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.

I’ve noticed that a lot of television shows lately have focused on some form of mental health issues, and it’s making TV a whole lot better.

If you’ve watched a decent amount of TV lately you probably noticed this trend, and if you haven’t then you’re about to read about it. The more I watch TV the more I notice that a lot of shows have, in some way, brought up how people handle mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Either they have a character who faces it on a weekly or semi-weekly basis or an episode dedicated to someone handling it and I think it’s about damn time.

For the longest time Hollywood treated mental health disorders as some scary, horrible thing. It was all about straight-jackets and asylums and people never really understood how varied mental health disorders could be. Mental health problems are more than just schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, and finally I feel like Hollywood is beginning to go past the tip of that iceberg.

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I’ve noticed that a lot of television shows lately have focused on some form of mental health issues, and it’s making TV a whole lot better.

If you’ve watched a decent amount of TV lately you probably noticed this trend, and if you haven’t then you’re about to read about it. The more I watch TV the more I notice that a lot of shows have, in some way, brought up how people handle mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Either they have a character who faces it on a weekly or semi-weekly basis or an episode dedicated to someone handling it and I think it’s about damn time.

For the longest time Hollywood treated mental health disorders as some scary, horrible thing. It was all about straight-jackets and asylums and people never really understood how varied mental health disorders could be. Mental health problems are more than just schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, and finally I feel like Hollywood is beginning to go past the tip of that iceberg.

But that’s just it, we’ve only begun to explore mental health awareness in the proper way. With all of the shows on TV only a small number of them have started to explore this important subject. But the few that have? They’ve done a great job.

As much as I love TV I don’t watch everything so I’ve asked my Hypable co-workers to share with me their shows and how any of them highlight mental health awareness. These are all such great examples of how a television show can bring up awareness not for the sake of entertainment but rather because it’s important to show the world how mental health actually affects our lives.

‘The 100’


Jasper Jordan is a rare character in a post-apocalyptic work of fiction, because unlike most of his delinquent peers, he doesn’t have a near-superhuman ability to compartmentalise the traumas and keep fighting for his own and his friends’ survival.

Related: Jasper’s arc on The 100 is real, raw, and underrated

Where characters like Clarke, Bellamy, Monty and even Murphy get knocked down and get right back up again, Jasper isn’t able to do that. The ground was already well on its way to breaking him before he experienced the horrors of Mount Weather, and despite surviving it all, he hasn’t emerged stronger — his mind is giving out, and Jasper has no desire left to carry on. His self-destructive depression and suicidal tendencies were on full display in the season 3 finale, and although the writers decided to let him live (the original plan was for him to kill himself), his trauma hasn’t magically disappeared.

Jasper is a broken soul in an unforgiving world, and his pain is going to continue to define his character from here on out. –Selina Wilken

‘Bojack Horseman’


Every character on Bojack Horseman suffers from depression, and they all deal with it in different ways. Bojack is cruel and listless and blames everyone else for his problems, Mr.Peanutbutter hides his pain behind a smile and an upbeat personality.

Princess Carolyn loses herself in work and keeps her distance from other people emotionally to avoid being hurt again. Todd allows others to steer his life for him because he believes he’s too dumb and useless to make his own decisions. Every season hammers home why these characters behave the way that they behave, and it’s all wrapped up in a big metaphor about how we’re all just animals trying to survive. –Jimmy Bean

‘UnReal’


Probably one of the most evident and obvious shows that handle mental health, UnReal‘s main protagonist Rachel suffers from a lot of anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. If you watch just season one and half of season 2 you may not understand Rachel’s actions or why she suffers from PTSD, but in season 2, episode 7 it all becomes clear. Unlike the other shows, UnReal provides a great example for how to not handle depression. The actions of the characters are so abundantly harmful and deceitful that it’s easy to hate the characters and what they’re doing.

It’s hard to discuss without spoilers, but it’s not hard to see how Rachel suffers from these mental health conditions. The poor woman is surrounded by people who try to help her by helping themselves, leaving her to handle her depression and anxiety alone, and it provides a clear picture for how to not support your friends. The best thing this show does is displaying how important it is to take a look at the people around you and make sure you’re keeping them there for the right reasons.

As morally corrupt as the show and its characters are it’s a realistic portrayal of how harmful denying and not treating your depression and anxiety can be. –Tariq Kyle

‘Teen Wolf’


Stiles anxiety has been threaded subtly through Teen Wolf, with just a few instances where it has made it to the forefront of the plot. In one case, Stiles has a panic attack when he’s learned his father has been taken in season 3. Since he lost his mother has a young child, his father is really the only family he has left. Stiles has always been overprotective of his dad — making sure he’s eating healthy and taking care of himself. When he has a panic attack, Lydia finds a way to calm him down, but she doesn’t try to cure him.

Stiles’ anxiety is as much a part of history as anything else, and it returns to enhance the plot of the show in season 5 when Stiles is worried about what will happen to his friendship with Scott after high school. It drives Stiles to attempt to keep everyone together, but when that all falls apart, he must confront his fears and accept that life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. By the time season 6A finishes up, Stiles has overcome this particular trigger, but again, that does not mean he’s been cured of his anxiety. Teen Wolf knows that a mental illness like anxiety is not something you just get over; it’s something you constantly have to work through. –Karen Rought

‘The Magicians’

‘The Magicians’

The biggest driving force in The Magicians actually isn’t magic, but rather depression. It’s made all too clear in season 1 when Elliot explains to Quentin, “magic doesn’t come from talent, it comes from pain.” Author Lev Grossman has discussed this parallel several times, explaining that his own depression was the inspiration for the series.

Grossman explains, “when I was really struggling with depression, I would lie in bed every day, and I couldn’t get up. And I would watch people doing these normal things, going to their jobs and having their relationships, and I would think, I could never do that. And it felt like they were doing magic. And when I started to get better, and I started getting up, and I started doing all these normal things, I felt like I was a magician.”

And what’s particularly great about The Magicians is how each character handles their own depression and anxiety in their own way. Some, like Quentin, are sheepish and quiet about it. Others, like Elliot or Margo, put up a facade of strength and nonchalant-ness that they seldom put down for others. The show is incredibly unique in how it handles mental health, and it’s a great representation of how today’s adults are dealing with it in their own way. –Tariq Kyle

‘Survivor’


While scripted shows are improving leaps and bounds in their portrayals of mental illness, Survivor has always been happy to show real people overcoming real obstacles, including anxiety disorders and phobias that do not lend themselves to being marooned on an island for a month or more. This past season on Survivor brought us three very different, but inspiring storylines about people overcoming anxiety and such to do extremely well in a game that has overwhelmed some of its strongest participants.

David, who works as a TV writer when he’s not marooning himself on television, walked into the game looking like the type of person that is usually the first person voted off. He appeared weak, paranoid, and was afraid of nearly everything on the island (a scene in which he is scared to hold a stick bug stands out in my brain). As he grew comfortable with his surroundings, he managed to harness his weaknesses and use them in his own favor. He also bonded with another of our inspiring survivors, Ken.

Ken suffered from a stutter as a kid, and has social anxiety thanks to years of bullying and teasing. Ken not only learned to bond with David, but throughout the game managed to make friends and trusted allies despite his anxiety.

Last, but certainly never least is Hannah. Hannah, like David, walked onto the island looking like the type of person that gets voted off this show in the first few episodes. Her lowest point was definitely when she had an anxiety attack from just watching an immunity challenge in progress. She was sitting on the sidelines and suddenly started hyperventilating and her hands seized up. She went on to form solid alliances and maneuver her way into the final three.

Survivor allowed viewers to watch as these three unlikely people made their way through one of the toughest social experiments in play today. Their struggles are real and tough, and they’ve put themselves in circumstances most of us couldn’t dream of subjecting ourselves to, but each came out stronger, more assured in who they are, and aware that their anxiety does not define them. –Kristen Kranz

How do you feel depression and anxiety are being represented on TV?

Don’t forget, you’re not alone. Give a call to the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or text them by texting START to 741-741

Glee alum Lea Michele has found a new comedy project, this time on ABC, which leaves her Scream Queens fate undecided.

Daveed Diggs will be producing the untitled project for ABC, which was written and created by Jeremy Bronson.

Deadline is now reporting that Lea Michele has joined the project, stating, “The role that she was offered originally was conceived as Valentina Flores, Courtney’s Chief of Staff and reliable foil.”

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Glee alum Lea Michele has found a new comedy project, this time on ABC, which leaves her Scream Queens fate undecided.

Daveed Diggs will be producing the untitled project for ABC, which was written and created by Jeremy Bronson.

Deadline is now reporting that Lea Michele has joined the project, stating, “The role that she was offered originally was conceived as Valentina Flores, Courtney’s Chief of Staff and reliable foil.”

Now, it sounds like ABC will be tailoring the character specifically to Michele and could even showcase her musical talents along the way.

As previously reported, the show is about “an outspoken, idealistic rapper [who] runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, then surprising everyone, including himself, when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.”

Interestingly, Ryan Murphy has let Michele out of her contract for Scream Queens in order to join this project. Apparently a season 3 renewal is unlikely anyway, and this sounds like another nail in the coffin for the show. However, the series could live on without Michele’s character, so fans will certainly be keeping an eye out for any news.

Will you be tuning into Lea Michele’s latest project?

Experiencing Star Wars in its original, unaltered format has been a distant hope for most fans. But now, according to new rumors, it could be set to become reality.

Ask any Star Wars fan about their opinions over the Special Edition releases, and you’ll typically hear the same thing: That the changes implemented by George Lucas, on the whole, either altered the story and character development for the worse, or added unnecessary and cumbersome CGI elements out of step with the movies’ aesthetic.

And so, for as long as the Special Editions have existed, so too have the persistent rumors that the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy would eventually be released. They wane in the years between significant milestones in the franchise’s lifespan, but become ever more abundant when an anniversary is on the horizon.

Read full article

Experiencing Star Wars in its original, unaltered format has been a distant hope for most fans. But now, according to new rumors, it could be set to become reality.

Ask any Star Wars fan about their opinions over the Special Edition releases, and you’ll typically hear the same thing: That the changes implemented by George Lucas, on the whole, either altered the story and character development for the worse, or added unnecessary and cumbersome CGI elements out of step with the movies’ aesthetic.

And so, for as long as the Special Editions have existed, so too have the persistent rumors that the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy would eventually be released. They wane in the years between significant milestones in the franchise’s lifespan, but become ever more abundant when an anniversary is on the horizon.

With the 40th Anniversary of the release of A New Hope coming up in May of 2017, it was only a matter of time before the rumors surfaced once more — so, what makes them different this time around?

That would come down to the source. Making Star Wars boasts a pretty solid track record when it comes to reporting rumors. Not only that, but they typically don’t give much, if any, attention to the rumblings about a re-release of the theatrical versions of Star Wars.

Per their report, however, Making Star Wars’ Editor in Chief Jason Ward states that “over the last month the evidence and tips have been piling up that the unaltered original trilogy will be re-released this year for the 40th anniversary in various formats. Several sources have let us know it was coming and it appears to actually be on the way this time.”

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, with a 40th Anniversary panel recently announced for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration — the opening panel of the convention, no less. Big things are, unsurprisingly, expected to arise from that panel and, for fans, nothing could be a bigger than a confirmation of this rumor.

But why are the theatrical releases of the Original Trilogy such an important commodity for fans of the franchise?

The complicated history of Star Wars and the Special Editions

Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to Star Wars on the whole, there’s certainly no denying the significant cultural impact the franchise has had on the world. A New Hope — or just Star Wars, as it was known back in 1977 — won several Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects, Production Design and Original Music Score.

It left its mark on the film industry in pretty spectacular style, and influenced movies in its wake, but there was no knowing then that the version of Star Wars so decorated by the Academy, and beloved by fans and critics alike, would be unceremoniously hidden away from the world — as though it was George Lucas’ secret shame.

Many fans of Star Wars have never experienced a version of the film where Han really did shoot first, where John Williams’ score isn’t drowned out by sound effects, and Luke and Obi-Wan’s arrival at Mos Eisley isn’t obscured by CGI creatures.

George Lucas has spoken out in defense of these changes, which debuted in a re-release of the Original Trilogy in 1997, saying that the Special Editions are the films as they were “meant to be.”

That Lucas could return to the trilogy years after its release, with more advanced technologies at his fingertips, in order to complete the film with his original vision in mind is something that most of us — as creators — would yearn to do. There is, as Lucas mentioned in his interview, always more you feel that you could have done. Nothing ever truly feels perfect, or complete.

But, in returning to the films to “correct” his mistakes, Lucas did more than alter them to more closely fit his ideal vision — he erased an important part of film history.

Setting aside the complicated feelings most fans have with the significant adjustments to the story and visuals, the 1997 release of A New Hope stripped the film of every aspect that it had won its Academy Awards for. Gone were the incredible sound effects and mixing, replaced with more cumbersome versions. So too were the costume and production design, overwritten by CGI creatures. And John Williams’ beautiful score was drowned out by the rush of X-Wings.

Each year, the American National Film Registry, a branch of the Library of Congress, archives 25 American films to preserve them. Star Wars, the 1977 release, was one of the first films chosen for preservation — but Lucasfilm refused to deliver the original archival print.

The 1997 release of A New Hope has been offered in its stead, but legislation dictates that the first published must be archived, so the Registry had no choice but to refuse to accept it.

Preserving the original version of Star Wars became a hugely important project for many fans, who felt as though future generations deserved to experience the film as they had. And so, with each subsequent release, and re-release, of Star Wars, several restoration attempts have been made.

The scope of these fan projects is nothing short of breathtaking, and the results in themselves are incredible, particularly with Harmy’s Despecialized Editions. They painstakingly restored the sound balance, breathing life back into John Williams’ score, and corrected the coloring, removed the additional scenes and CGI, and ensured the original sound effects were in place.

There is no denying that these projects are a labor of love. It is a true respect for the cultural impact of Star Wars and its part in film history that continues to drive fans to restore the trilogy to its original state.

But now, perhaps, those versions of the film will no longer need to be hidden in the shadows, skirting around the edge of legality under fair-use.

With the potential of an official release of the theatrical editions of the Original Trilogy, at a level of quality that Star Wars truly deserves, perhaps it can finally take its rightful place as a documented part of American film history.