Category Archives: Featured

iEditorial | Why THE LAST JEDI Matters

With the expanding adventures of a galaxy far, far away continuing to draw audiences to the multiplex, there’s a reason Rogue One and The Last Jedi are a significantly important part of the Star Wars mythology.

Not since George Lucas’ prequels has a Star Wars film created so much controversy especially amongst the fandom, but with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi the latest chapter in the growing narrative written and directed by Rian Johnson the filmmaker has given faithful fans an entirely new reason to scratch their heads, and this time we can’t put the blame of Lucas’ inflated overbearing sense. It was after all the creator of the Star Wars saga that decided to revisit his classic original trilogy with a revisited “Special Edition” before returning with new material.

The revisioning gave the creator the inspiration to return to the galaxy of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, but his hope was to fully flesh out the backstory of the film’s ardent villain Darth Vader, who by the end of the Episode VI was on a road to redemption. For Lucas the character’s path into darkness would lay the ground work for the prequel films. With the technology finally entering into an age that would give Lucas the opportunity to manipulate his story, it was open season for him to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s decent into the Dark Side.

If you ask Lucas, he would tell you had always every intention of telling that story; in fact, the story goes that Lucas had always intended for the story of Star Wars to actually be told over the course of nine episodes. After he completed work on the “special editions” and the prequels, Lucas decided that he was in fact, done — and a new generation inherited the franchise. Eventually the narrative extended to The Clone Wars animated series and its follow-up Rebels, but as Lucas handed over the reigns, a demand for more Star Wars would become inevitable.

The continuing adventures…

When Disney purchased the Star Wars empire from Lucas, it went into production immediately on a “new trilogy” — a follow-up to the adventures of Luke Skywalker revealing what had happened to the heroes following the destruction of the second Death Star and the redemption of Darth Vader. Unfortunately, it didn’t all turn out so great, at least not in the way that fans had anticipated. Responsible for reigniting interest in the Star Trek franchise with the 2009 reboot, director J. J. Abrams was recruited to return movie audiences to the Star Wars universe.

Intuitively Abrams was well aware that unlike Star Trek he couldn’t simply recast the original actors and continue to tell the story. Instead the introduction of a new generation of players would be pivotal as the characters that survived the Battle of Endor had gone on with their lives and aged 30 years. The battle was won, but out of the ashes of the evil Empire emerged a remnant force that proved every bit as dangerous in The First Order. The rebellion was done, but the Resistance was now the determinant agency dedicated to restoring freedom to the galaxy.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens Abrams reminded audiences of what it was that made them fall in love with Star Wars in the first place. The beats of the film were pretty much the same, and with the exception of sacrificing Han Solo, giving the film its most emotional resonance, The Force Awakens was the hope that fans had imagined it would be. Gareth Edwards was tasked with the most challenging part, delivering the first stand-alone story and delivered Rogue One an untold tale and stand-alone that connects right into A New Hope — and it was really good.

Then there’s The Last Jedi

On the latest film director Rian Johnson performed double duty, having written the story and directed the feature, a daunting task indeed for any filmmaker, especially one coming into a franchise of this magnitude. For Star Wars: The Last Jedi Johnson chose to break convention with any expectations and deliver a decidedly different Star Wars film, one not unlike the prequel world that Lucas had ventured into where not everything was orderly or transparent. Where some things just didn’t add up, and perhaps for a reason.

In The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker has isolated himself on an alien planet hidden from prying eyes, but one that is centrifugal to the legacy of the Jedi Knights, and from here he puts Rey on a path — asking the force-sensitive youth to grab her things and go! From here Rey finds that she has a unique connectivity to the Force and links with her rival Kylo Ren. The pair are so powerful they take down the Supreme Leader Snoke, living everyone to wonder what Snoke was in the first place. The rebellion is reborn and in the end, it is Skywalker that gives the heroes the hope to survive.

At the end of The Last Jedi the rebellion lives to fight another day, the First Order is left in much disarray and Johnson has thrown a curveball, expanding the world of the galaxy far, far away and laying the ground work for what’s yet to come. There’s a lot of unraveling that occurs in The Last Jedi some storyline oddities that appear to be major hurdles for Abrams who will be working on Episode IX to face, but whether it’s coherent or not, it’s the “middle story” and therefore the necessary transition by which the next trilogy will find its conclusion.

That’s why it matters.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

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Season Pass | ARROW Season 6 “Brothers in Arms”

Oliver Queen’s job as Star City’s defender just got more complicated, especially as tensions rise among his long-time partnerships including John Diggle who appears ready to wrestle him for the title of Green Arrow!

Stephen Amell in “Arrow” as the city’s ardent vigilante faces new challenges.

Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) problems continue to mount as the latest episode of Arrow in Season 6 “Brothers in Arms” continues to see the world of Star City’s Emerald Archer collapsing in on itself. Though the threat of computer hacker Caydon James was irrevocably deleted, the real danger has emerged among one of James’ associates. The underworld leader Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) known as “The Dragon” has all but rendered the city immobile as he and the Russian, Anatoly (David Nykl) are pulling things apart brick by brick.

Inside the Bunker, the Green Arrow finds himself a man alone and a mayor without a support system. The DA and Chief of Police are both under the thumb of Diaz and the duo life that Oliver leads as the city’s mayor and its hooded vigilante are closing in on themselves; in order to take down “The Dragon” the Green Arrow has to cut the dealer’s financial links to “vertigo” the synthetic drug being manufactured and distributed throughout Star City. In the midsts of this tactical crisis John Diggle (David Ramsey) is conflicted over Oliver’s leadership style.

Spartan had assumed the mantle of the Green Arrow for a short period of time, while Oliver mended his relationship with his son and deflected by the federal investigation into his role as the Green Arrow. Although the forged evidence that had revealed the Green Arrow as Queen was discovered to be fake, during his time as the Green Arrow, Diggle lead the team that consisted of the new Black Canary, Wild Dog, and Mr. Terrific, but the group has since disbanded after learning that Queen had them all under surveillance.

Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) and Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) continue to cooperate with Oliver, especially coordinating strategies to bring down Diaz, but unaware to the team they are being subverted by the Black Siren, Lauren Lance (Katie Cassidy) who has convinced her father Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) that she has turned a new leaf. Now Oliver finds himself in a very unique position, as his identity as the Green Arrow once again is in danger of becoming public knowledge and Diaz control over Star City becomes absolute.

After a rather shaky Season 5, Arrow which was already renewed for another new season in the fall, has hit a definitely more interesting stride in Season 6. Having one of the larger casts among all the series in The CW DCTV universe, a proper balance has been achieved especially as “Team Arrow” was deconstructed over the year. Oliver’s entire world and dynamic have been altered since assuming responsibility as Star City’s mayor (a story arc lifted right from the comic books) as well as becoming a father and husband this year, marrying Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).

The writing team had successfully found a way of differentiating Arrow from its meta-humanly casted spin-offs, and brought the series back down to a more grounded and far more threatening reality. With the news that Arrow will be returning in the fall for Season 7, fans are speculating exactly how this arc will play out. For a hot minute audiences had assumed this might be Stephen Amell’s final year, and that the archer would be moving on, but with the departure of his sister Thea (Willa Holland) and Spartan joining ARGUS a successor for the hood is not on target.

New episodes of Arrow air Thursday nights at 9pm on The CW.

The Flash’s CANDICE PATTON Goes FANGIRLING

Before she was an intrepid reporter covering the rise of Central City’s Scarlet Speedster The Flash’s CANDICE PATTON was always a certified “fangirl” and she’s proving it in this exclusive interview with Fangirling…

From the moment she stepped into the shoes of Iris West on The Flash Candice Patton assumed the inevitable responsibility that went along with the very iconic character that has been a part of the DC Comics’ mythology since her Silver Age introduction. Patton made it very clear she had little interest in playing Central City’s lead reporter as a damsel in distress, but positioned Iris as a hero all of her own.

“Fangirling” host Alicia Lutes catches up with “The Flash” star Candice Patton.

Entering into the Fourth Season of The CW hit series, Iris took a more formidable role as the leader of “Team Flash” and since marrying her one-true love, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) she’s continued to play a pivotal role in The Flash’s adventures and even wielded the power of the Speed Force for a recent episode. Now the actress shares with Fangirling in an exclusive interview her own experience empowering and inspiring other young women as a role model in entertainment.

Check out the clip here:

About Fangirling: Meet Fangirling, the lifestyle/talk show hybrid series talking the talk and walking the walk, saving the cultural conversation from itself one broad stroke at a time. Each week, host Alicia Lutes (Nerdist managing editor) and her rotating panel of pop culture witches recap the news of the week while breaking down on-set reports, magazine-style interviews, DIY craft segments, satirical moments like the by-and-for dudes Mansplain It To Me, irreverent events coverage, historical tell-alls, and other stories for, by, and about the badass babes and non-binary bombshells that love and make them, too. Because who says the fanboys get to have all the fun?

About Alpha: Alpha is the premium content platform from Legendary Digital Networks that allows fans to interact with feature channels and personalities to form immersive communities around their passions. Alpha’s fully interactive channels include Nerdist Alpha, which features exclusive content from the genre and popular culture experts at Nerdist, as well as Geek & Sundry, offering specially curated content from the award-winning geek culture and lifestyle authorities at Geek & Sundry. Alpha bridges the gap between the audience and content through special features including original programming, chat, polling, and live fan experiences.

Receive a free month of Alpha by using the code “fangirling” when you join!

The CW Renews its DC COMICS Primetime Line-Up

Next fall there will be more Arrow, more of The Flash and still more DC’s Legends dominating the primetime landscape on The CW. So might some other heroes join the line-up?

And exhale! DC Comics fans have a lot to be grateful for, as The CW announced that its entire primetime line-up, inspired by the DC heroes will be returning for another new season! That means that Oliver Queen played by Stephen Amell will continue on his mission to save Star City in Season 7 of Arrow the series that launched the DC TV Extended Multiverse produced by Berlanti Productions. This sets Arrow on a trajectory to match the previous network superhero leader Smallville which ran for a very successful 10 seasons.

Joining the Emerald Archer on his crusade will be The Flash starring Grant Gustin as CSI investigator Barry Allen, the Fastest Man Alive in Season 5 of the hit spin-off. With hints that a “Mystery Girl” appearing this season has ties to both Barry and his wife Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) the new season may bring about a “Flash War” of unparalleled proportions. Team Flash continues to expand its line-up which now counts a full-fledge Vibe and Killer Frost among its ranks, but will the recently introduced Elongated Man survive The Thinker’s mad scheme?

Also, each returning for a fourth season will be the companion series Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow which respectfully continue the daring adventures of the Maid of Steel of Earth-38 and the inter-dimensional time travelers who will be adding to their ranks with the recently announced recruitment of John Constantine (Matt Ryan). The CW’s Mark Pedowitz the network’s president also announced that Black Lightning will be back for another season. Riverdale based on the Archie Comics will also be coming back for a new Season 3.

Though the fall season is still several months away, and the current seasons of the shows are all heading into their climatic cliffhanger season finales, this is very good news — at least for most of the DC Comics primetime line-up. The fate of iZombie currently in its fourth season has not been confirmed as yet, but fans will undoubtedly have an opportunity to plead their case to save the show, as they hear about all the new plot details for upcoming new series, as The CW primetime line-up will certainly be highlighted at this years San Diego Comic-Con.

CoverToCover | EW’s DAWSON’S CREEK Reunion Sinks Expectations

“Pop-Culture Faux Pas” leads to a demand by fans to revisit Dawson’s Creek “Reunion” with obvious “omit” on recent cover feature appearing in Entertainment Weekly.

Twenty years is a long time to wait and for fans of popular hit television series, there are fewer more exciting moments than when casts from those shows are pulled together to give their fans a glimpse of life after a series finale. No other news media outlet has been able to do this more successfully than Entertainment Weekly. Over the years the publication has been able to bring us beautifully crafted editorials on cult hit favorites like Buffy The Vampire Slayer for instance, but this week’s special double-issue (April 6/13) fell a little short.

Few series had as impressionable an impact on millennials and the cultural zeitgeist as Dawson’s Creek. The series premiered in 1998 and ran through 2003, created by Kevin Williamson (Scream) the show revolutionized the way that we regarded young people. It made stars of its four lead actors James Van Der Beck, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams each becoming an archetype for teen-angst in the 21st Century. Taking on several topical issues including teen suicide, sex, drugs and the anxieties and inadequacies typical to adolescents.

EW gathered the core-four for their “Dawson’s Creek Reunion” issue which promised the “cast reminisces about the landmark show” on its 20th Anniversary and treated “The Creek” fans with an exceptionally beautiful editorial spread, a story from EW writer Tim Stack and a PeopleTV sit-down with “the entire cast” which also included additional Dawson’s Creek cast mates Kerr Smith, Meredith Monroe, Busy Philipps, and Mary Beth Peil, except that it noticeably omitted series regulars Mary-Margaret Humes and John Wesley Shipp.

The actors played Dawson’s parents, Gail and Mitch Leery, for the series run; even with Shipp’s fateful car wreck in Season 5 which lead to his departure from the series, the pair each appeared in more episodes than Busy Philipps who joined the cast in its college years. No disrespect to Philipps who as Audrey opened up Joey’s (Holmes) world with her contribution to Dawson’s Creek mythology, the Leery’s each provided the significant parental voices in the developmental lives of these young people both in the show’s narrative and off-screen.

The show was shot on location in North Carolina away from the glare of Hollywood, but that didn’t keep its stars from achieving upper-atmospheric popularity. It did bring them all much closer together and encouraged a more familial bond than is typical among casts, which only translated more wonderfully on camera and resonated with fans. Though EW hasn’t acknowledged why Humes and Shipp were the exceptional to the cast reunion, social-networking went into overdrive on the day the magazine hit the stands as fans declared their affection for The Leery’s.

Many are hopeful that perhaps another more proper opportunity will present itself that will bring the entire group back together again, but the “pop-culture faux pas” has not gone unnoticed and surely photo editors will prove a lot more careful, especially EW’s own staff, when it comes to creatively pulling resources to recreate these favorite moment. In today’s world of the “reboot” and the “revisit” we now know that there is life after primetime conclusion and/or cancellation. With this glimpse into Dawson’s Creek revisited, could a reboot be in the making?

That perhaps is a story for another day. In the meantime, check out the “partial” reunion appearing now on the covers of Entertainment Weekly’s Reunion Issue and keep an eye for further developments as the world of Dawson’s Creek is once again open on our pop-culture radar!

Season Pass | AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Crosses the Bar

Entering into its Season 4, AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead will pull a stunt few fans had imagined would be possible as the two Dead series get closer!

Ready to rattle some cages AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead the proper spin-off series of the hit show The Walking Dead based on the post-apocalyptic tribulations of the survivors facing life and death against a growing population of hungry undead, is about to join its genre-contemporaries and capitalize on the popularity of the “crossover” event. When the new season premieres on Sunday, April 15 at 10/9C, the show will be preceded by the Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead.

When it was introduced AMC’s FWD decisively pulled away from the formula of the original and was set on the alternatively left coast and give audiences a glimpse of the world before the outbreak took over. The series was also more tightly revolved around a particular family. Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) struggled to keep herself and two children, son Nick (Frank Dilane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), safe as the world collapsed around them. The family were joined by the shady businessman Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) who brought them south of the border.

Danay Garcia as Luciana, Colman Domingo as Victor Strand – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

Much of the family’s dynamic has shifted and at the conclusion of Season 3 found themselves pulled apart. This season AMC is adding a series of new characters into the mix raising the stakes and brining over one of The Walking Dead’s most popular personalities. Among the new faces joining the show this season will be Lennie James who plays survivor Morgan Jones, and was introduced in the first episode of The Walking Dead. Morgan rescues a dazed and delirious Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and inducts him into the realities of their new surroundings.

Morgan’s arc on The Walking Dead has progressively darkened especially during their most recent confrontation with The Saviors. As the climax of that battle prepares to come to an end, the fate of the character may hang in the balance especially as Morgan becomes more and more unhinged. Though FWD has been positioned as a “prequel” of sorts to its sister series, it’s not entirely clear if Morgan’s joining the show is intended to fill in the gaps leading up to the time he was reintroduced on TWD or if it’ll take place after he leaves Rick and his family.

Regardless Fear The Walking Dead is emerging from out and under of the shadow of the companion show and blazing its own distinct path. Season 3 was among one of the best runs of the series so far, and bodes well for fans who have a greater expectation once we rejoin Madison and answer whether or not she is able to reunite with her kids after the fateful cliffhanger finale. The new season will also introduce Jenna Elfman and Garret Dillahunt has series regulars, and a new character named “Althea”.