SNAP REACTIONS: The World Of The Hunger Games Store

A few weeks ago, we got the good news: The World of The Hunger Games official online store is opened!

Finally, one centralized location to find the majority of the official Hunger Games merch that’s out availa– Ehhhh, nevermind. There’s actually very little Hunger Games merch featured in the store at all. But there are still a few options! They range from fun stuff like those Funko POP! figurines (D’awww so cute! We want them all!) to Capitol Couture tees (for the love of all things, PLEASE stop trying to sell me on this crap.)

We looked through the store and while it’s mostly the usual fare, but we have a few quick reactions to make!

1) We will never own this fucking cowl

katniss cowl

We saw it in the physical store when The Hunger Games Exhibition hit New York City. We rushed over to it. We held it out in our hands. We checked the price tag and promptly said “Oh, to hell with that!” The funny part? It was $20 cheaper then! We realize that it isn’t necessarily being mass produced but.. seriously?! It seems our bank accounts are not big enough to support our Hunger Games habits.

2) Mellark Bakery is a regular ol’ Dunkin Donuts

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This must be Mellark Bakery post-revolution, at which time Peeta has apparently turned it into a corporate entity. Because isn’t coffee a rare commodity in Panem? And really, who said “You know what Hunger Games fans would love? COFFEE. Especially considering the rest of our advertising is geared toward teens, some of whom probably haven’t even discovered coffee yet.” Sorry, but I’m not gonna pay several dollars more for the branding here!

3) Cardboard Pocket Peetas (and Katnisses and Gales) seem pretty impractical

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This 8-inch cutout figurine is $10. BUT HOW DO YOU TAKE THEM ANYWHERE?! Do you realize how easily we could crush or mangle a cardboard standee that’s this small? We’re pretty sure we’d all pay more for legit action figures than live forever with tiny cardboard characters that forever maintain that “I got folded up once” look!

4) War just keeps on getting trendier

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This pink, orange, white, and brown phone case with some black arrows thrown in is called “Katniss At War”. Because obviously, the arrows scream KATNISS and the color scheme says WAR. And then we wonder why more casual audiences have trouble taking the last couple films seriously as war movies!

5) Someone needs to step up their character recognition game

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Look, Cressida and Boggs are cool. But if you expect someone to buy a $100 wall-to-wall fathead, they’re not necessary to our series dedication. How about some Finnick? You keep telling us Prim was important, so where is she? Effie, anyone? A little drunk Haymitch? We’d rather have a composite of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale with any of those characters than these fives just because they’re in matching outfits!

So now, per usual, you know have we really feel. This isn’t to say there isn’t anything cool in the store. There’s plenty we want! But merchandising is a crazy, crazy thing and well, we figured we should cover that too!

But Seriously, Those Funkos Are Uber Cute,
The Girl With The Pearl

katniss gale smoochies

What’s Up with Those Kissy Clips?

To gear up some excitement for the Digital/HD/Blu-Ray/DVD etc release of Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate released a new trailer. Makes perfect sense. They also have released clips from the movie to some media outlets.

These are clips from the movie, so if you’re a fan, you’ve already seen these. The benefit here is that you get to see the moment again while you wait for the home entertainment release. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s another chance to convince skeptics to give the movie a chance.

And if you like kissing scenes, man are you in luck! Well, you’re in luck if you’re a Galeniss or Hayffie type person. All us other people can just chill some more and wait I suppose.

You’ve got the awkward Katniss and Gale “it’s like you’re drunk, it doesn’t count” kiss via teen.com (’cause of course that would be the site).

Then the Hayffie shippers rejoiced at the release of this clip.

Don’t get us wrong, that’s quite a touching scene. We love that “Promise me you’ll find it… The life of a victor” exchange, but we were really rolling our eyes that these 2 clips were the first that hit the web for promotion.  There have been other clips released since then thankfully that relate to other elements of the plot. If not, one MIGHT be tempted to think this film was just some sort of romance-driven soap opera. Many people already wrongly have that impression, let’s not encourage it.

There’s still about 2 months to release, and in the days leading up to that we’ll likely get some sneaks of the new BTS/featurette content. And inevitably Peeta-related content because they know fans go nutzo for that stuff. We’ve been around long enough to have a good idea of the playbook.

I guess these were early Valentine’s Day presents from Lionsgate (though we could have done without that Gale kiss tbh).

JJ

 

Shiny New DVDs: Mockingjay Part 2 and the 4-Film Collection!

Seriously guys, how good is JJ? She posted late last week with some hopes for the Mockingjay Part 2 DVD release and while didn’t come true yet, there were some goodies that have been confirmed!

First, let’s talk about the actual DVD release for the movie that just happened, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2!

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Per usual, there’s lots of behind the scenes goodness, including commentary with Francis and Nina (none with the cast! *weeps*), the “Pawns No More” Making Of documentary, and lots of photo marketing goodness.

Also featured is a look into The Hunger Games: The Exhibition that has us reeeeal nervous because the camersa were there when we were there for the preview but OMG NO OUR FACES WEREN’T READY WE SWEAR! And sadly, that terrible “Jet to the Set” special that spent more time on a Real Housewife of Atlanta than the cast is there as well.

Overall, we’re very excited to grab to final DVD. BUT THEN BUT THEN BUT THEN…

The 4-Film Collection, you guys. THE 4-FILM COLLECTION.

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It’s like a freaking buffet spread of Hunger Games deliciousness!

Particularly, THIRTEEN never-before-seen scenes. Twelve from The Hunger Games (here’s hoping for all the ones JJ mentioned) and one from Catching Fire. So much new information! Let’s not kid ourselves, half of it is probably hallucinations, dream sequences, and the like, but WE CARE NOT. We want it all.

On top of that. there are two new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” We’re guessing that the first one is about the early visualizations of the Capitol. The second is a little clearer, focusing on all the crazy foods Suzanne Collins created in the books, though we don’t think they were necessarily emphasized in the movies.

That being said, we don’t expect that this is the actual DIAMOND MAC DADDY EDITION we’re all hoping for. This is just the initial collection, but it’s not going to give away all the secrets of the final film with that DVD coming out. Oh no! This is just a start. There’s gonna be an anniversary edition in the future that’s gonna make us cry fat happy tears, even more so than this baby.

Will you snag Mockingjay Part 2 or the 4-Film Collection? It all drops on March 22nd!

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The Girl With The Pearl

Our Blu-Ray Extras Wish List

As we move into February, the release of Mockingjay Part 2 on Digital HD and then Blu-Ray/DVD is inevitably coming soon. Along with the benefit of being able to watch the movie over and over and over again comes the fun of digesting all the extra stuff they add in to entice you to purchase.

We expect the features to be similar to previous Hunger Games movies – audio commentary with Francis and Nina, a few deleted scenes, and lots of behind the scenes featurettes on making the film. The fact that this is the last film makes us a little antsy about what bits they add to this release versus what they choose to add to any ULTIMATE, SUPER-SHINY 4-MOVIE SET that will be coming later in the year, or in 2017, or both. You know they’ve got to hold something back for those later editions. What do they have in that treasure trove to look forward to?

So now we present our not-very-grounded-in-reality wish list of Hunger Games movie (all of ‘em) extras that we’re dying to see at some point:

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Prim, what kind of nightmare sequence was this? Gary, stop holding back.

Those scenes we’ve seen in stills or BTS footage but never the actual footage. Prim in the tribute costume? Gary, what was that about? Katniss and Peeta having a chat in the tribute center. Again Gary, share that with us! Peeta getting his arm painted by the morphling. Francis, please!

Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta rooftop footage. We know something was filmed. We suppose it hit the cutting room floor early because why would you NOT include this footage as a Catching Fire extra? We’ll forgive the quality. Whatever it is, we JUST NEED TO SEE IT.

Revisions to the end of Mockingjay Part 2 after the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. We know about the places where footage from other scenes was added. We know Haymitch reading Plutarch’s letter was a change. But we’re curious what the plan was originally, had tragedy not occurred.

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Don’t tell us you don’t want a cast audio-commentary. Not possible.

Cast audio-commentary. The Francis and Nina audio-commentaries give us some great insight into the making of the movies. But the fandom would completely lose their shit if Lionsgate were ever able to wrangle Jen, Josh, Liam, Woody, Liz et al into doing audio commentaries for the films.  It’s the dream, people. THE DREAM.

Everlark sex. JUST KIDDING, but with all the messages Francis gets about that from fans, we couldn’t NOT mention it. The thought of that actually being filmed makes us feel really awkward, and the inclusion of a scene of that nature would HAVE NOT fit the end of Mockingjay Part 2. If you want that, there’s a whole wide world of fan fiction to explore. BUT I would be really curious to know about the creative decisions that took place in the execution of the actual, final “real or not real” scene. As much as I hate to say it, as more time passes, I find it disappointing. Or maybe I just need to watch the movie again when it comes out and learn to let it all go.

What other extras should we be pleading for?

JJ

 

That Golden Globes Fiasco

By now, you’ve all heard about it– because no one will shut up about it. Soooo let’s just confront this sucker head on!

In a not-so-surprising twist, Jennifer Lawrence won the Golden Globe for Joy. The movie really wasn’t great, but Jennifer was great in it. She got noticed. The backlash from the hipsters who want to paint her as overrated was inevitable, because HATERS GONNA HATE, AMIRITE?! But then it happened.

The headlines were loud and sheer clickbait, all along the lines of “Jennifer Lawrence scolds foreign reporter”. There were lots of rumors and embellishments surrounding this short interaction. And then the Internet seriously lost its shit.

If you missed it, here’s the full video clip so you have some context.

Let’s start with the rumors. Right after this happened, all people knew is that the journalist has an accent and some sources reported he was using a translation app, making it look like Jennifer poked fun at a man because English wasn’t his first language. Even when we first heard it, accompanied by a ultra-edited version of the video from Variety, we thought “Man… this actually might be pretty bad…” But of course, more details came out, like this:

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O RLY. So it turns out that the media agencies and anti-Jen folks calling her a racist are actually kinda racist themselves for assuming a man with an accent can’t speak English without help from technology. Funny how that works! It turns out the guy was stumbling over his question because he was too busy trying to get photos/video of Jen looking directly at him.

Under the circumstances, we kind of agree with Jen– it was actually pretty rude of the reporter. He only had one question to fire off. He could have held the phone somewhere other than eye level when asking, if that was his only recording device. He clearly let himself get too distracted to ask his question succinctly. From someone with a journalism background who has interviewed actors, there wasn’t a whole lot of professionalism going on there. So why is she a brat for jokingly telling the guy to get out from behind his phone, again?

People were mad about Jen making the “This is the Golden Globes” joke in there, but perhaps people don’t realize the reporter’s folly that likely prompted her to cut her off. He was asking about The Oscars– and we would guess Jen knew that– and that is a HUGE FAUX PAS. Superstition runs high everywhere, even among actors. Discussing the Oscars at the Golden Globes is considered a jinx and just bad form. A lot of actors would blow off that topic.

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We’re not saying Jen handled to situation perfectly. But damn, the lady is human. And automatically jumping to the conclusion that she’s a spoiled brat bullying a foreign man for just trying to do his job is pretty ridiculous. How about instead we try to get all the details instead of biting an actresses head off for asking a guy to interact with her in a way that made her feel comfortable, k?

God Forbid Actors Want To Be Treated Like People!
The Girl With The Pearl

Visualizing Panem Post-Movies

Now that the entire Hunger Games series has been adapted to film, I’ve been taking stock in how these movies have impacted how I think about the book series. I’ll come right out with it and say it – while I LOVE SO MUCH about the movies, they will never top the books for me. There are some creative choices in the movies that I will adamantly reject forever and try to forget (mainly some parts of The Hunger Games movie and some scenes from the last 25 minutes of Mockingjay Part 2). Hmm, that sounds like fodder for a post, but for a later date.

On the other hand, there are some parts of these movies where everything fell into place and just was so RIGHT that it’s taken over how I visualize certain characters or scenes when I now re-read the books.

Right from the Start: Snow and Coin

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From first casting announcements of both Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore, I felt really good about how these characters would translate to screen. They look the part and inhabit those roles in a way that fits so well with how I’ve imagined the characters. Donald Sutherland owns Snow so much for me now that I get chills when hearing his voiceover work on orange juice or airline commercials. President Snow wants me to drink orange juice. Yes, sir! I remember being surprised how sympathetic Coin was in Mockingjay Part 1, but it seemed very right for the progression of the character, and how she would have been without the framing of Katniss’s “unreliable narrator” perspective.

Oh. My. Finnick

Finnick cfFor those around the fandom in Catching Fire casting days, you remember what a BIG FREAKING DEAL this was. Lots of names thrown around to play Finnick. Lots of fan favorites. And Sam Claflin, a relative unknown (outside of roles in Snow White & the Huntsman and a Pirates of the Caribbean movie) was chosen. We had time to “get to know him” pre-CF. He was delightful on Twitter. Set photos leaked that were very promising. There was that Capitol Portrait with the pirate look. And then we saw him in the movie and YAY, IT WORKED.  He was Finnick. He is how I see Finnick now. Bravo.

Awesome Surprises From Smaller Roles: Paylor and Jackson

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One of the great, wonderful surprises of the Mockingjay movies was the development of these two characters, who I honestly never paid much attention to, at least during my first reading of the books. So Patina Miller and Michelle Forbes had the benefit of a cleaner slate to build these characters. And build them they did. They project authentic power and leadership so well that you don’t question the news that Paylor will be president, or Jackson’s role in Squad 451 in the slightest. When I re-read Mockingjay, I see those actresses in full costume. They ARE those characters now for me, and it’s enriched the reading experience.

An Interesting Mix: Effie and Haymitch

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The overly bright, colorful world of the Capitol in Suzanne Collins books is intentional. You have to admit though, that the Candy-Land-on-acid-type buildings would have been too distracting to deal with on screen so the “Capitol color” is restricted mostly to the people, not buildings. But with the costume, makeup, and hair styling of Effie, the team really nailed it, and Elizabeth Banks surely took charge of making that character her own. I think the decision to add Effie to District 13 was a good decision for Mockingjay Part 1, but still think Book!Effie follows a more realistic path for that character. I love how Elizabeth Banks gave the character more heart, but I don’t see Effie really changing that dramatically so quickly. In terms of how I visualize the character though, it’s all Elizabeth Banks in her full Capitol glory. Kudos to her and the design team for the creativity and transformation.

Then we come to Haymitch, who I always though of as more “Seam” in looks with darker hair and complexion, more damaged, more dirty, more foul, and much more drunk than we see in the movies. Regrettably, the movies give us a PG-version of Haymitch. Sure, you see him drinking, and his mockery and wit is there, but he’s nowhere near the abrasive drunk he is in the books.  I would have loved to see Woody Harrelson given full reign to make the character more rough. All of that being said, when I read the books, my mind sees Woody Harrelson and that blond wig. Somehow, he’s convinced my brain. He is Haymitch. The mind does what it wants. It’s interesting that this happened, considering this next part.

The Big Three: Love You Guys SO MUCH, but…

What about Katniss, Peeta and Gale? Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job with Katniss. She grabbed hold of that character and owned the performance throughout the four movies. So much so that her voice is very much Katniss’s voice to me. I feel the same way about Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth (well at least 90% for Liam, but he got better as the movies went along). For all the wonderful ways they inhabited these roles, my mind still can’t (or won’t) adapt. The way I perceive these three in my mind’s eye when reading the books is much different. The cast is perhaps too physically beautiful, too Hollywood, and for Katniss and Gale, yes, too much of northwestern European ancestry to cancel out how I’ve always imagined the three. It’s nothing against the actors, because those are things they can’t change and these were movies with certain expectations of super-Hollywood-esque attractiveness from the leads.  Katniss and Peeta especially remain murky visual concepts in my head, and I’m fine with that. It’s probably better that way for the two characters who I love the most.

Movies – they mess with your head in unexpected ways.

JJ

 

A Hunger Games Resolution

How soon we do forget, huh?

It’s already January 7th and this is our first post of 2016. Why? Because we’re getting older, life is busy, and frankly, there just isn’t that much to talk about on The Hunger Games front in that topsy-turvy time period between the movie leaving theaters and the DVD release. There also the landslide of information from other fandoms we’re interested– every show restarting, every movie trailer, every new book released. And Star Wars. HOLY SHIT GUYS, STAR WARS.

But let’s be clear:

It ain’t over. It’s never over.

Yes, eventually this fandom will slow down as there’s a stop in new information. More than likely, it will pick up once again when Lionsgate goes through with a questionable sequel or two in future years. Somewhere in between there, Victor’s Village will probably say “Sayonara!” because running a website costs money and is a bit discouraging when you don’t have anything to post about. Yet in the infamous words of another fandom we really enjoy… BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

hunger-games-district12-saluteThis fandom still brings us tons of joy. Not necessarily in news form at the moment, but with the friendships we maintain and fond memories and following the actors as they explore new ventures. Those things don’t disappear as soon as the steady stream of news does. There’s something bigger than the mass media we consume.

So here’s our Hunger Games resolution for 2016: We’re not going to be “so over it” now that the story is done playing out on the big screen and not being thrown into our news stream everyday. We’re not going to let the new things we may like to talk about make us forget about the things that originally got us talking five years ago. Our attention span isn’t that short, right?

Yes, we’re all probably going to be talking about The Hunger Games like a 92-year-old recalling their 20s in about two years, but when we do, we’re still going to champion the fuck outta this fandom. Because there’s meaning and value in the content, even when there isn’t something shiny and new to go with it.

Once A Tribute, Always A Tribute,
The Girl With The Pearl

Kissing Co-Stars

Just when the fandom beings to quiet down and we admittedly turned our attentions elsewhere– namely, Star Wars and basically every major 2016 movie that released big advertising in front of Star Wars– leave it to Jennifer Lawrence to get all The Hunger Games fans riled up again!

If you were in the fandom back in the early days of the movie production, you probably remember how the trashy magazine rumors about the torrid love triangle between Jennifer, Josh, and Liam, despite the fact that at least two of the three were in other relationships at the time. Even through Catching Fire, the hookup rumors never totally faded. Meanwhile, fans all rolled their eyes and said “Urgh, they’re all just really good friends! Why does the media have to be like that?! GAWD!

Well, we were right and we were wrong. Observe!

Now, before you get on the “Lyke OMG they’re totes together!” train that some fangirls immediately ran to, remember that no, they’re probably not. Sure, everyone has talked about how Liam has been decidedly more light-hearted and active in the final round of promotions, perhaps even a little flirtatious, depending on who you talk to. But that doesn’t mean anything.

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Here’s the thing about being in your teens and 20s– you have a core group of friends, probably people you grew up with like Jen said. These groups are damn near incestuous. Because these like-minded people are spending all their time together, they grow very close. Friends flirt with each other. They date people their other friends have dated. And yeah, occasionally, friends who aren’t planning to be in a relationship make out. Essentially, shit happens.

The media outlets are blowing this as if Jen and Liam have been secretly banging for months. AND MAYBE THEY HAVE. Who cares?! But all she admitted to was a kiss, folks, so don’t lose your mind quite yet. Lots of people kiss which later amounts to nothing. Speculation upon speculation upon speculation!

Frankly, we could care less with what’s goin’ on between these two. C’est la vie! We’re more thrilled about Jen’s reaction to being asked about Justin Bieber:

"That's a hard no."

“That’s A Hard No.”
The Girl With The Pearl

The Best “Presents” of the Past Year

‘Tis the season of giving, and it looks like many fans got some nice Hunger Games-related presents from friends and family. Tim Palen’s book has inevitably had a spike in sales thanks to the holiday season, along with the adorable Funko Pops, posters, pins and other merch. It makes us think about all the other Panem “presents” we got this year.  The top one, is obviously the actual Mockingjay Part 2 movie, but there was more.  Yes, there definitely were days where Lionsgate played GOOD Santa. Such beautiful days they were.

The release of the Mockingjay Part 1 Peeta/Snow Deleted Scene

We really wanted to see some of the behind the scenes world of the Capitol in Mockingjay Part 1, but we didn’t get much. Happily, there was this deleted scene between Peeta and Snow that was released on the eve of the Digital HD release.

 

After the Blu-Ray release, Lionsgate-Santa was pretty stingy for a while. There was that “trailer” with the logo animation and voiceover which played with Insurgent, but there wasn’t much in the fandom to cheer about until the summer.

 

Katniss chillin on Snow’s throne.

Suddenly we were psyched for the movie again when we got this amazing poster (my personal fave from the Mockingjay Part 2 campaign).

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A fabulous teaser trailer that reminded us again how much we love these movies.

 

After talking and talking about it for months on end, the Hunger Games Exhibition opened. And it was really cool. You just had to get your butt to New York to see it. (Though next year, San Francisco is the lucky host).

On the heels of the Exhibition opening came those cool character posters.

And the Comic Con Panel.

Yes, June and July were very good months in the fandom. Matched only by the month of November with all those premieres. Lots of premieres. And “special screenings“. So many premieres yet we still wanted more.

We certainly have our meltdown moments when things just make us very unhappy, but there’s been a lot of great stuff too. So in this season of reflection, those were the presents that stood out the most.

Freaking out with all of you as we received these cool presents, yes, that’s the good stuff.

JJ

Gale Finds Redemption Fighting Aliens

We’re looking forward to seeing the final result of Jennifer Lawrence’s post-Hunger Games activities with Joy next week. We also got a small glimpse of what Liam Hemsworth has been working on when the Independence Day Resurgence trailer came out over the weekend.
Yes, this shot brought us back to memories of solider Gale all over again (with all the good and bad connotations).

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And then he GOES TO SPACE (from the other promotional materials it looks like there is a moon base) and does presumably heroic stuff to save us all from aliens.

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We really don’t know much of anything else about the character he plays, but with Mockingjay Part 2 still so fresh in our minds, it’s fun to play with alternate post-Mockingjay timelines using these shots as inspiration.

Panem is rebuilding from the war when an ominous threat from the skies emerges above the Capitol. Gale Hawthorne, a rising military officer in District 2, haunted by his past, volunteers for a mission headed by an international coalition (yes, international isolation was so bad at this point that only destructive aliens could bring us together). He travels to the moon to study the enemy more closely.  They discover these “visitors” truly are on a mission of planetary destruction. He studies the tactics of the aliens and realizes that they always retrieve their downed craft as a means of interstellar recycling.  It’s then that he discovers the only way to defeat them…. delayed explosion bombs. He’s tortured by the memories. It went so horribly wrong once. It could go wrong again. When will the fighting stop???

Despite the guilt and the memories he knows this is the only way to save the planet. They move forward with the plan. It works. All the aliens go boom. Gale Hawthorne is able to find some solace, finally.

Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch remain in the isolation of District 12, completely unaware that any of this is going on.

Hmm, I think I’d rather just see Liam play this new character in IDR after all.

 

Bright side, I think I just killed a terrible THG sequel idea!

JJ