What happens on the fourth day?

What happens on the fourth day?


  • Tag Archives Wonder Woman
  • The New Lex Luthor

     

    After Zack Snyder practically broke the fandom when he announced Superman and Batman would team up (or face off) in the Man of Steel sequel, he broke it again when he announced Ben Affleck would play Batman.  And then, he broke it again when he revealed a relatively unknown Israeli actress named Gal Gadot would be Wonder Woman.  Snyder continued his streak this week when it was revealed that Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our time, would not be played by Denzel Washington, or Mark Strong, or Joaquin Phoenix, or Bryan Cranston; but by Jesse Eisenberg.

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  • Man of Steel 2 (According to Fourth-day)

     

    So, the sequel to last summer’s Man of Steel will feature more heroes than just Batman and Superman.  Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman, the Flash has been confirmed for some sort of role, and Game of Thrones‘ Jason Momoa is rumored to be considered for the Martian Manhunter (more on that later).  Now, everyone is just holding their breath to see if the long-concealed title will finally be revealed as Justice League.

     

    It’s important to keep in mind, at Comic-Con last July, screenwriter David Goyer indicated the film would be a “vs.” movie, titled either “Batman vs. Superman” or “Superman vs. Batman”.  It’s also important to remember, though, that director Zack Snyder has deliberately misinformed people about his films before to keep us all guessing.  Will Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill actually be fighting each other, a la The Dark Knight Returns?  Will they join forces to take down Lex Luthor and/or some other supervillain?  Will this finally be the lead in to the long-awaited Justice League movie?  Or is this just some romantic comedy where they both hit on Wonder Woman for two and a half hours?  (Full disclosure, I think I’d actually pay to see that last one.  They should have a scene like that as a DVD extra.)

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  • Building an Expanded Movie Universe (Without the Marvel Method)

     

    Marvel Studios dominates when it comes to comic book movie universe-building.  There’s really no arguing that point.  What started as an experiment with a couple of after-credits scenes in 2008′s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk has, in just a few short years, blossomed into a massive movie, television, and online media enterprise that has the potential to crush the competition for the next decade.

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  • The New Wonder Woman

    Man of Steel‘s sequel will be notable for many ‘firsts’.  It will be the first live-action DC movie to feature more than one superhero (unless my secret wish about Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White role being a front for the Martian Manhunter is revealed to be true).  It will be the first time Batman and Superman have shared screen time outside the cartoons.  And it will be the first time Wonder Woman has been on the big screen.

     

    Director Zack Snyder told Variety magazine this week that Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been cast as the Amazon to star alongside Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.  These three are the most famous heroes DC has, and their presence together in one movie is, if anything, even more of a shock than having Batman and Superman together.  What exactly her role will be is undetermined, but I’ll tackle that more in my “Man of Steel 2 (according to Fourth-day)” article next week.

     

    For this article, I just want to talk about why I feel Gal Gadot makes a fantastic choice to play Wonder Woman.  There’s been a certain amount of backlash to the casting decision, along with some (cautious) optimism; much like there was when Affleck’s casting was announced.  As then, I’m going with unreserved approval of Snyder’s decision.  Yes, I’ve had my own choices in mind to play Princess Diana for many years, now, and I still believe they’d do well in the role; but that doesn’t mean Gal Gadot won’t.

     

    I think she can take care of herself.

    First, she’s 5’9″ (1.75 m) tall, which makes her at least as tall as any of the other fan favorites for the role, including Gina Carano, Jaimie Alexander, and Bridget Regan.  Though she’s been criticized for being “too thin”, she’s following a director who is famous for getting his cast “beefed up” for his films.  Also, in addition to being an actress and former Miss Israel, she spent two years in the Israeli Defense Forces, which makes her an actual warrior in addition to being an action star.  I think she’ll be able to hold her own next to the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.

     

    There’s a question about how well she’ll perform on the screen, given her razor-thin acting résumé.  Aside from the Fast and the Furious franchise, she hasn’t had that many opportunities to shine on the screen.  But, unknown actors have become iconic before, as the Superman franchise itself can attest.  And Snyder is the only person who knows exactly what he wants from this next movie, so only he can say whether or not Miss Gadot can bring it.  In his own words:

     

    “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role.  We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”

     

    Snyder’s done an excellent job of casting superhero movies before, and he knows how to create strong characters who also happen to be female.  And having an Israeli actress playing the Amazon Princess adds a touch of exotic diversity to the role, which fans have been calling for.  Whatever they have in store, for Wonder Woman, for Man of Steel 2, and for the Justice League itself, I have no doubt that, together, they’ll make this movie wonderful.

     

    Keep your eyes on us for more ideas about what, exactly, may be in store for us in the future of feature films.  And don’t forget to purchase Stephen Monteith’s original fiction at Lulu.com.


  • Justice League Movie Plot and Cast (According to Fourth-day)

    So, last week, SheKnows Entertainment posted a potential roster for the Justice League movie.  Speculation for which heroes would appear in the movie is almost as hot as which actors would take on the roles.  Well, in this article, we’re going to address both.

     

    As most of you may know, even the Justice League’s core roster has gone through several changes over the decades, most recently during the “New 52″ comic continuity reboot.  Some things we can take for granted about the final list, though.  It’s been fairly well decided, for example, that seven is the number of team mates at the inception.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are all certain to be in the film, of course.  Here is the full list of DC superheroes we can (probably) expect to see:

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  • There Should Only Be Greeks

    For this month’s Genre spotlight, it’s Greek mythology.  Yes, we’re focusing on Greek mythology as a genre.  Not Greek, Roman, Norse, and all other mythologies; not Greek mythology as a cultural and/or historical force; just Greek mythology as a genre.  Why, you may ask?  And how can we call it a genre?  The answer to each question is in the other.  Greek mythology has much to offer the world in terms of cultural influence and insight into the human heart.  Beyond that, the tales themselves are quite entertaining, with some of the greatest literary characters (and caricatures) finding their roots in them.  Zeus, the great King of the Gods, led his fellow Olympians to victory against their predecessors, the Titans, and began a new era of rule over humanity.  Hades, his brother, ruled the Underworld and all the souls and creatures therein.  Poseidon ruled the seas.  And a pantheon of others ruled with them on Mount Olympus and the realms of the mortals below.

     

    Now, a genre is a hard thing to define.  Some think it’s confined to the big five:  Romance, Mystery, Horror, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and Westerns.  Others look farther back and think of genres as either Comedies, Tragedies, Epics, or Parodies.  I tend to think of a genre as any story that embraces both certain themes and certain settings/physical elements.  So, while you may be writing a story about someone with great power who needs to learn great responsibility, the tiebreaker between a superhero story and a Greek mythological tale will be whether the main character spends time with superpowered mutants or Olympic gods.  Although, in the case of Wonder Woman, they may associate with both.

     

    That’s another reason we’re looking at this particular genre:  its ease of use, you might say, in modern times as well as classical.  Most of you, I’m sure, can name at least one movie, comic book, novel, television show, and/or video game that features a character from Greek mythology.  For those who may need some help, here are a few of the more popular examples from each:

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  • Justice League Movie–A Preliminary Treatment

    And things were going so well, too.

    Sure, things have been a little slow for DC Comics lately (compared to Marvel, at least).  With Jonah Hex being the latest in low-tier heroes to bomb at the box office, and with only Green Lantern taking to the screens against three Marvel powerhouses, namely Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Captain America: the First Avenger, it’s only natural to want to kick things into high gear.  And, with The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man set to hit theaters in 2012 (not to mention Iron Man 3 at some point), it’s only natural to assume that DC would want to roll out its big guns for the return salvo.  Hence, the long-awaited Justice League movie.  Jeff Robinov, president of the Warner Bros. motion picture group, has revealed that, not only will the Batman character not lie dormant once Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has finished its run, but he’ll be essentially rebooted for inclusion in a Justice League film.  Having spent the last few years fighting production delays including, interestingly, the success of Nolan’s Batman that would have conflicted with a JL-movie Batman (we’ll get to that in a minute), WB is apparently ready to proceed with their answer to the Avengers initiative.

    It’s exciting, to be sure; but isn’t this all a little … too soon?  I mean, it’s not as if DC doesn’t have plenty of characters to tackle in its pantheon of heroes.  A Green Lantern sequel has already been greenlit, so to speak, and the Flash and Wonder Woman movies, as Robinov tells us, are both in development.  While it’s heartening to learn that a WW movie will proceed independent of David E. Kelley’s TV pilot, shouldn’t the JL movie wait until a few more characters are “ready” for it?  We don’t even have any word on the Aquaman movie yet.

    Not that DC hasn’t done a fine job of introducing its heroes to us.  No one, I think, needs a reminder of just who Superman or Batman (or Wonder Woman) are.  The Flash and Green Lantern aren’t as popular, perhaps, but as long as their movies both come out before the JL movie does, I think they’ll be fine.  And, of course, the animated series has introduced us to far more than just the core heroes.  Even people who’ve never read the comics should be somewhat familiar with who the Justice League is, even without introducing them one at a time the way Marvel is doing with the Avengers.  Still, it would be nice to know that each character will receive his or her due with solo films.

    On the other hand, maybe DC figures this is the best way to lead into solo films for certain characters.  Why worry about whether anyone will care about a Martian Manhunter movie if they already loved him in the Justice League movie?  The same is likely true with Hawkman and the Atom, I suppose.  It’s a more cautious approach than Marvel’s of giving Iron Man and Thor their introductory films prior to the Avengers, but it may actually be wiser.  The only problem is, with a film this large and with so much riding on its success, including all those solo films, DC (and Warner Bros.) had better pray it can at least match Marvel’s success.  Historically, that hasn’t always been the case.

    Personally, I feel DC should have waited a little longer; they certainly should have waited longer to make an announcement like this.  With all the casting and production announcements for the Superman and Batman movies, Marvel has actually had to fight for its share of hype for next year.  Speculation on how to “reboot” Batman after The Dark Knight Rises had already begun (of course), but now it’ll be short-circuited a bit since we know it will be as part of a team-up movie.  The announcement that an independent Wonder Woman film is in development would have been enough to keep fanboys like myself in suspense for a decent length of time, especially in conjunction with more Flash movie news.  Moreover, until we know more about how Green Lantern will do in his solo film, pairing him up with even more obscure characters is a risky proposition.  That goes double for our new Superman, as Henry Cavill will likely be tapped to play the leader of the group.

    Giving each hero his or her own movie first allows them to define themselves independent of the group.  While the Justice League cartoon series allowed each character their own time in the spotlight, it was a TV series; they could afford a more leisurely pace to introduce the individuals.  Characters such as Hawkman and Wonder Woman, who have … shall we say intricate mythologies in the DC comics could find it difficult to establish themselves while working alongside better-known characters, like Batman and Superman; or even alongside lesser-known characters, like the Martian Manhunter, who will be trying just as hard to earn their spot on the screen.

    I posted late last year about the timeline I’d follow for releasing movies based on the DC heroes.  It was based on the assumption that most heroes would have their movies produced first, leading up to a Justice League movie (two actually).  It also supposed that the Superman movie would be a trilogy of movies, followed by a “Trinity” movie with Batman and Wonder Woman, which was to be the lead-in for a JL movie.  Sheer stubbornness (I suppose) will be what keeps the “According to Fourth-day” continuity for such a plan intact.  However, just this once, I’m going to write a short treatment for the Justice League movie that comes before the solo movies.

    First, it would need a bit of an origin story for all involved.  Yes, for all of them, including Batman (we’re “rebooting” him, remember?).  Personally, I don’t see Batman as much of a Justice League member.  He formed the Outsiders as a sort of dark shadow of the Justice League, and in the cartoon series he called himself a “part-timer” in the League.  In fact, leaving him out of the movie would have been one way to address the potential problems inherent with having a JL Batman onscreen at the same time as Nolan’s Batman, who lives outside of DC’s continuity anyway (if they even have a “continuity” at this point in time, though some have suggested the Flash movie shares continuity with Green Lantern).  Still, if Batman’s going to be rebooted as a joiner, then he’ll need an introduction of sorts to the team.

    Actually, everyone will; that’s not the main issue.  The issue is, what will bring them together?  It’s simple, really:  an alien invasion (it is still, technically, Alien Invasion Month here at Fourth-day, after all).  We have on our team an intergalactic cop (Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern) tasked with protecting this sector of the galaxy.  We also have J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who acts as a sort of hybrid cop/bounty hunter.  Either one could detect an alien menace threatening the Earth and work to gather its greatest heroes to fight the threat.  And there are no shortages of alien threats to the Earth.

    In an earlier post, I essentially said the problem with nearly all alien invasion movies is the Earthlings don’t have a chance except in the fevered minds of people like M. Night Shyamalan who imagine that aliens are fatally allergic to water (or something like that).  Well, this is one alien invasion movie that doesn’t have to worry about matching Earth forces with the invaders; some of Earth’s greatest heroes happen to be aliens, and have no doubt been providing at least a peek at their technology to our scientists.  While Hal Jordan might not relinquish his ring to Amanda Waller to study, there’s nothing to stop Superman from going to S.T.A.R. Labs with his spacecraft in the hopes of learning more about his heritage.  And who knows what J’onn J’onzz will be willing to do to protect his new home from suffering global genocide like his planet of Mars did so many years ago?

    Now, let’s talk about Wonder Woman and the Amazons.  What better way (other than the one we already suggested) to reintroduce a warrior race to the world they left so long ago than to appoint a champion to liaise with “man’s world” to defend against invaders who threaten all our safety?  Yes, Princess Diana’s “origin story” could be as one chosen to help protect the Earth with weapons and armor forged by the Gods themselves.  Steve Trevor, and, of course, her fellow Amazons, could all be introduced through the war effort.

    And then there’s Aquaman.  While Superman and Wonder Woman patrol the skies, Batman and the Flash cover the ground, and Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter are in outer space, Aquaman can do what he does best:  protect the seventy percent of Earth that we humans rarely consider.  How better to establish himself as one of Earth’s greatest heroes?  (And, if aliens really are allergic to water, then who better to have at your side?)

    This is actually kind of fascinating.  I can see a massive mobilization effort in the works with this one; in fact, I can see a two-parter.  The only thing left is to pick a villain; one worthy of bringing together the fabled Justice League and lead us into a new era of DC filmmaking.  Who gets to be the lucky alien?  Darkseid?  Even though this post isn’t officially part of AtFd continuity, I’d still like to save him for the Superman trilogy I proposed.  The Starro creature that brought the original Justice League together?  Honestly, I never much cared for it.  Plus, it’s probably too obscure for mainstream audiences to get excited about it; and that goes for Imperiex, as well.  No, I think it’s time to bring in the one hyperintelligent, intergalactic menace who’s threatened Superman and Earth in just about every medium and incarnation to date except in film:  Brainiac.

    That’s about all I’ll post here.  I’m sure DC has plenty of ideas for the movie it no doubt hopes will be its most successful venture to date; and I certainly have more in store for when I write the official “Justice League According to Fourth-day” article (after I’ve written all the others).  For now, let me just say that I hope Warner Bros. and DC take this project far more seriously than they’ve taken some.  And I hope they realize, as Christopher Nolan did, that it’s no sin to adhere to the comics even as you adapt them for a new story.


  • Wonder Woman Costume

    Well, NBC’s released the first image of Adrianne Palicki in full Wonder Woman garb.  What do you think?

    Yeah, me too.

    First, what’s it made of?  ‘Cause, it looks like plastic.  I understand that we’re moving away from the comics and her warrior princess origins, and that everyone is entitled to reimagine things in their own way.  On the other hand, this is supposed to be a serious effort, here.  That suit looks like she bought it at a costume shop.  I’m gratified that NBC has promised a “a serious, non-campy take on the DC Comics character” if the series moves forward, and that David E. Kelley intends to keep the cuffs, the lasso, and the invisible plane.  But this costume, as well as Ms. Palicki wears it, simply will not do.

    Like I said, I get that she’s supposed to be a crime-fighting, corporate exec., “modern woman” who eats ice cream with her girlfriends on the weekends and all that “Sex in the City” jazz, but what about her origins?  She still comes from an island of Amazons, doesn’t she?  And wasn’t her costume supposed to be armor given to her by said Amazons?  Shouldn’t it look more like armor and less like something you’d wear cosplaying?  If not leather and metal, then at least not latex.  Now, maybe I’m wrong and what I’m seeing above isn’t the “original” costume Ms. Palicki’s character was endowed with by her mother the Queen.  Maybe it’s something her “corporate” people made for her to wear to … I don’t know, official crimefighting functions?

    In the last couple of years, Coventry Telegraph has penned a couple of articles featuring images of what Wonder Woman’s armor/costume might actually look like.  One is concept art, and the other is Lois Lane dressed up in an episode of “Smallville”:

    Nice, huh?  Both preserve the red, blue and gold, and the concept art even preserves the stars and eagle.  With just a little bit of tweaking, either one would be great for the smallscreen; or even the bigscreen.

    I’ve done plenty of grouching about the Wonder Woman franchise not being made into a movie, and especially about it being made into (this particular) TV series.  I think about something Zack Snyder said when he began working on the Superman movie:  he said it was “time” for Superman to be loved.  As much as I agree with that statement, Wonder Woman has waited even longer.  Since the end of the 1970′s Wonder Woman TV show, we’ve had four Superman movies hit theaters and several TV adaptations.  We don’t even need to get into the Batman franchise and its success.  Now, we’re bringing Green Lantern, the Flash, and even Lobo to theaters.  And yet, Wonder Woman, the Amazon Princess, one of the longest running and most iconic heroes in all of comic book history, has never had her own major motion picture.  Maybe this new TV series will help; but the more I see, the more I doubt it.

    Update (03/30/2011):

    Okay, so they fixed it (kind of).  The boots are now red (and sensible), the pants are no longer “shiny”, and … well, that’s about it, really.  It still looks like a costume shop deal.

     

    And, not to be ultra-picky, but can we get Adrianne Palicki to stop using that sneer?


  • The Amazon Princess (according to Fourth-day)

    This article has been delayed a few times for different reasons; but, with all the information we’re learning about David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman television series, it certainly seems like the time to post this.  I once said that, if the new WW series isn’t successful, it would further delay the production of a WW movie.  However, the more we learn about the new TV show, the more convinced I am of two things:  one, that the TV series is intentionally distancing itself as far as it can from the graphic novels; and two, the prospects for a successful faithful Wonder Woman feature film are much brighter because of it (assuming the TV show fails; which would be bittersweet, because no one wants Wonder Woman to fail, ever).

    The problem with creating a faithful Wonder Woman movie are the multiple revisions her history, and the history of her people, the Amazons, have undergone throughout the decades.  To create a modern Wonder Woman (not the modern one Kelley has envisioned, but one who has endured as a character in spite of the changes and challenges of the modern world), a writer needs to be willing to forge a new path that, perhaps paradoxically, adheres to the original mythology and elements.  An example of this process would be Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  Christopher Nolan demonstrated that you can make something new without discarding the old.

    He also showed that it’s no sin to adapt storylines from actual graphic novels, something that comic book movies seem reluctant to do.  In the case of Wonder Woman, I would adapt the Gods and Mortals storyline.  It was originally published in the 1980′s in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, when all the major DC characters were being “rebooted”.  Wonder Woman was shown leaving Themyscira, aka Paradise Island, the home of the Amazons, to be an ambassador to the outside world.  She meets Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, and all of her human friends.  It delves into Greek mythology and the history of the Amazons themselves.  In the hands of artist George Perez, it is considered one of the best chapters in Princess Diana’s history.

    It also introduces the Greek God Ares as a villain in the Wonderverse.  The God of War left Olympus to live in Areopagus, a realm he created for himself.  He has three children, Phobos, Deimos, and Eris, and has attacked the Amazons before.  Ares is perfect as a villain, a link to the Greek mythology that is at the heart of the Wonder Woman mythos, and for underscoring/highlighting Diana’s twin roles as a warrior and an ambassador for peace.  In Gods and Mortals, she had to prevent him from starting a nuclear holocaust, a storyline that could easily be adapted for the modern world.  Theirs would be the perfect topical hero/villain dynamic, just as Batman and the Joker in The Dark Knight were perfect for exploring the effects of terrorism and the lengths to which some would go to fight it.

    To play Wonder Woman, an actress must be intelligent, beautiful, talented, and capable of kicking all kinds of butt.  To me, that suggests exactly one woman:  Emily Deschanel of the TV series Bones.  Her character on the show is a forensic scientist, one who is used to being highly logical; and highly literal.  It’s a character that I could easily see translated into a woman who is sent to live in and defend a world about which she knows very little.  Paradise Island has been isolated from Earth for thousands of years, and Diana’s desire and determination to see this world for herself are traits that, again, are reflected in Ms. Deschanel’s character.  Plus, just look at them:

     

    It’s like the artist who drew her had a picture of Emily Deschanel clipped to his drawing board.  We know she can do action, as her character on Bones is often seen in physical situations, such as climbing, scaling, and yes, even fighting.  She stands at just under six feet, which also gives her an advantage over most other actresses who would be considered for the role.

     

    There are, of course, other roles that need to be filled, especially the two people who matter the most to Princess Diana:  Steve Trevor and her mother, Queen Hippolyta.  My choices for these important characters are Diane Kruger and Bradley Cooper.  Both are popular actors, and both can handle a wide range of roles.  For the role of Etta, her closest human friend, and for her fellow Amazons, I would be comfortable casting new, “unknown” actors, as long as they realized they were there for more than just window dressing.  Every character in the Wonder Woman movie would be an important one.  As for Ares, I’m not exactly sure who I would pick.  Obviously, a character of his stature deserves someone who can be menacing both physically and mentally.  Someone handsome (this is a Greek god, after all), with either a warrior’s build or the potential to attain it.

    Let me be perfectly clear:  this would be a war movie.  No crimefighting, no secret identities, and none of the other superhero “conventions”.  Diana is a warrior princess, from a warrior culture; however, her mandate is to preserve peace.  Again, that may be a bit of a paradox, but it can certainly make for a compelling story.  As an Amazon isolated from the rest of the world, she could immediately cut through/disregard/rise above political correctness and anything else that would cause a “modern man” to hesitate when it comes time to make necessary decisions.  That doesn’t mean, of course, that she can’t respect other people’s viewpoints, cultures, or even their lives.  It does mean that she can be what she’s always been:  an icon; an example to the world.


  • Opposites Attract

    Love in the comics is every bit as hard to find and hold onto as you’d expect.  True lovers, even when they are “meant to be”, are almost never allowed to continue for long.  And the most iconic couples are almost always a pairing of opposites:  Batman and Catwoman, hero and villain; Superman and Lois Lane, alien and human; Vision and Scarlett Witch, robot and mutant.  The same is true for Wonder Woman and her first love, Air Force Major Steve Trevor.

    While they’re both warriors of a sort, they come from very different backgrounds.  Trevor is your plain old average real American hero, and Wonder Woman, aka Princess Diana, is a magical being sculpted from clay and brought to life by the ancient Greek Gods to be a daughter for an immortal queen.  The Amazons of Themyscira haven’t even seen a man, let alone anyone else from the rest of the world, in thousands of years; so it’s quite a culture shock, to say the least, when Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island and Diana has to take him back to the “real world”.

    Who to pair Wonder Woman with has always been a conundrum.  Having grown up on an island completely isolated from the rest of the world, she’s as much an alien on Earth as Superman (at least he was raised among humans).  Perhaps Superman would have been a better match for her, as he’s pretty much the only man on Earth strong enough to meet her as an equal (indeed, the comics have tried to pair them many times).  But, as they say, you can’t help who you fall in love with; and if the rest of us can handle the search for “true love”, then certainly she can.



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