Longform

World Weary: Why Not Every Superhero Franchise Needs a Universe of Its Own

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by Mike Ryan May 20, 2014 01:44 PM
Sony Pictures/Marvel/20th Century Fox, Illustration by ScreenCrush.com
People love universes. Or, more precisely: People love fictional universes. At least, I hear much more about the Marvel universe and the ‘Star Wars’ universe these days than our own infinitely fascinating real universe, but I digress. This isn’t inherently a bad thing – it’s not too surprising that serialized stories, which is really what we mean when we talk about universes – are popular. If a person likes a character, why shouldn’t he or she want to see more of that character?

Why Seth Rogen is the Most Important Person in Modern Comedy

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by Jacob Hall May 08, 2014 12:30 PM
Taylor Hill, Getty Images
Like so many comedic actors, Seth Rogen seems to have a type. He's the lovable schlub, the agreeable, pot-smoking best friend who avoids conflict until absolutely necessary. It's easy to watch him in a handful of his biggest hits, peg him as a funny, one-trick pony and move on. But, you'd be making a big mistake.
Sure, Rogen has a default persona, but his career is not defined by his popular image. Rather, his career is defined in the fringes and in the subtleties, where he takes what's expected of him and delivers something completely different. Rogen's greatest trick is that he's quietly become the most important person working in film comedy today, all without calling attention to his accomplishments.

The Other ‘Neighbors’ - Revisiting the Disastrous and Tragic Belushi and Aykroyd Comedy

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by Mike Ryan May 08, 2014 11:30 AM
It’s a little surprising that, with a huge summer-movie-season-comedy like ‘Neighbors’ opening in theaters this weekend, there hasn’t been more talk about the other movie titled ‘Neighbors,’ even in passing. Well, that’s not entirely true, because I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in conversation and the response has been usually some sort of version of a blank stare.
Maybe the people who are old enough to remember 1981’s 'Neighbors' don’t want to remember 'Neighbors,' for a plethora of reasons. The most obvious: It was John Belushi’s last film before dying of a speedball overdose.

The Force is Too Strong With This One: Why 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Needs Less Jedi Magic

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by Mike Ryan May 06, 2014 11:00 AM
Last week, at least a partial cast was revealed for 'Star Wars: Episode 7'. Almost immediately, speculation began on who the new actors would be playing. Will John Boyega be a young Jedi? Will Adam Driver be a Sith Lord? Will Daisy Ridley (who is strongly rumored to be the daughter of Han and Leia) be a Jedi, too?
Good grief, I hope not. As I’ve written before, Jedi are boring.

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Has an Oscorp Problem (and It Could Derail 'Sinister Six')

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by Jacob Hall May 05, 2014 01:00 PM
Sony
Sony hasn't been shy about their plans for Spider-Man. Before 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' hit theaters, they had release dates for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 3' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 4.' They've announced spin-off films for Venom and the villainous supergroup known as the Sinister Six. The franchise's producers have openly mocked the idea of ever teaming up with Marvel Studios or 20th Century Fox for the kind of crossover comic fans all over the world so desperately crave.
In short, Sony wants to transform the Spider-Man movie franchise into a Spider-Man movie universe ... and as of right now, it's not working.

Everything You Need to Know About the New 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Cast

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by Jacob Hall April 29, 2014 01:55 PM
Getty Images
It's happened: they've officially announced the cast of 'Star Wars: Episode 7.' We knew that original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher would be returning to the roles that made their careers, but it's the new cast members that have us really excited. It's going to be nice to see Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia Organa reunited on the big screen, but it's going to be truly exciting to see what characters director J.J. Abrams will create from scratch.
The new cast members are a fantastic combo of established character actors, on-the-rise stars, living legends and complete unknowns. But, just in case you aren't familiar with them we've assembled a basic primer. Here's what you need to know about each of the new additions to the 'Star Wars' universe!

The 'Star Wars' Sequel That Never Happened

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by Mike Ryan April 29, 2014 11:00 AM
Del Rey Books
George Lucas had a backup plan.
It might not seem like such a bold move today – in the era of blockbuster franchises – to be planning for a sequel before the first movie has even been released. But, in the 1970s, this was downright revolutionary thinking. Especially considering that we’re talking about a movie set in another galaxy in an era where such films were considered inane. (Granted, some people still consider them inane.) But not only did Lucas have a plan for a 'Star Wars' sequel, he had two plans. One, as you know, became ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ The other exists as a sort of alternative universe oddity of what could have been – a story titled ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.’

Did 'Game of Thrones' Just Solve One of the Books' Biggest Mysteries?

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by Jacob Hall April 28, 2014 09:40 AM
HBO
It's official: HBO's 'Game of Thrones' has started supplying us with information that the books have not.
For fans of the original books, it's a little terrifying to not know exactly what's going to happen next in the HBO series. After all, we've grown accustomed to sitting there smugly while our friends and families gasp at Ned Stark's execution or weep over the Red Wedding. We forgot what it's like for this world to truly pull the rug out from under us, but Sunday night's episode, "Oathkeeper," jumped ahead to information that goes beyond the most current book in the series. It not only takes us to a place we have never been in the books, it confirms a mystery over which fans have been debating and analyzing for years.
And it's a mystery show watchers won't even know exists in the first place.

Mondo's Marvel Gallery: See All 50 Posters, Plus an Interview With Artist Mike Mitchell!

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by Jacob Hall April 25, 2014 09:00 PM
Mike Mitchell/Marvel
Superheroes are all about action. They're defined by their superpowers, colorful costumes and catchphrases. Whether they're battling a dozen henchman or their arch-nemesis, these characters battle evil with gadgets, magic or just their fists.
So what happens when you take away that action and ask the heroes (and villains) of the Marvel universe to stand still for a portrait? That's the idea behind artist Mike Mitchell's new Mondo Gallery show, which takes the denizens of the massively popular comic book universe and asks them to "catch their breath."

Why That Controversial 'Game of Thrones' Rape Scene Was Supposed to Be Disturbing

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by Britt Hayes April 21, 2014 02:27 PM
HBO
Much discussion has been sparked today following an eyebrow-raising sex scene (to say the least) in last night's episode of 'Game of Thrones'. In "Breaker of Chains," incestuous and morally corrupt siblings Jaime and Cersei Lannister do what incestuous and morally corrupt siblings do best, but there was something very different about the dynamic between the two this time around: namely, it played out as a borderline rape (watch the scene in question here). But, things are much more complex than that in 'Game of Thrones,' particularly between these two characters. Given the world's proclivity for the graphic exploitation of women, the scene is definitely scandalous.