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Barely Related: Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is full of surprises

Jessica Conditt
Jessica Conditt|@JessConditt|October 24, 2014 9:30 PM
Surprise! It's Friday! Now let's get down to some geeky business.

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

Watch the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

Do it!

Hell yes.

Now consider watching it again to catch the multitude of teases and potential deep-cut spoilers for the film's plot. We know that Marvel is gearing up to launch a Civil War storyline with Captain America 3 and the following Avengers films, but there's so much more going on in this trailer. For example, famed mo-cap actor Andy Serkis is in it as a real-life human with a big ol' beard. The best guesses place him in the role of Black Panther nemesis Ulysses Klaw, a Vibranium fanatic – which makes sense, as we also see Cap's shield (made of Vibranium) split in two. Vibranium comes from the fictional African nation of Wakanda and is the only thing able to take out Adamantium, the alloy that Ultron uses to craft his final, terrifying form. There have been rumors of a Black Panther movie swirling for a while now, too.

It's all coming together nicely. Check out the official Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser poster here.

She-Hulk gets the ax

Marvel has canceled the She-Hulk comic series written by Charles Soule, with January's issue #12 as the final installment. The finale will address the Blue File storyline and, as CBR puts it, "the copy teases another opportunity being presented to Jen Walters [She-Hulk], so maybe we're in store for a soft reboot?" That would be nice, since She-Hulk has been doing well critically, just not so hot commercially.

JK Rowling writes another story in the Harry Potter universe

And we love her for it.

Rowling has penned a 1,700-word story about Dolores Umbridge that delves into the devious witch's backstory, due to launch on Pottermore.com on October 31. The story includes Rowling's personal thoughts on Umbridge, who, if you'll recall, is the Hogwarts teacher obsessed with strict rules, order, denying the return of the Dark Lord and forcing students to physically mutilate themselves as punishment for speaking up in class. She first appears in the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which happens to be the next book set to unlock for fans to explore on Pottermore.

The Back to the Future hoverboard is real

Thanks, science! Here's the rundown of the Hendo Hoverboard:
  1. It's a real hoverboard and it really hovers while supporting the weight of a human
  2. It uses magnets, meaning it needs a metal surface to ride over
  3. It runs on batteries
  4. It's on Kickstarter and has already surpassed its $250,000 goal
The Kickstarter asks for $10,000 to actually get your hands on a Hendo Hoverboard (in October 2015), though all 10 of those have already been claimed. Other tiers offer hoverboard lessons, a five-minute ride, or a little hovering box that you can control with your smartphone. The magic behind the Hendo Hoverboard is called Magnetic Field Architecture.

"At an altruistic level, MFA has the ability to change the way we think about how communities are designed and built – from family homes, to hospital rooms, to factories, to skyscrapers," the Kickstarter page reads. "We can build structures such that, with the flip of a switch, they are lifted out of harm's way. The potential ravages of earthquakes and floods will no longer hold sway over occupants of these buildings."

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Xander arrested

Nicholas Brendon, the actor best known for playing Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was arrested in Boise, Idaho, and charged with two misdemeanors, resisting or obstructing officers and malicious injury to property. A police statement said Brendon "showed signs of intoxication and repeatedly refused officers commands to stay seated while officers tried to speak to witnesses." He was in town for Tree City Comic Con.

Brendon offered an apology on his Facebook page: "I can offer an explanation but I make no excuse for my unacceptable behavior. For the past 5 days, I have been taking prescription pain medication to help me manage a cyst behind my knee cap, which is scheduled for corrective surgery on Monday morning. I made the poor decision to mix this prescribed medication with alcohol. The result was embarrassing and unacceptable. I intend to seek appropriate treatment and therapy for my medical ailments as well as my emotional demons."

Brendon has checked into rehab for alcohol problems twice before. He married girlfriend Moonda Tee earlier this month. Best of luck to Brendon as he prepares to fight – but at least he does have experience battling demons.

Google rolls out new email service, Inbox

Gmail is so last decade, everyone. Google's new email service, Inbox, bundles messages by categories such as "travel" and "purchases," and then displays those in a social media style, with pictures and content available without having to open the messages. Inbox also allows users to add reminders at the top of the email service, acting as an all-encompassing personal calendar and to-do list.

Yeah, we're intrigued, too. Request an invite to Inbox here.

Disney's newest princess is a Polynesian adventurer on the high seas

Disney's Moana tells the story of a Polynesian princess in an ancient land who embarks on "an impossible mission to fulfill her ancestors' quest." The film comes from the team behind The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog and Aladdin.

"It's set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, and Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island," the film's description reads. "During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore."

Moana is due out in theaters in late 2016.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones turns into a TV show

You're forgiven for not recognizing that series name quite yet. The Mortal Instruments is a (truly lovely) YA novel series from Cassandra Clare, and last year it became a feature film starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campell Bower, Robert Sheehan and Jonathan Rhys Myers. The film wasn't a huge hit (and it failed to live up to the books, if we may say so), and it's now getting rebooted as a television series with writer and executive producer Ed Decter, starting with the first book, City of Bones. Episodes will be one hour long and production begins in 2015.

The Mortal Instruments delves into the demon-hunting world of Shadowhunters, highly trained and usually attractive Nephilim – humans born with angelic blood. Yeah, kind of like Dante in Devil May Cry. Kind of.

Fun fact: Clare got her start in the YA business by writing fanfiction, penning the extremely popular Draco Trilogy series in the Harry Potter universe. Dreams do come true, kids.

This dinosaur whose skeleton we just dug up is really odd

It had a duck bill, six-foot-long arms and was bigger than the T-Rex. Weird! Also cool. See the Deinocheirus in 3D action below.

Ken Burns, you've still got it

The Roosevelts, the latest documentary from everyone's favorite history teacher, Ken Burns, pulled in more than 33 million viewers over its seven-episode run on PBS in September. It's the third-highest-rated Burns documentary, trailing 1990's The Civil War and 1997's Lewis and Clark.

The Roosevelts looks at the separate yet intimately entwined lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt from 1858 to 1962.

"The series encompasses the history the Roosevelts helped to shape: the creation of National Parks, the digging of the Panama Canal, the passage of innovative New Deal programs, the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights abroad. It is also an intimate human story about love, betrayal, family loyalty, personal courage and the conquest of fear."
[Images: Marvel, Disney, Yuong-Nam Lee/Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources]
Barely Related: Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is full of surprises