On Wednesday, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander made history by being the first spacecraft to land on a comet. Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is now the seventh celestial body humans have touched. What are the others? I’m glad you asked because we’re about to run through the list.
There can only be one…until there’s not.
Plus a little bit Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who.
HBO cowboys up.
Though he’s most known for his brutal, vicious “Revenge” trilogy—comprised of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance—South Korean director Park Chan-wook is not entirely a stranger to science fiction. His 2006 I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay, while not exactly a sci-fi movie, has genre overtones, as you probably guessed from the title, and he produced countryman Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer from earlier this year. (He even dabbled in vampirism with 2009’s Thirst.) But for his next project, the auteur, who made his English-language debut last year with the creepiest family drama ever Stoker, is set to tackle the futuristic Second Born, which sounds incredibly promising and just became a movie we’re dying to see.
Variety reports that Park is set to direct and develop Second Born, based on the script by David Jagernauth, which first won the Scriptapalooza contest four years ago, though it has been through subsequent drafts. The story “takes place in a futuristic world in which neural microchip implants are used to store one’s consciousness, leading to black market body-swapping.”
You may know this already, but we’re big fans of the British anthology series Black Mirror. We think it’s one of the best shows on television that you might not be watching, but that we suspect you would be totally into. Well now, as a Christmas present for all of you, DirecTV plans to air the upcoming holiday special, Black Mirror: White Christmas for all of its subscribers to watch and enjoy.
The 90-minute special will debut on The Audience Network, which I can honestly say I’ve never heard of until now, at 9:30pm Eastern on Christmas night. So after you’ve opened your presents, stuffed yourself with food, and engaged in intense political and philosophical arguments with your distant relatives that may or may not result in physical violence, you can sit down and wrap up your holiday evening with a few harrowing visions of technology gone wrong.
Biopics live and die on the strength of their performances, and fortunately for James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, a telling of the life and loves of Stephen Hawking, the two leads are marvelous. Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending) plays the renowned cosmologist, while Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) plays his wife Jane. It is these transformative performances that are the true strength of the film, and are what elevate this above your standard life-story movie.
Based on her memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Hawking, the focus is on the relationship between Stephen and Jane, both the remarkable ups and notable downs. Those of you looking for more science will be disappointed, but that’s not really the point here. At it’s core, Theory is a romance. You follow the young lovers from their nerdy, awkward meet cute at Oxford in 1963, through their courtship, Stephen’s diagnosis with motor neuron disease, his most groundbreaking work, and through the course of their years together.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar was perhaps our most anticipated movie of 2014. Now that it’s come and gone and sharply divided audiences, the next truly massive science fiction to take up the “most anticipated” mantle has got to be Star Wars: The Force Awakens. After all, it’s the first new Star Wars film since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, it’s the first where the buck doesn’t stop with George Lucas, and it’s the first stage of Disney’s massive and ambitious plans for the franchise. Needless to say, all eyes are on The Force Awakens…and two of those eyes belong to Christopher Nolan, who recently discussed his love of Star Wars in a new interview, as well as answering whether he would be up for directing a Star Wars movie of his own at some point.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Nolan recalled seeing Star Wars in theaters at the age of seven, and how transformative that experience was, with the screen “opening up, sucking you in, and taking you to a different galaxy.” That, combined with getting to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on a massive screen with his father, helped set Nolan on a path that eventually led him to make his own space epic. Nolan said:
Yesterday humanity made history by successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet for the first time ever, thus bringing the scenario from Armageddon one step closer to becoming a reality. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which has been going on for the better part of a decade now, approached Comet 67P and unleashed its Philae lander, which touched down and started transmitting information back to Earth. It’s a momentous occasion for the species, and this ball of rock and ice hurtling through space is now the seventh heavenly body we’ve touched. We know this is a big form flying around out there, but it all sounds so abstract and can be hard to visualize. Fortunately for us, some folks out there have taken it upon themselves to put Comet 67P into a context we, as science fiction fans, can wrap our heads around.
Over at Nerdist, they took dimensions of the comet and compared it to the specs of various elements of popular science fiction, which, again, gives those of us familiar with such things a new way to think about this that makes sense to our pop culture addled brains. For instance, if you ask yourself, well, how does this compare to a Galaxy Class Starship from Star Trek? This handy image shows you just how it compares. It’s also much bigger than Deep Space 9, but is roughly equivalent to both the Borg Cube and a Federation Space Dock. So now you can picture just how big this thing is.