Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Star Wars Holiday Special inspires The Mandalorian

Jon Favreau teased The Mandalorian, his upcoming Star Wars live-action series for Disney's streaming service, with Boba Fett's weapon from The Star Wars Holiday Special's animated segment that introduced the infamous bounty hunter prior to his big screen debut in The Empire Strikes Back.

The Mandalorian is set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Disney's live-action Aladdin teaser trailer

Disney's Aladdin is one of my favourite animated movies of all time from the Mouse House. From Robin William's inspired use of improvisation for the Genie to memorable songs and the classic 16-bit era video game tie-in.

So, I was cautious about a live-action remake. However, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast have all been a delight and Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie, looks to continue the trend in 2019.

Disney's dropped a teaser trailer and the transitions reminded me of Thanos' snap from Avengers: Infinity War.

Aladdin stars Will Smith as the Genie, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Massoud as Aladdin. Marwan Kenzari will play the villainous Jafar. Aladdin is in cinema's 24th May 2019.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Emperor Palpatine has a rumoured role in Episode IX

Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens), is currently being filmed and a new rumour has surfaced via the Express newspaper:

“Emperor Palpatine will play a role in Episode IX. Specifically, Kylo Ren with an ignited lightsaber, presumably his cross-guard lightsaber, cutting through a blast door on some jungle planet and entering what appears to be a vault. Eventually Kylo Ren is holding a square object that projects a lifelike projection of Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine’s hand is raised in front of Kylo Ren showing blueprints or plans that could be a new weapon.”

This is the final chapter in the Skywalker saga and a holographic cameo from the Emperor, played once again by Ian McDiarmid, wouldn’t be a total surprise. After all, Master Yoda (Frank Oz) appeared as a Force ghost in The Last Jedi. A longheld fan theory is that Rey (Daisy Ridley) is somehow connected to Emperor Palpatine or a reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. We'll find out for sure when Episode IX is released in cinemas December 2019.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Stormtroopers fan film screened at IndieCork Festival

Star Wars fans were able to see fan film Stormtroopers, filmed on location in Ireland, on the big screen this week.

Stormtroopers, a big hit with fans around the world, was shown in front of a full house in Screen 1, The Gate Cinema, during IndieCork Film Festival 2018.

Director Micheal Fitzgerald (known for Home & Away & Cork Racing Drive) was delighted fans had an opportunity to see Stormtroopers on the big screen in the wake of its deserved success on YouTube.

For further information, please visit the official site

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who isn't afraid of the dark

Jodie Whittaker's first full episode as the titular Time Lord, Doctor Who, saw the BBC show's highest ratings in 12 years, with a peak of 8.52 million viewers, and rave reviews from critics and fans. Such was my unbridled enthusiasm, I took to social media the moment the episode ended:

"Well, Jodie and cohorts smashed it! Life-affirming, not afraid of the dark and great to see a companion with a disability, which resonated."

The Woman Who Fell to Earth fell (pun intended) just short of Matt Smith's The Eleventh Hour as the best new era intro of the current run. The villain was more DCTV and I kept waiting for The CW's Supergirl to sweep in and save the day. That said, there were times when Whittaker's eclipsed everything before it and paid homage to a profoundly poignant scene from Patrick Troughton's classic serial The Tomb of the Cybermen in the wake of a death. Showrunner Chris Chibnall has revitalised the series, but not at the expense of its 55-year heritage.

Taking the Short View's Andrew Lewin takes a look at The Woman Who Fell to Earth. There are very mild spoilers, so consider yourself forewarned.

What did you think of Ms Whittaker as Doctor Who? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 5 October 2018

The Mandalorian first look

Just a day after director Jon Favreau announced the title and synopsis of his Star Wars live-action series for Disney's streaming service. Here's a first look at the titular The Mandalorian.

Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels) will helm the premiere episode. Other episodic directors include Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok).

Are you looking forward to The Mandalorian and will you sign up for Disney's streaming service (known as DisneyLife in the UK & Ireland)? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Star Wars live-action series is The Mandalorian

Director Jon Favreau took to Instagram to announce the title and a brief synopsis of his upcoming Star Wars live-action series:

“After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic..."

The Mandalorian is set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. With a budget of $100 million dollars, Lucasfilm's not pulling any punches with this exclusive live-action series bound for the Mouse House's new streaming venture in 2019.

The first time I wrote about a Star Wars live-action series was following the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005. 13 years on and it's finally in production with shooting commencing this week.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

DC Universe's Titans coming to Netflix

DC Unlimited's live-action series Titans will be available on Netflix outside the US. This follows a similar deal with CBS All Access to stream Star Trek: Discovery.

Titans will focus on a group of young superheroes including Dick Grayson (AKA Robin), Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and more. The series stars Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter, Minka Kelly and Alan Ritchson.

DC Unlimited launched in September, promising exclusive content including Titans, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and Swamp Thing, and is currently US-only with plans to expand into Canada soon. The nascent service has entered an increasingly crowded streaming space with Disney about to launch its own with exclusive Marvel and Star Wars live-action series.

Partnerships with existing services is a good idea, mitigating risk and will mean many of us won't need to subscribe to yet another service. At least for the time being.

It'll be interesting to see how successful these live-action series are, especially given the popularity of DCTV on The CW.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Kathleen Kennedy remains at Lucasfilm until 2021

To the ire of some Star Wars fans calling for her to be fired, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is set to remain until 2021 according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR).

Kennedy has an enviable storied history in Hollywood and is most famously linked with producing many of director Steven Spielberg's most successful movies including the Indiana Jones franchise at Lucasfilm.

Since Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas, the studio has struggled to replicate the success of stablemate the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The divisive The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story's relative failure at the box office has seemingly lead to a rethink regarding its movie release strategy. So much so, director JJ Abrams' as-yet-untitled Episode IX, which rounds off the Skywalker saga, is the focus whilst a live-action series, from Jon Favreau, will spearhead the launch of Disney's streaming service in 2019.

A new Indiana Jones movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, is in pre-production for release in 2021.

Monday, 1 October 2018

X-Men: Dark Phoenix moved to summer 2019

Just a few days after the first trailer dropped, X-Men: Dark Phoenix has been moved from this November to June 2019.

The upcoming movie has already been delayed due to reshoots ordered following a test screening earlier in the year. I'd suggest this time it's because of Disney's acquisition of Fox's film and television assets, and merging the disparate Marvel universes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are all returning to the franchise. Simon Kinberg, who has produced every X-Men affiliated film since First Class and co-wrote The Last Stand, First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse, will make his directorial debut.

Stablemate Alita: Battle Angel has been moved from Christmas to February 2019. Most likely to avoid the holiday season stampede lead by Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman and Bumblebee.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is released in UK cinemas 7th June 2019.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Doctor Who first look: The Woman Who Fell to Earth

Jodie Whittaker is in the midst of promoting the new series of Doctor Who following a red carpet premiere, in Sheffield, on Monday. A first look at The Woman Who Fell to Earth dropped during The Graham Norton Show. This is the clip that was leaked prior to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and lead to a formal investigation by the BBC.

The review embargo for Whittaker’s first full episode as Doctor Who has lifted. Will avoid reading reactions and look forward to being surprised and delighted. Doctor Who series 11 begins 7th October at 6:45PM on BBC One.

What did you think of the first look clip? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 28 September 2018

General Leia in sneak peek at Star Wars Resistance

Whilst fans wait for Jon Favreau's live-action series in 2019, Lucasfilm has released an extended sneak peek at Star Wars Resistance from Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni. The upcoming animated series sees Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie reprise their roles from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

With just over a week to go until Star Wars Resistance premieres on Disney Channel. Actress Rachel Butera, who voices General Leia, finds herself caught up in a controversy surrounding a video she posted (subsequently deleted) in which Butera appears to mock Dr Christine Blasey Ford, as the psychology professor gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Despite a public apology, some fans are calling for the role to be recast.

How excited are you for Star Wars Resistance? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series on Oculus Quest

During this week's Oculus Connect, Lucasfilm announced Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. This is a collaboration between ILMxLAB, Oculus and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight Trilogy). Goyer most recently wrote and executive produced Secrets of the Empire.

Here's what Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said:

“We always look for opportunities to explore the Star Wars universe in new ways,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “ILMxLAB is very excited to be working with David S. Goyer on a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience which allows fans to travel to Darth Vader’s fiery, lava-ridden fortress and wield a lightsaber on his home turf."

“The very initial conversations around this project started three years ago, around the launch of ILMxLAB,” Mohen Leo, director of immersive content at ILMxLAB, told “Lucasfilm was in production on Rogue One. In the film, the audience gets a glimpse of Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar, which we knew would be intriguing to a lot of fans. This was also around the time that some of the first really compelling content for the Oculus DK2, the developer kit that preceded the Oculus Rift, came out. We recognized that VR has a unique ability to transport people to a fictional place and let them explore it. So, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to let the audience visit and explore Vader’s castle, and have the opportunity to learn some of his secrets?’”“Secrets of the Empire really emphasized a sense of space and how you move through it. It also takes place on Mustafar, prior to the events of Vader Immortal, and it shows some narrative seeds of a storyline that connects the two experiences. With Vader Immortal, we really wanted to push connection to characters and narrative between multiple experiences. So you’re not just visiting an iconic place from a movie; you get to meet iconic characters like Darth Vader, face-to-face.”

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series, originally announced as the Darth Vader VR project during Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016, is released for Oculus Quest in 2019.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Transformers spin-off Bumblebee brings G1 nostalgia

Paramount Pictures has released an official trailer for Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld, and it's pure nostalgia for G1 fans (myself included) featuring Decepticons Soundwave and Shockwave battling Autobot leader Optimus Prime on Cybertron. Surely Megatron will appear in all his G1 glory and transform into a Walther P38?

The Transformers spin-off is a welcome reboot for the franchise and sees director Travis Knight replacing Michael Bay at the helm. Like JJ Abrams, Knight is unashamedly channelling classic Amblin movies from the eighties as he tells Empire magazine:

"Growing up in the eighties, the most powerful stories were the Amblin stories. They had a thinking brain; a strong, beating heart; and a poetic soul. They evoked wonder and laughter and tears every single time. So knitting those two things together: my love of Transformers and my love of Spielberg and Amblin, was something I really wanted to evoke in this film. And it didn't hurt that Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the movie! Having this guy who has been an icon for me my entire life and being able to collaborate with him and make this film in a way that evokes what was so special about those movies to me as a kid was a joy."

Bumblebee is shaping up to be the live-action Transformers movie I've always wanted since the animated series, movie and Marvel comic from the eighties. If Stan Bush's The Touch is played during the movie, there'll be tears of joy from this Transformers fan. In Travis Knight I trust.

Let's hope Hasbro has enough tie-in toys in stock because these are going to fly off the shelves. Especially as there's no Star Wars movie in cinemas this December.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Jodie Whittaker in explosive new Doctor Who trailer

With just over a fortnight to go before Doctor Who returns to television screens, a new trailer for series 11 has been released and Jodie Whittaker leaves no doubt who (pun intended) is in charge.

Wrote this post for my Whovians Facebook group, but thought it worth sharing here as autumn’s reign begins and in the wake of seeing the new trailer with my dad.

Doctor Who has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

As I’ve written previously. My earliest memory of watching television is The Sontaran Experiment, aged 2/3. The time travel series would become synonymous with watching Saturday evening television with my dad during the Tom Baker era - igniting an enduring passion for gothic storytelling - I’ll never forget seeing Sutekh overpower our beloved Time Lord, a Zygon shape-shift or a disembodied Morbius threaten Sarah Jane. The latter almost saw the series banned from the Hood household.

In the wake of a life-changing childhood trauma, a collection of Denys Fisher Doctor Who toys and Mr Men books (now featuring the good Doctor), with thanks to family and friends, sustained me until I was lucky to be discharged from children’s hospital following weeks of rehabilitation. Alas, not all the children, I’d befriended, got to go home. Combined with a school setting, Remembrance of the Daleks tapped into my PTSD 11 years later.

Friendships forged in the playground in the wake of Earthshock E1 and thereafter. Target novelisations kindled a love of reading in middle school - so much so, I was compelled to write to DWM and was humbled to see it printed - there really was no other way to ‘see’ The Tomb of the Cybermen or The Web of Fear in the seventies and eighties.

Visited Longleat's exhibition on more than one occasion. However, my most cherished memory is of the 20th anniversary convention in 1983. All tickets had been sold, but mum worked her considerable charm and we were admitted as VIP guests. Saw so many Doctors, companions and Terror of the Autons.

The wilderness years, following the series' cancellation in 1989, saw Twin Peaks, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files and more try to fill the (impossible) void left by the crew of the TARDIS. The Anglo-American TV Movie came and went whilst I was an undergraduate. Then, in the midst of a family tragedy, the Doctor made a timely return to television screens in the mid-noughties.

The series was, on the very rare occasion, displaced by transient thrills such as glossy US imports and teenage crushes. However, the TARDIS was always lurking in the background, ready to whisk me away on another adventure in infinity...

Friday, 21 September 2018

Disney to slowdown the release of Star Wars movies

In the wake of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story being released in quick succession and the latter failing to ignite the box office, Disney CEO Bob Iger has decided to slowdown the Star Wars movie release schedule:

"I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films. J.J. Abrams is busy making Episode IX. We have creative entities, including Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that."

A generation of fans (myself included) remember a time when there was a 3-year gap between instalments. This always built anticipation. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Disney's streaming service adds Loki and Scarlet Witch

Earlier this week the first trailer for Captain Marvel dropped and now Variety is reporting Disney's upcoming streaming service (known as DisneyLife in the UK & Ireland) is about to be bolstered by live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) spin-offs featuring Loki and Scarlet Witch.

Like stablemate Star Wars, the live-action MCU series will be boosted by a multimillion-dollar budget as Disney enters a crowded streaming market dominated by rivals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and DC Unlimited, which was recently launched on Batman Day. So much so, Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen are expected to reprise the roles of Loki and Scarlet Witch respectively.

Disney CEO Bob Iger on the upcoming streaming service:

“It’s a direct relationship with customers: the ability to provide more customized, personalized experiences; new ways to monetize; a proximity to a customer that doesn’t have intermediaries. You’re going to see growth in direct-to-consumer businesses. You’re probably going to see less channel watching; we’re already seeing that. You’re probably going to see less bundling of channels and more selling of specific brands, programs, etc.

I’m impressed with what has been accomplished at Netflix and Amazon. But none of them is either Disney or Marvel. Or Pixar. Or Star Wars or National Geographic or FX or Searchlight or Avatar — I could go on. So we enter the business that they’re in, in many respects, with an advantage from a content perspective that will enable us to focus on quality rather than just volume.”

Iger went on to address the matter of Marvel properties from Fox merging under the auspices of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige:

"I think it only makes sense. I want to be careful here because of what’s been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn’t be two Marvels. Kevin’s got a lot of ideas."

Whether or not the Loki and Scarlet Witch spin-offs are prequel series, given the events of Avengers: Infinity War, remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

PlayStation Classic launches in time for Christmas

Ever since the launch of the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 2016, retro video game fans (myself included) have hoped Sony would release the original PlayStation, which started life as a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

From 3rd December, to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the PlayStation in Japan, gamers will be able to get their hands on an official classic console just in time for Christmas.

The £89.99 machine features 2 classic controllers and 20 pre-loaded games including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms.

The PlayStation Classic will take pride of place alongside NES and SNES mini consoles. Sorry SNK, I'm skipping the NEO GEO! Because too expensive and no bundled controllers.

In related news. Sega is delaying the launch of the Mega Drive/Genesis mini console announced a few months ago. The publisher is working with a new partner on the device, which is expected in 2019.

You can pre-order the PlayStation Classic from Amazon (affiliate link) today.

Will you be getting a PlayStation Classic? Would you prefer PlayStation to focus on backwards compatibility to rival Xbox? Why not have classic mini consoles and backwards compatibility? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

As predicted, Marvel Studios has released the first trailer for Captain Marvel during Good Morning America and it's all kinds of awesome.

The upcoming prequel movie, set in the nineties and featuring familiar faces including a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), introduces airforce pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as she becomes a superhero assigned to Starforce, ahead of Avengers 4.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has described Carol Danvers as "the most powerful character" so far in the MCU, and fans can only speculate how she'll stop Thanos and introduce the Marvel multiverse. The multiverse opens the door for Deadpool, X-Men and more for Phase 4.

Captain Marvel flies onto cinema screens next March.

Monday, 17 September 2018

USA Today on the "Aces" from Star Wars Resistance

Lucasfilm exclusively revealed to USA Today further information on the upcoming animated series Star Wars Resistance, set before The Force Awakens:

The top-flight folks are in the Aces, a group of five pilots with their own custom outfits and droids who protect the Colossus and take on all challengers in harrowing races. Hype Fazon (Donald Faison) is a cocky Rodian showoff whose heart is in the right place, Griff Halloran (Stephen Stanton) is a gruff ex-TIE pilot, Freya Fenris (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is a fierce lady who’s all business, and Bo Keevil is the mysterious, quiet daredevil of the group.

Kaz makes fast friends with Torra Doza (Myrna Velasco), a young girl who wears colorful clothing and a positive attitude but, as an Ace, is a beast behind a flight stick. “She’s actually rather fun and lighthearted,” Filoni says. “It doesn’t mean that she can’t be also a fantastic pilot.”

Star Wars Resistance, inspired by Top Gun and The Right Stuff, premieres on Disney Channel, 7th October, with a 1-hour special titled The Recruit. Disney reached out on Twitter to confirm the series will be shown in the UK, too.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Captain Marvel trailer on Good Morning America

Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) will be appearing on the Disney-owned Good Morning America next Tuesday, which has sparked rumours the first trailer for Captain Marvel will premiere during the final segment of the show.

Will you be tuning in? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Win an exclusive Solo: A Star Wars Story Xbox One X

To celebrate the home release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans living in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec) can win an exclusive custom Xbox One X from the fine folks at Microsoft and Lucasfilm.

Each custom Xbox One X includes a physical copy of Solo: A Star Wars Story on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Enter now for your chance to win at until 30th September.

Personally, my Xbox One X Project Scorpio edition is used daily for cross-platform gaming and I can't wait to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey in 4K with HDR. The upcoming addition of Dolby Vision will further bolster the machine's audiovisual prowess.

Good luck and may the force be with you.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power teaser trailer

Netflix and Dreamworks are a formidable animation force. From Voltron: Legendary Defender to Trollhunters. The trend continues with the upcoming She-Ra and the Princesses of Power streaming from November.

"She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the story of an orphan named Adora (Aimee Carrero, Elena of Avalor), who leaves behind her former life in the evil Horde when she discovers a magic sword that transforms her into the mythical warrior princess She-Ra. Along the way, she finds a new family in the Rebellion as she unites a group of magical princesses in the ultimate fight against evil."

Dreamworks has released a teaser trailer.

What do you think and which other classic animated series should be rebooted? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 10 September 2018

See Darth Maul in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ray Park reprised the role of fan-favourite Darth Maul for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

“I found out last June/July when we were in Guatemala,” Park recently told Forbes. “I got the phone call from Lynne Hale from Lucasfilm. And it was really nice of her, because she said to me ‘Ray, we’re just calling to see if you would like to do it.’ And I went [inhales slowly] ‘Yeah. Do you want me on the plane now?’”

Park's cameo, in director Ron Howard's prequel, is a highlight, and the fine folks at IGN have shared an exclusive clip to promote the home release this month.

Solo: A Star Wars Story was a relative box office failure for Disney. So much so, many fans (myself included) didn't bother seeing it at the cinema. However, I'll be renting it on Sky Store.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

First look at Captain Marvel and Starforce

Entertainment Weekly (EW) has unleashed exclusive photos from Captain Marvel, and Brie Larson looks dazzling in the titular role.

Talking to EW, Larson said of her character Carol Danvers: "She can’t help but be herself. She can be aggressive, and she can have a temper, and she can be a little invasive and in your face. She’s also quick to jump to things, which makes her amazing in battle because she’s the first one out there and doesn’t always wait for orders. But the [not] waiting for orders is, to some, a character flaw.”

The highly-anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) instalment is set in the nineties and introduces Starforce - sounds cooler than Space Force - commanded by Danvers' mysterious mentor (Jude Law).

Ronan The Accuser, last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, is back to battle the Skrulls - Skeletor-inspired Stormtroopers. Here, Ronan is seemingly meeting Starforce in their distinctive green uniforms.

Following the March release. Captain Marvel is expected to play a pivotal role in Avengers 4 in the wake of Thanos' universe-altering snap. The sequel to Infinity War is rumoured to be set during the events of the first Avengers movie.

What are your thoughts on Captain Marvel? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Doctor Who materialises Sunday nights from October

Fellow Whovians, the wait is almost over for Jodie Whittaker's first full episode as everyone's favourite time traveller - hey, I'm biased. Doctor Who series 11 begins with The Woman Who Fell to Earth on BBC One on Sunday, 7th October!

Chris Chibnall, Showrunner said “New Doctor, new home! Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is about to burst into Sunday nights — and make the end of the weekend so much more exciting. Get everybody’s homework done, sort out your Monday clothes, then grab some special Sunday night popcorn, and settle down with all of the family for Sunday night adventures across space and time. (Also, move the sofa away from the wall so parents can hide behind it during the scary bits). The Thirteenth Doctor is falling from the sky and it’s going to be a blast.”

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content said: “With Chris Chibnall at the helm and Jodie Whittaker’s arrival as the new Doctor we are heralding a brand new era for the show and so it feels only right to give it a new home on Sunday nights at the heart of BBC One’s Autumn schedule. ”

What are your thoughts on the move from Saturday to Sunday nights, and does it matter in an era of catch-up and non-linear curated content? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Win Avengers: Infinity War on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Avengers: Infinity War on Blu-ray in the UK, we’re offering one reader a chance to win a copy.

Here’s an extract from our review:

"To mark the 10th anniversary of the MCU, the Russo brothers take the Avengers to the nth degree and beyond in Avengers: Infinity War... Such is Brolin's charisma, you may find yourself unwittingly rooting for the big bad as he crushes beloved heroes with seemingly no way of returning."

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this simple question:

What powers Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet?

A. Infinity Stones
B. Infinity Gems
C. Infinity Diamonds

Please leave your answer in the comments below.

The competition is open to UK readers only and closes Friday, 14th September. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted soon thereafter. Good luck.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Doctor Who's Matt Smith joins Star Wars: Episode IX

The Eleventh Doctor is travelling back to a long time ago in Star Wars: Episode IX!

Matt Smith, best known for his roles in Doctor Who and The Crown, is reportedly playing a key role in the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed Star Wars sequel currently being filmed in London.

Smith's not the first Doctor Who to appear in Star Wars. Tom Baker and David Tennant have appeared in Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars respectively.

Smith will join fellow Doctor Who co-star Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan and Keri Russell, and returning cast members Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega.

As a lifelong fan of both franchises, I can't wait. Do you think Matt Smith will be a First Order officer or Rey's father? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be in cinemas December 2019.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

LEGO Star Wars announces Betrayal at Cloud City

LEGO has announced its newest Star Wars set, Betrayal at Cloud City. A spectacular homage to the iconic setting from The Empire Strikes Back.

Here's the official description of the 2,812 piece set:

"Visit Bespin’s amazing metropolis in the sky—Cloud City! Relive a world of unforgettable moments from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or add your own fun twists to the story with this #75222 LEGO Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City set. The amazingly detailed set is divided into four sections, each depicting scenes from the classic movie. There’s a landing platform complete with Boba Fett’s Slave I ship, a detailed promenade, a dining room with seating for five minifigures, a garbage processing room with incinerator, and a sensor balcony for epic Luke vs. Vader Lightsaber duels. There’s also a carbon freeze chamber with a function to ‘freeze’ Han in carbonite, an interrogation chamber and prison cell, a secondary landing platform for the Twin-Pod Cloud Car, and so much more. Add an astonishing eighteen LEGO minifigures plus two droids to the mix, and you have a set that Star Wars and LEGO fans of any age would be proud to add to their collection."

LEGO Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City will be available in-store and online (affiliate link) this October and will surely be popular with fans this holiday season.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Star Wars Resistance flying high on Disney Channel

Lucasfilm has released the first trailer for its upcoming animated series Star Wars Resistance.

The anime-inspired series, set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, follows new characters with appearances from Poe Dameron, BB-8, Captain Phasma and General Leia.

Star Wars Resistance premieres 10th October on the Disney Channel.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Stormtroopers panel conquers Dublin Comic Con

The Stormtroopers Star Wars fan film panel and screening, at Dublin Comic Con (DCC), was a resounding success in front of a packed audience in the Convention Centre.

Irish comedian Stephen Mullan did an outstanding job to anchor the screening, panel interviews and Q&A panel with Irish actors Carolyn Bracken, Peter Cosgrove, Klancy Casey Williams, VFX artist William Bean and writer & director Micheal Fitzgerald.

The Q&A with the cast and crew saw fans of all ages asking compelling questions, and each person was awarded a unique custom LEGO Stormtrooper commemorating the fan film.

Stormtroopers is one of the best Star Wars fan films I've seen in a while and that's saying something given the quality of films lovingly crafted by creative folks in our community.

For further information, please visit the official site.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Alita: Battle Angel in cinemas this December

Winona Ryder was linked to play Alita: Battle Angel back in the mid-nineties with director James Cameron (Avatar) at the helm. This December, Robert Rodriguez's live-action cyberpunk movie, produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, is released in theatres.

"From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she’s grown to love."

James Cameron has handed directing chores to Robert Rodriguez as he's in pre-production on sequels to Avatar. Presumably, these will go ahead following Disney's acquisition of Fox's film and television assets.

Alita: Battle Angel seemingly has far more heart and soul than Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Comparisons to Detroit: Become Human and Ready Player One are... welcome. That said, Alita's divisive large eyes, in homage to the original manga created by Yukito Kishiro, speaks to the uncanny valley but with cutting-edge visual effects further honed, since the teaser trailer, due to the release date being pushed back from July to December. Alita will go up against Bumblebee this holiday season.

I've long loved Japanimation of which the live-action Alita: Battle Angel is so evocative. The opening shot from the trailer reminded me of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Avengers: Infinity War. The Spirits Within was released in the wake of PS2 and Aki Ross (Ming-Na), evidently based on Sandra Bullock, adorned magazine covers everywhere in the summer of 2001. The hype was real. So much so, I discussed the upcoming movie with fellow PlayStation fans during lunch breaks. Whilst The Spirits Within was a critical flop and lead to the closure of Square Pictures, the CGI animation was phenomenal and holds up. Mostly.

Alita: Battle Angel, directed by Robert Rodriguez, stars Rosa Salazar, Eiza González, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Rodriguez, Mahershala Ali, Christoph Waltz, and Jackie Earle Haley. It will be in cinemas 21st December.

Really looking forward to this and it stars my other teen crush, Jennifer Connelly. What are your thoughts on Alita: Battle Angel? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Star Trek: Discovery's search for Spock is over!

The CBS All Access Star Trek prequel has found Spock.

Ethan Peck, grandson of Gregory Peck, will play the iconic character, originally portrayed by the late Leonard Nimoy and most recently by Zachary Quinto in JJ Abrams' cinematic reboot, in the new season of Star Trek: Discovery.

In a statement, showrunner Alex Kurtzman explained why he was "thrilled to welcome [Peck] to the [Star Trek] family".

"The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion," Kurtzman said. "We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion and yearning.

"Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy."

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premieres on CBS All Access in early 2019. Netflix is expected to stream the series outside the US.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

PlayStation celebrates 500 million consoles sold

Sony celebrates 500 million PlayStation consoles sold with a stylish limited edition PS4 Pro. The highly sought-after console was available to pre-order from selected stockists in the UK from 10:00AM this morning.

However, demand was so great, Smyths Toys website crashed, ShopTo sold out in seconds and Amazon UK mistakenly went live before 10:00AM. Such was the online retailer's error, the company has cancelled all pre-orders and contacted affected customers.

Anyone interested in pre-ordering from Amazon will be able to do so from 10:00AM Wednesday here (affiliate link). A commemorative DS4 is available here (affiliate link).

What are your first memories of PlayStation? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Samuel L. Jackson joins Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spoilers ahoy, fellow Marvelites!

Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Nick Fury (Samuel L.Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) seemingly died in Avengers: Infinity War in the wake of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) universe-altering snap. Spidey's demise, in the arms of his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), was especially poignant.

Now, Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders are joining the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, Far From Home. The upcoming movie reunites the original cast.

What is telling, is there's no announcement regarding Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role. This only adds to speculation his character will make the ultimate sacrifice in Avengers 4. Personally, an aptly heroic conclusion to Iron Man's story arc that began in 2008.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in cinemas July 2019. Samuel L. Jackson can be seen next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), digitally de-aged, in Captain Marvel.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Star Wars: Revenge of the Incels fan film parody

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is seemingly the most divisive instalment in the franchise's storied history, culminating in a level of social media toxicity hitherto unknown. So much so, some fans have vilified cast members - most notably Kelly Marie Tran - and backed a campaign to remake Episode VIII.

So, here's a Star Wars fan film in response to the controversy surrounding director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi entitled Star Wars: Revenge of the Incels. Revenge of the Incels is framed as a remake of Johnson's Brick.

“Not liking a character in a movie (is one thing), but then going to that actor’s social media pages and saying racist things? Like, that mindset is so just gross to me, and I just needed to make fun of these people. Movies are supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to have a good time, and they’re ruining that.” — Dana James Jones, co-creator of Star Wars: Revenge of the Incels.

Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens), is currently in production for release in December 2019.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Patrick Stewart returns as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek fans (myself included) the world over are excited to learn Sir Patrick Stewart is reprising the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek spin-off for CBS All Access.

"I will always be very proud to have been a part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course," said the accomplished actor, who most recently played Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise.

"It is an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions with him."

Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer on the new untitled series, said: "It's a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back into the Star Trek fold."

"For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can't wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honour generations both new and old,"
Kurtzman said in media reports.

Kurtzman is the new series showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery and is overseeing the franchise's expanded television universe in a 5-year deal.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Star Wars: Episode IX begins filming

Director JJ Abrams took to Twitter to announce the start of filming for Star Wars: Episode IX.

"Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part. #IX"

John Boyega (Finn) can clearly be seen in what appears to be the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon alongside someone who may be Daisy Ridley (Rey).

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Stormtroopers fan film panel at Dublin Comic Con

Star Wars fan film Stormtroopers, filmed on location in Ireland, has been a huge hit with fans around the world and now the cast and crew are appearing at Dublin Comic Con (DCC) this August.

The Stormtroopers panel includes lead actors Carolyn Bracken, Peter Cosgrove, Klancy Casey Williams, VFX artist William Bean from Dog Day Media (known for Ed Sheeran's Songwriter) and writer & director Micheal Fitzgerald (known for Home & Away & Cork Racing Drive).

Dublin Comic Con runs in the Convention Centre Dublin on 10th, 11th & 12th August.

The last few tickets can be sourced from Dublin Comic Con here!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy support James Gunn

Disney recently fired director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This was in response to historical tweets, of a controversial nature, that were politicised by a right-wing group. Subsequently, there has been an outpouring of support for the director to be reinstated.

An Open Letter from the Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy

To our fans and friends:

We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we’ve been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.

Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.

Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over – not by a long shot.

There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.

It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Irrespective of which side you may or may not fall on this debate. Gunn's singular vision transformed the Guardians of the Galaxy into Marvel Studios' surprise hit franchise and made Avengers: Infinity War all the better for their input - it was the Guardians of the Galaxy writ large.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Star Wars 'bittersweet' without Carrie Fisher

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) took to Twitter in the wake of casting news for Star Wars: Episode IX. Unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher (General Leia), taken from The Force Awakens, will be used in director JJ Abrams' final sequel.

"In loving memory of our princess Carrie Fisher.

"It's bittersweet facing my final chapter without her - she is simply irreplaceable.

"I'm finding solace in the fact that she won't BE replaced and would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.


Star Wars: Episode IX begins filming on Wednesday at Pinewood Studios and will include returning cast members Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Lupita Nyong'o among others.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Meet the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX

Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens), begins filming next week in London, and Lucasfilm has announced the cast introducing old and new faces to the beloved space opera franchise.

Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd.

Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.

"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," director JJ Abrams said in a statement announcing the line-up. "Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us."

"We have found a way to honour Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII."

Whilst Abrams' career has been founded on the mystery box, it's great Fisher and Hamill's involvement is confirmed now to build excitement. Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) and Keri Russell are conspicuous by their absence. Update: Keri Russell is confirmed to appear.

Hollywood composer John Williams returns to finish what he started in 1977. Williams will have scored all nine movies chronicling the Skywalker saga.

In related news. Comcast has stepped away from bidding for Fox's film and television rights. This paves the way for Disney to buy those assets to bolster its film and television franchises ahead of launching a streaming service worldwide, spearheaded by Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series.

Star Wars: Episode IX rounds off the sequel trilogy in December 2019.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

See the first trailer for Unbreakable sequel Glass

Whilst it’s all too easy to look at director M. Night Shyamalan through the prism of creative hubris after being heralded as an auteur wunderkind in the late nineties. Unbreakable, the follow-up to The Sixth Sense, is largely underrated and foreshadowed the current success of superhero movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to DC Universe (DCU).

“Mr. Glass” (Samuel L. Jackson) makes for a fascinating and embittered antagonist testing the seemingly indestructible David Dunne (Bruce Willis).

Split, starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, sees Shyamalan in familiar Hitchcockian territory within the Unbreakable cinematic universe and in fine form. So, I'm really looking forward to Glass, which reunites the cast of Unbreakable and Split.

Glass will be in cinemas next January.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Spooky Star Wars tales from IDW this October

Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader's Castle miniseries launches this October, from IDW Publishing, in time for Halloween. The 5-part comic book series chronicles scary adventures for Chopper, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and the Ewoks in Vader's infamous lair!

“I’ve always loved scary stories, and where better to tell them than the lair of Darth Vader himself?” says writer Cavan Scott. “Being asked to write any Star Wars character is a joy, but tackling the Dark Lord of the Sith? That’s a childhood dream… or should I say, a nightmare! Vader terrified me growing up, and I can’t wait to add to the legacy of Star Wars’ villain, providing frightening new scares for the next generation.”

Artist Derek Charm says, “Since this is a spookier story about these characters stranded on this nightmarish planet, it’s been fun really pushing the horror aspect in the art. The shadows are heavier, the colors are harsher, and everything has this apocalyptic vibe… like things may not work out for our heroes!”

“We’re thrilled to welcome the creepy Cavan Scott, the frightening Francesco Francavilla, and an array of eerie artists into the creepiest corners of the Star Wars universe for Tales from Vader’s Castle,” says Michael Siglain, Creative Director of Publishing for Lucasfilm. “There’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than with these spooky stories from a galaxy far, far away.”

Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle hits newstands every Wednesday in October.