Greetings! Lots of hot topics in this week’s mailbag: The Walking Dead’s incredibly aggravating finale! Rogue One confusion! Batman v Superman possibly breaking up a potential marriage! Remember: If you have pop culture questions, need nerd life advice, or have a “what if” scenario, email your friendly post-apocalyptic fake mailman here!
Dead on Arrival
So we’ve seen the finale of the latest Walking Dead, and while I wonder if I’ve become desensitized or overly morbid because of this, I can’t for the life of me figure out what Lincoln could have been talking about when we said the final episode made him sick (I think those were his words, something like that. I’m sure you remember the quote I’m talking about). Please enlighten me, oh powerful post man of the future!
Everyone’s freaking about the Walking Dead finale like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened but Game of Thrones had a cliffhanger in its finale and no one freaked out like this. Why are people giving Walking Dead a harder time?
(Rob’s note: These two questions were about the TWD finale, so I grouped them together so I could answer them together. No need to panic.)
First, the show totally filmed the scene where the character dies. Everyone knows who died, and everyone who says otherwise is lying. Completely. It is literally the only way these comments the actors made to EW back in February—the ones you mentioned above—make sense.
Andrew Lincoln: “I felt sick to my stomach when I read the script. It was the first day in the whole six years of working on The Walking Dead that I was late for work because I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was so angry and frustrated and I felt sick. And that was just after reading it.”
Lauren Cohen: “It’s one of the most raw experiences that I think any of us have ever had. Andy talks about being late to work; I didn’t want to go to work that day. It took a really, really long time for everybody to feel okay again after the finale, let’s put it that way.”
Negan murdering an unknown member of the gang? That shouldn’t be traumatizing to anyone who works on the show, especially since it kills characters off on the regular. Also remember, Lincoln had to act opposite a child getting eaten alive by zombies in the mid-season finale, and apparently he was totally fine with that. But watching Negan faux-beat a cameraman to death? His reaction makes no sense. Someone specific had to be filmed dying, and it had to be someone important to the cast and crew, and it had to be so brutal that both Lincoln and Cohen would be utterly shaken by having to perform their reaction to it.
As for Dylan’s question, the reason people are more upset at TWD is because the finale wasn’t a cliffhanger, it was a broken promise. The Walking Dead lied to its viewers, and Game of Thrones didn’t. I know this may sound contradictory given the lead topic of last week’s “Postal Apocalypse,” but bear with me.
It’s about meeting expectations. Book fans knew Jon Snow was going to die, so the finale was fine for them. People who hadn’t read the books didn’t know Jon Snow was going to die, but no one had ever promised Jon Snow (or any of the good guys) would live through the series. They may have been traumatized, but they weren’t lied to before the finale, and that’s the key.
Everything the TWD cast and crew has said and hinted this season has indicated that season six would end with the arrival of Negan, the most important part of which is his brutal, casual murder of one of the show’s main characters. Perhaps no one specifically promised that we’d get to see Negan’s victim, but the multitude of statements like the ones the actors made above made it abundantly clear we’d get the full scene. When the scene we were effectively promised turned into a cliffhanger, we felt betrayed, because we’d been lied to by the showmakers.
This may seem to be complicated by the fact that every single person making Game of Thrones has spent the past year swearing that Jon Snow is dead. If it turns out they are lying, fans will be pissed, and justly so. If they’re technically not lying—i.e., that Jon Snow is in fact 100 percent dead.... but then is resurrected through magical means—then folks may grumble a bit, but it’ll be fine.
To put it more simply: The Walking Dead led viewers to expect one thing and then failed to deliver. People got mad. Game of Thrones has led people to expect Jon Snow to be dead when the show returns later this month. If he dies and gets resurrected, then it’s fine. If Davos sees Jon on the ground, bleeding out, and sticks a few bandages on him and Jon is suddenly totally fine, then GoT will have lied to us and we will be pissed! It’s that simple. It’s just like Star Trek Into Darkness and Khan. The twist that Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan was lame, but it was J.J. Abrams’ constant lying to us, swearing that he wasn’t Khan, that infuriated people.
Here’s a clue to everyone working on a show or movie with a large fanbase—don’t lie to them. They will be insulted, and they will be mad. It’s actually really hard to make a fan stop loving something, but this is as surefire way to do it as any.
Be My Samurai
why is there a fucken samurai in rouge one
Well, my esteemed sir, because samurai are awesome? Look, I know the Jedi are sorta already the samurai of the Star Wars universe, but thanks to the prequels their inherent essence as samurai has lessened while the sense of them being “self-important jerks with laser swords” has increased dramatically. What this means is that there’s plenty of room in the Star Wars universe for a closer analogue to a samurai, although let’s all admit that Donnie Yen’s mysterious character is clearly more of a martial artist, which even more plausibly would have an analog somewhere in there; it’s a big galaxy, after all.
Also, I have a hunch that Donnie Yen’s character may be playing a bounty hunter. Traditionally Star Wars bounty hunters have been pretty singular and more exotic than Rebellion or Empire, and this guy wielding a large, non-plasma-based bo staff looks like he would fit in perfectly hanging around with Bossk, Boba Fett, or IG-88.
Recently, it’s been announced that Suicide Squad is reshooting, to add more humor. I’m a -HUGE- SS fan, but I was disappointed in BvS, so I can’t help but feel like this is a sign the bouncy, fun, upbeat feel of SS has all been marketing and that the movie will actually be a dour-fest like BvS. Essentially, this won’t be the Deadpool of the DC universe, but BvS plus more guns.
Even though I’ve sworn off opening weekends for DC movies, I was going to give this one a “bye” because it looked awesome. Now, I admit, it’s back on the “wait for reviews” list. Your take on the news?
1) To be fair, I do think Suicide Squad should be a bit of a dark, dour movie; it’s about a group of supervillains doing dirty work for a pretty transparently evil shadowy government agency. The problem here isn’t with Suicide Squad’s tone as much as it is with Man of Steel and BvS, unsurprisingly—a movie where supervillains are the protagonists should be darker and more dour than the ones starring the heroes. But I don’t know if that’s even possible.
2) That said, just because a movie is dark and dour doesn’t mean it can’t have humor. Black humor would suit the Suicide Squad movie well. Adding a bit more to it would probably be a good thing—especially if Suicide Squad is a hit and WB execs finally learn that not every DC character needs to stare at everyone else in contempt all the time.
3) Jai Courtney just said that the reshoots weren’t for humor, but to add more action. He could be lying. Or the reshoots could be to both add humor and be action-related.
My guess is all the jokes in the Suicide Squad movie were indeed in the trailer, which was released after some of the Deadpool trailers hit and people started going insane for them. The marketing team’s job is to make the movie look good as possible, not necessarily accurately. So I hope that the movie is adding a bit more humor into the proceedings. I don’t need a light and fluffy Suicide Squad movie, but at the end of the day it’s still a comic book movie. It doesn’t have to make me laugh out loud, but it should probably be kind of fun to watch.
America the Beautiful
Hey there Mr. Postman!
Why doesn’t Marvel understand what a jewel they have in America Chavez? People flat-out LOVE her. She’s cosplayed constantly at every con. Not to mention the fact that with 17 percent of the country being Hispanic, seeing a Hispanic superwoman is huge for a group of underrepresented people.
Marvel recently released a series for Hyperion, a bland Superman analog with a terrible costume, seemingly forgetting that they already have a fantastic Superman analog with an endless amount of terrific costumes just waiting to be seen. They created Gwenpool because a few fans cosplayed her. They hype and merchandise Silk, Spider Gwen, Jessica Drew, Hellcat, heck they even gave a book to a woman with SQUIRREL powers but there’s no visible push to make America the star she could become.
I’m not complaining about any of those series I just mentioned (except Hyperion) but it’s frustrating to see America keep getting pushed aside when she could be as big or bigger than any of them. It’s hard not to see the one thing America is that they aren’t as the reason for this treatment. She’s a lesbian. So is that really it? Is Marvel so scared of giving a gay character a solo book that they waste such potential? What will make them wake the fuck up?
I don’t think they’re scared. DC put out Midnighter, a (really, really good) comic about a gay superhero, and generally Marvel is a bit more liberal and willing to take those sort of risks over DC. They may not feel America Chavez can carry her own comic.
If you’ll allow me to play devil’s advocate for just a moment, they may be right. (May.) I haven’t personally seen the outpouring of love for the character you have; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but as a guy who basically deals with online fandoms all day, it’s possible Marvel has missed her popularity just as I have.
The biggest problem to America Chavez getting her own series is that her character is really weird. Like, it’s hard to explain her deal briefly and succinctly, which makes her a difficult candidate to headline her own series. For instance, look at some of the heroes you named above. Hyperion: Marvel’s often-evil Superman knock-off. Squirrel Girl: Comedy hero with squirrel powers. Spider-Woman: Spider-Man/Black Widow combo. America Chavez is much harder to typify, not because she’s gay and Hispanic, but because she comes from some crazy utopian dimension, for some reason keeps fighting Loki, and has also managed to be on four teams since her debut in 2011. America hasn’t really found her own niche, is what I’m saying.
Of course—and my devil’s advocacy is done—headlining her own comic series is exactly what would help America Chavez find that niche. Something to really cement her identity in the Marvel universe. You’re right that there’s an audience waiting for her, and it would be great if Marvel gave her and her comic a chance, especially over goddamn Hyperion. (Hey Marvel—please stop trying to make Hyperion a thing. Hyperion is terrible.)
Here’s the thing: To be fair, Marvel’s done a lot to improve its comic book diversity recently—right now, Captain America is black, Thor and Wolverine are women, and the Hulk is Asian-American—but there’s always room for more improvement, because there are so many other people looking for representation of themselves in the comics they love. This isn’t a quota thing, where Marvel can say, “Well, four of our main white male characters are no longer white males. Diversity achieved!” It doesn’t work like that.
So we can appreciate Marvel (and DC’s!) efforts to bring diversity to their respective universes, but we can also always ask for more. We have to ask for more, because asking is what’s gotten us this far.
What’s your earliest nerd rage incident? The first moment that laid the foundation for your future role as a time-displaced geek blogger? For me, it was when Austin St. John left the Power Rangers. I was about 7 years-old and he was my favorite character. I refused to watch the show and even wanted to have nothing to do with my Red Ranger merchandise.
It was in 1987, when the GI Joe movie came out. GI Joe wasn’t my favorite cartoon, but it was the ’80s and I was young, so I basically watched every single cartoon that aired, religiously, regardless of whether I liked it or not. At any rate, I had very much internalized the status quo of Duke leading GI Joe against Cobra Commander and Cobra. When Serpentor arrived and took control of Cobra, I was annoyed, partially because Serpentor was ridiculous, but mainly because it was different from what I was used to.
Then the GI Joe movie came out, and Duke almost immediately gets taken out by Serpentor, and suddenly Duke’s half-brother Lt. Falcon shows up out of nowhere and somehow gets control of Joe over all the other characters that had been with the team from the beginning. And then it turns out that everything Cobra Commander had ever done was because of the secret machinations of some dumb-ass snake people living underground named Cobra-La.
It was the first time I’d encountered a ret-con, or at least a ret-con that made everything before it stupider. Suddenly, the occasionally cool battles between heroic soldiers and an evil terrorist organization had been transformed into a battle between heroic soldiers and a bunch of dipshits being secretly controlled by a bunch of weird-ass snake mutants with horrible fashion sense. I rage-quit the show immediately, and I’ve been rage-quitting things ever since! Ah, memories.
Give V a Chance?
A fan from the past:
Dear Mr. Postman, sir—my fiancé enjoyed Batman v Superman. I am afraid this may indicate a major character flaw. Should I still marry him?
As I said in my FAQ, there are things to like in the film. And if your fiancé isn’t a superhero fan in general or a DC fan in specific, then it’s quite reasonable for him not to give a shit about the portrayal of Batman and Superman as sadistic jerks. Still, it might not hurt to ask him what his favorite parts of BvS were; if he says, “I really liked how all the heroes killed and tortured people,” then it might be worth at least taking a step back to assess the relationship.
In all seriousness, never be too concerned about feeling the same way about nerd stuff. While it’s always important to have enough in common with your future spouse that you will enjoy spending the rest of your life together, you don’t need to have the exact same interests. You don’t need to like the same superhero movie, or all superhero movies, or even movies in general, really, if you have enough other interests and things in common.
And it’s always good to have some interests your spouse doesn’t share. It may not be often, but at least a couple points over the rest of your life, you’re going to want a bit of alone time (and your spouse probably will, too). Let him go rewatch Batman v the hell out of Superman, and you go do what you want. And then come back together to do something you both enjoy. It’s certainly worked for me.