Friday 25 May 2018

Logan director to helm Boba Fett Star Wars spin-off

Star Wars was released in US cinemas on this day in 1977. Fast forward 41 years and Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, is now in cinemas around the world and garnering positive reviews despite a troubled production.

Further Star Wars spin-off movies are confirmed (via THR) with James Mangold (Logan) helming a Boba Fett spin-off after Josh Trank departed the rumoured project in the wake of negative reviews for his Fantastic Four reboot at Fox.

The infamous bounty hunter first appeared on the big screen in The Empire Strikes Back and quickly gained a cult following. He's one of my favourite characters from the franchise and the 12-inch action figure a prized possession from childhood.

Seemingly Fett's fate in the belly of the Sarlacc, in Return of the Jedi, did nothing to dent his reputation, as far as my school friends and I were concerned, he escaped with the aid of his jetpack, and it'll be interesting to see what Mangold does with the character who was introduced in George Lucas' Star Wars prequel Attack of the Clones.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Watch classic Doctor Who on Twitch

Doctor Who fans around the world will be able to watch over 500 classic episodes across 26 seasons for free on TwitchPresents from 29th May until 23rd July.

Nick Coulter, Director of Digital Sales and Business Development at BBC Studios says:

"We are constantly looking at ways to reach new audiences and make it easier for fans to engage with our most popular shows. Doctor Who, in particular, has a great tradition of pioneering new technologies, from early VHS all the way through to the new digital services of today. Twitch is another great example of this, as a brilliant service with over 15 million active daily users, we are thrilled to be able to offer them the chance to indulge in the Classic Doctor Who series and celebrate its amazing 54 year legacy of excitement and innovation."

Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch said:

“Doctor Who and its clever take on sci-fi exemplifies the type of adjacent content to gaming that has resonated with the Twitch community. By presenting this iconic BBC show in a new interactive format, it is a fun new way to bridge several generations of Doctor Who fans, while building a new generation of them."

For Doctor Who fans in the US, UK and Canada, Twitch is hosting a giveaway every week during the event, including a grand prize trip to London Comic Con in late 2018.

This is an excellent way to celebrate Doctor Who's past and look forward to the future with Jodie Whittaker.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme parks opening 2019

Disney has announced its first Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge theme park will open next May with a teaser trailer.

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, will be the first to open its Galaxy’s Edge attraction to the public in summer 2019, while Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will follow several months later, in late fall 2019. The latter ties in neatly with the December release of Star Wars: Episode IX directed by JJ Abrams.

Will you be boarding the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge next year? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

ThunderCats Roar gets a mixed reaction from fans

Thundercats was a staple of childhood teatime television in the mid-eighties and the animated franchise was rebooted to critical acclaim in 2011. Alas, due to poor viewing figures on Cartoon Network, it was cancelled after only one season.

Following the news that Netflix is rebooting She-Ra seemingly sans He-Man (I'm willing to bet he'll make a cameo in the upcoming series). Cartoon Network has announced another Thundercats reboot and it looks a bit... meh! Is that nostalgia talking?

Fans are polarised about the art style and tone. At first blush, it looks like a parody series and I'm not sure how to feel about that. Of course, the series is primarily aimed at children, but many generations (mine included) have grown up watching Japanimation with English overdubs and are socialised into compelling narratives rich in light and shade, which the original Thundercats had in droves.

What do you think about the new Thundercats series? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 19 May 2018

Netflix teases She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Netflix continues its tradition of animated reboots in partnership with DreamWorks with She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The popular streaming service has released a teaser poster for the upcoming series and announced the cast members.

Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avalor) stars as Princess Adora and her titular alter ego. She’s joined by Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) as Glimmer, AJ Michalka (The Goldbergs) as Catra, Marcus Scribner (Black-ish) as Bow, Reshma Shetty (Royal Pains) as Angella, Lorraine Toussaint (Orange Is the New Black) as Shadow Weaver, Keston John (The Good Place) as Hordak, Lauren Ash (Superstore) as Sorpia, Christine Woods (Hello Ladies) as Entrapta, Genesis Rodriguez (Time After Time) as Perfuma, Jordan Fisher (Grease Live!) as Seahawk, Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Mermista, Merit Leighton (Alexa & Katie) as Frosta, Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) as Castaspella, and Krystal Joy Brown (Motown: The Musical) as Netossa.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the story of an orphan named Adora (Aimee Carrero), 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.

From Eisner award-winning author and executive producer Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes, Nimona) and executive producer Chuck Austen (Dawn of the Croods, Steven Universe) comes a modern take on the ‘80s girl power icon for a new generation of young fans. She-Ra was originally a spin-off of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in 1985 and is available to stream on Netflix.

If the critically-acclaimed Voltron: Legendary Defender is any indication, fans old and new should be in for a treat from Netflix's latest collaboration with DreamWorks.

Looking forward to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 17 May 2018

Star Wars Celebration coming to Chicago in 2019

Lucasfilm has announced Star Wars Celebration will be back in 2019 to coincide with the release of JJ Abrams' untitled Star Wars: Episode IX, which rounds off the current sequel trilogy at Disney.

The official fan event, that began in 1999 to promote Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, will run from 11th-15th April in Chicago. The last Star Wars Celebration was held in 2017 and celebrated the 40th anniversary of George Lucas' space opera. In July 2016 I attended Star Wars Celebration Europe, which you can read about here.

Are you attending? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 14 May 2018

Avengers beat Batman at the UK box office

This will come as no surprise to fans (myself included) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The Russo brothers' Avengers: Infinity War has become the biggest superhero movie in UK cinema history, less than a month after release, taking £60m at the box office, toppling Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, as fans flock to multiplexes to see beloved superheroes, scattered across the galaxy, battle Thanos (Josh Brolin) face-to-face.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is in cinemas next this July with Captain Marvel leading the charge early next year ahead of Avengers 4 in May 2019.

You can read my review of Avengers: Infinity War here. It does contain mild spoilers. So, please don't read unless you've already seen the movie. It's best enjoyed sans spoilers. Honestly.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Star Wars series set after Return of the Jedi

Actor-director Jon Favreau has revealed the upcoming Star Wars live-action series, due to launch on Disney's streaming service, DisneyLife, will be set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Favreau's Star Wars series will utilise motion capture technology as used on the director's live-action adaptation of Disney's The Jungle Book and is expected to explore the rise of the First Order in the wake of the Empire's defeat at the battle of Endor. Dave Filoni's recently announced animated series, Star Wars Resistance, also explores the same timeline.

The new series has no connection with George Lucas' live-action series originally planned to follow the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005. One of those scripts formed the basis for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Thursday 10 May 2018

To Infinity War and Beyond...

Where to begin? The best cinema screening since Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

A group of undergraduates created a mini comic con atmosphere filled with fellow fans of Star Wars, DC Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We laughed, cheered and cried as the Russo brothers took us on a galaxy-spanning tour and broke our collective hearts in the process.

With its paranoia and character-driven conflict, the Russo brothers' Captain America: The Winter Soldier quickly claimed the top spot as my favourite MCU instalment. This was followed by Captain America: Civil War, which was a dry run for the first part of their emotionally shattering Avengers opus.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the MCU, the Russo brothers take the Avengers to the nth degree and beyond in Avengers: Infinity War.

Infinity War begins in deep space with a distress call echoing the Kobayashi Maru training exercise depicted in the opening scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and immediately ups the ante by eclipsing both Joss Whedon's The Avengers, known as Avengers Assemble in the UK, and Avengers: Age of Ultron with a richly mythological movie that conjures fond memories of reading Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in the mid-eighties and collecting Mattel's tie-in action figures. The seminal 12-issue limited series chronicled Marvel's superheroes and villains as they battled each other for the amusement of the Beyonder.

Infinity War takes its inspiration from the acclaimed comic series Infinity Gauntlet. However, this Thanos, played with surprising pathos by Josh Brolin, believes he's on a noble quest to eradicate half of all life, due to dwindling resources, with the snap of his fingers...

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. This is the fantastical universe of Marvel and as such me thinks there'll be timey-wimey shenanigans in the second part, which was filmed back-to-back, due in cinemas next year. It paves the way for the multiverse - a strength of archrival DC Comics - as a means to introduce Captain Marvel, and the X-Men and Fantastic Four once Disney's acquired Twentieth Century Fox's television and film assets. However, none of this detracts from a palpable sense of loss and the haunting cliffhanger.

Longtime fans will reap the infinite (I went there. Sorry not sorry.) rewards of their dedication to the increasingly episodic series built over a decade, whereas more casual cinemagoers may miss many Easter Eggs. But, there's enough blockbuster bombast, merging the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings franchises, to entertain and let's not overlook the interplay between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Alan Silvestri's soundtrack score is one of his best since the first Avengers movie and expands on familiar themes replete with a self-referential nod to Predator during the scenes set in Wakanda.

Over the past ten years, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has deftly stewarded a disruptive shared cinematic universe beginning with Iron Man and culminating in the Russo brothers' epic Infinity War. I rarely bestow arbitrary ratings. However, the 10th anniversary instalment garners 10/10. ‘Nuff Said!

What did you think of Avengers: Infinity War? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Star Wars fan film: Dresca

Star Wars Day has passed for another year. So, here's an awesome award-winning fan film from writer-director Jessica Champneys set in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi.

"When Dresca - an injured Imperial pilot - is rescued by Rebels after the Battle of Endor, she must choose between her loyalty to the Empire and the kindness of strangers she once thought of as monsters."

If you have a Star Wars fan film you'd like to share, please contact me.

Friday 4 May 2018

Celebrate Star Wars Day with Disney and Snapchat

May the Fourth be with you!

Disney has teamed up with youthful social media platform Snapchat for Star Wars Day!

Fans can use the popular mobile app (available for Android and iOS) to learn Shyriiwook from Chewie, which will come in useful for Solo: A Star Wars Story in cinemas 25th May, wield a lightsaber and decorate their posts with a new selfie lens, filters and 3D Bitmoji stickers.

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

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Lucasfilm congratulates Marvel Studios

Lucasfilm congratulated Disney stablemate Marvel Studios on Avengers: Infinity War's record-breaking opening weekend at the box office.

In the image, a lightsaber is handed over to Iron Man with the accompanying handwritten message from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy:

“From a galaxy far, far away… to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes… CONGRATULATIONS on the biggest opening weekend in history! From Kathy and everyone at Lucasfilm!”

The message of congratulations continues a classy time-honoured tradition. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would send creative congratulatory notes whenever one passed the other at the box office.

Iron Man was released a decade ago and ushered in the disruptive Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) culminating in Avengers: Infinity War.

I didn't see the opening chapter of Phase 1 until subscribing to LOVEFiLM (now part of Amazon Prime). I sat down with my dad and we really didn't expect much, as I pressed play on the PS3 remote, given the state (for the most part) of superhero movies of the time. Robert Downey Jr. instantly impressed as Tony Stark and we've seen (almost) every MCU movie since.

Make Mine Marvel!

What are your MCU memories on the 10th anniversary? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Genesis of the Daleks invades US cinemas this June

In celebration of the upcoming Blu-ray release of Tom Baker’s first season in Doctor Who, Genesis of the Daleks, regarded as one of the best stories from the classic era, will be shown as a 90-minute omnibus edition in cinemas in the US.

Genesis of the Daleks sees the Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) diverted by the Time Lords to Skaro, home planet of the Daleks. The mission, to avert the creation of the Daleks forever, but not before coming face-to-face with their creator, Davros (Michael Wisher).

Fathom Events said in a statement: "We are excited to work with our long-standing partners at BBC Studios to bring our 17th joint cinema event, Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks, to movie theatres across the US and for fans to see Tom Baker on the big screen.

"Our Doctor Who events are always a great opportunity for Whovians to gather at the cinema and experience their favorite content together," it added.

Genesis of the Daleks will be in cinemas 11th June. Visit Fathom Events for further information and to book tickets.