Chuck Dixon wept

I’m not sure even The Legend could do anything with Sparkly Batman:

He fought for the ultimate role as the famed Caped Crusader.

And Warner Bros. has officially approved Robert Pattinson as the star in The Batman, according to Deadline.

The 33-year-old former Twilight star had to battle his way through screen testing against Nicholas Hoult to portray the coveted superhero.


In the meantime, check out Chuck Dixon On Comics #6 on Unauthorized.TV.

Hollywood trying to make law

Georgia would do well to tell Hollywood that any corporation that tries interfering with its laws will no longer be eligible for tax incentives.

Bob Iger said it would be “very difficult” for Disney to keep filming in Georgia if the state enacts a new abortion law. In an interview with Reuters, the CEO of the Walt Disney Co. said he had doubts the company would continue production in Georgia if the controversial ban on abortion in the state comes into effect, primarily as the company’s employees would be against it.

“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully,” Iger told Reuters.

The exec added that if the law does come into effect, he didn’t “see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”

Disney’s prospective withdrawal from production in Georgia would be a huge blow to the state. Recently, Disney’s Marvel Studios filmed portions of both Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame in Georgia.

On May 7, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the “fetal-heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The legislation, as well as similar moves in Alabama and other states to ban abortion, has caused a furious backlash in Hollywood and led to calls to boycott those states.

Disney, through Iger, is the latest company to wade into the controversy. Earlier this week, Netflix said it would fight Georgia’s abortion law and would “rethink” its operations there should the law go into effect.

All Iger’s stupid threat makes me think is that abortion opponents should go after Florida next. Let’s see if Disney is converged enough to shut down Disney World.

The thing with an agenda

Gregory Hood points out the creepy Deep State aspects of the strange ending of A Game of Thrones:

The political settlement that ends the series is even more implausible. “Bran the Broken” possesses magical powers of seeing events in the past, present, and future around the world. He has mostly sat around the past few seasons, occasionally making awkward comments. Nonetheless, the lords of Westeros make him king, based on a speech by Tyrion. Democracy is laughed off, but some form of elective monarchy is created. Bran’s sister Sansa declares the North should be an independent kingdom, and Bran agrees, thus ceding a huge part of his realm as his first act. Why other kingdoms don’t also immediately secede is left unexplained.

Obviously, Westeros is a world of fantasy, where magic, dragons, and giants can be found. Yet as George R. R. Martin repeatedly states, it contains a low amount of magic for a high fantasy series, and the focus is on political realism and cynical maneuvering. Naïve audiences who hadn’t read the books got the message when Ned Stark had his head chopped off. Supernatural beings only work in fiction if they operate in a context where they are comprehensible. Characters must respond in believable ways. The idea that lords with their own agendas and interests would agree to have an odd cripple with no blood connection to the ruling dynasty is absurd.

Yet this is just lazy writing and not important unless you are deeply committed to a television show. If we accept “King Bran,” what’s the real message? It’s that he represents the rule of Narrative, which is to say the rule of media, rather than the rule of tradition, heroism, or even intelligence.

Tyrion justifies the choice of Bran by saying he has the best story. “The boy who fell from a high tower and lived. He knew he’d never walk again, so he learned to fly,” he says. “He crossed beyond the Wall, a crippled boy, and became the Three-Eyed Raven.” Many online wits observed just about every other character (Jon, Arya, Sansa) had a better story.

Yet Tyrion says more than this. He argues that stories are ultimately what unite people more than armies, gold, or flags. “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story,” he says. “Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” (He obviously hasn’t heard of online deplatforming).

Much earlier in the series, Varys posed Tyrion the question of what power really was. Varys said “power resides where men believe it resides.” Tyrion now goes further—power lies in the ability to shape belief.

If any one person has this power, it is Bran. “He is our memory, the keeper of all our stories,” says Tyrion. “The wars, weddings, births, massacres, famines. Our triumphs, our defeats, our past. Who better to lead us into the future?” This is an echo of Orwell—“Who controls the past controls the future.”

Indeed, Bran shows he doesn’t just know about events, he can shape them. Earlier in the series he said he could never be Lord of Winterfell, because he was now the Three-Eyed Raven. He wasn’t really Bran anymore.

Now however, he accepts the crown. “Why do you think I came all this way?” he says. Though he claims he doesn’t want to be king (indeed, earlier in the series he says he doesn’t really “want” anything anymore), he overrules Grey Worm’s objection to making Tyrion Hand of the King. “I’m king,” he says in justification. Bran also shows more emotion and personality after becoming king, though not much. There’s not really “one” person ruling the realm through the power of story (of narrative). However, there’s clearly something with an agenda of its own.

Bran as king doesn’t make any sense at all… except perhaps as predictive programming and rule by AI. The obvious king from a logical perspective was the Gendry the blacksmith, the bastard of Robert Baratheon and the most-legitimate claimant to the throne.

Darkstream: the Game of Thrones finale

My take on the finale of A Game of Thrones relied somewhat upon this article on Scientific American explaining the way in which the shift from George Martin’s sociological storytelling to Hollywood’s psychological storytelling all but ruined the HBO show, but allowed for a moderately satisfying end to the saga nevertheless.

It’s easy to miss this fundamental narrative lane change and blame the series’ downturn on plain old bad writing by Benioff and Weiss—partly because they are genuinely bad at it. They didn’t just switch the explanatory dynamics of the story, they did a terrible job in the new lane as well.

One could, for example, easily focus on the abundance of plot holes. The dragons, for example seem to switch between comic-book indestructible to vulnerable from one episode to another. And it was hard to keep a straight face when Jaime Lannister ended up on a tiny cove along a vast, vast shoreline at the exact moment the villain Euron Greyjoy swam to that very point from his sinking ship to confront him. How convenient!

Similarly, character arcs meticulously drawn over many seasons seem to have been abandoned on a whim, turning the players into caricatures instead of personalities. Brienne of Tarth seems to exist for no reason, for example; Tyrion Lannister is all of a sudden turned into a murderous snitch while also losing all his intellectual gifts (he hasn’t made a single correct decision the entire season). And who knows what on earth is up with Bran Stark, except that he seems to be kept on as some sort of extra Stark?

But all that is surface stuff. Even if the new season had managed to minimize plot holes and avoid clunky coincidences and a clumsy Arya ex machina as a storytelling device, they couldn’t persist in the narrative lane of the past seasons. For Benioff and Weiss, trying to continue what Game of Thrones had set out to do, tell a compelling sociological story, would be like trying to eat melting ice cream with a fork. Hollywood mostly knows how to tell psychological, individualized stories. They do not have the right tools for sociological stories, nor do they even seem to understand the job.

This is why it’s going to be challenging to make A Throne of Bones properly. But we’ll find a way to do it, and the success of A Game of Thrones is why we’ll have the opportunity.

So that’s not suspicious at all

I’m only surprised Isaac Kappy wasn’t found hanging from a red scarf:

‘Thor’ and ‘Terminator: Salvation’ actor Isaac Kappy has been confirmed as the man who jumped to his death from a bridge in Arizona on Monday, according to TMZ. Officials confirmed on Tuesday that Kappy, 42, was struck by a Ford pickup truck after hurling himself from the Transwestern Road bridge onto Interstate 40, where he died, according a statement from Bart Graves, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety….

Per his Twitter account, Kappy appeared to be on a crusade to take down people he believes are sexually abusing children. He wrote in his post on Sunday, ‘While it’s true I have spent many, many hours of research and disseminating information about bad actors, I have had SO LITTLE CARE for introspection about MY OWN actions.

‘And while it’s true I have outed many pedophiles that were former FRIENDS, I remained in their sphere for much longer than I should have, and attempted to gain from them AFTER I knew about their actions. And in my SHEER ARROGANCE I did not even reflect on this fact.’

His timeline is full of retweeted news stories about pedophiles and rants about high-profile people accused of sex crimes and some who aren’t. He accused Green of being a pedophile in a video posted in July.

It is reported that “several bystanders tried physically restraining Kappy from jumping but failed to hold him”. Perhaps they did. Or perhaps that is the Hollywood way to describe throwing someone off a bridge.

But regardless, it’s hard not to notice that individuals who are known to have traveled in and around pedophile circles have a statistically improbable suicide rate.

Mostly stupid

It wasn’t quite the relentless, multi-level stupidity of Avenger’s Endgame, but the penultimate episode of A Game of Thrones left me with much the same impression as reading A Dance with Dragons did. Namely, that I can do better. And I was very far from the only viewer left unimpressed.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead:

10 big flaws with the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones:

1. Daenerys

Some viewers complained that the way Dany abandoned her principles (everything she’d ever stood for) and descended into butchery was irrational or rash. In fact if anything it was too predictable – to Varys and us anyway, if not Jon and Tyrion.

‘They say every time a Targaryen is born the Gods toss a coin and the world holds its breath,’ the Spider told the dwarf. ‘We both know what she’s about to do.’

In a fable about power, and the hunger for absolute power corrupting absolutely, it was inevitable – much like Varys’ execution.

But the way she spared Tyrion, Jaime Lannister, and even her lover Jon surely made less sense. If anything their betrayals were much greater than his. It was not Tyrion’s first mistake either and her warning ‘next time you fail me is the last time you fail me’ didn’t sit with her ruthlessness towards Varys – or King’s Landing.

‘Sansa trusted you to spread secrets that could destroy your own queen,’ she hissed. ‘And you did not let her down…Varys knows the truth because you told him. You learned from Sansa and she learned from Jon, though I begged him not to tell her…He betrayed me.’

2. Varys

Probably the most under-rated, under-used Game Of Thrones’ character, Varys had known ‘more kings and queens than any man living’, as he pointed out to Jon, and survived them all. In fact he’d turned survival, seamlessly switching sides, into an artform. So it was unlikely that he’d have allowed Daenerys to come for him without conceiving some sort of escape, especially as he knew Tyrion disagreed with his view Jon would make a better ruler. Finally the way her dragon simply torched Varys was a disappointingly, uncharacteristically, coarse form of execution.

Rash: Some viewers complained that the way Dany abandoned her principles (everything she’d ever stood for) and descended into butchery was irrational or rash +10
Rash: Some viewers complained that the way Dany abandoned her principles (everything she’d ever stood for) and descended into butchery was irrational or rash

3. Tyrion

Tyrion’s sustained faith in Daenerys being a benevolent, moral, candidate to rule the Seven Kingdoms was never very convincing. Tyrion wasn’t ever idealistic let alone naïve and, given his acute intelligence, ignoring Varys’ judgement/counsel just didn’t add up either. He had already been suckered by Cersei and Jaime so shouldn’t have swallowed Dany’s promise to hold back after a surrender. Obviously, family is everything in GoT. Tyrion releasing his brother (returning the favour) made sense but urging Jaime to save Cersei (telling him to escape and ‘start a new life’) ?? Nope, just don’t see Tyrion doing that – especially as it was before Dany went on the rampage.

The biggest problem with all this fake drama, which I addressed briefly in last night’s Darkstream, is that it was dependent upon highly intelligent characters to be something they were not. Both Varys and Tyrion saw Daenerys’s descent into ruthless butchery coming, but neither of them, despite their long personal histories of taking matters into their own lethal hands, bothers to do anything conclusive about it. Given how much both men care about the people of King’s Landing, their fecklessness in the situation is simply absurd, particularly in the case of Varys, since the treachery involved in his letting others know about Jon’s claim on the throne guaranteed his execution in the event of detection anyhow.

I see this trainwreck of an episode as a classic example of letting the visuals drive the story, which is almost always a mistake. The writers have a certain image in mind, so they move the pieces around to ensure they can present it to the viewers with no respect for either the characters involved or its effect on the story. Or, for that matter, the viewers’ intelligence.

It was even too stupid for The Verge:

Taken as a whole, all these idiot gestures look exactly the same. “The Bells” is full of characters being their dumbest, most ill-considered selves, solely in the pursuit of momentary conflicts and payoffs. Jaime’s death in Cersei’s arms seems like a fitting payoff for all his awful behavior with her in the early going of the series, but it completely ignores all his character development over eight seasons, including his most recent relationship. Euron’s attempt to murder the first person he sees after his ship is destroyed seems in character for an agent of chaos, but it still feels forced and random. Varys couldn’t go about his plan in a dumber way if he tried — it’s almost as though he’s anticipating and hoping for execution, to remind Jon that Dany is capable of killing even those closest to her.

Fight the real battle, Marvel

Despite its best efforts to anticipate the SJW Narrative, Marvel’s Endgame falls well short of the expectations of the SJW thought police:

The Marvel blockbuster is predicted to surpass its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, by £200million, which would crown the new superhero film the largest debut in the history of cinema – and possibly the first film to break one billion dollars in less than a week.

Endgame’s roster includes at least 30 superheroes, but it seems the real battle is more one between the sexes than against gauntlet-wielding super villains – as major male characters enjoy a combined 381 minutes of screen-time, compared to only 116 for their female counterparts.

Chris Evans’ Captain America enjoys one hour and six minutes of screen time – the most of any of the film’s stars – followed by Robert Downey Jnr’s Iron Man with one hour and two minutes, and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor with 45 minutes.

British actress Karen Gillan, known for playing Amy Pond in Doctor Who, has the most screen time of all the female stars, and the fourth most of all, appearing for 41 minutes as the cyborg Nebula, but the franchise’s latest star Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, appears for only 15 minutes, despite her recent blockbuster.

I am shocked, appalled, and offended. I expect, and sincerely hope, that Marvel addresses this terrible sexual screen time imbalance in all its future movies. Do they not know it is 2019 and not 1950? Do better, Marvel. Do better!

Up next: Black lesbian Thor

Marvel Films is determined to create space for the inevitable competition:

A new rumor indicates that Thor 4 could feature a female led.

The rumor from Cosmic Book News points to an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson noted she believes a pitch for a Thor 4 film has been made:

“I heard that a pitch has happened for [another “Thor” film]. I don’t know how real that intel is, but I hear that the pitch has happened. I think the idea is Taika [Waititi, who directed ‘Ragnarok’] would come back.”

She also discussed the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how it will be more female-oriented when discussing a recent fan tweet showing Captain Marvel and Valkyrie together:

“It didn’t even occur to me, legitimately, that it was necessarily a romantic thing. I don’t even know what happens in the canon in terms of those characters or if they ever intersect, but I just love the idea of more women Marvel characters getting to intersect. I just think it’s so cool and it’s time and why not? There’s so many compelling female characters inside of the MCU.”

She added:

“And just selfishly, when I get to see those women in passing, they’re all such cool women. So the idea of getting to spend time with them and hang out is so fun. I’m just excited that this new phase promises to have women and queer folks.”

Some people are under the mistaken impression that these developments are upsetting to us. Quite the contrary. We are 100 percent in favor of Marvel and DC completely embracing and celebrating the ever-mutating SJW Narrative, on the grounds that one should never interrupt one’s enemy when he is… doing exactly the right thing for Social Justice and the Post-American Way.

The beatings will continue until morale improves

The SJW insanity at Disney isn’t likely to stop any time soon. In fact, it will probably accelerate. Wall Street LOVES what Bob Iger is doing at Disney:

Stars like to boast that they never read their reviews, but does Bob Iger? The Disney czar received a litany of raves for his three-hour performance last week aimed at demonstrating his company’s intention to conquer Netflix. The upshot: Disney shares hit record highs and famously skeptical analysts bubbled that Iger’s presentation was “impressive” and “compelling.” Analyst Todd Juenger even lauded Iger’s insistent repetition of the word “aggressive.”

The bottom line is that Wall Street believes Disney has the resources, momentum and, definitely, the aggression to achieve its objectives. Iger is thus “king of the world,” at least within the entertainment ecosystem; he even owns the James Cameron franchises to prove it (Cameron was the original self-anointed king).

What they are doing is working in the short term even as they stuff themselves on their seed corn. If Wall Street loves it, you can be confident that financial strip-mining and short time preferences are in play. This bodes very, very well for Arkhaven’s plans, the most important new aspect of which will be announced early next month, and in which you will be able to not only support, but participate directly.

Devil Mouse to cut up to 10,000 jobs

Disney appears to be a lot more likely to shut down Marvel Comics than anyone likely believes. They’ve already shut down Fox 2000, which produced more revenue from a single movie release than comic sales ever could:

Disney still hasn’t disclosed an official number of jobs they plan to cut. Analysts estimate 4,000-10,000, though several employees say the number being floated among people in the know is closer to 3,000….

One employee on the TV side told THR how disheartened the television employees were at witnessing the carnage in film, but later the ax began to fall there, as well, with 20th Television president Greg Meidel let go.

Disney also laid off Fox Consumer Products boss Jim Fielding, and sources say that of about 50 U.S.-based staffers in that division, five have received pink slips. “I’ve never seen anything like this — from any company,” says a Fox employee who witnessed Thursday’s drama.

Disney has said all along that it intends, due to the merger, to save $2 billion annually by 2021, and such rhetoric usually means jobs will be lost. “This is what happens in mergers,” explains Northlake Capital Management founder Steven Birenberg. “It’s partially the point, as cost savings boost the financials.”

It’s possible that the cost savings will be limited to the Fox acquisition, but in light of the multi-year decline in Marvel revenues combined with the budget imperative, it wouldn’t exactly be shocking to see them shut down the production and pursue a licensing strategy.