Thursday, 6 May 2021

Game of Thrones prequel first look

HBO has released an official first look at its upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series based on author George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood.

House of the Dragon.

The spin-off series is set 300 years before Game of Thrones and will centre on Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) ancestors' civil war. Bloodmoon, a prequel series set thousands of years before, starring Naomi Watts and written by Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class), was shelved following an abortive pilot in 2019.

House of the Dragon began filming in Cornwall in April, as reported by BBC Spotlight and ITV News West Country, for release sometime in 2022.

HBO was forced to officially confirm the multimillion-dollar series was in production when leaked images shot on location in and around St Michael's Mount, which is a favourite holiday haunt of my family, were shared on social media.

Photos showed Matt Smith (Doctor Who) and Emma D'Arcy as Prince Daemon Targaryen and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen respectively. Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans and Steve Toussaint co-star.

The official press release description for Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen reads: “The king’s first-born child, she is of pure Valyrian blood, and she is a dragonrider. Many would say that Rhaenyra was born with everything… but she was not born a man.” And Prince Daemon Targaryen’s reads: “The younger brother to King Viserys and heir to the throne. A peerless warrior and a dragonrider, Daemon possesses the true blood of the dragon. But it is said that whenever a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin in the air…”

Game of Thrones ran for eight seasons and ended controversially for some fans. However, aside from a few minor reservations, I really enjoyed the fantasy series and am eager to return to Westeros.

House of the Dragon is the first of several spin-offs based on the Game of Thrones franchise and is expected to premiere on HBO Max and presumably Sky Atlantic in 2022.

Are you looking forward to House of the Dragon? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Disney teases 'real' Star Wars lightsaber

"Light. Darkness. A balance." Disney revealed a first look at its 'real' lightsaber with a Disney Parks cast member cosplaying as Rey on Star Wars Day. The 13-second clip caused quite a sensation amongst fans (myself included) on social media.

"Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort will take you to a galaxy far, far away starting in 2022 for an all-immersive, two-night vacation experience that goes beyond anything Disney has ever created before."

Impressive. Most impressive.

Is Disney's new retractable lightsaber the ultimate Jedi cosplay accessory for Star Wars Celebration and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Celebrate Star Wars Day with The Bad Batch

Happy Star Wars Day! I'll be watching Star Wars: The Bad Batch on Disney+ following the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Disney+ has shared a helpful recap of Clone Force 99's story so far as seen in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If you haven't watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you're missing out on one of the greatest spin-offs ever made.

""Star Wars: The Bad Batch" follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in “The Clone Wars”) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch—a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army—each possess a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew."

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is executive produced by Dave Filoni (The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Athena Portillo (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels), Brad Rau (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance) and Jennifer Corbett (Star Wars Resistance, NCIS) with Carrie Beck (The Mandalorian, Star Wars Rebels) as co-executive producer and Josh Rimes as producer (Star Wars Resistance). Rau is also serving as supervising director with Corbett as head writer.

How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

May the Fourth be with you.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Bad Batch?

Star Wars: The Bad Batch premieres on 4th May AKA Star Wars Day on Disney+.

Matt Lanter played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars for seven seasons and has teased the character's return in an upcoming animated spin-off series.

"There's some new Lucasfilm Animation going on. I've been a part of some things I can't talk about yet. You'll see Anakin again," Lanter told Entertainment Weekly (EW). "I never quite put Anakin down, whether I'm doing a video game or something new for Lucasfilm Animation."

In related news. Hayden Christensen reprises the role of Anakin Skywalker in the upcoming live-action special event series Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch begins with a 70-minute special on 4th May. New episodes drop weekly exclusively on Disney+ from Friday 7th May.

Do you think Anakin Skywalker will appear in Star Wars: The Bad Batch? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Obi-Wan Kenobi series surpasses prequels

It's Star Wars Day soon (coinciding with my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine) and spin-off series Obi-Wan Kenobi has begun filming in Los Angeles for release in 2022 on Disney+.

Ewan McGregor spoke to The Hollywood Reporter (THR) about reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars prequels.

McGregor reiterated his criticism of Star Wars creator George Lucas’ approach to filmmaking on the 'not very much liked' prequel trilogy.

“He wanted more and more control over what we see in the background,” McGregor said. “After three or four months of that, it just gets really tedious — especially when the scenes are… I don’t want to be rude, but it’s not Shakespeare. There’s not something to dig into in the dialogue that can satisfy you when there’s no environment there. It was quite hard to do.”

McGregor praised ILM's StageCraft utilised for The Mandalorian, which is the culmination of technology developed by Lucasfilm. The Disney-owned production company, founded by George Lucas, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“If you’re in a desert, you’re standing in the middle of a desert,” McGregor said of the LED-based virtual set technology. “If you’re in the snow, you’re surrounded by snow. And if you’re in a cockpit of a starfighter, you’re in space. It’s going to feel so much more real.”

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is set a decade after Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and there's a suggestion of a rematch with Anakin Skywalker AKA Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen).

"I'm really excited about it," he says. "Maybe more so than the first ones, because I'm older — I just turned 50 — and I'm just in a much better place."

Are you hoping for lots of lightsaber action? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Next-gen Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

In celebration of Star Wars Day, Lucasfilm Games has announced Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be receiving the full next-gen console treatment for PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series X|S this summer.

“Coming this summer, we’re excited to announce the next-gen release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, bringing a number of technical improvements to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S console versions of the game. This will be a free cross-generation upgrade to current owners. More details will come soon.” a blog post on said.

Given existing owners of Respawn Entertainment's award-winning video game will get the update for free, I may pick up an Xbox Series X or S sooner than I planned (subject to availability).

In related news. Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast for PlayStation 4 (PS4) is on sale. As I have PS Store credit it would be rude not to. Especially as I've never played the second sequel to Star Wars: Dark Forces.

Will you be playing next-gen Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

DC FanDome returns this October

DC FanDome, a stay-at-home 24-hour online event covering all things DC Comics, was a major success last August and is coming back this October.

The official announcement from Warner Bros. reads: “Having reached fans across 220 countries and territories with over 22 million views, this year the innovative, global fan experience returns on October 16, 2021!”

Hopefully, Batman fans (myself included) will learn more about director Matt Reeves' upcoming reboot starring Robert Pattinson (Tenet) as the titular dark detective.

Stay tuned for further coverage of DC FanDome.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

30 years of Heir to the Empire

May 1991 will be long remembered amongst Star Wars fans (myself included) of a certain age. A new sequel trilogy began with author Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Heir to the Empire set 5 years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The best-selling novel ushered in a new Star Wars golden age and the nineties would culminate with the release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

The trilogy is most notable for introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade. Thrawn has subsequently appeared in further novels, Star Wars Rebels and most recently namechecked in the second season of The Mandalorian on Disney+.

Speaking to Star Wars Insider for the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, Zahn outlined how he created the fan-favourite character.

“I wanted to capture the Star Wars feeling, but I did not want to go over the same territory that George Lucas had already gone over, so that meant no superweapon, no Death Star, no Darth Vader-type, no Emperor-type. Which left me thinking, ‘Okay, so what else have we got? Vader and the Emperor ruled by manipulation and fear, so, how about somebody who would lead through loyalty? What kind of character could inspire that type of loyalty?”

Zahn continues.

“He needed to be a strategic and tactical genius, so that they’d know they had a good chance of winning. He cared about his troops. He was willing to accept good suggestions from subordinates. And then, finally, since we did not see a lot of aliens in the Empire, I wanted to make him a non-human, on the grounds that, if he got to be a Grand Admiral, he had to be something very special.”

What are your memories of reading Star Wars: Heir to the Empire? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Celebrate Alien Day on Fortnite

It's Alien Day celebrating all things xenomorph on LV-426 and they're invading Fortnite. Play as Ripley or as a xenomorph.

"They mostly come out at night... mostly." An iconic line from Aliens, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

Director James Cameron's action-packed sequel to Sir Ridley Scott's haunted house in space remains one of my all-time favourite films. At the time of Aliens' original release, I was too young to see it in a theatre.

However, I remember cycling to the newsagents whilst on school summer holiday staying with grandparents, picking up a copy of Starburst magazine and excitedly leafing through its pages, reading Alan Dean Foster's novelisation out on store deliveries with dad and playing the 8-bit video game tie-in on Commodore 64. Being blessed with a cool mum meant I was able to see Aliens (on rental video) a few months later to the envy of high school friends.

In related news. Twitter experienced a xenomorph infestation of its own when folks argued whether or not Alien was a horror movie? Kevin Smith stepped in to save the day. Prometheus is now streaming on Star on Disney+. And Nick Smith will be reviewing Marvel Comics' Alien series soon.

Here's hoping Fortnite does something similar for Star Wars Day on 4th May.

What are your favourite Alien franchise memories? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. coming to Star on Disney+

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has concluded on Disney+. A spectacular spin-off series exploring themes of racism, trauma and more in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston as the titular God of Mischief, continues Phase 4 this June. However, Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. is coming to Hulu and Star on Disney+ this May.

Hulu has released a trailer for the upcoming stop motion adult animated series spin-off starring Patton Oswalt as the titular villain.

Read the official synopsis:

"An egomaniacal supervillain struggles to maintain control of his evil organization after it is bought by a multinational tech company, all while juggling the needs of his demanding family."

Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is on Hulu and Star on Disney+ on 21st May.