The Ryan Coogler Effect: What the Success of ‘Black Panther’ Means for Black Directors

If you had to take a guess, how many studios would you say are desperate to greenlight a superhero film by a black director? One? Just a few? All of the majors? I cynically volleyed that question to coworkers in Slack last week when reports started circling that Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, She’s Gotta Have It) was in consideration to direct an adaptation of Nightwatch for Sony, possibly with a script from Luke Cage’s Cheo Hodari Coker. My colleagues debated the query gamely, but the discussion didn’t end with the possibility of Lee taking on a Marvel hero. One day later, there was a report that Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time, Selma) would be directing New Gods, a DC saga of virtue and immorality that takes place in a realm of immortal beings known as the Fourth World. I was starting to get answers.

There’s a renewed sense of excitement afoot in Hollywood, and much of it has to do with the singular and sweeping success of director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, read more

“Eye Tracking Is Coming to Virtual Reality Sooner Than You Think. What Now?”

Joakim Karlén handed me the headset, such as it was. It was a reference design only; the hard plastic box lacked a headstrap, and had a utilitarian form factor only a dystopian sci-fi fan would love. However, it was also completely self-contained—no cables trailing away from it to a nearby PC, no cellphone to power it. This was Qualcomm’s latest “standalone” headset reference, a prototype and platform architecture that the company would provide to developers in order to create all-in-one devices.

When I held the headset up to my eyes (no headstrap, remember?) I found myself looking into a mirror, seeing the reflection of the young woman who was my avatar. When I turned my head from side to side, so did the reflection—except her eyes stayed centered in their sockets. I could look at the mirror out of the corner of my eye, but my avatar couldn’t.

Related Stories

Peter Rubin

The VR Metaverse of Ready Player One Is Just Beyond Our Grasp

Jeremy Bailenson

3 Rules for Designing Primo Virtual Reality

Peter Rubin

Enter read more

*RuPaul’s Drag Race*: How Drag Fueled Pop Culture’s Slang Engine of the Moment

In 2016, RuPaul Charles told Nightline that he didn’t think that his work would ever be truly mainstream. At the time, his competitive-reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race was airing on LGBTQ-focused cable network Logo, and the world’s most famous drag performer still didn’t think people took his work—or his show—seriously. “I haven’t been accepted in mainstream media outlets,” he said, “because the only ways they can actually have a conversation with me is to make fun of me, or [to] somehow make a joke about what I’m doing.”

Less than a year later, RuPaul’s Drag Race had moved to VH1, and even Saturday Night Live was acknowledging its outsized role in the cultural imagination with a sketch that was one giant bit of fan service. “You have to serve complete body,” as one butch auto mechanic explained to his coworkers in the scene. “Tuck, hip pads—the face has to be beat for filth. The whole read more

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ Review: A Big, Loud Movie That Needs Guillermo del Toro

Back in 2011, when Guillermo del Toro was first starting to hype his forthcoming movie Pacific Rim, he gleefully described it as “giant fucking monsters against giant fucking robots.” That’s how he always talked about it, with childlike glee. But he was also steeped in its antecedents: Toho monster films, Voltron, decades of sci-fi. The film he was planning was a playground toy battle writ large, imagined by a guy with the exuberance and resources necessary to build his own toys. Without that, it would’ve just been Transformers—all rock-‘em-sock-‘em, no heart.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is what that movie would’ve been without Guillermo del Toro. Not to drag Steven S. DeKnight’s 10-years-later sequel—it could’ve been a much worse mecha-wreck than it is—but it’s clearly playing in someone else’s sandbox, tooling around with another kid’s toys. While it monster-robot fights are just as fun the second time around, it seems content simply to play the same read more

The ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ Cast Answers Kaiju Trivia

Kaiju aren’t real. Like, not really. But as with many things birthed from genre films, they have a canon. There are rules, man. And if you’re the star of a major kaiju movie like, say, this weekend’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, then it behooves you to know a thing or two about them.

So how do the stars of Uprising stack up when it comes to their knowledge of monster trivia? We quizzed them on 50 of the most Googled questions about kaiju and the Pacific Rim universe to find out what they knew and what they didn’t. Turns out, Scott Eastwood (Nate Lambert in the film) is woefully ignorant of what the movie’s mechs, the jaegers, are made of. But luckily, John Boyega (Jake Pentecost) and Cailee Spaeny (Amara Namani) know quite a bit about kaiju history.

What else? Watch above to see Eastwood, Boyega, Spaeny, Burn Gorman (Hermann Gottlieb), and Charlie Day (Newton Geiszler) reveal all the film’s secrets above, including whether it passes the Bechdel Test and whether or not it has a post-credits scene.

More WIRED Culture

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired

‘#WarGames’ Is a Unique, Interactive Revival of the ’80s Movie

The FMV videogame emerged in the late 1980s, and then died an ignoble death in the early 1990s. (Remember Night Trap?) Intended as a way to blend interactivity and live-action entertainment, FMV games (the acronym stands for “full motion video”) were mostly awkward, stitched-together messes that, while fascinating, didn’t have any sort of staying power. But in the past few years the genre has gotten a small, unlikely revival—one that unlocks its potential in a way the first wave never did.

Related Stories

  • Scott Brown

    WarGames: A Look Back at the Film That Turned Geeks and Phreaks Into Stars

  • Julie Muncy

    This Eerie Mario Tribute Is an Ode to Playing Games With Your Brother

  • Julie Muncy

    Another Year, Another Game Developers Conference—But For Whom?

Indeed, what’s emerged now is something very different, a format more playful and more thoughtful than anything that surfaced back then. Case in point: #WarGames, an “interactive read more

GDC 2018: Who Is This Event For Anymore?

San Francisco is a little bit more crowded than usual today, thanks to the 2018 Game Developers Conference. For a week each March, developers from all over the world come to learn, play new games, and hopefully get a job—while journalists congregate to report on the activity of said developers (and also to get jobs). GDC is possibly the most important event of the year for the army of engineers, artists, and businesspeople who make up the commercial videogame industry: a hub of networking, showcases, and creative reflection, a place for both announcements and edification.

Related Stories

  • Julie Muncy

    This Eerie Mario Tribute Is an Ode to Playing Games With Your Brother

  • Julie Muncy

    Into the Breach Makes Defeat Feel Deeply Satisfying

  • Julie Muncy

    Florence Is a Mobile Game That Captures the Power of Touch

Yet, like videogames itself, the conference seems to be at a crossroads. As the event has continued to grow, and its profile in the industry has increased, its purpose has begun to shift. The usual excitement still exists among read more

Trump’s Call to Start a Space Force Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

People look for inspiration and happiness in a vast array of places. Some see school kids walking out of class across America to take a stand for gun control and find hope. Others note that 7-Eleven now has customizable tater tots and are filled with joy. What do they get when they look at the internet? All that and a lot of bickering and tweets about calzones. Here, dear friends, is what everyone was talking about online last week when they weren’t talking about the new Avengers: Infinity War trailer.


What Happened: President Trump announced Rex Tillerson was being replaced as secretary of state on Twitter.

What Really Happened: Folks like to make jokes about Donald Trump running America via Twitter, but last week he announced an executive decision on the platform that was definitely not funny—at least not to the head of the State Department.

Yes, the change in Secretary of State—one of the most important, if not the most important, cabinet positions—was read more

The Universe Is Basically a Hippie’s Pipe Dream

Vandana Singh knows the universe is strange—she’s a physics professor. She’s also a science fiction author who uses the knowledge gleaned from her day job to write stories as bizarre as the universe itself.

“I have a one-line ad for a modern physics course I teach which is that ‘The universe is much more like a hippie’s pipe dream than it is like an accountant’s ledger,’” Singh says in Episode 299 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And that’s really true, I think. It’s just so incredibly strange.”

Fourteen of her stories are collected in the new book Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories, including “Peripeteia,” in which a young woman becomes convinced that the universe is a constantly-shifting ad hoc illusion created by aliens.

“She’s thinking about this idea that perhaps the world is not finished, the universe is not finished,” Singh says. “So the more you observe, and the more consistent your theory is, the more reality will mold or read more

Jean Grae’s New ‘Zero’ Music Video Is a Trip Through Classic Arcade Games

Quelle Chris was high on mushrooms. That may not be germane to the story, exactly, but the producer/MC makes a point of bringing it up. This was a few years ago, and he was at an arcade in San Francisco (a perfectly fine place to trip). After a few rounds on some old-school fighting games, he decided to try one of the newer machines; he sat down next to a preteen playing a then-new King of Fighters game, and put in a quarter. Round one: the kid wiped him out. Round two: same thing. Despite years of videogame consumption, Quelle was getting annihilated by someone who didn’t look old enough to drive.

“This is the kicker,” he says now. “He turns to me and he goes, ‘Have you ever played a Street Fighter before?’ And oh, I felt my heart drop down to my feet. Like, ‘You don’t know how much time I’ve spent!'”

Related Stories

Brian Raftery

Let’s Look for Clues in Frank Ocean’s Weird New Streaming Video

Julie Muncy

This read more