Friday, October 18, 2019

Endgame Wisdom from Frigga

“Everyone fails at who they're supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” --Frigga (Avengers: Endgame)

Last week my wife had her baby shower (only 11 weeks to go now!) and so while she was out I had a few friends over and we watched “Endgame”. It was the first time I’d seen it since theaters, so in some ways it was like watching it brand new all over again. As such, this line from Frigga struck me.

In a world that praises “authenticity” we get so many messages about who we’re supposed to be. These can be as “superficial” as how we’re supposed to look or how we’re supposed to act, but it also extends to how we live the commandments. Too often the world of “authenticity” tells us we’re supposed to live on our impulses, breaking the commandments. The law of chastity and the word of wisdom are two that particular get put under scrutiny. To live as the natural man too often gets equated with living authentically.

However, that’s not who we are. Never mind that we are instructed to “[put] off the off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ” (Mosiah 3:19) but the natural man isn’t even who we are to begin with. Since the beginning, we are the children of God. Those of us who grew up in the church have sung about it basically since birth. It was also reiterated just a couple weeks ago in General Conference with the revised Young Women’s motto.

“I am a beloved [child] of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.”

As much as we “are” who we’re supposed to be in the world, we’ll never live up to our eternal potential if we stay that way. As Frigga said, the measure of ourselves is how we succeed at who we are, children of God. Of course we’ll stumble along the way. But that’s okay. There’s always a way back to Him and to reach our divine potential.

“God knows that you are not perfect, that you will fail at times. God loves you no less when you struggle than when you triumph.” -- Elder Uchtdorf (General Conference Oct 2019)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Artist Alley

(Guest Post by Jared)

I’ve been to FanX three times now and I’ve spent exponentially more money each time! This last time we finally splurged for a BIG celebrity photo and paid the price to meet Tom Holland for a photo. I always get a Funko POP or two signed by celebrities, maybe a photo to commemorate the moment. However, by far, the most money I spend at the convention is in Artists Alley.

I’d heard about it before ever attending the show, but honestly could not have expected it to be as huge and as awe striking as it was. The talent that these artists have is just incredible and to see it all in one place like a huge buffet is by far my favorite part of the weekend.

I’ve been a nerd my whole life, some of my earliest memories is watching Star Trek: the Next Generation at three, four and five years old. I love Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. I’m a Disney fanatic and go to Disneyland or Disneyworld once a year. I’m an avid comic book reader and have been obsessed with Marvel comics since the late 90s. Seeing all the art available at this show spanning these fandoms and so many more could easily be an entire day of your convention, and if you walk through too quickly or skip it altogether I would really say you’re missing the best part! Sure the celebrities are fun; the panel are usually hilarious but for me seeing so many local and talented artists is mind-blowing. Most do it is a side hustle, or just for fun and I’m so glad they’re willing to share their talents with all the rest of us nerds who can’t draw stick figures!

Here are a couple of my new favorites this past FanX, you can find on Instagram

I’d actually found this artist because I ran into a lady here at my local Michael’s who was framing a “Little Mermaid” print and I just loved the style! She gave me his name and I quickly found him on Instagram and Etsy. Previous to the convention he was running specials on his Etsy shop on some new prints, one specifically, an Elliot from Pete’s Dragon that is a childhood favorite for me. I purchased it for pickup at the convention and just loved seeing his art in person for the first time! So much Disney and all within a very personal style that I just loved, so I had to buy a couple more!

This artist was a very fun find for me too; his art is an amazing perfect mix of lifelike yet cartoony. I absolutely loved the Iron Man snapping his fingers. So much emotion in that scene in the movie and he was able to capture it in wonderfully in his art.

Tony is another artist I met at one of the previous conventions but he still remains one of my favorites! I’ve purchased several prints from him in the past and love to stalk his social media and his website to see what new things he’s working on. His art is so lifelike and beautiful; they almost look like photographs that have been put through a filter.

Another of my favorites from the past FanX was easily Hardy, I’m a sucker for any Marvel art obviously but when I saw a print of the original film Avengers AND it included Wanda and Vision I had to have it! I’m a huge Vision fan from the comics and I was really excited to see him and Wanda included in such a beautiful print.

Easily my new favorite find from the most recent FanX was Nostalgic Burns. Every piece of his art is unique and there are no reprints because he does them all by hand with a wood burning pen. There are a few wood burning artists at FanX, however this is easily the most talented and unique artist in the bunch! I was amazed at how beautiful and detailed his art could be just burning pieces of wood! Talent comes in many forms and this artist is a step above the rest for sure!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Revisiting S.H.I.E.L.D.

I'm a bad nerd. But this past month I've tried to repent of my bad nerdiness in several ways, some of which was driven by my first con, attending FanX a couple of weeks ago with some of my fellow bloggers.

With a busy work schedule that requires me to extrovert far more than I'd like to, I often come home from work and disconnect for a bit while I watch TV. Due to my love of the Office and Friends I've turned to watching those over and over again and before I knew it, I never made it past Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Episode 3 from a few years ago! I've snuck in some Star Trek Discovery over the past few years, but when I attended FanX I regretted my choice to consistently binge on the same stuff over and over again instead of keeping up with a show like S.H.I.E.L.D. and other shows like Flash, Gotham, and more that I really came to love.

I attended Ming-Na Wen's panel and was suddenly hearing questions and answers about stuff that I hadn't seen without as much as a #SpoilerAlert.

Hearing Ming-Na Wen speak and meeting her afterwards, as well as being around so many fellow nerds and geeks really sparked my interest in revisiting S.H.I.E.L.D. I started at the very beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed becoming familiar again with the stories and series.

What really sets Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. apart from other TV shows for me is the integration with the MCU and integration of minor characters from film into the series. Yes Coulson died in the Avengers, but given the Kree integration into multiple Marvel films, the idea of GH325 and T.A.H.I.T.I. isn't so far-fetched.

The character development and diversity of character as well is something that has been super fun to revisit. Seeing Ward throughout the first few episodes and knowing he was Hydra, watching Fitz and Simmons and so many of the initial character interactions was fascinating to watch. Currently almost done with Season 2. I can't wait to get caught back up, and then get caught ALL the way up to where we are currently.

Other Marvel TV series haven't seem to have done as well, so I hope that once Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ends, Marvel/Disney can continue to offer quality TV integrated into its film canon.

I'll definitely be ready for season 7. Not gonna let my next con take me by surprise :)

Image result for SHIELD logo

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Legends, Misfits, and (Small and Simple) Stranger Things

A few weeks ago I finished "Stranger Things" Season 3. Part way through the series, I got thinking about how odd the situation was. Not just because of the monster from the Upside-Down and Russian spies in rural Indiana, but because we're rooting for this small group of teenagers to beat all of it. I suppose it make sense though right? Don't we tend to root for the underdogs? The geeky best friend in a chick flick. The (alien) farm boy from Kansas. The skinny kid with asthma (and other things), who just wants to join the army. The outcast. The nobody. The misfit. The small and simple things.

To whatever extent, we relate to these characters. Despite appearances, everyone has insecurities, so we relate to the oddballs. We can't relate to the characters of perceived perfection. They're just too perfect. That's one of the reasons that "Legends of Tomorrow" is possibly my favorite of the Arrowverse TV shows. These are literally B-Team characters from the other shows joining together to be a superhero team. Rip Hunter even told them in Season 1 that taking them from the timeline would make little to no impact. Over the years, that dynamic has changed and characters have come and gone from the Waverider, but the point is still the same. These are lovable misfits. That's why the show is so endearing to me.

And why shouldn't it? Everybody has their day when they feel out of place or like a nobody. Those moments when you're humbled. I think that might be on purpose. To bring in gospel principles, humility is a trait that God desires us to have (see Mosiah 3:19). It's a defining characteristic of charity, the pure love of Christ (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). And furthermore God has a history of using those misfits or nobodies to change in the world! Look at King David the shepherd, Joseph Smith the farm boy, and even His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, the carpenter's son.

Alma taught his son that by "small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6). The Lord told Joseph Smith that "the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones" (D&C 1:19). So maybe it's not so bad to be nobody. It's okay to be a misfit.

Spoiler alert: those ridiculous teenage boys in Hawkins, Indiana did make a difference. And I'm sure they'll win during Season 4 well. Until then, I'm okay being a misfit. It's part of what makes a Legend.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Westerns, a Heist and More… 13 Obscure but Amazing Star Trek Episodes

(Guest Post by Jared)

Star Trek is one of the largest franchises in history, spinning off multiple movies and six – soon to be eight - television show. While it's best known for being futuristic political science fiction, through the years it has explored dozens of genres. We've had plenty of comedies, romantic comedies, even an episode where the Captain and crew rip off a casino! As a lifelong Trekkie here are some of the most obscure Star Trek episodes you've probably never seen!


1. 'Qpid' (The Next Generation, 1991)

When Captain Picard is reunited with an old flame, Vash, the antihero Q sends the entire crew into a Robin Hood fantasy where they take up the roles of the heroes. Picard becomes Robin Hood and learns he has until the next day to rescue Maid Marian (Vash) or she'll be killed. We get to see the futuristic crew fight with swords and bows instead of phasers and it's exactly as hokey and fun as it sounds!

2. 'Trouble With Tribbles' (The Original Series, 1967)


3. 'Trials And Tribble-ations' (Deep Space Nine, 1996)

One of the most iconic episodes from The Original Series was "The Trouble With Tribbles" a comedy about some pesky alien critters. Later the crew of Deep Space Nine were sent back in time to the events of this episode with Kirk, Spock and the original Enterprise. It's fun because they use green screen to put the new crew into scenes from the original episode. Both episodes have become iconic, and are incredibly fun to watch back-to-back.

4. 'Message in A Bottle' (Voyager, 1998)

Voyager is unique because on their first mission an alien kidnapped them and then died before he could return them home, and as a result the entire show is about the crew exploring new places and cultures as they begin their 75-year journey back to Earth. In the fourth season Voyager finally was able to make long distance contact with home, letting them know they were alive. Andy Dick guest stars as EMH-2 and his scenes and interaction with the Voyager EMH are some of the funniest in all of Trek.

5. 'Little Green Men' (Deep Space Nine, 1995)

The Ferengi characters were perfectly used as comedic breaks during the high war and religious drama that made Deep Space Nine great. In this episode Quark, his brother Rom, and nephew Nog accidentally travel back in time to 1947 Roswell and become the little green men that have been immortalized by conspiracy theorists around the world. Maybe instead of raiding Area 51 in September watch this episode to learn what Area 51 is all about!

6. 'Take Me Out To The Holosuite' (Deep Space Nine, 1998)

Captain Sisko was a lifelong fan of baseball, and throughout the series we occasionally saw references to his love of the game. In 'Take Me Out to the Holosuite,' he is challenged by a rival from his youth to a game of baseball, one Captain’s crew against the other. Sisko and his son teach their shipmates how to play, but they stand no match to the physically superior Vulcan crew. Watching these aliens and humans attempt to play baseball is one of the most funny and oddest things to ever happen in Star Trek.


7.  'A Fistful Of Datas' (The Next Generation, 1992)

Holodecks often play a pivotal role on Trek, and in this episode Troi, Worf, and his son Alexander become trapped in an Old Western story because of some experiments Data is running in another part of the ship. In order to escape alive they must play out the Western. Fun fact: this episode was actually directed by Patrick Stewart!

8. 'North Star' (Enterprise, 2003)

Star Trek Enterprise was a prequel series that took place before the stories of Captain Kirk and his Enterprise; it took fans to the beginning of Starfleet and the Federation. In this episode Archer and his crew come across a human colony living far from Earth, still living out the Old West ways. These humans had been taken from Earth and brought to this planet as slaves hundreds of years earlier, but their ancestors had fought back and destroyed the alien oppressors

Casino Heist

9. 'Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang' (Deep Space Nine, 1999)

Another obscure holodeck episode involves Captain Sisko and his crew robbing a Vegas casino! This time there's no malfunction, but when the crew is visiting their favorite program (a recreation of 1950s Las Vegas) for some relaxation their favorite hangout is bought by gangsters and the entire vibe changes. They decide the best way to get rid of the gangsters is to steal from them before any money can be given to their investors and then leave the holographic gangsters to the mob.

War Dramas

10. 'The Killing Game: Parts 1 & 2' (Voyager, 1998)

You guessed it....another holodeck episode, although this time there's no malfunction. The ship has been taken over by aliens, and they've erased the crew's memory and forced them to run out holodeck programs so they can practice their "hunting" by chasing and murdering the crew in a WWII story where they play out the parts of the French Resistance and their American allies. This episode has a ton of action, some decent comedy, but best of all it has Klingons fighting Nazis.

11. 'Storm Front: Parts 1 & 2' (Enterprise, 2004)

An ongoing arc through Enterprise was the temporal cold war where aliens from the far future were manipulating the time stream and changing the past to suit their needs. At the end of the arc the Enterprise crew is thrown back in time to World War II, but find a very different world than what their history remembers. In a The Man In The High Castle-like twist, it's one where the Nazis are winning, have invaded New York, and all with alien technology!

12. ‘Memorial’ Voyager (2000)

The crew randomly starts to have memories resurface of a dark planet and an intense personal war.  As they begin to investigate how someone could have recruited them for a secret war and then wiped all their memories of it they find something even more surprising. This is a great episode that shows how dark war is for both sides and deep those wounds can go.

13. ‘The Seige of AR-558’ Deep Space Nine (1998)

Deep Space Nine already has the reputation for being the darkest of the franchise and there are so many episodes that feature the dark parts of the Federation’s war with the Dominion, but this episode is one of the very best because of Aron Eisenberg’s performance as Nog. Eisenberg has stated that because of Nog’s leg amputation storyline he has become a fan favorite among veterans at Trek Conventions.

Friday, August 9, 2019

6 Confirmed for "Crisis on Infinite Earths" (and 3 Rumored)

We've been having some fun with superhero crossovers lately. Avengers have been teaming up on and off since 2012, culminating in "Endgame" this year and the Arrowverse has been doing an annual crossover since 2014 (in addition to many mini-crossovers in between). Now the Arrowverse has its own sort of "Endgame" happening for their 2019 crossover. It's going to last for 5 episodes over 5 different shows and 2 months. It's supposed to be bigger than any crossover they've done before. We had all thought it was going to be just the five main super hero teams, but after SDCC, we learned it was going to be bigger than that. So here's where we're at currently.

CONFIRMED: Clark Kent/Superman (from "Supergirl")
Last we saw of Superman, he was heading off-world to Argo City to enjoy some Kryptonian culture and to save his fiancee Lois Lane from being kicked by a superpowered fetus. However, by the time "Crisis on Infinite Earths" happens, the baby should be born (assuming human/Kryptonian babies gestate 9 months like human babies). So it's a bit up in the air what he'll be doing when December/January comes around.

RUMORED: Joker (played by Mark Hamill)
Mark Hamill has been voicing the Joker in animated series and video games for years now. A rumor sprouted out recently that he will be coming to the Arrowverse for the crossover as the Joker. He previously played James Jesse on "The Flash". So either we'd have a Jesse James lookalike from Earth-1 or the Joker could be his multiverse doppelganger.

CONFIRMED: Lex Luthor (from "Supergirl")
Last we saw from the villainous Lex Luthor was his death, at the hands of his sister Lena. The Monitor visited his body afterwards. It's unknown what happened at that point, but since he's set to appear in the crossover, I think it's a fair guess that the Monitor has brought him back to life in some form.

CONFIRMED: Clark Kent/Superman (played by Brandon Routh)
Brandon Routh (who currently plays Ray Palmer/The Atom in the Arrowverse) will be playing a version of Superman during the crossover. He last played Superman during "Superman Returns". It's been alluded to before Ray said that Kara looked like his cousin (during the "Invasion!" crossover). It'll be interesting to see if this is the same Superman from "Superman Returns" or if it's a new Superman altogether.

RUMORED: Dick Grayson/Robin (from 1960s "Batman")
Burt Ward is confirmed to appear in the crossover, but his character is unconfirmed. He previously played Robin in the 1960s live-action "Batman" series, so it's rumored that he'll be reprising this character. If that's the case, 1960s Batman will be drafted into the Arrowverse. I guess we'll have to wait for more word on him.

CONFIRMED: Lois Lane (from "Supergirl")
Like her fiance Clark/Superman, Lois has been off-world since last year's crossover. Now she's coming back with a presumably superpowered baby. We don't know much yet about her involvement in the crisis (hopefully more than a cameo and a babysitter/mom role, but we'll see)

CONFIRMED: Jeffereson Pierce/Black Lightning (from "Black Lightning")
"Black Lightning" is coming into its third season. Up until now it's been kept separate from the Arrowverse. However, it looks like they're about to join. Their title hero will be joining the crossover, despite not having an episode of his own. We still don't know if "Black Lighting" exists on Earth-1 with "Arrow", "The Flash", "Legends of Tomorrow", and "Batwoman", if they're on Earth-38 with "Supergirl" or a separate Earth altogether. Maybe we'll get an answer here.

RUMORED: Clark Kent/Superman (from "Smallville")
As the CW's first DC show, "Smallville" has been rumored to be part of the Arrowverse for years now. Even though "Smallville" ended in 2011, there have been references to it sprinkled throughout the Arrowverse, particularly in "Supergirl" of course. During "Midvale" we had reference to Clark's friend Chloe (who was an original character for "Smallville") and her Wall of Weird. In addition, the "Smallville" theme played as Barry and Oliver fled to Earth-38 in "Elseworlds" (as well as the Kent Farm appearing as well) -- We even had Lois calling Clark "Smallville". If not Clark Kent, it's possible we could have a link to "Smallville" finally established in the Arrowverse.

CONFIRMED: Bruce Wayne/Batman (played by Kevin Conroy)
Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman in animated series for years. I remember watching "Batman Beyond" almost 20 years ago and apparently he's been doing it ever since too. Now we get our first chance of seeing him as live-action Batman. It's unclear if this is the Earth-1 Batman referrenced in "Elseworlds", the Earth-38 Batman that Clark was said to work with, or a brand new Batman. Also would that bring "Batman Beyond" or any of these animated series into the Arrowverse?

Who do you want to appear in the Arrowverse? Christian Bale? 1990s Lois & Clark? The Teen Titans? Either way, I"m really looking forward to this winter's crossover

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What We Know About the MCU Post-SDCC (TV Shows)

Last week I checked in with updates on the MCU news Post-San Diego Comic Con for the movies. We also got a chunk of news/release dates for some upcoming Disney+ MCU shows. With the release of Jessica Jones Season 3, the Marvel Netflix shows have officially ended, leaving us now with Disney+, Hulu, and (for one more year) ABC as our MCU TV Show distributors. So let's see where we're at.

Runaways Season 3 (December 13, 2019 on Hulu)
Last we saw the Runaways, they were all split up. So were the parents. Alex, Nico, Molly, and Leslie were last seen at the Hostel. Karolina, Chase, and Janet were captive by the Magistrate's family (currently possessing Victor, Stacey, and Tina). Gert is captive by her father Dale. We haven't really heard much about where we'll be taken during Season 3, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that we'll pick up right after Season 2. That means the whole of the series will take plenty of time before the Snap. The only thing we really know that's coming up is the introduction of Morgan le Fay, a sorceress from the Dark Realm. She's fought the Avengers in the comics, but it'll be interesting see how she approaches "Runaways".

Ghost Rider (2020 on Hulu)
We don't know much about "Ghost Rider" yet except that we have the same Robbie Reyes coming back to star in this Hulu series. It'll be interesting to see where they take this show. We last saw Robbie/Ghost Rider at the defeat of AIDA in 2017. So presumably at least 3 years will have passed. However, which timeline will he be in? Agents of SHIELD has deviated from the MCU Timeline, so will he be in that timeline or will this series be before/during/after the Snap? More details to come, I hope.

Helstrom (2020 on Hulu)
This series was announced around the same time as Ghost Rider. However, we don't know much yet. Daimon and Ana Helstrom will appear. They're the children of a mysteriosu serial killer. Their father in the comics was Satan, so it'll be interesting how they swing that in the live action. Being half-demon hybrids (according to the comics), I'm curious what'll happen. Like with "Ghost Rider" we'll have to see what happens with "Helstrom".

Agents of SHIELD Season 7 (Summer 2020 on ABC/Hulu)
Since Season 6 has yet to complete, it's unknown what's going to happen with Season 7. However, we know that they're done filming. Because of how they've filmed it, I've wondered if it's going to be more like two halves of a season, instead of two separate seasons. Presumably the main cast of Season 6 will all return. But with the last couple episodes still yet to aire, we could stil have some fatalities for all we know. I think at this point it's pretty safe to say that we won't have any MCU crossovers in the last season.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020 on Disney+)
This six-episode series will be the first of the Marvel series on Disney+. It seems like these series will play more into the movies than previous TV series have, so it'll be interesting to see how that happens. Currently we know that Sam/Falcon/New Cap and Bucky/Winter Soldier are returning as obvious series regulars. Helmut Zemo (last seen in custody in "Civil War") seems to be returning as the show's villain. We also have it confirmed that Sharon Carter will return (last seen in "Civil War"). Since this show is reportedly going to take place after "Endgame" we can expect to see Sam dealing with the Captain America mantle being transferred on to him and how that impacts him.

WandaVision (Spring 2021 on Disney+)
We don't know much of what's going on yet with "WandaVision". I've seen differing reports on whether it'll take place before or after "Infinity War". If current reports are correct and this takes place after "Endgame" we must be in for some sort of craziness. With Vision dead and Wanda resurrected in the Blip, who knows what'll happen. In the comics, Scarlet Witch used her powers to "create" children for her and Vision. So is that what she's going to do for Vision? Is she going to "resurrect" him using her powers? It could be an interesting take on the grieving process for Wanda. The only other thing we know is that Monica Rambeau, last seen as a child in "Captain Marvel" will appear. Since they've recasted her it would make sense that she'll appear primarily in the present day. Also, since Scarlet Witch is set to appear in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", this series (or at least season one) will act as a prequel of sorts to the movie.

Loki (Spring 2021 on Disney+)
Not much is known yet about the Loki series. In the main timeline, Loki is dead, as of 2018. However, this series will reportedly take place in an alternate timeline, after Loki stole the Tesseract during the Time Heist of "Endgame". This was the villainous version of Loki though, instead of the anti-hero from "Ragnarok" and "Infinity War". So that leaves me with a lot of questions about how the series will proceed.

What If...? (Summer 2021)
The "What If" comics are ones I'd never heard of before. Basically, as the name implies, it follows the idea of "what if" certain events had unfolded in the Marvel universe. As the other Disney+ series will tie into the movies, I'm curious how they'll make this one relevant. Will more time travel be involved? Or will it be a stand-alone series that doesn't make an impact on the others and is just for fun? Regardless, we have confirmation that many MCU characters (25 that were listed on the MCU wiki) will return. The ones I found most interesting were Thanos, Dum Dum Dugan, Jane Foster, and the Grandmaster.

Hawkeye (Fall 2021)
Last we saw Clint Barton/Hawkeye, he was back on the family ranch. Who knows where we'll head next with this show, but it's been reported that this series will take place after "Endgame". I heard rumors that it'll explore Clint's time during the Blip, acting as Ronin, but I guess we'll see. We do have reports of Kate Bishop being introduced. In the comics, she worked alongside Clint, both using the name Hawkeye. So we'll see.

Cloak & Dagger Season 3 (??? on Freeform/Hulu)
We haven't had confirmation that "Cloak & Dagger" will be back, but we also haven't heard word that it's been cancelled. Last we saw, Tandy/Dagger and Tyrone/Cloak were on a bus, presumably heading out of New Orleans. This could be our one continuation of the Netflix show, as we've seen Newspaper clippings of Luke Cage and Brigid alluded to previously working with Misty Knight in New York. But I guess this is another one that we'll just have to wait for more news.

I think I caught all the pending MCU shows. Which one are you looking foward to the most? I'm really curious how the Disney+ series will pan out. Will they make it supplemental to the movies or will they make me watch them to understand what's going on in the movies? That would bug me. But I guess I don't have to decide for another year anyway.

Friday, July 26, 2019

What We Know About the MCU Post-SDCC (Movies)

Last week at San Diego Comic Con we learned a lot of information about what will become Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including movies and TV shows. Here's what we know about the movies of Phase 4 so far (I'll cover shows another day).

Black Widow (May 1, 2020)
We've known for a while now that were getting a Black Widow solo film. After her death in "Endgame" it became obvious that it'd be a prequel. I had assumed it would take place in full before "Iron Man 2", but it's reported (I couldn't find a good source for it) that it'll take place between "Civil War" and "Infinity War". Perhaps this'll show us how she teamed up with Falcon and Cap? I'm skeptical of that because Chris Evans seems to be done with the movies, but you never know if a cameo could happen.

As far as potential plot, we've had teases of maybe getting backstory for Natasha. There was mention of Budapest and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of the Red Room (seen previously in "Agent Carter" and in Black Widow's "Age of Ultron" nightmare). The potential problem is that anything with her story would be past tense. We do know that the Taskmaster has been teased. I don't know much about the Taskmaster (just what I researched for this post), but he has the power of photographic reflexes, matching fighting patterns. So will he have a legit power in the movie or will he just be a hugely skill super spy?

Thoughts: I'm really skeptical of this movie for one reason. Urgency. We know Natasha won't die until 2023, so (even if the movie gets intense) we don't have to fear for Black Widow's life. So why should I care about this movie? Is the Taskmaster going to come back in a later movie/series? Or will one of Black Widow's friends become relevant later on? It kind of reminds me of the Nikki/Paulo episode of LOST. Just filler. I hope I'm proven wrong.

The Eternals (November 6, 2020)
We don't know much about the Eternals yet, especially the movie versions. The comics put them as a version of super-powered humans created by the Celestials. We've had a taste of the Celestials in "Guardians of the Galaxy" with Ego and Star-Lord (who's half-Celestial), but we don't know much about them yet. From the little I've read so far, it sounds almost like the Eternals are the Celestials' version of the Kree's inhumans. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens here.

Thoughts: Because I know so little about the Eternals, it's hard to give an opinion. Other than a series of character names (which mean nothing to me since I haven't read the comics). I don't feel like we've been sent into the dark like this since Guardians of the Galaxy introduced a talking raccoon.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)
I don't know much about Shang-Chi yet, but we've seen the Ten Rings around before. They were featured prominently in "Iron Man" when they kidnapped Tony Stark (the first MCU villain, if you think about it). They also had a small role in "Ant-Man" when one of their representatives tried to get the copy-cat Pym Particles. We've also heard that we'll see the real Mandarin. A version of the Mandarin appeared in "Iron Man 3" and it upset fans, but in one of their "Marvel One-Shots" it was revealed he was a fake and that the Ten Rings were upset about it.

As far as Shang-Chi himself, I don't know much. Based on the comics, he's a kung-fu master who has been a member of the Avengers at certain times. He's beaten super-powered enemies before even though he's not powered himself. I guess we'll have to see how that plays out on screen.

Thoughts: Like "The Eternals", I'm going in blind, but this time it's more like with "Doctor Strange". I wonder if there'll be an overlap in mythology with "Iron Fist", another MCU martial artist. It would be an interesting way to re-use Iron Fist, since his Netflix show wasn't popular.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
We had a sequel confirmed a while back for "Doctor Strange". It was hinted back then that Mordo would be coming back as a villain, stealing others' magic (per credit scene). In addition to Mordo, we have confirmation of Doctor Strange (duh), Wong, Dr. Christine Palmer, and (the surprise) Scarlet Witch. Especially since Phase 4 will overlap with TV series more, it'll be interesting to see how WandaVision plays into this movie.

Thoughts: I'm excited to see this one. I was very impressed by "Doctor Strange" and how he appeared in "Infinity War" and "Endgame". I know it wasn't the most popular MCU movie, but I really liked it. And especially since the movie will include even more crossover of MCU characters, I'm excited for it.

Thor: Love and Thunder
I was surprised to hear that a fourth Thor movie was coming out. With fat Thor off with the Guardians and Valkyrie back on Earth, it's unclear how this movie will play out. Will we see Star-Lord and Rocket again? Or will Thor have abandoned them before the movie begins. In addition to Thor and Valkyrie returning, we were surprised to have it revealed that Jane Foster is coming back and teased to replace Thor. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Last we'd heard, Jane and Thor had broken up and Mjolnir was destroyed. It was through Mjolnir that Jane got her Thor powers in the comics, so I wonder how it'll happen this time.

Thoughts: I'm skeptical of this, just because there have been three Thor movies already. I kind of feel like it's time to move on to something new. Then again, maybe having Natalie Portman take over as Thor will accomplish that. I'll definitely give it a chance, but we'll see what happens.

Anything I missed from San Diego Comic Con? Which movie are you looking forward to the most?