Red Alert Summer 2018
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John C McGinley once voiced Superman villain Metallo in a DC Comics cartoon.
NIGHT OF THE HUNTERS A new director takes The Purge back to the very beginning
The world of The Purge has always felt just a few steps away from our own. Now onto its fourth instalment, the satirical horror series is stepping back in time and examining the origins of the social experiment where, for one night a year, all crime is legalised – including murder. Director Gerard McMurray says that making a prequel allowed him to bring the horror closer to the real world. “I’d often think about what my version of the Purge would be like, in the America that I know," he tells Red Alert. A self-confessed fan of the series, he says that he was “eager to dig into the idea and concept of the experiment that led to it. The First Purge
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Discover how Purge Night really began. allowed me to explore this world further and bring a fresh new perspective to the story that audiences have never seen before.” An impoverished Staten Island community is chosen by the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) to test-run the inaugural slaughterthon. Y’Lan Noel plays William, the kingpin of Park Hill, forced to step up and help his community survive. Another person thrust into action is Nya (Lex Scott Davis). “She’s a community leader who opposes the Purge, but stays to try to protect her people,” says McMurray. Completing the trio of protagonists is Marisa Tomei’s Architect. “She believes that she is simply conducting a social experiment
on her theory that humans need to purge their anger. However, she soon learns that the NFFA have been manipulating her experiment.” Like all of the films in the series, The First Purge is a horror thriller first and a political satire second. However, McMurray admits that he saw it as a chance to confront modern prejudices. “This film confronts the idea of class warfare in America,” says McMurray. “I think my unique perspective lends itself well to this particular story, because I am able to explore social issues like racism and classism in a unique way.” WS The First Purge is in cinemas from 4 July.
Red Alert Summer 2018
SCI-FI Y M
Looking back on the previous Purges
The Purge (2013) Writer/director James DeMonaco’s original mixes a killer high-concept with low-budget thrills. Set in a single house, the film follows the Sandin family, led by Ethan Hawke’s James and Lena Headey’s Mary, as they try to make it through the night. Made for just $3m, it quickly took in over $80m at the box office.
SCI-FI TV ROUND UP
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
DeMonaco bowed out of directing the series with this disappointing threequel, which boosted the satirical elements, but forgot to do anything interesting with the characters. Elizabeth Mitchell is Senator Charlie Roan, a politician determined to end the Purge while Frank Grillo returns as Leo, now acting as her bodyguard. It was the most financially successful of the series, but felt depressingly low on new ideas.
“Cheer up, it’s not like murder has been legalised…”
don’t quote me
“I don’t foresee us being like the original crew, and doing it when we’re, like, unusually old.”
The following year’s sequel opened up the world beyond the confines of the Sandins’ house. Frank Grillo plays Barnes, a vengeful LAPD sergeant after the man who killed his son while drunk driving, who teams up with a group of innocents, including Carmen Ejogo’s Eva and Zach Gilford’s Shane, who must try and survive another fraught Purge Night.
Russell T Davies’s next show to be near-future BBC One drama Years And Years. Netflix’s postapocalyptic Danish show The Rain gets a second season, as does mermaid drama Siren. It doesn’t matter that The Terror’s first season got to the end of Dan Simmons’ source novel – future seasons will see the series morph into an anthology. Hot off his Oscar win, Guillermo del Toro is working on Netflix horror anthology series called 10 After Midnight. Gotham may be ending, but US network Epix has ordered a season of Alfred prequel Pennyworth. And after hovering around various circles of development hell for years, it looks like Joe Hill/ Gabriel Rodriguez graphic novel Locke & Key is heading to Netflix – maybe we should just rename this the Netflix column… Amazon throws a lifeline to The Expanse by granting it a fourth season.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
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JOHN C McGINLEY
The Scrubs and Stan Against Evil star talks sci-fi and fantasy
FAVOURITE SF/FANTASY FILMS Growing up it was Star Wars and everything else – it just felt like they were reinventing everything you’d seen before, and made it epic and real. I thought Aliens was great because Sigourney was just so singular in her performance, Blade Runner was pretty special, and The Terminator – nobody had seen anything like Schwarzenegger before. And then Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – Jim Carrey was transcendent in that. FAVOURITE SF/FANTASY TV I’m pretty excited for the second season of Westworld. Ed Harris is my neighbour in Malibu, he’s been a friend since we did The Rock, and I can’t wait to see to see what happens because I can’t look him in the eye until I see it. I read the pilot script for The Walking Dead and I thought it was one of the best things I’d ever read, then I didn’t get to go and act in it because they went in a different direction. I kind of have a mixed relationship with it. I wanted to be in it so bad, but I’m so petty and competitive that when it didn’t work out, I haven’t seen it! FAVOURITE SF/FANTASY COMICS I was into comics as a kid, mostly Spider-Man and the Hulk, Superman and Batman. I just thought they were badasses. But there was nothing in the Spider-Man comics that was like where I grew up in New York. They were different universes. They had bright colours – we had mostly grey. RE Stan Against Evil’s second season is currently airing on Fox on Thursday nights. You can watch from the start on catch-up and on-demand.
Simon Pegg limits himself to just another decade or two as Scotty in Star Trek… summer 2018 | sfx magazine |
doctor who the fourth doctor
Saturday Night Fever Philip Hinchcliffe produced one of the golden ages of Doctor Who. “It was a huge adventure,” he tells Nick Setchfield as Tom Baker’s classic debut season comes to Blu-ray
hilip Hinchcliffe made Doctor Who in an age before sell-through video, before shelf-busting DVD box-sets, before the instant, 24/7 gratification of streaming. Yes, if the scheduling gods smiled, your fave show may have earned a single, near-miraculous repeat, but for the most part, mid-’70s TV was a fleeting, ephemeral thing. Well, most mid-’70s TV. Hinchcliffe’s Doctor Who endured. It lingered in the heads of a generation, fuelling playground re-enactments, filling dreams – and nightmares – in the interminable gaps between Saturday teatime cliffhangers. It was so potent it seared itself into kids’ imaginations, setting synapses alight with images of interstellar arks, empty, abandoned Earths, and silent, mancrushing mummies and malevolent brains in jars. And somehow it never let those kids go. Over 40 years later we’re still celebrating what he created. Another day “I am surprised that it’s on a Space survived,” he admits to SFX, as Ark, another Season 12, his first as the show’s giant insect. producer, is released in a new Blu-ray collection. “I meet fans now who all say what an impression the show made on them as children, and how that’s lived on with them, and that includes people like Russell T Davies – and Chris Chibnall, who told me recently that’s one of the reasons he ended up doing what he’s doing now. “And I also meet people who are much younger, in their twenties, who were brought to the classic era, let’s call it, by the new
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Doctors, like David Tennant and Matt Smith. And the stories still seem to work for them.” Hinchcliffe was handed the show in 1974, as the phenomenally popular Jon Pertwee transitioned into an unknown Tom Baker. Did it feel like the BBC had entrusted him with a national treasure, or was it best not to approach it with that kind of reverence? “There was no sense of reverence,” he says, with certainty. “National treasure is going a bit far, but in terms of the ratings it did a really good job. When I took over it was about nine million at Saturday teatime, which was a great audience that would stay with the audience through the night. The BBC were winning the scheduling battle against ITV in a really important way, which gave ITV a lot of worry. So in that sense you knew it was an important show. “I’m guessing when I took it over it was a bit of a poisoned chalice. Not many people were
keen on doing a show that was not really fully adult, and not many people liked sci-fi [at the BBC], so it had very few real advocates. It had already been alive for 11 years, and I don’t think that many producers were dying to take it on, frankly! But to me it was a huge opportunity, because I recognised the wild popularity of the show.” Hinchcliffe set about reshaping the series, nudging it closer to shadowy, gothic-tinged SF. “I was young, I was 29, so inevitably I was going to push the envelope a bit. I thought maybe we could make the stories a little more compelling for the older viewers and the adults, and grow the show in that way without losing the core audience of the children, your average 10- or 11-year-old. I thought it was a great challenge. You couldn’t totally startle the audience and take it off in a completely different direction. You couldn’t change the beast completely, but it’s such a malleable format that you can do almost anything with it, really, as long as you honour the sprit of what the Doctor represents, what kind of hero he is.” Out went the bright, cosy, mainly Earthbound adventures of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. Now the TARDIS spun through a darker, distinctly chillier and deathsteeped universe, where ancient evils sought vengeance for centuries of imprisonment and elegant robots murdered their masters. A universe that returned the suave Master as a raggedy cadaver and showed us the birth of the Daleks on a Skaro haunted by the trenches of World War One.
doctor who the fourth doctor
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doctor who the thirteenth doctor the
jodie whittaker 2017 - ?
First words “Aw, brilliant!” Last words ? d o c to r
Legend Of Tomorrow Jodie Whittaker is the Thirteenth Doctor. Lucky for us, says Paul Kirkley...
he Doctor may be a lord of time, but in our reality – where one day follows another, all in a neat pattern – only one incarnation owns the future. The Thirteenth Doctor is the one whose story has yet to be written; the Doctor who offers the one thing none of the others can: possibility. Exciting, isn’t it? Without so much as a shot being fired (or a sonic screwdriver waggled), Jodie Whittaker has put a rocket under Doctor Who. Her casting has given the show a new currency, while serving as a reminder that this is the TV series, above all others, that thrives on reinvention – what new showrunner Chris Chibnall calls its “extraordinary ability to embrace change while remaining exactly the same show people love”. It is Chibnall, not Whittaker, who may yet trigger the real seismic tremors. With a remit to bring “risk and boldness” to the show, he’s likely to make a clean break by dialling down the sort of knotty, Möbius strip plotting beloved of Steven Moffat in favour of his own house style. Whether that means embracing the long-form drama he employed so successfully on Broadchurch remains to be seen, but the new boss isn’t ruling anything out. Whittaker will be supported by the biggest regular cast since the early ’80s in the form of Graham
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(Bradley Walsh), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole), as well as Sharon D Clarke in a recurring role as Graham’s wife. The hiring of Walsh – a man who’s equally at home presiding over the circus of daytime quiz shows as acting in primetime dramas – is, in its own way, as significant a piece of casting as the new Doctor, suggesting Chibnall is reaching for the biggest, most inclusive tent possible, from the kids to your nan. How many of the new #TeamTARDIS will actually be fellow travellers inside that famous blue box isn’t clear, but we know at least some of the series is set in Sheffield (including scenes filmed against the backdrop of the city’s iconic Park Hill flats), which might indicate a return to the down-to-earth milieu of pubs, living
rooms and kitchens familiar from Russell T Davies’s watch. Then again, Jodie Whittaker says the stories feel “incredibly epic” and ambitious, while Bradley Walsh has spoken of a “cinematic canvas” (the series is using new anamorphic lenses to give it a more filmic look). And with a recent BBC America press release heralding “fun and exciting adventures through time and space”, don’t expect it to be too tied to the kitchen sink. The series, which is expected to start airing around October, will consist of a 65-minute opener followed by a further nine 50-minute episodes (which may or may not include a Christmas special). For the first time this century, the Doctor’s exploits won’t be scored by Murray Gold, and there’s a new visual effects kid on the block, too, with Double Negative (whose work includes Blade Runner 2049) replacing Milk FX. Thanks to some loose-lipped actors, we know that Alan Cumming is guesting as King James I (“a kind of dandy, foppy coward,” according to the X-Men star) and comedian Lee Mack has a brief cameo, while recent filming in South Africa saw Cape Town redressed as what is thought to be ’50s Montgomery, Alabama for an We’re holding episode expected to feature the out hope for a civil rights activist Rosa Parks. crossover special Of the four directors assigned so with The Chase. far, two (Sallie Aprahamian and
doctor who the thirteenth doctor
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Close Encounters face to face with the biggest stars
Harlem’s hero faces new challenges in Luke Cage season two Words by Dave Bradley /// Photography by Marco Grob
After The Defenders, where do we find Luke Cage? Luke comes back for a purpose. He’s finding his way in Harlem. People know who he is, so he’s like, “I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to do. Everybody knows my abilities.” He has to stop Mariah, who’s still out there. How can he protect the people of Harlem? Everybody in this part of the city loves him. Harlem is a pretty big place with a lot of people. He’s a celebrity there and that’s a strange feeling. Does that reflect your own experience as a TV star? Sometimes I go to places and people will call me my character name, so that’s kind of odd. The difference for me is that I don’t really revel in it as much as Luke does! I never try to draw attention to myself; I go out of my way to find places I can go where people don’t know me. It’s easier that way. Some people travel with “entourages” but it’s me and maybe one other person when I go some place. That’s just the way I am. I’m a person who likes to just think and do what I want to do. Are we going to see a lot of action in the new season? There’ll be an opportunity to have some really cool fight scenes. Season two now is a gruelling shoot. In the first season I asked for more action… Now we’ve got more action
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than I expected! I’m like, “Okay, that’s enough! [Laughs] Do we have to have an action sequence every episode?!” We shoot for two days for every action sequence, and it only lasts two or three minutes on-screen. It’s difficult to do a TV show where you have a lot of action in it, because there’s so little time to prep. Films, they have months to get the choreography down right, and they send the actors away to do stunt training. When they come on and do it, it’s really worked out. But we had a warehouse sequence which had so many different stunt guys coming in, and I had never seen the pre-vis. We just stepped in. And your muscle memory’s not there! Lucy Liu directed an episode. Did she bring the action or the drama? She brings a little bit of both. She understood angles and how to shoot stunt sequences – and for the dramatic aspect of the script, she was able to approach it as an actress. She’s got a lot of experience in that regard, and it showed. The crew loved her. She’s very easy to get along with. Misty has a bionic arm now. She’s a superhero too! How does that complicate things? She’s less frail. Somebody getting a bionic arm… I mean, there’s all kinds of options there! She’s able to do more with that. But the first thing is she still doesn’t know how to use it. I think that’s a part of her season, learning to use the arm. Luke Cage had to learn to use his powers too, and learn to hit people without killing them. He learns to pull back on his power, and he learns to harness his energy, and different fighting styles. I still have all the super strength and we will actually explore more this season about what his abilities are, and I think it’s going to look cool. People don’t seem to get tired of seeing bullets bounce off of someone! Is Luke still in his hoodie? Luke has changed wardrobe a few times this season, which I’m happy to say! Because I love the hoodie, but we started shooting in summer. I was really looking forward to that, but I’m wearing a hoodie. It’s a heavy hoodie. It’s made for cold weather. No matter what I did, I never was dressed properly. I was in a hoodie and even if it was night-time, it was 85% humidity. I’m pouring sweat. And the minute I got to change into something else, it gets cold. I’m not kidding you. T-shirt? I’m cold. I’m like, “Okay, give me the hoodie back!” Then I’m in a suede jacket – it’s not breathing. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’m inappropriately dressed. Indoor or outdoor, it’s always the same [laughs]. Luke Cage season two is on Netflix from 22 June.
Biodata Occupation Actor Born 26 August 1976 From South Carolina Greatest hits Million Dollar Baby, The Good Wife, Ringer, Luke Cage, The Defenders Random fact Colter once lived in Harlem for several years, near where Luke Cage is filmed – he could even see his old apartment from one outdoor filming location.
t’s already dark out when Mike Colter, softly spoken and charming, joins us to chat. We drag chairs up to the end of a long wooden table, in a tall room directly above where he’s been filming a fight scene for hours. He looks exhausted. “Four days of stunt stuff!” he exclaims. “But the season has been really good, so hopefully it’ll translate. There’s a lot of great villain narratives and lots of different storylines.” The character of Luke Cage first appeared in Marvel comics in 1972. In 2015 he appeared in the series Jessica Jones with Colter in the role, who a year later headlined his own show, becoming Marvel’s first black superhero lead. This 2018 series sees Luke return to Harlem after the events of The Defenders. Despite the fantastical circumstances of that super team-up (dragon bones granting resurrection powers to an ancient criminal cult: remember that?), Luke will find himself facing very real opponents at street level. “I think it’s the strongest Luke Cage season, personally," adds Colter. What else can he tell us?
close encounterS mike colter
“I don’t revel in the attention as much as luke does!”
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After 14 years away, Pixarâ€™s Incredibles are back for a sequel. Richard Edwards finds out whatâ€™s powering them second time out... 70 | sfx magazine | summer 2018
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t’s one of the great mighthave-beens in comic book history: Marvel’s version of The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan’s surrealistic spy-fi TV classic. “There was always this legendary rumour that there was this unpublished Prisoner,” says David Leach, editor of The Prisoner: Jack Kirby And Gil Kane Art Edition, which collects two very different takes on the show’s opening episode “Arrival”, one written and drawn by Kirby, the other illustrated by Kane from a script by Steve Englehart. “It was one of those mythical things,” says Leach. “The odd page would turn up on the internet and that was it. It took me 18 months of searching for the owners of the original artwork!”
So how did you find the art?
Getting hold of the Gil Kane artwork wasn’t a problem. We knew it was owned by one man. The owner had actually bought the whole thing in a job lot at auction. Then came the challenging part – okay, now track down the Jack Kirby! I was passed on to a very helpful man, Rand Hoppe, who runs the online Kirby Museum, and he acted as a go-between between me and the actual owner of the artwork, who had bought every page, also in an auction, which was astonishing. I don’t think we could have done the project otherwise. If the artwork had been split among many
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Number 6 nearly came to comics in the ’70s. Nick Setchfield wants information… different collectors there’s no way we could have got it all together. When I got the pages in all the hairs on my arms stood up. I almost burst into tears. I know they were only scans but they were 100 Meg scans so this was as close as I’ll ever get to holding the original artwork. It was a religious experience! [laughs] How did Jack Kirby get involved with The Prisoner?
Originally Gil Kane was hired to do the Steve Englehart version, based on the opening episode of The Prisoner. This was the time Kirby was coming back to Marvel from DC. They offered him quite a good deal to come back. It turned out he was also a huge Prisoner fan, so he had a go at it. He also adapted “Arrival”, writing and drawing it himself. For some unknown reason Marvel decided not to
Jack Kirby recreates the Village – coloured by Mike Allred. go any further with it. It sat around in drawers and finally ended up on the market. Why do you think the show appealed to him?
You look at pictures of Kirby and he looks like a regular guy. But you look at his artwork and it’s never normal, it’s never regular – it’s always psychedelic, it’s always out there. Massive, galaxy-spanning ideas. The thing that probably appealed to him is the idea of one man fighting against the system, fighting to be an individual, not to be put in a box. And also the location: Portmeirion is such an important character. You had this incredibly weird story, set in the weirdest place on the planet. Kirby goes out of his way to capture the essence of Portmeirion. Where do you think Kirby might have taken The Prisoner if he’d had the chance to go beyond adapting the original episodes?
I really don’t know! The thing about The Prisoner is that you can do so much with it – it’s such an extraordinarily interesting world.
Only 17 episodes and yet there’s so much in there that you can mine. I like to think he would have run with it and produced something amazing. The Prisoner: Jack Kirby And Gil Kane Art Edition is out 10 July from Titan Comics. summer 2018 | sfx magazine |
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In Hotel Artemis director Drew Pearce has built a private-members hospital for criminals. Richard Edwards checks in... summer 2018 | sfx magazine |
the hills have eyes
A Cold War warning wrapped in flesh-eating horrorâ€Ś Calum Waddell chows down on Wes Cravenâ€™s mutant shocker
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time machine the hills have eyes
th e st or y be hi nd th fa ntas y of ye st ere sf an d ye ar
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Get sci-fi news, reviews and features at gamesradar.com/sfx
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY First Han experience released OUT NOW!
12A | 135 minutes Director Ron Howard Cast Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany
Who ever really wondered where Han Solo came from? Most versions of his backstory told us he originated on a planet called Corellia, that he flunked out of the Imperial Academy as a pilot, and that Chewbacca owes him a “life debt”, but they’re just cool extras. He’s a smuggler, his best mate is a walking carpet and he shoots first – we learned that within minutes of meeting him, and it’s still more or less everything we need to know. And that’s the problem with Solo, the weakest big-screen trip to that galaxy far, far away since George Lucas sold his empire. Like Disney stablemate Marvel, the modern Lucasfilm is too slick an operation to churn out a bad movie (even after the behind-thescenes shenanigans that saw Ron Howard replacing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as director late on in production), but beyond the visually stunning exterior the
latest Star Wars Story struggles to justify its existence. It’s as much an origin tale as Lucas’s prequels, so mechanical about ticking off the formative moments in its protagonist’s life – where Han got his name; first meetings with Chewie, Lando and the Falcon; the Kessel run – that it feels less like a standalone adventure than a two-hour wink at the audience. Learning more about Han only diminishes the mystique surrounding Star Wars’ number one scoundrel. The project was arguably doomed from the start, because while Indiana Jones in Temple Of Doom, Kirk in JJ Abrams’s Star Trek and James Bond in Casino Royale have places they can go dramatically, evolution is virtually impossible for Solo. His key moment, the big life-changing epiphany, has to come in A New Hope when he comes back to save Luke. Here, aside from meeting a few new people and learning about the crime business, he’s just a cocky-but-charming rogue, destined to stay that way until a farmboy and a princess come into his life. Alden Ehrenreich does a decent job in the unenviable position of following Harrison
Chewie’s going to get jealous.
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Han’s new friend didn’t understand personal space. Ford, supplying the necessary swagger and knack for quips without ever trying to do an impression of his predecessor. As good as he is, though, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is the same man we’ll one day see frozen in carbonite. And more significantly, this Han is a much less interesting character than most of his associates, whether it’s loveinterest-with-a-murky-past Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), career criminals Beckett, Val and Rio (Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and the voice of Jon Favreau), or the
Ehrenreich supplies the necessary swagger and quips movie’s standouts: young “smoothie” Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his brilliantly outspoken droid first mate L3-37 (Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge). It’s Lando and L3 who carry most
DONALD GLOVER Lando Calrissian in Solo
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got the role? I was really into it as a kid. I had the action figures and the t-shirts, and I got taken out of school to see Episode I.
would otherwise – especially with all jeopardy limited by the fact that most characters are protected by the laws of the prequel. And yet, when it comes to avoiding Imperial entanglements and opening a window on corners of the Star Wars galaxy we haven’t seen on the big screen before, Solo is a triumph. While a couple of its allusions to the wider universe are too on the nose – you soon tire of references to a certain crime lord on Tatooine – many are more clever and sly; stuff like nods to bit-part players, such as Bossk and Aurra Sing, a campaign for droid
rights, and plot points that’ll only be familiar to viewers of Rebels and The Clone Wars. The glimpses of the wider crime underworld, with its multiple, Godfather-esque feuding Syndicates, set up a follow-up that could be much darker, denser and fresher – and really don’t need Han. Not every hole in Star Wars continuity needs to be filled, and the more future movies kick-off in their own direction, the better they’ll be. Richard Edwards When she auditioned, Phoebe WallerBridge hadn’t seen any Star Wars films – and had no idea what a “droid” was!
Was it a weird experience stepping into Billy Dee Williams’s shoes? It gave me boundaries, which is always good. Lando’s a character that people are aware of, so if you do something out of character there’s a ton of people who have a bunch of information on him! Richard Edwards
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of the comedy in a movie that’s not quite as funny as it should be – and possibly thinks it is. Lacking the clear throughline that you expect from a great Star Wars movie (come the end, it’s a challenge to pin down what it’s actually about), Solo is a surprisingly flat affair that’s uneven of pace, overuses the double-cross, and lacks a truly great set-piece – its two main action sequences are confusingly directed, and both based around objects travelling at high speed. The fact that one of those objects is the Millennium Falcon makes you care much more than you
Lando’s among the biggest characters in the original trilogy. Was it a part you chased hard? Yeah, I wanted to play Lando. I just felt like I needed to make the audition really good. I always believe in simplifying things, you know? If it’s a sandwich eating contest you can make a huge sandwich and put a bunch of shit in it, but a regular sandwich that’s made with care, the quality is going to be there, and people react to that. When I auditioned I made sure I did it how I wanted to do it. Then you feel good on the other side, because if you don’t get picked you think, “Okay, they didn’t want that, but that’s the only way I would have done it.”
Granddad had been raiding the fancy dress box.
zoom i n
Best Episode “Transformation” (1.07), in which the Brainiac-controlled Voice of Rao is chillingly cunning and brutally efficient, and Adam Strange decides to alter his mission’s objective – dramatically. Best Moment The last line of the season (we won’t spoil it) is a real fan-pleaser and the segue into Adam’s new future.
Comic References 1 Jax-Ur’s override code in 1.09 is “hantha, flamebird, rokan, oregus 29718”. All the words are references to Kryptonian flora and fauna (a tree, a bird, another bird and a herb respectively).
The granddaddy of all Superman stories UK Broadcast E4, TBC US Broadcast Syfy, finished Episodes Reviewed 1.01-1.10
There are some major, myth-rewriting revelations about Superman’s ancestry in Krypton. But since this is a time travel show you kinda suspect there are going to be reset buttons galore. And the producers have confirmed it exists in an “alternate reality” to the comics and big-screen DCU, so the fact that [redacted for spoilers] is Superman’s [redacted for spoilers] – or that Kal-El is descended from a line of Brits – probably won’t send shockwaves through fandom.
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Krypton was developed by David S Goyer, scriptwriter on the Dark Knight trilogy, Batman V Superman and Justice League, but in tone it feels more like his previous foray into TV, Da Vinci’s Demons. Set in the Kryptonian city of Kandor around 200 years before the planet is due to blow up, the spotlight is on Superman and Supergirl’s grandfather, Seg-El, when he was a young man. As a child he witnessed his grandfather executed for daring to suggest that life existed on other planets, and the House of El was stripped of all its rights and privileges. Fourteen years later, he’s caught up in the
political machinations of scheming chief magistrate, Daron-Vex, who has plans to overthrow religious leader the Voice of Rao. Meanwhile Seg-El, who’s secretly dating Lyta-Zod, daughter of the Primus of the Kryptonian military guild, is being forced into an arranged marriage with Daron-Vex’s daughter, Nyssa Vex. And just when you thought things couldn’t get more convoluted, a guy from future Earth, Adam Strange (cue a mass “Oooooh” from DC Comics fans), shows up, telling Seg-El that his grandson will be the universe’s greatest hero, but that some supervillain is
Comic References 2 Flamebird has been the name of six different DC characters, including an alter-ego used by Jimmy Olsen when he was a vigilante in Kandor City. Da Vinci’s Reunion Executive producer David S Goyer, Blake Ritson (Brainiac) and Elliot Cowan (Daron-Vex) worked together on Da Vinci’s Demons (Cowan played Lorenzo Medici; Ritson was Riario).
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best in show
The characters who make TV great
Adam Strange: no relation to Dr, Jonathan or Steve. planning to wipe him from history by changing the past… You’ve probably guessed from that tortuous summary that Krypton’s main problem is that’s it’s overstuffed with plot. The time travel elements offer the writers the chance to bring in another familiar character from Superman mythology later in the season, but you can’t help feeling it’s a conceit too far. There’s so much time travel on TV now that there’s a stale whiff of familiarity about the temporal dilemmas. The emphasis on time travel also gets in the way of world-building. The show may be called Krypton, but we learn little about the world’s culture or society beyond what’s strictly necessary for the story. Still, as a straightforward action-adventure series, it’s diverting enough fluff. Cameron Cuffe brings an unexpected self-deprecating wit to Seg-El, Blake Ritson is superbly creepy as Big Bad Brainiac and there are some good, meaty roles for the women… eventually. The early episodes lay on the “kickass babes” schtick with an embarrassing lack
The show’s main problem is that it’s overstuffed with plot of subtlety, but as the series progresses Nyssa and Lyta are allowed to be actual characters. Shaun Sipos never really gets a chance to flesh out Adam Strange beyond whiny and irritating, and practically vanishes from the series after his most intriguing moment. The production design and effects impress, if you can ignore a terrible pair of statues in the Fortress of Solitude (are they playing basketball?) and an over-reliance on gloomy corridors. And there are nods to some quite obscure corners of DC lore that’ll please fans without bamboozling casual viewers. Krypton has yet to soar up, up and away, but with season two confirmed, it could yet take off. Dave Golder
“Is that a piece of Kryptonite in your pocket or...”
Ambiguity is the key to Legion’s nervy junkie UK Broadcast Fox, Tuesdays US Broadcast FX, finished
In the original scripts for Legion, Lenny Busker was written as a middle-aged man. Then showrunner Noah Hawley decided to offer the role to Aubrey Plaza, who is neither. She agreed on the condition that he didn’t rewrite the scripts to reflect her casting. The result was a male/female friendship that’s all too rare on TV; Lenny and David have a bond, but it’s an awkward, complex, edgy relationship that has nothing to do with will-they-won’tthey sexual chemistry. Lenny’s death halfway through the first episode pushes them even closer together – she seems to live on as a figment of David’s fractured psyche, his only confidante in a world where he can trust nobody. Plaza’s comic brilliance was well established in Parks & Recreation, but as Lenny she couples it with a nervy unpredictability. You don’t know what she’s going to do, you just know it will be good.
The obvious way to develop Lenny’s storyline would have been to reveal that she was just a mask used by Farouk to manipulate David, and that the real Lenny died back in episode one. But Legion has never been about the obvious and Lenny is too good to waste, so instead we discover that her consciousness has been preserved by Farouk. The second season made us wait, initially confining Lenny to brief appearances as Farouk’s sidekick – but the waiting paid off in an entirely Lenny-centred fifth episode. The trick with a character like Lenny is to keep her balanced between good and evil for maximum unpredictability, and in season two Legion has reset that balance. She’s been resurrected by Farouk, but there’s a grim twist to how it’s been done. Is Lenny free of him now? Please don’t take her off that knife-edge, Legion: we like her there. Eddie Robson
summer 2018 | sfx magazine |
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