Fortnite’s Dune Crossover Gives Us the Real Mind Killer: Smooth Timothée Chalamet

Fortnite Dune Crossover Has Cursed Smooth Timothée Chalamet

Anyway, it’s not that Dune is coming to Fortnite that’s the disturbing thing here. Fortnite is perfectly fun for the zillions of people who play it, and that audience base means that a movie tie-in is kind of like a line of Funko pops or weird ads where people playing immortal godlike beings shill cars: it’s to be expected. What’s not to be expected is how Fortnite’s cartoony art style—its blessing that manages to cohesively put Rey Skywalker, Deadpool, Lara Croft, Ripley from Aliens, and a banana in a tuxedo all in the same game so Superman can shoot them with a gun—has given us perhaps the most cursed visual to come from Dune yet: Smooth Chalamet.

Reader, it disturbs me. Everything we’ve seen of Paul’s gaunt demeanor in the new Dune is gone here, and Chalamet’s unique face has been filed down into that Fortnite style. A great thing was lost in the trip from Arrakis to Fortnite’s violent island, and for that, we must mourn. Or at the very least make Smooth Chalamet do the Floss.

The Dune cosmetics for Fortnite are available in-game starting today.


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DC’s Arrowverse Faces Armageddon in Its New Crossover Trailer

The Flash: Armageddon First Trailer for New Crossover Event

Together they’ll take on Despero (played by Tony Curran, who you might remember best as Vincent Van Gogh in that great Doctor Who episode), an alien warlord who gives the Flash seven days to… defeat him? Save the planet? Kind of the same thing, I guess. Complicating matters will be the return of fan-favorite villains Eobard Thawne aka the Reverse Flash (the Tom Cavanagh version) and Damien Darhk (the always wonderful Neal McDonough) who you wouldn’t necessarily think would be pro-destruction of all life on Earth, but you can never really know with those guys, can you?

Honestly, I was not excited at the idea of another DC/CW crossover after Crisis on Infinite Earths—like, how could they top it?—but this does look like a lot of fun. And it will be cool to see this motley team figure out how to save the world without Supergirl or Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow holding their hands. It should feel like something new and fresh, at least, which The Flash desperately needs even if the other series don’t.

The five-episode Armageddon begins in The Flash’s season premiere, which will air on November 16.


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After Dune, You’ll Never Think About Water the Same Way Again

Liet Kynes would be proud of this approach and of NASA’s Environmental Control and Life Support System, which makes the recycling of water possible. In addition to urine and sweat, the Water Recovery System recycles the water used for showers and the moisture produced by breathing.

ISS astronauts aren’t equipped with Fremen stillsuits, so the recycling of urine is a bit more involved. The urine that’s gathered is pumped into a distillation assembly, where a centrifuge forces the urine to its outer walls. The urine is heated, causing water to evaporate from the waste. Condensation then returns the vapor to a liquid state. This still-unclean water is pumped into a tank, where it mixes with other recovered water, such as sweat and cabin moisture. Pressure in the tank removes any stinky gas from the liquid, which is then delivered to a reactor that kills unwanted organic compounds and microorganisms with intense heat.

The process provides upwards of 3,600 liters (950 gallons) of recycled water each year. Recent upgrades to the system mean that overall water recovery is approaching 94%, which is damned impressive. That said, NASA is striving for 98% total recovery as it prepares for the Artemis missions to the Moon and an eventual crewed mission to Mars. NASA says the same tech could be used on Earth in places where water is scarce—a prospect that’s both futuristic and dystopian at the same time. In case you’re wondering, fecal waste is not processed, but NASA is looking into that possibility.

NASA’s Water Recovery System is not a straightforward solution, and it’s a reminder of the hoops we have to jump through to provide water to people living and working in space. Which brings us to Mars.

Welcome to Arrakis—er, Mars

With its two moons and sprawling deserts, Mars is probably the most Arrakis-like planet in our solar system. And like Arrakis, the fourth planet from the Sun is seriously lacking in accessible water.

This wasn’t always the case. The Red Planet was once accented in blue, as sprawling oceans covered the surface over a billion years ago. Much of this water was lost to space, but a good portion of it managed to stay behind. There’s so much ice at the polar caps that, if it all melted, the resulting water would cover the planet to depth of 65 feet (20 meters), according to Stefano Nerozzi, a postdoctoral research associate from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

Artist’s depiction of Mars when it had liquid water on its surface.

Nerozzi says Mars is a hyper-arid desert by Earth’s standards.

“Due to the very low atmospheric pressure, water can only exist as vapor or ice near the surface,” he explained in an email. “The atmosphere is extremely dry, containing only a tiny fraction of the water vapor compared to Earth’s, far too little to extract any meaningful amount. In fact, water management on a Martian human base will need to be extremely strict to preserve what is likely the most precious resource on the planet—just like a sietch on Arrakis!”

Interestingly, research from 2020 suggests liquid water may lie buried at the Martian south pole, but this work remains controversial. If it is liquid, however, this water is probably very slushy and salty.

Researchers with the Subsurface Water Ice Mapping (SWIM) team have used satellites to find likely places where buried ice might be located on Mars—work that’s being used to support the selection of future landing sites. Matthew Chojnacki, a research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said these scientists “really did an excellent job of identifying subsurface frozen water ice across the northern mid-latitudes of Mars that could benefit future human explorers.”

Chojnacki and his colleagues at PSI are hoping to conduct a follow-up study in which they would map water-ice indicators, such as polygon-shaped terrain, glacial-like landforms, and concentric crater fill.

The onset of spring at the Martian north pole.

The onset of spring at the Martian north pole.
Image: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

That water will be needed on Mars is obvious. Colonists will need to quench their thirst, grow crops, and process water into fuel for rockets. Trouble is, shipping water to Mars from Earth would be an awkward, time consuming, and—most importantly—prohibitively expensive ordeal.

More realistically, colonists will have to source water directly on Mars. Settlements might have to be built near the polar regions, allowing for quick access to the Martian ice sheets. This water probably won’t be immediately potable, requiring desalination and other measures to remove dust and ensure purity.

“Mars is hard, Mars is dry!” Chojnacki wrote in an email. “It’s going to take a big effort to actually make these ‘resources,’” he said. “While human Mars mission plans are still in the conceptual stage, accessing and utilizing that water will be a daunting challenge.”

Nerozzi said the polar caps “are some of the most inhospitable places on its surface,” which means “any future human explorers are more likely to settle closer to the equator, where the climate is warmer and more forgiving.” Problem is, sources of water near the equator are quite scarce.

“The soil is usually very dry, although in some places there might be hydrated minerals that hold water in their crystalline structure,” Nerozzi explained. “This water is difficult to extract, but not impossible: humans would need ovens to break the chemical bonds of water in hydrated minerals and a condensation and filtration system to make it drinkable.”

Debris-covered glaciers in the mid-latitudes could provide other sources of water, though settlers would likely have to use heavy excavation equipment to reach the concealed ice. Nerozzi said the “terrain on these glaciers is very rough to even walk on, making these abundant water ice reservoirs very difficult to access.”

Failing this, deliquescence might be another option for the prospective colonists, in which water is collected from the atmosphere similar to the fictional moisture vaporators in Star Wars (George Lucas, it needs to be said, borrowed heavily from Dune, which Frank Herbert published in 1965). Offworld, industrial-scale deliquescence remains within the realm of science fiction, and it’s not immediately clear if the Martian atmosphere can generate the required volumes of water.

Indeed, there’s still much we don’t know about how and where we’ll source water on Mars, but it’s a problem in need of a solution.

“Tell me about the waters of your birthworld”

Dune serves as a reminder that we should never take water for granted. Sadly, our species is increasingly dealing with water insecurity, frequent heat waves, and burgeoning rates of desertification.

Human-induced climate change has a lot to do with current environmental problems, and the result is that tiny versions of Arrakis are appearing across the globe. As Dune reminds us, we probably won’t find it easy to seek shelter in outer space, as the cosmos is filled with inhospitable hellscapes. So we must take care of Earth—the most valuable planet in the known universe. And not let our fear get the better of us.

Gotham Knights Footage Teases a Batfamily Brawl

Gotham Knights Video Game Trailer: Court of Owls Revealed

As the new trailer shows, Dick, Babs, Tim, and Jason will have plenty of villains to face, from members of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery looking to capitalize on the Dark Knight’s death (like the Penguin, glimpsed in the trailer), to a sinister new threat: The Court of Owls. The villainous cult was one of the first rumors circling the next Arkham game well before Gotham Knights was officially unveiled last year. Introduced by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo during the 2011 New 52 Batman run, the Court is a secret conglomerate of some of the oldest families to have ever lived in Gotham, operating beneath the city’s surface—and beneath white owl masks. They use their money and influence to maintain a grip over Gotham at large and struck against Batman with an army of agents called Talons—plenty of who we get to see here, too—assassins enhanced with a powerful formula to give them regenerative abilities and increased strength and reflexes. Suffice to say, the Bat family’s going to have a hell of a time stepping up to the plate. Check out a little more of the Talons in action in some behind-the-scenes footage below.

Gotham Knights is set to release in 2022.


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Locke & Key Season 2 Might Be Bloodier Than Its Fictional Slasher Movie

Locke and Key Splattering Movie Trailer and Season 2 Clip

Yeah, the trailer for the film within the TV show turns into a stealth clip for Locke & Key’s second season, and it’s a doozy. It turns out the villainous Dodge, who the Locke kids thought they’d defeated at the end of season one but is currently masquerading as Gabe (Griffin Gluck) and Eden (Hallea Jones) are among those watching the trailer. But being shot with a demon bullet clearly has some residual effects for poor Eden including 1) hunger and 2) a gleeful willingness to murder sleazy assholes who comment on women’s appearances.

What’s shocking about this scene—even more shocking than learning the Savinis managed to get ahold of a flamethrower for The Splattering—is how gruesomely violent this scene is. Sure, Locke & Key is a horror-suspense series but this is some straight-up gore, a new dimension (pun not intended) for the show to dabble in. It’s also worth noting that Eden is just sitting behind the snack counter at an extremely crowded theater, covered in blood, without a care in the world. This utter disregard for staying under the radar will presumably be a major problem for the good guys and bad guys alike.

Based on the comics by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, Locke & Key’s second season premieres on October 22, just a hair over a week away. It must be pretty good, since Netflix has already ordered season three!


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The Expanse Season 6 Gets a Tense, Action-Packed First Look

The Expanse Season 6 First Teaser and Premiere Date: NYCC 2021

Here’s the description provided by Amazon about what to expect: “The sixth and final season of The Expanse picks up with the solar system at war, as Marco Inaros and his Free Navy continue to launch devastating asteroid attacks on Earth and Mars. As the tensions of war and shared loss threaten to pull the crew of the Rocinante apart, Chrisjen Avasarala makes a bold move and sends former Martian Marine Bobbie Draper on a secret mission that could turn the tide of the conflict. Meanwhile, in the Belt, Drummer and what’s left of her family are on the run after betraying Marco. And on a distant planet beyond the Rings, a new power begins to rise.”

The Expanse stars Steven Strait (James Holden), Dominique Tipper (Naomi Nagata), Wes Chatham (Amos Burton), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Chrisjen Avasarala), Cara Gee (Camina Drummer), Frankie Adams (Bobbie Draper), Keon Alexander (Marco Inaros), Nadine Nicole (Clarissa Mao), and Jasai Chase Owens (Filip Inaros). It’s based on the sci-fi novels by James S.A. Corey (the shared pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who are among the show’s executive producers) and is showrun by Naren Shankar.


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Dune’s Final Trailer Sets the Stage for All-Out War

Dune’s Final Trailer Teases Epic Action and Big Battles

This means, even as we get more conversational snippets, a lot of this trailer is more focused on the big picture action of the movie—lots of Ornithopter chases, Duncan’s big brawl with the Harkonnen forces, massive clashes between the Harkonnen and Atreides forces caught unaware by the duplicity of Arrakis’ former ruler, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). There are even a few sand worms and Paul’s famous “fear is the mind killer” line thrown in for good measure!

Suffice to say, it’s a bit more of a typical movie trailer for Dune than we’ve seen compared to what’s come before, pitching it more as the big picture Denis Villeneuve would much, much prefer you to go see on a big theater screen rather than through its simultaneous streaming debut on HBO Max. Given the early word on it though, seems like you stand to have a good time no matter which option you take, when Dune hits theaters and HBO Max in the U.S. October 22.


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In House of the Dragon’s First Teaser, Fire is the One True Power

Game of Thrones Prequel House of the Dragon Gets First Trailer

Though the trailer doesn’t say much about what specifically is causing the drama that’s threatening to bring the Targaryen dynasty, it’s sure to involve Lady Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) and her father Ser Otto (Rhys Ifans), Viserys’ hand and a rival to Daemon. Also eyeing the Iron Throne are figures like princess Rhaenys Velaryon (Eve Best), who was once up for consideration to become the new queen following the previous king’s death, ser Harwin Strong (Ryan Corr), a man rumored to be Raenyra’s lover in the books, and twin politicians Lord Jason Lannister and Ser Tyland Lannister (both portrayed by Jefferson Hall).

While everything about House of the Dragon’s trailer certainly looks and sounds very Game of Thrones-y, what’s going to determine the show’s success is how well is weaves a new set of stories that captivate audience’s imaginations, especially given how the show’s predecessor left something of a sour taste in viewers’ mouths.

House of the Dragon is set to premiere some time in 2022.


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Mike Flanagan Talks Midnight Mass’ Catholic Influences and Its Biggest Mystery

Midnight Mass’ Mike Flanagan Talks Religion and That Big Reveal

“Faith is a sign post to who you are,” added Macy, “and so is what you fear.” By focusing on an isolated town going through a religious resurgence, the pair wanted to explore both sides of faith. “This is a story of the death of the community,” Flanagan added. Going further, he called what the people of Crockett go through in the series a “corruption” in their belief system that gradually spreads to envelop everyone on the island. As with most things involving religion, Flanagan and Macy aren’t really looking for a hard answer, and the latter described that as the show’s ethos: “Ask questions, not give answers. With luck, those questions stick with the viewer…and also terrify the living hell out of them. It’s a Mike Flanagan show, after all.”

And speaking of scares…

Image for article titled Mike Flanagan Talks Midnight Mass' Catholic Influences and Its Biggest Mystery

The big mystery surrounding Midnight Mass’ first half is some thing stalking Crockett Island shortly after Father Paul’s arrival into town. In episodes three and four, it’s revealed in all its glory: a vampire, believed by Paul to be an angel and whose blood he soon begins giving the rest of the town to drink during communion. Why a vampire? You can thank the Catholic Church and Bram Stoker for that. “The parallels between drinking the blood of Jesus and what I was reading in Dracula were unavoidable,” Flanagan admitted.

Where more recent interpretations of the vampire lord have been melancholy or outright sexy, Flanagan and Macy wanted to avoid that. Flanagan called it “ugly,” and Macy added that while it’s smart enough to get others to drink its blood, there’s no long-term plan for the winged beast.

When it came to the creation of the Angel, both Flanagan and Macy knew they wanted to do practical effects as much as possible. “The more practical you can be, the more the audience feels it,” Macy said. VFX was mainly used to handle the wings, which were real, but also incredibly heavy and hard to puppeteer. But the overall effect is one they’re proud of and want to pack an impact.

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Midnight Mass is available now on Netflix.


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Watch a Rare Warhammer Model Become the Most Expensive in the World

Rare Warhammer Thunderhawk Kit Sells for Record $35,000

The Thunderhawk Gunship—a Space Marine warship that’s essentially part heavy assault fighter and part troop transport for the massive, armored troopers of Humanity’s Imperium—has had several models since this rare 1997 release. The current one, for example, will set you back a still-hefty $770. What makes the original Thunderhawk so rare is that not only is it an all-metal kit (the modern one is resin, and therefore won’t make your arms buckle when you try to pick it up), but it was part of an extremely limited production run. Games Workshop produced a few for its own displays at conventions in the mid-‘90s, but then put the set to retail for $650 in 1997, where just 500 were made, and placed in numbered, lavish wooden boxes.

Assembled and unassembled versions of the kit have previously sold for a fraction of the price of the one here—according to Polygon, anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. That makes Squidmar Miniature’s paint job on the already rare model add a frankly bananas amount to the frenzy around its auction. I’ll never complain at a box of five elves on kangaroos costing $60 ever again.


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