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22 May 06:15

Netflix's Love, Death and Robots finds the 'nerd joy' of adult animation

by Devindra Hardawar

What happens when animation geeks get the greenlight to produce whatever they want? You get Netflix's Love, Death and Robots, an anthology series that's meant to remind viewers that cartoons aren't just for kids. You'd think that would be a foregone conclusion in 2022, decades after anime has become mainstream, Adult Swim's irreverent comedies took over dorm rooms, and just about network/streaming platform has their own "edgy" animated series (Arcane and Big Mouth on Netflix, Invincible on Amazon Prime).

Still, it's all too common to see the medium being diminished. At the Oscars this year, the best animated feature award was introduced as something entirely meant for kids, prompting the filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), to demand that Hollywood elevate the genre instead. Even Pixar's library of smart and compelling films still aren't seen as "adult" stories.

Love, Death and Robots, which just released its third season on Netflix, feels like a crash course in the unlimited storytelling potential of animation. It bounces from a cute entry about robots exploring the remnants of human civilization (the series' first sequel, 3 Robots: Exit Strategies, written by sci-fi author John Scalzi), to a near-silent, visually lush game of cat and mouse between a deaf soldier and a mythical siren (Jibaro), to a harrowing tale of whalers being boarded by a giant man-eating crab (Bad Traveling, the first animated project directed by series co-creator David Fincher).

Jennifer Yuh Nelson, supervising director for Love, Death and Robots, tells Engadget that the animation industry has certainly made progress when it comes to telling more mature stories. "Everyone that works in animation has been talking about trying to get more adult things done because it's [about] the freedom of exploring the whole spectrum of storytelling," she said. "You're not trying to do things for a certain age group."

Love, Death and Robots
Netflix

But, she says, animators were also told the audience for mature projects wasn't necessarily there. "I think it takes a show like [this] to prove that it can [work], and that makes the whole business and the whole company town basically look around and say, 'Oh, this is a viable thing that people actually want to see.’"

Series co-creator Tim Miller (Deadpool, Terminator: Dark Fate) also points to the power of video games, which has been telling mature narratives with interactive animation for decades. That's another industry that was initially seen as toys for kids, but has matured significantly with rich storytelling from indie projects, like Kentucky Route Zero, to big-budget blockbusters like The Last of Us. Games and animation are practically evolving together, with audiences demanding more complex ideas and creators who were raised on earlier generations of those mediums. You don't get to the excellent Disney+ remake of DuckTales, or Sony's recent God of War, without a fondness for the simple joys of the originals.

"Animation has grown so much and reflects a taste of the people making it and the people that are watching it," Nelson says. "It's a generational shift. People demand a certain level of complexity in their story, and so it's not princess movies anymore."

Love, Death and Robots

With every season of Love, Death and Robots, Nelson says that she and Miller are focused on finding stories that evoke a sense of "nerd joy." There's no overarching theme, instead they look out for projects with scope, emotion and a potential to be visually interesting. And while none of the shorts have been turned into standalone series or films yet, Nelson notes that's a possibility, especially since some authors have explored other ideas within those worlds. (I'd certainly love to see those three quirky robots poking fun at humanity for an entire season.)

The series also serves as a showcase for a variety of animation techniques. Some shorts show off meticulously crafted CG, while others like Bad Traveling use motion capturing to preserve the intricacies of an actor's movement or face. Jerome Chen, the director of military horror short In Vaulted Halls Entombed, relied on Unreal, which makes his piece seem like a cut-scene from a game I desperately want to play. And there's still plenty of love for more traditional 2D techniques, like the wonderfully bloody Kill Team Kill (directed by Nelson, a far cry from her playful Kung Fu Panda sequels).

Love, Death and Robots
Netflix

"The tech doesn't replace the art, but the experimentation allows these studios to find ways of doing things better," Nelson said. "[The show gives] freedom for all these different studios to try their own language."

Miller has a slightly different view, saying on some level it's like "tech is the art and they somehow mixed together." While he agrees with Nelson, who was quick to point out "artists can make art with a stick," Miller said you'll still need a certain level of sophisticated technology to create photorealistic stories.

The great thing about an anthology series like Love Death and Robots? Both of those philosophies can co-exist while equally demonstrating the power of animation.

20 May 07:22

Marvel’s Daredevil is reportedly getting a brand new series on Disney Plus

Oh glorious day! It appears as though the 'Man Without Fear' will finally be returning to our screens in the near future, with Variety reporting that a brand new Daredevil series is currently moving forward at Disney Plus.

According to the report, the new Daredevil series will be written and executive produced by Matt Corman and Chris Ord, known for their work on such shows as Covert Affairs and Containment, though the duo's representation has declined to comment on the matter.

Marvel's Daredevil previously enjoyed three successful seasons on Netflix before being unceremoniously cancelled back in 2018 along with all the streaming giant's other Marvel shows at the time.

As for this new series, actor Charlie Cox is expected to reprise his role as Matt Murdock, the blind lawyer who moonlights as the vigilante brawler Daredevil, as is Vincent D’Onofrio, who played the villainous crime lord Wilson Fisk, better known as Kingpin.

Daredevil in the MCU: what to expect

Although Netflix's Marvel adventures always occurred adjacent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its characters never really crossed into the MCU proper until Kingpin's arrival in the first season of Hawkeye. That was followed almost immediately by Matt Murdock's brief appearance as Peter Parker's lawyer in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Rumors of a new Daredevil series on Disney Plus began to surface soon after, with Cox himself stating he wants a Daredevil and Wilson Fisk rematch in the MCU.

If Variety's report is to be believed (and it probably should, given the longstanding publication's reliability), Cox will surely get his chance to don the Daredevil costume and resume his criminal-pummelling duties.

That said, we suspect Disney's version of Daredevil will be far less violent and brutal than the one that debuted on Netflix, going by Hawkeye's far less menacing take on the character of Kingpin (who was last seen wearing a goofy white suit and Hawaiian shirt combo).

In truth, that seems like a reasonable trade-off to us – it's entirely possible for Daredevil to engage in brilliantly staged fight scenes without revelling in blood and guts, and softening the character will make it easier for him to interact with other heroes from the MCU – could Matt Murdock team up with fellow lawyer She-Hulk on a case? It seems likely!

Additionally, it would also open the show's creators up to Daredevil comics outside of the usual Frank Miller / Brian Michael Bendis orbit, such as Mark Waid's utterly fantastic 2011-2014 run, which had a tone much closer to what we've seen from the MCU.

That said, nothing has been confirmed at this stage, so we'll have to wait until Marvel or Disney makes an official announcement. In the meantime, you can stream the first three seasons of the previous Daredevil series on Disney Plus right now. Not a Disney Plus subscriber? You can sign up now by clicking on one of the options below.

17 May 13:48

Conti ransomware group threatens to oust Costa Rica's government as crisis deepens

by Steve Dent

Last week, Costa Rica declared a state of emergency following a massive Conti ransomware attack on its government. Now, Conti has boosted its threat, saying its aim is nothing less than to overthrow the government, The Associated Press has reported. "We have our insiders in your government," the group said. "We are also working on gaining access to your other systems, you have no other options but to pay us."

The group, which also doubled its ransom demand to $20 million, may be trying to take advantage of the fact that Costa Rica's President Rodrigo Chaves has only been in office for a week. "We are at war and that’s not an exaggeration," Chaves said, adding that officials were dealing with a national terrorist group with collaborators inside the nation. He says that the scale is broader than thought, with 27 government institutions, including municipalities and state utilities, affected. 

The US State Department has declared a $10 million bounty on Conti, saying the attack "severely impacted the country's foreign trade by disrupting its customs and taxes platforms." It's reported to have affected Costa Rica's ministries of finance, labor and social security, among other bodies. 

Conti was also in the news recently after attacking Parker Hannifin, a major component supplier for Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It reportedly infiltrated current and former employees, stealing information like their social security numbers, passport numbers, bank and routing numbers and more. 

However, the threat to overthrow Costa Rica's government is likely just a ruse to extort more money, according to a ransomware analyst cited by the AP. "I believe this is simply a for-profit cyber attack," said Emisoft's Brett Callow. "Nothing more."

16 May 21:58

PlayStation Has Created A "Gamer Dictionary" And It's Actually Incredibly Useful

Sony has released PlayStation's ultimate list of popular, gaming-related terms, and while that might conjure up images of someone twice your age explaining what "pwning some noobs" means, it turns out it's actually incredible useful.

Published as a part of Sony's "This Month On PlayStation" blog, the list contains well over 100 words and phrases that are all regularly used in gaming spaces. While it does contain more than a few dated phrases (see: "git gud" and "noob-tube"), the list delves into plenty of useful terms as well.

For example, the list might be helpful to those trying to understand certain game design elements or genres, as it explains things such as what it means for a game to be procedurally generated as well as the differences between RPGs, ARPGs, JRPGS, and CPRGs. It also covers quite a few more technical and hardware-driven terms, including haptic feedback, ray-tracing, resolution, frame rate, and more. For those new to certain genres or online gaming, it also explains concepts like "farming," "min-maxing," "camping," and "juggling." Not sure what it means when your teammates tell you to "pull aggro" or ask you about your loadout? Sony's dictionary covers that too.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
16 May 21:55

At long last! Black Mirror is returning and Netflix is planning some big changes

by tom.goodwyn@futurenet.com (Tom Goodwyn)

It's been three years since the fifth season of Black Mirror debuted on Netflix, and word on the sixth season has been very quiet... but we finally have some news. 

According to Variety, Netflix has begun casting the show's sixth season, though no names are linked with the series as yet. 

The report also details that creator Charlie Brooker and Netflix are operating on a grander vision for this new batch, which is set to have more episodes than 2019's three-episode run, and promises that they will be "even more cinematic in scope, with each instalment being treated as an individual film." Color us excited. 

Brooker has been tight-lipped on what's next for Black Mirror in recent months. His most recent release has been Cat Burglar, which was released on Netflix earlier this year. The show is an interactive, old school Hanna-Barbera style cartoon, where the viewer answers questions to help a guard dog named Peanut protect a priceless work of art from a cat burglar named Rowdy. 

It was Brooker's second interactive effort for Netflix, after he pioneered a choose-your-own adventures style experience with his Black Mirror spin-off Bandersnatch

Now though, it seems he's back focused on his day job, which is especially welcome as the last time Brooker discussed Black Mirror with the Radio Times back in 2020, he cast doubt on whether the show would ever return, saying: "At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on one of those. I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.”

Thankfully he's changed his mind and we can look forward to Black Mirror's sixth season. 


Analysis: Will Black Mirror work as a feature-length offering?

Since their departure from Channel 4 for Netflix in 2015, Brooker and his producing partner Annabel Jones have enjoyed the benefits of Netflix and its lack of limitations on running times, but they have only gone feature-length twice; once in 2018's choose-your-own-adventure Bandersnatch, and on Hated In The Nation, the final episode in the show's first run on Netflix. 

Even in those two cases, the running time hasn't pushed 90 minutes, so if Brooker is feeling "cinematic" in the literal sense of the word, we could be looking at two hours plus. It's no wonder it's taken him so long to produce this new season, then. 

It's strange in one sense, because since his move to Netflix, you've never got the sense that Brooker felt inhibited by running times. Some, like the Maxine Peake-led Metalhead, are just 41 minutes, while the classic USS Callister ran to 76 minutes. 

If the idea demands two and a half hours, let him have it. Every new season of Black Mirror is an event and we can't wait for it to return. 

13 May 21:36

US networks axe 14 shows including three iconic reboots

by tom.goodwyn@futurenet.com (Tom Goodwyn)

Yesterday (May 12) proved to be a bloodbath for US TV dramas and comedies as no fewer than 14 were canceled in a single day. 

The brunt of the cancelations was given out by The CW, the network jointly owned by Paramount and Warner Bros, with no less than seven shows given their marching orders. 

As well as the CW, CBS and NBC also had a cull, with a number of high-profile dramas and comedies given the boot, leaving stars like Jason Isaacs, Morena Baccarin and Jay Hernandez with a lot more space in their diaries. 

Early summer tends to be when the US networks announce what is staying and what is going in anticipation of work beginning again after the summer. Unlike Netflix, which seems to announce cancelations constantly, these cancelations tend to come in bursts, at precisely the same time as the pilots of new shows are competing to make it to series. 

Sadly for 14 such shows, their last rites have now been performed...

So what got canceled?

We won't be seeing any more of the reboot of teen drama Charmed as that received its marching orders after four seasons on the air, meaning its run lasted exactly half as long as the original series. 

Charmed wasn't the only high-profile reboot to be given the elbow, the Jay Hernandez-led Magnum P.I. is at an end after four seasons on CBS and Paramount Plus, while Dynasty, the reimagining of the highly-strung 1980s drama is done too after seasons. 

Roswell, New Mexico, which followed on the success of 1990s sci-fi saga Roswell, has also been axed after a four-season run. 

As well as that, Legacies, the spin-off of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, has been canceled after four seasons, marking the first time in 13 years that some iteration of that franchise has not been on the air.

Naomi, Ava Duvernay's comic book adaptation where a teenager who runs a Superman fan site and discovers that she has superpowers, is done after just one season. The show joins Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman and Supergirl, which were previously confirmed to be coming to an end on The CW. 

In The Dark, the Ben Stiller-backed drama which follows a blind woman who attempts to turn her life around while solving a friend's murder, is done after four seasons, as is The 4400, with the post-apocalyptic drama only getting one season. 

The 4400 wasn't the only show to be one series and done, Good Sam, which starred Sophia Bush and Jason Isaacs and followed Bush's Dr. Samantha Griffith, a heart surgeon who is forced to step up after her boss and father, Dr. Rob Griffith (Isaacs), falls into a coma, is done after one season, as is The Endgame, the Morena Baccarin-led thriller where a criminal mastermind and an FBI agent face off. 

The cancelations were so vast and sweeping that Julie Plec, the veteran showrunner and executive-producer behind Roswell, New Mexico, The Endgame and Legacies, quipped it was a day reminiscent of Game Of Thrones' brutal episode The Red Wedding. She was not wrong...

It’s the Red Wedding at WBTV/CW today. Much more to say, but not today.Loads of gratitude coming for fans and cast and crew in future tweets. But today, we mourn.May 12, 2022

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So many canceled dramas, what about comedies?

Plenty of those hit the buffers too. 

Kenan, the comedy built around Kenan and Kel and Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson, where he stars as a single dad and local news anchor trying to balance his kids and his career, is over after two seasons, while Mr. Mayor, in which Ted Danson starred as a retired businessman who decides to run for mayor of Los Angeles and somehow wins, is also out after two seasons. 

Two comedies from Chuck Lorre, the man behind megahits like The Big Bang Theory, Roseanne and Cybil, have also been culled. 

The United States Of Al, which told the story of the unlikely friendship between a Marine combat veteran and his unit's interpreter as they tried to build a new life in the US, is done after two seasons. As well as that, B Positive, which starred Annaleigh Ashford and Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch, has only lasted for two seasons. 

How We Roll, the comedy which starred Crashing’s Pete Holmes as a middle-aged man who decides to pursue his dream of becoming a professional bowler after being laid off, is also at an end after only one season. 

So many cancelations, and, for once, we're not talking about Netflix...

10 May 07:46

Love, Death and Robots volume 3 may be the most bizarre and twisted season yet

by tom.power@futurenet.com (Tom Power)

The official trailer for Love, Death & Robots volume 3 has landed online – and it looks like it'll be the show's most bizarre season yet.

Released on Netflix's social media channels on Monday (May 9), the trailer reveals the episode titles for season 3's nine episodes before giving us a brief look at, well, how they'll look. Based on the footage within, fans best prepare themselves for more sci-fi, horror, dystopian, existential, and humorous antics from the near-10 episode season.

We already knew that Love, Death & Robots volume 3 would land on Netflix on May 20. With its release less than two weeks away, it's high time that we saw more about what its episodes would entail.

Check out the official trailer below:

The teaser confirms that acclaimed director David Fincher (Mank, Mindhunter) will make his animated directorial debut in the Netflix show that he co-executively produces alongside Tim Miller. Here's hoping that Fincher's iconic filming style and techniques are on show in the entry he's helmed.

Alberto Mielgo, whose season 1 episode The Witness won three Emmys, is also back to helm the third season's final entry called Jibaro. Meanwhile, the season opener – Three Robots: Exit Strategies – marks the first time that a season of Love, Death & Robots has contained a direct sequel to a previous episode.

Studios including Miller's Blur production company, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Pinkman.tv – who have previously animated multiple entries in Love, Death & Robots – also return to deliver gorgeous and grotesque visuals in equal measure. 

Here's a full rundown of every Love, Death & Robots volume 3 episodic title, plus those involved in each one's production:

  • Three Robots: Exit Strategies (Director – Patrick Osborne; Writer – John Scalzi; Studio: Blow Studio)
  • Bad Travelling (David Fincher; Andrew Kevin Walker; Blur Studio)
  • The Very Pulse of the Machine (Emily Dean; Philip Gelatt; Polygon Pictures)
  • Night of the Mini Dead (Robert Bisi and Andy Lyon; Robert Bisi and Andy Lyon; Buck Studio)
  • Kill Team Kill (Jennifer Yuh Nelson; Philip Gelatt; Titmouse Inc.)
  • Swarm (Tim Miller; Tim Miller; Blur Studio)
  • Mason's Rats (Carlos Stevens; Joe Abercrombie; Axis Studios)
  • In Vaulted Halls Entombed (Jerome Chen; Philip Gelatt; Sony Pictures Imageworks)
  • Jibaro (Alberto Mielgo; Alberto Mielgo; pinkman.tv)

Fans who want to catch a glimpse of Love, Death & Robots volume 3 can do so by signing up to watch a livestream Q&A with Tim Miller, David Fincher, and Jennifer Yuh Nelson, too. The event, which will take place on Wednesday, May 10, will be shown at multiple Alamo Drafthouse locations across the US. Those wishing to tune in can do so by signing up via this link.

For more on Love, Death & Robots, read our expert guide on every one of the animated anthology series' 26 episodes to date. We'll be updating it once volume 3 drops, too, so be sure to check back and see if you agree with us on May 20.


Analysis: will Love, Death & Robots volume 3 be the best season yet?

An astronaut looks scared as she travels through a dimensional warp tunnel in Love, Death & Robots volume 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

It's possible. The volume 3 teaser trailer suggests that the upcoming batch of episodes will be some of the most intriguing (from a plot perspective) and beautiful we've seen so far. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will be. But, with the likes of Mielgo returning, Fincher directing an episode, and each standalone tale tapping into each studio's unique and aesthetically pleasing animation style, we're confident that volume 3 will be the best season yet.

There's data (albeit a small amount) implying that Love, Death & Robots volume 3 could be the best season in the animated show's history, too, based on how volume 2 was better received (by critics) than the first volume was. According to review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the 18-strong first volume holds a 77% rating among critics. Meanwhile, volume 2 – with its eight episodes – is rated even higher; the second instalment accumulating an 85% rating from multiple reviewers.

Take a look at the accumulative scores from general TV aficionados, however, and you may worry about volume 3's chances of maintaining that upward trajectory. Audiences adored the show's first instalment, with its 92% certified fresh score confirming as much. Volume 2, though, received a paltry 57% rating by comparison. It's unclear if Love, Death & Robots' second outing was affected by the lack of episodes it contained (18 in volume 1 compared to 8 in volume 2), or whether its stories simply didn't resonate with viewers.

Whatever the reason, Love, Death & Robots volume 3 could end up splitting critics and fans' opinions on the series more so than its predecessor. Based on what the trailer teased, plus Mielgo and Fincher's involvement in specific episodes, though, we're quietly confident that volume 3 will deliver a season that professional critics and animation fans will equally enjoy.

10 May 07:45

Today's Wordle answer was originally 'fetus,' and the NYT insists it was a coincidence

by Igor Bonifacic

The New York Times has apologized after Monday’s Wordle included a solution for some players that may have been offensive due to its connection to recent political events in the US. Some Wordle players woke up today to find out the solution to the daily puzzle was “fetus,” a selection The New York Times said was “entirely unintentional and a coincidence,” in a note the outlet’s Games team published at 12:01AM. 

According to The Times, the word was loaded into the game “last year,” meaning its selection predates both the company’s purchase of Wordle and the May 2nd leak of a draft decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. When The Times Games team discovered last week that Monday’s puzzle would feature the word fetus, it said it did its best to alter the answer for “as many solvers as possible.” However, due to the way Wordle loads data, those who keep the game running in a tab that they never refresh still saw the old selection. The Times said it hopes to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future.

“We’re now busy revamping Wordle’s technology so that everyone always receives the same word,” the outlet said. “We are committed to ensuring that tens of millions of people have a gratifying and consistent experience, every day.” The Games team added that it wants Wordle “to remain distinct from the news,” a stance that has drawn criticism from some players.

10 May 07:44

A US college is shutting down for good following a ransomware attack

by Kris Holt

Lincoln College says it will close this week in the wake of a ransomware attack that took months to resolve. While the impact of COVID-19 severely impacted activities such as recruitment and fundraising, the cyberattack seems to have been the tipping point for the Illinois institution.

The college has informed the Illinois Department of Higher Education and Higher Learning Commission that it will permanently close as of May 13th. As NBC News notes, it's the first US college or university to shut down in part because of a ransomware attack.

Lincoln says it had "record-breaking student enrollment" in fall 2019. However, the pandemic caused a sizable fall in enrollment with some students opting to defer college or take a leave of absence. The college — one of only a few rural schools to qualify as a predominantly Black institution under the Department of Education — said those affected its financial standing.

Last December, Lincoln was hit by a cyberattack, which "thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of fall 2022 enrollment. All systems required for recruitment, retention and fundraising efforts were inoperable," the college said in a statement posted on its homepage. "Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections displayed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester."

Barring a last-minute respite, the one-two punch of the pandemic and a cyberattack have brought an end to a 157-year-old institution. Lincoln says it will help students who aren't graduating this semester transfer to another college.

Over the last few years, ransomware hackers have attacked other educational facilities, as well as hospitals, game studios, Sinclair Broadcast Group and many other companies and institutions.

07 May 21:26

Watch the fiery new trailer for Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon

by axel.metz@futurenet.com (Axel Metz)

Game of Thrones fans have finally been treated to a second trailer for HBO’s long-awaited prequel series, House of the Dragon.

Arriving exactly seven months after the first, this latest teaser gives audiences a better look at the dirty politics, awe-inspiring locations and dragon-induced destruction we’ve come to expect from George R. R. Martin’s celebrated fantasy universe. 

The 10-episode series, based on Martin’s 2018 novel Fire and Blood, will begin streaming in the US and other HBO Max territories on August 21. Those in the UK will be able to access episodes at the same time as their US counterparts (on the morning of August 22) on Sky Atlantic and Now TV.

Set 200 years prior to the events of the original show, House of the Dragon will tell the inevitably bloody backstory of the Targaryen dynasty, charting the fallout of King Viserys Targaryen’s decision to choose his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, as successor to the Iron Throne over rightful heir Prince Daemon Targaryen. 

Paddy Considine, Matt Smith and Emma D'Arcy star as Viserys, Rhaenyra and Daemon, respectively, though the trio will be joined by the likes of Rhys Ifans, Olivia Cooke and Steve Toussaint as part of a vast ensemble cast. You can find a more detailed rundown of all the show’s characters – and their respective roles – in our dedicated hub

House of the Dragon’s latest trailer also gives fans a first look at HBO’s famous fire-breathing dragons, which look every bit as menacing as we remember, and ends with an ominous warning: “History does not remember blood. It remembers names.” It’s a sure bet, then, that we’ll be treated to a fair amount of back-stabbing barons and warring warriors come August. 

Alongside the trailer, HBO shared a series of new character posters to its Twitter account, which you can check out via the link below. 

Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. First of His Name. #ViserysTargaryen#HouseoftheDragon pic.twitter.com/u7xUPJCaFEMay 5, 2022

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The series is being helmed by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal, with Game of Thrones alumnus Miguel Sapochnik on the majority of directing duties. 

07 May 21:26

Every Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cameo explained

by tom.power@futurenet.com (Tom Power)

Major spoilers follow for Doctor Strange 2. You have been warned.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has landed in theaters. And yes, the rumors are true: there are a whole host of character cameos in the latest Marvel movie.

Given the film's two-hour runtime, there aren't as many as we initially expected. However, diehard Marvel fans – whether you're a comic book aficionado or a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fanatic – will get a kick out of who turns up in the Marvel Phase 4 project. 

There may be some of you, though, who aren't clued up on who these individuals are and want to find out more about them. That's where we come in. Below, we run through every character who makes a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, including where they crop up, which actor portrays them, whether they're alive at the end of the superhero film, and more. Oh, and if you want a breakdown of what happened in the film's climax, check out our ending explainer article.

Unsurprisingly, we're about to dive into major spoiler territory for Doctor Strange 2. Don't scroll past the image below if you haven't seen it yet, otherwise you'll ruin the surprise. Or, rather, surprises.

Doctor Strange casts a spell in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange 2 is packed with cameos from across the Marvel multiverse. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Billy and Tommy Maximoff

Wanda Maximoff with her twin boys Bill and Tommy play fancy dress in WandaVision on Disney Plus

Billy and Tommy return in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Actors: Jett Klyne and Julian Hilliard.

Do they survive? Yes, the duo are alive at the film's end.

After initially appearing in WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff's twin boys make a few appearances throughout Doctor Strange 2. We see them alive and well in an alternate universe with a Wanda Maximoff variant in a number of key scenes, including the one where Scarlet Witch realizes she's become a monster in her quest to become reunited with them.

It's unclear if we'll see Billy and Tommy again in the MCU. After all, Scarlet Witch seemingly sacrifices herself at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Given that she destroys Chthon's castle on Mount Wundagore and eradicates chaos magic from the multiverse, there's no way for anyone (America Chavez aside) to traverse the multiverse and track them down. So their fates are currently up in the air.

Black Bolt

Anson Mount stars as Black Bolt in ABC's maligned Inhumans TV show

Anson Mount reprises his role as Black Bolt in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: ABC)

Actor: Anson Mount

Does he survive? No. Scarlet Witch alters reality to remove his mouth during her confrontation with the Illuminati. Screaming inside his own head out of shock and fear, he blows his own brain out with his quasi-sonic scream, killing himself.

Reprising his role as Black Bolt from the much maligned Inhumans TV show, Anson Mount appears as part of the Illuminati on Earth-838. We only hear him speak once – he says "I'm sorry" to Supreme Strange as he kills his friend on Titan after the Illuminati defeat their universe's version of Thanos. But, while he doesn't (or, rather, can't) say much, it's cool to see Mount portray Black Bolt in the MCU, even with his 1990s-style, comic accurate spandex wingsuit.

Will we see him again? Maybe not for a while, but we're sure Marvel Studios will want a do over on its previous attempt at a live-action Inhumans TV series.

Captain Carter

Hayley Atwell voices Captain Carter in Marvel's What If...? Disney Plus TV show

Captain Carter was first introduced in Marvel's What If...? anthology series. (Image credit: Disney Plus/Marvel studios)

Actor: Hayley Atwell

Does she survive? No. She's cut in half by her own vibranium shield by Scarlet Witch during the latter's battle with the Illuminati.

Hayley Atwell is an established MCU actor at this point. We've seen her in a couple of Captain America solo movies, her own TV show (which originally aired on ABC in the US), and heard her voice an animated Captain Carter in Marvel's What If...? anthology series.

It's highly satisfying, then, to see her portray a live-action version of Captain Carter, complete with a United Kingdom-embroidered suit, shield, and jetpack. She more than holds her own against Wanda, too, until the latter gets hold of Carter's weapon of choice and slices her in two. As big fans of Atwell, here's hoping we see another variant of Captain Carter in the future.

Captain Marvel

Lashana Lynch's Captain Marvel variant as seen in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer

Maria Rambeau's Captain Marvel may not have died in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Actor: Lashana Lynch

Does she survive? Maybe. Her fate is undetermined after her bruising encounter with Scarlet Witch.

Lashana Lynch's Maria Rambeau didn't have a major role in 2019's Captain Marvel. And, by the time we saw her daughter Monica all grown up in WandaVision, Maria had died after a long battle with cancer.

So it's equally pleasing to see Lynch portray an alternate universe's version of Captain Marvel. She certainly has a more serious demeanour about her than Brie Larson's Carol Danvers and, just like Atwell's Captain Carter, she goes toe to toe with Wanda during the latter's fight with the Illuminati.

The fate of Lynch's Captain Carter is unclear following her one-on-one with Wanda, too. Sure, Scarlet Witch drops a giant statue on her, so chances are she perished alongside her fellow superheroes. But, as any film fan will know, unless you see someone actually die on screen, there's a chance that they're still alive. Maybe we'll see Lynch's Captain Marvel appear in the superhero's second solo outing, which arrives in July 2023. You know, if The Marvels ends up being another multiverse-centric movie.

Clea

A screenshot of Clea as seen in The Death of Doctor Strange comic series

Clea makes her live-action MCU debut in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Marvel Comics/Jed Mackay/Lee Garbutt)

Actor: Charlize Theorn

Does she survive? Well, considering she appears in the film's mid-credits scene, yes.

A sorcerer like Doctor Strange, Clea makes her live-action debut in the MCU in the Multiverse of Madness' first post-credits stinger.

The character, who has major ties to the Sorcerer Supreme in Marvel comics, turns up in the MCU to locate Stephen Strange, who she accuses of causing an Incursion Event. You can read more about that in our ending explainer article, which is linked in the introduction of this piece.

Clearly, Clea will have a big supporting role in Doctor Strange's third solo flick, but it could be a while before we see her in action. Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed (via IGN) that he's taking a break from acting, so don't expect Doctor Strange 3 to arrive in theaters any time soon.

Master Mordo

Master Mordo talks to a character off screen in Doctor Strange 2

Master Mordo isn't what he seems in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Does he survive? Yes. He's still alive after his fist fight with Doctor Strange.

This isn't much of a surprise, given that Chiwetel Ejiofor's Master Mordo appeared in the film's many trailers and TV spots. Still, it's cool to see the actor play a variant of his character from Doctor Strange's first solo movie, albeit one who has equally nefarious plans as his MCU counterpart.

Unless Lynch's Captain Marvel survived her ordeal with Scarlet Witch, Master Mordo is the only Illuminati team member who is still alive after Scarlet Witch's attack on the supergroup's headquarters. So we'd expect him to assume total control of the Illuminati's research and the Sanctum Santorum. You know, unless Earth-838's Christine Palmer has anything to say about that...

Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards

A screenshot of Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards as seen in Marvel comics

John Krasinski plays the MCU's first version of Mr. Fantastic. (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Actor: John Krasinski

Does he survive? No. He's turned to spaghetti and then killed by Wanda at the Illuminati's headquarters.

Marvel fans have long called for John Krasinski to play Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in the MCU. And, with Doctor Strange 2's arrival, those fans have had their wishes answered by Marvel Studios.

Like Mount's Black Bolt, Krasinski's Reed Richards doesn't play a big part in proceedings. He's one of the few Illuminati members who is honest with Doctor Strange (about Supreme Strange and other multiverse aspects), and seems to have his universe's best intentions at heart.

It's a shame, then, that he's unceremoniously killed off by Scarlet Witch when she rocks up at the Illuminati's headquarters. He's the only one who tries to reason with her but, after she kills Black Bolt, he realizes she can't be talked down. Krasinski's Richards doesn't even get to use his powers properly before he's turned to spaghetti and has his head popped by Wanda, too. Fingers crossed that Krasinski is officially cast to play the MCU's Reed Richards for Marvel's Fantastic Four movie, then, so we can see more of him in action.

Pizza Poppa (also in post-credits scene)

Bruce Campbell playing a waiter in 2004's Spider-Man movie

Bruce Campbell reunites with long-time collaborator Sam Raimi in Doctor Strange 2 (the image above is taken from Spider-Man 2). (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Actor: Bruce Campbell

Does he survive? Yes, he's never in danger of dying – despite the fact that he punches himself in the head.

The long-time collaborator of director Sam Raimi has a cameo appearance in Doctor Strange 2. Disappointingly, though, Campbell doesn't play a major character. Instead, he portrays a simple street vendor going by the name of Pizza Poppa, who winds up getting more than he bargained for when he runs into Doctor Strange and America Chavez.

Accusing Chavez of stealing food from his stall, Pizza Poppa verbally lashes out at the duo. Not standing for his rudeness, Strange casts a spell that causes Pizza Poppa to repeatedly punch himself in the face for "around three weeks". It's an amusing moment, but we would've liked to see Campbell have a greater role in proceedings.

Professor X

Professor X sits in his chair in the heart of the X-Men's compound in the 2000 superhero movie

Patrick Stewart's Professor X finally makes his MCU debut in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Fox/20th Century Studios)

Actor: Patrick Stewart

Does he survive? No. Scarlet Witch snaps his neck after he tries to stop her rampage.

The legendary Patrick Stewart reprises his role as the iconic leader of the X-Men for the first (and potentially last) time in the MCU. Stewart had played Professor Charles Xavier in Fox's X-Men universe, and it had seemed that he'd hung up Cerebro for the final time after 2017's Logan.

Clearly, though, he was brought back for one last outing – returning to the role he'd inhabited for nearly 20 years – in Doctor Strange 2. Like Krasinski's Reed Richards, Professor X seems to think Doctor Strange is worth keeping alive. He's the one who tells Strange to go in search of the Book of Vishanti to try and stop Scarlet Witch's rampage across the multiverse, buying the sorcerer time when he goes to confront Scarlet Witch as she attacks the Illuminati's headquarters.

And he's almost successful in stopping Wanda, too. Using his powers to enter Wanda's mind, Professor X nearly rescues Earth-838's Wanda from the Scarlet Witch's dreamwalking spell. However, Scarlet Witch overpowers Professor X, snapping his neck inside her mind and in the real world. Who's going to pop wheelies in his yellow chair now...

Rintrah

A screenshot of the Doctor Strange 2 trailer that may feature Rintrah

Rintrah doesn't have a large role in Doctor Strange 2. (Image credit: Marvel Studio)

Actor: Adam Hugill

Does he survive? Yes. We see him at the end of the film helping to rebuild Kamar-Taj.

Like Master Mordo, we knew that Rintrah – a magic minotaur who's an ally of Doctor Strange in the comics – would appear in the Multiverse of Madness. He has more of a bit-part role than we initially thought, however, and only appears for a couple of brief moments at Kamar-Taj.

Given how powerful the extraterrestrial R'Vaal magician is in Marvel's source material, it's a pity he isn't utilized to full effect here. With the sheer amount of other characters who crop up, plus the manner in which the film's plot plays out, it shouldn't be a major surprise to see Rintrah only have a small role in proceedings. We'd definitely like to see him appear in Doctor Strange's third flick, though, and maybe have a greater say in what may play out during that superhero flick.

07 May 21:16

Bitwarden Password Manager Review: Great Features for Free or Cheap

Bitwarden’s interface could use some polishing, but most of its quirks are inconveniences you can absolutely live with for the price.
04 May 13:09

How to watch the Star Wars films and TV shows in the right order

by Max Parker
Star Wars Timeline

Looking to jettison off to a galaxy far, far away? Here’s the chronological timeline you need to follow to watch the Star Wars films and TV shows in order.

You know what day it is – May 4th, marking what is now officially known as Star Wars Day (sadly not a Bank Holiday).

Given that you’ve got three trilogies, multiple spinoffs and a growing raft of TV shows that are all considered canon, trying to figure out where to start with it all can feel like finding a needle in a Mos Eisley cantina.

Not to worry though as we’ve painstakingly outlined, in a chronological timeline, the right order to watch the entire Star Wars saga in. And as they are all available on Disney Plus, what better time than to rewatch the whole saga.

How to watch all the Star Wars films and TV shows in the UK

All the Star Wars content is available to stream through Disney Plus and this is also home to the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show that’ll start on May 27. See below for how to sign up to Disney Plus.

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1. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Although The Phantom Menace wasn’t the first Star Wars film to be released theatrically, it does mark the beginning of the Skywalker saga from a chronological perspective, following a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, an even younger Anakin Skywalker, and one of the series’ most terrifying villains to date: Darth Maul.

The film might be a bit of a marmite pick for most Star Wars fans, but there are pockets of greatness here and there that still make it an entertaining watch.

2. Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

Jumping forwards a whole decade after the events of the Phantom Menace, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones sees tensions at an all-time high, with a separatist movement seeking to cause disruption throughout the galaxy, while Anakin and Obi-Wan are caught in the middle of it all as they’re tasked with guarding the life of Senator Padmé Amidala.

Admittedly, initially watching the film at the ripe old age of nine meant that a lot of this plot detail went right over my head, but even now, the film is still a tough watch and largely landed with a thud among fans.

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

To be fair to George Lucas, the concept of the Clone Wars was an interesting idea, but Attack of the Clones just couldn’t quite do the story justice. Years later however, The Clone Wars TV series would aim to give the conflict its dues with superb animation and a surprisingly adult tone, one you wouldn’t expect to find in a children’s TV show.

Sure, there are seven seasons to wade through (plus a slightly dodgy feature-length film), but given just how much The Clones Wars ties in with later projects like The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch and Rogue One, it’s definitely worth a watch to wrap your head around the lore.

4. Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

While the film has since become the source for plenty of memes, Revenge of the Sith was intended to be the big dramatic payoff for the prequel series and the narrative segue into the original trilogy.

Opinions of the film only seem to have soured over time, but there’s no denying that it still has one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in the entire series. Without spoiling anything, I’d say it’s highly recommended that you never let Anakin Skywalker babysit your children.

5: Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Acting as a sequel series to the Clone Wars, the Bad Batch retains the fantastic animation style and ramps up the production quality even more. The titular Bad Batch consists of a team of Clone Troopers and we follow them through their adventures around the galaxy.

One season of this show has already aired, with a second expected to follow later in 2022. If you’re a fan of The Clone Wars, it’s an easy bet you’ll enjoy this too.

6. Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s no secret that Solo had an extremely tumultuous production and ended up being a major box-office bomb, but if you accept the film as nothing more than a rather daft action flick starring one of the Star Wars series’ most beloved characters in his youth, then you’re in for a good time.

7. Star Wars: Rebels

Another multi-season animated show, Star Wars: Rebels brings in a number of iconic characters from Star Wars lore and is a worthy watch for filling in some of the gaps between the prequels and original trilogy.

8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Now, this is how you do a Star Wars spin-off. As the first cinematic offshoot in the Star Wars canon, there was a lot riding on Rogue One, but the film’s decision to focus on a varied bunch of characters and take some serious risks along the way paid off greatly.

There’s definitely a case to be made that not enough time is spent in fleshing out some of the main players, but the film does an amazing job of seeing what all these intergalactic events might look like to the nobodies on the ground. The ending also immediately transitions into the opening moments of A New Hope, so the two films could be paired for an afternoon double bill.

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars A New Hope

9. Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope

It’s almost surreal to think that the film that started it all now sits at the number seven spot on this list, but that’s what you get when you have a billion-dollar franchise that craves new content.

Watching A New Hope today, it’s hard to ignore the film’s slower pace and sometimes twee acting, but you just can’t knock its scale and sense of ambition. After all, A New Hope came out in 1977 and still boasts several practical effects that put modern CGI to shame.

10. Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

The crown jewel of the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back upped the ante and set the standard for what a sequel could be.

Between the rebellion’s fight against the AT-ATs, Yoda training with Luke and the now historic twist, so many iconic Star Wars moments happen here that it’s too difficult to pick a favourite. In fact, if you just start your Star Wars binge with Empire, there’ll be no hard feelings.

11. Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi

Even to this day, the debate rages on as to which is the better movie: Jedi or Empire. Given how the most recent trilogy turned out however, that’s not a bad argument to be having. Return of the Jedi managed to do the one thing that so many sequels fail in doing (particularly in trilogies), and that’s to simply stick the landing.

Disney Plus

12. The Mandalorian

The show that launched a thousand memes. Tentatively titled ‘Baby Yoda’s Super Happy Space Time’, the hype surrounding The Mandalorian is certainly justified.

Taking place in a galaxy now adjusting to the epic events of the preceding trilogy, the show follows a lone bounty hunter – and proud member of the Mandalorian tribe – named Din Djarin, as he navigates the galaxy’s seedy underworld in search of his next cheque.

13: The Book of Boba Fett

While we didn’t get the heavily rumoured Boba Fett spin-off film, we did get to see the iconic character’s arc expanded in this Disney Plus series. While it’s far from the best-written piece of Star Wars content, it is worth a watch just for the latter episodes and how it ties into the next instalment of The Mandalorian.

14. Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Picking up a whole 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the Force Awakens kicked off a brand new trilogy, of which modern Star Wars fans are no doubt familiar. While the film does boast a few familiar faces including Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca, the Force Awakens’ cast is largely made up of newcomers, such as the scavenger Rey, and Finn, a defector of the First Order – a new band of antagonists moulded in the shadow of the Empire.

12. Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

Taking barely any time for a breather, The Last Jedi starts almost immediately from where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey being taken under Luke Skywalker’s wing (eventually), while the rest of our heroes are stuck in an intergalactic car chase, fleeing from the First Order. The Last Jedi is probably the most divisive Star Wars film to date, having been lauded by critics and slated by fans.

13. Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

The Rise of Skywalker, or as I like to call it, ‘The Return of JJ Abrams’ Script’, is the final chapter in the long-running Skywalker saga, but it’s also a hot mess to boot. It’s not that The Rise of Skywalker isn’t entertaining – there’s enough going on to keep you distracted for over two hours – but once it’s over, you’ll be left wondering if that’s really the best finale the filmmakers could’ve come up with.

Of course, the film’s rushed pacing is reactionary to the backlash of The Last Jedi, which saw director Rian Johnson abandon JJ Abrams’ original overarching narrative in favour of something completely different. Given how well Marvel Studios has done by comparison, I sincerely hope that Kevin Feige is put in charge of any more Star Wars films from here on out.

The post How to watch the Star Wars films and TV shows in the right order appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

03 May 12:42

The CW Cancels Batwoman After Three Seasons

by Matt Kim

The Batwoman showrunner for The CW, Caroline Dries, has announced on Twitter that the DC superhero show will not be returning for a new season.

In a Tweet Dries writes, "Just got the sad news that #Batwoman will not be seeing an S4. I am bummed, but full of gratitude." Dries added that it was an honor to make 51 episodes and thanked the show's producers, cast, crew, and fans.

Batwoman premiered in 2019 as part of The CW's DC universe of TV shows. The series originally starred Ruby Rose as Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne's cousin who takes on a cowl herself to fight crime.

After the first season, Rose announced she would be leaving the show with both Rose and CW offering different reasons for the split. The original plan was to recast Rose's character but this changed and instead, Batwoman's title was inherited by a new character, Ryan Wilder played by Javicia Leslie.

Leslie played Wilder's Batwoman for two seasons, the most recent of which premiered on October 13, 2021. It would end up being the final season for the character.

No reason has been given for why The CW canceled Batwoman, but the news follows reports that CW owners Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are looking to sell the network. Despite the report, The CW is still exploring new DC shows, including Gotham Knights while renewing others like The Flash for a ninth season.

Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.

03 May 12:41

Legends of Tomorrow Canceled By The CW After Seven Seasons

by Adam Bankhurst

DC's Legends of Tomorrow has been canceled by The CW after seven seasons.

As reported by THR, Legends of Tomorrow follows the cancellation of DC's Batwoman after three seasons and leaves The CW with only The Flash and Superman & Lois for its DC slate in the next year. The Flash is expected to end after its ninth season, and it will be replaced by shows like producer Greg Berlanti's Gotham Knights.

"Well, folks. It’s been an incredible run," co-showrunner Keto Shimizu wrote on Twitter. "However, the CW has let us know that there will be no season 8 of #LegendsOfTomorrow. We are heartbroken, but also immensely grateful for the amazing work our cast, crew, and writers have contributed to the little show that could.

"Thank you to our fans; your love and passion for our strange band of misfits has made every break, every script, every daily, every cut, and every mix worth all the hard work. We see you, we love you, and you’ll always have a place on the Waverider."

The void left by Legends of Tomorrow will be filled by some of The CW's recent renewals, including All American, Kung Fu, Nancy Drew, Riverdale, and Walker. Those seven renewals are fewer than the 10 or more the network usually chooses to continue early.

Legends of Tomorrow recently celebrated its 100th episode and earlier this year we took a look at how Zari and Behrad became a roadmap for better representation.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

03 May 08:59

Moon Knight episode 5 Easter egg teases further MCU ties

by tom.power@futurenet.com (Tom Power)

Major spoilers for Moon Knight episode 5 follow.

Moon Knight episode 5 has arrived on Disney Plus. And, as you wipe the tears from your eyes – if you've seen it, you'll know why – you may have forgotten about a certain Easter egg that officially ties the TV show to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Before Moon Knight debuted on Disney Plus, there was plenty of discussion about how closely it would link to other MCU productions. But, one particular reference made by Tawaret, the Egyptian god of childbirth and fertility – you can read more about her in our episode 4 explainer – ensures that Moon Knight has major ties to a couple of Marvel movies.

We're about to dig into where you can find this Moon Knight episode 5 Easter egg and how it links to former and future MCU superhero flicks. Turn back now if you haven't caught the episode yet – why would you be here if you haven't? – and don't want anything spoiled.

Tawaret discusses the Ancestral Plane in Moon Knight episode 5

Tawaret holds the key to Moon Knight episode 5's MCU links. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

The reference in question can be found in the episode's opening act. After we're properly introduced to Tawaret (alongside Marc and Steven), we find out that the latter duo aren't in a psychiatric hospital at all. Instead, it's a figment of their imagination and they're actually on their way to the Egyptian afterlife – aka the Field of Reeds. 

That is, if they pass the Weighing of the Heart trial by balancing their souls on the scales of truth against a giant ostrich feather. We could elaborate on that further, but it'll take a while to explain, so let's just move on to the Marvel Easter egg that Moon Knight episode 5 contains.

As Tawaret begins to explain that Marc and Steven are traveling to the afterlife via the Egyptian underworld, Marc asks if the psychiatric ward is a stand-in for said underworld. Tawaret says "This is an afterlife, not the afterlife. You'd be surprised how many intersectional planes of untethered consciousness exist."

It's during this part of the conversation that Tawaret drops a major Marvel movie reference: the Ancestral Plane, aka a parallel dimension where souls exist outside of a person's physical body.

In the MCU, the Ancestral Plane is also known by two other names: the Astral Plane and the Astral Dimension. These names are interchangeable and, as such, they're all important for the deep dive we're about to embark on.

Moon Knight has dropped a number of other MCU Easter eggs throughout its episodic run so far, but this is the most obvious one of all. Why? Because we've seen this Plane in multiple Marvel movies, including Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The Astral Plane featured prominently throughout Doctor Strange, with the Ancient One and Stephen Strange conversing in it at one point, while Strange battled one of Kaecilius' followers in this alternate reality. Meanwhile, we see the Ancestral Plane – a psychadelic, afterlife-inspired version of this dimension – in Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger visit it whenever they ingested Wakanda's legendary purple herb – i.e. the source of Black Panther's superpowers.

The Astral Plane was also touched upon in Endgame – Bruce Banner and the Ancient One discussed branching timelines during the Avengers' time stone heist. Finally, the Astral Dimension was briefly featured No Way Home during Doctor Strange and Spider-Man's fight over a spell box that would've sent the webslinger's villains back to their original universes.

With Tawaret namedropping the Ancestral Plane in Moon Knight's fifth entry, it's clear that the latest Marvel Phase 4 project has closer ties to the MCU (through its mentioning of the Astral Dimension) than we initially realized. Hopefully, that means we'll see Moon Knight team up with other superpowered beings in the future. That is, if he survives the season finale's expected showdown with Arthur Harrow, or if Oscar Isaac is even interested in returning as the character down the line.

Moon Knight episode 5's Easter egg also ties it to future Marvel movies

The Panther God Bast appears to Bashenga in Black Panther's opening scene

Bast the Panther God has ties to Moon Knight's Egyptian gods. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

Tawaret's reference to the Ancestral Plane doesn't just link Moon Knight to previously released Marvel movies – it also ties to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and, perhaps more surprisingly, Thor: Love and Thunder.

The links to Black Panther 2 are pretty obvious. The Ancestral Plane played a key role in the 2018 MCU flick, with T'Challa and Killmonger able to talk to their fathers and other ancestors in this parallel dimension. Given that Wakanda Forever will likely see the christening of a new Black Panther – Boseman died in August 2019 after a four-year battle with bowel cancer – we can expect to see the Ancestral Plane feature at some point in the sequel.

Thor 4 is a different story. The god of thunder's MCU journey has made no reference to the Ancestral/Astral Plane thus far, but Love and Thunder is sure to change that in two major ways.

Firstly, Love and Thunder will introduce Gorr the God Butcher (played by Batman's Christian Bale), a powerful villain whose Necrosword weapon – in Marvel comics, at least – has the ability to kill gods.

You don't need us to tell you that gods walk among mortals in the MCU. Thor, Loki, Odin, and other Norse gods have appeared throughout Marvel Studios' various productions over the past decade. Moon Knight has introduced a number of Egyptian gods into the fold, but it was Black Panther that initially brought the Egyptian deities (i.e. the Ennead) into the MCU with Bast, the Panther God who bestowed the original Black Panther – Bashenga – with superpowers.

Secondly (but by not means least) it's Bast who may bridge the gap between Moon Knight, Black Panther, and Thor 4 together once the god of thunder's fourth solo movie arrives in theaters this July. According to The Cosmic Circus, Bast is set to appear in Love and Thunder; a move that would further cement ties between these MCU movies and TV shows.

Moon Knight episode 5's Ancestral Plane reference, then, isn't just a throwback to previous Marvel films. It also sets up the possibility of linking the Disney Plus show to upcoming MCU flicks, thus linking it to the wider MCU and ensuring that it isn't a wholly standalone property.

Will Moon Knight episode 6 contain further MCU ties? We think so, but we don't expect them to take center stage. It's the series finale, after all, so we suspect there'll be a major showdown between Marc Spector and Arthur Harrow, a few more revelations about the duo's past endeavors, and maybe even a post-credits scene that sets up Moon Knight's MCU future. Here's hoping, anyway.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect incorrect information concerning the Ancestral Plane's appearance in Doctor Strange. We apologize for not catching this error sooner.

24 Apr 07:51

Ukraine is Abusing US Facial Recognition Technology to Scan and Identify Faces of Dead Russians and Then Send the Images to Their Families

by Julian Conradson

Psychological warfare has been a common tactic in conflict throughout history, however, with the advent of modern technology, the Ukrainians are taking the strategy to a whole new level thanks to the technological backing of the United States.

According to The Washington Post, the Ukrainian government, led by Volodomir Zelensky, has begun using US facial recognition technology to scan and identify the faces of dead Russian soldiers so they can then contact the families of the deceased – specifically the mothers – in order to horrify them and foment anti-war sentiment among Russian citizens.

In all, the Ukrainian government has run over 8,600 facial recognition scans on dead or captured Russian soldiers since the war began. The operation has been carried out by the country’s IT Army, which is made up of “a volunteer force of hackers and activists that takes its direction from the Ukrainian government.” The clandestine group says it has used the positive identifications obtained from the US-based technology to harass the families of 582 Russian soldiers.

The Ukrainian communications to the horrified family members included sending them photos of the abandoned corpses.

From the Washington Post:

“The country’s IT Army, a volunteer force of hackers and activists that takes its direction from the Ukrainian government, says it has used those identifications to inform the families of the deaths of 582 Russians, including by sending them photos of the abandoned corpses.

The Ukrainians champion the use of face-scanning software from the U.S. tech firm Clearview AI as a brutal but effective way to stir up dissent inside Russia, discourage other fighters and hasten an end to a devastating war.”

But some military and technology analysts worry that the strategy could backfire, inflaming anger over a shock campaign directed at mothers who may be thousands of miles from the drivers of the Kremlin’s war machine.”

Clearview AI’s technology has primarily been used in the US by federal and local law enforcement in investigations. The tool works by comparing photos of suspects or witnesses (or anyone else) to see if they match with any others in the Clearview database, which includes over 20 billion images from the internet, according to the Washington Post.

However, in Ukraine, the Clearview mobile app is reportedly being used to scan the faces of soldiers live on the battlefield. It has been such a ‘success’ that the company’s chief executive officer, Hoan Ton-That, bragged that Clearview AI is holding “daily” training calls with new police and military officials who are looking to begin using the system.

As of now, there are more than 340 officials across five Ukrainian government agencies who now have access to Clearview’s facial recognition technology, with more being added daily. Anyone trained in the system can access it 24/7 and use it as much as they want, free of charge, according to Ton-That.

The technology is so powerful and efficient that Ukrainian officials are apparently experiencing “oh, wow” moments when shown the tool because of the sheer amount of data produced when looking up individuals with the system. Everything from family photos and social media posts, to relationship details and personal information, can be found using a single photo of someone’s face, the Washington Post explained.

The technology brings an entirely new tactic to modern-day warfare.

The post Ukraine is Abusing US Facial Recognition Technology to Scan and Identify Faces of Dead Russians and Then Send the Images to Their Families appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

24 Apr 07:48

European Union limits targeted advertising and content algorithms under new law

by Igor Bonifacic

Following a marathon 16-hour negotiation session, the European Union reached an agreement early Saturday to adopt the Digital Services Act. The legislation seeks to impose greater accountability on the world's tech giants by enforcing new obligations companies of all sizes must adhere to once the act becomes law in 2024. Like the Digital Markets Act before it, the DSA could have far-reaching implications, some of which could extend beyond Europe.

While the European Commission has yet to release the final text of the Digital Services Act, it did detail some of its provisions on Saturday. Most notably, the law bans ads that target individuals based on their religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or political affiliation. Companies also cannot serve targeted ads to minors.

Another part of the law singles out recommendation algorithms. Online platforms like Facebook will need to be transparent about how those systems work to display content to users. They will also need to offer alternative systems "not based on profiling," meaning more platforms would need to offer chronological feeds. Additionally, some of the largest platforms today will be required to share "key" data to vetted researchers and NGOs so those groups can provide insights into "how online risks evolve."

"Today's agreement on the Digital Services Act is historic, both in terms of speed and of substance," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online."

Under the DSA, the EU will have the power to fine tech companies up to six percent of their global turnover for rule violations, with repeat infractions carrying the threat of a ban from the bloc. As The Guardian points out, in the case of a company like Meta, that would translate into a single potential fine of approximately $7 billion.

The DSA differentiates between tech companies of different sizes, with the most scrutiny reserved for platforms that have at least 45 million users in the EU. In that group are companies like Meta and Google. According to a recent report, those two, in addition to Apple, Amazon and Spotify, collectively spent more than €27 million lobbying EU policymakers last year to change the terms of the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act. The laws could inspire lawmakers in other countries, including the US, as they look to pass their own antitrust laws.

"We welcome the DSA's goals of making the internet even more safe, transparent and accountable, while ensuring that European users, creators and businesses continue to benefit from the open web," a Google spokesperson told Engadget. "As the law is finalized and implemented, the details will matter. We look forward to working with policymakers to get the remaining technical

24 Apr 07:45

Raspberry Pi Unlocks Computer by Detecting Push-Ups with ML

Victor Sonck is using a Raspberry Pi to detect pushups as an authentication method for his computer’s lock screen.
19 Apr 14:43

Thor: Love and Thunder - Jane Foster as Thor Explained

The long-awaited first trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder dropped Monday, giving fans their first look at Jane Foster wielding Mjolnir as the new Mighty Thor. But how can Jane be the new Thor, you mask ask? The answer lies in the film's Marvel Comics inspirations.

Spoilers follow for the Thor comics!

Portman's return as Jane Foster was first announced at Marvel’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Love and Thunder, the fourth movie worthy of the title of Thor, is not only bringing back Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and director Taika Waititi, but also Natalie Portman. And this time, she’ll be wielding the title and hammer of the Mighty Thor.

When Waititi introduced Portman and she took the stage back at SDCC 2019, he mentioned the comic book storyline he’d been reading while Thor: Ragnarok was in production: the Jason Aaron run of Thor. Marvel Comics fans familiar with Jane Foster knew immediately what that meant for Portman’s character, but do you?

Here’s the rundown on who Jane Foster is in the comics, why she takes up the hammer, what happened to Thor, and what else we might see in Thor: Love and Thunder. (In the comics and in this article, Thor, son of Odin, is referred to as Odinson for clarity.)

How Does Jane Foster Become Thor?

Jane Foster has been part of the Thor comic books since the 1960s. In her original incarnation, Jane was a nurse who later became a doctor, and she worked with Dr. Donald Blake—Thor’s mortal form. She’s been Thor’s longtime love interest, but over the years the pair have had an on-again, off-again relationship similar to the one we see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jane remained a steadfast ally of both Thor and other Marvel superheroes through it all. In Thor: God of Thunder #12, Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer, and started treatment.

During the 2014 event storyline Original Sin, Nick Fury whispered something he learned from the Watcher in Thor Odinson’s ear. Years would go by in the real world before what Fury said to him was revealed, but the effect was immediately devastating and long-lasting. Odinson dropped the hammer, unable to pick it up again, no matter how hard he tried. Thor was no longer worthy. As Frost Giants unleashed a ferocious attack on Earth, a dark figure bent down and picked up the hammer as it called to her—a woman, and the only name she would give was Thor, Goddess of Thunder.

Thor’s face was masked, her identity hidden from all, even Odin, but we learn in time that it’s Jane Foster who has been deemed worthy to wield the hammer.

Should She Be Worthy?

As Thor, Jane had the same superhuman strength, speed, endurance, flight, and lightning powers as Odinson. When she first picked up the hammer, she didn’t quite know how to use those powers, although her years with Odinson gave her a few clues. As she flew to Earth to find the Frost Giants after she transformed into Thor, she felt Mjolnir guide her both in flight and in battle.

Her connection to the hammer only grew stronger with time. The Goddess of Thunder was able to change Mjolnir’s direction mid-throw, an ability that not even Odinson had, something he noted himself in their first battle together. He understood then that the hammer chose a new Thor, a worthy hero, and trusted its judgement.

Foster Faces Her Foes

Like Odinson, Jane found herself embroiled in momentous battles rather quickly. Her first time swinging the hammer was against Malekith the Dark Elf and the Frost Giants, followed soon after by the Absorbing Man, Titania, and The Destroyer from Asgard.

Every time Jane picked up the hammer of Thor, however, the transformation purged the chemotherapy treatment—a “poison”—from her body, leaving her human self wracked with untreated cancer. Her biggest enemy would prove to be time as her human body continued to fail.

Thor would go on to play a role in the Secret Wars (2015), battle a power-hungry Odin one-on-one, join the Avengers, and team up with Doctor Strange, until she ran out of time. One more transformation into Thor would kill her, Strange warned her. But when a foe appeared that only she could defeat, Jane completed that final transformation, and died a true hero. She was resurrected by the combined power of the All-Father and Odinson, who was once again worthy to wield the power of Thor.

The Goddess of Thunder in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

With just a movie title and a quick tease in the Comic-Con panel, there’s not much to go on to speculate what that comic book history might mean for Natalie Portman’s incarnation of Thor. Whether Jane will be stricken with cancer, or if Hemsworth’s Thor is suddenly deemed unworthy (which seems unlikely given his story in Avengers: Endgame), are both complete mysteries for now. But no matter the reason Portman picks up the hammer in Thor: Love and Thunder, she will be worthy.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer who also contributes to StarWars.com, Marvel.com, Nerdist, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, comics, and more.

19 Apr 14:37

'Love Death and Robots' Season 3 comes to Netflix on May 20th

by Steve Dent

The third season of Netflix's animation anthology Love, Death and Robots will bow on May 20th. The streamer teased the release with a short video showing the same adult-oriented themes and wide variety of animation styles as the previous volumes

The series is produced by Tim Miller and David Fincher, who has a four-year exclusivity deal with Netflix. In the trailer, Netflix showed short clips of The Crown, The Queen's Gambit and other shows as a way to contrast them with the far more intense "problem child" animated show. "The threesome you've been waiting for," the tagline states.

The styles run the gamut from hyper-realistic with a Gulliver-like character to 2D cel animation, with just about everything in between. The series has garnered solid critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, though audience scores dropped in volume 2 when it toned down the nudity and gore. The number of episodes also dropped in the second season with eight compared to 18 in volume 1. Netflix didn't say how many episodes are coming with volume 3, but you'll only have to wait a day to find out. 

12 Apr 08:51

Season 3 of ‘For All Mankind’ is coming to Apple TV+ on June 10th

by Amrita Khalid

The alt-history space race drama For All Mankind is headed to Mars for its third season. Apple unveiled a trailer today for the upcoming season, set to debut on June 10th. While the second season depicted a turf war on the moon between the US and the Soviets set in the eighties, the newest season fast-forwards to 1995. The US is vying to be the first country on Earth to colonize Mars.

Fans of the show can expect to see a mix of familiar faces and new ones. Last season's finale depicted the untimely demise of Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman) and Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones). Sonya Walger is returning as Molly Cobb, despite being exposed to (at least what seemed) like a fatal dose of radiation during her walk on the Moon. Returning cast members include Joel Kinnaman (Ed Baldin), Shantel VanSanten (Karen Baldwin), Jodi Balfour (Ellen Wilson) and Cynthy Wu (Kelly Baldwin). Also due back are Coral Peña as Aleida Rosales and Casey W. Johnson as Danny Stevens.

You can watch the new (albeit, frustratingly brief) teaser below.

12 Apr 08:49

The China Model Unravels in Shanghai 

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

At the end of the Cold War, the end-of-history theory was that every country in the world that desired prosperity and progress would necessarily have to embrace both economic liberty and political democracy. You cannot have one without the other, the theory went. It was inevitable. 

The world waited for China to go the direction of Eastern Europe and so many other countries. 

It did not happen. Despite liberalizing economic reforms, the CCP maintained hard-core political control for the decades following. Yet its economy grew and grew. This gave rise to a new theory: perhaps the most successful countries will foster economic liberalism while securing tight political control, thus dispensing with the inefficiencies of democracy. 

China seemed to have it all going. 

Now we have evidence of what’s wrong with a one-party state with a powerful chief executive. It works until it doesn’t. What stopped working in China could not have been expected years ago. The party believed it had solved the problem of pathogens via massive violations of human liberty. 

Today, the people of Shanghai are suffering weeks of lockdowns, food shortage, and extreme quarantine of healthy people, all in the interest of eradicating a virus that the rest of the world has finally realized must become endemic. Even Fauci is admitting this now (following two years of urging more restrictions). 

But in China? Children are being taken from parents, the pets of people with a positive test are being shot, people are screaming from skyscrapers, and food is rotting in warehouses even as people report to be starving. There are videos online of stores being ransacked. There is talk of revolution in the air. 

Never forget: China was the birthplace of lockdowns. The head of the World Health Organization praised the early 2020 lockdowns in Wuhan. In one letter dated January 2020, the WHO congratulated China and urged the country to “enhance public health measures for containment of the current outbreak.” Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus further underscored the point with a tweet

Neil Ferguson from the Imperial College did too. “It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.” And so China became a model for the world: Wuhan, Northern Italy, the US, the UK, and then all but a handful of the countries in the world followed the lockdown paradigm. 

To this day, Xi Jinping surely basks in the warmth of this glowing praise. It put China’s policy prowess on display for the world. As I write, Yahoo reports concerning Shanghai:

China's President Xi Jinping praised the country's "tested" zero-Covid strategy on Friday, even as Shanghai authorities prepared nearly 130,000 beds for Covid-19 patients amid surging cases and mounting public anger.

We can only intuit what is happening here. For Xi Jinping, lockdowns were his greatest triumph. They seemed to work two years ago. He earned plaudits the world over, and the world followed his model. Perhaps this filled him and the CPC with a sense of incredible pride and confidence. They had done it correctly and the rest of the world copied the idea, without having practiced the article of lockdown as perfectly as China. 

Eventually governments can convince themselves of their own propaganda. That appears to be what happened here. That illusion prevented Xi and the party from observing what should have been obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge about viruses such as this one: in a functioning society and market, it will spread no matter what. As Vinay Prasad has constantly reminds us, everyone will get Covid. And through that path, we finally move beyond the pandemic.

What has happened now in China is as predictable as the failure of “Zero Covid” in Australia and New Zealand.

This means that cases are nowhere near stopping in China. They will spread to every city, every town, every countryside until vast numbers of 1.4 billion are exposed. This could mean rolling lockdowns for years to come, along with all the damage and political instability that they necessarily entail. This will surely have a profound impact on economic growth and possibly the credibility of the CCP itself. 

The communist party has made a profound error. Most places in the world did. The US was not Shanghai-level terrible but this is a matter of degree because the theory was tried out here too. In political democracies, politicians and bureaucrats have mostly tried to soft land their gross errors while manufacturing excuses for reopening without apology. Many want everyone just to forget this whole disaster. 

Will that happen in China? The trouble is the incredible centrality of lockdowns to China’s perceived achievements over the last two years. So long as there are powerful people in Beijing who genuinely believe that lockdown is the path forward – and no opposition party in place to take a different point of view – this will likely continue, raising fascinating questions about the political and economic future of this country. 

The magic combination of political and economic freedom turned out not to be the end of history. But China-style dictatorship is not the end either, simply because it contains no operational mechanism for the correcting of egregious errors. What saved the US from lockdown terror was political pluralism and federalism; China has institutionalized neither. Thus does intellectual error lead to egregiously immoral outcomes. 

Lockdowns are nowhere a solution to pathogenic spread, contrary to the assurances of the WHO or celebrity scientists in the UK or the US. When governments of the world tried to prove their competence by declaring war on cell biology, they finally met their match. No matter how powerful a state, there are forces of nature that will always outsmart it. 

https://twitter.com/TPostMillennial/status/1513676488377315332
08 Apr 13:04

Star Trek Announce NFTs, Trekkies Push Back

by Adele Ankers
Roumen.ganeff

This is ridiculous

Paramount and RECUR are launching a new Star Trek-themed NFT collection, and many Trekkies are already calling for them to abort the mission.

If anything was ever going to evoke a Picard-style facepalm from Trekkies, it's the news that Star Trek is making its first contact with NFTs. According to an article posted on StarTrek.com, fans will be able to access "digital collectibles" starting April 9 through Paramount.xyz, a new online portal that houses NFT drops for some of Paramount's beloved IP and franchises.

"Fans are looking for new ways to engage with their favorite shows and franchises, and our innovative ecosystem gives them a community to be a part of for years to come," said Zach Bruch, RECUR CEO. "Through the introduction of Paramount.xyz and StarTrek.xyz, we're providing fans with a unique way to embark on a journey to boldly go into the metaverse."

"Fans should be able to engage with our content wherever they are, including the metaverse," Pam Kaufman, President of Global Consumer Products and Experiences at Paramount, added about the company's latest venture. "Paramount.xyz will offer one seamless digital collectible experience for fans across our key franchises, starting with Star Trek."

Star Trek will be the first franchise to launch on the portal, with collectibles available in the "Star Trek Continuum" hub. The Season 0 drop on April 9 will feature "algorithmically-generated starships" that can be purchased for $250 per pack. There will be 20,000 Starship packs available in the 24-hour sale, and no two ships will be the same.

Paramount's fan-focused platform is said to be a space for people to "build a community, engage with peers, and unlock new, innovative and interactive experiences with properties and brands they love" as part of a "unified environment where fans can buy, collect and trade NFTs as digital collectibles," but not everyone is on board with the idea.

Fleets of Trekkies have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the Star Trek NFT announcement, with many berating the decision for being "out of touch" and "going against every Trek principle" as people have struggled to find an association between Star Trek and NFTs, considering that the former prides itself on demonstrating an eco-conscious ethos.

NFTs and cryptocurrencies have seen a massive wave of attention in the tech space in the last year, and continue to be controversial subjects. They are largely unregulated entities often exploited for scam purposes and have been accused of having a huge negative impact on the environment due to the energy consumed during the electronic mining of currency.

As a result, some fans have been left feeling alienated by the announcement of the NFT Star Trek collection, which comes at a time when Trekkies were gearing up to boldly step into another adventure aboard the USS Enterprise with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. This new series is debuting on Paramount+ on May 5, with new episodes every Thursday after that.

Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.

07 Apr 09:41

Preserving art through Tilda’s Vault in Horizon Forbidden West

by Angie Smets

While the stunning landscapes of the Forbidden West may depict a post-post-apocalyptic North America, the world of Horizon is crafted at a studio in the heart of Amsterdam. At Guerrilla, we’re always happy to showcase our Dutch roots to our international community. So when the opportunity presented itself to collaborate with the Rijksmuseum, we had to take it. 

The Rijksmuseum is the national art and history museum of The Netherlands. Its collection features the renowned works of Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Working together with the museum’s experts, a handful of these artworks were chosen to be featured during a pivotal moment in the story of Horizon Forbidden West. 

The result is an intimate experience that not only speaks to the importance of preserving cultural artifacts, but also demonstrates how art helps us process emotion and connect with one another.


Spoiler alert: This section includes some top-level Horizon Forbidden West story spoilers


“Don’t be so quick to dismiss the comfort we can find in art. Or the insight we might gain.” These are the words of Tilda van der Meer, a major new character in Horizon Forbidden West. She was always set to be a space-faring immortal who returns to Earth after a thousand-year absence. However, after meeting with the Rijksmuseum back in 2019, Guerrilla’s narrative team reimagined the character as a Dutch technologist, authentication expert, and art collector who fights to preserve elements of the museum’s collection from the ravages of time.

When the Rijksmuseum saw Tilda’s new biography, Curatorial Assistant Denise Campbell and her team were inspired to select ten perfect pieces for the collection featured in the game, each of which resonates with Tilda’s personality.   

Guerrilla then worked to create a space in the game to show off these works, preserved for a millennium: the vault inside of Tilda’s mansion. When Aloy first enters, she is captivated by the great works featured prominently on the tall concrete walls and pedestals. In this atmospheric area, Aloy—and the player—can linger for however long they wish and discuss the pieces with Tilda through Aloy’s Focus. Ultimately, this provides a connection between both characters, beautifully acted by Ashly Burch and Carrie-Anne Moss, manifested through their mutual admiration and interpretation of Tilda’s collection.

The Rijksmuseum has been a phenomenal collaborator over the past few years, from curating the selection to now. They are cordially inviting Horizon Forbidden West fans and art admirers alike to take the Aloy Tour at any time, and see the magnificent collection up close as displayed in the historic museum halls. The ten selected works are:

  • The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642
  • Woman Reading a Letter, Johannes Vermeer, ca. 1663
  • Titus in a Monk’s Habit, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660
  • Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1630
  • Woman Reading Music, Han van Meegeren, 1935 – 1940
  • Selene and Endymion, Gerard de Lairesse, ca. 1680
  • A Ship on the High Seas Caught by a Squall, Known as ‘The Gust’, Willem van de Velde (II), ca. 1680
  • Lidded ewer for the Amsterdam Goldsmiths Guild, Adam van Vianen (I), 1614
  • Frenzy, Artus Quellinus (I) (attributed to), na 1648 – in of voor 1662
  • Bacchant, Adriaen de Vries, 1626

If you want to know more about how we created Tilda’s Vault and selected which significant artworks were featured in-game, please check out the video below: 

Play Video Preserving art through Tilda’s Vault in Horizon Forbidden West
07 Apr 09:41

Moon Knight Introduces A Brand-New Mr. Knight To Go With A Brand-New Steven Grant

Moon Knight fans have a lot to look forward to as Marvel's famously bizarre superhero makes the jump to live action for the first time ever this week. But, while the hero's famously fractured personalities are being translated to the MCU, one (or, technically two) of them might catch comic book fans off guard. Steven Grant, who in the comics is Moon Knight's most Bruce Wayne-like identity, wealth, suave, and social, has been adapted for the show as both bumbling and broke with a now infamously silly British accent to top it all off.

In this week's episode, "Summon The Suit," we get an even closer look at Steven's place in Moon Knight's world as well as a glimpse of how he fits into the whole superhero scheme as well. At the end of the episode, he summons his very own version of the Moon Knight costume--which Marc jokes looks like "Colonel Sanders"--and is a pretty far cry from the traditional armor get-up with the billowing cape and hood. Steven's costume is actually based on a relatively recent addition to the Moon Knight canon. Called "Mr. Knight," the suit-wearing version of the superhero was introduced by Declan Shalvey and Warren Ellis in 2014 as, functionally, an additional identity in and of itself. While Moon Knight proper was a ruthless vigilante, Mr. Knight was a significantly more investigative, detective-like persona who would frequently team-up with others to help solve various crimes.

Continue Reading at GameSpot
06 Apr 10:16

Alexander Skarsgård On The Woes Of Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good-Looking

by Jenna Busch

Alexander Skarsgård is a pretty person. This is just science. This has also sometimes affected his ability to be cast in things. Typecasting is real, and while sometimes it can help you, it does make sense that being really, really ridiculously good-looking (as Skarsgård is) could confine you to a certain type of role.

While speaking about his role in the upcoming Viking film "The Northman," Skarsgård lamented to The Sunday Times that his loveliness actually negatively affected his career at first:

"I don't really know if that was the reason I wasn't getting roles. Starting out in Sweden, there was stuff about being tall and blond. But most people here are tall and blond. Still, after my first job, I was on a stupid 'sexy hunky hot list' and then people didn't take me seriously ... If you want characters with depth but have been labeled 'a dude who takes his shirt off,' you're not going to get those offers." 

A Very Pretty Viking

I know, I know. Poor pretty baby. The thing is, Hollywood isn't always very imaginative when it comes to casting. I sat in on a casting session once, and a very attractive person came in to read for a big role. The casting director said after they left (and I'm paraphrasing, but not by that much), "Wow! Nice read, but no one will believe they're anything but stupid with a body like that." My eyes practically did a backflip, I rolled them so hard. 

It's nice to know that Skarsgård has transcended his perfect form and gotten to do roles that have weight to them. Okay, maybe "True Blood" wasn't high art, but it was fun, and Skarsgård's comedic and acting skills made him one of the best parts of the series. 

In "The Northman," Skarsgård plays a Viking warrior prince who is out to avenge his father. Vikings are all the rage these days with shows like "Vikings: Valhalla" and the video game "Assassin's Creed: Valhalla" -- which is you can find me playing at any given time. 

"The Northman" stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Björk, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe. The film hits theaters on April 22, 2022.

Read this next: The Best Movies Streaming Right Now: Malignant, A Hero, And More

The post Alexander Skarsgård on the Woes of Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good-Looking appeared first on /Film.

06 Apr 10:12

Get Ready For The Sherlock Holmes Universe, Courtesy Of Robert Downey Jr. And HBO Max

by Valerie Ettenhofer

Is it the 2010s in here or is it just me? 11 years after Robert Downey Jr. last donned his bowler hat to play Sherlock Holmes on screen, the actor is set to executive produce not one but two Holmes-related shows that are in development for HBO Max, per The Hollywood Reporter. There's no word on whether Downey plans to reprise the role, but both shows will be produced under the Team Downey production banner, which he runs with producer Susan Downey.

The project still appears to be in the early stages of development, with few plot details known. The fact that the streamer is working on not one but two Sherlock Holmes stories, though, indicates that this will be a TV universe of some sort. Lionel Wigram, who produced both of the Guy Ritchie-directed films in which Downey played the famed genius detective, is also slated to executive produce the new shows. Amanda Burrell is also on board to produce.

Get Ready For The SHEU (Sherlock Holmes Extended Universe)

This may come as a bit of a surprise for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's insufferably smart investigator, as pop culture seemed to reach a crescendo in Sherlock Holmes obsession several years back. Ritchie's Holmes films may have kicked off the trend in 2009, but other titles soon followed, with the BBC series "Sherlock" beginning in 2010 and CBS' "Elementary" debuting two years later. Most recently, Millie Bobby Brown portrayed the detective's kid sister in "Enola Holmes" on Netflix. Still, most of the Doyle stories are in public domain, meaning Holmes fever can keep coming back in as many incarnations as creators want.

Though the news of a Sherlock Holmes TV universe might be unexpected, Downey has been talking about reviving the story for a while now. In 2020, both Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr. appeared on a panel at Fast Company's Innovation Festival. On the panel, reported on by IndieWire, they expressed enthusiasm for continuing the story that was apparently originally envisioned for a third Ritchie movie. Susan Downey said:

"We do think there's opportunity to build it out more, to spin off some characters from the third movie, to see what's going on in the television landscape, to see how Warner Media is starting to build things out with HBO and HBOMax. We definitely have kind of grand schemes and plans and all that, but it takes a lot. It takes a lot of coordination because again, Marvel wasn't built in a day."

At the same event, Robert Downey Jr. indicated that whatever path the pair pursue would look different than the Holmes movies he worked on before, saying, "Why do a third movie if you're not going to be able to spin off into some real gems of diversity, and other times and elements? We're not repeaters, we don't want to just try to do what's been done somewhere else."

Read this next: The 20 Best Heist Movies Of All Time

The post Get Ready for the Sherlock Holmes Universe, Courtesy of Robert Downey Jr. and HBO Max appeared first on /Film.

06 Apr 07:59

The entire ‘Next Generation’ cast will appear in 'Star Trek: Picard' season three

by Daniel Cooper

The entire* principal cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation will appear on the third and final season of Picard. Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner, who have already featured in the series, will be joined by LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn. In a statement, executive producer Terry Matalas said that “it’s most fitting that the story of Jean-Luc Picard ends honoring the beginning, with his dearest and most loyal friends from the USS Enterprise.”

Matalas added that the final season will offer a “final, high-stakes, starship-bound adventure,” which, at a guess, nods at the predominantly planet-bound series so far. Of course, long-time fans might be nervous at what the show’s writers will have cooked up for our beloved crew, especially after giving Riker and Troi a minor-key postscript to their Star Trek tenure. Maybe Dr. Crusher is now pushing medical misinformation over subspace while Geordie spends his retirement as a crypto evangelist.

* Sadly, no in-series return for Ready Room host Wil Wheaton, despite the fact he was in almost half the episodes, or Diana Muldaur.

05 Apr 09:33

Elon Musk becomes Twitter's biggest shareholder, pushes for edit button

by Jon Mundy
Elon Musk

Tesla CEO and world’s most notorious tech billionaire Elon Musk has spent $2.9 billion on a 9.2% stake in Twitter, making him the company’s largest shareholder.

Filings made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday reveal that Musk has accrued a 9.2% stake in Twitter. News of Musk’s move initially causes Twitter’s value to spike by $8 billion.

We’re used to Musk pouring his every thought (both smart and not-so-smart) onto Twitter to his 80 million followers, but now the SpaceX boss appears to have put his money where his mouth his.

He has a famously fractious relationship with the platform, frequently calling for changes whilst falling afoul of the platform’s capacity to provide ample rope with its snappy, unfiltered messaging system.

Indeed, Musk’s first significant act as major shareholder appears to have been to lobby (again) for the insertion of an edit button.

Putting a casual (note the deliberate misspelling of ‘yes’ and ‘no’) poll out on a basic feature idea holds a lot more sway when you own a good chunk of shares, of course.

As if to prove that point, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal retweeted Musk’s poll with the works “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” It’s leaning ‘yes’ at the time of writing.

Is this the future of a post-Elon Musk Twitter’s product development strategy? Jumping to attention every time its most powerful and prominent shareholder gets annoyed or has a vague idea?

You can bet we’ll be getting a running commentary comprised of pithy 280-character quotes if so.

The post Elon Musk becomes Twitter's biggest shareholder, pushes for edit button appeared first on Trusted Reviews.