Tag Archives: san diego comic con

The Snowpiercer Cast Reveals How They’ll Explore Past the Train’s Walls

Snowpiercer is about a giant train that contains all of humanity and can never stop running. That might sound like a fun concept for a two-hour movie, but how do you keep it going for a couple of seasons without audiences getting bored? As star Jennifer Connelly explained to io9, there’s a device that helps passengers experience life off the train, and the showrunner teased one day disembarking for real.

During a red carpet event at San Diego Comic-Con, io9 asked Connelly how Snowpiercer could keep audiences engaged for at least two seasons (the show received an early renewal) when the whole thing takes place on a train they can, theoretically, never escape. She teased a “device” that takes passengers off of the train…in a sense.

“I’m gonna be a little cryptic, but there is a device which lets us explore other times and other places on the train as well,” Connelly said.

We asked the other stars of the show to elaborate—which you can watch in the video above—and we found out about the Night Car’s true capabilities. Lena Hall plays Miss Audrey, the madame of the Night Car, which is a nightclub that hosts the train’s sex workers. But according to Hall, that’s not her character’s only purpose. Miss Audrey is the device. She’s the train’s archivist and unsanctioned therapist, who has a special ability to access people’s memories and give them a chance to experience their lives from before the world basically ended.

“I run the brothel, but I’m also this empath. And through psychic connection, I’m able to help people through their grief from their past life. And so we get to watch and see what they went through during The Freeze.” Hall said. “So there’s there are ways that we get off the train, you know, and get out and see what happened in the past.”

“These people lived in the world we live in today, and then it was all taken away. So they have their memories, and they have their lost family and lost friends and lost possessions and their homes. I think, through them and their stories and that loss, you kind of escape into that past world. Through their eyes and their memories,” Mickey Sumner, who plays Bess Till, elaborated.

But the Night Car is not the only way Snowpiercer could get us off the train over the course of the show. As a reminder, the series follows the original graphic novel series, Le Transperceneige, and not the 2013 movie adaptation. The survivors venture into other locations in later books and showrunner Graeme Manson shared that the TV show can and may very well do the same—after a couple of seasons.

“After the first graphic novel, they really break the mold. People leave the train. The train leaves the tracks. They go to bunkers. They discover other worlds. There’s elements of that, that can come into this show as we move along,” Manson said. “I feel really confident for a couple—or three seasons, of not leaving the train. But then it’s possible, you know, that…we’ve got to go to Ice Station Zebra.”

“You’ve got to go to Ice Station Zebra,” he added, pointing at Steven Ogg, who’s playing Pike. “And basically we do Moon, you, that’s the whole season.”

“I love that,” Ogg replied. “So there, I mean there’s yet another [idea]. I don’t know how many you’re looking for here. I mean, we can go on. He’s a writer, I’m a man of ideas. How many do you want?”

I asked for as many as he’d like, so we’ll see what happens. Snowpiercer debuts on TBS sometime in 2020.


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Source: Kotaku.com

The Witcher’s Showrunner on Getting Video Game Fans Into the Series, and Season 2 Hints

Ciri (Freya Allan) on Netflix’s The Witcher.
Photo: Netflix

When Netflix first pitched Lauren Schmidt Hissrich the idea of doing a series based on The Witcher, she turned it down. She was a fan of the books and video games—so much so she even included a bathtub Easter egg in the first season—but was afraid of taking on a fantasy saga. What finally convinced her? Getting to tell the story she wanted in a way that not just appealed to fans of the books, but the games which are even more famous than the source material.

During a press roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con, Hissrich talked about why she ultimately decided to do The Witcher. Joking how “Netflix loves that story,” Hissrich shared that she agreed once the streaming network showed how much they cared for and valued the story she was most interested in telling:

I read the books and I basically said, “I loved The Last Wish. It was an incredible read. But I’m not a fantasy writer, guys, like I’m not who you’re looking for.” And they said, “Well, what would be your entrance into the story? If we said you have to write this, What would be your entrance in?”

I said it would be about what happens when Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer meet, and how we can craft a really disjointed family that’s meant to be together. That’s something that I knew that I could bring. That’s the base of all fantasy right? It’s just human experience. It’s maybe human experience in a world that we don’t live in, with monsters and with magic, but it really comes down to just what it’s like to walk through the world.

Hissrich emphasized that the core of the first season is about bringing Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer together and creating that core which defines many of the books and games. However, it is going to take some time to get there. Freya Allan, who plays Ciri, told io9 that Ciri and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) don’t spend a lot of time together this season—at least, not without Geralt—but that she’s looking forward to having more of that relationship develop between the two of them in the future.

“That’s something we haven’t explored yet. But I’m really looking forward to looking at that more, and I think it’s going to be a great relationship, because I think it’ll be very maternal one, [with] two strong female characters together and so I’m very excited,” Allan said.

For now, it’s about setting the stage. In fact, there are a few other things we won’t be seeing in the first season, but Hissrich hinted they could arrive in the second season should the series get one. She wouldn’t go into detail, as she doesn’t want to spoil things, but she did note how Istredd, one of Yennefer’s many lovers, is being introduced in the first season. He’s only in one of the original stories, but his early, more teasing presence in the first season hints at something bigger later on. Hissrich said it’s all about laying the groundwork for a larger story, instead of overloading the first season with too many characters or references.

“There is so much that I intended to put in this season, but I’m actually a really big believer in not cramming in story just for the sake of cramming in story,” Hissrich said. “It’s about letting these characters breathe and grow, so there’s definitely things that we didn’t get to.”

However, letting the characters do their own thing might be especially challenging for fans of the video games. Hissrich confirmed in the interview that the series is based on the original books, and will not be a video game adaptation. However, there will be Easter eggs and references that game fans will appreciate, like the aforementioned bathtub, but it’s it’s not based on the version most fans will recognize. It presents a unique problem because the games are arguably more well-known than the books. Several folks, including myself, weren’t even aware there were books until fairly recently.

I asked Hissrich about the unique challenges in developing a TV show based on a series where arguably the adaptation, meaning the video games, is more famous than the source material. She said video games are a powerful medium in that viewers, or players, feel a sense of control and autonomy over Geralt. But in this case, that control is being handed over to Henry Cavill. The themes and tones are similar but the presentation is different, and she trusts that audiences will be able to move seamlessly through both:

What I will always say to gaming fans when they say, “Is the show for me?” And I say well, what you love is based on the same books as this show is going to be based on, which means we’re all dealing with the same set of characters, the same themes, the same tones. What’s different is is the look, of course.

I think that people who really love the games are gonna love the show too. I think you just have to be open to seeing it as a journey where you’re sitting back and it’s happening, as opposed to you being in charge of it. And I think that’s gonna be a challenge for some people, certainly it’s a challenge for me to not feel like I get to control everything. I mean, I guess in this case I kind of do!

The Witcher hits Netflix later this year.


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Source: Kotaku.com

Here’s All Our San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Coverage in One Handy Location

The Benioff and Weiss picture is what you might call a metaphor.
Image: A Lot Of Places/James Whitbrook

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 has come and gone and, oh, gosh, was that a convention! With writers and video people on the ground in San Diego and a team of intrepid writers at home, we spent all weekend cranking out all the information we can dig up for your knowledge and entertainment.

If you haven’t been around, or even if you have, it’s a lot to keep up with—we’ve published certainly over 100 things across videos, trailer breakdowns, panel recaps, exclusive interviews, and like a dozen big Marvel announcements. Fortunately, this post is here to help! We’ve gathered all of our SDCC coverage here in one place, broken down by category, in roughly chronological order.

Pour some coffee, get comfortable, and catch up on SDCC. Here’s everything we’ve got so far—our coverage will be continuing throughout this week, so stay tuned for even more.

Television

Superheroes

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Horror

Animation

Movies

Disney

Everything Else

Comics and Books

Games

Experiences

Toys and Collectibles

Cosplay

And One Open Letter


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Source: Kotaku.com

Here’s Why The Witcher Auditioned 207 Other Guys for Geralt When Henry Cavill Was Right There

It’s been a long road, Geralt of Rivia.
Image: Netflix (YouTube)

When Netflix revealed it was making a television adaptation of The Witcher, Henry Cavill immediately wanted in. However, producers still auditioned over 200 actors for Geralt before choosing him for the job. Why did it take four months and hundreds of actors before going with the leading man who wanted to be there in the first place? Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich explains.

During a press roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con, io9 asked Hissrich to elaborate on a revelation from The Witcher panel that they’d auditioned 207 other actors before choosing Cavill—even though he’d gone to the streaming network expressing interest, well, basically as soon as he heard about the show existing.

“As soon as it was announced it was going to be a show, he contacted his agents who contacted Netflix and said he wants to be part of this. And Netflix was like, ‘We don’t have a show yet, there’s nothing to be a part of!’” Hissrich told me. “Once I came on board they expressed that to me, and I sat down and met him. But I was really honest with him and I said, ‘It’s really great to meet you, you seem like a nice guy. But we don’t have a script, we’re not even casting.’ And he sat back and understood.”

Over the course of about four months, Hissrich and the other producers auditioned 207 actors for the part of Geralt of Rivia. That’s not necessarily an unprecedented number, but it is pretty high—especially knowing that Cavill, a headliner who played Superman in several DC films, not only wanted the part but knew The Witcher series like the back of his hand. Hissrich explained that she thought it would be best to cast a wider net and see who else was out there, because she wasn’t sure Cavill was the right fit. But as talented as the actors were, it kept coming back to him:

The really interesting thing is that I do think with casting you have to see everything to know that you have the right thing. And having met with Henry, I knew he wanted the show but that didn’t mean that he necessarily was the right person for the show. So I met everyone else that also thought they were the right person for the show.

We had great auditions, but honestly I couldn’t get Henry’s voice out of my head as I started writing, and ultimately I called him back and said, “Are you still interested?” And he was like, “Absolutely. What do I need to do?” And I said, “I need to hear you be Geralt.” So we both flew to New York and basically did an audition, and he was pretty much hired on the spot.

Cavill’s casting did result in some interesting choices and changes for the character. For example, Cavill insisted on doing all of his own stunts. Every time you see Geralt performing an action sequence, it’s actually Cavill, and Hissrich explained that the actor had all the cuts, bruises, and “exhaustion to prove it.”

Hissrich also noted that there was one thing she ended up changing to better suit Cavill’s take on the character: This version of Geralt talks way less than he was originally supposed to.

“One of the things that probably shifted the most once we cast Henry is that Geralt speaks a lot less than I initially intended. In the books, Geralt’s actually quite chatty. He talks a lot. What I found, though, is that on-screen—especially with Henry portraying him—a lot can be done in looks and in grunts. Henry’s a big grunter. I mean that in the best way possible,” she said. “It’s kind of amazing what is accomplished in silence, and I think makes him that much more powerful of a character.”

The other interesting casting story from The Witcher is connected to Ciri, played in the series by Freya Allan. According to Hissrich, the whole process was “really difficult.” She’d initially planned for Ciri to be played by a child, following the character’s story and trajectory in the books. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the right young actor for the part—especially because they needed someone who could “grow up fast” to match the show’s faster-paced progression. Combined with complicated child labor laws that limit an actor’s ability to shoot at night, eventually, Hissrich came to an impasse.

“Someone said to me: ‘I’m not sure that Ciri is going to be able to be a big part of the series.’ And I was like, ‘Well, that’s not gonna work for me.’ So we skewed a little bit older,” she said.

Hissrich went on to share the story of choosing Allan for the part of Ciri, who was a newcomer who’d initially been cast for a different part:

We had actually cast her for another role. She had signed the contract, and was signed on for a one-episode role in episode one. We met everyone we could meet for for Ciri and I still just wasn’t finding it, I couldn’t find that sort of the person who embodied her in the way that I wanted them to…Sophie Holland, our casting director, actually called me and said, “I think we should think about Freya Allan for this.”

In the end, the casting of Cavill, Allan, and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer was kind of kismet. While Chalotra was the first and easiest casting of the trio, all three actors were hired on the spot once they’d finally gotten a chance to read for the roles. As Hissrich put it, it showed they’d found the right fit.

“For Henry, for Anya, and for Freya, each of them was cast in the room when we finally got in the room, which was incredible,” she said. “That’s how you know [you have] the right person.”

The Witcher debuts on Netflix later this year.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Lauren Schmidt Hissrich’s name in a few places. We have updated to correct and we regret the error. 


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Source: Kotaku.com

New Concept Art Reveals Our First Look at Black Widow’s Taskmaster

The cast of Black Widow in Hall H.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

When some concrete info on the Black Widow solo film finally dropped last night at San Diego Comic-Con, all the hints pointed toward Taskmaster, a dude with the power to instantly replicate any physical action he sees, as the villain. Now, with the release of a new official illustration, that’s pretty much confirmed.

Andy Park, Director of Visual Development at Marvel Studios, is responsible for the visual identity of much of the film universe, and is the best source around for illustrations related to the MCU. Now, he’s posted a new keyframe illustration from the Black Widow movie, featuring Natasha fighting a heavily armored villain with a shield identified as Taskmaster.

In the comics, the Taskmaster is Tony Masters, a mercenary who injected himself with an experimental serum that gave him the power of “photographic reflexes,” meaning that he can reproduce, from memory, any action he sees. So he can fire arrows as like Hawkeye, fight like Shang-Chi, and throw a shield like Captain America. All he has to do is see them do it first.

What’s still not clear, though, is what the character’s origin is going to be in the MCU, or who’s going to play them. Out of the confirmed cast, we know that David Harbour is playing Alexei Shoskatov, the Red Guardian (the Communist answer to Captain America). Could the Guardian go rogue and become a supervillain? Who knows, at this point. But we did see, in the footage shown at the Hall H panel, Natasha fighting someone who definitely seemed like Taskmaster. Florence Pugh is playing Yelena, O-T Fagbenle is Mason, and Rachel Weisz is Melina (Weisz is Deputy Editor Jill Pantozzi’s guess for Taskmaster as an MCU switcheroo).

After watching the footage at the Marvel panel, io9 caught up with Scarlett Johansson. She talked to us about the joy of working in an increasingly more gender diverse MCU, which includes the director of Black Widow, Cate Shortland, the first solo woman director in the MCU. You can check that out below.

For more on Marvel’s announcements at Comic-Con, check out our master post here. Black Widow is due in theaters May 1, 2020.


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Source: Kotaku.com

Yes, There Is a Bathtub in Netflix’s The Witcher

Get ready for this view.
Image: CD Projekt Red

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Yennefer at what appears a masquerade sex party in Netflix’s first The Witcher trailer. But apparently, that’s not going to be the only nudity on the show. There’s a certain bathtub. You may have heard of it. And yes, it’s making a comeback—in a manner of speaking.

During a press roundtable for The Witcher, io9 asked showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (Daredevil) about what Easter eggs fans of the books and video games can expect in the series. Of course, by that we meant the bathtub that Geralt takes a sexy dip in during Witcher 3. Obviously.

The scene has practically taken on a life of its own, inspiring memes, statues, even a birthday cake. But it also showed us a softer, more vulnerable side of Geralt. So, will Netflix’s The Witcher have a bathtub scene of its own?

“There is a bathtub this season. There is a bathtub,” Hissrich revealed. “I won’t tell you who’s in the bathtub, but there is a bathtub.”

Hissrich went on to explain that—as fans of the original books and video game adaptation—she and the writers wanted to honor the little details they’d come to love about the series. Whether it’s a little Easter egg, like the bathtub, or a much-bigger part of the lore.

She mentioned that the story she personally wanted to include was “A Question of Price,” a short story that explains how Ciri became Geralt’s surprise child, from the now-obsolete book, Wiedźmin, which is now part of The Last Wish.

We’re fans of the series too. We’re fans of the franchise. So one of the things that I asked the writers when they showed up on the first day was, having read the books, what did you love the most? It could be the tiniest thing. It could be, you know, something Jaskier says over and over again, or it could be something huge. For me, it was ‘A Question of Price.’ I was like I have to do ‘A Question of Price.’ And so I think people who are big fans of the franchise will find a lot of fun stuff.

The Witcher debuts on Netflix later this year. We’ll have more on the way from our interviews so stay tuned.

Update: Thanks so much to our internet sleuths who were able to identify the name Hissrich was citing: Jaskier, also known as Dandelion! Y’all are the best.


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Source: Kotaku.com

All the Legendary Cosplay We Saw at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Day 1

San Diego Comic-Con is back, baby, and the cosplay is looking bigger and better than ever. Thousands of cosplayers and fans have flocked to the San Diego Convention Center to show off their tributes to amazing shows, films, comics, and video games. And we’ve got it all right here.

Take a look at io9’s video and photo collection, highlighting our favorite finds from Wednesday and Thursday. We’ve got a terrifying Tethered duo from Us, a shockingly uncanny Princess Anastasia, and a couple that apparently got devoured by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Leave a comment with your favorites, or share your own look from SDCC! Also, be sure to head to our Instagram Stories, where we’re sharing even more looks and cool finds from the con floor. Have fun!


Ice to meet you, Sub-Zero.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo
We’re gonna be legends! Mirage, Bangalore, Bloodhound, and Wattson from Apex Legends are here to take the number 1 spot.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo

Conan readies his sword.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo
Snow White’s looking rather dapper.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo

Dread him. Run from him. Thanos still arrives.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo
Indiana Jones has found her own kind of Comic-Con swag.
Photo: io9/Gizmodo


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Source: Kotaku.com

Hasbro’s New Overwatch Figure Shows Off Reinhardt’s Pretty Face

Out of all the characters recreated in plastic for Hasbro’s first wave of Overwatch action figures, the hands-down, hammers-up best is the super-sized Reinhardt with his gorgeous mech suit and dinner plate-sized shield. The only way it could be better would be if we could see the old man’s pretty face. Oh hi there, San Diego Comic-Con Reinhardt Bundswehr version.

Hasbro hit the jackpot when they secured the license for Overwatch action figures. Not only does the toymaker have the rights to make figures based on the entire roster of Blizzard’s hero shooter, they also have a well of variant figures based on the game’s bountiful array of cosmetic skins. That means masked Anna and unmasked Reaper from the first wave, which I reviewed earlier this year, aren’t the end-all, be-all. This new version of Reinhardt is posing plastic proof.

Available exclusively at the Hasbro booth during San Diego Comic-Con, the Bundswehr version of Reinhardt strips the mask off of Overwatch’s best tank, letting the poor old man breathe easy for a bit. The eight-inch tall figure comes packaged in a large box, frozen against a cardboard backdrop of combat chaos.Reinhardt’s hammer, which is gold instead of the silver and gray of the original figure, sports a translucent yellow impact effect. It’s a lovely box, the sort that collectors might want to keep sealed for shelf display.

For me, however, a toy is not a toy until I’ve played with it, so I tore open the packaging and grabbed some glamor shots of Herr Wilhelm. Old and scarred with a neatly-trimmed beard and slicked-back hair, the unmasked version of Reinhardt is who I aspire to be when I am slightly older. Just gotta figure out the whole hair thing.

And yes, the package also includes my favorite toy accessory of the year, the microwave-safe platter shield, complete with painted wolf emblem.

This German military service version of Reinhardt is available at Hasbro’s booth at SDCC for $60. I imagine it’s also on eBay, selling for around *checks price* $100. More importantly, he’s a harbinger of things to come in Hasbro’s Overwatch Ultimates figure line. We’re going to be up to our pauldrons in variants, you guys.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Familiar Star Wars Face Returns in This Exclusive Thrawn: Treason Excerpt

Thrawn finds himself torn between loyalties.
Image: Two Dots (Del Rey/Lucasfilm)

Timothy Zahn’s return to his most famous creation, Grand Admiral Thrawn, has been one of the consistent highlights of the new canon of Star Wars under Disney. So far we’ve got to see Thrawn’s early days in the Empire and a fateful encounter between him and Anakin Skywalker, and io9 can now give you an exclusive look inside the third entry in this new Thrawn series.

Set before the climactic events over Lothal in the finale of the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, the third entry in Zahn and Del Rey’s Thrawn saga, Thrawn: Treason, hits shelves this month. The book finds the Grand Admiral at odds—not just with fellow Imperials, as he finds his TIE Defender project stalled in favor of a certain battlestation project courtesy of Rogue One’s Director Krennic, but his loyalty to both the Empire and his own people, the Chiss, when a dire threat to his homeworld brings Thrawn crashing back into an encounter with the Chiss Ascendancy.

That dire threat is brought to Thrawn’s attention by the return of a familiar face, as you’ll see: Thrawn’s former protege, Commander Eli Vanto, returning for the first time since the original book in the series, Thrawn, released in 2017! Back at the end of that book, Eli had found himself on a mission on Thrawn’s behalf, sent into the Unknown Regions to serve as an Imperial attache to the mysterious Chiss Ascendancy itself.

Ahead of Thrawn: Treason’s early release at San Diego Comic-Con this week, check out our exclusive excerpt below—in both text and in Marc Thompson’s narration from the Thrawn: Treason audiobook—to see what Eli’s been up to in his time among the Chiss, including rubbing shoulders with another face fans of Zahn’s Star Wars expanded universe material will remember…


It had all started out well enough, Lieutenant Eli Vanto thought as he paged through yet another data listing filled with delicate Chiss script. Thrawn had told him that the Chiss Ascendancy had vital need of his talents and abilities, and that he’d arranged for Eli to be quietly released from his current duty aboard the Chimaera. Eli had accepted the new assignment and left Imperial space, arriving at the rendezvous point Thrawn had sent him to full of hope and expectation, with the excitement of the unknown tingling through him.

I am Admiral Ar’alani of the Chiss Defense Fleet, the blue-skinned woman had greeted him from the bridge of her ship. Are you he?

I am he, Eli had confirmed, making sure to fill his voice with the mix of confidence and respect that had served him well during his years in the Imperial fleet. I am Eli Vanto. I bring greetings to you from Mitth’raw’nuruodo. He believes I can be of some use to the Chiss Ascendancy.

Welcome, Eli Vanto, she’d replied. Let us learn together if he was correct.

That had been over a year ago. In retrospect, Eli thought a little sourly, he should have realized from Ar’alani’s neutral words and tone that she wasn’t impressed.

His first act aboard the Steadfast was to receive demotion from Imperial commander to Chiss Defense Fleet lieutenant. No real surprise there—different militaries would hardly have equivalent rank systems. His second act was to be dropped into an intensive course in Cheunh, the main Chiss language. Again, no surprise—though many aboard spoke the Sy Bisti trade language Eli was fluent in, it was certainly unreasonable to expect everyone to bend to the needs of a single crew member. Especially a newcomer and an alien.

But in and through all of that, Eli had expected to be put onto some kind of leadership or command track. Instead, he’d been dumped down here in the analysis department, sifting data, looking for patterns, and making predictions.

It was something he was very good at. Even Thrawn, with all his tactical and strategic genius, had recognized Eli’s superiority at such things, and had utilized his skills to their fullest. In retrospect, it wasn’t all that surprising that he’d passed that information on to Ar’alani.

The problem was that as far as Eli could tell, none of the data he’d been tasked to analyze meant anything at all.

They weren’t listings of ship movements or cargo or smuggling manifests. They weren’t groups of personnel, or alien troops, or alien operations. They weren’t even anything internal to the Steadfast, patterns of power usage or data flow or something else designed to spot flaws in ship’s functions or to predict imminent system failures.

To be honest, the whole thing felt like busywork. Eli had always hated busywork.

Still, Ar’alani struck him as a subtle sort of person. Maybe this was a test of his patience, or his willingness to enthusiastically obey even orders that seemed to make no sense. He’d certainly gone through a lot of such scenarios with Thrawn.

And really, it wasn’t like the tour had been all routine. There’d been a seriously nasty skirmish with the Grysks and some of their allies near the Imperial edge of the Unknown Regions, which had made for a very interesting couple of days. After the excitement subsided, he’d hoped things might pick up a little.

To his disappointment, they hadn’t. In fact, in many ways they’d actually slowed down.

Which wasn’t to say the Steadfast wasn’t in danger. On the contrary, it was in about as much danger right now as it had ever been.

The intercom at his station gave a little three-tone warble. “Lieutenant Ivant, report to the bridge immediately,” First Officer Khresh’s voice came over the speaker.

“Acknowledged,” Eli called back, mentally rolling his eyes. The vast majority of Chiss names were composed of multiple syllables in three distinct parts, the first of which identified the person’s family, the second of which was the given name, and the third of which reflected some social factor Eli hadn’t yet figured out. Since using multisyllable titles all the time could seriously bog down conversations—and worse, timely military orders—the normal convention was to use core names for everything except in the most formal situations.

But there were a few exceptions to the norm. Admiral Ar’alani herself, for one, apparently had only a two-part name and no core name at all. The ship’s navigators, the young Chiss girls gifted with Third Sight who used their ability to guide the Steadfast through hyperspace, also followed that pattern. Eli also hadn’t figured out why they got the same naming convention as senior flag officers.

Early on, Ar’alani had explained to her officers and crew that Eli was another such exception, and that he should be addressed as Lieutenant Vanto or Lieutenant Eli’van’to. But for most of them the explanation didn’t seem to have taken. Someone had taken Ar’alani’s conversion of Eli Vanto into a standard three-part Chiss name, then created a core name out of the middle of it, and the name had stuck.

At first, Eli had wondered if it was a subtle insult, either to him or to the admiral who’d brought this alien into their midst. But Ar’alani hadn’t taken offense at the flouting of her order, at least not in public, and eventually Eli decided to treat it as their way of accepting him as one of their own.

And it could have been worse. If he’d been unwise enough to tell them his middle initial—N—the name might have become Invant, which was way too close to Infant for comfort.

He was halfway to the bridge, passing the standard green- and blue-rimmed compartment doors, when the double-red-rimmed door to the navigation ready room a dozen meters in front of him slid open. One of the navigators stepped out into the corridor and turned toward the bridge.

Normally, seeing the back of a navigator’s head wouldn’t have given Eli a clue as to who she was. All of the Steadfast’s navigators were girls, nearly all of them between the ages of seven and fourteen, when Third Sight was at its strongest. On top of that, they tended to keep to themselves, and in all his time aboard he’d only met three of the five.

Vah’nya was the exception to all the rules. She was twenty-two years old, and unlike the children who shared her job she felt perfectly comfortable mixing with the rest of the adults aboard. Eli had seen and talked with her on a number of occasions, and had found her congenial company.

“Navigator Vah’nya,” he called.

She turned to face him, a small smile touching her lips as she saw who it was. “Hello, Lieutenant Eli,” she said. “What brings you to this part of the ship?”

“I’ve been ordered to the bridge,” he said, eyeing her closely. Not just good company, but also highly intriguing. Though her Third Sight was slowly fading, as it did with all navigators, even at twenty-two she still had greater skill than all but one or two of the younger girls.

He’d looked into it a bit, and as far as he could tell no one knew why her ability had lasted this long. But then, with the whole Chiss navigation system a deep, black secret, it wasn’t surprising that it hadn’t been very well studied.

On top of all of Vah’nya’s other interesting qualities, she was the only person aboard he’d been able to persuade to call him by his real name. That alone would have earned her high marks in his book.

“Ah,” she said. “So you were not merely coming to see me?”

“No, not at all,” Eli said, feeling his face warming. He wasn’t entirely sure of the protocol regarding fraternization among the officers and crew, and he had no intention of learning about it the hard way.

“Too sad,” Vah’nya said, in a tone that could have been mild sarcasm or complete sincerity. “Did Junior Commander Velbb say what it was about?” she added as the two of them continued forward.

“Actually, it wasn’t Commander Velbb,” Eli told her. “The order came from Senior Captain Khresh.”

“Really?” she said, frowning. “That is unusual.”

“I know.” Eli gestured to her. “What about you? Are you coming on watch?”

“Yes,” she said. “Though I feel I’m unlikely to be needed.”

Eli wrinkled his nose. She had that right. Barely three hours after the Steadfast arrived in this system, Ar’alani had ordered a hard shutdown of the entire ship, a stage below even dark stealth mode, cutting unnecessary power use and all emissions, including active sensors. She’d given the ship one final burst from the drive, and from that moment on they’d been drifting, dark and silent, through the loose asteroid belt three hundred million kilometers from the system’s sun.

That had been nearly a week ago. Eli had checked the ship’s position, and studied the passive sensor reports, and he still had no idea what they were doing here. His best guess was that they were still following the ship they’d been tracking ever since leaving the Unknown Regions and that Ar’alani was afraid of spooking it.

As well she might. They were a long way from Chiss space and the various vague threats arrayed against them. This was a system deep within the Galactic Empire.

And the threats here were anything but vague.


Thrawn: Treason is out later this month, with fans attending SDCC getting the chance to pick up an exclusive early edition featuring new cover art from Two Dots, starting from Wednesday, July 17. But that’s not all—io9 is excited to reveal a look at the brand new poster by Darren Tan, for fans who pick up a copy of the Barnes & Noble edition of the book when it releases soon, featuring not just Eli, but Chiss Admiral Ar’alani!

Eli and Ar’alani make quite the team.
Image: Darren Tan (Del Rey/Lucasfilm)

Thrawn: Treason hits shelves on July 23.


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Source: Kotaku.com

Mattel’s Comic-Con Batman Exclusives Include Some Very Colorful Action Figures

Lookin’ fab, Bruce
Image: Mattel
Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

Oh sure, there are other parts of Mattel’s Dark Knight-themed exclusives for San Diego Comic-Con. But do you really need convincing beyond the return of the Technicolor dreamboat that is Rainbow Batman?

io9 can exclusively reveal two of Mattel’s exclusive bits of DC merchandise for the rapidly incoming San Diego Comic-Con, which will be tempting our wallets with all kinds of shiny new goodies in just over a month’s time. As 2019 is also the year of two special anniversaries for Batman, the two DC offerings this year are naturally all about Gotham’s favorite crime-fighting son.

First up is Hot Wheels’ diecast car of the Armored Batmobile from the Tim Burton Batman movie, which turns 30 this year. As well as a fully detailed replica of the ‘89 Batmobile itself, the special set also comes with a small diecast figure of Michael Keaton’s Batman, but also a special protective shell replicating the film’s armored upgrade for the vehicle. Simply pop it over the Batmobile and your Hot Wheels car is protected from the deadliest threats a small toy car could ever face! So like, falling off a shelf, probably, if you take it out of the fancy Batman ‘89-themed packaging. If you’re at the con, this set will cost you $25.

If you’re a fan of Mattel’s DC action figures, though, the other offering might be more tempting. A celebration of Batman’s Silver Age roots in the comics, the four-figure set gives you four remarkably silly renditions of Bruce Wayne’s early comic book adventures. Clad in a special, old-school comic art themed box—80-page Giant Batman is a great little throwback joke!—the four figures feature 23 points of articulation, and each one is clad in a colour scheme representing a specific story from the Silver Age of Comics.

The first is a classic Batman representing the Dark Knight’s iconic blue and grey costume for many of his Silver Age adventures, while the other three are more one-off specifics. There’s Negative Suit Batman from Detective Comics #284, in which a blast from an experimental ray rendered Batman averse to light itself. There’s Zebra Batman from Detective Comics #275, in which an encounter with magnet-powered supervillain Zebra-Man left Batman’s suit scrambled into Zebra-esque crazy black-and-white waves.

Those are both pretty colorless schemes, so the set gets a blast of candy-coated crayon in the form of the iconic Rainbow Batman, from Detective Comics #241, which included a storyline where Bruce attempted to protect and injured Dick Grayson from harm by wearing a series of garishly colored Batman outfits while they were out on patrol, distracting thieves away from the Boy Wonder’s compromised state. It’s ridiculous, and I love it, and I will purchase any and all versions of this suit wherever possible. Like right here, where the pricey set will set you back $80.

There’s good news if you’re going to San Diego next month—starting June 17, Mattel will put up a limited collection of both of these exclusives online for prepurchase at its Mattel Store, so fans can get their sets guaranteed to claim at Comic-Con itself from July 17. Pre-purchased sets will begin shipping after the convention comes to a close.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated pre-orders for both of these items would be available for fans not attending San Diego Comic-Con. Pre-orders are actually only SDCC attendees to pre-claim their sets, and not available for those not attending. It has been updated to reflect that, and io9 regrets the error. 


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Source: Kotaku.com