The Week in Geek: Smith in Star Wars, Baldwin out of Joker, Power Rangers are 25

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Jan 17, 2020, 1:51 PM EST (Updated)

Well, that's it: August is over. Where did the summer go? And where did this week go? It feels like Monday was just yesterday. It feels like the beginning of June was just yesterday, too, though.

But press on we must. Before we do, though, this member of the press wants to get you caught up on what you might have missed. Here they are, folks: the 5 biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

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Earlier in the week, it was being reported that Alec Baldwin had signed up to appear in Todd Phillips' 2019 Joker movie. Even after confirmations that the likes of Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, and Joaquin Phoenix would all be joining up, too, Baldwin still seemed like a wild addition to the cast.

And, even wilder, was the rumor of who Baldwin would be playing: Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne. And Baldwin wouldn't just be playing any version of Thomas Wayne, he would be playing a decidedly Trumpian rendition of the billionaire.

Why? What? No. Why? Why? Stop. No. Why?

That was the overwhelming response and, almost as though the internet was a public place where people can see when the world hates an idea, Baldwin very quickly announced that he was never going to play a Trumpy Wayne and, even if he were, he's not anymore. Given that Baldwin has been enjoying a long stint portraying President Trump on Saturday Night Live, maybe he wanted a break.

Regardless, this news exploded and then promptly imploded on itself in under a week, making it one of the weirdest and more stressful pieces of almost-casting to come along in quite a while.


The teens with attitude are now actually 25, and a quarter century on, the Power Rangers franchise is still pretty popular (at least on TV).

This week the Power Rangers: Super Ninja Steel iteration of the show aired Dimensions in Danger which is chock full o' legacy Rangers, including Tommy (because, of course). There was an evil Tommy, there was an army of evil Ranger clones, there was a sequence where Tommy wears every costume he's ever had... it was a pretty wild ride for anyone who grew up in the '90s.


Last week, Marsha Cooke, widow of the late great comic book artist Darwyn Cooke, responded to tweets alleging that, were Darwyn alive right now, he would be a part of #comicsgate.

In case you were unaware, #comicsgate is, like #gamergate before it, a hate movement within the nerd community designed to silence minority voices under the guise that it just wants comics to be about "entertainment." But any time "SJW" is used as an insult, y'all know we're just talking about folks who hate people of color, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

This week, because Fashion Week is coming up, I guess, two different comics publishers decided to sport some really tired and disappointing looks.

First up is Marvel Editor-in-Chief CB Cebulski who recently spoke at Terrificon in Connecticut. Cebulski was asked about Marvel's history of dealing with real issues and about stories that send a message. What message might Marvel wish to convey today, the questioner wondered. Cebulski did say that Marvel is "the reflection of modern times we live in" but then also said of the publisher's stories, "they still have to be entertainment." He also said, "we can't get too deep into the politics" because the comics "still have to be escapism."

And that's not the worst thing anyone will ever say. I think most of us would agree that we want Marvel comics to entertain and to give us some escapism from the real world. I guess it's just the implication that someone's very existence could be "political" because of their race, religion, sexuality, or gender identity that gets up the hackles. Shouldn't everybody feel like they get access to that entertainment, to that escapsim?

Far more questionable, though, is small publisher Alterna Comics, which announced this week that creators writing under its banner should not use blockchain on Twitter in order to avoid harassment. This came in response to people complaining that Alterna was retweeting members of #comicsgate.

Anyone who has been targeted by a hate campaign online knows that blockchain is basically the only way to get even a moment's peace. Alterna demanding that its creators accept daily torment because "comics should be for everybody" (even hate groups) is pretty thoughtless.

So, once again, the comic book community is in turmoil because some readers just can't handle that comics are political and always have been, but this week some publishers decided to acquiesce.

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(Credit: Vertical Entertainment/Sony Pictures)


It was announced this week that the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, is joining the cast of the next Star Wars movie where he will play a "key role." Is he playing the Doctor? Probably not. But there is wild speculation already as to what that key role will be. Will he be a Sith Lord? Admiral Thrawn? One of the Knights of Ren? Rey's secret brother? Who's to say?

This is not the first time Star Wars has pulled from the world of Doctor Who. 10th Doctor, David Tennant, played a droid named Huyang in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and, of course, the classic Tom Baker-era time tunnel effect is used when the Millennium Falcon goes into hyperdrive in the original Star Wars: A New Hope.


I apologize that two different important members of the comic book community are being lumped together under the banner of oblivion. We only cover five stories in this piece but it felt wrong to only mention one of these folks.

Marie Severin, who got her start at EC and became the lead colorist at Marvel and helped create Spider-Woman in the 1970s, passed away. She is easily one of the most influential members in the history of the Marvel bullpen. Her legacy includes the Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and Doctor Strange.

Gary Friedrich also passed this week. Friedrich, along with Mike Ploog and Roy Thomas, created Johnny Blaze, aka Ghost Rider. Daredevil, Hulk, Sergeant Fury, the X-Men — these are just some of the stories Friedrich had a hand in.

For those of us who loved a little bit of horror in our funny books, Friedrich's involvement with Ghost Rider was seminal. He was and is important — and he will be missed.

And that's it. Your Week in Geek is over. And it was kind of a bummer, looking back on what I wrote. Ah, well. Next week is Fashion Week in New York City. Maybe the temperature will come down and we can all look at some pretty people and feel better about the world.

See ya next week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.