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The Week in Geek: Stan Lee's fall? Black Widow's rise? Black Hogwarts!

Contributed by
Jan 12, 2018

Hello, friends! It's been another thrill-a-minute week here on the old internet. People sure had a lot of opinions about a lot of geek and geek-tangential stuff. We looked all around and picked out five of what we think were the biggest conversation-generating stories of the last week.

What happened between Sunday, January 7, 2018 and today? Well, there's Star Trek, there's the ongoing evolution of the #metoo movement, and several shades of black.

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS GOING FORWARD.

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STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

Starting the week off with a bang, Star Trek: Discovery returned from its mid-season hiatus with a whopper of an episode, "Despite Yourself." A lot happens. There's the reveal that the cast and crew have accidentally warped into a very familiar and sinister parallel universe. We finally get official confirmation that, yes, Ash is actually the Klingon, Voq.

But the big story coming out of the episode was the shocking death of Dr. Hugh Culber. Ash, in a struggle with his original persona, Voq, snaps the doctor's neck before leaving the ship with Michael and Captain Lorca.

Culber is one half of the first ever out gay couple in Star Trek along with Paul Stamets. Paul, you may remember, ended the first half of the season collapsing after using the spore drive one last time. So not only is Paul out of his mind and ill in ways we don't yet know from his connection to the spore drive, but his husband, Hugh, is dead.

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And in addition to how devastating that is within the narrative, there is also the blowback from the LGBTQIA community who has spent the last few years educating and speaking out against a trend in TV and film called "Bury your gays," where queer characters are far more likely to be killed or maimed than there hetero counterparts. And while Wilson Cruz, who plays Culber, has said that this is not the last we'll see of the good doctor, the questions of "where is this story going and will it be worth risking the perpetuation of a harmful trope" have lingered in the air all week.

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TIME'S UP, STAN LEE, JAMES FRANCO, DAN HARMON, AND #METOO

And speaking of questions that don't always have answers people will like, the big story coming out of the Golden Globes has been Time's Up, the legal defense fund designed to subsidize legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual assualt, abuse, and harassment in the workplace or in pursuit of their careers. This is part of the evolution of the #metoo movement which was born to pump up the volume on the conversation happening regarding sexual harassment everywhere, but in specific for us in this article, the entertainment industry.

Three major genre creatives were publicly accused this week of inappropriate behavior. James Franco, who won Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for The Disaster Artist (and who we all know as Harry Osborne in the original Spider-Man movies) was named by five different women for inappropriate sexual behavior, which he has denied.

Dan Harmon, who is known for beloved nerd series like Community and Rick and Morty, was also publicly accused by a former Community writer, Megan Ganz. Harmon wound up publicly and privately apologizing after which Ganz also publicly and privately forgave him.

And then there is the biggest of these stories — Stan Lee, who, over the course of 95 years of life, has been in many ways the name in comics for multiple generations, but has now also been accused by his nurses of groping them and making lewd comments. It is, to say the least, a horrifying indictment for anyone who has ever loved comics. Lee, whose wife recently died, has had a statement released denying the allegations.

Time's Up was the biggest story coming out of the Golden Globes and these three genre creatives standing accused of sexual misconduct continues to show the complexity in how we deal with such accusations. Without question, this conversation has been dominant throughout the week, and will likely remain so, for many weeks, months, and years to come.

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BLACK PANTHER ALREADY OUT HERE BREAKING RECORDS

In much happier news, Black Panther dropped a new TV spot this week while also finally making tickets for the film available for sale. In a moment that continues to confirm the suspicions of many, Fandango officially revealed that Black Panther sold more tickets in its first 24 hours than any other Marvel movie ever.

Keep in mind that the first Avengers movie made over $623 million domestic and over $1.5 billion worldwide in 2012, making it the fifth highest grossing film of all time. Who can say how Black Panther will stack up to that, but it's beaten Avengers in this one ticket-selling respect already. Who knows what else might happen?

All we do know right now is that the internet is constantly buzzing with excitement for every piece of news Black Panther generates and this week's ticket sales were just another satifying revelation to help quench that Black Panther thirst.

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BLACK WIDOW WRITES WRONGS?

It's been almost eight years since Black Widow first debuted as part of the MCU in Iron Man 2. It has been almost as many years that some Marvel fans have clamored for Natasha to get a stand-alone movie of her very own.

This week, Variety reported that screenwriter Jac Schaeffer has been officially tapped to write a script for a Black Widow stand-alone.

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The conversation online, however, is not simply one of jubilance, but more of "is this still the thing we want?" While, yes, there are still many fans who feel that both Black Widow and Scarlett Johansson have proven their worth for a stand-alone film, both the character's more recent outings and Johansson's controversial, white-washing turn as the Major in last year's Ghost in the Shell live-action adaptation have diminished some of the raw excitement.

With Black Panther imminent and Captain Marvel on the horizon, there are at least as many fans asking for characters like Gamora, Ms. Marvel, Storm, Moon Girl, Riri Williams, America Chavez, and other more intersectional women comic characters to receive the MCU treatment as there are folks excited at the prospect of a Black Widow stand-alone.

Either way, people are talking about Black Widow and her now more-likely-than-ever feature film.

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#BLACKHOGWARTS

It's hard to be happy with Twitter these days. Mostly it's just bad news on top of bad takes mixed into a nightmare souffle without end.

But this Thursday, a trending topic appeared which brought a smile to many, many faces: #BlackHogwarts.

It is exactly what it sounds like: tweets imagining what would happen if the world of Harry Potter had had a lot more melanin in it. The results? Pretty great.

Where did this trend come from? Well, someone out there realized that popular rapper, Cardi B's real name is "Belcalis Almanzar," and, yes, some folks noted that sounds like a name straight out of Harry Potter. So it is possible that is where the sensation that is #BlackHogwarts kicked off.

But regardless of its beginnings, #BlackHogwarts dominated the whole day, existing as a lit, bright beacon of hope in these often depressing social media times.

And those are the five stories we saw making the rounds. How did you feel about them? and what stories dominated your conversations this week?