TIME Books

Sequel to Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo Trilogy Coming in August

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Ronney Mara stars as Lisbeth Salander, in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Columbia Pictures

Get ready to reunite with Lisbeth Salander

A new novel in late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy will hit shelves in 35 countries this August, the book’s publisher announced Tuesday.

The unfinished manuscript left after Larsson’s death in 2004, That Which Does Not Kill, was completed by Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz, the Guardian reports. (While the English titles all took the The Girl Who _____ format, the original Swedish titles did not.)

The book will reunite readers with troubled computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, the titular character of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, though the plot has so far been kept under wraps.

The entire series has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and seen multiple film adaptations including one starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. Larrson reportedly had several more novels planned when he died.

“What I wanted to make use of in the book was the vast mythology that Stieg Larsson left behind, the world he created,” said Lagercrantz, who told newspaper Dagens Nyheter that he worked closely to recreate Larsson’s writing style.

[The Guardian]

TIME Television

Timothy Olyphant on Justified‘s Finale: I Don’t Know How the Show Will End

JUSTIFIED -- "Cash Game" -- Episode 602 (Airs Tuesday, January 27, 10:00 pm e/p) -- Pictured: Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens -- CR: Michael Becker/FX
Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified Michael Becker—FX

The actor says he has no plans to bring a Stetson home as a souvenir

Timothy Olyphant has played trigger-happy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on the FX drama Justified for five seasons. The show’s sixth and final season kicked off last week; as the story of Marshall Givens draws to a close, even Olyphant, who has become indelibly intertwined with the terse, Stetson-wearing modern-day sheriff in the eyes of fans, doesn’t know how the show will end. He’s leaving Raylan’s fate in the hands of the show’s longtime show runner, Graham Yost. “I trust him to know what he’s doing,” Olyphant said in an interview with TIME.

With just a few more episodes of the final season to shoot, the actor spoke to TIME about what’s next for Raylan — and for him.

TIME: What prompted you and Graham to end the show after six seasons?

Timothy Olyphant: It was just a mutual decision to go out now. It seemed like the right time.

How has the final season been going for you?

Good. No one has gone crazy, everyone’s been pretty well behaved. So far so good!

What’s it like as an actor going into the final season of a show?

It’s nice to know that it’s coming to an end. Usually when things come to an end, I’m not the first to know about it.

I guess coming out of an experience like Deadwood, it’s nice to have some warning.

Yeah. That one is a good example, but there are many others.

Speaking of Deadwood, one of your co-stars has joined Justified this season.

The great Garret Dillahunt. He’s one of the good ones. It’s always good to see old friends — and it’s even better when they are really good at what they do.

I’ve read interviews with Graham about the fact that he has no idea how the show will end, and I’ve also read interviews with you saying you do know what happens to Raylan. So which of you is right?

That’s a good question. I think what’s happening is that I thought I knew what was going to happen, but now Graham is waffling. So we’ll let him waffle and see if he comes back to what we had talked about or if he wants to take it in a different direction.

Are you going to miss Raylan?

No, there’s no missing Raylan! I’m going to miss the people that I work with. I mean, I know what you mean by that question, but no. He’s not a real guy.

He’s also not really a good guy. He’s killed a lot of people and, despite the title, they don’t all seem justified.

Well, it’s important to remember that it’s a fantasy. You want to look at it through the same looking glass as you would James Bond. There’s a good chance that guy wouldn’t keep his job either, if you added it all up.

Do you think Raylan is going to be fired?

I thought I knew how we were ending the show, but apparently the commitment has not been made, so I don’t know. There’s a chance that I’ll end up on set and people will say, ‘Oh man, I’m so sorry.’ And I won’t know what they’re talking about.

This season it feels like everyone is out to get Boyd, and I kind of like Boyd, so I’m having a hard time getting on-board with this plot.

I’ve been saying the same thing for years now. If we’re all going to go after Boyd, the question is how do we want the audience to feel about that? Strange little things happen along the way and you can make a case now that Boyd is really the hero at this point. That’s an interesting way to go.

If you end up rooting for Boyd, the show becomes much darker in a way.

Yes, but he’s become less morally bankrupt as he was when we first met him. Wouldn’t you agree? What was the Boyd you met when we started?

A white supremacist preaching hate.

Right, and you kind of liked him, didn’t you? But now he’s not so much that guy. He’s gone through a metamorphosis. He’s something else. Do you still think of him that way? No.

No, which is why I’m struggling with this season a bit.

Right, because he’s become a different character.

But Raylan hasn’t evolved as much; he’s stayed very true.

You bring up some very valid points. You should come visit the writers’ room with me. It’s a fair question, but a better question for Graham.

As you approach the finale, are you nervous at all?

No, I’m not nervous. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all goes down. I’m just like everybody else, just trying to get through the day.

Are you and Raylan alike at all?

Not at all! I’m wearing flip-flops as we speak.

So you’re not a method actor who has to live as the character?

There is no character. There’s just lines on a page.

Are you pleased with the work you’ve done over the last six years?

You know, I go to sleep and the pillow’s pretty cool, because I feel like it’s about the best I can do.

After playing Raylan for six years, what do you want to do next?

I will be unemployed. I will need to find work.

Would you go consider going back to the theater?

Going back to the theater has great appeal. Maybe I could do something out here in L.A. That’s a great idea. It doesn’t pay well, though. I don’t know what they’ve told you, but it really doesn’t pay.

At the end of Battlestar Galactica, a lot of actors said they brought home souvenirs like notepads with the corners cut off. Are you going to take a Stetson home with you?

No. I suppose if I was on the Battlestar Galactica set, I’d steal stuff, too! On the Justified set I’m just going to let things go where they need to go.

TIME Hollywood

How To Be A Spy, According to Groucho Marx

As shows like The Americans captivate today's viewers with dramatic takes on espionage, a look back on a lighter approach to the genre

The spy is having a moment in television. Tonight, The Americans, the FX show about two KGB spies posing as stars-and-stripes-loving suburban Americans, returns for a third season. Premiering Feb. 5, NBC’s Allegiance will follow the CIA agent son of a former Soviet spy. From State of Affairs to Homeland, viewers can’t seem to get enough of the wigs and fake mustaches and regular brushes with death.

Tracing TV history back to the 1950s, every decade had its go-to secret agent men (and they were mostly men). In that decade it was Shadow of the Cloak’s Peter House and Biff Baker, U.S.A.’s titular character. In the ’60s and early ‘70s it was Maxwell Smart (Get Smart) and Jim Phelps (Mission: Impossible). Ever since the Cold War first captured Americans’ fears, it also captured their imaginations. And as potential spy rings are revealed in present times–just this week three Russian citizens were charged with espionage in New York City–the possibility of spies among us is not just old-fashioned paranoia.

Some of these shows have taken pains to mimic actual spy tactics as closely as possible. The creator of The Americans and producers of State of Affairs are former CIA officers. Sixty years ago, I Led 3 Lives and Behind Closed Doors based episodes on real cases, Law and Order-style, and received federal approval before airing. Ex-spy advisors and government approval have meant that these shows can, on the one hand, come fairly close to accurate portrayals, while still, on the other hand, refraining from revealing anything too sensitive.

Plausibility was not, however, a concern for Groucho Marx, whose commitment to absurdity was as fervent as Americans creator Joe Weisberg’s is to verisimilitude. Appearing in LIFE in April 1946 to promote his forthcoming movie (with brothers Harpo and Chico), A Night in Casablanca, Marx offered the only take on espionage that could be expected of him: an utterly facetious one.

Pulling the kind of careless stunts that would have The Americans’ Philip and Elizabeth shipped back to the motherland for treason, Marx’s “How to Be a Spy” would have been more honestly titled, “How to Fail Your Country and Give Away All Your National Secrets.” Marx’s modus operandi is one of comfort and leisure: Chewing on a cigar, seducing women, peering through keyholes at half-dressed ladies, his spying, LIFE wrote, “is generally done in pleasant surroundings.”

The movie itself, the twelfth of the brothers’ 13 films, focused not on Soviets but on a Nazi war criminal–WWII had ended less than a year before, and it would be another year until President Truman would announce his strategy for the containment of Communism. A Night in Casablanca was meant to spoof the spy genre at large, and its parodic take would become increasingly rare for a period of time as the Red Scare became, to many, increasingly scary.

Photographer Bob Landry took the pictures in the spread, but Marx crafted the scenarios and the captions. As LIFE explained:

The Marxian machinations which resulted from his study are presented here. All incidents and commentary were devised personally by Mr. Marx in his capacity as Marx the Master Spy. More than that, all research is offered free to the Office of Strategic Services as Mr. Marx’s contribution to national security.

Safe to assume they respectfully declined.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Television

Rainn Wilson: In Defense of the Anti-Hero and Cracking Offensive Jokes

BACKSTROM: Backstrom (Rainn Wilson) testifies in front of the Civilian Oversight Committee regarding his shooting of suspect from a previous case  in the "I Am A Bird Now" episode of BACKSTROM airing Thursday, Feb. 12 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Rainn Wilson in Backstrom Liane Hentscher/FOX

The star of Backstrom and The Office talks controversy on both shows — plus, his take on deflategate

After more than 200 episodes playing iconic bear, beet and Battlestar Gallactica-loving Dwight Schrute on The Office, Rainn Wilson has returned to the Thursday 9 p.m. timeslot as the brilliant but hard-living cop Everett Backstrom. Though Dwight and Backstrom don’t have much in common, they’re both initially reviled by their colleagues — and perhaps even the audience.

Some critics have already begun to identify Fox’s Backstrom an even more offensive version of the anti-heroic male characters that already dominate primetime. Rainn Wilson talks to TIME about why we shouldn’t dismiss the anti-hero, and how both The Office and Backstrom deal with racism.

TIME: As you were wrapping up The Office, you got the Backstrom script and thought it was too good to pass up. Was there a specific aspect of the character that convinced you you had to play Backstrom?

Rainn Wilson: I like playing characters that are hard to like, that are difficult. Roles like this just don’t come along very often for guys like me. I’m a 49-year-old, weird-looking character guy. And to get offered a lead role that’s complex was really exciting. I was thrilled to jump at it.

Why do you like playing unlikable characters?

I think it’s a challenge. I think that a lot of times in TV and film, the number one thing that people are always concerned with is: “Is the character going to be likable and relatable?” There are a lot of actors being very charming and saying, “Like me, like me.” And I’m just not interested in that. I’m drawn to playing outsiders, freaks and misfits.

Backstrom is nothing like Dwight, but they both just don’t fit in. I think it’s a challenge to make a part like that relatable, and the way you make it relatable is by making the character really specific in how they pick up a cigar, how they sit at their desk, the way they listen to someone. At first you can kind of dismiss him, like, “Oh this guy is just an a—hole.” But then you get to know him a little bit, and you’re like, “Oh, I actually know guys like this,” and you kind of want to go on the ride with him.

In the first season of The Office some of the characters — especially Michael and Dwight — were not likable. But as the show went on, you grew to really love them. Similarly, people may not love Backstrom now, but how much time do you think it takes for people to connect with a character who is initially unlikable?

I don’t know. I mean, obviously, you don’t have a whole lot of time. You don’t want to say, “It’s going to take you watching 12 episodes before you really understand and relate to Backstrom.” But I do think you watch two or three episodes and you get sucked in, which is a lot to ask in today’s TV environment when you have to make a big pop right away.

People compare the show to House, and to me, yes, there is a conceit that’s similar, in that there is an “unlikable” character at the center of the action, who is difficult and self-destructive, who is the hero. But that character has existed way before House. In fact, I was just thinking the other day how much this is like NYPD Blue. Sipowicz was the same thing. He was an alcoholic, self-destructive, difficult police detective. That’s a much more valid comparison than House. But all those difficult, prickly, larger-than-life personalities from all the ’70s cop shows — Mannix and Baretta and Hunter and Columbo and Rockford — there’s a long history of this.

Plus, I think the thing about House is Hugh Laurie is prickly but very charming. He always had that little smile. Backstrom has no interest in being charming. He doesn’t give a f— if he alienates people around him. And that’s a very different thing. He’s about, “I hate you. I will tolerate working with you until I solve this crime and put this guy away. And if you don’t like me, I don’t care.”

One thing I thought was really interesting about the first episode is while we’ve had this long history of difficult or self-destructive cops, it turns out that when Backstrom is faced with an actual gunman, he’s not as brave as the guys we usually see.

Oh, he’s a coward. He’s a total coward.

What did you think when you first read that in the script?

That was something that early on I talked to Hart Hanson, the creator, about. He said, “Listen, Backstrom needs to be a coward. He hates using guns. He’s not brave. He doesn’t want a showdown. He doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.” The thing that drives him to get criminals is he hates the thought of anyone outsmarting him. It’s pride and ego.

A lot of critics have been saying, “Oh no, another anti-hero show.” How is Backstrom different from other anti-heroes we’ve seen on TV?

We’ve gotten some really good reviews and some critical reviews. But a lot of what they’re criticizing is that he’s really difficult and brilliant, and we’ve seen that before. Let me say one thing: Any single lead of any television show is brilliant in what they do. So let’s stop being surprised about brilliance. You can’t have a show about someone who is mediocre at what they do. You just can’t do it. You can’t have a cop show or a doctor show or a lawyer show or a teacher show or a political show like that.

This is an ancient formula for making television because it creates conflict. Backstrom is not the first, and it will not be the last. You have 42 minutes to make drama and comedy, and you want to make 22 of those a year and you want to be on for five or eight years — that’s what you do. Had Backstrom been a handsome, charming guy solving crimes, people would have been like, “Oh, great. Here’s another cop show with a handsome, charming guy solving crimes.” It’s like there’s no way to escape the snark.

Unless you’re doing something completely offbeat, but those shows often only survive one or two seasons.

The television critic is an interesting situation because if there’s a show about good-looking roommates, they’ll say, “Oh great. Another show about good-looking roommates.” Or: “Oh, another workplace comedy with a crazy boss. Seen that before.” There’s a limited number of ideas — you just want to do it in a fresh way.

I do believe that we do the anti-hero in a very fresh way. I mean, his ally is a minister cop, which I’ve never seen on a TV show before. I also think that Valentine’s character, too, is very fresh and original — not because he’s the gay roommate, but because he is unabashedly amoral, and has a very interesting relationship with a police lieutenant. There are certain aspects of the show that I really love. You also get to know Backstrom’s father, played by Robert Forster, and you start to see where he came from and how he got to be the way he is.

We kind of got a preview of that in the first episode when he alludes to his abusive father. I assume as we go along, we’ll find out more about why he’s so unsympathetic.

Anyone who is as difficult and self-destructive as Backstrom has a deeply wounded child in there somewhere, and that’s a really interesting thing that I wanted to explore. He’s not just a household windbag who never changes. Backstrom is a very different person, even in episode 12, as he is in episode one. Ultimately, this is a show about redemption: It’s about a person changing his addictive, racist ways.

I was curious about the character’s bigotry, too. Were you concerned that any of the racist or sexist or homophobic things that the character says might go over the line?

Did it concern me? No, I don’t really care about that. You’d be amazed at the stuff that people get offended by. We did an episode of The Office where Michael Scott pretended to hang himself and then told a suicide joke. And then we got all these calls and letters from the suicide prevention agencies being like, “You can’t make fun of suicide.” Of course, it’s a horrible tragedy: I’ve had friends who committed suicide, but I think even my friends who committed suicide wouldn’t mind people making an occasional suicide joke.

I feel like The Office did this very well. I recently watched the “Diversity Day” episode, and I thought, “Oh, look at that. There’s an episode of television that we did 10 years ago that you couldn’t put on the air right now.” It’s dealing with racism and looking at it through a comedic lens, but because there are racist jokes told in the mocking of racism, it would have been pulled. It would have been protested and pulled, and there would have been articles on Slate and The Daily Beast about how terrible it was.

Archie Bunker is a character I would compare Backstrom to. If you look at racism through a lens of entertainment, and you do it in the right [way], you can actually help heal those issues. I think All in the Family did a great job of healing America in the ’70s by bringing up issues of race and class and liberal and conservative values and sexism. Backstrom is not All in the Family — it’s not brilliant in that way. It’s ultimately just a crime show. But I do think it can be a valuable lens to look at what goes on every day in the world.

Some of the more negative reviews have said he’s racist and sexist without a purpose. How do you think the show creates positive conversation around these issues?

It’s hard out of context. That sounds like a cop-out, but you have to watch the episodes and see where Backstrom ends up at the end of the 12th episode.

This is a guy whose life is falling apart. If you just see the pilot, you’re like, “Oh, this guy’s a racist and sexist.” If you start watching a guy whose life is falling apart, then you start to get it on a deeper level: If his coping mechanism is to throw out grotesque sexism and racism and self-hatred, we’re watching a guy whose coping mechanism is no longer working. Because remember, he’s racist against whites as well as any other race. He’s an equal-opportunity hater. He does not believe white people are superior to other races. He just mocks everyone.

That’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. This show isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. The Office wasn’t for everyone as well. Remember, The Office got a lot of bad reviews in its first season. In fact, I don’t remember any good reviews in its first season. And people say now that’s because it didn’t find its voice until the second season, but that’s not true. The first season episodes —“Diversity Day,” “Basketball,” “Healthcare” — those are some of the very best episodes we did.

You are a lifelong Seahawks fan. Heading into the Super Bowl this weekend, do you have any take on deflategate? Does it matter?

I think it does matter because I read this incredible article on Slate about the Patriots’ fumble percentage at home. Their fumble percentage at home was ridiculously low, and it is statistically impossible for a team to fumble as little as they do at home playing outside in the weather over the years. And so it raises a big flag. If they’ve been deflating footballs and breaking the rules for 10 years to get an advantage, which is they get one or two less fumbles per game over 10 years, that’s a big deal.

Is it a big deal that there were a bunch of balls that were under-pumped? Nah. Not a big deal. But when you look at whether they violated these rules to gain an advantage in a systematic way over a long period of time, that’s not good.

TIME Television

Review: The Americans Puts Mother (and Father) Russia to the Test

One of TV's best dramas returns, focusing on an unusual parenting challenge.

Throughout its spectacular second season, The Americans (FX, Wednesdays) built on its theme of marriage as a working partnership, and as work. Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, KGB agents posing as a travel-agency-owning couple in 1980s Virginia, just happen to have a more challenging family business than most.

In that season’s gut-punch of a finale, the Jenningses handlers proposed expanding the family business. They were interested, as part of a larger KGB operation, in recruiting daughter Paige as a “second-generation illegal”: new agents, born as citizens in the United States to operatives, who could pass in the country with even greater ease and less suspicion.

Beyond the initial shock of the state claiming a child like the god of Abraham, the proposal drove into a long-existing fault line between Elizabeth and Philip. She, the more ideologically dedicated of the two, thought the idea was worth considering–after all, Paige was already becoming politically active on her own. He, the more assimilated, wanted Paige kept safe and separate from her parents’ bloody work (and any knowledge of it).

As season 3 debuts, it becomes plain that the question is not going to go away–not least because the KGB won’t let it. In the season premiere, the Jenningses meet with KGB handler Gabriel (Frank Langella, stepping into the space left by Margo Martindale), an avuncular old friend who assures them he understands their concerns–but that “this is time to start laying the ground work” anyway.

As the pressure rises, The Americans, already one of TV’s most astute shows about marriage, also becomes more and more a show about parenting and how parents invest themselves in their children. Yes, there’s still a split between Philip and Elizabeth, which gets more intense as he begins to suspect her of being secretly eager to recruit Paige, and she suspects him of insufficient committment.

But it becomes clear it’s about more than that: Paige is a teenager now, she’ll be an adult soon, and each parent is concerned about losing her, not just physically but emotionally. Paige is growing and becoming her own person–she’s still involved in her church group, which neither parent likes–and both Philip and Elizabeth are going through the uncomfortable process of seeing themselves in her while also seeing what she chooses to keep and reject of them. As the new episodes unfold, they’re jockeying for influence–her appealing to Paige’s idealism, he to Paige’s Americanness–but they’re not competing with each other so much as each is simply fighting not to lose her.

Indeed, as the new plots and subplots unfold–the season’s larger thriller story involves the increasingly disastrous Soviet war in Afghanistan–The Americans keeps its story complex by showing that it’s not becoming an Elizabeth-vs.-Philip story. They disagree, yes, but as partners and colleagues, and they’re also fiercely dedicated to each other. (There’s a scene in episode 3 in which Philip has to give Elizabeth an improvised medical treatment, and it’s both gruesome and deeply, even romantically intimate.)

That’s one irony of the Jenningses’ double life: as dangerous, compromised, and ruthless as it is, the side effect is that it gives them one of the most intensely connected marriages on TV. Even Paige picks up on this, noting that, unlike many parents (on TV and real life) their relationship hasn’t become solely about their kids. ““You guys look out for each other, you and dad. More than us,” she says, and when Elizabeth looks stricken at this, Paige reassures her: “It’s a good thing.”

A good thing, maybe, but a hard thing too. As in The Americans‘ earlier seasons, the conflict here is a heightened version of one in many families: being torn between wanting your child to be secure and wanting her to fulfill her identity, which may not be the same thing. This comes out as the two argue in the second new episode: “What do you want, Philip?” Elizabeth asks. “A guarantee that life’s always going to be easy?” “For my daughter?” he replies. “Yeah.”

It’s an easy comeback, but The Americans suggests there’s no easy answer here; both parents believe they’re acting in Paige’s best interest. For Elizabeth in particular, the decision brings up difficult memories of her own mother, who lived through the WWII era of Soviet sacrifice and encouraged Elizabeth to go into service, not only out of duty but out of love. (The early episodes of this season focus more on Elizabeth’s history than Philip’s–maybe because his resistance to a dangerous KGB life for his daughter is more naturally sympathetic to an American audience.)

As the season unfolds, the tension in the Jennings household echoes in the espionage stories, which in various ways also involve parents and children, the choice between security and idealism, between loyalty to family and loyalty to the larger cause. In its melancholy way, The Americans seems to be speaking to today’s America and its generation of helicopter parents, who often find out that as hard as it is to take care of children, it can be even harder to let them find their own way.

So it is across generations, across oceans, across ideologies. “Parents are always trying to understand our children better, to do what’s best for them,” a new character says in the second episode. “It’s our great misfortune.”

TIME movies

Widow of the Real American Sniper Calls Movie’s Success a ‘Blessing’

Chris and Taya Kyle on the cover of PEOPLE

"I miss how Chris changed the feeling in the room when he was in it"

Taya Kyle, the wife of the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, says the man who inspired the box-office hit American Sniper was “the biggest kid” at heart.

In an interview with People, Kyle opens up about the loss of her husband, who was shot dead in 2013, allegedly by a fellow veteran who goes on trial next month.

“I miss those family dinners where we would joke with the kids,” Taya, 40, says. “I miss the way he laughed at the littlest things with me and the way the kids and I couldn’t wait for him to come home from work. I miss how Chris changed the feeling in the room when he was in it.”

American Sniper, which is based on Chris Kyle’s memoir, has grossed more than $200 million since its nationwide opening on Jan. 16, and it’s also earned six Oscar nominations.

Kyle says she’s comforted by the way her husband’s story is resonating with veterans and general audiences. “I can’t think of a better blessing,” she says.

Read more at People.com.

TIME Opinion

The Trouble With Disney’s Teeny, Tiny Princesses

BRAVE
Queen Elinor and King Fergus in Brave Pixar/Disney

A culture populated by absurdly small princesses and hulking male heroes can change the way men and women see themselves

Disney has taken a lot of flak for perpetrating sexist stereotypes in its princess movies. In today’s competitive, every-moment-counts child-rearing culture, American parents want their kids’ entertainment to be not just fun, but also fulfilling. So if a movie sends the wrong message, many parents stay away. That’s why the company has responded to the criticism, shaping more recent princess movies such as Frozen and Brave around female characters for whom romance is not the primary motivation.

I welcome this evolution. But there’s still a lot to wonder about — and even complain about — in today’s animated children’s movies, especially in the radical differences between male and female bodies.

Yes, on average real men’s bodies are bigger, and more muscular, than women’s. And yes, animation is an art form not restricted to the boundaries of realism, which is what makes it great. But the exaggerations in these children’s movies are extreme, they almost always promote the same image of big men and tiny women, and they are especially dramatic in romantic situations.

Consider just the differences in hand size. Here are the hands of romantic couples in (clockwise from top left): Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Gnomeo and Juliet, Hercules, Tangled and Brave.

Disney (4); Dreamworks; Touchstone Pictures

The differences between men’s and women’s hands and arms in these pictures are more extreme than almost any you can find in real adults. The men’s hands are routinely three or four times larger than the women’s. For comparison, I checked a detailed report that the Army commissioned to design its equipment and uniforms. In real American adults, for example, men’s wrists are on average only about 15% larger in circumference than women’s. In that scene from Frozen, not only is Anna’s hand tiny compared with Hans’, but in fact her eyeball is wider than her wrist.

Disney

In the Hercules scene, his bicep is about 2.8 times wider than hers, while the very biggest man in the Army report had a bicep just 2.1 times bigger than the very smallest woman (that bicep difference is also greater than that observed between Shaquille O’Neal and his former wife, Nicole Alexander). The same is true of their neck and wrist measurements.

In the case of Hercules, we can actually compare the Disney depiction to ancient renditions of the demigod and his mistress. From 4th century mosaics to Alessandro Turchi’s 17th century painting, the demigod is portrayed relative to Megara in much more normal human proportions. I know Hercules is not supposed to be a regular human, but if he’s really a different species, maybe Disney shouldn’t feature him kissing a girl in a children’s movie.

(There are exceptions to the Disney/Dreamworks model of couples, even in modern animation. Consider, for example, the teen couple in Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s magical film Kiki’s Delivery Service, Marge and Homer Simpson — or, of course, Charlie Brown and Lucy. Even the older Disney classics, like the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, had much more normally proportioned couples.)

Because humans reproduce sexually, there are obvious differences between males and females, called sexual dimorphism. However, in the grand scheme, as the sociologist Lisa Wade puts it, “men and women are overwhelmingly alike”; our similarities outweigh our differences. Still, we choose whether to highlight the differences that are apparent. And the amount of energy we devote to emphasizing and acting on the different qualities of men and women changes over time and varies across cultures.

Artists have been pairing men’s and women’s bodies for millennia. And even in art that was not intended to be realistic, the sex differences were usually not as dramatic as those seen in modern children’s movies.

Consider these three works of art. The first is Seated Man and Woman, a sculpture from Mexico about 2,000 years old, showing obvious but modest differences in body type. The second is Michelangelo’s famous rendition of Adam and Eve from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1512, in which Eve’s robust physique is comparable to Adam’s. And the third is the classic American Gothic, by Grant Wood, from 1930.

Dallas Museum of Art; Getty Images (2)

I wouldn’t argue that differentiating the sexes in animated movies is the most pressing problem we face today. But I do think the choices that artists and producers make — and the popularity of their choices — gives us a window into important cultural dynamics.

In my own area of research, families and gender, many of our modern debates revolve around the different roles that men and women play. Can men warmly nurture children and work as nurses? Can women successfully lead families and companies? The differences between mothers and fathers can create comfortable compatibilities with obvious benefits. But unless we see that men and women have physical, emotional and cognitive qualities in common as well, we will continue to treat single parents — and same-sex couples — as fundamentally deficient instead of evaluating them as complex people with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Having written about this subject frequently in the past few years, I know many people will disagree, arguing that the fundamental differences they perceive between men and women are natural and should be embraced. But what we think of as normal is not simply natural; it’s a product of the interaction between the natural world and our cultural ways. When the beautiful and romantic stories we grow to love in childhood set a standard that exaggerates gender differences and makes them seem natural — built into our very bone structures — it gives us a more limited, and less complex, vision of our human potential.

TIME Books

At Last, You Can Read Harry Potter in the Gryffindor Common Room

Harry Potter
Warner Bros.

Pour yourself a butterbeer and relive your favorite series

It took 14 years for J.K. Rowling to agree to make the Harry Potter series available digitally. And while the seven books hit the e-shelves in 2011 through Rowling’s fan site Pottermore, they’ve never been available like this. The e-reading subscription service Oyster — often called the Netflix of books, since it lets you stream an unlimited number of books on many devices for $9.95 a month — has worked with Pottermore to bring the entire series and the complete Hogwarts Library to users.

Oyster is noteworthy for having a customizable user experience: readers can alter the visual theme of their book. But those reading the Potter series can choose a Hogwarts house to read in — where the font and colors will reflect whether you’re a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Users can even tap a Sorting Hat icon that will place them in a house to read in at random. (That is, you no longer need to make polyjuice potion to get inside Slytherin.)

Readers can choose a custom House Theme to read in. Oyster

 

The “Hogwarts Library” that will be featured on the service includes three books that once only existed in the wizarding world: Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Fantastic Beasts, a textbook “written by” Newt Scamander, is being turned into a Potter spinoff of three films, the first of which will hit theaters November 18, 2016.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” Rowling, who is penning the screenplay, said in a statement in 2013. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Long story short: now is a good time to study up on Thestrals, Hippogrifs and Norwegian Ridgebacks.

Read next: The Harry Potter Actor Who Played Malfoy Is Seriously Bummed He Was Sorted Into Gryffindor

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME movies

Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones: Good or Bad Idea?

Actor Chris Pratt speaks about the NBC television show "Parks and Recreation" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 16, 2015.
Chris Pratt speaks about the NBC television show "Parks and Recreation" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 16, 2015. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Deadline reports star might inherit Harrison Ford's bullwhip

You’re Chris Pratt. You’re 35. You just headlined a critically acclaimed megablockbuster built almost entirely around your rugged, scruffy, handsome-yet-still-somehow-everyguy charms. You also voiced the lead role in another critically acclaimed megablockbuster. Both those movies will have sequels—so that’s steady work coming your way.

So what do you do next? Maybe Indiana Jones? Well, you’re in luck, Fake Chris Pratt Who Has Time To Read Blog Posts: Deadline reports that Disney is considering hiring you for an in-the-works reboot of the Indiana Jones franchise.

Is this a good idea? Is this a bad idea? Is this just a studio just kind of ambiently considering casting everyone’s favorite person of the moment in a big-name role? Let’s consider the case for and against:

Good Idea: Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy was the Han Solo figure we’ve been waiting for after a generation of Skywalkers. He’s funny! He’s a scoundrel! He’s not the chosen one with a mystical parent destined to save the universe from the forces of darkness? Well…actually he was that last part—but it’s a testament to Pratt’s genial charm that his Peter Quill felt like a real human being even when the movie occasionally wedged him into a capital-letters Hero’s Journey.

And this is precisely what Indiana Jones calls for: Someone with the easy charm, the manly poise, the authentic guy-ness of early ’80s Harrison Ford. Like Ford, Pratt’s history is the story of a guy working hard to get his moment in the sun—and if Pratt doesn’t have anything on his résumé like Ford’s “I was just a carpenter, man” origin myth, he does have the Scooby-Doo Maui Van-House.

Pratt has character, something a lot of equivalently aged action dudes seem to lack. (Cough cough Sam Worthington cough cough Jai Courtney cough cough.) That would go a long way to making a new Indiana Jones a more attractive prospect—especially considering that a Disney Jones would probably feature no Spielberg, no Lucas, no Ford, or any of the creative people who made one great Indiana Jones movie, one good Indiana Jones movie, one weird Indiana Jones movie, and one ungodly terrible Indiana Jones movie.

Bad Idea: You could frontload the argument by pointing out that part of Pratt’s charm is rooted in his character’s simplicity. But Indiana Jones is an archaeologist and a college professor: You completely believe it when Ford puts on his nerd-glasses, and there is something enthralling about listening to his Indiana Jones spout historical-mythic exposition.

We should also remember that Han Solo and Indiana Jones are—in small but pivotal ways—very different characters. Part of the key to Ford-as-Solo is how he seems to be slightly ridiculing all the woozy cosmic melodrama around him. (“Absolutely, Your Worship.”) Ford-as-Indiana is funny, too, but he’s also much more of a classical romantic hero. Could Pratt do this? Would he even want to?

There are also more general career implications here: The question of how many franchises a single man should carry. The more specific question of how many Disneyfranchises a grown-up would want to carry. And at least one hyper-specific-for-Chris-Pratt question: Should a Steven Spielberg franchise with one great movie and at least one terrible movie actually even get rebooted, without Spielberg?

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Video Games

These Will Be the Hottest 3DS Games of 2015

Check out the biggest Nintendo-exclusive games coming to 3DS in 2015

Here’s a look at the year’s 10 most anticipated games for Nintendo’s 3DS gaming handheld, including Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Xenoblade Chronicles.

  • Story of Seasons

    A Harvest Moon-like (developer Marvelous Entertainment is known for its work on the long-running Harvest Moon series), Story of Seasons lets players raise ye olde crops and livestock, but in this case you can peddle your wares in an online market composed of various “countries,” each with unique trade-related demands.

    March 10

  • Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

    It’s a new turn-based strategy game from studio Intelligent Systems (Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Paper Mario), and that’s enough to make this list, but Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. adds a steampunk setting, third-person gunnery and a use-or-hedge resource system to heighten its novelty.

    March 13

  • Fossil Fighters: Frontier

    Pokémon meets Jurassic Park–here you dig up fossils that morph into dinosaurs (called “Vivosaurs”)–in the latest Fossil Fighters game, where players sleuth for fossils while cruising around in buggies, carefully cleaning unearthed samples using the 3DS’s touchpad and ultimately squaring off in 3 vs. 3 online battles.

    March 20

  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon

    The dungeon-exploring Etrian Odyssey series meets the roguelike Mystery Dungeon games. It’s not clear yet how that mashup’s going to distinguish itself, but it presumably involves random-generated dungeons, three-dimensional environments and chess-like (I go, you go) combat.

    April 7

  • Fire Emblem

    The newest Fire Emblem game by the team behind Fire Emblem: Awakening (the most celebrated in the turn-based strategy Fire Emblem series) promises to marry global movement and local battle maps, while making your narrative choices more impactful.

    TBD 2015

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