Before you freak out: I have no special information about the Star Wars sequels. I merely have an educated guess about what might occur, and thus my headline is in no way an Episode VII spoiler. Unless I'm right. Which we won't know until the movie comes out. At which point it will no longer be a spoiler. Paradox!

The Fault In Our Star Wars


Dear Postman,
I noticed that Hollywood has been killing off mentor characters in movies more frequently recently, such as M (Skyfall, 2012), even when the mentors didn't have to die, like Pa Kent (Man of Steel, 2013). Now that the cast of Star Wars: Episode 7 is out, do you think there's a good chance one of the main characters (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, or C3P0) might be knocked off? If so, who?


Han Han Han Han HAN Han Han HAN HAN HAN HAN.

I'd say Han has about a 10% chance of surviving the sequel trilogy, and I only give him 50% to survive the first film. Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to die as far back as Empire Strikes Back, and I doubt he's changed his mind. In fact, I'd bet the only reason he signed on for Episode VII was on the condition that Han die, so he doesn't have to fool with this shit anymore (along with a dump truck full of money).


It also makes a lot of sense story-wise. Killing off one of the original trilogy characters is a clear sign of passing the torch to the new generation of characters, it will make whoever the bad guys is seem more like a credible threat. Besides Luke can't die because he's got to restart the Jedi, and Leia's got political stuff to do. Even if Han is part of the New Republic or whatever they call it, we all know his character is wasted as a politician — something tells me that Han will have some dashing, scroundel-esque heroic sacrifice near the end of the first movie. Maybe the second movie — have a little thematic correlation with the end of Empire — but probably the first. I'm pretty sure Ford wants to be done with Star Wars as quickly as possible.


Believe It or Not

Chris V.:

Dear Postman,

I used to be an avid action figure collector but have dialed it back over the years. The thought has crossed my mind many times and I'd like to know why there hasn't been an Ellen Ripley figure since the old Kenner toy lines. It seems like a no brainer, she's the main character of the series. There would also be four chances to make money, along with the deluxe version that has the Power Loader. Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea?


No, you are not. The toy company NECA just announced they received the likeness rights to Sigourney Weaver, so they will be putting out a crap-ton of Ripley figures from all four movies in the Alien toylines later this year. Also, the terrifyingly-talented Hong Kong toy company Hot Toys did make a 12-inch Ripley figure with an in-scale power loader back in 2007, but they were limited and hard to find.

The reason for the lack of Ripley figures after the Kenner Alien toylines is that Sigourney Weaver didn't want you to have them. She refused to sign off her likeness rights for a long time; I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it may have had something to do with her Kenner action figures looking like this:


Anyways, I guarantee you McFarlane Toys tried to get them in the '00s for their Alien/Predator line. Eventually, Mattel convinced Weaver to let them make a Dana from Ghostbusters figure in 2012, and now NECA scored Ripley. Your figures are on their way.


Shields Up

Jason H.:

Hope it's warming up in the future, winter has finally broken here. 'Course, now that means the tornados will strike…

Quickie for you: in the inevitable star-wars / marvel crossover that will probably hit within the next 18 months (and, if I was a betting man, guest-star Phineas and Ferb) can a lightsaber cut through Captain America's shield? I'd assume everyone would say no, but a fast google-image search shows otherwise, to which I call shenanigans.

Any chance this was shown in the future and you can relay back what posterity says?


Since vibranium — the special metal Captain America's shield is made of — doesn't seem to exist in the Star Wars universe, and lightsabers don't exist in Marvel, it is impossible to know until the inevitable Phineas and Ferb crossover becomes its own ridiculous canon. However! As you may have recently learned, there's plenty of shit lightsabers can't cut through and I would guess, whenever Cap and Darth Vader finally battle each other, Cap's shield will be one of them. He's deflected pretty much every other type of energy weapon with it, and I don't know why lightsabers would be any different.


Needs Seasoning

Matt W.:

Dear Mr. Postman,

I'm more familiar with futuristic sci-fi than sword and sorcery fantasy.
Does Game of Thrones take place on Earth? Because if it doesn't, why does the alien planet have all the same animals and foodstuff as Earth, not to mention the technology is similar to that of our medieval period.
Conan The Barbarian took place during a fictional Hyborian Age. Tolkein said that Middle-Earth was on our Earth, but during an imaginary period.
So where the hell is Westeros? Earth? A far away planet?
Am I the only person who stays up at night wondering about the logic of this?
I mean, if it's another planet, shouldn't there be more of a sci-fi element to it? Like two moons? Or blue fruit?
(you've always said there's no such thing as a question too dumb)


Indeed there isn't, Matthew. I'm guessing you're unaware of the fact that the seasons in the world of Westeros last for several years — some as short as one, some as long as a decade. In fact, when the series begins, the world has experienced a "long summer" of 10 years, which is just now ending. Of course, author George R.R. Martin says the reason for the seasons is magical, and not because of its orbit around its sun, but whatever.

While Westeros may not have blue fruit, it has dire wolves, dragons, White Walkers, magic, Children of the Forest, skinchangers, giant fucking ice walls, etc. It is, very definitely, Somewhere Else. Most fantasy authors don't worry about where their story takes place relative to Earth; they're only concerned with the story, It's fantasy. I mean, you can say Lord of the Rings took place on Earth during an "imaginary period", but the fact is the geography of Middle-Earth is not our own, it had magic and elves and dragons and craziness, and nothing about it affected our reality at all, so the key word is "imaginary." It doesn't matter at all what planet it took place on, because at no point are Earth Astronauts going to land on Westeros and ask what the deal is. Don't worry about it.


Hook Me Up


You are obviously well aware of the 2010's decade as you seem to be well versed in our current culture.

Perhaps you can explain to me a few things about the millennials.

With, for me, the recent passing of the great actor Bob Hoskins I notice that a lot of kinja users have been hailing his performance as Smee, in what in my opinion is a terrible movie called Hook, which if there is a deity will have wiped from the conscious of your post apocalyptic society. Can you explain the unhealthy love of this terrible Spielbergian-William's movie? If you had the opportunity to listen to one wildly listened pot-addled podcast you will be aware that there is a deep and abiding love of the movie which goes beyond mere nostalgia.


Let me explain the definition of nostalgia.

nostalgia — noun\nä-ˈstal-jə, nə- also nȯ-, nō-; nə-ˈstäl-\: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again


Please note that the "something from the past" you remember is not necessarily described as being "worthy of affection," "quality entertainment," or "something that is not shitty." You can have nostalgia for anything, and when you're young you rarely look at thing with as discerning or critical eye.

By this I mean kids like crap. I liked crap when I was a kid. You did you. A lot of kids grew up watching Hook, and their deep an abiding love for the movie is, exactly nostalgia. My little brother grew up watching and loving Power Rangers, and that show is terrible. I grew up watching He-Man, GI Joe and Transformers cartoons, and they were crap. But we watched these things when we were young and dumb and because we hadn't spent much time on this planet yet we didn't know they were crap, or we just didn't care. Generally people remember their childhood fondly, because they didn't have to work, pay bills, or make their own dinner, and rewatching Hook on DVD or buying Star Wars toys or whatever reminds them of their childhood and it feels good and this is all called nostalgia.


All that said, Hook is hardly the worst movie ever. It's directed by Steven Spielberg, and even bad a Spielberg movie is better than a lot of stuff.


Miles to Go

John S.:

Howdy postman. I was wondering about two things. One is concerning your diet. Do you exist purely on the remainders from our industrialized era? Do twinkies and spaghetti-o's keep you going or do you accept donations of the radiation swelled cockroach cattle from the communities you serve?

Secondly, you recently answered a question about Marvel ever getting the rights to Spider-man and the X-men back from...whoever has them and keeps pissing away their potential. I get that the good-through date on that sale is for all intents and purposes the foreseeable future as long as they keep making movies, but does that include the Ultimate line? I for one would take Miles Morales as Spider-man teaming up with the Avengers over nothing. I see where the X-men and FF wouldn't work because they're the same people with different origins instead of completely new characters (unless it's awful, like "hello, I'm Ultamate Reed Richards and I'm here to help you REACH your goals. Eh? Come get it") but would Miles be included in this deal because of his alter-ego's name or not?


I honestly don't know if Sony has the name rights to Miles Morales, seeing as Marvel sold the Spider-Man rights to Sony in 1999, and Miles was first introduced in the Ultimate universe in 2011. I don't know if Sony or Marvel would have bothered updating the contract to include Miles or not.

But I do know this: If Marvel has the movie rights to Miles Morales, they don't still have the movie rights to Spider-Man. So theoretically Marvel could make a Miles Morales movie, except 1) no one could call him Spider-Man, 2) he couldn't look anything like Spider-Man, 3) he probably couldn't exhibit too many of the same powers as Spider-Man, and 4) the name Spider-Man couldn't be used for the title of the movie or to market it it any way.


The copyright laws that prevent Marvel from making an Ultimate Spider-Man movie are the same laws that keep other production companies from making their own Spider-Man movies, or rip-offs like Spider-Dude or something. I suppose Marvel could make a Spider-Man parody, much like the porn industry does ("parody" has a hilariously broad scope) but that's like Mutually Assured Destruction. Marvel makes a Spider-Man "parody," a bitter Sony makes a Captain America parody in retaliation, someone entirely different tries to cash in on an Avengers parody, and all the brands are diluted and the studios are broke and people stop seeing superhero movies because most of them are shitty parodies. Pray this doesn't happen.

Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!