Greetings, my fine, feathered something starting with "F"! Much like you guys in distant 2015, we celebrate April Fools' Day here in my post-apocalyptic future. Of course, nowadays "celebrate" means "murder anyone caught making crap up", but I'm pretty sure this tradition has its origin in your time...
Hello Mr. Postman,
As you know (because you're from the future) a Robotech movie franchise has been announced. My love of the source material is proportional to my low expectations for the big screen adaptation. But maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
In the parallel universe where you were picked to helm the franchise, how would you handle it? What would you keep, what would you get rid of? How would you divide up the movies?
Me? I'd go for eight or nine movies. The first would end with the SDF-1 returning to Earth from the edge of the solar system, the second would end with the epic Zentradi battle, the third would pick up two years later and end with the destruction of the SDF-1. The fourth and fifth would deal with Dana and the Robotech Masters (unless a compelling case could be made for a third movie), and New Generation would be three films evenly distributed.
As for changes, I'd leave the story relatively intact, ditch the hints of misogyny and make Dana way less annoying and her overall story more compelling. Also, I might address some odd emotional beats like Lisa escaping the destruction of the SDF-1 and not grieving for her friends and comrades.
Interested in hearing your take.
If I were in charge of the Robotech movie franchise, I, personally, would ditch the entirety of Southern Cross and Next Generation. In fact, I'd put the entire Zentraedi War of the Macross saga into the background so I could focus only on the incredibly twisted, authentic love story of Rick Hunter, Lynn Minmay, Lisa Hayes and Lynn Kyle. It would be four hours long, as befits the greatest love story of the 20th century.
If I were a sane person in charge of the live-action Robotech movie franchise, I'd just worry about the Macross saga, and plan on dividing into into a trilogy. The first movie would be the arrival of the SDF and the Zentraedi attack. I would add the capture of Rick, Lisa and the others on the Zentraedi ships — which would happen while the SDF was still on Earth — in order to reveal the antagonists. The end of the first movie would be the SDF teleporting to the far end of the solar system.
The second movie would be the Mars base drama, the SDF's return to Earth, and all the fights, but with the final battle being when the Zentraedi stage their attack inside the SDF — and most especially the duel between Max Sterling and Miriya. It would end with the wedding of Max and Miriya — and a sliver of hope that humans and Zentraedi can live together in harmony, but followed by the SDF's arrival at Earth, and the world government's refusal to take the SDF's refugees for a sort-of Empire Strikes Back-esque downer.
The third movie is mostly a lead-up to the arrival of Dolza and the main Zentraedi fleet, the Grand Cannon and annihilation of Earth. The final section of the third movie would be set a few years later, with the the humans and micronized Zentraedi living together (uneasily, and with some Zentraedi discontents out there) but Rick, Lisa and the rest taking the rebuilt SDF into space to search for the Robotech Masters.
After that, who knows? I still wouldn't try to bring either Southern Cross or even Next Generation to the screen. Harmony Gold turned them into parts of Robotech because that's the material they had available, not because they were perfect suited for each other. It would be much more satisfying for mass audiences to continue the adventures of Rick and Lisa. Yes, the Next Generation saga is semi-loved, but any competent screenwriter could include those characters and the Cyclone armor into future Robotech movies without losing the Macross characters or bringing in a brand new alien race like the Invid to fight.
But all of you, please remember that the Robotech/Macross rights are still a huge mess. Sony, being a Japanese-owned company, may have more luck dealing with Studio Nue and getting the anime likeness rights, but it's equally likely that Sony simply grabbed the Robotech license from Harmony Gold before they knew they had the rights to a bunch of names and nothing else.
V Stands For Hope
Dear Mr. Postman
I know that as you trudge through the irradiated wastes of the future delivering junk mail to mutants you have better things to do, but something struck me after Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor reveal. It has become cool to hate on Batman V Superman. People trashed Eisenberg's Lex even tough it looked pretty good. Better than I was expecting anyway. I know there are a lot of reasons to be doubtful of the movie (Man of Steel), but you know what, it is fulfilling a childhood dream of seeing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all on the silver screen together at the same time.
People say they want the movies to lighten up and be more like the Marvel flicks, and what Disney has done is pretty amazing, but starting next year we are getting like four Marvel movies a year, so DC adding more of the same to mix doesn't sound that good. Plus the movie was completely rewritten by an Oscar winner, so we at least are getting a pretty good script. At least not one done by Snyder (Man of Steel). For all the hate Ben Affleck is getting, at least he is a comic book guy.
I am not expecting Bats V Supes to be great, but I am still excited for it, and I am going to hold off trashing it until I see it. Since we have a year to go, I just wish a lot more people would do the same. It is getting a little old.
Here's the thing: You're clearly a fan, but even you don't expect Batman V. Superman to be great. Doesn't that make you sad? Doesn't that make you a little angry?
After all, most people — yourself included — seem confident that most of Marvel's upcoming movies will be pretty great, mainly because they've provided a great deal of evidence that they can deliver good-to-great movies. Great superhero movies are clearly possible. So why shouldn't people hope that Batman V. Superman be great — or, more precisely, worry that it won't be?
I don't know that it's fashionable to hate Batman V. Superman, but I do know it's incredibly reasonable to be skeptical about it. The evidence we have — namely, Man of Steel — indicates that the movie will have some severe problems.
That said, I could not be less optimistic about BvS, but even I have seen some signs for hope. That photo of Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was quite gratifying. The Comic-Con footage of Batman in his power suit was very cool. Now, that's not enough evidence to overcome the doubts instilled by Man of Steel, at least for me, but it's a reason to hope, even beyond the excitement of seeing Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all on one screen together.
But don't confuse skepticism with hate. I would love for Batman V. Superman to be great. I think most nerds who are expressing their concern over the film — often in vociferous ways — would agree. We just aren't optimistic about it. But then again, neither are you.
Under the Fridge
Dear Mr. Postman,
Recently, my boyfriend and I have been discussing the issue of women in fridges. I'll complain about a female character being used to make the Main Hero Guy have sad feelings, which I see as a problem. He counters with Uncle Ben from Spider-Man being used the exact same way - as a character whose death is used as motivation for Spider-Man. I have no rebuttal to this. Does Uncle Ben get fridged?
Yes and no. He did get fridged, in the sense that he had a death that exists solely to help Peter Parker become Spider-Man. But there's still a differences between Uncle Ben's death and, say, the death of Alex DeWitt, Kyle Rayner's girlfriend, who gave the "women in refrigerators" trope its name.
For those who don't know, the Green Lantern Rayner came home one day to find his girlfriend not only brutally murdered, but stuffed in a refrigerator. The complaint is that Rayner's love interest was killed solely to raise the emotional stakes for a storyarc that would otherwise have been pretty ho-hum, which is the fate of a great many female characters in superhero comics. The brutality also was raised to an absurd level, again for no other reason than to give the male character, Green Lantern, more reason to be upset.
So there's a lot of differences here. First, there's a major empathetic difference between the death of the elderly and the young. Yes, it's sad when Uncle Ben dies, but readers have the consolation that he led a full and happy life with Aunt May, methodically going through the Kama Sutra. DeWitt was a young character taken away in the (fictional) prime of her life.
This is exacerbated by the horror of the murder itself. Uncle Ben was gunned down on the street by a random mugger. Awful, of course, but in comparison to being strangled by third-tier villain Major Force and then having her remain stuffed in a refrigerator for no other reason that to be horrible, well, it doesn't compare.
Third, there's a major difference between a character's premise and just a regular story. The premise contains all the facts about the character and the world. Uncle Ben's death set Peter Parker on the road (web?) to becoming Spider-Man. He doesn't need to be a rich, full character because he exists solely to explain who Spidey is and why he does what he does. Alex DeWitt is ostensibly a character in Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern comic, but she provided nothing to him other than a reason for him to be angry for a single storyarc.
Let me try to put it another way, just to hammer the point home: Uncle Ben was "fridged" as part of Spider-Man's origin, in order to give Spider-Man motivation for his entire life. Alex DeWitt was introduced merely to be murdered and murdered horribly, and solely for to give Kyle Rayner motivation for a few issues. That's the difference.
April Fool's Day is coming up [or is actually here. –Ed.] and I hate it because I always fall for some fake news and then I feel like an idiot. Is there any way to know what news is real and what is fake?
As someone who ostensibly has to find and report news on the internet on April 1st, let me assure you I feel your pain. April Fools' Day is the worst day on the internet, and the fact that 97% of all April Fool's Day "jokes" are painfully lame and unfunny makes it all the more miserable. Really, the only site that should be allowed to do April Fools' Day is ThinkGeek, because if their fake products become popular enough sometimes they actually get made. Now that's a worthwhile trick. (For just one example, see the Mad Max Power Wheels above.)
But that's not your question. I can assure you that io9 will try to only report accurate news, but if I were a layperson surfing the ol' nerdernets for pleasure today, I wouldn't believe any news that gets posted today, no matter how reasonable it seems. I'd wait until tomorrow, and if people are still treating it as fact, then you're probably safe. I mean, websites of honor and integrity can avoid slumming in the hot garbage pile that is April Fools' Day, but even the best reporters get tricked occasionally. Lord knows I have (and I'm nowhere near the best).
Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the email@example.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!