unfortunately this is the extent of his role in this movie

Zootopia: John Wilde, Shock Collars, & more

It’s always interesting to think of all the coulda’ beens when looking back all the ideas that didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie and Zootopia is no different. In fact so many are so dramatic I felt like addressing a few.

Shock Collars

Undoubtedly the most iconic feature cut was the aspect of every predator being forced to wear a collar that would shock them if they ever experienced heightened emotions, whether that be positive or negative. Concept art also seems to show police being able to activate a collar at will as well as being able to take them off. Test audiences couldn’t really get behind Zootopia being someplace worth saving with such blatant inequality so the idea reluctantly (very reluctantly) got the axe. I think we can all agree that no matter how intriguing the collars are, they made the right choice.

“Could it have been in the movie?”

I believe it could have, but not from the get go. Instead shock collars could have come in after the predator crises had scared the populace into supporting brash actions. Bellwether implementing the policy during the montage sequence and our story can continue from there. The issue is that in order to give the action some weight we need to add at least 30 minutes to the movie as a whole to make sure the shackles aren’t (from the audience’s perspective) comically broken two minutes after they’ve been put on. There is plenty to be said about what exactly I would have done with 30 more minutes but that’s for another time.

“Could we see it in another movie/show?”

The problem stands that trying to re-implement the concept is that it would essentially be recycling the first movie’s message and no one wants that. That being said I see a couple possibilities.

Well the past can be the key Mr.Anon but consider this alternative. Instead of a cover up they’ve simply gone unmentioned until this point.

My Headcanon: Zootopia’s version of World War 2 focused around the revitalization of a predator empire that would overthrow the herbivores who “ruined” their once great civilization and were now “the oppressor”. While war waged, herbivores at home felt unsafe around predators in their own nation. So they were rounded up into camps and shock collars were implemented. By the war’s end the atrocities of predators and  hypocrisy of prey were laid bare and stirred animals  to want a world where such would never happen again. Thus the model city of Zootopia was born, where everyone could live in harmony and (hopefully) not be judged by their species.

Second, Zootopia 2 can up the ante with an even more dangerous villain, which kind of goes without saying but I’m talking beyond what two cops would be expected to or could even solve. Consider, for instance, that the country in which Zootopia is located in is invaded and occupied by a foreign and malevolent power so shock collars are implemented as a way to control the populace. In this instance even non-predators could be subject to shock collars as perhaps the occupiers are of racially homogeneous in some way (Birds, Lizards,[ Primates ]) and see everyone as a threat.

In that case shock collars become an intriguing facet with where exactly Nick & Judy, as police officers, stand in their enforcement of the law. Sure they could (in fact inevitably would) join some sort of resistance force: but having to take on the roll, at least for a time, as enforcers of a puppet state intrigues me. After all, even in the midst of an invasion, in fact especially in the midst of an invasion, public order needs to be maintained. Especially intriguing is the whether or not police themselves would be subject to collars or be the “trusted” few. 

John Wilde

In order to build more empathy for our then protagonist Nick Wilde there was a rather decent chunk of movie dedicated to his backstory. A collection of scenes involving Nick’s father built him as an encouraging optimistic man wanting to create a better future for his family by opening a tailoring shop with his son at his side. Unfortunately none of the bankers were interested in giving a fox a loan and this endeavor failed. Where exactly his father disappeared to by the time we catch up to adult Nick, I cannot say.

“Could it have been in the original movie?”

Certainly I feel that having Nick see the way both himself and his father are treated wouldn’t have hurt the story: having Nick stand up only to be knocked down in another scenario would only have added to Nick’s strength of character and understanding his embrace of the stereo-type. Perhaps the question it raised about his parent’s whereabouts is why we got only a muzzled Nick instead. The scenes of his father as presented would have also been a lot longer than the backstory we received in the movie proper. Especially if we consider using both backstory threads, such a long detour might have felt awkward.

“Could we see it in another movie/show?”

In any instances Nick just coming out and saying “By the way my childhood was even more terrible” would feel like a re-hash of what we already know. John Wilde himself could always make an appearance, but his role in the story is now hamstrung. It all depends on how much focus you want to put on John, if he is just a doddering old parent like Mrs.Wilde than nothing really bad would come from his insertion. If he is still a tailor and living with Mrs.Wilde for instance, than the question the audience is going to ask is why didn’t this professional father do more to lead his son down a good path?

Sure, we could have a sub-plot about him always wanting to open his own tailoring business but being unable for the reasons stated above (thus we have a potential plot about our protagonists see that to fruition). Yet again that would almost certainly mean bringing up the dim past and we run into the same problem of it sounding like tack-on than a natural part of Nick’s story. It’s not impossible, but it could be clunky. Could.

If for whatever reason John Wilde disappeared from Nick’s life, however, well that’s a whole new can of worms. Is he a deadbeat? Did he go looking for work after his business didn’t take off? Was he falsely arrested for a crime because he was a fox? Things to consider.

Honey Badger

Way back when Nick Wilde was set to be a framed man, he had a eccentric female badger friend whom held tight to the conspiracy theorist archetype by being a bunker building, tin-foil hat wearing loon, something that came in handy when Nick & Judy were on the run.

“Could it have been in the original movie?”

Oh no, negative, absolutely not. You see Honey’s particular conspiracy was that “The Sheep” were behind everything wrong with Zootopia. While I’m pleasantly amused with the character concept, in actuality had they gone through with implementing her, this blog might have been about how terrible Zootopia is. Ooo drastic, but why?

Well if there is one detail that I’ll rake Zootopia across the coals for it’s the fact all Bellwether’s co-conspirators (who actually knew what was going on) were sheep. You might say that plays into her personal bias, still I’d like to remind you that her scheme was to put prey against predators in general.  Simply stated the last major script change, probably by accident, saved Zootopia from winning “Greatest Movie with a Hypocritical Message” award. Think about it, in that version of the script and even to an extent in canon, Honey was right. The Sheep were to blame.  So how can you have a message about not stereotyping people, then have group of people singled out as the “problem” race?

“No, no, it’s ridiculous to say predators are dangerous to society…when it’s the sheep manipulating everyone!”

I’m certain we’ve all seen some humanized artwork of Zootopia, so let’s stretch our creative muscles and think about who exactly Honey would be in a human world. Well she is a conspiracy theorist, which is fine enough, but it’s her particular brand that should get you sweating. I’m talking she’s a Zionist conspiracy nut. Yea, it’s that bad. This is no alien cover up or Bermuda triangle, this character explicitly preaches that there is one race that controls the world from the shadows and has been doing so for generations. That they sow discord and strife to maintain and increase their own power.

Funny but actually incredibly offensive.

I’ll be bold and say that there is a time and a place for this type of a comedic character but she is basically shouting “JEWS!!!” at the top of her lungs while snipping a Hasidic man’s locks and pouring tie-dye on his  plane clothing before riding off in a go-cart, throwing shekels on the ground as a distraction. Not exactly the type of person who should ever be shown in a positive manner, let alone a friend of the main character, let alone f-cking right!

“Could we see it in another movie/show?”

Simply changing her shtick to almost any other type of conspiracy or conspiracies would do the trick. Just be careful you’re not just switching out sheep for another scapegoat. *Ba-dum-tsh* Beyond that, having the Odd One be a burly female is rather unique and her paranoid personality is sure to get a good number of laughs. If Zootopia had the chance at syndication I would definitely make her a frequent side-character.  

Wild Times

That’s racist Nick.

In some incarnations Nick would have been the owner of an amusement park where the shock collared predators could let loose away from the dominant prey. Nick is then framed for a crime and our story begins.

“Could it have been in the original movie?*”

Nick was at least a semi-successful business owner in this incarnation (though at two hundred dollars a day, I’m sure I’m not the only looking to get into the paw-psicle business) and on that point it’s hard to keep our two leads together (which is why they were hand cuffed together in the other script).

The problem is that Nick’s character arc revolves around him having been beaten down and fallen into a cynical stupor, sure he can maintain his smarmy personality but as a business owner Nick already gave a big middle digit to the world that doubted what a fox could accomplish. Not to mention throwing that away to become a police officer doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So with it being no more than an interesting backdrop for any given scene, it really didn’t need to be included. 


“Could we see it in another movie/show?”

*Now Wild Times is technically canon, and might have even made an appearance in the film itself. Yet I’m not giving up on the idea that it could be linked to our characters in some way. Admittedly the odds of it ever playing a prominent roll are unlikely. I can’t really see Nick Wilde (and by extension Judy Hopps) retiring to take up renovating a run down amusement park as his life’s dream. Not exactly what I call taking it easy in the golden years though I would be in error not to bring up the possibility. So movie wise, no. But for T.V we can play around it all day. Imagine instead if Finnick secretly wanted to run the amusement park. What if it was or became predator only and we have to deal with discrimination against prey animals? What if John Wilde works at Wild Times and dreams of opening that tailor shop? To think if Nick saw his father pursue his life’s goal only to end up as a carnie. A good backdrop.

Chez Cheese

At one point in time Nick & Finnick were to work at a fast food joint named Chez Cheese, assumedly named after the owner. The story obviously changed too much to keep it.

“Could it have been in the original movie?”

Not really. Nick as a sly paw-psicle hustler has a lot more meat to it than a depressed fast food worker. I suppose amongst the litany of bad life experiences, a literally five second narrated scene of them being fired for predator related reasons would have done but beyond background candy there isn’t much to it.

“Could we see it in another movie/show?”

The one interesting question Chez Cheese does raise is how exactly non-rodents worked there. The concept art just shows it as rodent sized, so how did Nick & Finnick accomplish their duties (as a cheese scrubber & drive-thru orderman respectively)? It might have been bigger in the screenplay…but it’s funnier to imagine scenarios where that is not so.

In any case it’s not too difficult for Nick & Finnick to have had a job at this place at some point in the past. Lore Alert: In the book “The Stinky Cheese Caper” Chez Chees is actually canonized and firmly stated to be inside Little Rodentia with a warehouse outside the micro-city. So while having them work at the restaurant may be impractical, the warehouse could be another venue, perhaps where Finnick phoned in to the drive-thru. Not really movie worthy (heck I don’t even remember the doughnut venue’s name) but I could a see a scenario where a crime has Nick engaging with his old grouchy boss, wherein Nick can be smug, bitter, or both.

There are more topics to cover, but I think this is long enough and we call it a day for now.

The Last Jedi: Kylo Ren's humiliation — and other tales from the Star Wars dark side

Part 8 of EW’s ‘Star Wars’ cover story

As we close out EW’s cover story on The Last Jedi, let’s take a trip into the dark side of the galaxy.

Most of the previous stories have focused on the heroes of the Star Wars saga and the new film’s theme about the risks and rewards of meeting those you idolize.

Here’s a look at some of the villains, and a tease of what to expect from them when the film opens on Dec. 15.


The aspiring Sith let his last bit of light slip away when he drove his janky, handmade lightsaber into the heart of his father, Han Solo. But there was no victory for Kylo Ren as he sank into the abyss.

Instead, he was humiliated. By a scavenger girl, of all things.

“He’s definitely been knocked off base,” says The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson says. “The defeat that he had at the end of The Force Awakens, but even bigger than that, his huge defining act which, spoiler alert, is the murder of his father… that’s the more interesting thing to dive into. How has he dealt with that in his head? Where is he at in terms of that act and what does that mean for him?”

Johnson said Ben Solo’s shift to darkness is symbolic of “the treacherous road through adolescence” that Star Wars often explores.

“Kylo represents kind of the rebellious anger that you feel during that period. Honestly, sometimes it’s a healthy desire to push away from the place that you know, from the things that you came from. But he obviously does it in an extreme that’s not healthy at all.”

He said Kylo and Rey are “two halves of the dark and the light.”

Among their shared interests: She is an expert pilot, and in this film we’ll see him maneuvering his own starship, the TIE Silencer, which is a variation on his grandfather, Darth Vader’s old ship.


Yes. He’s back. In a way.

Kylo Ren’s murder of Han Solo also makes Rey’s contempt for him much more personal. He’s no longer just a random madman terrorizing the galaxy. Rey has a grudge: He stole from her the father-figure she’d been searching for her whole life.

“She just doesn’t understand Kylo,” Daisy Ridley says. “When all she wanted was parents, why would a person who has parents do that? It’s so beyond comprehension, it’s ridiculous. So she has grief for the loss and then there’s anger. To be honest, she couldn’t understand doing something like that – let alone to your parents.”

Although his character is no more, Han Solo’s legacy lives on.

“Han, the ghost of – well, not literally,” Johnson says, interrupting himself with a laugh. “I don’t want to misguide. I have to be very careful with my words here. But a figurative ghost of Han had to be present throughout this entire film.”


Those who wanted the silver-armored stormtrooper to get more screen time in The Force Awakens will be getting their wish this time.

Gwendoline Christie’s merciless First Order officer Captain Phasma has a more significant role in The Last Jedi.

“Gwendoline Christie is one of my favorite people, and you get to see her in action which I think is going to be really fun,” Johnson says. “That character is just so damn cool looking. Like, okay, let’s see what we can do with her. Let’s put her in action and see what happens.”

In the trailer, we can see her leading an assault on a Rebel base, and John Boyega promises we’ll see her in a showdown with his ex-stormtrooper Finn. (The two last saw each other when he was stuffing her down a garbage chute into a trash compactor.)

The Last Jedi won’t necessarily explore new backstory for Phasma, but her broader tale will be told in two new books:
-The novel Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, which delves into how she originated on a hardscrabble planet and sought escape by joining the First Order. (It’s on shelves Sept. 1.)
-The Marvel comic book Captain Phasma, which reveals how she escaped from that trash compactor on Starkiller base and made her way to the action of The Last Jedi. (The first issue hits Sept. 6.)


Okay, he’s clearly not a villain, but there is darkness surrounding the Wookiee in this film.

Chewbacca (played by Joona Suotamo, fully taking over the role from original actor Peter Mayhew) is mourning his best friend, Han Solo, and that grief is not easy to articulate despite his proficiency with roars and groans.

We aren’t going to see a depressed Chewie, but we might encounter one who is a little more volatile than usual.

Johnson says things will be okay for him. Ultimately.

“Chewie’s doing all right. It’s tough. It was obviously a big loss for him, but, you know, he’s Chewie. He’s resilient,” Johnson says. “He’s got broad Wookiee shoulders, and he also has a new mission. He’s got Rey, and she’s someone that Han, to a certain extent, handed the keys to. So I think that that helps.”

It could be worse.

“If Chewie was just unemployed and sitting at home, things might be a little rougher, but he’s got a task to focus on,” Johnson adds.

Also, he’s got some new friends.

Or judging by the feather in his mouth here … are they snacks?


Again, this character isn’t a bad guy by any means, but we’ve got some unfortunate news that places her in our Dark Side round-up.

There will be less of the little orange sage in this movie, although Lupita Nyong’o’s character still turns up for an important moment in the spotlight.

“She has a smaller part in this than she has in The Force Awakens, but it’s a really fun part, and Lupita is so awesome,” Johnson says. “I’m just happy I got to work with her.”

Maz has insights into the past, and for a film about history, family connections, and the way the Force shapes destiny, she is bound to deliver important information.

Johnson says even he learned something.

“This was my first time working with mo-cap characters and working with actors in that way,” he says. “I feel like I got such an incredible education watching Lupita work.” (x)

Michael After Midnight: Guardians of the Galaxy

So as you may well know, I loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I can safely say it’s my favorite movie ever made… or one of them, anyway. While I do think it is marginally better, there is a marginally there, and I gotta be honest, I still love part one just as much in its own way. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the coolest, freshest, and most out-there superhero comic book movies of the past decade, and a stylish change of pace for the sometimes very formulaic MCU.

But who could have guessed that? The MCU was known for taking the less famous heroes in its roster (Since they didn’t have Spider-Man, the X-Men, or the Fantastic Four to work with) and turn them into juggernaut blockbusters, but did anyone really guess that they could take a bunch of characters as obscure as the Guardians and make a quality film with them? And that’s not the only reason this movie was a gamble; this movie was almost totally detached from the rest of the MCU and its overarching plot, with the appearances of Thanos and the Collector (both of whom only appear in a single scene, though the Collector also pops up in a post-credits stinger) being the only connection to other movies, and even then, both characters were relegated to stingers to foreshadow future movies anyway! And then you have to throw in the fact that the movie is directed and written by a guy who directed cult movies and the horrendous Movie 43, the fact that one character is a talking tree, the fact another character is a talking raccoon who uses guns, and the fact the MCU is locked out of using characters like the Skrulls, Galactus, and the Silver Surfer… you can kinda see why this was a risky move on their part.

But oh boy, did it ever pay off. Rave reviews, audience love, and people hyped for more… it’s safe to say that Guardians is one of the best films in the entire MCU, and it really set itself up as a nearly impossible act to follow, which is all the more impressive seeing as it came after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ANOTHER very tough act to follow. So, now that we have all this context, why are Peter Quill and his rambling gang of space jerks so endearing and enjoyable? Well, here’s the story:

Peter Quill was a young Earth boy taken in by the alien Yondu and his band of Ravagers on the eve of his mother’s death by brain tumor. Decades later, Peter is all grown up and calling himself Star-Lord, and is now about space pirating. Unfortunately for him, the latest trinket he stole (and left Yondu out of the loop on) is something that the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, is looking for. Thanos sends his daughter Gamora out to retrieve it, and at the same time, bounty hunters Rocket and Groot decide to take Quill in for the price on his head. All of them fight and end up in prison, where they meet Drax the Destroyer, a man who desires vengeance against Ronan the Accuser, a fanatical Kree renegade who serves Thanos. These unlikely allies decide to team up to escape the prison they’re trapped in and head off to sell the object for massive amounts of cash; however, Ronan is hot on their tails, desiring the object for himself. Can these knuckleheads stop bickering long enough to make some big bucks, or is Ronan going to destroy them all?

Keep reading

On Dynamics of Sasusaku

Discussing this with friends on other forums, I’ve just gotta share this post I was inspired to make after reading other comments from more eloquent people than I.

 They just don’t work. They don’t fit. Ignoring the murder attempts and abuse accusations, on a purely dynamic, chemistry, interactions, relationship level the manga has spent the entire narrative telling us how much these two don’t work.

Sasuke does not need someone like this

Crying all the time. She can’t even say anything substantial about him. Nothing about his goals for peace, offer up any sort of insightful or intelligent thought about him as a person. For fucks sake the most rudimentary shit she doesn’t understand. This is a person saying he wants revolution, defined, in laymen’s terms, as a change, and she goes on about “Just come back and everything will go back to the way it used to be” as her tag in her plea? If he wants change he obviously finds issue in the way things used to be, why would you listen to him go on about wanting a revolution then try to appeal to him through another depthless declaration of love and going back to whatever happy times they used to have, which are aparently defined as Sasuke being around while she admires him as that was the extent of their relationship?

She’s clingy and dependent. Even when he’s announced he’s leaving on a journey to find himself and atone for his crimes, she wants to tagalong for obvious romantic reasons, with no greater purpose than to be with him. 

She’s ignorant and takes things for granted. Things that, unfortunately, mean the most to Sasuke. Like family and bonds with your important people. She trivializes everyone, her parents, Naruto, Kakashi, all her other friends, and says that if he left it would be the same thing as being all alone. If he left, it would be the equivalent of having her entire family and everyone she cares about murdered by someone she loved. She has all the things Sasuke dreams of having, the very things that he is so pain about, that drives him to such extremes and she thinks to say that these things mean nothing in the face of her “love” for someone who has never expressed any romantic interest in her who she isn’t even close to, even by her own words? She takes for granted the very things that have shaped Sasuke into the individual he is today. Then, they mean so little to her that she would abandon them without a word, as well as her home and village, to defect to Orochimaru, the man who killed the Hokage, with no greater purpose than to be with him? This is supposed to be the confession that shows she understands or knows him?

She can’t stand up to him. She can’t be herself around him. She can’t handle his darkness or personality at his worst. She can barely even properly comprehend his issues.

But its not just Sakura who isn’t suited to Sasuke. Sasuke isn’t suited to Sakura.

Sasuke is blunt. He doesn’t sugarcoat. He’s not some sensitive, smooth dude. Sakura, despite her bravado, is actually self conscious, deeply insecure, and lakckng in self esteem. One would think that having someone around who’ll “give her tough love” will be good for her, but Sasuke proves to only perpetuate her behavior, not have her grow past it. She needs constant reassurance that she is wanted, useful, and liked.

Sasuke is not the perfect bishie boy. He has issues and problems of his own. He doesn’t need a love interest who not only doesn’t understand (or really even know) him but also barely comprehends his issues. He doesn’t need someone who’s more emotionally needy than him. Sakura doesn’t need someone who makes her insecure behavior and self consciousness worse, who she is constantly being influenced by but never influencing. Does Sasuke even understand Sakura? Can he even fully grasp her issues? I don’t see how these two individuals compliment or even bring something to the other that they need. Even Naruhina, their counter pair, at least has the love interest understand the other on some level. Sasuke and Sakura do not make each other better people. In fact, Sasuke takes Sakura’s worst qualities and makes them shine while Sakura does nothing for Sasuke except, I guess, give him a child.

Hell, they don’t even have an entertaining or interesting dynamic or any chemistry.

The entire manga, intentionally or not, has only detailed for the audience how much Sasusaku doesn’t work. It has done very little of even convincing anyone of there being anything meaningful about Sakura’s love, much less of there being some special bond or even real closeness between them. Throwing the epilouge and saying its proof of how Sasusaku has changed doesn’t even work, seeing as how Sakura has become a housewife for a husband who barely comes home to the point where their child feels neglected, and Sasuke, in both promotional art and the manga looks as angsty as ever.

 I don’t have a problem if you like/ship Sasusaku. I’ll still think its a trash ship, but I’m not gonna fight you on your opinions/impressions. But, as has been said before me, don’t try to cram some pseudo-deep interpretation of the manga and the characters to explain why Sasusaku is an amazing ship with great development and how well the relationship works and how he has always loved her and her love is so deep. Then turn around and portray the ship in a way that is the antithesis of their dynamics and the characters and say that this is why you love Sasusaku. as you tell others that they read the manga wrong. 

Simply put, they’re just not what the other needs in a lover.

 Honestly, it all reminds me of the old fashioned, sexist portrayals of romantic relationships where the guy is deep and complex with serious issues and problems “(whether external and internal) and he has that pretty love interest who ultimately understands little and has virtually nothing of insight or intelligence to say about any of it, and her sole role is to go around declaring her love for him, possibly being a damsel, and being the one he has sex with on the side in between the bigger things. The kind of “Oh Lucy” and “little woman” tropes and characters (no insult to Lucy form I Love Lucy because she was pretty cool), that plagued the eras where women were meant to be nothing more than pretty girls who offer love (and I’m talking the mediocre stories because there are quite a few old movies and books with equality and depth for the female and the relationship). Except its even worse because Sakura is barely a love interest. Hell, she’s barely an interest at all for him. And that’s what Sakura has ultimately become, the pretty girl there to love him. That’s it. There is nothing more here.

Yet Sasusaku is the “true girl power” ship. 

The Kindness of Strangers - A Dan Howell fic

A mixture of excitement and nerves bubbled in her stomach as she jumped onto the mid-morning train to London.  She quickly slipped into the free four-seater space in her carriage, glad that she could sit down and ready herself for the day ahead. She settled down, placing her scripting on the table in front of her and began to stare aimlessly out of  the window, which she thought would continue for the 2 hour journey she was anticipating.

You see it was the day of her audition. Today she was heading up to London for her first round audition to drama school and the nerves were getting to her. She was well aware that there were more of these auditions to come as she had applied to more than one drama school and was looking forward to a life of auditions for actually acting jobs, yet she couldn’t help dwelling on the horror stories she had heard about past drama school auditions where they had forced the newbie acting student to humiliate themselves or otherwise perform mind bending tasks mid auditions. She shuddered at the thought. Determined to keep calm she decided to listen to some music and look over her scripting one more time.

About an hour into the journey, absentmindedly staring out of the window, someone shuffled into the seat opposite her. She turned to look at them and give them a small smile to show that she wasn’t going to be the crazy lady on the train when she realised that it wasn’t a random stranger sat opposite her, but Dan Howell.

A number of thoughts ran quickly through her head; should I introduce myself? Should I leave him alone? I don’t want to come across like a stalker! But before she could say anything she couldn’t help but notice that he looked extremely pale. Dan let out a large sigh and began rubbing his temple as he gradually sank into his seat. So without thinking she blurted out  “Wow, you look like you’ve had a shit day?”

Dan made eye contact with her, brow furrowed in confusion at his neighbours sudden outburst. She claps her hands to her mouth in utter embarrassment.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I meant to say ‘Are you okay?’. It’s just that you don’t seem your normal self, it just came out wrong!.” Her face burned red and she stared down at her lap, cringing internally. But Dan laughed quietly.

“That was almost as awkward as something I would do”. He smiled sheepishly at her and she lifted her gaze to meet his eyes.

“Okay, let me try again.” She laughed slightly breathlessly. “Are you okay? You seemed stressed or upset or something?” Dan straightened in his chair slightly to face her and sighed.  

“Well thanks for asking, I’m actually just hugely jet lagged and I fucked up timing for my train and missed a connection and Phil was waiting for me and now he’s pissed off…” Dan trails of and begins rubbing his forehead again.

“Shit that sucks. Look I’ve got some paracetamol here if you have a headache or…” She offers politely, rooting around in her bag.

“Oh my god yes please” Dan says gratefully accepting.

“Don’t worry I’m not trying to drug you.” She says, laughing.  

Dan chuckles and replies a quick “I’m not sure I believe you” before taking a couple pills.

“Anyway” he continued “I’m Dan, I’m guessing you’re a subscriber?” he smiled kindly, but was obviously still tired.

“Well yes. I love your videos, it’s really great to meet you!” She says sheepishly.

“Yeah, I guess I don’t look that great but if you want a picture or something…” Dan started in a slightly resigned tone.

“…Oh, no. Don’t worry about it you’re super tired I don’t want to bother you.” Just as she spoke the food trolley began to rattle down the carriage, and Dan’s face lit up for a second.

“I would kill for a coffee right now, and I’m so hungry because I had to skip breakfast…” he awkwardly pulled his wallet out of his skinny jeans to pay, but his face fell when he saw he had no change. “Fuck my life.” said Dan as he defeatedly lent his head against the window, closing his eyes in frustration. At this moment the food trolley rattled passed and, taking pity on him, she signaled for it to stop.

“Two coffees, please. A bacon sandwich and an orange juice.” She smiles politely at the server. Dan, however, quickly sat up from his defeated slouch.

“No, you can’t pay for my coffee… I don’t know you and I don’t want to give you the wrong impression but..” He starts off quickly but she buts in.

“Dan you don’t owe me anything. I would have done this for anyone who is as tired as you. Don’t get worked up about it.” She pays the fare and then pushes the food over. “Seriously I don’t want to be mean but you look like shit. Drink the orange juice, the vitamin C will make you feel better and stop you from getting ill after being over tired.” Dan resists slightly and then his face dissolves into a weak smile and he mutters a ‘thanks’ before ripping open the seal on the sandwich and taking the biggest bite he could manage. She laughs slightly at his obvious hunger and he stifles a laugh too, realising what he must look like.  Unfortunately the laughing makes him choke a little on the huge amount of bread he just stuffed in his mouth,  thus making you both laugh more. Dan was now making a horrendous half laughing, half  choking sound that had her in hysterics. People on the train begin to turn around and you both end up in a fit of silent laughter as Dan attempts to regain composure by hiding his face with a napkin. You both have tears streaming down your face before Dan manages to stutter out;

“Oh my God I’m so sorry that was really gross. I’m so awkward, I want to die.”  He peers out from behind his hand which he was using to cover his face in embarrassment.

“Hahaha I wish I had taken a picture of your face, it was so funny.” She wipes her eyes and tries to slow her breathing.

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t rub it in.” Dan mutters in fake annoyance. “At least I made you laugh, even if you were laughing at my pain!”

“Meh, haven’t you kind of made a career out of that though!” She replies lightly, smirking at Dan’s cynicism.

“Touche” replied Dan. “But anyway, what do you do for a job?” he slipped a little from his drink as he waited for an answer.  

“Well actually I want to be an actor.” She said slightly shyly. “Today is my audition for drama school training which is why I’m heading to London.”

“That’s such a cool job! I wish I was an actor sometimes!” Dan interjected enthusiastically.”I’m a movie nerd as it is.”.

“Well you’re part of the reason I decided this was definitely for me!” Dan raised an eyebrow inquisitively. “You see as I was going through the whole process of deciding on career paths in school, you dropped out of uni and I just thought I was being pushed in the same direction you had been and…well..I just knew that acting was the best choice for me and…well I dunno…” She trialed of shyly, thinking that perhaps she had comes across a bit too intensely.

“Wow, thanks.” said Dan, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck, “I didn’t know I was inspiring the next generation of actors!” He added jokingly doing and over-the-top smug face.

“It wasn’t all you, you idiot!” She said, regaining her confidence. “I would probably have done it anyway. You just helped me make my decision! Can’t have you getting big headed now can we.” She laughs again and Dan pouts his lip.

“And there was I think I was all influential..” He says shaking his head and tutting. They both took a sip of their coffee and smile on their faces. “So what have you got in front of you?” He asks, gesturing the the paper scripting lying between the both of them of the table.

“Ah these are my monologues for today… I have Anne Boleyn, two Shakespeares, and a couple of backups.” Dan picks them up and begins to read. She couldn’t help but notice how peaceful he looked when he was reading, his head tilting slightly to the side when he didn’t understand one of Shakespeare’s phrases or a slight smile crossing his face when he understood a joke. Se gently sipped her coffee and tried not to stare. His brow furrowed when he reached the Anne Boleyn speech.

“What the actual fuck is this one about?” he asks slightly bemused, looking up and catching her eye. She lets out a small laugh.

“Yeah, thats a modern 2010 adaption and in that scene she’s carrying her own decapitated head and haunting James I…pretty much all modern plays are crazy and kind of dark so I wouldn’t trouble yourself with it!” Dan gave a confused and horrified expression and gently laid the piece of paper down. She chuckled again at him and just nodded in agreement to his reaction.

“Anyway, good luck with your audition today I’m sure you’ll be great.” He smiled gently, his face genuinely encouraging, small, delightful wrinkles forming at the corners of his eyes. Suddenly the butterflies filled her stomach again as she remembered the full extent of the upcoming audition. “God, are you okay you just went white!” he laughed slightly. “Look, we’ve swapped roles. Here have some orange juice it will magically make you feel better!” he jokingly proffers the orange juice and she looks up from the scripting to make eye contact with him.

“Thanks” she says, returning the smile, “actually I just got nervous again” The smile got slightly weaker as the nerves grew. “you see you distracted me earlier from feeling nervous and now I’ve remembered and I want to die.”. She made a caricatured frowny face  in his direction and he laughed softly.

“Naw, don’t worry you’ll be fine. Where are you going next, we might be walking the same way? Dan says, gesturing out of the window. The train is at Waterloo station already and the nerves doubled in her stomach. The last hour had flown so fast as well. THey both begin to gather their things and stand up.

“Well I’m getting the tube to the Barbican because it’s a 5 minute walk from there.” She says, swinging her bag onto her shoulder.

“Oh cool, I’m on the same line so we can go most of the way together.” He says smiling a swinging his bag onto his shoulder.

“If you don’t mind, I’m a newbie here. You don’t have to stick around on principle, he can go if you’d like.” She didn’t want to seem like she was obsessed with him or anything, although she was really quite a big fan.

“It’s seriously no problem, you just brought me breakfast and I was having a shit day so I owe you one.” He smiled down at her as they shuffled their way to the carriage door and stepped out onto the platform. “okay, so you ut your ticket into the machine and the gates open for you…” he begins in a patronising tone.

“Yeah okay, I’m not that much of a newbie I know how a ticket barrier works you twat.” She chides back at him, eliciting a laugh from Dan. She doesn’t want to hold up the flow of people though so quickly puts her ticket in a steps through the barrier before she could cause a crowd to form. Taking a few steps forward she turns around to see Dan doing an appreciative face and nodding at her.

“Not bad for a country bumpkin in the big city!” he says mockingly over the heads of the crowd around him. You smile as he reaches the gates himself and ends up crashing into them. There is an instant pile up behind him and a lot of impatient businessmen sighing in annoyance. She laughs at Dan as he realises his ticket hasn’t been accepted and has to shamefully work his way against the current of people towards the guard of the other ticket barrier, a look of utter embarrassment on his face. When he is eventually let through the barrier he walks up to where she is standing, waiting and tapping her foot.

“Who’s the newbie Howell?” She says with mocking curiosity biting her lip to keep from laughing.

“shut up, shut up, shut up” mutters Dan as he walks past her, avoiding eye contact and heading for the tube.

It’s only a few stops until she has to get off and the whole way Dan was teased about his inability to use public transport. They both stood on a platform about the head in different directions. They both smiled at each other, both their faces slightly red from laughing on the way there.

“Well good luck today for your audition, I’m not going to lie it sounds terrifying.” Dan says with a smirk.

“Haha thanks for the reassurance. Good luck with handling the rest of the tube on your own since you’re such a newbie.” That earned her a playful grimace from Dan as he shook her shoulders in mock annoyance. They laughed together then Dan pulled her into a hug.

“Despite you turning out be really annoying, it was nice to meet you.” Dan joked, pulling away from the hug and revealing a very dimply smile. “You really have made my day better, you kind stranger.”  

“Ah, well a bacon sandwich is a good ice breaker anywhere.” She giggles back.

“Hey, have my number so we can keep in touch.” said Dan, reaching for his phone. Her smiled broadened in excitement. “wait first, lemme take a selfie!” he added. They both laugh and squish their faces together to take a photo. She tells him her number and he dials it into his phone.

“Okay well I have to go now because I’ve got to catch the next one” she says rushingly pointing to the oncoming tube train.

“Oh right yeah! Goodbye, good luck…!” She waves to him as she scrambles onto the train.

“See you later newbie” she shouts just before the doors close, just in time to see him grimace in annoyance at the nickname. She laughed as the tube sped off. Wow, she thought. What a wonderful man Dan Howell is. She smiled to herself just as her phone buzzed in her pocket. She had a text from an unknown number. It read:

“i think i’ll call my next video ‘the kindness of strangers’

btw thanks for the bacon sarnie

love from newbie x”

So I saw Fantastic Beasts this morning and going in I was kind of expecting something lazy and formulaic, just intended to milk $$ out of nostalgic Harry Potter fans (which is to say, everybody and their dog,) and I guess I was…. pleasantly (?) surprised on that front?? What I got instead was basically the exact opposite: fatally disorganized and disjointed but with real enthusiasm and creativity put into it. 

I was really surprised to learn the script was a solo effort on JKR’s part, because the finished product gave me the distinct impression it was the result of like, one all-nighter brainstorming session. Like a bunch of tipsy Harry Potter fans just sat down and cobbled together every idea with potential they could come up with into a script, haphazardly and with little care for how it would all fit together. It’s a real Frankenstein’s monster of a narrative. 

If they HAD done something very boring and by the book it might have been a “better” movie. Still, there was enough to this thing I actually liked to make me interested in analyzing what Went Wrong and what would have improved it. 2K words worth of analysis, as it turns out.


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When Women Take Over: Lessons from Thor

The internet has been abuzz lately with the news that the new Thor comic book series, helmed by a woman who takes over the titular role as the goddess of thunder, has been outselling it’s male predecessor by about 30%. Fans have been passionately invested in the new series, critics have praised it, and feminists have been laughing their asses off at the misogynistic anti-feminist wing of the nerd community that attacked the series. There’s no revenge sweeter than critical and commercial success.

Thor’s success offers up some important lessons about how to handle a woman taking over the lead role in a traditionally male-led franchise. Not surprisingly, many of the arguments that have been made against a woman taking on Thor’s title are the same arguments against a woman portraying characters like James Bond and the Doctor: It’s just political correctness, the damn feminists have taken over, it doesn’t make sense, there’s no reason to make him a woman, why don’t they just make a new female character, you’re alienating the fans, no one will ever buy this again, you’re doomed to fail, etc.

Thor’s commercial success completely destroys these arguments. Not only did a woman-led Thor sell, she sold better than her male predecessor. Even if the transition may have lost the franchise a few readers, it more than made up for those people by re-energizing existing fans who weren’t purchasing the books and bringing in a huge number of new fans. Changing the lead of a major franchise is a scary transition, especially when the change involves swapping your male lead with a female lead, but it also presents an opportunity to re-engage your fans in unique and interesting ways. 

And that’s how these transitions should be viewed: as opportunities. Creators, observers, and even fans themselves tend to think that “fans” are a rigidly conservative group instinctively opposed to change. And to a certain extent, that is true. Fans tend to be suspicious of change, especially if they think a change is being made as a marketing gimmick. Unfortunately, the incredibly charged discussion around changing a male lead to a female lead, especially in major franchises like Doctor Who and Thor, has convinced many people that such a change could never be anything but a gimmick. But once you earn fans’ trust and continue to provide them with amazing content, fans can be incredibly enthusiastic about innovative changes.

And that’s exactly what the Thor comic books did. It was made clear from the start that a woman didn’t become Thor because Marvel needed a marketing gimmick. A woman became Thor because a plot mechanism already existed that would allow a woman to become Thor. It was a natural progression of the narrative. Thor Odinson was no longer worthy to hold Mjölnir, so a (currently unknown) woman stepped forward to take his place. She was worthy of bearing Mjölnir, and so she became Thor.

It was also made clear that the new Thor was the real deal, not a knock-off, a side-kick, or a sexy counterpart. She IS Thor. Not Lady Thor, Thorette, or Thorita. She IS the Goddess of Thunder, worthy of bearing Mjölnir and capable of wielding its power.

This point is explicitly reinforced several times in the comics, particularly by the original Thor himself. Although he is initially furious that someone else now carries Mjölnir and is calling themselves Thor, it’s made clear that his anger is a result of his misplaced grief and confusion over his own unworthiness. He eventually accepts this new Thor and becomes one of her strongest defenders, insisting that she carry the name Thor and demanding that others refer to her by that name.

More importantly, this point is made by the new Thor herself. Though she initially struggles to discover how to use her new powers, she is confident and assured in her own identity. 

Of course, not everyone is as accepting of the new Thor. Notably, she faced off against a villain whose lines could’ve been lifted from any comments board on the internet:

The arguments of the misogynistic nerd-bros who so bitterly opposed a woman becoming Thor are shot down pretty spectacularly and are shown for the petty, ridiculous, sexist bullshit they are. Thor doesn’t need her own separate identity because she is Thor; she carries the hammer, she has the powers, she gets the name. She didn’t take the title Thor, she assumed it after the previous Thor became unworthy. And this wasn’t a feminist plot to depose one of the last “manly dudes,” it was something that was able to naturally occur in the plot. These arguments are raised in the comics only so they can be shot down in a fairly emphatic “Fuck You” to everyone who attacked the change as a feminist-conspiracy-marketing-ploy.

The comics also take pains to reassure those who supported a woman becoming Thor that they are taking the change seriously and don’t intend to treat it as a gimmick. One of touches I most appreciated was Thor’s obvious and unashamed embrace of feminism.

Those are the key points. If a plot mechanism exists that allows you to change your male lead to a woman lead, roll with it and view it as an exciting opportunity to reengage your fans. Make it clear from the start that you don’t intend to treat the change as a gimmick, and treat your female lead with the same respect you had for the male lead. And for the love of god, don’t give her a cutesy nickname.

Other than that, the only secret to successfully transitioning from a male lead to a female lead is to just create a great story. Superhero stories about men shouldn’t be fundamentally different from superhero stories about women. There should be action, adventure, wonder, epic battles, and a strong, character-driven story at it’s heart (which is why I’m giving the new Wonder Woman movie a major side-eye if the rumors about Michelle MacLaren’s departure are true – female superheroes should be allowed to have epic origin stories and character driven stories). 

And that’s why I’ll be eagerly following the new Thor series. As excited as I may be as a feminist to watch a major franchise take a huge risk and allow a woman to lead one of it’s more prominent series, ultimately I’ll keep coming back because it’s a great story with beautiful art and compelling characters. But the feminist victory is certainly an added bonus.

Red Strings and Blue Hair pt.1

Anonymous asked: pls do more syndisparklez <3 Your last one was amazing

Yes dear anon, I can do that :) I had wanted to do a fic on this concept for a while now and this gave me the perfect opportunity. If you’ve ever heard of the red string of fate then I think you will know what’s in store. I’ve decided to do this in 2 parts because it was becoming quite the unwieldy beast XD  I hope you enjoy it you guys let me know :) <3

Warnings: none

Word count: 2516

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anonymous asked:

But how much of Louis life is really observed? He's on stage 2 hours/day for some times of the year, that's his job, he's away of what he's doing he's not observed for the other 22 hours plus the rest of the year when he's MIA most of the time no one observes him who the hell knows what he's doing? He can be himself except at work, which is unfortunately reality for many... Everybody is playing a role on stage to a certain extent, with going on stage it's always do this do that, but it's a job.

This is what you are defending.



Self-Esteem and the Closet

Some closeted gay people can reflexively speak without revealing the gender of the person being discussed or without providing any gendered details of their personal lives. Sedgwick (1990) called “‘Closetedness’ … a performance initiated as such by the speech act of a silence–not a particular silence, but a silence that accrues particularity by fits and starts, in relation to the discourse that surrounds and differentially constitutes it.” Toward that end, a gay person might avoid references to gender altogether: “I went out last night with someone I’ve been dating for the last few weeks. We went to a movie in their neighborhood. We talked about the possibility of going to the beach next weekend.” A heterosexual listening to these words might automatically assume a heterosexual relationship was being discussed.

It can be painful to keep significant aspects of the self hidden or to vigilantly separate aspects of the self from each other. Constant hiding creates difficulties in accurately assessing other people’s perceptions of oneself, as well as recognizing one’s own strengths. Dissociation’s impact on self-esteem can also make it difficult to feel one’s actual accomplishments as reflections of one’s own abilities. Transparency, invisibility, losing one’s voice, and being stuck behind walls or other barriers are some of the terms used to describe the subjective experience of dissociative detachment (Drescher, 1998).


People often consider the impacts of coming out, but rarely consider the consequence of staying in. It is important to remember that people decide whether or not to come out based on a number of factors. For some, coming out is imperative—the need to be honest with people who are important in their lives is critical. Others stay in the closet to protect those people around them from feeling hurt. Some are almost forced to stay in the closet for their own safety. Whatever the case may be, it is important that coming out of the closet be done at a time and in a fashion that is as comfortable and safe as possible for the individual.

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Keeping a personal secret places substantial and concerning strain on an individual. Sexual orientation is a significant part of one’s identity: who we love is part of our humanity and is often taken for granted in the heteronormative society we live in. Staying in the closet means keeping a part of that humanity separate, and it is well documented that keeping a secret of this magnitude often leads to anxiety and stress. This anxiety and stress can lead to alcoholism, drug use, depression and suicide. The strain of constantly striving to appear mainstream is largely invisible to others until a breaking point is reached, at which point it may be too late to get help.

According to Anita Kelly in Revealing Personal Secrets, in addition to the psychological impacts of nondisclosure, it has been documented that the concealment of personal information, such as one’s sexuality, can lead to physical manifestations such as headaches, nausea and back pain. “Of greater concern are research findings into gay men concealing their sexual orientation, which indicated an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases and some cancers,” wrote Kelly. Another body of research discusses the health benefits to be gained by disclosing personal secrets—benefits that might not be realized if one elects not to disclose their orientation.

Keeping one’s orientation secret has the additional impact of denying part of a person’s character to others, making it difficult to fully integrate with peers. If a person is out of the closet to some people but not others, it leads to a “double life” effect and isolation from the groups and people not in the know. While peers are exploring and experiencing sex, love and relationships, those in the closet often struggle to do the same and are left feeling alone. If there is a significant other, staying in the closet can raise many complications, such as applying for joint financial or tenancy authority and detailing next-of-kin information for insurance purposes and the military.

The decision not to disclose can also lead to a higher likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. The LGBT community is a diverse one: some venues are less safe than others. A degree of caution, born out of years of discrimination and harassment, is essential. To start exploring the gay community—the nightlife, the social scene and sexual expression—without a trusted friend at hand carries a degree of risk. It isn’t hard to believe that a young guy, out alone on a Friday night, might find himself in a difficult situation with nobody to turn to for help, all for fear of outing himself. Further, as stated in the New Zealand Medical Journal, risky behavior might have medical and health considerations. Therefore, it might be relevant for a doctor to know a person’s sexual orientation to provide better, more robust care.

The impacts of nondisclosure don’t apply only to the individual in the closet; it can have a significant impact on the people they associate with, too. Failing to share one’s life with friends and colleagues can lead to uncertainty, mistrust and emotional distance between the closeted individual and his or her peers. For example, it is quite normal in the workplace for colleagues to have some knowledge about each other’s personal lives. While there is no absolute requirement to share this information, it can be critical to trust, networking, mentoring relationships and friendships.