By Jeanette White
September 1st is a big deal for aspiring wizards. It marks the day students return to Hogwarts for the new term. Much like all back to school affairs this year, Back to Hogwarts Day will be celebrated a little differently.
In past years, the King's Cross Station in London was the main stage for the event. Hundreds of fans dressed in cosplay piled onto the platform to countdown the Hogwarts Express departure time at 11 am.
In 2019, the event included:
Although London remains the center of Back to Hogwarts Day, celebrations took place worldwide. For example, Indianapolis hosts a hugely-popular “Wizards Unite” event where fans flocked to White River State Park to partake in various festivities.
Due to current restrictions, Back to Hogwarts Day will be celebrated virtually this year with the Wizarding World's first-ever livestream. It includes cameos from Harry Potter film stars like Bonnie Wright, Jason Isaacs, James and Oliver Phelps, and Cursed Child Production members. You can test your fandom knowledge with a Wizarding World trivia game and see how fans are celebrating Back to Hogwarts Day worldwide.
Oliver Phelps, aka George Weasley, stated, "The Wizarding World fans are the greatest, and getting the chance to share this special day with people all over the world is going to be brilliant. I'm really looking forward to everything this Digital Back to Hogwarts has in store, and it's a bonus that we can all do it from the sofa!"
So, wear your pajamas, or wear your best cosplay. Either way, be excited! We know George Weasley is.
If you want to nerd out this year from the safety of your home, make sure to check out the livestream on the Wizarding World website between 10:30 am BST and 11:30 am BST. Fans will still have opportunities to support the Lumos charity throughout the event.
Stay up to date with the Wizarding World:
By Michael Austin
After five years of tirelessly looking for answers, fans of the Batman: Arkham series will finally get to see what's next for their beloved Gotham City.
Those who loved the critically acclaimed series have plenty to talk about after Saturday's DC Fandome event. The comic company announced the latest installment in the series, Gotham Knights, which is set to take place after the events of Batman: Arkham Knight.
Players will have the chance to play as Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, and quite possibly a few other Gotham vigilantes, as they try to defend the city of Gotham following the tragic death of Batman at the end of Arkham Knight.
The trailer opened up with Batman sending one final message to the many crime-fighting members of the Bat-Family, alerting them that he's dead, and it's up to them to defend Gotham.
Some gameplay was showcased during the event (see below), featuring Batgirl and Robin taking on a beefed-up Mr. Freeze. The action began as Batgirl rode her Batcycle through the streets of Gotham during a thunderstorm.
As compared to the Batmobile gameplay in Arkham Knight, the feel of the Batcycle seems more refined and natural. The combat was eerily similar to previous installments to the franchise, although gadgets, team-up attacks and various special moves/finishers look to play a more significant role in this game.
Due to the destruction of Wayne Manor and the Batcave at the end of Arkham Knight, the Bat-Family has now been given a new base of operations called The Belfry. The developers claim it will play a vital role in Gotham Knights.
In a tag to the footage, it was revealed that The Court of Owls will serve as the primary antagonists in the new game. The secret society of villains first debuted during Scott Snyder's historic run on Batman. It'll be interesting to see whether the group's close ties to the Wayne family will carry into this video game adaption.
While all of this news is undoubtedly exciting to fans of the franchise, there is one small point of concern. While Rocksteady Studios was responsible for the incredibly successful main installments in the Batman: Arkham franchise, they're not behind this new sequel. Instead, WB Games Montreal is developing the game. This studo is responsible for Batman: Arkham Origins, the least popular and most criticized game in the franchise.
Nonetheless, the hype around this game is sure to be nothing less than fantastic. Let's hope that WB Games Montreal can deliver this time.
As we expand our team of nerd contributors, we're pleased to announce that Elise Baughman has joined the FTN family as our anime contributor. Not only does Elise have anime voiceover experience (she's Pan in Dragonball Z GT), she also interviews big names in the anime industry on Anime Adventures.
Outside of anime interviews, Elise has hosted morning talk shows and conducted red carpet interviews with Ray Romano, George Lopez, Alyssa Milano, Cedric The Entertainer, and Michelle Kwan and many others.
She's been on camera as well. Her film & TV work includes roles in films such as I am Gabriel and Hoovey and on TV series on NBC and the USA Network. She's also appeared in corporate and commercial projects in the retail, communications, technology, security, medical, food, banking, and automotive industries.
Here she is interviewing Justin Cook (Dragon Ball Z - Raditz, Super Buu, Dende and more):
The Stargirl TV series is been a hit with both critics and audiences since its debut on May 18, 2020. As with many popular characters who appear on the small screen, new fans might wonder where to start reading her comic book stories. Here's what you need to know:
Stargirl is new by comic book standards, and she's never appeared in her own series. So, FTN contributors Matt Moore and Regina Davis discuss Stargirl on Comic Book Noob and made these suggestions:
If there's one thing we nerds often do - it's tear up when something hits us right in the feels. Our nerd passions run that deep. Over the years, I've been very fortunate to talk with people involved in some of my favorite fandoms. Even better - I will always be able to re-visit those conversations.
Before I started writing this, I clicked on this particular interview to make sure it was playing properly. Once Danny John-Jules said the liner for my 2012 podcast (The Critic Show)...I teared up a bit. I still can't believe I got to talk to The Cat from Red Dwarf. I also can't believe it was eight years ago, and he's still involved in making Red Dwarf stories.
It's clear that he and the rest of the guys love working together, and they appreciate the fans. After all, they've been working together on Red Dwarf for 30 years. With their SDCC at Home panel and the release of The Promise Land on Amazon's Britbox, I thought it was appropriate to share this interview again.
Recently, I watched Rowan Atkinson tell a story about running into someone who said he looked a lot like Mr. Bean, but didn't believe he was actually talking to Mr. Bean. Danny has a similar story in this interview, and it's hilarious.
On I side note, I am also a huge fan of Labyrinth. A couple of days before the interview, I saw Danny share a photo with him and David Bowie working together. It turns out he was involved in Labyrinth too. Not only that - he's in one of my favorite scenes and songs - Chilly Down! When I thought about the voices in that song, I thought, "Of course he's in that!"
Anyway, he's my 2012 interview with Danny John-Jules (The Cat from Red Dwarf).
Today's podcast spends some time covering the behaviors (good and bad) in fandom. This is a topic that can extend far beyond one podcast, but it was good to discuss it with Dan and Britni. Here are some of the top behaviors I like and dislike in today's fandom:
Rallying around a kid who's been bullied - Here's a prime example of good fandom fighting against bad fandom in a news story (with some unfortunate Star Warsy plays on words by the reporter, but a good story):
Creative uses of GIFs/videos to spread an opinion - There is some fantastic creativity out there, and when it's used for good - it's often genius.
Healthy debate about a story/film/TV show - When fans are simply sharing why they like/dislike something, you can find a variety of opinions that might even change your own thinking.
Fighting trolls or people with other opinions with childish/trollish behavior - There's a difference between responding by sharing another perspective and responding in a way that is meant to anger someone or generate cheers from your supporters. The picture of someone with their "Haters Tears" mug is a tactic I would expect from trolls. Plus, drinking tears? Ew.
The "real fan" argument - Don't tell anyone they're not a REAL fan if they don't agree with you. You might as well stick your tongue out and respond with, "I know you are but what am I?"
Attack of the generation gaps - There are few ways fandom looks more shallow and clueless then when they attack fans of older and younger generations. Prequel lovers attacking "OT lovers" (and vice versa) or Batman vs. Superman people insulting those who still love Christopher Reeve is a waste of time and completely useless.
Politics on social media - I have never understood sharing political opinions on a podcast/fansite social media account. If you have followers, you're immediately alienating part of your audience, and it's fair to say politics is not why they follow you. In fact, nerd culture is a means of getting away from politics and things that tick people off. If you want to roll the dice on a personal account, that's one thing - but a fandom account - I don't understand why it's necessary.
One of the many things people know about me is I love t-shirts, especially ones that showcase one of my fandoms. In this week's podcast, Chris Clews and I talked about our love of the website 80stees.com. Since we're both 80s children with 80s passions, it's not hard to understand our love for 80s t-shirts.
I think that is one of the reasons Soundwave is popular with fans - that cool voice. Anyway, if I can find a fun or creative spin on a character, that's bonus points. So, when I decided I needed a Soundwave shirt, this one really stood out.
While this shirt is no longer available on their site, you can still check out the current Transformers collection at 80stees.com.
In some ways, it seems fitting to launch this podcast with a Back to the Future theme. I feel like this new show is going back to my podcast roots and the days when I booked celebrity guests on a regular basis. When my first podcast launched in 2011, my guest on the fifth episode was James Tolkan.
"It's possible that at some point in your life you've been called a slacker."
He said he's had to say the word, "slacker" countless times since Back to the Future, and it didn't seem to bother him at all. I loved that, because I'm sure it can be somewhat exhausting.
One of my last in-person interviews at a convention was with Claudia Wells (Jennifer from Back to the Future). She was so fun!
I also loved one of her autograph offerings where she writes your name, "I love you" and Jennifer's phone number on the back of a clock tower flyer. You can even order a signed clock tower flyer on her website.
Burton Gilliam, my guest on the first episode of For the Nerd, is another example of someone who was only on screen for a short time, but provides an entertaining discussion about his experience. Like Tolkan, he has people come up to him and quote lines.
Fan: Where'd you learn to shoot like that?
Burton: That's my line!
I hope you enjoy our discussion on the July 14th episode of the show.
The pandemic changed our lives in many ways, and that includes what we can do for entertainment. It shut down production for several movies and television shows, but self-quarantine also provides opportunities to binge what's currently available.
While I wait for the next season of The Boys, Cobra Kai and The Mandalorian (as well as the first season of Falcon and Winter Soldier), I have some suggestions of shows you can binge right now.
Hanna (Seasons 1 and 2) on Amazon Prime - Hanna is a young woman rescued from a secret super-agent facility. She learns intense combat and survival skills that she'll need once an off-the-book CIA agent comes looking for her. I really enjoyed both seasons of the show, and there are fantastic performances from everyone involved.
Into the Badlands (Seasons 1,2 and 3) on Netflix - Into the Badlands originated on AMC and now lives on Netflix. Season 3 was the third and final season of the show, and I really miss it. It has some of the best martial arts/fight scenes I've ever seen in a TV series. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where powerful Barons fight for control of territory. It's one of those shows where viewers will have favorite characters. I'm a huge fan of The Widow, Bajie, and Nathaniel Moon.
Prop Culture of Disney+ - If you want a little mix of nostalgic and educational content, you'll have some fun watching Prop Culture. In it, prop collector Dan Lanigan takes us on a journey through time as he connects props and people from several iconic films.
If you decide to watch any of these, tell me what you think!
I'm thrilled to announce that the first episode of For the Nerd will premiere on July 14th, and the topic is the Back to the Future Trilogy. My special guests will be Chris Clews and Burton Gilliam.
Chris is an 80s nerd (like me) who quit his job to become an author/speaker on how to infuse the messages of 1980s movies into the workplace. He'll be a regular contributor on the show when we discuss 80s movie themes.
I've known Burton Gilliam for about 15 years, and it is always fun to talk to him. He's also one of those guys who loves talking about his film career memories (Blazing Saddles, Fletch, Honeymoon in Vegas, Paper Moon, etc.), and he's full of great stories.
I've seen a couple of interesting documentaries on Back to the Future, and I plan on sharing some of those insights with you in this episode. If you're a fan of Back to the Future or fun podcast conversations, I hope you'll join us for this one!
All about nerd culture and the show.