The 17 Most-read WIRED Stories of 2017

What were WIRED readers interested in during the past year? Well, they seem to be no more interested in Donald Trump than in bananas, which they care about less than Apple. They cared a great deal, too, about hackers and about the great reckoning that the tech industry faced in 2017—reckoning with the responsibilities that come with power and reckoning with gender dynamics that have remained little discussed for too long. They also were interested in ways to live forever, but also in how we think through the inevitability of death. And no one wanted to burn their eyes during the solar eclipse.

Here are the seventeen most read stories of the year, arranged chronologically. Look back to get a sense of this intense, crazy, and inventive year. And, of course, for daily dispatches of the best of WIRED, sign up for our newsletter.

A Russian Slot Machine Hack Is Costing Casinos Big Time

Digging through slot machine source code helped a St. Petersburg-based syndicate make off with millions.

—Brendan Koerner, February 6

Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone

The history of coffee gives read more

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Q&A: Writer-Director Rian Johnson on the Future of the Franchise

Whether you loved it or hated it (most people liked it), everyone can agree there’s a lot to unpack in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It’s 2 hours and 35 minutes of drama, space fights, switched sides, and creatures—at least one of which Mark Hamill drinks from. That’s kind of a lot. But don’t say Rian Johnson never gave you anything.

And really, fans should expect nothing less from him. Johnson, the writer-director behind the latest installment, is known for making thinking-person’s sci-fi, so there was no way he was going to make a Star Wars that was pew-pew-pew and nothing else. Indeed, The Last Jedi is full of existential crises and all kinds of cinematic references—some of which take a couple viewings to catch. (The payoff is worth it, though.)

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It also leaves viewers with a lot of unanswered read more

From ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ to ‘Marvel Powers United VR,’ the Most Anticipated Games of 2018

With 2018 just weeks away, there’s no shortage of games we’re most excited about. A mixture of big budget games and potential sleeper hits, our gaming calendar for the new year is looking jam-packed already—even if those pesky release dates haven’t quite been ironed out yet.

Dragon Ball Fighter Z (January 26)

Revealed at E3 2017, Dragon Ball Fighter Z looks to be perhaps the most lovingly crafted, detailed Dragon Ball Z game to ever exist. Built by Arc System Works, the creators of the Guilty Gear series of fighting games, it boasts stunning animation and accessible combo systems that are enough to stoke anyone’s anime nostalgia. As an added bonus, the game will feature a new storyline and a new character (the villainous Android 21) created by Dragon Ball artist and scribe Akira Toriyama himself. System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Monster Hunter World (January 26)

The latest installment of Capcom’s cult read more

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2018, From ‘Black Panther’ to ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’

So, 2017 turned out to be a year with a lot of great cinematic surprises, from the scares of Get Out to the wonderful love story in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water to the superheroine supersmash Wonder Woman. That means 2018 has a lot to live up to. Luckily, there’s a big whopping slate of great movies on the horizon—including these, the the 20 movies we think hold the most promise in the next year. Block out your opening weekends now.

Cloverfield Movie (February 2)

Considering this film—another chapter in the Cloverfield world first created by J.J. Abrams and friends in 2008—keeps getting pushed around, its prospects are dicey. Then again, maybe that’s all part of the ruse! Abrams and co. have a knack for pulling rabbits out of hats, so until we know more we’re going to hold out hope that this flick, about a team of astronauts that make an awful discovery, will be a wonderful surprise. As will, presumably, whatever its actual title ends up being.

Black Panther (February 16)

read more

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: We Need to Talk About The Big Controversy

Another December, another massive opening for a Star Wars movie—this time to the tune of $450 million worldwide. That alone isn’t really surprising; Star Wars fans tend to be the See It Opening Weekend type. What is surprising, though, is how divisive the film turned out to be. (Star Wars fans also tend to be the Argue About Changes to Their Fave Franchise type, too, apparently.)

What’s at issue? Largely, according to the reviews below the film’s Luke-warm 56 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, folks didn’t like that writer-director Rian Johnson’s chapter veered in deeper and darker directions than The Force Awakens and didn’t love what the movie did with Skywalker (and many of the characters in general).

We here at WIRED, though, are on board with Johnson’s version. But the dust-up does have us thinking. A lot. To work through our feelings, we assembled writers and editors Peter Rubin, Jason Tanz, Angela Watercutter, Brendan Nystedt, and Jordan McMahon to talk read more

Star Wars News: Did You Catch the ‘Rogue One’ Easter Egg in ‘The Last Jedi’?

Yes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters and that’s all you really need to know. Well, that and the fact that it made a lot of money and has been surprisingly divisive amongst fans. (Maybe.) Now you’re all caught up. Let’s just get on with things, shall we?

Everyone Loves The Last Jedi, Part 1

The Source: The cinemas around the world

Probability of Accuracy: Entirely on point.

The Real Deal: Turns out, a lot of people wanted to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The movie’s opening weekend earned $220 million domestically, making it the second-biggest opening for a movie in box office history—behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for those wondering. Internationally, it took in another $230 million, for a worldwide gross of $450 million. With a take like this, no wonder Disney is giving writer-director Rian Johnson an all-new trilogy of his own to play with.

Everyone Loves The Last Jedi, Part 2

The Source: Online metrics and those who study them

Probability of Accuracy: That’s the question, isn’t it?

The Real Deal: So, did people read more

Roy Moore’s Horse-Riding Skills Top This Week’s Internet News Roundup

What a week! The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, which would make it harder to discover chapters of Harry Potter written by bots, watch conspiracy theories get torn apart in real time, and uncover awkward text conversations in the future. Meanwhile, media giants kept on growing, the slow wheels of justice turned slowly and, you know, some movie or another came out. But in case that’s not enough, there’s always … well, this.

Roy Moore’s Neigh-Sayers

What Happened: As Alabama went to the polls, folks across the country went to the internet to fret over who would be the state’s next representative in the US Senate.

What Really Happened: By now, of course, everyone knows that democratic candidate Doug Jones won the Alabama special election to become senator on Tuesday, thanks to a big boost from black voters (and not for the first time, either). But before that happened, Election Day offered not one, but two moments indicating that scandal-riddled candidate Roy Moore might somehow win.

Firstly, there read more

Who Wants a Pet Direwolf? Perhaps a Passenger Pigeon?

For the past few years science writer Britt Wray has been delving into the strange field of “de-extinction,” traveling the world to meet with scientists who are working to bring back species ranging from the aurochs to the thylacine to the woolly mammoth. One of the most promising efforts is Revive & Restore, which hopes to create a living passenger pigeon by the year 2022.

“That is what they have said as a target year where they can expect their gene editing experiments to produce the kind of birds that they would feel comfortable calling a de-extincted passenger pigeon,” Wray says in Episode 286 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Of course it’s hard to put a real finger on when these experiments will succeed, but that’s how long they think they need.”

There were once billions of passenger pigeons in North America, and a passing flock of them could darken the sky for hours. Now that seems like something out of Lord of the Rings, at least according read more

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Will Be Too Inclusive for Some People. Good.

There is a scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi—I won’t say too much, but you’ll see it yourself—where a young Asian woman does a brave, selfless thing to help the Resistance. It’s a very sweet, very Star Wars Hero Moment, but it’s also an important one. Los Angeles Times film writer Jen Yamato called out its significance for fans of color on Twitter, noting “films like these leave their mark on entire generations—representation matters.” She woke up the next morning to a stream of mentions telling her to “stop making everything about race.” Her reply? “I hope you all enjoy the new Star Wars.” The implication was obvious: They won’t. The Last Jedi isn’t here to appease the old guard.

And that goes for both categories of reactionaries—the Star Wars fan upset that the franchise’s heroes now include (::clutches pearls::) women and read more

How Bossip Smashed Headline Conventions to Smithereens

Out of the typhoon that was Alabama’s special Senate election, it was black women in particular who showed up in force for Doug Jones, the Democratic challenger. According to exit polls, an overwhelming 98 percent of black women voted for Jones, with 93 percent of black men backing the former US attorney—ultimately propelling him to a bone-thin upset over scandal-plagued Republican nominee Roy Moore. The numbers were especially surprising given how much pre-election punditry focused on the lack of mobilization among black Alabamians.

Yet, amid the ensuing flood of news and analysis, it was a headline from Bossip—a website known to exalt and skewer black celebrities with equal fervor—that cut against the collective jubilation with bulls-eye precision, grounding the moment in an easily overlooked reality: “Black Women Saved Your Lil Wack A$$ Country Again. You’re Welcome. Now Where’s Our Money?” The headline teemed with flair and lacked any morsel of subtlety; it was pure read more