Playback: The Majesty of “Black Panther”

Greetings, nerds.

I say this because I’m pretty sure anyone who follows us regularly HAS to be a nerd of some sort. So, rest assured: I’m saying it with love.

Today, at long last, Super Hubs and I are bringing you our thoughts on Marvel’s latest triumph: Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. We saw the movie on Presidents’ Day, happily contributing to its massive box-office take over that four-day opening weekend. And it’s taken us this long to blog about it because we needed to collect our jaws from the floor and remember how to breathe.

Now that we’re more or less alive again, we’re here to give you the goods! Because the entirety of the plot matters, please enjoy this ~*spoiler alert*~.

Nikkie’s Thoughts (AKA the Only Ones that Matter)

I’m up first—mainly because even though I’m not as well versed in the Marvel universe as my husband, I *am* the black one, and I imagine people would find it strange for the white guy to talk about this movie first.

I can’t begin this review without saying the following: This movie is a well-deserved phenomenon. All the praise it’s received is warranted, and while I would never begrudge critics their right to nitpick, I believe it will stand the test of time and rise above all the haters. It is a sensation, and it should be received as such. (And you can trust me on this because despite all the praise, I found Wonder Woman to be just okay. I know how to critique, bish.)

There are so many great things about this movie, it’s hard to pick just one to start. Do I begin with the sheer amount of ♦♦black excellence♦♦ that was on display (a phrase that, while extremely overused when discussing this movie, is nevertheless very accurate)? The premium showcase of powerful and empowered women? The complexity of both our hero and our villain? The perfect blend of levity, depth, and history being made?

Given the nature of my life’s work (aka this blog), I will start with the story.

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

The plot of Black Panther is many things. It’s one of the best that Marvel has put together in its ten-year span. It gives proper weight to both the hero’s story and the villain’s. It doesn’t waste too much time (or spend too little time) setting up who the characters are and why they’re there. It shines a sharp light on issues that resonate throughout history and remain relevant today.

(I sound like I’m overstating things for the sake of jumping on the praise bandwagon, but I truly believe these things.)

When T’Challa is made king—after a nerve-wracking and custom-dictated fight for the right to rule against a leader from one of the five tribes that make up Wakanda—he is consumed with the desire to live up to his father’s great name and honor his legacy. It’s for this reason that he takes it upon himself (and Nakia, his ex, and Okoye, the leader of the women warrior force, the Dora Milaje) to capture Klaue, the notorious thief who stole a bunch of vibranium (and killed some folk, it’d seem) back when T’Chaka was king.

This doesn’t go well. The CIA is there, led by Everett Ross, in the hopes of buying some vibranium that Klaue recently stole. While they do manage to capture Klaue, he escapes with the help of Erik Killmonger, shooting Ross in the process. Despite protests from Okoye, who is even more of a traditionalist than T’Challa, they proceed to bring Ross to Wakanda so that he can be healed.

Why is this a problem? Because Wakanda has thrived in secret. They didn’t want the world to have access to the powers of vibranium, knowing that it would lead to a bunch of white people trying to take control, so they hid their true civilization away and promoted the image of a third-world country to anyone who bothered to know the name Wakanda. With Ross recovering within the amazing advanced scientific lab, run by T’Challa’s little sister, Shuri, how long could they keep Wakanda’s way of life a secret? (Side note: It is brought up how they already allowed Cap and Bucky within their borders, and how Isn’t that enough white boys to last a lifetime?)

This, it turns out, is exactly what Klaue and Killmonger want. You see, Killmonger is half-Wakandan. His father was actually N’Jobu, brother to King T’Chaka, and the latter tragically killed the former (keeping both this act and the existence of his child a secret) once it was revealed that he led Klaue to the vibranium all those years ago.
Being the one who first discovered his father’s body, with fresh claw marks in his chest, Killmonger became determined to avenge his father. Having grown up in Oakland, California, he is also radicalized by the plight of black people around the world, so he decides that not only will he go to Wakanda—he will rule it, and use its technology to overthrow all the (white) oppressors of the world.

What ensues is a literal and metaphorical clashing of two different ideologies: T’Challa’s, which is the belief that Wakanda should be kept safe and secret because that’s how it’s always been done, and Killmonger’s, the belief that Wakanda is both responsible for and capable of reversing the struggle that black people have faced ever since they were chained and dragged onto boats.

And what makes this story so great is that both of these men have a point.

T’Challa is blinded by the need to maintain the status quo. Even if he sees all the good that Wakanda could do in the world (something that is frequently pointed out to him by Nakia), he believes it’s better to stay secluded. But, he isn’t wrong to believe that people will try to take advantage of his home or that all this advanced tech will end up in the wrong hands (what up, plot of the first Iron Man movie).
Killmonger, on the other hand, knows that there is an unspoken obligation for black people to support each other. He sees Wakanda’s silence through the slave trade and beyond as a betrayal. But, he also believes that the only way to right the wrongs of the world is to repeat them, this time with black people at the top of the pyramid. To quote him from the movie (though not in the same context), he wants to “burn it all.”

As much as someone might want to root for Killmonger’s cause—not that I ever truly did—it was clear that his way was no better than T’Challa’s, and his inability to truly comprehend what it means to lead made it all the more upsetting when he challenged T’Challa for the right to rule and won. But, his kingdom, while backed by a lot of Wakandan people (including a close friend of T’Challa’s/Okoye’s lover) is thankfully short lived. In an epic rematch, T’Challa bests Killmonger—stabbing him in the heart in a way that’s reminiscent of T’Chaka and N’Jobu. However, because our rightful king has seen the personal devastation created by Wakanda’s isolationist policy, he offers to heal Killmonger. The latter, however, doesn’t want to live in captivity, not after tasting the change he could’ve achieved. He dies, watching the gorgeous Wakandan sunset from a cliff.

After all this, T’Challa realizes that it’s time for Wakanda to step out of the shadows and help all the people—not just the black ones—who are struggling.

 ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

So! That was a lot to take in, yes. But it was all necessary to drive home how great this story is.

On its surface, it’s a simple story of familial turmoil playing out on a transnational stage, but underneath, it’s a morality tale. What does it mean to be so intent on your heritage that you let others suffer? And could the remedy ever be to simply flip the table instead of extending a hand? Is it truly possible for people on opposite sides of an argument to both be a little bit right and a little bit wrong?

The movie makes such a powerful statement with its plot. I’ve heard that some reviews called it a Shakespearean epic, and they were not wrong. The themes of this movie could easily be found in one of Shakespeare’s plays, and while I’m not exactly a Bard babe (I hope I just made up that phrase), I absolutely see how/why that comparison makes this one of—if not the—best installation in the MCU.

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

But while I could go on and on about the story, I’ve taken up 1400 words already, and I haven’t even gotten into the other things that I love about this movie. And SH still needs to talk! So let’s speed-run this bish!

  • Everyone is correct: Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, is a revelation. But what’s more, the character of Shuri is amazing and necessary. A young black woman, insanely proud of her heritage but capable of looking into the future, who is IN CHARGE of a nation’s technological advancements. She’s funny, she’s smart, and she’s badass. She’s not exactly a fighter with the kind of technical prowess her brother and/or the Dora Milaje possess, but she refuses to stay on the sidelines when the fate of her country is on the line. WE NEED MORE CHARACTERS LIKE SHURI. Not just so little black girls can have a new fantastic role model, but so that we as a society can see more women absolutely killing it.
  • Aside from Shuri, the women in this movie are just great. Nakia clearly loves T’Challa, but she doesn’t let that hold her back from her dream of exploring the world and rescuing people. Okoye is loyal to the throne—something that damns her when Killmonger is crowned—but like T’Challa, she learns that the rigidity of their way of life leads to broken people. She commands the Dora Milaje with an undeniable strength and aptitude, but she isn’t some robotic commander. She is layered, and I loved the uncovering of each one. Then, even though she isn’t in the movie a lot, there’s Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda. She is a symbol of the grace of her people, but she gets to show her many sides—mother, widow, and fierce protector of the legacy of her nation. She may take up less space, but she feels just as important as any Wakandan who appears on the screen.
  • While I don’t typically put too much stock in my black woman identity (because I don’t want that to seem like the most important thing about me), seeing so many black people on screen, owning their space and not giving away one inch of it, was amazing.
  • Personally, I was fine with the role Ross played in the defeat of Killmonger and his followers because it never felt like the white guy inserting himself where he wasn’t needed. He took direction from SHURI, the person least in command when it comes to battle, and he did it with no complaining or mansplaining. He was even willing to sacrifice his life (though he makes it out in the end) in order to help T’Challa and crew regain control.
  • Shout out to Bucky for still being around. I bet, at this point, he’s definitely not prejudiced the way I am POSITIVE that his bro-bro Steve Rogers is.

Okay! I think that’s everything . . . and I’m sure that anything I missed, SH will touch on it.

You’re up, hubs!

Super Hubs’s Thoughts

Look…look…look. I’m not gonna take up too much time here cus I wanted my brilliant, amazing wife to have the most space, so just bear with a colonizer for a bit.

This movie was damn near perfection. The cast, the script, the cinematography, the music—everything came together in perfect cohesion to create the most realistic world that Marvel has ever imagined. Whereas a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy uses its worlds as pretty set dressing to enhance its characters, Black Panther made the world and the characters intertwine in a way that made it feel like real history. I loved it.

Going in, I was most excited about hearing more about the Soul Stone (not that I wasn’t excited for everything else; I’m just reeeeeeeally excited about Infinity War), but after seeing the movie, I’m glad it didn’t come up. This one really needed to exist outside of the Infinity Saga because, unlike all the other Marvel movies, this one is important. It’s a disgrace that it has taken so long for a movie like Black Panther to be made. Yes, we had Blade, but Blade is a product of the 90s in all its goofy chic and was unable—and the studio was probably unwilling—to really explore the fact that Blade was black. Black Panther revels in its blackness, and it is beautiful.

Nikkie pretty much told you everything you need to know and there’s not much I could really add other than “Uaaaaaaahhh the action was epic” and “Oooooooh Lupita is beautiful and fierce” and “I CRIED LIKE 3 TIMES YA’LL”—all of which is true but unnecessary. So I’ll just give a few thoughts.

  • I love how the Jabari tribe just totally shuts down Ross when he’s trying to interject. Know your place, colonizer!
  • Shuri. Shuri. Shuri. I love Shuri. I can’t wait til she and Peter Parker inevitably meet and geek out over technology and, hopefully, dunk on Tony Stark a bit.
  • I’ll miss Andy Serkis as Klaue. He was fun to watch cus he was so gleefully insane. Also, why the unnecessary spelling change? In the comics, his name is spelled Klaw.
  • Did anyone else notice how misogynistic Killmonger was? His first act in the movie was killing a woman. He shot his girlfriend without warning and for seemingly no reason. He choked the caretaker of the Heart-Shaped Herb when she wouldn’t listen to him. Dude had some issues with women he needed to work out. He may have talked a good game, but at the end of the day he didn’t care about the liberation of black people so much as the domination of the rest of the world.
  • I’m glad Ross survived. I have a big ol’ crush on Martin Freeman.
  • Nakia is queen. T’Challa shoulda listened to her from the beginning because she had the right idea all along.
  • Shuri is queen.

And that about does it for me everyone! We loved this movie. A lot. A lot a lot. I’m still way excited for Infinity War, and I can’t wait to see how much ass Wakanda kicks. With Wakanda standing against him, Thanos doesn’t stand a chance!

Also it’s pretty cool that Bucky is White Wolf now. Let’s just hope he doesn’t follow the character’s comic book story!

Any final thoughts, Nikkie?

In closing, I will simply say: We loved the movie. It retained some of the comic book feel custom to Marvel movies (most notably in the South Korean car chase scene) while making its own statement, and it was a statement that should be capital-H heard.

If you haven’t seen the movie, what is wrong with you? Do you just not enjoy nice things?

May your heart-shaped herbs stay fresh,
Nikkie and Super Hubs

IT Month #2: IT (2017)

The last time I went to see a movie in the theater more than once was The Avengers back in 2012. If I may take an immediate digression – The Avengers only came out 5 years ago!? It feels like it’s been decades. I know this is because Marvel puts out approximately 700 movies per year. Point is, I don’t usually go the theater for the same movie more than once. So far I’ve seen IT three times. Partly that speaks to how obsessed I am with the story – have I mentioned how much I love the book – but I swear it also speaks to the quality of the movie.

This is a good movie ya’ll! Let’s talk a little about why. Continue reading “IT Month #2: IT (2017)”

Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT

Hello you vampiric beasts from between dimensions, Super Hubs here with a very quick review that I’m positively giddy to write! It’s been a crazy year for me, vis-a-vis Stephen King adaptations as two of my favorite books have gotten movies! And while The Dark Tower needed a few caveats and asterisks for my enjoyment, this movie is just simply phenomenal!

I’ve written before about how difficult it is for me to review things that I love. It’s for this reason that I’ve never reviewed IT. IT is my favorite book of all time by a wide margin. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before and I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I read the book at least once a year. I’m crazy about it ya’ll! And so when it was announced all the way back in 2009 that IT would be getting a new film treatment, one that would stick much closer to the tone of the book, I flipped my shit. I’ve been wanting this for so long guys. I love the old miniseries, but no one has ever accused it of actually being scary. Or good. Really the only reason anyone remembers it is because of Tim Curry who – despite some solid performances from both the child and adult actors – easily steals the show. But this movie guys…this movie might be the best book adaptation I’ve ever seen. As always, Spoiler Warning.  Continue reading “Words Gone Silver: Stephen King’s IT”

Words Gone Silver: The Dark Tower

Howdy, ya’ll. Long days and pleasant nights.

We did it. We saw The Dark Tower, and good news: We didn’t hate it! In fact, we actually rather liked it. Of course, as you’ve probably all figured out by now, we’re pretty easy to please, so do keep that in mind as you’re reading this review. But whatever! We liked it, and we both think it’s a good enough set-up for the world to make us eager to see more. The show got a showrunner, so Sony still seems to want to move forward with the series. We can only hope! Because we need Eddie and Susannah!

But that’s not enough to sate you, is it? And there *are* some missteps that have to be addressed. So dust the Mid-World off your boots and hop through the portal with us; it’s time to talk the Tower.
Super Hubs, the dinh of the MWB tet, starts us off. And as always (or at least most of the time): Spoiler alert. Continue reading “Words Gone Silver: The Dark Tower”

Playback: It Comes at Night

Friends, let’s you and I talk about movie theaters. They’re awful right? The floors are sticky, of course. People are always the worst and going to the movies is a situation wherein you have to trust other people not to be dickholes which almost always leads to a bad time. Even though the lights dim, there are still other lights all over the damn place – little strings of colored lights along the stairs, bright fluorescent exit signs, people’s phone screens – look, I get it, we’re addicted to our phones, fine, WHATEVER, but if you’re gonna look at your phone in the theater at least turn the brightness down! And in a very quiet, subdued movie like It Comes at Night you can hear the noise pollution from the theater next door where Tom Cruise is trying to kill a mummy by, I guess, blowing up entire city blocks. That’s what it sounded like anyway. So yes, going to the theater is a very unpleasant experience most of the time. My viewing of It Comes at Night wasn’t exactly ruined because of this, but I think only because the movie was so good.

There are, I think, many ways that It Comes at Night can be interpreted. It’s a hot take on the current political environment where fear and paranoia are king; it’s a missive on race relations; it’s a movie about coming of age in a world where your parents are holding it together just as poorly as you; and it’s a movie about loneliness. It’s all of these things and probably more. Part of what makes it so good is that you can find in it whatever you want. There are no bad guys, there is no real monster, there’s no one thing that you can point at and say “Yep! Kill it! Kill that and everything will get better.” It’s a disturbing movie, but not for the reasons the trailer would have you think. Mostly it’s just very sad. And, as always, spoilers ya’ll.  Continue reading “Playback: It Comes at Night”

Hile, Gunslinger: We Finally Glimpse the Tower

Hello all you lovely, lovely people!

Nikkie and Super Hubs here, back to life and ready to start writing again. We’ll have some more substantial posts this week but today we wanted to talk about something near and dear to our hearts: The Dark Tower!

We’ve been waiting months for a trailer for this damn thing (over a year technically since we first started waiting in earnest when it was announced that the movie would be releasing in FEBRUARY) and finally Maturin granted our request!

Reactions on the internet have been…mixed in that special way that only the internet is capable of. (Which, sidebar: We need to have a conversation, Internet, about how you are failing so hard at the very basics of conversation… But we’ll save that for another day.) The two of us really enjoyed the trailer and are at least AS excited for the movie as we were, maybe even a bit moreso. And we want to talk about why. So buckle up sais—we must palaver.

Continue reading “Hile, Gunslinger: We Finally Glimpse the Tower”

Character Crush: Olive and Rosemary Penderghast from “Easy A”

Welcome to the end. The end of these (Fictional) Women’s History Month posts, that is! Though they may be lighter fare, I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far!

I’m closing out this series of posts by talking about characters from what is definitely one of my favorite movies, Easy A. I actually debated writing about these women because it felt too obvious, but my bestie and Super Hubs both feel like this is a severely underrated movie that doesn’t get enough love, so here we are! I also felt like it would be hard to talk about movie characters without just talking about the women who portray them, but I guess if I was able to get through the TV characters without falling into this issue, I guess I can manage here!

Shall we get to it? Continue reading “Character Crush: Olive and Rosemary Penderghast from “Easy A””

Words Gone Silver: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (SPOILERS)

Welcome, welcome, you fellow film fanatics. Nikkie and Super Hubs here to break in yet another new segment (category): Words Gone Silver. In all posts that bear this moniker, one or both of us will discuss the film adaptation of a novel—basically, how it holds up compared to its source material as well as its general quality as a movie. This will contain a bit of a book review component as well if we haven’t talked about the book yet, as is the case with this inaugural post and its focus: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, written by Ransom Riggs and adapted by Tim Burton.

This will be a very interesting post because, in a rare occasion (at least for Nikkie), neither of us liked the book much! We’ll be going into detail about our grievances with the book and the movie (which suffers from its source’s weaknesses), as well as getting into some spoiler talk, so if you LOOOOOOVE this book and/or don’t want to get spoiled, don’t read any further! If you’re curious or have no strong feeling toward spoilers, read on as Nikkie kicks things off.

Continue reading “Words Gone Silver: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (SPOILERS)”

My Plea for the “Ready Player One” Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Hello, hello, my beautiful readers. Nikkie here to get the ball rolling for the month of August.

As I’m sure you may know, the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is getting a movie. There is a whole bunch of information about the movie out there, so I’m not going to reiterate it. But if you want a refresher course, read this CinemaBlend article.

I really enjoyed RPO, and I am beyond curious to see how this movie is going to turn out. A lot of people think it’s a no-brainer because Spielberg is directing, but I’ve seen like two and a half Spielberg movies—plus I’m still not 100 percent sure how a director can be wholly responsible for the success of a movie—so I retain a healthy level of skepticism. I’m not one to completely decry an adaptation of a book or believe that it has to completely follow the source material to be good, but I do allow myself to reserve the slightest bit of judgment when it comes to books I really like. So I guess my point is “We’ll see.”

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. However, what I want to talk about is a ∼*MAJOR SPOILER*∼, so caution to those who tread beyond this point. And don’t blame me if you learn something you weren’t supposed to. Continue reading “My Plea for the “Ready Player One” Movie (Spoilers Ahead)”

Our Dream Cast of the “Dark Tower” Movie, Pt. 2

Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the first installment of this dream cast and are super excited to see the rest of it. Prepare for greatness! (But, you know, expect mediocrity!)

The Baddies/Semi-Baddies
in no particular order

Henry Dean
As mentioned in our last post, Henry is Eddie’s older brother. He’s not necessarily a bad guy because he’s not an outright villain, but he’s not really a good guy either. He resents Eddie because, when they were younger, their sister was killed in a car accident, and ever since, their mother was all over him to make sure the same didn’t happen to Eddie. But Henry was also just a bully in general. He is jealous of Eddie because of his talent (Eddie is a great woodcarver, which comes in handy), the ramifications of which still resonate with Eddie even after Henry’s death. The oldest Dean, however, also has massive respect for his little brother; without being able to pinpoint it, he sees the gunslinger in Eddie and says that he is the only one he would want backing him in a fight (play the pronoun game with that one!). He dies from a forced heroin overdose during an altercation between Eddie and a mobster.
Nikkie’s Picks: Michael Raymond James or Rider Strong
michael-raymond--james rider strong
I think either of these gentlemen could accurately portray semi-baddie Henry Dean. The most prominent roles for them in my mind (Neal from Once Upon a Time for Michael; Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World for Rider, obvi) easily lend themselves to being a drugged-out, semi-abusive brother. And I mean that as a compliment! I would probably lean more toward Rider in terms of preference, but based on my pick for Eddie, Michael might make more sense visually.
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Super Hubs’s Pick: Jared Leto
Okay so…not gonna lie. I mostly picked Jay Lo here because he looks like he could be related to Danny Rad C. BUT Jred-Lto is also good at playing a tweaked-out druggy. I feel like he could really pull off the occasional intensity of Henry while also playing a character with wild fluctuations in emotion and temperament. Much as I hate the look of the Joker in Suicide Squad, it’s clear from all the previews that j’RD is giving the part his all and really embodying an aura of the unhinged.
Plus he’s dreeeeeeeeamy.

Elmer Chambers
This is Jake’s father, and he is a real piece of work. He’s an executive at a television network, and he acts like it. He’s got the tiniest bit of a drug problem (cocaine, obvi), but he is very proud of the fact that he’s not an addict. He’s not that nice to Jake and is constantly putting pressure on him to be better. The only useful thing about him is that he owns a gun that Jake can steal and sling with. Well, that and giving Jake life.
Nikkie’s Pick: Edward Norton
Come on. How could I not pick Edward Norton? He just looks like someone’s shitty, power-hungry dad. I also feel like I could see some resemblance between him and Tom Taylor (the kid playing Jake). So this just feels right to me.
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SH’s Pick: Robert Downey, Jr.
robert downey jr
So Ed Norton is a good choice for sure, but when I imagine Jake’s relationship with his dad, I can’t help but think of the interactions between Tony Stark and that kid in Iron Man 3. It would be like that, except Jake’s dad would be more of an asshole, and there would never be an emotional payoff that shows he really is a good person after all. RDJ is really good at playing self-important assholes.

Stuttering Bill the Robot
This is a character who shows up in Wolves of the Calla. He is a robot, as his name might suggest, and he is a helper-bot. However, he also ends up being in cahoots with the Crimson King (or at least his cronies) when it comes to orchestrating a horrible event where children are kidnapped from Calla Bryn Sturgis and returned . . . broken.
Our Pick: Bill Hader
Duh! How could we pick anyone other than Bill Hader? He’s got a great robot voice, he can do other voices if they decided to go non-mechanic, and he’s absolutely hilarious. He can be sinister if he needs to be, he can be light, and he’s always great. He is the only proper choice, and if anyone else is voicing the character if he shows up at any point, we will be distraught.

Rhea of the Cöos
Rhea is a witch who lives outside of Hambry in Wizard and Glass. She is (shudder) the virginity checker when marriage/mistress pacts are being made, and she is super old. The in-town baddies have tasked her with guarding one of Merlin’s orbs, but she becomes obsessed with it. She hypnotizes Susan so that the girl will cut off all her hair when she loses her virginity (for no reason other than Rhea is mean), and she is a big part in Susan’s death. She’s centuries old (at least) and is so, so creepy.
Our Pick: Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton
Another big fat duh. This one is kind of a stretch in terms of what Rhea looks like because Tilda can *work* it (insert finger snaps), but the magic of Hollywood makeup departments could fix that if they really wanted to adhere to Rhea’s creepy, disgusting exterior. Tilda is such a great actress, and she has so much range. But she also has a penchant (at least to my memory) of being in fantasy-esque movies, so come on! It’s perfect.

Gabrielle Deschain
This is Roland’s mom. She is not a bad mom. But she is on the baddie list because she was having an affair with Marten/Walter/Randall, and that is not cool, lady. However, she IS seduced by Marten, and when he tries to coerce into an assassination attempt of her husband/Roland’s dad, she doesn’t go through with it. So, really, Gabrielle is more of a neutral-baddie than a semi- or full baddie. But it wouldn’t have made sense to include on the good guys list because she really doesn’t do anything that affects the story positively. In a rough twist, Roland ends up killing her because the Merlin orb (the same one Rhea had) tricks him into seeing Rhea in his mom’s place.
Nikkie’s Pick: Viola Davis
viola davis
First off: Viola is QUEEN in this photo, amirite?! And considering Gabrielle is basically the queen of Gilead, that makes perfect sense. Second, she is probably the obvious choice because of her HTGAWM hotness right now. But I don’t care. I like her, and I think she is a great choice for the not-100-percent-good, not-100-percent-bad character that is Gabrielle. Her character on HTGAWM is so nuanced and flawed, it just lends itself to the very flawed nature of Gabrielle. It would be a slam dunk.
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SH’s Pick: Marion Cotillard
Look, I know Idris Elba is dark, but nobody said both his parents have to be black! Viola Davis would be a good choice if Gabrielle Deschain was a powerful-yet-flawed Head Bitch in Charge type. But she’s not. Gabrielle Deschain is broken. She has been seduced by a wizard, her mind tinkered with, forced to watch her family fall apart without being able to do a thing to stop it. Her sadness is not beneath the surface, it’s very much on the surface. Her every movement, her every word needs to drip with melancholy and regret. Marion Cotillard can pull this off. Just look at the picture above, even when she’s smiling she’s basically frowning.
Plus she’s dreeeeeeamy.

Jack Mort
This guy is the worst. Not only is he the guy responsible for both Susannah’s split personality AND her leglessness, but he is also the man who pushed Jake in front of a car, killing him and sending him to Mid-World. What do you call someone who is a serial harm-causer? Outside of his psychopathic tendencies, he is an accountant.
Nikkie’s Pick: Dean Winters
dean winters
Dennis from 30 Rock. The Vulture from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Chaos in those insurance commercials. Dean Winters is perfect for playing a douchebag, and who is a bigger douchebag than a man who harms children and pushes a woman in front of a subway train? I see this so vividly in my mind that I just can’t handle it. I already want to yell at him for sucking so hard.
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SH’s Pick: Mads Mikkelsen
mads nicholson
He’s practically built his career playing horrifying villains. He’s frightening. Stare into his eyes and tell me he wouldn’t push you in front of a train!

Blaine the Monorail
So Blaine is a train who brings the pain and makes Jake think he’s gone insane. (If you read the books, then you’re welcome for my being so hilarious and amazing.) Anyway. Blaine is indeed a train, and he’s a huge asshole. The ka-tet must board him to get to bizarro Topeka, but he plans on killing them all (including himself). There is an epic riddle-off (even though we don’t get to see the whole thing, which is disappointing), and Eddie literally annoys Blaine to death in order to keep the inevitable crash from killing them. Blaine seems to have a dormant personality of a child that shows up every now and again to help the gunslingers, but he’s basically just a crazy AI program.
Our Pick: Mark Hamill (voice only)
Luke Skywalker to the rescue. He’s an accomplished voice actor who has played the villain before (SH Note: she means he’s played THE Villain before, i.e. The Joker), so this would not require a stretch of the imagination on the viewers’ part. Plus, if you’re not familiar with his voice work, then you would only be surprised after the fact (as I, Nikkie, was when I found out he voices Skips on Regular Show).
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An Alternative Take from SH:
Blaine likes to play games, to mess with the minds of his hapless victims. Having him as just a voice works very well in the books, but I think in the movie we’ll need a visual aspect to the character—a simple hologram as a visual guide for the passengers. But I think Blaine wouldn’t keep it simple. Blaine would use a voice that wouldn’t match the image. Something like Elle Fanning with Mark Hamill’s voice. And I think he would switch the hologram around, jumping from celebrities that Eddie would know to people from Roland’s past. What better way to get under someone’s skin than to mock them with what they’ve lost?

While drawing Jake into Mid-World during The Waste Lands, Susannah must keep an incubus occupied (i.e. have sex with it) so that it doesn’t go after anyone else in the group. During Wolves of Calla, it is discovered that, despite showing no physical signs, she has been impregnated. The child is kin to the Crimson King, and the spirit of a female succubus inhabits Susannah’s body to bring the child to term. It’s kind of complicated to just explain in greater detail without taking up a lot of your time, so go look it up! All you need to know for this is that Mia is white, she is baby-crazy, and she absconds with Susannah’s body for a whole book.
Nikkie’s Picks: Mila Kunis or Brie Larson
Pregnant-Mila-Kunis brie larson
I love Mila Kunis. She’s funny and sexy and a bit of a badass. She has very intense eyes, and I won’t lie to you when I say that that’s half the reason I think she could be Mia. As for Miss Larson, her star is certainly on the rise in the drama department; playing a desperate creature such as Mia would be a cinch for her.
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SH’s Pick: Amanda Seyfried
amanda seyfried
Not gonna lie, I just want an excuse to stare at Amanda Seyfried. She’s a great actress and would pull the part off with no difficulty, of that I’m sure. But mostly I just want her to be in more movies cus I love her.

The Crimson King
Despite how often Walter/Randall/Etc. shows up in the series and other King books, the Crimson King is the overarching bad guy. He’s actively trying to destroy the Tower and all the worlds that reside in it (which is all of them). Ironically, he’s trapped on a balcony of the Tower, so all his machinations are carried out by cronies, a lot of whom are the big baddies in this series. When he is finally shown, he’s kind of just a crazy old coot who really hates Roland.
Our Pick: Terence Stamp
Is there really anyone else we could have picked? He plays such a great bad guy, and even though he’d only be appearing at the very end, unable to leave a small architectural feature, it would be worth it to have Stamp embody ol’ CK.

Mordred Deschain
Are you ready to have your mind blown (those of you who haven’t read the books)? That baby that Susannah/Mia is carrying, the son of the Crimson King? He’s actually biologically Roland’s kid! Back in The Gunslinger, Roland has sex with a succubus, and it turns out that succubus is Mia. She collected his … baby-making materials and becomes an incubus in The Waste Lands to then transfer the materials to Susannah, thus creating Mordred. But if you think a regular baby came out, non-readers, you are horribly mistaken. The Crimson King’s sigil of sorts is a spider, so Mordred comes out all half-spider (and eats Mia). After he feeds, he can assume a fully human shape, but depending on how much he ate, it can drain his energy very easily. When he’s a spider, he’s got a little human head attached near the top of the thorax (aka spider butt). It’s terrifying just to think of, so I can only imagine how it would look when brought to the silver screen. Mordred’s mission is to serve his Red Father by killing his White Father (Roland, and no, White doesn’t refer to the fact that he’s a white man), and thankfully, he fails, but not before RUINING OUR LIVES by dispatching of a beloved character.
Our Pick: Khylin Rhambo
khylin rhambo
This is another actor who we don’t really know from anything, so we are casting solely on the fact that he is a lighter-skinned black kid. Apparently he’s in Teen Wolf? I feel like that could translate to playing a half-spider, half-human demon thing… Unless his character is a regular person. Either way, he’d be used to being in a supernatural kind of environment, though, so it could work. Obviously he would be playing Mordred once he grew up (which happens at an extremely rapid pace in the books, but I assume they’d speed up even more in the movies).

Remember ol’ Patrick Danville? When he is brought into the story, it is as the captive of Dandelo, a creature that feeds on emotions (kind of like It from IT). Dandelo knew of Patrick’s abilities because all of the erasers on Patrick’s pencils had been removed. Calling itself Joe Collins in the presence of Susannah and Roland, Dandelo adopts the guise of a former stand-up comedian and nearly kills them by feeding on their manic laughter.
Our Pick: Sarah Silverman
Considering we already gender-bent Danville, why not gender-bend his/her captor as well? Besides, this makes it more interesting/less misogynistic (Susannah is the one who dispatches Dandelo, so ladies saving ladies from demon ladies). Anyway. We’re big fans of Sarah Silverman, and being an ACTUAL comedienne, she barely even has to act! She just has to get all demon-y for the last minute or so.

Andrew Quick
In The Waste Lands, the ka-tet must get through a town called Lud to find Blaine. While attempting to cross a broken bridge into the city, Jake is captured by a man named Gasher and taken to Andrew Quick, the leader of the Grays, one of the two groups in Lud who are at war. Quick, also known as the Tick-Tock Man because of his clock and clockwork obsession, is the descendant of David Quick, an outlaw prince who also tried to take over Lud. Jake escapes with the help of Roland and Oy, the little raccoon-esque creature that Jake adopts as a pet, and shoots Quick in the head in the process. However, the bullet ricochets off Quick’s skull, and Walter appears to save his life. Quick reappears (and is killed) in Wizard and Glass.
Our Pick: Joe Manganiello
David Quick was a very large man, and we can’t really remember if Andrew shares that quality, but for this dream-cast, he does. So with that in mind, we pick Joe ManJello (which is what we call him because we can never remember his last name or how to pronounce it). There is not really any nuance to Quick’s character, so it doesn’t require an A+ actor to pull it off. No offense, ManJello, but as with most of your roles, you’re just here to be a body that ladies can go all tingly over. Sorry! (Console yourself with your marriage to Sophia Vergara; that should help.)

The Big Coffin Hunters
These are the baddies who Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain fight in Hambry during Wizard and Glass. There are three: Eldred, who is the oldest and the leader, and his flunkies Clay and Roy. He’s a crotchety bastard with a limp who was actually trained to become a gunslinger (he was friends with Cort). But he stepped on a shard of a mirror created by Maerlyn (Walter/Randall’s papa), which distorted the goodness within him and made him a huge jerk. He loses his test of manhood, thus failing the chance to become a gunslinger, and that is where his limp comes from (his leg was shattered). Later in life, he recruits Clay and Roy and they become guns for hire that align themselves with the man trying to take over Gilead. There is not much to say about Clay and Roy. Clay is a womanizer, and Roy is spiteful dummy.
Our Picks: David Bradley as Eldred; Sebastian Stan and Oscar Isaac as Clay/Roy interchangibly
david bradley sebastian stan oscar isaac
Yes, another GOT cast member makes an appearance; Bradley plays slippery ol’ Walder Frey (he also played Filch in the Harry Potter movies), and he’s the perfect choice for Eldred. We really can’t designate who Stan and Isaac should play of the two remaining Coffin Hunters. It would be easy to cast Stan as Roy because Roy is the youngest, but he has the look of a womanizer a la Clay, and it’s not hard to envision Isaac playing someone spiteful (just look at that photo!). So we shall leave the deciding up to you. There’s merit to both being either.

Cordelia Delgado
This is Susan’s crappy aunt. She is implicated in the murder of Susan’s dad (her own brother), and she hates Susan for being young and pretty. She slowly becomes more and more paranoid over the course of Wizard and Glass when it comes to her niece’s virginity status, so it’s not hard for her to fall to Rhea’s whims and decide to get rid of Susan once and for all.
Our Pick: Helena Bonham Carter
Does anyone do crazy aunt better than HBC? The answer is no. What’s great about this is that it wouldn’t be HBC’s customary crazy either. On the outside, Cordelia is a very proper and put-together woman. She is all about appearance and saving face; that’s half the reason she goes so insane over the prospect of Susan ruining the contract with the mayor. Watching HBC weave her signature insanity into a proper lady would be awesome for sure.

So there you have it! The second half of our dream-cast is complete. As mentioned in the first post, we know that the movie (and any subsequent one) won’t be a direct adaptation of the books, so it’s likely that few of the characters we’ve brought up will even appear in the movies. Regardlss, it was crazy-fun thinking about it, and we hope you enjoyed our ramblings. Sound off in the comments with agreements or other suggestions!

We’ll be back soon with talk of actual books, probably . . . *shrug* You’ll find out.

May your TBR piles tower but never topple,
Nikkie and Super Hubs