“Overwatch’s Search for Diversity”

“Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan recently gave a speech at DICE on the importance of creating games that are inclusive. Following his speech, I sat down with him to talk some more about this subject. I wanted to hear about the process and the challenges of creating games that step outside video gaming’s character confines of overwhelmingly white, straight, male heroes.

Game making is a creative process, an amalgamation of individual ideas and biases into a collective consensus. Games are consumed by people with their own passions, frustrations and desires. These games are also subject to international censorship laws and the conservative media’s outrage machine.

We’re told that it’s impossible to please all the people all the time, but this has turned out to be a thin excuse for gaming’s lack of diversity. For a long time, developers and publishers have satisfied themselves with pleasing the small slice of humanity they feel comfortable portraying. Not coincidentally, this male, white and East Asian demographic is also dominant in development, retail, publishing and, yes, journalism.

“There’s always going to be someone upset with things that we do,” Kaplan says. “We know we’re not always going to get it right. But it’s about trying to be welcoming to a lot of people and thinking about others…”

https://www.polygon.com/features/2017/3/20/14960924/overwatch-diversity-jeff-kaplan-interview-blizzard

“The Dark Tower: What You Need To Know”

“It would be tempting to say Hollywood is once again in the Stephen King business but for the fact that it has never left it. In the four decades since the release of “Carrie,” there have been dozens of movie and television adaptations of his novels and short stories. This year alone, we will see the evil clown-centric movie “It,” the bondage-gone-wrong Netflix film “Gerald’s Game,” a Spike TV series based on the monster-insect novella “The Mist” and “The Dark Tower.”

Oh, “The Dark Tower.” What many loyal readers of Mr. King see as the magnum opus of his career has had a tortuous road to the big screen. The film, due Aug. 4 after several delays, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, whose last film was the 18th-century Danish drama “A Royal Affair.”

Sony Pictures hopes that this is but the first entry in a franchise that can span both movies and television. The story of how “The Dark Tower” was made covers many years. The story of “The Dark Tower” is even more complex. Here are the basics:

What is ‘The Dark Tower’?

It’s a sprawling series of seven novels written between 1982 and 2004. (An eighth interstitial novel was released in 2012.) The first four books were published every four to six years. But after Mr. King was hit by a minivan in 1999 and almost died, he decided to finish the saga lest another accident finish the job. The final three books were published in 2003 and 2004.

Characters from the “Dark Tower” books have frequently appeared in other stories by Mr. King (one of the series villains is also the main antagonist of “The Stand”), and vice versa, effectively making the series the backbone of the author’s oeuvre. Mr. King himself also makes an appearance in the novels, which still comes as a surprise even if you know about it beforehand…”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/movies/what-you-need-to-know-dark-tower-series-stephen-king.html

“Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” is Frighteningly Relevant”

“There’s a scene early on in American Gods, the best-selling 2001 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, where someone accuses a man of being a “hustler.” “But that is the least of what I am,” the man replies. “On the whole, I make my money from people who never know they’ve been taken, and who never complain, and who will frequently line up to be taken when I come back that way again.” Gaiman, himself, is that same sort of hustler-plus — a weaver of fictions who slips past your mental defenses and toys with your thoughts, not just stealing the minds of his legions of fans, but making them beg him to steal them again and again.

The 56-year-old Englishman got his start writing thoughtful twists on superhero comics in his native country, then broke big with his surreal fantasy-comic epic Sandman in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Since then, he’s amassed a worldwide following for his prose, penning best seller after best seller: Anansi Boys, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens(with the late Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, andFragile Things, just to name a few.

But American Gods is perhaps the best-known of the bunch. It follows the tribulations of Shadow Moon, an ex-convict who wanders the U.S. — Gaiman’s adopted country for more than two decades — alongside a mysterious con man named Mr. Wednesday. Along the way, Wednesday and Shadow link up with ancient gods from an array of Old World pantheons, all of whom are living in obscurity in the hidden corners of a decaying America…”

http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/neil-gaiman-american-gods-is-frighteningly-relevant.html

“Marvel Releases First Cast Image of the Runaways Series”

“Following the announcement [earlier] of the cast for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Marvel has made another big reveal about their TV productions with the lineup for the title heroes of their series Marvel’s Runaways! The Marvel’s Runaways cast includes:

  • Ariela Barer (New Girl, One Day at a Time) as Gert Yorkes, a purple-haired, bespectacled, contemporary riot grrrl. Never passing up a moment to stand on a soapbox, Gert sometimes wields her persona as a brash social justice warrior to mask her true feelings.
  • Lyrica Okano (The Affair, Unforgettable) as Nico Minoru–tough, intelligent, and independent–embodies teenage angst. A budding “Wiccan,” Nico’s carefully crafted goth appearance isolates her from her peers and family, but maybe what she really needs is someone to talk to.
  • Rhenzy Feliz (Teen Wolf, Casual) as Alex Wilder is a loud-and-proud nerd. Admittedly a bit of a loner, Alex spends much of his free-time playing video games, but deep down, what he wants most is to reunite his childhood group of friends.
  • Gregg Sulkin (Faking It, Don’t Hang Up, Anti Social) as Chase Stein is a lacrosse-playing, high school heartthrob. While many write him off as a dumb jock, Chase exhibits flashes of untapped brilliance in engineering, not unlike his wildly successful father’s.
  • Virginia Gardner (Goat, Little Bitches) as Karolina Dean, model-perfect exterior with a lot going on behind her professionally whitened smile, is burdened by the lofty expectations and responsibilities put upon her by her parents. Underneath her veneer of privilege and perfection, Karolina is experiencing a newfound eagerness to explore her identity and pursue her own desires.
  • Allegra Acosta (100 Things to do Before High School, Just Add Magic) as Molly Hernandez, the youngest and most innocent member of her friend group, is known for her peppy positivity and a deep yearning to belong…

http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/810247-marvels-runaways-cast-revealed

“15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Wonder Woman Had”

“The new Wonder Woman film, starring Gal Gadot as the title character, is in theaters soon. We were first introduced to Gadot’s Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, where she was one of the few bright spots the film had. Many want to see a Wonder Woman movie done well, as her television show and comics are cultural touchstones.

Wonder Woman’s live-action feature film debut could not come soon enough, as her legacy is amazing and they have decades of stories they could redo or simply tell word for word in a script. This will be the first major superhero movie with a female hero as the protagonist. Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, but she did not get there easily. She honestly wasn’t one to begin with. Her story is great, but she has some weaknesses that few of male characters would ever be given by their creators– some are understandable while others were downright sexist to say the least.

We at Screen Rant wanted to do the kind of digging normally reserved for construction workers, to bring you 15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Wonder Woman Had.

15. A POKE TO THE EYES

You may be wondering, why in the world would this even be a weakness anyone would bring up? People need to know something obvious about Wonder Woman. Similar to Hercules, she is a Demigod. This makes her basically human, yet blessed with amazing abilities due to her God-like half. However, the human element of Wonder Woman was played up a lot in the comics and one of the most glaring things we learned is that Diana can be a victim to the same weaknesses the every day human might have – one of which is a poke to the eyes…”

http://screenrant.com/wonder-woman-biggest-weakness-didnt-know-trivia/

“The Year Disney Started to Take Diversity Seriously”

“Mira Nair didn’t know it, but for years, she lived just 15 minutes away from the subject of her next film—chess champion Phiona Mutesi, a prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. It took the attention of one particularly dedicated Disney executive, Tendo Nagenda, to introduce Mutesi and Nair, then shepherd through the studio a film: Queen of Katwe, a movie that looked almost nothing like anything else from the company that brings you Avengers, jedis, and pirates.

“I’ve never had a guardian angel in any film in a studio,” Nair tellsVanity Fair. “[Tendo] is truly one because he made it happen.”

Katwe is a film about a young African girl, with essentially no speaking roles for white characters, directed by an Indian woman. It’s an anomaly even in an industry that prides itself on having an imagination. But it’s also one of many examples of how Disney is diversifying its array of upcoming films, presenting more inclusive visions of everything from classic musicals to a galaxy far, far away.

In the near future, we’ll have a Christmas movie starring Kevin Hart as Santa Claus, an adaptation of The Nutcracker starring Misty Copeland and Morgan Freeman, and a surprising reimagining of The Rocketeer starring a young black girl. Ice Cube is working on a hip-hop version of Oliver Twist. Moana, Disney’s first Polynesian princess movie, is set for a Thanksgiving-week release. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s latest go-to music man, who also penned songs for Moana) will co-star in a Mary Poppins sequel.

The upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story presents an intergalactic rebellion from the likes ofForest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and Donnie Yen—and all led by a woman, Felicity Jones. Between 2016 and 2018, about 24 percent of the studio’s live-action releases will feature ethnic minority leads, Disney says…”

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/disney-films-inclusive

“‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 Release Date: 7 Things We Want To See In The Second Season”

“The first season of Luke Cage ended on a really sad note. The Harlem hero parted ways with his new lady, Claire Temple, and headed back to Seagate Prison. Even though Cottonmouth is out of the picture, Black Mariah and Shades are still running the streets. Even more of a threat is Diamondback, who last we saw, was in Dr. Burstein’s hands. Luke Cage Season 1 took care of Power Man’s origins, but there’s still a lot more story to tell in Season 2. Here’s seven things we’re expecting to see.

Coffee With Claire Temple

Since we’ll see Luke again before the next season of his solo series, (maybe in Iron Fist but definitely in The Defenders ), it’s safe to say Claire is tagging along. Not only could The Defenders use someone to patch their wounds, she’s Luke’s only trusted ally at this point. Last we saw her, she was already working on getting Luke out of prison.

She’s also the first person he’s going to call once he gets out. In fact, that’s what we could be seeing in recently released The Defenders set photoswhere Claire and Luke passionately embrace against a chain-linked fence. It could be the first time they’ve seen each other since that night in the hospital where they shared their first kiss and Luke was taken away by police.

Misty Knight ‘got coffee’ with Luke in the first episode of Luke Cage. Jessica Jones and Luke also ‘got coffee ’ in Jessica Jones Season 1. It’s only right we’ll see him and Claire ‘get coffee’ in The Defenders. Jessica being part of the team does throw a wrench in things, especially since she and Luke haven’t spoken since the whole Kilgrave ordeal that killed Reva. Jessica and Luke end up having a baby together in the comics, but this is Marvel-Netflix and they’re known to switch things up. The history between Luke and Jessica may end up being too painful to work past…”

http://www.idigitaltimes.com/luke-cage-season-2-release-date-7-things-we-want-see-second-season-570039