After months of speculation, anticipation and maybe a little worry from the fandom, Team StarKid have posted a video confirming the YouTube release of A Very Potter 3D: A Very Potter Senior Year. 

A Very Potter Senior Year is the third and final of the Harry Potter parody shows which first brought the group attention when they were students at the University of Michigan. The formation of their company, Team StarKid, came after the huge and unexpected response to their work when their YouTube videos went viral. The name “StarKid” is a joke from that first Very Potter show, which hit the web in June 2009.

Less than six months after the release of A Very Potter Sequel, the group’s composer – and their Harry – was one of a million struggling actor/musicians in Los Angeles. He got a haircut, landed a TV guest spot, sang a Katy Perry song to another boy, and his star rose astronomically overnight. But in between movies and Broadway and world tours, Team StarKid and their fans wanted Darren Criss back for a few minutes – just long enough to put together “the Threequel” – the final Potter show that was long known to be finished, ready and waiting to be staged as soon as the circumstances would allow it.

Earlier this year, Team StarKid announced that they would finally be able to perform a version of A Very Potter Senior Year – that because they weren’t sure if they could ever run it as a full show in the way they’ve run more recent releases, they would bring the cast (including Darren) to the LeakyCon convention this past August, and give the audience a staged reading of the script. The final product was five hours long after only 36 hours rehearsal with the full cast. It was completely uncut, full of goofs, and had never been run in order before. It contained songs, staging, choreography, and over 70 costumes worn by the 30+ members involved – Team StarKid brought in nearly every single person who had ever been in a StarKid show to take part in Senior Year.

The audience of 4,000 – who had possibly been expecting a bunch of people sitting in a row of chairs, reading lines back and forth – ate the whole thing up. The rest of the fandom wept and pulled at their hair, especially when rumors circulated that Team StarKid’s creative team, who do seem to pride themselves on delivering technical perfection even if the content is silly, may not want to release the show online due to the one-off LeakyCon taping being unmanageable from an editing perspective. Too many mistakes. It won’t make sense. It’s too long.

Fear no longer, StarKids:



Unlike most purposefully cheesy StarKid announcement videos, the above seems to really reflect the gravity of the situation, that the StarKids know just how much this moment means to a lot of their fans. That, after radio silence, right now was not the moment for teasing or tongue in cheek. We see footage documented from a StarKid creative meeting, discussing the issue of the quality and the context, the fears that if this show will be released it will represent a lowering in standards, and the counter-argument that everyone at LeakyCon and awaiting the show online knew that it wasn’t a full-blown production, that they were expecting a reading and would be forgiving of that. The final conclusion? That for Senior Year to make sense, for the goofs to be funny, for the footage of the reading to be worth watching, the fandom should be familiar with what the show should have been.

So they’re releasing everything. Later this month, Team StarKid will release the script and the music for A Very Potter Senior Year, and then allow fans some time to get to know it, and then, in early 2013, they will put up the entire live video of the staged reading. The script and soundtrack – featuring nine new songs written by AJ Holmes, Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers – will be made available on December 15 through The Ann Arbor T-shirt Company.

In case fans weren’t thrilled enough, the announcement video then features over a minute of footage from the reading. With StarKid’s usual “no cameras, no spoilers” policy in place, this is the first Senior Year content of any substance to have been posted – snippets of songs, previewing new characters (Lockhart! McGonagall! Hagrid! Young Tom Riddle!) and the return of all the old gang, including our Harry, of course.

We were at the live reading, and if you want to know more about what happened, you can go back and read our review of the production.

Is the release of AVPSY in this format – script, soundtrack, then YouTube – everything you’d hoped and dreamed? Did you like the footage from the StarKid meeting and the footage from the show? What are you most excited for?

After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”