Okay, hear me out…

…you’d watch the hell out of this, right?


I mean, if Nic Cage is gonna play Joe Exotic, I can dream of a third Ventura movie where he battles Ace, portrayed by his old friend Jim Carrey.

A Short Time Ago In A Nearby Writer’s Head…

“First off, I would like to state this alternate ending of RISE OF SKYWALKER is more of a writing exercise than a commentary on the film. I myself still do not know where I stand in terms of my overall verdict of the newest trilogy, and I think it may take some time before I find find a firm opinion.

That said, this is strictly for fun, and you’re free to talk about this in any way you see fit, as long as it is NOT argumentative. Discuss, enjoy, but keep it civil.

Oh, and MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. I mean, while this is an alternate take, it does play on major established threads from the finale of the film, so do be mindful of both this and the possible comments below.

Thank you!”

– Bo Chappell




The Emperor bombards Rey with electricity from his decayed fingers, the blade of Leia’s lightsaber absorbing as much of the sinister energy as it can withstand.



Kylo was right about you. You are nothing. A vessel nearly unworthy of my presence if not for the blood coursing through your veins. My blood.


(struggling to hold back The Emperor’s attack)

No! I can hear their voices; the Force speaks to me!


A CACOPHONY of Jedi Master VOICES from the past SPEAK to Rey.




Oh? And what do the dead say to you youngling?


As Rey courageously holds the powerful Sith energy back, a HAND EMERGES from the pit in the rear of the room.





That this is the Sith’s end!


The Emperor, angered, UNLEASHES nearly all of his power upon Rey, forcing her to take a knee and rest upon the remains of her tenacity and faith.




KYLO REN rises from his near demise and leaps through the air, using the Force to pull his grandfather’s nearby lightsaber to his hand and land triumphantly beside Rey.


His lightsaber IGNITES, crossing with Rey’s  blade and fortifying their shield. Rey STANDS and, together, they push against the unruly stream of electricity.


Kylo begins to HEAR the VOICES too. Empowering words of encouragement from the fallen heroes before. Eerily familiar voices that speak directly to Rey and Kylo, giving them strength to overpower The Emperor’s deadly force.



(in unison, countless voices joining them)



The Emperor’s energy is fed back to him, OBLITERATING his body and the body of his followers into nothingness. A BLINDING LIGHT of goodness.



(dying echos)



The returning silence in the chamber fades to the nearby SOUNDS of the rebellion above Exegol, defeating the remaining Star Destroyers, now unprotected by The Emperor’s dark magic.


Kylo, winded, turns to Rey, only then able to look at her without feeling guilt. But to his horror, she is collapsed on the floor.


Kylo DROPS his lightsaber and races to find  Rey has been MORTALLY WOUNDED from The Emperor’s final attack. An almost viral burn traveling up her left side, her neck, and to her chest.


Kylo PLACES HIS HAND over the center of her heavily burned chest, ready to return the favor she gave on Kef Bir and surrender his life force to save her.


But she SHAKES HER HEAD with tears in her eyes.



They speak to us. Even now.


(holding back tears)

I hear them.


Then you know what they are saying.


But why you? I…so much darkness…it should be me.


I must move forward in the light, just as you must.

His hand hovers over her badly burned side, down her arm, and to her expectant hand.


Their hands clasp together.




Welcome home, Ben.


Rey’s eyes glass over, her breathing slows to a standstill, and her grip on Ben’s hand releases, all before her body goes limp in his arms.


Kylo…Ben, holds her body to his chest and CRIES silently for the one who brought Ben home.




Leia’s body dissipates from underneath her death shroud. Maz Kanata’s lowers her head in respect before returning her gaze to the skies above.




The final Star Destroyers fall from the darkened skies, the resistance victorious against the final threat from a ghost. The surviving pilots joyous..




All but one who senses heartache. Loss.



(to himself)





As the resistance returns to base in celebration, a troubled Finn searches for Rey amongst the heroes.



Poe, I can’t find Rey.



We still haven’t received communication from her, Finn, it doesn’t mean…


An Oubliette-class transport ship lands nearby. The Night Buzzard. The former ship of the Knights of Ren.




Why hasn’t that ship been shot down? Who gave clearance?


Maz Kanata walks up next to Poe and Finn, joined by Chewbacca.



I did.


Finn’s feelings grow faint, Poe and Chewie ready their weapons.




You won’t need those here.


The CARGO DOOR of the ship OPENS. Steam SPRAYS outward, and from the fog emerges Ben, carrying the body of Rey wrapped up in his cloak. Ben’s sadness cannot be masked.


Finn knows, and his heart breaks, crying and collapsing to the ground in devastation.





Chewie RUSHES to Ben, feeling Ben’s familiar presence instead of Kylo’s. Ben looks into the eyes of his childhood friend, now filled with tears, and PLACES Rey into Chewie’s arms.


The celebration evaporates to the fallen. The price for victory revealed.


Poe, lost, helps Finn up to join Chewbacca’s side as they look to Rey’s peaceful face being unveiled. Chewie WHIMPERS softly and NUZZLES her head.


Poe DRAWS his BLASTER and AIMS it directly at Ben. Ben closes his eyes.





What do you mean, no?!


This is what she died for. She…


…saved me.


Saved you? From what?


From the darkness. She saved us all.


Poe LOWERS his WEAPON, the truth apparent in Finn’s words and Ben’s eyes.


Chewie WHIMPERS LOUDER, and all who surround Rey share their grief for the fallen Jedi who lead them all to peace in the galaxy.




As the galaxy rejoices to word of the New Order’s defeat, so too does the word of the Jedi named Rey and her passing, her story destined to become legend.


Finn STEPS FORWARD from a crowd of those who knew Ray, torch in hand. Rey’s body, wrapped up and adorned with trinkets, rests atop a pyre, SET ABLAZE by the torch.


Finn returns to the group made up of Poe, Chewie, Maz, C-3P0, R2-D2, Rose, Zorri, Babu, Lando, Jannah, BB-8, and in the distance, Ben, who watches with great sadness but also great affection.


Ben gives a knowing NOD to Chewie, who NODS back before watching Ben WALK AWAY.


Poe and Finn CHASE him down as he is about to leave in the Night Buzzard.




Ben stops on the cargo door.



Leia…Rey…they would have… I want you to stay with us.



Help us rebuild.


I will return, in time.


Space wizard stuff, right?


(masked grin)

Something like that. Yes.


What about the Falcon?


I trust you to take good care of her. I also trust Chewie will have your arms ripped off otherwise. Oh, and don’t let Lando play either of you in Sabacc. I heard stories.


(to himself as he walks away)

I’m pretty good at Sabacc.


Finn shares one last exchange with Ben as the cargo door closes.





Ben pauses, looking to Finn.



May the Force be with you.




The door seals with a HISS, the engines POWER ON, and Ben FLIES AWAY, his thoughts on his mother, his father, his uncle, and Rey.




Ben Solo walks the dunes of the desert planet, arriving at the former home of Beru and Owen Lars.


Ben stops near the home and lies down a cloth. On top, he places Leia’s Lightsaber. Beside it, Luke’s. Wrapping then up neatly together, Ben uses the Force to bury the pair of Jedi weapons deep into the sand beside his Uncle’s childhood home.


Before Ben can leave, a PASSERBY, old in her years, SPEAKS to him.



No one has been in that house for ages now. Did you know them before?


I would have liked to.


The passerby notices Ben’s newly constructed Lightsaber hanging from his belt beneath his robes.



Are you a Jedi Master?


Ben pauses, thoughtful of his answer.



No. I’m a Skywalker


The old woman continues on as Ben steps up to the hill overlooking the vast dunes just as the two suns set in the horizon. Ben’s silhouette rests in the lower sun, and a ghost from the past materializes beside him, encapsulating the other.



I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.


Ben is taken aback, knowing that the spirit standing beside him is his true grandfather, ANAKIN SKYWALKER.


Before Ben can speak, Anakin asks him a question.




Would you like to finish what you have started?


Anakin MOTIONS behind him, and in the distance, the spirit of Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda appear.


Ben feels the pride and love swell inside him and gives a NOD with tears of joy held back. Solo WALKS with his grandfather and JOINS the others, ready to begin again.




A Friend In Need


2020 is almost upon us, and as we soar into the future, there’s one notable person who seems to be having trouble keeping up when he should be leading us.

In a recent Forbes article making the rounds (which it itself lacks the understanding of the character if read), it’s being said DC and Warner Bros. are up in arms about what to do with Superman in the Golden Age of Superhero Cinema.



Somehow, the original superhero, one of the most beloved and recognizable characters of, well, EVER, is having trouble being represented in modern media. It certainly isn’t from a lack of trying. Brandon Routh’s performance in the soft reboot of the franchise SUPERMAN RETURNS was generally loved while the movie was…not. He’ll be getting a much anticipated second go, but on the small screen during the CW’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS event.


Supes’ up.

The latest big screen actor, Henry Cavill, has had an uneven start himself, playing the big man in three films thus far (MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, and JUSTICE LEAGUE) and still not finding a steady spotlight. Cavill himself has even gone on record recently and expressed his own wishes to portray Superman in a fitting story. So why is it so hard for WB to make a solid Superman film? And why does fucking Aquaman have a better foothold?


Oh. Sploosh.

Back when live action superheroes were still being treated as kid stuff, the miracle that was SUPERMAN:THE MOVIE was released in 1978 and, for many today, is still the version many point to when they talk about Supes. For good reason too. Christopher Reeve, while apprehensive of being attached to the character at first, grew to accept, embrace, and love being synonymous with the alter ego, later going on to tell future Superman voice actor George Newbern that it was the best thing to ever happen to him. Reeve would go on to play him on the big screen four times in total, but by the last go, audiences and screenwriters alike had left the Man of Tomorrow in the past.

SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE is an interesting place to start though. Say what you want about the film (and my God, people do), but even here there are examples of Superman’s character being understood. The key one to me is Superman’s reaction to the world’s increasing violence. In the 1987 sequel, Superman is put on the spot when asked by an elementary student “Why doesn’t he just step in and rid the world of war?” It’s a question often asked, even answered in the early animated shorts.


There was quite a line to punch Hitler back then, but I digress.

Kal-El is forced to evaluate his powers, his ancestry, his moral code, everything he had learned and meditated upon up to that point in his life, and try to decide whether or not he should step in and essentially better the planet by force.

To which, after much soul searching, he responds by showing up to the United Nations and states he will rid the world of Nuclear Weapons, and THAT is exactly what his greatest enemy, Lex Luthor, expected him to do.



Long story short, Supes nearly dies and puts the entire world in greater danger by doing what he thought was right, and only by undoing that damage and severing his last lifeline with Krypton (his home world now long gone) does he come to terms with his role on his adoptive planet.

Superman realizes he cannot lead by force, but by example. He tells the people of the world that, well, I’ll just let him speak for himself:

So why am I talking about this? That was over 30 years ago in one of the more poorly received Superman films, and it still BOOMS with relevancy, but more importantly, inspiration.

Superman made a mistake in a misguided attempt to better the world because he is still learning to be a human, not a God. That, to me, is Superman’s true power. His greatest strength and weakness. His goodness. Christopher Reeve got that because when asked about playing Superman, he, well, again, I’ll let him tell you:

He’s a friend. Kal-El was orphaned, (mostly but that’s ThunderNerd talk) his entire planet was destroyed, and he was raised by another that, more often than not, feared outsiders. He was grateful, and had the vision to see the world not as divided groups, but as human beings. A singularity. One that had the greatest potential to be just as good, noble, honest, and helpful as he was because he learned it from them. Superman always sees the good in people, and strives to be just that. Good.

I asked the people of Twitter specifically what it is about Superman they love, and I got some great answers:





The Grey Rooms Podcast even posted a link to an excerpt from the comics.

And going back to that out of touch Forbes article about making Superman relevant? The most beautiful thing happened. Retweet after retweet, fans came to the defense of Superman, still wanting his return to the big screen.



And one in particular caught my eye:


Being good is the most difficult thing to be sometimes because selflessness is needed in abundance, and reward never expected. Plus people have one of two reactions when confronted with genuine, sincere goodness in people. Either they’re inspired to better themselves and those around them, or they doubt and ridicule because they themselves lack in character, only to inevitably stress test that very thing they are missing. Skepticism in its most dangerous form.

So what happened then to the point the general public view Superman this way:


It’s easy really. This is how Superman is inevitably written. In fact, this is one of writer Alan Moore’s (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) biggest pet peeves with the genre. In a 2016 interview with Variety, Moore had this to say:


To Moore, comic book heroes represented the best of a childhood. Imaginative stories to keep our brains curious and filled with wonder. But Moore also thinks that where they should stay, and his time with working on these classic characters was just a job in the industry. One he never sought. With this mindset, it’s easy to see how he would want to break down the ideas and perceptions we have for superheroes in works like WATCHMEN, but that’s another article.


One Alan Moore is dying to read, I’m sure.

So let’s say, much like the toy and video game industry, that comic book audiences have shifted to the older crowd, thus changing how Superman is written. This very much carries with it a couple of problems that have been seen in recent attempts on the silver screen.

First off, because Superman’s powers have changed so much from inception (seriously. He couldn’t even fly at first.), unless you do the research and have an understanding of his powers, it’s VERY easy for them to reach obscene levels. And they often do, as another tweet pointed out:


Superman’s powers solved the problems. Not Superman. Again, the Max Fleischer shorts and Timmverse series understood Superman was powerful, but had limits. To compare, while most movies have Superman breathing in space fine, The Animated Series had him wearing a space suit.


Because “Duh”

Even in the comics, Green Lantern would have to pop a dome over his head. Superman, even with his powers, has to have limits, and kryptonite shouldn’t always be the excuse. If we can’t achieve the work of Superman on some level, as a group, then what is he truly inspiring? Worship? Nah man. He wouldn’t want that, so don’t make him out to be a God that can do anything.


Like, I dunno, this.

Another thing most screenwriters and executives have failed to notice is Superman’s rogue gallery is basically individualized tests against his character. Brainiac challenges his ancestry and logic. Parasite threatens his powers. Metallio defies the humanity he loves, his heart replaced by kyrptonite. Darkseid flat out stands against everything Clark does by ushering in war and death.

And yet NONE of these have made it to the big screen yet. And look, I get it. Lex Luthor IS Superman’s biggest threat because he thinks:

  • Kal-El is both undeserving of and selfish with his powers
  • An alien capable of ruling shouldn’t be allowed to exist, even as a do-gooder
  • He’s better simply because he’s an American citizen who rose to power sans superhuman abilities
  • Goodness and hope is a falsity to exploit for money and power

He is the anti-Superman. The worst of America. The other side of his coin, and he should be the main villain dealt with because Lex hides amongst us with more deception than Clark ever did.

But every. Fucking. Movie?

Literally. From 1978, there have been 8 films starring Superman. Lex has been a featured villain in 6 of those.


SUPERMAN III took the bold choice of going with a rich, white entrepreneur as its villain.

But the biggest belief that seems to be the problem as of late is that, to make a superhero believable, he must be “dark and gritty.”


Again, SUPERMAN III. Bold.

To argue this point quickly, all I ask is that you compare Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to Tom Holland’s.


No. Damn it. Wait a second.

What I mean is Maguire’s portrayal relied heavily on the pressure to be a superhero. (I’m sure there’s some way to sum up that feeling he had.) Because of that, his Spidey was more emotional, stressed out, and it constantly drove him to want to be rid of it.

Holland experiences the same pressure of responsibility, but not once does it occur to him to quit. In fact, he loves being Spider-Man. It’s who he really is inside.

Now I dare to ask. Which Spider-Man is more popular in the general consensus?


I stand corrected, but this only proves my point more.

While the pros and cons of responsibility play heavily in any superhero’s life, Superman never strays from the path his parents set him on, though he knew his life was his own.

To me, Superman isn’t dark. He can have darkness in his life, but his life isn’t darkness. That’s The Batman’s territory. Superman is the light of hope. He is someone who chooses to walk among us as an equal, despite being a literal superman and adopted as an American icon. You telling me you can’t write a character who has to wrestle with his powers, his responsibilities, his ancestry, and his obligations to ideals laid upon him, all while staying true to who he is at his core? Fighting for truth, justice, and the pursuit of happiness in a melting pot?



I know this article has got out of hand, so let me wrap it up by saying this.

I love Superman. I dream of him, being him often. To be able to travel the world and bring it together by showing everyone all it takes is believing one another long enough to help. 

Superman will be immortal as long as goodness is sought, and it’s nice to have someone to point to, fictional or not, and say be like that guy. To wear a symbol and show your beliefs in all that is good.


Ok. He was a decent guy too.

Yeah, Superman hasn’t had much luck on the big screen, but he has been soaring triumphantly on TV. Though there are many to name, for me it’s Superman The Animated Series, and then later Justice League & Justice League Unlimited. It’s no coincidence that’s where you’ll find a top notch Lois as well.



Damn straight.

Tim Daly and George Newbern both had their time voicing the character (Newbern would take over during the JL years), and from the very beginning, the writers embraced the sci-fi of Superman’s lore, the incredibly epic but equally underrated rogues gallery, the understanding that kryptonite wasn’t his only weakness, that Superman’s powers had limits AS LONG AS YOU WROTE THEM. They understood, above all, that character dictates story, and not the other way round. They knew Superman.

So when Alan Moore, who unapologetically dislikes superheroes, can write some of the singular best Superman stories of all time (For the Man Who Has Everything, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?), there really isn’t an excuse.

And that ultimately brings me to the point of this article. Superman is the story of an alien survivor of a world, jettisoned into the galaxy by his parents like a space Moses and lands on Earth where he was raised by humans, learns our sun gives him powers and radioactive pieces of his homeworld weaken him.

And what does he do in response? 

He decides to repay the debt by protecting the planet, no, the UNIVERSE, from alien gods, evil sentient computers,  cyborgs, robots, mutants, and evil men of power. Oh, and he does all this while trying to have a normal, human life with the woman he loves and stay humble, and not once does he reject who he is and what he must do.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said this publicly, but I mean it. ANY writer who complains Superman is “too hard” to write for is fucking lazy.


I want to leave you with a piece of music that, when I close my eyes, I can be Superman too. I hope it lets you fly as well.

I wanna thank all the people on Twitter who contributed to this article, and of course to Jerry Siegal, Joe Shuster, and all the other talented individuals who keep Superman alive.

If you happen to like what you read, I have written stories myself. Links to all my work can be found in the Menu. Thank you for reading this. Have an awesome holiday season, and I hope to see you next year.

Knock, Knock

Isn’t it like me to be gone a while without updating you on what’s been going on?

If you’re still hanging with me, I wanted to share something.

Together with Jason Wilson (Co-Creator of The Grey Rooms Podcast), Alistair Mackey (Voice Actor), and JM Scherf (Composer), we produced the opening chapter of Year 47, presented here. All the links are in the video description.

Hopefully you can enjoy this until I return with more.

I Lost Myself Some Time Ago

I’ve felt this way for over half a year now.

I keep telling myself I’m in a mental funk. That because I’m aware of it, I’ll be fine in a bit. I just need time. Then I’ll be ok again. That’s just how mental depression works.

I need to stop lying to myself. To you. To everyone.

This is more than a funk. This is a realization. A conclusion I am choosing to ignore.

I’m not just in a temporary state of unhappiness. I’m not happy in my state, and I don’t know where I want to even go from here because I feel utterly lost and without my compass.

I’m almost 37, and I realize one moment I’m pining for the days when I was younger and dreamed of having all the things I have now, or wishing this ride was over the next.

You’ll have success as a writer, young man, but you’ll want more from life by then, and you’ll always doubt yourself. Doubt what you have accomplished.”

Kid. You get want you want and what you deserve, and I’m sorry for that. You didn’t know because I didn’t. I couldn’t even tell you what to do now to change things.

I wanted so much better. Not money or fame. Just…quality. I still try everyday, and each awakening is a new negotiation for less.

I tried to pinpoint where my compass started to fuck up, and I keep coming back to the bullying incident that happened to me at the end of last year. It still haunts me. I have heard the two culprits are a bit quieter, regained very little footing on social media, and essentially campaigned to the point my friends felt the need to apologize to me for speaking with them online, which I never wanted nor asked for.

It left this abscess in my soul, infecting me. Keeping me from finding comfort and healing. I wanted to forget, but I had to move on and hope people would just stop bringing it up. But when you are a part of the same community and work in the same field, with the same people, it’s near impossible.

All this fed into my imposter syndrome, making me fearful of retaliation and paranoid of the community and my place in it.  Scared of what was being said on their end to try and get back in good graces. It felt like, by doing the right thing, I had done wrong.

But I had spoken up, and, while it had unforseen consequences, good did come from it. So I ignored the pain I was still feeling and buried myself into a passion project.

I got back into the Year 47 anthology. Worked real hard with everyone involved (too hard if you ask certain people). Got emotionally invested in it, and I took some lumps because of that.

But it paid off too. It was a best-seller in its category. Really good reviews. All the authors did an amazing job. And after it was finished…

…I was worse off. I was worse off because I didn’t have them anymore. I wasn’t talking to Baylea, Adrian, Dustin, Liam, Shawn, Charity, and Anya nearly every day. Having everyone so damn excited about a singularity. It didn’t even matter if it was gonna work. I remember not caring. I just remember them being so excited. Us being a family. I wasn’t thinking about what happened.

There wasn’t anyone making fun of me, who I was, my work, how I sounded, how I was promoting my art. No one was hating me for existing.

I had forgotten that familiar feeling of being an outcast until last year. Now it’s all I can remember.

I was reminded that existing as Bo Chappell was joyless, repetitive, and exhausting. And now that I’ve achieved a great deal of the goals I’ve set out for myself in life?

I don’t know what I want out of this existence anymore. My motivations are reciprocal, seemingly pointless. I exist now mainly because I just want to see how much more help I can be. Even then, I carry guilt for not being able to be there for the people I care about more, online and off. For letting what’s eating me deter my motivation.

And it’s not that any of you haven’t been there for me. It’s quite the opposite. I’ve received so much love and support, I constantly question what I did to receive it. Where I am now is not on you. It’s not even on the bullies.

I take responsibility for how I feel about myself and my life at this moment, and I very much still love each and every one of you. If you need anything, I will do my best to help and support you. And if you felt like I haven’t been there, I’m sorry.

As for myself though, I need to fess up and admit the hard truths about my life. I know a lot of people love, support, and believe in me, including some of you. I cherish and respect that.

But I also know that ultimately I must respect myself before I can move forward safely.

I feel alone in the world right now, and I am desperately hoping that the right someone will show up and help me because I am absolutely lost. I don’t know how to give directions to where I am, describe what I’m seeing or how I’m feeling, but I do know I don’t want to be here.

That’s all I can say, and I am sorry for not having anymore words to describe what I’m going through, but this is an all new kind of darkness for me.

I’m trying to outlast it, and maybe this will serve as some preparation. I don’t know. I do know I miss feeling joy. Miss writing. Miss you.

I miss me, and I hope in time I can find myself again.

Just hang on.


Art Friday: Always An Opportunity

So, I’ve been in the hospital for about a week with a bad kidney infection, and drawing has helped kept me sane. So, I offer up this (decent) piece I did today with a BiC pen, an office marker borrowed from a (CNA/RN/?), and folder divider from my info package.

I call it “Pulp”, and threw together all my favorite retro heroes together. The Batman, The Shadow, The Phantom, The Rocketeer, The Green Hornet, and Kato.

Is it great? No. Is it what I imagined? Not even close. Did I have fun? Absolutely.


Art Friday: First Blood Part II

Today, I picked two drawings with the same core as a fun way to illustrate how design elements can be transformative.

First, a redesign of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet. I’m a big fan of Ralph McQuarrie’s original design and, after seeing how much it changed from paper to screen, thought it would be fun to attempt my own version. It totally was fun.


But after I finished it, heck, even while I was in the process, I thought, “Oh man, this would be a cool Black Manta.” Best part? Realizing I could do that because why the hell not?

So stripping down some of the original linework, adding some new, simple coloring, and:


I guess what I’m saying is it’s fun being able to get ideas out of my head so I can see them and play around.