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The 13 ‘Frostpunk’ Laws of Surviving the Storm

Posted: 01 May 2018 11:50 PM PDT

Frostpunk isn’t the easiest city-builder. Unlike the SimCity games of the world, you’re not free to build to your heart’s content. The fun here comes from optimising heat and resources, and enacting special Frostpunk laws to handle the many challenges the game throws at you.

These laws can take you down some thematically troubling paths, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And the storm that Frostpunk has in store for you at the end of its main scenario, bringing the temperature down as far as -150 degrees Celsius, definitely qualifies as desperate measures.

So we’re here to talk about the different Frostpunk laws, and go through a few tips, to help you weather the weather.

It should be noted that there are usually multiple ways of doing things in Frostpunk. While some players will swear by automatons, others will hate them. Some may say Child Labour is overpowered, and others will say it’s better to wait for Child Shelters. In truth, almost all options have their place, and we’ll try to note that where relevant.

The Best Frostpunk Laws

Some laws are tradeoffs, and some laws are just plain good. Some are even meta. You should be passing these laws pretty much on cooldown, as long as they’re not getting in the way of promises.

You’ll find a lot of the good laws in the Adaptation tree. You’ll obviously need to come up with a solution for dead bodies, whether it’s the Cemetery or Snow Pit.

Some community favourites are:

  • Emergency Shift is a great tool to keep a workplace running for 24 hours. There’s a cost, but there are many situations in which it’s worth using.
  • Child Labour can solve your worker shortage early on, and if you’re careful with workplace conditions, you can avoid them getting sick.
  • Soup is a good fix for the early game, but you’ll need to watch that steady rise of Discontent.
  • Public House can help keep people happy when you’re working them on super-long shifts.
  • Child Shelters can lead to laws that are a great way to boost either your tech buildings or medical facilities.

Once you’re well into either Order or Faith, get your crowd-busting brutes such as the Faith Keepers to keep the Londoners in check.

When choosing laws, keep in mind that whether you opt for Order or Faith, both end with the elimination of the Hope bar. That means all of your Hope-increasing laws become redundant, while Discontent remains a factor.

The Hunter Hut Trick

Even if you’re not using Frostpunk laws to force people to work longer, it’s actually possible to give people two jobs without using laws.

When workers are close to the end of their shift, you can take them off of their job and add them into a Hunter Hut roster. They’re now working their second job — just in time for the hunters to head off for their nighttime hunt. When the hunters come back, you can take them out of that role and back onto their normal job.

It’s a bit of micromanaging, but you’ll get double the value out of these workers without ever diving into the Frostpunk laws menu. Completely up to you whether you use this tip — some might even find it a bit cheap.

As another Frostpunk tip, we’ll point out that it’s tempting to fall into a habit of using a favourite technique, which means you might not try out new things. This is one of those times when other strategies do certainly work (Hothouses are great for food), so the trick isn’t necessary. And we’re pretty sure 11 Bit Studios knows the tip, so it might be fixed soon.

Frostpunk Requires Stockpiling

The Frostpunk tip that seems to be neglected when people start this game is it’s not enough to set up a booming, bustling economy. You’re effectively required to prepare for the weather’s version of a Boss Battle.

The final storm gets so harsh, you’ll have to tell everyone to go home and wait out the cold. The soil in hothouses freezes, hunters can’t hunt, and most workplaces will be too cold to function. The only productive workers will be automatons.

Automatons walk from the Generator to their workplace
Automatons can work through the cold nights

There are two main resources you need to stockpile to ensure survival: coal and food rations. For as long as your Cookhouse is functional, you can turn any raw food into food rations as well.

Before the storm becomes visible, you should start building stockhouses and have a strategy in place of producing more than you consume. If you’re economy is automaton-heavy, you won’t need to stockpile as much coal. But food is a must.

The Law of Gathering Posts

There are many points at which we’ll tell you to not play Frostpunk like an RTS, but this is the exception. Building Gathering Posts close to resources can be great.

Math time? Math time.

15 workers on a coal pile will collect 18 coal per hour. That’s 1.2 coal per worker, per hour. 10 workers at a Gathering Post brings in 24 coal per hour. That’s 2.4 coal per worker, per hour.

Now add the fact that Gathering Posts can cover multiple resource points. There are diminishing returns from this, but the numbers are still higher. You should be optimally arranging these around your starting resources, and later on you can use them to quickly gather from multiple Coal Thumpers.

You just doubled your efficiency and you didn’t even need to use Frostpunk laws. Gathering Posts also have insulation, protecting your workers.

Organise Your City Around Heat

Start by putting your buildings with high insulation on the outside. We usually put the Hunter's Hut on the outside of our cities. Some people go extreme and put workplaces all the way on the outside. When the crater gets full, they like to have all Houses in the middle. Much like a human or a dwelling, the crater itself looks insulated with a warm core.

Some buildings require no heat at all. They’ll function no matter what and there’s no need to be anywhere near the Generator. If you plan on filling your entire crater, you may as well put them on the outer edge, out of the way. These include:

  • Cemetary/Snow Pit
  • The Beacon
  • Stockhouses
  • Outpost Depot
  • Hunter’s Hut/Hunter’s Hangar

Shelter for your workers, medical posts, hothouses and cookhouses should all take Generator priority.

A heatmap shows which buildings are warm and which are freezing

Steam Hubs Over Generator Range

If you’re pursuing a strategy of upgrading your Generator range, you have to plan carefully so your Steam Hubs don’t overlap much. Otherwise it’s wasted space.

Going for a Steam Hub strategy is more efficient and easier to plan. When you upgrade your Generator power, the Steam Hubs are affected as well. Range and power upgrades both double coal usage. This compounds as well, making range upgrades a scary prospect.

Middle-Click to Rotate Buildings

Here’s one you won’t find in the Frostpunk tutorial.

A lot of buildings aren’t perfect squares, so you might be able to fit them “thin side in.” This can be great while making sure a building is covered by a Steam Hub, too. Just whack that sucker in sideways, and add an extra technique to Tetris your town.

You’ll experience this at the very beginning of each scenario too, as your inner ring around the Generator won’t cleanly fit your starting buildings. Getting an extra structure in to prevent sickness from snowballing could have a big effect.

The overmap in Frostpunk with areas to explore
Rush to scouts. It's worth it.

Outposts and Scouts

If you're playing Frostpunk like a normal city-builder or RTS, you might neglect two of the more unique aspects: scouts and outposts. These can be fantastic earners for a cheap price. Two scout squads with improved sleds is enough to explore the entire map, unless you get unlucky and one of them dies to a bad event. You'll even have enough time to regularly send them back to deliver resources, boosting your economy before they're off again.

In the last scenario, you won’t have to worry about scouts dying, and you’ll need more scouts to cover the whole map, so plan accordingly.

An outpost at the Coal Mine, for example, will send you 800 coal per day until the storm comes. Compare that to the Coal Mine, which can provide up to 240 coal per work day and costs nearly as much to make.

In the main scenario, an outpost at Tesla City is also the only way you can get a steady supply of Steam Cores. Necessary if you want a city full of automatons, or if you want to raise your population beyond 400 or so and keep them fed.

Scouts will also travel quicker to locations they’ve already been to. Abuse this and have them head to places they already know before venturing further to explore.

Go for scouts early, and get those extra resources and the population to use them. Then, decide which outposts you want to base your economy around.

The Generator heats a circle around it

Overcharging the Generator

The Generator is designed to not be overcharged long enough to complete quests. If the Cold Homes event pops up, there’s no way you’re just going to be able to overcharge for the full two days.

That said, there’s no reason to leave it idle. It’s a free resource. Even if you’re just increasing homes from a “liveable” temperature to “comfortable,” it reduces chance of sickness.

Just make sure you keep an eye on the incoming weather, and always have a full overcharge meter when a two-tier drop in temperature is coming.

A warning event requires a sacrifice to keep the Generator working
Be careful, after a few warnings Frostpunk will just let your Generator explode

Wall Drills

Keeping with the theme of trying out new things that wouldn’t normally be in an RTS, Wall Drills can actually be the most efficient method of harvesting wood.

It seems counterintuitive. Surely, the trees out in the open are easiest to get to? But numerically, you’ll get more from breaking into the ice around you and peeling out the frozen trunks you find there. Go figure.

Mind you, the upgrade path for Wall Drills isn’t as robust as the efficiency upgrades for Sawmills. Wall Drills are still better, but this varies by scenario — if your scenario only has one site available for a Wall Drill, it might be better to choose the Sawmill path.

Redesign Your Houses

If you can, reseaching the House Redesign tech greatly decreases the cost of mass upgrading to Houses. It’s very, very, worth it.

This does of course involve researching the next tier on the tech tree. But the benefits outweigh the cost so drastically, we found ourselves always going up an extra tier, even if we have to save for it. It reduces the cost of Houses from 25 wood and 15 steel, to a negligible 15 wood and 5 steel.

That basically guarantees everyone will be in Houses before the storm comes.

An event demands more sickbeds or a new law
The UI can sometimes make it hard to see relevant info

Calculate Your Promises

When the event UI comes up, it's hard to see underlying UI elements like how many people are hungry, or what the temperature will be like tomorrow. Make sure you're not promising anything without all of the info you need.

You can close the event by clicking outside of it. Have a look at all the relevant factors. If you're being asked to heat homes, you'll want to know if it'll be 20 degrees colder within that timeframe. If there are riots over food, have a look at your economy and see if you can meet demand after a day.

If you've got your brute squad researched, sometimes the best option is just to disperse the crowd. These events have a timer, so you might even be able to enact a law, research a tech, or build the relevant building before they expire.

Laws Can Hinder Food Consumption

Got people who won’t eat? There are more than a few screenshots floating around the internet of the hungry/starving icons displaying while there are clearly enough food rations to go ’round.

This is actually not a bug. Frostpunk simulates each person’s life, right down to their work hours, their sleeping location, and their routine walk up to the Cookhouse to get fed. If that citizen is somehow kept from going to the Cookhouse, they’re going to starve.

You can click on those hungry/starving icons to check that they're not being overworked or otherwise kept from going to get their food. It’ll give you information on everyone who is hungry or starving, and you can then click on each citizen to see if they’re in a facility with an emergency 24-hour shift, or something similar.

Another possible solution is the Frostpunk law Field Kitchen, which keeps workers fed close to their workplaces.

There are quests that require you to keep people fed, and it can be incredibly annoying to fail the quest because someone seemingly refused to eat. This is a quick, easy fix.

We hope that gives you a few good tricks and tips to use when choosing Frostpunk laws and attempting to survive the storm. Once you’ve mastered the main scenario, be sure to check out the achievements. They’re a lot more interesting and challenging than in most games.

‘Frostpunk’ Review: Survival City-Building in a Winter Wasteland

The post The 13 ‘Frostpunk’ Laws of Surviving the Storm appeared first on FANDOM.

‘Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple’ Review: A Dark, Amusing, and Overly Complex Tale

Posted: 01 May 2018 10:54 PM PDT

Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple takes fans back to Yokohama to solve a new mystery that takes place six years after the Dragon’s Head Rush Conflict, the bloodiest 88 days in the history of the city. The incident may have ended but the man behind it, Shibusawa Tatsuhiko (aka “The Collector”) has reappeared along with a mysterious, deadly fog.

Whenever the fog rolls in, it leaves behind gifted who appear to have been by their own powers. Naturally, the Armed Detective Agency is asked to investigate the puzzling deaths. Unfortunately, before they can track down The Collector, he releases the eerie green fog in their hometown of Yokohama. The citizens of the town mysteriously disappear, leaving only the gifted behind. Now powerless, the gifted from the agency must conquer the darker sides of themselves — their powers in physical form.

Setting the Bar

Dazai and Atsushi from Bungo Stray Dogs Dead Apple
Atsushi blindly trusts Dazai when others don't, but we never learn why. At least, not in the film.

Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple doesn't waste any time setting up the story. Instead, the film plunges viewers into a dark, seedy city full of bloodshed. The opening sequence sets the bar high. Audiences are treated to a high octane battle full of gore, motorcycles stunts, and powerful gifted attacks. It's an epic battle that sets the tone and gives the film a bit of historical context.

Unfortunately, this context isn't quite enough to orient those unfamiliar with Bungo Stray Dogs. Outside of a clunky attempt to quickly summarize all the major series players in the opening theme, the film doesn't do much to welcome new viewers into the fold. It jumps right into the story, assuming that viewers will pick things up along the way.

Poignant Moments Lost Within a Complex Plot

Dazai and the Collector
It's unclear what exactly brought Dazai and the Collector together.

To a certain extent, this works. Instead of trying to fit the anime's large ensemble cast, Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple focuses on Atsushi Nakajima. The most timid member of the agency, Atsushi spends much of the film doubting himself and trying to avoid confrontation. It's obvious that Atsushi has the most growing to do of all the characters we meet along the way. But why he needs to grow isn't clear to those who haven't seen the show.

Like the others, Atsushi must confront the darker side of himself — by battling his powers in physical form. The battles themselves provide a great vehicle for character development. But the film doesn't linger on these poignant moments long enough. Instead, it teases us with character backstories and mysteries that the film’s main narrative overshadows, such as Dazai‘s, a member of the agency, connection to the villain Shibusawa Tatsuhiko.

Great Stories Need Excellent Villains

Bungo Stray Dogs Fyodor D looking smug
Fyodor Dostoevsky's motivations are murky at best.

This technique might've worked better if the main plot worked as a cohesive whole. But it doesn't. The motivations of the villains (yes, there are technically three of them) don't make much sense. Sure, there's an overly complicated conspiracy woven into the story that supposedly explains their need to work together. But it feels random and forced. It might be more accurate to say that a bunch of untrusting evil masterminds got bored and hatched a plan. Just for fun, they decided to test an experiment that would leave the world in peril, all while trying to outwit each other.

The tenuous nature of their alliance makes you question why they even formed it in the first place, especially when they don’t seem to have a common goal. Surprisingly, it’s the dramatic, battle-heavy moments that offer the most characterization, like when we learn how Kyōka controls Demon Snow. Not the quiet moments filled with witty dialogue between the antagonists.

Bungo Stray Dogs Dead Apple - Kyoka in the midst of battle
We learn why Kyōka's cellphone is so significant to her.

In fact, the intricate narrative requires such a leap in logic that it'll leave viewers grasping for something tangible to ground themselves. There are too many agencies and alliances to keep track of for a newcomer. That's why it's so frustrating when great storylines involving individual characters manifest only to quickly dissipate to make room for the anime's flimsy main story.

Storylines like Kyōka's complicated relationship with Demon Snow following the death of her parents or Atsushi's past at the orphanage could've been their own movies. But because the film glosses over such important moments, we're left with character arcs that are only somewhat fulfilling. Without a firm grasp on where they’ve been, we lose the meaning behind a character's growth.

A Standout Character in an Ominous City

Akutagawa from Bungo Stray Dogs Dead Aple
Without a doubt, Akutagawa was one of the highlights of the film.

Outside of the uninspired villains and the main storyline, Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is still an entertaining story. The soundtrack is a delicious mix of opera-like dramatic moments, tense piano melodies, and rocking guitar-saxophone hybrid tunes that give Persona 5 a run for its money. Paired with the anime's excellent use of color — scenes are bathed in hues of greens, purples, and blues — the score heightens the dark, ominous tone of the film.

Akutagawa vs his power Rashomon in Bungo Stray Dogs
Akutagawa faces off against his ability Rashōmon.

Not to mention, the animation is great. The fog that rolls through the city looks so real, you half expect it seep into the theater as you watch. The battles are seamless and provide a great distraction from the film's main plot. We learn a bit more about each character. We also get to see Akutagawa be a total badass with his ability Rashōmon. In fact, the Port Mafia member steals every scene he's in. He is more informed about the threat they face and his ability is full of the best kind of spectacle. Not to mention, his battle against his powers in physical form was the most entertaining even though it was the least revealing character wise.

Is Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple Good?

The Collector from Bungo Stray Dogs - Dead Apple
No one is more bored than The Collector.

Despite its shortcomings, the movie is fun to watch. Fans of the series will love to see their favorites back in action. (Although, they may be disappointed by how little they see of the majority of the Armed Detective Agency's members.) Atsushi's arc doesn’t pack the full emotional punch the creators expected. But it is satisfying and provides a big reveal for the character that fans won't want to miss. Also, the film’s central theme of accepting the darker side of yourself isn’t anything new, but it will hit home for viewers.

Armed Detective Agency from Bungo Stray Dogs Dead Apple
If you're a fan of the show, you might miss the rest of the crew.

So, if you're looking for something with seamless animation, a moving soundtrack, jaw-dropping battles, and a great message then Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple is for you. However, if this is your first foray into the world of Bungo, you might find yourself on the outside looking in. But at least you'll be entertained.

Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple premiered in Japan on March 3, 2018, and earlier this month in the US at Anime Boston and Sakura Con. It will return to theaters in the US and Canada on May 2, 3, and 6 for Crunchyroll Movie Night.

The post ‘Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple’ Review: A Dark, Amusing, and Overly Complex Tale appeared first on FANDOM.

The Complete Star Wars Saga Timeline (UPDATED)

Posted: 01 May 2018 05:20 PM PDT

Welcome to FANDOM’s complete in-canon Star Wars saga timeline…

When Star Wars: A New Hope arrived in theaters in 1977, it didn’t have an episode number or even a tag line. It was just called Star Wars. This film was a sensation and became the most influential science fiction film in history. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi concluded this epic trilogy, and for a while, that was Star Wars.

Fast forward 41 years later and there are dozens of books, comics, video games, and TV shows that have expanded on the original Star Wars story. While we can’t list everything (don’t worry, Wookieepedia has it all) we have collected the main entries into Star Wars canon you can follow below.

The Skywalker family is the core of this saga. While Luke and Leia‘s journey is explored in depth in the original trilogy, their family history goes all the way back to the prequel trilogy, which we’ll get into in a moment. But this story did start before the Skywalkers, with a wise, green Jedi named Yoda.

A Training Mission with Yoda

Star Wars Yoda
This 5-issue comic takes place before the prequels.

Marvel Comics is currently publishing an in-canon Star Wars comic book. While most of it takes place between the films A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, there was a five-issue arc in the comic called “Yoda’s Secret War.” These five issues come from one of Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s journals where he went on an adventure with Master Yoda. Their adventure is the farthest back in the timeline you can go (so far).

Marvel also produced a comic book called Darth Maul. You won’t meet Darth Maul until the first prequel film, but before that, you can read how he became the Sith Apprentice of Darth Sidious in the five-issue series Darth Maul. These two series are technically our jumping off point into the saga and add some context to two characters we’ll meet in the prequels.

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy…

'The Phantom Menace' was released May 19, 1999.

OK, now that you’ve read (or read up on) those two comic arcs, let’s get into the first set of films: the Star Wars Prequels. The prequel films take place 32 years before the events of A New Hope, starting with The Phantom Menace. The Phantom Menace begins with a Trade Federation blockade of the planet Naboo. The Jedi Council sends Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan to negotiate a peace treaty and instead, they get caught up in an invasion. This invasion leads them to the outer rim planet of Tatooine, which is where we meet young Anakin Skywalker and the saga truly begins.

During this time, Anakin meets the Queen of Naboo, Padme Amidala. Their friendship blossoms, the Jedi expose the Trade Federation‘s blockade of Naboo in the Galactic Republic and the Sith begin to reveal themselves. The Phantom Menace sets the stage for three future events: the future union of Anakin and Padme, the secret presence of a Sith Emperor, and the rise of the Empire.

Preparing for War

Anakin and Amidala fight together with the Jedi.

These events are followed by Attack of the Clones. Attack of the Clones picks up 10 years later, with Anakin training to be a Jedi with his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Amidala is no longer queen but is instead serving as a Senator for Naboo. The Jedi continue to sense the presence of the Sith but are unsure of the Emperor’s identity. Obi-Wan discovers the presence of a mysterious Clone Army, which the Galactic Senate authorizes to launch when war comes to the galaxy. Anakin and Amidala choose to get married, even though it’s forbidden and Anakin grieves over the death of his mother.

There are a few things to read between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, specifically the Marvel comic series Obi-Wan and AnakinThis five-part series documents a few of the Jedi training adventures the pair go on before the galaxy is embroiled in war. You can also read the comic series Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu. This five-issue series takes place directly after the events of Attack of the Clones.

Begun the Clone Wars Have

'The Clone Wars' ran for 6 years on television.

Next up is the Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars. This series includes one feature-length movie and 129 episodes. It spans the three year period between Attack of the Clones and the final film in the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith. The Clone Wars is a fascinating series because it provides an in depth look into how the Clone Army became so powerful. It shows Yoda going on secret missions, it shows Anakin training his own Padawan Ahsoka Tano, and it shows how the Dark Side was gaining strength in the galaxy.

One thing to note about The Clone Wars is that many episode were not aired in order. For instance, the first episode in the series is called “Ambush,” but the timeline technically begins with a Season 2 episode called “Cat and Mouse.” The best way to follow the series is through this handy guide from StarWars.com. You may have to jump around a bit at the beginning, but you’ll really get a hand on the stories the show is telling when you watch them in order.

Seeds of the Death Star

Published Nov. 2016, written by James Luceno.

While The Clone Wars series does lead right into Revenge of the Sith, there is one thing you can read that takes place during this timeline: the Rogue One prequel book, Catalyst. Catalyst explores the life of Galen Erso and his recruitment into the Republic weapons development by Orson Krennic. At this point in time, the Republic is still technically “the good team,” but Galen becomes wary when he begins working on a “Death Star” project. This book spans across both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, so you can read it as you head into Sith territory.

You can also learn more about Darth Maul and Kanan during this time. Darth Maul’s story continues in the Dark Horse comic book series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir. These storylines actually came from The Clone Wars, but were never used. Kanan, who you won’t meet until Rebels, has a storyline in the Marvel comic series Kanan: The Last Padawan. He recalls his experiences training as a Jedi on Coruscant, before the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Palpatine’s Final Move

'Revenge of the Sith' concludes the prequel trilogy.

Revenge of the Sith is the third and final film in the prequel trilogy. For many years it was considered to be the last film in the Star Wars saga. It is by far the darkest and most difficult Star Wars film to watch. Anakin is tortured and turned to the Dark Side. The Emperor releases an order to execute the Jedi. Darth Vader rises to power and Amidala’s babies are separated at birth. The film is the harrowing conclusion to the Emperor’s plans to rule the galaxy.

While this trilogy is not as critically acclaimed as the original trilogy, it is crucial to watch if you want to understand how the Dark Side rose to power. The Clone Wars series and Revenge of the Sith clearly show that the Empire did not show up over night by crushing the Republic — no — the Empire IS the Republic, twisted and mutilated by the Emperor, much like his pupil, Darth Vader.

The Empire Reigns

The 'Darth Vader' comic is written by Charles Soule.

The time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is a dark one. The Empire has taken over the galaxy and any system that tries to fight back gets squashed. Darth Vader has become Emperor Palpatine’s enforcer, and their new relationship is explored in the Marvel comic book series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith. This comic picks up immediately after the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Then you can catch up with Kanan, the last Padawan, in the first six issues of his comic series. While you learned about his last days in the Jedi Temple in issues #7 – #12, go back to read issues #1 – #6. Kanan will be a very important character when you get to the animated series Star Wars Rebels. Next in the timeline is a series of young reader books. These books, titled Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space, are composed of short stories that take place during the Galactic Empire. There are seven books in all.

Remember Ahsoka?

The audiobook is narrated by Ashley Eckstein, who voices Ahsoka in 'The Clone Wars.'

Before the events of Revenge of the Sith, Ahsoka Tano was Anakin’s Padawan. Most of her journey was explored in The Clone Wars animated series but what happened to her afterwards? That’s where the book Ahsoka comes in. This book explores Ahsoka’s life after Executive Order 66, when the Clones killed all the Jedi. She was in hiding at the time, so she survived. She later joins forces with Bail Organa and helps start the early movements of the Rebellion.

Next in the timeline are two books with a heavy focus on the Empire. First, is Lords of the Sith. This book focuses on Lord Vader and the Emperor. The next book is titled Tarkin. Together these books paint a brutal and calculating picture of the lengths the Dark Side is willing to go to maintain their rule in the galaxy. Tarkin in particular documents the Dark Side’s work on the Death Star, which was first explored in the Galen Erso book Catalyst.

Next is Rebel Rising. Rebel Rising explores the backstory of our Rogue One heroine, Jyn Erso. When Jyn was young, she lived with her parents on a then Republic base, while her father worked on the Death Star design. This was explored in the book Catalyst. When he father left the Republic, Krennic had his wife, Jyn’s mother, killed. These events are played out in the film Rogue One. What Rogue One doesn’t show is what happened to Jyn after her mother’s death, when Saw Gerrera found her. This time in her life is documented in Rebel Rising.

Spanning the Timeline

Every book is getting us closer to the original trilogy.

Even thought the next two books fall in this time period, they actually span beyond the scope of the Empire’s reign. For instance, Thrawn, begins just as the Clone Wars have finished and concludes around the time of Star Wars Rebels. The book, which centers on the wicked Grand Admiral Thrawn, explores important issues in the Star Wars saga, as Nerdist’s review points out, including xenophobia.

Another book that spans more than just this time period is Lost Stars. Lost Stars begins in the dark times with two young children who join the Imperial flight program. Their paths begin to divide as one pursues rank and promotion as an officer and one seeks out the rebellion. It’s a love story that shows alternative views on the Death Star, the destruction of Alderaan in A New Hope and eventually leads to the Battle of Jakku, the wreckage of which can be seen in The Force Awakens.

The Spark of Rebellion

'Rebels' is currently airing on Disney XD.

This brings us to Star Wars Rebels. 12 years since Revenge of the Sith and a mere five years before A New Hope, a stalwart and hopeful new crew band together to take on the Empire. The crew is comprised of Ezra, a young boy with Force-sensitive abilities, Kanan, our Last Padawan Jedi from the comic series we’ve been reading, Hera, the Twi’lek pilot of the “Ghost” ship, Sabine, a Mandalorian weapons expert, Zeb, an honor guardsman, and their trusty yet pesky droid Chopper. Together they face off against Thrawn, Tarkin, even Darth Vader himself.

Two books also cover the years leading up to A New HopeBattlefront: Twilight Company and Leia: Princess of Alderaan. Battlefront: Twilight Company is a tie-in book to the video game Battlefront I. It spans from the time of Rebels through the Battle of Hoth, which takes place during the Empire Strikes BackLeia: Princess of Alderaan begins on the day of Leia’s succession as the future leader of Alderaan. She must complete three tasks to prove her right to rule. During the book she discovers her parents are part of the Rebellion, which is why she’s on the “diplomatic mission” secretly carrying the Death Star plans in A New Hope.

Rebellions Are Built on Hope

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,' was written by Gary Whitta.

This bring us up to the first Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One. This film shows exactly how the plans to the Death Star end up in the hands of Princess Leia in A New Hope. Jyn Erso, who’s life was previously explored in the books Catalyst and Rebel Rising, is recruited to hack into the Empire-ruled planet of Skarif. She and her friends are able to steal the plans minutes before the entire planet is blown to pieces. The final moments in the film perfectly sync up with the first moments in A New Hope, as plans are handed off from person to person until they reach the hands of Princess Leia.

This is where the Original Trilogy perfectly collides with all the prequel materials. All the comic issues, animated shows and backstory books lead to this film. If you’ve been following this timeline exactly, then you know that this film, Star Wars: A New Hope is where everything changes. For 19 years the Empire has reigned as the supreme force in the Galaxy. Brave souls like Leia’s father Bail Organa, Jyn’s father Galen Erso, the crew of the Ghost, Thane and Ciena, Ahsoka — all of characters have been trying to bring the Empire down and now this “farmboy” from Tatooine has done it. With the Death Star destroyed, the Rebellion finally has a chance.

You can also get some more insight into our film characters during this time by reading From a Certain Point of View. This book collects 43 short stories from authors like Wil Wheaton, Greg Rucka, Gary Whitta, Claudia Gray and more. Each story is written from the perspective of a different person during the events of A New Hope.

Empire on the Run

The Battle of Hoth is a playable level in 'Battlefront I.'

Now we begin our approach to the second film in the Original Trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. Before we get there, however, we have a few games, books and comics to dive into first.

Let’s start with Battlefront I. The game is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, and Microsoft PCs and features the option to play as a member of the Galactic Empire or the Rebel Alliance. The game has all sorts of levels and challenges, some of which lead all the way up to the Battle of Hoth and Bespin, two worlds featured in the Empire Strikes Back. The game also has expansions for Rogue One and The Force Awakens, so there are lots of movie tie-ins here.

While the second game, Battlefront II, doesn’t take place until after Return of the Jedi, you can learn about the game’s main character Iden Versio in the book Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. This book takes place after the Death Star was destroyed. The Emperor orders Iden and her Squad to hunt down Saw Gerrera’s insurgents to get revenge. This book fits here in the timeline and provides backstory for Battlefront II.

Comic Book Missions

'Star Wars' Issues #1 - #37 were written by Jason Aaron.

Now let’s talk comics. There are A LOT of comic books storylines that fill in the gaps between A New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back. First is Princess Leia. This comic picks up right after the New Hope medal ceremony. Princess Leia goes on a secret mission to save Alderaanian citizens with a Rebel Alliance pilot named Evaan Verlaine.

Then we have the on-going Star Wars comic and the Darth Vader comic. These both pick up in the wake of the Death Star explosion. You can read both titles, issues #1 – #25 concurrently, since they do line up in narrative. As you read through Star Wars #26 – #43, you can also start reading Doctor Aphra. In this series, Darth Vader recruits Aphra as his personal archeologist. Archeology plays a huge role in some of these later works.

Lastly, you’ll want to read the five-issue comic miniseries Chewbacca. This comic shows Chewbacca stranded on a strange planet and how he makes a friend to help him escape. There’s also a Lando mini-series and a Han Solo mini-series. They each have five issues and can be read during this time.

Empires Strike & Jedis Return

Luke Skywalker's Jedi training occurs in these two films.

The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi round out the original trilogy. During these films, the Empire attempts to regain control over the galaxy by constructing a second Death Star. The Rebel Alliance becomes a mobile fleet, after their base on Hoth is destroyed. Luke goes on his own journey to find Yoda, the head of the Jedi Council from the prequels who is now in exile. Han and Leia’s love for one another grows, but they are separated by Jabba the Hutt.

Everything falls apart at the end of Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader reveals to Luke that he is Anakin Skywalker, his father. Then the final battle between the Alliance and the Empire is waged during Return of the Jedi. The second Death Star is operational and the Alliance has one chance to destroy it and the Emperor forever. The Alliance is victorious and the work of restoring the galaxy begins.

The Aftermath of War

In order to understand what happens to the Galaxy once Darth Vader and the Emperor are destroyed, checkout the Shattered Empire comic book miniseries and the Aftermath book trilogy. Shattered Empire is a four-issue comic series that picks up a few days after Return of the Jedi. It introduces Poe Dameron’s parents, Kes Dameron and Shara Bey.

The Aftermath Trilogy covers the immediate fall out of the Emperor’s death. In the first book, Aftermath, the Empire is scattered throughout the galaxy. Palpatine’s statue is toppled on Coruscant. Leia, Han, and Chewbacca begin establishing Mon Monthma as the new leader of the Republic. Resistance fighters begin to go home. One fighter, a pilot named Norra Wexley returns to her home planet of Akiva. While there, she discovers the Empire has regrouped their last fleet of starships and star destroyers in the Outer Rim above her planet. The Empire attempts to make a last stand here.

In the second book, Aftermath: Life Debt, Han Solo resigns his commission as General to help Chewbacca liberate his home planet of Kashyyyk. The Empire continues to wage war and release propaganda from their secret bases. Leia continues to work with Mon Mothma to restore order to the Republic. Two characters from The Force Awakens are introduced in this book: Maz Kanata and Armitage Hux. Armitage Hux is the bastard son of Brendol Hux, who’s working with the Empire to create a Shadow Council. (We’ll discover in future books and films that Armitage Hux is Kylo Ren’s right hand man, General Hux, and that his father, Brendol, recruits Captain Phasma to be his son’s guard. More on that in the book Phasma.)

The third book, Aftermath: Empire’s End, takes all the characters established in the Aftermath Trilogy to the planet of Jakku. That’s right, the planet where Rey will be exiled in the future is where the Empire stages its final battle. All the star destroyers Rey scavenges in The Force Awakens will fall in this battle. Parts of this battle are also covered in the previously mentioned book Lost Stars. The book has been running concurrently since Revenge of the Sith and stops here at the Battle of Jakku. This battle ultimately ends the war between the Empire and the Republic, for good.

Princess Leia’s Family Legacy

Claudia Gray also wrote 'Leia: Princess from Alderaan.'

Bloodline is all about Leia. The book explores where she stands once the new Republic has seen established. While she was a General in the war, she’s now a Senator. During this time she also becomes pregnant and gives birth to Ben Solo. She’s greatly respected in her position and her voice is trusted. When she’s nominated for a greater leadership position, her opposition leaks that she’s not really Bail Organa’s daughter, but Darth Vader’s. This revelation erodes her reputation. She ends up leaving her position and starting a Resistance base in the Hosnian System.

Opposing Enforcers

As Leia works to establish a Resistance base, she begins recruiting pilots. Many of the resistance fighters she recruits fought with her in the Rebellion, but many of them now have children. Leia’s friends from Shattered Empire, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron, have a son named Poe Dameron. Poe is one of the Republic’s best fighter pilots. As the presence of the First Order grows in the galaxy, he leaves the Republic and joins Leia’s resistance. When Leia finds new information that could help her find her missing brother Luke Skywalker, Leia sends Poe on a mission to find him. This mission is explored in the ongoing Marvel comic series Poe Dameron.

While the Resistance is being created, the First Order is also being formed. One of the characters introduced in Aftermath: Life Debt, Brendol Hux, is also recruiting for the First Order. This recruitment is explored in the book Phasma. In the book, Phasma and her brother grow up to be survivors. They kill their parents and their village in order to survive. Phasma continues this mode of self-preservation when she and Armitage Hux kill his father and take his place in the First Order. Phasma fashions her metal armor in this book and joins the First Order as Hux’s Captain.

A New Trilogy Begins

'The Force Awakens' bridges the cast of the original trilogy with the new.

Now we head into the new trilogy of films: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and the yet untitled Episode IX. The Force Awakens begins 34 years after the events of A New Hope and 29 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Leia is running the Resistance. Her son, Ben Solo, has gone to the dark side and has taken the name Kylo Ren. Her husband, Han Solo, has returned to smuggling. Luke Skywalker is missing. Poe Dameron, while on Jakku, finds part of a map to Luke but is captured by the First Order. He meets reluctant Stormtrooper FN-2187 who teams up with Rey and BB-8 to return the map to Skywalker to Leia. All hell breaks loose as the First Order destroys the new Republic.

The Last Jedi begins right as The Force Awakens ends. Rey has tapped into her force powers and has found Luke Skywalker. She is desperate to be trained and to discover who she is. The Resistance successfully took out Starkiller Base, but Phasma, Hux and Kylo Ren escaped before it blew up. Han Solo is dead and Chewbacca is piloting the Millennium Falcon with Rey, who has made the journey to the first Jedi temple on Ahch-To. You can find out how Phasma escaped the base in her four-issue comic series Captain Phasma. You can also keep up with Poe Dameron’s missions during this time in his comic series, which continues here.

The Passing of the Torch

Luke and Rey in 'The Last Jedi'
Luke and Rey in The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi definitely didn’t go the way we thought it would. Luke remained on Ahch-To and only trained Rey for a second, before she jettisoned off to save Kylo Ren. Yoda made a brief appearance to burn down the old Jedi Temple, though he did so knowing full well that Rey had the sacred texts on board the Millennium Falcon (sneaky Yoda). The First Order tracked the Resistance down and cornered their last remaining forces on Crait. Luke used his remaining power to fight Kylo Ren, after Ren and Rey destroyed Supreme Leader Snoke, and then Luke died. It was a jarring end to a lot of key characters like Luke, Admiral Ackbar, and Snoke.

Before Luke force-ghosted his way into oblivion, he left Kylo with three prophecies:

“Today, the rebellion is reborn,”

“The war is just beginning,”

“And I will not be the last Jedi.”

These words set up a great many things for the future of the Star Wars franchise, the events of which will next play out in Episode IX.

The post The Complete Star Wars Saga Timeline (UPDATED) appeared first on FANDOM.

7 Shows That Lost Their Way After a Great First Season

Posted: 01 May 2018 02:41 PM PDT

The problem with having your TV series be a huge success after a great first season is that the expectations for a fantastic followup are sometimes too high to meet.

So many shows throughout history have gained buzz with a perfect Season 1, only to disappoint fans with lackluster storylines, the addition of unnecessary characters, or the inability to deliver the same quality storytelling the second time around.

FANDOM created a list of seven television shows that started off as must-see TV and ended up at the bottom of our DVRs.

Heroes

Heroes
The cast of 'Heroes'

Heroes was an instant hit for NBC thanks to its ensemble of rich characters and their interweaving storylines, but Season 2 introduced too many new faces that slowed down the show’s pacing and took screentime away from characters that fans loved. And despite there being too many storylines going at once, nothing really new seemed to happen until the finale, with viewers complaining that many plots seemed to be recycled from the first season. Although things slightly picked up as the superhero drama progressed, it never fully recovered from the hit its popularity took in the second season.

Revenge

Revenge
The cast of 'Revenge'

Revenge was pure over-the-top, campy fun when it premiered in 2011, as fans watched Emily Thorne draw a vengeful red X over the photos of her father’s enemies. Her feud with Victoria Grayson provided catfights on par with Melrose Place and Dynasty, some of the best primetime evening soaps of all time. But things took an unfortunate turn in Season 2, as the show introduced a slew of less important characters and a terrorist organization known as The Initiative. The evil group not only made Victoria seem weaker, but it convoluted the plot to the point where it just wasn’t fun anymore.

Glee 

glee
The cast of 'Glee'

Glee was groundbreaking when it first debuted in 2009, managing to create a musical television series that pulled in huge audiences while serving irreverent comedy and twisted storylines that felt different from high school shows that came before it. But like many Ryan Murphy projects, it felt like the writers started with a strong concept and then didn’t fully flesh out where to take it next. The series traded in its unique storytelling for themed episodes that forced random stories in order to be able to fit in certain songs by featured artists. Plots became wildly inconsistent and the magic of the series was quickly lost.

True Detective

True Detective
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in 'True Detective' Season 1

HBO’s True Detective became a phenomenon when it came out in 2014, so hopes were high for the anthology series’ second season. But those hopes were quickly dashed once fans discovered that the follow-up story wasn’t packing much of a punch. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson got rave reviews for their roles in Season 1, but the new cast, featuring Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn, was unable to deliver the chemistry of the previous iteration. The central mystery, much like the writing overall, was also unable to compare to the intriguing first season.

Empire

Empire
The cast of 'Empire'

Every episode of the first season of Empire felt like it was the season finale, simply because it was jam-packed with so many jaw-dropping moments and intense cliffhangers. But apparently there could only be so many shocking deaths or stunning twists before the writers seemed to run out of steam. Alliances changed in ways that didn’t feel realistic — how could Jamal possibly side with his abusive, homophobic father over his supportive mother? — and breakout character Cookie lost the spunk that originally made her so exciting to watch. Now, instead of feeling like a season finale, each episode has us wishing it was the series finale.

Lost 

Lost
The cast of 'Lost'

Lost is not only the name of an ABC drama about survivors of a plane crash, but it also serves as the perfect word to describe how fans felt while trying to figure out what was going on during the show’s six-season run. The series was never known for being simple or easy to follow, but things got a whole lot more complicated during Season 2. While the show consistently churned out mysteries for its viewers to try to solve, the second year’s stories left fans confused, impatient, and disappointed. Although the series introduced new characters in Season 2 who were well received, it ultimately left too many questions unanswered. Fans felt the stories were going nowhere and the show started losing viewers by the millions.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks
Sheryl Lee in 'Twin Peaks'

If you ask TV critics to name the worst second season in television history, many will point to Twin Peaks with no hesitation. Even co-creator David Lynch has spoken out about his show’s second year, saying that it “sucked” after network execs forced him to reveal the show’s central mystery — Who killed Laura Palmer? Once the intrigue of the mystery was gone, the show veered off course and began delivering campy, goofy, and absurd storylines in its place. Lynch got the opportunity to make things right with his 2017 revival of the series on Showtime, but he’s publicly washed his hands of the original’s second season for good.

7 TV Shows That Ended Without Closure

The post 7 Shows That Lost Their Way After a Great First Season appeared first on FANDOM.

Captain Marvel: Her Powers & Why the Avengers Need Her

Posted: 01 May 2018 01:39 PM PDT

SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Avengers: Infinity War. Proceed at your own risk.

If you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War then you know how it ends: with some of our favorite heroes blowing away like dust in the wind. We know — it hurts. We also know that hope is on the way — this hope came during the post-credit scene, when Nick Fury sent a text message to an unknown person.

That unknown person is Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. Her star insignia showed up on Fury’s pager in the final shot of the film.

So who exactly is Captain Marvel and how can she help our remaining heroes recover their lost friends and the rest of the vanished universe?

Captain Marvel’s History

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel has a fascinating comic book history. Carol Danvers first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in 1968. After years of service in the US Airforce, Carol was appointed head of security for NASA. As head of security, she was aware of certain extra-terrestrial threats, like that of the Kree. While at NASA, she met a Kree warrior who was posing as a human. The Kree was Mar-Vell and his human identity was Dr. Walter Lawson. Carol and Lawson fell in love during their time together at NASA.

Eventually Ronan the Accuser (AKA Lee Pace’s character from Guardians of the Galaxy) ordered Kree Captain Yon-Rogg to kill Mar-Vell. During the attempt on Mar-Vell’s life, some of his Kree DNA imprinted onto Carol and she became enhanced with powers. She eventually embraced these powers and took the name Ms. Marvel.

She joined the Avengers team in Avengers Vol. 1 #183 in 1979. She spent many years fighting alongside the Avengers, as well as the X-Men. During Civil War and the Secret Invasion, Carol sided with Iron Man and the Superhero Registration Act (what the MCU calls the Sokovia Accords.) At one point, Nick Fury thought she was a Skrull (an alien shape-shifter), but she proved herself to be human.

Carol didn’t change her name from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel until the death of Mar-Vell in Secret Avengers #26 – #28. Upon his death, Carol decided to pick up his mantle and become the new Captain Marvel. You can read her first issue as Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel Vol. 7 #1.

She has fought alongside the Avengers since then, including during the most recent Battleworld storyline and Civil War II. She was most recently appointed the Space Station Commander of Alpha Flight, an outer space defense system.

Captain Marvel’s Powers

Captain Marvel

In an interview with Vulture, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that when Carol is introduced to the MCU, “she is as powerful a character as we've ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she's introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we've ever had.”

In the comics, Captain Marvel is very powerful. She has superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and agility. Captain Marvel can also fly at great speeds, well beyond the sound barrier. Captain Marvel also has something called a “Seventh Sense” where she can sense danger. This has also been known to give her pre-cognitive hallucinations of incoming threats.

Like Captain America, she has regenerative healing powers. She also has immunity to toxins and poisons. She can also shoot photonic light beams from her hands, which you’ve got to admit, is pretty awesome and will likely come in handy in Avengers 4.

The Captain Marvel Movie

Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8, 2019. It will take place in the 1990s and will serve as an origin story for the title character. Brie Larson will play Carol Danvers, alongside fellow MCU veterans Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. Kree Warrior Mar-Vell will be played by Jude Law and Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou will reprise their roles as Ronan and Kortah, respectively.

Feige said of the 1990s setting that they “wanted to explore a period before Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury had any idea about any of the other heroes and crazy stuff going on in the world.” Speaking to EW, Feige confirmed that the film will “announce that Carol Danvers was that first hero that Nick came across, so … she could be the singular hero,” in the film.

Feige also said that there would be a good mix of ’90s action movie nostalgia and cosmic space visuals: “There are definitely homages to our favorite '90s action films within Captain Marvel … The action elements [of]  Terminator 2. That's about as iconic as you get, looking at kind of those cool street level fights, street level car chases, and fun stuff like that. That being said, much of the movie takes place in outer space, as you might think a Captain Marvel movie would.”

The Captain Marvel movie will also feature both alien races of the Kree and the Skrulls, meaning we could see some interesting MCU developments that align with the Secret Invasion comic, as referenced above.

Avengers 4

avengers infinity war characters feature

So, how will a hero saving the world in the 1990s come into play during a time set in 2019? Judging from Nick Fury’s pager, it’s very possible that he paged her in the 90s and that she has the ability to time travel. We won’t know exactly how Carol and Fury’s relationship will play out until we see Captain Marvel, but it’s easy to assume she tells Fury, if you need me, page me.

If Carol can time travel, that could help some of the remaining Avengers go back in time and re-set the stage for Thanos’ invasion. Doctor Strange clearly saw a winning outcome in his “end game” when he gave Thanos the Time Stone. Did he see the disappearance of half the universe as the one thing that would inspire Fury to page Carol? Thus getting her involved in the fight?

It’s hard to say how it’s all going to play out, but Carol clearly has a key role to play in Avengers 4, especially if Feige is calling her “the strongest character we've ever had.” Could she be the one to wrangle the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and snap her fingers so everything is put right again?

Avengers: Infinity War is currently in theaters, Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8, 2019.

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What’s up with Wanda’s ‘Infinity War’ Accent?

Posted: 01 May 2018 01:00 PM PDT

SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Avengers: Infinity War. Proceed at your own risk.

We're all asking a lot of questions after Avengers: Infinity War. Where did 50% of our beloved heroes go? Now that he succeeded in his evil plan, will Thanos purchase a couple of Tommy Bahama shirts and retire on a beach somewhere? Will Hawkeye escape house arrest and eventually get to retire on a beach somewhere? Maybe with Thanos?

But here's a question you might not be asking yourself — one that threatens to crumble the reality of Avengers as we know it: what, in the name of all that is good in Sokovia, happened to Wanda Maximoff's accent?!

A Notably Sokovian Accent

Though we first met the Scarlet Witch in a Captain America: the Winter Solider post-credit scene, she first graced us with her speaking voice in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She and her since-slain brother Pietro wowed us with their tremendous powers and their tremendously powerful accents.

The rolling consonants, the shortened vowels — Olson's Sokovian was strategically built upon Slavic accents we know from the real world. After all, Sokovia is meant to be an Eastern European country — it even uses the Cyrillic alphabet. (During Age of Ultron, it's shown on a map in between real-life nations Slovakia and the Czech Republic.) And Olson's affectation was as thick as Chicken Paprikash (it's a real dish, okay? But they eat it a lot in Sokovia).

A Notably Missing Accent

Avengers Infinity War Scarlet Witch

But by Civil War, Wanda's accent was fading. And by Infinity War, it had vanished. Sure, a few years had gone by, and the Scarlet Witch had been essentially backpacking through Europe with her robotic Romeo, Vision. But this all occurred in our world, one where accents don't fade in just a couple of years (even if you're traveling and your boyfriend is Android-American).

Consider another notable MCU accent: King T'Challa's in Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman openly based his Wakandan accent on the isiXhosa accent; parts of the fictionalized Wakandan language even borrowed from the real-life South African idiom. This remained consistent from Boseman's first appearance in Captain America: Civil War to his most recent in Avengers: Infinity War.

So why would Wanda's accent fall by the waste side? Elizabeth Olson is a more than capable actress who can pull of any film, indie and Infinity War alike. Sure, a handful of outspoken fans found her accent jarring, but since when do we start poking holes in fictional universes to appease nitpicking?

Oh — what's in an accent anyway?

When it comes to fantasy, we can get swept up in the outlandish, the surreal, the unbelievable so long as the rules of the universe make sense. Master world-builders like JK Rowling and George RR Martin understand that this consistency is essential when forming trust between the creator and the fans. We wouldn't have followed Khaleesi's path to Westeros if the laws of her dragon motherhood contradicted themselves. If the spells of Hogwarts could change from book to book, we probably wouldn't have made it to the Chamber of Secrets.

Did I suspend my disbelief when a giant purple Titan appeared out of nowhere, hunting down some jewelry and his bright green step-daughter? Yes. Did I suspend my disbelief when his bright green step-daughter hung out with — and I say this with all due respect in the universe — a frickin' raccoon and a frickin' tree? Yes, I did. Did I suspend disbelief when the raccoon sported more of a Brooklyn accent than the Brooklyn-raised Steve Rogers? To paraphrase Rocket Raccoon, yes— why would I wanna suck the joy outta everything? But an accent broken among sequels? Here comes my disbelief.

Say what you want about the quality of Infinity War and Olson's performance (I am a fan of both), her accent is gone. And that has the potential to yank some fans out of the film and away from its universe. It's a bummer, but it’s not the end of the world. Nope — that's up to Thanos.

The post What’s up with Wanda’s ‘Infinity War’ Accent? appeared first on FANDOM.

11 Funniest Lines from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Posted: 01 May 2018 11:59 AM PDT

SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Avengers: Infinity War. Proceed at your own risk.

One part of its formula that Marvel Studios gets bang-on is humor. Honed over the last ten years across 19 films, the jokes and one-liners in its movies almost always land. The studio has made humor something of a trademark. It works so well that even the DC Extended Universe wanted in on the action. Last year, they delivered an overly quippy Justice League — their answer to Marvel’s Avengers team-up movies. What they succeeded in doing was highlighting just how difficult it is to get it right.

With that in mind, we're celebrating the best — and funniest — lines in Marvel's latest big-screen extravaganza.

1. Stan Lee's character to a bus load of kids

Thor-Stan-Lee-cameo
Cameo king, Stan Lee.

No Marvel movie is complete without a cameo from comic book icon Stan Lee. The legendary nonagenarian pops up in every film, an appearance that's now expected and totally loved by audiences. In Avengers: Infinity War, fans might recognize him as the school bus driver, ferrying Peter Parker and his schoolmates when Peter's Spidey-senses kick in. Alerting him to the presence of Thanos's donut-shaped alien spacecraft – which, soon after, the rest of the kids on the bus see and start to panic – it prompts Lee's character to say: "What's the matter with you kids? You never seen a spaceship before?"

According to Lee, it's his funniest cameo ever. He told fans at the L.A. premiere:

"I want to thank them for having spent all these years coming to see my cameos and, of course, watching the movie with it. And now I think they're going to find the funniest cameo of all. I can't wait until they see it."

2. Tony Stark to Thanos minion Ebony Maw

Ebony-Maw-Avengers-Infinity-War
Ebony Maw says be quiet.

Thanos sidekick Ebony Maw, one of the big purple one’s Black Order henchmen, bears more than a passing resemblance to a handful of other characters in pop culture. Some cite his likeness to Star Wars villain Nute Gunray, while others compare him to Harry Potter bad guy Voldemort. But for Tony Stark, he's more like a certain SpongeBob SquarePants character.

As Stark comes face to face with the enemy, he says to Ebony Maw: "Get lost, Squidward". LOL.

3. Tony Stark to Bruce Banner

avengers infinity war tony stark
Bruce has performance anxiety.

As they're trying to tackle the most significant threat to the universe since, well, ever, Banner seems to be having trouble summoning his big green alter-ego. As he does for the entire movie. Stark bides his time alongside Doctor Strange and Wong, who are both doing their impressive magic thing, and waits for Banner to transform. But each attempt proves Hulkless. Finally, Stark has to say something: "Dude, you're embarrassing me in front of the wizards."

4. Tony Stark to Spider-Man

Avengers-Infinity-War-Spider-Man
Spider-Man meets Doctor Strange.

Another entry for Tony Stark here. And why not? He is the original wisecracking MCU superhero. Spider-Man turns up to join the fight, all unbridled enthusiasm with a generous touch of WTAF is going on? By way of explaining Thanos, a supervillain intent on wiping out half the population of the universe by gathering all-powerful Infinity Stones scattered across space, he says to young Peter Parker: "He's from space. He came here to steal a necklace from a wizard."

He is, of course, referring to the Time Stone which Doctor Strange wears embedded within a pendant known as the Eye of Agamotto around his neck.

5. Drax, in wonder at meeting Thor for the first time

Avengers Infinity War Rocket Thor Mantis
The Guardians, especially Drax, are enamored by Thor's muscles.

As you might imagine, much of the film's comedy comes from the Guardians of the Galaxy. They raised the humour stakes in the MCU when director James Gunn oversaw their introduction into the franchise with their first standalone outing.

When they first encounter Thor, floating in space following Thanos's attack on his ship, he's unconscious. And they're all a little taken aback by this fine specimen of a man-god.

Peter Quill asks: "How the hell is this dude still alive?" to which Drax replies, wondrously: "He is not a dude. You're a dude. This is a man. He's muscular."

Rocket proceeds to call Quill fat. But then comes the line from Drax, as he looks at Thor adoringly, that gets audiences rolling in the aisles: "It's like a pirate had a baby with an angel." Delivery is everything.

6. Mantis to Thor

Avengers Infinity War Guardians of the Galaxy
Kevin Bacon, Earth's mightiest hero?

We first met Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where her wide-eyed innocence and honest relationship with Drax gave audiences lots of laughs. She's clearly been listening too much to Peter Quill, whose favourite movie is Footloose, however. Because after Thor explains that the Time and Mind Stones are currently on Earth "with the Earth's mightiest heroes, the Avengers," she asks: "Like Kevin Bacon?"

7. Thor to the Guardians

Avengers Infinity War Thor Rocket
Thor bids farewell to the Guardians.

Thor's routine is to get things unintentionally wrong. He spends the entire movie calling Rocket identifying him as a rabbit instead of a raccoon. Funny. But one of the funniest moments is when he corrals Rocket and Groot to accompany him to Nidavellar to forge a new weapon, leaving the rest of the Guardians to attend to another mission: heading to Knowhere to seek out the Collector and stop Thanos getting his hands on the Reality Stone.

As Thor departs, he calls out: "This is farewell and good luck, morons." We think he means “Guardians.”

8. Drax to Star-Lord and Gamora

Avengers-Infinity-War
Drax eyeballs Tony Stark.

This isn't so much a one-liner as a funny moment comprising a series of lines. As Star-Lord and Gamora are sharing a tender moment, Quill suddenly notices Drax observing nearby.

"Dude, how long have you been standing there?" asks Quill.

"An hour," Drax replies before filling them in on what he's doing. "I've mastered the ability of standing so incredibly still that I become invisible to the eye. Watch."

He starts to move his hand up to his mouth, eating from a packet of space snacks and says, "My movement's so slow that it's imperceptible."

Along comes Mantis: "Hi, Drax."

"Damn." Classic Drax.

9. Star-Lord to Thanos

Avengers Infinity War Thanos
That chin in all its glory.

On Knowhere, the Guardians come face to face with Thanos, who has distorted reality in an effort to kidnap his daughter, Gamora. As things become heated, Quill says to the strong-jawed, big purple fella: "I'm gonna blow that nutsack of a chin right off your face." It does look a bit like a scrotum.

10. Rocket to Thor

Avengers-Infinity-War
Rocket.

Rocket Raccoon has no subtlety. And it's used to hilarious effect with Thor, in tandem with his penchant for collecting “useless” objects. Back in Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder lost an eye and has been wearing an eye-patch since. But Rocket comes to the rescue with a cybernetic eye he stole. He hands it over to Thor who promptly pops it into the socket.

"I would have washed that,” advises Rocket, moments too late. “The only way I could sneak it off Contraxia was up my…"

11. Captain America to Groot in the heat of battle

Avengers-Infinity-War-Groot
I am Groot.

As the main battle in Wakanda goes into full swing, there's a moment where Captain America meets Groot for the first time. It comes shortly after a reunion with Thor, during which the God of Thunder says, "I see you've copied my beard" — a funny line in itself.

As Groot says "I am Groot" — meaning whatever the heck it means at that moment — the completely oblivious and somewhat discombobulated Cap replies: "Hi, I'm Steve Rogers."

Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now.

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Does ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Have Too Many Characters?

Posted: 01 May 2018 11:17 AM PDT

Avengers: Infinity War achieved an incredible task by uniting more superhero characters than any movie before it. It’s a gargantuan accomplishment that deserves the praise it has been getting. But, some fans have criticized just how many characters had to be used to tell this story. More importantly, it’s how those characters were used that has led to a few issues.

Let’s take a look at these complaints and try to see things from their perspective.

Disjointed by Default

With such a massive story to tell, Avengers: Infinity War was destined to fall victim to some sense of fractured storytelling. That’s not an inherently negative construct. Segmented storylines are extremely common in modern movies, especially with large tentpole features. It’s worth debating whether or not the film’s pacing between these multiple ongoing sequences is successful, but that’s not what this particular observation is about. The pertinent question is: does the presence of so many characters lead to too many concurrently running plot threads?

Yes, but that’s by design and also unified in a simple but effective way. Even with the varied goals each plotline is trying to achieve, the audience understands that everything is in service of one larger goal: stop Thanos from getting the Infinity Stones. That helps the audience stay centered when the film jumps back and forth to so many different characters with a variety of individual motivations. While some of the singular plots can get jumbled up or lose some of their solo power, their faults are mostly nullified thanks to our understanding of the film’s overarching mission.

For example, Thor‘s plot about having to forge a new weapon that can kill Thanos is one of the weaker threads of the film. While Thor’s personal motivation is set up very well in the opening scene, the forward momentum of his storyline isn’t nearly as propulsive as what else is going on. But, we don’t really pay attention to that when we’re in the moment because it’s easy to grasp the importance of Thor’s plot in regards to the bigger picture. In this instance, the large cast isn’t really an issue.

Balancing Character

Avengers Infinity War Doctor Strange Tony Stark Bruce Banner Wong
The large cast means some heroes will shine while others take a backseat.

This is the most difficult undertaking when you have an enormous ensemble. Trying to pay off a myriad of character beats with a vast number of characters is no easy feat. In fact, it’s clearly impossible and Avengers: Infinity War knows this. There are plenty of characters that are given very tiny moments that aren’t really positioned to be traditional arcs.

Two such characters are Black Panther and Bucky Barnes. They both make appearances in the film and serve a purpose from an action standpoint, but there is little to no attempt to give them any kind of development from who we know they are. If this means you were looking forward to seeing certain characters be utilized in significant ways, it’s likely you’ll be disappointed that they’ve been relegated to action figure status.

However, that’s a necessity with a film like Avengers: Infinity War. The only way to spend time giving every character their moment in the sun would be to elongate the film’s running time by a substantial margin. At some point, certain characters are going to have to be less multifaceted than others in order to service the story. Or, in the case of Hawkeye and Ant-Man, they will have to be removed entirely from the film in order to make room for pacing. If you think sacrificing deeper character explorations and growth so that the plot can progress in a quicker fashion is a negative way to approach storytelling, then the extensive cast is a problem in this area.

The Appeal of Excess

avengers infinity war feature
Seeing too many characters in one film is one of the reasons why people love these movies.

At the end of the day, a big part Avengers: Infinity War‘s attraction is the abundance of characters. Back in 2012, fans were flabbergasted to believe that The Avengers could somehow bring together a team of superheroes. That allure has only been broadened as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to grow. It stands to reason that an Avengers film has to up the ante on how many characters it’s going to bring together.

Is that an inherent problem? It depends on what you want out of Avengers: Infinity War. If all you want is to see these seemingly disparate characters join together under one motivating plot, then you’re going to ignore any potential shakiness that comes from that structure. Granted, Avengers: Infinity War does its absolute best when it comes to balancing everything that’s going on, but the nature of its structure means it’s going to fall victim to some sense of bloat or unevenness.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that Avengers: Infinity War has a ton of characters. Does it have too many? That’s up to you and what you want out of this expansive cast of superpowered people. Personally, I’d have been fine if the entire movie was a date flick with Scarlet Witch and the Vision.

Scarlet Witch and Vision’s Romantic History

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5 Anime Shows That Don’t Have Any Fan Service

Posted: 01 May 2018 03:31 AM PDT

Fan service (AKA the ever so unsubtle art of shoehorning in scantily clad characters or other unnecessarily pervy plot points that don’t serve the story into a show) is something you can’t really escape in anime. In fact, its become so common that even an entire fan service sub-genre (called Ecchi) isn't enough to keep all the innuendo bottled up, with even the biggest anime shows bowing to the online pressure and writing in fan service more regularly than you'd think.

But what if you could watch anime fan-service-free? Well, don't worry – we've got you. In order to ensure you can stay engrossed in the story without having to worry about confusing storylines or disconcerting camera angles, we've compiled a list of great anime series that are totally devoid of fan service.

There are a few to choose from so we are going to skip over some of the more obvious ones you might have seen and also focus on the ones you can actually watch online easily.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Fan service free anime fun
Balsa about to kick ass with her trusty spear

Moribito is an anime with some great action scenes that comes to us from director Kamiyama Kenji; director of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Moribito introduces Balsa, an accomplished spear wielding mercenary who takes the job of protecting a prince from assassins. Interestingly, these assassins have been sent by his own father — the emperor — who believes his son is the reincarnation of a water demon that will bring ruin to his empire.

Chased across a fantasy world resembling feudal Japan, our duo comes across a nice variety of interesting characters. The real standouts though are Balsa and the other female characters, who refreshingly don't pander to stereotypes and have character arcs that are surprisingly well fleshed out. Even the villains of this show are much deeper than originally presented and crucially have understandable motives. The actions scenes are spectacular and use the picturesque settings to full effect, giving each fight its own individuality. With consistently top-notch animation, great characters and detailed world building this is one anime you need to check out.

Trigun

Vash from Trigun
The animation from Trigun is about as 90s as they come

A staple classic in the anime genre, this Sci-Fi western centers around a sixty billion bounty on the head of a legendary gunslinger named Vash. Due to the bounty and his past life, Vash has spent years trying to hide from civilisation just to stay alive. Being plastered with a 60 Billion dollar bounty and being instantly recognisable, tends to lead to some tricky situations and A LOT of destruction.

So much in fact that an insurance company decides it's more cost effective to have two of their employees accompany Vash full time and try to stop him getting into trouble.

A large part of the comedy in Trigun comes from all three characters trying to stay out of danger and failing in a multitude of ways. Added to this you have a gunslinger who now refuses to kill; a character quirk that slowly develops into a plot point providing key insights into Vash's beliefs.

It's little touches like these throughout the show that help flesh out the characters and keep you watching. The animation is very 90s and doesn't hold up that well in the HD era, but if like me you enjoy some retro animation now and then this will be great for you.

Natsume's book of friends

Madara from Natsume
Madara in his huge and cuddly wolf like form

Natsume has the ability to see spirits, and upon the death of his Grandmother inherited a book. The Book of Friends has the names of spirits in it which grants Natsume power over them and the ability to release them from the bond of the book.

Throughout the series, Natsume comes across spirits that need his help. Unfortunately for him though, not all are kind and some of the more malicious spirits attempt to kill Natsume and take The Book of Friends for themselves.

The eccentric spirits give this anime a great amount of variety from episode to episode. Character development has rarely been done better in anime, with the spirits often being more complex than the humans they interact with. Each episode tackles touching and emotional subjects in relatable ways that may affect you just as much as the show’s characters. The artwork can be simple at times, but does the job well for an anime that is much less about flashy visuals and more about making you feel something.

Fate / Zero

Magic and legendary heroes come together to fight for a wish

Now, something a bit different. Fate/Zero is a fantasy battle royale where teams of two fight to the death, with their prize being an all-powerful wish granted to each member of the winning team. The team members are all mages of one type or another, giving us some nice visual embellishments to go with their magic use.

The other member of the team is the spirit of a legendary person; for example Alexander the Great, Gilgamesh or King Arthur. Yep, THAT King Arthur.

Not all the characters in this are paragons of light, however. In fact, some of them are horrendously terrible people and the idea of them getting an all-powerful wish gets prespine-chilling. The choice of a single wish in such a dark world is handled well.

In a story built around killing everyone in sight, this was never going to be an uplifting romp, what's surprising though is how psychologically disturbing it is to both the characters and the viewer. Be warned, this show doesn't mind killing children. You won't actually see anything but a child whisked off screen by a demo, but the sounds that follow are grim enough. Luckily, this is quickly forgotten when a fight starts and you are drawn in by visual flourishes and an entertaining variety of fighting styles. The fantastic fights coupled with the character intentions make Fate / Zero a great dark anime you can watch without worrying about fan service cropping up.

Mushishi

Ginko from Mushishi
The artwork is beautiful and understated

As something of a pallet cleanser after an intense list, we have Mushishi, a beautiful show that explores nature and humanity in a way that will make you think. The show follows Ginko as he travels around tackling a variety of problems thrown up by life forms called Mushi.

Mushi appear in increasingly fantastical forms and affect humanity unwittingly in a myriad of ways. Surprisingly, no two incidents are alike and the creators play around with a variety of ideas that keep the series feeling fresh throughout. Protagonist Ginko himself mirrors the artwork, simple on the surface yet increasingly intriguing as you watch more.

The Mushi are beautifully drawn, with no two ever feeling alike. The countryside is enchanting too, and shots linger on stunning scenery in order to pull you ever deeper into this charming world. As you glide through the series each episode introduces you to new characters that are thoughtfully fleshed out and believable; a hard feat to achieve when you are starting from scratch at the beginning of every episode.

If you want something a little slower and more thought-provoking than your average anime romp, this is the best way to round out a viewing session of anime without any pesky fan service.

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