The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Image: Lucasfilm, Magali Villeneuve/Wizards of the Cost, and Insomniac Games, Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort (Getty Images), Universal Pictures
Year In ReviewYear In ReviewWe look back at the best, worst, and most significant moments of the year, and look forward to next year.

2020! What a year, huh? As the world turned upside down, pop culture tried to make the most of one of the most tumultuous periods of modern history. Here’s some of the most popular posts you’ve read on io9 this year, from theme park nightmares to DuckTales delights. Maybe there’s a few things about little-known indie darling Star Wars in there too, if you’ve heard of it?


100) Hulu’s Animaniacs Reboot Is Nostalgic for All the Wrong Reasons

Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are back—and they’re ready to turn 2020 upside down.

99) Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Reveals Its First Look at Paul Atreides

The hero of the dunes is rising, but he may not be ready for the path laid out in front of him.

98) Christian Bale May Be Heading to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Batman himself, Christian Bale, may be heading to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

97) A New Mandalorian Spoiler May Have Galactic Implications

It’s just two weeks into the second season of The Mandalorian and we still have no idea exactly what’s happening. While some of the rumors have been true, many others have yet to materialize, leaving fans anxiously awaiting where this story is going to take us.

96) It’s Not Fair That Henry Cavill Is This Much of a Nerd

Life is cruel. And unfair. It’s rude. No one man should look this good and be so completely, utterly this much of a dork.

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Image: HBO

95) Each Episode of Lovecraft Country Now Comes With a Syllabus

Lovecraft Country has as lot of powerful, distinct intersections with Black history, looking at the Black experience in the United States during the time in which it’s set through the lens of horror. It sure would be nice if someone put together a list of resources and reading materials to help you, or, say, your students better understand that history.


94) The 12 Best (and 7 Worst) Television Shows of 2020

We might have seen a shortage of new movies in 2020, but one thing we still got a lot of was television shows.


93) How a Star Wars Fan Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept Not Liking Rise of Skywalker

For the past few weeks, I’ve been telling fans who love Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that I was happy for them. That’s only part of the truth. The full truth is: I’m happy they found enjoyment in the film, yes, but I’m also filled with jealousy.


92) The ‘Snyder Cut’ of Justice League Is Being Released

Some fans demanded it, we’ve all debated it, and now it’s finally happening.

91) The Return of The Walking Dead Looks More Like an Ending

When last we left some of the biggest characters on The Walking Dead, they were pretty much screwed. It appears not much will have changed when the second half of season 10 picks up this weekend. In fact, things are only getting worse.


90) Baby Yoda’s Snacking Habit Was Apparently Meant to Be Funny

In the days since The Mandalorian’s most recent episode hit Disney+, more than a few casual observers of the wee Baby Yoda have taken notice of, and issue with, the Child’s voracious appetite.


89) This RC Baby Yoda Waddles Around Your House Like a 50-Year-Old Toddler

The extreme level of secrecy behind the big reveal in the first season of Star Wars: The Mandalorian meant that the public’s immediate thirst for Baby Yoda merchandise went unquenched for a long time.


88) Chadwick Boseman, Star of Black Panther, Has Passed Away at 43

The Associated Press has just revealed actor Chadwick Boseman has passed away from cancer at just 43 years old.


87) The Doctor Is Back, and She Brought Doctor Who With Her

The first season of Jodie Whittaker’s tenure on Doctor Who was marked by change.


86) The Hunger Games Pulls a Star Wars With Its Prequel Hero 

Sure he’s evil—but, like, how did he get to be evil? Suzanne Collins has unveiled the protagonist for her Hunger Games prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and he sounds pretty bloody familiar.


85) All the New Things We Learned From Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s Home Release

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is finally home. With its release early to digital this past weekend, and the Blu-ray coming on March 31, fans can finally watch all nine Star Wars Skywalker Saga movies in the comfort of their own home. And just in time too. We may all be staying home for a while.


84) The Mandalorian’s Filoni and Dawson on Why People Still See Ahsoka as a Jedi

As The Mandalorian’s stakes have gradually risen with each episode, the series’ connections to the Star Wars franchise’s larger epic narrative have grown stronger, particularly as characters like Bo-Katan and important items like the Darksaber have been incorporated into the plot.


83) The Moment Luke Skywalker’s Legend Became Ben Solo’s Greatest Specter

The fall of Ben Solo is a path littered with regrets. Luke’s fleeting impulse to cut down the darkness in his own student, the shadow of expectation born from his father, his mother, and the bloodline an entire galaxy can’t seem to escape from, let alone a young man plagued by voices in the dark.


82) Hong Kong Disneyland Is Closing Again After a Coronavirus Spike of 50 Cases Per Day

Hong Kong Disneyland announced on Monday that it would close its gates to visitors again due to a recent spike in novel coronavirus infections, according to a statement obtained by CNN.


81) Dave Filoni’s Thoughts on The Phantom Menace Are Must-See Star Wars TV 

Get ready to never think about The Phantom Menace the same way ever again.

80) How The Mandalorian’s Finale Reveal Fits Into Star Wars’ Timeline 

The Mandalorian’s season finale took Din Djarin’s small slice of the Star Wars universe and exploded it into smithereens—smithereens with much larger ties to the vast Skywalker Saga than any of us could’ve imagined when this show first started last year.

THX 1138.
THX 1138.
Image: Columbia Pictures

79) 20 Sci-Fi Directorial Debuts That Became Genre Classics

Years before he visited a galaxy far, far away, scruffy University of Southern California grad George Lucas made his directorial debut with 1971 dystopian tale THX 1138. In honor of that movie’s release 49 years ago this month, we’ve gathered up a list of 20 other first-time director efforts that have since become sci-fi classics.


78) Zoë Bell Fights Nearly Every Famous Woman in Hollywood in This Quarantine Fight Scene

One big gap in all of our nerd lives during the drought in Hollywood releases brought on by the pandemic is the lack of good fight choreography.


77) A Tribute to Sam Neill’s 13 Most Memorable Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Roles

Sam Neill doesn’t have a new movie out—Jurassic World: Dominion isn’t due until 2021—and it’s not his birthday or anything.


76) 5 International Sci-Fi Shows Worth Checking Out on Netflix

Science fiction has a rich history in countless cultures, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. And Netflix has been getting in on the action for a while now. Here are our five picks for international sci-fi shows you should definitely check out on the streaming platform.


75) Hot Damn, Look at The Batman’s New Ride

You’ve seen The Batman’s new suit, but who would the Dark Knight be without a fancy set of wheels to prowl Gotham’s streets in?


74) Here Are a Couple The Rise of Skywalker Cameos You Almost Certainly Missed

Did you know Ed Sheeran was in this movie? No? Well, okay, honestly that’s probably a good thing. But he is there!


73) This Avengers: Endgame Star Defies Tony Stark and Goes Sledding With Captain America’s Shield

Which is probably a terrible idea, if we’re being honest.

72) The Best Easter Egg in the Latest Mandalorian Was Right on Target

Who could imagine a simple rocket firing could mean so much?

71) Miles Morales Is Giving Its Hero the Sickest Spider-Man Suit of All Time and Ditching the Cops

Though Spider-Man: Miles Morales is still set in the same universe as Insomniac’s first game, it’s very much meant to be the story of how, after training under Peter Parker, Miles is ready to break free and define his own legacy as one of New York City’s protectors.


70) Adam Pally Tells All About the Day He Punched Baby Yoda

The Mandalorian’s biggest criminal finally tells his side of the story.

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Image: HBO

69) The Westworld Finale Whiffed It Hard

Turns out while violent pleasures have violent ends, Westworld’s season three finale was a violent end that had very little pleasure in it. That is, if you were hoping for something more than a basic sci-fi action flick.


68) The Batman Has Landed With a Brutal, Excellent First Trailer

It’s raining Batman these days but Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Paul Dano, and Jayme Lawson star in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.


67) Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Has Been Canceled by Netflix

The story of Thra on Netflix is over. io9 has exclusively confirmed the streaming service has chosen not to renew The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, meaning the series has come to an end after only one season.


66) The 35 Best Star Wars Moments of the Disney Era

Another era of Star Wars has drawn to an end.

65) Well, The Mandalorian Boba Fett Situation Might Have Just Gotten a Whole Lot More Interesting

The Mandalorian’s second season already has enough interesting things going on—babies yoda! sabers dark!—before it started heaping on the prospects of bringing back a few familiar faces...including the seeming, ominous return of Boba Fett.


64) What Exactly Is Going on With Ezra Miller?

Until recently, Ezra Miller was best known for their acting—in the Fantastic Beasts movies, and in the DCEU films, a series which has long been promising Miller’s Flash character their own standalone chapter.


63) Battlestar Galactica Star Michael Hogan Needs Our Help

A sci-fi legend needs your help—so say we all.

62) Bill & Ted Face the Music in a Truly Excellent Trailer


61) He Knew

On May 21, 2019, this sly son of a bitch gazed into our bleak future, and now he reaps the bitter fruit of the trap he set.


60) Marvel Made Fortnite Canon and I Have Lost My Entire Mind

Trying to make sense of comics continuity at the best of times requires offering up a tiny little part of your brain to be smushed to gooey smithereens in the mortar and pestle of comic book publishing tomfoolery.


59) Doctor Who’s Showrunner Wants You to Know That the New Time Lord Is No Joke

We take it you’ve heard the news about the Doctors Who?

58) When, Exactly, Did Palpatine Fuck?

Someone in the galaxy far, far away, looked at a man named Sheev Palpatine—Chancellor of the Republic, walking prune, fascist ruler of the Galactic Empire, evil space wizard—and, in their best Lando Calrissian impression, went “Hello, what have we here?”


57) Ernest Cline Reveals That Ready Player Two Has the Same Damn Plot as Ready Player One

Get ready for a “wildly original” journey into déjà vu. Ernest Cline has shared new plot details about Ready Player Two, his long-awaited follow-up novel for Ready Player One.


56) 10 TV Shows Where the First Season Was the Best Season

Television shows often take a bit of time to find their footing, with series like The Expanse, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Steven Universe only getting better with each passing season. Then there are the shows that peaked early. Like, really early.


55) Ahsoka Tano Could Have Saved the Republic

The right hero in the wrong place.

54) Everything You Need to Know About the Darksaber, the Black Blade That Freed Mandalore

Death Stars. Starkiller Base. The Final Order. The Lightsabers of Jedi and Sith legacies alike. Star Wars is full of incomprehensibly powerful weapons, be they the tools of heroic and villainous individuals or the combined military might of Empires. But none have become more important or interesting to the galaxy far, far away right now than the mythical Darksaber.


53) The First Full Trailer for Ragnarok Appropriately Brings the Thunder

I mean, c’mon. Can’t have the end of the world without a few stormcallers, right?


52) 8 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Read (or Re-Read) Before Their Adaptations Hit the Screen

Each month we share an avalanche of new books to feed your need to read. But there are also tons of older sci-fi and fantasy books worth your time, too—including those with the added interest of television or movie adaptations on the way.


51) The Mandalorian’s Latest Episode Will Have Fans Talking for a Long Time

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” “I am your father.” “So be it. Jedi.” Star Wars is filled with moments that have become part of our lives, and have elevated the franchise to the heights of popularity it enjoys today.


50) This General Grievous Cosplay Has to Be Seen to Be Believed

Few Star Wars characters are more difficult to cosplay than General Grievous.

49) RIP Hugh Keays-Byrne, Star of Mad Max and Mad Max: Fury Road

May he ride eternal, shiny and chrome. Actor Hugh Keays-Byrne, best known for his villainous roles in the Mad Max series, has passed away at the age of 73.


48) Oh No, Spider-Man’s New Video Game Face Continues to Not Be It

The more we see of it, the more my brain cannot reconcile it.

47) Miles Morales Reforms Spider-Man’s Relationship With the Police When It Needs to Be Abolished

Insomniac’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales follows the fledgling webhead as he steps out from under Peter Parker’s shadow. He’s defending New York City on his own for the first time just as a bitter ground war breaks out between the nefarious Roxxon Corporation and the tech-powered Underground movement. New as Miles is to this life, fighting crime is his calling, and he’s ready to step up to the plate.


46) Dune’s First Trailer Is a Beautiful, Unstoppable Journey

The spice must flow.

45) Goofy Stopped by DuckTales and Canonized the Cutest Couple in Disney History

DuckTales went meta in its season three premiere when Donald and his nephews found themselves trapped in a ‘90s sitcom, but that wasn’t the coolest thing that happened.

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Image: Elena Scotti/io9

44) ‘We Are Frightened’: Disney Cast Members Share Their Anxiety and Anger About the Parks Reopening

“It’s time for magic.” With that phrase, Disney revealed on June 10 that Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure would reopen on July 17, the 65th anniversary of opening day in 1955. That date’s been pushed back because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Disney is determined to open its doors soon. Guests are thrilled at the idea of returning to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but some cast members are terrified.


43) The Films of Christopher Nolan, Ranked

These days, if you’re talking about movies, you’re probably talking about Christopher Nolan. Oh sure, some really good movies have premiered on streaming during the pandemic, but all eyes have been on the latest blockbuster from Nolan, Tenet, which many expect to usher in a return to movie theaters post-covid-19.


42) Darkseid Is...Costing HBO Max a Lot

The “Snyder Cut” is real?

41) Marvel’s WandaVision Is Arriving Sooner Than Expected

Here’s to a new year of spoilers!

40) Batman Actor Burt Ward Claims ABC Gave Him Pills to Shrink His Superheroic Penis

Earlier this week, Burt Ward, famous player of Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the ceremonies, he revealed some information that has us just bursting at the seams with curiosity.


39) In Netflix’s New Transformers Trailer, Even Optimus Prime Is So Very Tired

Another day, another war for the fate of Cybertron, and things are looking dire in Netflix and Rooster Teeth’s take on the latest version of the Transformers origin story.


38) When Star Trek: The Next Generation Was Bad, It Was Truly Horrendous

There aren’t just a lot of candidates for the worst episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I would contend there are a lot of worst episodes, period.


37) DuckTales Has Blown My Dang Mind

Disney’s shockingly excellent reboot of DuckTales has given us countless joys.

36) Shaun of the Dead Gets a Coronavirus Update Thanks to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

...Right. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the latest celebrities to take to social media with a clever coronavirus-themed video, but theirs has way more going on than most of the others.


35) You Can Finally See What Would’ve Happened If a Phone Poll Hadn’t Killed Jason Todd

Jason Todd’s grim fate is one of the most infamous in superhero comics.

34) 22 Great Recent Movies You May Have Missed

The start of a new year always means things slow down at theaters. Holiday hits and awards movies are still playing but once you see those, pickings are very slim. What’s a movie lover to do? Go back, we say. Go back.


33) Here’s What Dave Filoni Had to Say About Ahsoka Tano’s Voice in The Rise of Skywalker

Just because Rey heard Ahsoka Tano’s voice mixed in with a bunch of dead Jedi in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s dead.


32) This Timeline Might Make Watching The Witcher a Little Easier

A lot of things could be said about The Witcher. One of the most resounding things I’ve heard about it, however, is that it starts out really confusing, due to the surprising choice to split timelines during the first episodes of the show without really signposting this decision to the audience.


31) Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s First Trailer Is an Explosive Reunion Between Heroes and Villains

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is coming on March 19. The date, and a first trailer, were shared during today’s Disney event. And that trailer was nothing short of bonkers.

A Detroit police officer walks through demonstrators during protests on May 29, 2020. The badge on his chest, depicting Frank Castle’s Punisher skull on a green field alongside the words “Detroit Police,” is one of several designs using the imagery spotted on Detroit PD officers during recent protests.
A Detroit police officer walks through demonstrators during protests on May 29, 2020. The badge on his chest, depicting Frank Castle’s Punisher skull on a green field alongside the words “Detroit Police,” is one of several designs using the imagery spotted on Detroit PD officers during recent protests.
Image: Seth Herald/AFP (Getty Images), Jim Cooke

30) As the Punisher Skull Re-Emerges on Cops in U.S. Protests, Marvel Comics Reckons With Its Imagery [Updated]

The appropriation of comic book character Frank Castle’s skull emblem by police and the military has been an ongoing issue for Marvel Entertainment as it wrestles with the questionable embrace of the anti-hero’s extrajudicial violence by real state and federal employees.


29) Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Creators Just Left the Live-Action Netflix Adaptation

Leaves from the vine. Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have announced they will no longer be involved in the live-action adaptation due to a lack of support from Netflix.


28) Star Trek’s Latest Episode Had a Bittersweet Tribute to Deep Space Nine’s Aron Eisenberg

Just over a year since his passing, Star Trek: Discovery has honored him with a touching tribute in the far future.


27) So Long, Supergirl

The Arrowverse is about to get a bit smaller.

26) Mulan Featurette Shows How Donnie Yen’s Sword Skills Are Almost Too Fast to See

Mulan isn’t the only one who will bring honor to us all.

25) Here’s the Real Deal With That Leaked Star Wars Footage

Yes, that leaked Star Wars footage that surfaced last week was real. No, it’s not what you think it was.


24) With D&D’s Next Rulebook, Character Creation Will Never Be the Same

Although Dungeons & Dragons’ fifth edition has added as many classes, races, and rules as it has since it first began, for the most part, the way players create characters has stayed the same. You pick a race, that race defines certain things about you, and so on. But the game’s next sourcebook is giving players the opportunity to change that forever.


23) Holy Exits, Batwoman: Ruby Rose Is Leaving the DC Universe

If there’s one thing you can expect from 2020 it’s bad news and here’s some more of it. Ruby Rose is leaving the title role of Batwoman on the CW.


22) The Mandalorian’s Explosive Finale Blew Our Minds and Imploded Its World

We were granted some exciting, intense Star Wars action, plus massive revelations teasing everything to come.


21) Rick and Morty Just Released a Short Samurai Film and It’s Awesome

Really? Oh. Uh. Yeah, okay, that’s definitely what they did.

20) Ridley Scott Wants to Use a New Movie to Answer an Obvious Question Raised by Alien

Ridley Scott seems like there’s somewhere in his brain that is always thinking about Alien.

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Image: Lucasfilm

19) The Rise of Skywalker’s LGBTQ Moment Is Held Back By the Film’s Bland Heteronormativity

Star Wars finally did it. It may have taken over four decades—and at least four of those years promising it—but The Rise of Skywalker managed to depict queer characters in the galaxy far, far away on the big screen.


18) 5 TV Shows That Infamously Rushed Their Endings

Television can be a rough business—just look at what’s happening right now, with social distancing guidelines shutting down productions across the country.


17) 6 Sci-Fi Movie Remakes That Actually Don’t Suck

While you nervously wait to pass judgment on in-the-works projects like Dune and Escape From New York, though, here are eight movies that prove sci-fi remakes can be amazing.


16) James Gunn Reportedly Had Warner Bros. Agree He Could Kill Whichever The Suicide Squad Characters He Wanted

Sometimes, it feels like a storyteller is just hungry for blood.

15) The Witcher Season 2 Images Show the New Reality of Making Shows During a Pandemic

Masks, shields, barriers, and a whole lot of social distancing.

14) Star Trek: Picard’s Latest Guest Star Momentarily Broke My Brain

Star Trek: Picard is a show that takes us further into the franchise’s future than any previous Trek series before it (well, until Discovery takes the crown by a century or nine). But it’s also a show about familiar faces, and catching us up on beloved characters.


13) One of The Rise of Skywalker’s Most Important Leia Scenes Hides a Beautiful Easter Egg

Regardless of how you feel about The Rise of Skywalker, its integration of the dearly-missed Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa can leave even the most taciturn of Star Wars fans a little misty-eyed.


12) The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal Says He Doesn’t Want to Take His Helmet Off Too Much

One of the most profoundly vulnerable moments in Pedro Pascal’s performance across two seasons of The Mandalorian came in last week’s “The Believer,” when, in order to access some key information about Moff Gideon, Din Djarin had to go against the creed he’s known his entire life and show his face to others.


11) The 100 Series Finale Pulled a Game of Thrones and I’m Still Laughing 

To be clear, The 100 tripped over its own feet, jumped 12 sharks, and shattered its reputation with viewers long before Game of Thrones boffed it.


10) This Unsettlingly Accurate Deepfake Casts Tom Holland and Robert Downey, Jr. in Back to the Future

Deepfake technology continues to weird me out.

9) Last Night’s Saturday Night Live Featured a Weird, Dark Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Parody

Last night, NBC aired a historic, all-remote episode of Saturday Night Live, with a full run of sketches from performers who, due to the novel coronavirus, couldn’t actually be in the same place.


8) The Matrix Was Intended to Be a Trans Story, Says Lilly Wachowski

At its core, The Matrix is also the story of a person who realizes they’re trapped in a place where they can’t be themselves, escapes, and is reborn in a new world as their true self. And considering the film was written and directed by two trans women, it’s no surprise that Lilly Wachowski says telling a trans allegory was the intent of the film all along.


7) Good God, Black Widow’s Alternate Avengers: Endgame Death Is Infinitely Better Than What We Got

Avengers: Endgame did a lot over the course of its bonkers, audacious runtime. For better or worse, it kind of had to.


6) More Matrix 4 Set Pictures Give Us a Glimpse at Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss’ Return

Spoilers, away!

Illustration for article titled The 100 Most Popular io9 Posts of 2020
Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

5) John Boyega’s Post-Star Wars Honesty Is a Good Thing

Despite the fact that Finn didn’t get all that much to do in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the first wave of heated discussion about the movie has come and gone, John Boyega’s name has been in the mouths of many a disgruntled Star Wars fan lately because of comments the actor made regarding his feelings about the franchise as a whole.


4) Clark’s New Superman & Lois Suit Is Mighty Easy on the Eyes

With Superman & Lois, the CW plans to explore a phase of Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s shared lives that’s typically only had but so much time in the spotlight within DC’s comics.


3) This New Empire Strikes Back Set Footage Is the Best Thing You’ll See Today

Imagine being able to visit the set of The Empire Strikes Back. To be able to watch those people make a movie which means so much to so many. Until time travel is invented, that idea is impossible, but a new video is the next best thing.


2) The Writer of Back to the Future: Part II Blames Universal for Netflix’s Weirdly Censored Version of the Film

If you watched Back to the Future: Part II when it first hit Netflix, you might have noticed a little something was missing. According to the writer of the series, it wasn’t exactly Netflix’s fault.


1) Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan Co-Star in a Fantasy Epic Whose Trailer Has to Be Seen to Be Believed

Here’s the best sentence you’re likely to read today: A movie exists that has dragons and magic and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan fighting each other.


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Tangential musing... if they were to reboot the Evil Dead franchise, would Oscar Issacs be a good replacement for Bruce Campbell as Ash?