Greetings, my garrulous guttersnipes! (I feel like I’m turning into a Batman ‘66 villain here.) This week: Those Game of Thrones spin-off series! How to improve the Iron Fist TV show’s story! Whether Stormtroopers get paid! And a question so weird, I couldn’t stop answering it! (You’ll know it when you see it.)

The Game Isn’t Over


Ever since the announcement that HBO was working on four different Game of Thrones spinoffs, I’ve been losing my mind trying to figure out what they could possibly be. Dunk & Egg is obviously going to be one of them, and a prequel with young Ned and Robert and all those guys is going to be second. But what are the other two?!!!?!!! Tell me o Postman!


Well, in my perfect world, the first spin-off would be a prequel based on the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which happened about 175 years before the events of Game of Thrones. GRRM has written down a ton of what happened there, mainly seen in his A World of Ice and Fire compendium, so he’s practically written a novel about it. Plus, it’s far enough in the past that it wouldn’t be a prequel that needs to be beholden to Game of Thrones, giving the show a lot of flexibility to surprise and interest viewers beyond foreshadowing the current series all the time, which a straight-up prequel during Robert’s Rebellion would do.

I’d also love if the other three spinoff scripts being written were for the three Dunk & Egg novellas, which would be three TV movies or miniseries, but I doubt that’s the case. I guess I’m wary of them veering away from things GRRM has written down, although the show has bumped past the books, and did just fine.

So, my guesses:

1) A prequel, starting from the Tourney at Harrenhal, where Prince Rhaegar awarded Lyanna Stark the title of Queen of Love and Beauty, which pissed off everyone, especially his actual wife, who was there; ending with Robert Baratheon claiming the throne after his Rebellion.


2) The aforementioned Dance of the Dragons/Targaryen civil war.

3) The Adventures of Dunk & Egg.

4) The Adventures of Tyrion, after Game of Thrones ends with Tyrion forced to leave King’s Landing once more, for some reason (but the real reason being Peter Dinklage is the star of Game of Thrones and both HBO and the viewing public will want more of him).


Art from The Hedge Knight comic adaptation. Art by Mike Miller.

Dunk and Do Not


After the news broke that HBO was working on 4 new scripts for possible Game of Thrones spinoffs naturally people turned to Dunk and Egg as a possibility. My question, is that story too boring for HBO?


I think HBO could make a Game of Thrones spin-off purely about Hot Pie’s Great Oldtown Bake-Off, and people would watch the hell out of it. But I would strongly suspect, if HBO does do Dunk & Egg, that they’ll HBO it up with extra nudity and violence. To be fair, it’s not like Dunk & Egg stories haven’t been completely free of atrocities—I mean, look at the picture above—but I can easily see adding just enough gore and tawdriness that they can keep it MA-rated and keep those fans of the franchise, who may well believe they’re watching just for the epic story, interested.


Galactic Credits Can’t Buy Me Love


Mr. Postman,

I was born in 1982 and the Star Wars films have always been a part of my cultural experience and I really like them (well, the first ones) but am not very knowledgeable about the full Star Wars universe. I’ve never read any of the books or played the video games, so maybe that’s why I don’t have any clue of the answer for my question. It occurred to me during The Force Awakens and came up again when I finally watched Rogue One this week. Where does The Empire get all of their funding for those glorious, expensive-looking evil machines and space ships, Death Stars and payroll for Storm Troopers, etc.? Taxes? Theft? They seem pretty wealthy, but nobody talks about where the money is coming from in the movies.


Well, the reason almost no one talks about the money in the Star Wars movies is they same reason no one ever goes to the bathroom in the Star Wars movies: It isn’t interesting. We have proof; The Phantom Menace was full of Neimoidians with questionable accents talking about trade routes and blockades and it was boring and horrible.

But to your real question: The Empire takes what it wants. If it’s natural resources like the kyber crystals in Rogue One, it simply seizes them. If, say, it’s complicated enough that a factory makes it—e.g. something complicated like a blaster or ship parts—the Empire sets the price (very low), or takes control of the factory and simply bestows the items to itself, or, again, seizes them and then leaves, forcing the factory to try to survive despite being lawfully robbed. (Or maybe the Empire blows up the factory and kills everyone in it, because they’re dicks that way).


Also, the Empire frequently enslaves alien races, like the Wookiees, to perform manual labor and construction, obviously for nothing whatsoever. Despite its size and scope, the Empire has a very low overhead, because everyone else is paying the price.

For the record, Stormtroopers do get paid; it’s how the Empire actually attracts people to volunteer to join the Imperial Academy and become soldiers in its army (well, that and some conscription). Remember, Luke Skywalker was pumped to go to the Academy until the Empire overcooked Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Sure, he was going mainly to escape because of boredom, but most people wouldn’t volunteer to become a soldier if there weren’t some kind of benefit to it. Maybe the impoverished would just want a bed and to be fed, but that’s not enough to maintain a galactic army. The only way it makes sense—the only way to get people to choose to risk their lives professionally—is to give them something they want or need. Money has to account for a lot of that, whether it’s for them personally or if they feel they need to send money to help out their families.


This makes the idea that Luke murdered several million working stiffs when he blew up the Death Star extremely depressing, but it helps to remember that part of the Imperial Academy was reconditioning to serve the Empire without thought or conscience, to kill its enemies without remorse, and basically be a person that doesn’t mind being called a “Stormtrooper.” But given how many people have defected from the Empire to the Rebellion—even just in the new canon—it’s clear the reconditioning doesn’t always take.

So there was undoubtedly a Joe Stormtrooper, who was laying in his bunk on the Death Star, thinking to himself, Tomorrow, tomorrow is the day I’m finally going to escape from here and become a Rebel and fight for good, so my family will finally be proud of me, who then died instantly when everything for dozens of miles around him exploded.



A Fist-ful of Dullards


Dear Mr. Postman,

So, Iron Fist was awful for so many reasons, not the least one being that literally every character was ambiguous at one point about their moral alignment. But we survived it, and Netflix/Marvel Shows are steaming ahead with The Defenders, Punisher and presumably second and third seasons of everything else.

My first question is, with the ground laid the way it is, what does the future of the Iron Fist tv show look like? Will they realize the mistake they made and reserve him to a character that only shows up in other shows like Luke Cage or The Defenders? Or will they completely rework the second season to be completely different than the first, and sweep all the “Plots” from the first season under the rug?

My Second question is, besides recasting Lewis Tan as the Iron Fist, what would you have rather seen in season 1? Villain Choices and Plot points are wide open for your creative Dreaming?


1) I don’t think the people making Iron Fist will fix anything. Every time someone has complained about the show—whether it was the focus on Finn Jones’ inability to make his martial arts fights look good, or his lack of charisma in the role, or the choice to make Danny Rand a joyless entitled asshole, or the even worse choice to devote so much of the season having the magic martial artist protagonist spend most of his time in board rooms trying to get rich again, or Marvel’s failure to seize the opportunity to course correct the MCU’s lack of diversity and Iron Fist’s inherent white-savior problems—the showrunner and Finn Jones have viscerally complained about the complainers. If you’re interested in fixing problems, you don’t tell the people them pointing out to you that they’re the one with the problems.

2) As for ways to have improved season one, I’d mainly correct the stuff I mentioned in answer #1. I’d trim the corporate plotline way down, while still allowing for the Meachum drama. I’d have Danny arrive in New York City and his identity immediately accepted, because that was extra boring. I’d try desperately to make the fight scenes better.


As for the story, I would 100 percent use the excellent Immortal Iron Fist series and its “Seven Capital Cities of Heaven” arc, which is primarily a martial arts tournament with crazy, superpowered martial artists like the Bride of Nine Spiders, who the TV series botched hard. (I’d skip the part about Danny Rand’s family being a long line of Iron Fists, though.) The martial arts tournament story is a total cliché, but it keeps being used because it’s awesome. I’d put the Meachum/Hand storyline to bookend the tournament, which I think would be the best of all worlds: it would include Danny’s origin, it would have crazy martial arts fights, and it would help establish the Hand as the enemy that the Defends need to band together to fight. It would do the Hand job, if you will.

Oh! Also I would put Danny in some version of his superhero outfit, because running around shirtless but in an unzipped green hoodie looks dumb, and, assuming I had to keep Jones, I’d make him shave his dumb beard.



Maybe Lex Luthor Has a Point


Hey Postman,

I’m just going to put this one bluntly: why haven’t Superman and Supergirl attempted to procreate? They’re the last two members of their species, and they just so happen to be members of the opposite sex. You’d think that saving their species from extinction would trump the taboo surrounding cousin-lovin’, right??? They wouldn’t even have to bone. I’m sure the Fortress has some way to do it artificially.


Oh, there are so many reasons. For one, that’s Super gross. For two, they are surrounded by an alien race that is for almost all intents and purposes identical to them, giving them an easy alternative to boinking each other. For three, once they figured out Kryptonians and humans were able to procreate—and that the children would still have superpowers—there’s no real benefit in committing incest other than creating a Kryptonian who could say he was genetically pure, but would possibly have some genetic issues as well. Which would get worse when Superman and Supergirl’s children would be forced to procreate together, all to keep a meaningless distinction.

Also, if the Fortress of Solitude has a way to combine their DNA artificially, it is almost certainly advanced enough to figure out a way to create Kryptonian babies with merging first cousin DNA. Take Superman and Supergirl’s genetic code, keep them separate, makes some alternations so the results won’t be straight up clones, rinse and repeat until you have a population.


However! Even if none of this was the case, it’s not like Superman and Supergirl are truly the last Kryptonians. There are literally dozens of them out there, although many of them are assholes, which is actually another argument for letting the Kryptonian race die out.

Plus, between time travel, which happens all the time, and alternate realities, some of which definitely include Krypton not being destroyed, there are plenty of potential sexual partners out there.


Oh, and while I don’t think it’s made it to the New 52/Rebirth-iverse yet, there’s a whole goddamn city full of Kryptonians in a bottle on Superman’s coffee table. Someone’s going to bring the miniaturized city of Kandor back into continuity, and suddenly Superman and Supergirl are going to have millions of Kryptonians who aren’t related to them by blood to fuck, even if they have to shrink to do it.

Images: Fox. Collage by ABC7.


Storm Warning

Robbie E.:

With all the CGI they throw into the X-Men movies, why are Storm’s wind powers always portrayed with so little thought of, like, physics?

She flies by basically throwing herself around with insanely powerful winds, right? The portrayal has always slightly niggled at me in the comics (why would her hair flow backwards like Supergirl’s if she’s being propelled through the air rather than propelling through the air herself? Wouldn’t it be going up or flowing in front of her face?) but it can be easily explained by artistic licence or even some complicated updraft/wings-on-a-plane type stuff that I don’t understand.

In the films though, it really takes me out of the moment because it doesn’t even make sense ‘in universe’. In the last film she just kind rises up like every other flying superhero, and her bloody cape still flaps about less than my laundry on the line. I just rewatched Apocalypse, and there’s even a weird bit where she throws a car at Beast, and it seems to be moving really slowly when he catches it. Why isn’t there any real sign of the force of wind she’s actually using? It’s reasonably understandable in earlier films, but it seems insane today that they can’t manage to make her seem like she really is throwing herself (and freaking cars) about in hurricane force winds.

Am I alone in this?

You’re surely not alone, but remember, this is a movie franchise that failed to put a decent wig on Halle Berry’s Storm not once, but four times. If they can’t get that right, how on earth do you expect them to portray her powers with even a hint of verisimilitude?


Have a nerdy question? Need advice? Want a mystery or argument solved? Email them to!


Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter