About That ‘Cats’ Trailer: A Feline Anatomy Expert Weighs In

As a veterinarian, anatomist, and physiologist, Leslie Sprunger has taught small animal anatomy at Washington State University for nearly two decades. After the release of the trailer for the upcoming film musical Cats, based on the Broadway musical Cats, itself based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, WIRED spoke with Dr. Sprunger for a sense of what exactly was going on with… all of that.

If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, you can do so right here. It features an unlikely concoction of Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Dame Judy Dench, Jason Derulo, and familiar show tune weepers. As with the stage production, the movie’s not trying particularly hard for feline fidelity. But the ways in which it actually does hit the mark—and doesn’t—still might surprise you.

WIRED: Thanks so much for talking with us about this. Does anything here actually resemble cat physiology or behavior?

Leslie Sprunger: I watched the [...]  read more

Comic-Con Trailers: ‘It Chapter 2,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and ‘His Dark Materials’

It’s only day one of Comic-Con International, but the conference has already given fans a lot of early looks at upcoming films—and a few trailers. Below are some of the best, from It Chapter 2 to Top Gun: Maverick.

It Chapter 2 (September 6)

“Something happens to you when you leave this town,” the voice of Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) says over footage of bucolic Derry, Maine. “The farther away, the hazier it all gets. But me? I never left. I remember all of it.” So do fans of the first It, which turned one of Stephen King’s most terrifying books into one of 2017’s biggest hits. While the first half of the two-part adaptation gave more setup than scare, this one very much does not: Demon clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is even more hallucinatorily unhinged, and while I have no idea if the freaky buzzing siren sounds are going to stick around for the movie, they’re goddamn disquieting here. (There’s a reason William Friedkin buried audio [...]  read more

Depth of Field: The Hollow Poetry of the Eric Garner Decision

Is America morally asphyxiating? Each week I look on in a snowballing state of disbelief and semi-shock (it’s hard to be completely surprised anew by how bad the situation continues to get), anxiously seesawing with emotions, as the country is further imperiled.

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p class=”paywall”>Over the weekend, in response to criticism, President Trump urged four progressive members of Congress—US Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexiandria Ocasio-Cortez, all of whom are women of color—to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Almost unilaterally, the tweet was flagged as racist by everyone except conservatives, who have either offered a mute response or denied cries of racism altogether. The twisted serendipity of our national project is that sometimes moments align in tragic concert but still point to hulking truths. This was one such week.

On Tuesday,  [...]  read more

‘Thor 4’ Is Coming—and Taika Waititi Is Directing

Taika Waititi will reportedly direct the next Thor film.

Roger Kisby/Redux

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s culture news roundup. Comic-Con International kicks off this week, so there’s a ton happening, but not all of the big news of the week is coming out of San Diego. Like, for example, all of these tidbits below. Enjoy!

Taika Waititi Writing and Directing Thor 4

Did you enjoy the hard-rocking good time that was Thor: Ragnarok? Good news: Taika Waititi, the man behind that film, is coming back for more. Waititi has reportedly signed on to write and direct Thor 4. Chris Hemsworth will reportedly return for the fourth Thor film, but few other details are known. Meanwhile, the upcoming Akira film, which Waititi was slated to direct, appears to be on hold.

Game of Thrones and Netflix Dominate the Emmy Nominations

The Television Academy announced this year’s Emmy nominees [...]  read more

The #IceBae Meme Captures the Worst of 2019 So Far

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For those who support President Trump’s immigration policies, #IceBae seems to be a symbol of patriotism, though nobody is separating her service from her race, gender, and appearance. (Fox News reports that “some people” are referring to Cervantes as a Latina hero, but this reporter could only find one tweet doing so.) The vast majority of the supportive tweets are amorous, and a large number of them favorably compare Cervantes’ sex appeal to that of US Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. A Twitter account purporting to belong to Cervantes, which was created the same day as the original #IceBae tweet, has been engaging with these supporters, thanking them and saying she is “in awe” of the attention her photo is receiving. (Cervantes did not immediately respond to request for comment.)

Backlash [...]  read more

Netflix’s ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein’ Is a Fun Mess

David Harbour, best known for playing supernaturally beleaguered small-town cop Jim Hopper, is now on to even stranger things. In the mockumentary Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein, he plays a puffed-up version of himself, investigating the life of his father, David Harbour Junior, after he unearths footage of his dad’s televised stage play while killing rats in his mother’s attic. (Hell of an elevator pitch, right?) What Harbour discovers—the bizarre artifact that is the play Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein and lots more scandal besides—challenges everything he thinks he knows about his father in just about 30 minutes.

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What he finds is also bizarrely funny.

In real life, Harbour’s dad’s name is Ken and he’s in real [...]  read more

Alex Acosta’s Resignation Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

It’s been such a busy seven days that there’s been no time to talk about the fact that a federal grand jury is reportedly investigating a major Trump fundraiser, or that an appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit about whether or not President Trump is personally profiting from government visitors staying at his hotels. (Admit it; you never even knew that last one happened.) Last week also featured Speaker of the House Paul Ryan admitting he was  [...]  read more

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Tabletop RPGs

Shannon Appelcline’s four-book series Designers and Dragons presents an incredibly detailed look at the history of tabletop roleplaying games, featuring profiles of more than a hundred companies, including TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and White Wolf.

“The scale of the project was obviously huge, and the only way that it possibly came about was doing one article at a time, one company at a time,” Appelcline says in Episode 369 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “If I had ever looked and said, ‘Hey, I need to put out four books’—which together were half a million words—I probably would have run in the other direction.”

For each article, Appelcline gathered as much information as he could from magazines and websites, then ran his research past people who had actually worked at the companies in question.

“Sometimes they’d send it back and say, ‘Hey, this is all great. It sounds exactly like what we did. I don’t know how you figured it out,’” Appelcline [...]  read more

Amazon Is Making a ‘Lord of the Rings’ MMO Game

Greetings, gamers! Welcome to a new edition of Replay, WIRED’s lightning-fast videogame news roundup. Undoubtedly the biggest deal this week was the announcement of Nintendo’s new Switch Lite, but that’s just the beginning. There’s also a new Lord of the Rings MMO on the horizon, and Cuphead might be getting a TV show. Let’s press play.

Lord of the Rings Is Getting Another Chance at MMO Glory, This Time From Amazon

Lord of the Rings has a big, complicated history in videogames. Famously, it had a major foray into the massively multiplayer world with The Lord of the Rings Online, a game that launched in 2007 and remains a cult favorite to this day for its expansive, detailed approach to living inside Middle-earth.

That game wasn’t exactly a success, though, and now a new one is coming to snatch the glory it never attained. Amazon Game Studios is currently in the process of developing a massively multiplayer online game in collaboration with Leyou Technologies that will  [...]  read more

By Dying, ‘MAD Magazine’ Gets Its Best Shot at a Second Life

The first MAD magazine I ever read flew so far over my 7-year-old head I’m surprised I could hold onto it. The cover, a parody of Time‘s Person of the Year starring Pac-Man, was an utter mystery; I’d heard of Pac-Man by that point, but hadn’t played it. I definitely hadn’t read Time.

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Confusion only grew as I read, and slowly turned into fascination. Mad was shaped like a magazine but felt like a comic book—and talked about stuff I’d only heard on the news programs adults watched. The first article jabbed at then-president Ronald Reagan and his past as an actor by placing him in classic movies: a “supply-side Robin Hood” stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. “Ron Quixote,” tilting at Communist windmills for the benefit of [...]  read more