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.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Thirteenth Doctor Who at SDCC

Last Thursday the cast and crew of Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker as the titular Time Lord, took to the stage for an official panel at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). You can watch the full panel below.

To coincide with SDCC, the first official trailer was shown. This didn't include leaked footage from a few weeks back (the BBC has taken legal action in the wake of that).

The cast and crew were also interviewed by Entertainment Tonight (ET).

My takeaway from SDCC is that Ms Whittaker exudes bubbly and infectious enthusiasm, and series 11 can't come soon enough.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Star Wars: The Clone Wars revival at Disney

During the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) tenth-anniversary panel to celebrate Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm announced the award-winning animated series will return in 2019.

The Clone Wars, developed by Dave Filoni, was originally revealed at Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2007 and chronicled the adventures of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Cartoon Network series was cancelled when Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be available on Disney's streaming service next year.

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Stranger Things season 3 teases Starcourt Mall

Netflix has released a teaser trailer for Stranger Things season 3 showcasing Starcourt Mall, which is quintessential eighties Americana.

In the teaser we see Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) working in an ice cream parlour called Scoops Ahoy, alongside new character Robin (Maya Hawke). There's a Dawn of the Dead vibe and a mall is perfect subversive fodder for the Upside Down.

Friday 13 July 2018

Doctor Who series 11 first look during World Cup final

The BBC has announced a first look at Doctor Who series 11, starring Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, during the World Cup final this Sunday.

Jodie Whittaker was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly (EW) in a special double issue ahead of the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) next week.

“Well, I would say that it’s hopeful and fizzing with wonder,” Whittaker said, when EW visited the set of Doctor Who in Cardiff, Wales, earlier this year. “I have absolutely shot myself in the foot for any ADR, because I get in there, and realize I speak at a hundred miles an hour. If a plane goes over I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?’ I’ve got to try and match that speech of ‘Di-didda-di-didda-di-didda’? But essentially I think the big theme is hope.”

Series 11 is expected to premiere on BBC One and BBC America this September.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Neill Blomkamp to direct RoboCop Returns

Whilst we may never see director Neill Blomkamp’s retconned sequel to Aliens. Because Ridley Scott. Fans of Paul Verhoeven’s seminal eighties cyberpunk movie RoboCop will see Blomkamp’s take on a sequel, which ignores Irvin Kershner’s risible RoboCop 2.

RoboCop Returns.

“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid,” Blomkamp said. “I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events.”

The recent RoboCop reboot ignored satirising rampant American consumerism, favouring instant gratification for a generation socialised on Call of Duty. So, hopefully, Blomkampf will rediscover his socio-political mojo and imbue the franchise with pathos for RoboCop Returns.

Do you want another RoboCop movie? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Indiana Jones pushed back to 2021

Indiana Jones 5 has been pushed back, again, to 2021 as Disney reshuffles its upcoming movie schedule dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Director Steven Spielberg remains at the helm of the Lucasfilm reboot with Harrison Ford reprising the titular role.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Billy Dee Williams returns as Lando in Star Wars IX

Billy Dee Williams is reprising the role of Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode IX directed by JJ Abrams.

Fans have speculated about Lando Calrissian's return since The Force Awakens and Williams will indeed be returning to the film franchise for the first time since Return of the Jedi. The character made his infamous debut in The Empire Strikes Back, when he seemingly betrayed the Rebels to the Empire culminating in Han Solo's capture by Boba Fett.

Williams most recently reprised the role for Star Wars Rebels.

Monday 9 July 2018

Steve Ditko, enigmatic co-creator of Spider-Man, dies

Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, passed away on 29th June. He was aged 90.

Ditko helped create some of Spider-Man’s most iconic villains including Doctor Octopus, the Sandman and Green Goblin. However, he fell out with Stan Lee and left Marvel in 1966. Ditko joined archrival DC Comics for a time before freelancing.

In a statement, the president of Marvel Entertainment, Dan Buckley, said that Ditko “transformed the industry and the Marvel Universe, and his legacy will never be forgotten,” while the company’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada said that the artist “blessed us with gorgeous art, fantastical stories, heroic characters and a mystical persona worthy of some of his greatest creations.”

Ditko leaves behind an enduring superhero legacy and affected the lives of infinite comic book fans (myself included).

Spider-Man made an adolescence, living with a disability, a bit more bearable. Thank you and RIP Steve Ditko.

How did Steve Ditko impact your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Keri Russell reunites with JJ Abrams for Star Wars

Variety reports Keri Russell (The Americans) is joining the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX.

Russell played the titular Felicity in director JJ Abrams' television series in the late nineties. An era that saw The WB network redefine US teen drama with Buffy, Dawson's Creek, Roswell and Felicity.

Abrams is writing and directing the final instalment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and rumours are rife Russell may play Rey's (Daisy Ridley) mother. The last time they worked together was on Mission Impossible: III and the role calls for "action-heavy fight scenes."

Episode IX is expected to start filming at the end of the month with actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver expected to reprise their roles.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be in cinemas 20th December 2019.

Thursday 5 July 2018

James Cameron's back for Terminator 6

Director James Cameron will be producing the upcoming Terminator 6 with Tim Miller at the helm, which will ignore all sequels following Cameron's own Terminator 2: Judgment Day and reboot the ailing sci-fi franchise, again.

"This is a continuation of the story from Terminator 1 and Terminator 2. And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream. Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse. This was really driven more by [Tim] than anybody, surprisingly, because I came in pretty agnostic about where we took it. The only thing I insisted on was that we somehow revamp it and reinvent it for the 21st century." he explained.

You know, I quite enjoyed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Genisys with Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as the physical embodiment of Skynet, which Cameron had previously championed in the movie's marketing upon release in 2015, and the short-lived Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series starring Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) in the titular role.

Terminator will be in cinemas November 2019 with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton reprising their iconic roles.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

BAFTA interviews JJ Abrams on making of Star Wars

BAFTA recently talked to Star Wars directors JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens, Episode IX), Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and actress Felicity Jones who played Jyn Erso in Rogue One.

In a related clip, actress Keira Knightley discusses her role as Padme's (Natalie Portman) decoy in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Lucasfilm announces Star Wars Fan Awards 2018

Lucasfilm has announced that the Star Wars Fan Film Awards are now known as the Fan Awards. The Star Wars Fan Awards has been expanded to encompass photo and visual art categories in addition to the existing fan film category.

Lucasfilm and StarWars.com are thrilled to announce the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018, the ultimate celebration of Star Wars fan creativity! We want to honor the many ways that fans express their love of a galaxy far, far away — including everything from fan-made films to cosplay and beyond. So if you’re most impressive, we want to see what you can do.

Check out a complete list of categories below:

Videos – Long (Up to 5 Minutes) and Short (Up to 15 Seconds): Best Animation, Best Stop Motion, Best Comedy, Best Choreography, Best Visual Effects, Audience Choice, Filmmaker Select, Spirit of Fandom
Photos: Best Scene-Inspired Photo, Best Family Portrait, Best Throwback Photo, Best Original Concept, Funniest, Best Pet Photography, Best Star Wars Food Presentation, Best in Show, Audience Choice
Visual Art: Best Digital Art, Best Poster Art, Best Custom Costume, Best 2-D/Traditional Art, Best 3-D/Physical Art, Best Custom Figure, Best Custom Diorama, Best in Show, Audience Choice

Here’s how to get started, along with some key dates:

Stay tuned to StarWarsFanAwards.com for updates. 

Submissions open at StarWarsFanAwards.com on July 18 and close September 17. 

Audience Choice award voting opens at StarWarsFanAwards.com on November 2 and closes November 13. 

Winners will be chosen by a panel of Lucasfilm judges, with the Audience Choice award decided by you, the fans! The Star Wars Fan Awards will culminate in a special episode of The Star Wars Show, announcing winners and featuring a few exciting surprises.

An expansion of the Star Wars Fan Film Awards, a longstanding Lucasfilm tradition, the Star Wars Fan Awards will highlight the unique talents and gifts of the Star Wars fan galaxy. We would be honored if you would join us.

Monday 2 July 2018

Star Wars fan film: Stormtroopers

Stormtroopers is a fan film about a platoon of Stormtroopers who raid a remote Rebel Mining outpost.

Filmed on location in Ireland, Stormtroopers stars Carolyn Bracken, Peter Cosgrove, Klancy Casey Williams, Micheal Fitzgerald, Michael Stack and Melissa Ciepierski. It was written and directed by Micheal Fitzgerald and was produced by Cork Racing.

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