In 2018, we’ve seen some good things, some bad things, and many that were somewhere in between. As we get ready to celebrate the year with our official rankings of everything that was good and terrible in movies, TV, comics, and beyond, we thought we’d start by fixing some of those things!
Each of the writers at io9 took up rewriting plot points from 2018 movies or shows. Most of them are for the stuff that was truly awful but could’ve so much better, but a few of them are things we genuinely love but would have liked to see expanded a bit. Be sure to leave a comment with your own rewrites!
Jill Pantozzi: Solo: A Star Wars Story threw viewers for a loop when Darth Maul of all people showed up near the end. But what if, instead, it was another Force-user? I’m talking about Ahsoka Tano. For those who don’t watch any of the Star Wars animated series, Ahsoka is an incredibly compelling and important character and it’s long overdue that she made her way into live-action territory.
Solo takes place just before Rebels began—between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. When was all over the galaxy on secret missions during this time, what if part of her journey was to take down Crimson Dawn, and Qi’ra was an integral part of that plan? Qi’ra’s story took an intriguing turn when she locked down Dryden Vos’ yacht, but her story could be a lot cooler by teaming up with Ahsoka...and perhaps even Enfys Nest. Just imagine them all fighting side-by-side! The Galaxy would be in good hands.
Cheryl Eddy: The title character of The Nun first showed her ghastly face in The Conjuring 2, seemingly drawn straight from hell to torment Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), a psychically gifted demon-hunter who relies on her unwavering faith to protect her own soul. It made sense, then, to add a prequel exploring the origins of this Catholic-baiting monster to the ever-expanding Conjuring universe. And it made a lot of sense to cast Taissa Farmiga—Vera’s real-life sister—as Irene, the young novice who unwittingly helps Valak the demonic nun escape from the crumbling Romanian convent where she’s been biding her time for centuries.
As part of the film’s climax, Valak actually comes very close to possessing Irene, but ends up swallowing a different soul instead. The Nun then retcons a scene from The Conjuring to splice that character, a young man who’s been helping Irene, into footage from the earlier movie. The scene shows the exorcism where Valak first took an interest in Lorraine, and so now we have an explanation as to why the Nun turned up in Conjuring 2. But wouldn’t it have been a lot more interesting if Irene had been the vessel for Valak instead? Not only would it have given The Nun a much darker ending, it would have given the movie an excuse to have the Farmiga sisters share a scene together. However, there’s actually hope that will happen; despite its shortcomings, The Nun made so much money a sequel seems all but guaranteed.
Beth Elderkin: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom teased this huge mystery around Maisie Lockwood, the granddaughter of John Hammond’s totally-real-and-not-recently-made-up business partner, Benjamin Lockwood. She was really good at hiding and stalking, and she even snarled. It seemed like the movie was setting her up to a clone that contained dinosaur DNA—possibly even part-raptor, since everything scary is part-raptor in these movies.
But nope, Maisie was just a clone of Benjamin’s dead daughter. And what’s more, director Colin Trevorrow has confirmed that there will be no human-dinosaur hybrids in his franchise. Snore. In my mind, John and Benjamin had a falling out because Benjamin figured out how to merge human and dinosaur DNA. John wanted to pursue the project to create super soldiers for the military (because he was not a nice man), but Benjamin refused and took his research. John was unable to replicate it, and instead turned his focus on dinosaurs. Later on, Benjamin got lonely. His daughter had died, he was all alone. Because he saw no other way to bring her back, Benjamin violated his own ethics code and created a hybrid. Maisie. The world’s first human dinosaur.
Klaudia Amenábar: At the end of Star Wars Rebels, Thrawn and Ezra were thrown into space with some space whales, and we still don’t know what happened to them. Did they die in the vacuum of space? Did they go on reluctant adventures together, as some fan art suggests?
In my Star Wars canon, Eli Vanto, Thrawn’s trusted assistant, confidant, and (clearly) boyfriend from the new canon Thrawn novels, rescued him and Ezra on a Chiss Ascendancy ship. At the end of the first Thrawn novel, Thrawn isn’t done infiltrating and examining the Empire, but has to report back to the Chiss, so he sends his beloved Eli, who he has come to trust, instead. I imagine they would be thrown into the Unknown Regions, saved at the last minute by a patrolling Chiss ship, that so happens to have Eli on it. However, since Thrawn is smart enough to see the writing on the wall for the Empire, he probably predicted it would fall soon, and is still fascinated in the galaxy we know and love.
On hearing that the Emperor is gone, I think Thrawn would return to try again in the power vacuum of the Empire’s fall, and be very interested in a troubled Force sensitive boy named Ben Solo that reminds him of Anakin (and Vader). Basically, I think Thrawn survived and should have replaced Snoke as the mysterious evil puppet master from the Unknown Regions in the sequel era.
Charles Pulliam-Moore: As much as we all love the bond that Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have with one another, one can only imagine that the symbiote is none-too-pleased with his new boyfriend’s shoddy journalism skills. All throughout Venom, Eddie Brock demonstrates time and time again that he has no idea what it takes to be a reporter or how to properly hunt down a story. Whenever he’s close enough to actually get his hands on a piece of information that might be useful to report out, he bungles his access by being an unprofessional lout, screaming at the top of his lungs, or ruining his chances by suddenly deciding to start pontificating about his morals.
Eddie Brock’s an angry vlogger who somehow managed to scam his way into a job as a paid journalist, and it’s something that Venom would have been much better off rethinking a bit.
Germain Lussier: The first Fantastic Beasts set up so many great possibilities, only for the second movie to...set up more great possibilities. Let’s change that. The movie starts the same, with Grindelwald (as Johnny Depp) breaking out of prison. Then, in the next 20 minutes, we get to the current film’s final scene, where Grindelwald has gathered his followers to wage war on the human kind. He also realizes his current form is ugly and changes back to Colin Farrell because, come on. From there, the movie isn’t about who the hell Credence is, it’s actually about Grindelwald and his followers committing crimes to push the Wizarding World to his way of thinking, while Newt and his friends continually try to foil them.
Elderkin: The follow-up season to Westworld’s dynamic debut was a bit cluttered, to put it mildly. It had some amazing highs and some frustrating lows, but no storyline was as infuriating as the season-long question: “Is the Man in Black a host?” It turns out that he most likely wasn’t—at least not at the time, because we still have that whole “years in the future” post-credits scene. But screw it: I want him to have been a host. The whole time. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense. This is Westworld. Nothing has to make sense.
Then again, last season could also contain multiple timelines for William, just like they were for Bernard, so maybe parts of it were him recreating his memories as a host. God, this show is too confusing for its own good sometimes.
Pulliam-Moore: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a damned-near perfect animated film and one of the strongest Spider-Man movies to come out under the Sony/Marvel umbrella. But there is one minor, but all-too-important thing missing from the movie that holds it back from its full potential.
As one of the first mainstream superhero movies to play around with the concept of an expansive multiverse, Into the Spider-Verse had the potential to tie together literally all of Sony’s previous Spider-Man films, as well as connect itself (very thinly) to the animated Spider-Man cartoons and Marvel’s comics. In merely mentioning Marvel’s comics directly and establishing a canonical connection to them, Spider-Verse would have then had the slightest link to Fox’s Deadpool and X-Men cinematic universes which, in theory, would have made the latest Sony Spidey film the first to truly bring all of the Marvel puzzle pieces together for the first time. Oh well. There’s always next time.
Elderkin: The idea for this one was actually inspired by one of the comments on my Robin Hood review! A Lantern of Hope suggested that Maid Marian should have been the Hood instead of Robin, having “Robin Hood” be her secret identity while, by day, she infiltrated the noble classes as a lady of the court. The whole point of the Hood in this version of Robin Hood is that it can be anyone. That’s why peasants stick hoods on the wall like Guy Fawkes masks. It’s more a symbol than a person. It got me thinking...this is a Robin Hood origin story. Does it have to be Robin’s?
What if this origin story started out about a man named Robin, a noble who secretly robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. But he was arrogant—doing it for the glory, not to help those in need. Tired of his antics, the people grow angry with him, he gets frustrated, and suddenly Prince John’s views of the “people” start to make a bit more sense. Maid Marian, a kind and charitable noblewoman, watches as the man she loves goes down a dark path, leading to him seizing control and becoming the new Sheriff of Nottingham. She eventually has to rise against him, taking on the very mantle he’d abandoned to become the new Robin Hood.
James Whitbrook: Pacific Rim Uprising is a deeply disappointing movie for fans of the original—but there’s a reality out there where, instead of the first film’s greatest character being unceremoniously killed—and it’s probably the reality where Guillermo Del Toro actually got to make the Pacific Rim sequel he wanted to make.
Imagine it: Mako Mori and Raleigh Beckett, roped back into giant-robot action after a decade of peace thanks to a renewed Kaiju threat, re-learning how to work together and be the ace pilots they are. You could still introduce John Boyega’s Uprising character, Jake Pentecost—give him more time with his half-sister Mako, and make that relationship the emotional spine of the movie. You could’ve ended with Mako and Raleigh victorious, riding off into the robo-sunset together to train jake and the next generation of pilots to take their place, and give them a farewell that’s must more justly deserved than... well, anything Uprising actually did.
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