Game of Thrones: Highlights From Episode Two

Jason O’Toole

Credit: HBO

After two years of waiting, the final season of Game of Thrones has arrived. In light of this, we here at ETG thought it prudent to break down the highlights from each of the final six episodes of this monumental series. Through the years this series has made the fantasy genre more mainstream than anything since Lord of the Rings. It has been a fantastic journey with some great moments and some very sad ones. This conclusion will no doubt carry with it the most devastating emotional bombs the show has brought thus far. Beware of SPOILERS for the second episode of season eight of Game of Thrones. Stay tuned each week to ETG for all the highlights from this final season. Also, if you missed out on our breakdown of episode one you can check that out here.

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We open this episode immediately where we left things with the arrival of Jaime Lannister. He is being grilled by Daenerys about the murder of the Mad King and the fact that he is alone and not leading the army that Cersei promised. This seems strange because Dany is definitely aware that her father was a crazy person that needed to be stopped. She seems to be using this as an opportunity to assert her dominance as the future Queen of Westeros. Luckily for Jaime, Brienne is quick to jump to his defense claiming that he is an honorable man. She recounts their time together and relays that without him she would have been raped and most likely killed. Dany still does not seem convinced until Sansa claims that no one is more honorable and loyal than Brienne. If she vouches for Jaime than that should be good enough for anyone. Jaime claims that he promised to fight for the living and that is what he is here to do. The scene is a very tense moment of an otherwise calm episode as all involved prepare for the coming battle with the Night King.

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The greatest moment in this writer’s opinion comes when several characters gather to relax and unwind before the coming battle in the great hall. This gathering consists of people that at one time or another have tried to kill the Starks, yet here they all are about to put their lives on the line to defend Winterfell. We get to see Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos and Tormund Giantsbane, who has the greatest moment in the episode recounting his tale of drinking giants milk to make him strong, gathered around the fire sharing drinks and stories. The conversation quickly turns to Brienne and how she never got to be a knight. She claims that is never something she needed until Jaime realizes that it doesn’t take a King to make a knight. Another knight is all it takes. He commands Brienne to step forward and kneel for her Knighthood. He commences with the ceremony and for the first time ever we see Brienne smile, which is extremely creepy. It is a beautiful moment and most likely the last happiness these characters will have. Ser Brienne will lead her troops into battle next week.

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One big highlight from this episode continues something set up last week as Jon finally reveals to Dany that he is a Targaryen and her nephew, which doesn’t seem to bother her as much as it should. Even though Jon has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t want to be a King, Dany seems worried that this revelation means her claim to the throne is weakened. The thing I really don’t understand about this scene is that it seems like this should be a good thing as both Jon and Dany are Targaryen and can be the future King and Queen of Westeros. This seems like a no brainer but Dany doesn’t take the news that way. We will have to wait until the dust settles to see how this plays out. We are also still unsure who the third dragon is. The dragon has three heads and rumors have been circulating for a while that Tyrion might be the third dragon. It would be amazing to see that his mistreatment at the hands of his family was not for nothing. I’m not quite sure I believe this rumor but we will all find out soon enough as Game of Thrones brings this epic tale to a close in the coming weeks.

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Oh, and a quick bonus one. Arya and Gendry have sex and I have to say that this made me all kinds of uncomfortable. I understand that this is a move that is done to humanize her a little bit but we have watched Maise Williams grow up before our eyes. It’s a beautiful scene and not near as explicit as other sex scenes the show has given us but it is still uncomfortable. The directors let Maise Williams decide how far she wanted to go which is a good thing because it could have been much worse. Everyone may very well die once the Night King arrives, so just like with other scenes in the episode everyone is going for broke. Stay with ETG every week for more on this final season of Game of Thrones.

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Game of Thrones: Highlights From Episode One

Jason O’Toole

Credit: HBO

After two years of waiting, the final season of Game of Thrones has arrived. In light of this, we here at ETG thought it prudent to break down the highlights from each of the final six episodes of this monumental series. Through the years this series has made the fantasy genre more mainstream than anything since Lord of the Rings. It has been a fantastic journey with some great moments and some very sad ones. This conclusion will no doubt carry with it the most devastating emotional bombs the show has brought thus far. Beware of SPOILERS for the first episode of season eight of Game of Thrones. Stay tuned each week to ETG for all the highlights from this final season.

Arya (Maisie Williams) & Jon’s (Kit Harrington) Emotional Reunion.

The first highlight from episode one is all the reunions. Everyone is arriving at Winterfell for the coming battle against the undead armies of the Night King. Jon first reunites with Bran, whom he hasn’t seen since he left home to join the Nights Watch. Bran has definitely grown up since then and now has a creepy vibe about him that seems to make Jon uneasy. We get to see Sansa reunite with Tyrion for the first time since the death of Joffrey. They have a catching up moment that really sells how much they have both changed since last seeing each other. Sansa is obviously in a bad position because of Jon’s actions renouncing his title as King in the North and thus she comes across as very dismissive of everyone, especially Tyrion. The most emotional reunion definitely has to be Jon and Arya. Their love for one another is on full display as they compare swords and catch up. For some reason, Arya seems unwilling to tell Jon of her adventures and the revenge she has taken on her families enemies. It leaves their reunion feeling a little awkward, but nonetheless a welcome one. Our final reunion of consequence comes right at the end of the episode when a hooded rider, revealed to be Jamie Lannister, comes face to face with Bran, whom he tried to kill way back in the first episode. Bran doesn’t seem to show any emotion at seeing the man who tried to murder him so long ago. We will have to wait until the next episode to see this reunion play out.

Jon (Kit Harrington) Riding Rhaegal.

My personal favorite moment from the episode has Jon claiming his birthright and learning to ride a dragon. He and Daenerys give us the most fan service moment of the episode as they take to the skies for some calm before the storm. The significance of this scene is not lost on fans as Jon rides Rhaegal, the dragon that is named after his true father Rhaegar Targaryen, more on that later. This scene provides the only comic relief we get, and will probably get all season, from the episode. Jon is obviously worried Rhaegal will not accept him and might even eat him. When he finally gets up he hilariously fumbles while trying to get control. Eventually, much to Danys surprise, he is able to gain control of the beast and begins to really let loose. Seeing the full grown dragons streak across the sky is absolutely breathtaking. We end the scene with a tender moment between Jon and Dany near a cave, Jon really like getting it on in caves, where Jon comments that horses are now ruined for him. This will likely be the only moment of peace these two will get until this war is over. Will Jon ride into battle on Rhaegal? We will have to wait until next week to find out.

Jon (Kit Harrington) Grapples With His True Heritage.

Finally, one of the moments we have all been waiting for happens at the close of the episode. Sam, after having just been emotionally devastated hearing his father and brother were put to death, is told by Bran that the time has come for Jon to learn the truth of his heritage. Sam feels the information would be better coming from his brother but Bran reassures Sam that Jon trusts him more than anyone. Sam finds Jon down in the family crypt honoring his “father” Ned. He reveals to Jon that he is not Ned’s son and indeed not a bastard. “You’re the true king: Aegon Targaryen, Sixth of His Name, Protector of the Realm, all of it.” Yes, it’s finally been revealed to Jon that his true parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This is information that book fans theorized for years. We are left wondering how Jon will react to this information, and how Dany will feel considering she is in a relationship with her nephew. This first episode does all the setup necessary to hit the gas starting with episode two. Stay with ETG over the next six weeks for all the highlights from the finale.

Bran (Issac Hempstead Wright) Stares Into Your Soul.

Oh, and a bonus one. It seems Bran’s whole job now is to sit in his wheelchair and stare creepily into the souls of all who walk the grounds of Winterfell. It’s almost comical every time the camera pans to Bran staring at whoever happens to be caught in his gaze. Here’s hoping he has a larger role in the coming episodes. We will find out next week on Game of Thrones.

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Star Wars Celebration Schedule

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Disney / Lucasfilm

In case you’ve been living under a rock and are unaware, Star Wars Celebration is going on this weekend in Chicago. The annual convention is your one stop shop for all things Star Wars. Here is the schedule of events for the weekend. Stay with ETG for all the latest updates.

Celebration Stage Schedule

Wintrust Arena

The Celebration Stage will shine with bright stars and original entertainment all weekend. Hosted by Celebration fan-favorite actor Warwick Davis, the Celebration Stage will present not-to-be-missed productions, intimate conversations, and live events that Star Wars fans will be sure to add to their Celebration weekend plans.

There’s not just a show on the Celebration Stage, but there’s a pre-show, too! DJ Elliott and Mark Daniel will get the stage rocking before every performance.

Thursday, April 11

No Stage Programing

Friday, April 12

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Star Wars: Episode IX

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

With the culmination of the Star Wars saga arriving before the end of the year, the Star Wars: Episode IX panel is one you will definitely not want to miss! With Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode IX director J.J. Abrams appearing onstage, you can count on plenty of surprises and special guests to keep your imagination buzzing for the rest of Celebration! Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:30PM – 2:30PM

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series

Join ILMxLAB and Oculus for a sneak peek at the first Star Wars story series designed for virtual reality, Vader Immortal. Learn more about this immersive descent into Darth Vader’s fiery Mustafar fortress from the people behind its story, design, and technology.

4:00PM – 5:00PM

The Creatures, Droids & Aliens of Star Wars

Take a deep dive into the Pinewood Studios-based Star Wars creature shop, where Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlan and team designed and built every alien, beast and droid for this new era of Star Wars movies. Step-by-step, the process of crafting amazing creatures and droids will be explored, from design and sculpting to fabrication, animatronics, painting and puppeteering.

Saturday, April 13

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Life at Disney Parks

Discover new details and stories about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – the new, fully immersive lands coming to Disneyland Resort in summer 2019 and Walt Disney World Resort in fall 2019. Join team members from Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm as they share stories about what it takes to bring Star Wars to life and how visitors can live their very own Star Wars story. And, there might just be a few surprises, too!

1:30PM – 2:30PM

The Galaxy-Wide Premiere of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Join the head of Respawn Entertainment, Vince Zampella, and Game Director, Stig Asmussen, along with many special guests, to be the first to learn about this holiday’s highly anticipated action-adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Hear how Respawn and Lucasfilm collaborated on this original Star Wars story, following a young Padawan’s journey in the Dark Times following Order 66. And, of course, we’ll have a few surprises in store.

4:00PM – 5:00PM

Sisters of the Force, A Celebration of Women and Star Wars

Star Wars is full of powerful women, from its characters to its actors, its creators and executives to its fans! It takes countless stories and people to keep our beloved Star Wars universe thriving, and this panel will celebrate the role women play in making it all happen! Join moderator Ashley Eckstein and guests, Vanessa Marshall, Catherine Taber, Amy Ratcliffe and many others (including some surprises) for an incredibly inspiring, empowering and fun discussion!

Sunday, April 14

11:00AM – 12:00PM

The Mandalorian

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

Learn about the perilous world of The Mandalorian with executive producer and writer Jon Favreau and executive producer and director Dave Filoni. Live on the Celebration Stage and presented simultaneously at the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:30PM – 2:30PM

In Conversation with Alan Tudyk

Alan Tudyk, who played the unforgettably surly and defiant Imperial-turned-rebel droid hero K-2SO in Star Wars: Rogue One, joins the stage with host Warwick Davis to discuss his role in the fan-favorite stand-alone Star Wars film along with other memorable characters he’s portrayed throughout his career.

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Sneak Peek

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Twin Suns Stage

Dave Filoni and special guests celebrate the return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and share a sneak peek at what’s to come.

Monday, April 15

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary Celebration

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy Stage

Every saga has a beginning. Join host Warwick Davis as we honor 20 years of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace! We’re turning the pages back with rare, behind-the-scenes content and special guests brought together to share their memories and insights into the film’s creation. Now this is celebrating!

1:30PM – 2:30PM

Short Stories with Warwick Davis

Buckle up and enjoy an unexpected and unpredictable retrospective into the prolific roles and career of the host of the Celebration Stage, and the record holder for the actor who has played the most Star Wars characters – Warwick Davis. Wicket, Wald, Weazel, Wollivan, Weeteef, Wodibin (are you detecting a pattern here?) and other Star Wars characters have all been masterfully played by Warwick, along with several characters from other popular movie franchises.

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Celebration Chicago Closing Ceremony

Live on the Celebration, Galaxy, and StarWars.com Stages

Gather with your friends and fellow Star Wars fans to relive the best moments of the weekend and bid farewell to the 20th anniversary of Star Wars Celebration. Featuring special guests, weekend highlights and much more, this is a send-off you won’t want to miss!

Star Wars Galaxy Stage

Skyline Ballroom E&D, Level 3 West Building

The Galaxy Stage is home to a wide variety of shows featuring the depth and breadth of the Star Wars universe. Catch conversations with the masters, celebrity appearances, and other legendary Star Wars entertainment. Enjoy the pre-show before each session, too. The Galaxy Stage is hosted by Celebration veteran David W. Collins.

Some programs on the Celebration Stage will be streamed to the Galaxy Stage. We clear the Galaxy Stage after every performance.

Thursday, April 11

No Stage Programing

Friday, April 12

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Star Wars: Episode IX

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

With the culmination of the Star Wars saga arriving before the end of the year, the Star Wars: Episode IX panel is one you will definitely not want to miss! With Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode IX director J.J. Abrams appearing onstage, you can count on plenty of surprises and special guests to keep your imagination buzzing for the rest of Celebration! Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:30-2:30pm

20 years of the LEGO Star Wars Story – A Retrospective and Forward Look

Join LEGO and Lucasfilm in celebrating the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars through a retrospective look into the rich history of the franchise as well as a dive into the current outlook. LEGO Star Wars marks the first time that the LEGO Group licensed a property and turned someone else’s story and characters into a build and play opportunity. Over the past 20 years, the partnership has evolved from traditional building sets into so much more as LEGO Star Wars continues to inspire play at all ages. This panel will take a journey through LEGO Star Wars consumer products, content/animation and video game evolution from the beginning into present day and a glimpse into the future.

3:30pm-4:30pm

The Music of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace with David Collins

Come celebrate the music of Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace as host David Collins explores the musical connections between the story and characters, breaking down both new and classic themes.

5:30-6:30pm

ILM Presents: Making Solo

Rob Bredow, Academy Award nominee and VFX Supervisor for Solo: A Star Wars Story will share his personal stories and photos in this exclusive behind-the-scenes talk. Get a sneak peek into his new photo book covering the film. Bring your filmmaking questions and learn how the Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

Saturday, April 13

10:45AM – 11:45PM

Droids and Animatronic Creatures of Star Wars

Exploring your favorite droids and creatures from The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo. Join Matt Denton, Josh Lee and Lee Towersey as they discuss the challenges faced bringing complex droid and animatronic creatures to life, including behind the scenes stories of their work in demanding environments both in the studio and on location around the world.

12:45PM – 1:45PM

Star Wars Rebels Remembered

Star Wars Rebels may have ended but the Ghost Crew is far from forgotten! Dave Filoni and special guests take a look back at the show that deepened our knowledge of the Force, broke our hearts and always gave us hope. Full disclosure – we are not announcing a new series in this panel.

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Star Wars Cosplay Competition

Both veteran and amateur cosplayers alike will join the most exciting Cosplay Competition in the galaxy at Star Wars Celebration Chicago! It is more than just a competition – it’s a fun-filled celebration of the very best Star Wars cosplayers that want to share their talent, skill, and determination with the universe.

5:30PM – 6:30PM

A Star Wars Let’s Play

Love classic Star Wars games like Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, or Star Wars Racer Revenge? Hosted by David Collins, join Star Wars special guests as they play their favorite Star Wars classics all while having a great time and answering audience questions along the way.

Sunday, April 14

11:00AM – 12:00PM

The Mandalorian

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

Learn about the perilous world of The Mandalorian with executive producer and writer Jon Favreau and executive producer and director Dave Filoni. Live on the Celebration Stage and presented simultaneously at the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:15PM – 2:15PM

Doug Chiang: The Evolution of Star Wars Design – Designing Episode I

Episode I Design Director – and Lucasfilm’s VP and Executive Creative Director for Star Wars – Doug Chiang is joining the 20th anniversary celebration of The Phantom Menace with an in-depth look at the film’s conceptual designs. Doug will showcase rare artwork with insights into his creative process and share memories of working alongside director George Lucas. Attendees will also have the chance to ask Doug their own questions.

3:15PM – 4:15PM

ILM Model Shop: Building a Galaxy

Get a behind-the-scenes peek at the magic created in the legendary ILM Model Shop, which was one of the first departments created at ILM in 1975. You’ll learn how model-making is still a vital part of the Star Wars movie-making process, with special highlights to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace.

Monday, April 15

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary Celebration

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy Stage

Every saga has a beginning. Join host Warwick Davis as we honor 20 years of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace! We’re turning the pages back with rare behind-the-scenes content and special guests brought together to share their memories and insight into the film’s creation. Now this is celebrating!

1:30PM – 2:50PM

Star Wars Resistance Season Two Sneak Peek

Join Star Wars Resistance Executive Producers Justin Ridge, Athena Portillo, Brandon Auman and special guests for a look back at the shocking season one finale and an exclusive preview of what’s to come!

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Celebration Chicago Closing Ceremony

Live on the Celebration and Galaxy Stages

Gather with your friends and fellow Star Wars fans to relive the best moments of the weekend and bid farewell to the 20th anniversary of Star Wars Celebration. Featuring special guests, weekend highlights and much more, this is a send-off you won’t want to miss!

Twin Suns Stage

W196ABC, Level 1 West Building

Celebration’s Twin Suns stage covers the ins and outs of what goes into creating the Star Wars universe, hosting guests who make it happen for the movies, television, toys, books, comics and more. Returning for her third Celebration hosting gig, but certainly not just her third Celebration, is Star Wars expert and host Amy Ratcliffe.

Thursday, April 11

No Programing

Friday, April 12

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Star Wars: Episode IX

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

With the culmination of the Star Wars Saga arriving before the end of the year, the Star Wars: Episode IX panel is one you will definitely not want to miss! With Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode IX director J.J. Abrams appearing on stage, you can count on plenty of surprises and special guests to keep your imagination buzzing for the rest of Celebration! Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:15 PM – 2:30 PM

Star Wars Collectibles Update with Lucasfilm’s Brian Merten

The things we collect and bring into our lives really do show our affinity for the story we love.

Come celebrate with us and find out what’s happening first hand with your favorite Star Wars collectibles. We’ll chat about Prop Replicas, statues and more, probably with a surprise or two along the way.

3:00PM – 4:00PM

Star Wars Hasbro

Join members of the Hasbro team from a galaxy far, far away as they discuss the popular Hasbro Star Wars product line. Attendees will get an in-depth look at Hasbro’s latest action figure offerings & more. No, this is not a trap!

4:45PM – 5:45PM

Lucasfilm Publishing Panel

Join some of the biggest and best Star Wars authors to discuss new and upcoming stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, get exclusive sneak peeks and announcements into the future of Star Wars publishing. Featuring Jeffrey Brown, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah Dawson, Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, E.K. Johnston, Cavan Scott, Timothy Zahn, and more! Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain

6:30PM – 7:30PM

I’ll Take Droids for $500, Obi-Wan: An Intergalactic Game Show

We are inviting fans to test their Star Wars knowledge, competing head-to-head with their favorite Star Wars authors in categories like “Never tell me the odds”, “Going Solo”, “A Long Time Ago” and “Far, Far Away” and more, using audio clips from Star Wars audiobooks. Hosted by Marc Thompson. Prizes awarded!

Saturday, April 13

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Inside Fantasy Flight Games

Go behind the scenes with Fantasy Flight Games, creators of the world’s premier Star Wars board games, card games, collectible games, miniatures games, and roleplaying games! Here, you’ll get the chance to ask your own questions for Head of Studio Andrew Navaro, Visual Creative Director Brian Schomburg, Miniatures Game Manager John Shaffer, and Producer Molly Glover. You’ll also catch a glimpse of what FFG has planned next for X-Wing!

12:45PM – 1:45PM

Del Rey Behind the Scenes

Del Rey has been publishing Star Wars books since 1976. Find out what we have in the works for 2019 and beyond. Join authors Claudia Gray (Master & Apprentice; Bloodline), Timothy Zahn (The Thrawn Trilogy), Alexander Freed (Alphabet Squadron; Twilight Company), and Delilah S. Dawson (Black Spire; Phasma) as they discuss current projects and preview other books to come.

2:30PM – 3:30PM

Marvel Comics Presents: Star Wars

Join Marvel Comics writers Greg Pak (Star Wars: Age of Rebellion) and Ethan Sacks (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) and a host of other Mighty Marvel Guests in this can’t-miss panel! Greg Pak’s Age of Rebellion series spotlights the fan-favorites of the classic trilogy, while Sacks’ Galaxy’s Edge is the riveting comic series tie-in to the highly-anticipated theme park! Don’t miss your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the House of Ideas’ parsec of the Galaxy Far, Far Away – including a glimpse of what’s to come!

4:15PM – 5:15PM

Step Into Our Star Wars Stories: ILMxLAB

From your Jedi Trials on Tatooine, to a visit to Darth Vader’s mysterious Mustafar abode, and beyond, ILMxLAB is taking Star Wars fans on multiple journeys to a galaxy far, far away…. Join us as we explore those adventures with some of the people who brought them to life and give away a few items that bring the Force home!

5:45PM – 6:45PM

Star Wars: The Force of Funko

Come meet the crew responsible for bringing the greatest story in the galaxy to the world of POP!, Mystery Minis, Wacky Wobblers and more. Hear the stories behind their own deeply personal connections with “a galaxy far, far Away” and how they channel that passion into constantly growing, ever-evolving Star Wars expressions. From their life-long dreams to a literal dream come true, the story of Star Wars and Funko is one built from the hearts of true-blue fans.

Sunday, April 14

11:00AM – 12:00PM

The Mandalorian

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages

Learn about the perilous world of The Mandalorian with executive producer and writer Jon Favreau and executive producer and director Dave Filoni. Live on the Celebration Stage and presented simultaneously at the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages.

1:00PM – 2:00PM

Behind the Scenes of the Cantina

Go behind the scenes like never before as cantina expert and FX artist Tom Spina (Regal Robot, Tom Spina Designs) and stage host Amy Ratcliffe once again dive into the most wretched hive of scum and villainy with rare behind the scenes images, video and stories from geniuses who helped create everyone’s favorite Tatooine hang out!

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Sneak Peek

Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Twin Suns Stage

Dave Filoni and special guests celebrate the return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and share a sneak peek at what’s to come.

5:30PM – 6:30PM

Into the Archives

Author Paul Duncan takes you into the Lucasfilm archives to show you how he researched and assembled images and texts for his book The Star Wars Archives: Episodes IV-VI, published by TASCHEN. Illustrated with concept art, storyboards, photos, script and production documents from Episodes IV, V and VI, Duncan will explain the working processes of both the main unit and ILM. The talk will include ideas that never made it into the book, including the timeline of Boba Fett’s creation. This is a unique opportunity to see previously unpublished materials. To quote Paul Duncan, “I cannot take people into the archives, so I want to bring the archives to them.”

Monday, April 15

10:30AM – 11:30AM

Lucasfilm Publishing: Writers Roundtable

Join all-star Star Wars authors Claudia Gray (Master & Apprentice; Bloodline), Justina Ireland (Lando’s Luck), Daniel José Older (Last Shot), Cavan Scott (Tales from Vader’s Castle, The Choose Your Destiny series), and Charles Soule (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, Poe Dameron) as they discuss their approach, process, and reception to writing stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, get some exclusive news into future Star Wars publishing! Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain.

12:15PM – 1:15PM

Star Wars Celebration Tattoo Competition

The Star Wars Tattoo Competition at Celebration is where fans who have Star Wars tattoos (some just having gotten them at Celebration Chicago!) will show off their ink. Presented by Marc Draven (Ink Fusion Empire), the competition will feature these categories: small/medium color, large color, small/medium black and grey, large black and grey and tattoo of the weekend, with awards created exclusively for Star Wars Celebration.

2:00PM – 3:00PM

Check the Celebration Show App for Updates!

3:45PM – 4:45PM

IDW Publishing: The Adventures Continue!

From Forces of Destiny to Tales from Vader’s Castle and beyond, IDW’s line of Star Wars kids comics continue to delight readers of all ages and walks of life. Come hear from the writers and artists of your favorite Star Wars Adventures tales—including Nick Brokenshire, Delilah Dawson, Tony Fleecs, Michael Moreci, and Cavan Scott. Then stay for the best Q&A of Celebration, since every question is open only to non-adults! Plus, prizes for all kids in attendance!

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Should The Joker Be Replaced

Jason O’Toole

Credit: DC Entertainment

Art by Greg Capullo

Art by Greg Capullo

Since the end of Dark Nights: Metal, the Batman Who Laughs has been lurking at the edges of the DC universe waiting for his chance to strike. He first resurfaced in Scott Snyder’s Justice League comic, locked up by Lex Luthor in the basement of the Legion of Doom headquarters. He is now starring in a mini-series also written by Snyder with art by Jock. The last time these two teamed up was to tell the excellent Detective Comics story Black Mirror prior to the New 52 relaunch. Having read the first half of the six issue series, a question has come to my mind. Should the Batman Who Laughs replace the Joker as the arch nemesis of the Batman? If these first three issues are any indication, I would say definitely yes.

Let me start out by making one thing perfectly clear, I love the Joker. This is not an indictment of the laughing maniac. He is and has been a perfect foil to the Batman for nearly 80 years. The Batman Who Laughs represents what is arguably the darkest version of the character that we as fans have ever seen. He is a version of Batman who, when pushed to the absolute extreme, murdered the Joker. In this moment a toxin was released that slowly started turning Batman into the Joker. What we are left with is a man who has the drive and fighting ability of Bruce with the moral compass and psychosis of the Joker. Snyder inadvertently created a perfect replacement for the creepy clown, a creepier clown. A version of Batman that absolutely embodies his deepest fears. How do you take down a hero whose power is using fear and terror as weapons against his foes? You take that power away.

Art by Jock

Art by Jock

Batman’s greatest weapon is fear. “Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, dark and terrible. Yes Father, I shall become a bat.” With these words an icon was born. The first half of the Batman Who Laughs mini-series shows us our hero as we’ve never seen him before, desperate and afraid. This evolution has led to some amazing new avenues for Batman storytelling. For the last 40 years or so the relationship between the Bat and his greatest villain has remained relatively unchanged. The introduction of this new dynamic has forever changed how we will look at a character like the Joker. In a way, the publisher has made the character less threatening, even going so far as to have the Bat team up with the Clown to defeat the Batman Who Laughs at the end of Dark Nights Metal. This new villain embodies more than ever the statement that has been etched into the minds of readers of these comics for years, “The Batman always wins.” We will see if the response to the character is enough to convince DC Comics to keep him around. The Batman Who Laughs 1-3 are now available from DC Comics, as well as a one shot about his sidekick, the Grim Knight.

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Avengers Endgame Trailer Breakdown

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

After many months of waiting and many, many incorrect guesses as to when it would debut, Marvel Studios has finally released a trailer for Avengers Endgame. While the trailer doesn’t give away many details, there are definitely some things to pour over and some new theories to discuss. Before we start though I would just like to vent my frustration at the fact the Russo brothers lied to us regarding the title. They explicitly stated in several interviews that the title was not spoken aloud in Infinity War. I would just like to say that I’m fine with studios keeping things a secret, but straight up lying is something Hollywood need to stop doing to the fans. With that out of the way, let’s dive in to this new trailer and see what we can figure out about Endgame.

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The trailer opens with Tony alone adrift in space leaving a final message for Pepper. Having run out of food and the oxygen supply dwindling, Tony has reserved himself to death. It’s a devastatingly sad opening that definitely brought this fan to tears. Questions arise from this opening, like how is it possible that between Stark and Nebula, they could not repair a craft well enough to get them safely back to Earth? Is Nebula even on board the Milano, or did she rush off to get her revenge on Thanos? Who will rescue Tony before his oxygen runs out? My thoughts immediately go to Captain Marvel. Heading to Earth puts her on the same trajectory as Stark. I think it’s safe to assume Tony will not die alone in space. Somehow, he will get his reunion with the surviving Avengers, and get a chance at revenge. However, we will have to wait until April to find out. I personally can’t wait to find out.

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After the downer of an opening, we cut to the peaceful and content planet Thanos seems to be retiring on. We see a shot of his old armor re-purposed as some kind of scarecrow. This pays homage to the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet comic, which inspired some of the events of Infinity War. In the story, Thanos retires after completing his mission and becomes a simple farmer. It also seems as though he is still wearing the broken Infinity Gauntlet from the end of the last film. We still do not know what planet he is on or what his motives are now that he has wiped out half the life in the universe. Clearly, whatever plan the Avengers have in store will most likely cause Thanos to cut his retirement short. With Thor able to now travel freely anywhere thanks to Stormbreaker, the question becomes how will they know which planet the Mad Titan is on? My thought is that Nebula’s role in the movie will be tracking down Thanos. We’ve seen her team up with the Guardians, it would be great to see her team up with the Avengers as well. They all have plenty of motive for revenge.

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After some quick shots of Cap and Widow discussing the devastation of the snap, we cut to what is possibly the most emotional moment in this new trailer, the arrival of Hawkeye. He is now in the guise of Ronin, a persona he took on in the comics following his death and resurrection. It is pretty clear from the sadness in his eyes that all of his family was likely wiped out in the snap. Clint didn’t have a family in the regular Marvel universe, but he did in the Ultimate universe. It was a dark time for Clint when his thoughts turned to suicide and he began pushing himself farther than he could handle. It is clear the movie is drawing inspiration from both of these versions to build their own version of Hawkeye. He seems to have ditched the bow and arrows and is now wielding swords instead. He is surrounded by several dead men that he has apparently just killed. The big question is why is he killing? If his goal is to find out what happened when his family turned to dust, he appears to be going about it in an extreme way. The two characters that were left out of Infinity War, Hawkeye and Ant-Man, are apparently going to get their time to shine. Speaking of Ant-Man…

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The trailer ends on what is the only moment of hope to be found at all in this teaser. The arrival of Scott and his quantum tunnel van definitely seems to lift the spirits of Cap and Widow. How did he get out of the quantum realm? Has he figured out how to us it to time travel? We have until April before we will know for sure. It is likely we will get more details and a proper theatrical trailer in the coming months. Stay with Entertain the Geeky for all the latest updates.

Avengers Endgame hits theaters on April 26th, 2019

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Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

A new Captain Marvel trailer has dropped and with it comes a whole bunch of new theories and speculation. The trailer is fantastic and shows off some great new footage of Carol in action. With Kevin Feige calling the film “a different kind of origin story”, it will be interesting to see how this differs from all the other origins we’ve seen from Marvel. Let’s take a look at some of the moments from the trailer to try to understand just what we’re in store for this March. Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Jude Law as Yon-Rogg, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Lee Pace as Ronan, Djimon Hounsou as Korath and Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. It is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and rockets into theaters March 8th, 2019.

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We get a better look at the Kree super team Starforce and our first look at their homeworld Hala. Starforce is a Kree intergalactic strike force formed to protect Hala and the rest of the Kree empire. They are commanded by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, which we’ll come back to in a bit. The Kree-Skrull war seems to play an integral part of the plot of this origin. How exactly they end up going to war still remains a mystery, but it does seem like the Kree might not be completely altruistic in this conflict. Hala looks fantastic and proves once again that Marvel are great at bringing these iconic locations from the comic to life. The technologically advanced society immediately calls to mind Wakanda without the tribal architecture. I look forward to once again being impressed by a new alien world to add to the already great galactic side of the MCU that the Guardians movies have set up.

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A new detail has emerged in the form of Annette Bening’s character, whom many believe to be the Kree Supreme Intelligence. In the comics the Supreme Intelligence was a giant floating blue head in a jar, seriously look it up. In all reality a change is necessary and they couldn’t have found a better actress than Bening. She explains to Carol that they saved her life and infused her with Kree blood to give her power and extend said life, not unlike what happened to bring Coulson back in Agents of SHIELD. We also get a closer look at Ben Mendelsohn’s character Talos, the leader of the Skrulls. They have clearly infiltrated SHIELD in much the same way HYDRA did. The trailer implies that Nick Fury is not yet director and maybe Talos might be higher up as he appears to be chasing Fury and Carol. Marvel has done an amazing job bringing the Skrulls to life and it seems the war will have just as much punch on the big screen as it did on the comic page.

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In the final moments of the trailer we finally get to see Carol flying and fighting in space without a ship. This may not seem significant but way back when Guardians of the Galaxy came out I was a bit disappointed that the Nova Corps were flying around in ships instead of just flying like they do in the comics. I was starting to get worried that this would happen to Carol as well. Fortunately, this new trailer has alleviated this concern as she destroys a fleet orbiting Earth. The sequence of shots is amazing and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Just like Black Panther, this movie looks like it will shatter records and bring us a great new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Leave us comment below with your thoughts.

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Bits of Everything: YouTube 101

Alright... Welcome back everyone. I hope you took the moment to check out the Global Frequency Pilot from the last article. Since I'm a little crunched for time this time around I thought I would share some little bits of everything that I interact with on basically a daily basis. Not my EDC, no one wants to hear about a backpack full of pens and a beaten down Chromebook... though it is a very nice backpack. No, I'm talking about my YouTube subscriptions.

I'm going to try to leave some stuff out (Not everyone would like to watch as much of of the daily news as I do) and save some of the deeper discussions for other future articles.

I basically watch YouTube almost exclusively on my phone. I will occasionally wander on to the site when I am using my computer but mostly my phone is how I interact with YouTube (Just in case anyone was wondering I have been an Android user since my first smartphone and currently use the Essential PH-1). When I turn to YouTube it's mostly to engage with something that I will find entertaining or informative. So I've broken things down by category below and I'll include a playlist of some fun videos from each category at the bottom so you guys can check some new stuff out.

Entertainment: When I look to be entertained by YouTube I'm often looking to be able to look into the lives of others or see videos of people doing the things that they are great at. Other times I want to hear about things that are new in the world of gaming or pop culture. But also, especially, music. Some channels that are in regular rotation for me are: WhatCulture, Pretty Good Gaming, Peter McKinnon, Jack Coyne, Dan Mace, Casey NeistatNPR Music

News: When I am looking to see news from outside of the network news outlets I often look for something that is either going to look to be informative first and opinionated second or, at times, something that has a little more of a long form feel. That's why I love Philip DeFranco. His videos every weekday keep me up on important developing news items and provide opinions that are not always my own. It's nice to challenge your views from time to time. Other times I look to Vice New, which is helpful on a variety of fronts but often gives me that kind of longer form looks at a topic that I like. I enjoy getting to spend a half hour or so looking into one thing rather than just pinballing from one topic to the next.

Tech: I love Tech review channels. There are a lot of them out there and they look to cover different topics often but PCs and Telephones are pretty much my go to tech topics. Given that I would highly recommend these channels to make sure that you are well informed about the next phone you're going to buy or the next time you're going to need to build a computer: UrAvgConsumer, Unbox Therapy, MKBHD, Linus Tech Tips

Food: Much of what I watch on YouTube is actually food related. I'm foodie and a fat guy... what did you expect. The following channels offer great looks at great foods and while I might not ever make it to some of these restaurants it's nice to know that they're out there and that I might be able to visit them someday. Check out these to get your salivary glands going: First We Feast, Burger Gang TV, Binging with Babish, Sous Vide Everything, Strictly Dumpling, Thrillist

Games: When I'm looking to think about the games that I play the most often (5th Edition D&D and Magic The Gathering) these are the channels that I tend to check out first. Matthew Colville, Rhystic Studies (Especially great for looking at a game from a perspective you never thought you'd see things through), Tolarian Community College

Inspiration: And finally these channels sort of defy categorization. The first, GaryVee, could very easily fall into the first category but what I look to this channel for the most often is to see how I might start doing my job (as the manager of a comic & game store) better. And the second, Lessons from the Screenplay,  helps me learn how to do something that I'd like to one day call my profession, writing, better. 

So, what do you watch on YouTube? Let me know. I'm always up for trying something new. This article is a little shorter than my normal missives from the realms of everything but I kind of think that in this particular situation that videos might speak louder than words. Check out some great selections from the channels listed above in the playlist embedded below! And until next time... Keep being.

Bits of Everything: Global Frequency

Alright... Welcome back friends. I know... I know... It seems like ages since we've seen one another. I took a week off of my bi-weekly submission schedule because I wanted to shift to the opposite weeks of the bi-weekly pattern. And rather that exhaust my brain and expend too much of the social currency that I've earned with you fine folk that have been so kind as to read my articles by publishing them in back to back weeks. Hopefully you took some time to check out those wonderful Canadians from my last missive and found them to be as delightful as I do.

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So, here we are, back with another bit of everything. And while last week I mentioned that I could write about Warren Ellis every week and it would take me quite a while to run out of worthwhile topics I certainly didn't expect to be back on another of his works so quickly. Yet, here I am. And as a result of the strangest motivations that I can think of in recent memory, if not my whole life. June 18th there was an announcement from our government regarding the expansion of our military efforts. That's right folks, I'm here because of 2 words that brought with them thoughts of consternation and curiosity: Space Force. I'll give you a moment to think of the one word response that I'm certain that you'll come to... "Why?" I can almost hear you asking. Well when I think of weapons in space I think of three things: Reagan's Star Wars initiative, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and the topic of this week's article: Global Frequency.

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Warren Ellis has long had a love of the single issue story in the world of comics. His recent run on Moon Knight with Declan Shalvey being a good example of this. Some of the most impressive issues of Transmetropolitan were single issue stories (the best of which might be issue #8 "Another Cold Morning"), and perhaps the best example was his imprint at Avatar Press: Apparat Singles Group, which was a whole line of books each of which was stand alone and initially was to imagine what the comics industry would look like if Superheroes had never become the dominant genre of comics. But of all of those my favorite is Global Frequency. A 12 issue maxi-series published by DC under the Wildstorm line. Each issue was graced with really lovely covers by Brian Wood (Yeah, he did art early in his career and his covers for this series were totally boss), each issue was colored by David Baron, and each issue focused on different members of The Global Frequency: an independent, covert intelligence organization with 1,001 members, all of them experts in their own fields and all of them being called upon to save the planet, each mission is, in some way, lead by Miranda Zero, who is a former intelligence agent, and coordinated by the brilliant young hacker Aleph.

Ellis, being the futurist that he his, included lots of concepts that seemed unfathomable at the moment and prescient upon reflection. One of the coolest parts of the series, at the time, was the phones the characters carried. These cool devices that kept them in contact with their leader and also could provide them with all kinds of additional information thanks to the video screens they featured... 5 years prior to the debut of the iPhone and certainly before ubiquity of any kind of a phone with such a screen anywhere outside of Japan.

The first issue of the series was strong enough to wind up being adapted as a television pilot for The WB. It is an enigma to me to this day how the series hasn't been adapted into a series. It just so easily lends itself to serialized content. It cold easily be the kind of show that would focus mostly on the single episode, which would certainly be unique in the landscape of genre television these days. I could also imagine it being similar to something like Black Mirror where actors not typical to television could come to play super cool roles for single episodes. Noe need for a theme song or introduction at all, just start every episode with the special phone ringing and bang, zap you're off to the races. Whoever in the world of making large scale genre fiction on television these days can have that suggestion for free. You're welcome. 

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The series is full of fascinating characters and unique stories. Everything from mass hallucinations (or perhaps angel sightings) in issue 5 drawn by Jon J. Muth, to rampaging cyborgs in issue 2 drawn by Glenn Fabry, breakneck races across the rooftops of a city in issue 6 drawn by David Lloyd, one of the most brutally violent fight scenes I've ever read in a comic in issue 10 drawn by Tomm Coker, to the last desperate heroics of a most reluctant hero in issue #9 drawn by Lee Bermejo, even a break-in style story complete with safe room, traps, and one bad ass young woman showing the world that no one can invade her home and get away with it in issue #11 drawn by Jason Pearson.

You're probably wondering where Space Force comes in to all of this rambling... The final issue "Harpoon" deals with satellites armed with kinetic spears, telephone pole sized metal rods that when flung at the earth would create heat envelopes capable of similar levels of destruction to that of nuclear warheads but without any of the pesky long term fallout. These devices are simple... dangerously simple. Not needing the kind of precision that other kinds of orbital weapons might... especially when you find out what the intended purpose of those aforementioned satellites really are.

There it is folks. Another comic review, this time from a little further back but another really brilliant series. I hope you all take some time to check out this wonderful book and I hope that you let me know if you do. 

Power Man & Iron Fist

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel / Netflix

The following contains SPOILERS for season 2, episode 10 of Luke Cage.

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In the tenth episode of Luke Cage’s second season titled “The Main Ingredient”, Danny Rand drops by to make all our comic dreams come true. Let’s be honest, Finn Jones portrayal of Danny Rand was not immediately embraced by the Marvel fan base. His first season failed to shake things up and is considered by many to be the weakest of the Marvel / Netflix series to date. When Defenders  released fans saw a version of Danny that seemed to be course correcting by the studio, but still not exactly what fans were hoping for. Well, I am here to tell you, Danny teaming up with Luke shows a version of the character that is exactly what fans have been hoping for. Danny is cool, confident and has a certain swagger that the comic character has, but the television version lacked.

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Danny shows up right after Luke gets beaten by Bushmaster for a second time. Luke is doubting himself and his abilities and Danny helps him center himself. This leads to a Power Man and Iron Fist shakedown montage that is glorious. Bushmaster has disappeared after the last encounter and Danny helps Luke focus and track down the Jamaicans. This becomes a detective story of sorts which provides a fun and interesting deviation to the normal action of the show. It really feels like watching a different series entirely, one that would be great fun. All of this culminates in a fantastic fight scene that shows off why these two have worked so well as a duo in the comic world. Their powers complement each others well and they make short work of the Jamaican thugs. Even though they don’t find Bushmaster, Danny leaves Luke with a newfound sense of calmness that helps him throughout the last three episodes of the season. All in all, the team-up makes for some of the most entertaining moments that an already great season has to offer.

In the aftermath of the Defenders, Netflix seems to be back on the right track with its shows. Both the second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and even the first season of Punisher have been fantastic. If Danny’s portrayal in this episode of Luke Cage is any indication, the second season of Iron Fist is shaping up to be good as well. Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Stay Geeky!

Bits of Everything: Loading Ready Run

Alright... Welcome back friends. I hope that you all took some time out of your week and caught up with the wonderful world of The Wild Storm. If you wanted to learn a little more about Warren Ellis I would also recommend checking out the documentary "Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts" that just became free to watch on YouTube (embedded here for your convenience)! But this week's article isn't about Warren Ellis (though I am sure that I could continue to write article after article about the man who came to save the internet), it's about some other people who make wonderful things that make me think and make me laugh. And these people, as I think has become the central thesis of this column, are probably not as well known by most of the geeky community as they should be... and boy howdy should they get tons of attention from every corner of not only the geeky community but the world. Allow me to introduce you to Loading Ready Run.

Over the weekend there was a special event just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Seattle on Vancouver Island, specifically in Victoria, British Columbia (Scott, why are you being so specific? Because, dear reader, I must). The event was the "Pre-Prerelease" for Magic: the Gathering's next set Core Set 2019. And that event, along with my consistent enjoyment of the many different kinds of content created by this wonderful group of folks, is part of the reason why I felt compelled to bring to your collective attentions the wonders that is the comedy troupe that hosted, produced, and streamed this special event. Loading Ready Run is an internet comedy troupe that was founded in 2003 by Graham Stark and Paul Saunders and has regularly produced video content ever since. And when you consider YouTube didn't exist until 2005 there is certainly something to be said for creating content when there wasn't even a platform for said content. And how is it that these ambitious young Canadian comedians have come to be the go-to creators responsible for showing off the new cards from Wizard's of the Coast, you may be wondering to yourself? 

Well, the answer comes down to a video from back in 2010 that they created after falling back in love with Magic the Gathering thanks to some of the Learn to Play decks that were given out at one of the PAX conventions that they were guests at. And it's as a result of the videos they've made for Wizards, largely, that I discovered them.. And for a long while I was aware of mostly just their videos in the series of "Friday Nights" which were great but then I started stumbling into other videos they were creating like their Video Game News series "CheckPoint" and then their own hilarious series of videos that are sort of about them but not really about them "Commodore Hustle" and then later their Magic: The Gathering podcast "Tap Tap Concede". But then in the fall of 2016 my fascination with their work and consumption of their content had greatly increased thus I have all kinds of things to tell you about. Namely the incredible amount of content that they create each week on Twitch.tv/loadingreadylive

The thing that is truly brilliant about Loading Ready Live, their Twitch channel, is that they were among the first to use Twitch as though it were their own television station. Much akin to what has been replicated by folks like Geek & Sundry and HyperRPG there is a great variety of content from newly released video games (NewsDay Tuesday), to cooking/crafting/technology shows (Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Fry), to role playing games (Dice Friends as well as Temple of the Lava Bears), to live sketch comedy shows (Loading Ready LIVE), and even more (Live board game play, live paper Magic: the Gathering, live writing and producing of sketches, and oh so much more).

And while I could certainly point you toward plenty of individual pieces of their content (and trust me before the end of this article I will) I would say that if you can find anything from their incredible amount of archived content available at LoadingReadyLive that strikes your fancy that I would recommend just giving it a watch. These people just regularly create great content.

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One of the things that I would feel bad if I didn't mention is their charity work. Every year these brave individuals subject themselves to roughly a week of playing the singularly most boring video game ever created. That's right it's Desert Bus. A mini-game that would have been featured on the unreleased Sega CD game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors in which the objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, in real time at a maximum speed of 45 MPH. And the feat requires eight hours of continuous play to complete. And these maniacs don't just play for 8 hours. They typically play from well over 100 hours at a stretch. In 2017 they played for a total of 158 hours, starting with the first year the cast agreed to play Desert Bus for an hour for each increment of money donated - the amount necessary would then increase by seven percent each time the increment was reached. Since their first event in 2007 they have raised over $4,400,000 for Child's Play. These funny folk are more than just jesters, they're all about making the world better.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of my favorite shows, podcasts, and streams these wonderful folks create each week (or, sadly in one case not nearly often enough). First there's the wonderful bi-weekly show of "Let's Nope" where Alex Steacy usually plays horror games with Ben Ulmer. It's a great deal of fun because Alex has the best reactions and Ben does not deal well with spooky games all that terribly well. It's a blast. Let's Nope rotates with "Watch + Play" where Graham subjects Alex to the worst games he can find that the internet provides. Another of my favorite of their streams is "Talking Simulator" where Alex and Cameron Lauder play games with the intention of looking at how video games tell stories. It's really rather fascinating to hear smart people talk about how games, good and bad, go about enveloping the player into their worlds. Another of my favorite streams is "Adam's Gamehaus" where Adam Savidan plays games, often hard ones, through to conclusion. Adam is just fun to watch play games. Additionally, they produce non-streaming content, much of which is spectacular. One of my favorites is "Qwerpline" which is a fake morning radio show made by Graham, Alex, Kathleen De Vere, Ian Horner, and Brendan "Beej" Dery that takes place in the fictional town of Nsburg. Trust me, it's hilarious. I'm also a big fan of "North 100" a podcast from Serge Yager, Alex, Liam Coughlan, and Jeremy White where they talk about the Magic: The Gathering format Canadian Highlander. It's informative and helps when thinking about the game of Magic even if you aren't playing Highlander. And the last recommendation I'll make is "The Panalysts" which is hosted by Kathleen and is in the style of a British chat show. It's quite a lot of fun.

Alright friends. I'll leave you all with that this week (Also with the playlist of totally great stuff over to the left). Sorry that the article is later than I've been posting of late, events conspired against me. See you back here in two Mondays. Until then, check out some wonderful Canadian Comedy.

Jason’s Comic Reviews: Justice League #1

Writer: Scott Snyder / Pencils: Jim Cheung

Jason O'Toole

Credit: DC Entertainment

After finishing up his run on the New 52 Batman book with Dark Nights Metal and writing the aftermath No Justice, Scott Snyder now brings his talents to a brand new Justice League book. Snyder has more than shown he is ready for this having written the most successful book that the New 52 had to offer. He is joined by superstar artist Jim Cheung, whose talents have been shown in both Marvel and DC comics. Having drawn some of the big Avengers stories it is amazing to see Cheung get to lend his talents to the Justice League. His artwork is beautiful, and definitely one of the many reasons to check out this comic. Together, they bring you a classic lineup that hearkens back to the heyday of DC Comics.

The Justice League!

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The team that they bring together consists of all your favorites from the old Justice League cartoon. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are obviously leading the team as always. They are joined by Flash, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Hawkgirl, Cyborg, Aquaman and the heart of the League Martian Manhunter. The conclusion of Metal blew a giant hole in the Source Wall, the barrier that surrounds the universe, and this seems like an ideal lineup to deal with that problem. At first, the book seems like a run of the mill Justice League adventure as our heroes fight off the minions of Vandal Savage, but Snyder throws a curve ball that many were not expecting.

The Legion of Doom!

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Yes, you read that right, after bringing back the Hall of Justice during his No Justice mini series, Snyder has also resurrected the classic Legion of Doom. Everything old is new again as Lex Luthor reunites the team of Joker, Cheetah, Black Manta, Sinestro (back in his classic blue) and Gorilla Grodd. Unfortunately, this issue only serves as an introduction to this reborn team, but you can be sure they will be stirring up mayhem for our heroes all over again in the coming months. Just to make sure they check all of your nostalgia boxes they have even stolen back their old headquarters from Vandal Savage.

This seems to be the theme that DC Rebirth has clung to since it began. Old fans have embraced this return to classic DC storytelling while new fans have embraced the fact that they don’t need to catch up on 75 years of continuity to be able to follow along. Only time will tell what Snyder, and for that matter DC as a whole, have up their sleeves. I for one can’t wait to find out.

Stay Geeky!

Bits of Everything: The Wild Storm (And why you should care)

Alright... and welcome back to the bi-weekly event that is one man cracking his skull open and letting you all enjoy what seeps forth. I hope that you all took some time over the last two weeks to give Sense8 a try and I hope that those who did loved the finale as much as I did. Sometimes it's not so much about how long a series lasts but how it's allowed to end. Which brings me to my topic for this week. And I think that my head cracking metaphor that I opened with is kind of the best way that I can think to describe anyone talking about the works of one of the finest creators of this age... Warren Ellis.

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As a creator he first came to our shores in 1994 working on Marvel's Hellstorm: Prince of Lies and shortly thereafter penning Doom 2099. That his early work contained a look into the future is hardly a shock given the way that his career has continued. He is perhaps best know for works that contain a great deal of futurism at their core. Transmetropolitan began in 1997 and was many a reader's first look at the whack-a-doo kind of future that "Internet Jesus" (one of Ellis' many colorful nicknames) had in mind.

But a year before that was when he began what might have been a far more important work. One that would have a larger impact on the comics industry than I think that most people were really prepared for. Especially given it's relative lack of relevance prior to his taking over the title (not to speak ill of Ron Marz). Warren Ellis took a different approach to Stormwatch than any other writers had done before and it would eventually become the formation of one of the most important comics of the last decade of the last millennium. 

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The Authority. A team of superheroes who had reached the end of their patience with the way of saving the world they had been taught. They were going to, instead, do whatever it took to save the world and the largest portion of humanity that they could from the threats they encountered. The Authority had a huge impact on the comics industry when it first hit the shelves. And for a variety of reasons. One because it seemed to put an interesting spin on the kinds of characters that one might typically find at one of the other bigger publishers (even though DC was actually publishing the book [the Wildstorm imprint was largely seen as a separate entity at the time]).

And while I could spend another 10,000 words talking about just the 12 issues that Ellis wrote of The Authority or how his work on Stormwatch ushered in other great works like Joe Casey's work on WildC.A.Ts, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips' work on Sleeper, and even how it paved the way for another of Ellis' masterpieces, Planetary..  I've not started this article for that purpose.

I think that what Ellis did with Stormwatch and how it lead in to The Authority showed that he knew how to take a thing that already existed and how to make it shift and morph and become more than what it was. But with Stormwatch's transition into The Authority he was still working with costumed superheroes. And while Ellis has told some truly remarkable stories with costumed superheroes I think that his more personal and more impactful work often comes when he can approach things from another angle. When he can deal with characters who are interesting without being overly colorful. When he can create heroes that don't have to wear spandex. I think that Ellis is best when left to his own devices. I think back on series like Planetary, Transmetropolitan, Fell, Jack Cross, Desolation Jones, Global Frequency, Ocean, Gravel, Freak Angels and that's not even getting into his novels and I think that those are the works that I often find myself digging out to tell friends who are asking about getting into comics about. Those are the kinds of titles that make my blood pump. That get me excited.

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So, when DC announced that Warren Ellis was going to be given the whole of the Wildstorm universe to do with whatever he wished you can imagine that I was, conservatively speaking, quite thrilled. And they were going to call it The Wild Storm, which is a mighty catchy title.

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He spoke about how he was going to roll things out slowly. He talked about how he was going to write or oversee all the titles that were launched. He talked about how he had a multi-year plan. And all of that is incredibly exciting. But what was most exciting was that the characters didn't look like superheroes (perhaps with the exception of John "Grifter" Cole, but given what's going on with his story it's hardly a surprise that he wears a mask when he goes into the field). This was going to be a book about a world of characters, it was going to be a book about intelligence agencies in conflict, it was going to be a story about a futurist who wants to change the world for the better, it was going to be a book about an alien invasion that happened so long ago that we missed it entirely, it was going to be a book about secrets...

And the 12th issue came out not too long ago (actually issue 13 has also come out now but I was going to write only about the main title and focus on the first year of releases... So... there) and so I thought i would give it all a re-read and talk about it here. 

This is a really great comic that is happening at a pace that I think is very well suited to Ellis. Characters are plotting and planning and machinations are coming to fruition in some regards while they spoil on the vine for others. And interestingly he's managed to sow in the seeds of so many characters that long time readers of the Wildstorm universe will recognize that the anticipation builds more and more with each issue. Jon Davis-Hunt has done a great job with the artwork as well (considering that many comic artists have been gifted with characters who wear spandex, making them measurably easier to draw page after page, while Davis-Hunt has characters that wear actual clothes and suits and stuff... much less easy). 

What has been great about the first year of The Wild Storm is that Ellis has managed to keep his promises. He's made a series that is revealing itself, month to month, to be a criminally overlooked book. He's got characters who deliver the kind of ridiculous threats and comments that he came to be famous for with characters like Spider Jerusalem from Transmet and he's also got the kind of characters that are calculatingly brutal like he crafted in books like Jack Cross (criminally overlooked title by the way, go dig those issues out of a quarter bin and do yourself a huge favor). At the core of the book are 3 organizations, I.O. (International Operations, the organization that is responsible for keeping Earth safe from itself, basically), Skywatch (the organization that is responsible for keeping the world safe from otherworldly threats), and the ragtag group at  HALO (a futurist tech firm that is trying to democratize tech to make the world a better place for everyone). But I.O. and Skywatch have long been at cross purposes (much the same way that the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. often find themselves fighting over how to use particular intel... but both of these organizations have exponentially larger budgets) and only fragile treaties keep them from each other's throats. Meanwhile HALO is causing problems for both of them since their quest to democratize technology will inevitably lead to democratization of information... the last thing that secret intelligence organizations want. And meanwhile there are alien species on earth as well as a growing cast of characters who have a great deal of power but whom have not yet backed any of the factions in play.

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And there is representation of so many of the different titles from the Wildstorm Universe of old already, and with the revelation in the final scene of issue 12 we've certainly not seen all that he has yet to reveal. 

I think that even if you have not the slightest idea of the past of the Wildstorm Universe that picking up the first two trades of this series would be a great introduction. And there's a trade forthcoming for the first of the spin off titles, Wild Storm: Michael Cray, next month. 

Alright friends. That's enough of Everything for this transmission. You've got plenty of Bits to pick through from this one. Lots of great comics to go check out. Get thee to a comic store and ask the folks who work there to point you in the right direction.

Bits of Everything: Sense8

Alright, welcome back everyone, I hope you've enjoyed listening to the work of Jon Hopkins and perhaps even better I hope you've checked out some of the rest of the recommended albums from the end of the previous article. Anyway, for now we're back for another adventure into the world of Everything. 

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I didn't want to do another article about music too quickly and I also wanted to make this second article about something that I think is particularly special. I wanted it to be about something that I think deserves more attention than it received. There's going to be a bit of a roundabout explanation to why we wound up where I finally decided to land. I really wanted to talk about a couple of different things. The first thing was Babylon 5, because boy howdy do I tire of asking people if they have watched B5 only to find not only that they haven't but they also haven't heard of it. And then I thought that I would talk about Rising Stars because, again, a seriously under-read comic that deserves far more attention. And then I realized that I was just wanting to talk about J. Michael Straczynski projects and then I remembered that very soon there is going to be the conclusion of another of my favorite of his projects, namely: Sense8.

Sense8 is a show that appears to be about a lot of things. One of the things that it appears to be about is a different species of humans that are known, colloquially, as "Sensates". These individuals are joined together into clusters. These clusters of individuals are joined in a sort of collective consciousness, where they can experience what the others are feeling and even share skills with one another. Which makes for some really cool scenes of like characters who have no idea what to do with themselves in a fight suddenly becoming bad-asses because one of the other members totally knows how to throw down. Also characters sometimes find themselves suddenly popping in to very private moments of other members of the cluster and often times as a result helping them in difficult moments and also giving themselves perspective on something that is going on in their own lives.

Honestly this show is a little difficult to encapsulate. And I think that is part of why it struggled to gain as big of an audience as it really deserved. Which is silly. Because the creators of the show, The Wachowskis, J. Michael Straczynski, and Tom Tykwer, approach the series much in the same way that they imagined the audience would, by treating it like a thing to be binged and not parceled out. Which created some issues for people who felt like they should have had a better idea of what was going on in the first episode. If they stuck around to episode 3 though the data proved out that they wound up watching the whole first season. For a lot of folks I think that what they really need is for someone to tell them that a thing is worth watching and that they won't have wasted their time if they stick with it. They need permission to be skeptical but to let the next episode start playing.

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This is that permission.  You won't regret watching this show. It's totally brilliant.

Because while this show claims to be about cool sci-fi concepts of people who are from another species of human, and while this show claims to be about being on the run from villains of both homo sapiens and homo sensorium alike it's not really about either of those things.

Sense8 is a show about all the wide varieties of love that we are all capable of experiencing. It's also about pain and suffering. It's also about happiness and joy. It's about meeting new people and about reconnecting with ones who have been a part of your life since the beginning. It's about diversity (the characters are from Chicago, San Francisco, Nairobi, Seoul, Mumbai, Rreykjavik, Berlin, and Mexico City; they are 4 men and 4 women; they are of many races, colors, and creeds; and they are straight, gay, and trans-gendered) and yet it's also about how similar we all are. It's about being terrified and about overcoming fears. It's about using even the most mundane of our skills to help each other out. It's about friendship. And it's about family.

And don't get me wrong. It's totally also about cool sci-fi stuff too.

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The show has a big ensemble cast as the "8" in the title connotes. And our 8 leads all live very different lives, Riley, the DJ from Reykjavik who lives in London, Matt the cop in Chicago, Capheus the matatu driver from Nairobi, Sun the business woman from Seoul, Kala the scientist from Mumbai, Wolfgang the thief from Berlin, Lito the actor from Mexico City, and Nomi the hacktivist from San Francisco. So we get all this wonderful exposure to different places all over the world and also different walks of life. But what is so endearing and incredible about the show is that even with a large central cast of 8 characters the supporting cast is so thoroughly wonderfully rendered that their plights and achievements become wholly engrossing. The characters who are on the side of our heroes are complex and wonderful and when we see them in danger we are genuinely concerned and when we see them succeed we are genuinely thrilled. And the villainous characters are complex as well, they clearly have their own motivations and, in many different ways, are the heroes of their own stories, or so you would imagine. 

However, as I mentioned at the top of the article I would be writing about Sense8 because it was ending. 

And it is ending because, as it turns out, it's incredibly expensive to shoot a show in like 9 different locations (since they actually shot on location in all of the different places where the stories take place). And despite the fact that they had very solid viewership for both seasons the show was so expensive that it wasn't sustainable. However 28 days after the show's cancellation was announced it was announced that they would, instead, be creating at least one more special that would air in 2018. June 8th, 2018... to be specific. And that the special was to, presumably, serve as a series finale.

However. Lana Wachowski has said that she believes so much in the fans to go out and create new fans and inspire the kind of passion that saved the show from a cliffhanger cancellation that she has already written a third season for when we, the incredible fans of the show, display to the executives at Netflix that they should give the show another season.

And with any luck I will have convinced some of you to check out this truly wonderful show as well. And perhaps, if enough people decide to dive in and get caught up we can make something truly magical happen. And even if that doesn't happen it will truly be a joy to watch a conclusion for the characters that I have grown to love over the 23 episodes.

Head over here to check it out: https://www.netflix.com/title/80025744

Bits of Everything: Jon Hopkins - Singularity

By Scott Samson

 

Since this is my first article for Entertain the Geeky I want to start off with a little bit about me. I consume far too much media. Whether it's music or television or comics or movies or audiobooks or podcasts or Twitch streams or YouTube videos from my favorite channels or news or... well... Like I said, far too much. And when I approached the guys behind EtG I did so knowing that I wouldn't be able to restrain the variety of topics that I wanted to talk about down to one single realm of discussion. I knew that it would have to be able to touch on all the different kinds of things that I stumble across in this vast media landscape that we all wander through. So, don't think of this as a place to come to for one specific kind of column, think about this as a travelogue through the aural, visual, textual, technological world that we all share. 

Since I consume as much media as I do I often find myself in the need for something that is going to slow things down a touch, something that will give me time to think rather than push me through my day faster and faster. And what we're going to talk about today is just that perfect kind of pace to bring a slow day up or help bring a busy day down. 

Electronic musician Jon Hopkins has been in the music industry back in 1997 and has since released a healthy body of work. His latest release came out on May 4th and it's titled Singularity. Which is kind of a perfect name for a record that seems to have it's own gravitational pull. It pulses and throbs at times and yet relies on the breathy quiet between the beats at times to create a nearly perfect record both for speakers as well as headphones. It's a great record for putting your nose to the grindstone to in order to get some stuff done or to throw on the headphones for a walk around the neighborhood. It's both perfect for sharing and for shoe-gazing. And spare few ambient techno records can really claim that.

 

Right around the record's halfway point, during the track “Feel First Life” you get to what I think is kind of the thesis of the album. That the natural next step after pulse pounding energy, which the 10 and ½ minute long “Everything Connected” certainly is, must be thoughtful contemplation. That perhaps the best possible reaction to a chaotic world is to just slow down for a moment and catch your breath. And the track after that “C O S M” shows that even the thoughtful individual can, when necessary, keep pace with a chaotic world. 

 

All in all I think that the record is kind of the perfect Spring driving around at night with the windows rolled down record, the perfect walking through crowded convention floors when you want to be alone record, the perfect needing to quickly navigate from one terminal to another at the airport record. And if you like it I would also highly recommend the debut album from Floating Points “Elaenia”, Ólafur Arnalds third record “For Now I Am Winter”, the second album from A Winged Victory for the Sullen “Atomos”, the third album from Moderat “III”, or the truly phenomenal (and my favorite record from 2017) ninth album from Elvuium “Shuffle Drones”.

 

Alright, this has been fun. Let's do this again soon. Who knows what I'll bring you next time?

Check out the album here: http://smarturl.it/SingularityJH