Two weeks ago, Justice League — WB/DC’s attempt at uniting all of its iconic heroes in a single movie — fizzled at the box office, calling in to question the future of the DC Universe on film. To talk about the movie, and what it portends for the rest of the DCEU, Mashable movie reporter Angie Han joins the podcast to discuss where Justice League failed to deliver as a follow-up to Batman v Superman.
One of the questions I’m constantly asked (which admittedly I never get tired of answering) is what my process in terms of world building and developing complex characters.
My approach to world-building and character development ultimately corresponds to my overall approach to storytelling. As a writer, I personally belong to the school of character = story. What truth do we discover along the character’s journey? More than that, whether it’s fiction, articles or blog posts, I generally have three mandates which I dub E-Cubed: Enlighten, entertain and empower.
Needless to say that E-Cubed has led to other techniques which has only enhanced my storytelling abilities over the years.
For a special Throwback Thursday, a buddy and I rewatched the Angel series finale, “Not Fade Away.”
Afterwards we got on the topic of the Shanshu Prophecy. In the series, the word Shanshu itself means “to live” and “to die.” While the prophecy doesn’t specifically mention Angel, it states a vampire with a soul will at the end of his numerous trials, live as human once more.
Throughout the course of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff, the prophecy served as Angel’s true north. The potential reward at journey’s end, it motivated him to stay the course as a champion for the innocent and the Powers That Be.
With October being #BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth, it seemed only appropriate to put the spotlight on an amazing black character. Zoe Washburne, the big damn heroine of Firefly/Serenity, portrayed by Perfection herself, Gina Torres, seemed like an excellent selection.
When Firefly first premiered, I knew the series was going to be something special. Joss Whedon was at the helm, very talented and good-looking cast, wicked cool concept. Of course it wasn’t until I saw the first episode that I realized how special this little series about cowboys in space truly was. A major part of that success was a little cowgirl known as Zoe Washburne.
While watching a key scene in the season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I quipped, “You can’t take the Skye from me.”
That’s when it clicked. I didn’t see it before during season one, but with enough new players introduced in season two, it now made sense. The spirit of Firefly’s Browncoats lives on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Not convinced? Let’s review:
Avengers: Age of Ultron was the perfect summer popcorn film. It’s a big, loud and frenetic superhero movie with a decent amount of heart.
[Ed. note: Not to mention the second biggest opening weekend in history. Who’s the first? The first Avengers movie, of course.]
The story was a bit shaky at times, but the performances were strong because of the cast chemistry and the trademark Joss Whedon banter. Meanwhile, the visuals were outstanding, the fight scenes were expertly choreographed, and there were a couple of interesting twists regarding one of the main characters.
It’s been a few hours, but I’m still processing what I thought about the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that my feelings and recommendations will have no bearing on whether you will go out to see this movie. It’s guaranteed to generate a couple billion dollars in box office — and that’s probably just for this weekend alone! And while I had a great time watching the thing, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the whole enterprise.
Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead.
In a week where the Deadline Hollywood website shot itself in the foot for asking us to consider the poor white actors being denied work due to the current spate of “ethnic casting” for TV pilots and series, the ever-ongoing fight of POC actors to get more than table scraps is never far from mind. Despite the Bat Signal thrown up by Deadline to save whiteness in Hollywood, the fact remains that productions still routinely limit or shut out entirely actors of color from starring roles.
On Twitter this weekend the thread #whedonandrace critiqued Joss Whedon’s problematic depictions of black and other POC characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This discussion has been ongoing among fans of color since Buffy and Whedon became a name; it just happened that this time it spawned a hashtag. Soon the thread became a general critique of his handling of race, encompassing Whedon’s other TV series as well as his films, including the series he co-created with Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for Marvel Studios, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at first glance, is diverse in its casting (at least of its secondary recurring cast members and guest stars; its regulars are largely white), the series reveals an unsettling pattern of how these characters of color are depicted.
Simply put, what’s the deal with POC (mainly black) characters being killed, maimed, or evil on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
I don’t live-tweet very often. I usually leave that job to the professionals here. But last night, I found myself watching the second season premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, and I happened to have my phone with me at the time.
It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the series. From the jump last season, the show reminded me of everything that I usually hate from a Joss Whedon production. That said, I continued to watch it out of some sort of nerd obligation. And while the post-Winter Soldier episodes did get relatively better, the second season premiere wasn’t really on my radar all summer.
The above image is from the cover of my upcoming book: Diary of an AfroGeek.
Being an AfroGeek is all about being comfortable, and expecting, to hold immense contradictions. It is loving Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but having a strong feeling that Joss Whedon doesn’t love you back. It is about getting into passionate discussions about why and how Storm’s original mohawk incarnation was one of the more powerful political statements in comics, but being appalled at how uninteresting she became when she married Black Panther.