Every now and then, it pays to step back and take a look at what the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done to our collective grasp on reality. Sure, the Marvel movies are fun. Sure, the Marvel movies are sometimes great. But sometimes, what the dominance of Marvel means is that you’ll have to read a sentence in Deadline—a reputable trade publication, in good standing!—that says something like “online speculation includes a hypothesis that [Blindspotting star Rafael Casal] could be playing Zaniac,” and be forced to treat it like it’s English.
See, Deadline is reporting that Casal—who starred in and co-wrote both Blindspotting the film, and its subsequent Starz TV show—has apparently joined the cast of Disney+’s Loki, after photos of him and Loki stars Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson leaked online. (For what it’s worth, Marvel is keeping its typical veil of secrecy tight, and refusing to comment.) Now, given that Loki is unpredictable even by the standards of Marvel projects, what with all its CGI smoke dinosaurs and alligator gods and sudden complete takeovers by the stars of Lovecraft Country, it’s impossible to say who Casal might end up playing—provided Deadline’s sources are even right, and he is actually joining the show’s cast.
And yet: “Online speculation includes a hypothesis that he could be playing Zaniac.”
Who the fuck, you ask yourself, is Zaniac? Honestly, we have no idea. We could know; there’s a tab to the Marvel wiki open on our browser right now, and we caught a couple of glimpses of a dude in a very bad vest who can supposedly create “psychic knives.” (Also the first line of the article is apparently, “It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Jack the Ripper (Earth-616). (Discuss),” which, yes we’d like to.) But we’ve decided that we’re refusing, on principle, to learn who Zaniac is. Zaniac remains a mystery to us. If Rafael Casal—a talented and effective performer—wants to go ahead and tell us who Zaniac is, we’ll be happy to listen. But god damn it, we’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and Zaniac is apparently where it’s at.