In my last The Walking Dead discussion post I talked about the departures of Maggie and Rick and how I felt they would impact the show.
I said that despite their departures the show’s future looked bright and, based on the final three episodes of this half of the season, I think I can stand by that statement.
Even though viewership is still declining, I think The Walking Dead is returning to its glory days and it will only get better as it goes on.
The show has already made improvements on its comic book counterpart, something that has not happened since season five.
This improvement can be seen in the episode after Rick’s Departure, “Who Are You Now?” where we get the official introduction of Magna (Nadia Hilker) and her group after they appeared at the end of the previous episodes.
I already think these characters are a massive improvement on their comic versions.
Magna is a lot more fleshed out and given more backstory, with it being revealed she was in prison.
Her group of Yumiko (Eleanor Matsura), Luke (Dan Fogler), Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory) are also made much more interesting because they are given more characteristics and a lot more to do.
I also liked how this episode and the other ones place a divide between the communities.
Everything was all hunky-dory after all out war in the comics so to see such open hostilities between the communities is very interesting, especially because we do not know what caused this divide.
We do know it has something to do with the X’s carved into Daryl and Michonne’s back but not much else.
This adds a layer of mystery to the story, which I am really enjoying.
However, the seventh episode of the season “Stradivarius” is definitely the weakest of the season because, while it does continue the character growth of Magna and her group, it only slightly pushes the story forward.
It is certainly not a bad episode though, and the season not having one bad episode out of eight is definitely something the last few seasons cannot attest to.
The mid-season finale, “Evolution”, is one of the best episodes of the season, possibly only falling behind Rick’s goodbye episode “What Comes After.”
It features the moment I have been waiting for even since it happened in the comics… the reveal of the Whisperers and it does not disappoint.
The final moments of this episode felt like a horror movie and brought incredible levels of tension.
This unfortunately led to the death of Jesus.
I had heard rumors of his death before watching the episode but I was still disappointed to see him go because, just like his actor Tom Payne said, he had been badly underused up to this point.
That said, what an epic way for him to go out.
It was a masterful sequence that shocked me, even though I knew it was coming, and showed the true horror of the Whisperers.
Just as Jesus finishes killing some Walkers in an amazing use of slow motion he walks towards safety but two more stand in his way.
He takes out the first one when suddenly the second one ducks and stabs him from behind whispering in his air, “you are where you do not belong” as thunder crashes around them.
This was an amazing way to reveal the Whisperers because it shows how deadly they are with many unable to tell if they are Walkers or Whisperers in disguise.
We then got the intense cliffhanger of the group realizing the supposed talking Walkers are actually people wearing their skin and then hearing multiple Whisperers as they surround them before cutting to black.
And, with that, the first half of season nine comes to a close.
I have been saying for a while now that season nine was the make it or break it season for me, where the show would either recover from its dark descent or rise above it.
Thankfully, I am now certain that the show has moved past the dark times of seasons seven and eight.
Angela Kang has done an amazing job with this season and if it continues like this, it may be one of my favourite seasons of The Walking Dead. One thing is for certain though, I cannot wait to see how the rest of the Whisperer arc plays out in the next half of the season, where we will get the much awaited arrivals of Lydia, Alpha and Beta.
The fifth episode of the ninth season of The Walking Dead, “What Comes After”, recently aired, being the final episode for Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee, at least for a little while.
When I first head these two were leaving I honestly thought the show was doomed with two of its central characters (Rick being the main character) departing.
However, after viewing all five episodes of this season so far and seeing the direction it is heading, I actually think with Angela Kang as the showrunner The Walking Dead may continue to deliver a compelling narrative.
But even so, this does leave the question of whether the departures of such major characters as Rick and Maggie were done right?
Since Rick is the main character, I will start with him.
Coming into this episode I was very concerned with how he would leave the show because I thought we were going to get another Carl situation with a bad death for such an important character.
This concern was generated by the ending of the previous episode, where Rick accidentally impaled himself on some rods.
I came in feeling like I knew what was going to happen, with Rick hallucinating all of his dead friends before dying of blood loss.
However, while that first part was right, the second, thankfully, was not.
Rick does experience numerous hallucinations and all but one of them are handled expertly.
Seeing Rick interact with Shane and Hershel again was a joy to see, especially Shane because their scene together spoke a lot about how far Rick had come.
The one hallucination I did not like, however, was when Rick talked with Sasha.
This was Rick’s final hallucination and of all the characters for him to talk to during it, Sasha would have been at the bottom of my list.
She and Rick barely interacted and I do not think they were even that close so seeing Rick hallucinate her giving him this emotional pep talk made absolutely no sense.
It should have been Glenn, Lori or Carl Rick talked to, not Sasha.
Other than this though, the hallucinations were all handled well and added to the tension.
Then came Rick’s “death scene” where he blew up the bridge while he and the herd of Walkers were still on it to save his friends.
This was very emotional and if Rick had died here I would actually have been OK with it because it left a big emotional impact and served a logical purpose, unlike Carl’s death.
However, this was not the end for Rick because Jadis saved him by taking him on the helicopter with her.
And so Rick departed the show on this helicopter, with the ending song from the very first episode “Space Junk” by Wang Chung playing in a fitting end his story on the show.
This did leave me wondering what would happen to him in the future but this question was answered when I learned Andrew Lincoln would be starring in the recently announced The Walking Dead spin off movies.
When I first learned this, I laughed but, after thinking about it, I realised this could be interesting.
I will just have to wait and see the movies to know if it was a good idea to keep Rick alive for this.
Overall, Rick’s sendoff this episode was both touching and fitting, and I think they did a great job with it.
Not so much for Maggie I am afraid.
I would go as far to say that Maggie’s sendoff this episode was handled incredibly badly.
I will say I did like what happened to her in this episode, with her finally confronting Negan over Glenn’s death in a scene that, while not as good as the comics, was still very impactful.
However, there was literally nothing in the episode that would suggest this was Maggie’s last episode.
No emotional sendoff, no death, nothing.
It was like they completely forgot this was supposed to be her final episode until they had actually completed it.
Hopefully they can at least give a logical reason for her departure in the next episode.
Speaking of which, even though these two incredibly important characters have departed the show, I am still looking forward to what is to come this season.
We will be getting the full introduction of Magna and her group next episode, The Whisperers will be introduced soon, and it looks like Judith will now be taking center stage in a surprising yet welcome turn of events.
All in all, the future for The Walking Dead looks bright, even with these departures.
It seems only yesterday it was announced that one of my favourite TV shows of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender, was getting another shot at a live-action adaptation.
Now, my favourite anime, Attack on Titan, created by Hajime Isayama, is also getting the same treatment, with Andy Muschietti directing under Warner Bros.
This is the third time such an attempt will be made as there have already been two live-action adaptations before (three if you count the miniseries but I would rather forget that atrocity).
Both of these adaptations did a very poor job at adapting the anime with terrible acting, baffling story changes and often laughably atrocious special effects.
So, do I think the third time will be the charm and a successful Attack on Titan movie may actually get made?
Well, based on the track record of American live-action adaptations of other anime, you would think not.
Just looking at Dragonball: Evolution should be enough to show why a live-action anime movie should never be attempted.
However, just like with the Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix adaptation, there are some things that give me hope for this movie.
The most obvious is the director, Andy Muschietti, who directed IT one of my favourite films of 2017.
There, Muschietti showed he was very capable of sticking to and adapting the original source material, while making some necessary changes.
This would point towards him being capable of adapting Attack on Titan, but it is too soon to say whether he will be able to actually do it.
There are also a few things standing in the films way.
First and foremost, the movie’s runtime will obviously constrain the story somewhat, making it only possible to do the Trost arc in the first film.
Then there is actually adapting it, which may prove problematic because of certain elements in the anime.
A prime example of this is the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, which looked absolutely ridiculous in the Japanese films and, I feel, would be hard to take seriously in live-action, even with a bigger budget.
Speaking of a bigger budget though, this is another thing that may work in the film’s favor.
As I stated, the special effects of the Japanese live-action films were laughable atrocious but a studio like Warner Bros. should have the money to make the Titans look real enough.
Overall, there are both good and bad things to consider about this new Attack on Titan live-action film.
Do I think it will come close to the original anime series even if everything goes right?
Am I excited for it regardless?
Around 10 months ago, I created a post titled “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.”
In that post I detailed everything I felt 2010’s The Last Airbender did wrong, in comparison with the fantastic Nickelodeon cartoon it was based on, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and how to fix these problems in a new adaptation.
I stated my hope that one day the series would get another live-action adaptation but found it to be highly unlikely, based on the tremendous disaster that was M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation.
However, today I learned, much to my shock and excitement, that I was 100% wrong in that statement.
This is because it has been revealed that Netflix will be adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender in live action with the original show’s creators, Michael DiMartino and Brian Konietzko, at the helm as executive producers.
When I heard this I was literally cheering because not only does it appear that Avatar: The Last Airbender may finally get the treatment it deserves in live-action, but it also appears that DiMartino and Konietzko are aiming to fix the numerous problems we all had with The Last Airbender.
Many of the things I mentioned that had to be fixed in my “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation” post seem to be top priorities for the creators as well.
Three of the big points I raised in that post about what a new adaptation would need in order to be good were that it had to be a series and not a movie, had to be helmed by people who respect the original series and the adaptation had to stay true to the character’s races and cultures.
Well, not only is the adaption going to be a series on Netflix that is being made by the original creators who obviously respect the show, but it also looks like they will fix the whitewashing seen in Shyamalan’s adaptation.
The pair addressed this head on stating, “we can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.”
This quote from the pair has very positive implications towards where this new adaption is heading.
Not only will it aim to represent the characters accurately but it also aims to build upon the show, hopefully in ways that do not contradict the original in a negative way.
It has also been revealed that the show will begin production in 2019 and when it will actually air on Netflix is anyone’s guess.
While some people are skeptical about this, I for one remain hopeful and very optimistic towards its quality.
That is not to say that I wholeheartedly believe this show will be good because its release date is very far off and a lot could go wrong between now and then.
But it will be a series, the right people are behind the project and they are aiming to fix the mistakes of the past.
I cannot wait to see the adventures of Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Zuko, Iroh and all the others, in live-action.
This year at E3 I have been anticipating numerous trailers for upcoming games and have not been disappointed.
The trailers for Kingdom Hearts 3 and Overkill’s The Walking Dead were fantastic and have me really hyped for those games.
The one game I was anticipating above all else though was The Last of Us Part 2 and, let me tell you, I was not prepared.
Coming into E3, I was hoping for either another story trailer or some gameplay from The Last of Us Part 2 and was pleasantly surprised when Naughty Dog gave us both.
The trailer starts with a cinematic of an older Ellie, played by Ashley Johnson, at a dance, most likely in Jackson, Tommy’s camp.
For starters, these graphics looked incredible as always, with Naughty Dog improving even further from their previous games.
The trailer introduced us to two news characters here, Jesse, played by Stephen Chang, and Dina, played by Shannon Woodward from Westworld.
Dina is shown to be Ellie’s new love interest but I do wonder how long this will last since Neil Druckmann has said The Last of Us Part 2 will be a game about “hate” and something has to motivate Ellie’s thirst for vengeance.
Anyway the tender moment ends between Dina and Ellie when Dina states, “oh, Ellie. I think they should be terrified of you.
This statement is proved to be 100% correct because, after this, the trailer dissolves into absolute, epic insanity as it transitions to gameplay footage and wow, just wow.
This is, without a doubt, the most cinematic gameplay I have ever seen.
I know that sometimes developers show much more advanced gameplay than is actually involved to get people to buy their games but if The Last of Us Part 2‘s gameplay is even a fraction close to what was shown then it will be absolutely incredible.
It starts off simple enough with more stealth mechanics like being able to hide in grass and bushes, like the recent entries in the Uncharted series, but so much more comes as well.
You can dodge enemy attacks, you can grab a bottle or weapon while running, sneak through gaps in cabinets and you have to pull arrows out when they hit you, this gameplay has everything.
Even better, or worse depending on your stress level when playing, the enemy NPCs are a whole lot smarter than they were in the previous game.
They check for you under cars and some will even not hesitate to shoot you when you are holding one of their people hostage.
Every single element of this gameplay looks fluid and like a movie, which I really hope is the case of the finished product because that could make The Last of Us Part 2 have potentially the best gameplay of any game I have ever played.
As for speculation about the game’s story, it does seem to mainly involve the cult we saw in the previous trailer.
This cult is still shown to be doing the disgusting practice of hanging and gutting people for an unknown reason.
If I am right and the last trailer we saw was in the past then that would mean this cult would have been doing this for 20 years at the least, which is a disturbing point.
Also this cult seems to constantly be referring to Ellie as a “wolf” for some reason, we will probably get more details on that later.
Another interesting thing is that we did not see Troy Baker return as Joel in this trailer.
He was mentioned briefly by Jesse but he made no personal appearance sadly.
I hope the fan theory that he is dead and this is why Ellie wants revenge is not true.
Overall, this gameplay trailer was incredible from start to finish.
It went from a tender moment between Ellie and her new love interest to violent and insane gameplay that looked incredibly cinematic.
If I was not already as excited for The Last of Us Part 2 I sure am now.
You know, I tried to be optimistic about the future of The Walking Dead in my season eight review but now the future for the show is not looking bright.
I swear, every time I say some good might be on the horizon for The Walking Dead news has to come out and completely dash my hopes and, unfortunately, this time the news I am hearing may very well kill the show.
This is because Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes the main character, and Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Rhee another central player, have both been reported to be leaving the show in season nine.
No matter how you look at it this is nothing short of an absolute disaster.
This means the show will be losing three of its most important characters in two seasons, the other being Chandler Riggs’ Carl, whose controversial departure in season eight, I felt, was completely unjustified.
Granted, this time it appears to be the actors’ choice to leave, unlike Riggs’, but this will still have dire repercussions for the show that I honestly do not think it can bounce back from.
When I first learned about Cohan’s departure I was not happy because of the effects this would have on the story, combined with the effects of the recent loss of Riggs, but I still thought the show could recover if it was done right.
However, when you add the departure of Lincoln to this, I believe the final nail in the coffin has been delivered.
While Cohan’s departure is a great loss, if Lincoln or Riggs had remained the show may have been recoverable because there would still have been a reliable character to put the show on their shoulders.
If Rick died in the comic then it would be able to continue because Carl could take his place and if Carl died instead it could go on because of Rick, but losing both characters creates a vacuum that cannot be filled.
Not to mention the dramatic impact Maggie dying at this point in the show would have as well.
Having three major characters leave in just two seasons will hugely disrupt the storylines they are involved with in the comic and the characters that are left, after they are gone, are not strong enough to keep the show going.
It does not matter if Melissa McBride (Carol) or Danai Gurira (Michonne) decide to stay and it certainly does not matter if Norman Reedus (Daryl) takes over as the lead.
They are just not leading material like Rick and Carl were.
Speaking of Reedus, as I said, in my Top 10 Worst Changes From The Walking Dead Comic to the Show post Daryl Dixon has more than overstayed his welcome.
There is so much story revolving around Rick, Carl and Maggie in the future of The Walking Dead, as can be seen by the comic, that it makes it impossible for the show to continue with any meaning after all three of them have departed.
The show can try to continue, as I am sure it will, and many fans of the show will continue to watch it, but it is unlikely than anything will change for me.
I will watch the show through to season nine to see these characters’ departures but after that I will find it difficult to care about the story anymore and many fans may feel the same way.
This may cause The Walking Dead show to implode, if it is not doing so already from the numerous departures.
But hey, at least the comic is still going strong so there is that.