Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Star Wars Fans rejoice! Principal photography has wrapped on Episode VII and the great minds behind one of the biggest franchises in the world unveiled the title to the next installment in the series.

 

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

 

Wait.

 

What?

 

When we last saw our heroes, they were celebrating on Endor with the Ewoks (formerly cannibalistic teddy bears, seriously, they tried to eat Han Solo) Luke saw his father, Yoda and Obi Wan because he’d had too much punch and the saga seemed over. The good guys won, the Empire fell and everyone got turned up in the foreset.

 

Maybe that’s what they’re waking up from?

 

Can you imagine a Hangover style Star Wars movie?

 

EXT. DAY – FOREST OF ENDOR

We see the lush forest of ENDOR. Ewoks are tuckered out everywhere, the dying embers of their massive fires smoldering in the early daylight. One of them farts because even in a galaxy far far away farts are funny.

 

We see LUKE SKYWALKER doubled over, throwing up, HAN and LEIA nowhere to be seen.

 

He straightens up, avoiding stepping on their hosts as he walks around the forest floor, puzzled and queezy. He looks up at the sky, where the debris of the DEATH STAR looms.

 

Helluva night.

 

He hears HAN yelling for CHEWIE. He stumbles down the rickety steps from the treehouse, his shirt opened and pants falling down his knees.

 

HAN

Kid! You seen Chewie?

 

LUKE

(looking around)

Nope.

 

HAN

(fixing his clothes)

Oh man, CHEWIE! What the hell happened last night? These little hairballs can seriously party.

 

LUKE

Well, we did give them freedom from the Empire so…Where’s Leia?

 

HAN

(ignoring the question)

We have to find him.

 

LUKE

I’m sure he’s fine.

 

HAN

(Finally looking at Luke)

What happened to your face?

 

LUKE

What do you mean what happened to my face?

 

 

 

Naturally, the whole thing would de-evolve into a madcap quest around the galaxy to find a very drunk Chewbacca and Threepio stumbling around singing very vulgar Wookie bar songs while carrying Artoo like a mechanical keg. Maybe Lando Calrissian can be the Leslie Chow of it all.

 

We can all dream can’t we?

 

I’ll even recast everyone. Why not.

 

Episode VII opens December 2015

Thor is A Woman and That’s Fucking Fantastic

There is a major shake up happening in Marvel.

Starting in October, Thor, The Might Asgardian Norse god of Thunder would be…Thor, the Mighty Asgardian Norse goddess of Thunder.

The statement released on Marvel.com:

Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THORwritten by Jason Aaron complimented with art from Russell Dauterman.

This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the “big three” of Captain American, Iron Man and Thor. No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR.

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/comics/2014/7/15/22875/marvel_proudly_presents_thor#ixzz37Z7NQyO0

Speculation is wild about the origins of the new wielder of Mjölnir, and the only hint that the lucky lady is someone who Thor himself saved. She’s built herself off of his mighty blondness and as of October, we’ll find out just who she is and how Thor lost his mojo.

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Throg

Beta Ray Bill

The hammer chooses the wielder, just like Hogwarts Sorting Hat decides that your weak ass is a Hufflepuff and worthy to wield the hammer. (I’m kidding, I don’t know if Hufflepuff is weak, I’ve always been sorted into Gryffindor) Everyone can be worthy to carry the hammer, which is the great appeal of the entire mythos behind the Cosmic Marvel universe.

In 1978, issue 10 of Thor, The Watcher speculated what would have happened if Jane Foster found the Hammer.

what if i did enough squats to git this outfit?

So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the ownership to pass from Thor Odinson to someone else. It has happened before. Especially when you consider that Throg was an actual plot point.

Thor is a name, not a title.

Naturally, the nerd hordes had a temper tantrum regarding the sex change because nerd rage.

Essentially, comic book purists can accept Throg, vaguely recall The Watcher’s one shot story about Jane and Mjölnir but for her to actually happening during a current run is a problem. The statement includes (paraphrase) a nod to the neglected female comic book fan, which makes it seem like a bit of a cash grab but it also acknowledges that female fronted titles are in demand and Marvel suits aren’t stupid. Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers has been having an amazing run under Kelly Sue DeConnick which has spawned into a great Ms. Marvel title. X-Men founding member Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is getting her first lead title despite having been in comics for longer than the recently decreased Wolverine who’s had multiple runs as a lead character. Marvel has been leading the charge in comic book diversity where DC is struggling to keep up. Both companies have the luxury of celebrating 50 years in the business and Marvel seems to be the first out of the old guard to truly embrace that the world is in fact very different today than it was upon some of their classic titles first printing.

 

Yesterday it was announced that John Constantine in the upcoming NBC paranormal horror series Constantine would not be bisexual as is cannon with the comic book. That’s a whole other argument but the nerd rage was interesting. They were dismayed at having this part of the character be downplayed when it was essential to who he is. The show runners also discussed that he will not be smoking as much as he does in his Hellblazer title.

At the heart of the hero is still the heart of who they are.

What does it mean that Thor is being replaced by a woman?

Nothing.

What it means is that readers will be treated to a richer experience in storytelling because you have to make your character someone to care about. As a woman, you’re invested in a character that isn’t another run of the mill damsel in distress and as a male reader, you’re still reading a comic book with a ass kicking lead with a legacy. When Miles Morales, the famously biracial kid from Queens, became the new Spider-man, the world almost imploded. From the nerd purists to the racists, Miles becoming the new Spider-man was the prime example for why comics need to change, why diversity is important and why everyone should feel welcome and represented in the great big world of comics and fantasy. They are escape routes and lessons in being a better person packed into bright pages. People of color and women should be included in this world that essentially doesn’t know the same politics as this one does.

The truth is, Marvel should be working on creating a new female lead, fresh origins, fresh stories, fresh everything. They may still be a long way off considering the success of their legacy titles but the seeds are being planted now. They’ve started that with the introduction of Kamala Khan as the aforementioned Ms. Marvel but there are established rules with that power because of the years of the hero having been male. She still needs to be a hero with an old credo in a modern world that may not welcome her.  By introducing new faces in old roles however, you demonstrate that anyone can and will be worthy of the title of hero.

The rage comes from the boat of comfort being rocked and people who don’t like change being toss out of the boat. We don’t know who the new Thor is and won’t until the title rolls out in October. We don’t know the conditions to which Thor loses his ability just as we don’t know how long she’ll be Thor. For all we know, Sif is the new Mjölnir wielder and the ‘other woman’ is Loki in disguise. That’s what makes the speculation so exciting. Taking someone and putting them into an extraordinary circumstance, like becoming something more is a universal experience. It’s a journey that everyone will go through as they discover who they are. Why should an extraordinary experience like becoming a superhero, a guardian, a crusader be only limited to men, or white men? Why should we continue to tell the other that they will remain that way because comic books say so? We are at an age of discovery, where someone somewhere at every second will discover who they are, who they are meant to be and what greater allegory is there than the superhero comic book title? Image Comics, Top Cow and Dark Horse are fantastic when it comes to the idea of diversity in storytelling but they aren’t the MAJORS like DC and Marvel are, plus, their titles tend to lean more maturely than Marvel and DC do.

I get that people are upset that this is happening to their beloved character but it doesn’t change who that character is at the core of their principles. The wild thing is that when Loki has swapped genders, it’s so totally Loki that it’s accepted. Some of it is ridiculed because people are five and have problems with things that challenge their personal belief systems and that’s cool but their distaste is tainting a very simple thing. Sure, Loki is evil and evil people do lousy things but there was no real uproar once Loki went back to being a boy. Maybe women aren’t allowed to be evil? Even if they’re the god of mischief.

After Ragnarök, Loki returned in a female body working with Doctor Doom so Thor would unwittingly resurrect his Asgardian enemies[40] and manipulated Balder to make him the new successor to the throne of Asgard.[41] In reality, Loki retained his male form after Ragnarok but hid himself inside Thor’s reborn lover Sif. During this period, Hela and Loki used magic to send Loki to the past to cause the events that led to his younger self being adopted by Odin as a means to eliminate Bor, Thor’s grandfather.

You can deal with spectral cosmic forces, space and time travel but a chick in charge, burn down the world.

Bae material either gender

What will be interesting is if the new Thor sticks around, what threat does she pose when it comes to warrior woman iconography? Gender Swapped Starbuck was the space warrior of our dreams but that didn’t come with controversy. We’re years away from Xena who was years removed from Wonder Woman who grand mothered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.. Could the new Thor be the new power character we’ve been looking for in the comic book universe? Can she become the next mainstream hero to stand with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Black Cat, Melinda May, She-Hulk and Elektra? Of course she can, the real question is, come October, will you be willing to go on that adventure?

Personally, I’m looking forward to covers that aren’t spandex and ass shots. I mean c’mon. I’m badass, but don’t pay attention to my ass, just watch yours while it’s getting kicked.

With San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, one can only speculate that Marvel has succeeded in dominating the show floor and panels with this announcement as well as the media tour for the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy, which features the daughter of Thanos and master assassin Gamora. Details will probably start surfacing once the con kicks off and we may get an idea of what’s in store for Thor and the new wielder of Mjölnir, so everyone who is butthurt now will be placated later on. Odds are, the answer will be so decent, that whatever controversy that may arise will be quelled by just how stupid they had been in the first place.What we do know is that Marvel is continuing the trend of understanding that readers, good solid committed, readers will always seek, find and buy the titles that interest them because that’s the business they’ve gotten themselves into.

What we want to see is a character that gives new life to an old name, that makes you discover comic books for the first time or rediscover them all over again.

FOUND OUT WHO IT IS:

DC had better step it’s game up.

Mighty Morphin Diversity Rangers

It’s been said that television reflects our society’s evolution and cultural diversity; art imitates life and life imitates art. Many of us were fortunate to grow up during the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers craze of the 90s and with the recent announcement the series was being rebooted, the internet went into a frenzy not unlike the series initial run.

It was an innocent time where we jumped from our couches and high kicked the ever-loving snot out of a playmate (or an unfortunate sibling) until we were put on time out for knocking them over. The Rangers helped us develop an early interest in martial arts, in space travel and appreciate the art of kaiju monster movies of the 50s and 60s. The Rangers reveled in everything camp, super camp and mega camp but we never watched without learning a valuable lesson: anyone can and should be a hero.
The legend is simple: Jason, Billy, Trini, Kimberly and Zach were all high school friends are handpicked by floating head Zordon to be the guardians of Earth. With the help of their nifty Morphers and Zordon’s sidekick Alpha 5, they protect Earth from Rita Repulsa.

The initial Power Ranger uniforms were red, black, yellow, pink, blue with dinosaurs assigned to each.  The mysterious green and later fabulous white would join the team later, played by the same character. Fairly basic color palette but an interesting connection to how we are trained to respect the world: “I don’t care if they’re red yellow, blue or green with white polka dots, you have to respect them.” The truth is, you have to respect the Rangers because they were anyone and in essence everyone.

Like any good bad guy, Rita had her share of special friends. She kept a close circle of weirdos; Goldar, Squat and Baboo were the best yes men an evil space woman could ask for but no villain is complete without disposable henchmen. Where Master Shredder had his Foot Clan, Rita had her Putties, drab gray clay soldiers that were baked in a giant kiln and shipped to Earth to frequently bother the and torment the tax paying citizens of Angel Grove. They made strange gobble sounds as they kicked punched and flipped around being pains in the ass. They weren’t the best henchmen since a simple kick punch combo or fancy dropkick to the chest would destroy them but you get what you pay for and Rita always had a pile of them.

If the putties didn’t do their job, Rita would send in her ringer, some terrifyingly warped version of a Disney mascot flopping around downtown somewhere, causing problems until Zordon and the Rangers caught wind of them. Sometimes they were giant fish, creepy birds, or amalgamations of the stuff you found at the bottom of your junk drawer and if things got too rough, Goldar would volunteer as tribute. They were always conveniently sent to the middle of downtown Angel Grove, where they could knock over as many things as possible. Rent rates in Angel Grove must’ve been super cheap.

The Rangers would respond in kind with their hyper kinetic Morphin sequence, summoning their respective Zords and naturally, they would win. For all it’s cheesy special effects, awkward cuts, bad dialogue and terrible fight sequences, the Might Morphin Power Rangers gave us as kids something to cheer for.

Each of these members of the Rangers represent a segment of our lives that is commonly found in high schools, community centers and in the streets. Any one of us could be a spandex clad superhero pilot a Zord and save the world. We see that people have to band together to defeat common enemies, no matter how ridiculous they looked, because we were chosen to defend the Earth. They had the qualities needed to be a great leader, a warrior and champion for change. They knew of the Rangers but had no clue who they were, despite five kids wearing suspiciously color coordinated outfits to school. Those selected to be Rangers were all unique in their skills and had distinct personalities that almost mirrored the traits exhibited by their respective Zords.  It was a formula that worked.

The next crop of Rangers were shocked when Zordon pulled them to the headquarters and told them of their collective destinies, their Morphers handed to them by the same people they passed in the halls at school. By the time the series hit fever pitch and the Might Morphin Power Rangers movie was released, the Rangers had decidedly undergone a significant change in their starting line up. Kimberly, Trini, Jason and Zach left the team and were replaced by Aisha, Rocky and Adam. Tommy, who had been the villainous Green Ranger was now the heroic White Ranger and defacto leader of the team. Their Zords also changed. Gone were the dinosaurs and sabertooth tigers, replaced with bears, cranes, tigers and frogs. Interestingly enough, where the first Zords represented strength, size and power, the new Zords mirrored unique fighting styles and personalities. Tommy still got the best Zord; he went from the Green Dragon (which was basically MechaGodzilla but sshh) to the White Tiger Zord and a Morpher named Saba that spoke to him. Tommy was easily the favorite.

Yet despite the change in guard, the Rangers carried on with their core mission, defend the Earth, be all-inclusive, seek change, evolve and wear spandex. Just as the Rangers had changed, so had their enemies.  If Darth Vader was allowed to be restriction free evil, he may have been Lord Zedd, a power mad flayed man with a massive Z crown who took over the command as meanest guy in space. He played no games.  Zedd’s first order of business: He violently banished Rita Repulsa. He then rebranded the Puddies, as Z-Puddies, who were still the same putties with a Z on their chests, and commanding a bigger fleet of monsters.

He aligned himself with the bearded Purple Menace Ivan Ooze, who had managed to enslave the world’s adults (well, only Sydney, Australia’s adults) with his purple goo, Ivan’s Ooze. It seems like all is lost; it’s the perfect metaphor for what it’s like growing up. Here you are, young and working in the world only to be consistently knocked on your bottom almost daily. You want to give up but you can’t and won’t because there are far too many people depending on you and your team is willing to carry you though. The change in Rangers and Zords signifies the need to grow, let go, find yourself and trust that you are stronger than you feel.

Having struggled to find their new identities, destroy old Zords and become new heroes, the Rangers successfully defeat Ivan, send Zedd back to Rita’s old castle and have morphed (yes, that’s a pun) two different versions of the team into one cohesive unit.

This movie, while sounding simple, ultimately sets up the next chapters of the Power Rangers-verse. Since it’s launch in the States, the Power Rangers franchise has undergone dozens of changes, evolutions and developments that has taken it lightyears away from the original series but at it’s core, it’s still a series that encourages diversity, acceptance, teamwork and courage. While mainstream media seems to struggle with pan-ethnic casting, the Power Rangers have been flexible in casting ethnicities and genders in roles of leaders, villains and heroes. It is one of the few series on television that tells viewers, no one cares what you look like, you’ve got something that we need and we want you. That type of inclusion in a series can drastically change the way a child sees the world and subsequently create a real world hero from a basis of fantasy.  Granted, when Zach and Trini were serving as the black and yellow Rangers respectively, one had to wonder if it was intentional that the African American ranger was the black Ranger and the Asian-American Ranger was yellow. The kids were all different, male, female, black, white, they were all kids that represented the best of the human race when it came to the wild world of being a Power Ranger and they reflected the kids who obsessed over the series.

Despite poor costume to ethnicity ratios, each of the subsequent teams that would form under the many titles in the power ranger titles) feature racial and societal differences amongst the rangers exhibiting the same type of strengths and team ingenuity that made the originals such an effective squad. They’ve dropped the ball a few, okay, a dozen times, with newer updates to the Rangers mythology, the concept remains the same: Take kids that you would never expect to band together to fight in the protection of mankind, put them in spandex, have them run around in suits and be awesome.

Changing who we associate ourselves with can broaden our world views, accepting that inside every nerd, jock, smartass and gymnast is a hero and of course, the most important lesson of all…every time is Morphin time.