Fixing Game of Thrones: A Fan’s Perspective!

Game of Thrones has become a bit…disappointing, to say the least. Where season 7 was a little lacklustre and illogical, season 8 has taken this to a whole new level. Decade-long character development and plot building has been thrown out the window in favour of tension building and shocking moments. It’s worth noting that I’m not a writer, I’m not involved in the movie/TV industry, and I don’t claim to have any knowledge or skills that would allow me to create something even a fraction as entertaining as Game of Thrones. I also haven’t read any of the books, so my knowledge is based entirely on the show. However, I am a fan and this post is simply a reflection of a fan’s perspective of how this season could have been improved. With just one episode to go (at the time of writing this) here are my thoughts!

At the end of the day, Game of Thrones is NOT my show and it’s not your show. What you or I feel should or shouldn’t have happened is irrelevant and we just have to accept whatever ending we are given!

The Problem

Game of Thrones

image via Know Your Meme

Entertainment news has been quick to jump onto the bandwagon of hating the show. For the record, I don’t hate season 8. Certain outcomes had been building for a long time (such as the Mad Queen), but the portrayal and build-up to these motivations has resulted in flaky character motivations and highly illogical decisions. With a petition titled ‘Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with Competent Writers’ gaining over a million signatures, is there a genuine problem with this season?

I think it’s important to address the aspects that aren’t an issue. Dany becoming the Mad Queen isn’t the problem, something that Bran actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright doesn’t understand about the backlash. He stated “[Game of Thrones is] unpredictable by nature. The fact that characters are not doing what people want them to do? It’s a good thing…”

Other stars of the show have expressed their dissatisfaction with the show’s final season. Perhaps none more so than Conleth Hill (Lord Varys) who stated that he took it personally when his character was side-lined for the last few seasons, before dying this season.

The Solution

Game of Thrones

image via Variety

So, what would I change and why would it make the slightest bit of difference? Let’s start with season 6 and work our way forward. Again, I’m not a writer. Everything that Dan and Dave, as well as George R. R. Marin, have put into this show is above and beyond anything that I could achieve in my lifetime. As a fan (and lets face it, sometimes fans can be the worst critics), this is simply how I feel the final season of Game of Thrones could have ended in a way that A) made more sense, and B) was more loyal to the character development that had already taken place.

Change #1: Tyrion and Dany

Game of Thrones

image via Metro

The first thing that would be essential to change would be the relationship between Dany and Tyrion. We see this becoming rather stretched and fragmented throughout season 7 and season 8. From as far back as season 6, I would have had Tyrion be the advisor we all imagined he would become. Even before he had gained valuable experience as hand of the king, he was naturally good at his job.

His advice wouldn’t always be perfect, and he wouldn’t always succeed, but more often than not his advice would be sound and lead to a favourable outcome. At the very least, he would just be outsmarted rather than simply making questionable decisions. As of season 8, we’ve watched the character become a bit of a moron, something Peter Dinklage himself addressed.

If Tyrion had been true to his character and remained an intelligent and strong-willed hand, Dany would trust him, and they would develop a deeper friendship. She would not only rely on his advice, but also turn to him when in need of emotional support. By the time we get to The Dragon and the Wolf (S7E7), Tyrion would be wary of Cersei (as he has every reason to be based on his entire life experience). Despite the episode unfolding in the same manner as it originally did, he wouldn’t be so easily convinced, urging his allies to assume that Cersei’s forces from the south would not be joining them, making him all the more surprised when Jaime turns up.

Change #2: The Tarlys

Game of Thrones Tarly

image via Watchers on the Wall

I would make a minor change in the Eastwatch episode (S7E5). When Dany is giving soldiers the choice: bend the knee or burn (a choice that ultimately leads to Randall and Dickon Tarly being burned alive), I would have Tyrion step in.

The scene would unravel in much the same way as before: Dany tells people to bend the knee, Randall Tarly would refuse, and she’d threatens to burn him alive. He’s a stubborn man and the way he died made sense for his character, especially after seeing his interactions with Sam. So, the same as before, he gets cooked.

When all the other soldiers bend the knee, Dickon Tarly still refuses. He wishes to respect his father’s choice and honour his memory. Dany is prepared to roast him but Tyrion steps in, convincing her to give the man time to think on his decision. Dany listens to her advisor, who at this point hasn’t made major mistakes and still fully has her trust. She respects his opinion and accepts that she doesn’t know exactly how politics and loyalties in Westeros function.

In later episodes (maybe as far ahead as when Dany and Ser Jorah meet Sam in Winterfell), Dany will consider the advice that Tyrion gave her to be evidence of his wisdom, but also as a control for her temperament. This will serve as evidence that Tyrion is capable of stopping the Mad Queen, should such a time ever arrive. Whenever the news is broken to Sam, he learns that his brother is still alive at least. This moment would remind Dany of her humanity and would demonstrate to Sam that she isn’t a monster, causing him to be less antagonistic regarding Jon’s claim to the throne (something that only really existed due to Dany killing Sam’s brother in the first place).

Change #3: Jon and Dany

Game of Thrones Dany and Jon

image via Uproxx

The next aspect, one that only develops in season 7 and then unravels in season 8, is the relationship between Dany and Jon. I wouldn’t change a great deal in regard to season 7 itself, I think that setting up the relationship in the manner they did made sense. I think the only real issue was Jon’s blind loyalty. There’s no denying that Jon is loyal and honourable, it’s something we’ve seen in him time and time again, but he also knows when to stand up for what is right. He doesn’t go against his own morals simply because someone carries the title of ‘King’ or ‘Queen’.

Going into season 8 and the discovery of Jon’s true parentage, I’d suggest a few major changes take place. Dany has always wanted the Iron Throne, it’s her birth right, but she’s also wanted a family. Jon is family: both in terms of blood and romantic interest. Rather than her becoming a paranoid, controlling mess, she should become more torn between the notion of choosing between love or the throne. Rather than just showing Dany to be heartbroken because she wants the throne, let’s show her struggle to decide which is more important to her, and as a result work towards a solution WITH Jon, not against him.

Jon’s love life has always been a bit forbidden. Ygritte was a wildling, the sworn enemy of the Night’s Watch, and yet he couldn’t stop being in love with her. I would have that same idea take place with Dany. Rather than having Jon begin to reject her after discovering that they are aunt and nephew, they would be madly in love for all of season 8, eliminating the need for ridiculous political plots, dodgy whisper exchanges, and shade being thrown left, right, and centre. Jon would view Dany as his Queen, sure, but he’d also be in love with her and wouldn’t see the Mad Queen signs beginning to appear. You could say that he is blinded by love!

Change #4: The Battle of Winterfell

Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell

image via Time

There are a number of changes I’d make with this episode. I’d originally stated that I’d have Rhaegal die during this episode, but I’ve since realised that his death could be put to better use. I also came up with a change related to the Night King and the outcome of the Battle of Winterfell, but I’ve realised that’s too complex to get into here. Instead, let’s assume that the battle must end the same way.

For starters, I wouldn’t have all the Dothraki be sent in at once. We discover in the episodes following this one that half of the Dothraki and Unsullied survived, even though both appear to get well and truly annihilated. Not to mention that in the finale episode trailer, her army seems to have actually grown. So, either you send less in and that explains why more survive, or you don’t have as many survive in the first place. Either of these makes more sense that what happened. One solution would be to have half the Unsullied inside Winterfell. After all, it makes no strategic sense to have that many outside the walls. Strategy is a whole other issue that I’m not going to get into now.

The Crypts of Winterfell

The Crypts of Winterfell just made no sense. If you have half a brain, you should be able to make a couple of connections. 1) You’re fighting and army that everyone refers to as ‘the dead’. 2) The bulk of this army are literally the undead, who have been raised by the Night King. 3) Many of the characters have witnessed this raising of the dead and have fought them on multiple occasions. As a result of these three points, you would have to be mentally challenged to not consider the likelihood of the dead being raised in any major battle. You’d have to be a whole new level of stupid to actually put all the vulnerable people in a room quite literally full of dead bodies.

One solution would be to have them block the doors to the crypts and then have the dead breakthrough into an area where the vulnerable people are actually being kept. An alternative would be to actually send them south, away from Winterfell, but have some of the dead catch up with them.

I would have a scene where Gillie is killed, along with many others, and Baby Sam is left lying in the snow, much in the same way he would have been at Craster’s Keep. Sansa could live or die. I don’t feel that her survival matters a great deal in terms of the plot going forward. Tyrion, Varys, and Missandei would live, but other than that everyone else who was originally in the Crypts could/would die.

Character Deaths

The next change would involve the main characters. Too many of them had super thick plot armour in this episode. We ended up with an MCU-style battle where the main characters appear to be overwhelmed at multiple scenes and yet survive. It was so ridiculous that I actually believed most of the main characters had died, and it wasn’t until episode 4 that I learned that they hadn’t. Here’s the people who should definitely have died:

  • Samwell Tarly
  • Mellisandre (her death was moronic; she should have died lighting the trenches)
  • Ser Davos
  • Brienne of Tarth
  • Grey Worm

These deaths are important for a number of reasons. For starters, they would reflect the threat of the Night King and leave the show feeling emptier (in terms of character number) and harder hit by the threat that has been building for 10 years. Losing Ed, Beric, Theon, and Ser Jorah didn’t really pack that much of an emotional punch. Speaking of Theon, we have the next change.

The Night King

Everything about Arya killing the Knight King was stupid. Yes, it tied into what Melissandre said seasons ago (although tying that into the Faceless Men felt good enough for me). Yes, it tied into why Bran gave Arya the dagger. Yes, it tied into her fight with Brienne, as well as several other moments. But why Arya? Her killing the Night King changed nothing about her story at all. It was meaningless! So, who should have killed the Night King? Jon? Bran? The Little Bear? A dragon?

The answer? Theon! Assuming we’re keeping the Night King’s death relatively similar to how the events unfolded, I would have Theon try to fight the Night King (although less in the manner he did on the show). Theon’s fight would be fantastic, and it certainly wouldn’t be long lasting. He would get stabbed, fall to the ground, still alive and about to be finished off by the Night King. At this point, if you want Arya to come flying out of nowhere like Spider-Man jumping through one of Doctor Strange’s portals in Infinity War, that’s fine. But have the Night King grab her by the throat and even if she manages to strike him, she hits the armour and fails. This opens up a small gap which allows Theon (who is in the final moments of his life) to stab him.

The way the Night King was defeated was incredibly anti-climactic. You can’t claim that you want a show to be surprising, unique, and distanced from the usual clichés, and then employ the same ‘kill the leader and the soldiers fall’ trope used in every similar battle where the allies are outnumbered.

Change #5: Rhaegal

Game of Thrones Rhaegal

image via Popsugar

Episode 4 could largely unfold the same way as it did, but more on that in a moment. We have to consider the death of Rhaegal. Not only was this moment stupid beyond belief. Not only were the 3 shots, over miles and miles of distance, while Rhaegal is on the move, all without being seen, and simply being explained with “Dany kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet…” But this move was entirely for the shock-factor and nothing more.

Rhaegal needs to survive in order for the rest of my changes to make sense. Jon and Dany would be riding the dragons together at this moment (as they are madly in love), and they would see the Iron Fleet (because they are fucking miles in the air and away from a large squad of very noticeable ships) and would try to attack. The threat of the scorpions would be too high, and Jon and Dany would realise that they can’t attack the fleet with the dragons, not only because they can’t risk losing the dragons, but because they can’t risk losing each other.

It kills them to do so, but they have to fly away, and can only watch in horror as their ships are then destroyed by the Iron Fleet. Dany and Jon fly down and take as many survivors away before the Iron Fleet catches them, including Tyrion, but many get captured (including Messandei).

This could happen in a number of slightly different ways, the important part being that Tyrion and Rhaegal survive, while Messandei is captured. Although, I have to say that the whole idea of her being captured and taken back to King’s Landing seemed absolutely moronic and again served no purpose beyond shocking audiences later in a more dramatic way.

Change #6: Mad Queen Set-Up

Game of Thrones Mad Queen

image via Inverse

Towards the end of episode 4, when Dany and Tyrion stand before Cersei to discuss her surrender, Jon would be there as well. They’d be standing much further back than they were in the episode. Rather than only Missandei being held by Cersei, there would be a number of prisoners (perhaps including Varys, but that would depend on the later changes), all lined up for execution. Again, I feel that this scene is moronic, but when you only have 6 episodes to reach a specific plot point, you have to work with what you’ve got. Tyrion, realising that Dany is breaking at the sight of seeing one of her few remaining friends being prepared for execution, pleads to Cersei.

Tyrion has two motivations: 1) He wants to help Dany by saving Missandei. He views it as his duty as hand to the queen, but he also loves her (maybe as a friend, maybe more) and wants to do whatever he can to end her suffering and make her happy. 2) He knows what will happen if Dany is pushed to the edge. He’s seen her snap, he’s seen the flames in her eyes when things don’t go according to plan (such as her burning fleets, the convoy from High Garden, and Randall Tarly). He wants to save the innocent people of King’s Landing, but he also wants to save Dany from becoming a monster.

It’s important to note that in ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’ (S7E7) when Cersei agrees to Tyrion’s terms and lets him live, it isn’t out of some hidden affection, love, or respect for him, it’s because it’s a necessary step in her plan. She wants him to suffer and she wants everyone he is with to die, but the only way she can save herself and King’s Landing from experiencing the Mad Queen right then and there, is to make him believe that she’ll send troops north.

This isn’t the case anymore, and so Cersei (who has tried to kill Tyrion in the past and has made her desire to kill him clear many times) has no reason not to kill him now. Most of Dany and Jon’s forces are still marching down from Winterfell at that point, so forcing them to attack now would offer a strategic advantage to Cersei. So, Cersei kills the prisoners (including Missandei) and as Tyrion starts to realise that he’s in danger and begins his journey back to his own forces, Cersei turns the scorpions on him and kills him, beginning to fire in the direction of Dany, Jon, the dragons, and their forces.

Change #7: Character Changes

Game of Thrones Jaime Brienne

image via TV Line

This change actually takes place on either side of #6 and #7. I wouldn’t have Jaime hook-up with Brienne, since she’d be dead. But as he suffers her loss, he would begin to continue along towards the end of his character arc. Jaime has come a long way, and it’s only recently (starting with destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor and ending with Cersei’s lie about sending troops north) that he’s began to accept that his love for her has allowed him to turn a blind eye to both their immoral actions. He’s already snuck into King’s Landing at this point and is making his way to Cersei.

The importance of the relationship between Dany and Jon would become apparent in the next change. In the real version of events, there is a gap where Dany returns to Dragonstone to sulk after Missandei dies, and then returns to King’s Landing. She goes from Mad Queen, to depressed, to Mad Queen again. One of my changes would have her get angry and thirsty for revenge immediately. Jon would now be the only person left to keep Dany from becoming the Mad Queen. Episode 4 would end much in the same way it did, but episode 5 would start exactly where the previous one left off: with fire in Dany’s eyes and revenge on her mind.

Change #8: The Mad Queen

Game of Thrones King's Landing

image via Refinery29

With no other choice, Jon follows Dany (on Rhaegal) as she begins to wipe out the scorpions that are on the walls. They blast open an entrance to King’s Landing, in order for Dany’s remaining forces to enter. Working together, they destroy much of the Iron Fleet. As Jon goes to kill Euron, Rhaegal is killed and Jon flung from him, landing in the sea. Dany only sees this at the last moment and believes that Jon has been killed. In a fit of rage and without thought, she swoops down and kills Euron, who accepts his death, laughing hysterically as Dany swoops down to incinerate him.

With the small army of remaining Unsullied and Dothraki left, and with a gap in the wall having been blown open, the Golden Company begin their defence and are succeeding in defeating the attacking forces. Dany begins wiping out the defence, including much of the Golden Company, but she doesn’t know where Cersei is. Her rage is growing and she’s losing control. She begins just burning the place down, believing that the love of her life, one of the few people left in this world who she loves and trusts, has died. With most of her army gone and the loss of her dragon and Jon, she knows that no risk can be taken, so she burns everything, getting revenge on those who have brought her so much pain but also securing her victory, as she knows this is the one and only chance she’ll get.

Change #9: Arya and Jaime

Game of Thrones Aerys II

image via Nerdist

In the midst of all of this, we have a few other characters whose role we need to consider. Arya and the Hound were on their way to kill Cersei, and with Cleganebowl in full hype, I think we need a way for Arya to cross people off her list. Yes, having the Hound kill the Mountain with fire in order to symbolise the fact that his hatred for his brother is more powerful than the fear of fire that his brother created makes sense and is a satisfying conclusion.

Instead though, I would have the Hound say goodbye to Arya as he leaves to take his brother on alone. We see her following him, unwilling to let him die. With all the falling debris, the Mountain would have an advantage and would be ready to kill the Hound. Arya would block the killing strike and would finish the Mountain off herself. With the Hound dying and the building caving in, he asks Arya to kill him. She doesn’t want to but realises that it’s mercy. So, she is able to cross both names off her list (not that she says as much for the Hound given that he was no longer on her list).

Next is Jaime, who has found Cersei, having entered the city much in the same way he did already in the show). The thing is, we know that Cersei has to die, but what would she do that would force Jaime to take such action? That’s possibly the only benefit of having them be crushed by rubble. My first thought is the approaching Mad Queen. With Jaime having witnessed people being burned alive by the dragons already, he knows that Cersei is going to die one way or another, and so he chooses mercy over suffering, knowing that Cersei isn’t going to surrender. You could have Dany nearing, perhaps even having spotted Cersei, and so Jaime has mere moments to act.

Another option would be some sort of “fail-safe” which would kill even more people than Dany already has. After all, we saw explosions of Wild Fire during Dany’s attack on King’s Landing in episode 5. Some have suggested that this was simply leftover Wild Fire from Aerys II’s “Burn them all!” moment, but what if it was actually another plan of Cersei’s? We know that she had some leftover from destryoing the Sept of Baelor, so what if she opened the gates not just to use innocent people as a human shield, but to allow Dany’s forces to enter and be melted by Wild Fire? As such, Jaime’s arc comes to a complete end. It starts with him killing the Mad King and ends with him killing one of the Mad Queens (Cersei). Jaime had changed so much as a person, and him standing up to Cersei at the end of season 7 was an important turn for his character. Having him return to that because “he loves Cersei” and having Dany killing everyone because “she’s a Targaryen” are just awful reasons for characters to do something.

One thing we would NOT have is Tyrion plotting against Dany and the others in order to save Cersei’s life, because he would already be dead by this point. Not to mention that that was one of the most illogical and out of character moments in the whole show.

The Iron Throne

For Cersei and Jaime, I would have Cersei refusing to give up the Iron Throne. This would still tie into what I mentioned earlier about Jaime having to kill her. He would do so in the same manner he killed the Mad King, and she would sit on the Iron Throne, dying there before Dany could reach her.

When Dany does get there, she uses Drogon to burn Cersei which in turn melts the Iron Throne. This would be symbolic in a number of ways, but would also be a good way to “break the wheel” by breaking the throne. Nobody would sit on the Iron Thron (at least not literally) ever again.

 

Change #10: Jon, Dany, and the Night King

Game of Thrones Jon Snow

image via Mashable

The episode ends with Jon climbing out of the water, the city in ruins and in flames. Men, women, and children are all screaming. Dany can’t believe he’s alive, but she’s already lost a part of herself, and in destroying King’s Landing, has destroyed the person she once was. As her cruelty continues, driven by the fear of losing the throne, Jon would have no choice but to kill her. Jon would become King, abducating immedietly to leave it in the hands of someone he trusts to do a good job. The south isn’t for him, it never has been. His home is in the north.

At this point, if there was another season to go, I’d have Jon head north with the wildlings, possibly even with Drogon. Game of Thrones resonates with something that Mark Twain once said:

History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes!”

We got little to no information about the White Walkers and the Night King. We only saw the Lands of Forever Winter (or whatever they are called) once in a tiny moment showing what happens to Craster’s inbred sons. I would have Jon and some of his closest allies head all the way north in search of a new home, where they would make a shocking discovery, one that would set things in motion so that 5,000-10,000 years in the future, the world will face another threat. This keeps the cycle going.

What if the Night King and his army were motivated not by some random-ass motivation of killing everyone and making Westeros suffer an endless winter, but by the threat of Dany and her dragons? The Night King wasn’t evil, but rather a balancing force that was necessary to defeat an equally as destructive power?


Thanks for reading! What are you thoughts on Game of Thrones? Did you enjoy season 8? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Advertisements

Atlantis: Myth, History, or Both?

Atlantis: myth or history? Growing up, I believed that Atlantis was entirely mythological and held no place in history. As a child, I loved the Disney movie ‘Atlantis’ which explored the Ancient City with its advanced knowledge and wisdom that was lost after a disaster. As it happens, I seem to have been drawn to this idea of an advanced civilisation that was lost, either to a natural or man-made disaster. Assassin’s Creed would be one example of such a storyline. Graham Hancock’s work would be an example of something more academic.

But today I’m going to explore the idea that Atlantis not only existed, but its footprint can still be seen today. Whenever I’m drawing from someone else’s research, I will provide a link to the source.

What is Atlantis?

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Science Rumors

It’s possible, all be it unlikely, that you haven’t even heard of Atlantis. The origins from the story of the Ancient City are often traced back to Plato’s dialogues: ‘Timaeus and Critias’, which were published around 360BCE.

“Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent…”

“…Fifty stadia (6 miles/9km) from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides…the central island itself was five stadia in diameter (0.57miles/0.92km).”

“But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.”

Solon and Egypt

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via The Famous People

It is possible that Atlantis is entirely fictional, meant only as an allegory for the stories of Plato. In Timaeus, a few passages stand out as being relevant to what I’m going to discuss:

“…if Solon had only…completed the tale which he brought with him from Egypt…”

“I have told you briefly, Socrates, what the aged Critias heard from Solon and related to us.”

“And whatever happened…they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples. Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves.” (1)

Arguably, this is simply a part of the narrative that Plato was creating, but we must consider Solon if we are to explore the origins of the Atlantis legend further. Solon was an Athenian statesman and poet who was born in 636BCE and died in 558BCE. According to Herodotus (484BCE-425BCE), a historian, Solon travelled to Egypt (2). As we’ll soon see, this journey fits in with Plato’s tales.

It is said that during his time in Egypt, he visited with Pharaohs and priests, learning their history and philosophy. According to Plutarch, who was a much later biographer/historian, Solon visited with two priests in particular: Sonchis of Sais and Psenophis of Heliopolis (3). Seis is an Ancient Egyptian town that no longer exists, with very little trace remaining. Why is it important?

Seis, Egypt

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Jean CLaude Golvin

The Goddess of Seis was Neith. There is a connection here that I am willing to chalk up to coincidence, however, I still find it interesting. The Goddess Neith was believed to appear in many forms, but one of her most common non-human depictions is as a cow, connecting her to Hathor or Mehet Weret whose name literally means “Great Flood” (4). The importance of a flood within the story of Atlantis will become clear later.

The worship of Neith dates as far back as the Pre-Dynastic Period of Egypt (6000-3150BCE) and it is said that Sais was the ancient birthplace of the cult of Neith which allegedly dates back as far as the First Dynasty of Egypt (3100-3050), with Sais being officially formed in around 3000BCE (5).

Interestingly, Diodorus, Plato, and Herodotus all compared the Goddess Neith to Athena. Diodorus even connected Sais to Athena in another way: stating that while all Greek cities were destroyed during a great flood, Egyptian cities such as Sais survived.

Unfortunately, no traces of the town’s ancient routes from before 1100BCE have survived. This is due to the farmers recycling materials: anything that wasn’t currently serving a function was demolished and used.

Back to Atlantis

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Ancient Patriarchs

So, now that we have an idea of the origins of Atlantis, we can get back on track to exploring whether it exists. Plato stated that Atlantis existed 9,000 years before his time, so about 11,500 years before now. This just so happens to put Atlantis and its potential destruction at the end of the last Ice Age, which ended very rapidly and led to global flooding, possibly due to the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.

This hypothesis proposes that one or several asteroids impacted or burst within the Earth’s atmosphere between 12,500 and 11,500 years ago. The idea was dismissed due to the lack of an impact crater, something that has only recently been discovered under the ice of Greenland.

Atlantis translates from Ancient Greek as ‘island of Atlas’, referring of course to the God of the same name. The Ancient Greeks believed that Atlas had been condemned by Zeus to stand at the Western edge of the world (6).

Why is this relevant? Well, we must consider what the edge of the world was to the Ancient Greeks. I’m going to be referencing several maps throughout this article, the first of which is by Herodotus. First, let’s recall a passage from Timaeus:
“…and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles…”

b9ba39fc182a170ccffbd0594164ec89

image via Pinterest

As you can see on this map, the Atlas Mountains (M. Atlas) stretch across Northwest Africa. This map is from 450BCE and represents the known world according to Herodotus. You will see that just below the Pillars of Heracles (between Spain and Africa) are the Atlas Mountains, and below that sits ‘Atlantes’.

This could reference the name for the top part of the river, but as this is the Nile (named Nilus on this map), it could also be the name of the area or people, much in the same way that ‘Garamantes’ is used on this map to describe a “very great nation”.

Just to demonstrate the timeline here: Solon visited Egypt prior to 558BCE, this map was created in 450BCE, and Plato didn’t publish any mention of Atlantis until 360BCE.

Exploring Maps

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Ordnance Survey

The location of Atlantes/Atlantis, as described by Herodotus on his map, is important when we consider maps that appear much later in time. There are two in particular that I’d like to explore: The World Map by al-Idrisi (1154CE) and The Piri Reis map (1513CE).

The map created by Muhammad al-Idrisi (sometimes spelt as al-Edrisi), known as the ‘Tabula Rogeriana’, is considered the most accurate map of the world to have existed within medieval times (7). Al-Idrisi compiled a collection of maps from those brought by Norman voyagers, as well as those held in Sicily, in order to create his version.

tabularogeriana_upside-down

image via Alrahalah

Above is a picture of the full map, but below is a zoomed in aspect with a rather bizarre detail. Keep in mind that Herodotus described Atlantes as being south of the Atlas Mountains.

capture2

image via Alrahalah

Another interesting map was made much later, in 1513. Similarly to the al-Idrisi map, the Piri Reis map was created using a number of other maps, somewhere between 20 and 34. He used Ptolemaic maps, the Arabic map, 4 maps from Portugal, and even the map created by Christopher Columbus. It’s also believed that Piri Reis used maps that had been moved to Constantinople from the Library of Alexandria centuries earlier. These ancient maps have led many to believe that Antarctica had been explored long before originally believed.

pirireis

image via Ancient Origins

As you can see, this map shows parts of Europe, Africa, and South America, as well as Antarctica. The general accuracy of these maps has been confirmed in the modern day. If we zoom in, we can find one area of great interest: you’ll notice it circle in red. A city surrounded by water.

InkedPiri_reis_world_map-e1379556898352_LI.jpg

image via Ancient Origins

Eye of the Sahara

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Intrepid Travel

So, what does all this mean? Well, it suggests the location of Atlantis and explores the origins of the legend, offering a possible explanation for why it hasn’t been discovered: it has long since been destroyed. As such, it would appear on earlier maps (such as those used by al-Idrisi and Piri Reis), either as a ruin or possible even a city that was rebuilt on the ruins of what was once Atlantis.

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Google Maps

So here you can see the same rough area that I’ve pointed to on the other maps. I’ve just taken screenshots from Google Maps and so I can only apologise for the unprofessional appearance of these. If we switch to the satellite view, you will get a better idea of what I’m talking about and why I’m referencing Google Maps.

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Google Maps

If you look from the upper right corner of the image, through Mauritania, and down to Noukchott, you can see that the sand appears to have been swept away, almost as if a large body of water was either permanently or temporarily flowing over the land. However, there is another detail here that is of much higher importance: notice the circular disk just above the ‘Ma’ in ‘Mauritania’?

Let’s take a closer look!

capture5

image via Google Maps

The Richat Structure

The Richat Structure, which also goes by the name ‘Eye of the Sahara’, Eye of Africa’, and ‘Guelb er Richát’, is described as a geological formation that has existed since before the emergence of homo sapiens. The structure is essentially on a dome of magma which is causing it to be pushed upwards in a similar manner to what is currently happening with Antarctica.

So far, no major archaeological digs have taken place in or around the structure, but some smaller digs have unearthed many Acheulean artefacts. This is the term given to the manufacture of stone tools by a typically non-homosapien species such as homo erectus. There have also been fish skeletons and even whale bones discovered, which means that water flowed over this area recently enough for these remains to not have fossilized.

However, while searching around the area on Google Maps, I did notice something. This was already mentioned by BrightInsight, whose videos on this topic are deeply informative (he connected almost all of these dots), but I happened to stumble across it thanks to somebody marking it as “unknown structure”.

capture6

image via Google Maps

I can only imagine (without any knowledge of archaeology) that this structure is modern, certainly within the last 1,000 years. But I’m not basing that on anything. So, if this is the location of Atlantis then why aren’t there more buildings or structures? If we assume that Atlantis was washed away by a flood or destroyed by an earthquake, these are only minor details when compared to the fact that it would have existed 11,500 years ago.

To put it in perspective, if humanity died out today, it is estimated that the Hoover Dam would be one of the longest lasting structures. Estimates put its lifespan at around 10,000 years (although its turbines would stop after just two years) (8). But how long would it last if an earthquake brought the structure to the ground or an immense flood caused it to crumble?

It’s likely that given the various levels within the Richat structure, that it would have formed natural rings of water and land. This could easily have been adapted to become a city for a civilisation.

In Summary

Atlantis Richat Structure

image via Letter Box D

So, do I believe that Atlantis was in this location? Did it exist at all? Frustratingly, we’ll probably never know. I think that the body of evidence that suggests that early humans are not exactly how we once believed them to be is expanding every day. We’re learning more about our past and one day we might have a much clearer idea.

For now, I think that it’s certainly something interesting and fun to consider and explore. I think that the worst thing we can do, is turn down an idea before exploring it simply because we’ve been led to believe that the notion is ridiculous. Was Atlantis a civilisaiton that powered flying vehicles with crystals like in the Disney movie? I highly doubt it! Does that mean we should rule out its existence entirely? Absolutely not!

Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense if Atlantis was an advanced civilisation of some description that allowed smart minds to grow and prosper? After all, the Ancient Egyptians seemed to have access to some sort of technology that we don’t fully understand. The Pyramids of Giza certainly weren’t tombs and we don’t even know exactly when they and the Sphinx were built. Maybe a group of survivors of the Great Flood passed this information and knowledge on, leading to some of the flood myths that exist around the world, varying from culture to culture.


Thanks for reading! Do you believe that Atlantis could have existed? Could it have been in Africa all along? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!


1) http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/timaeus.html
2) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0126%3Abook%3D1%3Achapter%3D30
3) http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Solon*.html
4) https://www.ancient.eu/Neith/
5) https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-africa/pharaonic-royal-city-sais-leaves-few-clues-researchers-002352
6) https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/atlas/
7) https://archive.org/stream/historyofmoorish03scotuoft#page/461/mode/1up
8) https://delzottoproducts.com/2017/03/15/long-will-take-concrete-hoover-dam-cure/

My Hopes (and Concerns) for 2019’s MCU Movies!

With the bog-standard triple threat of MCU movies coming out this year, there is a lot to look forward to…which also means there is a lot to be concerned about. In just a few months, Captain Marvel will hit theatres, followed swiftly by Endgame, and finally: Far From Home. With the end of a 10-year story on the brink of ending, what are my thoughts on the run-up to these movies being released? Let’s take a look!

Captain Marvel

Marvel 2019

image via Geek Tyrant

With Captain Marvel due to hit theatres shortly before Endgame, I have many hopes and concerns towards Marvel’s next release. Surprisingly, my concerns aren’t so much with Captain Marvel herself but rather with Nick Fury. I mentioned in another article that Captain Marvel could be the movie that explains all of Nick Fury’s rather un-Fury-like decisions and actions during the MCU movies that follow this one (chronologically at least). I’m not going to explain it all again but click here if you’d like to read it.

Suffice to say, Winter Soldier painted a picture of a young Fury being ruthless, merciless, and ultimately ready to sacrifice whatever it takes in order to win the Endgame (roll credits…oh wait, wrong movie). I worry that Marvel are instead going to give us this sort of “cool dude” Fury. I guess I’m sort of hoping for more of a Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson role, which I can’t imagine Disney would be in favour of.

I am looking forward to seeing Coulson on the big screen again though. It will be interesting to see the relationship between the two of them in the early days, prior to later interactions. Of course, I want to see Fury losing his eye…pretty grim, I know. Not only that, I want to see him losing his eye entirely because he trusted someone, just like he claimed in Winter Soldier. It could be the case that he trusts someone (maybe even Coulson) only for them to be revealed to be a skroll…but I hope that there is a deeper level of betrayal than that, perhaps a rogue Captain Marvel. There’s always the possibility that they “…I lost an eye” in Winter Soldier was entirely for effect rather than providing backstory.

Endgame

Marvel 2019

image via BGR

Endgame is only a few months away and with trailers most likely misleading us (I don’t think Tony is randomly floating through space on the brink of death), we really have no real idea of what to expect. I am happy that Marvel are revealing very little about the plot because previous movies (Thor: Ragnarok, I’m looking at you) revealed WAY too much information. I’ve already ranted about that aspect of the MCU in the past, so I won’t go into too much detail about it now.

So, what are my hopes and concerns for Endgame? Honestly, I want death…a lot of it, which I know isn’t a likely outcome of this movie. Again, this is something I’ve already gone into, all be it prior to Infinity War. So as much as I’d actually like Hawkeye (definitely him!), Thor, Iron-Man, Black Widow, and Cap to all die (the latter of which is probably going to be Endgame’s only casualty), I am a realist and there’s just no way that Marven (and Disney) are going to take such a Game of Thrones approach.

So, if I can’t get deaths then I at least want sufficient closure on all the original Avengers. We know there is going to be a Black Widow movie which will most likely take place prior to the first Avengers movie but they wouldn’t kill her off in Endgame if there is a prequel movie coming out. I just want all the arcs completely tied up: no loose ends, to the point that never seeing ANY of those characters again on-screen wouldn’t feel odd. Is that too much to ask?

I think, more importantly, we also need a good set-up for the new Avengers. Far From Home apparently follows immediately after the events of Endgame and so there HAS to be some sort of PTSD-style shit going on in Peter Parker’s life, especially if the departed (if you haven’t seen The Leftovers, it’s the name given to the people who vanish) actually remember fading from existence. Similarly, Black Panther is going to need to be given a direction to go in.

Obviously, with rumours and hints towards there being a time-travel element in Endgame, I have my concerns surrounding that as well. Doctor Strange used the time stone in Infinity War, and even though part of me feels like Marvel are trying to misdirect us with the trailer, I think that time travel is the most likely route for bringing the dusted back.

But…will Marvel/Dinsey address any butterfly effect? After all, changing one thing in the past could have major implications for the future. If Cap isn’t frozen in the ice during WW2, he wouldn’t be there to help in Avengers, he wouldn’t stop Bucky in Winter Solider or reveal Hydra as still existing within Shield, and it’s possible that the events of Civil War would never have taken place.

A similar effect can be found by changing any character’s backstory, even if only a tiny bit. I’m worried that Marvel/Disney might gloss over any changes without really addressing there having been any impact. Stuff changes in the past but only has an effect in the present and so everyone is where they were but alive and existing.

If I could have one wish regarding Endgame, it would be this (aside from all the character deaths): If there is any sort of dimension/universe hopping, I want a Rick and Morty reference. It will NEVER happen, I mean why would it? But that would be my one wish.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Marvel 2019

image via Bullshit Express

Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of things that I’m certainly looking forward to in the Spider-Man sequel: Ned, the Peter/Fury interactions, Aunt May, and of course, seeing Jake Gyllenhaal step into the comic book villain role of Mysterio.

However, there is a certain concern that only seems to stem from Sony and their Superhero movie, and it’s something that I found in both Venom and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (but also Green Lantern and even in Infinity War to a lesser extent) and that is these beings who don’t hold a physical shape but instead morph themselves into any shape they like. I really struggle to lose myself in a movie that uses this approach. When Iron-Man was fighting Thanos and kept just making these shields and shit, it broke the illusion that cinema usually holds over me.

So, if you’ve watched the Spider-Man: Far from Home trailer you may have some idea of what I’m referring to (although there is a very obvious explanation, but more on that in a moment). In the trailer, we see these “elemental” creatures or beings who are wreaking havoc across Europe. I hated it in Spider-Man 3 when Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man faced off with Venom (was that actually meant to be Venom? I always forget) and Sand-Man, and I hated it in Venom when they two symbiotes fight each other using various make-shift weapons.

My hope, but also my concern, is that this is all just Mysterio. I mean we know he’s going to be the villain, obviously…but wouldn’t that be the laziest twist in the world? I hope that is is Mysterio because if those creatures/being are real then I’ll be disappointed. However, I also hope that there is more going on than just Mysterio desperately seeking the admiration that the Avengers get and so he fakes attacks. He’s basically being Syndrome in Incredibles: using technology to fake an attack so he can be the hero, all to demonstrate being more powerful than the heroes he is actually jealous of.

One aspect of the MCU that I have thoroughly enjoyed has been this move from fantasy to sci-fi. I guess fantasy might be the wrong word…let me give you some examples: Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t some bird-winged man but rather a regular guy making use of technology. Similarly, elements of “magic” have instead been given more scientific (and I use that term incredibly loosely) explanations. The exceptions being perhaps Loki, but even Doctor Strange dived into the idea of harnessing energy from various other dimensions, of which there are an infinite number.


Thanks for reading! Are you looking forward to these three MCU films? What are your hopes and/or concerns? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Has Nick Fury Been Preparing for the Events of Avengers 4 All Along?

So let me preface this post by mentioning that I do not read comic books. I love comic book movies, I love the animated TV shows, and I even love the games, but I have probably read about 4 comics in my life and only one of them was about superheroes. The reason I mention this is because my theory may or may not be explained within comics and similarly, it may be completely contradicted by comics. Anyway, this theory is going to revolve primarily around Nick Fury and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie and Avengers 4. You don’t need to worry about spoilers because everything I will be discussing has either been mentioned in previous movies or was in the Captain Marvel trailer.

Let me just also mention the intention of this post. I’m not simply implying that Nick Fury has been preparing for ‘a’ threat but rather a specific threat. My concerns with Captain Marvel (given that we’ve had 10 years worth of movies) is that it takes place in the past and yet she hasn’t been directly mentioned at all, only hinted at during the post-credits scene of Infinity War. My theory (or observation) is that Captain Marvel will still make complete sense in relation to the events and characters that we’ve already seen within the MCU (which will take place in the future in relation to Captain Marvel).

Background

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wikia

It’s probably also worth mentioning that I was slightly under the influence of marijuana when this idea popped into my head. I was watching Avengers: Assemble (which I believe is just called Avengers outside of the UK) and it took me about an hour to get through the first 15 minutes because I created about four separate word documents covering random shit. I created character profiles and discussed the motivations of certain Avengers, and I started compiling evidence of how Iron Man is a hypocrite in every single movie he is in. Maybe these will float to the surface at a later date but today I’m going to focus on a theory that took up less than 2 lines of one of the word documents.

So what is the theory? In order to understand that, I want to discuss a very clear problem with the Captain Marvel movie: it takes place in the 1990s, so why have the events of the movie never been mentioned within the MCU? We know that Nick Fury was there, we know that Phil Coulson was there, and we know that Project Pegasus (the name of the base that gets blown up at the start of the first Avengers movie) was also a part of it. These could be inconsistencies but there is also a larger issue at stake which leads us to question the motivations of Nick Fury, but before I discuss that, I need to explain what Captain Marvel is ultimately going to be about.

The Skrulls

Nick Fury MCU

image via Screen Rant

So just to reiterate, I don’t read comic books. So if my information in this part is wildly off, I do apologise. As far as we can tell, Captain Marvel will cover the invasion of the Skrulls who are essentially an alien species that can shapeshift (or something similar) in order to look like anyone. Outside of the MCU in Agents of SHIELD (which is still the same universe but just isn’t “cinematic”) the Skrulls are mentioned during a storyline involving the Kree. Just in case you need a reminder, the Kree are the big blue fucks e.g. Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy (a character also listed as appearing in Captain Marvel). Anyway, the Kree and the Skrulls were at war which is why the Kree begin creating Inhumans on Earth as part of an army that will fight the Skrull.

Arguably, this is a storyline that has been running for almost as long as the Thanos one. I think the Kree and the idea of Inhumans started back in season 2 of Agents of SHIELD, so about 4 years ago. This raises another problem with Captain Marvel because Inhumans haven’t so much as been mentioned in the movies and yet it seems like they play an important role in both the Kree and Skrull storylines. It’s somewhat annoying because there is no way that the Agents of SHIELD characters (such as Daisy Johnson) will ever make an appearance in the MCU.

Anyway, I don’t want to delve too deep into the MCU lore. I just wanted to cover the basics here of who the Skrull are and what their motivations might be within Captain Marvel. If these creatures can take on the shape of any person, you can understand why they pose such a major threat. I’m pretty sure I read something somewhere that one of the main characters in the comics turned out to be Skrull. It might even have been a few of them but I can’t fully remember. Anyway, that’s all you really need to know about the Skrull in order for my theory to make sense.

Phase 02

Nick Fury MCU

image via The Film Geek Blog

As I mentioned already, this theory popped into my head while watching the first Avengers movie. There were two moments that made me stop the movie so I could type some notes.

  1. Why would Nick Fury (and SHIELD) be hoarding Hydra weapons with the intentions of making weapons of mass destruction?
  2. Why would Nick Fury go along with Project Insight?

I want to discuss each of these questions because when you begin to explore them, they actually make sense when you consider the Captain Marvel movie…and only when you consider it, otherwise they are completely illogical.

So why would Fury and SHIELD by hoarding the Hydra weapons from Captain America: The First Avenger? I know he gives an explanation (he essentially blames Thor and the events in New Mexico) but it seems a little weak, especially when you consider that Fury has been through the events of the Captain Marvel film, whatever they may be. We know from Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Fury has a history of ignoring commands in favour of what he deems to be the right decision. Even in the Avengers movie he goes against the wishes of the Council at literally opportunity.

Secondly, why would Nick Fury, a man completely against widespread destruction and unnecessary death, be in support of Project Insight? He knew how deadly they would be, he knew that in the wrong hands they would be devastating, and yet he took the risk. Why?

Project Insight

Nick Fury MCU

image via Marvel-Movie Wikia

Project Insight is one of the more important aspects of my theory. I know that Project Insight isn’t a major story arc until The Winter Soldier but it’s actually mentioned in the first Avengers movie…at least that is my understanding of the scene. When Phase 2 is discovered and Cap, Tony, Thor and Bruce confront Nick Fury, Natasha mentions something. She says that SHIELD has a watch-list that includes the people in the room. Bruce asks her “And Captain America is on that list?” clearly questioning why SHIELD would have the most moral person on the carrier on a watch-list. Natasha replies with “We all are!”

It would seem like a pretty huge coincidence if the same watch-list that is in SHIELD’s possession in Avengers just also happens to be the list used by Hydra when commencing Project Insight. I mean as far back as the post-credits scene of the first Iron-Man movie, Nick Fury asks Tony “you think you’re the only superhero in the world? Mr Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it.”

Arguably, Fury and SHIELD could have that list entirely for the purposes of recruiting certain heroes to the Avengers and keeping an eye on the others…or, alternatively, this list could exist in order to monitor the largest threats. If the Skrull can impersonate anyone, certain individuals are going to pose a larger threat than others. How do you deal with an invasion that is taking place right under your nose? You build helicarriers that scan the DNA of the population of the world in order to determine whether they are human or Skrull…unfortunately, Hydra derailed this plan.

The Theory

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I propose (and I’m not saying that this was purposefully done by Marvel, don’t believe they had this level of foresight) that Nick Fury has been preparing for the bigger threat all along. During the invasion of New York why wouldn’t he have paged Captain Marvel? The world wasn’t at risk, just New York and perhaps he had faith that the Avengers could fix things. When Ultron hijacks the internet, intent on eradicating humanity, why doesn’t he page Captain Marvel? Again, perhaps he thought the Avengers could handle it. These are just excuses though and don’t actually relate to my point.

So why would Nick Fury risk hoarding Hydra weapons and creating mass-murder helicarriers with certain individuals being kept on a watch-list? Could it be that he was preparing for the Skrull invasion? Could it be that during the events of Captain Marvel, Nick Fury witnesses first-hand how insane the universe really is and so he takes it upon himself to try and prepare for another incident of that level? We can only assume that since her movie, Captain Marvel has been away fighting Skrull in the same way that the Avengers were still wiping out Hydra cells in Age of Ultron.

Avengers 4

Nick Fury MCU

image via the Shittest New-Outlet in the Universe

So why wouldn’t Nick Fury tell any of the Avengers this? There is a scene in The Winter Soldier that answers this question. Early in the movie, Cap confronts Fury about not sharing the details of the operation. Fury says “the last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” which happens to be something that will take place in Captain Marvel (given that he has both eyes in the trailer). A coincidence? I think not! I think that the events of Captain Marvel give Fury enough reason to assume that potentially everyone is a threat, that potentially everyone is a Skrull.

We know that in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he expresses several times that he couldn’t risk certain key details being discovered by the enemy. Sure, he was probably referencing Hydra but if his character is consistent then we could assume it would apply to a larger threat as well.

However, an important scene takes place in the lift. Nick Fury tells the story of his grandfather who used to carry a gun in his bag and how he would simply show it to anyone who tried to rob him. Is this the purpose of Fury’s actions? Is he trying to give the world a gun to show the universe?

Of course there is one character who we can assume Fury did confide in: Hawkeye. We know that Fury and Hawkeye have been working closely together ever since the latter was recruited to SHIELD. In Age of Ultron we get that super boring family story and we learn that Fury helped him keep it all off the grid. We also know that Hawkeye has been aware of Fury’s plan on more than one occasion, including in Age of Ultron. So where was he during Infinity War? I think it is highly likely that he was fighting Skrull invaders. Apparently his storyline in Avengers 4 is related to fighting the Yakuza, an organised crime syndicate in Japan. Of course this would seem like a bizarre priority given that half of the universe has just been snapped out of existence. Therefore it seems more likely that his mission is related to carrying on where Captain Marvel left off.

In Summary

Nick Fury MCU

image via Inverse

I believe that Captain Marvel will set up Nick Fury’s motivations for the rest of his timeline i.e. the MCU movies we’ve already seen. Thor and the events in New Mexico won’t have hugely threatened Nick Fury because he knows there is a larger and more pressing matter at hand. The same goes for Loki’s invasion of New York, the same goes for the fall of SHIELD and Hydra, and the same goes for the rise of Ultron. To quote Tony Stark’s opinion of Nick Fury: “He’s a spy. Captain. He’s THE spy. His secrets have secrets.”

That’s why I think Hawkeye is on a secret Skrull-killing mission. Not only that, it’s why SHIELD were so insistent on making weapons based around those used by Hydra, the Destroyer, the Chitauri, Ultron, and more. It’s also why Nick Fury was willing to risk an idea as dangerous as Project Insight become a reality. Provided the Captain Marvel movie doesn’t generate any major plot holes, everything else within the MCU in relation to Nick Fury’s plan still makes sense.


Thanks for reading! Does my Nick Fury theory make sense or is my inner-fanboy clouding my vision? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

The Franchise Problem: My Sequel Escalation Theory!

The Franchise Problem: Even before you read this article, you probably have a rough idea about what I’m going to say. We’re all very much aware of the fact that Hollywood, as a representative of the movie industry, has churned out some absolute monstrosities over the years. This is particularly true of movie sequels and in many cases it leads to disappointed fans, a decrease in profits, and the plummeting of a franchise into the dirt. Unfortunately, this is rarely the end as usually such a dive simply leads to a reboot, prequel, or something else entirely indicative of the money-hungry ghouls working behind the scenes to push garbage down our throats for £15 a ticket!

The Problem

Sequel

image via YouTube

So let’s not waste time! The problem is quite clear and we can see examples of it literally everywhere! What is that problem? The drive for money calling shotgun instead of creativity or storytelling. Not sure what I mean? Allow me to list some examples and see if you can spot the connection between them all:

  • Paranormal Activity
  • Mission Impossible
  • James Bond (exclusively Daniel Craig’s Bond)
  • Fast and Furious
  • The Purge
  • Alien and Predator (specifically related to Prometheus)
  • Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick
  • Transformers
  • Terminator

Notice anything similar between all of these franchises? No? They all fell into one of two franchise traps: Trap 1: This is where one movie succeeds and so they make another one, then another one, and then another one. It’s sort of like making a TV series but episode by episode instead of with some overarching storyline. Trap 2: This is where a company commits to far too many movies without having a chance to see whether the audiences like them or not. Think Marvel but less successful. Marvel has the next 20 or so movies already planned out. Don’t believe me? OK…let’s take a look at some of the examples.

Before we do, let me share with you a revelation I had with TV shows. I used to love shows like The Flash, Elementary, and The Mentalist (just to name a couple of examples). What did all of these shows have in common? Despite having an overarching story they all followed the same pattern. Say an episode was 50 minutes long with 20 episodes per season. The first episode would reel you in with some compelling storyline. Episodes 2-18/19 would contain 45 minutes of almost the exact same thing every single episode. Some characters would change, there would be different lessons, and sometimes we’d learn something new about the main characters. Then in the last 5 minutes would reveal some shocking detail that added to the overall story. Sound familiar?

Paranormal Activity

Sequel

image via Ranker

By the 5th movie, the scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity movies was the fact that they were still being made. I can’t claim to have any insight into the overall plan for the franchise. Maybe they set out to make as many as they did. I’d be inclined to believe that they didn’t. The first movie was pretty freaky, it was original, and it did a good job of scaring moviegoers. Then they did the same thing again with the sequel but people were still entertained, then they did it again, and again…

What changed? Well, the characters changed but ultimately the goings on stayed almost exactly the same from one movie to the next. Yet at the end of every single movie, some “Earth-shattering” detail is revealed. “Oh my God, it’s the same family” or “Oh my God, that’s the creepy cult discussed in the previous movie” or “Oh my God, those are the sisters we saw in the first couple of movies and this dude has travelled through some wormhole…or some shit”. I sort of lost interest in the movies and I can’t really remember all the details. I just remember some magical door that led to a creepy cult house.

With each new movie they had to up the ante though something that I’ll dub “sequel escalation theory”. Each ending became more intense, the stakes became more “real”, and new details are revealed which are supposed to lure us in and make us crave another sequel. There are 6 of these movies in total…6! After the first one, nothing new is added…at all. This could be an example of a Trap 1 movie but I think it’s more likely that they just enjoyed the success of the first movie and rode it for another 5.

Mission Impossible and James Bond

Sequel

image via Screen Rant

Mission Impossible is, without a shadow of a doubt, an example of a Trap 1 movie series and finely details sequel escalation theory. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Mission Impossible franchise (or at least I did until Fallout). With Mission Impossible, the stakes were already incredibly high by the 2nd movie whereby the mission is stopping a biological weapon. The third involves stopping the mysterious “rabbits foot” from falling into the hands of a dangerous arms dealer. Number four involves nuclear bombs. Five relates to an underground terrorist organisation made up of ex-agency personnel. You get the idea.

Ultimately, these movies (similarly to Bond) largely work because there doesn’t need to be any storyline from one movie to the next. That’s the point! That’s exactly why it works. There may be the occasional nod, there may be characters the stay constant throughout the series (particularly the central characters), but that’s it! We don’t need huge intricate storylines connecting one movie to the next. This is where both these franchises fall and why I’d label them Trap 1 movies (although in a slightly different sense to the rest of my examples.

If we look at Spectre or Mission Impossible: Fallout, we see the exact same problems popping up. Villains from previous movies whose stories have already been told reappear to suggest that the new movie and a previous movie (or movies) are connected. In both cases the writers failed miserably. I was so excited to see Christoph Waltz as a villain and yet the actor was wasted on connecting the imaginary dots of a convoluted story. Similarly, Sean Harris was excellent as Solomon Lane…but he’d been defeated and we didn’t need some absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable (even by Mission Impossible standards) plot about his continued role as the villain.

Fast and Furious and Transformers

Sequel

image via YouTube

Once again, we can see examples of Trap 1 movies. Do you remember when the Fast and Furious movies were about illegal street races? I know that seems unbelievable now when you see where the movies have ended up these days. It’s only a matter of time before they are in space! Each movie had to be an escalation of the previous one. We went from street racing to bank robberies to weird revenge stories tied up in huge government conspiracies…again, I lost interest by maybe the 7th one…the one with the 7,000 mile long airport runway. You eventually reach a point where the escalation has just become too much and then the movies manage to lose everything that people once enjoyed about them while also offering nothing interesting to fill in the gap. Then they turn to either a prequel or a spin-off (Hobbs and Shaw).

Transformers works even better as an example because we can use the plot to highlight just how poorly planned the franchise is. So Transformer was pretty awesome: I loved the show as a kid and Shia LaBeouf is entertaining to watch. The story was pretty open and closed so there was no real reason for a sequel (of course we all knew one would be on its way). After all, the villain was dead, the hero got the girl, and the government learned to work with the machines.

Yet Rise of the Fallen opens with a new backstory that reveals new information. Suddenly, the machines had been on Earth long before originally suggested. They didn’t come searching for the cube (which we were led to believe had landed on Earth by chance) but rather because our sun needed to be harvested. The pyramids hide crazy sun-eating machines and Sam literally dies…what? The third movie once again rewrites history by telling us that a special ship escaped Cybertron and just so happened to land on the moon. Now the overall plan wasn’t related to the all-powerful cube or the sun-eating machines but magical cylinders that teleport planets!

I did watch the fourth one but for the life of me I cannot remember the plot. I think it had something to do with cosmic hitmen or bounty hunters? I remember dinosaurs appeared as some stage but that sums about all of my Transformers 4 knowledge. I literally just discovered there was also a 5th one that involved Transformers being on Earth during the Middle Ages whereby they give Merlin a magical staff? Fuck knows…

Suffice to say that Transformers is also an example of how thirsty the Ghouls are. There is a Bumblebee spin-off movie coming out next year (I believe) with the entire franchise being rebooted in the not so distant future. What’s the lesson here? If you lack consistency and forward-thinking then you can just scrap all the previous movies and start over. This takes us nicely to Terminator…sigh…

Terminator

Sequel

image via Hollywood Reporter

Now before you get ahead of yourself, the first three Terminator movies are perfectly fine (in terms of story consistency) in my opinion. I mean we can clearly see the gears turning as far as the plan to churn out more movies but hey ho…the point being that we then got Terminator Salvation which was absolutely dreadful. This was followed by the equally as disastrous (actually, it was definitely much, much worse) Terminator: Genisis…Genysis? Genisys. James Cameron wants to make a whole new trilogy, for some fucked up reason and it will be entirely female-led (with the exception of Arnold, of course)…because that worked really well for Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8!

It seems that ultimately, no idea stays original for long. Undoubtedly the franchise is going to continue screwing with the timeline in order to try and make up some nonsensical story. It didn’t work with Genisys and I doubt it’s going to work for any future movies. The truth is that they’ve taken a turn in the wrong direction. AI and crazy ass robots are practically nearing Terminator levels and yet the movies barely touch on that. They could really send a message regarding the future of AI research instead of making stupid-ass upgrades to time traveling robots!

Honestly, I feel like this is another example of a franchise that is already dead. I don’t know a single person who is interested in seeing the series continue. They must have Schwarzenegger’s nuts in a vice to be convincing him time and time again to return for these shit movies!

The Purge and Riddick

Sequel

image via UpRoxx

I’m not going to spend too much time discussing these movies as I feel like if you’ve ever watched them then you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Let’s start with The Purge. I have to admit that his franchise was original…at least the idea was. The first movie became exactly the same as any other home invasion movie that has ever been made. However, the sequel was excellent. They managed to create this deeper layer for the movie that touched on the political side of the purge itself. We got to see this idea unfold that the purge benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.

However, the third movie took this too far and became incredibly boring. We again found ourselves faced with new characters whose backstories need a prologue just to make them seem relevant, with previous characters being dragged back into the mix for no real reason. Of course they realised that going forward wasn’t going to work anymore and so The First Purge was born. They stuck to their guns with the political aspect of the movie and once again failed. Can people not be content with having one successful movie?

This takes us to Riddick. Pitch Black introduced us to the character and told a rather self-contained story that didn’t need a sequel by any means. There was a time in my life when I actually enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick (although that time has long since passed). However, a movie I enjoyed much less was Riddick, the third movie in the series that seemingly brushes off the previous movies by literally giving us the exact same story as Pitch Black. I mean the similarities were beyond ridiculous and they STILL managed to make me hate the character. Of course what do you do when the franchise begins to decline? You do a spin-off…or in this case, a reboot!

Alien, Predator and Prometheus

Sequel

image via Inverse

This example is arguably the most frustrating as there was real potential to create some great movies. However, it also demonstrated my escalation theory (and it’s following “solution” perfectly). Alien was once a truly intriguing movie franchise: a grizzly combination of horror and sci-fi. Then you had Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection…we also had Predator and Predator 2. By the time we got to Alien vs Predator (which also had a sequel: Alien vs Predator Requiem) we had seen every possible combination of what had ultimately become a played out, repetitive and tedious franchise.

Here we can see a fine example of the escalation I was referring to earlier: They have to add more and more content that they believe to be compelling and intriguing. Alien was about an alien on a ship. That was practically it! Predator was about a Predator. These movies were simple in their idea but worked well. Now what are we doing? The aliens got bigger and apparently, according to the trailer for this year’s new ‘The Predator’ movie: they are evolving into some sort of stupid-ass ultra-predator. C’mon Ridley Scott, where is your imagination and creativity?

Eventually, in rolls Prometheus…and I am literally shaking my head as I write this! Prometheus was exciting (or could have been), it offered new ideas (or could have) and explored concepts of human creation that are deeply rooted in some of the oldest mythologies (or at least it briefly touched upon them). Instead, Prometheus turned into a fucking Alien prequel! Not only that, but it turned into a whole “why would our creators care about us?” lesson. I mean it doesn’t shock me. I love Damon Lindelof as a writer but he needs to mix things up a bit. I kept waiting on a well scene like Lost and The Leftovers.

Still…Prometheus set itself up for a sequel and it ended on an intriguing note: a woman and her robotic travel companion are heading to the home world of their creators. Wrong! What should have been Prometheus 2 ultimately became Alien: Covenant. A movie that repeats the exact same story we had literally just watched in Prometheus but with new characters. As far as I’m concerned, the franchise is dead. I already wrote about Alien: Covenant before so I won’t go into another rant about it here. Suffice to say that we see the escalation: more evolved creatures doing the exact same thing as the other creatures, and the solution to the decline: prequels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Sequel

image via New York Sight Seeing

This is sort of a bonus section (as are the two that follow) that popped into my head a couple of days after writing this post. I realised that while I’ve discussed some pretty popular franchises here, but not the most popular. I mean Harry Potter is a franchise, right? I thought to myself: there aren’t really any flaws with the Harry Potter franchise because it’s following books and so the storyline is there to follow. From the first film, they’ve known the direction the films were headed in. Does this world put an end to my escalation theory? Actually no, quite the opposite. The Harry Potter universe is the icing on the cake.

How come? Well, while the Harry Potter movies themselves work as examples of how to make a franchise, what follows them is the undoubtedly a trap 2 mistake. We know this because there are already 5 movies planned. In my opinion, 1 movie would have been bad enough. Granted, the movie was slightly more enjoyable than I imagined but that really isn’t saying much. These movies are nothing but a soulless cash grab. Just like the Harry Potter mobile game.

I mean maybe I’m wrong…maybe they have an incredibly coherent story that needs 5 movies…but considering that it’s already been announced that the final film will take place in 1945 and end with Albus Dumbledore defeating Grindelwald in a duel, resulting in him becoming the possessor of the Elder Wand, I don’t see how they can stretch the content that far. Especially when you consider that Grindelwald will be a major player in the 2nd movie and that they are limited by Voldemort being known (in the future) as the most evil wizard to have ever lived, and one of the most powerful.

I mean, we can already see the escalation theory at work: Fantastic Beasts is a spin-off and they will, through one form or another, need to escalate the storyline from where it’s already set e.g. Harry Potter level and that of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Just look at that crazy-ass creature that existed in the first film. What the fuck was that?

DCEU

Sequel

image via Geeks.Media

I’m not going to badmouth Marvel in this article for two reasons: 1) I’m a marvel fanboy and I think they are great movies and 2) I think Marvel is what all these other franchises look to. They see the success of this massive, decade long, 20+ movie universe and they want to get a piece of it for themselves…all unsuccessfully. DC would be a prime example.

I’m purposefully referring to the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) because the movies before that were great. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy nailed it! I mean I don’t think anyone can criticise those movies with any objective flaw. So the DCEU starts (and potentially ends) with Superman in Man of Steel. I could write a whole article about that movie because it should have and could have been awesome, certainly the trailer made it look that way.

I’m going to list and rate each movie from the DCEU so far: Man of Steel (6.5/10), Batman V Superman (5/10), Suicide Squad (4/10), Wonder Woman (I haven’t watched) and Justice League (3/10). DC was so thirsty to copy the success of Marvel that they jeopardized the story and characters in the process. I’ve never met a single person who enjoyed either Batman V Superman or Justice League. Yet DC manages to fall into the trap 2 category as this is the line-up of their upcoming movies: Aquaman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman 1984, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Flash, Birds of Prey, The Batman, Black Adam, and a number of other movies including not one but two Joker movies (played by different actors).

This is all made dramatically worse when we learn that the recently resurrected Superman will likely be killed off as the actor, Henry Cavil, is stepping down. This is largely related to DC moving its Super-person focus to the opposite sex in the form of a Supergirl movie (although I wonder if her name will end up being changed to Superwoman). This is probably due in large A) The success of Wonder Woman (particularly in comparison to the other DCEU movies), B) The success of the Supergirl TV series, and C) The strive for more diversity within the movie industry, particularly the superhero franchise.

Star Wars

Sequel

image via StarWars

Now, I’ve discussed the various failings of Star Wars before but as far as I can recall, I’ve stayed relatively quiet on the subject since the disaster known only as The Last Jedi. I love the Star Wars universe (in the sense that it’s a cool idea and some of the characters are awesome) but the movies are somewhat “meh”. I can always watch the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy appears on more rare occasions, this current trilogy can get to fuck, and the Anthology series has been somewhat hit or miss.

Here’s what we know so far about the future of Star Wars: Of course we will get episode 9 which will have to try and clean up the mess episode 8 made, this will be followed by another Anthology movie (I’m hoping Obi-Wan but it could be Boba Fett). We are then getting a trilogy from Rian Johnson and another from the writers of the Game of Thrones TV show. So at least 9 more movies.

Yet again, we encounter a trap 2 franchise. Even before they have a story or a sense of direction, Disney (who own Star Wars now) are commissioning many movies. It is possible to nail these upcoming films. I mean if the Obi-Wan movie tied into the end of Solo, that too could link into a Boba Fett film. Will it? Probably not. The only way the other two trilogies will succeed, in my opinion, is if they are completely, 100% disconnected from the previous movies. Go back 500 years or go forward 500 years but escape all these fucking characters! Please!

Final Thoughts

Sequel

image via Deviant Art

I’ve touched on a lot of these issues in the past. I’ve mentioned Star Wars at least once or twice, I’ve talked about the Fantastic 4, I’ve talked about Avengers, Ghostbusters, Ocean’s 8, Happy Feet, The Maze Runner trilogy, Annihilation, and more…I can hold my hand up and admit that many of these posts are me basically saying that the story could have been better. However, I’m not claiming to have better ideas than the writers. These people are paid (very well) to write and direct these movies and the movies themselves make millions. So my critique is just my own opinion as I have neither the real-world experience nor the professional status to claim to know better.

However, I can’t be alone in thinking that many of these examples do show the downfall of various franchises, usually due to the Ghouls craving money and caring little about the storyline. I mean take Transformers. Michael Bay is all about his explosions and special effects. There are 5 movies and every single one of them the army try to fight Transformers despite the fact that their weapons are useless every single time. Why? Explosions…that’s why!

In this post I’ve proposed my ‘Franchise Escalation Theory’. This is the idea that movies, in an effort to continue making big bucks, will escalate each sequel to a point of ridiculous proportions and will ultimately fall into one of two traps. I went off on a few tangents (to say the least) but hopefully I still explained myself properly.


Thanks for reading! Am I being unreasonable? Do you have any other franchises that you feel went down the same route? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date with my posts!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Annihilation Review and Explanation!

If you haven’t seen the Netflix Original: Annihilation then I suggest you stop reading immediately. Go watch it and come back when spoilers aren’t going to impact your viewing of the movie. Like seriously, as soon as this paragraph is finished, I’m going to be diving face-first into spoilers and there are moments in this movie that NOBODY should be prepared for prior to watching it.

Quick Summary

Annihilation

image via Digital Spy

With most of my reviews for films, I spend far too long summarising a movie that only those who had seen the movie in the first place would be reading. So i’ll try and keep this short.

Annihilation is many things: a commentary on human biology and nature for one. It’s also a bit of a mind-fuck in some scenes. Not so much that you leave with your mind blown but rather you feel just as confused as the characters. The film follows Lena (Natalie Portman) who after assuming her husband has been killed on a mission, finds him wandering up the stairs followed swiftly by a rushed ambulance journey. Lena learns of “the shimmer”: a bizarre anomaly that is infecting a swampland area of the US and has been for the past 3 years. Upon learning that this was the mission her husband was on, Lena volunteers to join a task force heading into the shimmer in order to reach the point of origin: a lighthouse.

What follows is a trippy journey through a beautiful yet terrifying forest that has creatures and plants that appear to have been thrown together, almost like Frankenstein’s monster but of nature. The film isn’t particularly tense or scary but the fucking human-scream bear is one of the most chilling scenes I have seen in any film in years. I’ll admit that even though I knew it was a trick of some sort, I was not remotely prepared for that thing walking in and making that noise.

As character’s are knocked off one by one, the movie ends with Lena encountering her husband’s corpse (a twist I think we all knew was coming) and a double of herself. This is another chilling scene. Something about a humanoid yet metallic creature imitating human movements while being higher, stronger and more agile is creepy as shit! The final moments of the movie show Lena hugging her shimmer-husband as both of their eyes shimmer…I’ve said shimmer too many times but it’s the best word to use here.

Review

Annihilation

image via Film Crit Hulk

Honestly, I was pretty impressed with this movie. I think it’s fair to say that Netflix have hit the nail on the head with this one. With Hollywood forcing out female-led movies and failing (particularly awful reboots like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8), this film was incredible. I don’t mean that in a patronising way, I’m not suggesting that women aren’t capable of being the leads in movies. What I mean is that when it’s forced, it tends not to work. This movie on the other hand worked wonderfully.

I was even doubtful going in because Natalie Portman has never impressed me with her acting before. Similarly, I’m not a huge fan of Tessa Thompson mainly because of comments she made regarding Thor: Ragnarok but also because she’s just never shone out as an actor in my eyes. I’m happy to admit that both of them did incredibly well in this movie and the acting is part of what was awesome about this film.

Actually, every aspect of this film was superbly done: the special effects were crazy, the soundtrack was awesome, the ending of the movie was a bit “meh” but not bad by any means and it certainly left questions open, hence why I’ll be doing my version of an explanation now.

Ending Explanation

Annihilation

image via Syfy

I’m completely winging this. I watched the movie less than 20 minutes ago so don’t take my word that this is actually the explanation that the creators were going for. If you’ve read any of my other theories, such as my Pokemon one or my journey through Happy Feet, you’ll know that usually I clutch at straws to make a theory sound a little more compelling. In this instance, I’m going solely with what I just saw in Annihilation.

Shimmer Children

Annihilation

image via Elpais

So throughout the film we hear about cells. The film opens talking about cancer cells, we hear the team discuss the suicidal nature of biology (i.e. that at a cellular level we are self-destructive). There were two things that stood out to me in the movie: 1) The idea that anyone going into the shimmer must be suicidal or at least self-destructive on some level and 2) That each person in the final team has nothing to go back for (apart from Lena). We learn that each member has an issue. Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is dying, something we don’t discover until near the end of the movie. Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez) had a drug issue (I think). Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny) lost her child to leukemia (along with part of herself). Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson) used to self-harm.

Lena is there for her husband who she cheated on and now feels guilty about his current state. I mentioned these characters for a reason and I will circle back to it but first, here’s my main theory in regards to the shimmering eyes at the end. I think that Lena and her shimmer-husband are almost like Adam and Eve. Everything else within the shimmer caught fire and burned yet Lena walked away unscathed and shimmer-Kane recovered. I think this moment symbolises a rebirth of sorts. Lena’s DNA has been altered through her time in the shimmer and Kane isn’t even Kane. I think they lost that self-destructive aspect of themselves and their children will go on to pass it on. We know from the crystal trees, the tree people and other aspects within the shimmer that this anomaly or being was trying to create life.

Cellular Self-Destruction

Annihilation

image via Scleroderma News

As for the other characters, I think they died in ways related to their “cellular self-destructiveness”. Josie had cut her wrists but never committed suicide. It’s theorised by Sheppard that she was trying to feel alive. When we last see her, she is becoming a plant just like the tree people. Dr. Ventress is dying and has no partner, no children, no friends, no family as far as anyone can tell. She becomes one with all life in the shimmer and passes her genetic make-up on. Sheppard talks about a part of her dying and how losing that aspect of herself is akin to losing her daughter. Yet when she dies, all of her goes, apart from the terror and fear she felt before her death: no happiness, no joy, only darkness.

Anya is the character that sort of throws my theory off a little bit here. If it was drugs that were her self-destructive tendency then it could relate to a lack of control. She said that her hands moved when she looked at them. This is sort of a way of saying that she isn’t herself which is a common saying by people who have been in dark and deep drug addictions. They lose themselves much in the same way that Anya was losing herself. She wanted to cut someone open to prove that it wasn’t just her.

Lena

Annihilation

image via Bloody Disgusting

Lena, as the main character, plays a more interesting role in this theory. It’s mentioned several times both by her and other characters that she had something to go back to: her husband. She isn’t being suicidal by going into the shimmer, she’s actually on a mission. Yet when she enters the lighthouse she has to face the reality that that isn’t her husband waiting for her. This is perhaps something she has considered before the lighthouse as she looks worried when she starts playing that camera, long before it shows him dying and his double walking in front of the camera.

Lena isn’t fighting a creature or an alien but rather part of herself. This thing is more than just a double, it’s more like her shadow. I think that this thing was supposed to represent her self-destructive tendency. When she tries to escape it’s her desire to die that stops her. She’s literally stopping herself from escaping and by killing it, she’s freeing herself. She leaves the shimmer without that self-destructive tendency at a cellular level. Leading to my explanation as to why neither her nor Kane burned like the rest of the shimmer shit.

The Tattoo

Annihilation

image via Mythologian NET

One aspect of this film that I can’t get my head around is a recurring tattoo. At first I thought is was a number 8 but it’s actually the eternal serpent/infinity snake. It’s an image of a snake swallowing its tale and it’s a symbol of rebirth. I guess this would apply to the idea of rebirth of Lena’s character and of the human genome. It isn’t the symbolism I have a problem with though.

What I don’t really understand is why it kept appearing on people. I mean we could assume that it was on a person’s arm from a previous mission into the shimmer but tattoos aren’t genetic. I mean this life-force/event/being can replicate dripping blood, as it does with Lena and it does the same with sound so the refraction must not be limited to DNA. I just don’t get why that tattoo would appear on people’s arm but not others. I mean sure, we could just accept that it’s being used as symbolism for the movie but I feel like that’s a bit on the nose, so to speak. I mean we know that everything inside the shimmer is being reborn as something else but I’m sure there must be a better explanation out there. Annihilation doesn’t seem like the sort of film to throw a tattoo in just for symbolism without any real explanation.

One meaning behind the symbol relates to the serpent Jormungandr who, in Norse mythology, guarded the tree of life. Maybe nobody had the tattoo at all and it’s actually a mark from the being/event/life-force. Here’s a wild theory: what if the shimmer was no accident. What if some aspect of Norse mythology is based on fact (which is interesting considering Natalie Portman’s Thor connection) and life on Earth is threatened by humanity and so, this guardian or whatever is sent down to correct things.

Nah…


Thanks for reading! What did you think of Annihilation? Do you enjoy seeing reviews on this blog? If so, what else do you recommend? Let me know down below! 

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Remember: For this month only you could win yourself a $20 Amazon gift card!

Peace!

Rick and Morty: Aw jeez, not another theory!

Rick and Morty: The animated adventures of a genius, egomaniac grandfather and his insecure, idiotic grandson. Challenging morals, scientific principles and philosophy, there is something in Rick and Morty for everyone. I understand that many people view the fan-base as being inherently toxic so you can relax knowing that I won’t be making the claim that “only smart people understand Rick and Morty”. You may be unaware of the underling stories and theories surrounding the show so this post will take a quick look at the main story, some smaller theories and, of course, provide evidence for all. So grab your portal gun as we jump right into another dimension!

Background

rick-morty.jpg

image via Complex

So before we start throwing the main theory out there, we need to cover some background information. It is stated throughout the show that Beth has abandonment issues due to her father (Rick) leaving her and her family. We know he wasn’t around for the birth of Morty (at least). There are varying theories as to why Rick left (some of which we will explore later on) and even the death of Rick’s wife/Beth’s mother is somewhat of a mystery. We see a fake memory in The Rickshank Rickdeption (S3 E1) but many believe this is based on a memory while others believe it is based Simple Rick’s memory. Rick and Morty regularly refer to themselves as being from dimension C-137 (which is the world from Rick Potion #9 (S1 E6)).

The Theory

If you haven’t seen the show then this theory will probably make little to no sense. Even if you do watch the show, my explanation is most likely going to be atrocious. So, this is it: Rick is not originally from C-137. Morty C-137, as a result, is not his original Morty. This theory suggests that when Rick first returns to the family, he is taking the place of a dead Rick (similar to what Rick and Morty do in Rick Potion #9). Why would he need to do this? Good question.

 

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

What if a Rick lost his Morty in his original dimension? I say lost when what I really mean is abandoned and left for dead. Assuming that his Morty wouldn’t survive, Rick quickly moved across into another dimension and returned to the family he hadn’t seen in however many years. This Morty became his new Morty and nobody ever caught on. So how do we know this? Well, as we know that Rick has been away for at least 14 years, how could he have memories of a young Morty? In Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind (S1 E10) we see that Rick has memories of Morty as a baby. It’s one of the few times we see genuine emotion from Rick. Perhaps mourning the loss of his previous Morty?

Rick and Morty

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

You can see further evidence of this in Get Schwifty (S2 E5) when Bird Person rescues Morty. While explaining the “good” in Rick, Bird Person points out some photos: One of which shows a younger Rick holding a baby Morty. Morty even comments something along the lines of “who is that baby?”

BHcQtAg

image via Reddit

Abandoned Morty

 

Rick Intro

image via Gus Calvo

The theory doesn’t end there though…no, sir! Remember the Morty that Rick left behind? The one he assumed (or simply didn’t care enough to check) was dead? Well he fits into this theory as well. In fact, this theory suggests that you’ve seen this Morty several times. During the intro to all three seasons, we see a 3 second or so clip of Rick and Morty running. Rick portals away leaving Morty trapped as big green, frog-like creatures approach. We assume that this is just a typical Rick and Morty moment where Rick thinks only for himself and abandons Morty. The fact that this is one of few recurring intro scenes makes a lot of sense. All the others also reflect a larger storyline e.g. Cthulhu.

Opening_morty_stuck

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Yet we know from many episodes (e.g. S2 E1) that Rick would sacrifice himself for Morty. We also know that he’s seen as a “rogue Rick” (S3 E1) due to his emotional attachments to his family. Not to mention that in Rest and Ricklaxation (S3 E6) Rick tries to purge his toxins, which to him includes his emotional attachment to Morty. So what if there was a reason for leaving this Morty behind beyond the idea of ‘Rick being Rick’?

Evil Morty

Eyepatchevilmorty.jpg

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

This is where we welcome in the infamous Evil Morty. A fan favourite from the show, we were first introduced to the character in Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind. Evil Morty was after “our” Rick and had gone out of his way to frame him for the murder of other Ricks. I won’t explain the entire episode but Rick says something rather interesting at the end:

Morty: “The Mortyest Morty”

Rick: “Just don’t get too big for your loafers, Buster Brown. A cocky Morty can lead to some big problems. It can be a real bad thing for everybody.”

Morty: “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

Rick: “U-Uh, I’ll explain when you’re older.”

rick-and-morty-quotes.jpg

image via Smosh

The idea being that the Morty Rick left behind had become “a cocky Morty”. Perhaps he’d found a way to increase his intelligence or maybe he was just learning too much from Rick. In Vindicators 3 (S3 E4) Morty displays a wide range of skills that he’s picked up from Rick. Many of these simply relate to understanding Rick’s mind but others are technical such as defusing a neutrino bomb. After being left behind by Rick and somehow surviving, Morty started down a path of revenge. He found a way to control a Rick, he started kidnapping Mortys and killing Ricks (hiding himself and framing Rick C-137 in the process) all to get his revenge on Rick. He extracts the memories from Rick but the reason for doing so is never explained. Is he looking for something in particular: Perhaps a specific invention or a specific memory?

Season 3 Finale

h7Ds1TGq-720

image via Rick and Morty Wiki

Fans loved seeing Evil Morty return and become President Morty in The Ricklantis Mixup (S3 E7): Leading us to speculate whether this had been his goal all along or simply another step in a larger plan. Season 3 was supposed to be 14 episodes long as opposed to then 10 we received. The episode we got as the finale, The Richurian Candidate, didn’t pack much of a punch and left many fans disappointed. It’s possible that if deadlines had been met and the full 14 episodes had been aired, we may have seen Evil Morty’s plan unveil itself as the real end of season episode. With the Citadel of Mortys up and running, it’s more than likely that season 4 will show us the Morty!

Bonus Evidence

There is some more evidence to display. Not so much in relation to the whole Evil Morty theory but simply in support of Rick not being from dimension C-137 originally. We often see Rick reference songs or movies that don’t exist. This is often chalked up to him being a bit crazy and having travelled across the universe and into other dimensions. Yet it also seems likely that had he originally existed in another dimension, there could have been different music, movies, TV shows, ETC. This evidence isn’t concrete and is actually a bit wishy-washy but I figured it was better to mention it all the same!

Alternative Rick and Morty Storylines

Fans often assume that when they watch Rick and Morty, they are watching the same Rick and Morty. Yet, the creators of the show have left breadcrumbs for us to follow that suggest otherwise. The first example of this would be the pilot episode. Not so much the episode as a whole but rather the opening scene with the neutrino bomb. There’s no reason to believe that Morty was able to do anything about the bomb which had already started its countdown. Yes, we could assume that it didn’t go off (perhaps a joke by Rick) or that Rick regained consciousness just in time to stop it…but why? Doesn’t it make more sense that the bomb simply went off but it was a different Rick and Morty? Of course this is only a very minor example of this. So let’s fast forward to Mortynight Run (S2 E2).

Mortynight Run

C7rgO

image via SciFi Stack Exchange

In this episode, we follow Morty (and a reluctant Rick) away from Blips and Chitz in order to help FART escape. Turning out to be a pro-genocide multidimensional being with the plan of wiping out all carbon-based lifeforms, the episode ends in the deaths of a lot of innocent people. This is the first of two episodes which sneakily show us the lives of an alternative Rick and Morty. How do we know this?

At the start of the episode, Rick checks Jerry into Jerryboree (a care centre). We can see on the form that Rick has put C-137 as his dimension (although puts N/A for Jerry) and in return they are given ticket number ‘5126’. So we know at this point they we have been following the usual Rick and Morty.

KcB7LkBJsMQmxNPy_yEWnVozIEskimh671I7tWoG_XU

image via Reddit

Yet, at the end of the episode, having followed a Rick and Morty on their FART journey when they eventually go back to pick up Jerry, Morty, being Morty, has lost the ticket. This doesn’t seem to matter too much…until another Rick and Morty (quite separate from the Rick and Morty we followed in this episode) ask of they have 5126, holding out the ticket we saw Rick and Morty C-137 receive at the start of the episode.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-28-at-2.41.53-PM.png

image via Geek

Total Rickall

b75e2f463e5a28c1-e1503346152967-2048x1024.png

image via The Daily Dot

So we followed a different Rick and Morty, big deal, right? That is until two episodes later in Total Rickall (S2 E4). At the start of the episode, we see Rick throwing out glowing green space rocks which leads to the murder of Uncle Steve (who is really an alien parasite that came with the space rocks). We then meet Mr Poopybutthole who appears in the intro alongside Rick and Morty. This isn’t just a joke about Mr Poopybutthole being a parasite (as we learn at the end of the episode that he isn’t) but rather it points to a different reality. This is a world where Mr Poopybutthole really does travel around with Rick and Morty.

b9NxhRM.jpg

image via Reddit

How do we know this? Well, we can actually trace the “glowing space rocks” back in Mortynight Run (above). As we know that this is a different dimension and therefore a different Rick and Morty, it makes sense that Total Rickall is the home of the very same Rick and Morty. We later see Rick disposing of the same rocks (below). You may notice that the same purple dots that appear on the rocks also appear on the parasites.

Rick and Morty

image via YouTube

Bonus Theories

These are some smaller theories to explore as well. I mean these are probably more akin to Easter eggs rather theories but here we go.

maxresdefault (1)

image via YouTube

  • The “tall Morty” we see in The Ricklantis Mixup isn’t a Rick who was born that way. The reason he looks like a normal Rick (as opposed to Dufus Rick) is because he is from a reality where Rick used the microscope given to him by the devil (S1 E9). The microscope made him mentally retarded.
rick_and_morty_jpm_1.png

image via Den of Geek

  • Rick’s genius actually comes from the seeds we see in episode 1 and this is true of all Ricks. We see the effects of the seeds on Morty at the end of the pilot episode which then puts him into a paralytic state for a few days. We also see these same trees being grown at the Citadel of Ricks/Mortys. This could simply be due to their value but what if rather than being an alcoholic, Rick keeps a seed-juice in his hipflask in order to top up his genius.
rick-and-morty-helmet-theory_cartoon-network

image via Uproxx

  • In relation to the larger theory, one piece of the puzzle is a smaller theory regarding Rick’s suicide attempts. We see the “suicide helmet” in several episodes and at the end of Auto Erotic Assimilation (S2 E3) Rick nearly dies. What if this suicidal tendency exists in all Ricks, including the original C-137 Rick who actually went through with it, opening up a spot for “our” Rick to step into.
mesmapessoa

image via Aficionados

  • Rick is Morty and Morty is Rick. There are two theories: one that Morty is actually a clone of Rick. This isn’t a huge leap but there also isn’t much evidence for it. The opposing theory is that Rick is an older version of Morty. This ties into the idea of the seeds being used to provide a genius level intellect. It also explains how Evil Morty could become so intelligent as to defeat Ricks.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed my exploration of just some of the theories surrounding Rick and Morty!

Don’t forget to follow me on here and on Twitter to stay up to date!

If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment down below!

Remember: For this month only you could win yourself a $20 Amazon gift card!

Peace!

 

 

 

Pokemon: The Great War Theory

We all know Pokemon in some form or another: Some of us played/watched it as kids, some of us have kids who play/watch it…some of us are adults who play it and watch it in Spanish to try and help them pick up the language…let’s not focus too much on that for now. Regardless, we all know the basic premise: the story of a kid in a world where pets (“friends”) fight to earn their owners money and fame. Ignoring the violence and enslavement, Pokemon tells many stories of friendship, heroism, altruism and is often fairly heart-warming. Even the regular villains in the show, Team Rocket, aren’t heartless and often support team good to fight the real team bad.

But what if I told you that there is a dark theory to Pokemon that often goes ignored? No, I’m not referring to the creepy Lavender Town music from the game that made people kill themselves or the seriously creepy Cubone story but rather the disturbing level of evidence that Pokemon takes place during or after a major war…

The Theory

I’m going to approach this one a little differently to my other posts. I’m going to lay the theory out at the start and then go on to explore some of the evidence afterwards. So the theory goes something like this: the game and show take place in a world where animals are far more intelligent (in comparison to our animals), have “abilities” and can actually evolve instantaneously after reaching a certain “level”. That’s the basics of the Pokemon world laid out without any storyline. In this world, you still have the same politics, the same human emotions, the same wars that we face in our world and as such, Pokemon became seen as weapons (think of anti-tank dogs, messenger pigeons, and war elephants but with abilities). So the battle for powerful Pokemon seems all fun and games in the show/game but there is more to it.

Sometime before the events of the show/game a war broke out between nations and as such, the men and their Pokemon were called to war. We never see any guns in this world and other than some makeshift bombs from Team Rocket, warfare is limited to Pokemon. Where duals or sword fights would take place in our world, Pokemon battles take place in their world. Some of these Pokemon have insanely powerful abilities and as such are better suited to war. Think Game of Thrones but with Pokemon instead of dragons and dire-wolves!

It’s hard to say whether the war is still going on or has already taken place. If it’s the latter, then the evidence certainly suggests that it was recent and that the nation we see in Pokemon is still preparing for a follow-up. So let’s take a look at some of the evidence to support this theory from the game and the TV series (I’m referring to Pokemon: Indigo League specifically)

Game vs Show

I first heard this theory in relation to the game only. However, as I started watching the show again (just yesterday), I noticed many startling moments that add evidence to this theory for the show as well. We’ll begin by looking at certain aspects that exist in both worlds (I refer to them as different worlds purely to avoid confusion because Pokemon Indigo League is loosely based on the original Pokemon game). Just keep in mind that this first section is just a very vague synopsis of the more specific evidence that exists within each world.

The Population

One thing you notice within the Pokemon world is how the population is divided: there are a lot of children (more on that in a moment) and a lot of old people but there seems to be drastically less middle-aged people. Now that on its own is fairly normal, I mean most developed populations are weighted this way. Yet it’s the sheer number of each. You’re constantly running into children everywhere and old people almost as much…women drastically outnumber the men and this is particularly true within the game world.

The Children

So what of the children? If you’ve ever played or watched Pokemon, you must have found it a little weird that children are literally being sent out into the wilderness at the age of 10. Most children in the show and game don’t have parents: Ash/Red doesn’t have a father, Gary/rival has no parents at all, Brock has no mother, and Misty doesn’t have parents. You encounter a number of children in both worlds who either live alone, are travelling alone or are living with grandparents.

The Adults

One thing you notice with many of the adults is that they serve some sort of purpose. For starters, most of the men in the Pokemon world are scientists such as Professor Oak (although he’s also elderly) and his aids. The rest either live in caves, up mountains or run gyms. The reason I suspect that the war may still be going on is that there are mostly old men and as such, it makes sense that these men were too old to go to war when it broke out.

Technology

We also have to acknowledge the incredibly advanced technology that exists in this part of the world and perhaps wonder if that has something to do with the cause of the war. Modes of transport, for the most part, seem to be rather out-dated but other areas are incredibly advanced. Let’s start off with the Pokeball: it is literally capable of turning Pokemon into energy or converting them into some sort of electronic data in order to store them inside this ball. Yet as is demonstrated in both worlds, these Pokemon are still conscious while inside and can choose not to leave or fight to escape. This is stepped up further when we witness the Pokemon transportation system which is used early on in the series to transport Pokemon (inside Pokeballs) to a different Pokemon Centre but is also used in the game to trade Pokemon. We’re literally talking about some Star Trek style teleportation of matter!

The in-game technology differs slightly in comparison to that of the show but we can all agree that it’s advanced as shit! Can you imagine just pointing an empty-looking ball at your dog and it suddenly being transported into the ball as some sort of red energy? If someone invented that technology today, we would be at war almost as soon as it was made public, if not before!

Mewtwo

We’ll look at Mewtwo in more detail later on but let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Mewtwo is: a clone! OK, that simplifies the situation drastically as there are two areas (both of which appear later) we need to explore in relation to Mewtwo.

  • Mewtwo marks a revolutionary step for science as the first successful clone of Mew along with gene splicing and DNA engineering to make him in theory the most powerful Pokemon (as far as anyone is aware). His psychic abilities, his level of communication, his intelligence all outrank his fellow Pokemon.
  • Mewtwo’s existence isn’t solely so someone can win badges and battle children on the side of the road…no. We know from both worlds that Pokemon often serve a function: Pikachu’s are used for power, Chansey’s work in hospitals, ETC and so it is hardly surprising that during or after a war, a nation would want to create the most powerful weapon. Think about how countries advanced their weaponry between WW1 and WW2…and how it’s advanced since. Mewtwo is quite simply an attempt to create the weapon to end all weapons, maybe even a deterrent.

Mewtwo goes on to become smarter than humans (arguably) and is certainly more powerful than any other existing Pokemon.

The Anime

We’re going to take a look at the anime first and explore some of the new details I’ve noticed and some of the theories I’ve concocted since. Some of these I will admit are grasping at straws slightly but it’s all just fun and games…mostly.

THIS IS SP…PALLET TOWN!

We’re going to start off with a pretty brutal fact: In ancient Sparta, boys as young as 7 were taken from their mothers to start their training. In Pallet Town, they are a little more lenient and waited until the age of 10 but the fact still remains that they are leaving home to go off and train animals for battle. It’s seen as an honour to be the most powerful Pokemon trainer in the world and it seems to be how one earns celebrity status in Pokemon.

This isn’t anything new though as in the show, Ash’s mother even comments on how she remembers it taking Ash’s father 4 days (or something similar) to reach the next town. So this is a tradition (or law-mandated) that certainly dates at least a generation back. This seems like a pretty barbaric situation if there wasn’t a war or the fear of one. Children aged 10 are given their “weapon”, they then head out and train themselves and their Pokemon in order to be the strongest. The way they test this is by fighting gym leaders. Tournaments are held for “fame” but in reality are just part of a never-ending series of training through which Pokemon just get stronger and stronger.

Brock and the Rock

Fairly early on in the show we encounter Brock who is the leader of the Pewter City gym. Not much is known about Brock (I had to do some research) but we do know from the early episodes that he cares for his numerous brothers and sisters due to his parents not being around. Ash and co encounter his father selling rocks near the entrance to Pewter City. It is his father who tells Ash all about Brock’s life. This is my theory as to how Brock’s father fits into this whole war scenario:

When the war was taking place, Brock’s father was called to action and had to leave his family behind. His wife not only has responsibility of the children but also of the gym (we learn in the show that she was once the gym leader and she even takes control of the gym again). Brock’s father even says himself that he was never a very good Pokemon trainer so he clearly didn’t have control of the gym before. This explains why Brock’s father was called to war while other gym leaders weren’t. I think that while at war, Brock’s father was bested in battle and as a result all of his Pokemon (rock types) were either captured or killed (it’s obviously unclear what the Pokemon war etiquette would be). When Brock’s mother leaves (probably due to the strain of having to raise 11 kids, Brock’s father returns to look after his family but suffers from PTSD and can’t manage it and so Brock steps in. Brock wasn’t surprised to see his father, meaning that he had been back home regularly enough to be known to each other. As a result of the PTSD, Brock’s father collects rocks to remember his fallen Pokemon but has no choice but to sell some (unsuccessfully) to try in his own way to provide for his family.

Missing Fathers

Fathers and in fact father figures are frequently missing from the show. You have Ash, Gary and Misty for starters. If we expand our search a little, we find that Jessie (Team Rocket) lost her mother in an avalanche but her father is never mentioned. I even expanded my search to main characters from later versions of the anime (who I had literally never heard of) and found that Serena (apparently one of Ash’s travelling companions) had a mother but no mention of a father; Clemont and Bonnie do have a father who is an engineer (the best in the city); Dawn also has no mention of a father; neither does Iris; Clemont and Bonnie have a father but he was also a gym leader.

This adds more evidence to the idea that all the men from this nation (other than those serving a scientific role or one essential to the upkeep of society e.g. engineer or a gym leader (training future soldiers and their weapons)) are away fighting or have died fighting in a previous war. There are of course those within organised crime but I feel like that’s a topic for another time. But speaking of families, let’s move onto the next bizarre piece of this puzzle.

The Clone Wars

Early on in the show we meet several of the “sisters” who are all identical and share the same name in the form of Officer Jenny, the collection of same-named identical sisters in charge of law enforcement and Nurse Joy, the separate collection of same-named identical sisters who cover healthcare. This is just part of a running gag within the show but what if there is a more sinister reason? We know that cloning is not only possible but has been done before (Mewtwo). However, Mewtwo wasn’t the result of simple cloning: it actually involved gene splicing and DNA engineering which was one of the reasons for so many failures. We’ll soon look at a theory which also explains why cloning a pokemon may be more difficult than cloning a human but I think the Jennys and Joys of the world are evidence enough of its existence.

You may be wondering why such an experiment would ever have been carried out. Well, during war you would need two majors function of society to remain intact above all others: law enforcement and healthcare. The men are sent to fight, the women raise their children (future Pokemon masters/soldiers) and as such, other positions needed to be filled. This is particularly true if this is a post-war situation.

Panspermia

In case you’ve never heard the term before, panspermia refers to a theory about the origins of life on Earth (or other planets). It suggests that bacteria capable of surviving extreme fluctuations in temperature and the vacuum of space could be moved from one planet to another by an asteroid or meteorite. Imagine that the Earth explodes or is victim to a giant asteroid impact and chunks of it fly through space for hundreds of years. One chunk could contain such life and may land on a planet where this bacterium thrives and evolves. You’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with Pokemon. Well, that’s where the moon stone comes in.

In the early episodes, the group meet a man (a scientist, shockingly) who is studying the moon stone. He believes that Pokemon came to Earth on this rock. While he describes it as being a spaceship, it’s not ridiculous to believe that a meteorite brought early Pokemon bacteria to Earth. Due to their rapidly evolving nature (which can be seen through both their own evolutions and the difference in generations that span across one human lifetime) this bacteria soon birthed the Pokemon we see in the show.

This idea goes a step further when we look at the abilities of the Pokemon as it explains why they can do the things they can do. We also know from early episodes that animals and Pokemon are not the same thing. We see a Pidgey eating a worm from the ground that isn’t a Pokemon. Misty also says that she hates bugs and doesn’t care if they are Pokemon, implying that there is a difference between bugs and bug Pokemon. It’s possible that Pokemon arrived on Earth a very long time ago (but after humans) and wiped most native animal species from the planet other than those that are at the bottom of the food chain.

Mew is seen as the ancestor of all Pokemon but this is just based on the human history of things. It’s completely possible that Mew was simply one of the earlier more advanced forms of Pokemon and due to its incredible abilities, ancient humans worshipped it and added it to art and stonework. Bonus theory: there is an idea that Ditto is simply failed attempts to clone mew. True story!

I’m going to keep adding to my evidence and theories for the show as I continue to re-watch it (I’m only on like episode 5 now). For now, let’s run through the original theory and how the game has evidence of a war.

The Game

As I mentioned before, I originally heard this theory in relation to the game and not the anime (while the theory is not mine, all the evidence I mentioned above and all the theories within it are my own). I won’t repeat any evidence that I’ve already mentioned for the show (such as lack of male characters, the population being mostly children and old people, ETC), however there are some points to be made in similar areas.

The Population

The population issues mention previously exist even more so in the game world. The player finds that as they enter cities with gigantic stores, houses, casinos, ETC there are almost no people. You find that other than casinos which seem to provide entertainment to the elderly part of the population, there isn’t much else to do other than gyms. You never see any cinemas, football pitches, parks, or anything that would be seen within a normal society. This is because the children can’t get distracted from their training, the adults can’t be distracted from their caring and as such the elderly and the useless are the only groups allowed to take life less seriously.

Lieutenant Surge

This character deserves a section all to himself and while he does appear on the show, it’s not so much who he is but rather what he says in the game that matters. In the show, Lt. Surge looks pretty much the same as the game describes him: tall (gigantic even), muscular, short and spikey blonde hair, he wears military clothing (jacket, trousers and boots) and even has dog tags. In the game, when approached by the player Surge says: “Hey kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you what kid, electric Pokemon saved me during the war!”

e099810c616e20df864f913b2c983773fd447459_hq

Final Notes

So we can see that there is certainly some supporting evidence of this theory…although this is all entirely confirmation bias and obviously it isn’t likely that the creators had this Pokemon war in mind when creating the game and anime. It’s certainly fun to think about though and as I continue to play the game (again) and watch the anime (again), I will continue to add any evidence I find to this post.

If you have any comments or opinions, be sure and share them below! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with various blogs and announcements!

Happy Feet: The Cheerful Commentary on Religious Indoctrination

You may be a little surprised to see the words ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Religious Indoctrination’ in the same sentence. What may ultimately seem like a warm-hearted tale of a handicapped penguin’s quest to discover the interruption in his colony’s food chain is actually a layered tale of environmental damage and religious indoctrination (and the challenges one faces in trying to escape it). In today’s post we will be exploring that connection and cracking the case wide open for all to see.

Basic Summary

For those of you who haven’t seen Happy Feet, you’re missing out on a rather entertaining film. This post is unlikely to make much sense to you otherwise but allow me to quickly summarise it for you, just in case. Happy Feet follows Mumble, a slightly handicapped penguin who lacks the ability to sing (an essential part of the mating process) but can instead tap his feet in a rhythmical manner (although not always on purpose). This is due to his father, Memphis, dropping the egg during one of the coldest winters. Being continuously alienated by his colony, Mumble eventually stumbles across a different penguin colony where singing is seen as a hobby rather than an essential part of life. Here, they collect pebbles in an attempt to woe the females.

Mumble and his “amigos” are eventually banished from his colony due to his “dangerous ideas” and so set out on a quest to find the fish (the lack of which has been blamed on Mumble and his feet). Eventually Mumble finds a giant ship that is collecting all of the fish and taking it away and so he follows it until he eventually passes out and lands on a beach. From here, Mumble ends up in a zoo, does a dance, humans put a tracker on him and send him back to his colony and eventually everyone lives happily ever after….typical children’s film, right? Wrong!

Religion

The religious element of the film was nothing new to me and I’d always intended to write a post about it…but as time went on it became less and less of a concern and I figured that it wasn’t worth the effort. That is until a couple of days ago when I re-watched Happy Feet and noticed a bizarre aspect that had eluded me in the past. The word “penguin” can be perfectly switched out for any religion (I chose Christianity).

One thing you have to keep in mind is that the colony worships the mighty “Quin” (I’m not sure how you spell it exactly as it’s taken from the end of the word “penguin”). So there is already a very open religious element to the film but it’s the underlying element that I find so interesting. Let me give you some examples that I noted down. These were all the times after the first few instances where the word penguin was used and could be perfectly swapped for “Christian”.

“…it’s not Penguin”

“…hardly a Penguin at all”

“…it just ain’t Penguin”

“…he’s a regular (something, I missed the word) Penguin”

“…ancient Penguin wisdom”

“…brave Penguin nation”

Tell me that none of these have a solid meaning when the word Christian is switched in. There is a reason I chose Christianity as well which I’m going to explain in more detail later on but I’ll share one very specific quote that I believe highlights the reason. During a scene where Mumble is tap dancing and others are joining in, one of the elders says this to him: “that kind of pagan display” and then goes on to blame him for the food shortage. Of course one famous religion has been known to deal with Paganism in such a manner…

Memphis Drops the Ball…or the Egg

In order to delve deeper into this bizarre underlying commentary we have to examine key moments in the story. We’ll start with Mumble’s father, Memphis. During the winter when the females head off to collect food, it is the responsibility of the males to shelter the eggs and also each other. They create a sort of wall and take it in turns to face the cold. During this time, the elders lead chants to the great Quin/Win (I think Quin but I couldn’t find a solid source) which all the penguins are supposed to follow. They even show a giant penguin in the sky who is almost being formed by all the chanting penguins.

Unfortunately, Memphis is too distracted by his own singing (specifically the love song between him and his partner) and almost as a sign of his lack of faith and commitment to the great Quin, he drops the egg. Doing so for even a few seconds is enough to literally freeze it and kill the offspring inside. Memphis sees the resulting tappity feet of Mumble as being a curse or punishment for his distracted mind and lack of Quin-worship. Something that is evident throughout the film.

“Aliens”

Mumble was always a curious little fella and during his early years he finds himself victim to some hungry birds looking for roaming penguins to snack on. One of these birds has an identification bracelet (if that’s even what they are called) around his ankle which he goes on to explain was put there by aliens after being abducted. This highlights two key issues within this films:

1) Mumble now has more information on the outside world than any other Penguin within his colony, all of whom conform without question and aren’t curious about life beyond their grounds and 2) Lack of information on a subject leads to ridiculous conclusions. It highlights a very noticeable train of thought within religion where if something can’t be explained in terms we already know then it must be something completely “out there”. This can easily relate to the idea of filling all gaps in knowledge with God.

The Elders

Within Mumble’s colony there is a small group of elders who are part of some sort of council. They are responsible for guiding the beliefs and opinion of all the conforming penguins. They are essentially the Vatican to the colony’s Catholic Church with the leader being the Pope…who for some strange reason is Scottish. There is an Italian member as well though. This group denies the existence of any aliens because it goes against the narrative they’ve been pushing.

They are also the ones who label Mumble’s dancing as “that kind of pagan display” and it is they who alienate Mumble by forcing his own parents to talk him out of his mind set. While Mumble’s mother stands her ground and defends Mumble, his father who is still guilt-ridden from dropping Mumble feels he has no choice but to support the council. When Mumble refuses to conform and support the Elder’s point of view, he is banished from the colony. This is where Mumble’s journey to find the fish begins.

Connecting Theme

One thing is evident between all belief groups within the film. Whether it be Mumble’s colony and the mighty Quin, the amigos and Lovelace, the predatory birds or the elephant seals, they all view humans as being alien. Each has a unique view of “God” but all view the one thing they have evidence of but can’t explain as being alien. I think this is an interesting parallel to the religions of the world. They may all have one theme running through them e.g. God. Yet all have different opinions on themselves and their interactions with their God. This is just a minor point but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Heaven

Upon chasing a fishing vessel, Mumble ultimately washes up on a beach and is thrown into a zoo. Here he meets seemingly braindead penguin who refers to him as Dave. “Try the fish, Dave”. This is Penguin Heaven. To the penguins it is heaven because they are rewarded with all the fish they can eat (something that was running out at home) in exchange for doing nothing and having zero responsibilities or goals. Almost like some higher power granting them wishes. When speaking to one penguin in particular, Mumble asks him if its anywhere near Emperorland to which he responds that it’s “anywhere you want it to be”.

Of course the reason that it is named Penguin Heaven is due to it being based on an exhibit in Sea World, Orlando, Florida but I think it also has a deeper meaning. Heaven is often  seen as exactly like Penguin Heaven: you’re free to enjoy yourself, you don’t have to worry about responsibility, you can be happy and get all the food you want, but I think it raises a darker issue. What if you get to heaven but none of your family do? What if you’re up there enjoying all the bounties that heaven has to offer while your family starve? Is that heaven? We see Mumble attempt to throw fish to his hallucinated family (who also refer to him as Dave). Not to mention the other key issue: boredom. Without any purpose, without the freedom to explore, the risk of death, the challenges that normal life throws at you, you become a zombie and end up braindead like the only penguin Mumble communicates with.

Final Scenes

The film ends with mumble being returned to Emperorland where he is greeted by Gloria but told to leave by the Elders. Mumble explains his story and tells them about the aliens which the Elders outright deny. Mumble’s experience is irrelevant to them because they have a narrative that needs to be maintained and despite the fact that it is in reality a far more realistic explanation for the famine than one penguin’s tapping feet, the Elders stand their ground.

Upon revealing that he has alien technology attached to his back, the Elders then label him a traitor for leading the aliens to Emperorland. This of course raises questions as moments ago they were denying the existence of such beings altogether. We then see a battle of sorts between the old ways and the new: the archaic chants and singing of the elders and their supporters vs Mumble and his tapping feet. Eventually the aliens arrive and out of fear of death (or something similar) the elders eventually follow Mumble and support this new approach.

I think this in itself also highlights an aspect of religion: fear of death is not only the cause of most religions (in one form or another, I’m not saying people are religious because they fear death) as is fear of the unknown. Put into a situation where all the evidence is piled against them, religions will stand their ground until such a time that their destruction seems imminent, at which point they will follow the masses. Think about all major theories that have come into existence throughout human history: the order of the solar system, gravity, evolution, the big bang theory, ETC. The more that science explains, the more that religions adapt their beliefs to fit around the evidence. Very few people view the bible as being 100% literal and that is because more and more of it makes less and less sense in relation to history and science…but also morality.

Even the Pope’s throughout history have had drastically differing points of view: from supporting fascism, to hating gays, to saying evolution was God’s work. We end up with thousands upon thousands of different interpretations of the Bible (through Christianity’s denominations, of which there are 40,000 or so).

 

Anyway guys, that’s my say on the film Happy Feet. I hope that you enjoyed it and as always, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Peace!

What Should (but won’t) Happen in Avengers 3 & 4!

Today’s post will look at my hopes and dreams for Infinity War and Avengers 4. I strongly doubt that any of these things will take place within the two films but as far as I believe, this is the direction they should take with the respective characters. Prepare to delve into hopes of a hero killer as I share my views on how Thor, Loki, Tony Stark, Steve Rodgers…and so many others could and should meet their demise in this end of an era!

 

Thor

Thor: God of Thunder. A fun character who has always added a large aspect of comic relief to otherwise tense situations. Long story short: he should die. Why? Well, in completing his trilogy I believe he has also completed his character arc. When we are first introduced to Thor, he is about to become king and wants nothing more than to do battle by his father’s side as he rules over the 9 realms (interestingly if he had been born before his sister, he would have filled her shoes nicely). We then follow Thor through The Dark World as he learns that he wishes to pursue his own life rather than becoming king of Asgard.

When we reach the end of Ragnarok, Thor’s evolution is complete: he’s finally taken his father’s place as king of Asgard having come to the conclusion that Asgard is the people, not a place. He’s lost an eye, he’s lost his hammer, he’s lost all his Asgardian friends, and he’s lost his father, his recently discovered sister and the place he once called home.

Considering they are on their way to Earth at the end of Ragnarok, it’s safe to assume that the Asgardians will fight against Thanos. This is why I think Thor should die. Considering most, if not all of the Asgardians will die and if we assume that Heimdall is in fact one of the Infinity Stones to be collected by Thanos then who do we have left? Thor and Loki? It’s true that they could adopt Earth as their new home but I feel that this would be an excellent opportunity to close the chapter on all things Asgard.

 

Loki

Speaking of the God of mischief, I should mention that Loki is one of my favourite characters. I always hoped that he would one day switch sides and fight on the side of good. Unfortunately, I also belief this is why he should die. It’s not necessarily something I want to happen but it is something that needs to.

Loki’s arc of redemption has run fairly parallel to that of his brother Thor. In the first Thor film, both characters are trying to find their place in their father’s life and on Asgard. In Avengers, they head in different directions and are seen as the good and evil versions of each other. Thor: The Dark World shows them come together once again only for Loki to pull his usually mischievous tricks but not to hurt his brother but rather to claim the throne he always desired. In Ragnarok (although I think it was handled poorly) he steps back into the side of the light, even if only in support of his brother and having exhausted all other options.

The way Loki should die is therefore quite simple. Having him die to save the Avengers or Earth or to stop Thanos is a ridiculous notion. I mean it could be viewed that he is trying to save himself but I feel that would remove all the character development we’ve seen in the last few films. To me, the only end that makes sense is one of two options: Either Thor dies at the hands of Thanos and in a wave of emotion Loki sacrifices himself to avenge his brother OR Loki dies to save Thor, showing that his love for his brother is the only motivator he haves left. We had this notion teased to us in The Dark World only for it to reveal itself to be one of Loki’s tricks.

Loki has always put his own survival first and by sacrificing himself to either save or avenge his brother; I think it would show how his character has changed.

 

Iron-Man

Again, this is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons but if Iron-Man is going to duck out then this is the only acceptable time. I’m worried that they’ll have Tony retire or something, perhaps from injury, perhaps from old age, perhaps from grief…whatever the reason, I won’t accept it. Tony has never let anything stop him this far: both in terms of villains and his own personal problems.

I mean think about it, Tony has beaten groups of terrorists, created a suit that is unmatched and continues to improve, defeated copies of his suit not once, but twice (in fact many, many times if you count each individual suit), he’s defeated “Gods” and aliens and biohazardous, glowing, regenerative drug addicts, the most advanced AI which was born from alien technology, his own team (for the most part) and if he doesn’t die then he will also have defeated a God with Infinity Stones that literally control the cosmos and are completely unmatched in terms of power…and yet he will give it up? I don’t think so.

As Tony is now playing a “father figure” role of sorts within the life of Peter Parker, I don’t think Marvel are going to let him go yet. I’ve heard rumours that Robert Downey Jr has added films onto his contract so even though he was supposed to leave a while ago, I think he’s going to carry on longer than anyone thought. He could even end up being the mentor of all the new Avengers. Who knows.

I will say this, if Tony doesn’t die against Thanos then the only other respectable way for him to die is introducing a new villain, perhaps someone who was once hero and now turned villain. This would be the best way to truly pack a punch and shake the foundations of the MCU. We know Thanos is powerful and will kill at least some Avengers but after he is gone, Tony’s death could be an incredible motivator for a character such as Spiderman.

 

Hawkeye

As much as I wish that he would die, I don’t think he will. After introducing his family, his kids, his farmhouse and showing his willingness to sacrifice his own life to save a child’s…no. Something may happen to Hawkeye, in fact I’m fairly certain it will but he won’t die. Perhaps the universe will be altered and he’ll never have been an Avenger and instead will have lived with his family the entire time in peace and harmony on a farm somewhere. He should have died in Age of Ultron instead of Quicksilver…

Speaking of, this would be a perfect opportunity to fix that mistake, just saying. With Thanos and ultimately and inevitably the Avengers having the ability to manipulate time through the control of the universe that the gauntlet offers, and with the suggestive shots from set that hint towards time travel, actions being altered, the butterfly effect taking hold would be an interesting direction to take.

 

Timeline Alteration: Swap Hawkeye for Quicksilver

What would have been different if Quicksilver had lived and Hawkeye had died? Well his family would grow up without a husband/father but they are pretty well taken care of, at least on a financial level. Hawkeye retired after Age of Ultron whereas Quicksilver would have stayed with his sister and joined the Avengers, meaning that the mission in Lagos which essentially triggered Civil War would have gone differently. The men wouldn’t have escaped with the vials, meaning Cap wouldn’t have been near civilians, meaning even if Crossbones had pulled the same trick and Scarlett Witch had contained the blast, nobody would have died other than members of Hydra.

Countries wouldn’t have called for the Accords meaning that Zemo’s plan would never have taken hold. There wouldn’t have been the UN meeting meaning that there wouldn’t have been a chance to frame Bucky. Sure, he would have stayed in hiding for now but Black Panther’s father would have stayed alive meaning the events of the Black Panther film would have been non-existent or at least different. There wouldn’t have been a divide of the Avengers, Rhodes would never have been injured, Spider-Man wouldn’t have been discovered or at least not called into action and wouldn’t have his suit which would have changed the entirety of his film. This could lead to Shocker being alive still, potentially The Vulture would also still be active and would be staying under the radar having never been caught or had to rob Tony Stark’s plane.

You can begin to see the potential ripples that changing one life for another could have within the MCU. Now, obviously by looking at the title of this post you can see that I don’t believe that will happen…but it should. There is certainly scope for bringing back Quicksilver (somehow with a different accent, ideally) which is a possibility. Sadly, I don’t think it will be in exchange for Hawkeye’s life…although I will keep my fingers crossed until the bitter end.

 

Captain America/Steve Rodgers

Steve Rodgers has been tittering on the edge of death ever since Winter Soldier. Granted, Civil War would and could have been the end of his tale but I’m relieved that that wasn’t the case. Captain America is probably my favourite character within the MCU, certainly my favourite hero. His journey from brave and obedient soldier, to outlawed rebel, all the way through to criminal prison breaker is one that I’ve followed with great interest and found highly entertaining. His arc has truly been an incredible story to follow. His beard in Infinity War also looks awesome!

Sadly, we can all feel that his time is coming to an end. Not that I’ve read the comics but I’m all too aware that in some of them Bucky takes over the mantle of Captain America. It seems that his story has also been heading in a certain direction and personally, I don’t feel that Bucky will be dying any time soon. We’ve seen the Winter Soldier follow an opposing storyline to that of Cap and yet it seems that just as their stories started together, they will end together…in the sense that Steve will die and Bucky will take his place and move from the Winter Soldier to Captain America…Captain Winter? It would be the only way to truly allow Bucky to repent for the sins he committed while being brainwashed by Hydra. Others may forgive him but he will never forgive himself…unless he is deemed worthy enough to follow in the footsteps of the most noble man he knows.

We’ve seen many nods to this throughout previous films but I think that by while Civil War was a Captain America film and did feature most of the Avengers, it was more of Bucky’s story than anyone else. It was the story of how he remembers every single person he killed while having no control of his body, it shows the conditions he lived in and it shows how he doesn’t value his own life if it puts others’ at risk. So I think the only logical outcome is Steve Rodgers to die and for his best friend to stand in his place as the new Captain America.

 

Hulk

This is a though one. On the one hand, I don’t feel like Bruce Banner and the Hulk have had their story told within the MCU. So based on that, if they kill him that would seriously be a big mistake…and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (pun!) The truth is that there is no reason why Hulk would die. I don’t read enough into Hollywood news and updates to know all of the future films being released by Marvel but I feel that the Hulk still has a place. That being said…if you were going to kill him off, Thanos would be the best time to do it. No other villain is going to match Thanos for a long, long time (at least that’s what these 10 years of films have been building to). So unless they fuck it up so badly that Thanos comes across as a pussy then Hulk either has to die here or he needs to survive far into the future to fall at the hands of whichever villain next appears as the biggest threat.

The issue is that I don’t think the Hulk needs a standalone film. I know fans are screaming out for a planet Hulk film but personally, I think that idea sounds incredibly dull! I certainly wouldn’t be rushing to see it. Since Hulk has already pulled the escape routine after Age of Ultron, we realistically have to rule that out as well. So death is the best option we have.

 

The Rest

Vision may die temporarily but I don’t think they’ll scratch the character off entirely. We know that Thanos will get all the stones and we know that Vision has the soul gem so at some stage Thanos is going to take it. Maybe it doesn’t kill Vision but simply removes his power or maybe he gets brought back after being killed. Either way, I’d rather see Vision die. I don’t think he fits into the MCU as well as people thought he would because in comparison to other characters, he seems a bit overpowered. There’s no real reason that he couldn’t defeat most enemies yet he’s always in the background. I think removing him here is better than dragging out his character longer than necessary.

 

As for Scarlett Witch and Black Widow, I don’t think it hugely matters one way or the other. I’d be shocked if Scarlett Witch died as we seem to be seeing more and more of her power and I feel like there is a larger arc to explore there. I don’t think she needs her own film but certainly exploring her powers and character through Avenger films and perhaps other character films would be a wise move. That being said, if her story ends here I won’t shed a tear. I think they should kill Black Widow but I’m worried they won’t. Her character was fun and she’s badass and a great comic relief but what the fuck is she doing? As Clint says in the first Avengers film: she’s a spy, not a soldier. Her plot armour seems to save her from every threatening scenario. I mean it’s a superhero film and that’s the case with all of them but it’s most noticeable with her.

I feel bad that Marvel has such poor female characters. I mean Scarlett Witch is cool in terms of her powers but her character and story are boring. Black Widow is awesome as a character and has an interesting back story which could EASILY become an origin story which would be awesome (another thing that will never happen). It could be violent and unlike any Marvel film so far. They wouldn’t do it, of course, because Disney owns Marvel and Disney would never risk ruining their brand of family friendly fun.

Still, Black Widow feels out of place as these stories get more and more flimsy. I mean Peter Parker is a kid but he’s super smart and his spider powers. Scott Lane is an idiot (I mean he is book smart but just seems lacking in certain areas mentally) but he can shrink down and grow big at the flick of a switch. Thor is practically a God (and is according to some people). Even useless Hawkeye can take crazy bow and arrow shots from jets. Black Widow knows martial arts and somehow manages to win practically every fight she faces.

Just so nobody thinks I’m having a dig at the female characters entirely because they are female: Marvel does some incredible female characters, I just don’t think that these two are examples of them. I mean Sif, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, I’m sure the Wasp will be fantastic…I mean sure, Thor: Ragnarok let the side down on that front by continuing to give us incredibly boring female characters but that’s not to say that Marvel can’t do it. Anyway, back on topic…

 

End Times

I think Infinity War needs to end with Thanos winning. I mean I’m sure that is exactly how it will go down but it’s also what NEEDS to happen. If Thanos is weakened or defeated by the end of Infinity War then Marvel will have wasted 10+ years of storytelling. Again, I’m sure that’s exactly the plan but I’m just letting it be known that they will have seriously fucked everything up if it doesn’t go down that way. He doesn’t need to have won: Earth could still be spinning, the Avengers (at least most of them) could still be standing…but Thanos needs to have the high ground. He needs to have all the power, he needs to look like he could be about to destroy the Marvel universe forever with all the future films being red herrings to distract us from the best ending to a film series ever!

I’d actually be so satisfied if that was the ending. I mean it would suck closing off such an incredible universe but imagine the shock. Imagine the looks on everyone’s faces when The Avengers all die one by one and Thanos simply lifts his hand and destroys everything. The film would end with a message thanking all the fans and those involved with the films for the 10+ year of cinematic joy. Even if they ended it like that so it felt, deep down, like it was all over even when Avengers 4 would be out the year after. I could totally jump on board that idea.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading. I always appreciate any comments. I love discussing any ideas you may have so leave a message down below or follow me on Twitter!