The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022

The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022

From James Gunn taking control of the DC Comics movie-verse to the HBO Max debacle, here’s what this year brought.

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Black Adam, Doctor Who, WB logo, Dungeons & Dragons
Image: Warner Bros, BBC, and Wizards of the Coast

I’ve got good news for you... and bad news. Literally. We’ve combed through the io9 archives to discover all the news stories in 2022 that either delighted us or really bummed us out—and compiled them so you can remember the good times and what you should still be angry about in 2023.

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Good: James Gunn Put in Charge of the DC Cinematic Universe

Good: James Gunn Put in Charge of the DC Cinematic Universe

Image for article titled The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022
Photo: Jesse Grant (Getty Images)

Ever since 2013’s Man of Steel, Warner Bros. had one plan: have DC’s superhero movies emulate the success of the burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, that’s where the plan stopped, and Warner Bros. released several films with dubious continuity or no continuity at all. That may finally change, since WB hired Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn, alongside producer Peter Safran, to take charge of DC Studios. There have been some casualties of the old regime’s movie—Wonder Woman 3 among them—but Gunn is a man who knows how superhero movies work, and he’s claimed he already has a 10-year plan for DC mapped out.

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Good: The Nimona Movie Lives

Good: The Nimona Movie Lives

io9 Exclusive: Nimona Test Footage

ND Stevenson’s beloved webcomic-turned-bestselling fantasy graphic novel has had a long road to an animated movie adaptation—a road that had previously led directly off a cliff. Originally announced as an animated film by 20th Century Fox, it languished there until 2019 when Disney bought the studio and promptly delayed the film twice, and then canceled it altogether in February 2021. According to people who worked on it, Disney objected to the romantic, same-sex kiss between two male characters in the movie, shutting down production despite the movie being 75 percent finished. Happily, this past April, Netflix (also home of Stevenson’s excellent She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot) announced it would be airing the film next year.

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Good: Deadpool Brings Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to the MCU

Good: Deadpool Brings Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to the MCU

Deadpool Update

When Disney bought Fox, it was unclear if Ryan Reynolds’ foul-mouthed, R-rated merc with a mouth would survive the acquisition. But not only is Deadpool joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (almost certainly as another part of the multiverse as opposed to the main MCU), he somehow managed to get Reynolds’ real-life buddy Hugh Jackman to take his adamantium claws off the wall, come out of X-retirement, and return as Wolverine. A Deadpool/Wolverine movie still sounds too good to be true, frankly.

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Good: Image Comics Becomes Unionized

Good: Image Comics Becomes Unionized

 

Image for article titled The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022
Image: Comic Book Workers Union

If you’re treated badly or taken advantage of by your job, form a union. Unions are great. And you might suspect that Image Comics, which was founded by artists who wanted to own their own creations out of the shadows of Marvel and DC, might be receptive to its employees who also wanted protection from corporate overlords. Instead, Image has refused to recognize Comic Book Workers United—that is, until they voted to certify themselves back in January, becoming the first union in the comics industry. Now the members of the CBWU can negotiate for better pay, more protection, and more.

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Good: David Tennant and Catherine Tate Return to Doctor Who

Good: David Tennant and Catherine Tate Return to Doctor Who

The Thirteenth Doctor Regenerates | Jodie Whittaker to David Tennant | Doctor Who

When it was announced back in 2021 that Russell T. Davies, the showrunner who brought the Doctor Who franchise back to life in 2005, would be returning to helm the series in 2023 (insert a timey-wimey joke here; it’s been long enough) fans were excited. But the Doctor Who news of 2022 has been bonkers—not only would David Tennant, who starred as the beloved 10th Doctor, return, his co-star Catherine Tate, who played the Doctor’s companion Donna Noble, would return as well. And then it was revealed that Tennant wouldn’t be the Tenth again, but the Fourteenth Doctor through some mysterious machinations, bumping the newly announced Ncuti Gatwa to Fifteenth.

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Good: Dungeons & Dragons Finally Drops the Word “Race”

Good: Dungeons & Dragons Finally Drops the Word “Race”

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Image: Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast, owners of the venerable tabletop role-playing game, have been making a concerted effort to address the racism that was baked into the game when it was first made in the 1970s. Occasionally, that effort has stumbled, but the company took a major step forward this year when it announced the word “race” would be dropped from its upcoming OneD&D system entirely. Now, instead of calling elves, dwarves, and other humanoids a word that invites prejudice, they’ll all be called species, a term decided upon by “multiple outside cultural consultants.” Not only is this a progressive change, but it’s also nice to know Wizards is truly listening to its fans.

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Bad: HBO Max Self-Destructs

Bad: HBO Max Self-Destructs

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Image: Warner Bros.

When Discovery bought Warner Bros. early this year, everyone knew changes were coming. But the only one that seemed notable was how the new company would merge their HBO Max and Discovery+ TV streaming services. What no one guessed is that new president and CEO David Zaslav would go through HBO Max with a knife, not only removing shows and movies from the service to save a few bucks but canceling the nearly finished Batgirl movie outright for tax credits. Now titles like Westworld, Infinity Train, and even certain episodes of Sesame Street are being removed as well. Some of these series might be offered to other ad-supported streaming services in order to squeeze more money out of them, but HBO Max is looking less attractive all the time.

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Bad: Henry Cavill Leaves The Witcher

Bad: Henry Cavill Leaves The Witcher

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Image: Netflix

Even after Black Adam brought Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel back into the DC movie-verse, no one expected Cavill to suddenly step down from his beloved role of Geralt of Rivia on Netflix’s The Witcher. But that’s exactly what he did on October 29, announcing that Liam Hemsworth would be taking his place. Of course, then we assumed he made the decision to step down because his upcoming duties as Superman would keep him too busy to make the series… only for James Gunn to announce he was writing a movie about a younger Superman and Cavill was out. You may or may not be bummed about the true end of Zack Snyder’s DC universe, but anyone who’s a fan of The Witcher knows the departure of the actor is a major loss.

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Bad: Disney Ignores Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

Bad: Disney Ignores Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

Image for article titled The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022
Photo: Courtney Kiefer/DisneyParks

The Walt Disney Company has never had an especially good track record when it comes to LGBTQ representation in its content (although it is slowly getting better). But the company’s many, many employees expected it to denounce Florida’s hateful “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prevent teachers and students from talking about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Instead, Disney remained utterly quiet. Many Disney workers staged protests and angry walkouts at Disney’s silence until then-CEO Bob Chapek apologized to them, and Disney put out a statement condemning the bill… two and a half weeks after Chapek’s apology. It’s undoubtedly one of the reasons former Disney CEO Bob Iger was put back in charge.

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Bad: WebToons Calls Comics a “Side-Hustle”

Bad: WebToons Calls Comics a “Side-Hustle”

The worst ad campaign of the year has to go to WebToons, the extremely popular webcomics hosting site. The company has around 72 million monthly readers, some of its series—like Lore Olympus—have received billions of views, and WebToons makes $100 million per year. And yet, an ad campaign that went viral back in June stated “Comics are literature’s fun side-hustle.” The slight against the work of its authors, especially of those who create webcomics as their sole job, were rightly furious. At least WebToons quickly apologized for the gaffe.

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Bad: Bendergate

Bad: Bendergate

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Image: 20th Century Television

Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s beloved sci-fi comedy series Futurama is so beloved it’s been resurrected several times, including this past year at Hulu. So you might think that such a popular series would earn its popular voice actors a reasonable salary. But not so. When Hulu announced the new season, all the show’s original actors were listed as returning with one notable exception: John DiMaggio, who plays the fan-favorite Bender. As we learned, DiMaggio wanted a pay raise—not out of belief he was special among the cast, but because he felt all of the cast’s talents were worth more than they were being offered. In the end, he didn’t get the raise but joined the show anyway, knowing his absence would ultimately hurt it. It stinks.

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Bad: Comixology Sucks Now

Bad: Comixology Sucks Now

Image for article titled The Best and Worst Nerdy News of 2022
Screenshot: Amazon

When Amazon bought the Comixology digital comic reading service way back and 2014, it was perfectly functional on its own. That came crashing to a halt back in February, when Amazon released an overhauled service which sucked. It was much less functional, harder to navigate, more difficult to access your comics library, and impossible to zoom in on, preventing people from fully appreciating the art. Amazon has promised multiple times over the year that updates are coming, but at the moment Comixology is still worse than it was in 2021.

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Bad: The Rock’s Black Adam Damage Control

Bad: The Rock’s Black Adam Damage Control

Black Adam - Official Trailer 2

It started so simply. Variety reported that the DC film, which has earned less than $400 million worldwide, was a bomb that was going to lose Warner Bros. around $200 million. This happens, even to stars as usually consistently bankable as Dwayne Johnson. But the actor and the studio went into full-on denial mode for some reason, insisting that thanks to home video, rentals, and the sales of Black Adam merchandise, the movie was going to make money… except none of these things are ever considered when tallying a film’s box office revenue because they are not ticket sales. Even if the film does net WB a small profit after everything is tallied, Black Adam definitely wasn’t the “fresh new start” to the DCU that Johnson promised.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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