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Natalie Zutter

Taraji P. Henson to Star in Untold Story of NASA’s Black Female Mathematicians

Taraji P. Henson (who is killing it on Empire as Cookie Lyon) has signed on to star in director Ted Melfi’s (St. Vincent) adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race. Set during the Civil Rights era, this is the untold story of NASA’s black female mathematicians, focusing on four in particular; Henson will play Katherine Johnson, with the other roles yet to be cast.

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The Star Wars Universe’s Idea of Love is a Lot Healthier Now

Force-ghosts jumping from Imperial warships into apprentices’ bodies. Assassins falling in love with the Jedi they’re programmed to kill. Hapan queens trading one-night-stands for heirs. Reptilian crime lords spraying unsuspecting princesses with pheromones to broker a (eyebrow wiggle) trade. Jedi/Yuuzhan Vong hybrids caught between dead best friends/unrequited loves and their new, fallen-to-the-dark-side masters. Love—or, at least, sex and sometimes romance—in the Star Wars universe used to be a hot mess.

But what I grew up with as the Expanded Universe has now been mostly struck from the record—or, rather, redefined as “Star Wars Legends,” with an entirely new canon built around The Force Awakens. The introduction of new characters, through adventures in tie-in novels and comics as well as the new big-screen trilogy, brings new romantic dramas. And the surprising thing is, they’re all a lot more stable.

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Supergirl Finds Her Heart’s Desire in the Pain of Real Life

It’s funny—we were just talking in the office last week about the trope of the “it was all a dream”/”you imagined it” episode in SFF TV series. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had one of the best ones with “Normal Again,” which put the Slayer in a mental institution, but we couldn’t think of many other examples. This week, Supergirl tried its hand at a similar plot, in which an alien plant called the Black Mercy hallucinates Kara into thinking that she’s been on Krypton this whole time and Earth was just a dream. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because the series is also mimicking Alan Moore’s Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything.

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All The Geeky Super Bowl Commercials and Movie Trailers

While Super Bowl 50 (did you know they stopped using Roman numerals this year?) didn’t have any truly viral commercials, there were still plenty of geeky commercials, sneak peeks, and trailers slipped in amongst the football. From the funny to the dramatic, we got aliens, astronauts, Avengers references both on-the-nose and subtle, David Bowie earworms, and likely the best product tie-in we’ll see this blockbuster season.

Here they all in one place. Enjoy! Don’t let your boss know you do this.

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“Something’s Coming”: Watch the 10 Cloverfield Lane Super Bowl Trailer

The first trailer for J.J. Abrams’ surprise Cloverfield sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane (coming out in a little over a month) was one of the best trailers I’ve seen this year: low-key but with something just off, excellent use of music over too much dialogue, and a slow-burning sense of ominousness.

For the movie’s Super Bowl spot, we get a glimpse at how Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character wound up in unhinged survivalist John Goodman’s disaster shelter, and what might lurk outside.

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FX Developing Marvel Pilot Legion About Professor X’s Son

Pilot season brings us news of another network taking on a Marvel Entertainment property: FX is developing the pilot for Legion, about a man named David Haller, troubled by voices in his head… and also (in the Marvel Comics, at least) the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier. While the network ordered the pilot a few months ago, casting news announced today brings the project closer to a greenlight. Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens and the wonderful Aubrey Plaza have signed on to play the two leads.

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Crisis on Infinite Networks! The Flash is Crossing Over with Supergirl

The DC Cinematic Universe is becoming a bit more cohesive, thanks to news from CBS: Supergirl will have a crossover episode with The Flash on March 28. All we know is that Barry Allen/the Flash (Grant Gustin) will be visiting National City and, obviously, running into Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), though there are no details on what prompts the crossover.

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Did Someone Say Supergirl/Bizarro Girlfight?

I had always thought that there was just one Bizarro, meant to be Superman’s exact mirror-image. But, in searching out the character’s history in comics, I realize that just as we pass multiple reflections of ourselves in various surfaces every day, there are countless Bizarros who have compared themselves to the Man of Steel, over and over again, and who have always found themselves wanting. Which makes this week’s Supergirl, in which Maxwell Lord engineers a clone of Supergirl that gets dubbed—you guessed it—Bizarro, one of the season’s better installments. Because when you make Bizarro female, there’s an added dimension to the otherwise one-note “I kill Supergirl” mantra.

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J.K. Rowling is Turning the Wizarding World Into an Actual World

When I was a kid, part of the Harry Potter generation who had to wait for each book to be released, my life felt like a constant cycle of read new book, wait two years for next book, read new book, wait two years… We probably hit peak Potter in the mid-2000s, as both new books and new movies were coming out, to cheers and midnight parties. The world was lit by J.K. Rowling’s vision, and yet it was the same story over only two mediums. Now, almost a decade later, there’s even more Potter suffusing our world, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them later this year, plus Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming to the London stage—and, of course, Rowling’s many updates on Pottermore. The latter is in the news, as Rowling shared with fans details about four new wizarding schools!

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Google Beats Facebook to Developing AI That Can Intuitively Beat the Ancient Game of Go

More and more, we’re hearing stories about artificial intelligences that are “learning to learn”—that is, adopting a learning style more elastic than an algorithm that might possess more data but less creativity. Facebook is adding to that conversation with a recent blog post from Mark Zuckerberg about how they’re developing an AI that can play the 2,500-year-old Chinese game of Go. The thing is, Google got there first.

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