Greetings and salutations, all! I know you're all excited about the new Marvel Phase 3 films, which are scheduled all the way up through 2019! Since I live in the post-apocalyptic future, let me give you guys just a bit of advice, okay? I wouldn't get your hearts set on seeing Avengers: Infinity War Part II.


Watch the Throne

Ryan J.:

We all know that there's no chance GRRM is going to finish the books before the show ends, and it looks like the show knows it too, since they're skipping ahead (like with Tyrion meting Daenerys) and probably other stuff. But I love the books so much that the idea of seeing the ending on TV first makes me kind of nauseous. We'll know what happens! It'll all be spoiled, or at least most of it!

Is there any way I can watch the show and not have the books ruined for me? I don't want to have to quit watching the show and then wait 10 years for GRRM to finally finish writing.

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First of all, don't not watch the show. You think you're going to stay spoiler-free about a show as popular as Game of Thrones for five or more years? Unless you plan on never going on the internet and wearing a sign around your next that reads "PLEASE DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT THE LAST THREE SEASONS OF GAME OF THRONES" there's zero chance that you'll be able to avoid hearing or reading about what happens. Might as well watch it while it's on, as opposed to learning how Jaime Lannister ends up marrying Daenerys and Tyrion kills Jon Snow from somebody second-hand.

As for the main issue, I understand your concern. As much as I love TV in general and the Game of Thrones show in particular, I'm a book guy at heart. And I'm betting that for you, like me, a lot of the joy of watching Game of Thrones is seeing the characters and scenes from the books come to life with such accuracy and quality. And as you've correctly sussed out, the show can't even pretend to wait on George R.R. Martin to finish writing the books, and so they're going to have to end it well before the final volume of A Song of Ice and Fire ever sees print.

We know showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff know the ending of the books, because GRRM told them. But what we don't know is how either series is going to end. It's possible that the show will have a wildly different ending from the books. I think this is pretty unlikely, but on the other hand, there's almost no way the show ending will be exactly like the books, because GRRM hasn't even written the ending yet! Even if we learn the main details of the ending through the show, there are definitely surprises left to come in A Song and Ice and Fire. Just like having read the books didn't ruin the show for you, watching the show shouldn't ruin the books for you, either. Regardless of what the show does, there's no way it's going to have the nuance and detail of whatever GRRM writes. Maybe TV viewers will know the broad strokes of what's going to happen, but there's no way we'll know everything.

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And if you're still bothered, please think about this: In almost any other year, we would not have gotten the Game of Thrones TV adaptation we currently enjoy. Instead of HBO it would be on Syfy, or Starz, or hell, maybe AMC. It would have toned down the sex, the violence, the special effects, and not been able to hire the incredible actors that HBO managed to snag.

If you had to choose between having the greatest TV show adaptation of Game of Thrones and having the ending spoiled, vs. no show and thus no spoilers, which would you choose? I'm a dude who loves books and reading as much as anybody, but to see an epic fantasy presented with this much talent and skill and value, especially one as great as A Song of Ice and Fire — well, that's something I've never seen before, and something I thought I'd never see. I am genuinely happy I'm getting to see it now, even if it means the show finishes before the books.


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Oh Captain My Captain

Joe:

Hello Mr. Postman,

I love Marvel's comic movies and most comic movies in general but have never read any comic books, making announcements like Marvel's today about their upcoming slate of movies a bit weird as I don't really know the characters. Specifically, besides being a female superhero, I'm totally puzzled by the hubub over Captain Marvel. It seems a bit unseemly to have a character named after your company and all and I have no sense of her or what she does. Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Ant Man I can understand and envision at least a bit, but this one puzzles me. What's the big deal here?

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The resurgence of Captain Marvel is pretty new, so I understand you not having much of a grasp on the character. Of course, it didn't help that she only took the Captain Marvel moniker two years ago, or that, as Ms. Marvel, she was absent for long swaths of the '80s and '90s.

But recently she's come to the forefront of the Marvel Universe as one of the Avengers, and deservedly so. Why? Well, basically because she's awesome. She's as powerful as the Hulk or Thor, making her one of Marvel's heavy-hitters. She's smart, funny and completely badass — she was even running part of NASA well before she got her powers. She's a character is not defined by her relationship to a male superhero or her romantic interests. She's also been starring in some great comics recently, thanks primarily to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

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Really, Captain Marvel's appeal is that she's a superhero that can stand toe-to-toe with anybody in the Marvel universe, which I think the Cinematic Universe badly needs, since its main female superhero has no powers except a gun and some martial arts skills. Black Widow is cool and all, but she isn't going to be punching Thanos anytime soon. Captain Marvel can and will. When it comes down to it, the real reason Captain Marvel is such an important figure in the Marvel-verse now is that she has become Marvel's Wonder Woman, except 1) she's not wearing an inexplicably pro-USA swimsuit, and 2) Marvel knows exactly what to do with her. That gives her two major advantages over Wondie.

As for the thought that "Captain Marvel" is unseemly, because it's like McDonalds trotting out Ronald McDonald or something: the original Captain Marvel, better known and now officially known as Shazam, was a major comic book character of the 1940s. It was not published by any of the companies that eventually became Marvel Comics in 1961. Captain Marvel/Shazam went out of print in 1953. Eventually Marvel had a choice: They could let another company publish a comic titled Captain Marvel, or they could claim it for themselves. They claimed it for themselves, and it's a good thing too, because DC bught the rights to the Captain Marvel/Shazam character in 1972, and while the character could still use the name, DC couldn't sell a comic titled Captain Marvel because of Marvel's copyright. (This is a basic summary of what happened; head here for more details.) Can you imagine if DC actually published a comic called Captain Marvel? And if you own the title, why not use it?

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Song and Multiverse

Lulu:

Geoff Johns called all the different DC live-action stuff, the movies, the Arrow and the Flash, and Gotham and Constantine the "multiverse." Doesn't that leave it open for the different DC universes to cross over?

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Uh, technically, it does. But it's never going to happen. Look, when Geoff Johns called all the live-action DC world the "multiverse" he just meant that the movies, Gotham, Constantine, etc. all had their own worlds that exist simultaneously, but don't connect or interfere with each other. He did not mean that one day Grant Gustin of The Flash TV show is going to get transported to the world of the DC movies and hang out with the Ezra Miller Flash.

"Multiverse" is an accurate and easy term to use to describe DC's myriad projects, but given DC's use of the term in the comics, it implies that all these different universe are still somehow connected together. This is how you get Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint and all that other business in the comics. But this is not going to happen in the movies or TV shows. If you're expecting a live-action Crisis on Infinite Earths that's somehow going to link all the disparate DC shows and movies together, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

Maybe — maybe — we'll get some kind of multiverse easter egg somewhere, like if the Flash runs too fast, or maybe Zatanna casts a spell or something, but it'll just end up being a brief clip of one of the other series or something. There won't be any substantive crossovers, no matter what Geoff Johns calls it.

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Hair Care

Silas K.:

Dear Postman,

It's well established that Superman's hair shares his invulnerability, at least to a degree. In the most well-known example, a single strand is shown supporting a one-thousand pound weight in Superman IV. Presumably, the hair from other Kryptonians (when exposed to yellow sunlight) would be similarly invulnerable. Suppose an ordinary human went back in time to a thriving Krypton, robbed a wig shop, wove a suit of armor out of authentic Kryptonian hair, and set the armor out under a yellow sun for a while. Would this armor give them Superman-level invulnerability? Say they were causing havoc, and Superman himself came over and punched them in their itchy hair shirt. What would happen?

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It would be like wearing really hairy, insanely effective body armor. Bullets wouldn't be able to pass through the hair armor (assuming it's been well woven), nor would blades — just like nothing can cut the hair on Superman's head except his heat vision.

But if you get shot wearing bullet-proof armor, you'll still feel (and get hurt by) the impact, and Kryptonian hair armor wouldn't do anything for that. It may not puncture your skin, but you're still going to be hit with a small object traveling around 1,700 mph, and that's going to hurt like a motherfucker. And if Superman punched you, I mean really punched you, I assume your inside would liquefy from the force. Again, he wouldn't be able to punch through you, turning your gut into a fine red mist, but it would still be more than powerful enough to send your body into orbit, hair armor and all.


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The Book of Genisys

Worzel Gummidge:

So from our limited vantage point here in the past, it looks as though Terminator Genisys is going to be a J.J. Abrams-style reboot, with loads of time-travel shenanigans, and Schwarzenegger will be filling the Nimoy role. Is there any way this won't be too self-referential, especially with Old Schwarzenegger meeting Young Sarah Connor and Young Kyle Reese? How can they do this without getting sucked into endless time-travel explanations?

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1) There's no way this movie gets made without being too self-referential. 2) The Terminator franchise has always had time-travel problems, mainly because they keep making the movies so many years apart, inevitably negating the earlier "facts" like "Skynet conquers the world in 1997!" The way the Terminator movies have generally handled this so far is that someone says "We've altered the future a bit!" and then they kind of mumble into their hands and everyone just keeps on going about their business.

And that's the way to do it. But then you can't base the entire movie around an elaborate amount of time traveling, which Genisys seems very determined to do. And I will be shocked — shocked if Genisys has even a semi-coherent plan that will make all their time travel shenanigans make sense, especially when it's trotting out young and/or old versions of all its characters while somehow trying to stay part of the original canon.

Look, The Terminator is not a concept that bears too much examination, and James Cameron's movies got that. It didn't worry about creating an elaborate scifi apocalypse as much as it simply featured an awesome evil robot chasing after people. Once the movies started getting really into its continuity, it started going to hell, and it sounds like Genisys will be the worst of all in both regards. That said, I expected nothing less from people who willingly spell "Genesis" as "Genisys."

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Cash of the Titans

Matthew C.:

So the "Age of Ultron" trailer has me thinking ... not about the movie at all, but how the Avengers are funded. For the most part it's an All-Star team of independent wealth. Tony Stark doesn't need a paycheck, Bruce Banner probably has one or more research projects, and Cap is ex-military so he no doubt has a pension. But you know that Hawkeye's looking to each paycheck. And does Thor pack enough Asgardian protein shakes and hair conditioner every time he hops on the Bifrost or does he need a per diem from SHIELD?

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Well, SHIELD certainly took care of Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America prior to the events of The Winter Soldier. Iron Man has his zillions, the Hulk was basically a hobo before Avengers, at which point he stayed with Stark — and I assume Stark happily put Widow, Hawkeye and Cap on his payroll after SHIELD folded, because it's not like they have a ton of financial needs that aren't Avengers- or saving the world-related, which Stark would obviously be happy to fund.

Which does indeed leave Thor. I assume that Thor basically never thinks about paying for anything, and it's up to everyone around him to pay for his shit. This certainly happened in the first Thor movie, and I can't imagine Asgard runs on any kind of monetary system. I also can't see Tony Stark giving Thor a credit card, or managing to teach him how to use it. I'm guessing Thor eats and drinks and uses whatever he wants at Stark Tower, and on the off chance he goes out and eats or carouses or buys a crate of Pantene Pro-Plus in the city, he completely forgets that he needs to pay money for these good and services. This forces a concerned waiter/salesman/etc to gently remind him he needs to pay, and Thor booms "Seek out Tony Stark for thy remuneration!" and flies off. Then these poor people try to call Stark Industries, and JARVIS susses out what Thor owes and sends the appropriate check, probably with a tip.

Although I imagine in most places in New York City, Thor eats free. He saved the city, after all. No one's going to begrudge him some chicken wings.

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Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!