So here we are.

Some of us have been here since the beginning, and some of you are joining us for the first time. Either way, we’re all in this together now.

At the time of writing this, I am 22 years old. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone came out 9 ¾ years ago (gee, isn’t 9 ¾ that platform at King’s Cross where we begin and end our journey with Harry?) I was twelve years old, just a year older than Mr. Potter himself.

I remember sitting in my cushy red theater seat and watching the shiny golden Warner Brothers logo pass me by for the very first time. I remember that I had to wait until my mom got off work so that she could drive me to the theater and that my cousin Matt had somehow persuaded me to put mustard on my popcorn. Very vividly, I remember the feeling I got deep in the recesses of my childhood when the first frame of the entire series was projected on the screen.

It was an owl, illuminated by the moonlight, perched on a sign that read “Privet Drive”.

I inhaled sharply with all the fervent expectation that a twelve year old boy could possibly muster, fully knowing that I was about to watch the film that I had been waiting for ever since I read the last sentence of Sorceror’s Stone.

I remember laughing every time that Hagrid muttered “I shouldn’t have told yeh that”, and I remember being terrified when Harry, Ron and Hermione encountered Fluffy, the vicious three-headed dog. More than anything though, I remember what I was thinking.

This was made for me.

Being a clueless (and admittedly weird) twelve year old boy, this was a particularly powerful notion. I knew nothing of marketing, films, or the four quadrants of audiences.

All I knew was that for years, the Harry Potter books had been a source of escape for me. I would get lost for hours at a time in Harry’s world, wishing that Hogwarts had existed and telling myself over and over again that my letter had simply gotten lost in the mail.

When I was pulled from grade school and moved to an unfamiliar junior high school, (in hindsight, this is a very cruel practice that is still happening in some parts of the world today) Hogwarts was the place where I sought stability. While other kids made new friends, started going to parties and began their rebellion against their parents, I made friends with the librarian and spent my lunches with Harry.

How funny was it then that as Harry grew, met horrible teachers, had his first kiss, and got average grades, there I was alongside him doing the same. Harry’s last year at Hogwarts coincided with my graduation from high school, and although I did not defeat a Dark Lord, I did manage a 3.3 grade point average.

That’s the thing though. I absorbed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as an adult with the same ferocity with which I absorbed Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone as a child. In retrospect, the tones of both novels appear to be meant for different people.

I realize only now that it was because they are meant for different people.

The kid inside me that finds troll bogies to be uproariously funny is not the same adult that was able to appreciate Harry’s psychological victory over Voldemort. The boy that delighted in the bright tones and golden atmosphere of the Chris Columbus films isn’t the same man that is moved by the darker tones and adult subject matter that has slowly encompassed Harry’s life.

When I was a kid, I thought that Sorceror’s Stone was made for me, and that’s because it was. It was made for the kid who read books in the library all day, the kid who was the youngest in his family, and the kid who felt like he didn’t fit into this world and had to commandeer another. I found pieces of myself in Hermione, Ron and Harry, so to me, their journey was real.

I am older now and they are still so real to me. They aren’t like my other obsessions which have slowly faded in and out of attention. Harry Potter has stayed with me until the very end and I intend to do the same.

Even in this world of fiction that Harry lives in, moments sometimes ring so harshly true and I have to remind myself that these aren’t my real childhood buddies, they are Jo’s imaginary friends.

A particularly striking scene for me is the moment in Half Blood Prince when Harry hits Draco with the Sectumsempra curse. You may remember from Chamber of Secrets that this is not Harry’s first duel with Malfoy. In the book, they spring tickling charms and slightly more violent (but still relatively un-lethal) spells at each-other. In Half Blood Prince when Harry sends his mysterious Sectumsempra curse at Malfoy, it slashes him across the chest, splattering blood on the floor. If not for moaning Myrtle, Harry would have murdered Malfoy.

I still remember reading that part of the book and having to physically set it down at that point. The characters were so real to me, and until this point Malfoy was one of the main antagonists whom Harry (and by association, me) hated with a fervor. Why then was his almost death so striking to me? Why was it more shocking than say, Sirius or Cedric’s death? It was because like Harry, I grew up with Draco. He was real to me.

For those following along with my own personal and less thrilling story, the sixth book came out when I was sixteen. I was the same age as Harry when he accidentally mortally wounded the fellow teenager that his childhood had naively labeled as his enemy.

Now, as I buy my advance tickets to a midnight showing of Harry Potter for the last time, I mourn the end of the masterful series of films that I unfairly once labeled as my enemy.

I know what you are about to say. “The film series is GARBAGE compared to the books!” “Daniel Radcliffe can’t act and he ruined it!” “The film-makers should be JAILED for not including [insert favorite moment from the book here]!” In some ways you’re right, but to me the Harry Potter films have been about more than just satisfying me. The beautiful thing about these movies is that just like the books, I grew up with them and they grew up with me.

I remain convinced that fifty years from now, students studying film will learn about the Harry Potter series as a work of art. You might disagree with me, but you must admit that no series of films have grown up with an audience the way this one has. For years, people will look at those films and envy the generation that got to grow up with Harry Potter.

For the rest of my life, I will watch those films and remember my childhood. I will remember growing up with Harry as no generation has ever grown up with a fictional character before.

As Harry discovered his world, I slowly discovered mine. As Harry learned about cruelty, racism, greed and corruption, so did I. As Harry gained friends that he would readily give his life for, so did I. As Harry eventually discovered that the world isn’t conveniently  labeled or separated by good and evil, so did I.

To steal a line from a random Tumblr user, when my grandchildren see me compulsively re-reading the books and re-watching the movies, they might ask “Really? After all this time?” to which I will smile and respond with “Always.”

The phrase ‘end of an era’ has been tossed around plenty lately, but no one will understand what that means more than our generation. We got to live the magic. We got to watch as our childhood friends made their way to the big screen, and we have watched them laugh, play, kiss, dance and die. No other generation can say this. It was us. We were the chosen ones.

Now we have the task of saying goodbye. The series that was made for us is coming to a close, and for many of us, this also means saying goodbye to our childhoods. Before you start tearing up, let me remind you of some words said by the wisest man any of us had the privilege of growing up with.

“It isn’t really goodbye after all.”

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When the news broke about X-Men: Supernova being adapted for film, the reactions were as predictable as they were extreme: “Yay!” from the fanboys and “Oy vey” from the general populace. And strange as it feels to me, I align with the casual moviegoers, despite being the guy who went to see the last two X-movies dressed as Mystique and Cyclops.

A quick word about my X-geek credentials: I’m not a comic book reader, but was obsessed with all the TV shows, and transferred that obsession to the film franchise. And I don’t hate The Last Stand as much as you want me to; I just thought it was meh.

I think rehashing the Dark Phoenix storyline is a bad idea both financially and creatively. Financially, it wouldn’t go over well with casual moviegoers. Anyone who knows enough to be excited about a Dark Phoenix movie would go see it anyway, and everyone else will wonder why they should bother seeing a story they just saw 12 years earlier. There’s a reason Amazing Spiderman made less than two-thirds the gross of the original Spiderman, despite 3D and a decade of inflation — why bother paying to see a film when you can just stream the last incarnation?

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When the news broke about X-Men: Supernova being adapted for film, the reactions were as predictable as they were extreme: “Yay!” from the fanboys and “Oy vey” from the general populace. And strange as it feels to me, I align with the casual moviegoers, despite being the guy who went to see the last two X-movies dressed as Mystique and Cyclops.

A quick word about my X-geek credentials: I’m not a comic book reader, but was obsessed with all the TV shows, and transferred that obsession to the film franchise. And I don’t hate The Last Stand as much as you want me to; I just thought it was meh.

I think rehashing the Dark Phoenix storyline is a bad idea both financially and creatively. Financially, it wouldn’t go over well with casual moviegoers. Anyone who knows enough to be excited about a Dark Phoenix movie would go see it anyway, and everyone else will wonder why they should bother seeing a story they just saw 12 years earlier. There’s a reason Amazing Spiderman made less than two-thirds the gross of the original Spiderman, despite 3D and a decade of inflation — why bother paying to see a film when you can just stream the last incarnation?

Creatively, I want to see the film franchise take on a new story, instead of trying to do an old one better. Sony finally figured that out: no one wants to pay to see Peter Parker watch Uncle Ben get killed yet again, so just move on. Even from watching the cartoons and reading Wikipedia, I know that X-Men has some fantastic storylines to explore: Genosha, Legacy Virus, or House of M. When the films have given the fans a cinematic incarnation of an exciting new story, the results have been overwhelmingly positive: consider Days of Future Past, or the excitement for Old Man Logan.

Even if they redo Dark Phoenix, what are the odds it’ll be that much better? Sophie Turner is not a markedly better actress than Famke Janssen. It would be at the same studio, produced by a lot of the same people who did The Last Stand and Apocalypse. It may be time to just write off the Dark Phoenix saga as a lost cause for the film franchise. Fans will always have the original comics to return to, and two animated incarnations of it (‘90s X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men).

It’s the same way I feel about the Harry Potter franchise: I wish we could get decent movie adaptations of the books, but I’m much more excited for new stories in Fantastic Beasts, and happy to ignore the movies in favor of rereading the books. Films are not the be-all-end-all creative expression of a story.

Of course, I’ll still go see X-Men: Supernova when it comes out, but I really hope the next X-Men film gives me something to be excited about. I am familiar with going in to see films and thinking, “God, I hope they don’t eff it up again.” That’s how I felt for the latter Harry Potter movies. I’d be happy if they did a film centered on Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, because I thought she was one of the few highlights of X-Men Apocalypse, but I truly hope they just leave the Dark Phoenix storyline well enough alone.

Do you want to see a retread of Dark Phoenix, or are you over it?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Jed Whedon discusses those killer twists and writing fanfiction in the aftermath of the spring finale.

Jed Whedon wrote and directed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, the episode that brought the current LMD storyline to an ostensible close. “Self Control” also completely changed the game for the rest of the season, sending Daisy into the ‘upside down’ of the world of the Framework to rescue the rest of the team.

But the Framework is a world where resolved regrets have appalling consequences — and that world is run by the likes of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Whedon offered up his thoughts on upcoming themes, that crazy return, and the life and death stakes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Jed Whedon discusses those killer twists and writing fanfiction in the aftermath of the spring finale.

Jed Whedon wrote and directed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, the episode that brought the current LMD storyline to an ostensible close. “Self Control” also completely changed the game for the rest of the season, sending Daisy into the ‘upside down’ of the world of the Framework to rescue the rest of the team.

But the Framework is a world where resolved regrets have appalling consequences — and that world is run by the likes of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Whedon offered up his thoughts on upcoming themes, that crazy return, and the life and death stakes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra.

First, what’s it like being an evil genius, destroyer of fandoms?

Oh well, you know! I get a lot of love-hate tweets at me.

When did you first have the idea to go into this alternate timeline, and basically write fanfiction of your own story?

You know, we end every year with talking about what next year will be. So last year, we had a lot of different things on our plate that we wanted to get into the season, and I think you can see we packed a lot in. But there’s sort of three big ideas — Ghost Rider, LMDs, and some sort of alt-world where we could, as you say, write some fanfiction for our characters and explore new things.

You know, I think this is our eighty-first episode that just aired, and that’s a lot of stories. So it’s refreshing for everybody, in production, action, and writers, to flip the script for a little while and get to sort of shake it out and use a new muscle.

So that’s something we talked about doing, and then figuring out how to do it, and how to make all those stories sort of become one thing was the real puzzle. And that’s where the Darkhold came in, and the idea that, finding a way that the Darkhold could sort of get us new tech, and the tech could get us to Alt-World. And so it was sort of a year in the making, and then it’s just a question of, what do we want to do in there? What kind of fun do we want to have?

Speaking of that, can you clarify the parameters of the Framework? Is it really an ideal world, as Aida and Radcliffe seem to think?

Yeah, I think that Radcliffe and Aida set out to duplicate the world, and with some of the info that Aida got from the Darkhold, they were able to do that. Now, the one change that they made was they plugged I think five people into it and repaired one regret for each of them, and that seems to have had a little bit of a ripple effect. We’ll get to learn more about the nature of that reality, but they were setting out to make our world. And it just seems when you change something, there’s a little bit of a butterfly effect.

So putting Jemma aside, who is decidedly her own case as she is apparently dead, which character’s new life do you think will be most surprising to fans?

Well, that’s a little bit of a wait and see question. But one thing I can say is that the themes we’re exploring are sort of, are you different if you’re in a different situation? Or are you inherently the same person? Obviously, we see May standing without much fear in a Hydra building, seemingly like she’s on top of the world. And so the question is, is she still her? Or have her new experiences changed her enough to be someone else?

Those are some of the themes that we’re going to explore. And you’ll get to see how each person is different and sort of judge for yourself who is the most different. But those are some of the themes we wanted to dig into. Is there a true you, or are you made up of your regrets — and what happens if you take those away?

And in terms of Jemma, you were very careful to obscure the date of her death on the tombstone. Is there any significance to that, or a mystery we should be keeping an eye out for?

In general in the Marvel Universe, dates are avoided. Because so much is connected… and I think that if you really asked, they would say that since the first Iron Man movie, like, two months has passed, or something insane! [laughs] You know, I think that we try to avoid them in general, but also it’s just so that you don’t know what’s happening, and we don’t have to answer all those questions, or stick super strictly to the exact timeline of when things would have occurred, so that we can have a little more wiggle room in terms of what stories we tell.

But yeah, we don’t know if it happened 20 years ago, or recently. We don’t know because we put a little flower over that!

But there’s a chance that we’ll see Jemma again?

There is a chance! And I’ll just say that we love Elizabeth [Henstridge] too much to have her go out off camera.

Okay, cool! So in terms of Ward, you definitely know how to keep the fandom churning! Is there a possibility that he will show up beyond the alternate universe, or is his role strictly in imaginary land?

Well, we’ll have to wait and see. But right now, there’s only five people in the Framework who actually have bodies in our world. [Ward] is a simulation, but he’s a simulation of exactly who he was. As Yo-Yo says, how do you populate a whole world? And Daisy very conveniently answers, “With the Darkhold.” It’s sort of our catch-all/fix-all solve this year, the Darkhold. It gave them this ability to sort of duplicate our world, so he is Grant Ward as we knew him.

Now, the world is different around him, and so whether or not he reacted the same to the changes in the world, we’ll see. But Grant Ward never enters the picture and makes things run smoother!

That’s for sure. So if you were to boil down what we can expect from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hydra, what would you say?

Nightmares and dreams coming true.

…Oh boy.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×16, “What If…” will air on Tuesday, April 4 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

Instagram has launched a new feature which’ll decrease the amount of stress you may feel when creating a post.

Sometimes you want to share multiple pictures or videos from one experience, but you may want to avoid clogging your friends’ feeds with multiple posts in a row. Or, you just can’t decide which photo you want to share to brag about your night.

One solution has been to stick multiple images into a single frame — a trick that became so popular, Instagram made their own app for it called Layouts. But stress no more! On February 22, Instagram released a new feature which lets you upload multiple photos to a single post.

Read full article

Instagram has launched a new feature which’ll decrease the amount of stress you may feel when creating a post.

Sometimes you want to share multiple pictures or videos from one experience, but you may want to avoid clogging your friends’ feeds with multiple posts in a row. Or, you just can’t decide which photo you want to share to brag about your night.

One solution has been to stick multiple images into a single frame — a trick that became so popular, Instagram made their own app for it called Layouts. But stress no more! On February 22, Instagram released a new feature which lets you upload multiple photos to a single post.

Multi-image Instagram posts are limited to the square format and only use one caption, but each image can receive their own filter. To view all the images, your followers swipe left or right. Up to 10 images can be placed in a single post.

In a way, the new feature lets you create a Snapchat or Instagram-like story that lives forever. It’s a welcome addition — previously only available to advertisers — and should streamline each user’s feed.

Now it’s Snapchat’s turn to copy off of Insta. Is it only a matter of time until Snap lets you permanently keep photos, videos, and stories accessible to the public in some sort of profile?

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