Secret Origins Of Vader's Apprentice And Dr. Horrible

Spoilers can open up your whole world, letting you see the bigger picture - like when you find out how Darth Vader and his secret apprentice first meet and form a special bond in the next Star Wars video game. Or when you learn the secret name of Dr. Horrible, the hero/villain of Joss Whedon's new online musical. And every new pearl of wisdom from the Joker's lips makes The Dark Knight sound more and more fantastic. (There should be a book of them.) Telling details also make Watchmen, Chuck, Heroes, Stargate: Atlantis and The Middleman sound bigger and more fascinating. That's spoilers - the zoom lens of your mind.

The Dark Knight:

The Dark Knight's "third act" involves multiple tense hostage situations, and it's not just a huge concluding fight scene. [Comic Book Resources]

More Joker-isms from the film: "You can't let me go." "In their last moments, people show you who they really are." The Joker does a deadly and stomach-churning "pencil trick" when he introduces himself to a room full of Gotham mobsters. He induces city-wide evacuations and "social experiments" that involve driving citizens to kill each other. [New York Post]

Watchmen:

It's almost as if director Zack Snyder read our rant about how superhero odyssey Watchmen should be about the history of superhero movies the way the original graphic novel was about comics history. (Although I'm sure he didn't.) In an interview with Collider, he mentions that Ozymandias' costume has nipples on it like the Joel Schumacher Batsuit, and this is part of an effort to acknowledge "where comic book movies are right now," the same way the graphic novel did for comics. Color me intrigued, actually. [Collider via Comic Book Resources]

Star Wars:

In the eagerly awaited Star Wars video game The Force Unleashed, Darth Vader travels to the planet Kashyyyk to track down one of the last surviving Jedi (after Revenge Of The Sith.) That's when you have your first major "boss battle" in the game. And then Vader is about to strike the killing blow, and a small child disarms him using the Force. Vader sees potential in the kid, who becomes his Secret Apprentice, going on missions and hiding from the Imperials as well as the Rebels. In the course of the game, you'll see important events like the birth of the Rebellion. [Comic Book Resources again]

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog:

Some more details about Joss Whedon's online serialized musical Dr. Horrible have emerged. Dr. Horrible's real name is Billy, and when we first see him he's practicing his evil laugh in hopes of being taken seriously by the Evil League Of Evil. And he reads snarky emails from his skeptical online following.

He sings, "The world's a mess and I just want to rule it." He works on a freeze ray that will stop time and "stop the pain," as he sings at one point. But really, Billy's heart belongs to Penny, a goody two-shoes whom he meets at the laundromat. But whenever he's around Penny, he's bashful and stammering - and of course she falls for his arch-nemesis Captain Hammer, who's a boorish cad who says things like, "I don't go to the gym. I just naturally look like this."

Buffy The Vampire Slayer producers Marti Noxon and David Fury, who had cameos in the Buffy musical episode, show up as snarky newscasters. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Heroes:

Remember how we said Heroes' Ali Larter would be back, but not as Niki Sanders? Turns out her new personality is named Tracy Strauss. Meanwhile, psychic cop Matt will end up in the desert with a nameless horse and a tortoise. Matt's story is about to get super trippy. [E! Online]

Chuck:

The fifth episode of the new Chuck season starts with a flashback to 1983, and a much younger Jeff winning the Moto Industries Missile Command video game championship, sporting a mullet and mustache, with bikini-wearing babes on each arm. In the present day, a virus is sweeping through Moto Industries' computers. Chuck and Casey go undercover as Nerd Herders to find out what's going on, but in the end it's Sarah's blonde wiles that get the inside scoop. Turns out terrorists have hacked a dormant satellite and want to launch nuclear missiles, causing World War III. The key to stopping the satellite can only be found on the final level of Missile Command. Chuck must beat the game and save the world, but to do that he needs the music of a certain Canadian band. [Chuck TV]

The Middleman:

Spoilers for the awesome new superhero show The Middleman: The Middleman and Wendy's roommate Lacey go on a date in episode seven, and he sneaks milk into the restaurant in a flask. In another episode, someone climbs into the Middle Mobile and presses "autopilot." The possible destinations are the creamery, the duck pond and church. Upcoming villains include a haunted tuba, a boy band that's actually five banished intergalactic dictators, a vampire ventriloquist dummy and a haunted sorority where the Middleman gets possessed by one of the girls. [NY Post]

Stargate: Atlantis:

The 15th episode of the new season of Stargate: Atlantis is called "Remnants," and some alleged details have leaked out: Sheppard finds himself tied up in the middle of the forest, while Woolsey struggles to flirt with a newly arrived attractive female colleague named Vanessa Conrad. Sheppard gets free, but his gun and radio are gone, and he's got unpleasant company, in the form of Mr. Koyla, nearby, who's eager to torment him. Meanwhile, Woolsey can't find any trace of Vanessa, the woman he was crushed out on, and he begins to doubt his own sanity.

It turns out Vanessa Conrad is just a manifestation of Woolsey's romantic and sexual ideals, from an alien "seed carrier" that a civilization that was on the verge of extinction sent out across the galaxy thousands of years ago, to start over. The "seed carrier" lay dormant at the bottom of the ocean for centuries, until Sheppard's jumper woke it up. The vision of Koyla was meant to distract Sheppard, since as a military man he might use force against the seed-carrier's vessel - but any torment Sheppard experienced was of his own making. (Sort of, it's confusing.) Meanwhile, the seed-carrier connected with Woolsey, to study him and maybe enlist his aid. In the end, our heroes have to make a tough decision of some kind. [Notes... Written On Water]