Merrily Related to you all! This is a special edition of Barely Related, covering the stand-out stories of 2014, from May 2 onward (because that's when this whole column got started). This isn't all-encompassing, but it's a nice snapshot of our year in nerdery and geekdom – if you have a beloved bit of news not covered here, leave it in the comments with your commentary!
The story that started it all – Star Wars Episode 7
In May 2014, we learned the initial cast list for JJ Abram's Star Wars Episode 7. It included John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow, and returning cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker.
Doctor Who series 8 kicked off in August (on August 23, to be exact) and we can hardly believe the season is already over. Peter Capaldi played the twelfth Doctor, with Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, his companion. If we may be so bold, Coleman truly shined in this season, with Clara as a character becoming more robust, intelligent and less "little girl looking for a boyfriend in all the wrong places." Well, she did that last part, too, but at least it wasn't aimed at The Doctor. Capaldi, for his part, was absolutely lovely.
Comic fans and action movie buffs got some serious treats this year, courtesy of Marvel and DC. Zack Snyder's DC movie installment is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (rather than the other, better subtitles we suggested), it stars Ben Affleck as The Bat, he has tiny pointy ears, it comes out in May 2016, yadda yadda. Now to the stuff that actually excites us:
Marvel's movie lineup for its Phase 3 includes Doctor Strange in November 2016 (Doctor Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in May 2017, Black Panther in November 2017 (Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel (the Carol Danvers variety) in July 2018, and Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018 and 2019. Captain America: Civil War (May 2016) launches the Civil War story arc on the silver screen, pitting Iron Man and Captain America against each other in a tense political and superpowered drama that will bleed into the Avengers films. Marvel is rebooting the Civil War comic series in summer 2015, as well.
DC is doing a standalone Wonder Woman film (starring Gal Gadot) due in 2017, plus Suicide Squad in 2016, Justice League Part One in 2017 and Part Two in 2019, and Cyborg and Green Lantern in 2020. See the full list of future DC films here. Suicide Squad has a cast list packed with superstars, including Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Tom Hardy as Rick Flag and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright left Marvel's Ant-Man movie in May, replaced by Bring it On director Peyton Reed. Actors Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerald and Kevin Weisman also left the film, leaving behind Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly.
JK Rowling has kepttheHarryPotterfranchise alive – not that it was in danger of extinction – through personal reflections and character backstories on interactive narrative site Pottermore. A new film trilogy in the Harry Potter universe and written by Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is due to premiere in November 2016.
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