Like any red-blooded Gryffindor, I’ve never failed to defend the honor of the Wizarding World against accusations that the books don’t make sense.

Why do folks use trains, floo powder, port keys, carriages pulled by griffins, thestrals, broomsticks, dragons, magical underwater pirate ships and the Knight Bus to get around when they can apparate? Why didn’t someone ever consider using a Time Turner to kill Voldemort or at least save some of his victims?

These types of questions have answers to greater or lesser degrees, but it’s certainly true that witches, wizards, and the world they inhabit are all rather strange. (150 points for catching the Snitch will never make sense.) If you look closely, however, these kinds of oddities are where J. K. Rowling’s genius for world-building really shines.

First: there just aren’t very many witches and wizards. Population estimates indicate that the world is at least 99.97% Muggle, and probably more so. (The basis for this, and other claims, can be found in my longer article.) Next: witches and wizards don’t have to work if they don’t want to. Slughorn got by comfortably filching from unsuspecting Muggles. With almost 1000 Muggles to every witch or wizard there is plenty to go around. Poverty exists, but not like in our world. The Weasleys had plenty of access to food, shelter, clothes, medical care, and even elite schooling, and the Gaunts only lived in squalor because they chose it out of pride.

By contrast, Muggle society is defined by constant struggle. We work hard, or we don’t eat. That constant pressure is the driving force for Muggle innovation. The Wizarding World doesn’t have that driving force, and as a result it has tended to ride along on the coat tails of Muggle society.

Consider the basic economy of the Wizarding World: other than specifically magical items, the Wizarding World doesn’t seem to produce anything. Who provides the food that the Hogwarts house elves use to make their feasts? Who provides the cloth to be made into school robes? Who mines the tin, copper, antimony, and bismuth that go into a cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)? All the basic materials for the Wizarding World probably come from Muggles.

There is also no independent Wizarding culture. Religion, language, music, and even the educational system all derive from the Muggle world. Sure, Hogwarts teaches you how to use magic, but who teaches you how to read and write? For Muggle-borns like Harry and Hermione, at least, you learn in Muggle schools.

Even the Wizarding World’s governments are derivative. In the UK, Her Majesty’s Government is led by the Prime Minister who then picks all the other Ministers. So when the witches and wizards of the UK call their head of government the “Minister for Magic” they’re inserting their top-level government into the Muggle system in a way that is at least dependent if not outright subordinate.

ministry-of-magic-630

Because the Wizarding World is not subject to the unceasing pressure to fight for survival, it has never really developed. It is a primitive society in modern trappings. Only the most ancient of human institutions exist—like universities and government—while all of the modern ones (like corporations and franchises) are absent. Everything from inefficient methods of travel to imitation banks (real ones do more than lock up money in boxes for you) makes perfect sense from this perspective.

So much for wizarding society, but what about the odd behavior of witches and wizards? Without doubt the strangest is the reckless disregard for human life, especially the lives of children. In the very first book, for example, Dumbledore relocates a ferocious, man-eating monster into a school for children as young as eleven years old. He warns the students not to enter the third floor corridor, but in a castle filled with moving staircases where the youngest kids are constantly getting lost, what kind of protection is that? Then he puts a lock on the door, but it’s the kind of lock that students learn to pick on practically their first day. Then there’s the danger of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Or the hazards of playing full-contact sports a hundred feet in the air with an age range of 11-17 in the same league. And these are just the reckless decisions with kids before the outbreak of the Second Wizarding War!

Well, the same power that makes it easy for witches and wizards to live off of the work of Muggles also makes the Wizarding World very, very dangerous. In the Wizarding World, every child wanders around with potentially lethal power from a pretty young age. The resulting fatality rate is much higher than what Muggles are used to. Dumbledore and Grindelwald accidentally killed his little sister in a childhood fight, Luna’s mom blew herself up playing around with potions, and Quirrel is apparently on the run from an angry vampire. Any witch or wizard who wants to kill someone can do it with a single spell. It’s like living in a society where everyone carries a loaded bazooka everywhere they go. Then there are the dangerous creatures (Fluffy is only the second most dangerous creature in the castle after the basilisk) who apparently interact far more with witches and wizards than they do with Muggles. (And by “interact” I mean “try to eat”.)

Although some things, like the time turners, really don’t make sense, for the most part the more you dig into the books of Harry Potter the more impressive Rowling’s world-building prowess becomes. The idiosyncrasies of the Wizarding World and its denizens turn out to be not just imaginative flourishes, but a pretty keen statement on human nature. Without constant, omnipresent struggle our society would tend to atrophy.

The really interesting question that remains is this: what would the Wizarding World look like if it couldn’t depend on Muggles for all its basic needs?

Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

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Disney is making another live-action movie, and this time it’s James and the Giant Peach, to be developed by Director Sam Mendes.

To refresh your memory, James and the Giant Peach is the terrifying delightful children’s movie directed by Henry Selick and based off of the Roald Dahl story. It features nightmare-inducing adorable stop-motion animated bugs that helped James float away from his mean aunts in a — you guessed it — giant peach.

The original film was an interesting mix of live-action characters in the beginning and at the end, with stop-motion animated sequences throughout the middle.

Now, according to Deadline, Disney is developing an all-live-action remake of the film. Nick Hornby will write the script, while Joe Roth is in negotiations to sign on as a producer.

If Mendes’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he directed the last two James Bond features, both Skyfall and Spectre, as well as 1999’s American Beauty.

You can check out the trailer for the horrifying original film below:

As of late, Disney has been announcing live-action versions of its properties left and right, including The Nutcracker (which has a huge cast of well-known actors), The Little Mermaid (with Lin-Manuel Miranda attached to help write the music), Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson), and Cruella (starring Emma Stone), among others.

With the amount of remakes — especially in the live-action department — it’s no wonder James and the giant Peach is the latest to be announced.

Do you want to see a live-action ‘James and the Giant Peach’ movie?

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

Read full article

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

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As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.