Greetings and salutations, my friends! I’m back, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be back. I have a lot to catch up on, so let’s get right to it—I’ve received questions about a certain Star Wars couple, how the Deadpool movie will change the industry, why Talking Dead even exists, and the mystery of what made Leia hate Chewbacca. Onto your letters!

Oh! One more thing: Although I’m always delighted to look into the future of pop culture, I definitely want to expand “Postal Apocalypse” to include more questions about nerd life. I’ve been a professional nerd for 14 years, and an amateur one for 24. I know things. I’ve seen things. I’ve done things. Basically, if you want nerdy advice, I am almost certainly not the worst stranger on the internet you could ask for it. So ask away!


Well, Something Awakened

John Seavey:

Do you think Disney will have the nerve to actually ship Poe/Finn? If not, how long do you think we’ll have to wait before we get a summer blockbuster with a gay couple in it?

I regret to tell you that Disney won’t. It’s not because I think the executives of Lucasfilm and Disney are socially conservative fundamentalists, but because they don’t want to give any sizable group of people a reason not to see the film. It’s disappointing, but from a purely capitalistic point of view it makes sense; Disney is spending hundreds of millions to make each and every Star Wars movie, and each has the potential to make $2 billion. Say one-in-10 people around the world are so homophobic that they would refuse to see Episode VIII if they knew Poe and Finn cuddle up in it. That’s a loss of $200 million! Even if the Disney execs were all strong proponents of tolerance and social justice, their job is to make money. They can’t risk alienating any substantial potential audience. At best, they can leave it as subtext for more open-minded people to enjoy/hope for/go crazy over. (The books and comics and other tie-ins, which have much lower financial stakes, can afford to be a bit more forward-thinking, hence ex-Imperial officer Sinjir in Chuck Wendig’s spin-off novel Aftermath.)

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Also, let’s remember the actual Force Awakens script has Finn hitting on Rey (poorly, but still). The reason Finn/Poe exists is because of the chemistry between the two actors, which is not something Disney planned for. And this chemistry exists because actor Oscar Isaac is a sexy sex god. He would have the same incredible sexual chemistry with a bowl of mashed potatoes. Seriously, imagine him doing that lip-bite at anything: a chair, a car, My Little Pony toys, a thermos, even a Republican presidential candidate. It would still be sexy as hell.

As for how long before a gay character can be the lead in one of these blockbusters… man. We’re only recently at a point where homosexuals can be the stars of comic books and TV shows and such and it not necessarily be an earth-shaking event. (Some people continue to gasp in horror, but there are less of them every time.) But again, it takes so much money to make these films, and the potential profit loss will scare off most, if not all, studios. I’m sure one day we’ll get there, but it will have taken way too long.

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Pandora’s Box

Benjamin:

So glad to have you back. Let’s get right into it!

Why did Avatar make SO much money? Star Wars: TFA has blown right past Avatar’s domestic record and crossed $1bn in the US in no time but the momentum has slowed down considerably and I doubt it will beat Avatar’s worldwide gross. How did Avatar make $2bn overseas??? I was entertained by the movie and the visuals were utterly stunning but I just can’t understand how it made so much money.

Avatar was a spectacle. It was the first modern 3D movie; it pioneered the technology that dominated the big action and scifi flicks of today; it was, quite literally, something people had never seen before. We take 3D for granted now, but the reason it’s so ubiquitous is because it’s pretty awesome. When people encountered it for the first time in Avatar, it blew minds around the world.

However, if you take the 3D away—or, more precisely, if the 3D becomes a normal, ubiquitous aspect of modern movies—what is Avatar left with? A simplistic story with paper-thin characters on a day-glo fantasy world that lasts an unbearable 2 hours, 40 minutes. When it was the first and only of its kind, it was an amazing must-see; now it’s one of the most crushingly boring 3D movies ever.

I suspect unless Avatar 2 has something equally revolutionary and amazing up its hair-tentacle, it’s going to flop hard.


‘Pool Rules

Doug:

What lessons can we expect the major movie studios to glean from the unexpected success of Deadpool? Will they be good lessons, like gaining the courage to adapt more unusual/outlandish properties to film in a faithful manner, or will they be stupid and cynical lessons, like “people want self-referential dudes in costumes - make an Ambush Bug movie, STAT!”?

Here’s what movie studios should have learned from the success of Deadpool, as succinctly put by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn:

Over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you’ll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They’ll be green lighting films “like Deadpool” – but, by that, they won’t mean “good and original” but “a raunchy superhero film” or “it breaks the fourth wall.” They’ll treat you like you’re stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn’t do.

This is 100% correct. The lesson the studio execs have actually learned is “audiences want movies where superheroes swear and make masturbation jokes” as opposed to “pople like superhero movies that have their own unique identity.”

I’m not sure that this means Marvel and DC will necessarily go straight for the fourth-wall-breaking characters—although I would be lying f I said I wasn’t worried Marvel is already thinking about a new Howard the Duck movie—but they will definitely be looking for characters that can accommodate blood, boobs, butts and profanity. Hollywood doesn’t understand creativity; it just understands if things make money or not. If not, never do that again. If it does, do it constantly until it stops making money. Rinse. Repeat.


A Wookiee Mistake

Christopher F.:

What’s Leia Organa’s issue with Chewbacca?

The “walking carpet” line was funny. Overlooking a medal for the Battle of Yavin was unfortunate. But in the new movie, when Han is killed (are we still doing spoilers?), who does Leia run to hug and comfort? The human kid who has known Han for all of a few days, completely ignoring poor Chewie.

Is Leia speciesist against wookies? Or is she just upset that when the sh*t hit the fan with Ben, Han choose to run away with Chewie instead of staying with her and trying to work out their issues?

Hmm. It does appear that there’s not a ton of affection between the general and her babydaddy’s best friend. Given that Leia has worked with aliens constantly as a leader of the Rebellion and the Resistance and evidenced no similar issues, it seems unlikely she’s a space racist. More likely her problem is specifically with Chewbacca.

I can very easily imagine Leia and the Wookiee becoming estranged after she split with Han; Han would certainly have “gotten Chewie” in the “divorce.” If Leia and Chewie had troubles before that—like at certain ceremony on Yavin—well, plenty of people’s new romantic partner can find themselves at odds with their best friend. It weird, because both the romantic partner and the best friend have intense, personal relationships that the other can’t really understand or be part of. One or both of them could jealous of the other’s relationship with Han, which could have led to tensions. Or sometimes people just don’t click!

Or Chewbacca got drunk one night and made a pass at Leia, and Leia, knowing Han would be heartbroken at his best friend’s betrayal, felt she couldn’t tell him. But Leia would definitely be cold to the Wookiee after that. Han thinks Leia is being weird, and Chewie pretends to be equally baffled. But he knows what he did. Chewbacca knows what he did.


It’s a Fluke, Man

SteveMarsh:

X-Files producers keep asserting that the current reboot (aka reprise) was only a 6 episode “event”, yet last night the story strongly suggested that this “event” was just a prelude to a X-files sequel, with Miller and Einstein replacing Mulder and Sculley. They even spotlighted Einstein calling her partner “Miller”.

Being the penultimate episode, the closing line at the end of the credits was, “Next week Season Finale”. If this was a single shot event, why say it was a Season Finale and not Series Finale?

So is this all just a 6 episode intro for X-Files: Next Generation?

Chris Carter would love to do more X-Files series—probably smaller, limited series like this one has been—and at the moment both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny seem to be on board. They are optimistic about making another one, hence “season finale” instead of “series finale.” (“Series finale” would also technically have been accurate, but it’s mainly a semantic issue.)

But no, there won’t be an X-Files: TNG. The ratings for the new series were good, not nearly good enough that Fox thinks people would watch an X-Files show without Mulder and Scully as the leads. They learned that lesson already. We’ll probably get another limited series or two in the next few years, though.

Also please note that any time I ever write about The X-Files for the rest of my life, I will be running the above gif from the most recent episode, which my glorious co-worker Katharine Trendacosta benevolently gifted the world.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Talking Dead

Chalshark:

While I understand that the Walking Dead is very popular, it isn’t the only popular show on television, not the most popular. Why, then, is it the only one followed by a show-specific chat show? Why aren’t there a plethora of hype shows, hosted by Chris Hardwick clones, following other popular shows? I imagine they’re inexpensive to produce.

The Walking Dead is absolutely one of the most popular shows on TV. It sometimes beats professional football—which is insane—and the only show that beats it is CBS’s interminable hit procedural NCIS. But while that show is watched by more people overall, The Walking Dead actually has more viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic, which are pretty much the only people Hollywood cares about.

So in terms of popularity, TWD is up there. By putting a 30-minute “discussion” show after it each week, AMC effectively increases its TWD content, and—you are very correct—for almost no money. It is preposterously cheap to make Talking Dead, and because it’s about TWD and airs immediately afterwards, it’s also pretty darn popular.

Besides, since AMC isn’t a major network, they also don’t have a lot of great shows that they could put on instead. Networks like ABC and Fox and such have enough new content that its much better to air that than make a show just for the hardest hardcore fans of say, Gotham or Agents of SHIELD. For AMC, people sitting on couches talking about Walking Dead is absolutely going to get better ratings than any alternative they have on hand.


Yesterdays of Future Tomorrows Past

James.:

Just a quick one, less a question and more a request for help. Can you please clear up for the Internet how X-Men Days of Future Past affected the X-Men continuity? Why does everyone over look the fact that the movie introduced Sentinels in the 70s but the Sentinels are never mentioned in the original trilogy? This quickly kills all 3 of the original movies, unless people really think giant mutant murdering robots aren’t something you notice.....like ever. I like some of the original trilogy, but can we please just move on with our X-Men movie cannon? I don’t think we are losing anything we will miss.

Just be impressed that the live-action X-Men movies, despite there only being five of them so far, have managed to fuck up its continuity almost as much as the X-Men comics have. That, my friends, is a commitment to authenticity!


Triple Threat

Chris B.:

Hi Postman! I’m so glad you’re back, because I’ve had this question burning in my brain for the past few months.

If one person is bitten by a werewolf, a vampire, AND a zombie, what will happen?

It depends a large part on what bites first. Also, I’m assuming by “vampire bite” you really mean “be turned into a vampire,” because vampire bites don’t cause vampirism; medical professionals know that the vampire has to feed on its victim and then feed the victim its blood back for the transformation to take place. While all three monsters merely biting a dude simultaneously seems unlikely, the vampire trying to force-feed the guy blood with a zombie and werewolf present is even more absurd.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say a person somehow gets turned into a vampire, a werewolf and a zombie simultaneously. Here’s how it’s gonna break down:

The bite with the fastest effect is the zombie’s, which kills its victim before reanimating them a short time later. (Vampires take about a full day to transform.) But if the dude received the vampire transfusion before dying of zombie-ism, then which would supersede the other? Obviously, the host would still die, since that’s part of the transition for both monsters. But zombies end up with minimal brain function processing one command—eat flesh—while their body decays naturally. Vampirism, being magical, preserves the mind and body eternally, while granting additional powers.

As a fake monster biologist in addition to being a fake mailman, I say the vampiric blood would allow the victim to keep his intelligence and his body. The zombie blood would not be negated, but it would be unnaturally slowed down. So while the victim would start his new life essentially as a normal vampire—albeit one who probably likes his blood “with pulp”—the zombie virus would eventually allow the brain and the body to decay over a period of decades, maybe even centuries. It would be a lengthy process of losing one’s mind while rotting at a minuscule, but irrevocable rate. In a thousand years, the zombified vampire would look much like any zombie, except it would still have some of the speed and strength of its vampiric former self.

The werewolf bite only complicates things during a full moon, in which the were-zomb-ire becomes a giant, slavering, hairy, undead beast that doesn’t just look to attack the unwary but to eat as many blood-filled human beings as inhumanly possible. So watch out for those guys!


It’s good to be back, guys! Thanks for reading, and remember, if you have a question, need advice, have a “what if”? scenario or want answers to anything, email your friendly post-apocalyptic fake mailman here. And infinite thanks to the brilliant Jim Cooke for the new P.A. logo. See you guys next week!


Contact the author at rob@io9.com. Follow him on Twitter at @robbricken.