TIME movies

Chris Pratt Almost Wasn’t the Lead in Guardians of the Galaxy

Glenn Howerton at the 2014 Emmy Awards
This was almost the face of Starlord. Kevork Djansezian/NBC—NBC via Getty Images

The role was nearly awarded to another member of one of TV's most-acclaimed comedies

There were lots of interesting bits from Drew Magary’s profile of Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt in the December issue of GQ, but perhaps the most revelatory was one that didn’t quite make the cut. According to outtakes from the piece, posted on The Concourse, Pratt’s character Star-Lord was nearly played by Glenn Howerton, best known as Dennis on It’s Always Sunny on Philadelphia.

According to Magary, here’s what director James Gunn had to say: “Glenn came along a little bit later, but there was a good chance that, if I didn’t cast Chris, that I would’ve cast Glenn Howerton in the role.” (That sound you hear is the breaking hearts of die-hard Always Sunny fans.)

As crazy as that is, maybe even crazier is the fact that Howerton himself had no idea how close he came to landing the life-changing role:

Gunn confirmed the report earlier this afternoon:

There’s little question that Pratt proved a runaway success in the role (you don’t have an entire summer named after you without having a pretty good one), but that won’t stop fans from imagining what might have been if Howerton had inhabited the role.

On their respective critically-acclaimed TV comedies—Parks and Recreation for Pratt, Always Sunny for Howerton—their roles are drastically different, with Pratt playing a kind-hearted simpleton and Howerton a narcissistic sociopath. Starlord clearly resides in the vast space between the two, but it’s imaginable that Howerton might have had an even more biting take on the role, even if he didn’t go full Dennis.

Even if coming so close might sting for Howerton, he’s got the fact that he’s a golden god to fall back on. Oh, and Always Sunny returns for its 10th season in January.

[via The Concourse]

TIME movies

The New Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Features Even More Ultron and Turmoil

If you were hoping for less doom and gloom, you're going to be a little disappointed

If you didn’t get enough of an Avengers fix when the first trailer for Age of Ultron leaked last month, you’re in luck. A new trailer for Marvel’s blockbuster sequel dropped Wednesday and has even more Ultron voiceover, as well as familiar scenes of our favorite superheroes in mortal peril. We don’t learn a whole lot knew about Ultron (other than that he brings friends when he crashes the Avengers cocktail party in Tony Stark’s apartment), but the mystery is half the fun.

The new installment arrives in theaters on May 1, 2015.

Read next: Watch The Avengers Try to Lift Thor’s Hammer

TIME viral

Bad Idea of the Day: Bill Cosby Creates a Bill Cosby Meme Generator

This can't end well

Update: It didn’t end well. Cosby pulled the generator from his website last night.

If you’re a celebrity who is in the process of narrowly tip-toeing around allegations of sexual assault and are looking for a way to simply crash headlong into them, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more effective method than creating a meme generator for your likeness. Perhaps that’s exactly what 77-year-old actor and comedian Bill Cosby was hoping for when he unveiled #CosbyMeme Generator on his website Monday.

The generator enables users to scroll through a series of Cosby photos and add their own text. The user-created memes do need to be submitted for approval (and for the sake of maximum enjoyment, let’s pretend that Cosby himself is the one rendering the judgement), which Cosby’s team likely hoped would prevent the generator from being used for anything other than wholesome, old-fashioned fun. Unfortunately, savvy Internet patrons know how to take screenshots of their submitted memes.

Folks have already begun to question the wisdom of the generator, but it remains to be seen whether Cosby and his team will be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube on this particularly ill-advised occasion. Odds are it will only direct a larger audience to this Hannibal Buress bit from last month, which reignited some Cosby-related outrage:

If he doesn’t already, Cosby’s own meme generator is likely to make the Emmy-winner yearn for the days when most of the jokes at his expense were about his sweaters.

Read next: Bill Cosby Asked the Internet to Meme Him But Then This Happened

TIME movies

All Your Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Questions Answered

A very necessary guide to the unfamiliar voices, new faces, old tensions and that enormous Iron Man suit

As you’re likely aware at this point (and if not, surprise!), the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked late last night, so Marvel—after blaming those no-good troublemakers at Hydra—decided to release the official version nearly a week ahead of schedule.

If you’ve watched the trailer, it’s a good bet that you have at least a few questions. We’ll do our best to answer them below:

Marvel

Who’s that guy talking to us in the voiceover?

That would be the titular Ultron (James Spader, recently of The Blacklist), one of Marvel’s chief supervillains and a prime nemesis of the Avengers in the comics.

Wait, so it’s not the Mandarin?

No. Even though Spader is using the same creepy/menacing inflection that Ben Kingsley employed for the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, these are two entirely separate and distinct characters.

Okay, so back to Ultron. What’s his deal?

It’s not entirely clear from the trailer what Ultron’s goals are, though if he believes that “everyone screaming for mercy” is “beautiful,” it’s a safe bet that he probably wants what all supervillains want: the superheroes dead, lots of innocent people dead and, of course, world domination (of sorts). He also appears to not be a big fan of strings.

Marvel

And I gather he’s that sort of Iron Man-looking figure who confronts the Avengers about 30 seconds into the trailer?

You got it. The trailer doesn’t explain how Ultron came to be, but according to Entertainment Weekly, he’s “the ultimate drone”—a creation of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), designed to essentially police the world as an omnipotent force — that’s a different take from the books, where he’s created by Hank Pym, a character that hasn’t made it to the Marvel Movie Universe yet. Ultron isn’t so much a physical being as a consciousness that can transfer itself from one automated form to another. To make matters worse, when Stark created Ultron, he infused the A.I. with elements (the worst ones) of his own personality. Needless to say, things don’t quite go as planned.

Marvel

Why do all the Avengers look so unhappy at the start of the trailer?

Honestly, that’s probably footage from later in the movie after things have already gone south. No one said trailers have to go in order.

What’s up with Bruce Banner?

Of all the characters, Banner—better known to most as The Hulk—appears to be in the worst way. That’s not too surprising given that he’s the one who ends up turning into a giant green monster if his heart starts beating too quickly, but things appeared to be mostly under control by the end of the first Avengers film. Now Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is stumbling through snow-covered woods and touching hands with Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). For most people, the latter would be a good thing, but Banner has an obvious problem with getting too excited, even in a romantic way.

Marvel

Who are the two kids with Ultron?

That’s brother-and-sister duo Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver and Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch. (You may recognize them from the end credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

So they’re bad too, huh?

Certainly looks that way at the moment. Whether that remains the case has yet to be seen.

Marvel

What can they do?

Without giving too much away, the trailer makes it look like Quicksilver has some sort of super-speed and Scarlet Witch can do something not entirely dissimilar from Gambit’s manipulation of kinetic energy. Quicksilver also appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but the two characters have some differences. (Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to the X-Men or Spider-Man franchises, leading to all sorts of weird discrepancies like this.)

What does Tony Stark mean when he says, “It’s the end. The end of the path I started us on?”

As mentioned above, Stark was the one responsible for creating Ultron. We saw in Iron Man 3 what a couple dozen automated Iron Man suits could do. Imagine that, but multiplied by an unknown and coupled with Ultron’s aim to wipe out humankind. Sure must look like the end.

Marvel

And how about that enormous Iron Man-looking thing that the Hulk fights?

That’s the appropriately titled “Hulkbuster armor,” designed to enable the wearer to hold his own against the Hulk. We can’t know for sure, but it’s as good a bet as not that Tony Stark isn’t the one inside that armor. Or it is Stark, and he had to get his pal Bruce under control for some reason — one major Marvel comic book plot sees Stark deciding the Hulk is too dangerous to stay on Earth, so Stark banishes the green beast to his own unpopulated planet. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Marvel

Why is Thor hoisting Tony Stark in the air by his neck at the 1:40 mark?

Could be one of any number of reasons. Thor and Stark have never gotten along particularly well, plus Stark is directly responsible for the rise of Ultron. Or it could be something else entirely. There have been rumors swirling that the next Captain America film will feature something like the Marvel comics’ Civil War series, which pitted superhero against superhero in a struggle over civil rights (more on that here). Clearly, the cracks are starting to show.

Marvel

You mean like the broken Captain America shield?

You got it. Odds are that Cap won’t die in this film (Chris Evans is signed on for at least two more pictures), but Joss Whedon has proven himself willing to kill main characters if the circumstance require it.

So this is going to be a darker Avengers than the first one?

Well the first one wasn’t exactly cheery (what with an alien invasion of earth and the partial destruction of midtown Manhattan), but if you’re basing it on internal strife amongst the Avengers and a force that makes the group question its very nature, then yeah, this one looks like it’ll be pretty heavy.

When do we get to stop speculating and actually see this thing?

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015.

TIME viral

Watch Sir Ian McKellen Tell Students What Happens If They Don’t Study

The acclaimed actor told assembled schoolchildren, "If you don't do your revision properly, do you know what will happen?... You. Shall. Not. Pass!"

Updated Oct. 20, 10:30 a.m. ET

Sir Ian McKellen — who has earned a reputation of late for showing up in random places and doing awesome things (typically with his pal and sometimes co-star Patrick Stewart) — stopped by the Chew Valley School in England today and addressed the assembled masses. Instead of rambling on as school speakers tend to do, McKellen simply stood by a window and asked, “If you don’t do your revision properly, do you know what will happen?” After waiting a beat, the Lord of the Rings star summoned his best Gandalf impersonation and bellowed, “You. Shall. Not. Pass!” (Sidenote: Is it still an impersonation if you’re impersonating a character that you yourself originated?)

Anyhow, it’s entirely unclear why exactly McKellen was at the school, but any excuse for him to belt out iconic declarations from Lord of the Rings in front of a bunch of giddy British schoolchildren is a good one.

Update: According to the Chew Valley School website, “The visit was a celebration of the tremendous work the Equalities Team have been doing for more than a year now in promoting human rights, opposing bullying and in particular challenging homophobic language and behaviour in school.” McKellen confirmed the purpose of his visit on Twitter.

TIME Television

Watch Game of Thrones Star Jason Momoa’s Intense Audition Tape

The clip has been on YouTube since 2012, but it's worth watching if you want to see how the little-known actor scored his breakout role

Despite lasting just one season on Game of Thrones, Khal Drogo remains one of the show’s most memorable characters — thanks in large part to Jason Momoa’s indelible portrayal of the Dothraki lord. In this YouTube clip from 2012, we see that the actor landed his breakout role performing the haka, a traditional dance associated with New Zealand’s Maori people, during his audition.

Though the haka has a legacy entirely unrelated to Game of Thrones (obviously), its intensity — and Momoa’s fervent, wild-haired rendition of it — helps reveal why the actor was so well-suited for the part of Khal Drogo. And it was that short-lived role that has launched the 35-year-old actor to greater stardom. Momoa has recently been cast as Aquaman and is slated to appear in a number of DC Comics’ upcoming films.

Plus, with the recent announcement that there will be flashbacks in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, there’s always a slight chance we could see Khal Drogo once again. Let’s just hope he’s slightly less terrifying than he is in that audition tape, because seriously — you do not want to turn the volume up too loud for that one.

Read next: HBO Will Finally Start Selling Web-Only Subscriptions Next Year

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser