Latest posts by Kieran Fisher (see all)
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One of the worst aspects of adult life is that it sometimes gets in the way of the childish entertainment we’re all so passionate about. It’s difficult to keep up to date with every single piece of breaking news everyday, and with this week’s headlines consumed by the threat of impending nuclear devastation, pop culture has been the last thing on people’s minds. But fear not, dear reader, as we have you covered.
This has been a week of sequels, reboots, and shared universes. I also started a pretty awesome Twitter thread about forgotten TV that almost went viral, which isn’t important by any means, though seeing a bunch of strangers from around the world unite through their love of obscure television is a beautiful thing. But this isn’t about me; this is about things people will remember for years to come. Let’s get on with it.
This Week in… STAR WARS
The Last Jedi is arguably the most anticipated movie of the year, so if we had any sense we’d shut off the internet until December and go in knowing as little as possible. Heck, the film’s director Rian Johnson and star Mark Hamill are even encouraging fans to avoid the marketing campaign if they can. But we’re human beings and sometimes curiosity gets the better of us, so when Entertainment Weekly broke the news a few days ago that there would be new creatures, I couldn’t help myself. Skip ahead now if you want to go into this movie as pure as virgin snow.
First up we have the Caretakers, little adorable ugly buggers who inhabit the planet Mr. Skywalker has been hiding out on growing a beard since Return of the Jedi. So what do we know about the Caretakers? Well, as their name suggests, they take care of things – in this case, a planet.
Johnson explains: “They’re kind of these sort of fish-bird type aliens who live on the island. They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island. They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery.”
Next up we have the Progs, which were inspired by real-life puffins Johnson encountered while filming in Ireland. These are more adorable than the alien nuns, but the nuns sound like they’ll be more entertaining. That said, they should give us some cutesy relief in between the lightsaber fights and Kylo Ren’s potential post-patricide issues. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m predicting he feels guilty for his wrongdoing in The Force Awakens. Hopefully, he remains a complete bastard though; they already gave Vader a soul and sometimes it’s nice to see a bad guy act like an irredeemable shit. But let’s get back to Progs…
According to Johnson: “If you go to Skellig at the right time of year, it’s just covered in puffins, and they’re the most adorable things in the world. So when I was first scouting there, I saw these guys, and I was like, oh, these are part of the island. And so the Porgs are in that realm.”
There we have it. Caretakers and Porgs will join Ewoks and other delights to grace the Star Wars universe. However, let’s not forget that there is darkness in this story, some of which will manifest through Skywalker’s regrets and inner conflicts. He blames himself for Ren going bad.
In an interview with The Independent, Hamill discussed some of the demons that have possessed his character’s mind since we last saw him. “[Luke] made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character,” Hamill stated. “And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that.” I imagine such events would trouble one’s psyche and any desire they had to open another business.
Now from a galaxy far away to the heroes closer to home… albeit just as fictitious.
This Week in… SUPERHEROES.
Superhero movies aren’t going away anytime soon. Whether that’s good or bad news depends on how much value you place on them. Do you love them? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that heroic crusaders (and even the not so heroic) will be lighting up our screens for years to come. Do you agree with Luc Besson’s sentiment that there’s an overabundance of superhero fare and they’ve become exhausting as a result? That’s understandable, I do too, but just remember that there are plenty of alternatives out there and we don’t have to watch them. Support original cinema instead. But if the former applies to you, read on….
Cinematic universes based on superheroes and like-minded comic book properties are expanding. The biggest news this week comes courtesy of Netflix’s acquisition of Millarworld, the Scottish-based comics imprint owned by Kick Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service creator, Mark Millar. The deal will see the streaming service inherit Millar’s creator-owned library (minus the aforementioned films) to mine for original content for years to come. According to Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos, their aim is to create “several existing franchises, as well as new superhero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories Mark and his team will continue to create and publish.” We can also expect to see these appear in the form of movies, series, and even kid’s shows.
As I wrote for our pals Film School Rejects, I think this agreement will be mutually beneficial for both parties. On one hand, Netflix has acquired their own alternative to Disney’s Marvel and Warner Bros. DCEU universes, while Millar’s creations will probably receive authentic and bold adaptations without the influence of advertisers and too many cooks in the kitchen. Netflix is known for allowing creators to get on with the job at hand without interfering, and in an age where your average superhero screen incarnation has an average of five or six writers, this could make for some great movies and series which adhere to a specific creative vision. Plus, Millar’s oeuvre offers more than superheroes; so expect to see a nice variety of titles brought to life.
As Netflix looks to establish its own superhero universe, Sony’s plans to expand the Spider-Man franchise with Silver and Black have made some progress. The film, which focuses on comic book characters Black Cat and Silver Sable, is scheduled to hit theatres on Feb. 8th, 2019.
The success of this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming has clearly encouraged the studio to delve into Spidey’s world, but the likelihood of seeing Peter Parker and his alter ego appear in any of the planned spin-offs is unlikely unless Marvel – who share the rights to the Spider-Man movies with Marvel – want a piece of the action. But maybe that’s a good thing; while shared universes are exciting, they’ve become so commonplace that there’s a longing for standalone movies. Sony has made it clear that the upcoming Venom movie, coming Oct. 5, 2017), will play no part in the overall Spider-Man universe. And speaking of that movie, it was also announced this week that Riz Ahmed was in talks to play Carnage. Yikes.
Now here’s a superhero I can get behind and feel excited about seeing again – Hellboy. When it was announced that Neil Marshall was directing an R-rated reboot adaptation of Mike Mignola’s demonic creation, my allegiance to Guillermo del Toro’s movies softened. I can’t wait for this freaking movie, and it’s shaping up to be special.
At the time of writing, we know that it’ll be called… wait for it… Hellboy. It’s that simple. However, given that the title was Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen until a matter of days ago, it’s safe to assume that the antagonist will be Nimue (aka The Blood Queen). In the comics she’s a witch who hates humanity, so you can expect her to pose some problems for our favourite demon. Additionally, we know that she’ll be played by Underworld star Milla Jovovich, who joins David Harbor as our hero and Ian McShane as his father, Dr. Broom. Fantastic.
But it gets better – and every ounce of happiness in the entirety of my being depends on this happening – as Mignola has lofty ambitions for a cinematic universe. Talking to The Verge, he stated how he hopes the new movie “introduces a lot of stuff that then expands into a Hellboy Cinematic Universe.” If you want to know what that might entail, then you can read this other piece I wrote for Rejects where I go into detail and dream big. That’s all we know at the moment, but I’ll be all over big Red developments like white on rice, so stick with me.
Lastly, in what’s sure to be the ultimate scenery chewing battle of our times, the trailer for William Shatner’s and Adam West’s upcoming square-off in Batman vs. Two-Face is now circulating the web and it’s as glorious as you expect.
This Week in… DISNEY
Less than a year after Netflix became the exclusive platform for streaming Disney titles, it appears that plans have changed. With Disney now launching their own digital streaming service in 2019, all those beloved Marvel, Pixar, and LucasFilm titles – all of which fall all under the Disney banner – might be removed from Netflix. In short: the end of the world is near… unless you subscribe to the Disney streaming service.
Should this go ahead as planned, all titles currently on Netflix will be available until the end of next year. However, the Marvel TV shows which have been a popular aspect of Netflix’s appeal until now will remain. But Netflix knew this would happen one day, hence why they’ve spent billions on their own content in recent is because they knew this would happen. As Netflix CEO told Reuters: “That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and network.” Still, that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t trying to negotiate to keep Disney properties either. We’ll see what happens.
Additionally, Disney plan to make “significant investment” in bringing exclusive movies and television series to their new platform, CEO Mickey Mouse told CNBC…. Sorry, their CEO is actually Bob Iger, and he’s probably a nice person who doesn’t deserve to be compared to an animated rodent.
As if news of an exclusive streaming service isn’t big enough, the company will also launch its own ESPN platform to host content from major sporting competitions, including the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports and tennis events. Maybe they’ll let some of their cartoons compete against professional athletes, like Warner Bros. did when they allowed Michael Jordan to mingle with Bugs Bunny and co. on the basketball court.
This Week in… TERMINATOR
Since Judgment Day, the Terminator franchise has went from terminating to should-be-terminated. However, now that James Cameron is set to inherit the rights back to the franchise and produce another proposed trilogy, could it return to form under the close supervision of its creator? The Avatar director, who will serve as executive producer, thinks right now is a perfect time for a new Terminator movie given the current times we’re living in.
“A lot of the things that were science fiction in Terminator are now around us,” Cameron told IGN. “You know, from predator drones and actual discussions on the ethics of having a robot have its own kill decision possibilities. Things like that. It’s actually happening. So, okay, maybe there is room for a film that examines these themes. It just has to be retooled for an audiences’ expectations now.”
According to Deadline, Deadpool’s Tim Miller is still on board to director, with the Austrian oak and all round best person alive, Arnold Schwarzenegger, set to reprise his iconic role in some capacity. This is a franchise that deserves to get back on track, but with the taste of Genysis still in people’s mouths, it’s not the most exciting sequel news to emerge, is it?
And speaking of Miller, Deadline also broke the news that his adaptation of William Gibson’s influential science fiction novel Neuromancer is back on. The story, about a hacker trying to take down scary artificial intelligence, is one Hollywood has been trying to bring to life for years and a number of directors have been attached, but will Miller be the lucky charm who finally makes it happen? Let’s hope so.
This Week in… TV REVIVALS
The trend of television reboots and revivals continues to garner more steam as well. Last week we reported that a sequel series to the original Karate Kid was in the works, which was unveiled a couple of days after the announcement that Vin Diesel was helming a Miami Vice reboot. The fad isn’t slowing down and I’m personally all for it, but these recent developments are pretty exciting.
Hannibal was arguably the most heartbreaking cancellation in recent memory, but the demand to bring it back has been loud since the moment we found out the series wouldn’t be renewed in 2015. But fans are hungry for more cannibalism and Bryan Fuller has been actively trying to bring them another tasty dish in the form of a new series.
Answering a curious prompter on Twitter, Fuller revealed that talks are currently taking place to bring the series back. He wrote: “”Conversations couldn’t start until 2 years after the final airing of season 3,” in response to the Fannibal. “[Producer Martha De Laurentiis] has started those conversations. This takes time.” At least it’s something for now. Do you think we’ll see the show come back?
In other news, Variety broke the story that a reboot of the classic sitcom The Munsters is in the works at NBC, and it’s set to be produced by comedian Seth Meyers. Based on the original show which aired for two seasons between 1964-1966 which followed the misadventures of a family of monsters who were just trying to fit in, this wouldn’t be the first time attempts have been made to reintroduce the friendly freaks to our screens either.
The aforementioned Bryan Fuller tried to resurrect the series in 2012 under the moniker of Mockingbird Lane, named after the street the monster family live on. Despite featuring an all-star cast (including Eddie Izzard) and airing a well-received pilot episode, the idea was scrapped and we never got to experience what could have been. Let’s hope this attempt is more successful.
This Week in… PUPPET MASTER
Whenever I need to find out the latest Full Moon developments, I turn to our very own Nat Brehmer. The first piece he ever wrote for us was about the inherent Jewishness of the first instalment of their ever-reliable Puppet Master series, and I knew right away he’d be my go to guy. Earlier this week, he went off the deep end again with a think piece about the cyberpunk influences in parts 4 and 5. Metallica is the Master of Puppets, but Nat is the Master of Puppet Master, and the latter is better than thrash metal.
So what’s the latest in the Puppet Master universe? When I asked Nat, he had this to say: “Believe it or not, there’s been a bunch of Puppet Master news, specifically. Terror Threads is doing a series of T-shirts, the press release for the final comic arc which is now a mini-series to wrap everything up after the series was cancelled, and Puppet Master: Axis Termination will now premiere as a segmented streaming series before arriving on Blu/DVD. That’s your weekly Puppet Master report, I’m “Curse of” Nat Brehmer, back to you in the studio.”
There you have it, folks. This was current.