Hello, folks! There’s a big mailbag today, so let’s just get right to it. Can bringing back Captain Picard actually placate surly Star Trek fans? How did the Amazons build Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, anyway? And stay tuned until the end for an important announcement, too.
Out of all of the DC movies in development, which do you think have the greatest chance of actually being made?
Ma’am, I apologize, because I have seen so many of DC/WB’s movies get continually postponed and/or lost in limbo it’s hard for me to truly believe any of them are going to get made. I mean, I know a few will, but there’s no rhyme or reason to what actually gets to theaters. It’s sort of like trying to predict who’s going to win the lottery; someone, somewhere is going to win, but there’s no real way of predicting who—or at what point in the process the WB execs are going to start second-guessing all their decisions and throw the film to the back of the pile.
If I had to pick—which I do, because this is the whole point of “Postal Apocalypse”—the Suicide Squad sequel will probably make it, given that having James Gunn on board is as close as WB/DC has ever come to having what it would consider a sure bet. He made successful Marvel movies, and everyone liked those, so of course his DC movie will also be loved and lucrative…right? To be fair, the answer is most likely “probably.”
While Batman is always the company’s most popular and most profitable character, I fully expect Warner Bros. execs to be so petrified that they’re going to mess the Dark Knight up like they did Superman that they’ll never actually getting around to making the next movie, because they’ll never be confident enough with a script to pull the trigger. I mean, they’ve been developing The Flash movie since 2013 (and they just delayed it again!) and the stakes are way lower for that than the next Batman.
Since the Birds of Prey film has its cast it appears that movie might be close enough to production to survive long enough to get filmed, although it’s by no means a guarantee. However, I think its chances are very good, mainly because it includes the character of Cassandra Cain, who was briefly Batgirl in the comics. Anytime WB/DC can make a movie that horribly, horribly fucks with any semblance of a comprehensible Bat-continuity in the DC Extended Universe, I feel like they manage to pull it together. Making the potential Batgirl solo movie more confusing is also a bonus.
Make It So-So
I’m a life-long Star Trek fan. I’ve grown cynical as I’ve gotten older. Not about Trek itself, but fandom... especially the vocal online variety.
There is just no pleasing supposed fans. They, and sure I’m generalizing, shouted they needed new Trek. And they said it can’t be a retread of what came before. When they got that with Discovery, they lamented that it was a departure from what they knew. CBS and TPTB are stuck in a no-win scenario: give fans Trek like the Trek they knew, they’ll call it derivative and a poor copy; give them something new and different, and they’ll scream their disappointment that it’s not the Trek they love.
All of that in mind, what would possess CBS to even bother with a new series about Jean-Luc Picard? I can hear the complaining already.
Well, you’ve sort of answered your own question. Complaining fans demand something new that is also somehow exactly the same as what they loved about the franchise. What they really want is the Platonic ideal of what they believe the franchise to be, which of course is unique to every fan, meaning even if we could read a grumbling Trekkie’s mind to siphon his perfect TV series there’s absolutely no way it would please all the other fans.
So here’s what networks do: They take something people loved about the franchise originally and try to stick it in something new (or vice versa). Trek fans love Picard, so getting him to join a new Star Trek show is basically hitting the jackpot. (And Discovery was this, too; a new ship and crew, but it finally returned to the classic Trek continuity fans had been praying for.)
No, even bringing back Picard isn’t enough to make all these loud-mouthed fans shut up—nothing would—but there are many fans who can watch it and like it, love it, or maybe even not care about it but not go off on a Reddit tirade about it. And for those already pre-hating the series for some dumb reason or another, I guarantee almost all of those knuckleknobs will still be tuning in to see Captain Picard in a spaceship again.
In light of the serious accusations against Joss Whedon, the stark reality of what Bill Cosby has done and even the rantings of other celebrities, I have been pondering the lives of the people behind media more than usual.
We consume media created by mortal, fallible humans. They make mistakes. Sometimes these are isolated incidents and sometimes they turn out to be terrible monsters with the ability to tell a good joke.
How much can we or should we separate the creator from the creation?
I think I may have answered this question once, long ago, but it only gets more relevant as time goes on, so it’s worth bringing it back. The answer is that there are a million answers. It all depends on what you believe and feel about the art and artist in question.
Someone people can completely divorce the art from the artist. Some people, when they discover someone they’re a fan of is a creep, have to immediately collect all the works the creep had been involved with in their house, and toss them in the garbage. Some people keep books and DVDs and such that they’ve already bought, but refuse to support future projects by said creep. All of these are acceptable. It really depends on how you feel, which can be a complicated mix of how much you like the piece of art in question, how big a creep the creep might be, how much the meaning the art itself it has to you, and many, many other variables.
For those that desperately want to keep things that hold meaning for them but feel guilty for it, remember that most art is not created by a single artist. For example, if you can’t stand Joss Whedon anymore but still love Firefly, remember, that show was also made by Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, and a giant cast and crew. You don’t have to let one creep ruin a work that was made by many wonderful people.
But really, it all depends on how you feel. If you throw on a DVD and start watching but realize you feel too guilty or gross to enjoy it anymore, well, that’s your answer.
In Plane Sight
Confused From Man’s World:
How exactly could the Amazons in the comics have developed Wonder Woman’s invisible plane? When we see them, their level of technology looks about Bronze Age. Reverse engineering resulting from salvaging Steve Trevor’s plane is a bit of a stretch unless the Greek gods helped. But where would the invisibility power come from?
When Wonder Woman got her first full comic to herself, titled Sensation Comics, in 1942, creator Charles Moulton just gave her the plane with absolutely zero explanation. So obviously you’re on the right track with the gods: Since Wonder Woman was committed to kicking Nazi ass at that point, she almost certainly asked Hephaestus, god of fire, forges, blacksmiths, and building things, for something to help her fight the planes she had already encountered during World War II. It’s not the craziest request, because at that point Wonder Woman couldn’t fly at all. Besides, Hephaestus has made several things for Diana over the years, including the Sandals of Hermes and Bracelets of Submission.
And don’t worry about its invisibility. Hephaestus is a god; making magic things is his jam. If he can make sandals that can fly, why couldn’t he also make a jet that was invisible? I’m 99 percent sure that he also made Cupid/Eros’ guns in the New 52-verse, which shoots bullets of love. Invisible is well within his wheelhouse.
Fun fact: After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Diana’s invisible jet was a sentient alien crystal that she unknowingly enslaved, basically. When the jet gained the ability to talk, it was very upset with Wonder Woman, but they made up.
Remake It Count
Sam the Playback Guy:
Dear Mr. Postman,
At the recent San Francisco Comic Con, Peter Capaldi wished his Doctor could have made a return visit to Vortis. That planet had insect humanoids which didn’t quite come off visually, thanks to low BBC budgets.
That got me wondering. Let’s say you have the ear of a producer or director interested in remaking a genre film. The genre film he or she wants to remake had some great ideas but didn’t have enough of a budget to really make its ideas work on the screen the first time around. Which film would you pick and why?
Ooh, good question. It’s tough, though, because so many of the old films that could be upgraded still have qualities so good I wouldn’t want to see them remade. Big Trouble in Little China was my first thought, but I couldn’t bear the idea of the movie without all the amazing/amazingly bizarre performances in it (and man, I hope the Rock’s version he’s been talking about for years never materializes). While I would love a Labyrinth with big-budget fantasy SFX, that movie without Bowie in it is nothing. The primitive CG and classic stop-motion animation of Tron and the original Clash of the Titans, respectively, are part of their charm—and big budgets didn’t help their sequel or remake anyway.
But I do indeed have an answer: Godzilla vs. Megalon.
My fellow Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans know exactly what I’m talking about. For the rest of you, Godzilla vs Megalon is the goofiest goddamn Godzilla film ever made. It involves surly Atlanteans sending the giant cockroach Megalon to the surface to mess things up, where it teams with perennial Godzilla foe Gigan. So the Big G recruits a very stupid-looking Ultraman rip-off named Jet Jaguar and the four-way fight at the end turns into a giant monster wrestling match, complete with Jet Jaguar holding a groggy Megalon so Godzilla can do a running dropkick at him. Let me say that again: A giant, 80-foot dinosaur who shoots radiating from his mouth does a flying dropkick on another monster.
And then it turns out Godzilla loved kicking Megalon in the face so much he makes Jet Jaguar pick Megalon up so he can do it again.
I want this movie to get the same budget as the new Godzilla movies and I want the super-intense new designs applied to all the characters—and then I want everything else to be exactly the same.
Unlife After Undeath
Settle an argument for me: if you’re cryogenically frozen and then, at some point in the future, unfrozen, are you considered a zombie?
Say Walt Disney unfreezes himself, either because the copyright on Mickey Mouse expires in just six years or because his brand of fascism is suddenly popular again. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to call someone undead if their heart stopped beating and their brain was rendered inactive when frozen, right?
I’m a firm believer in the idea that language is an ever-changing entity, so that word meanings and grammar rules only exist when the majority of people agree on those meanings and the rules. In that sense, “undead” has come to primarily mean a being who continues to be ambulatory (or possibly even sentient) despite the fact that most if not all of the internal bodily processes necessary to being “alive” have stopped, e.g. zombies and vampires. So you could call Walt’s frozen body “undead,” since it’s in a weird gray area between life and death, but most people would immediately assume you were saying he was up and walking around, which is incorrect and thus defeats the entire purpose of using the term.
Also, there’s an argument to be made that Walt’s bodily functions haven’t ceased as much as they’ve been put on pause. This is admittedly semantics, but that’s what we’re here for, right? The intention is that Walt’s freezing is a temporary state that is intended to end—which makes “undead” feel less than accurate, since “undeath” is something people almost never recover from, anyway. Better to call him “temporarily unalive,” I think. Or leave him frozen.
Okay, guys, here’s the deal: Unfortunately, next week is the final “Postal Apocalypse” for the foreseeable future! I’ll explain more next week, but for now, I want to do the longest mail column I possibly can, so if you’ve ever wanted to ask me a question, now’s the time to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re able, try to keep them short and focused, and I’ll try to answer as many as I can. See you next week!