Many of us nerds are futurists. On an episode of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (R.I.P.) Tony claimed to be one and Cap said that unless Tony was into Italian Art, he wasn’t sure what that is. Well like Tony Stark, we futurists attempt to predict the future. We question it. We examine it. And sure, sometimes our pursuits aren’t as heavily weighted as predictions about the environment or population, but they are important in their own right. Therefore, with 2013 just getting started, I have compiled a list of the ten most burning questions that nerds have about our immediate future. While they mostly occupy the realm of popular culture, some are broader and most have implications that can affect nerd culture for years to come and…dare I say it…change the world.
So enjoy and I implore you, make your predictions in the comment section. How do you think this will all turn out? Where will we go from here? There is no prize for the person who is, in the end, right, but maybe they will get the greatest prize of all: the privilege to look back and say I told you so. With that…
10) What is that Tattoo on the Back of The Mandarin’s Neck All About?
This is a great place to start because it doesn’t make any sense. In the Iron Man 3 trailer, the Mandarin is shown taking of his hood. When he takes it off, you can clearly see, on the Mandarin’s neck, a tattoo of Captain America’s shield with an “A” on it. What does that even mean? Does he have Memento-style memory loss because Cap killed his wife and he kept forgetting about it? Did he pass out at a Masters of Evil party, and Zemo thought the tattoo would be funny? Does he have the same goofy powers as that villain from Elektra, and can make real shields out of a tattoo? And besides the weird subject matter, the back of the neck is possibly the weirdest place to get a tattoo. You can’t see it. If you wear a hood and have hair, no one else can see it. Getting it must hurt like a bitch. If IM3 doesn’t bring this up, I’m gonna be severely confused.
9) How will the Age of Ultron End?
Apparently this is the big Marvel event of 2013. It may even be the biggest Marvel event in a while. And we fans have a right to be skeptical. We’ve been burned before. Look at AvX. What really changed? Is the Phoenix really gone? Probably not. Have the X-Men changed forever. A little? Isn’t Scoot already out of jail? Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a bad story, but Marvel has gotten a reputation for overdoing the “Nothing Will Be The Same” prophecies when promoting these things.
Strangely, and against all of my better judgment, I’m thinking this one seems different. Reading about it gets me excited. The books are already drawn, so every part of the story is completely written. There will be ten books with roughly one being published per week, starting in March. And apparently the ending is so bizarre that only six people at Marvel know how it ends and it will likely stay like that for a while. So how does it end? Who can imagine? Look at the roster for important characters. You’ve got Vision, Invisible Woman, Taskmaster, Beast, Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Moon Knight. That is one of the most rag-tag groups of heroes put together to do something big in a while, so at least it has to be pretty surprising, and surprising is good these days. Plus I’m a sucker for Luke Cage so anytime he’s involved, I get pretty excited. Let me join Ken Jennings in writing “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.”
8) What is Sherlock Going To Do Now?
Watson is grieving. Sherlock is alive. Mrs. Hudson is not the housekeeper. Most importantly, Moriarty is dead. This is how the second season of the BBC’s Sherlock and Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Final Problem” end. Fans of Doyle’s work know that Sir. Arthur wrote that particular short story as a way to introduce Moriarty and end the character of Sherlock for good, only to bring him back in “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” years later because all of that mustache wax doesn’t pay for itself. Unlike the books, Moriarty was involved from the beginning of the BBC series and now he’s almost certainly pretty much totally dead. Who is Sherlock going to spar with now? There aren’t too many characters left, though the villainous Sebastian Moran hasn’t been used on the show yet. In “The Sign of Four,” Sherlock borrows a dog named Toby so that plus the addition of the Mystery Machine could turn everyone into one groovy crime busting gang. Either way, they’ve got a while to solve this mystery because the show’s release may be delayed even further until 2014.
7) Will Hollywood Figure Out How To Remake Properly?
Remakes failed pretty miserably this year. There was the forgettable Total Recall, a painful Three Stooges movie, an overdone Red Dawn, and the mildly entertaining but still pretty dumb Dredd. The common thread was that all of these movies were box office flops. Hollywood seemed to learn a lesson which is that audiences want something new or at least something that seems new. Look at Avatar. It may have been the most derivative movie ever made but now it holds the total box office record. Audiences have become tired of being told they are watching the same movies over and over again.
The problem is that the remakes aren’t going to stop any time soon. We have a new Robocop, Oldboy, and even a new Godzilla coming up in the next two years. So what is going to happen? Something has to change in the process. Will Hollywood get its act together and hire awesome directors to Batman them up? Nolan is booked up fixing Superman, so they’ll need to find more. Godzilla seems to be taking that route. The others just seem to be going through the motions. And no matter what happens…what’s that? They’re remaking Short Circuit?! Never mind. Forget everything I just said. Let’s see how this plays out.
6) What will Become of the THQ Properties?
THQ is the video game developer best known for publishing Saint’s Row, the Red Faction series, and the WWE games. They seemed like they had something good going with the new South Park: The Stick of Truth but then BAM! They filed for bankruptcy last year. So all of their properties currently in development will be auctioned off to other publishers, which means all of these titles are in flux. Were you excited about playing the new South Park RPG? Too bad. It very well might become Sony or Microsoft exclusive and we will have no choice but to respect their authority. Maybe you are just concerned for Saint’s Row’s future because it filled the fun sand-boxing void that was left behind when GTA became a pseudo-Scorsese movie. Well, all will be revealed on January 23rd, after the bidding is done and the games are at their new homes. Speaking of home, does this mean there won’t be another Homefront game? Maybe it isn’t a total loss.
5) How Does Daryl Escape Woodbury?
It was The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale (because apparently every show needs those now) and Daryl was captured during a botched raid on Woodbury. In the episode’s final shot, we see a handcuffed Daryl and a recently accused Merle meeting again in the zombie fighting arena, code-named Zoctagon, for what logic would dictate is some form of wholesome execution. However, for just a second of the preview for the rest of the season, we see Daryl running around the woods with his signature crossbow and his equally signature lack of sleeves. So what happens to Daryl? The Governor is definitely going to be keeping at least one close eye on him. To steal a phrase from a similar show “How are the Dixon boys gonna get out of this one?” Or at least Daryl. This is The Walking Dead, mind you, and the next episode is called ‘The Suicide King’.
4) Who will be Cast in the Nerd Movie Trinity of 2015?
2015 is going to be the biggest summer for nerds since the one when Marvel had that killer swimsuit party. First, the sequel to the third highest grossing movie of all time (I can’t believe I’m saying that) Marvel’s Avengers 2 is scheduled for a release in Summer 2015. Then, the bombshell was dropped that Disney had purchased Star Wars and planned to release Episode VII ALSO in Summer 2015. Plus Justice League might (but probably won’t) be released that summer too. So we know who pretty much all of the Avengers are (Hulk is always in the air), but who are these other movies going to feature? Cavill and Reynolds will likely make up the JL but that leaves a new Batman and completely new actors playing Wonder Woman and Flash. Ryan can’t play every superhero.
Then there’s Episode VII. Will Hamill and Ford come back? Will their characters even make it into this new movie? Will it be all Lando? Because I’m fine with that too. Roles in the Nerdy Movie Trinity of 2015 will the most valued in all of Hollywood and along with the fabulous paychecks, a lucky handful of actors will get the honor of being constantly followed by a throng of diehard fans and the privilege of pretending they “loved the books as a kid” on talk shows. Who could ask for anything more?
3) What will the Next Generation of Gaming Be?
Never before has the gaming industry been at such a crossroads. It’s kind of like where the HBO show Game of Thrones left off. On one hand, there is still a big fight going on between the established consoles (X-Stark 360, Lanistation 3, and Barathe-U) over everything. Should borrowing games still exist? Will hardcore gamers ever embrace motion controlled gaming? Are gaming systems big stupid media centers?
And these petty disputes all look pretty stupid because up north, above the wall, STEAMance Rayder has been building an army of free games and with the backing of the powerful Valve Walkers has just announced his plans to bring Piston into King’s Living Room where the other three are fighting. Then, across the seas, you have Daenerys TargaRovio and her Angry Dragons who also built themselves from pretty much nothing and dominated the (at this point isolated) kingdom of iQarth and stand poised to take over King’s Living Room as well. So will the Third Gen consoles win over? Will Valve get a seat at the table? Will mobile gaming dominate sales? You know what they say: In the Throne of Games, you Win or you Lose a Life.
2) Will Peter Park-topus Stay Dead?
This was a big story in 2012, or as big as a story about comic books gets. It was on the news. In Amazing Spider-Man #700, Dr. Octopus switched minds with Spider-Man and then the Dr. Octopus body died, taking Peter Parker with it. While Marvel seems pretty intent on keeping Peter Parker dead, many comic fans don’t buy it – and why should they? Captain America came back. Captain Marvel came back. Jean Grey won’t stop coming back. I think she’s back now. Who knows? Flip a coin. Heads, she’s alive. Tails, she’s dead. I think that’s also how Marvel writes her.
Either way, having Miles Morales and Otto Octavius galavanting around as Spider-Men just seems wrong without Peter being somehow in the mix. And I realize that Octavius has Peter’s memories and experiences, but it’s not the same. He’s also still a super-villain too. So that should create some problems. Maybe I’m wrong about this one but don’t be surprised if somewhere down the line in Superior Spider-Man we find a previously undiscovered clone or, god forbid, we get another visit from Mephisto.
1) Who is Benedict Cumberbatch really playing?
Come on, J.J. Do we have to keep going through this? At this point, we know that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness is going to be named “John Harrison” aaaaaand that’s it. He seems to have some kind of superpower and he has apparently been described as a mix between “Hannibal Lecter and the Joker” which doesn’t help narrow it down either. It has gotten so bad that recently even Bennedict Cumerbatch himself said that the secrecy surrounding his character bothers him. I mean even the IMDb page for Into Darkness lists him as playing “Khan (rumored).”
J. J., I know this is your thing, but take a lesson from the book of Lost and realize that if you keep a secret too long, the fans will come up with theories that are better than what you came up with and your movie will be a big letdown. Just sayin’.