Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s round up of things which are happening! Before we get started, did you see that the new His Dark Materials TV show has cast its Will? What do you think of the choice? Are you as excited for the series as we are? Let us know in the comments!
One series that doesn’t seem to be shining lately is the current X-Men movie franchise. The latest and apparently final title in the current run, X Men: Dark Phoenix, took less money on its opening weekend than any of its predecessors; Deadline suggested that the movie is likely to lose over $100m. Reviewers for Variety, Empire, and NBC praised Dark Phoenix for its nuanced relationship dynamics and exploration of female power; but the overall critical reception has been lukewarm, with other commentators labeling Simon Kinberg’s movie ‘forgettable’ and ‘minor-league’. One particularly derisive article on Vulture gets a good deal of (spoilerific!) comic mileage out of one of the film’s key action sequences, which involves a lot of effort on the part of the X-Men to make a very short journey indeed. As most of the reviewers note, Dark Phoenix’s underperformance doesn’t much matter. The whole franchise is likely to be rebooted by Disney as they integrate the X-Men into the wider MCU.
Meanwhile in New York, the 73rd annual Tony Awards recognized the best of this year’s Broadway theatre. The big musical winner on the night was Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown. Mitchell’s reimagining of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice took home eight awards in total, with Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Lead Actor (for André de Shields) amongst them. Not bad for a transformative work! The musical’s director, Rachel Chavkin, also won her category and gave a speech in which she called for greater diversity in theatre; Chavkin was the only female director on Broadway this season.
Elsewhere, Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman (set during the Irish Troubles) did well in the theatrical categories and one-time Glee guest star Ali Stroker made history as the first wheelchair-using Tony winner, receiving the Best Leading Actress award for her performance in Oklahoma!. Stroker’s win was not without irony: the lack of a wheelchair ramp to the stage from the auditorium meant that she had to wait backstage, separated from her peers, while her category was announced.
Ali Stroker just became the first wheelchair user to win a Tony. They didn’t bother building a ramp to the stage, forcing her to enter from the wings rather than from the audience like her fellow winners. If that doesn’t sum up attitudes toward disability..https://t.co/zBgkfjXQ7w
— Katie Pennick (@KatiePennick) June 10, 2019
Over in The 100 fandom, fans were stunned when two of the show’s stars announced their marriage on Twitter – making their relationship public for the very first time. Eliza Taylor (Clarke Griffin) described Bob Morley (Bellamy Blake) as her ‘best friend’ in a post which also requested privacy and respect; sentiments echoed by Morley in a tweet of his own.
It is with such a full heart that I call @MisElizaJane my wife This is something we both cherish very deeply and are beyond happy. Please remember to be respectful and kind to one another. Be well be kind.
— Bob Morley (@WildpipM) June 8, 2019
As the fandom (particularly Bellarke shippers) collectively reeled, the rest of the show’s cast and production team were quick to congratulate the pair. Props to the both of them for keeping their secret so long!
And finally for the week, linguist Gretchen McCulloch wrote a piece for Wired about the AO3’s tagging system, under the headline ‘Fans are Better than Tech at Organizing Information Online’. McCulloch spoke to members of the OTW’s Tag Wrangling team while researching the article, in which she praises the wrangling system for offering a pragmatic balance between user-generated and top-down taxonomies. The result? An ‘incredibly functional tagging system that runs rings around both professional databases and billion-dollar social platforms’. Sounds good to us…