Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The new Star Wars Trilogy needs to do something NEW

I'm repeating myself here somewhat but it bears repeating.  A few things so far give me hope we're not getting pure Nostalgic rehashing in The Force Awaken, but the over all picture isn't hopeful.

I'd be satisfied even if what's new is largely Superficial.  Just showing us new worlds and new species like the Prequels did, even though the Prequels didn't elaborate a lot on much of what it introduced, it gave a young imagination something to work with.

I've had people mock me lately for praising what was new and inspiring about Jurassic World.  Giving it the most bare bones plot summery possible to say "see, same thing as the first movie", but those are mostly similarities required for it to even still be the same genre much less franchise.  By that standard King King (1933) is a rip off of The Lost World (1925) and Godzilla a rip off of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

Haters can easily if they want to write off what was new and different about Jurassic World as "gimmicks", but those gimmicks sparked my imagination, and that's why I fell in love with Jurassic Park, and Star Wars to being with, their ability to spark my imagination.

What does NOT spark my imagination is showing me the same thing but calling it something different.  That Desert Planet isn't Tatooine, it's Jakku, that Snowy planet isn't Hoth, that Forest Planet isn't Endor, that Planet shaped Super Weapon/Battle station isn't a Death Star, and that Villain dressed in black using the dark side of the force and wielding a Red Lightsaber isn't a Sith.

I'm fine with the trilogy having all those things, mostly, but they need to also have more.

You want to say that the Jedi and the Sith aren't the only Force Users, that's great, but you need to have an actual substantial difference.  Otherwise there is no point is trying to sell us on Kylo Ren not being a Sith.

Tatooine was the only OT world revisited in the PT.  Because of that it's the only world I really cared about the new Tirlgoy revisiting.  It's at the narrative center of the Star Wars story.  But I'd be fine with it not being in Episode VII if the reason was they wanted to not revisit any prior worlds to assure the audience the new films weren't gonna be all rehashes.  Instead we get Jakku, which is different because there are ruins of an old battle there, that could still have been done on Tatooine, there was plenty of room.  And it sounds like the Jakku battle took place after ROTJ ended anyway.

From what we've been shown so far, every location in this movie is just a reminder of something from the OT.  And I would honestly be less upset by that if they didn't pretend they were different places.

BrosWatchPLLToo said in their podcast about people complaining about the Death Star similarity "who cares if it's another Death Star, your getting a new Star Wars movie" and my response is, no the pseudo Death Star is evidence we are NOT getting NEW Star Wars, we're getting old Star Wars with different actors.  If I want to see the Rebels destroy a planet shaped Super Weapon/Battle Station, I have two movies I can see that in already.

It is part of Star Wars that a lot of it's ideas repeat, but they repeat differently.  In the Prequel Trilogy everything that echoed the OT was at the same time introducing something new.  The Force Awakens needs to do the same thing if it will keep Star Wars alive.  If it does, Abrams is making a point of hiding it.  But what he made a point of hiding about Star Trek: Into Darkness was that he was rehashing an old villain.  So I have good reason to be worried.

Gotham, Firefly two parter reaction

I decided to wait till now and do both episodes together.

I'm still highly suspecting a Court of Owls plot.  But something about Galavan's history tying into a mysterious monastic order in Europe makes me think of Azrael.

Bridgette making her costume had me thinking of Selina making hers in Batman Returns.  That seems to be the movie this show reminds me of the most.

I think they're possibly going for a Javert type for Barnes.

Galavan is manipulating things like Palpatine.

I really don't like this approach to Nygma, I prefer The Riddler not to be a murderer.

Barbara and Galavan's "Sister" are a lot of fun.

Oh, and I also totally ship Selina and Bridgette.

If Season two remains consistent, it could succeed everywhere season 1 failed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Supergirl Pilot reaction

It was pretty good, some dialogue I wasn't fond of.

The actors were all great which is what I care about most.

I'm annoyed we're seeing Phantom Zone villains again.  But at least it's not Zod... yet.

As the show finds it's feet, let's hope things get much better.

Bringing Balance to The Force

The Phantom Menace first mentions the prophecy of the one who would bring Balance to The Force.  Later episodes begin throwing the idea of destroying the Sith into that.

Then Yoda says in Episode III "A prophecy that mis interpreted could have been", and indeed it was, while what Obi-Won says to Anakin after he defeats him on Mustafar implies he thought the Prophecy had failed, most SW fans agree Anakin's turn was part of the Prophecy's plan all along, or at least always an option for it.

Where I differ from most is that most do seem to be under the impression that the prophecy wasn't fully fulfilled until Return of The Jedi.  It is interpreted as being that bringing Balance to The Force required destroying both orders.  And I myself had fallen into that trap in the past.

The conclusion I have come to is that the Prophecy is never discussed in the Original Trilogy because it is irrelevant to that Trilogy.  It was 100% fulfilled by the time the credits rolled at the end of Episode III.

We are never shown exactly what the Prophecy says in the movies, I don't know or care if any EU work ever does.  The Sith are not connected to the Prophecy at all when we're introduced to it.  I frankly think the Sith were inserted into how it was interpreted possibly between Episodes I and II (in universe) simply because the Sith returned at the same time this Chosen One was found.

Common sense says that when we have hundreds or thousands of Jedi and only two Sith, that the dis-balance is in the Jedi's favor therefore it was their order that needed to be destroyed.  But they blinded themselves to the possibility that they themselves were the problem.

When Revenge of The Sith ends we have exactly two Sith and two Jedi left, and two New Born force sensitives who's fates are undecided.  I know EU material skews those numbers, but going off the actual Six Episodes that is how it was perfectly balance when the Prequels ended.

One of the Criticisms of the Prequels is that it was Jedi overkill, but that was intentional.  The order is larger then it was ever meant to be.

Through out the Prequels the Jedi are not what they were meant to be.  The non Military aspects of their function became forgotten most of the time.  And by Episode III they were headed into dark territory with the situation they were forced into.

But even before we entered Episode I, the fact that they take children away from their parents and raise them to be soldier monks at such a young age is a major ethical problem, yet even in Episode V Yoda is still thinking that was Ok, that Luke is too old, when he should have realized starting Anakin's training so young was the problem, and Luke's age was in fact the ideal age to start.

The Jedi Order blamed the Dark Side clouding things for their inability to use it properly.  But was that really the sole reason?  Maybe they should have considered that they'd spread the Light Side way too thin.

Prequel haters are a lot like Gene Roddenberry.  Roddenberry hated that the Star Trek stories people actually liked don't fit his idealized Utopic vision of the Federation.  Prequel haters likewise hate that the Jedi order we saw didn't fit the idealized view of it they got from how the OT seemed to describe them.  The difference is, with Star Wars the Prequels were the creator's true vision all along, but the simpler story was easier to introduce people to the world.  Not unlike how the late Third Age of Middle Earth was a lot simpler then the First Age.

Obi-Won and Yoda were remembering things through rose tinted glasses. And people forget even going off the OT alone they were WRONG about what needed to be done to defeat the Sith. Luke went against their advice in trying to redeem to his Father and succeeded.  They wanted Luke to simply fight and kill both Vader and The Emperor, and there was really no way he could have done that. So if they can be wrong about the future, they can be wrong about the past.

Return of The Jedi if anything was an undoing of what the Prophecy achieved, now things are out of balance again.  How does this effect The Force Awakens?  For one thing I think the Knights of Ren being created to fill the void left by the Sith's destruction was inevitable.

When the title was first announced people complained "The Force doesn't Sleep",  But I've been thinking, since the Dark Side was always more active, the Jedi being more purely reactive, perhaps in a sense The Sith being destroyed did make it become somewhat dormant, and now the Knights of Ren are waking it back up.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shadow Play, Pretty Little Liars, Season 4, Episode 19

I wasn't doing TV reactions on this Blog yet when that episode aired.  It's one I feel like commenting on now.

This won't be an in-depth analysis like you'd get from BrosWatchPLLToo or Heather Hogan or Jacob Clifton.  Just some things I want to say about it.

Lots of TV shows do Noir episodes.  But they're usually more Neo-Noir style flanderizations of the genre.  And I don't dislike those, I loved Smallville's Noir episode (which was titled Noir) from season 6 and the K-Pop music video Poison.

Shadow Play is different however, it really does feel like a recreation of a classic Film Noir.  Spencer has a major Lauren Bacall vibe.

One specific classic Film Noir it draws on is Laura.  Which it does pretty well.

But what also makes it fun is being an inversion gender wise, for this Noir story most of the cast is female with only two males.  Some of our ladies dress like classic Femme Fatales, but the Femme Fatale role is really Ezra.

Obviously PLL fans have seen it.  But I think even people who wouldn't normally like PLL should check out this episode if they're fans of the classic Film Noirs, it really does them justice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If Rey isn't a Jedi I will be let down

Leaving aside for a minute all the other things that concern me about the Force Awakens.  (Those other concerns wouldn't really be disappointments to me because I never felt I was promised otherwise, which I suppose is sad in and of itself.)

The one thing that I always liked was that Daisy Ridley seemed from very early on to be the lead.  Her very look implied she was Han and Leia's daughter and thus the one who will be carrying on the Skywalker legacy.  Having a female Jedi as the lead this time was the one thing I felt would be truly refreshing.

When we started seeing all that stuff with Finn having a Blue Lightsaber, the thought I might have been misled briefly entered my mind, but there is no reason Rey can't be a Jedi also.  The Prequels had two Jedi per movie.

One theory that popped into my head then was about Rey's staff, which became prominent in promotional material about the same time.  That parts of it would detach to reveal a Lightside version of the double bladed Lightsaber.  It's be a great symbolic way to show the new Jedi aren't as stagmatic and stuffy as the old PT order that needed to be destroyed to bring balance to the force.

The mystique around Rey's character had me thinking she was already trained in the force, but for some reason was rejecting it.  That she was Han and Leia's daughter but had been in training with Luke.  And the events of this movie will force her to bring out her Lightsaber.  And untill I noticed something I missed I felt the full Trailer had strengthened that.

The Trailer has that line about "There are stories about what happened" and I liked that, the idea that things had fallen in legend.  But then I realized it was Rey who said it, which effectively killed the above theory.  If she is a Skywalker/Solo she doesn't know she is.

And I heard a Podcast recently saying even if she is a Solo that doesn't necessarily mean she becomes a Jedi, she could be like Leia in the OT.  And that is exactly what I was excited we were NOT getting again, that it wasn't gonna be a third round of the female lead only being the Politically important character/love interest like Padme and Leia were.

Getting a Black Jedi does not make up for being denied a female Jedi.  The PT gave us Mace Windu, the most prominent female Jedi they gave us was the one who gets killed without a fight on the planet with the glowing flowers.  And yes I know Clone Wars and the EU have more, but the Films are what's truly Canon.

Boyega being in the main 3 on it's own is more then Black characters had gotten before.  And as I said I'm fine with him being a Jedi so long as Rey is one too.

A female Jedi is what Star Wars needs right now.  What the world needs, and anything I might dislike about TFA I could forgive if it gives me that.

The second teaser showed a Lightsaber being handed to a female, the voice over had people thinking it was Leia but the hands looked too young to be Fisher's to me.  Right now that is my only remaining hope that Rey will be a Jedi.

If I finish the movie and it seems firmly settled with Finn as the only Jedi, I will not be bothering with Episodes VIII or IX.  Yes I suppose one of the new characters in those could be a female Jedi or Sith/Knight of Ren, but I'd have to see them actually use a Lightsaber in the trailers or Posters in order for that to sucker me in again.

In-spite of my misgivings, I've decided if I can afford it I will see TFA this December, if for no other reason just to spite those idiot racists threatening to boycott over Boyega.

I suppose there is a chance I'm setting myself up to be a hypocrite, to become exactly what the PT haters were, whining that I didn't get exactly what I expected/wanted.

No matter how I feel about Episode VII, even if, and this is a really big stretch, I wind up hating it even more then I hate Superman Returns.  I will never begrudge those who like it, I will express my opinion, but I will never tell people who like it they are part of what's wrong with society for being so easily pleased.  In the past I had been a dick to SR fans, I was a hypocrite then, but I grew out of that.

What if Killer Frost is actually Caitlin from another Earth?

That's a theory I've been thinking of.

You may think "that's be a cop out" but no, nothing done with the Caitlin we know at all hints at her going down a Dark Past.

If someone had watched Season 1 of Smallville genuinely ignorant of the Superman mythos, that Lex Luther had at the potential to turn to the dark-side was still obvious.

Same with the Star Wars Prequels, even if you showed to someone who legitimately know nothing about the OT, the foreshadowing on Anakin's dark future was still there.

And even using a non Prequel example Faith in Season 3 of Buffy, she was set up as the Dark Slayer form the start.  But she didn't turn evil till the season was like 2 thirds over.

Caitlin Snow is a much more obscure figure, people who are ignorant of her being a villain in the comics are not so rare.  To any of them the Caitlin we've been following suddenly turning evil would seem like an ass pull.

I don't have any particular reactions to the latest episode.  It was good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Star Wars: Into Darkness

I've seen a lot of people praising how Abrams has been revealing so little in the trailers for The Force Awakens,  Like BrosWatchPLLToo.  And in so doing being quite condescending to people who would like more to be revealed.  Saying this is how it should be.

Problem is, this is in fact the exact same thing Abrams did with Star Trek: Into Darkness.  Choosing to never actually reveal who the Villain was before it came out.

The thing about that is I felt confident all the people speculating it was Kahn were wrong, because to me there was no logic in hiding it if it was Kahn, making who the villain is a twist would be worth it if it was someone hardcore Trek fans knew but not so much the general public, or at least a villain who'd never been in a movie before.  Of if you did want to do it with an Icon like Kahn then don't give away that the villain is a mystery, he should have promoted the film with the stuff about the movie's other Villain then Khan being relevant could make a decent twist but still not a great one.

Now I don't hate Into Darkness as a movie, when I finally saw it on DVD I found it better then I expected.  But like the prior film I like far less, it still did not feel a True Trek film to me, and what was Trekish about it was all via rehashing what came before.  Like Nemesis it aped Wrath of Kahn, and the things about the movie that weren't like TWOK, dealing with corruption in Starfleet, felt like a DS9 plot being done with pale imitations of TOS cast.  But I can understand why the general Public thought that was something Trek never explored before, and maybe Abrams was one of those.

I know the trendy thing online is to complain about Trailers revealing too much.  Well I did a post on that before, and I guess you can consider this a follow up.

When a movie is supposed to breath new life into an old franchise, I want to be reassured there will be something truly new.  I don't want to know the whole plot, but some reassurance that the movie isn't running solely on mechanically churning out more of what we've seen before.

Jurassic World's trailers kept plenty from the audience, but made it absolutely clear we were seeing something different.  And it was able to provide that Nostalgia factor at the same time.

So what I've learned from Into Darkness is that trailers trying too hard to hide what the movie is about, are hiding that they have no real creativity.  And TFA being the same director means it's not likely to be an exception.

I'm a Prequel fan, I don't care if TFA throws any bones for Prequel fans, I've said before the test of the new Movie is if it can bring in new fans.  But what that does make me though is someone who can provide somewhat more of an outside perspective on these trailers.  The people who worship the OT as God's Gift to Mankind keep going on about how these trailers were soooooo awesome and mind blowing.  To me the teasers were adequate teasers, but for a full trailer this latest one did not strike a cord with me at all.  I can honestly say I'm less sure I'll bother to see the movie then I was yesterday.

I know, people love to mock those who threaten to not see something.  Well I'm not making any threats, I'm just saying I have opted out of seeing sequels to movies I liked in theaters often. And right now I might not be able to afford to see TFA even if I 100% wanted to.  I greatly fear I may lack the finances to see BvS in March, which is the movie I want to see more then any other.  So I may very well decide not to waste money on a film in December that is sending me all the wrong messages.

So far all I get from the trailers is a bunch of obvious OT Nostalgia , a female lead who was clearly cast at least partly for her resemblance to Portman and Fisher, two villains who people think are "Soooo Cool" because they were masks, just like Vader and Boba Fett.  And some narrators saying lines they clearly wish they had Alec Guinness to say.

The only things remotely innovative are the Cross Guard Lightsaber, a few new Droid designs, and having a male lead who's African American.  I find it interesting how all the people complaining about Boyega being Black are also Prequel haters.  It reaffirms my suspicions that Prequels haters simply hate change.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Force Awakens Trailer

I force myself to sit through Football in order to watch it.

Didn't really reveal anything new.

Once again it does a good job of appealing to OT Nostalgia, which doesn't much effect on me being far more nostalgic for the Prequels, but it does what it sets out to do.

Finally hearing the new Character talk some was interesting.  My only hope is that this trilogy will have more shades of grey to it then the OT.

If Episode VII is to simplistic, I won't bother with VIII or IX theatrically.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I really Geeked out this episode

Multiverse, Earth 1, Earth 2, 52, it was a good day to be a Nerd.

So is that the Harison Wells of Earth 2 or a third Earth?

So some kind of War was mentioned, looks like Earth 2 might have had an alternate WWII.

Looks like Stein might be having Firestorm related issues.

I'm starting #MarkyMarkMartin

Monday, October 12, 2015

Silver St Cloud

A Batman love interest I never thought would make it into a Live Action adaptation.  Her playing in the fountain had me thinking of Ophelia from Hamlet.

I enjoyed the episode again, but I don't have a lot to say this week.  The Previews looks like Galavan is part of something bigger.

If they're gonna do more at Bruce's school I hope we see Eliot again, and maybe meet Roman Sionis.

I got more Batman Returns vibes this week.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mothra Vs Godzilla makes a good Easter Movie

Which makes one wonder why I'm posting this during Halloween season?  Well it is a Monster movies, and while I've thought of this before it's now I felt compelled to blog on it.

First is the purely Superficial fact that it has a gigantic multicolored egg as a major plot point.

And the story has a Death and Rebirth theme to it.  One Mothra dies, to live again through his offspring.

You're maybe thinking, doesn't all that apply to the original Mothra movie too?  Mostly they do, though the Death part is less literal.

But the key coming at it from a Christian perspective, is that Godzilla as a villain of the movie could be seen a playing the role of The Serpent, and his Seed, thus a Genesis 3:15 tie in.

Mothra is very much the Messianic Archetype of the Toho Universe.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Majora's Mask speculation

I figure October is a good month to do a Majora's Mask post.

I watched Gaijin Goomba's 3 part video about Majora's Mask and Africa.  The first two parts were very good, like most of his videos.  But the third one about Majora himself felt like much more of a stretch, I'm afraid I don't really buy it.  I think a connection between Majora and Dionysus/Bacchus could make sense, Dionysus is frequently affiliated with such chaotic behavior, and via his connection to the stage with mask wearing as well.

I also enjoyed the Game Theory video about Link being Dead in Majora's Mask.  There is also a good counter video to that, which I lean towards.  But what interests me is while the Game Theory video was doing it in terms of Termina as a sort of Purgatory world, one could also argue it's all in Link's head during his dying moments.  Which is a genre I know a little bit about from what Brian Stableford discuses in his Afterward for The Vampire and The Devil's Son, published by BlackCoatPress.  His English Translation of Alexis Ponson du Terrail's La Baronne trépassée (1852).

I also can't help but be intrigued by the Stone Tower of Babel theory.

There are a lot of mythical themes in Majora's Mask.  The whole having 4 divine or semi divine beings at the four corners of the Earth is a common mythological motif.  One arguably included in The Bible in Revelation chapter 7 (which leads into Flat Earther arguments).

In Clock Town an annual festival in approaching.  I decided that since festivals are frequently based on the cycles of either the Sun or Moon, and Termina's Moon clearly isn't running on a normal cycle, to speculate on if this festival could be seen as linked to a Solstice or Equinox.

The three days over which the game takes place are days during which the daylight and sunlight hours are exactly even.  Now it's done that way for game play convenience, but still it does effectively make it very likely that these events are happening at an Equinox.

So next question is, is it Spring or Fall?  After you end the unnaturally prolonged winter on the Goron's Mountain there are clear references to it being spring there.  That doesn't necessarily prove anything about the seasons of the rest of the world, but thematically it does link the story of the game to Springtime.

The Roman Bacchanalia was in the Spring, as was the Athenian Urban Dionysia.

The speculation below is not at all stuff I think the designers had in mind, it's purely my own fun head canon.

As a Christian, Springtime festivals make me think of Passover, Purim and Easter.  A period of 3 days being relevant fits that even better.  And with there indeed being a theme of Death and rebirth involved, I figured why not have some fun with it.

After you beat the game is the Dawn of a New Day.  Which works very well in my mind to see as correlating to when Jesus Tomb was found empty early Sunday morning.

I believe that Sunday was April 9th, agreeing the traditional date of the early Eastern Church.  But the Western Church often believed that Sunday was March 25th, which is indeed about 3 days after the Spring Equinox.  Or some speculate originally that day was the Equinox but then somehow things got moved by a few days.

I support a Thursday Crucifixion model.  Which would place Jesus Death on The Cross at 3:00 in the Afternoon on the first day.  6:00 AM in the morning is when Pilate sentenced Jesus according to John 19:4. 

For traditional Catholics this makes the first day Holy Thursday, the second day Good Friday and the third day Holy Saturday.  But of course on Hebrew reckoning the days begin and end at Sunset not Sunrise. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Flash second season permier

I don't have much to say, it was good like I expected it to be.

The Flash may remains the most consistently good Superhero TV show, it all depends how Supergirl goes.  I'm not excited for the new CW spin off Green Arrow I expect will be better then last season but I'm not expecting much.

This set up on Zoom is exactly like how they set up Moriarty in the first episode of Sherlock.

I may still post on Gotham here more consistently because the Batman mythos interest me more.  But that The Flash is the better show I don't expect to change.

I hope this Garrick is linked to WWII (even if it's a different timeline WWII), I didn't like how Smallvile's JSA had no WWII connection.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Last Laugh Reaction

Warning, this is a very Spoilery Reaction

I enjoyed this episode even more then the previous one.  I was quite impressed.

I want to comment on Theo Galavant.  The talk about his family having built the city and their legacy robbed has me more convinced then ever of a Court of Owls connection.  Not sure what it is but I think there certainly is one.

And by the end of the Episode I was definitely starting to get a David Xanatos vibe from the character.

And then there is Jerome.  

We suspected he could be a Red Herring from the start.  But then they started going all on Jerome to start this season and we forgot that.  So that twist ending really hit me by surprise.  And the final ending shows it's not a waste, Jerome does play a role in how The Joker's legend begins.

My optimism from these last 2 episodes remains cautious.  I quite enjoyed how Season 1 started, and then it went down hill in the second half.

That said, there is a difference, one of the top issues I had with how Season 1 turned out did have it's warning signs from the start, the disjointedness of the plot.  But I held out hope because I'm fine with a season starting that way, it's how it brings things together for the end that matters, and Gotham did not do it nearly as well as True Blood Season 2 did.

Right now Season 2 of Gotham seems like it no longer has that problem.  A lot of the the Season 1 fluff is gone, what they cut isn't always what I'd have preferred them to cut out but still things are more focused now, and dropped characters can come back as long as they make sure they fit in right.

So I'm far more optimistic then I thought I would be at this point.  But come November I'll still be choosing Supergirl during the initial airing.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dracula may have been a descendent of Antiochus Epiphanes

Wladisiaus Dragwlya, more commonly known as Vlad III Dracula, Vlad Tepes and Vlad The Impaler, was one of four sons of Vlad II Dracul, who had that surname because of his membership in the Order of the Dragon.

He is best known in the west as the inspiration for the name of Bram Stoker's infamous Vampire, Count Dracula. I agree with those who view that connection as in name only, but that's not for here. He is very important to the history of Eastern Europe regardless of the Vampire connection.

Much gets made on the Internet every now and then about claiming certain individuals are modern descendants of Vlad Tepes. From Robert Pattinson (which is funny because he played a vampire in the simultaneous most loved and hated vampire franchise of the past decade, haha) and Queen Elizabeth II of England, Scotland, North Ireland, Canada, Australia, and a bunch of other countries.

The British Monarchs can claim Draculesti Basarab descent starting with Edward VIII and George VI through their mother Mary of Teck. From what I've seen double checking the line in question, Mary of Teck seems to descend from Vlad II Dracul through Vlad IV Calugarul (The Monk), rather then Tepes.

I decided in light of all that to look into the ancestry of Vlad Dracula. The Vampire of Stoker's novel brags of descent from Attila The Hun, to me that's another inconsistency with the actual character of Tepes personality wise, still the possibly of Hunnic descent for Vlad exists, but that's not what most intrigues me.

Vlad II Dracul was the son of Mircea I who was the son of Radu I and Lady Calinica, also known as Ana Calina, Elisabetta Ana Calea, who was born Caliphie. Another son of Radu I was Dan I, founder of the House of Danesti who were rivals of Dracul and Dracula.

The ancestry of Radu I doesn't reveal much interesting, but Lady Calinica is a mystery. She outlived her husband by 56 years, was apparently born in 1367, and is described as a Byzantine Princess but without any elaboration on exactly how she fits into Byzantine Royalty.

John V Palaiologos was Byzantine Emperor (on and off) from 1341-1391. Caliphie doesn't seem likely to be his daughter but possibly a granddaughter. His son Andronikos IV was born in 1348, and in 1355 married his wife Keratsa of Bulgaria. They had a son and two daughters, the two daughters nothing is known about. John V's second son, Manuel II also had two daughters who's names are unknown. I think the odds are high that Caliphie is a descendant of John V, and if not almost certainly someone who shares grandparents with him.

Through Rita his grandmother John V is descended from the Hethumids of Cilician Armenia, who through Isabella of Armenia is descended from the Roupenians of Cilician Armenia. The Roupenians were a branch of the Bagratids of Armenia.  Isabelle also had descent from the Crusader Kings of Jerusalem who had their own connection to the Roupenians.

That's possibly not John V's only connection to the Roupenians, though the other is more disputed. He also descends from Stephen V of Hungry, the son of Bela IV of Hungry, the son of Andrew II of Hungry, the son of Agnes of Antioch, the daughter of Constance of Antioch, the daughter of Alice of Antioch. Who was the daughter of Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Morphia of Meliteni. Morphia was from Armenia and has possible descent from the Roupenians.

The Bagratid dynasty is famous for claiming descent from King David through the near relatives of Jesus of Nazareth. I've argued elsewhere that that claim could have more validity then people realize. But what's more interesting to me is the evidence (I've also discussed before) that the Bagratids are descended through the Arascids of Armenia and Parthia from the Seleucid Dynasty. The same dynasty Daniel 8 seems to link to The Antichrist via the person of Antiochus Epiphanes.

Baldwin II of Jerusalem was probably like most people born into French noble houses a descendant of Charlemagne, but I haven't been able to prove it yet, Wikipedia hasn't even taken his ancestry back to 1000 AD. A claim exists that he was a cousin of Baldwin I and Godfrey (who's descent from Charlemagne is well documented through two separate lines at least), but we have no way of knowing if that statement is true or just propaganda to support his taking succession, and if true if the common ancestor in question would overlap with their descent from Charlemagne. It seems unlikely they were first cousins.

John V is also a descendant of Henry III of Barbant.  Who had descend from the counts of Flanders, Bolougne and Anjou.  As well as from Fredrick Barbarossa.

If Vlad Tepes is indeed a descendant of Charlemagne, then he is a descendant of the Seleucid dynasty, as I have documented Charlemagne's descent from the Seleucids.

For bonus reference I've decided to copy/paste below from material I saw on other sites about the genealogy of Vlad Tepes.
Windsor link to Vlad Dracula
Vlad the Impaler. Died 1507.
- Half brother of:
Vlad IV, known as Vlad the Monk. (1431 - 1495)
-Father of:
Radu IV Prince of Wallachia from (1495 – 1508)
- Father of:
Mircea the Shepherd. Prince of Wallachia. (1479 - 1560).
- Father of:
Princess Stanca Basarab of Wallachia. (1518 - 1601).
-Mother of:
Zamphira Logofat de Szazsebes. (Died 1602).
- Mother of:
Adam Racz de Galgo. (Living 1609).
- Father of:
Peter Racz de Galgo. (1583-1672).
- Father of:
Christina Racz de Galgo.
- Mother of:
Catherine (Katalin) Kuun de Osdola.
- Mother of:
Ágnes Kendeffy de Malmoviz (born 1727).
- Mother of:
Baron Gregor, Inczédy de Nagy-Várad (died 1816).
- Father of:
Baroness Ágnes Inczédy de Nagy-Várad (1788-1856).
- Mother of:
Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde (1812-1841).
- Mother of:
Francis, Duke of Teck. (1837–1900).
- Father of:
Princess Mary of Teck, later the Queen consort of King George V (1867-1953).
- Mother of:
George VI (1895 –1952).
- Father of:
Queen Elizabeth II (1926).
- Mother of:
Prince Charles (1948)

According to the books written by Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally

1. *Basarab the Great (1310-1352)....

2. *unknown (research needed)

3. *Mircea the Great (a descendant of Basarab) ruled from 1386-1418.
Married: Princess Maria of the Hungarian noble family of Tolmay. Maria
also related to the Cilli family. Barbara Cilli married Sigmund of
Luxemburg(she was his second wife), who was influencial in helping the
offspring of Mircea. In fact, the Count of Sigmund had Vlad live at his court

3. Radu. His son was Dan II.

4. Mihail - Mircea's only legitimate son.

4. Alexandru Aldea, Prince of Moldavia

4. *Vlad II, Dracul (The Devil) Born: before 1395 in Wallachia
Prince of Wallachia 1436-42; 1443-47
Educated in the court of Sigmund I of Luxembourg.
Married Princess Cnejna in 1425. Cnejna was the sister of Prince
Ilias Bogdan II, father of Stephen the Great.

5. Mircea B: 1428 in Germany D: 1447 (buried alive)

5. Dracula, Vlad Tepes "The Impaler"
B: in Wallachia
Prince of Wallachia 1448, 1456-1462, 1476
Married (1) a Transylvanian noblewoman ... who later committed
suicide when their home was captured by enemy forces.
(2) Ilona Szilagy, relative of Matthius Corvinus, King
of Hungary.

5. Radu III, The Handsome (1438/9-1500)
Prince of Wallachia 1462-75

5. Mircea, son by another mistress.
5. Vlad (Mircea) the Monk (?-1496) Son of Catluna, later Mother
Euphrasim, an Abbess. Vlad the Monk had a son Mircea (?-1486)

6(1) Mihnea :the Bad"(son of Vlad the Impaler)
Prince of Wallachia 1508-1510
M: (1) Smaranda (2) Voica
Children of 2nd marriage were: Milos and Mircea II.

6(2) Vlad Dracula, claimant to the Wallachian throne. His son was
Ladislas Dracula.

6(2) Unknown son who died in about 1482, and lived with the Bishop of
Oradea (no heirs)

7 Milos (son of Mihnea "the Bad") nothing is known about him.

7 Mircea II (son of Mihnea "the Bad") Ruled 1509-1510
co-regent with his father in 1509
M: Maria Despina

7 Ladislas Dracula(Son of Vlad Dracula, gson of Vlad the Impaler)
M: a member of Vass de Czege Family. They had land in Banat

8 Alexandru II Mircea (Son of Mircea II) Ruled from 1574-1577.
M: Catherine Salvarezi

8 Peter the Lame, Prince of Moldavia (Son of Mircea II) 1574-1577
M: (1) Maria Amirali
(2) Irina the Gypsy
Heir = Stefanita 

8 Ladislas, Dracula de Sintesti (son of Ladislas Dracula)
(patent of nobility 1535)
M: Anna Vas de Crege

8 John Dracula
M: ?
(patent of nobility 1535)

9 Mihnea II "the Islamized" (son of Alexandru II Mircea) Ruled from
M: (1) Neaga (2) Voica

9 Stefanita (daughter of Peter the Lame)

10 Radu Mihnea (son of Mihnea II "the Islamized)
ruled intermittently 1611-1623 in Wallachia and Moldavia
M: Arghia Minetti

10 John Dracula de Band (Had land in Szekler) 
M: Anna (no heirs)

10 Daughter of George Dracula
M: Getzi family, which kept the Dracula name. Had land in Borgo
This line dies out in the 17th century...

11 Alexandru "the Cocoon" (?-1632) (son of Radu Mihnea) Ruled 1623-1627
Prince of Wallachia. Prince of Moldavia 1629-30.
D: 1632 without known heirs
M: Ruxandra Beglitzi

11 Mihail, Radu Gioan Bey (?-1660),(son of Radu Mihnea) 
Prince of Wallachia 1658-59
End of male line of Dracula

From Wikipedia
An article in a Romanian newspaper in the 1950s acknowledged the death of the last direct male descendant of Radu Mihnea Voda, Dumitru Radulescu(Radu)- a church, artist painter. However, it is not widely known that female descendents of Radu Mihnea do in fact still live in Bucharest. In fact, the bloodline extends as far as a 10th generation, through the continuing linage of the sister of Dumitru Radu, Rozalia Matilda Radulescu (Radu). She married a pharmacist Gheorghe Moraru and had five children out of which only two survived, Matilda Virginia and Maria-Florica.

Have a fun October, Halloween is approaching.