Joss Whedon is Rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a Black Lead

Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot black lead Joss Whedon

Big news out of San Diego Comic-Con for Joss Whedon: The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is overseeing a reboot of his landmark television series, acting as executive producer while Monica Owusu-Breen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Midnight, Texas) will write the script and serve as showrunner. The most significant detail of the reboot news, which comes from The Hollywood Reporter, is that the new Slayer will be black.

While there isn’t too much substantial information about the reboot, with Whedon still working with Owusu-Breen to develop the script, THR did share some details:

The new version, sources say, will be contemporary and build on the mythology of the original. Like today’s world, the new Buffy will be richly diverse, with some aspects of the series, like the flagship, seen as metaphors for issues facing society today.

No word yet on who ...

Watch a Behind-the-Scenes Look at The Tick Season 2

SDCC 2018 The Tick behind the scenes video season 2

On the Amazon Prime Video showrunners panel at San Diego Comic-Con, The Tick creator Ben Edlund shared a sweet video for fans of the series: Stars Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman running around on the set, comparing costumes between seasons 1 and 2, and introducing a bevy of new superheroes coming out of the woodwork when season 2 premieres sometime in 2019.

That includes Tyrannosaurus Rathbone, the head of A.E.G.I.S., the agency that will work with The Tick and Arthur to fight off supervillains. Plus, Edlund revealed, Arthur will get involved with a bank robber. “Just expanding the world has been sort of our goal, just build out more heroes,” he said, per Comic Book Resources’ report. “I’m not at liberty to give too much away.”

The Tick will premiere sometime in 2019.

The Expanse Season 4 to Return in 2019

The Expanse Screaming Firehawks SDCC 2018 season 4 2019

While the Amazon Prime Video showrunners panel at San Diego Comic-Con didn’t have a shiny trailer ready for The Expanse season 4, they did share a sweet video from the cast and creators thanking fans for resurrecting the show. While Amazon picked up the series after it got cancelled by Syfy, it was due in large part to fans’ fervor to continue on the journey with the crew of the Roci and see the rest of James S.A. Corey’s space opera series play out on television.

Amazon Prime tweeted this video, filled with warm gratitude from the crew, some concept art for season 4, and #ScreamingFirehawks shoutouts:

Plus, showrunner Naren Shankar shared some insights on season 4 production:

  • Moving to the streaming service means that ...

Watch the First Trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass

Glass trailer M. Night Shyamalan SDCC 2018 Samuel L. Jackson

The first trailer for Glass, M. Night Shyamalan’s continuation of the superhero narrative begun with 2000’s Unbreakable and picked up (surprisingly) in 2016’s Split, brings together an indestructible man, a villain with bones of glass, and a man possessing two dozen identities, including the fearsome Beast, in a most interesting place: an asylum, where they are presided over by a psychiatrist who believes that they believe that they are superheroes.

It’s a great angle for Glass to take, with Sarah Paulson’s new character operating under the assumption that what drives these men are delusions of grandeur rather than actual superpowers. But after what audiences saw with Bruce Willis as reluctant superhero David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson as his all-too-eager archnemesis Mr. Glass… not to mention the monster that lurks within James McAvoy’s astonishing range of other personas… it’s simply a matter of not if they convince the ...

Frances McDormand to Play God in Good Omens–Here’s Your First Look

At the Amazon Prime Video Showcase at San Diego Comic-Con, Neil Gaiman showed off an exciting teaser for the forthcoming Good Omens television adaptation, all because God told him to. And you listen to God, especially when she is Frances McDormand.

That is, Gaiman was in the middle of joking about all of the other SDCC guests having trailers to show their waiting fans, when he was interrupted by the voice of God, who will be portrayed in the series by McDormand.

And God said, let there be light some behind-the-scenes footage:

There was also a short clip shown. It doesn’t seem to be online yet, but judging by Twitter reactions, fans of the book should be very excited. CNET’s engagement editor Cait Petrakovitz, who tweeted coverage of the panel, describes some of what she saw:

Gwen Stacy Lives at the Hands of Seanan McGuire in Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider!

Seanan McGuire Gwen Stacy Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider SDCC 2018

At San Diego Comic-Con, the magic word for Marvel Comics was Spider-Geddon—something of a sequel to the Spider-Verse, or perhaps even revenge on that multiverse crossover event. And one of the players in Spider-Geddon is none other than Wayward Children author Seanan McGuire, who will write Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider!

McGuire sat in on the SDCC panel, seemingly like any other audience member… until, that is, up came the slide announcing her and artist Rosi Kämpe’s collaboration! At that point, what was there to do but let the cat out of the bag? Or, as McGuire puts it:

“The death of Gwen Stacy in 616 was the most traumatic thing that happened in a comic book during my childhood,” McGuire goes on to say in the ...

Pick Your Side in The Walking Dead Season 9 Trailer

The Walking Dead season 9 trailer SDCC 2018

The first trailer for The Walking Dead season 9 carried extra anticipation at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, as star Andrew Lincoln, a.k.a. Rick Grimes, confirmed that he will indeed be leaving after this season. While there are no explicit hints as to Rick’s fate, it’s clear in this trailer that the core group, along with the new communities they’ve encountered and created over the years, are being drawn in different directions.

“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” Lincoln said during the emotional panel (via AMC’s Twitter). “I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show.”

Will Rick’s end come at the hands of zombies? Other humans? Will he and Daryl ride off into the sunset? (Kidding about that last, as ...

“Yesterday’s Yesterday, Today is Today”: Watch the Fear the Walking Dead Season 4B Trailer

Fear the Walking Dead season 4b trailer SDCC 2018

AMC dropped the first trailer for the latter half of Fear the Walking Dead season 4 at San Diego Comic-Con. The extended video both brings to mind classic horror movies and proves how trailers can use disarmingly peppy covers to chilling effect. Following a brutal midseason finale, the next half-season will see the remaining members of the core cast moving across an infested country and finding out what happens when you mix zombies and hurricanes.

Yes, there’s a literal storm coming, but there’s also a metaphorical one en route, with Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) in its eye. Watch the creepifyn’ trailer for yourself:

Fear the Walking Dead returns August 12.

Let There Be Light: The Handmaid’s Tale, “The Word”

“Gilead is within you” has been the rallying cry all season for The Handmaid’s Tale, and it has seemed to describe the Handmaids. The imagery is apt: something implanted without their consent, its growth within them beyond their control, until it eclipses any remaining sense of their former selves. But the real danger, as June, and Serena, have come to learn, is to Gilead’s next generation, born with this defect and destined to know nothing but this world.

Season 2 has been building pretty clearly to some form of internal revolt; the only question has been the who and the why. Eden’s transgression, and the monstrous way in which Gilead makes an example of her, fill in the latter blank. Is it any surprise, then, that this is what makes Serena and the other Wives finally step up?

Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale 2×13 “The Word”

I have ...

Escape the Womb: The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly”

The Handmaid's Tale 211 Holly television review labor baby

“I’m sorry there’s so much pain in this story,” June tells her very-soon-to-be-born daughter in a voiceover that raises questions about the circumstances in which she’s telling it. Having taken much of the season to recover her rebellious inner voice, this is the closest she’s sounded to the Offred of Margaret Atwood’s novel (who, spoiler alert, winds up recording The Handmaid’s Tale on cassette tapes for future academics to mull over) in quite some time. “I’m sorry it’s in fragments. […] I’ve tried to put some good things in, as well.”

For all the talk of fragments, “Holly” has a pretty tight focus on June herself: alone in a huge, (mostly) empty house, struggling futilely to escape Gilead when her baby decides that it’s time to enter it. What follows is the most harrowing birth scene I’ve ever seen on television (and perhaps you’ll agree), as the Handmaid must ...

The Handmaid's Tale 211 Holly television review labor baby
The Handmaid's Tale 211 Holly television review labor baby
The Handmaid's Tale 211 Holly television review labor baby
The Handmaid's Tale 211 Holly television review labor baby

A Worshipper’s Guide to the Pantheon of Gods in Jacqueline Carey’s Starless

The night sky in Jacqueline Carey’s latest novel Starless is—as the title of  suggests—bare. But a thousand years ago, the sky was lit up with glittering stars. More than stars, they were gods: the children of all-seeing Zar the Sun and his three Moon wives: bright Nim, dark Shahal, and fickle wanderer Eshen. But the children, who remained in fixed points lending light at night and guiding sailors on the four great currents, envied their parents’ freedom to wander the day and night sky. And so, they rebelled.

Rather than discipline his children in the sky, Zar the Sun grew furious and punished his rebellious children by casting them down to earth. As the heavens emptied of their celestial beings, they struck different points on the land and in the sea. In each spot, that god or goddess took on the form of their surroundings, from fierce sandstorms to ...

You Deserve This: The Handmaid’s Tale, “The Last Ceremony”

The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review

What’s worse: Thinking that you had endured that awful thing for the last time, only to have to go through it again without any emotional preparation? Or unexpectedly getting to experience something truly wonderful, and then not knowing if it is the last time you’ll do so? The Handmaid’s Tale poses these wrenching questions as it heads into the final arc of season 2, something of a ticking clock based on June’s soon-to-be-born baby.

Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale 2×10 “The Last Ceremony”

First off—fuuuck, I hate it when I’m right about a plot point on this show. I was trying to parse out whose Last Ceremony it could possibly be, and at first it seemed as if that misfortune would fall upon poor Emily, who has already been through enough before having a Commander croak while inside her. But that would have been too easy, and when the ...

The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review Hannah
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review Hannah
The Handmaid's Tale 210 The Last Ceremony television review

Hereditary is the Rare Horror Movie That Feels Oh So Human

Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette

The moment that I knew we were in for something special with Hereditary was the scene where miniaturist Annie Graham (Toni Collette) thinks she sees her mother’s spirit in her workroom. It’s a typical horror-movie shot of a shadowy figure ominously lurking in a darkened corner, distinct enough to elicit gasps but indistinct enough that it could just be a trick of the light. A scene later, there’s no wringing of hands from Annie, no self-denying rationalizations: Instead, she’s googling hauntings, because she saw something, dammit.

I loved that the heroine of a horror movie didn’t second-guess her instinct, that we got to skip the requisite scene where someone tells her “there is a dark presence in this house” and she doesn’t believe it. Annie knows that her life is saturated in darkness, because she survived a dysfunctional family. Even before the death of her estranged mother—an event which kicks ...

Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette
Hereditary movie review spoilers ending Toni Collette

We Believe the Women: The Handmaid’s Tale, “Smart Power”

The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review

It is frankly astonishing timing that this is the very week in which The Handmaid’s Tale sends Commander Waterford, Serena Joy, and Nick to represent Gilead up north for diplomatic talks with Canada. Fred cites Ofglen’s bombing as an “opening”—of course he would call it that—for both sides to speak, though it’s unclear what, if anything, Gilead realistically thinks it can offer to a conversation in which it is clearly at a disadvantage. For all of Fred’s bravado, it seems to be damage control, maintaining the fiction that they suffered a terrorist attack, that Gilead is still very much a useful neighbor and maybe even ally.

But to do that, he needs Serena Joy to do what she did at that university years ago: show that women in Gilead are neither oppressed nor voiceless; “show them a strong Gilead Wife.” Her dilemma is a fascinating reversal of Offred’s last ...

The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 209 "Smart Power" television review

Gender, Disability, and Prophecy: Jacqueline Carey on Writing Standalone Epic Fantasy Starless

Starless Jacqueline Carey duos bound by fate

When I asked Jacqueline Carey if a particular aspect of her new fantasy novel Starless had required extensive research, she laughed and pointed out that this was her eighteenth novel—which is to say, she has amassed a lot of background research over the years. The standalone epic, about a fierce warrior destined to guard a courageous princess even if it means going to the ends of the earth to return the stars to the sky, hinges on a Scattered Prophecy: each character possesses a piece of it, and can only solve it by bringing the different parts together.

Talking to Carey, author of the Kushiel’s Legacy books and other series, about the influences behind Starless is like piecing together the Scattered Prophecy: there’s the practice of bacha posh, octopus gods dreamed up at parties, YouTube videos on proper bola throwing, a dash of Lovecraft, and a spin on Le ...

Cloak and Dagger Infuses Superhero Origin Story with Existential Teen Drama

Cloak and Dagger pilot series premiere television review

For a TV show called Cloak and Dagger, there’s not a lot of “and” yet: Except for a few key scenes, Tandy and Tyrone rarely interact in the two-hour series premiere; which begins to set up why these two very different New Orleans teenagers are connected by powers beyond their control. However, considering that Cloak and Dagger’s very essences are inversely proportional—all-consuming dark versus piercing light—the narrative choice to pull them apart, and then thrust them together when it counts, mostly works.

It does make for a slow-moving pilot, one that prioritizes building up their respective motivations over a more typical superhero origin story. By the end of it, there are no formal costumes nor choosing of names, but Tyrone and Tandy’s existences have forever been altered.

This is a non-spoiler review of the first two episodes, though it touches upon minor plot points.

Though to be fair, these ...

Cloak and Dagger television review
Cloak and Dagger television review
Cloak and Dagger television review
Cloak and Dagger television review

“Women’s Work” is Men’s Problem on The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review

A father and a son are in a car crash that instantly kills the father. The wounded boy is taken to the hospital. The surgeon exclaims, “I can’t operate on this boy—he’s my son!” How can this be?

I couldn’t help but think of this aggravating riddle that I first heard in the ’90s during this week’s The Handmaid’s Tale, when Serena Joy tells Fred that Gilead possesses the best neonatologist who might be able to help poor baby Angela/Charlotte, and he asks, “Who is he?” That’s the setup, and Serena gets the punchline: She is a Martha. His assumption that the only actually important members of society are male hews too uncomfortably close to the attitudes that make this riddle a stumper, even as recently as a 2014 gender bias study. (The doctor is the boy’s mother, come on people.) So by “punchline,” what ...

The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review
The Handmaid's Tale 208 Women's Work television review

Charlie Jane Anders, V.E. Schwab, S.L. Huang, and Seth Dickinson Talk Queerness in SFF

The recurring theme of Tor Presents: LGBTQ+ Authors on Gender and Identity in SFF (one of the first panels to kick off BookExpo America 2018) was about how every artist’s identity informs their art. In the case of the four authors present, it’s not just a matter of which words wind up on the page: It’s what point in life their personal experiences became more prevalent to their creative process. It’s the kinds of identities they believe are currently lacking in fiction. It’s their preferences about metaphors and other coded ways of communicating queerness. It’s their decision whether to tell a story about a character whose queerness directly impacts the plot, or about characters who just happen to be queer.

But to start, Charlie Jane Anders, Seth Dickinson, S.L. Huang, and V.E. Schwab had to look at the default.

 

On Prototypes and Universal Experiences

The “default” being ...

Whispers Will Bring the Walls Down on The Handmaid’s Tale: “After”

The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review pen

“It’s about time things started getting back to normal around here, don’t you think?”

When Serena Joy says this to Offred near the end of this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, it ostensibly sounds as if she’s guiding their household back to its regular rhythms after the disruption caused by last week’s suicide bombing. Yet there is extra weight to the Wife’s words, not to mention the weight of a pen in the Handmaid’s hand. If you’re looking for subtext, it could be Serena Joy subtly pushing not just for Gileadean normalcy, but for the return to the state that existed before the Sons of Jacob.

That could completely be wishful thinking on my part, but what’s undeniable is that the women of Gilead have begun to change how they talk to one another. Wives confiding in Handmaids about their insecurities and rewarding such confidences with little ...

The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review funeral Aunt Lydia
The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review Moira Luke Canada
The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review
The Handmaid's Tale 207 "After" television review Emily Handmaid real names

I Wish Solo’s Female Characters Could Find Better Escape Routes

Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3

Early on in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Tobias Beckett tells an eager young Han Solo that “if you come with us, you’re in this life for good”—a final warning before he seals his fate as a smuggler. The film’s female characters are not afforded the same courtesy; the systems in which they are trapped—a droid’s existence, a life owned by Crimson Dawn—lack the same opportunities for either turning back or abandoning entirely. But that doesn’t stop Elthree or Qi’ra from looking for a way out.

Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story

Although this is an origin story about a Corellian scumrat chasing down the life that will put him as high up into the stratosphere as he can go, I was much more intrigued by members of the supporting cast: the droid, and the other scumrat whose chains are a lot shorter. Whose ambitions aren’t as arrogant as ...

Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3
Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3
Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3
Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3
Solo: A Star Wars Story female characters ownership slaves autonomy droids rights Qi'ra Elthree L3