With the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix and its disappointing reception, it’s time to take a look back… In the wake of the film, X-Men: Apocalypse, Kyle and Claire get into the origins of the X-Men and the rivalry between Marvel and Fox Studios. Kyle breaks down the creation of the X-Men comics in the 1960s and 70s, and explains how the Civil Rights Movement influences their stories to this day. In addition to the juicy gossip of Marvel versus Fox, Claire examines the contributions of director Bryan Singer — “The Godfather of Superhero Movies”. They end the show with a discussion of the film itself, and how the talented Michael Fassbender can’t keep them from missing Ian McKellen.
With the series finale behind us we’re finally talking about HBO’s Game of Thrones! Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling and critically acclaimed book series A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s flagship series put big budget fantasy back on screen and at the center of pop culture. Kyle begins by looking at the intervening years between Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films and the premier of Game of Thrones, noting Hollywood’s many failed attempts to capitalize on what could have been a boom. Claire jumps in to explain how, despite the seemingly dry well of support, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss successfully pitched HBO on investing millions into a new fantasy adaptation. She then describes the struggle to actually produce such an ambitious project and grow it into the cultural focus it became. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on the show, the books, and GoT’s shared creative and production lineage with The Lord of the Rings.
Our latest pairing is one of epic fantasy and the visual representation of celebrated novels. We begin with The Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Claire takes us on a tour of fantasy in film starting with earliest works in the medium, up through a relative boom of fantasy films in the 80s. Kyle then takes us on a very different film tour: the early works of Peter Jackson and his work/life partner Fran Walsh. He explains how this pair of indie filmmakers without a hit to their name came to be trusted with hundreds of millions dollars and the simultaneous production of three films. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on our new pairing and the relationship between printed and filmed versions of the two works.
Dungeons & Dragons is a beloved pastime of our entire podcast team. And with the fantasy roleplaying game’s continued renaissance in popularity it’s a great time to look at how it got here. Claire begins with a look at 19th and 20th century war games before getting into the development process of creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Kyle picks up with the tale of Gygax’s company Tactical Studies Rules–it’s rapid rise and dramatic fall, and explains the role that Wizards of the Coast has played in the game’s current success. Our hosts conclude with their thoughts on both DnD and Three Hearts and Three Lions, and the value of an imaginative game in today’s world.
DSRA is ready with a new pairing and we’re tackling one of our favorite subjects, the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. To start off we’re looking at a fantasy book from the 1950s that influenced the game, Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson. Kyle starts by taking a look at the fantasy stories of Medieval Europe and how the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne influenced many of the fantasy stories we know and love today. Claire then takes a look at Poul Anderson ‘s life and career and explores how fantasy became a genre. Our hosts conclude with their favorite parts of the book and why they paired it with DnD.
Avengers: Endgame is just around the corner, and we thought now is a good time to re-release our Avengers: Infinite War episode. Our next pairing will be around Dungeons & Dragons, but in the meantime here’s one more look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
In 2008 Marvel Studios released their first film, Iron Man. 10 years and 18 films later, in Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes of the MCU will face their most formidable villain yet, Thanos. This movie, which involved over 60 characters and took 19 movies to build up to, is the largest cross over event in the history of cinema. Claire delves into the definition and history of “crossovers”, discussing their roots in mythology, literature, and eventually the monster movies of the mid 20th century. Kyle takes a look at the path of the man who brought this ambitious idea of a shared cinematic universe together, Kevin Feige. The hosts wrap up with their thoughts on the film, and a reflection on their favorite MCU movies.