Disney’s First Image of Liu Yifei as Mulan Brings Honor to Us All

Live Action Mulan

Disney has released its first official image of actress Liu Yifei as Mulan in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the classic film. It’s not a lot to go on, and I haven’t seen her previous work, but my initial thoughts are that Yifei looks great in the shot.

Live-action Disney adaptations have been, mostly, a series of misses for me. While I did enjoy aspects of The Jungle Book and love Maleficient, both Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were mostly tepid attempts to correct criticisms of the films that really have more to do with the source material and the frustrating reality that, most of the time, when you try to mixe feminism and Disney princesses, you end up in a confusing area because the movies are, fundamentally, conservative stories.

Not to mention just taking a beloved animated film and then just making it live action with only a few minor changes doesn’t exactly stir the imagination. Yes, they make money, but they are also pretty devoid of anything interesting.

However, when changes are made, there is still criticism, which leads to some people feeling like they don’t want to see their beloved Disney films changed in the first place. To which I say … there is something to that.

As someone who loved Maleficient, most of the criticism I’ve heard from people who didn’t like it has been that they were opposed to making Maleficient the hero and giving her a tragic backstory, because … why couldn’t she just be evil? My retort would be that it also makes Aurora a much more interesting character in the process, wheres in the original film, she’s just an ingenue with limited screen time.

When it comes to live-action Mulan, it has the potential to be a good movie in its own right, since it doesn’t seem to be adapting the Disney film itself, which might be the lifeblood this live-action experiment needs. So far, here are the changes we know are happening:

  • No Shang: Instead of our bisexual prince, Mulan’s love interest will be a guy named Chen Honghu, who will be played by actor Yoson, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This is probably the change that hurts the most, since Honghu will know that Mulan’s true identity is a woman and fall for her through that revelation, which is much less interesting than the Shang/Ping/Mulan dynamic. Why this change? You know Disney can’t handle actual LGBT content.
  • No Shang also means there’s going to be a new commander character named Commander Tung, who will be Mulan’s mentor. He will be played by Donnie Yen from Rogue One.
  • Instead of Shan Yu, one of Disney’s most violent and underrated villains, there will be two baddies in the live-action Mulan. One will be … a witch, played by Gong Li, and the second will be Bori Khan, “a warrior leader who is intent on avenging his father’s death,” via THR.
  • Also super tragic: It’s not a musical. Well, maybe not tragic if we remember the torment our ears went through with Beauty and the Beast.

Oh, and Jet Li is in talks to play the Emperor, which is iconic. Please, please yes.

But what do the rest of you think? Are you excited or just sick of these live-action films?

Mushu proud

(image: Disney)

(via Elle, featured image: Stephen Tilley/Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

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What Can We Learn About Feminism From Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale?

serena joy and offred in hulu's handmaid's tale

**Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale seasons one and two below.**

The question of whether or not we can even call The Handmaid’s Tale a feminist show comes into play when so much of the “entertainment” is the abuse of women. Women are raped repeatedly, shocked by cattle prods, burned by stovetop burners, maimed—it’s hard to call a show that features the constant torture of female characters a feminist one.

With the popularity of the show, Gilead is often held up as a harrowing it-could-happen-to-us story of patriarchy gone wild, and even a story to warn us about the dangerous effect that pollution can have fertility. Already though, the emotional implications of the world of Gilead, as they relate to women and their relationships, don’t feel too far from our current reality.

Thankfully, by the end of season two, the show has managed to redeem itself from what could have been a season of what some may call “torture porn,” and has given viewers a glimmer of hope that the women of Gilead will unite together, across the class divisions of their society.

With the Marthas leading the underground movement and the wives waking up to the reality of what life holds for women in their society, season three could be hinting towards a takedown of Gilead from the inside.
In a pivotal moment of season two, protagonist June coyly quotes Margaret Atwood, the novelist behind the book that inspired the series:

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

It’s a moment of meta-cheekiness, to be sure, but reflects a point so clearly demonstrated in The Handmaid’s Tale: Hell hath no fury like a man who feels powerless.

commander waterford hulu handmaids tale

The main male antagonist, Commander Waterford, is a perfect example. Waterford repeatedly rapes June in a monthly conception “ceremony,” and even holds the promise of seeing her daughter over her head in order to make June complacent. He and the other men of Gilead have even taken all forms of power from the higher-ranking and supposedly infertile wives (the birth rate decline is blamed on women, despite scientific suggestions that the issue may lay with men).

But in spite of the rape and the deceit that Waterford and other men in Gilead use to maintain control over women, perhaps the most powerful weapon is turning women against each other, a tactic used over and over again.

Waterford effectively does this in his own household with the relationship between June and his wife, Serena Joy. He is never so threatened as when he sees the music box gifted to June in episode eight of season two, “Women’s Work.” He realizes, at that moment, that Serena and June are starting to form a relationship, and as fragile as it is, he literally beats it out of Serena in a show of dominance also serving to humiliate her in front of June, whom he forces to stay and watch.

He is more threatened by the women’s potential friendship than when Serena reveals his impotence, which is saying something.

In the finale of season two, Serena Joy attempts to take back some of the rights Gilead has removed from women, including womens’ right to read and write. Her finger is partially amputated as punishment.

It’s only when Serena realizes that even she and her “daughter” are not protected from the restrictions on women in Gilead that she chooses to fight back.

We can see, in Serena’s flashbacks, a passionate woman with disturbing beliefs about women’s rights and duties, spurred by a fertility crisis in a world otherwise much like our own. And we can see June, almost the opposite of Serena, in her comfortable life. She’s shown, early in season one, participating in a protest, but otherwise seems complacent and perhaps even ignorant of most of the changes affecting her rights in the pre-Gilead world.

Serena Joy in Hulu's Handmaid's Tale

(image: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

In one of the most baffling scenes of the show, all of the women in June’s workplace are abruptly let go from their jobs, and they seem to be completely confused and leave without ever figuring out what’s going on. Nobody even so much as mentions a news story or even pulls up Google to see what’s happening, and yet June is shown walking out with a box of her things, implying they had at least some time before they were forced to leave.

Later, we see signs that some women knew that changes were coming, and they tried to prevent it, like June’s mother, Holly. Holly’s disappointment with June’s life decisions serve as more than just mama drama, though—the message to women IRL should be clear: Be aware of your rights and those that challenge them, don’t get too comfortable.

But the repeated transgressions acted upon women by other women are the most disturbing parts of the show. Emily has a forced clitorectomy, and other women are maimed by Aunt Lydia, a character that the show insists on trying to humanize despite her horrific choices. Serena Joy abuses June repeatedly, but the most horrific moment is when she holds down a pregnant June to be raped.

There’s a repeated lesson we can take from these hard-to-watch scenes of The Handmaid’s Tale: Women need to be each other’s greatest allies.

Part of what would help is if women could stop being terrified of the dreaded f word: Feminist.

Elisabeth Moss, star of the series, came under fire in 2017 for denying to classify the series as “feminist” in a statement at the Tribeca Film Festival. “For me, it’s not a feminist story,” Moss said. “It’s a human story because women’s rights are human rights. I never expected to play Offred as a feminist.”

Offred in The Handmaid's Tale

Of course, the problem with this is that being a feminist means women should have equal rights to men—a simple enough statement that many would agree with, and yet, it is attached to a word that so many women (let alone men) are terrified to apply to themselves.

It’s unclear if Moss was simply caught off guard or if perhaps the showrunners had initially cautioned the cast about classifying the show as a feminist work because of the aforementioned public perception of feminism. Regardless, Moss has since clarified this statement in an interview with The New York Times.

“What I should have said is that it is not only a feminist story, but it is also a human story,“ Moss stated. “Obviously it is first and foremost a feminist story. I play a woman who has had her child and her family taken away from her, and all of her rights as a woman stripped and who is essentially a prisoner.

“But I was trying to say that it is also a human story in the sense that there are other groups—other races, colors, and creeds—who are punished and maligned and are not given the right to be heard as well.”

In the show, homosexual people are also discriminated against, as well as other groups, such as doctors who presumably performed abortions, and some scholars, though the topic of race is noticeably absent from Gilead’s society.

Even Margaret Atwood, the author of the 1985 novel which the show is based on, has balked at calling her story a “feminist” work, and yet she wrote, in an op-ed earlier this year for The Globe and Mail, a statement that should ring true for women everywhere, whether they want to call themselves the dreaded f word or not:

“A war among women, as opposed to a war on women, is always pleasing to those who do not wish women well.”

If we learn nothing else from The Handmaid’s Tale and Atwood, let it be this.

(images: Hulu)

Liz Lanier is a freelance writer and currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction. You can connect with her on Twitter @LizLanierWrites.

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Ruby Rose Quits Twitter Due to Batwoman Casting Backlash


Actress Ruby Rose, who will be playing Batwoman Kate Kane in an Arrowverse crossover event and, potentially, her own Batwoman series, received quite a bit of backlash for the role—some valid, and others just attempting to reduce the actress.

Before she left Twitter, she responded to those who were saying that she wasn’t “lesbian enough” to play the role, a criticism that, I assume, stems from Rose being non-binary. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her last tweets were:

“Where on earth did ‘Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can’t be batwoman’ come from — has to be the funniest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with ‘she’s too gay’ how do y’all flip it like that? I didn’t change. I wish we would all support each other and our journeys.

When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable… when we tear each other down it’s much more hurtful than from any group. But hey/ love a challenge I just wish women and the LGBT community supported each other more, My wish was we were all a little kinder and more supportive of each other…Sending everyone my love and gratitude, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year, this month especially.

I am looking forward to getting more than 4 hours of sleep and to break from Twitter to focus all my energy on my next 2 projects. If you need me, I’ll be on my Bat Phone.”

I’m gonna keep it 100%: Would Ruby Rose have been my pick to play this role? No, because she’s never been an actress I have found interesting to watch. However, this is a CW show, where the caliber of acting ranges from great (CRG/JTV), to good (Supergirl/Black Lightning), to … the rest. I have found myself repeatedly impressed by Kate McGrath on Supergirl, despite that she was not a favorite of mine on Merlin, so there’s plenty of room for Rose to grow as an actress, and let’s be real—the acting bar is relatively low on most of these shows.

As people reporting this news, we need to also learn separate thoughtful and legitimate criticism from the trolls and homophobes—not even for any specific actor’s sake, but we need to make space for people from marginalized communities to critique things without having people turn that criticism into “backlash.”

The idea that we can’t be critical of who gets cast and why for roles that are meant to represent us—for fear of being seeing as always complaining, never satisfied—is frustrating. Addressing displeasure about Ruby Rose getting the role for being a “safe” pick is different from saying she’s “not lesbian enough.” The former is about how, even now, queer actors are chosen by their appeal to a heterosexual audience, whereas the latter is some in-house shit that we in the LGBTQIA+ community need to work on when it comes to gatekeeping.

Concern about Kane’s Jewish identity being done well is valid, and while I am not Jewish and can’t comment on what that looks like casting-wise, considering that’s a big part of her character, I’m sure fans want the show to do it justice. On the non-white queer end, what I heard people commenting on was the erasure of all the other queer characters that have been on the Arrowverse before, especially Anissa on Black Lightning.

We need to separate people with those criticisms, from these people:

That is, people who have no taste and also seem to not know who Batwoman is.

Despite the massive indifference I have toward Ruby Rose as an actress right now, it doesn’t erase the fact that it’s good to see lesbians getting to play themselves in media.

It’s not even because I think it’s a problem to see straight actresses play queer women, but when I look back at the queer female icons of my younger days, almost all of them are played by heterosexual women. It’s the same reason it was so powerful to see Stephanie Beatriz, a bisexual actress, bring that aspect of herself into her character, Rosa, on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ruby Rose is a positive step in having more representation, and I can take that spoonful of sugar to help everything else go down.

Whatever anyone thinks about Rose as an actress, there is no reason to fill her DMs and mentions with hate. She has done nothing to earn that, and while that “women and minorities” comment is side-eye worthy, the reality is that with all the bigots and Nazis on the internet, queer women of all race, women of color, and child actresses being victimized by homophobic memes aren’t the ones who need to be run off of Twitter.

And if Rose wants some support on dealing with terrible trolls on the internet, Arrowverse veteran Candice Patton has five years of experience in that regard.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Netflix)

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John Oliver Tackles Astroturfing, or the Real Paid Protesters, on Last Week Tonight

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Yesterday’s Last Week Tonight talks about racists (or, “the reason that 911 now has to answer calls with ‘Is this a real emergency, or is there just a black person nearby?’), the Unite the Right rally that also happened on Sunday, Saudi Arabia suspending ties with Canada, and Lithuanian tourism campaigns.

The main story, however, was astroturfing—”the practice of corporations or political groups disguising themselves as spontaneous or authentic popular movements.” Basically, they’re fake grassroots. Examples host John Oliver provides include the generically named “Americans Against Food Taxes” (started by food and beverage companies), “Save Our Tips” (an anti-minimum wage group funded by restaurant owners), and the National Wetland Coalition (which worked on behalf of oil companies and real estate developer).

Oliver calls the deception “pure, straight up opposite world”. The practice is, needless to say, full of misinformation, mendacity, and fake fronts. (There’s also some legally cautious talk around regarding Rick Berman, president of the Center For Consumer Freedom, who’s also literally known as “Dr. Evil”. Oliver assumes you can read between the lines.)

The host also dives into the business behind it, and how companies will hire crowds or individuals to gather, protest, and repeating talking points—one big example being Entergy buying a crowd to support their gas plant and another being actors appearing at town halls.

Despite all of Donald Trump’s talk about paid protesters (we’re still waiting on that check), there doesn’t seem to be much action against holding false experts accountable and Oliver shares his concerns about the mere existence of these groups.

“It can do real damage that goes way beyond the narrow issues that each group is trying to influence”, he says, pointing out conspiracy broads often wrongly cite groups like Crowds on Demand as suppliers of “crisis actors” for real tragedies like mass shootings.

“That is hugely dangerous”, says Oliver. “The outcome of this cannot be that everyone assumes that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is astroturf […] While skepticism is healthy, cynicism—real cynicism, is toxic.” Last Week Tonight ends with a commercial with all the tools of an astroturf commercial: B-roll, sensational accusations, dubious claims, and “Hey, we’re not under oath.”

(image: screencap)

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Rebecca Sugar Singing the Song She Wrote for the Adventure Time Finale Will Make You Cry

Rebecca Sugar attended San Diego Comic-Con, where the Steven Universe creator shared the song she wrote for the Adventure Time finale titled “Time Adventure”. Sugar dedicated the song to showrunner Adam Muto, who shed a few tears.

Sugar worked on Adventure Time as a writer and storyboard artist, and composed songs for the series like “I’m Just Your Problem”, “Not Just Your Little Girl”, “Remember You”, and “Everything Stays”. The song is sweet, lovely, and a perfect send off for the beloved show.

The lyrics:

“Time is an illusion that helps things makes sense
So we’re always living in the present tense
It seems unforgiven when a good thing ends
But you and I will always be back then
You and I will always be back then
You and I will always be back then
You and I will always be back then

Singing will happen, happening, happened
will happen, happening, happened
And will happen again and again
Cause you and I will always be back then

If there was some amazing force outside of time
To take us back to where we were
And hang each moment up like pictures on the wall
Inside a billion tiny frames so that we could see it all…all…all
It would look like

Will happen, happening, happened
Will happen, happening, happened
And will happen again and again
Cause you and I will always be back then
Cause you and I will always be back then
Cause you and I will always be back then
That’s why
You and I will always be best friends”

The Adventure Time series finale airs on September 3rd, 2018. Are you going to be tuning in?

(image: screencap)

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Colin Jost and Michael Che Are Excited for a “Not Political” Emmys

Colin Jost Michael Che Weekend Update SNL

Major award show hosts have had a much more challenging job this season, as they try to balance charismatic, light-hearted joking with talking about the elephant in the room: #MeToo.

While I’d say most award shows have been playing it relatively safe with hosts like Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars or Seth Meyers at the Golden Globes, both Kimmel and Meyers have done a great job with incorporating biting commentary on Hollywoods abusers (Meyers on Weinstein: “He’ll be back in 20 years when he’s the first person booed during the In Memoriam.”) while honoring the celebrations of the ceremony. (See also: John Mulaney and Nick Kroll with one of the best Woody Allen burns.)

Don’t expect too much of that at the Emmys, however. The fact that the Emmys will be hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost was a pretty solid “meh”, but it’s an even more resigned “meh” when you hear about their exciting, non-political plans.

While Che and Jost have made jokes about #MeToo on SNL‘s Weekend Update, an interview with Vanity Fair suggests that the two will mostly steer clear of any references to Hollywood’s ongoing reckoning with harassment and abuse. “It is kind of fun for us to do something that is not political,” says Jost. “The exciting part is to do things about television and that particular awards ceremony and make it, in general, less political than normal. There’s a lot to celebrate in television right now. It’s a very strong time.”

Now, Jost’s point about making the Emmys non-political sounds like he and Che see the awards as a relief, or escape, from the serious and tragic news that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. Jost makes the point that “knowing the whole tone of the country at that point is hard to know now”, which is somewhat understandable: timely jokes with the speed of news and scandal now means that certain topics fall out of fashion and relevance quickly. Still, we have plenty of examples of hosts being able to pull off timeliness, insight, and humor.

Granted, it’s a short comment, but the records being made for diverse nominees and the ways that #MeToo has been happening in the television industry are incredibly political. However, to not acknowledge the impact of these changes is—make no mistake—political. Whether it’s seen as safe humor, escapism, or relief, it is political. And their “non-political” hosting might even be funny, but it’s not brave, groundbreaking, or breaking any new ground. They can host whatever kind of Emmys they want but it will, whether they acknowledge it or not, be political.

Jost jokingly adds, “I think that by [the Emmys], people are going to be desperate to give men a chance, finally. It’ll probably be #HeToo by then.”

Che, on the topic of people accusing him of harassing women who criticize his comedy, said, “Just because they did it doesn’t mean they don’t understand where I’m coming from.” He adds, when talking about SNL’s big audience, “And everyone’s got to have an opinion of everything. […] I never take the responsibility to explain it, but I bet it could be for somebody who wanted to be liked or something.”

The Emmys air September 17th and while we’ll be cheering on our favorite shows and actors, we’ll have to skeptically wait to see how Jost and Che’s Emmy debut will go.

(via Vulture, image: SNL)

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Where Does Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine Departing Star Trek 4 Leave the Franchise?

Star Trek might be down two Chrises (or two Kirks, depending on how you look at it).

Chris Pine was expected to return as Captain James T. Kirk in the fourth installment of the Star Trek films alongside Chris Hemsworth, who was reportedly going to reprise his role as George Kirk, James T. Kirk’s father who died heroically in the first scenes of the 2009 film (time travel was going to bring him back).  However, the future of the franchise has just gotten a lot more uncertain.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Pine and Hemsworth were in negotiations to star in Star Trek 4, but talks with Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media “have fallen apart, with both sides walking away from the table.” Reportedly, the actors feel Paramount is not sticking to “existing deals” and forcing them “to take pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following a mediocre performer.”

It’s understandable that Pine and Hemsworth, both of whom are attached to huge DC and Marvel films, are fighting for an appropriate pay. Whether Paramount and the Chrises will come to an acceptable deal is uncertain at this point, but it’s even harder to imagine the studio re-casting the roles.

Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, and John Cho are all reportedly expected to return, and I’m sure there’s an amazing story to be told with Uhura, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Sulu. It’s a huge shame to lose Pine and Hemsworth, however, and even more unfortunate that we might not get a chance to see how S.J. Clarkson (the first female director the take on a Star Trek movie) works with Pine and Hemsworth.

Paramount and Skydance insiders told THR that the film “remains a priority development and is not being put on hold”. Of the three possibilities—recasting, creating a new story, and renegotiation—we hope that the two parties will be able to come to some kind of deal. What do you think?

(via Slash Film, image: Paramount)

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Why Does Everyone Seem to Hate the Idea of a Buffy Reboot?

buffy the vampire slayer

When 20th Century Fox announced their upcoming reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was the news fans of the beloved supernatural drama series had been dreading (though it’s now at least supposed to be more of a sequel). Sure, we knew it was a possibility. Rumors of a Buffy remake have made the rounds before, and reboots of ’90s shows have been popping up left, right, and center recently, from Roseanne to the X-Files and Roswell. TV networks and streaming services seem to be milking the nostalgia factor ‘til every last drop, but we still hoped this would be one franchise the industry would leave be.

When Buffy aired the first time around in the U.K., it was a huge hit for BBC2, and although, at 10 years old, I wasn’t mature enough to get 50% of the references, I loved it anyway. I still remember how shocked my dad was that they featured a lesbian character—not that he wan’t happy; it just wasn’t done on mainstream TV at the time (just look at the furor Ellen Degeneres suffered through for coming out in the ’90s). But that was what made Buffy such a TV pioneer: It was willing to go places other shows weren’t.

Buffy proved that teen shows could be smart and funny, paving the way for future classics like Veronica Mars and Orphan Black, but most importantly, by subverting one of Hollywood’s most ingrained tropes. It bought in a new kind of feminist action hero, changing the pop cultural landscape forever. The hot blonde, who’s usually the first to go in any ’80s slasher flick, fought back, and she kept on fighting for seven years of screen time, all while addressing standard teen girl issues such as sexuality, high school politics, and relationships. The show’s action sequences attracted a diverse fanbase, both male and female, while simultaneously appealing to both younger and more mature viewers.

Don’t get me wrong; Buffy wasn’t perfect. Like most ’90s shows, it doesn’t get a gold star for diversity, and the show was an early example of the “bury your gays” trope. (We’re still mad about Tara). And don’t even get me started on the misogynistic d-bag that is Xander Harris in the later seasons, or the issues with the “my vagina made my boyfriend evil” storyline in season two. Still, even though other reboots from the era, such as Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (which have their own issues), have also been met with skepticism from fans, this was nothing compared to the tantrums (my own included) thrown over resurrecting Buffy.

But why? (Well, some of them are just racist, but that’s its own conversation.) Part of the reason Buffy has such a huge cult following is that much of the show still feels relevant. Although some elements haven’t aged well (it did premiere over two decades ago), the backlash against the upcoming reboot was swift and painful because many of us don’t want to see such groundbreaking characters and storylines repurposed. We want new ones that dissect the age we live in.

Let’s not forget that the Buffyverse has already been expanded upon in both the TV spinoff Angel and the Dark Horse comic book series written by creator Joss Whedon. With such an extensive storyline already in place, it would make more sense to explore existing characters instead, rather than rewriting them. However, showrunners have left it too late for this option. When the series wrapped up in 2003, there were many potential spinoffs fans would have loved—including a series focusing on Giles and another on Faith—that would have likely gone down much better, but the actors, and the world, have moved on.

Some black fans were also unimpressed by the idea of casting a black actress as a new Buffy Summers. Even though it’s great that networks are embracing diversity, it’s not as powerful a statement as creating a new black heroine with her own storyline—especially as Monica Owusu-Breen, who has previously worked on Alias and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, has been hired to write the reboot. She’s clearly talented enough to come up with something new and exciting, so why not let her?

AsCandice Fredrick says in her Slash Film piece “Talent of Color Do Not Need White TV Show and Film Hand-Me-Downs,” it’s not enough to just put a black actress on screen for the sake of representation. “It’s about the opportunity for an actor or actress of color to be able to stand on their own merit and not in the shadows of their white predecessor.” Fredrick explains, “It’s about the importance of highlighting original stories by and featuring talent of color—without presenting it through a white gaze.”

After the backlash, Owusu-Breen has come forward to clarify the showrunners’ position. Well, sort of. In a tweet, Owusu-Breen seemed to hint that the reboot was actually a sequel, calling the show “[her] Star Wars.” Fans seemed to have reacted more favorably to a new slayer, rather than recycling the original, but as The Mary Sue’s Princess Weekes points out, it’s still not as good as a new franchise with a black female protagonist; there will always be comparisons.

Nevertheless, Owusu-Breen promises that the reboot will be relevant to modern audiences, while maintaining the integrity of the original: “Here we are, 20 years later … and the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer … And that’s all I can say.”

Although the decision to have Owusu-Breen helm the project is promising, there’s still Joss Whedon himself to contend with. Once lauded as a champion for women in Hollywood, in recent years, Whedon’s work has come under criticism from those who loved his dynamic early projects. Several troubling themes have been picked up on by fans, such as his penchant for creating skinny white women with bodily strength but emotional issues, along with suggestions that the writer/director has failed to keep with the changing times.

His feminist image was further destroyed last year by a blog post written by his ex-wife Kai Cole, in which she described the director as a “Hypocrite Preaching Feminist Ideals.”  However, many fans stuck by the director, pointing out that having affairs (although morally questionable) doesn’t make someone a bad feminist, whereas others have criticized Whedon for using his industry status as an opportunity to get young female employees into bed.

Then there were the rumors surrounding his treatment of actress Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy and later Angel. When Carpenter became pregnant during the fourth season of Angel, Whedon essentially wrote her out via a highly criticized coma storyline, eventually killing her character off without informing Carpenter beforehand. But the final nail in the coffin was Whedon’s dubious Wonder Woman script that leaked online last June, which overly-sexualizes and demeans Diana/Wonder Woman, all while making her love interest Steve Trevor into a cliché male hero who “teaches her to be human” (and is a chronic mansplainer).

Not to mention, there’s plenty of “bitches” and “whores” thrown into the dialogue for good measure, and of course, a skimpy costume. At the time, fans were still salty about Whedon’s offensive treatment of Black Widow in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (still are, actually), in which the character describes herself as a “monster,” comparative to the Hulk, for being infertile. The new Buffy may be the work of female talent, but it will forever be overshadowed by the worrying reputation of the man who created its universe.

Since the pilot for the reboot is still far away, with Fox Television Group CEO Gary Newman saying there isn’t even a script yet, some fans have concluded that this vagueness surrounding the reboot is all a ploy to test viewer reaction. Hopefully, the network will take the criticism onboard, and then, at least, we might get a contemporary slayer adventure the next generation can enjoy, even if it makes bittersweet viewing for us oldies.

(image: )

Sophie is a cute feminist butterfly navigating the world one kitty meme at a time, or at least that’s how her best friend described her when she asked for help writing this bio. She likes cheese and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she one day hopes to be the proud owner of a corgi. You can find more of her work at Screen RantThe Untitled Magazine, and Bolde.

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Terry Crews Discusses His “Summer of Freedom” as Brooklyn Nine-Nine Ponders Getting a #MeToo Episode Right

brooklyn nine nine cast

Brooklyn Nine-Nine will try to tackle the #MeToo movement in its upcoming third season—if they can find the right way to do it.

“[Topical episodes] are hard to do, but we’ve been very happy with what we’ve done,” showrunner Dan Goor said during the show’s panel on NBC’s press day at the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour. “The challenge is always to make them still feel really true to the show, still feel funny, but at the same time, give weight to the issue and really exploring it in a fair way. ”

While the show has tackled topical issues in recent episodes to critical and fan acclaim, like Rosa’s coming out as bisexual—which will continue to be explored in the new season—Goor would not commit to the show doing a #MeToo storyline unless it’s absolutely right.

“I don’t want to say we’re going to do it, unless we can actually figure it out,” he said. “I can’t make a promise, but we’re really interested in trying to do a #MeToo storyline. It’s something that we’re actively talking about in the writers’ room.”

Series star Andy Samberg referenced the show’s fourth season episode, “Moo Moo,” which tackled institutionalized racism, as one that took careful planning and a lot of time to perfect.

“The ‘Moo Moo’ episode, which I think we’re all incredibly proud of, was something that took a really long time to be written in a way where everyone was like, ‘Yes, this is how the show wants to do this,’” he said. “There’s a ton of stuff like that that would be incredible to do but we’re not going to do unless we have the right take that is doing it justice.”

Of course, #metoo holds special weight and significance for this show, since series star Terry Crews is one of the most high-profile faces of the movement.

Crews has been outspoken about being a victim of sexual assault and over the summer, testified in front of Congress on new proposed legislation that would protect other survivors.

“I like to call it, for me and for a lot of people out there, the summer of freedom,” he said. “Just in that, we can now tell our truth. These are lessons that I learned while doing the show. ‘Moo Moo’ really confronted a lot of incidents regarding race and the police and we started to tackle topics … Stephanie had an episode that dealt with coming out in a real way … It’s about the freedom to tell your story. One thing that influenced me was being here and feeling safe and having friends and family on this show that I felt secure enough that I could actually tell my truth and still go to work. It made a difference and I thank each and every person up here right now because they gave me the strength to do that.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine will return in midseason on NBC.

(image: Fox)

Linda Ge is a writer and freelance journalist. She was most recently the TV Editor at Tracking Board and before that spent three years as a TV Reporter at trade publication TheWrap.

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The Perks of Shipping Bucky Barnes and Natasha Romanoff

Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes is Steve Rogers’ best friend and has been since World War II. So naturally, their friendship is often seen as something more. Fans want him to end up with Steve, and while that’s a wonderful pairing, there are other pairings to consider. Despite fan support, Steve/Bucky doesn’t seem to be something that Marvel is willing to put in their movies, which is ultimately disappointing for more than just these two characters.

So that leaves Bucky open for a romantic pairing. In my mind, there are a few options, but the best comes in the form of Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. Sure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has her in love with the Hulk in a truly boring twist, but what if the MCU returned to the ways of the comics and let Bucky/Nat take form?

There’s something both Natasha Romanoff and Bucky Barnes have in common: They were not in control of their own stories. Natasha, brainwashed into becoming a spy, needed Nick Fury to help free her from the binds that the KGB held her with. Her life was turned around and she became an Avenger, helping those in need.

Now, Bucky is going through the same thing. I’m not saying that Natasha needs to fix him; he can do that on his own, and Shuri already helped to reverse the brainwashing that Hydra placed upon him. That being said, I think the problem with Bucky Barnes, currently, is that he doesn’t have anyone who understands what he’s going through.

Steve Rogers clearly wants to help, but Steve wasn’t forced into being a super soldier and a killing machine for decades. Bucky was, and so was Natasha. Imagine, if you will, the moment that Bucky realizes Natasha is someone who can understand what he’s been through.

For so long, he tried to sort his mind out on his own, he was lost in the fear of becoming the Winter Soldier again. But now that the brainwashing is reversed, he has the means to become James Buchanan Barnes again and Natasha could relate to that with him.

That or write a character that he can talk to because having a man talk about his problems in a superhero movie would be revolutionary. Bucky Barnes is the perfect character for this to work with and to be honest, he deserves to at least be hugged by someone.

So I’m Team “Let Natasha and Bucky be together” or just cast me as a character whose job is just to hug Bucky when he’s sad. Those are your options, Marvel.

(image: Marvel)

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