Former The Mary Sue writer and social justice activist Sam Maggs announced that she is and has been working on the newly announced Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic Remake.
Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic Remake was announced at the PlayStation Showcase 2021 where game’s Lead Producer Ryan Treadwell made it abundantly clear the game is a “complete remake.”
He explained, “This is a complete remake of this beloved Star Wars story. For Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake, we are rebuilding from the ground up while maintaining that integrity and story from the original.”
Treadwell would add, “You know the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a true classic and one of our favorite Star Wars story ever. We want to honor that original story and make it as impactful for players today.”
“In terms of the visuals we have the opportunity to present this story with a much higher level of fidelity than was possible in the past while making sure that we are being authentic to what players loved about that original game,” Treadwell further elaborated.
In an interview with StarWars.com, Treadwell also reiterated, “Our big goals on this are to bring the story to a modern audience and have it be just as impactful today as it was for players when it originally launched.”
Lucasfilm Games’ Executive Producer Orion Kellogg also told StarWars.com, “We’ve been working really, really closely with Aspyr for a long time now to deconstruct what made KOTOR so great and bring that back to new audiences, because we want this game to be an incredible RPG.”
Kellogg went on to hint that they will be changing character designs, dialogue, and more, “We want this game to be just as beloved as it was before. Some of my favorite meetings to have in my week right now are to get into the nitty gritty with Aspyr and talk about, ‘Why did we make that choice in the original game and how does that play today? How do we expand that choice and make it even more meaningful and impactful?’ We think about, literally, every word of dialogue and [other choices] down to the clothes that the character is wearing.”
He then reiterated they are deconstructing the game, “We trust Aspyr, we trust the team that’s working on it, and we’re doing the work ourselves to dig in, deconstruct, and reconnect to why people love it because we don’t want to mess with that. We love it, too, and so we want to do it right. We hope everybody feels we’ve done this game a service when all is said and done.”
As for Sam Maggs, she announced her involvement in the game on Twitter sharing a video of her updating her Twitter profile with Knights of the Old Republic.
She tweeted, “IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING:”
In a subsequent tweet she added, “Could not be more honored and excited to be part of an INCREDIBLE team at Aspyr Media to remake one of my all-time favorite games!!”
While Maggs is now claiming that Knights of the Old Republic is one of her all-time favorite games, she previously claimed otherwise similar to Kevin Smith’s claims about He-Man.
Back in 2019, she tweeted that her favorite Star Wars game was Star Wars: Yoda Stories.
In that same thread she would also tweet, “‘isn’t kotor your favorite-‘ no”
As for her social justice activism, she takes particular interest in “the patriarchy.”
In 2014, she wrote, “Fighting the patriarchy makes me hungry, so I’m going to sit in the kitchen while my male partner cooks dinner.”
When Barnes & Noble posted a fan question, “If you were an action figure, what would be your awesome accessory?” Maggs responded, “A hammer for smashing the patriarchy. It would have bows.”
In 2017 she tweeted, “IT’S FREEZING BUT HATING THE PATRIARCHY KEEPS ME WARM #YEG #WOMENSMARCH”
Also in 2017 she tweeted, “today my trainer said ‘wow you’re strong for not having lifted very long’ and in my head I thought THANKS, IT’S FROM FIGHTING THE PATRIARCHY.”
In 2018 , she wrote, “Some of the worst professional experiences I’ve had involved white women with internalized misogyny doing the work of the patriarchy. I understand it but it doesn’t make it any less painful.”
On top of that she also has routinely attacked critics of Disney’s reboot of Star Wars.
In 2015, she tweeted, “LMAOOOO ARE BROS REALLY MAD THAT REY IS A MARY SUE LMAOO LMAOO.”
In another tweet she added, “If you want to hate Rey, at least be honest about it: you hate that she’s a Mary Sue because she’s a WOMAN. It’s cool. Just be real about it.”
In another tweet she wrote, “snotty angry baby boy: ‘Rey hardly needed any training at all -‘ me, strong in the force: ‘do you not remember that anakin was auto-born Strongest Jedi because of an arbitrary and intensely stupid high microorganism count or’”
But maybe Maggs’ biggest claim to fame is her local TV interview where she criticizes gamers who modified Grand Theft Auto V.
Writers and artists focusing more of their efforts on creator-owned series could spell big trouble for publishers like DC Comics and Marvel Comics. There is an ongoing trend that has been building to a crescendo recently, one which has been led by the digital publisher, Substack. It started out as a subscription-based platform where writers could send out newsletters to their fans. However, now Substack is getting into the comics game by allowing creators to directly create content that fans pay for.
Described as a way to “make it simple for writers to start a subscription publication,” Substack is an enticing way for writers and artists to release comic books as it acts under a very similar model to how comic books are published by DC and Marvel. It’s all heavily reliant on reader interest. However, with Substack fans subscribe on a monthly model, like streaming services, rather than having readers make the choice of buying an issue or not. It’s a rather simple, but effective model that guarantees a certain amount of money generated each month.
However, with times changing, some big creators have finally decided to jump ship from publishers like DC and Marvel. And it has the potential to be a very smart move on their behalf. The big name that kicked off this recent trend was James Tynion IV, who recently announced that he will be leaving Batman to write creator-owned comics. He is leaving his presumably very reasonable paycheck over at DC for Substack, which has offered him something far more enticing.: an opportunity to write comics and retain complete control over every choice that happens during the writing process and afterwards. Many other creators like Chip Zdarsky, Scott Snyder, Ram V, and Brian Michael Bendis have also announced new deals to focus on creator-owned comics. All of them will have much less time to focus on their efforts at DC and Marvel if their ventures into the creator-owned world are successful.
Moving To Substack Is Enticing For Comics Creators
The jump to creator-owned series means that writers and artists are able to retain the copyright to their creations, reaping heavy rewards for successful series. Alternatively, being a creator at DC or Marvel only allows for a certain level of monitored creativity. All creators at the Big Two operate on a work-for-hire basis where they have to fit their ideas into the editorial mandates of those in charge. There have been many stories about DC’s editorial team blocking things from playing out how creators intended them to. For instance, Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone had wanted to give Batgirl a Batcave during her New 52 run but was denied, despite characters like Green Arrow getting cool hideouts akin to the Batcave.
Over at DC and Marvel, creators get paid a certain amount of money to write, draw, letter or color series’. However, they don’t retain any residual rights for what they’ve created, meaning that they barely ever earn anything other than the initial paycheck given to them. If a movie based on their characters and stories makes $1 billion at the box office, they don’t get a cut. Tynion’s choice to transition over to Substack was a no-brainer for him as “there is nobody you need to get permission from to do what you want to do. Make the books you most want to make, the books you think should exist, the ones that it has driven you crazy that nobody is making. Make them yourself.”
Will Comics Fans Follow Their Favorite Creators?
It’s clear that the future of comics lies with creator-owned services like Substack. It’s just a matter of time before other companies offer lucrative and enticing deals like Tynion and other creators have received. It follows suit with the rise of streaming platforms in the world of film and television, which gives filmmakers more freedom to explore more out-there ideas that major studios might reject due to fear of audiences not responding.
Obviously, those who have the most success with their creator-owned comics, at least at first, will be the creators who are already established. As services like Substack rely on fan subscriptions, a creator like Tynion will draw in a larger crowd of fans who are more willing to sign up for any book he publishes. That’s what makes it worth it for a company like Substack because they can be assured that big creators will garner big followings. It’s less likely that up-and-coming creators will be offered lucrative contracts similar to people like James Tynion IV. This is because they are yet to establish a following that will guarantee people coming over and subscribing.
The rise in creator-owned comics could have a bright side for the Big Two publishers. It could lead to more up-and-coming writers and artists getting drawn into DC and Marvel as those publishers lose their already-established creators. This would allow lots of new talent will finally get their shot at some of the world’s most established characters with built-in fan bases. They will be able to make a name for themselves among readers, which could lead to some new creative choices that the past generation was unable to achieve. However, there is a big downside for DC and Marvel as they could become more desperate to retain creators and readers. Likewise, there is a major risk that fans of certain creators will drop the series that they are reading. They will be searching for the next series by their favorite artist or writer where they are guaranteed to get the same quality that they used to get at those publishers but in their rawest, unfiltered form.
The ramifications for the comic book industry could be huge, depending on how readers respond to online publishing platforms like Substack. It seems like it’s the future, but don’t count out DC and Marvel just yet as it also opens up new avenues for creative storytelling from new creators. However, there is the potential for a loop, whereby new creators become established and then leave like Tynion to be able to write their own creator-owned books, abandoning the big publishers and the cycle begins again. DC and Marvel will have to adapt, but it seems pretty clear that platforms like Substack are shaking things up.
Jonathan Pageau, the host of The Symbolic World, recently decried Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation Netflix show for perverting masculinity.
In the introduction of his video, Pageau details what he will be addressing, “It might seem like a very strange thing to talk about, this kids show, but I think it’s important to understand and to see one of the prime examples of a strategy that I’ve noticed in popular culture which is of course using masculinity against itself.”
He elaborated, “Using the capacity, the tendency men have to sacrifice themselves for the world in order to then use it as a trick to replace the masculine with the feminine.”
Diving into the subject of the video proper, Pageau first notes that He-Man “really is an image of hyper-masculinity.”
He then goes on to reiterate that He-Man is used to replace the masculine with the feminine. Pageau explains, “It is not surprising that that very character would be used to play out the narrative that I’ve talked about in so many of my videos which is the replacing of the masculine character, a male character with a female character.”
“Of course the female character has masculine characteristics and is supposed to be a warrior and a badass and a combatant and all of that. But nonetheless it really is a kind of stepping aside and being replaced,” he asserts.
Pageau then lists out a number of other films and TV shows where this is and has taken place, “This happened of course in the Wolverine movie (Logan). It happened in so many different instances in the past several years. And it’s also going to happen a lot more. You need to get ready for it. It was happening also in the Loki series. It is going to happen again with all these fictional characters.”
As for why they are doing this Pageau claims, “The reason why they’re doing this is very simple. It’s because this is our generation. That is those of us that are now in our 40s, we are the peak of the generation, you could say.”
He elaborates, “We have reached kind of peak influence in terms of culture and in terms of what will be the cultural narrative. The people that are my age that in their mid 40s, they are the ones who are running the show in terms of TV shows, in terms of movies, in terms of all of this. This is the generation that is now running the cultural narration.”
“And so it makes sense the battle of the cultural narrative would happen in these franchises that represent our own childhood whether it be Marvel, whether it be something as stupid as He-Man, whether it be Ghostbusters, all of these franchises are the ones that we had as children that were part of our memories and the memories that formed our perception of masculinity, our perception of storytelling. And not it is in this sphere that the battle is happening,” Pageau asserts.
Pageau then recaps the first episode of the show stating, “In the story, what happens is that the character He-Man, in the very first episode, dies. And after he dies, he is then replaced by the female warrior, I think her name is Teela. And she pairs up with the female bad guy and the entire story is about them, is about their arc, they become the main characters.”
“At the end of the series and the last episodes, what we show is we show again the main character, He-Man or Prince Adam, die in order to save the world. And this is where the game is being played,” he continues.
Pageau reiterates again, “I’ve mentioned many times that one of the strategies is gong to be to use the masculine tendency to sacrifice yourself in order to remove the masculine and so what it does is it actually leads the character up to a point which is really a messianic point, but it’s used as a trick to then toss the main character aside, the masculine character aside, and then replace him with a feminine character because the future is female.”
He continues, “And then of course there’s a bunch of gaslighting, there’s a bunch of saying, ‘No, this is not the point. That’s not the point.’ But if it only happened once or twice in a few stories and a few franchises, you could think that… Obviously that story can exist, but when it becomes a pattern, a systematic pattern then we have to look at it in a different way.”
Pageau then plays a clip of Smith explaining what happens in the first episode. The clip begins with Smith stating, “How we do it in episode one is he gives his f***ing life. He sacrifices his life. Now, you know, I’ve been accused of lying for saying that He-Man does no stepping aside. If He-Man giving his life for the entire universe is stepping aside then Tony Stark stepped aside, Jesus Christ stepped aside.”
“It’s a messianic moment and if you follow classic literature, the heroes arc, it’s where the hero has to go eventually. You have to sacrifice your life for some greater cause,” Smith says as the clip ends.
Pageau then analyzes Smith’s comments saying, “You can really see that he has understood the pattern. He understands the story pattern of the Christian knight of the Christian hero because he names Christ and Tony Stark, which was really a Christic image. He names this pattern as the one that he basically used to create his He-Man story. The one of self-sacrifice as the ultimate arc of the hero.”
He adds, “But then instead of having a resurrection instead of having a resurrection not necessarily in the character but maybe in another character, it is definitely used to toss aside the masculine character and replace him with a feminine character. Now, that’s what happens in this show.”
While Pageau notes that this pattern of storytelling and strategy is going “to get worse and get crazier,” he also sees it as an opportunity to tell better stories.
He explains, “It is also an opportunity for us who are willing and capable of telling better stories to reflip the story. To be able to present a return of the king story which will be more satisfying than the one that is presented here because it is truer to the divine pattern. It’s truer to the pattern of the return of Christ at the end of time.”
“Even in the story of Christ there is the resurrection, but there’s also the return of the king at the very end. Of the divine Logos coming to judge the living and the dead. And of course this is in a smaller way we can tell that story, like the story of Aragorn, like the story of the return of King Richard that we find in traditional stories,” he posits.
In concluding his video, Pageau explains why this perversion of masculinity and replacing masculine characters with feminine characters is a horrible thing.
He says, “This is a horrible thing not just because of feminism or whatever, but because these feminine characters are actually not feminine. These female characters are masculine and therefore it ends up being, as I’ve said many times, a diminishing of the actual feminine and the casting aside of the actual feminine because there’s no room for those characters anymore.
“And we end up having this hyper masculine world which is also inhabited by people with breasts, but are hyper masculine at the same time,” he finishes.
According to a recent report from Variety, big-budget American movies are being squeezed out of China due to the population of the Asian communist country growing tired of Hollywood’s incessant pandering.
According to data provided to the trade news outlet by the Artisan Gateway consultancy, only two North American films have managed to make it into China’s Top 15 rankings: F9: The Fast Saga and Godzilla vs Kong.
What’s more, report author Patrick Frater indicates that, “Hollywood’s share of the China box office market in 2021 has collapsed to a shocking 9.5%,” as “in the first eight months of 2021, Hollywood titles have been chart toppers on just eight occasions, driven by an ageing ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise, and over two weeks by a rereleased ‘Avatar.’”
These American chart appearances include a three week stint at #1 for F9, two weeks at #1 for the 2021 re-release of Avatar, and one week apiece each for Godzilla vs Kong, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, and Free Guy.
“[COVID aside] this year would have been a difficult time for import films and Hollywood in particular,” explained Artisan Gateway Chief Executive Officer Rance Pow. “The Chinese films that have been popular have become very popular and on top by quite some distance.”
What is perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the 20th of August theatrical debut of Disney/Pixar’s Luca was the first significant American film to see a release in Chinese cinemas since May 28th’s A Quiet Place Part II.
Frater further reports that “Disney-Marvel titles haven’t been released in China since ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in April 2019.
“In fact,” he continues, “‘Black Widow’ still remains without a release permit in China,” adding fuel to recent speculation that both Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and The Eternals have been banned in China – a move which would potentially deal a pretty big blow to the House of Mouse.
This particular speculation was first sparked when, a few months back, the CCTV6 China Movie Channel aired a list of upcoming release dates for various Hollywood-produced films which completely omitted listings for both of Marvel’s upcoming tentpole films.
Another reason why The Eternals may be at risk of being banned in China has to do with director Chloé Zhao, as she made some less-than-favorable comments about Communist China almost a decade ago.
In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Zhao stated, “It goes back to when I was a teenager in China, being in a place where there are lies everywhere.”
“You felt like you were never going to be able to get out,” the director elaborated. “A lot of info I received when I was younger was not true, and I became very rebellious toward my family and my background. I went to England suddenly and relearned my history.”
She further asserted, “studying political science in a liberal arts college was a way for me to figure out what is real. Arm yourself with information, and then challenge that too.”
Noting that The Eternals may have received the axe in China due to Zhao having been “branded a traitor for her past comments”, Frater posited that Shang-Chi was similarly banned due to Chinese concerns that the film’s will present a racist and stereotypical depiction of Asian cultures.
Frater also notes that films that could face similar issues include the the recently released Space Jam: A New Legacy “because American basketball continues to be a sensitive subject following an NBA official’s 2019 comments on Hong Kong,” as well as the upcoming sequel to Tony Scott’s cult-classic Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick, due to how it could be “seen as promoting the U.S. Military.”
“The political standoff between China and the U.S. has already gummed up film industry negotiations,” Frater asserts. “Now there’s the possibility that, in a tit-for-tat move following U.S. moves against ZTE, TikTok and Huawei, China may be deliberately hobbling one of America’s biggest export industries.”
“Several seemingly uncontroversial Hollywood titles are without release approvals or dates, including ‘Jungle Cruise’ and ‘The Suicide Squad., ” He adds. “Sci-fi spectacular ‘Dune’ has the advantage of being backed by the Wanda-owned Legendary Entertainment, but some online commentators are still cool about its prospects.”
“I’m in a lot of meetings now, where people tell me, ‘This will never get on because it’s not woke enough,’” Ash Atalla, award-winning comedy producer of hits including The Office and The IT Crowd, told a spirited panel at the Edinburgh TV Festival assembled to discuss the question of how TV makers can properly represent diverse Britain in all its forms.
“I’m amazed how fast the white people have thought, ‘We can’t get on television,’” he continued. “That’s come in hard and fast in the last two years, and it’s a bewildering experience to be in those meetings after 15 years of the opposite. Now white people think there’s no place for them.”
He added that even having the discussion publicly is increasingly challenging for people, through fear of being castigated or cancelled.
Mobeen Azhar, broadcast journalist and presenter, told an opposite but equal story, of being asked to develop an idea with a familiar female TV professional, “who happens to be a woman with brown skin”. The series, meant to be about British Asian identity, hit a snag when the woman admitted to Azhar she’d grown up in the Middle East, had attended private school and knew nothing about the subject matter.
“That’s a tick box,” said Azhar. “That’s a department who wants to commission an individual, and that’s not helpful because that person doesn’t have the diversity of experience. I believe passionately in public service broadcasting, but if we’re going to represent the masses, the public, we need a higher bar for what diversity really is.”
GB News journalist Inaya Iman agreed, saying: “If you only look through the lens of identity, you’re going to have a narrow spectrum of opinion and ideology. We should avoid ticking a box, but see people in the fullness of who they are, not what category they tick.”
In a complex and wide-ranging discussion, Louisa Compton, Head of News, Current Affairs and Sport at Channel 4, pointed out that the actual word “woke” means “being alert to injustice and not wanting to offend anyone, which seem like fairly important principles. But it’s become the new shorthand for political correctness gone mad, the new dividing line. It just means being too right on for words. It can alienate some audiences who feel that the world is moving on faster and leaving them behind.”
A specially commissioned survey revealed that 62% of the viewing audience believes political correctness has gone too far, compared with only 19% of figures working within the TV industry.
Azhar said he found that depressing, but that the answer is not “to give Nick Ferrari a prime time show. The reason that this majority of the public think that, online there’s a whole section of society, including cis, straight, white, who are really worried that they keep being told they’re kind of evil. You need to take people with you. Big Brother in the 2000s did so much for trans representation. It wasn’t academic and dry, it took people with the programme.”
The survey found that 40% of the viewing audience say they’re proud of the UK, compared with only 20% of TV industry people.
Atalla said he doesn’t believe comedy has to be all-representative, saying: “We can just take a post of view, and just show a diverse world through our comedy. For example, if we know the Trump election wasn’t rigged, why do we have to represent so many people that frighteningly think it was? Their views are not correct scientifically, so how useful it is to spend time on it?”
He pointed out his job was much easier in comedy than it was for people wrestling with these quandaries in news and current affairs.
Speaking for the latter, Compton pointed out: “We don’t need to balance debate about something like climate change denial, but when you try to silence a group of people, it feeds into a sense of conspiracy.”
Iman worried about the excluding phrases of words like ‘anti-vaxxer’ and ‘denier’. “They’ve become expanded to include genuine perspectives that are critical.
“The best thing to do is to present a range of views so someone can make their own judgment, to trust people to hear a range of perspective and come to the one that rings most true with their own experience.”
The survey found that 63% of TV industry professionals see the British Empire as something to be ashamed of, compared with only 23% of viewing public.
Azhar reflected that news and current affairs staff face different challenges from program makers.
For the latter, he reflected: “I made a programme called Muslims Like Us – effectively a debate around who represents the Muslim community. We had to make that programme entertaining and watchable. What did it do? It took an audience with it. The bottom line of it was that people are just people, that’s what we learned from it. It’s that kind of programming we have to make to move forward the people who think PC’s gone mad, because it hasn’t.”
Patreon, the crowdfunding platform for artists and content creators, has made dubious decisions in the last few years. Most recently, it is attempting to exert editorial control over its users’ works. In this YouTube video by Clownfish TV, the hosts Kneon and Geeky Sparkles opine why they don’t recommend Patreon anymore. They also take a critical look at its stock valuation, and recommend alternatives for people to make money online.
Patreon originated as a payment processor for online creators, providing a way for their fans to donate money, while taking a cut for itself. Many YouTubers turned to it during the “Adpocalypse,” when YouTube advertising revenue dried up. However, Patreon angered the community when it expelled Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, for his political views. Many users, even those who don’t agree with Sargon, left the platform in support of free speech.
Kneon and Geeky read a post by a Patreon user called Redamz, who is developing a indie video game. Patreon is trying to censor the game for being lewd, even though erotica has been a moneymaker on the site for a long time. The moderators and/or executives at Patreon do not enforce rules evenly, if they bother with them at all. This is a problem in many Silicon Valley-based companies. Redamz has already collected enough money from backers to finish his or her project, and plans to leave Patreon immediately. They do mention Patreon competitors Subscribestar and Pixiv, which have much better free speech policies.
The video then moves on to a Wall Street Journal story about Patreon winning a stock valuation of $4 billion. This is dubious considering the company’s user backlash and employee layoffs. It hasn’t been profitable in almost its entire existence. Perhaps investors see future potential as independent entertainers replace Hollywood. But Patreon is too poorly run to be trusted.
Clownfish TV run their own websites in addition to their YouTube channel. You can find web design tutorials on YouTube and make your own using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix. Then you can create a merch store, your own donation buttons to your PayPal account or cryptocurrency wallet, and run affiliate links to products for sale and collect commissions. There is also the previously mentioned Subscribestar. It simply doesn’t pay to use Patreon as your middleman.