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Why Corlys Velaryon Is Black (& No It’s Not A Problem)



Corlys Velaryon is Black in House of the Dragon, a fact that has caused some unfortunate responses but is actually good for the show and makes sense to boot. House of the Dragon is a Game of Thrones prequel, but it’s going to be a very different show in a lot of ways. That certainly goes for its timeline, which begins roughly 200 years prior the story of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and all the rest. But it will be true in myriad other ways, from its Targaryen-centric civil war plot and dragon vs. dragon warfare, to how the story is told, what it’s adapting (an in-universe history book rather than a novel series), and the people tasked with bringing the show to life.


For one, House of the Dragon has been co-created by George R.R. Martin, alongside Ryan Condal (who is co-showrunner with veteran Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik. Martin has greater oversight and influence than he did on most of Thrones, which itself should help the show succeed. There’s also an enviable array of talent in front of the camera, including Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Eve Best as Rhaenys Targaryen, and Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon.

It’s the latter of those that has sadly caused a mixture of confusion and consternation, since it means Corlys Velaryon is Black. There are, inevitably, qualms about things like “book authenticity,” though much of the backlash stems from a far less genuine (and rather more racist) place. There should be no arguing with the showrunners deciding Corlys is Black, but exploring the decision further shows that it does indeed make sense, and is a good step for the show and the wider Game of Thrones franchise.

Is Corlys Velaryon Black In The Books?

In what some may proclaim as the biggest “gotcha” of the discussion around House of the Dragon’s casting, Corlys Velaryon is not Black in any of the books in which he’s mentioned, including Fire & Blood. But, at the same time, he is also not not Black. Simply put, Corlys’ skin color is never described on the page, meaning there’s no reason he can’t be portrayed by a Black man in House of the Dragon. Yes, he is of Valyrian descent and, yes, they are largely known for their pale skin as well as silver hair and violet eyes (the latter two attributes Corlys does have in the books, and just wait until people find out what Toussaint’s real eye color is…). But there is no definitive there; nothing to claim ALL those of Valyrian descent have pale skin.

While House Targaryen may have largely interbred, but the same wasn’t true of other Houses. The Velaryons’ ships served as dragons of the sea, carrying them all over the known world, and Corlys’ mother isn’t described. It’s perfectly possible that she too was Black, and that Corlys inherited genetic traits from both his parents. The Velaryons are only briefly featured in A Song of Ice and Fire, with a Cersei Lannister chapter from A Feast for Crows noting they “came from old Valyrian stock, however, and some had the same silvery hair as the dragonkings of old.” Likewise, The World of Ice and Fire book mentions the “great beauty of the Valyrians – with their hair of palest silver or gold and eyes in shades of purple not found amongst other people.” Thus it can be taken these are the two most defining traits, rather than skin color.

Another common complaint around Corlys being Black is the apparent impact it has upon other storylines, most notably the children his son, Laenor, supposedly has with Rhaenyra Targaryen. It’s widely rumored (and almost certainly true) that Laenor is gay and Rhaenyra’s kids are bastards she conceived with Harwin Strong, a Knight, as they all have the same brown hair as him rather than Laenor and Rhaenyra’s Valyrian locks. The point, though, is that the children don’t look like Laenor, so again skin color doesn’t really have to enter into it; if Rhaenyra’s children are white, then it is still only a suggestion of their true parentage rather than outright confirmation.

Why Corlys Velaryon Is Black In House Of The Dragon

Among the many criticisms of Game of Thrones both during and after its run concerns its lack of diversity. Also the show did cast people of color, few were in prominent roles. Those that were often took on parts such as slaves, like Missandei  and Grey Worm liberated by the white Daenerys. Again, there’s the argument of the source material – most characters are white, or thought to be – and the show, because it ran for almost an entire decade, lived long enough to span societal and cultural change. Whereas its predominantly white cast (and white, male writing and directing team) may not have been seen as such a major issue in 2011, it was by 2019. Part of that is attitudes changing and progressing, part is that the show probably could have done more.

That’s the opportunity House of the Dragon has taken: a more diverse, inclusive cast and crew that can offer greater representation. Having Corlys Velaryon be Black is part of that, as well as simply casting the right man for the part (Toussaint is a screen veteran, and images of him as Lord Velaryon should be enough to show he’s nailed the character; if not, the House of the Dragon trailer does a convincing job). Speaking to EW, Ryan Condal himself explained the change, saying:

“Long, long ago when he was conceiving of this world, [Martin] himself had considered the idea of making Velaryons a race of Black people with silver hair that essentially came from the other side of the ocean and conquered Westeros. That’s a fascinating idea and that always really stuck with me because it’s such a stark image. I just thought, ‘Well, why couldn’t we do a version of that now?'”

Why Corlys Velaryon Being Black Is Good For House Of The Dragon

Even if there were clear textual proof that Corlys Velaryon is supposed to be pale-skinned, casting a Black actor wouldn’t really matter: as far as his character’s story goes, while his Valyrian descent is certainly important, there’s little to imply that his skin color is. In the absence of any such clear evidence, then the arguments against Corlys being Black really fall apart, but what’s more is that this should be seen as a good thing for House of the Dragon. Representation matters, and fantasy stories should be for everyone; this allows a person of color to play one of the most important, powerful, and simply best characters on the show, which should be something all audiences can enjoy and allows more people to identify with or relate to the series in some way.

Similarly, Westeros and the rest of Game of Thrones‘ world should be diverse, in various different ways (not least because it has a long history of migration). Likewise, House Velaryon has spent over 100 years since leaving Valyria travelling around the world, so it makes sense that the family line would also become more diverse. All of this only serves to make the world of House of the Dragon feel richer, bigger, more populated and like there are more things waiting to be uncovered off screen, which it of course should do, and it takes absolutely nothing away from the story or characters in doing so. House of the Dragon is a show with dragons and incest… Corlys Velaryon can quite easily be Black.

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‘Weekend Update’ April Fool’s Prank: ‘SNL’ Audience Member Yells ‘You Stink!’ at Colin Jost



Michael Che, co-anchor of “Weekend Update,” played a prank on fellow host Colin Jost on the April Fool’s day episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

The segment kicked off as normal, with Jost delivering piercing commentary about former president Donald Trump’s indictment by a grand jury on Mar. 30. But as Jost levied each jab, his jokes were received with timid chuckles. After Jost concluded his portion of the banter, Che made another joke about the ex-president that resulted in uproarious laughter.

Dismayed but not deterred, Jost pressed on with another joke. Following the punchline, an audience member shouted, “You stink!” which caused Jost’s head to immediately fall into his hands. No longer able to keep it together, Che erupted into laughter alongside the viewers, explaining to Jost he told the audience not to laugh at him as an April Fool’s Day prank.

“Am I not mic’d?” Jost said, nearly at the point of tears while imitating the questions running through his brain during the live episode. “And then I was like, ‘Oh I just suck.’”

As the segment continued, Jost struggled to regain composure. Che swiftly proceeded to the next gag as Jost murmured, “God, you’re evil.”

“That’s the meanest thing you’ve ever done to me,” Jost continued. “I’m covered in sweat.”

The audience emitted a chorus of vocal support, cheering and clapping for the comedian, which he jokingly dismissed: “Don’t you even dare,” he told viewers, still processing the anxiety he felt from being pranked on live television.

Watch the April 1 segment of “Weekend Update” below.

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Megamind Sequel TV Show Peacock Release Window Revealed



Peacock’s Megamind sequel TV show finally receives a release date window. Premiering in 2010, Megamind followed Will Ferrell as the titular alien super villain, who, after defeating his long-time nemesis Metro Man, (Brad Pitt), creates a new hero to fight, only to realize he’s made someone worse than himself. Tina Fey and Jonah Hill also starred in the animated comedy, which has become a meme-ified sensation on the internet over time.

Now, a new advertisement in Kidscreen magazine (via Issu) reveals the release date window for the Megamind series, after being announced nearly a year ago in 2022. The official poster, which features the mischievous blue alien looking into the camera, reveals the series will premiere in 2024. However, an exact release date is still unknown at the time of writing.


Everything To Know About The Megamind TV Series

Megamind concluded on a happy note, with the blue alien realizing his place in the world as a hero rather than a villain. This happens after Megamind’s creation became more dangerous than he could have ever imagined, and had to learn how to be a real hero to save Metro City. The film ended with all the city thanking him for his help, and a museum rebuilt in his honor with Metro Man cheering him on from the sidelines.

However, his role as a superhero will be put to the test in the Megamind TV series. The show will reportedly follow Megamind as he learns the ropes to becoming Metro City’s newest protector. Megamind’s brainbots will record every step of the way as he shares his journey with the world. As the series log line reveals, Megamind will be “the world’s first superhero influencer.” Considering it’s been over a decade since its release, and internet culture has shifted greatly since then, Megamind as an influencer seems fitting given his hilarious legacy on social media.

Megamind isn’t the first DreamWorks animated film to be revived by Peacock. Their 2019 comedy Abominable debuted its own series on the streaming platform in 2022 titled Abominable and the Invisible City. However, its timeline is hard to compare to Megamind‘s in that it only took a few years to get it onto Peacock. While an exact release date has yet to be revealed, an early 2024 release is likely, with further updates likely to come later this year.

Source: Kidscreen (via Issu)

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‘The Mandalorian’ Panel Kicks Off PaleyFest LA 2023: Three Key Takeaways



The Dolby Theater became home to the Star Wars fandom on Friday night, with viewers gathering for a screening of episodes of “The Mandalorian” along with a panel at the 2023 PaleyFest Los Angeles. Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff, stars of the Disney+ live-action series, and executive producers Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Rick Famuyiwa joined Entertainment Tonight’s Ash Crossan to talk everything Mando.

Filoni took the stage wearing his iconic black cowboy hat, while Pascal giggled at heckling fans who shouted “papi chulo!” and other comments pertaining to his good looks.

Since its premiere in 2019, “The Mandalorian” has shocked “Star Wars” fans, starting, of course, with the reveal of the oh-so endearing Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) in Season 1, followed by the appearance of Luke Skywalker in Season 2. The show is set after the fall of the Empire and follows Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pascal) as he protects Grogu and tries to reunite Mandalorians alongside Bo-Katan Kryze (Sackhoff).

Over the last five years, Favreau, Filoni, Famuyiwa, Pascal and Sackhoff have worked hard to create something that would delight “Star Wars” fans over and over again. Here are three key takeaways from their “The Mandalorian” panel.

The fan experience is king, so it’s important to keep details under wraps.

A tight-lipped Filoni sunk deeper into his cowboy hat as he tried to dodge questions about upcoming episodes and seasons. “There’s so much you don’t know,” he told the moderator.

It was clear that secrecy over plot and character details was extremely important to the integrity of production. Prior to the Season 1 premiere, no merch was created for the show in order to keep Baby Yoda a secret until fans saw him on screen. Favreau and Filoni also revealed that two separate shoots occurred to keep the Luke Skywalker appearance under wraps in Season 2; even Pascal and Sackhoff had no idea about the matter, though Pascal joked he had an intuition it was happening.

The producers emphasized how important it was to make sure all fans were on the same page to keep the collective spirit of the Star Wars fandom alive.

“’Star Wars’ is about the community of ‘Star Wars’ as much as it is the story,” said Favreau. Therefore, it was crucial that everyone working on “Mandalorian” made sacrifices for the sake of joint fandom celebration.

Seeing the story come to life can get pretty surreal.

There was a moment when the moderator asked Pascal a question, to which the actor replied, “Was that question for me?”

He admitted that he had spaced-out while thinking about the creation of the show. “There’s a moment when you think, ‘Well, yes, this comes from George Lucas, but you guys created this,’” he said to the producers sitting next to him. “I forget that it doesn’t all come from an encyclopedia.”

Sackhoff said she actually didn’t really believe Filoni the first time he pitched a live-action Star Wars series to her. “At the time, I thought you were drunk,” she said. When she finally stepped on set for the first time, she said the experience was “surreal.” Filoni concurred and explained how strange it is to watch his ideas jump from page to screen.

“I see them all the time in my head,” he said. “And then they’re just there.”

There’s always more to come.

Despite doing their best to keep future episodes under wraps, everyone on the panel expressed enthusiasm towards the continuation of “Mandalorian.”

“There’s so much left to do,” Sackhoff said about her character, revealing that she wants to see a lot more development of Bo-Katan.

“We really enjoy making it so we’re going to keep doing it,” Filoni said. “Something that I’ve thought about that I think is interesting is that, probably, people will tell stories with a lot of these characters well after I’m gone.”

From somewhere in the balconies, an audience member in yelled down to him: “Clone yourself!”

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