the cast could have been expanded

3

Fun fact: if you eliminate all the characters with facetime from the Original Trilogy (Obi-Wan, Anakin, Palpatine, the Lars family), all the characters related to them (Shmi and Padme Skywalker), and all the characters playing decoy for said characters (Padme’s decoys)…you get a staggeringly diverse cast for the prequels. Do most of the women not have speaking roles? Yes. Are there very, very few women? Also yes. Should Swan never be allowed to make collages again ever? Yeah…

But despite all of this, you can see that the casting crew–Lucas in particular–really tried to diversify.

Two major props have to go to the casting of Jimmy Smits and Temuera Morrison (and by extension, Rebecca Mendoza and Daniel Logan), who became Bail Organa and Jango Fett: one of them was the unseen-but-very-significant foster parent of Leia, and the other was the template for the most notorious background character in cinematic history. These two were icons who excited everyone with their presence in the prequels, and they went to non-white actors.

Samuel L. Jackson got to be the Jedi Master who stood beside Yoda and was only killed by the combined efforts of Darth Vader and the Emperor; Ahmed Best was cast as one of the first fully-CGI-characters in history (the discussion of the disastrous backlash from THAT is a topic for another post), Captain Panaka was the stalwart protector of Naboo, and most of the more memorable background Jedi were women. The roles of non-white characters were extremely limited by the central cast, and Lucas’s desire to expand the diversity of the Star Wars universe itself beyond human boundaries further limited a lot of these actors’ facetime (one arguable misstep is that Qui-Gon could have been played by a non-white actor, but…).

There is an admittedly surprising lack of Chinese and Japanese actors to be found here–especially considering everything Star Wars owes to Japan–but the fact remains that there was clearly an aggressive movement to diversify the Star Wars universe. The franchise would then, of course, fight to close the gender gap with The Clone Wars–Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress played central roles, while many of the once-background Jedi had their roles expanded to become major characters. Rebels continued the franchise’s quest to diversify the universe, and now The Force Awakens has taken yet another step with Rey, Finn, and Poe. 

I believe it should be noted, then, that the expansion that is being accomplished with the latest movie is not a dramatic change for Lucasfilm or the franchise, but instead the most notable step forward. Is there still work to do? Yes, but Star Wars is nothing if not tireless. 

wildwood #2

Flame/Forest Spirit AU

Part 2/3
rated: T
(T for tame. so tame i’m not even gonna rate it M. no coarse language. no nsfw. this is a friggin fairy tale.)
summary:
The darkness was stealthy, slow but relentless, and sooner or later, if no one stopped it, it would swallow the forest whole.

Thankyou so much for your amazing enthusiasm for this fic, it makes me so happy!! On we go with Part 2! :>

Also you gotta check out the amazing art for this fic!! I demand it!!! I’m so happy and grateful for it ahh ლ(ಠ益ಠლ
THIS ONE by @semi-ordinary (see part of it above) and
THIS ONE by @joliemariella and
THIS ONE by @taytei !!

read: Part 1 | more

“Would you like some more tea?”

Natsu nodded, holding out the wooden cup Lucy had handed him earlier. Steam rose in small clouds as she poured the hot liquid into it, the scent of herbs (peppermint and sage, and even a hint of berries) filling the air.

Lucy’s home was small, but offered everything the heart desired. It was cozy, the small fire that danced happily in the fireplace warming up the air and casting a soft light as far as it could reach. Hidden behind bushes and built into the oldest and largest tree of this forest, it felt safe and homely, a strong magical aura lingering all over.

Even the largest of trees, of course, would not have been enough to serve as a house, but the spirits had their ways of tweaking reality. Rather than bending it to their will, they gently asked, and reality complied all by itself. And so when Lucy had led Natsu through the little, beautifully carved door, he had pointed out in wonder that the inside of the tree expanded impossibly further than its exterior allowed. Lucy had smiled, busy lighting some candles to aid the fire that burned steadily in her fireplace.

The darkness that resided here was natural and soft, nothing like the shapeless evil that stalked the forest, patiently waiting like a starving snake; unmoving, lurking.

They sat on the ground beside a low table, wooly blankets covering their feet as they drank their tea and exchanged smiles and curious glances.

They had barely met, but the silence they were sharing felt comfortable and peaceful.

Two bowls of vegetable stew, accompanied by some dry bread, was all Lucy could offer for dinner, but for Natsu every experience was new, and every taste a delight.

“I’m sorry I can’t offer you a better meal,” she apologized, lowering her gaze, “Times have been a little rough. My pantry is not as full as it used to be. The land gives less now.”

“But this is awesome!” Natsu protested, heartily biting into his slice of bread and littering crumbs everywhere.

It did not escape Lucy, however, that his eyes kept flicking over towards the crackling fire beside them, his gaze curious – and hungry. Maybe he didn’t even notice himself. She wondered…

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Mod Review: Doctor Strange (WARNING: SPOILERS)

Doctor Stephen Strange is a brilliant surgeon who gets into a car accident that leaves him without the use of his hands. Having exhausted his options, he travels to Nepal and meets the Ancient One, a being who instructs him in the ways of “magic”. However, the world falls into peril when a former pupil of the Ancient One, Kaecilius, plots to open the Dark Dimension and set free a powerful being that can plunge the world into oblivion. It is then up to Doctor Strange to keep the world together as well as find the strength within himself to embrace his new path.


Just a head’s up: for the first part of the review, I’m going to look at it objectively as a film. The second part of the review will address things like diversity, feminism, and other social justice concepts. If that is not what you want to read, I suggest you turn back now and just read some Rotten Tomatoes reviews. 

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ranubis  asked:

(If it's not a bother, love reading your criticisms) can I ask what your recent Dr Strange posts are about? What is the issue with the casting of BC, unless I am completely misunderstanding the situation?

welllll there’s a few reasons.

first, doctor strange’s origin story is the classic mighty whitey trope, an extremely racist narrative that is sadly still commonly used today. to summarize: the mighty whitey trope is when a white man goes to asian country, learns the ~mystic secrets of the yellow people~ and become better than all of the Natives at their own thing. it’s a transparent excuse to use people of color’s traditions and stories but still have it be about white people.

while doctor strange can be read as ethnically ambiguous depending on the artist (steve ditko’s original art and emma rios’s work are often cited as examples), he has generally been interpreted as white, because when he was created, white was the default. but that doesn’t mean he should have been cast as a white man. like I said, his origin story is extremely problematic, even though parts of it have been reinterpreted over the years. but by casting him not only as a white man but as an upperclass british white man, marvel has wasted an opportunity not only to diversify their universe and introduce a leading man of color to their lineup, but to turn doctor strange’s racist origin story around and update it to reflect the changing social norms. the british thing is because doctor strange was definitely american, and they can apparently change him to be british but the idea of casting him as anything but white is absurd.

it is incredibly rare for asian actors to find leading roles in hollywood today and marvel definitely dropped the ball here. plus asia is a massive market, so pulling from their huge pool of stars would be easy. I mean, bollywood alone is the biggest film industry in the world, and they could have tapped into that. marvel has finally announced black panther, so they’ll be expanding their world to africa, and this could have been a great opportunity to introduce an asian superhero. instead, we are getting YET ANOTHER movie about a white man, to add to the what, 13 films they have about white men? and a movie about a white man that will be heavily imbued with probably ambiguously asian culture. taken with kevin feige’s comments about how he thinks he’s being “pressured to diversify” and against DC’s willingness to cast non-white actors in canonically white roles in their upcoming films, it’s insulting.

plus, cumberbatch is just. a bad choice. say what you want about his acting skills, but he is extremely classist, misogynistic, has taken a role as a slave owner to “atone for his family owning slaves,” and took the whitewashed role of an indian character in a franchise with a massive fanbase he didn’t even bother learning about and then was hilariously bad. he is a relatively good drama actor, but he’s just not good in genre pieces. I seriously doubt he can carry a solo superhero film.

so yeah. I’m sure other people have more reasons. I’m not going to go see doctor strange, but this will probably be the last thing I post on the subject because I’m blacklisting everything that could possibly be related to this because I stopped caring about it a long time ago :/

Vaan: not a bad character in his own right, besides being a walking collection of tropes in a Madi Gra outfit and a whinier, slightly less cowardly, less dressed and less lovestruck Tidus.

What Vaan added to the storyline: absolutely nothing.

What Vaan removed from the storyline: a whole lot of awesome plot that could have made the game so much better.

See, when Final Fantasy XII was in development, Vaan - and Penelo by proxy - didn’t exist as characters, let alone the main character. Basch was the main playable character.

But fan reactions to Basch weren’t that positive. For those who haven’t played, Basch is an older male character in his thirties who was a high ranking knight commander, pinned for the crime of regicide by his (wait for it) evil twin brother, who posed as Basch while murdering the king. 

Fans weren’t used to the idea of playing an older male character, especially since a lot of Final Fantasy fans were young adults or maybe even children. And female fans didn’t find him conventionally attractive in the way that past male Final Fantasy protagonists had been very bishounen. Reactions to Basch being the main character were all around very negative.

So they retconned Vaan into the storyline, hoping players would have a more relatable protagonist to play as.

Look at this punk ass grimy bitch with his painted on abs.

The problem with Vaan is that he’s an incredibly poorly conceived character for the purposes of being a protagonist with agency. Because he has no agency. He’s been smooshed into the storyline to take the place of a suddenly missing playable protagonist, but the storyline and the world does not react around him to accommodate his new status as playable main character.

What does Vaan do during the game? How do his motivations change during his journey and how do we see how his characterization has grown during the climax of the plot? What decisions does he make which effect the outcome of the story, or of the character arcs of the people around him?

The answer to all of these is: it doesn’t. Vaan doesn’t affect the story. Vaan’s motivations and character do not change. His decisions to not affect the plot at all. Vaan is just there along for the ride, among powerful, talented people who are all running from troubled pasts and trying to hold together a failing warring world. Among them, Vaan is a cardboard cutout who occasionally sees the ghost of his dead brother and occasionally makes dumb decisions that other characters mock him for. Vaan’s usefulness begins during the 6~ish hour tutorial, and ends as soon as the real main characters are introduced together at the end of the tutorial. His purpose - being the player’s insight and introduction into the world, culture and environment - ends there.

He has so little development during the FFXII storyline that an entire spinoff game was made to give him screentime in a game where he actually is the main character.

If Vaan had not been retconned in as main character in replacement of Basch, so many more things could have been achieved in the storyline. The game would have been more solid, more coherent. Without Vaan we wouldn’t have his friend Penelo, who is just as pointless as he is during the storyline (at least Penelo has interactions with other important characters, namely Larsa). 

That’s two characters gone in a HUGE cast of important characters who ALL, besides possibly Ashe, miss out on huge potential chunks of character development, which is one of the biggest and most obvious aspects of the game that was lacking. Shuffling around the character cast opens up hours and hours of potential game time which could have been devoted to the already incredibly interesting cast of characters with unique and well developed backstories, who all have agency and who all miss out on more defined characterization. Basch, for instance, is basically completely forgotten about until Gabranth starts popping up in the storyline, and even then Gabranth has more characterization and development than Basch. Fran has a couple hours of gametime where she gets her spotlight moment and then is forgotten about besides a couple of cutscenes. Balthier’s backstory titillates but is never expanded upon in a satisfying way.

Honestly at this point in time I feel like Vaan and Penelo exist as characters simply to take up two slots in the playable party roster.

Imagine how solid the game would have been if the main character had been one of the more interesting characters? Imagine if we had gotten to play as Basch? Dealing with the loss and grief of his king and his brother, being imprisoned for years, his dignity completely broken as a knight and in the eyes of the public who used to love him. Imagine being broken out of jail and suddenly being free to fly the skies and make right the mistakes that his brother caused, ultimately bringing peace to himself and Gabranth and his homeland?

Imagine if we’d been able to play as Ashe, fighting for her country, faking her own suicide, retreating like a rat to play the long con, casting aside her individuality and goals all for the sake of her country? Imagine if we’d be able to play as Balthier, running from his homeland and flying as far away as possible from his abusive father and abusive kingdom, knowing that eventually his history would catch up with him? Realizing that being able to confront that would be the most important thing he would ever do?

Instead of playing as a gawping stock trope of a character ill-fittingly smashed into an already established plot and cast that doesn’t care at all about him, we could have been playing a game as powerful revolutionaries with extensive development, backstories and agency within a world that changed and adapted to their decisions.

AND THAT’S WHY VAAN IS A BAD CHARACTER.

xyles34  asked:

What happens to Alex at the end of season 3, when that "guard" finds her??

I found this wonderful article on Pop Sugar that offers three possible explanations as to what we’ll see. You can read it here, but here they are in short form.

1. Alex dies. Laura Prepon posted a photo of her filming season 4, clearly in full costume for Vause. The author suggests that this could be for a flashback scene, and Prepon’s  intention might be to throw us off track.

2. Aydin might just be there to deliver her a message, perhaps about Kubra wanting  her to start business from the inside.

3. Lolly has been keeping tabs on Alex. It’s clear that she’s crazy, but very interested in Vause. Perhaps she notices what’s going on and saves the day (perhaps with that hidden shard of glass).

I’ve seen another theory that mentions  how Piper and Alex were the only ones not participating in that beautiful final scene at the lake. This person, I forget who, noticed that the greenhouse and the fence somehow are connected, and there’s a backdoor in, leading him/her to believe that Piper could slip in and save the day, but I find this unlikely.

The fact that Laura Prepon is an incredibly popular actress and a fan favorite, I would hope that they would keep Vause around - but I believed the same thing about Nicky Nichols/Natasha Lyonne, and we are all just as skeptical about her future as Vause’s. There’s no telling what the writers will do.

Natasha Lyonne has hardly posted anything to her social media accounts that would suggest whether or not she will be returning for season 4, but Laura Prepon’s picture is peculiar. You would think that her character’s situation would be treated the same way.

In light of the aforementioned facts, if I had to take an educated guess, I would say that Alex Vause is dead, or near dead for season 4. If she were coming back prominently in the present story line, her social media account would be exactly like Natasha Lyonne’s (with an exception of one photo that could have been taken during the Good Morning American interview).

Orange has expanded its cast so widely where if this was the case, I would be upset, but not to the point where I would  not be willing to watch. There are enough characters whose stories I am invested in that would compel me to watch in the event of her death.

What I’m afraid of is the Glee effect. At some point, these inmates’ sentences are going to expire, which means that many of our favorites are due to start leaving the show (which ruined Glee). With a rotating cast, it will be risky to off Alex, a character that potentially has several years in Orange time to carry us through those character turnovers. With that said, Piper supposedly is only supposed to have fifteen months in prison. According to a very astute timeline someone constructed, we are 12 to 13 months into Piper’s sentence. If the creators want the show to go on, something has to happen that extends Piper’s sentence - like attacking Aydin, a guard. Even Piper’s fate is not safe, since she is no longer the star of her own show.