Friday 30 November 2018

No festive cheer for fans of Marvel's Daredevil

This news isn't a surprise; no matter how disappointing it may be for fans (myself included). Marvel's Daredevil has been cancelled by Netflix.

“Marvel’s Daredevil will not return for a fourth season on Netflix,” Netflix said in a statement.

“We are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note.”

“We’re thankful to our partners at Marvel, showrunner Erik Oleson, the show’s writers, stellar crew and incredible cast including Charlie Cox as Daredevil himself, and we’re grateful to the fans who have supported the show over the years.”

The past few months have witnessed the cancellation of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, whilst the Mouse House has announced exclusive live-action MCU series for Disney+ under the auspices of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.

Netflix continues to bolster its acclaimed animation and live-action series with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

How much will you miss Daredevil? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Family fun with Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures

Star Wars has always been about family. For me, it's a connection with loved ones living and passed away since the Skywalker saga began in 1977.

From 30th November, fans (young and old) will be able to enjoy Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures as part of a year-long celebration culminating in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Director JJ Abrams' (The Force Awakens) untitled Episode IX.

“With Galaxy of Adventures, we wanted to craft something that allowed parents to help their kids take their first step into a much larger world whether they were ready to show their kids the films or wanted to find new ways to explore the content,” James Waugh, Lucasfilm’s vice president for franchise content and strategy, tells

With the launch of the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel, a new generation of fans can experience George Lucas' enduring space opera for themselves.

“Over the years, I’ve had so many of my friends who are parents tell me how much they wanted to introduce their kids to Star Wars but didn’t feel that their kids were quite ready for the movies yet,” Waugh says. “They wanted a way to celebrate the universe they love.”

Star Wars: Episode IX is in cinemas December 2019.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Director Travis Knight talks G1-inspired Bumblebee

With only a few weeks to go until the holiday release of Bumblebee, Paramount Pictures has posted a featurette and TV spots for director Travis Knight's highly-anticipated Transformers reboot starring Hailee Steinfeld.

Director Travis Knight on what the Transformers means to him. "I'm a child of the 80s. I grew up playing with the Transformers action figures and I grew up watching the animated series," Knight said. "Going back to my experience as a kid, Autobots were always cars, Decepticons were always aircraft."

Bumblebee merchandise is starting to hit store shelves ahead of the movie's release and the quality of Hasbro's products is phenomenal. Hoping Santa Claus will leave a Bumblebee and Soundwave action figure under the tree, just like in the eighties, this Christmas.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Star Wars Scout Walker replica appears by the A38

So, I was watching ITV News West Country when a story appeared that I knew fellow Star Wars fans would be interested in.

A £12,000 full-size replica of an Imperial Scout Walker AKA AT-ST, which first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back as noted by ITV News West Country, has become the subject of a planning permission battle with Teignbridge District Council.

Landowner Paul Parker said he had hoped it would become a tourist attraction, much like the Willow Man near Taunton, by the A38 and added: "We wanted to try and raise awareness for Ashburton."

The AT-ST was originally built by Dean Harvey as a climbing frame for his daughters who are now more interested in owning a hot tub.

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

Friday 23 November 2018

James Earl Jones in Disney's live-action The Lion King

Disney dropped the first live-action teaser trailer for The Lion King during the NFL's Thanksgiving primetime game.

James Earl Jones, best known to Star Wars fans as the voice of Darth Vader, reprises the role of king Mufasa from the original classic animated movie with director Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book) at the helm. Jones is joined by a stellar cast including Beyonce, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Seth Rogan.

The Mouse House resumes its live-action remakes beginning with Cinderella and continues next with Aladdin.

The Lion King will be in cinemas next summer.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Fly the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

What Star Wars fan doesn't want to fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy? Visitors to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, prepared for long queues in Disney Parks, will be able to command the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and channel Han Solo or Rey in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Scott Trowbridge, the Disney creative executive overseeing the Galaxy’s Edge projects, says:

“It’s a personalized intergalactic ride — live your own ‘Star Wars’ story. If you crash into a wall, that’s what you will see out the cockpit window.”

For fans who prefer a straight fight to sneaking around will be eager to draw their blasters in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Not much is known about the new attraction, but it appears you'll be in the midst of The First Order repelling an attack by the Resistance.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019.

Monday 19 November 2018

Hear John Williams' theme for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens in Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year to coincide with the release of director JJ Abrams' Episode IX.

Oscar-winning Hollywood composer John Williams, whose music is synonymous with the legendary space saga, is composing new and exclusive music for Disney Parks.

Looking forward to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Doctor Who Christmas special moves to New Year's Day

Following weeks of speculation, the BBC has officially announced this year's festive edition of Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker as the titular Time Lord, will be shown on New Year's Day.

The Christmas Day special has become a holiday staple since 2005 when David Tennant took over from Christopher Eccleston. The specials have been a mixed assortment of festive treats, but standouts include The Next Doctor, A Christmas Carol guest starring Sir Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins, The Snowmen and Last Christmas.

"We're thrilled to be starting the New Year with a bang on BBC One," said showrunner Chris Chibnall, who promised audiences "an action-packed, hour-long special adventure for all the family."

Charlotte Moore, the BBC's director of content, said: "We're delighted the Doctor and her companions will be welcoming BBC One audiences into 2019 with this exciting new episode."

The official synopsis for the New Year's Day special has been released:

“As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?”

Will you miss Doctor Who on Christmas Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Alita: Battle Angel enters the fray in new trailer

Alita: Battle Angel has been in development by director James Cameron (Avatar) for decades. Finally, fans of the original manga will be able to see the iconic character, brought to life by actress Rosa Salazar and the wizards of Weta, in action on the big screen next February.

Twentieth Century Fox, currently in the process of being acquired by Disney, wisely moved Alita: Battle Angel away from an overcrowded holiday season thus avoiding a Christmas clash with both Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) is at the helm with Cameron producing as he's currently steeped in pre-production on multiple Avatar sequels.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Marvel's superhero Stan Lee passed away. 'Nuff said.

Earlier this year Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko passed away. Yesterday, fellow Spider-Man co-creator and arguably the 'face' of Marvel, Stan Lee, died at the age of 95.

I don't recall the first time I saw the Spider-Man animated series, but it was enough of an influence on my nascent imagination that, much to my late mum's horror, aged 3 I climbed out of a bedroom window and onto a glass conservatory to channel Peter Parker.

Lee leaves behind an enduring legacy of superheroes. From Ant-Man to Thor. However, most importantly an ideology predicated on selflessness and a celebration of life in all its rich diversity.

In my teens, I sought solace in the flawed X-Men. They became a metaphor for disability, something I was struggling with in the wake of a life-changing childhood trauma and PTSD, and I wanted to be Cyclops. How I envied actor James Marsden in director Bryan Singer's X-Men that foreshadowed the triumphant Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) about to enter Phase 4.

Whilst I never got to meet 'The Man' himself, I was humbled earlier this year when his official website linked to this very blog. So much so, I thought I was seeing things and it was wishful thinking on the part of this lifelong Marvelite. Beyond poignant and with heartfelt thanks from this true believer!

Lee was a master marketer and nothing exemplifies this more than his countless cameos in Marvel films and television series. He wrapped cameos for Captain Marvel, Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home, and most recently appeared in DC Comics' Teen Titans Go! Back in 1995, Stan Lee talked to Conan about his 50 years in comic books.

It's impossible to overstate Lee's influence on popular culture, and he'll always be the George Lucas of superhero storytelling for many fans (myself included).

Excelsior! RIP Stan Lee.

How did Stan Lee impact your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 12 November 2018

The toys are back in town in Toy Story 4 teaser trailer

Disney has released a teaser trailer for Pixar's Toy Story 4. All the nostalgia feels.

“Like most people, I assumed that ‘Toy Story 3’ was the end of the story,” said director Josh Cooley. “And it was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning. Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring.”

Toy Story 4 will be in cinemas summer 2019.

Are you excited to see Woody, Buzz and friends on a new adventure? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 10 November 2018

ILM TV founded for Star Wars live-action series

Lucasfilm division Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), famed for its pioneering visual effects work on the original Star Wars trilogy, has founded ILM TV for streaming and episodic content. ILM TV's first foray will be Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian Star Wars live-action series for Disney+.

“It’s not often you get to create a new division at Industrial Light & Magic,” said Rob Bredow, executive creative director and head of ILM, “We are seeing a real convergence in our creative approach used on films and in our immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB, and now we’re proud to be able to offer these ILM innovations in a way that’s suitable for streaming and television work to creatives around the world.”

ILM produced visual effects for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, developing techniques that would be utilised on the Star Wars prequels.

“We are extremely excited to be re-igniting ILM’s involvement in this market,” said Hayden Jones. “The television and streaming segments have grown exponentially in recent years and we are seeing substantial demand for high caliber visual effects that can be delivered on schedule and within budget.”

Presumably, ILM TV will also work on the Marvel live-action series for Disney+, too.

Friday 9 November 2018

Cassian Andor live-action Star Wars series for Disney+

Disney+, the Mouse House’s streaming service launching in 2019, adds another live-action Star Wars series. Announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger, the series will focus on Rogue One spy Cassian Andor with Diego Luna reprising the role so beloved by fans.

“Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me,” said Luna. “I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply.”

Like director Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian, the Cassian Andor series will be set between events in the Star Wars movies and could see familiar faces return including Saw Gerrera and Ahsoka Tano.

Disney+ will be a direct-to-consumer treasure trove of new and archival delights, the Walt Disney company has a rich storied history spanning decades, when it launches backed by exclusive Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars content.

Excited for the Cassian Andor series? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 5 November 2018

Kevin Feige outlines streaming plans for Marvel Studios

Following news that The Winter Soldier and Falcon will have their own exclusive series on Disney's upcoming streaming service (predicated to be called Disney Play). Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige outlined his vision for the streaming service:

“Well, it’s not a hundred percent complete yet, so there’s only so much I’m allowed to say, or so much they even tell me. But Paul [Greengrass] mentioned the streaming service, and I think that is something that we’re going to be adding content to, which is exciting. I love your analogy with the campfire, right? As many people as you can get around the campfire and tell stories. Campfires can be different: We are going to tell stories for the streaming service that we wouldn’t be able to tell in a theatrical experience — a longer-form narrative, that’s what comics are, it’s about as longform a narrative as exists. But also maintaining that theatrical experience, which is our bread and butter, and the lines around the block, if you’re lucky.”

It does appear the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) spin-offs on Disney's platform will be directly connected to the big screen movies, unlike the Netflix Marvel series.

Friday 2 November 2018

The Winter Soldier and Falcon to get streaming series

As Netflix cancels Marvel's Iron Fist and Luke Cage, The Winter Soldier and Falcon are set to join Loki and Scarlet Witch with their own limited-run series on Disney's upcoming streaming service.

There's no news regarding Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie reprising their respective big screen roles. But, given Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is overseeing the in-house Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) spin-offs, it would be no surprise and Disney has the financial firepower to maintain continuity.

Whilst it's tempting to suggest Disney's ultimate ambition is to have all its content on one platform. The Netflix Marvel deal is more nuanced and was inked in 2013. Therefore, Daredevil could continue on Netflix indefinitely. Of all the series, Daredevil was the first and best. The others were dour and a chore to watch. Netflix does have exclusive distribution deals with CBS All Access and DC Unlimited (outside the US) but is wisely investing in more original series including The Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The latter is a savvy and twisted reimagining from Greg Berlanti, that owes little to the Nickelodeon sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and may become this generation's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Variety reports the new streaming service is known internally as Disney Play. If Disney Play is used, presumably DisneyLife will be rebranded to avoid any confusion and align the brand.

DisneyLife has struggled to gain an audience in the UK & Ireland since launching in 2015. I didn't consider subscribing until last Christmas when an app for Samsung Smart TVs was released. However, the global rollout of the streaming service in 2019 will be bolstered by exclusive Marvel and Star Wars live-action spin-offs. That may be more than enough reason for fans of both franchises to sign-up.

Do you subscribe to DisneyLife? Is the streaming space becoming too fragmented and costly? Let me know in the comments below.