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Things We Saw Today: Thor’s Tessa Thompson Says That Valkyrie is Bisexual - "And yes, she cares very little about what men think of her."

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File this under the best news we’ve heard in a long, long time.

On Twitter, actress Tessa Thompson wrote frankly about her character’s LGBTQIA sexuality:

Slashfilm, which has seen Thor: Ragnarok, points out that this sexuality isn’t necessarily visible in the movie (although even Thompson’s assertion helps immensely in terms of bi visibility). While I wish we had more to view canonically, I’m still thrilled to go into the theater with this understanding of Thompson’s Valkyrie in mind, and the knowledge that Thompson found playing a bi woman who “cares very little about what men think of her” a joy to play. May Valkyrie be an inspiration to us all.

It’s hard to believe that Valkyrie is the first MCU superhero whose actor has flatly stated that they have a LGBTQIA identity. It’s not nearly enough in terms of representation, but it’s a start. Hey Marvel, I have an idea: a Valkyrie standalone. Let’s do this. Like, yesterday.

(via Slashfilm, image: Marvel Studios)

  • Meet Bryce Wayne, DC’s evil Batman—if Batman had been born as a woman. (via Screenrant)
  • The Congressional Black Caucus is demanding an apology from Chief of Staff John Kelly after his false statements regarding Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson, in the ongoing and awful saga of Trump’s call to a soldier’s widow. (via the CBC)
  • While we wait for Thor (but mostly Valkyrie), here’s the greatest Thor comics arcs “of all time.” (via Nerdist)

So what’s up with you today, team?

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Review: Thor: Ragnarok Is Very Weird, Very Funny, and Very Much A Thor Film - 4 out of 5 stars.

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Thor: Ragnarok is, above all, an exuberantly weird film. From its baldly preposterous plot to its colorful settings to director Taika Waititi’s signature humor, Ragnarok has way more character than any corporate, third-in-a-series superhero movie has the right to. I laughed and grinned my way through pretty much the entire second act, and no other Thor movie has captured and celebrated the character’s ridiculous mix of epic and absurd this well.

But just like an old house with “character,” Thor: Ragnarok has some structural issues under all that charm. The story is messy, and it often felt like we got too much of some scenes and not enough of others, detracting from the emotional beats of the film. But I had such a good time watching it – and unlike with a lot of cleaner, more neatly structured movies, I immediately wanted to watch it again.

It doesn’t start out particularly strong. The opening scene is admittedly a blast, showing off a Thor who’s as confident and bombastic as ever, but a bit more in on the joke. He lays waste to Surtur and his minions in a battle that echoes the Jotunheim fight from Thor, but this time the God of Thunder’s a lot more self-aware. However, the rest of the first act is a jumble that struggles to balance all the necessary establishing information and forward action. The emotional scene that kicks off the rest of the plot isn’t given any room to land or breathe, and it’s hard to settle in and enjoy all the humor when you’re trying to catch up with what’s going on. However, once everything’s all settled in and established, the fun starts.

The second act is where Ragnarok absolutely shines. After Hela, the goddess of death, takes over Asgard and dispatches with the two Odinsons, Thor finds himself stranded on the planet Sakaar, where he’s kidnapped by Valkyrie and sold to the Grandmaster. When Grandmaster realizes what a fighter he is, Thor is forced to compete against the Hulk in gladiatorial matches – and all the while he’s trying to figure out how to get back to Asgard and stop Hela.

This part of the film is just great fun. Hela’s vamping and evilling around Asgard, Thor and Hulk are battling and bantering on Sakaar, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie is stealing every scene she is in, Jeff Goldbum as Grandmaster is Goldblum-ing, and Rachel House is a grin-winning surprise as Grandmaster’s right-hand muscle, Topaz. Taika Waititi himself even comes in as Korg, a softspoken rock monster who has all the funniest lines. Sakaar is clearly a perfect setting for Waititi’s whack-a-doodle humor, and it’s where he’s able to let loose and really mark the film as his own.

Eventually, of course, our heroes make their escape and head back to Asgard to face Hela. The third act plays out relatively as expected, with plenty of fun set pieces, a few surprises, and some excellent use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” I had hoped it might get a bit more inventive; one of the highlights of the otherwise muddled The Dark World was its wormhole-hopping fight scene, and the Thor corner of the Marvel universe has plenty of gimmicks to play with. But all the many threads still wrap up satisfyingly, and it leaves Thor and Asgard in a super interesting place going forward.

All told, Thor: Ragnarok is a joy of a fantasy/sci-fi comedy that sees precisely how ridiculous the Asgard corner of the Marvel universe is – and leans the heck into it. Go see it!

Now that concludes the spoiler-free part of the review. I’m going to chat a bit about Hela and whether she works below, but since it’s tricky to discuss without giving away one of the film’s big reveals, I’ve placed it below a spoiler warning.

SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW

SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW

So, those of you who already know the big reveal or don’t care about being spoiled for it: let’s talk about Hela.

In the film, Hela is revealed as Thor and Loki’s long-hidden sister, who served as Odin’s “Executioner” in the early days of Asgard, laying waste to anyone who rose against them. When her imperial ambitions outstripped Odin’s, he locked her away in Hel and covered over any mention of her.

Marvel has a well-established villain problem – so how does Hela stack up?

She can feel underused at times, for all of Cate Blanchett’s charisma, because we don’t see her struggle or plan. She’s incredibly powerful, seizing Asgard and dispatching with the royal family in almost effortless fashion – and as a result of that power, she gets what she wants so easily that we don’t derive as much pleasure from watching her thwart the heroes. She’s batting flies.

However, Hela really is Asgard’s worst nightmare – in a far more existential sense than most Marvel villains get to be. She’s not here to obliterate Asgard; she’s here to unmask it. For Odin and the Asgardians who want to believe in their inherent benevolence, who think of themselves as the shining city eternal, she’s a reminder of exactly where that shiny stuff comes from. She literally sneers at Thor, “Odin and I drowned entire civilizations in blood and tears. Where do you think all this gold came from?” She’s the murderous, covetous, colonialist underbelly of any wealthy and powerful empire – and she refuses to hide away and let them all pretend to be wholly good. “Proud to have it,” she observes, looking at Asgard’s wealth, “but not proud of how you got it.”

For Thor personally, she’s the nightmare who takes his place, Odin’s true firstborn and the most powerful god. And for Loki, she’s at once a taunting reminder of what he could be if he were more powerful, and a frightening vision of how monstrous and alone he’d be if he fully committed to his bullshit.

Of course, she’s still the villain of the piece; when she calls out Asgard for its hypocrisy, it’s because she wants them to embrace their bloodthirsty past. For Hela, the problem isn’t that they stole other people’s wealth and murdered them; it’s that they stopped finding more and more people to subjugate. But there’s still something timely and fascinating about a character whose whole bit is forcing Asgard to reckon with the sins of its past.

And yet, the film lets Hela drop her truth bombs without comment or reckoning. What Hela means is far more interesting than what she means to do, but none of the other characters really engage with it. The scenes immediately turn back to rainbow bridges, rock monsters, and magic mayhem – three things I love, but it does feel like Hela poses an existential question that the other characters don’t fully grapple with, and that the story doesn’t flesh out. Admittedly, getting too real about imperialism would probably have been an inappropriately dark tonal shift for a film this light and funny – but as with Hela’s effortless coup in Asgard, it still feels like something’s being underused.

I’m still sussing out my final feelings about her, but she was both definitely fun and definitely interesting – two things most Marvel villains don’t get to be.

(Featured image via Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios)

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That’s It, Star Wars, Mandalorian Sabine Wren Needs Her Own Comics - Sabine needs more canvas space for her story.

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Sabine Holds the Darksaber in Star Wars Rebels

As we await the debut of Kelly Marie Tran as Rose in The Last Jedi, another onscreen Asian woman heroine needs her due. In Star Wars Rebels, Mandalorian Sabine Wren (voiced by Tiya Sircar) is an Asian-coded heroine in the Star Wars Universe.

To date, Jedi Kanan Jarrus is the only Ghost crewmember to star in his own Marvel series. As Rebels strives for a flashback-free narrative, it was natural that his spoken origin story had to be showcased elsewhere in comics, although other Ghost members have backstories only dispensed through onscreen dialogue, spoken about rather than shown. I brought up before that Captain Hera Syndulla has a cultural and war-filled background rife with narrative opportunities for comics. Now, considering Sabine Wren’s overdue prominence in Rebels, I’ve waited for an announcement of a Sabine Marvel series. Like the contents of the Kanan comic miniseries, Sabine’s origin story does not seem to fit into Rebels‘ flashback-free televised form. (Wishful speculation: Lucasfilm and Marvel must be saving something for both Sabine and Hera.)

A weapons expert in the rag-tag Ghost crew, Sabine has gone through a turbulent journey. She began a bit one-note, a pink-armored Mandalorian teen with a penchant for explosive, pro-Republic graffiti and snark. When Sabine was a supporting character, she was not quite given breathing space to develop into a rounded character. As a result, Sabine’s artistic proclivities unfortunately came off as gimmicky in the eyes of many fans.

Fortunately, when Sabine was not an arbitrary team player who shot and threw explosives, her input had weight in the grand scheme of the ethics of missions. In “Out of Darkness,” she clashed with her Captain Hera Syndulla over mission secrecy and trust. “Protectors of Concord Dawn” also showed her enacting an impromptu compromise between pacifism and aggressive war. She has a complicated tale of heritage and allegiance.

The Mandalore arc left by the canceled Clone Wars series provided a plethora of thematic opportunities for Sabine. Once fate placed the Darksaber weapon into her hand, Sabine became the center of hands-down some of the best on-screen Star Wars drama. “The Trials of the Darksaber” marked the most nuanced episode of Rebels, illuminating the cultural and spiritual dynamics of a non-Force-sensitive Mandalorian wielding a Jedi and Mandalorian relic, which has a history that rotates around Jedi philosophy, peacekeeping, extremist violence, and necessary defense. With Sabine brandishing a weapon of manifold symbols and chaotic history, there was no better way to externalize Sabine’s cognitive dissonance with her cultural and family origins and the new values provided by her adoptive Ghost family.

From being raised by a Mandalorian warrior-countess, to Imperial cadet, to bounty hunter, to rebel crewmember of the Ghost, Sabine lived a multi-layered life. The Sabine of Rebels is a heroine with a temper, but the Sabine of the past was a borderline anti-heroine who once endangered her own homeworld, as revealed in her cathartic confession in “Trials.” The brunt of Sabine’s Imperial past has yet to be fully fleshed out. Jarringly, when she goes undercover as an Imperial student in “The Antilles Extraction,” the episode does little to develop the emotional discomfort Sabine would feel to be back in academic Imperial spaces, though the ironic homecoming is noted.

“Welcome home, little Mandalorian,” taunts the Imperial Lothal Governor Arihnda Pryce, who represents a cautionary tale for the younger Imperialized Sabine, when a daughter perverts their own homeworld with Imperialized mentality. The show is also vague about how much Imperial brainwashing, Mandalorian upbringing under a complicated Clan, and/or genuine independent egoism had to play in her history of anti-heroism.

Speaking of which, Clan Wren is a rich mine for Mandalorian dynamics. Sabine is the progeny of an unorthodox Star Wars family unit, complete with one of the rare active (living) mother-daughter interactions in the Star Wars universe. How a strict warrior mother Countess Ursa Wren, with a (likely remorseful) history with Mandalorian terrorist group Death Watch, raised Sabine invokes questions about how Sabine interpreted her warrior heritage. To compliment Sabine’s combative education, “Heroes of Mandalore” depicts Sabine’s artistic father as the gentle nurturer to his wife’s tough-love harshness, who taught his daughter that Mandalorian strength is not just in sharpshooting but in the technique of color.

Sabine and her mother, Countess Ursa Wren of Krownest (image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

On another note, Sabine shares a bond with her Mandalorian friend Ketsu Onyo (voiced by Gina Torres), her equally disillusioned Imperial classmate and bounty hunter partner before their relationship soured. But oddly enough, despite their strong chemistry on-screen, with the comfortable interplay between Torres and Sircar, Ketsu appears in and out sporadically on the show, with only two Rebels on-screen appearances to date. (The Forces of Destiny shorts and Rebels magazine comics fill in some story gaps of Ketsu’s integration into the Rebellion.)

Ketsue and Sabine in Star Wars Rebels

(image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Time will tell what the Rebels finale has in store for Sabine, but whatever happens, there wasn’t enough time and canvas space to do justice to her past.

Sabine could inspire a stand-alone Star Wars novel or even a YA series, but written prose would not be enough. If Sabine is a warrior who battles with art, her story requires vivid illustrations. The artistry of this Mandalorian, as well as her relationships with family and friends of her pre-Ghost years, deserves to shine in the medium of comics.

(featured image: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Speaking of which, Caroline Cao has recently finished “The Historians of Clan Wren,” a Mandalorian Clan Wren fanfiction that can be read on Archive of Our Own, which somewhat occupied her desire for a Sabine Wren comic.

Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York while buried in her Non-Fiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets.

She chronicles the quirks of New York living, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies Death, Film School Rejects, and The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter or Tumblr and read her Star Wars fanfiction.

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Helpful Tip For Writing Diverse Characters—Try

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Image: Shutterstock.com A group of children reading books

At this point, it feels like the conversation about diversity in books should be a simple one. We need more of it because the majority of books being published by major publication houses are white and straight and that needs to change. Done? Nope. A user from Twitter used the platform to let everyone know that she had a “hot take” on diversity

Now, this person may be a troll or someone who is just deeply out of touch with representation issues, but as we now live in a world where Nazis are screaming about “not being replaced” it’s important that we don’t dismiss these thoughts as fringe. Representation issues are still getting pushback and sometimes just out of fear.

Just this August Vulture published an article titled “The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter” about a book called The Black Witch which faced a lot of pushback from people before the book was out because one reviewer wrote a 9,000 word post about how she found “The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read” and that the book’s anti-prejudice stance was really a book “written for the type of white person who considers themselves to be not-racist and thinks that they deserve recognition and praise for treating POC like they are actually human.” Now, as someone who frequents Goodreads and has had her own strong opinion about YA books I honestly didn’t see the big deal. However, publishers did.

Publishers are so afraid of getting pushback on Twitter about race that they are encouraging their authors not to write diversity when they are white. Something I find to be both troubling and infuriating.

One New York Times best-selling author told me, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my career. I’m afraid for offending people that I have no intention of offending. I just feel unsafe, to say much on Twitter. So I don’t.” She also scrapped a work in progress that featured a POC character, citing a sense shared by many publishing insiders that to write outside one’s own identity as a white author simply isn’t worth the inevitable backlash. “I was told, do not write that,” she said. “I was told, ‘Spare yourself.’”

I find this troubling because considering how many diversity in book panels and events I go to every year at Book Con or Comic Con I hear all the time about the thirst and excitement people get about seeing new characters of color in books they love. I find it infuriating that publishers are encouraging their authors not to be inclusive out of fear. Now, I know that the internet and Twitter can end up being an echo-chamber, but it can be intimidating to be on the receiving end of that.

And the fact is that marginalized groups have the right to be suspect when their stories are appropriated by people outside of their community. They have seen themselves be screwed over time and time again, if you as a writer are choosing to tackle a story dealing with a community outside of your own personal knowledge then it is your responsibility to do the research. In the list of books, the author lists of having had “Twitter controversy” are:

In recent months, the community was bubbling with a dozen different controversies of varying reach — over Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything (for ableism), Stephanie Elliot’s Sad Perfect (for being potentially triggering to ED survivors), A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (for heterocentrism), The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty (for misusing the story of Mulan), and All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (in a peculiar example of publishing pre-crime, people had decided that Stiefvater’s book was racist before she’d even finished the manuscript.)

All of these writers may have come in with the best intentions with their books and a reader (or readers) may not have seen those intentions. It does not mean stop trying. Hell, it doesn’t even mean your book is that thing, but it is important to not allow criticism to become an excuse for moving backward.

Not to mention, are the people making the criticisms people in those groups? The reviewer of The Black Witch book, Shauna Sinyard, is at least from what I’ve seen a white woman, which doesn’t invalidate her opinion, but at the same time I just side-eye the fact that publishers are going to say stop writing books with POC based on the opinions of white allies?

The point is I know plenty of white authors who have written compelling POC characters: Libba Bray, Ben Aaronovitch, Sarah Ockler, and those who are still struggling to even get books published with non-white leads. There are people willing to put in the work because they understand something our dear Twitter user above did not: representation matters. It matters because everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in things that they love for one, but also because for those who grow up in communities where they have limited exposure to POC it’s important to get it right.

So white/straight/able-bodied authors who want to write books with characters not like you, please continue to do so, but just know that when you do you have a responsibility to do it right.

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Beetlejuice: 10 Little-Known Facts About the Tim Burton Classic

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This post was originally published on The Portalist. It has been reproduced here with permission. For more from The Portalist, follow them on Facebook.

As one of Tim Burton’s most iconic films, Beetlejuice has both frightened and excited audiences for nearly three decades. The dark fantasy comedy follows the Deetz family’s arrival to a home haunted by its former occupants, Barbara and Adam—two residents of the afterlife eager to get rid of their home’s newcomers. The duo call on a demon named Betelgeuse (pronounced “Beetlejuice”) to help rid their house of humans.

Beetlejuice was one of 1988’s most financially successful productions, despite its odd comical tone and b-movie visuals. Its box office success helped further launch the careers of its stars Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder, and even earned the film the 1989 Oscar for Best Makeup. From its iconic lip-synced musical numbers to its morbid but ultimately feel-good ending, Beetlejuice has earned its place in cinematic history as one of Burton’s best films and one of Hollywood’s cleverest dark fantasy comedies.

For those dying to learn more about how the film came to be, here are ten little-known facts about how Burton created his one-of-a-kind afterlife.

RELATED: Once Upon a Terror: What Fairy Tales and Horror Movies Have in Common 

Sammy Davis Jr. was almost Betelgeuse

10 little known facts about tim burton's beetlejuice musical numbers

Photo Credit: Alchetron

Sammy Davis Jr. was one of America’s most iconic actors, singers, dancers, comedians, and glass ceiling breakers. The only person of color in the prolific group of Las Vegas entertainers known as The Rat Pack, Davis Jr. was an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, Kennedy Center Honors recipient, and nearly the lead of Tim Burton’s dark comedy. Burton was a noted fan of the entertainment star, and initially wanted the then 63-year-old actor to play his title character. However, studio executives pushed back against the idea and so Beetlejuice producer David Geffen threw Michael Keaton’s name into the ring of potential leading actors. Keaton would go on to accept the role before working with Burton on Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).

Finalizing the cast was an ordeal

Burton had quite an array of Hollywood A-listers to choose from for his movie. Geena Davis signed on immediately, but it took a lot of time to convince the film’s final cast to agree to their roles. Stars Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, and Sylvia Sidney all turned down role offers at least once. Burton had to set up personal meetings with many of his actors to convince them to get on board.

And though Davis was quick to sign on, she wasn’t the first choice for Barbara. Burton’s first choice was Cheers actress Kirstie Alley, who was unable to do the role because the show’s producers wouldn’t let her out of her contract. Anjelica Huston was also considered for the role of Delia Deetz which ultimately went to O’Hara, and Beetlejuice producer Jon Peters considered casting comedian Sam Kinison as Betelgeuse, but Kinison’s agent never shared the potential role with him. Meanwhile, Burton considered Arnold Schwarzenegger for the lead role that eventually went to Keaton, but neither The Geffen Company or the Terminator actor felt he was a good match.

Other actresses who auditioned for Barbara included Sigourney Weaver, Goldie Hawn, Lara Dern, and Linda Hamilton. Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Justine Bateman, Molly Ringwald, and Jennifer Connelly turned down offers for the role of Lydia. Eventually, the role of Lydia came down to Alyssa Milano and Winona Ryder, with Ryder winning out.

RELATED: 13 Labyrinth Facts That Will Remind You of the Babe 

10 little known facts about tim burton's beetlejuice screentime

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Betelgeuse isn’t in most of the film

It would seem natural to assume that a film’s title character would be in the majority of the film, but the titular demon actually doesn’t have much screen time. Betelgeuse is on screen for less than 20 percent of the film and doesn’t appear until 25 minutes into the 92-minute movie. Star Michael Keaton only spent two weeks filming.

RELATED: 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books That Need Adaptations 

Wes Craven was initially supposed to direct

There are some pretty startlingly weird moments in Beetlejuice and a solid share of jump scares, but for all its visual and tonal darkness, the original film was supposed to be even darker.

Beetlejuice was mapped out as a more traditional horror film, titled The Maitlands, that would be directed by master of horror Wes Craven. In early drafts, the story centered on the Maitlands (played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) as they dealt with the hangups of the afterlife. Lydia (Winona Ryder) was a much more minor character, while Betelgeuse was a reptilian demon with wings. The demon would interact with the Deetz family and the Maitlands in human form, eventually killing the former. Following several re-writes (including Burton’s) and Keaton’s creative influence on set, the film’s evil lead became the demonic con artist we now know him to be.

10 little known facts about tim burtons beetlejuice changed ending

Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice sits with a witch doctor and man with a shrunken head in the waiting room of afterlife caseworker, Juno. Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The movie could have had a much darker ending

After going through several drafts, the film ended up with the wise-cracking Betelgeuse audiences know and love. That very same love would save Keaton’s demon from a much nastier film fate. After screening the movie with test audiences, Betelgeuse’s demise ended up being modified. One cut of the film featured the green-haired, white-faced ghoul stuck in the Maitlands’ model town eternally plagued by sandworms. Because test viewers became so attached to Keaton’s performance, producers altered the epilogue in post-production to what we see now: Betelgeuse bothering a sawed-in-half woman before eventually earning himself a small-headed hex by a witchdoctor.

An optical illusion reveals several unexpected cameos

Tim Burton is known for being self-referential, as well as hiring the same actors repeatedly for projects. He’s also known for featuring both obvious and subtle cameos, and Beetlejuice is no exception. During one sequence, Adam and Barbara Maitland enter the office of their afterlife caseworker Juno (Silvia Sidney), only to see her speaking to an entire team of deceased football players. If you look past Juno and through her office window, you can see several interesting things. Firstly, there appears to be a theater full of ghosts, which when watched in a traditional movie theater, creates the illusion that the real-life audience watching Beetlejuice is also being watched. Among the crowd, you can pick out a red and green skeleton who makes appearances in Burton’s 1996 hit Mars Attacks!,as well as two men in very familiar suits and Ray-Ban style sunglasses. Fans of The Blues Brothers might know them as Jake and Elwood.

RELATED: 50 of the Best Fantasy Characters Ever 

The film features a nod to a Thomas Lovell Beddoes peom

When Delia Deetz’s friend and former paranormal researcher Otho (Glenn Shaddix) comes to help the family get rid of their haunting problem, Otho recites a spell intended to resurrect Barbara and Adam. The spell actually features lines from Thomas Lovell Beddoes’ poem “The Warning,” which reads: “As sudden thunder Pierces night; As magic wonder, Wild affright, Rives asunder Men’s delight; Our ghost, our corpse and we Rise to be. As flies the lizard Serpent fell; As goblin vizard At the spell Of pale wizard Sinks to hell; Our life, our laugh our lay Pass away. As wake the morning Trumpets bright; As snowdrop, scorning Winter’s might, Rises warning Like a sprite; We buried, dead and slain Rise again.”

10 little known facts about tim burton's beetlejuice musical numbers

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The movie’s iconic soundtrack could have been very different

There were several major changes made during production to the film’s musical score and soundtrack. The film’s first conductor was Lionel Newman, but after making several changes to Danny Elfman’s written score on his very first day, he was replaced by William Ross. Meanwhile, in the original dinner party scene, guests were supposed to dance to a song by The Ink Spots, but Catherine O’Hara and Jeffery Jones suggested music by Calypso. As part of a rewrite, screenwriter and producer Warren Skaaren suggested musical changes including Lydia’s lip-syncing of Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

RELATED: 13 Memorable Songs That Reference Sci-Fi and Fantasy 

Beetlejuice has ties to The Fly and The Exorcist

Some people see a connection between the leading family’s surname in Beetlejuice and Eileen Deitz, Linda Blair’s stunt double and the dreamface demon in 1973’s The Exorcist. In another strange connection, The Exorcist‘s Linda Blaire was also briefly considered for the part of Barbara. During Beetlejuice, Keaton’s character even mentions that he’s “seen The Exorcistabout 167 times and it keeps getting funnier every time I see it!”

While that’s enough Exorcist connections to make your head spin, another would come in 2016, when Beetlejuice‘s Geena Davis joined the cast of Fox’s TV adaptation of The Exorcist, as Angela Rance (the adult Regan MacNeil).

Meanwhile, another Beetlejuice scene featuring the fly was a tribute to the 1958 horror movie The Fly. Davis would also star in The Fly‘s 1986 remake.

10 little known facts about tim burton's beetlejuice sequel

Tim Burton at the Cinémathèque Française during his masterclass in Paris, France on March 5th, 2012. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The film’s stars signed on to a planned sequel that may still happen

After raking in nearly $74 million on a $15 million production budget (only $1 million of which went to special effects), Beetlejuice earned the title of 10th highest grossing film of 1988. It became what many now consider a financially successful cult classic, with an audience eager for more. The Geffen Company and Warner Bros. set plans into motion for a sequel, titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. The studios commissioned a script and both stars Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder signed on to reprise their beloved roles. However, Burton ultimately killed initial sequel prospects after losing interest in the project in favor of a directing role for Batman.

Efforts to get a sequel going have ebbed and flowed, but as recently as October 2017, Warner Bros. signaled a continued interest in making it happen. On October 12, Deadline exclusively reported that the longstanding project had a new writer—Mike Vukadinovich (his only writing credit is 2017’s Rememory)—and that while deals were far from being finalized with Burton and Keaton, both had expressed interest in working together on the sequel.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

Abbey White (a.k.a. con by day, binge by night) is currently in the weird in-between of a post-bacc journalism program and grad school. She has only two requirements to meet her definition of “decent tv”: characters with high drift compatibility and a massive amount of monster metaphors. Abbey has written regularly for ScreenSpy, and contributed to Popwrappedand TV Overmind. You can find her on twitter at @tearsandteeth.

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“Women of NASA” LEGO Set Is Already Amazon’s Bestselling Toy

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Still of NASA Women LEGO Set From LEGO Ideas

Back in October (because it is really November guys. Holy hell!) we raved about how excited we were for the “Women of NASA” LEGO set that was getting ready to be launched. Well, the toy was released today and is already killing it.

According to Business Insider, it is already the bestselling toy on Amazon.

“Women of NASA” features four mini figurines of pioneering women from the space agency: the astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, the astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, and the computer scientist Margaret Hamilton.

Each figurine comes with her own backdrop of relevant NASA work, including a mini-space shuttle Challenger for the astronauts and a mini-Hubble Space Telescope.

At 231 pieces and $24.99, the LEGO set is a great triumph for Maia Weinstock, one of the deputy editors at MIT News, who was the one who submitted the idea for the NASA set. The only thing missing from the original proposal is Katherine Johnson, the mathematician at NASA who was played by Taraji P. Henson in the film Hidden Figures. LEGO was unable to get the rights to her image and therefore unable to add her to the set.

Maybe an expansion pack next year? Regardless, this is an impressive feat and yet another signal to the toy making industry that female action figures and toys sell.

(via Business Insider, image: LEGO Ideas)

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rgsunico
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