Good day to you, one and all! (But especially the one. You know who you are.) The week you guys asked if The 100 will fix its own stupid mistake, whether the Netflix shows are too dark for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and when to tell your kid that Darth Vader is actually Luke’s father. Let’s mail it in, shall we?
Dear Mr. Postman,
Postman, I’ve been bummed ever since finding out, in the run-up to The Force Awakens, that the sequel trilogy isn’t following Lucas’s treatments and is instead starting from scratch. I got that Disney wanted to distance itself from the prequels’ effect on Lucas’s reputation, but Star Wars always seemed at it best when Lucas’s ideas were at its core and other minds filtered out the too-weird stuff. TFA was fun, sure, but it felt so uncreative that the only question I’ve had about it in the past three months is how differently Lucas’s story would be. Like, how much more creative would it have been if Disney used his treatments (but filtered out bad ideas like making the protagonists pre-teens)?
Disney would never release Lucas’s original ideas for the sequel trilogy without tremendous pressure from fans (if at all), but that pressure hasn’t materialized (probably because so many people never forgave Lucas for the prequels). Postman, am I the only one who’s sad about this? And, sometime between my time and your apocalyptic time, will we ever learn Lucas’s ideas for the sequels?
You are the only person I’ve heard vocalize the desire for George Lucas’ mysterious treatment to have been used for the sequels, although I can’t imagine you’re alone. I also can’t imagine you guys would fill a single movie theater, but you’re definitely not alone.
You’re certainly not wrong in that The Force Awakens was practically a carbon copy of A New Hope, and pretty much everyone admits it. But what people love about TFA is that it felt like the actual Star Wars we remembered and loved, something the prequels never managed. After the prequels, that apparently mattered far more to the general populace than any dismay that it might have recycled its plot. And I’m actually not trying to knock the prequels here (for once)—even among the people who grew up with the prequels and loved them, I’ve heard virtually no discontent about TFA. If someone had said, “I wish The Force Awakens had had more pod-racing and trade sanctions,” I think I would have noticed.
As for whether Lucas’ original treatment will ever see the light of day, I imagine there’ll eventually be a giant The Making of The Force Awakens book, like J.W. Rinzler did for the original trilogy. Just like those books included down Lucas’ earlier Star Wars scripts, I bet this new book will at least give us some details on what Lucas had in mind. I also bet this book won’t come out until well after Episode IX, just in case it has some awesome idea that fans get riled up about, so don’t hold your breath.
Tone It Down
In the contemporary era of 2016 we’re facing more and more inconsistency with Marvel’s live action continuity. The Marvel movies are comedic and happy, which is a huge contrast to its Netflix shows. Both are great but it feels like these two depictions of the Marvel universe are really different both in scope and tone
Meanwhile, Agents of SHIELD has been dealing with a subplot that involves Inhumans. The main Inhuman group is slated for a movie appearance down the road, but there’s no planned inclusion until that movie because Agents of SHIELD and the MCU writers aren’t very communicative.
My questions are, do these tonal shifts and exclusions feel isolating to other viewers?
Given the success of Marvel’s Netflix TV shows, most people have clearly accepted the tonal differences. That’s actually the nice part about the larger part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe being so homogenized—with that firm basis, Marvel can explore other types and genres of live-action entertainment. Guardians of the Galaxy is more scifi, Ant-Man is pretty much a comedy, and the Netflix shows are all grim n’ gritty. The variety of tones is a strength, and they help the MCU feel bigger—that it can encompass all kinds of stories and genres
The Agents of SHIELD/Inhumans thing is another issue entirely. I suppose I’m too jaded to have ever thought the show would influence the movies in any way, but I’m sure there are plenty of AoS viewers and fans perplexed by how the Avengers seem to live in a world where Agents of SHIELD doesn’t exist. But remember, the TV show viewership is a drop in the bucket compared to the movies. SHIELD’s last season premiere had nearly five million viewers—pretty damn good. But even at the most conservative count, Avengers: Age of Ultron had about 70,000,000 viewers worldwide. It’s infinitely better to annoy TV fans than confuse movie-goers—especially since even if Agents of SHIELD became nothing but making fun of nerds who read comics, all the people who stopped watching the show in rage would almost certainly still buy Marvel movie tickets.
The 100 Year War
Like a lot of The 100 fans, I was incredibly angry when the show killed Lexa a couple of weeks ago, not just because I loved the character but it was so meaningless.
Then I read about the last episode having horrible ratings and [showrunner Jason Rothenerg] losing thousands of Twitter followers. Is it possible that we can get this fixed? If enough people stop watching could we make the show bring Lexa back, or even redo the episode? Because this really really sucked.
Although I’m not a fan of The 100, I would like to say I feel your pain. There are certainly characters I wish hadn’t been offed (many tears were shed for Agent Coulson until Agents of SHIELD was confirmed). However, I’m also kind of terrified at the idea of TV shows being beholden to fans—writing specifically to please them instead of writing the best stories they can.
I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong to be upset—far from it. It sounds like it was a horrible, horrible cliché, the loss of one of television’s best (and still too few) LGBT characters, and what sucks the most is how the show actively lied to fans about it and then ignored fans after it, when they freaked out. There’s a difference from a show killing one of your favorite characters and a show actually betraying you, and the latter is pretty much only possible because of the incredible access fans have with shows and their creators thanks to social media. That said, TV shows have to have the ability to tell their own stories. Would Game of Thrones be as good if the Red Wedding had never taken place? No. Would The 100 be better if Lexa hadn’t died? Maybe. But shows have to have freedom, and that includes the freedom to screw things up royally.
As to your question, I’m not sure that there’s a good in-universe way to bring Lexa back—it doesn’t seem to me that The 100 has resurrection tech, correct?—and I think pulling a Dallas (you’re almost certainly way too young to understand this reference) and having Clarke wake up in the season 4 premiere to discover it was all a dream seems like a solution that’s practically as bad as the problem.
Mainly, though, I don’t think it will happen is because the person who could make this decision, showrunner Jason Rothenberg, seems to be dealing with this fan mutiny by pretending none of it exists. If he won’t acknowledge the problem, then he won’t fix it.
(One more thing: For even more insight on a fan-favorite managed to screw up so badly, the inestimable Maureen Ryan has covered the topic excellently over at Variety.)
Hey Postman, what was Vandal Savage up to during World War II? Was he like in cahoots with Hitler or something?
He was a high-ranking member of the Nazi party, hanging around Hitler, trying to help the Axis conquer the world so he could eventually rule it himself. This is true both of the comics Vandal Savage and the Vandal Savage in Legends of Tomorrow, by the way. However, in the old DC Animated Universe, that Vandal Savage actually managed to supplant Hitler as head of the Third Reich and used weapon technology he had sent himself from the future (like you do) to arm his soldiers and conquer the world, although the Justice League was able to restore the original timeline.
So he kept busy, is what I’m saying.
Strike While the Lightsaber Is Hot
I have a young son who enjoys Star Wars. He is too young to fully understand everything that is going on, but he’s gotten toys and a little picture book that walks you through A New Hope. He has the book memorized and knows all of the characters names.
Star Wars was my absolute favorite so I’m excited by his interest, especially since he sort of took to it on his own, and I’m excited to experience and share these things with him. We recently watched A New Hope together (in like 20 or 30 minute chunks - it took a few days) and he loved it. He keeps asking for more…
My question is this: he’s too young to experience the full emotions of the moment we learn Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, so do I just keep watching and talking about A New Hope for a couple years until I can drop this bomb on him? Or is that just another small fact in the Star Wars universe given the prequels and the cartoons and Episode VII are all built around it? Is that spoiler unavoidable? Is it even a spoiler anymore?
I understand your desire to give him that “HOLY SHIT DARTH VADER IS LUKE’S FATHER MOMENT” but if you hold off on Empire Strikes Back for that reason, I think you’re running a lot of risks. First, you’re correct in thinking this is such an iconic moment of pop culture that it’s basically not a spoiler anymore. It’s discussed freely, it’s parodied ceaselessly, it’s just part of the pop culture lexicon. There’s a very good chance he would pick up the information long before you ever put the DVD on.
The next problem is that if he’s really into Star Wars now, are you really going to keep all the other movies from him until he’s cognizant enough to have his jaw drop at the ESB reveal? I think that would suck far worse for him than having Vader spoiled. Besides, remember our friend from last week who wished his kid would get into Transformers; if your kid shows an interest in something that you actually want him to be interested in, don’t hold back! If you think he’s ready to watch Empire Strikes Back, let him watch it!
If it makes you feel any better, I’m 99% certan that the new trilogy will also contain a “HOLY SHIT” moment or two, one of them almost certainly a “HOLY SHIT [REDACTED] IS REY’S PARENT.” As an adult fan, you might not be impressed with this reveal, but I bet it blows his little mind just as much as the Vader reveal blew yours.
Four a Good Cause
What are the odds that Fox sells back the Fantastic Four movie rights to Marvel ?
Significantly less than the odds of Fox rebooting the Fantastic Four a second time as an R-rated action-comedy, a la Deadpool.
Have a question? Need advice? Have a “what if” scenario? Email your friendly post-apocalyptic fake mailman here!