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

Krypton Turns A Superman Villain Into The Greatest Weapon Against Zod

Brainiac (Blake Ritson) just became Seg-El’s greatest weapon in season 2 of Syfy’s Krypton. Due to a surprising twist, the classic Superman villain and “big bad” of season 1 may actually be the key to defeating General Zod (Colin Salmon) and restoring Superman’s legacy.

After Seg (Cameron Cuffe) and Brainiac escaped from the Phantom Zone in the Krypton season 2 premiere, Seg seemingly killed Brainiac by bludgeoning him to death with a stick, but Brainiac somehow found a way to live on inside of Seg’s mind. While being hunted by Lobo (Emmett J. Scanlan), Seg and Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) found a way to get Brainiac out of his head. However, last week’s episode revealed that Brainiac isn’t completely gone: Seg discovered that Brainiac’s continued presence in his mind is what allowed him to withstand Zod’s brainwashing device.

Related: Krypton Teases A Threat Worse Than Zod

In Krypton season 2, episode 5, titled “A Better Yesterday”, Seg communicates directly with Brainiac who explains that only an “infinite decimal fragment” of him still exists within Seg. Brainiac tries to help Seg after he is captured by Zod, and Lyta (Georgina Campbell) becomes a hostage of Jax-Ur (Hannah Waddingham). Under Brainiac’s direction, Seg attempts to kill Zod. After this fails, Seg is able to escape. When Zod’s men intercept him, Brainiac warns him of their exact locations, making it possible for him to kill them all before they can attack.

While Brainiac’s advice doesn’t help Seg save Lyta, it is the reason he was able to save himself. If Brainiac continues to help Seg, he can be the rebels’ trump card in the war against Zod, since he plays an unexpected role that Zod never counted on. This was demonstrated earlier in the episode when Zod experiences a rare moment of confusion. Zod couldn’t understand how the “Somatic Reconditioning” program failed to work on Seg. As long as Brainiac being alive in Seg’s mind remains a secret, Zod will remain at a disadvantage.

It remains to be seen how Seg’s allies will respond when they learn the truth about Brainiac as Krypton season 2 progresses. No one will want to trust the alien who threatened their entire civilization. Of course, it’s true that despite Brainiac’s usefulness, he cannot be trusted. Brainiac may be an ally for now, but that will surely change if Brainiac acquires a new host. Until then, it will be interesting to see how Brainiac’s alliance with Seg plays out, now that Seg’s greatest enemy is suddenly the only person who can help him take down Zod.

More: Lobo’s Healing Factor Gave Krypton Its Most Insane Moment Yet

Krypton season 2 continues Wednesdays at 10pm on Syfy.

2019-07-10 08:07:12

Nicholas Raymond

Supernatural’s Season 14 Finale Unleashes A Hell Of A Final Villain

Caution: Spoilers ahead for the Supernatural season 14 finale

Supernatural delivered a shocking season 14 finale that not only wrapped up the current run, but unleashed the ultimate villain ahead of the show’s forthcoming final season. Life is never simple for Sam and Dean Winchester, and the brothers’ recent adventures began with them facing down the apocalypse-world version of the archangel Michael, who had nestled himself among the pies and Led Zeppelin riffs of Dean’s mind.

Faced with an impossible villain, the Winchesters’ only hope was Lucifer’s nephilim son, Jack. The boys had taken the devil’s half-human spawn in as one of their own but, ironically, the battle against Michael made Jack himself turn bad and the rogue youngster went on to kill Sam and Dean’s mother – a big no-no in the world of Supernatural.

Related: Supernatural Characters We Need To Return In Its Final Season

Supernatural season 14 was also punctuated by the shocking news that Supernatural is ending after season 15. A message from the central trio of actors – Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins – confirmed the show’s conclusion was imminent, and after the latest episode, viewers now have some idea of what that final chapter will look like.

The Supernatural season 14 finale picked up where last week’s installment left off, with Jack popping out of his box in a rage, knocking back Castiel and the Winchesters and flying off into the unknown. Clearly in a state of angst-fueled confusion, the nephilim takes a cue from Liar Liar and compels the world to only ever tell the truth. Naturally, this causes chaos but as Sam and Dean frantically search for Jack, Castiel’s message to God from earlier this season is finally answered.

God, just like Dean, wants Jack dead and creates a firearm that’s powerful enough for the job, albeit at the expense of the user’s own life. Sam and Castiel, meanwhile, still believe the boy can be saved. This all leads to a dramatic climax where Jack realizes the error of his ways and kneels down ready to be executed, only for Dean to solemnly toss aside the gun. God reacts badly to this turn of events and it quickly transpires that the omnipotent creator of everything has been playing the Winchesters and Jack for his own amusement all along – and could have resolved the situation easily had he chosen to. God’s desire for a good story – from his human life as “Chuck” the writer – led to him engineering a dramatic real-life situation at the Winchesters’ expense.

Never ones to be messed with, Sam and Dean are none too pleased at God’s heartless attitude and Sam even goes so far as to try and shoot the Almighty one. Needless to say, it doesn’t work and God closes out Supernatural season 14 by killing Jack and emptying the contents of Hell onto Earth, as Motorhead’s “God Was Never On Your Side” plays out in the background. Fascinatingly, this isn’t the first time that the song has been used by Supernatural, suggesting this twist was always part of the overall plan.

Obviously, the Winchesters’ immediate problem when Supernatural season 15 begins will be fighting back the various ghosts, ghouls and undead that have seemingly been released – no doubt coming across some old foes in the process. Beyond that, however, it appears that the show’s final villain will be none other than God himself. Logically, it could be argued that this was the only possible ending for Supernatural – a show that has previously featured the Devil, God’s sister and every variety of demon imaginable in the role of villain. The final season is expected to be the most dramatic, high-stakes story yet, so God is perhaps the only logical choice for an antagonist.

Dean’s refusal to kill Jack could also offer a hint as to how season 15 will play out. A major running theme throughout Supernatural has been a constant dissent between Sam and Dean, with one brother usually taking an overly-aggressive stance and the other acting as a voice of reason. Dean’s realization that he couldn’t shoot Jack without any input from Sam or Castiel is a strong sign that the whole team will be on the same page in Supernatural‘s final season. There will be no time for brotherly bickering or arguments over whether or not the end justifies the means; this will be a unified battle against the most powerful being in existence.

Luckily, it appears the heroes will have a little help from beyond, as Jack wakes up alongside both the Empty and Death, who God had earlier prophetically accused of meddling where she didn’t belong. Whether this mighty team-up will be enough to topple God himself remains to be seen, but the battle will no doubt make for a thrilling conclusion to the Supernatural story.

Next: Why Supernatural Is Ending After 15 Seasons

Supernatural season 15 is expected to premiere in late 2019.

2019-04-26 01:04:34

Craig Elvy

Shazam 2 Can Make Black Adam a HERO, Not a Villain

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Shazam!

The Shazam! movie has proven a hit, and a sequel is already on the horizon. But before fans get excited to see Black Adam as the villain of Shazam 2, the first movie shows that he might end up playing the hero instead.

Since the movie hit theaters without Shazam’s most iconic nemesis, the reasons for his exclusion have become clearer. Simply put, The Rock is the reason Black Adam missed Shazam!, after Dwayne Johnson implied that he figured it was the best move. He has also reassured fans that the Black Adam movie starts shooting sooner rather than later, telling the origin story of the villain/antihero. And while some fans might claim that Billy has finally proven himself capable of taking on Adam in his second film, the actual events of Shazam! say otherwise. Billy Batson doesn’t need a villain–he’s probably going to need Black Adam’s help.

  • This Page: Black Adam is a Villain, But Not Necessarily ‘Evil’
  • Page 2: Shazam 2’s Biggest Threat isn’t Black Adam, It’s Billy

Dwayne Johnson may not appear in the movie, but that doesn’t mean his character Black Adam isn’t a key players in the events that led to the film. Just in case casual fans missed the references, we’ll remind them of the history lesson offered to Billy Batson by the wizard Shazam. With a slam of his staff magical sparks flesh out the world that was, as Shazam recounts the fall of the Council of Wizards:

“Long ago we chose a champion… and we chose recklessly. He used his power for revenge, releasing the Seven Deadly Sins into your world. Millions of lives were lost. Entire civilizations erased from existence.”

RELATED: How Shazam Sets Up Black Adam’s Classic Origin

It’s a vague reference, but those who know the comic book upon which the film is based also know that the poorly chosen champion is none other than Black Adam. However, fans should do some thinking before they take the Wizard Shazam at his word. Not necessarily on the facts of his account–Black Adam did result in the destruction of the Council of Wizards in every version of the story–but the morality and judgement he passes may not be flawless. After all, the movie demonstrates how his cruel treatment of an abused child proved to be his undoing.

Not to mention that Black Adam’s betrayal is specifically referred to as ‘revenge.’ That demands an explanation, and his solo movie is almost certainly going to deliver. In the process, showing that the Wizard Shazam wasn’t telling the whole story.

The version of Black Adam waging wars in the DC Comics Universe may be hard to mold into anything but a supervillain… but that’s not exactly the same Adam that Geoff Johns wrote into his new Shazam! origin comic. In that version of the story Adam returned as the previous champion, being seen as brutal and extremist simply due to the world he had lived in before being locked away for millennia. His crime? He wanted revenge upon the barbarians who had conquered, enslaved, tormented, and slaughtered his nation’s people… including his brother and sister.

To get it, he became a despicable villain. But the mvoe version of his story wouldn’t have to change much to get the point across. The wizard Shazam was right: Adam sought revenge, and released the Sins to get it. But if his motives remain the same–to take revenge for the dead, and subject those who would enslave the innocent to the horrors of their own sins–well, plenty of revenge movies and iconic antiheroes are based on less noble or understandable causes.

Assuming that’s the story told in The Rock’s Black Adam movie, it wouldn’t make much sense for him to emerge as the villain of Shazam 2. At least not when the biggest threat to the world isn’t himself, Dr. Sivana, or even magic… it’s Billy Batson and his new family of superhero siblings.

Page 2: Shazam 2’s Biggest Threat isn’t Black Adam, It’s Billy

It won’t be news to any viewer to say that Billy Batson doesn’t have the first idea about how his powers work, where they come from, or the true range of their abilities. In fact, a good chunk of the movie is devoted to Billy and Freddy cataloging his powers based purely on trial and error. And along the way, Billy ends up causing as much trouble as he solves.

Forget destruction of property, inflicting harm on criminals without even deciding to, and the emotional torment of seeing a man come flying into the windows of an office building. Billy shoots a bolt of lightning directly from his hand into the sky, only to watch it discharge onto a bus filled with passengers (whose lives he technically saves). So as thrilling as it may be to see him share his power with a family of magic champions… that seems doomed to result in six times the risk and accidental disaster.

RELATED: The Shazam Family of Adult Heroes Explained

By the end of the movie Billy comes to understand the true purpose of his powers, sharing them with his family by “opening his heart” and creating almost enough champions to fill the seven empty Thrones. But even if Billy learns a great lesson, he never actually learns the rules. And from the looks of things in the Rock of Eternity, the wizard was doing a lot more than just sitting and waiting. If the surprise cameo of three classic Crocodile Men in Shazam! is the direct tease of the Wildlands–one of seven other magical realms Billy and his siblings must oversee–then the sequel story is starting to take shape. There’s just one problem: Billy and his foster siblings have no idea what they’re doing.

When the kids run through the endless halls and doorways of the Rock of Eternity, the surprises they find make one thing perfectly clear: the world of magic existing out of View of the rest of the DC movie universe is wide, weird, and wildly beyond the understanding of Billy, Mary, Freddy, Darla, Eugene, and Pedro. In the comic book version of their origin, the kids only had to worry about the death of the wizard Shazam allowing Black Adam to escape his years of imprisonment. Now that the movie makes the Rock of Eternity not only a nexus, but the “source of all magic” in the DCEU, all bets are off.

Interestingly enough Shazam! makes a direct connection to Suicide Squad, and it was in that movie that Enchantress warned about magic returning to the world bit by bit. If the death of the wizard has broken the dam in film as it did in the comics, audiences can take their pick for the next threat. Will it be Dr. Sivana? The newly escaped Mr. Mind? The terrible inhabitants of the Monsterlands?

Whatever the answer may be, Black Adam will know more about how to set things right than Billy ever could. As hellbent on his revenge, or as brutal in his punishment of those who enslave as Adam may be, he isn’t evil for evil’s sake. And certainly not compared to the other threats that would put his own magical powers in jeopardy. Threats that only exist because Billy and his siblings don’t truly grasp the powers they’re dealing with… making him the only chance they have, and as far from a villain or enemy as one can get.

At least, that’s the choice that the filmmakers could make. But we won’t know more until Black Adam makes his debut in a movie of his own. But if early word starts to describe Adam as misunderstood, misguided, or simply mistaken more than evil, ignorant, or murderous? Then the studio may see the potential for an unlikely team-up in Shazam 2, as opposed to another lightning-fueled fistfight.

MORE: Everything We Know About Shazam 2

2019-04-16 04:04:08

Andrew Dyce

Who Is Cheetah? Wonder Woman 1984 Villain Origin & Powers Explained

Who is The Cheetah – the long-time Wonder Woman enemy primed to be the chief villain of the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984? Despite being Wonder Woman’s most famous enemy from the comics in popular culture, the origins of this classic character are considerably less well-known than those of many Batman or Superman foes. This may be due to three women fighting Diana of Themyscira using the Cheetah name and her backstory and powers being changed several times over the years.

The first Cheetah was a wealthy socialite named Priscilla Rich, who had no superpowers and was urged by her evil split personality to commit crimes in a cheetah-skin suit. Her niece, Deborah Domaine, became the second Cheetah after she was brainwashed into assuming her aunt’s identity by the terrorist organization Kobra. Both of these versions of Cheetah (who were basically Catwoman in a different costume) were retired following Crisis on Infinite Earths in favor of a new Cheetah who could more evenly stand against the divinely-empowered Diana of Themyscira.

Related: Everything We Know About Wonder Woman 1984

With Wonder Woman 1984 set to be one of the biggest releases of the summer movie season of 2020 and comedian Kristin Wiig cast as Cheetah, it’s time to take a deeper look at Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva and how can she possibly be a match for Wonder Woman.

  • This Page: Cheetah’s Origin & Powers
  • Page 2: Kristen Wiig Cheetah In Wonder Woman 1984

Cheetah’s Origin In Wonder Woman Comics

The current incarnation of Cheetah in the Wonder Woman comics is a woman named Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. Like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Dr. Minerva was a British archaeologist and heir to a vast fortune, with an affinity for seeking out artifacts that others said were purely legendary. Unlike the more famous Ms. Croft, Dr. Minerva did not have a good relationship with her father and she had no ethical limits as to what she would do to acquire the fortune and glory she longed for.

This greed drove Dr. Minerva to lead an expedition to Africa in search of a lost tribe, who was said to have a mystic female guardian who possessed the powers of the cheetah spirit. This guardian was later revealed to be the bride of Urzkartaga, an ancient plant god. While Dr. Minerva successfully found the tribe and confirmed the legends of the guardian’s existence, her expedition had been followed by bandits seeking plunder, who began killing both the tribe and Dr. Minerva’s crew.

Desperate to do anything that might save her life, Dr. Minerva agreed to undergo the ritual to become the new guardian after the tribe’s high priest told her that she would have immortality as Urzkartaga’s bride. Unfortunately, Urzkartaga was a jealous god and refused to accept any woman who had known the touch of another man as a bride. This left Dr. Minerva cursed, possessing a totemic bond to the power of the cheetah as well as an incurable blood-lust when she was in her bestial form and crippling physical pain when she appeared human. Her rivalry with Wonder Woman was born after she first encountered Diana of Themyscira and began to covet the magical Lasso of Truth that she possessed.

Related: Wonder Woman 2: How Chris Pine Can Return

This background was changed slightly in the 2016 Wonder Woman: Year One storyline by longtime Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka. Here, Dr. Minerva was presented as a more sympathetic figure – a talented archaeologist determined to prove the existence of the Amazons, who was hired by the American government to act as Diana’s translator and tutor when she first came to Man’s World. The two women became good friends, with Dr. Minerva teaching Diana about the modern world and modern languages while learning all she could from Diana about her people and their culture.

Unfortunately, their friendship would fall apart after Dr. Minerva began seeking out evidence of other demigods like Diana in the hopes of finding a cure for the ailment that required her to walk with a cane. Financed by the sinister CEO Veronica Cale, Dr. Minerva was set up to become the Cheetah as part of one of Cale’s own evil schemes. When Dr. Minerva discovered her intended fate, she tried to signal Diana for help using a special signaling device she had been given by Wonder Woman, which had been deactivated by Cale’s allies. This caused Dr. Minerva to hate Diana, whom she blamed for abandoning her and bringing about her transformation into the cannibalistic Cheetah.

Cheetah’s Powers In Wonder Woman Comics

Dr. Minerva’s bond to the cheetah spirit through Urzkartaga enhanced her body in several respects. As her name suggests, her chief asset in her beast-form is the proportionate speed, dexterity and agility of the fastest land animal on Earth. While Dr. Minerva’s top speed in the comics has varied wildly, she is easily one of the fastest people on Earth who does not possess a connection to The Flash’s Speed Force. She also possesses a certain degree of super-strength, super-endurance and invulnerability, making her capable of going toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman in a one-on-one fight.

The connection to the cheetah spirit also gives Dr. Minerva a number of passive powers. She possesses the enhanced senses of a large cat, including perfect night vision, sharp hearing and a sense of smell that lets her track her prey by scent as well as supernaturally sharp claws and fangs capable of cutting even Superman’s invulnerable skin. She also briefly had the ability to grant a measure of her power to those she bit, transforming them into half-cheetah hybrids under her control.

Page 2 of 2: Kristen Wiig Cheetah In Wonder Woman 1984

Kristen Wiig Plays Cheetah In Wonder Woman 1984

Many fans were skeptical when it was announced that Kristen Wiig had been cast in the role of Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, beating out rumored actresses with more experience in action roles like Sarah Paulson and Charlize Theron. Certainly, Wiig, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and the movie Bridesmaids, is seen as more of a comedian than a serious actress. Yet she has also won critical acclaim and award nominations for her work in more dramatic works such as The Skeleton Twins and Welcome To Me.

Related: Wonder Woman 2: Why Kristen Wiig is Perfect For Cheetah

Keeping the modern interpretation of Dr. Minerva in mind explains precisely why Wiig is a perfect choice for the role. Before becoming the Cheetah, Minerva is far from a physical powerhouse and indeed requires a cane to walk. Given that bringing Cheetah to life accurately will require some degree of CGI trickery, the actor’s physicality doesn’t matter that much. What is important is that the film will probably explore the friendship between Diana and Dr. Minerva before her tragic transformation, and Wiig certainly has experience playing roles that delve into the strange friendships forged between radically different women.

Cheetah’s Role In Wonder Woman 1984

It is known that Cheetah’s background in Wonder Woman 1984 will borrow from the most recent retelling in Wonder Woman: Year One. However, it seems that something of the more sinister Dr. Minerva from the original post-Crisis comics will be in play as well. One report claims that the movie will start out with Diana and Barbara as friends and that while Dr. Minerva tries to emulate Wonder Woman, she eventually plots to usurp the power and position of her friend by acquiring the Cheetah’s powers.

The first photos of Dr. Minerva in Wonder Woman 1984 show her standing in an exhibit of African artifacts, lending credence to the theory that the origin from the Rebirth Wonder Woman series is being used. This also jibes with director Patty Jenkins’ early comments on how the movie would be a love story. It seems, however, that this love will be the sisterhood between Diana and her fallen friend rather than the romantic love she shared with Steve Trevor in the first movie.

Next: Wonder Woman 1984 Set Photo Could Hint at Cheetah’s Origin

2019-04-08 08:04:15

Matt Morrison

What Is The Phoenix Force? The X-Men Villain Explained

The Phoenix Force is about to take center-stage in X-Men: Dark Phoenix – so just what is this cosmic entity? The Phoenix Force is a central part of the X-Men’s mythology in the comics, and tied particularly to the character of Jean Grey. As a result, it’s no surprise that the story of the Phoenix has been adapted into Fox’s X-Men movies. What is rather more surprising, though, is that it’s now about to be adapted for the second time.

The problem with the Phoenix Force is that it’s not easy to pin down exactly what it is. The Phoenix has been the subject of countless retcons over the years, weaving it into the ancient history of the Marvel Comics universe. In the most recent retcon, Jason Aaron’s Avengers run has revealed that a Phoenix host was a member of the original Avengers, all the way back in 1,000,000 BC, and was even briefly Odin’s lover.

Related: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand

Given that the Phoenix is about to return to the big screen, this is the perfect time to cast our eyes over the history of this cosmic force. Where does the Phoenix Force come from, what is its role in the universe, and why is it tied so strongly to Jean Grey?

  • This Page: The Phoenix Force in the Comics
  • Page 2: The Phoenix Force in the Movies

The Phoenix Force is one of Marvel’s most powerful cosmic entities. It is said to have been “born of the void that exists between states of being,” and is a nexus of all the psychic energy of the entire Multiverse. It essentially serves as the guardian of evolution, burning away the old in order to give life to the new. The Phoenix’s power is so great that it can burn away entire timelines, realities where evolution has slowed to a crawl. Indeed, according to The Phoenix Force Handbook, the Phoenix has been doing this for longer than the universe itself has existed:

In the dying moments of the previous universe, the “Big Crunch,” the M’kraan Crystal – a hypercubical nexus of realities – was shattered, bringing the entire multiverse to an end. However, the Phoenix Force saved all of the dying universe’s inhabitants from eternal damnation.

The Phoenix Force appears to be drawn to select hosts – beings of tremendous psychic power. Curiously enough, human hosts tend to be females with red hair. It also has a preference for Earth, perhaps because it sensed humanity’s unique potential for change and evolution. It is particularly invested in mutants, which it perceives as the future of the human race; when the mutant race was brought to the verge of extinction, Phoenix fire blazed across the planet to reignite the X-gene. Every time the Phoenix exerts itself, though, there is a cost; it draws upon psychic energy from elsewhere in the Multiverse, and the energy it uses prevents entire realities coming into being.

According to the Shi’ar, the Phoenix is destined to be The End of All That Is – the cosmic force that will wind down this universe, destroying it in order to ignite the next Big Bang and begin our successor. Many races fear the Phoenix, understandably afraid that its judgment will befall their world and it will consume them. Still others point to the Phoenix’s increasing activity as an indication that the end of the universe is approaching.

Related: X-Men Theory: Jessica Chastain Is The Real Dark Phoenix Force

The Phoenix was first introduced in Uncanny X-Men #101, when it was tied to Jean Grey. The X-Men had been trapped aboard an orbital space-station, and although they had managed to escape in a shuttle, they were forced to fly through a solar flare. Jean Grey chose to sacrifice herself for her friends, using her telepathic powers to steal the knowledge of how to pilot the shuttle from the mind of an astronaut. With her friends safe in a shielded compartment, she flew straight through the flare, and seemed to be consumed by its energy. The shuttle crash-landed in Jamaica Bay, and the X-Men struggled out of the water. To their amazement, they watched as Jean emerged from the waters, declaring herself to be a whole new entity: fire and life incarnate, the Phoenix.

In truth, writer Chris Claremont wasn’t really clear on what had happened to Jean at this stage. He’d wanted to give the X-Men a power-up so he could take them on space-faring adventures – a Thor analogue that allowed him to toy with chaos on a cosmic scale. Some of the comics implied Phoenix was part of a mutation, and that the true power of Jean Grey that had always been there but had been locked away. Others hinted that a cosmic entity had bonded with Jean in the fire, transforming her and making her its host.

It all ended in tragedy, of course. Jean Grey fell under the influence of a mutant called Mastermind, who used illusions and hallucinations to warp and twist her psyche. He unwittingly transformed Phoenix into Dark Phoenix, a savage and voracious entity who literally consumed an entire star-system. “The Dark Phoenix Saga” came to a head with Jean Grey choosing to commit suicide rather than risk the return of Dark Phoenix.

“The Dark Phoenix Saga” was the product of creative differences behind the scenes. Claremont had originally intended for Jean Grey to be left depowered as penance for her crimes, but editor Jim Shooter wasn’t impressed with that idea. When he learned that Dark Phoenix had destroyed an entire star system, committing genocide when she wiped out an inhabited planet in the resulting supernova, he insisted that depowering wasn’t enough. In the end, Marvel settled on killing Jean as a last resort in order to end the disagreements. Crucially, Shooter insisted that Jean could only return from the dead if a writer found a way to absolve her of Dark Phoenix’s sins.

Related: Here’s How Marvel Just Brought Original Jean Grey Back to Life

Naturally, that edict simply meant future writers saw bringing Jean Grey back as a challenge. It was Kurt Busiek who finally came up with the idea for how to pull it off. He suggested that Jean Grey had never been Phoenix at all; rather, the real Jean had been replaced by the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force, which had sought to know what it was to be human. Injured due to her experience in the solar flare, the real Jean had been kept safe in a restorative cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay.

This actually turns the themes and concepts of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” on their head; in the original comic, it is Jean’s humanity that enables her to commit suicide and prevent the return of Dark Phoenix, whereas this retcon establishes the humanity as the flaw introduced into the Phoenix Force that led to its temporary insanity. Marvel went with this approach, and as a result the Phoenix could be treated as a separate entity to Jean Grey. All that cosmic mythology was established in the years that followed, and Marvel writers continue to add new layers to it every year.

Page 2 of 2: The Phoenix Force in the Movies

Comic book fans have tended to argue that superhero films should “stick to the source material,” but writers and directors have always found that quite challenging. For one thing, an idea doesn’t necessarily translate effectively from one medium to another. In the case of the Phoenix Force, though, the situation is even more complicated. Claremont’s original comics were very unclear as to just what the Phoenix was in the first place; was Jean suffering from some sort of Dissociative Identity Disorder? Or was she the host of a cosmic force? The retcons only added further complexity to the issue of adapting “The Dark Phoenix Saga,” given they involved Jean’s actually being replaced by the Phoenix Force.

X-Men: The Last Stand ditched the cosmic side of the Phoenix Force altogether. It treated Jean as a mutant of almost unlimited telepathic and telekinetic potential, who had developed multiple personality disorder. Sensing the risk, Charles Xavier had used his own psychic barriers to lock Jean’s abilities down, and to restrain her alternate persona. But a near-death experience had unlocked both the power and the personality, and Jean became Phoenix. As Simon Kinberg told The New York Times, she became the embodiment of the Electra Complex, the opposite of the Oedipus Complex: a condition where some young women become unnaturally attached to their fathers and yet secretly wish to kill them and destroy everything that stands for them in order to assume their power. Phoenix killed Professor Xavier and sided with Magneto, before finally being killed by Wolverine.

Related: Dark Phoenix’s Jean Grey Looks Worryingly Like X-Men: The Last Stand’s

Kinberg has recently reflected that The Last Stand‘s greatest weakness was its failure to go cosmic. “I think that was a time in superhero movies where that just wasn’t being done,” he noted, “and now we live in a time with Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok and so many comic book movies are interstellar and cosmic.” He has a point; it has to be remembered that, before the success of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises, the cheesiness of Batman and Robin had briefly been believed to have killed off the entire superhero genre. That’s the reason the X-Men never wore spandex and didn’t go into space.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix appears to be taking a more nuanced approach, just like the original comics. Many of the basic plot points seem to be similar; Jean is still a powerful young mutant who has suffered trauma, in this case the deaths of her parents when her powers were triggered. Fearing Jean’s power, Xavier used his own abilities to lock them down and – it’s hinted in the trailers – even erase her memory that she was responsible for her parents’ deaths. Those psychic barriers began to break down in the third act of X-Men: Apocalypse, when Jean unleashed her power in order to defeat the titular villain. This time round, though, there is also clearly a Phoenix Force. Just as in the comics, Jean is caught up in a solar flare, and emerges unscathed but transformed and unstable.

Actress Sophie Turner has treated this as a kind of Dissociative Identity Order, spending a lot of time researching mental health. As she explained:

“As soon as Simon [Kinberg] kind of told me what the movie was about we just started straight away sharing ideas, sharing materials. Simon gave me a big, big book on schizophrenia. I actually found this thing online, on YouTube. And it was just kind of repeating, repeating, repeating, what it sounds like being a schizophrenic. So I used to walk around town with all these voices in my head. Kind of feel it out. And see what it felt like. We also explored Multiple Personality Disorder as well. And what that feels like to kind of wake up and not know what you did, What happened and that shear panic and how that affects you. Jean is just… this movie… She’s so, so, layered. She’s so complex in this movie. I really don’t think that I’ve done more research for a role than for this one and I loved every minute of it.”

Related: Dark Phoenix’s Trailer Makes A Big MCU Joke

What’s unclear, at this stage, is whether this other personality has been a part of Jean for a long time, kept in check until after the solar flare, or whether it is actually the Phoenix itself. Given that Kinberg has stressed the cosmic aspect of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the latter seems likely; that Jean has become a host for a malevolent entity that is influencing her and amplifying her powers. Indeed, it’s been theorized that Jessica Chastain’s unidentified villain could be the Phoenix Force. She could simply be the psychic manifestation of the Phoenix persona, the entity Jean is being tempted and sometimes controlled by. At this stage that’s just a theory, of course, but it fits the trailers well.

One thing is clear, though – X-Men: Dark Phoenix isn’t going to dive headfirst into all the cosmic mythology of the Phoenix Force. Doing so probably wouldn’t fit very well with the grounded tone and style of Fox’s X-Men film franchise. Rather, it looks to have taken the “multiple personality” concept and added a layer of cosmic complexity to it. It remains to be seen how effective that is, and how the fans react to it.

More: Every Marvel Movie & TV Show Coming In 2019

2019-04-07 02:04:45

Thomas Bacon

Who Is Dr. Sivana? Shazam’s Villain Explained

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Shazam!

Here’s everything you need to know about the Shazam! movie villain, Dr. Sivana. While the original Captain Marvel has reemerged into the public consciousness in a big way in anticipation of his new superhero movie, his nemesis, Dr. Sivana, isn’t nearly as well regarded or well remembered. Despite The Big Red Cheese being one of the most recognizable superheroes in pop-culture history, few recall his arch-enemy. This in spite of Dr. Sivana having appeared in most of the original Captain Marvel comics!

While he was once the quintessential comic book mad scientist, Dr. Sivana has never been quite as famous (or infamous) as he was during the golden years of Shazam before a 1953 lawsuit by DC Comics forced Fawcett Comics to cease publishing Captain Marvel, as they convinced a court that he was a rip-off of Superman. Ironically, a case once could have been made that Lex Luthor was a rip-off of Dr. Sivana; both were bitter, bald super-geniuses who used science to fight seemingly invincible superheroes, but Dr. Sivana first appeared in the comics several months before Superman’s arch-enemy. Both villains have been rewritten into more unique forms since then, with Luthor now being better known as a big business tycoon and Dr. Sivana now seeking magical powers rather than trying to prove his science superior to Shazam’s magic.

Related: Who Are The Shazam Family? DC’s New Movie Team Explained

With a series of revamps having twisted the character’s history around to match his insane yet brilliant mind, it’s hard to know what to make of Dr. Sivana in Shazam! Indeed, early reports suggest that he’s been changed once again for the sake of the new film. But was he changed?

  • This Page: Shazam! Movie’s Villain Dr. Sivana
  • Page 2: Other Villains In The Shazam! Movie

Last updated: April 4, 2019

Dr. Sivana Is The Main Shazam Movie Villain

Dr. Sivana is the main villain in the Shazam! movie, and he always was going to be, despite reports to the contrary. Director David F. Sandberg previously mentioned to Screen Rant that Sivana was always meant to be Shazam!‘s villain. We also know that his backstory, much like the rest of Shazam, is primarily based upon the 2013 revamp of the character, which was written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. However, the character was changed a tad bit to be more of a physical threat than the classic Dr. Sivana, who preferred brains over brawn.

In the Shazam! movie, Dr. Sivana is played by British actor Mark Strong. A familiar face recognizable for a number of villainous roles on television and in film, Strong claims to be drawn to playing antagonists and trying to make them into full, relatable characters. A frequent collaborator of directors Ridley Scott and Guy Ritchie, he is perhaps best known for his roles as cult leader Lord Blackwood in the 2008 Sherlock Holmes movie, crime-boss Frank D’Amico in Kick-Ass, Sinestro in the 2011 Green Lantern movie, and Merlin in the Kingsman franchise. He also served as the narrator for the single-player portion of the war game Battlefield V. And, as you can see, he’s a spitting image for the comic Sivana.

Related: Shazam’s Origin Story, Powers & Movie Changes Explained

Dr. Sivana’s Powers In The Shazam Movie

The biggest change to Dr. Sivana in the transition from comic book to feature film is that he will have far more physical power than he usually did in the comics. Aside from being a genius level intellect and a brilliant inventor in the comics, Dr. Sivana also has the power to see the presence of magical auras with his left eye – an ability that was granted to him in the most recent revamp of the character in the comics. In the Shazam! movie, however, Dr. Sivana, while still quite intelligent, obtained his superpowers by becoming a host for the Seven Deadly Sins. He succumbed to their deceit and can harness their powers while they are inside him. That’s what ultimately becomes his downfall when Shazam tricks the Sins into leaving Sivana’s body, thus making him vulnerable.

Page 2 of 2: Other Villains In The Shazam! Movie

First appearing in Whiz Comics #2 in December 1939, Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana was set up to be Captain Marvel’s nemesis from the very beginning. The characters were a prime example of the dichotomy of heroes and villains complementing each other, which formed the backbone of Mr. Glass’ theories in the movie Unbreakable. Dr. Sivana was as cruel and vindictive as Billy Batson was compassionate and noble-hearted. Dr. Sivana was also small and weak but brilliant, whereas Shazam was tall and strong but easily tricked despite the Wisdom of Solomon.

Originally born in 1892, Dr. Sivana was a genius, far ahead of his time. Mocked for his progressive ideas on revolutionizing society through science and accused of faking many of the fantastic devices he invented, Dr. Sivana packed up his family into an experimental spaceship of his own design, and moved to Venus to await the day when mankind would be more receptive of his ideas. However, the time in exile embittered Dr. Sivana, and when he returned to Earth he decided that would seek revenge upon the world that mocked him and prove his superiority by conquering it. Naturally, his schemes were always thwarted by Shazam, driving Dr. Sivana to the point of obsession with the do-gooder who opposed him.

Related: Shazam’s After-Credits Scenes Explained

Various retcons have established Dr. Sivana as Billy Batson’s step-uncle or as a businessman/scientist in the mold of the modern Lex Luthor, whose ruined fortunes he blamed on Shazam. They have also changed the number of children he had and whether or not he was widowed or divorced. Generally, he is said to have four children by two different wives. His eldest daughter, Beautia, is as kind-hearted as she is beautiful and his eldest son Magnificus is almost as strong as Shazam. His younger children from his second marriage, Georgia and Thaddeus Jr., inherited his intelligence, his looks and his capacity for evil.

Strangely enough, the 2013 revamp of Dr. Sivana for the New 52 DC Comics universe changed all of this substantially. The new Dr. Sivana was still a skilled and respected scientist but a phenomenally fit man for his age. He was also said to have begun researching magic and the tomb of the legendary hero called Black Adam hoping to find a way to use magic to save his family from an unspecified plight that his science could not cure. His efforts left him scarred, but also able to see magic through his left eye. This new magical power took its toll upon him over the course of the first Shazam! mini-series however, and he had begun to resemble the shrunken, wizened character from the classic comics by the final issue’s end.

Other Villains In The Shazam Movie

When it was first said that Dr. Sivana would be the chief villain of Shazam! it was assumed this meant that other villains would also be a part of the movie. That ended up becoming reality with the inclusion of the Seven Deadly Sins – a septet of demons who embody the forces of Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Pride, Lust, and Greed. This seemed likely from the start given that the Seven Deadly Sins appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 Shazam! miniseries, which inspired the movie script. Initially imprisoned within the Rock of Eternity, the Seven Deadly Sins escaped and took possession of Dr. Sivana, and the Wizard required a new champion – Billy Batson – to recapture them.

The one villain that comic book fans wanted to see in the Shazam! movie was Black Adam, but, unfortunately, DC always wanted Dr. Sivana to be Billy Batson’s first villain before ultimately pitting one champion against another. A one-time champion of the Wizard who empowered Billy Batson, Black Adam became corrupted by his power and was sealed away where he could do no harm, though he later escaped and sought revenge upon the Wizard. The modern version of the character was reimagined as a brutal anti-hero, noble in intent but militant in his treatment of evil-doers. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been cast as Black Adam, with a solo movie in development. Interestingly, if viewers look closely, they can see a silhouette of Black Adam when the Wizard explains the history of the Rock of Eternity and the champions to Billy Batson. This sequence might become the backbone for the character’s upcoming movie.

But while Black Adam didn’t appear in Shazam!, despite longtime fans wanting to finally see Johnson in the DCEU, the movie, thankfully, succeeded quite well without him. Dr. Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins were more than enough to test Billy Batson in his first cinematic outing. In fact, with Dr. Sivana having been built up to have Black Adam’s strength in many regards, he proved to be even bigger match for the young hero than previously thought. Yet the greatest challenge Shazam may face has yet to come – with Black Adam.

More: Everything We Know About Shazam 2

2019-04-04 01:04:35

Matt Morrison

Who Is Carnage? Woody Harrelson’s Venom 2 Villain Explained

Here is everything you need to know about Carnage – the villain of Venom 2 played by Woody Harrelson. When the character of Venom was first created in 1988, he was intended to be Spider-Man’s most dangerous enemy ever. His popularity with fans, however, killed the original plans to see Venom destroyed in a climactic battle. This left Spider-Man’s writers with the question of what to do to keep Venom around while also giving him another purpose beyond destroying Spider-Man.

Eventually they hit upon the idea of creating a new villain who would be so dangerous that Venom and Spider-Man would have no choice but to work together to deal with the greater evil. Enter Carnage – an insane serial killer with the same powers as Venom and Spider-Man, plus other abilities that made him into one of Marvel Comics’ most dangerous villains. The introduction of Carnage also helped further cement Venom in his newfound role as an anti-hero – the lethal protector who helped the homeless and fought to protect the innocent but still hated Spider-Man and saw him as a threat to decent people everywhere.

Related: Sony’s Three Spider-Man Movie Universes Explained

With Venom 2 on the way – and potentially eyeing a late 2020 release – moviegoers will eventually see Carnage for themselves on the big screen played by Woody Harrelson. But who is Carnage, really? What makes the Spider-Man character an ideal villain for Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock/Venom?

  • This Page: Carnage’s Comic Origin & Powers Explained
  • Page 2: Woody Harrelson Is Carnage In Venom & Will Be Venom 2’s Villain

Carnage’s Comic Origin Explained

First appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #360, Peter Parker was first alerted to Carnage’s existence after he tied news reports of a new serial killer to sightings of a monster whose description matched that of Venom. Fearing that Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote were on the rampage again (having previously been pacified after being tricked into believing they had successfully killed Spider-Man), Parker investigated only to be confronted by an entirely new symbiotic menace – one so dangerous that Spider-Man was forced to turn to Venom for help in stopping the far more dangerous Carnage.

Carnage was eventually revealed to be Cletus Kasady – a sociopath and serial killer, whom had previously appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #344. A born bad seed if ever there was one, Kasady killed his grandmother by pushing her down the stairs as a child and tortured his mother’s dog to death. Much like the similarly violent Joker from The Dark Knight, Kasady developed an nihilistic personal philosophy and an obsession with spreading chaos through bloodshed. This let to his conviction on 11 counts of murder, though he claimed to have committed many more.

Related: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Marvel’s Carnage

Kasady became the cell-mate of Eddie Brock in the high-security prison known as The Vault. Brock eventually escaped with the help of the Venom symbiote, which, unbeknownst to Brock, was about to produce a child, which it left in Brock’s cell. The symbiote species didn’t have any emotional attachment to their offspring, so it felt no need to inform Eddie that it was about to have a child or that it had just given birth once they rebonded. The symbiotic child then attached itself to the first host it could find, which turned out to be Cletus Kasady, giving birth to Carnage.

Carnage’s Comic Powers Explained

As dangerous as Eddie Brock was as Venom, Carnage was even more threatening, having developed new powers that his parent never had. According to the Venom symbiote, this was due to the Carnage symbiote having gestated in an alien atmosphere, which altered its development. Because of this, Carnage is physically stronger than both Spider-Man and Venom put together. Carnage also has the unique ability to reshape parts of his symbiotic form into weapons and can even turn fragments of itself into projectiles, which can maintain their form for up to ten seconds once disconnected from his body. He also has the power to alter people’s minds and memories, assuming he can make contact with their brain through a tendril.

Beyond that, Carnage has all of the other standard symbiotic powers, including shape-shifting and rapid-healing. He can change his appearance to mimic any form of clothing, though Carnage rarely does this as blending in and going unnoticed is usually the last thing he wants to do. More frequently Kasady uses this power to grow wings or extra limbs – another unique power that only the Carnage symbiote seems to possess. The Carnage symbiote is also notable in that his bond to Cletus Kasady is the strongest and most complete of any symbiote in Marvel Comics history. The symbiote lives in Kasady’s bloodstream when it’s not acting as his armored costume and can be regenerated from a single drop of Kasady’s blood.

Related: 10 Superpowers Carnage Has That Venom Doesn’t

Carnage also has all of the powers which the Venom Symbiote copied from Peter Parker, allowing it to cling to any surface and rapidly crawl across walls and ceilings. Carnage has also developed a form of Spider-Sense, being able to sense direct physical attacks coming thanks to a form of omni-directional vision. Like Venom, Carnage is also invisible to Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense, due to it being too closely connected to Peter Parker for him to perceive it as a threat. Despite all this power, Carnage is far from invincible. He still possess the standard symbiote weakness to extreme heat and his connection to his host is disrupted by certain sonic frequencies. It’s worth noting, however, that Carnage is far more vulnerable to heat and fire than Venom, yet far more resistant to sonic-based attacks than his parent, due to the stronger bond he has forged with Cletus Kasady.

Page 2 of 2: Woody Harrelson Is Carnage In Venom & Will Be Venom 2’s Villain

Woody Harrelson Is Carnage In Venom 2

Woody Harrelson’s involvement in Venom was a closely guarded secret early on. There were rumors before Venom‘s release that Harrelson would be playing Cletus Kasady in anticipation of setting Carnage up for the sequel. However, it wasn’t confirmed until very close to the film’s release that Harrelson was in Venom. One of Venom‘s post-credits scenes showed Eddie Brock traveling to San Quentin Prison, having been personally requested by one of the inmates to interview him. The inmate is revealed to be a serial killer named Cletus Kasady, who is portrayed by Woody Harrelson. Though the scene is barely a minute long, Harrelson casts a menacing shadow as Kassady, who tells Brock “When I get out of here, and I will, there’s gonna be Carnage.”

Carnage’s Villain Role In Venom 2

As of right now, it’s uncertain just what role Carnage might play in Venom 2 beyond being the chief antagonist. This is largely because there’s very little that has been confirmed about the Venom sequel aside from the fact that a Venom 2 screenplay is being written by the original writer, Kelly Marcel. Venom director Ruben Fleischer has freely admitted that he’s unsure how to bring Carnage into Venom 2 given that his version of Eddie Brock is markedly different from the one in the comics and the traditional origin story for Carnage won’t work in his universe.

Despite this, it seems obvious that there are plans to make use of Carnage at some point. Ignoring that Harrelson was confirmed for Venom 2, it  seems highly unlikely that Sony would hire an actor of Woody Harrelson’s caliber just to drop an Easter egg in a post-credit sequence if there wasn’t an intention of eventually bringing him in to play the part of Carnage. Logistically, it’s too much work for too little yield, though it seems unlikely they will do something as simple as retroactively revealing the symbiote just happened to give birth and dropped off its offspring during the visit to Kasady’s cell.

Related: Eddie Brock’s Notebook Reveals Carnage Backstory for Venom 2

One possibility is that Cletus Kasady may be the villain of Venom 2 but he won’t become Carnage until later in the film. His empowerment may even be saved for Venom 3. While it may seem absurd to have a non-powered serial killer set up as the main enemy for a character as powerful as Venom, Kasady was far from an ordinary murderer and Venom in the comics frequently concerned himself with going after anyone who was a threat to the lives of innocents, powers or no. This could lead to a movie that is more thriller than superhero story, with Eddie Brock trying to investigate Kasady’s killings while holding back the rage of his other half and dodging the police.

Another possibility that seems like something of a long-shot now with the fate of Sony’s superhero universe up in the air beyond their plans for Venom 2 and the on-going work on Morbius is that Carnage might be saved for an adaptation of the classic Maximum Carnage storyline. This miniseries saw Spider-Man, Venom, and a host of other superheroes and anti-heroes (including Morbius) join forces to take on Carnage and a group of supervillains who flocked under his banner and joined his mission to sow as much chaos as possible. Such a film could act as an Avengers piece for Sony, though that seems unlikely with their current production line-up.

More: Venom 2: Every Update You Need To Know

2019-03-28 07:03:26

Matt Morrison

Umbrella Academy Theory: The Commission Works For a Future Villain

The Commission, the villains of The Umbrella Academy, could well be working for a mysterious enemy who originates from the post-apocalyptic future. When Five arrived in the present day in The Umbrella Academy season 1, it didn’t take long for him to be pursued by time traveling assassins. The show revealed that these agents worked for “The Commission,” a mysterious group who were attempting to ensure time stayed on a predetermined course. Five had worked for them for a while, acting as an assassin who killed anyone who threatened the timeline.

The idea of the Commission is heavily adapted from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s original comics, in which Five had gotten caught up in the activities of a group called the Temps Aeternalis. In the comics, Hazel and Cha-Cha only appeared briefly, and they were two-dimensional at best; in fact, they unwittingly destroyed the entire planet when they stole a nuclear device, although that particular timeline was rewritten. In the Netflix series, however, they’re series regulars who are as important to the overall plot as the Umbrella Academy students themselves. Their boss, the Handler, is a recurring threat throughout season 1.

Related: Umbrella Academy Theory: The Hargreeves Family Is In A Time Loop

For all they’re loosely lifted from the comics and appear prominently in The Umbrella Academy season 1, the Commission remain enigmatic. They’re sure to return in season 2, and if so it stands to reason some of their mysteries will finally be explained.

  • This Page: The Commission in Umbrella Academy Season 1
  • Page 2: The Commission Could Be Working For A Post-Apocalyptic Villain

Operating from a base in 1955, the Commission use advanced technology and their knowledge of temporal calculations to ensure that the timeline happens as they believe it’s supposed to. They monitor the entire timeline, and identify key moments in history when an individual’s free will risks pushing history in a different direction. That individual is then assassinated by one of their field operatives. Five was one of their best assassins, even tasked with the murder of US President J.F. Kennedy, and Hazel and Cha-Cha are also numbered among their top field agents.

The Umbrella Academy revealed that the Commission’s ultimate goal is to ensure the end of the world happens. They’ve been guiding human history towards the apocalypse: the moment when Vanya blasts a chunk of the Moon off and causes an extinction level event. The Commission justify this by insisting everything must happened as it is “supposed” to, but they don’t explain why they believe history has to go down this particular course. The apocalypse certainly wasn’t inevitable; after all, if that were the case they wouldn’t have needed to assassinate people at all. So why are they so committed to the end of the human race?

Meanwhile, although the Commission seem to all be human beings – albeit people picked up from different points in the timeline – they’re clearly using tech beyond anything humanity will ever develop. With the exception of Five, all their agents carry briefcases containing time travel technology. They have ways of communicating with their agents across time and space, and the Handler even possessed a means of stopping time. So not only are the Commission’s motives still relatively unexplained, their technology is also impossibly advanced.

Page 2 of 2: The Commission Could Be Working For A Post-Apocalyptic Villain

All this raises the possibility that the Commission is working for a post-apocalyptic race. When Five first jumped forward in time, he found himself in a post-apocalypse wasteland, the sole survivor of the human race. He was unable to return home, and spent years living there until he was finally approached by the Handler. Five briefly assumed the Commission would be dedicated to rewriting history and preventing the end of the world, but the Handler swiftly disabused him of that notion. She was quite relaxed about the apocalypse, and didn’t even accept that it was indeed the end of everything. Instead, she referred to it as “the end of… something.” It was an enigmatic comment that suggested the extinction of the human race was a necessary part of the timeline in order to allow something else to take humanity’s place as the dominant species on Earth.

This may well explain the Commission’s advanced technology. In the world of The Umbrella Academy, humanity never had the opportunity to develop the kind of tech used by the Commission. But perhaps this post-apocalypse race will have a closer affinity with time, and learned how to manipulate it. If that’s the case – if the next dominant life-form on Earth is a race of time-sensitives – then they would have realized that human free will could alter the timeline, preventing their coming into existence in the first place. Thus they’d found the Commission, to ensure the timeline remained stable, the human race was rendered extinct, and the right conditions developed for them to come into existence. It’s even possible that some of the Commission’s senior management are post-humans. Certainly the Handler seemed distinctly odd, and appeared to be able to freeze time without needing any technology at all.

Related: Related: Will Ben Be Alive In Umbrella Academy Season 2?

Naturally, at this stage this is only a theory, but it fits with everything in The Umbrella Academy season 1. What’s more, there would be a certain surreal irony to this idea that works perfectly with the tone and style of The Umbrella Academy. The post-apocalypse villains would essentially be using humans to police the timeline and ensure their own race was wiped out; it’s the kind of crazy idea that works in this series.

Assuming this theory is correct, the reality is that the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2 has seen their plans begin to fall apart. The apocalypse happened, but the Umbrella Academy students are about to try to rewrite history and avert it again. This time round, they’re almost all on the same page and they’re a lot more well-informed. What’s more, they’ve already proved too much for the Commission to handle, and Five knows all the Commission’s tricks. This is the post-human race’s worst nightmare.

Related: The Umbrella Academy’s Ending Was Revealed In Episode 3

It won’t be easy for them to resolve the crisis. First they’ll need to locate the Umbrella Academy, which won’t be easy; Five conducted a blind jump through time, meaning they could be anywhere or anywhen. Then they’ll probably need to intervene directly in order to beat them; they won’t be able to operate through third parties anymore. No doubt they possess a lot of tools and technology that they never passed on to the Commission; still, it remains to be seen whether or not that will be enough to beat the Umbrella Academy students. Especially if they can successfully stabilize Vanya; her power levels are off the charts, enough to pose a threat to anyone who wants to destroy them.

The interesting question, though, is whether the Commission is the only way these time-sensitives have attempted to manipulate the timeline. It’s entirely possible they’ve taken other strategies as well, and that the Commission is simply the most extreme. If the Handler was indeed a post-human, then it’s even possible they have sleeper agents planted throughout history, working hard to ensure the apocalypse happens exactly when it’s supposed to. It wouldn’t even be a surprise to find that these beings were somehow involved in the mysterious births of superhumans in the world of The Umbrella Academy in the first place.

More: What The Umbrella Academy Comics Reveal About Season 2

2019-03-24 01:03:36

Thomas Bacon

Lex Luthor Is The Big Villain Of Supergirl Season 4 (& He’s Awesome)

Supergirl finally introduced Lex Luthor, setting him up as the big bad of season 4. While many predicted this development as soon as it was announced that actor John Cryer had been cast in the role, few could have anticipated just how well he would play the part of Superman’s arch-enemy. Fewer still guessed just how deeply and from what sources his introductory episode, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, would draw upon in crafting the most comics-accurate vision of Lex Luthor in years.

Surprisingly little has been said about Lex Luthor in the world of the Arrowverse to date. His sister Lena Luthor was introduced as a regular member of Supergirl‘s cast in season 2, with Lena attempting to redeem her family’s name and their company in the wake of Lex’s incarceration on a variety of charges. It was said that Luthor and Superman were once friends who had worked together to repel hostile alien invasions of Earth, but that Lex’s more violent methods did not sit well with Superman and Luthor eventually grew to resent Superman’s popularity with the public when the industrialist felt he was doing all the real work. This grudge eventually led Luthor to blame Superman for attracting the attention of dangerous alien criminals and to devote his life to destroying his former ally.

Related: Supergirl Rips Off Marvel Again – Except This Time It’s Venom

Supergirl season 4, episode 15 opens with a flashback to the spring of 2015, showing that Lex was arrested after somehow turning Earth’s sunlight red in a bid to depower Superman. When the story returns to the modern day, Lex has just been transported to Luthor Manor. After having a stroke in prison and being determined to have developed inoperable cancer after injecting himself with Kryptonite as part of his efforts to keep Superman away from him, Luthor is allowed to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest. It is here that he begins badgering Lena to test a wonder-cure she is developing using a Kryptonite derivative called Harun-El on him, figuring he has nothing left to lose.

All of these concepts are taken directly from the original Superman comics, where Luthor discovered that Kryptonite radiation was deadly to humans (if not quite so fast-acting as it is with Kryptonians) after he began wearing a ring made of Kryptonite to keep Superman at bay and later developed cancer. He also briefly turned the sun red in a bid to save Earth from an invasion of hostile Kryptonians during the War of the Superman storyline in 2010. The show even managed a clever nod to DC Super Pets and the Krypto the Superdog show, with Lex telling Lena a story about a dog named Ignatius he owned before she was adopted into the Luthor family; Lex has a pet named Ignatius in both realities, though those pets are iguanas rather than dogs.

It is Jon Cryer’s performance as Lex, however, which sells the character. While many suspected that Cryer’s joining the cast of Supergirl was purely a casting stunt (Cryer infamously played Lex Luthor’s nephew Lenny Luthor in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace), few were left picturing Cryer as a bald, bearded Alan Harper by the episode’s end. Cryer’s performance seemed to draw deeply from both Gene Hackman’s performances as Lex Luthor opposite Christopher Reeves’ Superman and the popular image of Luthor from the comics as a sarcastic show-off who can’t help but flaunt his intelligence and his superiority. For instance, even while suffering a seizure under the watch of an utterly indifferent government agent, Lex can’t help but compare himself to Jesus of Nazareth, muttering “Don’t blame him. He knows not what he does,” before dryly adding “He’s on a government salary, after all.”

In this, while Cryer’s Luthor might be compared to his character from Two And A Half Men in having a similar humor, that is the only way in which Cryer will remind viewers of his most famous role in modern television. It will surprise no one that Lex is able to cure his condition by the episode’s end after hijacking his sister’s research and is able to effortlessly kill his handlers with the mansion’s secret defenses. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Lex staring down a newly arrived Supergirl, as he is escaping Luthor Manor by helicopter, suggesting a big battle to come next week.

More: Supergirl’s Latest Episode Ripped Off The Incredible Hulk

2019-03-18 04:03:36

Matt Morrison