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Barely Related: Ghost in the Shell snags Scarlett Johansson

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Welcome, 2015!

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.



Scarlett Johansson signs to play lead in Ghost in the Shell film

We love it when delicious casting rumors turn out to be true. Scarlett Johansson has signed on to play Major Motoko Kusanagi in DreamWorks' live-action Ghost in the Shell movie, Variety reports. Rumors that Johansson was looking into the role surfaced in October. Before that, The Wolf of Wall Street actress Margot Robbie was rumored to be eyeing the role. Robbie will portray Harley Quinn in DC's Suicide Squad movie, due out in 2016.

Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders is on board to direct Ghost in the Shell, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist writer Bill Wheeler is penning the screenplay.

Daredevil to premiere on Netflix in April

Marvel's live-action Daredevil television series will premiere on Netflix on April 10 – that's all of season one, 13 one-hour episodes, launched at 12:01AM PT in all Netflix territories. That's also one month earlier than previously reported. Nice.

It's worth noting that the show's actual title is Marvel's Daredevil, so if it's not splashed across your Netflix home screen on April 10 (it will be), maybe check under "M."

The very first Ant-Man teaser

Ant-Man is due in theaters on July 17, after a rocky production process that saw Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright leave the film, along with three actors. The tone in the teaser is dramatic with an attempt at light-hearted jocularity – something that we know Marvel can do. Something about the comedic timing in this video has us worried, though. Hopefully that turns out to be just a teeny-tiny issue.


Gambit solo film gets a release date

The Gambit film starring Channing Tatum as the "woman-loving, cigarette-smoking ... punk rock" dude of the X-Men (Tatum's words!) is due in theaters on October 7, 2016. Tatum revealed the date via Twitter.


No word on the plotline or even which timeline the movie will follow. Tatum is on board to play Gambit in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is set in the 1980s. That one is also due out in 2016.

Doctor Who US ratings are in and they're big

Season 8 of Doctor Who had us all in a tizzy this year, and it looks like we weren't alone – the season averaged 2.3 million viewers in the US, its highest-ever ratings in The States. The show's Christmas Day special, starring Nick Frost as Santa Claus, pulled in 2.6 million viewers across two airings.

The end of the Christmas special revealed that despite contrary reports, Jenna Coleman, the actress who plays The Doctor's companion Clara Oswald, will stay on for another season. "It's wonderful," Coleman told BBC. "I get a whole other series of stories with The Doctor and I couldn't walk away with the story being unresolved."

The first episode of season 9 is titled "The Magician's Apprentice" and it's due to air this year.

Serial is over, but the drama isn't

Serial, a podcast from This American Life that presents an in-depth investigation into a murky 1999 murder conviction, ended in December, but now key people that didn't participate are speaking out – including prosecutor Kevin Urick. Serial spends most of its time poking holes in the prosecution's case against Adnan Syed, the man (in 1999, a high school boy) convicted of murder and still in prison today. Urick this week told The Intercept that host Sarah Koenig and the journalists of Serial didn't make multiple efforts to contact him: "They did not make multiple attempts to reach me. They never showed up at my office. They may have left a voicemail that I didn't return but I am not sure of that."

The Serial team quickly refuted Urick's claims, noting that they attempted to reach him at multiple locations before and after the podcast had aired, and providing its full statement to The Intercept on Twitter. Jay Wilds, the key witness against Syed, spoke to The Intercept after the podcast's season finale, as well.

Season two of Serial is due out in 2015.


Say hello to the new Power Girl, goodbye to her boob window

DC's new Power Girl, Tanya Spears, is a super-intelligent former intern of Karen Starr, the original Power Girl. Spears is a black teenager with the power of flight, invulnerability and super strength – and an outfit that covers her entire chest. Starr's Power Girl typically flies around in a long-sleeved spandex outfit with a cut-out over the top of her chesticles, a look that continues to spark conversation about the true purpose of female superhero outfits. (Check out this gender-swapped gem for visual representation of that argument).

Spears' Power Girl joins the Teen Titans in issue #6, though she makes an appearance in #5.

[Images: Bloodgender, Marvel, DC]
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