How to build a fantasy world, from Star Wars to Lord Of The Rings

It’s a ton of work to write a sci-fi or fantasy novel. If you’re trying to create a fictional universe where civilizations span galaxies or different, mythical species interact, you have to create a universe. In a wonderful new essay on Literary Hub, writer A.D. Jameson opines that it’s more or less expected from…

Harvey Weinstein almost handed Lord Of The Rings off to Quentin Tarantino to cram into a single film

Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings continues to stand as a testament to what you can pull off with sufficient faith in the right filmmaker. After all, even if you don’t agree with every single decision that Jackson and his team made—looking at you, Tom Bombadil fanatics—it’s hard to deny that, backed by New Line,…

Ashley Judd sues Harvey Weinstein for smear campaign that cost her a role in The Lord Of The Rings

Harvey Weinstein is under investigation by prosecutors in New York, Los Angeles, and London for his alleged sex crimes, but he still may never face criminal charges for sexual assault, let alone sexual harassment. But one woman who says that her career was derailed by the disgraced producer is hitting him where it…

Half the Fellowship got together for an impromptu Lord Of The Rings reunion

The cast of Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings was a famously close-knit group, with the members of the Fellowship sharing plenty of inside jokes (and tattoos) accrued during their years of filming in New Zealand. It’s nice, then, to see that those bonds are still intact 15 years later, with retired hobbit Dominic…

Dan Harmon’s universal theory of storytelling gets an animated explainer

Grand, unified artistic theories don’t get much grander and unified than Dan Harmon’s storytelling process. As detailed in an article on Wired some five years ago, Harmon boiled down Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the hero’s journey into a simple circle. And once he grasped this storytelling principle he couldn’t stop…

From 17 to 55 years, authors took their time with these long-awaited book sequels

When Richard Russo published Everybody’s Fool last week, he joined the club of authors who waited more than a decade before publishing a sequel. Whether this group took their time creating a rich fantasy world (like J.R.R. Tolkien), checking in with characters to study the passage of time (à la Harper Lee), or for no…

Killing above your weight class: 26 unexpected assassins

The Wire’s Omar Little (Michael K. Williams) earned his status as a fan favorite for his unique mix of competence and bravado, which allowed him to make a very successful living robbing Baltimore’s most dangerous drug dealers. Despite numerous attempts on his life, he survives until the fifth season when he goes to…

What do you watch when you’re too hungover to function?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

This supercut of every VFX Oscar winner in history is pretty darn mesmerizing

Many people go to the movies to escape, and one of the greatest tools to allow such an escape is visual effects. Whether it’s capturing the world around the viewer in a seemingly realistic way, or depicting some impossible event and location without completely breaking the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief,…

What soundtrack or score do you want to see performed live?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

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Linkin Park’s “In The End” assembled from 185 different films

Crossing decades, genres, and tones, one YouTube user has created the ultimate lyrical tribute to Linkin Park that few knew was needed. The Unusual Suspect (a.k.a. Ross Thompson) has gone through over 180 films to borrow words and phrases to fit the gloomy angst of Linkin Park’s “In The End.” By assembling this…

Lord Of The Rings writer to script Disney’s live-action Merlin movie

Branching out into the wider world of wizard beards and the wizards who wield them, Lord Of The Rings writer Philippa Boyens has signed on to script Disney’s new live-action Merlin film. The movie will be the Oscar-winning screenwriter’s first major project away from the comforting fellowship of Peter Jackson and Fran…

Rare, Tolkien-annotated map of Middle Earth found tucked inside old book

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings has long provided a safe space for fans of orcs, poem-songs, and fantasy cartography to come together in shared appreciation of their mutual loves. Now, we can add “rare book collectors” to the list of communal nerderies, with The Independent’s i100 blog reporting that a rare,…

A TV series, a webseries, and 3 newly reissued soundtracks

I won’t succumb to the tired cliché of “the best show you aren’t watching” to talk about Married, but it’s so tempting: Judy Greer and Nat Faxon excellently portray a long-time married couple, pushing 40 and painfully aware of how their lives haven’t turned out the way they’d hoped. It’s a startlingly realistic…