Hell Yeah! Lashana Lynch is the new 007 in Bond 25

maria rambeau captain marvel

Move over Daniel Craig, there’s a new 007 in town. Film insiders say that the latest film in the Bond franchise, known as Bond 25, will see Lashana Lynch take over Bond’s 007 designation and license to kill. But this doesn’t mean that Lynch is the new James Bond. After all, the film’s star is still Daniel Craig, in his final outing as the iconic spy. Lynch’s character Nomi, is an agent who takes over Bond’s number after he retires. But since it is, after all, a Bond film, chances are he won’t stay retired for long.

According to The Daily Mail, “There is a pivotal scene at the start of the film where M says ‘Come in 007’, and in walks Lashana who is black, beautiful and a woman. It’s a popcorn-dropping moment. Bond is still Bond but he’s been replaced as 007 by this stunning woman. Bond, of course, is sexually attracted to the new female 007 and tries his usual seduction tricks, but is baffled when they don’t work on a brilliant, young black woman who basically rolls her eyes at him and has no interest in jumping into his bed. Well, certainly not at the beginning.”

This fresh, feminist addition to the Bond canon is likely the work of co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The Fleabag star and Killing Eve creator was tasked with bringing a fresh perspective to the tired franchise. Waller-Bridge said of her work on the project, “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not [the Bond franchise] is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women. I think that’s bollocks. I think he’s absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow. It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly. He doesn’t have to. He needs to be true to this character.”

This is a promising direction for Bond 25, which has been besieged by issues from the start. Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Yesterday) was set to helm the film, but left the project due to creative differences. He has since been replaced by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective). Shooting was delayed after Craig injured his ankle, and a crew member was wounded during a controlled explosion on set.

The film is scheduled for release sometime in 2020, and will be Craig’s final outing as Bond. Rami Malek also stars as the film’s villain. Rumors have been swirling that the next Bond could be Richard Madden or Idris Elba, though both have denied their involvement.

Many fans have been clamoring for a female Bond or a Bond of color, and while Lynch will not be taking over as Bond herself, it’s exciting to see her don the iconic number. Who knows what the future holds for Bond as a character, but here’s hoping he leans into a more progressive, modern bent.

(via Daily Mail, image: Marvel)

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Things We Saw Today: Don Cheadle Will Star In Space Jam 2, Which Is Already a Classic

Rhodey, a.k.a. War Machine, readies himself for the fight against Thanos in the poster for Avengers: Endgame

Come on and slam, and welcome Don Cheadle to the jam. The Avengers star is set to join LeBron James, Sonequa Martin-Green, and, of course, Bugs Bunny in Space Jam 2, the sequel to the weird cult hit in which Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes to win their freedom from aliens in a game of basketball. How the film has become such a cult classic the world will never know, because it’s simultaneously the worst and the best movie ever made.

Cheadle’s role is being kept under wraps for now. Perhaps he’s the new villain, taking over evil duties from Danny DeVito’s animated baddie from the first film. Maybe he’s teaming up with James to help the Looney Tunes with whatever trouble they’ve found themselves in this time. Maybe he’s pulling a Bill Murray and is playing an exaggerated version of himself for comedic effect.

Space Jam 2 is already a weird enough concept that Cheadle could be playing literally anyone. It’ll be nice to see him get to flex his comedic chops outside of donning the War Machine suit. The film is in production now and is set to be released in 2021, so we’ve got a ways to go before we find out whether or not Cheadle is just playing Rhodey and is there to recruit Bugs and Lola Bunny to the Avengers Initiative. Marvel is really going for the ultimate crossover here.

(via Deadline, image: Marvel Studios)

  • R. Kelly has (finally) been arrested on federal sex trafficking charges. (via Variety)
  • IndieWire points out how white feminist bias is causing prestige TV to fail. (via IndieWire)
  • One in eight men polled says that they could score a point on Serena Williams which like … seriously??

  • Remember Marvel’s Inhumans? That movie was supposed to drop today. (via ComicBook.com)
  • There’s a David Bowie inspired Barbie for all you Ziggy Stardust fans! (via Nerdist)
  • Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher is set to direct Sherlock Holmes 3. (via SlashFilm)
  • Check out Polygon’s guide to Fire Emblem: Three Houses. (via Polygon)

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend, Suevians!

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So That’s What Was So Weird About Big Little Lies Season 2

Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz in Big Little Lies (2017)

You’d think HBO and Big Little Lies, a story about complex women, wouldn’t want to turn around and screw over their female director, but apparently that was the case with the second season of the HBO smash hit. IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt has reported that director Andrea Arnold, who was brought on to direct the entire second season with her own style, had that style removed from her work during the editing process by male producers.

Naming “sources close to the production,” O’Falt writes that the idea was that the producers apparently “wanted an Andrea Arnold version of the show and all that entailed,” but that the plan all along had been to bring back season one director Jean-Marc Vallée at the end to shape Arnold’s footage to match his first season’s style through additional footage and editing. The article itself goes into detail about the experiences Arnold had working with HBO, saying towards the end that sources close to the director say she’s “heartbroken” from the experience.

This is not a good look for HBO overall, but to snub a female director in such a fashion is beyond gross. There’s a difference between a studio wanting a specific product delivered and a studio saying they want a director’s specific vision and then doubling back and trying to make it look like season one. That seems like a particularly heinous betrayal of a celebrated female director.

You can’t say you support women in the industry and then treat them like this. Overall, you can’t say you support artistic vision with any director and pull this. Directors should be allowed to be artists, not just create a corporate image of what studios want. You don’t hire a director like Arnold, with a distinct visual style, say that’s what you want, and then edit it to be unrecognizable.

This is thoroughly disheartening on many levels. It shows that HBO still needs to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to female creatives, and to not jerk directors around like this. For this to happen on a show like Big Little Lies, which centers on fascinating female characters and stars some incredible actresses, is particularly a slap in the face.

HBO could stand to do better in how it treats directors if Arnold’s treatment is anything to go by. This is a problem, and it shows a lack of faith in Arnold’s vision and an attempt to take art and turn it into a specific package. If they wanted season two to be the same as season one, they should’ve waited for Jean-Marc Vallée to wrap Sharp Objects, rather than hire a director on the false promise of respecting their vision.

(via IndieWire, image: Jennifer Clasen/HBO)

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I’m Still Blown Away by Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio / Quentin Beck in Spider-Man: Far From Home

***Big ol’ spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home ahead***

Spider-Man: Far From Home has a lot to recommend it. The movie is action-packed, heartfelt, funny, and clever all-around. But my favorite element may be what they accomplished with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio.

When I reviewed Spider-Man: Homecoming two years ago, I praised the film as light-hearted and enjoyable, but ultimately concluded: “It’s not enough to just clamber over the bar that’s been set by previous films. We want to see Spider-Man soar over it and then some.” Far From Home did just that. Director Jon Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (all of whom were also on Homecoming duty) should receive a lot of praise for stepping up the game.

Far From Home, which sees Peter Parker and friends on a school trip through several vibrant European cities while Peter is reluctantly made to play the hero against outsize, over-the-top Elemental forces of destruction, is a perfectly balanced piece of superhero filmmaking.

It’s smart and engaging, with action scenes that are both exciting and trippily scary, an adorable, convincing high school romance subplot, and surprisingly profound representations of loss and grief. It doesn’t pander to its audience or assume we need things spelled out for us in flashing neon lights (I’m looking at you, Men In Black: International). And it has an exceptional villain defined by a twist in who he really is, a feat that Homecoming also managed with aplomb with Michael Keaton’s Vulture.

As anyone who’s read my writing here may have ascertained, I have a soft spot for supervillains when they’re done well. Going into Far From Home, I knew Mysterio was a villain—he’s been a Spider-Man baddie since his comics introduction in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—but as promotions seemed to suggest Mysterio was on Peter’s side for at least a little while, I had no idea what would cause that villainous turn. I hoped, as I always do, for a complex, multi-faceted villain, and I was far from disappointed.

We’re introduced to Mysterio as an earnest hero from another Earth come to battle the Elementals threat: he appears as a sort of mashed-up Iron Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Thor, and Bruce Banner (later, we learn that this is by design). He immediately clicks with Peter, who is desperate for a mentor in the wake of Tony Stark’s death, and always seems to know just what to say to make Peter feel better. He ticks off every stalwart superhero cliché checklist, complete with the tragic loss of his family—again, as we will come to know, with precision and purpose.

Peter Parker and Quentin Beck / Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home

Would it be revealed that Mysterio was actually a dastardly bad guy in the multiverse world he claimed to come from, leading the Elementals to attack our Earth? Or, when he seemed to dive into the Fire Elemental in Venice in the well-known MCU trope of “the sacrifice play,” I thought: oh, maybe this is it, he’ll be “infected” by it and become bad. But this movie took all those well-trod tropes and threw them out the window. Far From Home seems to winkingly mock and then subvert many previous MCU (and Sony Spidey) heroes and villains in Mysterio.

As it turns out, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin “Mysterio” Beck actually skews toward his comic book origins, where Beck is a failed actor but a gifted master of special effects who’s able to pull off dizzying, disorienting feats that are essentially a choreographed performance. Much of his villainy is based on sleight-of-hand and shifting the viewer’s perception, and that’s exactly what Beck does here. He’s just given an updated and extremely 2019-appropriate backstory that links well with the MCU’s existing infrastructure. He’s also perhaps our first purely meta, self-aware villain; as Vulture points out, “Beck is uncannily aware of the tropes of the story he’s in.”

Beck is revealed to be a scorned Stark Industries employee who designed the prototype for what Tony Stark would go on to call B.A.R.F., or “Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing,” an innovative holographic system. Essentially, Beck created a way to generate profoundly real-seeming illusions, which he felt held incredible potential, only (by his account) to see it hijacked by Stark for personal use. Then he lost his job.

“A revolutionary breakthrough with limitless applications, which Tony turned into a self-therapy machine and renamed,” Beck expounds for us. “He renamed my life’s work “B.A.R.F.,” then he fired me, saying I was unstable.”

Far from an Ultron or a Hela or even a Killmonger or a Zemo or a Loki, Quentin Beck feels recognizable and at times relatable in a way most cinematic superhero villains do not. He could be any enterprising innovator screwed over by callous billionaires and steamrolled by the machinery of industry. This is a story that happens pretty often in our world—and Mysterio does something about it. What I loved all the more about Mysterio is that it turns out he isn’t a one-man operation. “Mysterio” is a team effort comprised of a whole group of talented, disgruntled ex-Stark Industries employees. This felt like a fresh and innovative spin on the singular big bad guy narrative.

Why did Tony Stark burn so many people who worked for him so badly that they’re willing to generate mass destruction in order to pull off their plan of creating a new ultimate faux-hero? While it’s probable that Stark Industries employed some unsavory characters, especially in its more war-profiteering years, Far From Home is also a movie that reminds us, via Tony’s best friend Happy Hogan, that Tony Stark was a mess. It’s not exactly beyond the bounds of what we know about Tony that he’d take someone’s life work and use it to work through his issues with his parents. For all of his brilliance and heroism, it’s undeniable that many “little people” got lost in Tony’s ascent to being Iron Man, and Far From Home showed us some of the repercussions from the other side of things that are rarely explored. There was a similar theme with Vulture’s motivations in Homecoming, and it came to poignant fruition here.

In addition, Beck ends up as an emotionally devastating villain for both Peter and the audience. He represents a terrible and very human fear—that someone we trust and believe in is actually playing a role, is at heart manipulative and capable of cruelty. Just when Peter thinks he’s found a worthy successor to Tony in his life, Mysterio becomes his worst nightmare, a person who has knowingly preyed upon all of his vulnerabilities in order to exploit Peter’s naivete and gain control of the E.D.I.T.H. artificial intelligence system.

Beck even comes in the guise of a familiar face; Gyllenhaal’s casting becomes even more brilliant the first time he puts on Tony’s sunglasses and looks uncannily like him. “Oh no,” gasped my friend when that happened, and I knew we’d see him turning bad soon, and that it would hurt. Once he’s “unmasked,” as it were, he continues to keep everyone on unstable ground, using his illusion powers to disturbing effect, never letting Peter or the audience know what real and what isn’t, which keeps the movie a constant, intriguing question mark.

The final fight is pitch-perfect in a number of ways, from the eerie swarm of murderous drones—much more of a deeply real threat in our world than Elemental monsters—to Beck’s last attempt to twist Peter’s sympathies for his own gain. That Peter doesn’t fall for it shows that he’s learned, but it’s the kind of development that comes from being betrayed and having hopes dashed. Perhaps such lessons are inevitable in the course of growing up; this anchors a movie about a teenager with superpowers into a kind of realism we all understand, and this is the strength of Spider-Man in any ‘verse.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home

If Peter represents the best of what Stark Industries can do and the best of Iron Man’s legacy, he keeps finding himself fighting people affected by the fallout of those same institutions. Just as Vulture took to stealing and dealing alien tech after being denied work by Stark post-Battle of New York, Beck and his compatriots wouldn’t have created Mysterio if their contributions hadn’t been sidelined and there hadn’t been a vacuum left by the scattering of the Avengers.

The lines that separate Spider-Man villains from being good people in their own right are often as blurred as the one that divides Peter Parker from being the normal teenager he wants to be. In the Spider-Man world, powers beyond our control affect us, but it’s everyday people and not legends who become the main players. That they can feel so true to life in a fantastical universe speaks to the real sleight-of-hand magic at work in this summer blockbuster.

(image: Marvel Studios)

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How Craig of the Creek Saved My Summer

Philip Solomon as Craig of the Creek in Jacob of the Creek (2019)
This summer has been among the most emotionally daunting of my life, but one of my comforts, as it was in childhood, has been watching television, especially cartoons. For me, cartoons have always been a way to watch unique adventures with fun characters, beautiful animation, and when done well, a lot of heart. Last year, catching up with Steven Universe took up my summer, and this time, it has been the Cartoon Network show Craig of the Creek, created by Matt Burnett and Ben Levin.

It tells the story of the titular Craig Williams—who lives in the fictional suburban Baltimore/DC-area town of Herkleston, Maryland—and his two friends, Kelsey and John Paul “J.P.” as they have several ventures in their creek. It’s a kid utopia with characters that are a cross between the kids from Recess, in terms of the weird political hierarchy, and the kids from Ed, Edd, and Eddy. 

Craig is a cartographer and is slowly creating a detailed map of the creek, expanding it throughout their journeys, which leads to trouble as the overarching plot kicks in about the other side of the creek that’s ruled by a tyrant kid king. That storyline is a slow burn, so most of the story is dedicated to both exploration and character development for Craig, his friends, and the world around him.

Craig has such a diverse cast of characters that it feels beautifully inclusive and thoughtful. I love his two best friends. Kelsey is basically living her life LARPing as a knight with her pet bird, Mortimer. She self-narrates at times, loves reading adventure novels, wants to be an author one day, and is the only child of a widower. J.P.  is like a better-written version of Ed from Ed, Edd, and Eddy. He’s not very bright, but he’s imaginative, kind, and would do anything to protect his friends.

Basically, they are all my sweet babies and I love them.

What’s also so important is watching a Black family be front and center on the show. We have his overachieving brother, Bernard, voiced by the brilliant Phil LaMarr; his amazing parents, Duane and Nicole (voices by Terry Crews and Kimberly Hebert Gregory respectfully); and his adorable younger sister, Jessica (Lucia Cunningham). Race isn’t addressed directly on the show, but it’s filled with a beautiful normalized Blackness, from Craig’s grandmother being involved with Civil Rights activism to all of Nicole’s great hairstyles and the fact she wore a subtle Howard University sweater, implying she may have gone to an HBCU. His family unit just gets to exist and that maybe even more of a utopia than the creek.

Also, his entire family is brown. While I do love The Proud Family for nostalgic reasons, the fact that the darker-skinned women were often coded as “ghetto,” while Proud family women were lighter-skinned, is something that is especially jarring now. There’s an upcoming episode called “Sparkle Cadet,” about a young magical girl who comes to the creek, and the internet got all its feels watching this dark-skinned Black girl get a magical girl transformation sequence.

I would never want to be a child again, but I do, especially during a depressive episode, long for the optimism that I had as a child. When you’re young, there’s a sense of hope that every day will lead to something new, and there’s a deep visceral feeling that as long as you have your friends, it’ll be okay—especially during the summer. As I’ve been working on my mental health, Craig of the Creek has been a warm blanket that’s helped me stay grounded, especially because I’ve been able to watch it with someone I love. If you love cartoons, good stories, and amazing characters, this is the show for you.

(image: Cartoon Network)

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The Flash‘s Grant Gustin Defends Queen Candice Patton From Racist Trolls—She’s Our Iris

Grant Gustin and Candice Patton in The Flash (2014)

Ever since Candice Patton was announced to be playing Iris West (now West-Allen) in the CW show The Flash, the backlash reamined stayed constant. Despitebeing in its sixth season, and despite the fact that Barry and Iris are married and clearly defined as endgame on the show, there are still “How Iris West-Allen is the Worst Part of The Flash” videos. Grant Guston, who plays Barry Allen/The Flash, took to Instagram to defend his costar and onscreen wife in his stories, which were captured on Twitter.

I have thoughts about Gustin making this statement now, at six seasons in, but at the end of the day, I’m glad that Gustin publicly defended Patton, because the fact that we are this long into the series and people are still mad about her being Iris is mentally exhausting. It’s exhausting for me, just as a Black fan who has to see all this crap on a regular basis, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for Patton and all the other Black and non-white actors and actresses that get grief for just being in comic adaptations as Black actors playing what had been white characters.

Because that’s all it is. I’m not going to say the writing for Iris is perfect; the storyline has let her down multiple times (y’all need to get Black female writers in there, Flash writing team), but they have done that with Caitlin, Cisco, the various Wellses, and even Barry, at times. Yet, their characters are allowed to exist and are treated like they belong—not Iris. Even Joe West, who is also a race-bent character, is someone that fans love and support, even when he’s underwritten and wrong about things, but Barry Allen could speak to any other female character for two seconds, and some “fans” will say he has more chemistry with them than Iris.

You don’t like Iris? You don’t like WestAllen? Fine, whatever. That doesn’t erase the toxic racism that the character has endured for years and that shows up every time a Black person gets one of these roles. It’s harmful. It’s harmful because, for those people slinging those comments, their “criticism” of the casting isn’t based on talent, writing, or anything like that. It’s based on the fact that you feel like a Black person playing a white character is a downgrade. yo the point where some of y’all don’t want Idris Elba to play James Bond, but any white man will do.

Candice Patton is Iris West-Allen, but she’s also a person who is just trying to do her job so she can give her dog the lifestyle she deserves.

Grow up. Seriously.

(via Just Jared, image: The CW)

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The Dream of the 1980s Is Alive in These American Horror Story: 1984 First Looks

ahs 1984 emma roberts, deron horton, cody fern, billie lourd

Gird your loins, American Horror Story fans: the first images from season nine of the horror anthology series have landed and they are (summer) campy as all hell. The new season, subtitled 1984, appears to take place at a summer camp in the 80s. This is clearly an homage to the classic summer slasher flicks of the time, like the Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp film series. This genre filled with horny teens and men in shorty shorts has since been spoofed in countless films, from Wet Hot American Summer to The Final Girls.

Now it seems that Ryan Murphy and company are taking a stab at the beloved genre. In an Instagram post, Murphy wrote “To celebrate the first day of filming the NINTH Season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY, here’s the official 1984 cast announcement along with some amazing 80s lewks. Enjoy!” He then posted a series of camera tests featuring the cast:

The cast includes a mix of AHS veterans and newcomers, who dance and pose to Dan Hartman’s 1984 hit “I Can Dream About You”. The returning players include Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, and Billie Lourd. They are joined by newcomers Matthew Morrison (Glee), DeRon Horton (Dear White People), Angelica Ross (Pose), Zach Villa (Shameless), and Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, who bears a striking resemblance to Richard Madden.

The gang all appear in a variety of 80s looks with nods to the archetypes of the day: Emma Roberts as the preppy good girl, Billie Lourd as the bleached blonde rocker chick, Kenworthy as the jock. A lot of camera time is given to Morrison’s prominent crotch bulge. Not much is known about their characters aside from Ross, who is wearing a stethoscope so I’m assuming she’s the camp nurse. John Carroll Lynch also shows up looking like a murderer, but I would expect nothing less from the man who gave us Freak Show‘s terrifying Twisty the Clown.

Conspicuously absent are AHS all-stars Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, who have appeared in every season of the series. Paulson is supposed to have a dramatically reduced role, in part to her headlining Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series Ratched, which will tell the origin story of the infamous Nurse Ratched from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There’s no word yet on whether or not Peters will make an appearance.

Sadly, AHS’s queen bee Jessica Lange will not be involved, as she has retired from the show. While she reprised her Murder House role in Apocalypse for a cameo, she has no plans to return. Still, if these first looks are anything to go by, we’re in for a campy, darkly comic season of AHS, aka my favorite version of the series.

American Horror Story: 1984 premieres on September 18th on FX.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: FX)

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John Wick Writer Derek Kolstad Joins the Creative Team For Falcon and Winter Soldier

sam falcon bucky captain america civil war

The upcoming Disney+ series Falcon and Winter Soldier just scored a major voice behind the scenes. The Wrap is reporting that Derek Kolstad, the creator of John Wick, has joined the writing team for the series, which is set to be released next year. The inclusion of Kolstad points to the series having some stellar action scenes, as Kolstad’s John Wick franchise is known for having some of the most gorgeous action set pieces.

Little is known about the series itself, other than that it will star Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. Rumors also say that Emily Van Camp and Daniel Bruhl are set to reprise their roles as Sharon Carter and Baron Zemo. We can guess that the plot will in part revolve around Sam dealing with the legacy of Captain America as he accepts the shield passed onto him by an older Steve Rogers, but outside of that, what will happen is anyone’s guess.

With Kolstad being brought on board, I’m going to wager a guess that the plot is somewhat spy-centric. Maybe Sam and Bucky are pulled in by SHIELD to join forces with Sharon to track down Zemo, who escaped custody during the five years where everyone had been Snapped (or Blipped) away. Bucky will have a personal bone to pick with Zemo, giving him an emotional arc while Sam balances his duty as Falcon with his new responsibilities as Cap.

The promise of Kolstad taking on writing duties means that we’re bound to get some incredible action scenes. Both Bucky and Sam are badasses, and so is Sharon. Letting all three get a chance to show their stuff and really kick the action into gear will be a great way to get people interested in the series who might be hesitant to watch the show, though at this point I’m sure most of the world is invested in all things Marvel releases.

Falcon and Winter Soldier will join WandaVision, Loki, and the to be titled Hawkeye series on Disney+ within the next few years. These series will be uniquely tied into the MCU, so it’s time to give more money to the Mouse overlords and shell out for Disney+ when it is ultimately released. In the meantime, speculate happily away until the series are released about what they mean for the larger MCU.

(via The Wrap, image: Marvel)

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Terminator: Dark Fate‘s Director Promises the Film Will Scare Misogynistic Trolls, As if We Needed Another Reason to See It

linda hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, and Natalia Reyes in new Terminator promo photo

Terminator: Dark Fate had me at hello. More specifically, it had me at Linda Hamilton firing a gun in slow motion in her full silver fox glory. And I’m sure I wasn’t alone: the return of the one and only Sarah Connor, one of the best action heroines of all time, is undoubtedly a draw for fans.

But director Tim Miller (Deadpool) now gives us another reason to return to the iconic franchise, and that reason is scaring the pants off of the entire internet trolldom. In an interview with Variety, Miller described the film’s feminist bent and his plans to take over Hall H at San Diego Comic Con.

The film received some misogynistic blow-back on social media from the release of its first image, which featured the trio of women who anchor the film: Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, and Hamilton. Angry nerdboys were triggered by the all female line-up, but Miller is unconcerned with their opinions.

When talking about Davis’s female terminator character Grace, he said, “If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the f–k out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine. We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes. You can see online the responses to some of the early s–t that’s out there, trolls on the internet. I don’t give a f–k.”

Miller described Grace as stepping into the “protector” role, previously inhabited by the character Kyle Reese (and Schwarzenegger in T2: Judgement Day). And while Reese was human and the T-800 was machine, Grace appears to be something in between.

“Joe [Abercrombie] came out with this idea that a new protector from the future is a machine fighter. It’s a painful life, and they’re scarred and take a lot of drugs to combat the pain of what’s been done to them. They don’t live a long time. It’s a very sacrificial role; they risk death to save others. And from the very first suggestion it was always a woman.”

It’s refreshing to see a male director call out these elements of toxic fandom as opposed to pandering to them or sidestepping around the issue. Consider his treatment of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) in Deadpool, the rare sex worker character that is not exploited or pitied. Instead, she is one half of the best, most twisted superhero love stories onscreen. Miller is clearly passionate about his female characters, and about Hamilton especially.

A self-professed nerd and Terminator fan, he discussed why he wanted to make the film, “After Deadpool there were a lot of projects I could’ve chosen, but I really wanted to see Linda Hamilton come back to personally continue her story as Sarah Connor. Like James Cameron, I always find stories about women are much more interesting than men picking up guns.”

We can’t wait to see what Miller has in store for Hall H and the Terminator franchise.

(via Variety, image: Paramount Pictures)

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One Million Moms Boycotting Toy Story 4 Over a Blink And You’ll Miss It Scene Including Lesbian Parents

Woody and his pals go to one last round-up in Toy Story 4.

There’s a moment in Toy Story 4 that you might have missed where a child is greeted by his two mothers after a day at kindergarten. It’s a barely there moment, though it’s presented without fanfare as just an average moment in the story. Naturally, the very existence of a queer couple in an animated film has enraged some conservative viewers who find the scene to be “dangerous.”

The group One Million Moms, fond of their boycotts, has announced that they’re boycotting the Disney hit, releasing a statement that reads (via UpRoxx):

At the start of the movie, when Woody’s new owner Bonnie goes for her first day of kindergarten, in the background there is a quick scene where one child is dropped off by two moms. Later, the moms return to pick up their child who gives them a hug. The scene is subtle in order to to desensitize children. But it is obvious that the child has two mothers, and they are parenting together. Toy Story 4 is the last place parents would expect their children to be confronted with content regarding sexual orientation. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon. It is extremely common yet unnecessary.

I really doubt children are picking up what’s going on in the background of the scene. The moms are not the centerpiece of the sequence, and outside of that scene are not seen again in the film. The kids will be too busy laughing at the antics of Woody, Buzz, and Forky to really focus on the background social commentary, which isn’t even commentary.

This is a moment where two moms are dropping off their son, and picking him up from school later on. There is no moralizing. The film doesn’t come to a halt to point and stare at these characters and pat themselves on the back for being progressive. It’s presented as being a simple fact of life. Some kids have two parents of the same gender. It’s a fact of life, and if Pixar wants to represent life (or, rather, life with talking toys) then they can include parents of the same gender in their films.

The boycott isn’t a big deal. The film has already grossed a tidy sum and will probably win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, assuming Frozen 2 doesn’t take the prize. It won’t really impact the film’s box office weeks after release. But it’s still somewhat annoying to see that even the smallest hint of inclusion merits a boycott because apparently, the inclusion of LGBT+ characters is automatically too adult.

Moments like that matter, though. They make people feel seen, and less alone. There are bound to be plenty of kids who have two parents of the same gender who will see the film and, if they notice the moms, think “oh, that’s like my family!” And that matters more than any silly boycott ever could. Representation matters, especially to younger kids. It’s time to prioritize inclusion and tolerance above worries of upsetting groups that really won’t matter in the scheme of things.

(via UpRoxx, image: Pixar)

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