This past Saturday at the LeakyCon conference in Chicago, Team StarKid performed ‘A Very Potter 3D: A Very Potter Senior Year’ for the first and probably the last time – and we were there! Some of our predictions came true, and we’re going to give you every possible detail that we can without outright spoiling you.

Firstly, our top five predictions:

1. The plot will draw from the canon of Chamber of Secrets.

No comment. Telling you the plot would be spoiling the whole thing outright! But keep this in mind: the show has been written – changed, but written, for a very long time. There is content in it that was meant to be in the very first show and was cut. Several members of StarKid, especially the Lang brothers, have spoken in interviews about the content of the third Potter show – possibly when they thought that putting it on was not a possibility – and there is definitely some content in there that they have spoken about before. Go find those interviews – they’re on YouTube – and mine them for nuggets of information and you might get an idea of some of the show.

2. Evanna Lynch will cameo as Dobby.

Wrong – but as you may have seen on Twitter, Evanna was in the show. She actually played Luna in all the Hogwarts scenes, which we cannot believe was allowed by Warner Bros, but it was very fun.

3. The Lang brothers will provide running commentary.

Wrong – but close! Team StarKid had professional voice actor Bob Joles, who is the husband of their talent agent Pat Brady, reading the stage directions and scene changes. This proved to be very funny and the cast broke the fourth wall, interacting with him and telling him off at certain points.

4. Meredith Stepien will play Hermione.

Correct. She did. This is a pretty big casting spoiler and we will not be giving any new casting spoilers, but seeing as the original Hermione, Bonnie Gruesen, tweeted about Meredith doing the show, we think we can give you this one. She did a great job and the switchover included a joke very much like the one we predicted.

5. There won’t be any songs.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, so wrong. We’re so happy to be wrong. The show featured songs written by A.J. Holmes, Clark Baxtresser, Pierce Siebers, Nick and Matt Lang, and Darren Criss. We’ll talk more about the music in a moment.

Here’s what happened…

The format of the show was really much closer to a full production than the reading that was originally promised. It was fully blocked and costumed – Corey Lubowich told us that there were over 75 costumes in the show – and included some basic choreography for some of the cast members who had a little more rehearsal time. Everybody carried scripts, but a lot of the cast were pretty much off-book and only held their scripts as to not make the less-rehearsed cast members stand out. It was the first time the group had been able to actually run the show in full, in order, and considering that it went incredibly smoothly, though of course there were a lot of hiccups that were noticed and laughed at, and probably many more that we didn’t realize were mistakes but that Team StarKid were flailing and cursing at behind the scenes. For example, because the show had not been run before, they did not have cues for the microphones, so all 30+ cast members had live mics the entire show. So we heard some backstage laughing, talking and other sounds that will definitely not make it onto Youtube!

The show was long. Very long – about four and a half hours in total. The first few scenes dragged a little, but as both the audience and the actors settled into the medium, the pace picked up and we were able to become very caught up in the show. What we’re officially allowed to say about the plot is this: that it’s Harry’s final year at Hogwarts, and after defeating Voldemort and all his lingering Death Eaters during the past few years, Harry is trying to find his place in a world that no longer needs him and no longer thinks he’s cool. A new character comes along who really salts the wound for the Boy Who Lived, as does a popularity contest with Draco Malfoy, and Harry tries to create for himself a new image and a fresh start instead of being the same old boring savior of Hogwarts. There’s also an interwoven plot told brilliantly in flashbacks, so you may see some characters that you’ve seen before and didn’t expect to see again. There are a few inconsistencies or forgotten ‘canon’ from the past Potter shows – what springs to mind most clearly is that they really didn’t have any interaction between Draco and Luna despite the fact that they got together at the end of A Very Potter Sequel when Luna was played by Arielle Goldman – but once we started really tuning into the show, not just what was happening onstage and the way it was being performed, but what was being said, what was written – the content is sheer brilliance.

This show was not slapped together for the sake of appeasing the fans – it’s just as funny, just as touching, just as rude, just as wrenching as the other Potter productions. The quality of the content is absolutely up to the standard of all other StarKid shows – they just simply did not have the time to give it the rehearsal it deserved. But what they pulled off in just one weekend simply goes to show how well these people work together, how much they can play off of one another and be in tune with one another in order to put on a show that really blew our expectations out of the water. We expected this to be pretty rough, and to forgive them for that because we all know the circumstances surrounding the limited timing. We were prepared to appreciate whatever they were able to give us and the fact that they were sharing this with us at all. We were not prepared for the near-perfect experience that it was. Yes, it was rough, and there were obvious mistakes or unrehearsed parts, but we were all prepared for that, so those moments became funny and charming, and something that will become a precious memory to everyone who was there, because it was real, and in the moment, and we all knew the deal and we all had their backs. The show that ends up going onto YouTube does have the possibility to run very cleanly – editing out pauses, filming from five cameras means that they have the possibility to cut away from people making mistakes to focus on other things in the scene – but we think the attendees will always cherish the opportunity to have seen the whole live show – warts, f-bombs and all.

A few MVPs: Chris Allen, who played three very different roles absolutely hysterically. Joe Walker, who brought his usual intense character work and strange vulnerability, as well as some killer dance moves. Joe Moses had a monologue that made us cry. Dylan Saunders had a monologue that made us cry. A.J. Holmes was flawless – running between playing his role, which was not minor, and playing in the band, and he had a speech which was possibly the funniest thing ever put into a StarKid show. He did it off-book and his delivery was just something we cannot wait for you to see – this scene has apparently existed for years, it was cut from both the first show and the sequel, so it was very polished. Lauren Lopez’s Draco was as brilliant as ever. Joey Richter had a solo number which nearly tore a hole in the roof of the Hilton, the crowd went absolutely wild – he is a true star.

And of course we cannot pass over Darren Criss, who took a red-eye into Chicago, arrived at about 6am, and apparently went straight into rehearsal in order to play Harry for us one last time. He was certainly more unprepared than some of the others, but he made up for it in the strength of his acting on the fly and the sheer emotion he brought to the role. The show is fairly light up until the end of the first act, and honestly not that Harry-centric: there are many scenes he’s not in at all, including the flashbacks, and we were thinking he simply may not have had enough time to even do a solo song and that they’d restructured the show around that unfortunate fact – but towards the end of the first act, he has a emotional song, also featuring Joe Walker in which we realised that this is still Harry’s show, this is still Harry’s story, and that we were not going to make it through the show without full-on ugly crying. We can’t post lyrics as it may spoil plot, but things go from funny to poignant pretty quickly. On the Q and A panel the day after the show, the Lang brothers mentioned that a lot of the show is meant to be autobiographical and representative and a lot of what was being said in this song was incredibly heart-wrenching when applied to Darren’s position with StarKid, StarKid’s position with Harry Potter, and the Harry Potter fandom’s position in the world in general. This vibe continued heavily through the second act – while the first act was mostly light, the second act was quite heavy and had an enormous sense of finality and closure in both the script and the songs, which we were told by composer Clark Baxtresser was completely intentional. We (and by we I mean I, you all probably know who is writing this) were crying pretty much all the way through the second act. The writers chose to combine two of the most emotional scenes from the books into one giant mess of sadness.

At the end, yes, Harry finds his place in the world, finds peace with himself, and saves the day while using a reprise of an old favorite song – but it wasn’t really the happiest ending. The characters end up graduating and leaving Hogwarts, and when Harry hugs all the other students goodbye and then goes off separately to speak alone on the stage to ‘Hogwarts’ – to the audience. Our clearest memory of the show, we think, will be when Darren broke character a tiny bit, for a moment alone on that stage, saying thank you and goodbye, and that it had been “totally awesome.” Just those two words, he looked the audience in the eye and used his natural voice. That was for us and I don’t think that anyone there will ever forget it, because Darren will always be in StarKid, but things are changing from here on out and he will never be our Harry again. A chapter is very much closed, for him, for Team StarKid, and even for the StarKid and Harry Potter fandom at large, because we’ve dealt with the last book and the last movie, but we still had this, until now. By the end of the show, either in their last scenes or curtain call, nearly the whole cast was crying, as was most of the audience.

Being at the show was a brilliant and magical experience and we can’t wait for the show to be released on YouTube so that you all can see it and we can review it in more detail. Writers Matt Lang, Nick Lang and Brian Holden do an amazing job of taking parts of canon and mixing them up in ways that you’d never think of and yet suddenly make perfect sense, and, while changing it all around, making fun of it, making it dirty, making it ridiculous, they have always treated this book series with the utmost respect for its true heart and soul and tapped into the emotional core of what Harry Potter is all about. Team StarKid’s time with Harry Potter is over, and maybe someone else will pick up the mantle and make something else that appeals just as much. But there is a reason Team StarKid are what they are, and that they became successful when fandom was dying down, that they became more successful than most wizard rock, parody videos, even other musicals. They are something special, and everyone who drinks their Kool-Aid sees it instantly. Their success will continue – Team StarKid is not going anywhere – but Harry Potter brought them to us and we offer them congratulations and the greatest thanks for doing right by us and sharing with us the final chapter in what is sure to be the just the first book in a long series.

We really loved the first book, though. It might always be our favorite, in a way.

Behind-the-scenes looks at next year’s live-action Beauty and the Beast continue to leak off the animated film’s 25th Anniversary Edition, arriving in September.

Today we have four new previews. This one’s a particular doozy because we get to see a first look (sort of) at Emma Watson as Belle, who has yet to be unveiled in full. The dress she’s wearing in this concept art may be best remembered from the animated movie for its appearance in the scenes surrounding the song “Belle”:

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson

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Behind-the-scenes looks at next year’s live-action Beauty and the Beast continue to leak off the animated film’s 25th Anniversary Edition, arriving in September.

Today we have four new previews. This one’s a particular doozy because we get to see a first look (sort of) at Emma Watson as Belle, who has yet to be unveiled in full. The dress she’s wearing in this concept art may be best remembered from the animated movie for its appearance in the scenes surrounding the song “Belle”:

beauty-and-the-beast-belle-emma-watson

Three pieces of concept art appear to have been drawn up for the costume department. We’re also getting a look at Gaston (Luke Evans) and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson):

beauty-and-the-beast-mrs-potts

beauty-and-the-beast-gaston

Finally, we have a shot of Luke Evans and a woman rehearsing a dance scene that appears to take place on top of a table. In the background you can see additional concept art depicting Mrs. Potts (in kettle form), Chip, and a piano (who might be played by Stanley Tucci and named Cadenza):

beauty-and-the-beast-belle

Last week we got to see several other first looks from this same behind-the-scenes featurette, including Dan Stevens as the Beast (human form), Cogsworth, and Lumière.

At this rate, the whole behind-the-scenes look may be spoiled by the time the Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition is released to the world on September 20.

The live-action Beauty and the Beast arrives this March and is directed by Bill Condon.

90 minutes into an embarrassing year for the MTV VMAs, a bright light appeared: Beyoncé.

Beyoncé’s 2016 MTV VMA performance may go down as one of the best in the award show’s history. The Lemonade singer flawlessly moved through “Pray You Catch Me,” “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (featuring a Cruella de Vil-like wardrobe), and “Formation,” each with their own themes and stunning visuals. (That fire! That broken camera! The feminism!)

Watch Beyoncé’s full 2016 MTV VMA performance below:

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90 minutes into an embarrassing year for the MTV VMAs, a bright light appeared: Beyoncé.

Beyoncé’s 2016 MTV VMA performance may go down as one of the best in the award show’s history. The Lemonade singer flawlessly moved through “Pray You Catch Me,” “Hold Up,” “Sorry,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (featuring a Cruella de Vil-like wardrobe), and “Formation,” each with their own themes and stunning visuals. (That fire! That broken camera! The feminism!)

Watch Beyoncé’s full 2016 MTV VMA performance below:

The performance was a bit of a surprise. Though MTV hinted that she’d be showing up, no one expected a 15-minute performance.

The 2016 MTV VMAs were disappointing to say the least. The first two award winners — the only two awards presented in the first 2 hours of the show — weren’t present to receive them (Drake was apparently stuck in traffic, according to P Diddy).

And peppered throughout the performances were Key and Peele, who were playing commentators who just mocked millennials and their lingo. Bizarre, when you realize that they’re just making fun of the show’s core audience for hours.

Then Britney Spears had to follow Beyoncé with a performance of “Make Me” with G-Eazy. Poor Britney! No one should have to follow a Beyoncé performance like the one above.

It’s funny how Beyoncé feels compelled to perform at the garbage that are the MTV VMAs. They don’t deserve her. There are only two legitimate reasons why she could be interested in doing this: To inspire, and to promote the Formation World Tour.

Marvel reveals what Thor was really up to during ‘Civil War’ in amazing new video

"And who's this purple weirdo?"

3:38 pm EDT, August 28, 2016

Have you found yourself curious about just where Thor ended up whilst his team mates were duking it out during Captain America: Civil War? Well, wonder no longer, as Marvel has finally revealed the truth.

We’ve all mulled the question over in our heads, since the line-up for Civil War was revealed. Where were Thor and Bruce Banner hiding out whilst the Sokovia Accords were tearing their team apart?

The answer was revealed in a mockumentary clip, directed by Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi, which debuted during San Diego Comic-Con this past summer — where it received an enthusiastic response. But, for those fans left at home, and without a coveted seat in Hall H, the answer still remained painfully out of reach.

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Have you found yourself curious about just where Thor ended up whilst his team mates were duking it out during Captain America: Civil War? Well, wonder no longer, as Marvel has finally revealed the truth.

We’ve all mulled the question over in our heads, since the line-up for Civil War was revealed. Where were Thor and Bruce Banner hiding out whilst the Sokovia Accords were tearing their team apart?

The answer was revealed in a mockumentary clip, directed by Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi, which debuted during San Diego Comic-Con this past summer — where it received an enthusiastic response. But, for those fans left at home, and without a coveted seat in Hall H, the answer still remained painfully out of reach.

Until now.

Released in anticipation of the Civil War DVD and Blu-ray release, this short is now available to the masses, and we couldn’t happier — not least because it’s just as hilarious as promised.

Team Thor

See what Thor was up to during Captain America Civil War! Get this and other bonus on Digital HD 9/2. http://bit.ly/293rlyS

Posted by Marvel Studios on Sunday, 28 August 2016

 

That’s right. As Tony and Steve were duking it out, Thor was Down Under, chilling with his new buddy Darryl and engaging in a little community service.

It’s definitely worth checking out for yourself, and we won’t spoil any of the more hilarious touches — especially some of Thor’s… artistic interpretations of certain Avengers team members. We’re definitely not going to be able to look at Nick Fury in the same way, ever again.

(Also, if you’ve been having difficulty tracking the Infinity Stones, Thor has the perfect solution for you!)

Rest assured that, if this mockumentary is anything to go by, Thor: Ragnarok is in very capable hands. We’re certainly looking forward to a Rainbow road bridge-tripping adventure across the universe with Thor and Hulk.

Especially if it allows Chris Hemsworth to show off more of his comedy chops, as seen in the above clip.

Captain America: Civil War is released in Digital HD on September 2, and on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. Thor: Ragnarok will be heading to theaters on November 3, 2017.

Which ‘team’ are you on now? Team Cap, Team Iron Man, or… Team Thor?