Barely Related: Marvel movie madness, Harry Potter can rap

Happy Halloween, everyone! Stay safe and have fun.

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.

Marvel unleashes a wild lineup of movies for Phase 3

Hit it:

  • Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016.

  • Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017

  • Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2017

  • Black Panther – November 3, 2017

  • Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers version) – July 6, 2018

  • Inhumans – November 2, 2018

  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018

  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2- May 3, 2019

The juiciest details in this list come from Captain Marvel and Black PantherCaptain Marvel is Marvel's first feature film to star a lady superhero, and Black Panther is the first Marvel film to star a black protagonist. The Captain Marvel movie takes cues from the current run of the series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and starring super-powered Air Force badass Carol Danvers.

Black Panther, regular name T'Challa, is royalty from the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Wakanda is the home of Vibranium, a metal that should have big implications in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (and every other Phase 3 movie). Actor Chadwick Boseman – James Brown in Get on Up – will portray Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and the standalone film. See some concept art here.

"Black Panther, and all of Wakanda, is one of the most interesting characters in Marvel history," Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said during the conference this week. "He's a bit of a prince, he may even become a bit of a king, but it's all about how this isolationist country meets the world. Maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn't."

But wait! There's more! Check out an expanded and charming Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer right here:

Daniel Radcliffe is a rap wizard

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor (still) best known for playing Harry Potter in all eight of those films, loves rap. Not only that, but he can flawlessly perform Blackalicious' tongue-twisting number, "Alphabet Aerobics." With an American accent. Radcliffe rapped on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week while promoting his new film Horns, based on the Joe Hill novel.

JK Rowling writes again

Speaking of Harry Potter: JK Rowling has given us all a Halloween treat in the form of essays delving into the backstories of a few characters and aspects of the Wizarding World. The big story is 1,700 words long and focuses on Dolores Umbridge, the prim-and-proper sadist and Voldemort-denier who at one point takes over Hogwarts. The writing provides Umbridge's backstory and Rowling's personal thoughts on the character, including inspiration she drew from the real women in her life.

The Umbridge story joins another about Professor Sybill Trelawney, a bit about Thestrals, and more stories uncovered in the first chapters of The Order of the Phoenix on Pottermore. Pottermore regularly updates with insight into Harry Potter's world, but this is a truly hefty entry. For those without a Pottermore account, read up on Umbridge with the full transcript here.

Paramount reveals the Terminator Genisys backstory, but it probably shouldn't have

In the lore of Terminator Genisys, Mother of the Millenium Sarah Connor is orphaned by a Terminator at age 9, and then she's raised by Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, a model T-800. She calls this Terminator "Pops."


EW's preview says this exactly: "Sarah Connor isn't the innocent she was when Linda Hamilton first sported feathered hair and acid-washed jeans in the role. Nor is she Hamilton's steely zero body-fat warrior in 1991's T2. Rather, the mother of humanity's messiah was orphaned by a Terminator at age 9. Since then, she's been raised by (brace yourself) Schwarzenegger's Terminator-an older T-800 she calls 'Pops'-who is programmed to guard rather than to kill. As a result, Sarah is a highly trained antisocial recluse who's great with a sniper rifle but not so skilled at the nuances of human emotion."

Why? Why?

Terminator Genisys
is due in theaters on July 15, 2015.

George RR Martin gets quizzed about his own books, does OK

Amy Poehler and Seth Myers teamed up to ask A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) author George RR Martin to match the quote (that he wrote) with the character who said it. He does well! And then it gets ... tricky.

Benedict Cumberbatch is one step closer to becoming Doctor Strange

Deep breaths, everyone. Benedict Cumberbatch, the foxy British actor known for being unable to say the word "penguin," is in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange in Marvel's 2016 movie, though nothing is confirmed just yet.

At the Marvel Studios event, President Kevin Feige told BuzzFeed Entertainment, "I can say that if it were confirmed, we would have introduced him today." So close, yet so far.

Ambition, a beautiful short film about a future where people can create planets

From the European Space Agency and Platige Image, Ambition is a hopeful story of determination, the power of science and knowledge, and planet-building wizards. Enjoy.

The first prototype of Google's modular phone from Project Ara

See it in action here:

Celebrate Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary with a pair of Beats headphones

These headphones hit retail for $250 in November. Someone's birthday happens to be in that month, too ....

[Images: Marvel, Entertainment Weekly, Beats by Dr. Dre]