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Every ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special, Ranked by Their Amount of Holiday Spirit



Every ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special, Ranked by Their Amount of Holiday Spirit

From its 2005 revival to the last days of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor in 2017, fans of Doctor Who always knew there was a gift waiting for them on the TV set on Christmas Day. The Doctor Who Christmas special was a long-lasting tradition that didn’t exactly begin with Russel T. Davies’ “The Christmas Invasion:” during the original run of the show, the special episode “The Feast of Steven” was aired with William Hartnell as the First Doctor. However, it was only during what fans frequently refer to as New Who that the Doctor’s Christmas adventures became a regular, yearly thing. The streak ended when Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner in 2018, replacing the Christmas episodes with New Year specials. Still, stories like “A Christmas Carol” and “The Runaway Bride” live on in the hearts and minds of fans all over the world. However, not all Doctor Who Christmas specials are cut from the same cloth. Some have way more holiday spirit in them than others. As December 25 draws near, here’s a list of Doctor Who Christmas specials, ranked from least to most Christmas-y.

13. “The Next Doctor” (Tenth Doctor, 2008)

The 2008 Christmas episode was the first of the five David Tennant specials that aired before Davies stepped down as showrunner. The story follows the Doctor in a fight against a Cybermen invasion in 1850s London. He’s aided by a man who proclaims himself the Doctor (David Morrissey) and his companion, Rosita (Velile Tshabalala). Initially believing the alleged Doctor to be one of his next incarnations, the real Doctor soon finds out he is a man called Jackson Lake that lost his wife to the Cybermen. Having blocked the memories of the encounter, the man gained the Doctor’s memories after coming in contact with a Cyber device containing information about the Time Lord.


“The Next Doctor” is a very middle-of-the-road Doctor Who episode. It’s entertaining to watch, but not exactly memorable. It’s also the least Christmas-y of all the Christmas specials. Apart from taking place on Christmas, there’s nothing about the episode’s plot or visuals that brings forth that jolly holiday spirit, nor any kind of criticism. It’s an adventure that could take place in any other time of the year, and, as a matter of fact, in any year and on any planet. It just happens to take place at an 1800s Christmas.

12. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” (Twelfth Doctor, 2016)

Doctor Who’s penultimate Christmas special is a superhero story that begins with the Doctor meeting a young boy called Grant (Logan Hoffman) in 1990s New York. After swallowing a special gemstone, Grant develops superpowers. Decades later, the Doctor and Grant meet once more, but now the boy has grown into a man that leads a double life as a nanny and a superpowerful vigilante known as the Ghost (Justin Chatwin). Both Time Lord and superhero have a foe in common: the Shoal of the Winter Harmony, an alien species that wishes to take over the bodies of all earthlings.

Much like “The Next Doctor,” “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” doesn’t have much working for it on a Christmas level. It’s a superhero tale, not a holiday one. However, due to its first scene, in which the Doctor is mistaken for Santa by young Grant and is invited in for some milk and cookies, it ranks higher than the 2008 special.


11. “The Runaway Bride” (Tenth Doctor, 2006)

Introducing future companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), “The Runaway Bride” was Tennant’s second Christmas special. Accidentally kidnapped by the TARDIS on the day of her Christmas wedding, office temp Donna has to deal with the fact that aliens exist and with the discovery that her family, friends, and husband-to-be (Don Gilet) don’t really care that much about her, all on the same day. Needless to say she’s not having a good time. Things only take a turn for the worse when she finds out her beloved fiancé had been microdosing her with Huon particles in order to feed her to the Racnoss, an ancient race of arachnid aliens.

Donna Noble isn’t big on Christmas, and this disdain for the holiday is felt all throughout the episode, even if Davies loves his murderous Santas and Christmas trees just as much as Donna hates Christmas in general. In reality, “The Runaway Bride” was supposed to be a Season 2 episode, but, upon finding out the BBC wanted a new Christmas special for 2006, Davies decided to revamp the episode, replacing it in the regular programming with “Tooth and Claw.” This explains why the Christmas aspects of “The Runaway Bride” feel so much like an afterthought, making the episode one of the least holiday-specific of its kind.

10. “The End of Time, Part One” (Tenth Doctor, 2009)

The penultimate of the Tennant specials was followed by a sequel episode that introduced the concept of the New Year’s special Chibnall would later adopt. “The End of Time” sees the return of John Simm’s Master and of Donna’s grandfather, Wilfred (Bernard Cribbins). Narrated by a man we will later find out to be Gallifrey’s President Rassilon (Timothy Dalton), “The End of Time” begins with the Doctor returning to Earth after receiving an ominous warning from the Ood. With Wilfred’s help, he finds out the Master has been brought back to life and is currently being held captive by billionaire Joshua Naismith (David Harewood), who plans to use a device called the Immortality Gate to give his daughter, Abigail (Tracy Ifeachor), the gift of eternal life. Part One ends with the Master jumping in the Gate and transforming everyone on Earth into himself.


Davies’ and Simm’s version of the Master is arguably the wackiest of the evil Time Lord’s incarnations, and, as long as you are able to get on board with the madness, “The End of Time” can be an extremely fun adventure. Wilfred is also a great companion, and it’s a pity he didn’t get to interact more with the Doctor. However, there isn’t much Christmas-ness to “The End of Time, Part One”. Sure, the Noble family exchanges gifts, and Wilfred dons his fan-favorite reindeer antlers, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, Wilfred’s iconic line, “No, I shan’t, it’s Christmas,” in response to his daughter demanding he takes off his antlers, isn’t from this episode, but from Season 4’s “Turn Left.” Still, just the sight of Donna’s grandfather with his beloved Christmas hat is already more festive than anything this lists’ previous episodes have to offer.

9. “The Snowmen” (Eleventh Doctor, 2012)

The second piece of the mysterious puzzle that is companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), “The Snowmen” is another Victorian Christmas adventure. With the help of an 1890s version of Clara, Madam Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart), and Strax (Dan Starkey), the Doctor (Matt Smith) investigates the sudden appearance of numerous snowmen throughout London and a sentient icy alien form trying to take over the human race with the help of grumpy Dr. Simeon (Richard E. Grant).

There’s a certain Christmas Carol vibe to “The Snowmen,” with the grouchy, cruel rich man that needs to come in touch with his inner child, but that’s all it is: a vibe. The 2012 special has snow as its main holiday element, and as far as Christmas symbols go, snow is certainly among the weakest. But at least the story told in the episode is specific to a certain time of the year, so “The Snowmen” gets at least a few extra points with Santa to guarantee its spot on the nice list.

8. “The Husbands of River Song” (Twelfth Doctor, 2015)

“The Husbands of River Song” is a heartfelt, beautifully told love story that is more of a River Song (Alex Kingston) adventure than a proper Doctor Who one. Mistaken for a surgeon, the Doctor is tasked with removing a diamond from the head of one of River’s husbands, King Hydroflax (Greg Davies). Without her knowing his true identity, the Doctor learns about River’s life without him and the many men and women she has been involved with. The story takes a sad turn when the couple realizes that River’s journal is reaching its final page.


Christmas is all over “The Husbands of River Song,” from the sign saying “carolers will be criticised” at River’s door to the gift the Doctor gives his wife at their final, 24-year-long dinner before the Singing Towers of Darillium. The story, however, isn’t that Christmas inclined. The most important thing is the message at the end about spending time with the people you really love (even if you don’t admit it) before it’s too late.

7. “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” (Eleventh Doctor, 2011)

This Narnia-inspired episode tells the story of a recently widowed woman trying to protect her two children from the pain of death. During World War II, Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner), her daughter Lily (Holly Earl), and son Cyril (Maurice Cole) trade London for a house in the country during the holiday season. They are greeted by the Doctor pretending to be the property’s caretaker in a secret attempt to pay back Madge for helping him in the past. But the Arwell’s new house hides a secret: a portal to a future alien forest of Christmas trees just about to be destroyed.

“The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” is an emotional episode, even if its plot is sometimes quite flimsy. Direct Christmas references stop with the trees both at the Arwell’s new home and at the Androzani forest. However, Madge acting as a shooting star that guides her husband away from danger fits perfectly with the Christmas mythos, as does the theme of reuniting with the ones we lost. At the end, the Arwells have Christmas together once more, and the Doctor finds his way back to his estranged friends.

6. “The Time of the Doctor” (Eleventh Doctor, 2013)

The final chapter of Matt Smith’s run presents the Doctor with a whole new regeneration cycle and offers a conclusion to the whole “name of the Doctor” plot. In a town called Christmas, on the planet of Trenzalore, a crack in reality draws the attention of multiple alien species by broadcasting a message across the stars: “Doctor who?” While Cybermen, Daleks, and various other enemies of the Time Lords try to stop the return of Gallifrey to our universe, the Doctor proclaims himself the protector of Christmas, remaining in the town until old age.


Despite the whole “protecting Christmas” thing, the Christmas-ier part of “The Time of the Doctor” isn’t the main plot, but Clara’s subplot having her parents and grandmother for dinner. Afraid of their constant criticism, Clara asks the Doctor to pretend to be her boyfriend and has a turkey cooking beneath the TARDIS’ console. Only one of these plans works out, and that just helps to bring out the Christmas-ness of the story. After all, what’s more in the spirit of the holiday than having your judgmental family over and disappointing them with your love life?

RELATED: Jodie Whittaker Reveals the ‘Doctor Who’ Advice She Received From David Tennant

5. “The Christmas Invasion” (Tenth Doctor, 2005)

The first Doctor Who Christmas special since the show’s 2005 revival, “The Christmas Invasion” aired on Christmas Day of that same year and was David Tennant’s first full episode after Christopher Eccleston’s departure. On Christmas Eve, Rose (Billie Piper) arrives at her London home accompanied by an unconscious Doctor. What is a puzzling inconvenience at first becomes a full-blown problem when it is revealed that Earth is being threatened by a Sycorax ship wishing to sell humanity into slavery.

“The Christmas Invasion” doesn’t have a very Christmas-y plot. However, Davies’ beloved flame-throwing Santas and killer Christmas trees – seen here for the first time – make for a more than festive addition to the story. Just like Wilfred’s refusal to remove his antlers, Jackie’s (Camille Coduri) “I’m going to get killed by a Christmas tree!” is basically a Christmas carol for Doctor Who fans. In the end, we also get a nice peek at the Doctor enjoying a rare carefree moment, having Christmas dinner with Rose, Jackie, and Mickey (Noel Clarke).


4. “Voyage of the Damned” (Tenth Doctor, 2007)

Before Donna took the position of full-time companion left open by Martha (Freema Agyeman), the Doctor invited another woman to travel the universe with him: Astrid Perth (Kylie Minogue), a waitress aboard the spaceship Titanic. Hovering over Earth on Christmas Eve, the cruise ship offers various attractions to its wealthy guests, including a guided tour of the city of London with an expert on Earth history. Unbeknownst to the passengers and most of the crew, however, cruise line owner Max Capricorn (George Costigan) plans to crash the ship in order to get back at the company’s board.

If not for the explosions, the dying, and the sadness, “Voyage of the Damned” could be up for the title of most Christmas-y Doctor Who Christmas special. The original Doctor Who killing angels, the Titanic’s Host manage to strike fans’ hearts with fear and that jolly holiday spirit at the same time. The ship’s historian, Mr. Copper’s (Clive Swift) version of Christmas, in which the god Santa Claus is married to the Virgin Mary and the UK goes into war against Turkey every year for the right to eat its citizens, is also something to be remembered. To top it off, “Voyage of the Damned” is also the first time Doctor Who Christmas icon Wilfred appeared on the show, facing the possibility of a new alien invasion all by himself in a nearly empty London.

3. “Twice Upon a Time” (Twelfth Doctor, 2017)

Moffat and Capaldi’s farewell to Doctor Who, and the show’s last Christmas special so far, brings back the very first Doctor for a story about learning to accept death. The character is portrayed by David Bradley, who had already played Hartnell in the 2013 TV film An Adventure in Space and Time. The story takes place on Christmas Day, 1914 – more or less. Alongside a captain of the British Expeditionary Force, the two Doctors are taken to a spaceship called Testimony, in which a mysterious entity offers to bring Bill (Pearl Mackie) back from the dead in exchange for the soldier’s life.

“Twice Upon a Time” is an extremely heartfelt goodbye episode, as well as a beautiful tribute to Hartnell’s Doctor. But the reason it’s ranked so high on this list is its use of one of the most bittersweet events of human history: the spontaneous Christmas truce between German, French, and British soldiers during World War I. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, soldiers from both sides of the war fraternized, exchanged gifts, and buried their dead without a single shot being fired. It might not sound very Christmas-y at first, but few things are more in the spirit of charity and solidarity than recognizing the humanity of your own enemies. The event also fits perfectly with the theme of the episode: as the Doctor needs to accept that his war is over and it’s time for him to go, the captain gets to live another day, but remains in the battlefield.


2. “A Christmas Carol” (Eleventh Doctor, 2010)

Moffat’s – and Smith’s – very first special is a version of one of the most well-known Christmas stories ever, Charles DickensA Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge is replaced by Kazran Sardick (Michael Gambon), a wealthy loan shark that takes his customers’ living family members as collateral, locking them in a frozen vault. Inside the vault is Abigail (Katherine Jenkins), a woman he’s fallen in love with and whom he won’t allow to spend Christmas with her family for fear that she will die out of the room. Since Sardick also owns a machine that can control the sky, allowing the ship in which Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy (Karen Gillan) are trapped to land safely, the Doctor and his companions have to act as the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future to try and soften his heart.

Even though not all of his specials are infused with the same holiday spirit, it’s safe to say that, as a showrunner, Moffat was a lot more Christmas-friendly than Davies. All top three episodes in this list come from his era, and they have earned theses places fair and square. “A Christmas Carol” might have its issues, particularly regarding the development of Abigail, but it’s a touching, sweet tale that warns of the dangers of avarice and the benefits of sharing – just like Dickens intended.

1. “Last Christmas” (Twelfth Doctor, 2014)

Capaldi’s first Christmas special begins with Clara waking up to find Santa Claus (Nick Frost) and his elves atop her roof. The problem is Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and Clara knows that very well. Meanwhile, at a research facility at the North Pole, the crew faces an attack by terrifying, face-hugging dream crabs, creatures that put their victims to sleep and slowly kill them. It’s up for the Doctor, Clara, and Santa to save the day.


Let’s face it, how do you top a Christmas episode starring Santa Claus himself? Destined to play Santa from the day his parents settled on his name, Nick Frost is delightful in the role, delivering quip after quip in what is arguably the funniest Doctor Who episode of the last decade. Frost’s chemistry with Capaldi is undeniable, and angry elves Ian (Dan Starkey) and Wolf (Nathan McMullen) deserve just the same amount of praise. The episode’s message is just as Christmas-y as its true hero: enjoy every Christmas with the people you love as if it was the last, because, someday, it will be. It’s a sad note with which to end an entry about an episode in which Santa threatens a woman with the words “My Little Pony,” but that’s “Last Christmas” for you.


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After Driving Again And More, Britney Spears Shares Her Latest Taste Of Post-Conservatorship Freedom




After Driving Again And More, Britney Spears Shares Her Latest Taste Of Post-Conservatorship Freedom

They say it’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, and that’s likely particularly true if you’ve been denied access to those things for an extended period of time. After Britney Spears was released from the conservatorship she’d been under, the singer has been reintroducing herself to some of life’s simple pleasures. Last summer Spears was super pumped about regaining the freedom to drive, and in January the “Toxic” singer documented drinking her first glass of wine in over a decade. The newlywed continued to celebrate the post-conservatorship life by sharing her first trip to a bar.

Fans of the former pop singer are accustomed to seeing Britney Spears dancing and twirling and modeling different outfits at her and Sam Asghari’s new home. However, the “Toxic” singer took her followers on an exciting field trip, in which she and her assistant patronized a local drinking establishment. She shared her trip — and a sarcastic remark — on Instagram:

(Image credit: Instagram)

As she and her assistant Victoria Asher apparently enjoyed a drink and an app, Britney Spears couldn’t help but throw a little shade at her family, remarking that she was “so so grateful” for not being allowed to have a cocktail for the 13 years after her father Jamie Spears took control of her life. In fact, the 40-year-old said in her post this is her first time to partake in such an adventure. In the video, she shared:

This is my first time at a bar. First time. I feel so fancy, and I feel so sophisticated.

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How ‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Survived Hollywood




How ‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Survived Hollywood

Sure, they may have eaten a person back in the day. But there are some things the grown women of Yellowjackets just wouldn’t do. On this, the actresses who play them — Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci — agree, as they gather in a backyard in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon in late July, just a few weeks before they start filming the second season of their breakout show.

The Showtime survival thriller, created and executive produced by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, earned seven Emmy nominations, including outstanding drama series and acting nominations for Lynskey and Ricci. The Yellowjackets storyline alternates between 1996 and the present day as it follows members of a high school girls soccer team whose plane crashes and strands them for 19 months in the wilderness, where they resort to cannibalism to survive.

Part of the show’s nostalgic appeal relies on its casting of these actresses, three of whom audiences knew as young women for their slyly offbeat roles in films like The Addams Family (Ricci), Cape Fear (Lewis) and Heavenly Creatures (Lynskey), to play the crash survivors as adults. In this conversation with THR, Cypress, Lewis, Lynskey and Ricci disclose their ’90s regrets, share what it means when you call an actress “quirky” and reveal how survival bonds women — including in the trenches of Hollywood.

Who here knew each other before the show?

MELANIE LYNSKEY (Points to Christina Ricci.) We knew each other a little bit. I went to a Nick Cave concert by myself, and Christina came up and —


CHRISTINA RICCI I was very excited to see you.

LYNSKEY So excited. We were having a lovely chat, and then she’s like, “Are you here by yourself?” She’s the coolest person of all time, and I was intimidated. I just felt embarrassed to say, “I’ve come to a concert by myself.” I was like 24 or something.

RICCI I was impressed because I couldn’t go anywhere by myself.

LYNSKEY I also went to see Clay Aiken by myself because nobody would come with me.

It’s surprising that none of you had worked together over the years.

JULIETTE LEWIS It’s wild when you’ve been around so long, and you sort of have a kindred connection to people. There’s certain actors you’re like, “Mmm, we’re not of the same tree,” and then there’s other actors you’re like, “Oh, yeah. We have some roots.”


Juliette, Melanie and Christina, all three of your Wikipedia entries say some version of, “Often plays quirky or offbeat characters.” What do those words mean to you?

LEWIS Real people, specific and unpredictable.

LYNSKEY I remember I got cast in a movie when I was like 21, and the description of the character before I auditioned was “Blah, blah, blah, the beautiful girl who sits next to him in school.” Then, at the table read, it had been changed to “Blah, blah, blah, cute and quirky.” I was like, “You don’t need to change it. Just keep it …” They’re like, “We better change this description or people will be like, wrong actress.” So, sometimes it feels … I don’t know. I never liked that word, “quirky.”

RICCI When you say that all of us had this description, that to me speaks to a past time, when, if you weren’t the leading-lady ingenue then you were quirky and offbeat. All right, so there’s two groups for actresses? In a way, I’m fine with being in the category I’m in because what it means to me is that I have made an effort in my career to do things that I feel like I haven’t seen before. So, in some ways, I like it. In other ways, I’m like, “Ugh.” It’s a little dismissive. A little cute and dismissive.

LEWIS We come from the ’90s where, when I had blond hair, I was the pretty airhead, and then I dyed my hair dark, and I was the wisecracking, sarcastic girl. But yeah, I think it’s really neat that we’ve all carved this path of range and specificity.

Isn’t another term for that “character actor”?


RICCI But “character actress” used to be something they used to describe an ugly woman.


RICCI Back in the late ’90s, my agents were always like, “We have to be so careful you don’t become a character actress. If we’re not careful, you’re going to end up just like Jennifer Jason Leigh.” I was like, “I like her.” They were so afraid of me not being a leading lady, of me not being sexually attractive to people. It was really the last thing I ever wanted, was for anyone to be attracted to me.

LEWIS My dad was a character actor. So to me, it was something that was super noble. It was a world of adventure and not limiting. I rebelled against the system, the PR system of being in some bizarre idea of beauty. I really revolted against that, for better or for worse. Crying in a bathroom at a photo shoot, like, “I won’t come out.” They want these doe-eyed looks. That’s for sure what I didn’t do in pictures, so I always looked slightly insane, which I prefer over, like, “Do you want to fuck me?”

Tawny, what was your sense of what the expectations were for you when you were starting out?

CYPRESS I’ve had a different row to hoe. I’ve spent my whole career doing shitty roles of the sassy one on the side. Honestly, growing up as an actor, I wanted to be an ingenue.


LEWIS Isn’t that funny? And I wanted to be sassy and opinionated.

CYPRESS I couldn’t be an ingenue. I just couldn’t. It’s just not in me, you know? I was never presented with those roles, ever, and I was like, “Oh, OK. That’s not who I am.” I sort of, growing older, have embraced my Jersey side, and I am who I am, and this is what you get.

LYNSKEY I started calling myself a character actor in interviews when I was really young because I think it was reclaiming the term or something. I think I just was like, “That’s what I am.” My agents had all that kind of intensity around it, too. I remember when I did Coyote Ugly

RICCI Oh my God, you got a piece in that? I went up for that, and I didn’t get it.

CYPRESS I did too.

LYNSKEY I played the best friend from Jersey. But the scrutiny that was on Piper [Perabo], who’s one of the coolest, smartest women, just the way people were talking about her body, talking about her appearance, focusing on what she was eating. All the girls had this regimen they had to go on. It was ridiculous. I was already starving myself and as thin as I could possibly be for this body, and I was still a [size] four. That was already people putting a lot of Spanx on me in wardrobe fittings and being very disappointed when they saw me, the costume designer being like, “Nobody told me there would be girls like you.” Really intense feedback about my physicality, my body, people doing my makeup and being like, “I’m just going to help you out by giving you a bit more of a jawline and stuff.” Just the feedback was constantly like, “You’re not beautiful. You’re not beautiful.” In your early 20s, so much of it is about beauty, and how people respond to you, and do people want to fuck you? Do people think you’re their best friend? Even the best friend thing, I started to be like, “I don’t want to do that too many times.”


Did you have to unlearn anything that people tried to teach you when you were starting out?

LEWIS I had developed such a survival mechanism to protect my autonomy, sort of, “You don’t own me. You don’t tell me my value. Only I do.” I was extremely self-critical — it still happens — of my work. It’s almost like a defense mechanism that no one could talk shit about me more than I can. There’s all these things that are wrapped up in how to survive a system. That’s what I’m unlearning today — to be softer. This is a really remarkable industry to be a part of. I feel honored to be a part of it and what it gave me, but I do still hold on to what it took from me in my youth.

Given what you all experienced coming into the industry, do you feel at all protective of the younger actresses who play the younger versions of your characters?

LYNSKEY (Begins to cry.) So much. I feel very protective. At the beginning of production, I sent them all an email, and I just was like, “Whatever you need, if you need a voice, if you need someone to go to the producers for you, whatever you need,” and they were kind of like, “Cool. Thanks.” They’re fine.

CYPRESS Totally fine. Jas [Jasmin Savoy Brown] was a boss on set. She’s like, “This is how we’re doing my hair. This is what we’re doing.”

RICCI They’re very much of a different generation.


CYPRESS I am protective of Jas in the fact that she is so sexually positive, which I love. She has taught me so much, just knowing her as a person. But I’m like a mama bear to her, or a big sister. I’m like, “What are you putting online right now?” She’s like, “Whatever. Whatever. This is life, man. I love myself.” I’m protective, but I’m also in awe of her, you know?

LEWIS But there is a thing I always want to say to young people: Cultivate other interests deeply so that you’re not getting all your life’s blood from this industry, or your self-worth.

Is there anything you miss about the ’90s?

LYNSKEY I have a lot of love letters from the ’90s.

RICCI Someone used to fax me love letters when he was on tour. I did not save them. I throw everything out. I had a specific thing when I was a child, that we would be punished by the things that we loved being destroyed. My husband, who is a much healthier individual, has gone back and found all my old magazine covers on Etsy because he thinks it’s horrible that I never saved them. As a child, I learned that this is going to be taken from me, so why save it anyway?

LYNSKEY That’s heartbreaking. Well, I saved everything because I’m basically an emotional hoarder. I have this literal suitcase, an old-fashioned suitcase.


RICCI This is very dark, but I would just like to go back to that age and do it over again and not make so many fucking mistakes. Honestly, I regret so much.

CYPRESS Me too. One thousand percent.

LEWIS Me too.

RICCI I’d like to go back to 1996 and be like, “All right … we had a practice run. It went OK, but it wasn’t really as great as we wanted it to be. We’re going to do this again.” People who are like, “I have no regrets.” What fucking magic life did you live?

LEWIS Where they go, “I don’t regret anything because that led up to this moment.” Really? The thing that could’ve put my dad in an early grave, I fucking regret it. Yes. I was very scary as a young teenage person.

CYPRESS Yeah. I hurt a lot of people growing up, and I wish that I didn’t. I was going through my memory box. It was my great-great-grandmother’s she brought over from Hungary. It’s huge, and it’s filled to the brim with everything from my life. I came across a note from high school. It was my first gay friend, and it broke my heart because he was like, “I want to thank you for not talking to me anymore and just cutting me off the way that you did. It made it hurt less.” I literally was crying, and I had to call him and be like, “I just came across this note, and I’m so sorry that I was that person to you.” When I think back, I think how wonderful our relationship was, but I was a shit, you know? I would definitely do so many things differently.


LEWIS I’ve had those moments where I turned into … Because I’ve been bullied, but when I was 11 and got in a fight with a girl, I was mean [the same way] how a girl was mean to me. I was really vicious.

LYNSKEY I think people without regrets are narcissists. I think they’re lying to themselves.

RICCI Denial is the only way to get up that river.

What did you all feel when you learned that Roe v. Wade was overturned?

RICCI It’s really horrible to be told so plainly what your value is.

LEWIS I wish the two factions can talk, like, “Hey, what do you do with a bad situation, poverty and drug addiction, and rape?” You have to have an option that is salvageable or is sustainable for the survival of a person, a woman who’s living.


CYPRESS I don’t really give a shit what your reason to have an abortion is. It’s your fucking body. I don’t really fucking care. You don’t want to be a mom, right? That’s your fucking decision. Look, we can put morals on it and say, “Well, only when you’re raped, or only if it’s …” It’s like no, dude. It’s either in or out. We’re either telling women what to do with their bodies or we let them have their own choice. I am of the mind, choice. I’m not going to judge you for making that decision.

LYNSKEY And there seems to be this general lack of compassion and empathy that’s just growing and growing. There’s so much hatred, and people are unable to look at another person’s life and go, “Oh, you know, that’s an untenable situation,” or even, “That’s a difficult situation.” There’s no grace given to anybody else. There’s no empathy. You don’t get to make decisions for somebody else. You don’t know what’s right for them.

Is there a place for TV and film in that conversation?

CYPRESS I mean, that’s what TV and film do. That’s what art is. On Yellowjackets, let’s talk about Shauna’s baby in the woods, you know? Yeah. I think we have a lot of room to speak on this subject, and I hope we do.

Did anybody have their kids on set for season one?

LYNSKEY (Points to Ricci.) We did.


RICCI And I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone but these ladies that I was pregnant for six months. When we started, I was six weeks pregnant. It was difficult. There were so many times where I was like, “Ooh, when they find out I’m pregnant, and they made me sit in this smoky room all day. When they realize that they made me stand for eight hours, and I’m pregnant, and I have this horrible sciatica, and it’s 100 degrees, oh, they’re going to feel so bad.” They didn’t feel bad at all. But anyway, it was fine. In fact, it would’ve been helpful if I was playing a more emotional character because I can give a real good performance when I’m pregnant, real emo.

How would you finish the sentence, “Yellowjackets is really about …”?



CYPRESS Friendship.

RICCI Haunting, the way trauma haunts you. The way you can never escape. The way it twists people in different ways.


LEWIS Aberrant survival tactics.

We know that these characters have done a bunch of aberrant things, as you say, including cannibalism. But do you have in your mind an idea that, “OK, she may have eaten another human being, but she would never do this“?

RICCI I know when they confront me because I’m like, “OK, she wouldn’t do that.” Misty wouldn’t drink that drink. Originally, in the script, she was drinking a Brandy Alexander, and I said, “No, Misty would drink a chocolate martini.” I have rules and stuff for her in my head, and they do conflict with the writers sometimes. I don’t think she actually is interested in men, at all. I think she does it because she’s bored, or because she thinks that’s what she’s supposed to do. Then, she’s also realized that she can have a lot of fun trying to trick them into having sex with her when they don’t want to. It’s like men will kind of know that you don’t want to have sex with them, but if they can get you to have sex with them, they won.

LEWIS It’s a power thing.

RICCI Misty’s way of doing it is through this really horrible manipulation, making him feel guilty and having sex with her while feeling guilty, which would be a terrible experience.

When you have a different perspective on your character than the writers, what do you do?


RICCI That’s part of the thing with TV that I’ve learned now, being involved in a production but not being one of the EPs, so you aren’t a part of creating what people do. “OK, they wrote this scene. I have to play this scene. If she was in this situation, how the fuck would she be in this situation, and why would she be?” Then, you don’t have to tell other people what you come up with. They can find out about it later when you do press.

Does anybody else have a line in their mind that their character wouldn’t cross?

LYNSKEY I had one. There was something written into a script where I was going on a date with my lover, and they had me going into my daughter’s bedroom and taking her underwear, which was just not practical because I wouldn’t fit it. She’s little. But also, ew. I think there was something, apparently, somewhere, people liked the thing in the pilot where I’m masturbating in my daughter’s bedroom. I was like, “Can that just be an isolated incident? I don’t want it to be a theme.” So I just was like, “I don’t want to do that.” They were great about it.

LEWIS It comes, I think, with experience and respect, that they appreciate if you have a point of view. I have an “anything goes” stamp on me, which they all know. But I have strong ideas, especially about my trajectory in midlife. I’ve looked at Natural Born Killers recently, and I’m like, “Jesus.” Thank goodness I had a partner like Woody Harrelson, but it is so sexual. No one forced me into that. I was a young nihilist who didn’t give a fuck, and I felt comfortable with Woody, and I liked the material. But nowadays, I’m very particular. So, they had written a sex scene, and I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t know that she even gets off. I don’t know that she even can have orgasms.” That’s how deep I went. So it was more like, is she doing something to get something? At the end of the day, I just didn’t even think she fucks, sorry to be so graphic, at this juncture that you saw in season one. I think she might’ve had relationships with all of them in the wilderness. I don’t know if they’re going to write it, but that’s what I’d like to think of Natalie.

LYNSKEY That’s what I think too.

RICCI What? I never thought of that. Who would they be making out with? I guess each other.


The finale hints that there may be additional Yellowjackets who survived into adulthood. Have actors been cast for those roles?

LEWIS Wait, Melanie, didn’t you say that on our chain, that someone we like is cast to be … (At this point there is meaningful eye contact among the four women.)

RICCI We don’t know for sure. That’s what we’ve heard was close to happening.

LYNSKEY We don’t know anything.

On season one, you were making this show under the radar. Now there’s so much fan speculation. Does that change the way you approach the work?

RICCI There’s more pressure going into season two.


CYPRESS Have you guys also had that feeling of like, “Can I do this? Is it going to be good, the second season? Am I going to fuck this character up?”

LYNSKEY I have those fears.

RICCI Me too, but because TV is so fast, and you have so little time with the information, the process of talking about the show afterward helps you to evolve your take on your character. To understand things that were intended with the character that maybe weren’t clear originally because you get to hear the EPs talk about it. I’m going to make changes in the next season based on what I have come to realize through all this talking.

Like what?

RICCI Well, that’s a secret.

How much do you want to know about the path that your character is on?


CYPRESS Fuck, I want to know everything. I sit there, and when I think about the show, I think, “What the fuck are they going to do with this character?” There’s so many different parts to her right now. The dog thing. She’s now a senator. There may be an old love coming back, you know? I’m like, “How are they going to do this?” I just want to know.

LYNSKEY Now you’re a full-time dog killer.

RICCI I didn’t even know that you were supposed to be the one that killed the dog.


RICCI I thought, “Oh, well maybe somebody broke in.”

LYNSKEY That could still be, right?


CYPRESS Wait, give me more to think about.

So you don’t go to the writers and say, “To be clear, did I kill the dog?”

CYPRESS Oh, we do. They just say, “Mmm.”

RICCI “We don’t know.”

CYPRESS But they do know.

RICCI I don’t think they’re trying to control us with no information or anything. Sometimes, they don’t want to commit to something that hasn’t been necessarily set in stone. I do find it frustrating to not know, and we’re never able to know fully. I have decided to learn how to function with knowing nothing.


Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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James Gunn Addresses Peacemaker Future Amid Batgirl Cancelation




James Gunn Addresses Peacemaker Future Amid Batgirl Cancelation

Shockwaves from Warner Bros.’s cancelation of Batgirl have had many fans questioning the possibility of other DC-connected projects following suit. Amid outcries from fans of Batgirl, Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser, and even Snyderverse fans who are always eager to picket Warner Bros., Peacemaker fans started asking James Gunn whether there was any possibility that his DC work was going to suffer amid the company’s cost-cutting exercise. Ironically, considering the history that led James Gunn to work with DCEU characters, it seems that the director and his shows are the only ones who are “safe.”

What seems like a lifetime ago, James Gunn was all set to start work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Disney and Marvel Studios when some old Twitter posts led to him being unceremoniously sacked. By the time Disney backtracked on their firing, Gunn was already committed to directing The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros., which is why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has taken so long to arrive. Now, during all the chaos at Warner Bros., it appears that Gunn is not worried at all about the second season of Peacemaker getting the ax. When asked if the show was safe, Gunn simply replied:


“Yes, guys, calm down.”

That is a relief for fans of the small sub-universe Gunn is building inside the DCEU, which along with The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, is set to include at least another unannounced project and be linked to the Amanda Waller series that is in development. At least that side of the franchise doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Related: Peacemaker: Will More Suicide Squad Members Appear in Season 2?

Is Warner Bros. Still Planning on Rebooting The DCEU?

There have been rumors of a “soft-reboot” coming to the DCEU for a long time, and while it seems at times like Warner Bros. is heading in that direction, they have constantly denied any such intention. During San Diego Comic-Con, the entire focus of the Warner Bros. live-action DC panel was on Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Both of these movies have their small links to the wider DCEU, and once again, Warner Bros. seemed to be causing confusion by including a Justice League montage within the Shazam sequel while at the same time professing that they are not revisiting that particular DCEU set up in any way.

One thing clear from Dwayne Johnson’s appearance at SDCC is that he believes that Black Adam is setting the tone for a new DCEU, and based on everything else that is happening, he could be right. While there is no way of telling exactly where the franchise will be heading beyond The Flash in 2023, with new additional entries like Wonder Woman 3 constantly being stuck in limbo, it has been made clear that some big changes are being made in regards to the DCEU and fans will be hoping that those changes bring some kind of consistency to the franchise before it ends up crashing down around itself.


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