As any hardcore fan has probably caught wind of, San Diego Comic Con 2016 was this past weekend. And though, like me, it’s likely you guys could not attend (BOOOOO!) we at least get to partake in all the awesome news and sneak peeks that the con brings out from our favorite fandom creators. And what a look we got this year! Let’s watch!
First, we’ll start with DC. We’ve got a new look at LEGO Batman(click here to put a hold on The LEGO Movie. You won’t be sorry).
Then we have a new trailer for Suicide Squadthat highlights it’s new soundtrack (click here for the first in one of their best graphic novel series).
(BTW, in case you’re wondering, Hall H is the massive hall in the San Diego Convention Center where they do the panels that will likely draw the largest crowds.)
And, finally, FINALLY, we get to the new WONDER WOMAN TRAILER! (You know we’ve got comics on her).
The big question remains; will Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman or Justice League erase the sheer disappointment I felt watching Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice? Only time will tell… but I remain optimistic.
Now on to Marvel. We got some new trailers from their upcoming Netflix series’, including a teaser for The Defenders, when all four of the characters featured on Netflix (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) will be brought together, as Marvel Studios is wont to do.
And Fox, who own the film rights to the X-Men, is getting in on the TV action too. Over on FX they have the X-Men spinoff Legion.
But we all know what we’re waiting for from Marvel in 2016. This November’s big screen intro of a certain Doctor… a Strange Doctor!
After years of waiting and speculation, the movie everyone was talking about in geek circles and beyond is finally here! And I saw it last week! And I liked it!
Keeping free of spoilers, I will say this. Was it as good as the original? No… but really, what is? The original movie is a bonafide comedy classic and it’s exceptionally hard to top. But 2016’s Ghostbusters? It was fun! It was funny! The cast was great! It was really enjoyable, and it most assuredly did NOT ruin my childhood.
But what I want to talk about today is all the backlash this movie received long before we even got to see it. It’s been one of the most talked about movies since it was officially announced all the way back in 2014. With all the hardcore Ghostbuster fans out there who have waited for a new film ever since the very disappointing sequel was released in 1989, that’s not surprising. What has been surprising is just the sheer volume of negative reactions that have surrounded this movie during it’s production… particularly when director Paul Fieg announced last year that the new Ghostbusters would all be girls.
Even before that announcement, there were some who were not really on board with the movie to begin with. You see, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed if you’ve even spent one second on the internet or spoke to geeks in person, nerds are protective of their fandoms. Even after 32 years, the original Ghostbusters film still holds a hallowed place in the hearts of many, as it should, and the idea that someone wants to do yet another sequel/reboot of a beloved 80s or 90s franchise smacks of a money grab and, as some recent films have indicated, is likely doomed to fail.
But I think we can all agree that it wasn’t until the all female cast was announced that the internet went full nuclear.
“Why do they all have to be girls?” someone in my own life said to me. “Couldn’t they have included at least one or two guys?” I of course pointed out that the original team were ALL guys, but apparently that’s not a valid argument.
But on the internet is where most fans spewed their apparent frustrations. Some of the slightly more rational fan outbursts all centered along the lines of “it’s pandering” or “it’s being overly politically correct” or “it’s taking a beloved franchise and making it a political statement that I’m not comfortable being a part of”.
And then when the first trailers came out, hooboy. People were still plenty mad. “Worst trailer ever!” many declared, giving so many dislikes on YouTube and elsewhere. And then when they weren’t mad enough about the all girl team or the existence of the movie at all, then people declared that Leslie Jones‘ character, Patty, was a racist stereotype.
There were other opinions put online, or course, but seeing as how they include demeaning, misogynistic, racist and generally horrible language, I’m not going to list them here.
So what’s up with all of this?
Well, there’s been a lot written about it. One article I read recently described the rabidness of fans, that are so enamored with what they love that they will defend it against perceived meddling or changes, to kind of crazy lengths. I see that all the time. And believe me, as inconsequential as it may seem, it can be downright heartbreaking when something goes wrong in the fandom that you love. That same article also spoke about how marketing a film can mix things up a bit. Fans want a first look as soon as possible, so a production company will release a trailer or details about a film long before it’s finished, giving fans what they want but also kind of misleading them a bit too. A lot can change when a movie is under production.
But my wacky yet humble opinion about this whole mess is that I think this kind of ties into the whole “Fake Geek Girl”/“Gamergate” trend that’s been going on ever since geeky stuff became such a huge part of pop culture.
Some guys have had a really REALLY bad reaction to women liking the same things they do. Like I said, fans are rabid. Guilty as charged! But for the longest time, like back when I was a kid and a teen (yep, gather ’round, Aunty Ali’s gonna get nostalgic again) people had a very firm mental picture of what a geek or a nerd was. Pale, pasty, badly-dressed, anti social, awkward, hides in the basement or indoors in general, gets mercilessly bullied, can’t get a date to save their lives. Oh, and male.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t geeky girls back in the day (*points to self* yo!). It just means that, like a lot of things in our society, this was perceived as a boys domain. Amongst some of the boys this was ‘their’ thing. The thing that they often felt led to rejection from girls because these guys liked it so much, and it wasn’t exactly popular for a long time.
But what’s this? When nerd culture started becoming prevalent the geek girls started making themselves known in addition to their male counterparts? It’s true! And while all nerds and geeks have worked hard to break down the stereotypes that have long plagued us, the one about all of this being more for dudes has been one of the hardest to crush.
So when a girl wants to wear cosplay to a convention but may not have memorized every single detail of the character they’re cosplaying as, or if a girl wants to play online rpg games openly as a girl, or if a director and movie studio want to make a movie about female Ghostbusters, this seems to create a rather swift and, unfortunately, very negative reaction in some. (This post I came across the other day says it best.)
But I think the best thing to remember in this situation is that, male or female, whatever your background, age, race or creed, fan love should unite rather than divide. Because, in the end, it’s love. Sorry to get mushy on you, but it’s true. What defines a true fan, whether it be of geeky interests or sports or anything really, is that we love what we love SO MUCH that it becomes an integral part or who we are. And if more people love it, no matter who they are or even if it’s just a little bit, what is so wrong about that? Really? And if we can represent different types of people in our fandoms, that’s great too, because it includes everyone, makes it better for the next gen of fans and, despite everyone’s fears, doesn’t take away a single thing about what we love about them in the first place. And if the current batch of Ghostbusters happen to be girls, what’s so wrong about that too? (It’s not like they’re the firstgirlbusters). They’re still Ghostbusters! They still bust ghosts… and bustin’ makes you feel good 😉
So give the film a try. So many people have knocked it before they even saw it. I think we can do better.
I’m gonna put this video up again, because I think it’s appropriate. And until next time, End of Line.
And no, it’s not just because Cumberbatch was in the last movie (though that would be reason enough). Again, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a 2nd generation Trekker (I talk a lot). My mom grew up watching the original series, and then when my brothers and I were growing up she watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, so we were exposed to the world of Trek from a young age. It’s one of the reasons I’ve become such a Sci Fi nerd in my adulthood.
And a huge history of fandom and hardcore Trekkers. More on that in future articles.
I think everyone can agree that one of the most endearing qualities of Trek is the fact that it shows us a possible future where not only have humans set aside their differences over stupid stuff like race, creed, religion, class, land of origin and whatnot, but have also learned to live peacefully on a safe planet and work cooperatively not only with each other but with other beings from other worlds. Hence Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets.
But though the original series was groundbreaking for including so many different types of people on it’s bridge, and other subsequent Trek series have continued that trend, there’s one part of humanity that’s been noticeably absent. We’ve never had an official LGBTQ main character on the show.
Sure, some of the series episodes have alluded to it (see episodes “Turnabout Intruder”, “The Offspring”, “The Outcast”, “Rejoined”, a DS9 episode that featured Trek’s first same sex romantic kiss, and “Stigma”), and apparently creator Gene Roddenberry did want to include LGBTQ characters in The Next Generation, but was met with resistance from studio execs. But there’s never been a reoccurring main character who happens to be LGBTQ. In one of the most inclusive fandom universes out there, that hardly seems right.
But, Star Trek Beyond is aiming to correct that. Actor John Cho, who plays Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the rebooted Star Trek movies, said in an interview recently that there will be a brief glance into Sulu’s personal life, and it will be revealed that he has a daughter with a same sex partner. And let me tell you guys, as a life-long Trekker, THAT IS HUGE! FINALLY, one of the main guys, a character who’s been with the franchise since day one, will just happen to be LGBTQ. HAPPY DAY!
Except… not for everyone. And to the shock of fans everywhere, one of the most outspoken people against this news didn’t come from the darkest corners of the internet where all the people filled with hate live and can’t wait for an excuse to complain vehemently about something like this.
No, it came from the inside.
Actor George Takei, who originated the role of Sulu in the original Trek series and who famously came out in 2005, has been a fixture in Trek, in LGBTQ activism, and in so many other things ever since. Plus, he’s an awesome presence on the internet, and if you haven’t checked out his Facebook page, go now!
Granted, his complaints are not unreasonable. He feels that Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of Sulu was always to have him be heterosexual, and to change that is going against the world he created. Takei also feels that it’s great to have an LGBTQ character in Trek, but would’ve liked to see an original character instead of an established one.
Fair enough, but actor Simon Pegg, nerd king extraordinaire, portrayer of Scotty in the rebooted films and co-writer of Beyond had a response to that that I thought was quite elegant. Pegg starts out saying, in regard to Takei; “He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”
He also pointed out that Roddenberry probably would’ve had an LGBTQ character if he’d been able to, and that how they want to portray it in Beyond is just as an afterthought, that it just wouldn’t be a big deal, because it shouldn’t be.
My favorite thing he said was this; “Our Trek is an alternate timeline with alternate details. Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.” I like that idea a lot. (Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the rebooted films and is himself LGBTQ, also had this to say).
And to really prove he’s got the nerd chops everyone talks about, Pegg put this up on his blog to settle the argument once and for all with the one thing that shuts geeks down faster than Warp 9; Canon. And he threw quantum physics in there for good measure. Beautiful!
As for me, I’m excited. And I was fine with the decision. I don’t think the series has EVER shown Sulu with a girlfriend or wife. The movie Star Trek Generationsintroduced Sulu’s daughter, Demora, but never mentioned who the other parent was. I think this fits, and I’m excited that the most inclusive of fandoms has become even more so. Still, it’s a shame that even in Trek, someone can’t come out without controversy.
What do you guys think? Did the guys behind Beyond make the right call? Should this much artistic licence be taken with established characters? (Fanfic writers, I’m looking at you!) You guys going to go see Beyond? Post away.
Stay tuned for more musings on Trek as it’s 50th anniversary continues. And until next time, End of Line.
Just do this. Go listen to the reissue of the MONSTER Boris album Pink. Boris is my current favorite band and Pink was my number one album, way back in 2006.
I can’t overstate this: please go listen to Pink. This new version has an ENTIRE SECOND ALBUM of unreleased material. And the original album remains the very best punk / hard rock / metal(ish) recording of the last 15 years or so.
Not to give too much away, but it’s an amazing story. One of family drama, of journeys across oceans, of surviving in the New World, of new magical creatures, of forming new families and unexpected friendships, and of Isolt Sayre’s dream of going to Hogwarts… so she brought Hogwarts to the New World. Along with a few other things, which you’ll read about.
And here’s the best part; YOU CAN BE SORTED!
Just like at Hogwarts, Ilvermorny has four houses, all of which are named after magical creatures and all of which represent the different parts of what make a wizard whole. And over on Pottermore, just like with your Hogwarts House, you can be sorted into your Ilvermorny House once you create an account.
And guess what? In addition to being a Gryffindor, I’m a Puckwudgie! I’ll let you find out what that means, but I just like saying it (or writing it in this case). Puckwudgie!
So, when you come out to our Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Read In on July 31st, you can tell everyone your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses. Don’t forget to sign up! Just give us a call or pop in to see us and we’ll put you down. Costumes and wands are encouraged, of course. We’ll have Wizarding Duels and a scavenger hunt and a photo booth and spaces to read or watch the movies. It’s going to be so… dare I say it? Magical!
Can’t wait! Can’t wait! Can’t wait! Keep being the witches and wizards you are geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.