has devoted his entire life to fighting crime, and has foregone romance entirely in order to focus on his real passion. Theres no room in his life for a serious relationship or a kid, so he never tried (Damian was very much an accident). And to be fair, Batman would be both a shitty husband and a father, since his fight against evil is always going to take first priority. So the care of any child would be foisted off on the mother and probably Alfred, which is a shitty thing to do to all of them, especially a kid. Plus, there's always the chance he could die during pretty much any supervillain fight, at which point a kid would be left without a father, something Bruce is probably no fan of.

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Bruce does not give a shit about the Wayne legacy as much as he cares about his parents' legacy. It's a small but important difference — he doesn't care about having an heir to pass his fortunes down to, or that they Wayne line stays strong — he wants his parents and their works remembered, but he could give a shit about what happens in the future. The money is merely a means to helping the people of Gotham, whether it be charity or a shit-ton of batarangs.

That said, having discovered he has a son — a son who is well past the diaper-changing age — he was determined to try his best. Seeing as 1) he spent a great deal of Damian Wayne's time at Wayne Manor hurtling through the past and 2) Damian quickly ended up dead, I feel like Bruce was probably right in trying to avoid this scenario.


Four Loco

JLChimera:

Why can't Hollywood find a blue-eyed blonde to play Sue Storm? Is California running out of them?

Enh. Kate Mara is a pretty solid actress, so I can't really complain about her being cast as Sue Storm in the new Fantastic Four movie. And, as far as Important Facts Any FF Movie Needs To Get Right are concerned, Sue's hair color is waaaaay down the list, about 300 or so below "Make Sure the Thing Is Orange."

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Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson are both blonde but played redheads in their superhero movies. Lois Lane has black hair, but was played by red-headed Amy Adams. No one in Hollywood cares about comic book hair color accuracy, and frankly, it doesn't seem like most comic book fans do either. Basically, if the Invisible Woman's hair color is our biggest problem with the FF movie, I think everyone will be pretty goddamn pleased with that result.


'Tech Issues

Jason C.:

Dear postman,

I keep waiting for news thar despite all the delays, hold ups, changes in writers and directors and arguments over rights that the live action robotech movie will get made. I know also that I am delusional and there is a better chance that we will get an avengers cross-over film with the characters from Sesame Street. And while this is disappointing I realize that in some way it's a godsend because a 2 hr robotech film could never capture the iconic macross story line. But I got to thinking, how about a live action mini-series. If the marvel foray into live actin comic book series on a platform like Netflix is successful, could robotech cross over to that medium? It seems to be the perfect platform for a modern live action retelling of that story. Could or would it happen??

Way too expensive. Trying to do a shot-for-shot remake of the original cartoon — hell, rewriting it to cut down the space battles, giant space fortresses, alien attacks, transforming jet robots by half — no channel at this point can afford to do this with any kind of accuracy or quality. Maybe Syfy could do a cheap version, where 90% of every episode happens in windowless rooms on the SDF (a la the more recent Battlestar Galactica series), but would you rather have that live-action Macross, or nothing at all? I'm fine with nothing, personally.

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And, as I've mentioned before, the Robotech/Macross rights are a complete clusterfuck that no studio wants to deal with. Any Hollywood studio would need to license the franchise both from Harmony Gold, which owns the name and the characters, and the Japanese studio Nue, which owns the mecha and the way everything looks. Would you want a Robotech movie in which nothing looked even slightly like it did in the original cartoon? Me neither.

Basically, Robotech is a beloved enough property with a cool enough concept that Hollywood will always want to do a live-action version, but complicated enough that they will almost instantly decide, "Enh, maybe later."


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!