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.