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Articles on this Page
- 08/25/17--10:01: _The CW Superhero Cr...
- 09/05/17--00:47: _Deathstroke #23: Ex...
- 09/05/17--08:07: _Doomsday Clock: New...
- 09/05/17--12:39: _Strike TV Show: Tra...
- 09/05/17--15:19: _John Green Reads Fi...
- 09/05/17--21:09: _Sheena: Queen of Th...
- 09/06/17--07:55: _Marvel's Defenders:...
- 09/06/17--08:04: _Supergirl Season 3:...
- 09/06/17--14:00: _Stephen King's Gera...
- 08/29/17--07:00: _#DenOfFanart Contes...
- 09/07/17--21:56: _Stephen King's It E...
- 09/08/17--12:54: _Alias Grace Trailer...
- 08/30/17--14:00: _Beauty & the Beast ...
- 09/10/17--15:45: _The 10 Greatest Sup...
- 09/11/17--00:30: _Wonder Woman #30 Ex...
- 09/11/17--08:18: _Len Wein 1948 - 2017
- 09/11/17--10:00: _Stephen King's 10 G...
- 09/11/17--12:23: _Daniel H. Wilson In...
- 09/11/17--13:53: _A Discovery Of Witc...
- 09/11/17--21:41: _The Man Behind the ...
- 08/25/17--10:01: The CW Superhero Crossover Event — Trailer, Release Date
- 09/05/17--00:47: Deathstroke #23: Exclusive Preview
- 09/05/17--12:39: Strike TV Show: Trailer, Cast, Release Date, and News
- 09/05/17--15:19: John Green Reads First Chapter of New Book
- 09/06/17--07:55: Marvel's Defenders: Who Should Be The Next Four?
- 09/06/17--08:04: Supergirl Season 3: Who is Reign?
- 09/06/17--14:00: Stephen King's Gerald's Game Trailer & Release Date
- 08/29/17--07:00: #DenOfFanart Contest! Win This Awesome Harry Potter Jacket
- 09/07/17--21:56: Stephen King's It Ending Explained
- 08/30/17--14:00: Beauty & the Beast Producers Join The Punch Escrow Movie
- 09/10/17--15:45: The 10 Greatest Supernatural Stephen King Villains
- 09/11/17--00:30: Wonder Woman #30 Exclusive First Look
- 09/11/17--08:18: Len Wein 1948 - 2017
- 09/11/17--10:00: Stephen King's 10 Greatest Heroes
- 09/11/17--12:23: Daniel H. Wilson Interview: The Clockwork Dynasty
- 09/11/17--21:41: The Man Behind the Clown: Bill Skarsgard on It and Pennywise
The CW will, again, unite the heroes of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow in fall 2017.
The CW is planning another epic DC superheroes crossover event for 2017. Here's everything you need to know about The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow crossover event...
CW DC Superhero Crossover Trailer
We may not have an official trailer for the crossover event, but we do have a look at a mini-crossover happening between a member of The Flash cast and a member of the Legends cast.
The new general CW DC TV promo, just released, includes a bit of crossover footage — aka a cute, funny moment between Wally and Nate.
Check it out...
CW DC Superhero Crossover Release Date
While plot details of the 2017 crossover are still being kept a secret, we now know when to expect the television event.
Supergirl will kick off the crossover on Monday, November 27 at 8 p.m.
Arrow will then be passed the baton later that night (on a special, non-timeslot airing,) on Monday, November 27 at 9 p.m.
The Flash continues pushing the storyline in the Speed Force on Tuesday, November 28 at 8 p.m.
Legends of Tomorrow will host the culminating chapter that same night on Tuesday, November 28 at 9 p.m.
This schedule represents some changes from last year’s “Invasion!” crossover, which conformed to The CW’s 2016-2017 schedule, which had Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow on a four-night, Monday-Thursday configuration. This consolidation of the crossover into a two-night event may be designed to remedy the ratings disparities in last year’s event, which saw an odd drop-off in its climactic chapter in Legends of Tomorrow. Indeed, despite the 2016 crossover’s overall uptick, a good portion of the audience did not stick around for the conclusion; something The CW does not wish to repeat.
Yet, this year's two-night approach is still very much a scheduling experiment. As The CW president Mark Pedowitz explains in a statement on the strategy:
"We felt that, in this particular case, we already had Flash and Legends paired. It would be better and tighter in terms of storytelling to make it like a two-night, two-hour miniseries. We thought this was a tight, concise way of doing it. Next year, we may go back to four nights.”
CW DC Superhero Crossover Story
One notable detail about the 2017 crossover is that it will likely be the first true four-way crossover event. While last year’s “Invasion!” did span all four CW series, the storyline’s kickoff on Supergirl manifested simply as a teaser at the end of the episode; one that was recapped in the second part on The Flash, rendering the Supergirl portion as pointless. Additionally, while Black Lightningis set to debut in The CW’s cavalcade of DC Comics stars this season, it is unlikely that the electricity-wielding hero will be taking part in the 2017 crossover and that series will, for now, remain a separate superhero offshoot. However, it’s still early enough for plans to change.
With that, fans, especially of the comic-book-savvy variety, are left to speculate on what DC Comics-inspired storyline (if any,) the 2017 crossover could adapt. While speculation for last year’s crossover plot was wild, very few predicted that it would adapt Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo’s obscure and forgotten 1988-1989 Invasion! DC comic book crossover. Will they go the obscure route again? Will it be something major, like the time-bending 1994 comic book event Zero Hour? Or, will Flash actor Grant Gustin's recent comment about wanting to adapt 1985-1986's monumental Crisis on Infinite Earths story come to fruition earlier than he hinted?
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
We have too many good things to say about Deathstroke these days, and this exclusive preview helps explain why.
Diogenes Neves is really talented. He's been on our radar since the Zeb Wells "Utopia" era New Mutants and the New 52 launch title, Demon Knights. He's a great fit for Priest, whose non-comedy work is full of subtle humor that takes talent to land. And there isn't really anything we can say about Priest that hasn't already been said here. It takes a supremely talented writer to put his point right on the page, in the mouth of one of his characters, and pull it off. But that's what he did at the end of the first year on this book, where he had Wintergreen point out that (spoilers) Deathstroke faked a hit on his own kid so he could spend more time with her. Now, to make up for being a bastard to a whole slew of kids, he's manufacturing a super-team and putting them to work so he can spend time with them.
DC Comics offered us an exclusive first look at the upcoming Deathstroke #23, and in keeping with standard practice, we shouted "YES" in a calm and measured voice. Here's what they have to say about the issue:
DEATHSTROKE #23 Written by CHRISTOPHER PRIESTArt by DIOGENES NEVES and JASON PAZCover by RYAN SOOK“Defiance” part three! As the team begins to crack under Slade’s harsh leadership tactics, Defiance is called into action after a cruise ship gets hijacked on the open seas! It’s sink or swim for Deathstroke’s new squad when they’re put to the test against impossible odds!
This book is a classic. Read it now. Wait, look at the preview first. Then read the book.
Geoff Johns will bring fans the next pieces of info about the Watchmen meets the DC Universe event at NYCC!
DC continues counting down to Doomsday Clock, the culmination of nearly two years of storytelling that will see characters from Watchmen interacting with the main DCU for the first time in history. We have lots more details on Doomsday Clock right here if you need them, because right now, this is about getting fans to the next big reveal. Naturally, it will come at New York Comic-Con.
On Friday, October 6, at 6 pm, Doomsday Clock writer Geoff Johns will take the main stage at New York Comic-Con to fill fans in. DC ain't saying much, but this is what they're telling us right now:
During the panel, Johns will reveal the first pages of issue #1 and lead an in-depth discussion on how it all began, starting with his acclaimed DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH one-shot and leading to DOOMSDAY CLOCK this November. In addition, the audience will receive a limited-edition DOOMSDAY CLOCK item available only at the panel.
This sounds like it's a little similar to the Geoff Johns talk at San Diego Comic-Con back in July, although there, everyone was a little more coy about revealing specifics about the massive Watchmen-centric event. With NYCC considerably closer to Doomsday Clock's November 22nd release date, it's likely that we'll get a more substantial taste of what's coming. That panel certainly helped convince me a little about this concept, so the NYCC version should be suitably interesting, as well.
And of course, the latest image featuring art by the brilliant Gary Frank has Batman reading Rorschach's journal...
Detective Cormoran Strike is coming to America...
We already knew that BBC One was making J.K. Rowling's series of detective novels featuring Cormoran Strike into a TV miniseries, but it was unclear where or if they would air in America. Fear not, Rowling fans! HBO has got your back.
While the Strike TV show has yet to hit the American airwaves, it has already begun airing in the UK.
HBO has picked up the U.S. and Canadian rights for Strike, the limited series based on Rowling's three bestselling crime novels: The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil (all written under pen name Robert Galbraith). The series will consist of seven 60-minute episodes altogether and will air in the U.K. as three separate "event dramas."
Strike will follow three adventures of Strike, a war veteran turned private detective trying to make ends meet by taking cases out of his tiny office in London. Injured both physically and psychologically from the war and best known as the illegitimate child of a famous rock star, Strike may not seem like the likliest P.I., but he uses the skills he developed as a Special investigation Branch officer in the military to crack cases the police are unable to solve.
Strike: The Silkworm Trailer
BBC has released the trailer for The Silkworm, the second part in the Strike limited series event. The story picks up after Cormoran and Robin have successfully solved the murder of supermodel Lula Landry. The team is asked to track down the missing husband of novelist Owen Quine.
Here's the trailer...
Strike: Cuckoo's Calling Trailer
And here's the trailer for the first part in the story, The Cuckoo's Calling...
Strike TV Show Release Date
Strike began airing on BBC One in the U.K. on August 27th. It has yet to get an American airdate on HBO, but we will keep you updated.
Strike TV Show Cast
War and Peace's Tom Burke has been cast in the lead role for the series. Burke said of the role:
I'm overjoyed to be immersing myself in the role of Cormoran Strike, who is as complex as he is larger than life. I know I’m joining an extraordinary team of people on a series that for me is peppered with moments of real emotional depth and meticulously grounded in the page-turning momentum of these novels. Cormoran’s world is rich and raw.
Holliday Grainger has been cast in the role of Robin Hellacot, Strike's loyal, clever assistant.
Strike TV Show Filming
The Strike TV show filmed in London. Check out these behind-the-scenes tweet from the official handle of Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling's pen name)...
— Robert Galbraith (@RGalbraith) November 14, 2016
Strike TV Show Writer & Director
The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm have been adapted for television by Ben Richards (The Tunnel), while the script for Career of Evil was penned by Tom Edge (The Last Dragon Slayer). Michael Keillor (Line of Duty) directed the first installment, with Kieron Hawkes directing the second part.
Turtles All the Way Down will be Green's first new novel in over five years.
John Green is not only the bestselling author of contemporary young adult classics like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, he is also an internet celebrity, one of the first YouTubers (along with his brother Hank Green) to create a fan community via the streaming video platform. In other words, when John Green does something, the Interwebz takes notice.
Today, Green released a video of himself reading the first chapter to his much-anticipated new book, Turtles All the Way Down. The novel will be Green's first new book in over five years. Here's the excerpt...
Here's the official synopsis (via Green's site) for the novel...
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
Turtles All the Way Down Release Date
Turtles All the Way Down will hit bookstores on October 10th. The book is now available for pre-order.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
The first female heroine with her own comic book title, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle is heading back to theaters.
Inspired by the success of Wonder Woman, Millennium Films is eyeing to bring the comics world’s first headlining heroine Sheena: Queen of the Jungle to the silver screen.
The first female comic book character with her own title, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle launched in 1938. As an orphan stranded in the jungle, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle earned her name growing up inside the animal kingdom, crafting makeshift weapons to battle evildoers inside and out of the jungle. The character was famously portrayed by model Irish McCalla in a syndicated television series which aired in 1955-56 for 26 episodes, then by Tonya Roberts in a 1984 feature film for Columbia. Sheena then had a second life on TV in the year 2000 on the syndicated series, Sheena. So it appears the new Sheena will be cashing in on both Wonder Woman’s success and the reboot trend.
Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Joe Gatta, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson, Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell are all on board as producers. From appearances in Marvel-produced comics and even several Bollywood films, Sheena may not be as obscure to a global film audience as she seems.
No further information is available on the project at the moment, but we’ll be sure to stay on top of this one.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
If Netflix continues to mine the Marvel seam, which characters might come in for the Defenders treatment next?
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
The Marvel-Netflix deal might have met its initial goal with the broadcast of crossover series The Defenders, but there’s no stopping that particular gravy train - future seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are already on their way.
Marvel has already shows its willingness to add new characters to their roster of heroes with a Punisher series due to drop this year, and deals like New Warriors and Cloak & Dagger at other networks show that they’re not afraid of pushing D-listers into the spotlight to see what takes. So with the obvious choices already taken care of, we couldn’t help wondering: which characters should make up a second wave of Defenders shows?
Here’s what we came up with…
You know what Batman’s missing? A quasi-religious underpinning and serious mental health problems. Doing a direct Moon Knight show might prove a little too hard to swallow – not least because a religious fanatic with multiple personality disorder is more obviously a villain than a hero – but cast the show around a supporting character – for example, Detective Flint from the recent Warren Ellis run – and suddenly it seems like easing people into the character wouldn’t be completely impossible.
Moon Knight’s whole deal is fairly unusual – a former CIA agent, Marc Spector was murdered on a job in Egypt. Placed beneath an idol of Khonshu, he was promised a return to life in exchange for service to the god. He accepted, and became 'the fist of Khonshu', granted superhuman strength healing, and resistance to pain – although some or all of this might actually be explained by the mental illnesses he’s afflicted with, including a powerful multiple personality disorder.
Of course, Marvel-Netflix likes to keep the powers fairly vague as it is, so this is virtually perfect for them – and Moon Knight’s sometime 'power' of a blank, highly adaptable personality creates a potential TV format that would see him use his abilities to blend in with any situation required while attempting to stop crimes – which, luckily for us, is what Khonshu is into.
And hey, being psychologically unstable is a good way of explaining why a vigilante operating in the shadows would spend all of his time in a white hooded cloak…
Master of Kung Fu
We know Marvel-Netflix likes two things: fistfights and not spending money. And boy, would Master Of Kung Fu involve a lot of both. Shang Chi was raised as an assassin by his father, an ancient sorcerer, but rebelled when he realized he was working for the forces of evil. After becoming a secret agent, he travels the world attempting to bring down his father's criminal empire using his unparalleled mastery of combat.
Although Netflix has its fill of martial artists, Shang-Chi's globetrotting adventures - no doubt accomplished using a variety of filters - would lend a unique texture to his adventures. And hey, who wouldn't look forward to Iron Fist and Shang Chi duking it out to determine who is, once and for all, the true master of Kung Fu? (Spoilers: it would not be Iron Fist). Indeed, Chi's backstory is ripe to be retrofitted with the Marvel-Netflix version of The Hand, who just happen to be a global network of criminals, headed up by immortals, with roots in East Asia.
The risk is that despite some popularity in the 1970s Shang-Chi has never been a huge draw for audiences, not least because he was riding a wave of exploitation cinema that hasn't come back around. The format and tone are both seriously outdated, and if Iron Fist struggled to entertain, well, this could end up being Iron Fist without the superpowers.
On the other hand, give us some stuntwork to rival the kung fu cinema of old, and maybe it'd strike an untapped vein. After all, it's not as if we're getting cool-looking martial arts-based fiction on TV anywhere else.
If there's one thing you can say about the Marvel-Netflix shows, its that they've been fairly monotonous - not within themselves, but between one another. Soundtracks aside, all four have offered up some fairly grim, realist superheroes mixed with gratuitous violence. So why not take advantage of the Marvel Universe's tonal variation and do a She-Hulk TV series as a workplace comedy?
For those who haven't had the pleasure, She-Hulk is Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who happens to be Bruce Banner's cousin. When she's gunned down by the mob, a transfusion from Banner is the only way to save her life - but it also transfers his powers to her. However, the weakened dose gives her more control over her transformation and she continues her work as a lawyer alongside her superhero life as the She-Hulk.
The comic itself has been known to lean into the ridiculousness of the idea, not least in John Byrne's famously fourth-wall breaking incarnation (move over, Deadpool!). As pitches go, it basically writes itself: Ally McBeal with superheroes. At best you could have her representing the other Netflix heroes in court, at worst, we're sure there's room for Foggy Nelson to cameo.
The only major question is how you handle the Jen Walters/She-Hulk transformation. A full CGI She-Hulk is probably out - but would audiences accept Lou Ferrigno-style green paint? Figure that out and there'd be no stopping She-Hulk, who - through her consistently brilliant comic runs - remains one of Marvel's best-kept-secrets.
Unless you’re a card-carrying comic geek you’ve probably never heard of this relatively minor Daredevil character, but she turns up every few years and has a power set that lends itself perfectly to TV: imitation.
Born deaf, Maya Lopez has the ability to copy any action or movement after seeing it just once. An expert dancer, pianist, performance artist and fighter, she swore revenge against Daredevil after being manipulated into thinking he killed her father – though Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, was actually the man responsible. Eventually she turned on Fisk and became an ally of Daredevil, though she’s never far from a little crime-fighting of her own.
As well as being relatively low budget, Echo’s iconic look is very Netflix in itself – her costume is essentially just dancing gear with a white handprint on her face. There’s plenty of opportunity to intersect with Daredevil without the requirement to spin out, and best of all she’d be an all-too-rare example of a Native American character who isn’t defined by her background. The more we talk about it, the more we think it’s got to happen.
We have the details on the mysterious Supergirl Season 3 villain, Reign.
At the end of the Supergirl season 2 finale, we were teased with a flashback to Krypton's destruction, as a cultlike group sent a mysterious baby to Earth, promising it would "reign." It was soon revealed that wasn't just a turn of phrase, but that the Supergirl Season 3 villain is, in fact, Reign, a character created by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Mahmud Asrar who has made a handful of appearances in recent DC Comics.
The Reign of the comics is one of five genetically engineered "Worldkillers" and she's the one who first reveals the fate of Kara's homeworld to her. She tries to enlist Kara in her plans to conquer Earth, but as you might expect, Kara is having none of it. There's really not much else to say about this story (which you can find in Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton), and the character didn't make many more appearances in the comics, which should leave lots of room for interpretation when she makes it to TV, where she'll be played by Odette Annable. We spoke with Ms. Annable as well as executive producers Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller during roundtable interviews at San Diego Comic-Con, and they told us a little bit about what to expect from the Supergirl Season 3 villain.
"We think [Reign] is a villain unlike any we’ve ever had on Supergirl in the past," executive producer Robert Rovner says, "She comes with a very specific agenda."
"Reign is a Worldkiller," Odette Annable says. "She was bio-engineered in a lab, she was sent to Earth from Krypton much like Kara and Clark. She's different than any other villain that you'll see on Supergirl in a way that she has her own agenda. She's not out to kill everybody. She's not out to rule the Earth. Her reasons for dispensing justice are very specific and you'll see that story unfold throughout the season."
Right there that already sounds fairly different from the Reign of the comics, who was a relatively one-note (albeit high-powered) villain. To be perfectly honest, Reign's story didn't really sound like one that could sustain an entire season of TV, but it looks like the show is going to show a very different side of the villain. "I hope [the audience] is going to be endeared to her a little bit," Annable says. "It's always nice to resonate with a villain...you might not side with them, but maybe you can see why they do what they do. Hopefully, that will be the case with Reign as well. We've got a whole season to tell this story, so I'm particularly excited about sharing this heartbreaking tale. It really will be powerful and strong, and I think she's going to be one of Supergirl's greatest matches. She's not just, 'I'm bad and I want to kill everybody.' She's got a reason why she's doing it. I think that's what fans will find really different and hopefully really like."
"We’re diving deeper into this villain than we have with the other ones," Robert Rovner promises, perhaps alluding to how much freedom they have to create this character because of the relative scarcity of her source material.
Since Reign has only made a handful of comic book appearances, the producers and Ms. Annable have a tremendous amount of freedom in terms of creating her for the screen. "I do know that we will, in terms of look, the costume's not going to be the same—she wears basically nothing in the comics—so I'm very grateful for that," Annable says. "You know, I'd rather not be in hours and hours of makeup. If we were going to try to match what's in the comics, that would be the case. So we're doing our own spin on things, much like what they do on the other shows, which is really nice."
Executive producer Jessica Queller says that "the central question of Supergirl Season 3 is what does it mean to be human" and that question will be posed "to every main charactre including Reign." She also teases that "Reign is going to have an unexpected connection with Lena Luthor."
We're looking forward to seeing this new take on the character when Supergirl Season 3 premieres on Monday, October 9.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Stephen King's Gerald's Game is coming to Netflix this month. Here's the first trailer...
It's been quite the year for Stephen King movies. The Dark Towerand IT have already bowed. Next up is Gerald's Game from Netflix. Mike Flanagan (Oculus) is directing from a script he wrote with writing partner Jeff Howard. You can read more about the film below...
Gerald's Game Trailer
Here's the first trailer for Gerald's Game!
Gerald's Game Release Date
Gerald's Gamearrive on Netflix on September 29, 2017.
Gerald's Game Cast
Netflix's Gerald's Game movie has found its cast. Deadline reports that Carla Gugino (Watchmen) and Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) have been cast as main characters Jessie and Gerald, respectively. Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken, Kate Siegel, and Chiara Aurelia round out the cast.
Gerald's Game Director
Oculus director Mike Flanagan is quickly becoming a major staple of the contemporary horror movie scene. This year, he's got two movies out: the critically-acclaimed psychological horror Hush, about a deaf mute who's being stalked by a masked man, and Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel to the 2014 film by Stiles White. Another film originally scheduled for 2016, Before I Wake, the story of a boy whose dreams and nightmares become a deadly reality, was pulled from its release date earlier this year and is currently hanging in limbo.
You'd think Flanagan would like a break after all of these projects, but the director has already set his sights on his next film: an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Gerald's Game, which he's directing for Netflix.
Flanagan told Rue Morgue:
Stephen King has been my hero since I was a child, and one of the things about being a fan of his is that I’m used to the familiar heartbreak of seeing his film adaptations and feeling like something’s gone off, and that the source material I love so much has not translated properly—with obvious exceptions. It’s just that for every Shawshankor Green Mile or Stand By Me, you’ve got…the others, that really hurt! It’s very important for me, as a fan, not to end up in that pile. I loved Gerald's Game from the minute I put it down; I had gooseflesh all over my arms and my neck when I finished it, and I remember just exhaling and saying, ‘I want to make this into a movie—and it’s unfilmable!’ [laughs] and shaking my head, thinking, ‘If I could crack this, this could be one of the greatest King adaptations of them all.’
The novel tells the story of a woman named Jessie who finds herself handcuffed to a bed in a secluded cabin in the woods after she accidentally kills her husband during a kinky game that's gone too far. Isolation and no hope of rescue slowly start to drive Jessie mad.
Gerald's Game does seem like a difficult movie to make, especially since it stars a character who can't move for pretty much the entire length of the story. Flanagan's past work has proved that he has the directing chops for it, though, and Netflix seems more than happy to take on the project.
“If you know the source material,” Flanagan said, "you’ll know there are a lot of challenges inherent in that story. Not so much the narrative challenges of how to adapt it; it took me 10 years of constantly thinking about the book to crack the cinematic version. But it’s a real challenge for financiers and distributors, who say, ‘Yeah, we love your work, we love Stephen King, but this story, this particular story? We don’t know how it works,’ without reshaping it to fit a much more conventional structure, which I did not want to do."
According to Flanagan, Netflix is more than happy to let him make this movie his way, which is probably for the best when it comes to a story like Gerald's Game and most other Stephen King novels. Too often, big screen adaptations of King's work have suffered due to tampering from the studios.
Speaking of King, Flanagan commented that he'd love to have the writer involved in the adaptation: "That’s going to be entirely up to [King]. From what I’ve heard, sometimes he’s very involved when it comes to approvals and things like that, and sometimes he can be more hands-off. So I guess that remains to be seen. I would personally want him to be as involved as he possibly wants to be. And I think the more Stephen is involved, the more he’ll see the reverence that I have for this book. I would love for him to be part of this, and I hope he will be.”
We'll keep you updated on Gerald's Game as we learn more!
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
We're calling all artists, digital and traditional, to submit their Harry Potter fanart for a chance to win one Harry Potter themed jacket!
We just got this awesome Harry Potter denim jacket sent to our office, but unfortunately we can't keep it for ourselves. So, we're turning this into an opportunity for the hardcore-est of hardcore Potter fans to not only show off their their Harry Potter fanart, but also win the jacket for themselves!
Entry is simple, and there are five ways to enter (please choose just one entry method):
1) Submit your own, original Harry Potter fanart on this article page (comments below) and use the hashtag #DenOfFanart, OR --
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In ALL cases, please try to include a link to your online art gallery (DeviantArt, Instagram, custom web page, etc.).
Keep in mind: We'll be accepting entries until 6:00PM (ET) on August 31st, 2017! Also, the jacket is a men's Large (sorry, that's what we were sent)!
Entries will be judged at our sole discretion on originality, creativity, and technical skill (no Sanic-style drawings, please). The chosen winner will be requested to verify their identity as the fanart's artist prior to being eligible to receive the prize. Failure to verify will lead to a new winner being drawn. Non-winners may have their art featured on this article, though we will honor requests not to do so.
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The climax of the new film version of Stephen King's It is both faithful to and different from the book.
This article contains spoilers for the movie and book It.
Stephen King’s 1986 novel It takes place in two different timestreams: the past (1958) and the present (1985). In both eras, the seven friends known as the Losers' Club must come together to defeat the ancient supernatural entity that resides deep under the town of Derry, Maine and emerges to terrorize and murder its inhabitants, especially children, usually in the shape of a clown named Pennywise. They seriously wound It in 1958 (the movie switches the earlier period from 1958 to 1988) as children, then come back -- to destroy It once and for all 27 years later as adults.
The way the book is written, King weaves the two timelines in and out of each other, cutting more rapidly between the two until they seem to almost merge together -- he even does things like stopping in mid-sentence in 1958 and picking up with the end of the sentence in 1985 (or vice versa) to achieve the effect of the past and the present becoming one. That is, in a way, what happens, as the adult members of the Losers' Club must draw upon their childhood memories -- which have been repressed -- to find their way back to what they’ve forgotten in order to end It's reign of terror for good.
We’ll get to how they vanquish the thing in a moment. Since this film version of It was conceived as two movies, the one in theaters now focuses only on the Losers' Club as kids. That’s a big change from the book. It’s a better way to tell the story -- there’s no way that even the most gifted screenwriter could fit all the important events of both timelines into one film, even a long one -- and it allows the audience to fully empathize and bond with the kids, instead of distractingly and perhaps confusingly between the two time periods.
The ending of the film finds the Losers' Club baited into entering the sewers of Derry and finding It's lair in order to rescue their sole female member, Beverly (Sophia Lillis), who has been abducted by Pennywise after she escapes an attempted rape by her own father. The kidnapping itself is a departure from the book, as is Beverly’s glimpse of the “deadlights.” The “deadlights” are It's true form, which exists outside of time and space and can only be perceived by the human mind as destructive orange lights. They render Beverly catatonic until the Losers find her and secret admirer Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) plants a nice kiss on her mouth, the power of his love bringing her back to the living.
That love -- the shared affection and loyalty of the seven friends -- is ultimately It's undoing. Bill finally overcomes his grief over Pennywise’s murder of his little brother Georgie by confronting a spectral version of the little boy manifested by It and destroying the façade, revealing Pennywise underneath. Once he has accomplished that, Bill can unite with the others and together they overcome their own fears -- each manifested again in turn by Pennywise -- and attack the creature both physically and with their imaginations, wounding it badly and sending it back even further down into the depths beyond the sewers and tunnels underneath Derry.
King’s book is all about the end of innocence and the confrontation of childhood fears, as well as the bonds of love, and it is those themes that are reflected most strongly in the ending of the movie as well. Bill finally comes to terms with his own personal quest to alleviate his guilt and grief so that he can join with the others in a united front against Pennywise, while each of the other children also conquer a particular fear or make a stand against whatever is holding them back so that they can do the same. Once they do that, Pennywise is vulnerable, weakened and forced into retreat -- but not death.
The defeat of It by the children in the book is handled quite differently. When they confront the thing in its lair, they see it in a very different form than a clown. Since its true form is beyond human comprehension, their minds translate it as a giant spider. Bill confronts It mostly alone and is flung by the entity into another dimension where he is nearly brought head-on into the deadlights, which can drive anyone who looks into them insane. But while outside the bounds of our reality, he also meets the Turtle (again, a mental approximation of a presence beyond human understanding). The Turtle, whose name is Maturin, created our universe but exists like Pennywise/It outside of our reality. While Maturin doesn’t involve itself in puny human matters, it does offer Bill advice on how to stop It.
Surreal stuff, right? And perhaps too out there to attempt to put on film (the 1990 miniseries did feature an animatronic spider which turned out to be an unfortunate choice). But if you think that’s weird, what happens next remains one of the most controversial sequences in all of King’s extensive bibliography. With It defeated, the kids find themselves lost in the sewers and possibly unable to escape. They need to bond together again after the monster’s savage attacks. So 11-year-old Beverly decides that each of the six boys must make love to her right there in the tunnel to form an emotional and physical connection that will remain unbroken. King writes this sequence with as much care, grace, and sensitivity as he can, but it’s still essentially group sex involving six barely pubescent boys and a girl -- a scene you can pretty much rest assured will never make it to the screen no matter how many times It is filmed.
The adults’ defeat of the spider is similar but much more final, with both Bill and Richie risking the deadlights to literally tear the thing’s heart out. And since they’re grown men and women now, there’s no lovemaking scene to denote their passage from childhood to adulthood. Director Andy Muschietti has hinted in recent interviews that the second It film will delve more deeply into the more surreal aspects of the Losers’ battle against the entity, although how much if any of the spider, the deadlights, the Turtle, and the Macroverse (the void outside our universe) will be deployed remains to be seen.
As in the book, at the end of the film the seven children make a solemn vow and take a blood oath that if It ever resurfaces in Derry, they will all come back -- no matter where they are or what they’re doing -- to fight the entity once again. With this first movie looking like a tremendous success -- both with critics and at the box office -- a sequel now looks like a sure thing. Once again the Losers' Club will descend under the ground and go into battle, armed only with their love and friendship for each other. In both the book and the movie, that’s more than enough.
It is out now in theaters.
Netflix drops the trailer for miniseries Alias Grace, adapting the novel by The Handmaid's Tale's Margaret Atwood.
Many things have been written about Grace Marks. Some called her a human female demon, others an innocent victim forced against her will and in danger for her own life, but the 19th century murders she is accused of has kept the public guessing forever. The 1843 double murder was one of Upper Canada’s most notorious crimes. Netflix will explore the possibilities in Alias Grace, a six-hour miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s book on convicted 19th century murderer Grace Marks, to the streaming movie service.
With Atwood's work white-hot, coming off the acclaim generated by Hulu's television adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, Netflix is clearly looking to replicate that success.
Alias Grace Trailer
Alias Grace has released a full trailer, showing the pathological journey that the series will take with Sarah Gadon’s convicted murderess Grace Marks. While the former house servant is depicted after having spent 15 years incarcerated for killing her employers after a purported romantic spat, she claims to suffer amnesia over the events and psychologist Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) who – perhaps, motivated amorously – suspects that she may be innocent.
However, innocent or not, she’s clearly more cunning and manipulative than woman in her station in the mid-1800s would have a right to be and the truth may not prove to be what either of them want. As the trailer depicts, Grace’s memory of the events leading to the murders are reconstructed through hypnosis, revealing an abused and humiliated existence at the hands of her employer Thomas Kinnear and housekeeper Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin), both of whom end up brutally murdered. Yet, the slow-burning answers regarding those crimes are psychologically circuitous, showcasing its share of dramatic intrigue.
Netflix kicked off its Alias Grace promotion with a 45-second teaser trailer that introduces a poor, young Irish immigrant who is a servant to a wealthy family in upper Canada. The trailer lets the convicted murder ponder whether she is a not-so-innocent victim “I am cunning and devious. How can I be all of these different things at once? I'd rather be a murderess than a murderer — if those are the only choices."
Alias Grace Plot
According to the official synopsis:
“The story of Alias Grace follows Grace Marks, a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843. James was hanged while Grace was sentenced to life imprisonment. Grace became one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of 1840s Canada for her supposed role in the sensational double murder, and was eventually exonerated after 30 years in jail. Her conviction was controversial, and sparked much debate about whether Grace was actually involved in the murder, or merely an unwitting accessory.”
“Grace Marks, as captured by Margaret Atwood, is the most complex, riveting character I have ever read,” Noreen Halpern, President of Halfire Entertainment, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that Mary Harron has taken the project on. I know that her ability to create suspense, tension, and delve into the dark, unknowable aspects of her characters will bring this piece alive. I can’t wait for us to bring the many versions of Grace’s gripping story, and the questions they raise, to television audiences.
Alias Grace is written and produced by Sarah Polley (Looking for Alaska, Take This Waltz, Away from Her) and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol). The book and the adaptation both add the fictional Dr. Simon Jordan, a researcher who becomes obsessed with Grace and falls in love with her.
“Sarah Polley wrote a stunning six-hour script, based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel, and we are thrilled that CBC and Netflix have joined forces to co-commission this miniseries.”
Alias Grace Cast
Sarah Gadon, a Canadian actress, will play Irish immigrant Grace Marks, a maid who was convicted with stable hand James McDermott, of a double murder in 1843. Gadon most recently co-starred as a Texan librarian opposite James Franco in Hulu's Stephen King limited series 11.22.63. She was also featured in David Cronenberg’s films A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis, and Maps to the Stars.
Anna Paquin will play the amnesiac victim Nancy Montgomery, a housekeeper who was the secret lover of her boss Thomas Kinnear. Paquin who made her Academy Award winning breakthrough in 1994’s The Piano, played Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s True Blood, and was featured in the X-Menfilm series.
Kerr Logan (Strike, Game of Thrones) will play James McDermott.
Zachary Levi (Thor: The Dark World, Chuck) will play Jeremiah Pontelli.
Edward Holcroft (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Wolf Hall) will play Dr. Simon Jordan.
Alias Grace Release Date
Netflix will release Alias Grace globally on Friday, November 3. The series will first broadcast on Canada's CBC.
The Punch Escrow is about a man in 2147 who is accidentally duplicated while being teleported.
Beauty and the Beast producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films/TV have joined the team behind The Punch Escrow, the film adaptation of Tal M. Klein's science fiction novel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Hoberman and Lierberman join James Bobin — the man behind the camera for Alice Through the Looking Glassand Disney's The Muppets— who is already signed on to direct The Punch Escrow.
The Hollywood Reporter previously announced that Bobin (who also, it should be noted, is one of the creators of the excellent Flight of the Concords) will be directing the Lionsgate's movie. The film rights to The Punch Escrow, which was released on July 25th by Inkshares/Geek & Sundry, were heated, with multiple studios bidding. Lionsgate eventually won.
What is The Punch Escrow about? Set in the year 2147, the book follows Joel Byram, a man who spends his days training artifical intelligence engines how to act more human. Joel's life is forever changed one day when he is accidentally duplicated while teleporting. (Which, coincidentally, is one of my favorite Star Trek episode concepts.) #FutureProblems
Following the duplication, Joel must work to outsmart the shadowy organization the controls teleportation and get back to the woman he loves. And, you know, there's two of him.
The Punch Escrow was published by Inkshares, a tech company and reader-driven publisher that has an interesting business model: Authors post samples and/or pitches of their books on Inkshares. If the work gets 250 pre-orders, it gets a "light" publishing. If it gets 750 pre-orders, it gets a "fully-funded" publishing, which includes editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing.
Know the terror and madness of Stephen King's 10 greatest supernatural villains!
Pennywise the Clown isn't the only monster you need to fear at night. The King has created plenty of other horrific things that go bump in the night...
The name Stephen King conjures up images of horrific creatures, monsters, places, and stories, and some of the most enduring villains in fiction. These are beings of unimaginable evil that test the limits of the protagonists' will to survive, and some of these villains have gone on to become almost as famous (or infamous) as the writer himself. While many Stephen King villains are monsters of the human variety (serial killers, power hungry despots, nihilists, etc.) his most memorable are the supernatural ones who use their dark powers to twist the orderly world around them into a special place of chaos and pain.
Here are just a few of King’s best supernatural madmen and monsters.
10. Gage Creed and the Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary (1983)
“Don’t go beyond, no matter how much you feel you need to, Doctor. The barrier was not made to be broken. Remember this: there is more power here than you know. It is old and always restless. Remember.”
When Louis, Rachel, Eileen, and Gage Creed moved to Ludlow, Maine from Chicago, their cat Winston Churchill in tow, they wanted a peaceful new life in the more rural locale. What they got was a descent into death and madness almost unmatched in modern horror fiction. In the novel, the Creed cat is killed. Louis fears telling his daughter and buries the beloved pet at a nearby “Pet Sematary,” an old Micmac Indian burial ground. The cat returns home, much to Louis’ shock and delight, but it’s not the same friendly animal. It’s a listless, mean, half-alive creature that does not have a fondness for life.
When Gage is killed by a truck, overcome with despair, Louis buries his son in the Sematary. What comes back is a true horror of epic proportions. Gage is such a disturbing villain because he once existed as an object of the purest affection. The once totally innocent soul is now corrupt and ridden with supernatural darkness. The Pet Sematary itself is rumored to once have been a burial place for cannibals, and the spirit of a Wendigo dwells in the soil.
Now, Gage is back with the most ancient of curses coursing where blood once flowed. Every father’s nightmare turned even darker. King felt the book was too dark even for him and shelved it until his wife, Tabitha, and his friend, the author Peter Straub, encouraged him to share his bleak vision of paternal loyalty with the world.
9. The Leatherheads
Under the Dome (2009)
“God turned out to be a bunch of bad little kids playing interstellar Xbox. Isn't that funny?”
Much more frightening than typical villains, the Leatherheads are an alien race responsible for the construction of the Dome that covers Chester’s Mill. They are in the same vein as H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors, beings much older and more powerful than humanity. The mere sight of them could drive a man mad. They are beings with the power of gods but no connection to or feelings for humanity. Just cold observers that exist on a different layer of reality.
The Leatherheads construct the Dome the same way a child makes an ant farm, out of a morbid curiosity to watch how lesser creatures exist. Their casual disregard for humanity makes them truly terrifying, because unlike some of King’s other antagonists, there is really no way to fight them.
The Leatherheads are mentioned in King’s chilling short story N., but it is in Under the Dome where readers get to experience the sheer paralytic terror that would occur if an alien species of ancient intelligence turned their attention towards our little backwater planet.
8. The Overlook Hotel
The Shining (1977)
“This inhuman place makes human monsters.”
If there is one thing King’s constant readers have learned after decades of nightmares is that places can be as evil as people, an idea that is personified in the Overlook Hotel, the setting of The Shining. On the surface, The Shining is a classic haunted house tale, but beneath the surface, it is so much more. It is a deep look into the fragility of fatherhood, the bond of trust between father and son. As Danny Torrance, the psychic child who journeys to a secluded Colorado hotel with his caretaker father and loving mother discovers when the father he trusted is transformed in a raging madman by the power within the Overlook.
The novel’s most riveting sections feature past accounts of other times that the Overlook weaved its dark magic, transforming good men into monsters. The walls of the Overlook can barely contain the rage within the heart of the hotel, and as The Shining plays out, readers discover just how corrupt the place is. Make no mistake, it may not have arms to swing an ax, or legs to chase down its victims, but the Overlook is a hungry sort of evil that demands to be fed. Just try staying at a Motel 6 after reading King’s classic. I dare you.
7. The Raggedy Man
“What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.”
Fans of the Walking Dead need to recognize. King does zombies too, and they are sphincter-tighteningly scary. In Cell, a pulse travels into cell phones all over the world. Anyone on their phone at the fateful moment is turned into a zombie. These villains are a different breed than the popular Romero clones, as the pulse also unlocks latent powers of the human mind like telepathy and levitation.
The Raggedy Man is the leader of the zombies. He thinks, organizes, and commands. He has all the nihilistic hunger of a zombie, but he has planning skills and foresight which make him a truly frightening antagonist. His goal is to spread his people around the globe and take the planet for his horde. He sees humanity as a threat to his people and seeks to destroy them to protect his new race, which could make him literature’s first sympathetic zombie villain. He is often seen wearing a crimson Harvard hoodie giving the creature an atypical zombie air of intelligence and capability.
The name of Harvard’s sports teams by the way? The Harvard Crimson. Well played Mr. King, well played.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Stephen King's Cell Movie
6. Kurt Barlow
‘Salems Lot (1975)
“That above all else. They did not look out their windows. No matter what noises or dreadful possibilities, no matter how awful the unknown, there was an even worse thing: to look the Gorgon in the face.”
King’s only foray into vampires (the classic ones, anyway), Barlow was the writer’s way of getting the whole mythos right the first time. ‘Salems Lot was King’s second published novel and his first of many novels centering on the idea of a preternatural creature releasing the beast inside of regular people. It was also his first small town novel, a setting King would return to many times over the decades.
Barlow’s story mirrors that of Dracula, from the shipment of his coffin and native soil from overseas to his arrival and reign of terror in a contemporary setting. He even has his own personal Renfield, Richard Straker, his own gothic mansion, his own legion of dark minions, and a twisted grip on the residents of ‘Salems Lot.
Barlow was more of a catalyst, using embraced residents as pawns to tighten his grip on the town, but his very presence on the page was accompanied with a sense of urgency and dread.
In a 1995 BBC radio drama of ‘Salems Lot (that is well worth seeking out), Barlow is played by Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley, which automatically gives the vampire tons of villain cred.
5. George Stark
The Dark Half (1989)
“Cut him. Cut him while I stand here and watch. I want to see the blood flow. Don't make me tell you twice.”
Stephen King once wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and published some of his more experimental works like The Running Man, The Long Walk, and Thinner. His experience as somewhat existing as another person inspired King to write the Dark Half, and inspired the creation of one of his most cold blooded killers, George Stark.
In the novel, Thad Beaumont was a successful author who wrote violent crime novels under the pen name of George Stark. After revealing to the world he was actually Stark, Thad and his wife stage a mock funeral for the author to symbolically cut ties with the violent crime fiction Beaumont wanted to leave behind. This is where King brings the terror.
The novel started with a flashback that dealt with the removal of an eye from the brain of a young Thad. It was the eye of a twin that was conjoined in the womb to the writer, an incident Thad had all but forgotten about. It was actually the eye of George Stark, who later rises from the mock grave the Beaumonts planted him in to go on a killing spree that leaves even the most seasoned reader with PTSD.
Stark is the embodiment of the darkness in the hearts of all men. The most frightening part of the book is that even though Beaumont is desperate to rid the world of Stark, part of him is attracted to the freedom evil gives Stark, and the realization that the evil is a part of him.
RELATED ARTICLE: Stephen King's 10 Greatest Human Villains
4. Blaine the Mono
The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands (1991)
“Choo-Choo, thought Jake, and shuddered.”
You will never look at Thomas the Tank Engine the same way again. Blaine is a sentient train in the Dark Tower series, a machine driven insane by underuse. Blaine once housed a powerful computer mind, but the network has since broken down, making the train deranged, cruel, and suicidal.
Roland and his ka-tet need the train to travel out of the Wasteland so Roland can finish his quest for the Dark Tower. They board Blaine. They are horrified when they find Blaine has gone completely insane. The train forces them into a game of riddles. The situation gets worse, as the ka-tet realizes Blaine will kill himself by derailing at great speed with them aboard.
A crazy, sentient, thundering locomotive with a face is scary enough, but couple that with the fact that the train suffers from crippling mental health issues, and you have one of the most unique monsters in literature. There is a second voice inside Blaine, Little Blaine, who begs the ka-tet to help him, adding even another layer to the tragic nightmare that is Blaine.
So essentially, Blaine is Gollum if Gollum was a runaway train: a riddle loving, murderous, schizophrenic machine who has been ruined by pain and emptiness.
3. The Crimson King aka Los'Ram Abbalah, The Kingfish, The Red King, Lord of Discordia, Lord of Spiders, Satan
“I am the Eater of Worlds.”
The Crimson King is often mistaken for It, and it is not completely clear if they are the same monster, but the regality and level of reverence the King’s minions hold for him seem to suggest that he is different than the sewer-dwelling eater of children.
The Crimson King is the embodiment of evil in King’s shared fictional universe. He is first introduced in Insomnia, where he tries to kill a child prophesied to topple the rule of the King forever.
The King is later revealed as the monster behind the events of the novel Black House, and he is the overarching villain of the Dark Tower series, the monster responsible for trying to bring down the structure of reality.
Stephen King suggests that all his villains, supernatural or otherwise, are pawns of the Crimson King. The name itself carries some great metatextual flavor as, of course, Stephen King himself is the one truly responsible for the evil in his worlds. The half of the writer that creates and is responsible for these horrific monsters is also named King. Stephen King is the writer, father, husband, and Red Sox fan. The Crimson King is the dark overlord of the fictional universe and the monster maker.
2. It aka Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Robert Gray, Bob Grapes
The clown seized his arm.
And George saw the clown’s face change.
Every twenty-seven years It rises to devour the children of Derry. It awoke when a homosexual couple was beaten by a gang of thugs in 1984 to again reign terror on the children of Derry. It was put to rest by the Losers Club, a group of misfit teens, in 1958 only to rise again, decades later. It killed the leader of the Losers’ (Bill Denbrough) little brother in one of the most hair-raising prologues in horror history.
It is another of King’s manipulator villains, as It controls the darker residents of Derry, such as bully Henry Bowers to do Its bidding. It is a cannibalistic clown that lives in the sewers, a leprous mummy, a giant spider, or a series of orange lights called the Dead Lights that drive people mad when gazed upon.
Unlike the similar creature, the Crimson King, It does not commit evil for glory or power. It devours because It hungers. The lives of innocents exist only to fill the void of It's being. And let’s face it, nothing, NOTHING is freakin’ scarier than a hungry clown in a sewer.
1. Randall Flagg
aka The Ageless Stranger, The Walkin' Dude, The Dark Man, The Hardcase, The Man in Black, The Tall Man, The Midnight Rambler, The Antagonist, The Grinning Man, Old Creeping Judas, He Who Walks Behind The Rows, The Covenant Man, Richard Fry, Robert Franq, Ramsey Forrest, Robert Freemont, Richard Freemantle, Russell Faraday, The Monster, The Man with No Face, Richard Fannin, Raymond Fiegler, Walter o'Dim, Marten Broadcloak, Walter Padick, Walter Hodji, and Bill Hitch
The Stand (1978)
Eyes of the Dragon (1986)
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
The Dark Tower series
“My life for you.”
Not so much a single villain, but the archetype of all villains, Randall Flagg is King’s greatest singular creation of evil. Flagg first appeared in The Stand, the Dark Man who gathers the worst of humanity to rebuild a new civilization in his own dark image. The Walkin’ Dude had a propensity for crucifying any whose beliefs ran contrary to his.
Flagg is the greatest of King’s manipulators, able to inspire loyalty in those with dark hearts, as seen by the Trashcan Man in The Stand and even Mother Carmody in The Mist. All they have to do is say “My life for you,” and mean it, and Flagg will be there to inspire their dark deeds.
He was revealed to be the antagonists to Roland in the Dark Tower series, and is the ever present evil in all men. Flagg is walking the back roads of reality just waiting for a chance to whisper in humanity’s ear and stir up some good, old fashioned chaos.
A version of this article first appeared on October 19, 2013.
"Heart of the Amazon" reaches its stunning conclusion in Wonder Woman #30. Check out some exclusive preview pages!
Wonder Woman #30 marks the conclusion of Shea Fontana and David Messina's "Heart of the Amazon" arc. David Messina is a really talented penciller. He's been bouncing around for a bit, popping up on a few fill ins and as Sara Pichelli's inker back when Miles Morales was first introduced, before sticking around for an entire arc of Genevieve Valentine's quietly flawless Catwoman back in the New 52, and then helping launch a new ROM book most recently. His art bears a passing resemblance to that of David LaFuente's - cartoony and expressive, and secretly fantastic for comic book action. You'll see some more of the same in this issue. Check it out.
Here's what they have to say about the issue:
WONDER WOMAN #30 Written by SHEA FONTANAArt by DAVID MESSINACover by JESUS MERINOVariant cover by JENNY FRISON“Heart of the Amazon” finale! Wonder Woman may be a warrior, but she’s nobody’s weapon—as the mysterious cabal that’s been trying to manipulate her is about to learn!
Check out the preview pages here!
Wolverine co-creator, Watchmen editor, and legendary comic book writer Len Wein has died at the age of 69.
Len Wein, the legendary co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, as well as the editor who helped Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons bring Watchmen to life, has died at the age of 69.
Wein's career spanned decades and you can find his fingerprints all over the comics industry in addition to his two most famous creations. Shortly after he co-created Wolverine alongside John Romita Sr. and Roy Thomas, Wein, with artist Dave Cockrum revived the previously failing X-Men in 1975 with the larger, more colorful lineup that launched the team to pop culture immortality. During his extended stay at Marvel Comics (including a year as editor-in-chief), Wein took a shot at writing many of Marvel's flagship books, including long (and fan favorite) runs on Marvel Team-Up and Amazing Spider-Man.
Mr. Wein is responsible for some works from DC Comics that are near to my heart. His revival of Blue Beetle for DC in the mid-80s is a tremendous amount of fun, as is his Untold Legend of The Batman limited series. He collaborated with George Perez on his Wonder Woman reboot, arguably the single most important creative run in the character's long history. Movie fans should note that Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox was co-created by Wein in 1979, too. And, of course, he created Swamp Thing with the legendary Bernie Wrightson, who we lost earlier this year.
There's a good chance that some of your favorite superheroes have Len Wein's fingerprints on them somewhere in their past. Check out some of his work. You won't be sorry.
Stephen King universe isn't just full of terrifying monsters. It is also home to many great fictional heroes...
In the Kingverse, there are monsters aplenty, but what of the heroes? There may be villains of every shape and size dwelling there, but King’s dark worlds are also inhabited by bright lights who keep the monsters at bay, brave beings of complex integrity who are tasked with questing through landscapes of pure terror while not losing their souls in the process.
These are King’s heroes, his protagonists that act as a line of defense between sanity and the creatures of unknowable corruption that slither between the cracks of King’s stories. They walked through the valley of the shadow of death and oh, they feared evil, but these heroes kept their heads held high. These are King’s greatest champions.
10. Bill Hodges
Fights the Darkness in Mr. Mercedes (2014)
Possibly the most human of King’s many heroes, retired cop Bill Hodges, does not have special powers or great strength, but he has a will to confront a very real act of evil that threatened to tear his life apart along with the lives of many others.
When readers first meet Bill, he could be considered a failure. He failed to find the driver of a fateful Mercedes that left eight people dead and fifteen wounded. When Hodges retires, he is lost, depressed, and on the verge of suicide. When the murderer sends Bill a taunting letter, the ex-cop decides that he will put aside his demons and be a champion of justice to find the man who snuffed out the lives of so many innocents.
Along the way, Bill serves as an inspiration for a number of characters that helped the retired cop try and solve the crime. A middle-aged woman who suffers from mental illness is able to overcome years of irrational fears and help Bill find the killer, while a brilliant young student finds purpose in aiding Bill on his case as the three track down the killer before Mr. Mercedes can commit an even more horrible crime.
Bill has a paunch, a heart condition, and is oh, so human, an unglamorous man in his early years as a senior citizen who will not allow age to keep him from stopping an evil before it strikes again. All Bill Hodges has in his mind, his will, and the loyalty of those he inspired to catch a killer that is ready to destroy even more lives. Men like Bill are the unassuming lights in the darkness ready to take a stand and be that thin line between good and evil.
So here’s to you, Bill. You may not have had strange powers like many of King’s heroes, but you had courage and will. Sometimes, that’s enough.
The adventures of Bill Hodges continue in Finders Keepers, a sequel from King, which is out on June 2.
9. Rose Daniels
Fights the darkness in Rose Madder (1995)
Rose Daniels, the brave heroine of Rose Madder, faces many challenges. At heart, she is not strong or skilled, but she was so much more than that. Rose is a woman who suffers at the hands of her abusive husband, and one day, after spotting an old bloodstain on her sheets, decides she had enough. Her husband is a skilled police detective, and Rose knows he would be able to track her, but she left anyway.
Beaten down but determined, Rose arrives in a small town and found a new life for herself, settling in at a clinic for battered women and finding a job and a purpose. It took courage to escape the domestic trap she was in and find a new and better life for herself, but Rose’s heroism wasn’t done yet.
Rose goes to pawn her wedding ring, which she discovers is worthless. This indignity does not deter Rose. Instead, she buys a painting at that pawn shop. Turns out, the painting is a magical portal to another world, and like so many heroes before her, Rose steps through and into an adventure.
In this world of monsters and madness, she saves an infant from a one-eyed bull named Erinyes. The infant’s mother, Dorcas, whom Rose refers to as "Rose Madder" because of her obvious insanity, promises that she owed Rose Daniels a favor. Rose doesn't flinch from saving the baby. She sees a task that needs doing and she does it. Just as she bravely escapes her husband and breaks a long cycle of domestic violence, Rose faces down the terror of another world to save an innocent, because that’s what heroes do.
When Rose’s husband tracks her down, Rose retreats back into the painting and faces off against her abuser one final time, this time in a setting of her own choosing. Rose’s real courage is in her desire to change her life for the better.
So many people trapped in Rose’s situation cannot break the chains of abuse, but Rose dies and masters another world in order to punish the man that hurt her. Rose may not be a vampire hunter or a demon slayer, but her light shows readers that there is hope in any situation, that nothing is inescapable, and that there is a special form of heroism in just saying “Enough."
8. Nick Andros
Fights the Darkness in The Stand (1978)
Nick and Tom, two of the heroes of King’s The Stand, prove that courage and heroism comes in many forms. Nick is a deaf mute who is attacked outside of Arkansas during the early days of Captain Trips, the super flu that wiped out most of the world’s population. Nick is befriended by a kindly sheriff and his wife and deputized to help keep law and order as the super flu spread.
Nick never loses faith in humanity, even though he was attacked and left for dead. He even frees one of the thugs from prison so the man doesn't die in jail. Nick ends up joining up with Stuart Redman and Mother Abigail’s crew of survivors, serving on their leadership committee and using his wisdom to help Abigail build her new civilization. He becomes like family to the other survivors, but is killed by an agent of Randall Flagg.
Andros’ loss is one of the most profoundly painful moments of the long novel. After his death, it is revealed that Nick was supposed to lead Abigail’s people in their war with Flagg. When Stuart Redman is injured, the spirit of Nick appears, finally able to speak, and informs his friends how to find and save Redman.
Andros may have died too early, but the lessons the man without a voice taught his fellow survivors went a long way in defeating Flagg.
7. Andy Dufrense
Fights the darkness in "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemptio" (Published in Different Seasons, 1982)
In "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," Andy Dufrense has to combat a corrupt justice system and hopeless despair in order to escape Shawshank prison.
Andy Dufrense is probably the most well-known Stephen King hero, thanks to the beloved Frank Darabont-directed film. Andy is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, a crime, despite all appearances to the contrary, he did not commit. In life, Andy was a simple man, a quiet accountant who was as unassuming as he was profoundly intelligent. Therefore, he is not the type of man that would thrive in prison.
It looks like Andy will be eaten alive when he arrives at Shawshank prison, but Andy has the one quality that many do not. He has an indomitable will and a spirit that does not allow him to give into despair. When the Ladies, a violent group of prison rapists, repeatedly attack Andy, he does not give up. When he was put in the Hole for weeks, he does not give up.
Andy builds the prison a library and ekes out every ounce of human dignity he can for his fellow prisoners. He even becomes a vital member of the prison staff, as he works on all of their taxes. He makes the best of his situation, but he never forgets that he is innocent, and that one day, he will leave the place behind.
That day arrives when Andy finds out who actually killed his wife, a fellow prisoner who confesses the act. Instead of freeing Andy, the warden, who needs Andy to keep doing his finances, refuses to let Andy go. This would break most men, but not Andy Dufrense who, through sheer brilliance and will puts his escape plan into action. A shocking escape that has left book and film fans breathless for decades.
6. Jack Sawyer
Fights the darkness in The Talisman (1984) and Black House (2001) Co-created with Peter Straub, and briefly in The Tommyknockers (1987)
Is there anything more heroic than a boy risking everything to save his dying mother? How about a boy risking everything to save his dying mother in two worlds?
In The Talisman, Jack Sawyer, the son of a B-list Hollywood actress, leaves the sanctity of his hometown to go on a quest that will save his dying mother from cancer. To do so, Jack must travel to the Territories, a land of magic that mirrors the real world. Throughout the book, Jack bounces between worlds using a mystical Talisman and must face all the worst both worlds have to offer.
In the Territories, Jack’s mother is a benevolent queen who has fallen into a death sleep thanks to a dark spell. Jack must face unthinkable danger on two worlds, including werewolves, Sunlight Gardener's School for wayward boys (a terrible place where Jack is horribly abused), and the evil of Morgan Sloat, also known as Morgan of Orris in the Territories, who plans to steal Jack’s mother’s business in the real world and take the Territories from Jack’s mother in the other world.
Jack has many companions, including a sixteen year old werewolf named Wolf, his childhood friend Richard, and many more, but it is his hero’s heart and the loyalty he holds for his imperfect mother that allows Jack to be the champion both his dying mom and the Territories needs.
Jack’s bravery is universal, and like all the great heroes of old, he endures. For his mother, he endures. Of all King’s heroes, he is armed with the least amount of weapons with which to combat evil, but he manages to quell the darkness. And for that, Jack is rewarded.
Jack’s adventures continue in Black House. As an adult, Jack retains very few memories of his time in the Territories, but his repressed adventures have led him to a career as a cop. World weary, Jack reluctantly goes up against a vicious serial killer, the cannibalistic Fisherman, a puppet of the godlike Crimson King -- a being that pops up in many of King’s books. Jack may be almost burnt out in Black House, his childhood innocence long gone, but he still shows the same courage against cannibal serial killers as he did trying to save his mother in the Territories. As a child and an adult, Jack Sawyer is a hero of two worlds using his unbending will and morality to defeat any evil.
5. Bill Denbrough and the Losers' Club
Fights the darkness in It (1986) and briefly in 11/22/63 (2011)
Bill, Ben, Bev, Richie, Eddie, Mike and Stan, were ordinary kids, social misfits who faced the challenges life threw at them with grace that bellied their young years. Bill had a severe stutter and lost his brother, Georgie, under very mysterious circumstances. Bev was abused by her father. And the rest of the Losers had to endure many abuses from their parents and peers as well, but their true challenge came when they discovered their town’s darkest secret.
For generations, Derry, Maine played host to an ancient evil, a devourer of children that had preyed upon Derry since the town’s inception. Bill and his friends did not cower from the darkness. They confronted It, kicking off a journey through the darkest corners of reality.
The kids of the Losers' Club not only had to combat It, who took the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown to terrorize It’s enemies, they had to scape the cruel attentions of town bully Henry Bowers, a young man who had almost committed as many cruelties as Pennywise. The kids faced down the monster and defeated it, Beverly making a very brave and adult sacrifice to allow the Losers to escape It’s clutches, but their story did not end there.
Years later, as adults, the Losers' Club is called back to Derry to once again face It. All the lessons of bravery they learned as children have to be rediscovered as adults in order to defeat It once and for all.
4. John Smith
Fights the Darkness in The Dead Zone (1979)
After John Smith suffers a car accident, he falls into a coma for four years. When he wakes up, Smith finds that he can tell people’s future just by touching them. Instead of cashing in on his gifts, Johnny, reluctantly at first, uses his powers to help police find a vicious killer. The publicity garnered by this act of mercy causes Smith to lose his job as a teacher.
He picks up and moves his life to New Hampshire, where he becomes a private tutor and takes an interest in politics, or more accurately, his vision of politicians’ futures. Upon shaking rising political star Greg Stillson’s hand, Smith sees a future where Stillson will become President and plunge the United States into a nuclear war. To prevent this, Smith knows he must assassinate Stillson, but is loathe to murder anyone. This shows that, despite his visions, Smith still sees good in the world and wants everything to remain pure. He is a gentle man, a man who understands the old adage of power and responsibility.
Smith does not act at first, but as Stillson gains power, he must become a political assassin to avoid the darkest of futures. Smith tries to shoot Stillson at a political rally, but misses. But Stillson grabs a young bystander and hides behind the kid during the attempted assassination.
When pictures of the cowering Stillson using a child as a human shield hit the papers, Stillson’s career is over. Smith is killed, but mission accomplished. A hero has stepped from the darkness and exposed a corrupt soul. Smith is a tragic hero.
The Dead Zone’s epilogue reveals that Smith was dying of a brain tumor, a fact that did not drive him into the pits of despair but drove him to live up to his responsibilities while he still had time. John Smith lived an unfair life, one cut short, but that did not stop him from fighting for a better world.
3. Stuart Redman
Fights the Darkness in The Stand (1978)
When he was fourteen, Stu Redman’s father passed away, leaving it up to Stu to help his family survive. Redman lied about his age and secured a job at a meat packing plant, accepting the grueling and morbid work in order to help his family. Family was always important to Stu, which is why he becomes a de facto leader of Mother Abigail’s tribe of good hearted survivors.
Right as readers meet Stu, he is already performing heroic deeds. When military security guard Charles Campion crashes into the gas station where Stu works, Redman smartly shuts off the leaking pumps, saving everyone’s life. That quick thinking serves him well as he and his companions journeys across a ruined America to find salvation after Captain Tripps, a weaponized super flu, brings about the end of civilization.
Redman leads Glen Bateman, Fran Goldsmith, and Harold Lauder to the waiting arms of the saintly Mother Abigail, sparking a deep and enduring romance with Frannie during the journey (much to the secretly murderous Harold’s dismay). Stu bravely volunteers to face off against Randall Flagg, the Dark Man, an overwhelming threat to Abigail’s group of survivors. He could have settled down with Frannie, but Stu, along with a small band of would-be saviors, journey to Las Vegas to confront Flagg. Stu falls along the way and is not there for the final confrontation because of a broken leg, an injury that almost kills him. But Flagg is defeated, and Redman survives, and is rewarded with a family and a purpose.
Redman is the everyman of The Stand. Before the world fell, Stu was not extraordinary or gifted. He was an average guy trying to do the right thing and stay free from the taint of greed and corruption, aspects that would later attract the likes of Randall Flagg. This simple, but powerful morality in the face of mankind’s darkest hour makes Redman one of King’s best and brightest.
2. Danny Torrance
Fights the darkness in The Shining (1977) and Doctor Sleep (2014)
At the end of The Shining, all King fans know for sure is that Danny Torrance is safe, that his father, Jack Torrance, is dead, and the Overlook Hotel has been destroyed. Danny seems to have been given a happy ending, safely in the loving arms of his protector, his brave mother. But there is an undercurrent of tragedy. How could a boy maintain his innocence after experiencing the horrors of the Overlook and, more importantly, such abuse at the hands of his own father?
Fast forward many years, to the pages of Doctor Sleep, in which Daniel Torrance is now a recovering alcoholic. To mask the horrors of his childhood, Torrance tries to drown the memories and the Shining in a liquor fueled haze. It would be easy to let the darkness overwhelm him like his father did, but the younger Torrance fights back.
Not only does he bravely ignore the ghosts and the ever beckoning bottle, he also uses his Shining gifts to help ease the passage of others to the afterlife. Daniel takes a job as a hospital orderly and holds the hands of others who are about to die. He sees what they see, feel what they feel, as they die. He is their angel, their personal guide to the next world, a true Earth angel of mercy.
Daniel also stands between mankind and a traveling band of terrifying vampires that feed on those gifted with the Shining. No one had a darker childhood that Danny Torrance, but no one shines brighter when it counts.
1. Roland and the Ka-tet
Fight the darkness in The Dark Tower series
Roland Deschain and his Ka-tet of Susannah Dean, Jake Chamber, Eddie Dean, and the billy bumbler Oy, cannot be put on this list of heroic Stephen King characters individually, for they are one. Roland leads his group of Gunslingers, patterned after King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, through seven books worth of adventures. All the evil of this reality (and every other) stands between the Ka-tet and their goal of finding the Dark Tower.
Along the way, this group of stalwart heroes relies on each other for life and love. They fight Randall Flagg, the Crimson King, and survive a ride on Blaine the Mono (and he’s a pain). They save an innocent village from the robotic Wolves of the Calla, and they prevent all of reality from being consumed by the forces of darkness.
And they all have their own personal challenges to contend with. Eddie was once a drug addict who had to free himself from his addictions to become Roland’s greatest gunslinger. The wheel chair bound warrior Susannah had to defeat her villainous alternate personality, Odetta Holmes, a vicious and evil woman who stood as the brave and loving Susannah’s polar opposite. Oh, and she is missing both of her legs. Finally, there is Jake, a boy who's like a son to Roland. The boy has to endure the fact that Roland once sacrificed Jake’s life to complete his quest. Despite his fear and young age, Jake is a knight equal to Roland and the others, a boy who proves that true heroism transcends age.
And then there’s Roland himself, the stoic, immovable hero who has journeyed through every age to stand between mankind and the void. Roland iss Arthur and Robin Hood, Achilles and Odysseus, Luke Skywalker and Batman, the archetype hero with a bombardier’s eye. Roland sacrifices everything for his quest, his true love, his comfort, and his future, because that’s what heroes do. They quest and they protect. Roland is the ultimate hero.
A version of this article ran on June 5, 2016.
We talked to Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson about his new science fiction/steampunk novel.
Daniel Wilson has been writing science fiction novels for a decade now, weaving his background as a Phd student in Robotics with his interest in fiction to create popular works like the Robopocalypse series.
Now, Wilson has a new robot-centric adventure out call The Clockwork Dynasty, a centuries-spanning journey of purpose and identity that imagines a world where a race of human-like robots have long been living amongst us.
We had a chance to talk with Wilson about The Clockwork Dynasty at San Diego Comic Con. Here's what he had to tell us about the inception, creation, and world of his new book...
Den of Geek: Where did the idea for The Clockwork Dynasty begin?
Wilson: The Clockwork Dynasty is a story that imagines there’s this ancient race of human-like robots that have been serving the great empires of antiquity and living hidden among human beings for centuries. And that's the past story.
And, in the present story, there's an anthropologist. She stumbles upon evidence of these creatures and she… they happen to be running out of power after all these years and so she teams up with one of these machines to find out who made them and how to save their race.
It's a world-spanning adventures all through different ages of history. And, at the very end, when I was done with it, I saw the cover and realized it was steampunk.
There are a lot of artificial intelligence stories out there right now. What sets yours apart?
I did this Phd in Robotics. I did my Masters in Artificial Intelligence, so I spent a lot of time studying the real world machine-learning, the algorithms in programming computers and all that. Then I wrote Robopocalypse, which was kind of on-the-nose in terms of the killer robot theme, though I try to support it. As you start reading, you realize, this guy actually likes robots.
But what I did here was I really wanted to use the robotic characters as a scalpel to dissect human behavior… the meaning of being a person. They're called avtomat, in the story. The avtomat are these robots — that’s the Russian word for 'automatic' or 'robot'— it was originally the title of the book until I realized nobody can pronounce it. So, yeah, I changed it.
So, each of these avtomat has a single word that's engraved on their heart, basically, and it’s their purpose and I used that, that idea of fulfilling your purpose. Their words tend to be virtues. Sometimes, they're very culturally-specific. So the main character's name is 'pravda,' which is a Russian sort of word that means 'truth' and 'justice.' It’s kind of combined in a way that it’s not in our language.
And so what does it mean to fulfill your purpose? And they have a word, so it should be so simple. You just do that thing. What happens is, as they live through the different ages of civilization, they find that their purpose changes based on the human beings that are around them and the context that they're in.
And so, to me, it's kind of like how we as human beings find purpose. As we get older, it changes. It's like a moving target. Different things give you different purpose at different times in your life. I'm at the age where I'm looking at my children and I'm like, 'Oh my god. They're so amazing. I'm so glad I did this.' And they're giving me a lot of purpose. But, you know, when I was 25, maybe that wouldn't have been the same story.
So, yeah, this is 10 years out from my Phd, and it shows. It's not as hard sci-fi as stuff I’ve written before.
You have an impressive background in the study of robotics and artificial intelligence, but this is also a historical fiction. What is your relationship to history like? What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I am fascinated by the clash of civilizations and technology's role in that. I'm not sure, but I think it has to do with the fact that I’m from Oklahoma, which used to be Indian territory and all of Oklahoma history is really about the clash of civilizations. And a lot of that hinges on technology.
One thing I've always been amazed by are these moments in history when different human civilizations have rapidly upgraded all of their technology because they realized they were gonna die. It's like science fiction when the aliens show up and it's like, 'Oh shit, we need to get our act together.'
So this has happened all over the world. It's happened in Japan, and it happened in Russia. So Peter the Great went to Europe. He realized that Russia was going to be left behind, so he went to Europe and he hired a thousand scientists and he brought them all back and he modernized Russia. And so I fell in love with that idea and that's what I wanted to explore historically, were these periods of time when we had these rapid technological changes in different cultures.
Did you ever consider telling the story in the historical perspective without the present-day storyline?
I'm not sure about that. Honestly, the past story is really fun and epic and I don't do the Forrest Gump thing where my characters are walking through the background of every important historical moment. They're living through these everyday moments because they're trying to hide.
If someone found out you're a robot, it's going to be bad news. But you see them and I just wanted that contrast. I wanted to see what they would become in our society and in our civilization. What is the difference? What does it mean to be logical when there's no such thing as science? When people believe in magic? When, even when they do see science, they call it'‘natural magic,' which I love. The fact that people really did that in the Middle Ages is amazing.
And, so, to get that contrast, I really needed to see them now and I really needed to see them in the past. So what I did is the chapters alternate. So the chapters that happened in the distant past, which would have been hundreds of years ago, directly inform the next chapter that you read where they’re just like driving through Seattle on the way to a skyscraper or whatever.
Did you enjoy writing one of those timelines more than the other? Did you have a favorite?
No. Basically because these characters that are in the past are also in the future, only they're transformed by all these centuries of everything they've learned. And then I have a character I really love who’s in the future. So, June Stefanov's this anthropologist, her grandfather told her this crazy story when she was a kid about something he saw on a battlefield when he was in World War II. Something that couldn't have happened, and yet he has this relic he found on the battlefield.
And so it's kind of inspired her to study the past, to study relics, and to try to figure out what this thing is, this secret that she has. And when she finds out, it's just so amazing to blow open this world and reveal it to somebody. And, in a lot of ways, June is a stand-in for the reader because she has her own story, obviously, but she's there so you can commiserate with her and be like, 'Holy shit, did you hear what that guy just said?' What she's thinking is what you'd be thinking.
What will fans of the Robopocalypse series enjoy about The Clockwork Dynasty?
People who like Robopocalypse and Robogenesis and Amped are gonna love this book. I think I didn't set out to write steampunk. When people look at the cover, they think steampunk, right? And that elicits a certain set of expectations. So, honestly, I'm more worried that people will think they're going to get a traditional steampunk story and, instead, they're getting a little more Robopocalypse-y.
How would you classify that for people who have not read Robopocalypse?
A thriller, I guess. It’s more like a thriller and it’s very technological. I’m getting into the thought process of machines, what it’s like to come online. I think people who have read my stuff are really going to like this, but I’m also super excited to reach a different audience because it’s way more character-based, and I never realized… people fall in love with characters. I’ve read some early reviews of Clockwork Dynasty and they’re like… people like my characters, and that’s amazing to me because usually people talk a lot of trash.
For people who are interested in steampunk, what will they like about this book?
There are scenes of these robots blending in not in Victorian London, but Baroque London, so a little before Victorian era. There are robots fighting in British-colonized India, fighting armored elephants. There's a robot that looks like a 12-year-old girl in an abandoned mansion playing a harpsichord to songbirds in the shattered remains of a conservatory.
Yes, those things are great. But this thing, it goes farther than that. It goes farther back, it goes farther forward. I think it's about watching an evolution over time and so, yes, you get that steampunk stuff that we all recognize, but just be willing to evolve behind that.
Think about what happens in the next 100 years and the next 100 after that and what the mentality is going to be of basically an immortal being who is superior to all the people around him, watches them live and die, and yet was created by human beings and, in some ways, is defined by them.
Do you see this book as an ongoing story?
It could absolutely be the launch of a series. So I have a short story collection coming out in March of next year called Guardian Angels and Other Monsters and one of the stories takes in the Clockwork Dynasty world and it's just begging for more stories, so I really hope people like it because then I'll have the motivation to keep writing more stories.
The pleasure of this book, what I really like to share, is these reveals about this world. And you think you understand the situation and then you get a piece of information that totally recasts everything and makes everything bigger, older, and you just go, 'Oh my god.' And I couldn't help it and I did one of those on like the last page. So, it's not like the story doesn't wrap up. Everything concludes. But, on that last page, you realize, 'Oh shit.'
And, I don’t know. I just love it. It's an idea I had right when I started writing and I was like, 'Oh, I’m saving that one for the very end.' So, I really hope people want to read more in that universe.
Could you have written this book without having written Robopocalypse?
Yeah, no. That's how every novel is. With Robopocalypse, that was my first novel. I was very focused on plot and action and I just jumped to my favorite bits. It was very visual in my head. I saw this as these amazing scenes playing out and, as a result, there's good and bad.
It's like you're just eating dessert the whole time. You jump straight to all… but there's not as much character-building as there could be. But there's a lot of characters and there's a lot of time, and so this is a much more mature.
Also, I got all my cliches out of my system. Like Robopocalypse, I’ll read it again and it will be something like 'hot as fire.' And I’ll be like, 'Hot as fire? Challenge yourself! Come on.'
Every author will tell you that their latest work is the best, and I'm the same.
Is there any chance of The Clockwork Dynasty coming to the big screen?
Clockwork Dynasty was picked up preemptively by Fox and they're been keeping up with me from the beginning and they've been getting screenwriters, so it's been very exciting to watch that evolve on its own over there. And to have all the Hollywood types excited about what you’re writing, it's really fun.
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Bad Wolf Productions is adapting Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches, with Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer as the leads.
Attn: fans of Deborah Harkness's 2011 fantasy novel trilogy A Discovery ofWitches: the Oxford-set tale will be adapted as a television series courtesy of Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner's Bad Wolf production company. (You'll recognize those names as two of the TV producers responsible for resurrecting Doctor Who with Russell T Davies back in 2005).
With A Discovery of Witches set to be headlined by Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer, the supporting cast to this more sophisticated take on the YA/sexy-monsters genre is starting to become clear.
A Discovery of Witches Cast
Author Deborah Harkness herself provided a deluge of casting news for A Discovery of Witches. While there’s quite a lot to unpack from her post (seen below), two notable names come up amongst this group that should please peak television enthusiasts.
Louise Brealey will play Gillian Chamberlain, an American witch who attempts to recruit Diana (Palmer) into her coven, hoping to uncover the secrets she possesses.
Brealey, an English actress, is best known from Sherlock as the morgue specialist Molly Hooper, whose sheepish advances toward the title character are awkwardly rebuffed regularly. She’s also fielded TV runs on Back, Clique and Ripper Street and has been seen in films such as Victor Frankenstein and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Owen Teale will play Peter Knox, a witch and expert in all things occult, who also serves as a consultant to the police. He’s motivated by a search for a powerful book called Ashmole 782, which contains secrets he believes should only be kept by witches; something that makes him an antagonist to Diana.
Teale, who hails from Wales, is best known from his role from Game of Thrones as the bullying, recalcitrant Night’s Watch Master-at-Arms Alliser Thorne, who famously lead a stabby mutiny against Jon Snow. His 30+ year career is prolific, with recent television runs on Pulse, River, Stella and Line of Duty.
The cited supporting cast will also consist of names such as Malin Buska, Aiysha Hart, Edward Bluemel, Trevor Eve, Gregg Chillin, Elarica Johnson, Aisling Loftus, Greg McHugh, Dustin Demri-Burns, David Newman, Adam Stevenson, Sadie Shimmin and Michael Culkin.
A Discovery of Witches Story
A Discovery of Witches is set to be headlined by the duo of Matthew Goode (Watchmen, The Imitation Game) and Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge, Warm Bodies), showcasing a forbidden romance between Palmer’s alchemy professor Diana Bishop and Goode’s vampire Matthew Clairmont. The plot involves the discovery of a mysterious manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library, which throws Diana and Matthew together and threatens to unravel the world as we know it.
Expect a contemporary love story wrapped in an examination of "science, magic and being 'other' in the modern world" says Sky's head of drama Anne Mensah.
Filming kicked off in September in location in Oxford, Venice and at Wales' new Wolf studios.
Incidentally, Bad Wolf is also the production company developing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy for television.
The series is set for an eventual release in the UK on Sky One, with its U.S. network home still unknown.
More on A Discovery of Witches as it arrives.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
The Swedish actor speaks out on playing Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s It.
Before the new film version of Stephen King’s It opened this weekend to record-smashing box office success ($123 million at the U.S. box office alone), Warner Bros. Pictures did an interesting thing: while the unspeakable title monster, personified as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, was the center of the movie’s marketing, the actor playing him, Bill Skarsgard, seemed to be deliberately kept somewhat off the radar -- no doubt to preserve the mystery behind his terrifying and spectacular performance as an evil being that feeds off the fear of seven young children who band together to fight It.
Den of Geek was one of a small group of outlets that had a chance to sit for a roundtable discussion with the 27-year-old Skarsgard shortly before It opened. As previously documented, Skarsgard -- who is the son and younger brother of actors Stellan Skarsgard (The Avengers) and Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies) respectively -- was not initially cast as Pennywise: an earlier version of the film that was going to be directed by Cary Fukunaga (who is still a screenwriter on the finished movie) had originally pegged Will Poulter (Detroit) for the part. But when the project passed from Fukunaga to director Andy Muschietti (Mama), Poulter faded out of the picture and Skarsgard came into view.
“Going into this, I saw the miniseries and I read the novel,” says the tall, wiry Skarsgard as he sits down to face the press. “I saw the miniseries and then stayed away from it as much as possible because I knew that we weren't doing that again. But the novel was my Bible. I read through it and wrote on the pages and took notes. I would go back to it throughout the whole shoot. It's a 1,200-page book and there's so much in there and, especially with the character Pennywise, there are so many little breadcrumbs. There are some purposefully mysterious aspects of what the character is and a lot of room for interpretation.”
One thing that Skarsgard -- who’s been seen in the movie Allegiant and the Netflix series Hemlock Grove -- wanted to avoid was a rehash of the 1990 miniseries based on the book, in which Pennywise was memorably portrayed by Tim Curry. “For me, obviously, or for all of us as filmmakers going into this, we didn't want to do the same thing that's already been done,” agrees Skarsgard. “Obviously I'm much younger and different and a different person and actor than Tim Curry. Tim Curry is Tim Curry and nobody will do Tim Curry as good as Tim Curry. I use my own tools and make this a new take and make it original and make it my own.”
Skarsgard says that he and Muschietti had a very similar idea of what the character was, and the psychology behind it, but he’s reluctant to reveal just what it was. “I have a slight resistance in telling it,” he says with some hesitation. “It's a weird thing to reveal because it’s ours. You can read the novel and you can watch the film and then you can have your own interpretation of what he is. Such a huge, important thing for me doing this film was having Andy's trust in me, and our collaboration in doing the character. We were never in disagreement with the psychology behind him.”
In the book, Pennywise is the main physical manifestation of an ancient entity that may be millions of years old and exists outside time and space as we know it. “There is a chapter that we would go back to where Stephen King writes subjectively through Its eyes, and there are a lot of clues to the mind behind him,” says Skarsgard. “I think that me and Andy had, even going into it, a very similar idea of what the character was. Then reading it reaffirmed our idea of what the character is and the psychology behind him. So the book was great to have around.” (A sequel that adapts the second half of the book, in which the seven main characters return as adults to fight the creature once again, may delve more into the metaphysical nature of It.)
It took Skarsgard roughly two and a half hours to get into his makeup and costume, and the actor admits that it was “strange” seeing himself in the complete outfit for the first time. “It was all abstract to me at first because I hadn't had the makeup on,” he recalls about seeing early designs for the clown. “I was preparing to do this character but I didn't know what the outfit would look like. I didn't know what his face would look like and all those things. So the first time we had a makeup test it took like five hours to get the prosthetic and everything on and I saw every stage. I would just stare at myself in the mirror for those five hours, trying out the faces and how things would read and stuff like that.”
It’s Skarsgard’s physically imposing performance, combined with the conflicting responses that the archetype of a clown can bring forth in both adults and children alike, that make his version of Pennywise the one that is going to reverberate for viewers now and future generations of horror fans. “It's a weird, beautiful contrast of something cute and horrible, you know?" he muses. "Which is such a key element to what the character ended up being. This cute, horrible thing.”
It is out in theaters now.