Overwatch’s New Anti-Cheat System Sounds Great in Theory

Blizzard released another developer update for Overwatch last week, detailing a number of changes for the summer season of the game and a new anti-cheat system. An update video like this has been expected, with the upcoming annual Summer Games event and a rumored thirty-first playable hero on the horizon.

Ever since the release of the game in 2016, Blizzard has been trying to combat the influx of Overwatch‘s cheaters and toxic players. Given the longstanding popularity of Overwatch, it’s not surprising that these elements of the player base continue to be a problem for the rest of its community. But this problem is still a top priority for Blizzard, and the developer has been diligent in working out ways to deal with it, including a streamlined reporting feature and the implementation of a rating system for players with good behavior.

Related: The Best Overwatch Fan Forums

The latest video in director Jeff Kaplan’s ongoing series of updates highlights Blizzard’s most recent attempt to curb cheaters: an automatic shutdown system for matches where cheating is detected. If the server picks up on any kind of illicit actions that break the fundamental rules of the game, such as aimbots or wallhacks, it will automatically shut down the match. None of the players on either team will be penalized for the match shutdown, so their ranks and ratings will not be impacted in competitive modes. This feature has been live on Overwatch‘s Public Test Realm for a little while, but Kaplan says it will be added to the full version soon and that it will be the next major evolution of cheat detection in the game.

The idea has gotten a broadly positive reception within the Overwatch community, many of whom are no strangers to playing with (and against) cheaters. A Reddit post discussing the feature is filled with the comments of people sharing their thoughts and experiences with cheating, and their gratitude to Blizzard for its uncommon dedication to keeping the game as fair as possible. However, others have raised legitimate doubts about this feature; many are afraid of false positives within the system and worry about how it could be exploited.

While this may be the most comprehensive anti-cheat method that Overwatch has had yet, it remains to be seen how effective it really is. As any sufficiently popular multiplayer game ages, it will attract more and more cheaters looking for holes in the system. It’ll be great if this system can consistently identify and shut down cheating properly, but it will get very frustrating very quickly if it gets too many false positives.

Next: Blizzard Working on Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, Cancelled StarCraft FPS

Source: PlayOverwatch/YouTube, Reddit

2019-07-15 01:07:43

Connor Trinske

Big Bang Theory: 10 Hidden Details About The Main Characters Everyone Missed

The Big Bang Theory ended its 12th and final season this year. But the show still lives on within our hearts, and through re-runs, of course. For diehard fans, there aren’t may days that go by when we don’t wonder what our favorite gang of nerds is up to. What would they be doing now?

Now that the show is done, though, there is plenty of time to dig through old episodes and take a look at things we may have missed. Like many long-running shows, there are tons of Easter Eggs and small references that make sense in retrospect. As a result, we’ve found plenty of hidden details throughout the show that takes a true, hardcore fan to truly notice. Take a look at these interesting hidden details about all of the main characters.

RELATED: Big Bang Theory: 10 Times The Show Broke Our Hearts


Bernadette is known for her high-pitched, squeaky voice. In an interview on The Rubin Report, Melissa Rauch stated that she chose to model her signature squeaky voice after her mother’s voice. But it wasn’t always like that. When Bernadette first appears on the show, her voice is different. We first meet her in season three, episode five, “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary” when Penny sets her up with Howard. At this point, she does not have her signature voice and is speaking in Rauch’s regular voice. This goes on for a few episodes until she suddenly develops the squeakier tone. According to some interviews with Rauch over the years, she developed it to give her character a more fun edge. There’s just no real explanation why it just suddenly starts like this when she originally spoke normally.


This was a very small reveal that they mentioned just once, and if you didn’t catch it you may have never realized it. In season two, episode three, “The Barbarian Sublimation,” Penny becomes addicted to the online game Age of Conan. As with many addictive online role-playing games, her obsession consumes her life. Sheldon relentlessly tries to get her to stop bothering him. When Leonard heads across the hall to talk to her, Penny is clearly very annoyed and states, “Queen Penelope AFK.” This reveals not only that her screen name is Queen Penelope, but that Penny is short for Penelope. However, it’s only ever used this one time throughout the entire series.


In season six, episode five, “The Holographic Excitation,” Sheldon and Amy are trying to decide what couple’s costume to go as for Halloween. They are arguing in front of a Venn diagram on Sheldon’s whiteboard, and under Amy’s column if you look closely you can see “Blossom and Joey” written down. Mayim Bialik, the actress who plays Amy, actually played Blossom Russo on the ’90s sitcom. Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard, was also part of the main cast of Blossom back in the day.

RELATED: Big Bang Theory: 10 Most Underrated Supporting Characters

This isn’t the first time someone mentions Blossom, either. In season one, episode three, “The Bat Jar Conjecture,” the gang is trying to find a replacement for Sheldon on their Physics Bowl team, and Raj suggests getting “TV’s Blossom” because he heard that she is a real-life neuroscientist and is actually really smart (she is). Leonard calls him out and tells him, “We’re not getting TV’s Blossom to join our Physics Bowl team.” This takes place long before Bialik joins the cast, so it’s either a super pre-planned joke, or a happy coincidence.


Every time the guys are shown dressed up in costumes, it’s always a DC character. You’ve got Sheldon in his Flash costume, which shows up repeatedly over the years. During the first season, in episode six, “The Middle-Earth Paradigm,” Penny invites the guys to a Halloween party. When they’re getting ready to head over, they all realize they chose Flash costumes and argue over who has to change. In season four, episode 11, “The Justice League Recombination,” the guys enter a contest at the comic book store dressed as the Justice League of America. Raj is dressed as Aquaman, which isn’t the only time he wears that costume, either. Later on, when trying to earn money for Comic-Con tickets, Raj wears it to promote the comic book store.

All of this DC fandom isn’t an accident. The Big Bang Theory is owned by CBS, which is part of Warner Bros., who also own DC Comics.


If you look very closely, you may notice that Leonard’s glasses never actually have lenses in them. That’s because Johnny Galecki doesn’t actually wear glasses in real life, but Leonard does wear them. Galecki told The Huffington Post that he originally wanted Leonard to wear glasses, and began showing up at rehearsals with fake glasses. The producers had originally thought he was just wearing them for rehearsals, but he insisted Leonard should have glasses. Perhaps it was to cement his nerdy stereotype. Either way, this was a character-defining accessory. However, Galecki soon realized that since Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, is so much taller than him. So, there was a glare on the lenses every time he had to look up at him. He decided to pop the lenses out. From that point on, no lenses existed. And that’s that.


Next time you watch a scene in Penny’s kitchen, take a look at the fridge. You can see pictures of her with Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, and Melissa Rauch. There are also a ton of the behind-the-scenes crew members. This works, since many of those people are characters on the show and it’s realistic that Penny would want to have pictures with them on her fridge. The behind-the-scenes folks pass as Penny’s friends. Once Amy and Sheldon moved into that apartment and Penny moved across the hall, the fridge became noticeably bare. However, those pictures did end up on Penny and Leonard’s fridge and you can still see them in certain scenes.


This one shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Howard’s childhood bedroom is full of female action figures. There is a strong lack of male figures. Noticeable figures include Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl. Look closely at the side table on the right side of the bed, and you’ll see tons of female heads sticking up. This is also on top of the posters of various women, from Marilyn Monroe to Betty Boop (and the infamous Halle Berry poster on the ceiling). For a guy known for being girl-crazy, this just fits the bill.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: 5 Best Friendships (And 5 Worst)


Okay, so we all know Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment flag. It’s a blue background with a gold lion. They have it in a real flag form, but it’s also on the fridge in magnet form. During tense moments, like when two characters are fighting, the flag magnet is actually shown upside down. In the flashback episode to the day Leonard moved in, Sheldon explains to him that the flag should never be upside down unless in times of distress. In season ten, episode ten, “The Property Division Collision,” Leonard and Sheldon are arguing over their divided property and Leonard ends up draping himself in the flag naked to anger Sheldon.


Most people know that Kaley Cuoco is a huge horseback riding enthusiast and owns several horses. In 2010, she broke her leg in a horseback riding accident. According to Cuoco, she fell off her horse and was fine, until the horse stepped on her leg and broke it. Instead of writing it in the script, the producers chose to have her take on some bartending shifts at the Cheesecake Factory so they could shoot her from the waist up. So, if you’re wondering why the sudden jump to bartending in season four, that’s why. Seems like a pretty simple fix. We’re glad she was okay – that could have been a lot worse.


For those who have watched the show all the way through, you know that the marvelous Kathy Bates played Amy’s over-the-top mother. However, the first time we meet Amy’s mom, it’s a different actress. It seems as though the personalities changed as well, because the first time Amy’s mom shows up, she’s very quiet and timid. And we know that Kathy Bates’ version was anything but that. This isn’t something that a lot of people noticed, but it definitely happened.

NEXT: 10 Highest-Grossing Disney Animated Movies Ever

2019-07-14 03:07:48

Lesley Cornelius

Krypton May Have Disproven Superman Grandmother Theory

A game-changing cliffhanger in Wednesday’s episode of Syfy’s Krypton may have disproven a theory about Superman’s heritage. The death of Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell) would mean that a different character will become Superman’s grandmother.

Like FOX’s Gotham, the Superman prequel series dives deep into the mythos behind one of DC’s flagship heroes by exploring the people who play a role in his creation. As Krypton takes place 200 years before the era of the Man of Steel, the circumstances behind Superman’s birth remain ambiguous. Seeing how Seg-El’s journey will lead to the destruction of Krypton and the rise of Superman is one of the show’s biggest draws for DC fans.

RELATED: Krypton Turns A Superman Villain Into The Greatest Weapon Against Zod

In Krypton season 2, episode 5, “A Better Yesterday”, Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham) threatens General Zod (Colin Salmon) with the life of his mother, Lyta, in order to bring an end to the civil war between Zod’s forces and the rebels. Zod agrees to her demands but secretly tries to deceive her. When this deception is discovered by Jax-Ur, she retaliates by slitting Lyta’s throat. The episode ended before her death can be confirmed.

There is ample reason to believe that Lyta will somehow survive. Though her situation is dire to say the least, it should be pointed out that if Lyta were to die, it would stand to reason for Zod to be erased from the timeline. Regardless, cast members have teased on Twitter that the show will never be the same again, which strengthens the case that Lyta-Zod is no more.

Lyta’s death would be a huge moment for the show, and not just because it will be followed by massive repercussions in regards to Seg (Cameron Cuffe), Zod, Jayna (Ann Ogbomo), and more. Her potential death could debunk one theory about Superman’s grandparents. For fans, Lyta and Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day) are the two main candidates to be Superman’s paternal grandmother, since they’re both love interests of Seg, his grandfather. It’s already known that Seg and Lyta will have one child, Zod, which would at least make him Jor-El’s half-brother. It’s possible that Jor-El too is Lyta’s son, which would deepen the family ties between Superman and Zod.

It may not necessarily come as a surprise if Lyta isn’t Superman’s grandmother, since many believed that their forbidden romance was doomed to fail in the first place. In the years that follow, Seg could end up with Nyssa — or a completely different Kryptonian woman — and she could become the mother of Superman’s father, Jor-El.

MORE: Krypton Teases A Threat Worse Than Zod

2019-07-13 04:07:44

Nicholas Raymond

Avengers 5 Theory: Endgame Set Up Kang As Marvel Phase 4’s Villain

Avengers: Endgame might have set up the villain for Marvel’s Phase 4, with its time-travel plot paving the way for Kang the Conqueror to be the antagonist of Avengers 5. With Thanos and the Infinity Stones over with, the MCU is in need of a new Big Bad for whatever form the next Avengers movie takes, and Kang would fit the bill nicely.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Marvel will replace Thanos, who proved a major hit as a villain, especially in Avengers: Infinity War, with lots of talk about characters such as Galactus, Annihilus, or even Norman Osborn. There’s no shortage of villain options for the MCU, but since they like to tease things before they happen, it’s worth looking back at Avengers: Endgame and what it might be setting up.

Related: How Marvel Phase 4 Will Avoid Avengers Fatigue

Thanks to its use of time-travel, one of the biggest hints is to Kang the Conqueror, a villain who is all about traveling through time, and would be a big enough threat to take on the Avengers. Although his rights were with Fox, the Disney takeover means he’s very much in play, and there’s a chance he’s already shaping into the villain of MCU Phase 4 and Avengers 5.

In Kang the Conqueror’s first Marvel Comics appearance, he wasn’t called Kang at all. Debuting in Fantastic Four #19, he went by the name Rama-Tut. Real name Nathaniel Richards (he might be a descendant of Reed Richards), he traveled back in time to Ancient Egypt, becoming the Pharoh and taking the future-Apocalypse as his heir. It wasn’t until The Avengers #8 a year later that Kang the Conqueror would formally appear, fighting an Avengers line-up that included Thor, Wasp, and Spider-Man (all heroes who’ll be present in the MCU’s Phase 4), but then having various identities is kind of Kang’s thing.

Other iterations of the character include Immortus, a future version of Kang who resides in Limbo, and Iron Lad, who was an original part of the Young Avengers team. There’s also Victor Timely, the mayor of a small town Kang established as a place to go for some down time. The reason for having multiple alter-egos is that Kang the Conqueror is a time-traveler, and alongside these versions are multiple duplicates of Kang, with each journey through time creating a new one.

Although Richards doesn’t actually possess any typical superpowers, he is a genius who specializes in time-travel, and possesses a time-ship that allows him to visit any century, through which he’s able to collect an array of different weapons and armors to give himself enhanced abilities, utilizing incredibly advanced technology that no one else has access to or can match. He’s also able to recruit different armies, which leads to him conquering different time periods, and further enables him to go toe-to-toe with superheroes. That, combined with his ability to time-travel better than anyone else, makes him a compelling choice for The Avengers 5.

Related: Spider-Man: Far From Home Makes Black Widow’s Endgame Death Worse

Avengers: Endgame fully introduced time-travel to the MCU. Although this had already been shown with Doctor Strange and the Time Stone, it took on a much greater importance here, and by utilizing the Quantum Realm it established a means of time-travel existing without the use of an Infinity Stone (which is handy given they’ve been destroyed). However, along with establishing this new form of time-travel, it also meant creating multiple timelines.

As the Ancient One explained in Avengers: Endgame, every time the Avengers take an Infinity Stone from its place in the timeline, a new branch reality is created. In theory, these are closed by Captain America returning the Stones back to their correct place in time, but it’s not quite so simple. We see Loki take the Tesseract and disappear, while Cap decides to stay in the past of another reality (if you listen to the Russos’ explanation, at least), which leaves two of these branches very much in play. Add in the Thanos from 2014 making the leap to the present of 2023, and there are potentially three (and maybe even more) timelines created in Avengers: Endgame that still exist in the MCU.

That’s on top of the different dimensions that were already established by Doctor Strange (the Dark Dimension) and Ant-Man (the Quantum Realm), meaning that despite how Spider-Man: Far From Home treats it, the multiverse does indeed exist in the MCU, which means there’s scope for a villain like Kang the Conqueror to exploit that and emerge in Avengers 5.

With time-travel and multiple timelines now firmly established within the MCU, then the chances of Kang the Conqueror appearing in Phase 4 are greatly increased, because both of those elements allow for him to turn up at just about any point. Following on from Thanos and the Infinity Stones, then it’s unlikely Marvel will be setting up their next villain in such a direct, all-encompassing way, but since they already have everything needed to introduce Kang then he makes perfect sense as the next antagonist.

Related: Endgame’s Time Travel Doesn’t Make Sense Because Marvel Changed It

Phase 4 will be switching between expanding the cosmic arm of the MCU (The Eternals, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Doctor Strange 2) and telling smaller, more street-level stories (Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Spider-Man 3). In Kang the Conqueror, Marvel would be getting themselves a villain who can do both: as a time-traveler, he fits in with the former, but since he’s also an Earth-origin character without real superpowers, he doesn’t feel too big for the latter.

The Eternals is a cosmic MCU prequel, so there’s a chance of them further developing ideas around time-travel and different dimensions, and likewise Doctor Strange 2. Loki, the Disney+ TV series, is another way Phase 4 can indirectly tease Kang. Looking at the planned Disney+ MCU series, they all have some sense of purpose: Falcon & Winter Soldier is about establishing the new Captain America; Hawkeye will be setting up Young Avengers. Loki is oddly separate from that because he’s just off on his own, but Kevin Feige has promised these shows will have an impact on the MCU. Since Loki will be in a different timeline, then by using that as one of the building blocks of Kang gives it a place in the grander scheme of things. It’s also worth noting that Kang has connections to the Fantastic Four, and with the Fox deal being completed things have fallen nicely into place for him to appear, although Marvel’s First Family showing up in the MCU still feels like it’s a long way off.

It’s unclear as yet just how the Avengers will be shaping up in Phase 4, but Avengers 5 will happen at some point. It’ll need to pull together a group of different heroes and disparate strands, and Kang being the villain can link Phase 4 and Avengers 5 all the way back to Avengers: Endgame, which is the kind of storytelling and world-building Marvel love to do. If he turns up in Avengers 5, then it connects things together, and most importantly gives the Avengers an all-new threat to face who’d be different to Thanos, but still worthy of the team-up.

More: The Multiverse In Spider-Man: Far From Home Explained

2019-07-13 04:07:30

James Hunt

Big Bang Theory: 10 Times The Show Broke Our Hearts | ScreenRant

Big Bang Theory entertained viewers for 12 seasons as they enjoyed watching a group of geeky scientists and physicists blurt out words we couldn’t understand and discuss comic books, Star Trek, and Star Wars in greater depth than most people ever care to do.

The series was, for the most part, totally and utterly hilarious as we watched the guys try and meet girls, the girls put up with the guys’ antics, and the group go through everything from starting families to winning the Pulitzer Prize. But like any other sitcom, there were a few tough, touching, and even heartbreaking moments.

RELATED: Big Bang Theory: 10 Most Underrated Supporting Characters

As we finally accept that the series will not be returning with new episodes, and enjoy continuing to hear Sheldon’s voice narrating the spin-off series Young Sheldon, here’s a look at ten times the series broke our hearts instead of made us laugh.

10 When Amy Broke Up With Sheldon

Sheldon might have taken Amy for granted one too many times, but when Amy decided to call it quits, clearly a difficult decision for her, it gave us all the feels. It shocked Sheldon, finally making him realize what he had.

Or maybe he knew all along? Because breaking our hearts even more is when it was revealed that Sheldon had been keeping an engagement ring in his drawer, with obvious plans to give it to Amy some time soon. Of course as we all know, they eventually got back together. Phew!

9 When Zack Wanted Penny To Be His Surrogate

It seemed like an almost silly idea: that Penny’s ex-boyfriend would turn up, asking Penny to be a surrogate for he and his wife who are unable to have kids due to his infertility. But what really makes this story break our hearts is when Penny actually considers it and has an important discussion with Leonard about not wanting to ever have children of her own.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory: 5 Best Friendships (And 5 Worst) 

Leonard’s disappointment as he tries to rectify his love for his wife with his obvious desire to be a father is truly heartbreaking. Those who watched the show right through to the end know that, spoiler alert, Penny doesn’t go through with it (and they change their mind), even after Leonard comes to terms with her decision. And Penny reveals that she’ s pregnant in the series finale, thanks to a happy accident.

8 When Sheldon Gave His Pulitzer Prize-Winning Speech

Anyone who watched the series from the beginning who didn’t shed at least a few tears at Sheldon’s Pulitzer prize speech is a complete monster! It was so touching and selfless, which are two qualities Sheldon had rarely, if ever, shown before. Instead of touting his abilities, smarts, and intellect, he turned the focus to his friends who all contributed to his success in different ways and allowed them each to take a bow.

It broke our hearts mainly because it was a major breakthrough for the character, and signaled the end of the series that has been part of the primetime line-up for 12 seasons. Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS

7 When Amy Told Sheldon People Just Tolerate Him

After Sheldon angers his friends by acting selfish, downplaying Leonard’s and Penny’s baby news, he has a heated argument in his hotel room with Amy. Livid, Amy finally tells Sheldon that he takes his friends for granted when really, they just tolerate him. Ouch.

Sheldon was clearly hurt by her statement, and finally realized that he was being a jerk and thinking of no one but himself, as he has throughout much of his adult life. It was a rude awakening for Sheldon, but just in the nick of time for him to use his Pulitzer Prize-winning speech to make good with those who have supported him along the way.

6 When Sheldon Mourned the Death of Professor Proton

Professor Proton, who had a kid’s science show when Sheldon was growing up, was a role model for him. He completely related to all of the science stuff that was discussed on the show and was glued to the television whenever it came on. Then, later in life, Sheldon actually got to meet the real Professor Proton.

RELATED: The Big Bang Theory Ending Hasn’t Hit Jim Parsons Yet

And even though Professor Proton had become nothing more than a washed out former TV star, Sheldon still idolized him. So when he learned of Professor Proton’s passing, Sheldon was understandably quite upset. In fact, it’s one of the only moments in the show when we truly see real sadness in Sheldon.

5 When Sheldon Hid In the Bathroom at His Own Surprise Birthday Party

Sheldon told all of his friends that he didn’t like surprise parties, but they didn’t listen and threw one for him anyway. It completely backfired as Sheldon ran out of the room and hid in the bathroom for the remainder of the event.

Penny being the one who was finally able to get through to Sheldon and console him in his time of need was one of the sweetest moments of the series. But it was still so sad to see how Sheldon’s past and growing up without many, if any, friends, had really affected him.

4 Whenever Leonard Saw His Mother

It was hard not to feel Leonard’s years of pain and neglect every time he came in contact with his cold and distant mother.  A respected neuroscientist and award-winning psychiatrist and author, she used Leonard as her guinea pig through much of his life, experimenting on different ways to parent to analyze the outcomes for her research.

She continued to do so even through adulthood, drudging up painful memories for Leonard. So whenever he saw her, it was heartbreaking, particularly in the last scene with the two together when Leonard finally realized that he needed to forgive her in order to move forward. They then embraced for likely the first time in a long time, if ever.

3 When Leonard and Penny Broke Up

Viewers all knew Leonard and Penny were destined to be together. So when they broke up after Leonard had worked so hard to win her affections, it was heartbreaking.

RELATED: Big Bang Theory: 10 Jokes That Have Already Aged Poorly

Penny sobbed like a child because of it. But what was even more heartbreaking that it wasn’t because they fell out of love, but because Penny believed that she couldn’t be what Leonard needed, and felt she wasn’t good enough. And to twist the knife in further, it was after Leonard told her he loved her for the first time. Excuse me while I get something out of my eye.

2 When Howard Revealed Details About His Past

Break out the tissues. Howard sat the gang down and told them the story of his absent father, who abandoned he and his mother when he was 11, leaving him to spend much of his adolescence longingly waiting for his father’s return (that never came).

On his 18th birthday, Howard’s father wrote him a letter, but he revealed to the group that he destroyed it before ever reading what it said. However, not before he allowed Sheldon to read the letter.

The gang than touchingly run through scenarios with Howard about what the letter might have said. But we never really find out the truth, nor does Howard. And everyone else is just fine with that.

1 When Howard’s Mom Died

Arguably the saddest moment of the entire series was when Howard found out that has mom passed away. What made it especially sad was that all of the emotions were real, as the actor who voiced his mom passed away in real life.

It broke our hearts not only to see Howard’s reaction, but that of all of his friends. Even Sheldon was surprisingly good at consoling his friend, relating to Howard to lean on his friends to help him through, as Sheldon didn’t have any friends to support him when his own father passed away.

NEXT: Big Bang Theory: Jim Parsons Reveals Why He Didn’t Want to Return for Season 13

2019-07-11 01:07:54

Christine Persaud

Star Wars 9 Theory: Snoke Was Actually Palpatine All Along

Supreme Leader Snoke was seemingly killed off unceremoniously in the climax of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, leaving a major mystery about who he really was and what his motives were, but with Palpatine confirmed to be back in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, could the two characters have more in common than fans assumed?

Some Star Wars fans were upset when Kylo Ren killed Supreme Leader Snoke before they could get more answers about who he was or where he came from, but now that Palpatine is back, we can forget everything we thought we knew about the sequel trilogy. There’s clearly more at play here than was apparent with Snoke, and the answers could be even more of a twist than fans expected.

RELATED: Star Wars Canon Already Explained How The Emperor Survived Return Of The Jedi

We don’t know much about his role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yet, but his ominous cackle at the end of the first teaser trailer opens up a world of new possibilities.

  • This Page: Palpatine’s Survival Changes Everything We Know About the Sequel Trilogy
  • Page 2: Palpatine-as-Snoke Answers Every Big Snoke Mystery

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The First Order is presented as an organization that grew out of the ashes of the defeated Empire after it retreated into the Unknown Regions, and their return to the galaxy to destroy the New Republic was a mystery.

Now that Palpatine is back, there’s a complete shift of context. Thanks to Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath book trilogy, which took place shortly after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi we know Palpatine was seeking a dark power in the Unknown Regions and was seeking to find a way to navigate to it. The route was long and treacherous, so it took decades of research and calculations, but he finally found a way, laying out a plan for the Empire to retreat there in the event of his death.

Known as the “Contingency,” Palpatine’s plan was full of revenge, mystical ceremonies, and assassination plots all intended to destroy the New Republic and what was left of the Empire, with only some hand-picked loyal followers selected to retreat into the Unknown Regions to create a new Empire. One of his followers, a Sith cultist named Yupe Tashu, was convinced Palpatine wasn’t actually dead and they’d find him in the Unknown Regions:

“Palpatine lives on. We will find him again out there in the dark. Everything has arranged itself as our Master foretold. All things move toward the grand design. The sacrifices have all been made.”

If this is the case and this was all just part of Palpatine’s plan, that means the First Order itself and likely its mission in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi was also according to his will, whether directly or indirectly. But how does Snoke fit into all of this? Did Palpatine simply allow someone else to lead his reborn Empire, were they working together? Or is there more to their relationship?

Palpatine may have lived beyond his fall into the chasm in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but it seems likely his body was destroyed, meaning his consciousness would be in search of a new host. This is an idea that was already heavily explored in the now non-canon Expanded Universe, AKA “Legends,” stories. A popular concept created by the comic Dark Empire saw Palpatine survive by transferring his consciousness into the body of a clone, and something similar to that seems like the most logical route for the sequel trilogy to follow.

RELATED: George Lucas May Have Already Retconned Palpatine’s Death

Gallius Rax, the man Palpatine brought up since he was a child with the sole purpose of executing his Contingency for him, didn’t believe in the same mystical aspects of Palpatine as Yupe Tashu did, but he still used Tashu’s belief to keep the cultist in line, indicating they planned to go to the Unknown Regions to “find Palpatine and revivify him, bringing his soul back to flesh anew,” suggesting Palpatine would be formless and need new flesh.

Whether this new flesh is custom-grown as a clone, an unwilling sacrifice from someone Palpatine chooses to possess, or something else entirely remains to be seen, but one possibility that clears up a surprising number of dangling questions is that Palpatine chose to inhabit Snoke’s body.

Page 2 of 2: Palpatine-as-Snoke Answers Every Big Snoke Mystery

Snoke’s minimal backstory seems to have some significant connection to the events depicted in the rest of the Skywalker saga, yet he’s not a character we’d ever seen or heard of before. Even the books, comics, and animation, which take a much deeper dive into areas not explored in the movies, don’t reveal who Snoke is or introduce any new characters that could turn out to be Snoke.

Not only does Snoke have a connection to past events, but he also appears to hold a sort of grudge against the Skywalkers and the New Republic. He knows that if Luke Skywalker returns, he will create a new generation of Jedi, and he chooses Ben Solo, the Skywalker heir, to lead his forces, corrupting him and turning him to the dark side.

The only person who cleanly fits this bill is Palpatine. He has a clear bone to pick with the Skywalkers and the New Republic, which grew out of the Rebel Alliance, and is already adept at turning Skywalkers to the dark side. The Aftermath trilogy also describes Leia feeling her baby under some kind of attack from the dark side, and before it was revealed Palpatine was alive, fans naturally assumed it was Snoke, but it really makes more sense if it was Vader’s former dark lord, coming for his apprentice’s grandson.

One of the more curious aspects of Snoke was his disfigurement. He’s a species of alien that hasn’t been featured previously, but his head and face, and possibly even more of his body, bear the marks of great injury, and upon close inspection, it’s hard to understand why he’s even alive. He has what appears to be a major gash, which has caved in his skull, making a canyon down his forehead, chunks of his face missing, particularly at his cheeks, and a similarly mangled neck.

RELATED: Star Wars 9 Theory: Palpatine Never Existed, It Was Always Darth Plagueis

His injuries appeared significant enough to have killed a normal person, and while he was quite powerful in the Force, he resembles a re-animated corpse more than he does a battle-scarred being. Could Palpatine have possessed his dead body, or maybe even have caused the injuries as he took control?

We can only speculate at this point, since there’s no clear evidence for how or why Palpatine would have assumed control of Snoke’s body, but Palpatine sent his forces into the Unknown Regions, his close followers believed he’d be reborn there, then 30 years later, the Empire re-emerges at as the First Order, led by a powerful dark side Force user who corrupts a young Skywalker, takes him as an apprentice, and desires to destroy Luke Skywalker and the New Republic.

Interestingly, Snoke wore an obsidian ring on his finger, which the Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary revealed had two major Palpatine connections. First, the obsidian came from beneath Vader’s castle on Mustafar, a planet Palpatine had significant investment in. The ring was also engraved with glyphs used by the Four Sages of Dwartii, who Palpatine admired and had statues of in his office when he was Supreme Chancellor.

So, while there’s no clear connection, the circumstantial evidence (and lack of evidence in some cases) more than speaks for itself.

The big question this theory creates, though, is “if Snoke was Palpatine, why did he maintain the identity of Snoke instead of declaring himself Emperor Palpatine reborn?” The declaration would not only strike fear in the hearts of the New Republic, but also attract the support of some of the galaxy’s remaining Imperial loyalists.

The biggest answer to this is Ben Solo. Whether for simple cruel poetry, or because he actually needs the raw power of Ben Solo, Palpatine would have had a lot more trouble turning Ben to the dark side if he didn’t mask his true identity. Ben idolized Darth Vader, and while his grandfather was also evil, we know a younger Anakin Skywalker had ideals that survived his transformation into Vader. Vader wanted to recruit Luke and overthrow the Emperor, which he eventually did. Using the Snoke identity and the pull to Vader, Palpatine would have been able to lure in Ben Solo to his service.

RELATED: Kylo Ren Is Already Failing Himself Before Star Wars 9 Even Begins

But Ben was still torn. It wasn’t until the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that he seemed to truly, fully embrace the darkness. By this time, Palpatine will have moved to a new host and can reveal himself to Kylo Ren, either to gain his true allegiance or to contest him for control of the First Order.

There’s really no conclusive evidence to prove Snoke wasn’t Palpatine, but much of that is due to the lack of information about Snoke in general. The small hints about his history and identity are enough to find similarities to Palpatine, but also too minimal to make a conclusive statement one way or the other. So, while the strongest argument against the theory is that it requires a number of assumptions to fill in the blanks, the fact that the Palpatine is Snoke theory also satisfactorily answers or expands on some of the biggest mysteries surrounding Snoke makes it too compelling to dismiss.

NEXT: Star Wars 9 Theory: Kylo Ren Is Redeemed… Because of Darth Revan

2019-04-25 05:04:41

Stephen M. Colbert

MCU Theory: Thanos Sent Hulk To Ragnarok on Purpose

The Avengers: Endgame is giving Marvel’s heroes another shot at taking Thanos down for good, but nobody is aching for a rematch like Hulk. If their second fight goes the way we expect, it might confirm once and for all that Bruce Banner’s trip across space was no accident–it was Thanos attempting to remove the most formidable Avenger from the game.

Some might scoff at our speculation, since Hulk wasn’t even a factor in the Infinity War battles. But just because Bruce Banner and Hulk failed to work together in time to prevent the Thanos Snap, that doesn’t mean there was never a chance to pull it off. And if Thanos is as smart as he claims to be, the events of the MCU leading to Infinity War would be all the evidence he needed to decide on his biggest threat. Starting with the fact that when it comes to the gamma-powered Avenger, it isn’t the Hulk half that Thanos actually needed to worry about at all.

When fans stop and think about it, it’s painfully obvious that Hulk never stood a chance against Thanos when they fought in Infinity War, and that the Mad Titan already knew that going into it. Hulk may even be physically stronger than Thanos on a given day, but throw the Power Stone into his Gauntlet and the “strongest Avenger” poses no threat whatsoever. But Dr. Bruce Banner? Now that is a threat a tactician like Thanos would recognize as a problem to be dealt with.

RELATED: Thor: Ragnarok Explains Why Hulk Couldn’t Beat Thanos

Tony Stark may also be a genius level intellect, but if Thanos was watching the Avengers from their first team-up on through the Age of Ultron, Tony displayed every insecurity, every willingness to risk everything, and collapse beneath guilt and paranoia that would ultimately defeat him. Bruce Banner on the other hand exercised caution at every step, all the while questioning his other half on a path towards better understanding the green beast residing inside of him. By Ultron, the Avengers almost had Hulk figured out, thanks to Nat’s lullaby.

Either way you cut it, leaving Hulk on Earth was bad news for Thanos. If Banner and Hulk ever found a way to merge their abilities, forming the MCU’s version of Professor Hulk, with Banner’s mind and Hulk’s muscle? That’s an enemy closer to Thanos, and far smarter than Thanos, that the villain couldn’t allow to be born. Which meant he needed to act.

This solution, if it really is the one that will eventually be confirmed, is actually fairly brilliant. It’s hard to believe Hulk would “randomly” access a wormhole sending him straight to Sakaar, a planet upon which Bruce Banner would have no chance of ever surviving. Drop him into Grandmaster’s yard, and Hulk would be forced to take control, and find no reason to ever relinquish it. Perhaps Thanos shared more than just strength with Hulk, and knew thousands of years in Thor: Ragnarok‘s gladiator arena would be the perfect distraction for a titan with a warrior’s heart.

The plan would have worked too, if Thor hadn’t been knocked out of Bifrost and onto Sakaar, as well. Should fans see it as coincidence that once Hulk boarded a ship with Thor, presumably to someday return to Earth, that Thanos chose that very time to strike? Or did he realize that Banner had returned to the original path that could end in Earth’s strongest defender being its smartest, as well?

Our theory will gain some credibility if Avengers: Endgame sets the stage for a true synthesis of Banner and Hulk, which has been hinted at over the past several films. And if such a Professor Hulk ends up playing a pivotal role in defeating Thanos–either through his strength, smarts, or both–don’t be surprised if Marvel’s architects later confirm that very outcome was the one Thanos hoped to avoid.

MORE: Marvel Confirms Loki Was Mind-Controlled in Avengers

2019-04-24 01:04:27

Andrew Dyce

Shrek Fan Theory: Does Donkey Actually Come From Pinocchio?

Shrek never gives Eddie Murphy’s Donkey an origin story, but one convincing fan theory might just reveal the fast-talking donkey actually came from Pinocchio. The first movie was adapted from the children’s book Shrek! by William Steig. The movie version greatly expanded on the source material and told the story of the title Orge as he reluctantly embarks on a quest to rescue a princess. Shrek is accompanied on his journey by Donkey, who acts as comic relief and also imparts some wisdom when Shrek needs to hear it.

The combination of Shrek’s witty script and great cast made it a huge success upon release, and the series would spawn numerous sequels, short films, video games and other spinoffs like Puss In Boots. Shrek 5 is said to be in development and while the involvement of the original cast hasn’t been confirmed, they are tentatively expected to return.

Related: Minions Cast & Character Guide

Donkey is a role that was originally earmarked for comedy legend Steve Martin (The Pink Panther) but Eddie Murphy was later cast. The Donkey found in the Shrek! book was a relatively minor character, but his role was increased for the movie. While the origins of other fairytale characters seen in Shrek like the Gingerbread Man or the three blind mice are well-known, Donkey himself doesn’t appear to come from any specific fairytale. That said, a fan theory first put forth by Reddit user YeremyV’s suggests the character actually came from Pinocchio.

Fans of the animated 1940 version of Pinocchio may remember the sequence where the title character heads to Pleasure Island, where wayward boys can drink, smoke and do as they wish without adult supervision. It’s eventually revealed the boys are being turned into donkeys and sold as slave labor. Pinocchio manages to escape this fate, though his friend Lampwick is transformed.

Even now, the Pleasure Island reveal is a deeply creepy scene, and it also reveals some of the transformed boys can still talk. That’s where YeremyV’s theory comes in, which states Shrek’s Donkey is one of these boys grown up. In his introduction scene, Donkey’s owner is an old lady who tries to sell him, though nobody believes a donkey can talk. Pinocchio seems to be the only major fairytale featuring talking donkeys, and in an interesting coincidence, Pinocchio is also seen in the same line-up.

Shrek The Third seems to offer more clues, with Donkey alluding to being bullied and suffering wedgies when he was young – which only really makes sense if he was human at some point. When he and Puss later exchange bodies, Puss also has a hard time controlling his hee-hawing and talking normally, which Donkey suggests he’ll learn to control after practice, which alludes to him having to do the same.

While a lot of fan theories tend to fall apart upon closer examination, Donkey’s origin coming from Pinocchio tends to make sense. One flaw in this theory is that the filmmakers behind Shrek once revealed Donkey was originally intended to be a regular donkey who was cursed, but since the movie itself never reveals this, it isn’t canon. Maybe Shrek 5 or a future movie will clear this up, but this theory makes too much sense to simply dismiss.

Next: Will The Santa Clause 4 Ever Happen?

2019-04-22 07:04:12

Padraig Cotter

About That Star Trek: Discovery Borg Theory

Star Trek: Discovery’s season 2 finale decisively resolved the Control storyline and appears to have wiped out the entity completely. The conclusion also stamped a bright red “Rejected” on the theory that posited Control would somehow be connected to the Borg.

The malevolent A.I. that sprang from Section 31’s threat assessment software bore stylistic similarities to the Borg that became so obvious it seemed they had to be intentional. Control’s desire to consume the universe like locusts combined with their disdain for humanity rang very familiar, and when they essentially assimilated a (bald) captain to serve as their mouthpiece and growled “Struggle is pointless,” at his resistance, it seemed impossible that Control wouldn’t somehow be connected to Star Trek’s most iconic villains.

RELATED: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ending Explained

But part two of Star Trek: Discovery’s season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow” seemed to indicate the details connecting Control to the Borg were only superficial. When Georgiou destroys Leland and Discovery disappears into the future and out of the history books, it certainly seems like the book is closed on Control with no possible way left for it to connect to the cybernetic beings in the Delta Quadrant. So that theory about them somehow getting sent back in time and somehow becoming the source of the worst guests in Star Trek? It’s probably not true.

Leland’s grey veins, control’s predilection for red laser eye play, its use of nanotech to spread like a virus and eliminate individuality – none of that had anything canonically to do with the Borg. In fact, in an interview with TrekCore, co-showrunner Michelle Paradise insisted the writers never intended there to be any connection between Control or the Borg, canonically or stylistically: “It’s interesting — we weren’t thinking Borg at all. I mean, we talked about all sorts of different things in the room, but there was never any intent on our part to parallel that in any way. I can certainly understand why people started to think we were going in that direction, but it was never where we intended to go with it.” Given Discovery’s penchant for integrating previous elements of Star Trek into its storyline at what some would say is the expense of originality, the fact that Control was not be shoehorned into a Borg origin story no one asked for is undeniably a good thing.

Unfortunately, as hard as it is to believe Control could’ve found its way into Borg history, it’s equally as hard to believe Discovery didn’t intentionally evoke the species in their characterization of Leland and Control. The similarities are too glaring not to think that at some point there was an idea to connect the A.I. and the Borg that was later abandoned, or that the stylistic callbacks and variation-on-a-theme catchphrase weren’t an attempt at mining yet more nostalgia from the greater franchise.

While actually going through with establishing Control as part of the Borg’s backstory would’ve been frustrating, without that context, the similarities between the two entities make Control feel less original and less compelling. Ultimately, Georgiou’s clever use of magnets was the best thing to happen to this story, hands down.

MORE: Star Trek Theory: Discovery is Setting Up a Pike/Spock Spin-Off

2019-04-20 06:04:36

Alexandra August

Bran Actor Denies Game of Thrones’ Night King Theory

Game of Thrones actor Isaac Hempstead Wright denied the popular fan theory that his character Bran Stark is really the Night King. Of all the characters on Game of Thrones, none has had a more intriguing arc than Bran Stark, and none is in a more mysterious position as the show heads into its final run of episodes.

Bran was just a boy when the series began, but his life soon took a tragic turn when he was pushed out a window at Winterfell by Jaime Lannister. Having survived that trauma, a paralyzed Bran found himself haunted by dreams of a three-eyed raven, dreams that would point to his own destiny after barely escaping Theon Greyjoy’s takeover of Winterfell. Bran would seek that destiny beyond the Wall, with new friends Jojen and Meera Reed in tow, in a mysterious storyline that found Bran ultimately becoming The Three Eyed Raven himself. Bran then returned to Winterfell much changed from when we first met him, and now fans are dying to find out the role he will play as Game of Thrones heads into its endgame.

Related: Game of Thrones: 10 Storylines That Hurt The Series (And 10 That Saved It)

One popular fan theory holds that Bran Stark, thanks to the warging power he acquired, actually became the Night King when he traveled back in time to stop The White Walkers, now existing both as himself and the Night King. The theory came up when Wright visited Jimmy Kimmel Live, seemingly denying the theory’s validity. Under questioning about potential season 8 spoilers and whether the enigmatic Bran is still a good guy, Wright replied, “I think he’s the Three-Eyed Raven, who is definitely on the side of the living.” Kimmel later brought up the “Bran as Night King” theory and Wright answered, “Yeah, I’ve heard this. I can neither confirm or deny. But of course, Wright previously declared that Bran is on the side of the living, so Kimmel took that as a denial that he is in fact The Night King. Realizing his potential mistake, Wright tried to wriggle out of it by saying, “Who says the Night King’s dead?” before jokingly saying, “I don’t know! Help me HBO!” See the whole interview below:

Though Kimmel is clearly joking around with Wright, there’s no doubt that things get a little tense during the exchange, as Wright begins to realize he’s been trapped into revealing more than he should have. So, should fans take the interview as evidence that The Night King theory is debunked? Or is there more to be gleaned from Wright’s remark about The Night King not being dead? Indeed, another part of the “Bran as Night King” theory holds that when all is said and done, the series’ supposed bad guy will be revealed as the secret hero who finally brings peace to Westeros. If The Night King truly is the actual hero of the story, and the one who puts an end to all the strife in the Seven Kingdoms, he could be said to be on the side of the living.

When it comes to Game of Thrones fan theories, Bran as the Night King seems to be a bit of a stretch, and it becomes even more of a head-scratcher when factoring in the idea that the clearly brutal and inhuman Night King is secretly the good guy of the story who is destined to bring peace to Westeros. Then again, Daenerys is currently being set up as the true villain of the story, so maybe it’s not such a huge reach to think The Night King, who is actually Bran Stark, might turn out to be the savior of the living.

More: Game Of Thrones Season 8 Premiere: 5 Things That Satisfied Fans And 5 Things That Bothered Them

Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live

2019-04-19 04:04:51

Dan Zinski