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7 Casting Decisions That Hurt Outlander (And 13 That Saved It)

Outlander is one of the biggest shows on television. The romantic story, the beautiful Scottish Highlands as the backdrop, with the 18th-century being the primary setting makes it one of the most breathtaking and intriguing shows on right now. There are all of the added action sequences and the passionate between the two protagonists that draws in both male and female viewers from all over the world.

But the truth of the matter is, the incredible popularity of the show would have never happened if they hadn’t made the right casting choices with the majority of their characters. Luckily for the team behind Outlander, they did a great job…for most of the characters. Sometimes, though, there were either mistakes made in casting or it was simply just too hard for the fans to picture certain actors in the roles of certain characters.

Either way, it has become abundantly clear that proper casting in any television show – especially one that was bound to become a cultural phenomenon – can make or break it. With that in mind, we have broken down the members of the Outlander cast who hurt the show more than helped it, as well as the ones who made it into the sensation it has become.

Here are the 7 Casting Decisions That Hurt Outlander (And 13 That Saved It).

20 Saved It: Duncan Lacroix As Murtagh

A true surprise was seeing the television adaptation of Murtagh’s character, mostly because in the books, he was not nearly as adored as his TV counterpart. Not to mention, that he met his fate at the Battle of Culloden, while our Murtagh onscreen lived through the infamous battle.

Lacroix’s performance gave much more depth and complexities to his character, making him a near immediate fan favorite. The evolution of his character thanks to the actor’s dedication to the role and true talent in bringing a whole new side to Murtagh is probably a big reason why he survived the battle on the show, which made fans everywhere rejoice.

19 Hurt It: Sophie Skelton As Bree

In the books, Brianna Randall, who is Jamie and Claire’s daughter, was described a bit differently than the actress who now plays Bree onscreen.

She is described as looking much like her father, with her red hair and sharp features, which to be fair, Skelton does have both of those descriptors. But she is not roughly six-feet tall, like was described in the book and is missing other features that were mentioned that fans immediately noticed.

Luckily, though fans of the series were reluctant to initially accept Sophie Skelton as Bree, she has won audiences over with her performance. It just took some time.

18 Saved It: Sam Heughan As Jamie Fraser

When Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander books, first heard they were considering Scottish actor, Sam Heughan, for the role of Jamie Fraser, she was unsure if he was the right fit. Mostly because he was nearly too pretty.

But once she saw his audition, she knew he was it and agreed with the producers. And boy, were they all right. He has become so much more than the Scottish hunk who loves Claire with everything he has. He gives each and every performance his all and makes you feel every emotion Jamie is pouring out through his very pores.

17 Hurt It: Alison Pargeter As Margaret

This likely has more to do with the character itself, rather than the actress, but watching Alison Pargeter’s performance as Margaret Campbell was in a word, upsetting.

Sure, that was partially the point. But seeing a woman with clearly dealing issues from her mental illness be treated so negatively by her own brother, as well as other “important” people, and used as a psychic of sorts was disheartening. It was a tough character to portray, and she obviously did a fine job with the material, but it was not one of the best portrayals of mental illness on a series.

16 Saved It: Lotte Verbeek As Geillis Duncan

Geillis Duncan was Claire’s friend – eventually turned foe – throughout the first three seasons of Outlander. She, too, was a time-traveler, Claire came to find out. And though Geillis had some issues, she was a friend to Claire for a time.

Lotte Verbeek was the actress to bring Geillis to life on the Starz series, and she did so effortlessly. Each of her creative choices for the character meshed well with who the character was to her core. Once Geillis went full-villain mode in season 3, Verbeek went full throttle and brought out every trick in the book. It was a stunning performance.

15 Saved It: Andrew Gower As Bonnie Prince Charlie

Prince Charles led the Jacobite Rebellion in 18th-century Scotland and inevitably failed in his mission to take the crown. Outlander needed to find the perfect actor to play the Bonnie Prince, and they found him in none other than Andrew Gower.

Gower showed off his acting chops as the Prince and emulated his privilege, wealth, and flamboyancy in every movement and every word. It was, quite honestly, a damn shame when his role was over by the beginning of season 3 because he was just so fun to watch. But much like the real Prince Charlie, the character’s time in Scotland was over, and it was time for everyone else to move on, too.

14 Hurt It: César Domboy As (Older) Fergus

Fergus was a beloved character from season 2 of Outlander. He, at the time, was the little boy Jamie and Claire took under their wing while living in France, and eventually brought back with them to Scotland.

Everyone loved young Fergus, so it stands to reason that it would be hard for a lot of fans to accept an older version of the character played by anyone else other than the original actor. That is what César Domboy was faced with when accepting the role, and it definitely took a while for fans to be on board with the older version of the character.

Now, though, fans seem to have warmed to him, since he still gives a great performance. But it definitely wasn’t overnight.

13 Saved It: Tobias Menzies As Frank Randall/Blackjack Randall

Tobias Menzies took on a tall order when he was cast as both Frank Randall and his ancestor, Blackjack Randall, in the hit Starz series.

Playing two vastly different roles on the same show had to have been a mind-warp for Menzies. But he was able to play both the innocent bystander of Frank Randall, Claire’s first husband, and the notoriously evil Blackjack Randall, Claire and Jamie’s sworn enemy with poise and unrivaled intensity.

The sheer talent it must take to take on either character is astonishing, and Menzies surely gave it his all with blood, sweat, and tears in every episode. Literally.

12 Hurt It: Ed Speleers As Stephen Bonnet

Ed Speleers had a lot going up against him when he took on the role of Stephen Bonnet. Bonnet is, of course, the pirate who terrorized both Jamie and Claire when he robbed them – after they had saved him for a terrible fate. But he also terrorized their daughter, Bree, when he assaulted her.

Everyone was bound to hate him just because his character was so vile, but the other problem was he was following a grand villainous performance by Tobias Menzies as Blackjack Randall. No matter how much everyone hated Randall, we couldn’t help but be enthralled whenever he was on our screens.

11 Saved It: Stephen Walters As Angus

Angus in the books is a far cry from the Angus we see on the show. For one, he is not nearly as large or covered in hair as described in the books. And he’s also not a gruff man who carries out brutal punishments in the Great Hall.

On the show, he is one of Dougal’s men who makes hilarious quips and likes to drink. When his role expanded on the series, many fans adored Walters’ interpretation of the character and he became a fan-favorite. Which is why when he met his end in season 2, it was truly heartbreaking.

10 Saved It: David Berry As Lord John Grey

Lord John Grey has been described as one of the “most complex and interesting characters” that Diana Gabaldon has created in her Outlander universe. So it must have been a daunting task trying to cast such an incredible character.

But when they cast David Berry as the closeted gay British soldier in the 18th-century – who also happens to be in love with Jamie – they found the perfect man to play this intriguing character.

Berry has made the character even more adored by the fanbase than he already was in the books, which is probably why there are many hoping he gets his own spinoff one day.

9 Hurt It: Lionel Lingelser As King Louis

When we first saw King Louis on Outlander, he was on a toilet, being watched by his people, as he struggled to use the facilities. It was a comical scene, to be sure, but left us with a strange view of the King of France.

The actor who portrayed him came across as a cartoonish version of the real-life monarch. That may have been the goal of the writers, but it was hard to ever take him seriously as a King. This point was driven home when he let Jamie free from prison once Claire was intimate with him. It was done so in, yet again, a comical way and only made us see King Louis as a caricature of a powerful King.

8 Saved It: Grant O’Rourke As Rupert

Rupert MacKenzie was another of Dougal’s loyal men who fought alongside him in everything. He also was best friends with Angus, played by Stephen Walters. O’Rourke took on the role of Rupert and played off of Walters’ Angus seamlessly.

The two made you feel their friendship was absolutely genuine. O’Rourke made Rupert such a lovable and funny character that when there were serious moments, you didn’t know what to expect. But he delivered those scenes just as perfectly. That’s why the moment he realizes Angus has passed goes down in Outlander history as one of the most tragic scenes to witness.

7 Saved It: Stanley Weber As The Comte St. Germain

While in France, Jamie and Claire had many dramatic situations they found themselves in. And also had quite a few enemies for only being there a short time. The first enemy they made, though, was the Comte St. Germain. Claire publicly states the Comte’s ship is infested with smallpox almost immediately upon getting to Paris after a chance encounter.

This makes him despise Claire and Jamie and he makes it his mission to make their lives hell. Played by French actor, Stanley Weber, he gives a sinister and haunting performance of the Comte St. Germain. That was why we didn’t know how to feel when Claire had him meet his end when he was accused of sorcery. We weren’t quite ready to let go of this enigmatic yet evil character.

6 Saved It: John Bell As Young Ian

John Bell is one of the more recent actors added to Outlander’s roster of talent. He plays Young Ian Murray, son of Jenny and Ian, and nephew of Jamie and Claire. Jamie takes him under his wing quite a bit and wants him to feel he has independence, much to Jenny’s dismay.

He eventually ends up following his Aunt and Uncle to North Carolina in season 4, where we see his character develop even further. John Bell plays Ian’s innocent nature mixed with his want for independence in such a wonderful and unique way. And when he recounted his attack from Geillis in season 3, it was so heartbreaking and emotional, that you saw the true talent exude from Bell at that moment.

5 Hurt It: Nell Hudson As Laoghaire

To be fair, no matter who the producers of Outlander cast as Laoghaire, the fans were bound to not like her. So it makes perfect sense that Nell Hudson was not well-received by the fanbase when she signed on to play Laoghaire, Jamie’s former flame and Claire’s nemesis.

Laoghaire is a thorn in the couples’ side throughout the series and does some pretty insane things in the name of what she thinks is love. Even though her character is so hated, it doesn’t mean that Hudson should receive the amount of hate – and even threats – that she does. But we can’t say we didn’t see that coming.

4 Hurt It: Will Strongheart as Tawodi

In season 4 of Outlander, there were many storylines revolving around the Native Americans whose land the Frasers were building their home on and how that affected not only them but how America became a country in the first place.

It was great to see them cast actual Native American actors in the roles, but one of their casting choices was ill-advised. Will Strongheart played an English-speaking Native American named Tawodi, but it turns out he had domestic charges against him in the past that he was convicted for. Fans were not too pleased to learn of this after the airing of his first episode.

3 Saved It: Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie

The moment Graham McTavish stepped into the role of Dougal MacKenzie, we knew we had the larger than life Scottish war chief before our very eyes. Sure, Dougal had plenty of flaws and ended up being more villainous than an ally to the Frasers, but he played the part perfectly.

His theatre background shined through in some of the more dramatic moments for Dougal, which made him so captivating to watch. That is precisely why watching the life drain from Dougal’s eyes in the season 2 finale was so bittersweet. Of course, we wouldn’t have wanted him to succeed in harming Claire and Jamie, but it was sad to see his character go for good.

2 Saved It: Richard Rankin As Roger Wakefield

Roger Wakefield is the adopted son of Reverend Wakefield, who Claire met during her time in Inverness on her honeymoon before she went back through the stones. Once grown up, he meets Claire, again, and her daughter, Brianna Fraser, who he ends up falling for.

Richard Rankin is the actor who brought this pivotal character to life in the Outlander series. His portrayal of Roger, with his boyish charm and love for Bree, endears him to all and instantly made him a fan-favorite. His fanbase is just as dedicated, if not more so, as Heughan’s, and it’s easy to see why.

1 Saved It: Caitriona Balfe As Claire

Understandably, Claire Randall/Fraser was the most important and difficult character to cast on Outlander. She is, after all, our lead and our heroine of the entire story. It was imperative that she be the absolute perfect embodiment of the time-traveling WWII nurse who falls for a Highlander in the 18th-century.

That is exactly what Caitriona Balfe turned out to be when she was cast a mere three weeks before filming began. Her ethereal beauty is only part of what makes her so perfect as Claire. Her charm, and depth, and emotional capabilities make her the undeniable match to Sam Heughan’s Jamie. Their chemistry is off the charts. But Balfe’s pure talent and dedication to the role is what makes her, in our eyes, the best Claire Fraser there ever could be.


2019-04-07 04:04:56

Alyssa Avina

Assassin’s Creed: 20 Things Only Experts Know How To Do In Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – the latest installment in Ubisoft’s wildly popular video game franchise – has finally landed on shelves. Set in Ancient Greece, Odyssey gives players the opportunity to assume the role of a mercenary from either Athens or Sparta, and to take part in a mythology-infused recreation of the Peloponnesian War.

The game features an even greater emphasis on the RPG elements first introduced in its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and boasts multiple endings that are triggered by the player’s actions. Odyssey also sees the return of the controversial Hitbox combat engine which debuted in Origins – albeit in a significantly enhanced form. Thanks to these and other challenging core mechanics – not to mention the daunting size of the game’s virtual environment – Odyssey should prove suitably tough for more casual gamers. But for seasoned veterans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise? Not so much.

Indeed, gamers who have followed the series since the very first entry way back in 2007 aren’t likely to struggle. On the contrary, we expect them to flourish, putting to good use the skills and knowledge they’ve gleaned from the past 11 games in the series – not to mention the six spin-off entries – to finish the main quest in record time.  This will leave them free to start focusing on tracking down Odyssey’s hidden Easter eggs, secret areas, and other bonus content clueless rookies don’t have a chance of tracking down unaided.

Here’s a list of 20 Things Only Experts Know How To Do In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

20 Find The Legend Of Zelda Easter Egg

Of all the many classic video game franchises, few are as unanimously beloved by both gamers and developers alike as The Legend of Zelda series. The team at Ubisoft clearly rank amongst this iconic Nintendo series’ admirers – as the easter egg they tucked away in Odyssey proves.

In a tip of the hat to the most recent Zelda instalment, Breath of the Wild, a Korok – a small humanoid figure made out of clay, flower petals and twigs – can be found on the Pandora’s Cove coastline. Although this hidden tribute is now the most well-known Easter egg in the game, experts had no trouble tracking it down on their own within mere days of Odyssey’s release!

19 Achieve The Secret Ending

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey marks a dramatic change in direction for the franchise – from purely action/adventure outings to something closer to an action/RPG hybrid. This is reflected in how important the player’s actions are to the game’s overall narrative, and in particular, how that narrative reaches its climax.

Indeed, what the player decides to do – or just as importantly, say – will determine how events unfold next, and ultimately determine which of the game’s multiple endings they achieve.

Most players should be able to reach at least one ending.

If you complete every side quest and make all of the right decisions to unlock the secret, ultra ending, ensuring the best possible finale for your mercenary.

18 Visit Atlantis

As soon as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Ancient Greece setting was announced, fans immediately began speculating over whether the fabled lost city of Atlantis would be part of its virtual environment. The good news is that Ubisoft hasn’t missed a trick, and Atlantis does indeed count among the many sunken locations scattered across the game’s humongous map. The bad news? It’s highly likely that only experts will be capable of uncovering the most eagerly anticipated (not to mention coolest) secret area in Odyssey.

The steps involved are extremely taxing, requiring players to traverse treacherous terrain, solve fiendish riddles posed by the Sphinx and dispatch a bevy of mythological horrors like Medusa, the Cyclops and the Minotaur!

17 Recruit Legendary NPCs Early

Over the course of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, players can enlist NPCs to serve as crew members aboard their ship, the Adrestia. Recruiting a high calibre crew is a great way to upgrade the Adrestia – so the trick is to bring legendary NPCs into the fold. Casual gamers will wait until they unlock these characters by completing quests, however experts are aware of a hidden mechanic that speeds up the whole process.

There’s a less publicized gameplay mechanic which enables you to recruit legendary NPCs by defeating them in combat using non-lethal takedowns.

Better yet, once your ship’s roster is made up entirely of legendary NPCs, you unlock the “Argonauts” trophy, too!

16 Regain The Cyclops Eye

One of the most frustrating moments in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey arrives early on, when you’re forced to give up the Cyclops’ Eye during Sequence 1. It’s not exactly the most classy of disposals, either: to put it bluntly, you squeeze it up the rear end of a poor, unsuspecting goat. If you’re scratching your head over this last revelation, then just trust us: it makes sense at the time!

Rookies will write off the Eye as a lost cause, but experts up to speed on the game’s secrets won’t give up so quickly. By engaging in an exhaustive goat-hunting expedition in Kephallonia, they’ll recover this valuable artifact, earning the dubious “Stink Eye” achievement, as well.

15 Change Their Ship’s Figurehead

Long-time fans of the series will recall that in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you could easily customize your ship’s decorative figurehead as part of the normal upgrade process. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that carries over to Odyssey – and only expert players are likely to work out the secret method of doing this.

For starters, you need to defeat a boss – not exactly a walk in the park itself, by the way – and then behead them.

Once this has been take care of, if you scroll through the inventory of ship upgrade options, you’ll see your new souvenir listed. Select it, and voila! The Adrestia will have itself a brand new (and rather creepy) figurehead!

14 Track Down All Of The Cultist Clues

The underlying mythology of the Assassin’s Creed franchise incorporates several shadowy organisations – and Odyssey is no exception. The latest entry in the series introduces the nefarious Cult of Kosmos, and players aiming to get the most out of game’s story need to track down and eliminate key members of the group. In order to do so, they’ll have to swap their mercenary’s helmet for their detective’s cap, as the cultists’ whereabouts are only revealed by clues sprinkled through Odyssey’s sprawling Ancient Greece setting.

Some of these hints can be uncovered with little effort, whereas others will prove elusive to all but the most seasoned of gamers!

On the plus side, all of this running around pays off, as only players who chase down every single cultist will get to experience the game’s whole story.

13 Unlock Evie Frye

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – the ninth video game in the main series – is headlined by twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Of the two siblings, Evie is arguably the more memorable – which is probably why she’s an unlockable character in Odyssey. Now, before you get too excited, bear in mind that Evie is a legendary NPC, so you won’t get to play as her directly.

Still, it’s incredibly cool to recruit her as a crew member on your ship, provided you’re an Ubisoft Club member with enough XP to afford her. See, unlocking Evie requires players to part with 7,500 XP in exchange for the “Master Assassin” badge, which only long-time fans of the franchise will have amassed!

12 Access Battle Royale Mode

Battle royale games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds are currently the hottest thing on the block. Making the most of modern online multiplayer capabilities, games in this genre pit a pack of players against each other in thrilling, last-man-standing contests.

Obviously, this stands in stark contrast to the single-player, open world experience offered by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – until experts stumble across the “Call to Arms” sidequest. Found by scouring the island of Melos, this mission – which requires skilled players to wipe out 99 consecutive enemies – represents a thinly-veiled attempt by Ubisoft to acknowledge (or should that be “cash in on”?) the popularity of the battle royale genre!

11 Find The Black Panther Easter Egg

Black Panther is currently the second highest grossing film of 2018, and with that success comes a considerable fanbase, too. At least some of the developers at Ubisoft fall within that category, if the Black Panther Easter egg included in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is anything to go by. As experts will have no doubt already discovered, the game contains a fairly faithful recreation of Black Panther’s two most notable scenes: the duels that occur at the base of a waterfall.

This is staged at the Gortyn Waterfall, where players can first spectate on the melee using Eagle Vision.

That’s not all, though: it’s also possible to clamber up the cliff where the fight is going down, and actually confront the pair of brawlers yourself!

10 Discover Sam Fisher’s Goggles

So far we’ve focused solely on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Ancient Greece setting – which disregards the fact that certain sections of the game are set in a present day safe house. Anyone unfamiliar with the franchise’s convoluted (some would say downright insane) science fiction elements, just trust us when we say that this does make sense.

Regardless of whether or not you buy into this more far-fetched aspect of the Assassin’s Creed mythology, there are multiple Easter eggs to dig up during these segments. Not all of these relate to the franchise either – just ask the experts who’ve unearthed the iconic, three-lensed night vision goggles worn by Sam Fisher, the protagonist of Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell games!

9 Stumble Across The Sword In The Stone

The team at Ubisoft has done a remarkable job of recreating an utterly convincing (albeit wildly fantastical) rendition of Ancient Greece in Odyssey. This awesome attention to detail is reflected in almost every aspect of the virtual environment, particularly the character and weapon design. We say “almost”, because at least one item experts will undoubtedly come across whilst roaming the game map definitely does not fit the time period depicted: the Sword in the Stone from Arthurian legend. Fortunately, this gag is an intentional mistake on the developer’s part.

Unfortunately, you can’t remove this legendary blade from its Lakonia resting place.

That’s a real shame: historical accuracy be damned – there’s always a place for Excalibur in our armory!

8 Locate The Rabbid Figure

Another easter egg squirrelled away in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s modern era safe house setting, the Rabbid figure is hard to spot if players blitz through these sequences. However, experts tend to favor a more methodical approach – even when confronted by the franchise’s moments of less than engaging gameplay.

These long-time campaigners will cast their eyes over every inch of the safe house, which means snooping around each room, no matter how empty it appears to be. This will eventually lead them to the shelves of a particularly untidy room. Here, they’ll spy the Rabbid toy – a cute shout-out to Ubisoft’s all-ages Rayman franchise, accompanied by a line of dialogue (“Bwaah?”) associated with these bunny-like characters.

7 Acquire The Epic Unicorn Skin

It doesn’t matter what mythology we’re talking about: unicorns are invariably treated as an incredibly rare species. Certainly, this carries over to the world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where players can indeed transform their horse into one of these awe-inspiring creatures – provided they can get their hands on a unicorn pelt.

They sport an eye-watering 6,400 Drachmae price tag!

Rookies who are feeling flush will plump for either the Black Unicorn or undeniably amazing (though sadly, non-flying) Pegasus skins, purchased with real-world cash from the Ubisoft Store. On the other hand, genuine experts prefer to earn their keep, and will trawl merchant stalls for the appropriately named, randomly-spawing Epic Unicorn skin, which leaves rainbow hoof prints.

6 Home Town Pride

The developers of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey hail from Ubisoft’s Montreal headquarters, based in Quebec. Like the citizens of any city or town, these guys and gals are proud of the place they call home – so much so that they managed to sneak a Quebec-related easter egg into the game!

It’s something that will almost certainly go unnoticed by less observant gamers, but experienced players – the type of people who scan the entire game environment for secret material – will discover a travel magazine whilst rifling through the safe house. The destination this mag is promoting? Why, Quebec, of course! True, it’s not exactly the most exciting bonus content in Odyssey, but it’s a nice touch all the same.

5 Put The Arena Spikes To Good Use

A key trait which separates veteran Assassin’s Creed players from newcomers is the willingness of the former to experiment with their surroundings. Take the spikes that dotted around the Arena in Odyssey.

Rookies will probably dismiss these as mere set dressing and completely ignore them once the fighting breaks out.

Don’t expect experts to make the same mistake, though. Already clued up on just how interactive the game worlds in the franchise can be, these gamers will immediately identify the potential for the spikes to deal damage to their opponents. The next thing you know, the edges of the Arena will begin to resemble a shish kebab vendor who trades in skewered would-be gladiatorial champions!

4 Reminisce About The Frye Twins

It turns out Assassin’s Creed Syndicate isn’t the only instalment in the franchise to take place in London – Odyssey does, too. True, the vast majority of the game is set in Ancient Greece, but its modern era sections unfold in London, something that won’t come as a shock to more attentive players.

After all, just by gazing out of the safe house windows, you can take in a decent view of London’s famous skyline, with what tourists would recognize as Big Beg especially prominent. What’s more, if you allow yourself a moment to properly contemplate the sight before your eyes, you’ll even trigger a line of dialogue that references Jacob and Evie Frye, the lead characters in Syndicate!

3 Discover All Of The Underwater Locations

As you might expect from a virtual environment that recreates the entire Aegean Sea, Atlantis isn’t the only submerged area on the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey map.

The ocean floor of Ubisoft’s vision of Ancient Greece is littered with dozens of hidden locations brimming with valuable treasure.

Anyone prepared to embrace their inner Jacques Cousteau will be in for a real treat. That said, given the sheer amount of exploration required to pinpoint all of these sunken locations – fun fact: at 130km², Odyssey’s map is 62% bigger than the already massive world of Origins – we’d wager only experts will visit all of them.

2 Get All Of The Other Endings As Well

Sure, everybody wants to get the best possible Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ending – you know: the super secret, totally awesome one we mentioned earlier. Even so, part of being an expert is also having a completist streak, which is why we think they’ll figure out how to achieve Odyssey’s eight other possible endings, as well.

This might not sound like much, but it’s actually quite a feat, for two main reasons. First of all, this game is absurdly long – the main quest alone clocks in at 40 hours of gameplay – so repeating it again and again is no picnic. Secondly, they’ll need to ensure they get every single word and deed right, in order to arrive at their desired conclusion!

1 Climb Up The Naked Statue

Full disclosure: this entry is unashamedly juvenile in nature, given it revolves around players scaling up a male statue and dangling from part of its anatomy (three guesses which part). Regardless, we’re positive that even the most mature expert will decide to do just that, when they pass by this landmark early on in Odyssey – honestly, it’s just too hard to resist.

You’ll be rewarded for your childish antics if you do.

Performing this act initiates a wry line of dialogue from the player’s mercenary, which just goes to show that Ubisoft definitely predicted this becoming a thing. Although to be honest, they hardly needed the talents of one of Ancient Greece’s oracles to foresee it!

Did we miss out any other things that only experts know how to do in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-09 06:10:21 – Leon Miller

Arrowverse Creator Addresses Ruby Rose Batwoman Casting Controversy

Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti is finally addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding Ruby Rose’s casting as Batwoman in The CW’s DC Comics-based shared universe. Earlier this summer, it was announced ahead of San Diego Comic-Con that the network would be adding Batwoman to the list of their already extensive DC superheroes, with the potential to spin off the character into her own standalone series down the line. Then, it was later revealed that Rose had been cast as the titular character.

Shortly after the announcement of Rose’s casting as Batwoman, the actress suffered from a sudden wave of bullying, which ultimately amounted to relentless gate-keeping. Some people believed that she simply wasn’t right for the part, which is a fair opinion to have of someone who has been cast in a notable role, but then there were plenty of others who attacked the actress for not being gay enough to portray Kate Kane. It wasn’t long after that Rose decided to shut down her Twitter account and close off her Instagram comments to the public as a result.

Related: What Elseworlds Means For The Arrowverse & Batwoman

In an interview with THR at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Vanguard Awards in September, Arrowverse franchise producer Greg Berlanti addressed the controversy surrounding Ruby Rose’s casting as Batwoman, saying that outrage against certain decisions is a tale as old as time in Hollywood. However, it’s not something that producers should be fazed by. Here’s what he said in full:

“Whenever you’re bringing change about in any form, there are always conversations that happen. I go all the way back to Dawson’s Creek. Twitter didn’t exist, but we would get boxes of letters expressing opinions in all directions from were we making enough change, should we be making more change, or why did we feel like we needed to do these things? It’s always part of the process, so just focus on the story and make the best episode that you can.”

Berlanti also made sure to point out that the potential Batwoman TV series was still in the pilot stage. For those that aren’t aware, Rose is slated to make her debut as the iconic superhero in this year’s Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds, which will take place across three shows – Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl; Legends of Tomorrow will not be joining the crossover this time – over three nights. Furthermore, the entire crossover is supposed to take place in Gotham, which audiences saw for the first time in the official Elseworlds poster that debuted earlier this month.

Whether the network gives Batwoman a series order remains to be seen, but the character’s popularity and the potential for more stories centered in Gotham will most likely be determined by the Elseworlds crossover this December. Regardless of all the bullying Rose has received online, she is still on board to portray Kate Kane in her first live-action television debut. In fact, Arrow star Stephen Amell recently teased Rose trying on the Batwoman costume for the first time, seeing as the cast and crew should be filming the crossover soon (if they haven’t done so already).

More: Elseworlds: Everything You Need To Know About The Arrowverse Crossover

Source: THR



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2018-10-08 04:10:39 – Mansoor Mithaiwala

The Walking Dead: Biggest Questions Left By The Season 9 Premiere

Warning! SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 9 premiere ahead!

Tonight’s season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead introduces viewers to a new era of the long-running zombie show. “A New Beginning” is a strong season opener, and it suggests that season 9 might just be the overhaul this former ratings juggernaut so desperately needs to recapture its dwindling audience.

There other big changes in store for The Walking Dead this season as well. Both Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen are leaving, though how remains a mystery, and their absences will leave large holes for the ensemble to fill. Then there are also the discussions of AMC creating a shared universe of Walking Dead programs, which could see more of the cast leave for their own spinoffs.

Related: Walking Dead Season 9 Premiere Review: A New Era Begins Now

“A New Beginning” doesn’t address any of these upcoming changes, but it sets up several interesting threads for the show to explore this season. And to that, we have a few questions after watching The Walking Dead season 9 premiere.

  • This Page: A Fragile Peace and a Decent Proposal
  • Page 2: Is A Civil War On The Way?

Can Rick Keep the Peace?

A big part of the season 9 premiere is establishing the new status quo. It’s been roughly two years since the war with the Saviors and there is now peace among the different communities. Together, they’re actively working to re-establish some semblance of civilization. There is trade and agriculture and manufacturing taking place and, soon, literal bridge-building between the communities to keep them united. If the hope was to create that world Carl dreamed of, then Rick is leading them in the right direction.

But, while there is peace, it is an uneasy peace. At the Sanctuary, the lack of food and supplies is causing tempers to flare. There’s even “We Are Negan” graffiti on the walls, highlighting a growing dissatisfaction. At Hilltop, many are angry that they must keeping sharing so much of their harvest with the Saviors, seeing the situation as not all that different from before. And all the communities still hold an understandable grudge against the Saviors, even after the all time that’s passed.

Rick may have been able to unite the people of Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, Oceanside, and Sanctuary, but it’s becoming more difficult to hold them together. Will Rick be able to keep the peace he fought so hard to achieve? It’s hard to say, and perhaps the better question to be asking at this point is – will there still be peace between the communities when Rick is gone?

Will Carol Accept Ezekiel’s Proposal?

Season 9 quickly establishes a lighter, more uplifting mood with those opening moments of Rick, Michonne, and Judith getting to be just a normal, happy family. There are actually a few of these moments throughout the episode, like Gabriel and Anne both appreciating the humor in the “de-evolution of man” or Rick fawning over baby Hershel. But there is perhaps none more sweet and funny than Ezekiel proposing to Carol. Their relationship isn’t one we really got to see develop because of the time jump, but it’s clear there are quite the established couple by this point.

Related: Walking Dead Season 9 Is ‘Driven By Women’

Carol, of course, is completely against the proposal, listing her reasons for why this isn’t the time nor the place – “This is not happening on a horse” – and it’s cute to see the usually calm and collected Carol so flustered. Ezekiel, on the other hand, isn’t deterred, and though it may be his recent brush with death that spurs him in to popping the question, the fact that he wishes to make such a public declaration of their love is sign of how much the times have changed.

So when Ezekiel asks again as he most-certainly will, does Carol accept? If she truly cares for him as much as that kiss at the museum suggests, she likely will. But her choice to stick around at the Sanctuary and relieve Daryl of his leadership duties, while a means of helping out a friend, might imply otherwise.

Page 2: Is A Civil War On The Way?

Could Maggie And Daryl Turn On Rick?

Maggie and Daryl may have helped Rick win the war, but season 9 begins with them both calling his decision-making into question. Daryl, for instance, doubts Rick’s plan to unite this many groups of people, sharing his preference for when it was just their small group. And as for Maggie, she’s still angry over Rick’s decision to keep Negan alive, reminding Rick that he promised her he’d kill him.

Maggie even calls out Rick for once telling her that one day he’d be following her, but then never allowing that day to come. And it’s this scene between them on the balcony that really hints at a divide growing between Maggie and Rick. Daryl’s comments that he’d rather move to Hilltop instead of Alexandria seem to suggest that if made to choose, he’d pick Maggie over Rick, which really makes it appear like a split between them is inevitable.

Related: Norman Reedus Doesn’t Think Daryl Is The New Rick

Will season 9 see Maggie and Daryl turn against Rick? It’s certainly a possibility, what with both parties having very different views on how things should be run. Plus, there’s also the matter of Maggie and Rick only appearing in a limited number of episodes this season. Could it be the conflict between them that leads to their exits? That seems very likely, with the rift that forms between Maggie and Rick not necessarily being the direct cause of their departures but at the very least a factor.

What Will Be The Consequences of Hanging Gregory?

The Walking Dead season 9 premiere ends with Gregory’s hanging and it’s a disturbing scene for what is a fairly upbeat episode (by Walking Dead standards anyway). Not that anyone is likely to miss Gregory, and his manipulation of Earl and Tammy’s grief (not too mention Earl’s alcoholism) is particularly disgusting, but the public execution is still chilling. And when Maggie declares that the “punishment must fit the crime” she’s drawing a direct comparison between what she’s doing here and what Rick chose to do with Negan.

Maggie having Gregory hanged is going to have consequences. Already, it’s apparent how much Rick and Michonne don’t agree with Maggie’s decision, only deepening that divide. Then there’s the precedent this decisions sets – implying it’s okay to kill someone as long as it’s justified. Who decides when it’s justified? Well, that’s why Michonne needs to write that charter. But in the mean time, there’s a very good chance someone else will look to this as permission to take justice into their own hands.

Whether or not Maggie was justified in killing Gregory is debatable, but the deed is now done and there’s no taking it back. Future episodes will show just how Hilltop and the rest of the communities react to the news, but one thing is clear – Maggie isn’t playing around, and if given the opportunity, she will do what Rick could not and kill Negan.

Next: The Walking Dead Will Reboot (Sort Of) When Rick Leaves the Show

The Walking Dead season 9 continues next Sunday with ‘The Bridge’ at 9pm/8c on AMC.



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2018-10-07 07:10:59 – Sarah Moran

6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It)

There are sitcoms that everyone loves, and then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — a series which has managed to turn off many with its despicable characters and depraved sense of humor. From faking cancer to trying to eat a homeless person, there are no depths that are too low for the owners of Paddy’s Pub. But you don’t get to thirteen seasons without making a few fans in the process.

While It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might not pull in the biggest numbers, the show has maintained such a rabid following over the years that one has to wonder if they’ve accidentally gotten there hands on some raccoon meat. But the more likely scenario is that many people have just as twisted of a sense of humor as the makers of this FX series.

The sitcom was created by Rob McElhenney with the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who would go on to portray Mac, Dennis, and Charlie on the series. Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito fill out the rest of the main cast as Dee and Frank Reynolds, and for over the last decade, fans have been happily following the bizarre misadventures of the Gang. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in these leading roles. With over 130 episodes, there has been no shortage of supporting characters and celebrity cameo, some of which have been a lot better than others.

Here are 6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It).

20 Saved: Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds

In a sea of despicable characters, Dennis Reynolds has slowly revealed himself to be the most reprehensible of them all. Dennis may have begun the series as one of the more sensible members of the Gang — albeit one with an extremely short fuse, but he’s slowly revealed himself to be a cool and calculated sociopath. One who also happens to have a heavy side of narcissistic personality disorder.

While Glenn Howerton didn’t want to name the character after himself for fear of people drawing an unwelcome comparison, that hasn’t stopped Howerton from taking the character to some extremely dark places. He’s more than a little convincing when he lays out one of his manipulative plans. While his temper tantrums may be over-the-top, you never doubt the authenticity of the rage and frustration Howerton has embedded into his performance.

19 Saved: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress

One of the most prominent recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny, the Waitress has been a part of the series since the very beginning. She is the unrequited love interest of Charlie throughout the majority of the show — though it seems like the tables have turned in recent episodes.

The Waitress is portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who had previously worked with Charlie Day on an episode of Reno 911! The two were married shortly after It’s Always Sunny began, adding another layer of hilarity to the dysfunctional relationship between the two characters on screen.

Ellis fully commits to her performance as the down-on-her-luck waitress.

She’s an example of the tight-knit community working behind-the-scenes that has made the series such a success.

18 Hurt: Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty

While sitcoms usually lend themselves well to celebrity cameos, It’s Always Sunny has created such a distinct world that more often than not these cameos end up feeling out of place. There have been a few instances where they’ve managed to pull them off. Josh Groban popping up in one of Dee’s fantasies seemed fitting, and Dax Shepard manages to blend in fairly well into the episodes where Mac and Charlie join a cult.

In the case of Jason Sudeikis and a number of other celebrities, the cameos just end up coming across as distracting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Jason Sudeikis playing Schmitty — an ex-member of the Gang who makes an unexpected return. The whole time, you never forget that you’re watching Sudeikis, which just doesn’t work for the tone of the series.

17 Saved: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Gail the Snail

Though she’s only appeared in three episodes of the series to date, Gail the Snail is definitely one of those side characters that we’d like to see more of. She first appeared back in the season five episode “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”, where she is the clingy cousin of Dennis and Dee who talks with a lisp and has the disgusting habit of slurping her saliva. Dennis and Dee have found that the only way to get rid of her is to dust her with salt, hence her nickname of Gail the Snail.

The character is portrayed by the talented Mary Lynn Rajskub, who is best known for playing Chloe O’Brian on 24.

This is undeniably a very different character, and it’s impressive just how committed Rajskub is to playing someone so hilariously obnoxious.

16 Saved: David Hornsby as Cricket

The Gang has dragged their fair share of individuals down into the dirt with them, but none are more apparent than Rickety Cricket. Portrayed by David Hornsby, Cricket is a former classmate of the Gang who was once infatuated with Dee. He debuted in season two as a clean-cut priest who has slowly transformed into the addicted hobo that we have today.

Hornsby has been such a prominent member of the show that last season he was given his own episode with “A Cricket’s Tale”, which cleverly intertwined the character’s other brief appearances throughout the season into the story. Hornsby has also been a big part of the show behind-the-scenes as well, serving as an executive producer and a writer of nearly 30 episodes.

15 Hurt: Brian Unger as The Attorney

It’s Always Sunny has a number of supporting characters who re-emerge every few seasons, only to be dragged down by the shenanigans of the Gang once again. Brian Unger plays one such character with the Attorney, who the Gang often visits for legal advice only to contradict everything the lawyer has to say.

As a former correspondent of The Daily Show, Unger is really good at playing the straight man.

In fact, he’s too good, which makes it hard to believe that he would put up with these self-centered, narcissistic characters for more than a few episodes. Often, these supporting characters are revealed to be a little bit off in their own right, but Unger is just too normal to make his character mesh with the series.

14 Saved: Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds

Danny DeVito first popped up in season two of It’s Always Sunny, and his casting as Frank Reynolds quite literally saved the series. While the higher-ups at FX reportedly loved the first season, not enough people were watching to warrant a second outing. McElhenney, Howerton, and Day were given the ultimatum to add a bigger name or face cancellation. While they worried how DeVito would fit into the series, the veteran actor has more than proven himself as a worthy member of the Gang.

The insane things that DeVito will do for the character are a testament to the actor’s commitment. Even more impressive is how you never feel like you’re watching a performance. DeVito becomes Frank Reynolds. Even when he’s not delivering lines, just watching him futz about in the background is already hilarious enough.

13 Saved: Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly

It’s Always Sunny has turned all of its leading actors into stars, but Charlie Day is the biggest breakout of them all. Since appearing on the show, Day has worked on a number of hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and The Lego Movie.

His star power has no doubt helped the show remain on the air for so long.

Thanks to Day’s performance and musical talents, the character of Charlie has no shortage of memorable moments. Bird law aside, Charlie may be the least intelligent member of the Gang. In a lot of ways, he’s the heart of the show. Charlie certainly has his share of questionable moments, but they often stem from ignorance rather than malice, which set him apart from the other employees of Paddy’s Pub.

12 Hurt: Sean “Diddy” Combs as Dr. Jinx

Whenever Sean “Diddy” Combs pops up in a movie or TV show, he often plays a fictionalized version of himself. In It’s Always Sunny, he plays the unorthodox Dr. Jinx who utilizes alternative methods to treat his patients.

Not only is the cameo distracting, but Combs’ performance is pretty flat. It almost seems like the actor is reading off cue cards, and when Dr. Jinx is seen playing the bass guitar during a musical performance at Paddy’s Pub, it’s pretty obvious that Combs isn’t actually playing. The rapper may have stolen the show as Sergio in Get Him to the Greek, but whatever worked for him on that movie isn’t back on display in the sitcom.

11 Saved: Artemis Pebdani as Artemis

Artemis is one of the few supporting characters who can actually hang with the Gang without her life coming apart at the seams. She first appeared up in season one, where she befriends Dee after the two meet in an acting class. She’s also had a relationship without Frank throughout her time in the series.

The character is portrayed by Artemis Pebdani, who landed the role right at the start of her professional acting career.

While she’s continued to reprise her part as the fun-loving and wild Artemis, the actress has enjoyed success in a number of other shows, including Scandal and Masters of Sex. Though a number of supporting characters seem to have fallen off in recent years, Artemis has already popped up this season with “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”.

10 Saved: Lynne Marie Stewart and Sandy Martin as Charlie and Mac’s Moms

Every since Danny DeVito debuted as Frank Reynolds, it was abundantly clear why Dennis and Dee are they way that they are. After all, Frank is just as self-absorbed and conniving as the twins. In that respect, we’ve also gotten to see how Mac and Charlie are a result of their childhoods by getting to know their moms over the course of the series.

Lynne Marie Stewart does a perfect job of playing Charlie’s mom, a kind-hearted woman who was far too overprotective of her son — which explains Charlie’s numerous irrational fears. Meanwhile, Sandy Martin is the total opposite, as Mac’s mom doesn’t seem emotionally invested in her son at all — which explains Mac’s constant desire for approval. Together, the two are a perfect comedy duo, which is on full display in “Old Lady House: A Comedy Situation”.

9 Hurt: Seann William Scott as Country Mac

In season nine, Seann William Scott made a one episode appearance as Mac’s cousin — who the Gang deems far cooler than Mac. Just like Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, this is another star cameo that can’t help but feel distracting. Scott has made a career playing characters who are too cool for school thanks to movies like American Pie and Role Models. That might seem like he’s the ideal fit for Country Mac.

Wouldn’t it have been even funnier if the Gang idolized a character for no other reason than to get under Mac’s skin?

With the success of It’s Always Sunny, we’re sure that they could have a star cameo every few episodes. Since they’re kept to a bare minimum, it seems that even they know these roles can be a bit ostentatious.

8 Saved: Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as Liam and Ryan McPoyle

The McPoyles are the perfect example of just how dark and twisted the humor on It’s Always Sunny can actually get. They are a large inbred family with the two most prominent members, Liam and Ryan, being former classmates of the Gang. They popped up in a number of episodes between seasons one and nine, where they’re often at odds with the owners of Paddy’s Pub.

Liam and Ryan are played by Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney throughout their time on the show. Both fully commit to the unsettling nature of these characters. They might be creepy, but that doesn’t stop them from being a hilarious comedy duo. Our only complaint is that they’ve been absent from the series for the last few seasons.

7 Saved: Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa

One of the weirdest characters in all of It’s Always Sunny, Maureen Ponderosa is the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds who slowly makes her transition into becoming a cat in the later episodes of the show. Much like Rickety Cricket, her transition from seemingly normal to totally unhinged takes place over the course of a few seasons — better-allowing audiences to buy into the ridiculousness of it all.

Catherine Reitman seems totally devoted to this outlandish and often unsettling performance.

Since appearing on the show, Reitman’s notoriety has only continued to grow. She currently plays the lead on Workin’ Moms — a show which she also created — along with popping up as another recurring character in Black-ish.

6 Hurt: Guillermo del Toro as Pappy McPoyle

Writer/ director Guillermo del Toro was apparently such a big fan of It’s Always Sunny, that it was one of the reasons he cast Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. In return, del Toro was given this cameo appearance as Pappy McPoyle — who is most likely the grandfather of Liam and Ryan.

One problem right off the bat is that del Toro was cast to play someone who is most likely from Ireland— a fact which the director himself made fun of in a behind-the-scenes interview. This may have been the reason that Pappy McPoyle was given such an over-the-top appearance, which is really the worst part of the character. The McPoyle’s are indeed odd and unsettling, but they’re still somewhat believable.Pappy McPoyle, on the other hand, looks like some deranged wizard who has no place in the series.

5 Saved: Wade Boggs as Himself

The best episodes of It’s Always Sunny usually finds the Gang confined to a single area, where their personalities can do nothing but bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on themselves and anyone in their vicinity. This is what makes “The Gang Beats Boggs” one of the best episodes in the series.

The episode finds the five Philadelphia natives trying to beat Wade Boggs’ record of consuming 70 drinks during a cross-country flight.

While the Gang’s antics are usually based on nothing but nonsense, this true story only adds another level of hilarity to the episodes. The cherry on top is a brief appearance by Wade Boggs himself. In an interview, Charlie Day said that not only was Boggs happy to participate in the episode, but that his real-life record was a lot more impressive than previously thought.

4 Saved: Michael Naughton as the Waiter

Michael Naughton first appeared up in “The Gang Dines Out,” where he is a server at one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. He’s crossed paths with the Gang a number of times since, and every time the Waiter emerges worse for wear.

Just this season, Naughton appeared in “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” where he is now working as a flight attendant. Once again, the Waiter tries to get the Gang to acknowledge how they’ve sabotaged him in the past. But once again, the Gang can’t remember who he is.

Naughton plays the Waiter with a kind of obsessive desperation beneath his everyman facade; he seems like someone who really would let the Gang get the better of him. He’s also the kind of supporting character that rewards loyal fans every time he pops back up.

3 Hurt: Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis

Stephen Collins popped up in season two and three of It’s Always Sunny, where he played Bruce Mathis, the biological father of Dennis and Dee. Bruce invests most of his time and money helping out various charities around the world, making him a polar opposite of his children. This also made Collins — who was best known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven — seem like an ideal fit for the part.

In the years since, Collins has both been accused and admitted to being an abuser. The actor has obviously not appeared on the show since, but going back and watching these episodes with Collins can be more than a little discomfiting.

2 Saved: Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds

With Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton working on the show right from the very beginning, the actors were afforded the opportunity to mold their characters as they saw fit. However, the character of Dee Reynolds was developed before an actress was cast, and she was originally meant to be the Gang’s voice of reason.

Thankfully, Kaitlin Olson nabbed the role, and over time Dee became just as hilariously pathetic as the other members of the Gang.

Being a former member of The Groundlings, Olson clearly had talent as a comedic performer — which might also explain why Dee fancies herself as a bit of an improv comic. The actress isn’t afraid to make Dee as embarrassing as possible, which adds an element of cringe-comedy to the show that’s not found in the other characters.

1 Saved: Rob McElhenney as Mac

Without Rob McElhenney, there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The struggling actor/writer decided to put plans for the series into motion after a number of other projects fell through. With the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, McElhenney made a short episode of the series, which he used to pitch the sitcom. Over a decade later, McElhenney still serves as an executive produces while continuing to write a number of episodes.

As far as his role of Mac is concerned, McElhenney isn’t afraid to take the character in different directions.

He put on a whopping 50 pounds for season seven and Mac finally came out of the closet for good last year — just a few of the many ways McElhenney has kept the show feeling fresh after thirteen seasons.

 —

Who’s your favorite actor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Let us know!



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2018-10-07 02:10:26 – Dylan Dembrow

Scott Wilson, Walking Dead’s Hershel, Dies at 76

Scott Wilson, who played popular character Hershel Greene on The Walking Dead, has passed away at the age of 76. Hershel memorably died on the show at the hands of The Governor, but since then, Wilson has appeared at a number of conventions – including Walker Stalker Con – and remained a favorite among fans.

Wilson started his Walking Dead journey back in 2011, when his character Hershel was introduced. His first appearance was in the episode “Bloodletting” in season 2, after Carl Grimes was accidentally shot. Hershel is able to save Carl’s life because of his experience as a veterinarian, and had been living a secluded life on his farm with his family since the outbreak. He always had a strict moral code, and cared deeply for his daughters Maggie and Beth. As the show went on, Hershel became a mentor of sorts to Rick Grimes, and provided wisdom and advice to other main characters. Wilson took part in 37 episodes of The Walking Dead, with his last appearance coming in season 4.

As first reported by Comic Book, Wilson passed away today at the age of 76. Reports of the actor’s death occurred after many people posted tributes honoring Wilson on social media, and those reports were later confirmed to be true. TMZ later revealed that Wilson “passed away peacefully at his home in L.A”. Dominic Mancini, who worked as Wilson’s rep, explained that the actor passed away as a result of complications from leukemia. Bizarrely, Wilson’s death was confirmed not too long after Hershel was confirmed to appear in season 9 of The Walking Dead.

Wilson had been a well-known actor long before his time on AMC’s hit show. Wilson started his acting career in 1967 with the film In the Heat of the Night, and later became known for roles in films like 1974’s The Great GatsbyThe Ninth Configuration, and A Year of the Quiet Sun. In the years after his time on The Walking Dead was up, Wilson appeared on the TV shows Bosch, Damien, and The OA. Most recently, he appeared in the movie Hostiles alongside Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, as well as voiced his Walking Dead character in an episode of Robot Chicken.

Wilson’s character on The Walking Dead had a big impact on the other characters, and fans often credit Wilson’s casting as one of the stronger decisions made by the show. Many actors have come and gone during the show’s eight seasons, but none have been quite like Wilson. With season 9 looking to recapture the feel of earlier seasons,  one can’t help but look back and reminisce about Wilson’s journey on The Walking Deadand his career in general.

RIP Scott Wilson: March 29, 1942 – October 6, 2018

Source: Comic Book, TMZ



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2018-10-06 09:10:28 – Christopher Fiduccia

Twilight: 20 Things About Bella And Jacob’s Relationship That Make No Sense

The Twilight Saga dominated the teen world for years even after both the books and the movies were released. When the first book came out, neither Stephanie Meyer nor fans of the novel expected it to blow up into the pop-culture phenomenon it became. No matter where someone turned, a vampire or werewolf would be there to greet them. It was either immensely loved by fans or abhorred by people who just wanted the series to be over with. Either way, it was inescapable.

Part of the draw of Twilight was the divide between Team Edward and Team Jacob. The love triangle spawned intense debates among passionate fans. While a lot of fans favored Edward, who Bella inevitably chose in the end, Jacob had his fair share of supporters as well.

Despite all of the support, Jacob and Bella certainly had their own set of issues. If she had chosen Jacob, it definitely wouldn’t have been picture perfect, just like her relationship with Edward was flawed at times. While it’s easy for fans to believe Bella and Jacob were an ideal romantic pairing, their were some strange aspects of their relationship.

From controlling behavior to imprinting on babies, here are the 20 Things About Bella And Jacob’s Relationship That Make No Sense.

20 Bella Treats Jacob Like A Backup Plan

In New Moon, a lot of fans began to argue that Bella clearly has feelings for Jacob. As the series continue, that only became clearer, especially when she asked Jacob to kiss her in Eclipse. Despite being in love with Jacob, Bella constantly chooses Edward over him.

She can’t help what her heart wants, of course, but she continues to dangle her love in front of Jacob even though she knows it’s hurting him that she’s choosing Edward.

It’s like she’s keeping Jacob around and toying with his emotions in case it doesn’t work out with Edward. In New Moon, she only hangs out with him because she can’t be around Edward anymore, and continues with this behavior throughout the series.

19 Jacob Has Nice Guy Syndrome

Often times, Jacob comes off as the understanding, compassionate alternative to Edward. While he appears to be sweet and patient, he’s actually possessive and whiny a lot of the time when it comes to Bella. He would be understanding in order to try and get Bella to choose him, but when she would choose Edward, he would storm off in a fit of rage and try to guilt her into feeling bad. He would act like she owed him something more than her friendship.

Despite Bella clearly choosing Edward multiple times, he would always act surprised and hurt when she told Jacob she just wanted to be friends. Many fans believe that he’s sweeter than Edward, but both characters tried to manipulate her emotions.

18 Jacob Is As Dangerous As Edward

When Jacob tries to encourage Bella to choose him instead of Edward, he continues to insist on how dangerous the Cullens are, despite being dangerous himself.  While Edward is a bloodsucking vamp, Jacob is a werewolf with rage issues who spends his time fighting vampires. Choosing him over Edward wouldn’t be a much safer decision. Even if Edward and Bella had never met, vampires still would have been in Forks causing Jacob to shapeshift.

Even without the Cullens, threatening vampires like James would still be a threat that the wolves would have to fight, putting Bella in danger.

It doesn’t make sense to paint Jacob as the safer choice when werewolves are known to get into supernatural entanglements and lash out at those they love in anger.

17 They Have Zero Chemistry

While in the books it can be hard to gauge the chemistry between characters, in the Twilight movies, it was easy to see the lack of chemistry between many of the actors, including Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Though he was supposed to long for Bella while she secretly held feelings for him and didn’t want to admit it, it was hard to tell from their acting alone.

While the dialogue and their actions may have showed their feelings, the chemistry between them felt forced.  There have also been complaints that Robert Pattinson and Stewart also lacked chemistry. It doesn’t make sense to cast actors to play these characters in a love triangle who don’t play it believably.

16 Jacob Would Have Taken The Life Of Bella’s Baby

A lot of Jacob fans think he’s the warmer, more understanding man in Bella’s life, but there were moments when he acted even colder than Edward, like when decides he wants to take the life of Bella’s infant, despite her clear love for her child. It’s understandable that he’s angry that Bella’s life would end because of the child, but deciding to take the life of the woman he love’s baby is messed up regardless of his reasons.

Yes, Renesmee is technically a monster, but she’s still just a baby.

Before that, he pushes Bella to get rid of the baby and grows incredibly angry when she refuses, despite it being her child and not his. It’s really messed up to want to take the life of an infant, even if the same infant is the reason Bella perishes.

15 Jacob Tries To Control Bella

While a lot of people don’t like the way that Edward tries to control Bella, Jacob’s possessive behavior isn’t much better. Like Edward, he’s constantly trying to manipulate Bella’s feelings and actions. Their relationship has some abusive undertones. Jacob acts as if Bella can’t make her own decisions and is extremely overprotective. When he doesn’t agree with her choices, he’ll yell at her, become aggressive, or run away because he didn’t get his way.  

He even forcibly kisses her to try and convince her she feels something for him. While he’s easy-going and understanding on the surface, he’s controlling when he gets upset. The men in Bella’s life both try to manipulate her like she’s not capable on her own.

14 Bella Won’t Let Him Move On

While Bella does realize that she harbor’s feelings for Jacob, she still chooses Edward, over and over again. It’s clear that she will never decide to be with Jacob. Despite this, she continuously inserts herself into his life, which only causes him pain. Jacob eventually makes the decision to cut Bella out of his life in Eclipse because it’s too painful for him. Bella won’t accept that choice and selfishly tries to keep him in her life, but just as a friend. 

This is a big reason why Jacob grows more frustrated and angry with Bella when she keeps choosing Edward.

She is giving him false hope so that he can never fully move on, which isn’t fair to him and causes his unfair attitude towards her.

13 Jacob Yells At Her At Her Wedding

It’s totally understandable that Jacob wouldn’t want to watch the woman he loves walk down the aisle towards another man, but when he eventually does decide to show up, he ends up yelling at the bride on her wedding day.  He appears without warning and dances with Bella. Just when it seems like the two will be able to get along without arguing, he finds out that Bella will consummate the marriage despite Edward being a vampire.

This causes him to explode in anger at Bella. It’s hard to tell if it’s just fear for her life that makes him angry because he may also be reacting in jealousy. Regardless, he shouldn’t have shown up at her wedding when he clearly isn’t comfortable with Bella being with Edward.

12 Bella And Her Daughter Will Love The Same Man

It was strange enough when Jacob imprinted on Bella’s daughter, but it became even more uncomfortable when fans realized that Renesmee will likely kiss the same man who was in love with her mother one day. Bella and her daughter will one day have been romantically involved with the same man.

It’s also very likely that Renesmee will grow up to resemble her mother, which will have to be strange for Jacob.

It does seem that while Renesmee is still a child, Jacob and Bella have pushed the imprinting argument aside, but it’s bound to cause conflicts one day in the future. It’s not quite inappropriate, but it’s way too weird for most people’s comfort.

11 Jacob Is Closer With Bella’s Dad Than She Is

Throughout the Twilight movies, Bella repeatedly tells Edward how important Charlie is to her. However, her actions don’t seem to match her words. Even Jacob seems to be closer with Bella’s dad than she is.  Especially in the later movies, Jacob is seen with Charlie more than Bella is. He’s even the reason why Charlie gets to continue to have a relationship with Bella after she is turned.

When she and the Cullens plant to leave Forks, Jacob brings Charlie to Bella to get her to stay.  Without Jacob, Charlie would have lost his daughter forever. Even if Jacob did it for selfish reasons, he helps Charlie have a relationship with his daughter when she just planned on running away and hurting him.

10 Jacob Was Attracted To Bella Because Of Her Baby

From the moment Jacob saw Bella in the first Twilight film, it was clear that he was attracted to her. He continued to have feelings for Bella up until she had her baby, Renesmee. He imprinted on her immediately. Renesmee will also grow up to look a lot like Bella with her identical eyes and long, dark hair.

Since Jacob was into Bella before she was even pregnant, it could have been an attraction to her genetics and the child she would eventually create.

Jacob’s entire basis for falling for Bella may have been because his werewolf genes could sense that she would create the person he would eventually imprint on. The entire premise of imprinting on the woman he love’s child is too much of a weird coincidence.

9 Bella’s Anger At His Imprinting Is Hypocritical

When Bella first learns that Jacob is a werewolf, she’s intrigued by the concept and asks to learn more about the Quileute culture, including imprinting. While she’s a little unsure about the concept of imprinting at first, she comes around to it after Jacob explains that even if they imprint on a young girl, like Quil, who imprints on a two year old, their feelings won’t be romantic until she is of age.

Despite accepting this, she goes insane when she learns that Jacob has imprinted on her daughter, Renesmee. While it’s certainly a creepy situation, she was okay when it was someone else’s young child. Why not her own? It’s pretty hypocritical and doesn’t make much sense.

8 Jacob Is More Like Edward Than Bella Thinks

A big driving force in the Bella/Jacob/Edward love triangle is that Edward and Jacob are different. One is a vampire, the other a werewolf. Really, though, they aren’t as different as Bella and some fans want to believe. 

Both men love Bella in a possessive, overprotective way and try to tell her what’s best for her while ignoring her own opinions.

Edward follows her around and aggressively guards her, while Jacob pushes her to leave Edward to the point of lashing out in rage and running away. Sure, they have very different hobbies, with Edward being into books and classical music and Jacob being into action movies and motorcycles, but it seems that Bella has a thing for controlling, unstable men.

7 They Don’t Respect Each Other’s Choices

Throughout Twilight, Jacob and Bella never seem to be on the same page despite being “best friends.” Bella never really respects Jacob’s decisions and he is constantly telling her what she should think and do. Whenever Bella decides to be with Edward, Jacob tells her how wrong she is and tries to manipulate her into choosing him instead rather than accepting her decision.

Bella, also, refuses to respect Jacob’s decision to cut off his relationship with her because it’s too painful for him. She continues to insert herself into his life anyway.  They’re supposed to love each other, but refusing to respect one another is a strange way to show that love. It doesn’t make sense to treat the person you care so much about like a child who can’t make his or her own decisions.

6 Jacob Starts A War For Her

Despite all that happened throughout the first three Twilight installments, Jacob is still ready to perish for Bella in Breaking Dawn. Not only that, but he’s also willing to take lives and start wars in order to save her life. He was always a loyal pack member, but when he learned that Sam was going to take Bella’s life along with her future child’s, Jacob left the pack and started his own in order to save her life, causing a deep rift between the wolves.

Not only that, but he also was ready to stand by the Cullens when the Volturi came, despite them being a major threat to his own life, in order to protect both Bella and her daughter.

That’s a lot of sacrifice to make for a woman who didn’t choose to love him back.

5 Jacob Can’t Give Bella A Normal Life

While Jacob was once human, by the time the second book rolled around, he was transitioning into a shapeshifting wolf. Despite this, part of his reasoning why Bella should choose him is because she could stay human and live a normal life. However, dating a werewolf isn’t exactly a normal human thing to do.

Yes, Bella wouldn’t turn into an immortal vampire if she chose Jacob, but she would still be choosing to date a supernatural creature who brings danger into their lives. The wolves also don’t age as long as they’re still shifting, so Jacob would most likely outlive Bella if she were human. His reasoning about why she should choose him don’t always make sense.

4 If It Weren’t For Edward, They’d Be Together

If the Cullens hadn’t decided to settle in Forks, Bella’s love life would have been drastically different. She likely would have ended up with Jacob.  Their two families are very close, so they would have been spending a lot of time together. It’s clear that the pair has chemistry and they are attracted to each other.

Without Edward, she also wouldn’t have had Renesmee, so he would never have imprinted on her child.

Instead, he would stay in love with her. It seems clear from the books that if Edward weren’t around, she would have ended up with Jacob. It’s weird to think that their relationship could have been drastically different without one character being around.

3 Jacob Kisses Bella Against Her Will

While Bella does eventually kiss Jacob willingly, their first kiss wasn’t exactly consensual.  Jacob has always been a bit frustrated with Bella, but he took things too far when he grabbed her and forcibly kissed her on the beach. In the book, she even says that she shut down and didn’t reciprocate the kiss. Afterwards, she calls him an idiot and punches him.

While it was laughed off as a joke, it really wasn’t okay for him to kiss or grab her without her consent. Even Charlie laughs at the concept when Bella is obviously upset. It’s brushed aside like no big deal but it shows that Jacob has some control issues. It doesn’t make sense to romanticize the encounter like it was nothing when it was technically assault.

2 Bella Treats Jacob Like A Child

Edward and Bella’s age difference has always been weird. It doesn’t matter if he looks seventeen– she’s a teenager and he is over one hundred years old. Despite their very large age difference, she constantly jokes like Jacob is way too young for her.

While Bella and Edward’s age gap spans multiple decades, she and Jacob are only two years apart.

She acts like he is ridiculously younger than her when they really have way more in common than she and Edward do, and a lot of that has to do with their ages. It just doesn’t make sense to treat Jacob like a child when she should look like a child in Edward’s eyes.

1 Jacob Imprints On Bella’s Daughter

One of the strangest aspects of Twilight is Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee. There’s no way to spin it without it being a little bit uncomfortable. Fans have been upset by the concept since they read the final book.

While she’s a baby, the feelings are platonic and protective, but it seems clear that everyone is banking on the pair being romantic once Renesmee is of age. When she’s older, Jacob will be in love with her after helping to raise her. To make things weirder, he’ll have to explain how he was once in love with her mother. There are so many potential endings that could have been written for Jacob, but this is the one that makes the least amount of sense to fans.

Are there any other aspects of Bella and Jacob’s relationship in Twilight that make no sense? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 02:10:53 – Britt Poteet

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

20 Twilight Fan Castings Better Than What We Got In The Movies

Casting perfectly for a single film is important; casting perfectly for a film that will spawn a five-film saga is vital. Not every casting decision for a film franchise is going to be perfect. Even renowned franchises such as the MCU, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings have actors in roles that didn’t quite suit them or where there was an even more perfect casting decision staring them in the face.

Finding the perfect cast for a film is much harder than most people give these casting director’s credit for. All they have to go off of is the script, the director’s vision, and possibly (luckily for many big blockbusters) the source material. It’s even harder when adapting a book series whose fans have been picturing the characters in their heads for years.

Finding the perfect cast after a film’s complete is much more fun, even if it has no real impact. Though films are often recast when remade (A Star is Born) or when sequels are released and the original cast doesn’t return (The Girl in the Spider’s Web) it’s fun to still find that perfect cast when there’s no remake/sequel in sight. The Twilight Saga’s cast has been ridiculed and spoofed more than most franchises; some criticism warranted, some not. Fans took to the internet, as they’re known to do, with their ideal picks for who they think the cast of The Twilight Saga should have been.

Without further ado, here are 20 Twilight Fan Castings Better Than What We Got.

20 Rosie Huntington-Whitley As Rosalie Hale

Rosie Huntington-Whitley is more known for her runway walks and magazine covers than for her filmography, but she has three acting entries under her IMDb page; a 2009 short, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Mad Max: Fury Road.  Her resume  may be short, but it surely consists of some prominent movies. Her modeling career on the other hand, is one of the most prestigious and fruitful in the world.

While Nikki Reed may have been fine in retrospect for the character’s lack of screen-time in comparison to the other Cullen members, a woman with the following of Huntington-Whitley could added a higher profile cast member for the film.

19 Tom Sturridge As Edward Cullen

Robert Pattinson may be one of the few casting decisions the original filmmakers made that most fans are pretty okay with. A certain fan had a different actor they thought could have played the part a little bit better; Tom Sturridge.

Casting him with a certain actress who we’ll touch on a bit later, the On the Road and Far from The Madding Crowd actor has a lot in common with Pattinson himself.

Both men were born in London, both were in the 2004 drama Vanity Fair, and birth dates are less than six months apart.

Sturridge’s career never quite took off the way it should have, something that a leading role in a billion-dollar franchise surely could have helped.

18 David Harbour As Charlie Swan

Since his role as Eleven’s guardian in Stranger Things, Harbour has been branded as one of the best character actors to play a loving and concerned father. Billy Burke is one of the few who many fans actually thought fit the role well, but Harbour would have been such a fun and comedic addition. Many may think that Harbour would be too old to play Bella’s dad; those fans would be hard-pressed to learn that Burke is actually nine years Harbour’s senior.

Harbour has for many years been a supporting actor in films like Suicide Squad, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and End of Watch; another supporting role such as Charlie Swan would have been just perfect for the actor.

17 Angelina Jolie As Victoria

Victoria had already been replaced once, so why not do it again? Rachelle Lefevre played the red-haired vampire who was part of the coven that homes James and Laurent in the first two films, but then was blindsided when recast and portrayed by future Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard for Eclipse.

The books characterize Victoria as a beautiful and strong woman, adjectives that describe Angelina Jolie quite perfectly.

As of late, Jolie has focused her time more behind the camera then in front of it, but having her play the part would have been quite exciting, especially standing next to a vampiric Ben Stiller.

16 Ben Stiller As James

James, while not the most important figure in the saga, was the main antagonist of the first film. When his coven stumbles upon the Cullen’s and Bella playing a pretty athletic game of baseball, he decides that the human will be his next meal, causing Edwards and his family to go to vast lengths to protect her.

While Cam Gigandet may have had the physique for James, Ben Stiller’s rendition of the vampire would have given the character new depth.

Stiller’s dramatic work is pretty scarce, but having acted in film like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Brad’s Status prove he’d be able to handle it. Stiller’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world, so getting him would have been no easy task, but could have brought something unique to the film.

15 Millie Bobbie Brown As Jane

Some might say that Millie Bobbie Brown is far too young to play the millennia old vampire, but the character was turned at the age of 12. Brown would have been far too young during the original films– she was five during Jane’s first appearance in New Moon– but she would be perfect now.

The young actress has obtained fame from her portrayal as Eleven in Netflix’s Stranger Things, though look for her soon in the Godzilla sequel, Godzilla: King of Monsters and its crossover event Godzilla vs. Kong. Jane’s supposed to be a mysterious character with an old soul, something that Brown portrays brilliantly throughout the first two seasons of Stranger Things.

14 Shiloh Fernandez As Edward Cullen

Shiloh Fernandez may not be the most well-known actor out there, but then again, neither was Rob Pattinson when he was cast as Edward more than a decade ago. As featured on one of the greatest website names of all time, otherguysasedwardcullen-blog.tumblr.com, Shiloh would have made a great Edward, after some make-up work done to make him look a little less alive.

The Utah-born actor is roughly the right age, and as seen in the picture above, looks quite convincing as a vampire when his eyes are brightened and yellowed, with his skin a bit paler, like most of the Cullen’s.

13 Liv Tyler As Esme Cullen

Though she’s been rather absent from the big screen since playing Ed Norton’s love interest in the MCU’s The Incredible Hulk, she’s still etched in cinephiles minds for her roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Strangers, and (less so) Armageddon.

Tyler looks like she was born to play a vampire, and it’s a shame she’s never been given the opportunity.

Esme is a pretty small role in relation to the other Cullens, but  Tyler could have maybe brightened up the role a bit, or at the very least, given the family a more familiar feel for viewers.

12 Hugh Jackman As Garrett

The second best cast role in the saga– we’ll talk about the first in just a bit– is none other than a small character named Garrett played by the brilliant Lee Pace. Garrett is vampire who joins the Denali coven at the end of Breaking Dawn when he and Kate begin to form a relationship.

The only way that Lee Pace could be outdone is if one of the most beloved actors of our time replaced him: Hugh Jackman.

Jackman spent a movie hunting vampires back in 2004 with the critically berated Van Helsing, so maybe joining them would be more his suit. Classy as all could be, the Jackman above (provided by Nocuus) would have been perfect for Garrett, a man who was changed in mid 18th century New England.

11 Anton Yelchin As Mike Newton

This one, awfully unfortunately, will never be able to come to fruition because of a tragic accident which resulted in Anton Yelchin losing his life at the age of 27. Mike was played by Michael Welch, but Yelchin would have been the perfect age, and perfect casting for the role. Welch actually auditioned for the role of Edward, but ended up being cast as Mike after Pattinson was brought aboard.

The nice guy from high school is more or less exactly who Yelchin was born to play, and imagining him trying to hold Bella’s hand at the movies is textbook teenage romance that feels just right with Yelchin. Yelchin, like Jackman, isn’t a stranger to vampire films, having starred in the remake of Fright Night. Yelchin’s untimely passing came right at the height of his fame, and a Twilight film would have added right to it.

10 Lily Collins As Alice Cullen

Lily Collins actually auditioned for Twilight, but for the role of Bella; “I think everything happens for a reason and everyone who gets the roles they get were meant to.”

Collins has the flowing movement that Greene brought to the performance, but could have come off a bit more authentic in her compassion.

Greene was not been the worst actress in the franchise, but Collins would have potentially been a step up from the unexperienced performer. Greene’s career never took off quite like Collin’s did, which makes the films down the line seem a bit more dated when new viewers can’t recognize the fourth-billed lead; something that casting Collins could have changed.

9 Hugo Weaving as Aro

Michael Sheen wasn’t just the best casting of any of the actors in the franchise with his turn as Aro, but he gave the best performance from anyone, and even liked the source materia, Sheen may have been flawless, but another actor could have the potential to have done better; that man is Hugo Weaving. Though Aro is much younger than both Sheen and Weaving in the novels, both actors are very similar in age.

Like Liv Tyler, Weaving is famous for his part in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the Wichowskis’ Matrix trilogy. Hugo’s vampire transformation above is a very reminiscent of his Elvish lineage in LOTR, but also extremely similar to Aro’s Volturi attire in the Twilight Saga.

8 Alexander Skarsgård As Emmett Cullen

Either it’s a coincidence that so many of the fan casting decisions were previously in vampire films/TV shows, or there is just an abundance of vampire films/TV shows. Alexander Skarsgård played Eric Northman on HBO’s cult vampire drama True Blood. Though he initially played the show’s antagonist, he was the favorite amongst fans and had far and away the most successful career after the show.

Standing at 6′ 4”,the Stockholm born actor has a much more towering physique than Kellan Lutz, who played Emmett in the films.

As he already plays brooding and mysterious extremely well, letting Skarsgård show a comedic soft side would have given the actor the chance to stretch his wings.

7 Rachel McAdams As Rosalie Hale

Rising to fame four years before the first films release with her starring role in The Notebook and near-perfect teenage antagonist in Mean Girls, McAdams has had an incredible career in the 15 years since; including an Oscar nomination for Spotlight. The inclusion of a renowned thespian like McAdams would have been a welcome addition for the filmmakers as well as the fans.

McAdams may be, and have been back in 2008, a little old to play a vampire who was turned at the age of 18. However she played a high schooler at the age of 26 for Mean Girls, so just a few years more later wouldn’t have been much more of a stretch.

6 Henry Cavill As Carlisle Cullen

Henry Cavill may not have been the household name back then that he is now due to his DCEU fame, but Twilight could have been that jumpstart he needed.

Though Cavill may have had a hand in pretty huge blockbusters with Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Mission Impossible: Fallout, he had been in only one mainstream film pre 2010; Stardust.

Had they stayed faithful to the books, Cavill would have been a perfect casting.

With Carlisle being the make-shift patriarch of the Cullen coven, the filmmakers wanted to go with someone a bit older than the character in the books.

5 Amber Midthunder as Leah Clearwater

Leah is the only female shapeshifter in Quileute history, and played by Native actress Julia Jones. Jones is an incredible actress, but newcomer Amber Midthunder has thrusted onto the scene after appearing in Hell or High Water and FX’s Legion.

Leah is 21 in the books, thus Midthunder is the perfect age to play the young woman, if the film were to come out today.

Acting in both Sunshine Cleaning and Swing Vote in 2008, the actress was already in high profile films the same year of the first film’s release. Midthunder’s a fan favourite on Legion, so expect the young lady to take off in the future; who knows, maybe even in a remake of Twilight.

4 Steven Strait As Jacob Black

Taylor Lautner became an overnight sensation with the success of the Twilight films, but no one could deny that the actor’s performance lacked authenticity. Steven Strait may not be any more of a household name than Lautner was, but the actor had already starred in his own film, something Lautner hadn’t done when first cast.

Strait starred in the Roland Emmerich vehicle 10,000 BC, which didn’t get rave reviews but gave the actor the experience of being first billed. Strait may be a bit older than Lautner, but that maturity and experience surely would have helped the character command a scene.

3 K.J. Apa as Edward Cullen

Riverdale may be a new show, but the Netflix series is a refreshing and original way to adapt a beloved medium. K.J. Apa shines as Archie, the title character of the original comics and his personality and way he carries himself on the show would be downright perfect for the sensitive and loving vampire.

Apa is still a relative newcomer to the scene, but with Riverdale under his belt and a role in the new drama The Hate U give he’s turning himself into a familiar face. Pattinson was a fine Edward and his career has surely taken off since ending his tenure as a vampire, but he may have been a bit happier had someone else taken the role.

2 Emily Browning As Bella Swan

Emily Browning was infamously author Stephanie Meyer’s first choice to play the role of Bella, though it obviously didn’t come to fruition. The young actress who appeared in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sucker Punch, and Sleeping Beauty has had a very successful career by anyone’s standard, though has never been in a film quite as popular as Twilight.

The actress had this to say during a 2011 Indiewire interview: “The author at one point stated that I would be her ideal Bella, but I chose not to audition because I was at a point in my career where I wasn’t sure I wanted to work, I definitely didn’t want to sign onto a trilogy so I didn’t audition.”

Of course her wishes were respected, but one could only wonder what a Twilight saga with Browning at the helm could have looked like.

1 Millie Bobby Brown As Renesmee Cullen

That’s right, Millie Bobby Brown’s on here twice. She’s just that good!

This bit of casting could have potentially happened, with Brown being just six when Breaking Dawn: Part 2 was released.

Mackenzie Foy has matured into a great actress, but her performance in the film was a little flat. Renesmee in the book seemed to be smarter than her age; more advanced than she should be. This is something Brown would excel at, having done it for two seasons in Stranger Things.

Let’s be honest, anything would have been better than the CGI Renesmee at the beginning of her the last film.

Which actor do you wish could have had a major role in The Twilight Saga? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-05 08:10:45 – Mark A. Silba

10 Casting Decisions That Hurt The Iron Man Movies (And 10 That Saved Them)

The series that launched the MCU and ensured Marvel’s permanent place in comic book fan’s hearts, Iron Man was a success in every way. Even with a surplus of behind-the-scenes issues and frustrated actors, Iron Man became more than what anyone likely had anticipated. While its sequels are certainly divisive, even they achieved considerable success, with Iron Man 3 crossing the billion dollar mark.

While there are plenty of people to thank for making these films (and the MCU itself) possible, success would’ve been far less likely had the casting director chosen poorly. This is the case with any film, but when looking back in hindsight, the very framework and durability of a cinematic universe was decided with that initial film, so it’s very lucky they got who they did. Imagine if Tom Cruise ended up getting the role of Tony Stark, or if they ended up sticking closer to Nick Fury’s physical appearance in the comics. It likely wouldn’t have worked nearly as well.

That being said, not every casting decision worked out so perfectly. After all, simply casting a talented performer isn’t always enough. Someone may be extremely talented, but may not be suited to the material provided for the character, leading to an uneven overall product. For every RDJ, there’s someone who feels like they’d have been better utilized elsewhere. Let’s get into both types of casting choices for characters originating in Iron Man 1and explain why some decisions worked far better than others.

Here are 10 Casting Decisions That Hurt Iron Man Movies (And 10 That Saved Them).

20 Hurt: Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian

Sorry Killian, but you aren’t the Mandarin. This is the first of many examples of talented actors in this series who fell victim to characterization and writing. Pearce, while very good in other roles throughout his career, simply didn’t bring enough to the material he was provided.

He only had several key scenes to establish his character, but never brought anything memorable outside of a standard sly, evil businessman.

Due to a lack of any real compelling set-up for Killian, there’s no reason to fear or have any interest in him. Then, once he starts breathing fire and the plot gets a lot more outlandish, the audience isn’t willing to suspend their disbelief because there’s no reward in doing so. While Pearce could’ve been a strong choice, his mostly subtle approach to his performance was not the right portrayal to take.

19 Saved: Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Tony Stark may have the over-the-top confidence and personality of a superhero, but with Pepper Potts at his side, Tony’s grandiose nature is leveled out and he’s able to be human and relatable. Picking the right person for this role was likely no easy task as you’ve got to find the right counterbalance, but Gwyneth Paltrow thankfully was able to pull it off.

Her ability to effortlessly humble and humanize Tony feels natural and authentic. You feel that Pepper cares deeply for Tony, but will not hold back on calling him out for his transgressions. The relationship feels real and has blossomed across the films, allowing for one of the few properly developed romances in the MCU. Paltrow may not have been everyone’s first choice, but her chemistry with RDJ was too good to be without.

18 Hurt: Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen

The role of “assistant to the bad guy who eventually turns good” is rather cliché and predictable, but it doesn’t seem Iron Man 3 got the memo. The movie includes the character of Maya Hansen as someone to connect with on the Mandarin’s side, but much like her evil counterparts, there’s nothing to do but be increasingly bothered by what the antagonist is doing.

Quite frankly, Rebecca Hall never had a chance.

Much like Guy Pearce, Hall plays “troubled evil accomplice” subtly and in a movie that isn’t exactly subtle itself, her role gets drowned out in all the noise. There should’ve been interesting choices made with her character, but Hall plays her straight. Without any help from the writing given to her, Hall’s Hansen was an all-too-easily-forgotten presence.

17 Saved: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Black Widow spent years as the lone central female presence in the MCU. Introduced in Iron Man 2, the role had to be played by a multi-faceted talent. She’d have to nail action scenes, have a certain intimidation factor, and even have a bit of a sarcastic wit. Thankfully, Scarlett Johansson eventually got the role and she nailed it.

Johansson is able to adopt Black Widow’s personality in every way. Living up to her character’s training, her personality-switching abilities are unmatched. Her chemistry with fellow cast members is rather impressive as well, never allowing herself to feel out of place. Without her, the MCU would’ve lacked a strong female voice in the Avengers. Thankfully, that was never an issue.

16 Hurt: Terrence Howard as James Rhodes

Who knows if Terrence Howard may have ended up being a great Rhodey had he stuck around, but in Iron Man, War Machine just wasn’t there yet. Similar to another Iron Man cast member later on in this list, Howard never felt engaged with the project. Because of this, he never offered much value to the film.

Perhaps he was saving it for the sequels?

His relationship with the studio is infamously tense, leading to the character being recast in Iron Man 2. Nevertheless, his performance made a weak first impression, and sometimes that’s all you get before you’re cast aside.

15 Saved: Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S/Vision

J.A.R.V.I.S was an immediately likable presence thanks to Bettany’s soothing voice. Thanks to the A.I’s back-and-forth with Robert Downey Jr., audiences could connect with them without ever needing to really see him. Then, just to illustrate how perfect Bettany’s casting was, his role shifted onto the screen, and he nailed that as well.

Selling the” A.I with a soul” persona, Vision never feels like an outsider, but doesn’t just blend into the background either. A lesser actor wouldn’t have brought as much heart or finesse to the role at the level Bettany does. Even if he’s just a voice in a holographic display or a sweater-wearing android, Vision’s got a special place in fans’ hearts thanks to Paul Bettany.

14 Hurt: Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko

Iron Man 2 certainly suffered from a host of different issues, and Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko was unfortunately one of them. Again, writing is likely the biggest culprit here, as well as a disgruntled actor who grew tired of studio changes. Rourke credits Marvel for robbing Ivan Vanko of his depth in favor of making a more standard villain, and it’s difficult to say if he’s incorrect in that.

Mickey Rourke didn’t exactly provide a memorable on-screen villain with the scenes that were there.

Relatively one-note line delivery and hopelessly overshadowed by the film’s other antagonist (more on him later), Ivan Vanko only served to anchor Iron Man 2 even further from greatness.

13 Saved: Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

A background in comedic roles was likely behind Favreau’s decision to cast himself, but it ended up being the right call. There are only so many people who can handle Tony Stark on a regular basis, and Happy Hogan has to believably be one of them. Someone who isn’t Stark-esque but isn’t lacking in a sense of humor, Jon Favreau’s personal comedic style allowed for each IM film to hit multiple kinds of humor.

His value as a casting continues to prove itself as films like Spider-Man Homecoming where Favreau’s excellent, dry humor was a breath of fresh air. With many characters in the MCU offering the same style of humor, Happy’s comedic qualities are much appreciated. There may have been someone else who could’ve pulled the role off, but Favreau more than earned his keep.

12 Hurt: Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener

Casting child actors is no easy call, especially when they play such a prominent role. However, as recent projects like Stranger Things and It have shown, plenty of child actors can hold their own among older castmates.

Ty Simpkins in Iron Man 3 was disappointing as his performance never rose above “fine.”

While the great child actors transcend any labels put on them based on their age, Simpkins never goes for that goal. Instead, his Harley Keener is just a kid who doesn’t get on the audience’s nerves, but never does anything worth talking about. Hopefully Simpkins will nail the role when he reprises it in Avengers 4.

11 Saved: Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer

Why has the character of Justin Hammer not appeared outside of Iron Man 2? Hammer is easily one of the MCU’s most underrated personalities, and it’s all thanks to Sam Rockwell. The eventual Oscar-winner was no stranger to being criminally underrated, but surely execs noticed Rockwell’s undeniable charisma and screen presence?

After all, it’s no easy task trying to out-charisma Robert Downey Jr, but Rockwell came close. He took Justin Hammer, a character that could’ve just been another slimy executive persona, and make him still endlessly-enjoyable is a credit to the man’s talent. Rockwell truly makes any film better, and is likely the primary reason why anyone would ever call IM2 underrated.

Justin Hammer in Phase 4. Make it happen Disney.

10 Hurt: Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart

A consistent problem that has plagued the Iron Man movies is its consistent lack of strong female presences. Outside of Black Widow and Pepper Potts, there’s rarely any recurring characters even worth discussing. Christine Everhart is one of the few reappearing female characters, but she never goes beyond generic reporter/ex-fling. Leslie Bibb, although certainly not to blame for the writing, doesn’t elevate the material either.

Her role in each film is extremely minimal and her presence simply isn’t felt.

She’s another woman in Tony Stark’s life who he hooks up pre-Pepper and only served the role of “familiar face” in IM2. It’s unclear if this role could work in anyone’s hands, but Bibb never is able to get more out of the material and is too-forgettable as a result.

9 Saved: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Was there ever someone more qualified to recruit the Avengers than Sam Jackson? The concept of a live-action Avengers was a pipe dream, but the moment Nick Fury mentions The Avengers Initiative in IM, everyone believed it could happen. That’s an example of what Sam Jackson infuses in Nick Fury: credibility, authority, and authenticity.

Jackson’s ability to command the screen and demand the audience’s attention without saying a word is unquestionable. With Nick Fury, the actor portraying him needs to be able to do exactly that. The characterization and casting choice was so pitch-perfect. Jackson is Nick Fury, and fans didn’t dare to disagree with him.

8 Hurt: Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stone

Jeff Bridges gave Iron Man legitimacy, even if it was more because of his name and not because of his actual performance. His Obadiah Stone was a tstandard villain whose character arc never goes beyond exactly where you’d expect. In similar fashion, Bridges’ performance fits that same description.

Even The Dude can’t have a perfect track record. 

While his sheer presence is appreciated, he just never does anything interesting as the character. As previously mentioned, Iron Man suffered with numerous rewrites. This didn’t jive with Bridges’ preferred work format, but admitted that after he stopped taking the film seriously, he didn’t mind it. This indifference, while understandable, hurt the film overall as the primary villain’s actor didn’t care about the movie.

7 Saved: Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson

Coulson may not have been a super agent, but Clark Gregg brought an endearing quality to him that could’ve been sorely lacking otherwise. He’s able to give off an aura of professionalism, all while being able to drop it once he stops and fanboys over Captain America. There’s a mix of playfulness and effectiveness that Gregg manages to maintain.

There’s no Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without him, and while he may be absent in the current movie universe, his second life on television served him exceptionally well. Gregg’s balanced portrayal made him an excellent component for a series and offered a consistent presence throughout each season. With his return to the big screen coming in Captain Marvel, the MCU clearly loves him.

6 Hurt: Garry Shandling as Senator Stern

Garry Shandling was an exceptionally funny person, but when watching him in Iron Man 2, you get the feeling there are hundreds of places he’d rather be. With his very one-note line delivery and visible disinterest, he doesn’t seem interested in anything going on in the film.

It’s not a major role, so it’s easier to ignore, but it’s still noticeable.

Shandling was an inspired casting for the role, but it ultimately comes across as him doing a favor for someone rather than him doing something he felt passionate about. Overall, it may have been better if they went for someone who was at least interested in doing something with the role, rather than merely existing in it.

5 Saved: Ben Kingsley as Mandarin/Trevor

The Mandarin plot twist in Iron Man 3 will always be divisive and will never work for everyone. Hate it, love it, to each their own. However, something that must be acknowledged by both sides is Ben Kingsley’s extremely underrated performance as both sides of the character. When he’s the Mandarin, Kingsley is exceptionally intimidating and believable. When switched to the absent-minded Trevor, there’s no lack of authenticity.

Kingsley is the primary reason why this twist works in any sense. The duality he showed in this role allowed both sides of the “Mandarin” to be drastically different, yet still believably portrayed by the same person. If the role went to anyone below Kingsley’s talent level, it would’ve been irredeemable in every sense. If there’s anything to be thankful for, it’s that Kingsley’s the one who got the job.

4 Hurt: Faran Tahir as Raza

The last underwritten villain on the list, Raza was another character that likely could’ve been much more, had his role been altered. Unfortunately, Faran Tahir’s version of Raza ended up being  a stock war-hungry antagonist. They’re obsessed with violence and destruction, but isn’t really much more than that.

To be fair, there wasn’t a whole lot for Tahir to do, but in the hands of someone else, this role may not have have felt quite so superfluous.

The guy’s a descendent of Genghis Khan, so there should’ve been interesting directions taken with him. After considering his role was more of a red herring, taking the place of the “real” villain, he feels even less purposeful. It seems that Marvel’s villain weakness originated here.

3 Saved: Don Cheadle as James Rhodes (2.0)

They didn’t get it quite right the first time, but it seems the second time’s the charm. Don Cheadle’s Rhodey, much like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper, serves as a perfect counterbalance to Tony Stark’s constant gears-turning personality. He’s the straight man in the comedic duo, but isn’t lacking in personality or humor. His chemistry with RDJ is essential too, allowing the films to include banter that can properly service this connection between actors.

Where Terrence Howard failed to add that necessary memorability, Cheadle opens himself up so Rhodey never gets lost in the background. This is why even when his character goes beyond the IM movies, he’s able to hold own among even the Avengers. He earns his place, and is treated like one of them.

2 Hurt: William Sadler as Ellis

The role of national leader in a film tends to be equal to including the Statue of Liberty in a disaster movie: they’re going to be taken, destroyed, or both. They’re typically disposable characters that don’t have much to do except eventually be in danger. William Sadler’s Ellis isn’t much different in this category, but also never really feels like a real leader.

His presence never feels like it reaches a true level of authority and he’s just relegated to hostage duty.

He lacks the over-the-top nature of Bill Pullman’s president in Independence Day and simply just exists so the plot can escalate. Not everyone needs to be over the top, but Sadler’s Ellis just never went beyond what you’d expect.

1 Saved: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

It’s difficult to think about the MCU without Robert Downey Jr. at its core. The sarcastic, grandiose Tony Stark became the universe’s foundation, and only RDJ could have pulled it off with such flair.

Although now it feels like a no-brainer casting, this was a pretty bold casting back in ’07.

RDJ was on the mend and there was a lot of pressure on the project. Yet, director Jon Favreau fought for the casting and took the risk. Downey was already well-regarded for his charisma, and he was able to turn it up to eleven with Stark. He avoids being one-note too as there’s a noticeable maturity that has gradually developed across nine appearances throughout the MCU. He’ll be making his tenth (and possibly final) appearance in next year’s sequel to Infinity War.

Who’s your favorite actor in the Iron Man movies? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-01 06:10:01 – Kevin McCasland