Saturday 29 August 2020

Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman's lasting legacy

During a global pandemic and civil unrest, a real-life superhero and pioneer has passed away who leaves a lasting legacy that will inspire countless generations to come.

Chadwick Boseman, who played the charismatic Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), has died, following a 4-year battle with colon cancer, aged 43. Boseman made his unforgettable debut as Black Panther in the Russo brothers' Captain America: Civil War and it foreshadowed the monumental cultural impact the character would have.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige paid poignant tribute to Boseman: “Chadwick’s passing is absolutely devastating. He was our T’Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend. Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible. He embodied a lot of amazing people in his work, and nobody was better at bringing great men to life. He was as smart and kind and powerful and strong as any person he portrayed. Now he takes his place alongside them as an icon for the ages. The Marvel Studios family deeply mourns his loss, and we are grieving tonight with his family.”

Boseman's iconic role touched myriad lives around the world and the actor gave generously of his time supporting worthy causes. For example, visiting sick children in hospital as he privately underwent cancer treatment too. Bringing boundless joy. Lost for words...

Wakanda forever. Rest in power, king.

Friday 28 August 2020

Timey-wimey Tenet

As things stand, my big screen adventures are bookended by Star Wars movies. Due to personal circumstances this won't change for the foreseeable future and streaming services will be my goto. Continuing with Disney's live-action Mulan on Disney+ next month.

Following the easing of lockdown, cinemagoers are cautiously beginning to return to multiplexes and independent cinemas, and director Christopher Nolan's latest epic, Tenet, maybe the catalyst the film industry needs in the 'new normal'.

Paul Moxham, our resident film critic, editor and cameraman, discovers a brave new world at his local Vue Cinema.

Guest post by Paul Moxham

I’m just back from the cinema. Such a simple sentence, but one most people haven’t uttered in months. I watched Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Another sentence I didn’t believe I would be saying in 2020 after the events of the past six months.

Firstly, the actual nuts and bolts of going to watch a movie in today’s world; pre-booking, keeping left, sanitising and mask-wearing. It feels a bit strange I’ll admit, and there’s something of a trial and error situation when combining mask and glasses so as not to watch the whole film through a fog. But when the lights went down and I could feel the bass of the subwoofers vibrate through my seat, the only thought going through my head was “Oh how I have missed this!”

Tenet carries the hopes of an entire industry on its shoulders. If a highly-anticipated Nolan film can’t tempt people back into auditoriums during a global pandemic what chance does anything else have? The film feels like it was made precisely for this task; it is the very definition of the big screen experience. From the concept, to the set pieces, the music, it bellows “This is cinema, and there’s nothing else like it!”

To explain the plot would both spoil things, and assume I know more than I do. Let’s just go with, a secret agent is shown another side of life he never knew existed, and must utilise it in order to prevent complete global annihilation. Does that sound similar to the synopsis of every James Bond film you’ve ever seen? That’s because this is a Bond film according to Christopher Nolan. Every fan wishes he’d make one, only a traditional 007 adventure is too constraining, too riddled with cliche, too shackled to fan service to be truly original. This is high espionage with the very rules of physics bent out of shape. Tenet is the product of uncompromising vision and dedication, the director demonstrating a level of confidence and control that is truly mind-blowing. Just planning something like this must add years to one’s life. But just like the lead character, we are encouraged to look at things in a different way and it is as exhilarating and rewarding as promised.

John David Washington is the coolest guy in the room as The Protagonist, confident and reactive with swagger to spare. Like Neo from The Matrix but with less of the wide eyes, and more of the tools required long ago hardwired into his brain. Rakish British intelligence operative Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki, so brilliant in Widows, provide excellent support. And whilst Kenneth Branagh brings his Russian accent from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; he is otherwise marvellous.

The story is simple, but the execution complex; near the beginning of the film, when explaining the mechanics of an object a character tells The Protagonist, “Don’t try to understand it.” I found myself recalling that a few times further down the line, and things felt much better when I considered that that’s what rewatches are for. The film is as gorgeous and glossy as you’d expect from the man behind Inception, the cinematography and soundtrack especially complimenting the themes. And it is Inception that this film cuts closest to, with its high stakes arena, wonderful set pieces and cool approach to character interaction. That’s not to say that Nolan’s films are emotionally barren, but they do cast a more clinical eye over those connections than most.

If there are quibbles to be had they are minor and familiar; the main problem being cranking the soundtrack and effects to kidney-quivering levels whilst leaving the dialogue to be reduced to all but a mumble at times. And in a film where every detail counts, critical information was lost because I simply couldn’t hear what was being said. And it could be argued that Nolan explores these themes and ideas in different guises often throughout his filmography. For me, that’s the true nature of an auteur and why I keep returning to his work with a huge sense of excitement and wonder.

I couldn’t have picked a better film for my return to the silver screen. If this is anything to go by, I can’t wait to go back. Maybe I already have?

Thursday 27 August 2020

The Haunting of Bly Manor first look

The Haunting of Hill House was a supernatural hit for Netflix in 2018 and followed the tragic tale of a family haunted by ghosts of the past and present (a theme also brilliantly explored in stablemate Locke & Key).

Henry Thomas, famous for playing Elliott in director Steven Spielberg's E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, will return in the sequel, The Haunting of Bly Manor, along with Victoria Pedretti who most recently appeared in the Spielberg-produced Amazing Stories reboot for Apple TV+.

Speaking about the new season, series creator Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep) said: “At its foundation, the Haunting series is very much about haunted spaces and haunted people. The way we make those things dance together is really going to be what’s uniform about Hill House and Bly.

“Outside of that, though, it was really important for all of us not to play the same notes we played for the first season. The first season is very much entrenched in family dynamics and death and grief and loss and child trauma. We all collectively felt like we’d said everything we wanted to say about that.”

The Haunting of Bly Manor is rumoured to stream on Netflix this October. Just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Cult classics on BritBox

With autumn fast approaching in the northern hemisphere, BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and commercial broadcaster ITV, has added a collection of cult sci-fi and fantasy series to lure geeks (myself included) to the streaming service since my initial review earlier this year.

Thunderbirds, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Prisoner, Sapphire & Steel, Star Cops and Space: 1999 are among the highlights along with every available episode of classic Doctor Who - the reason I resubscribed during lockdown. All the cult series Nick Smith, our resident US-based stellar scribe, and me watched at the Vintage Video club where we first met as undergraduates at Bournemouth University.

Whereas Star Cops has dated horribly, Space: 1999 has never looked better and I was instantly transported back to the late seventies when I watched reruns, on ITV, as my Dinky Toys Eagle battled Kenner die-cast TIE Fighters and a Star Destroyer alongside the Millennium Falcon and Luke Skywalker's X-wing.

Dragon's Domain, with guest star Michael Sheard who appeared in classic Doctor Who serial Pyramids of Mars and played the ill-fated Admiral Ozzel in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, was the stuff of childhood nightmares and is a pre-Alien haunted house in space (Alien reused sound effects from Space: 1999).

Sapphire & Steel, played by Joanna Lumley and David McCallum respectively, remains a creepy, claustrophobic paranormal thriller following the enigmatic titular time travellers as they investigate anomalies. Inspiring the overarching 'cracks in time' plot for Matt Smith's Doctor Who decades later.

The Box of Delights, starring Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who), is now streaming too, but I'd suggest waiting until November to savour that festive timey-wimey tale. Hopefully, many more series will be added to BritBox's burgeoning cult collection including The Children of Green Knowe, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Day of the Triffids, The Tomorrow People, Chocky and Blake's 7.

These cult series will be discovered by a new generation of fans. However, as John Rivers points out in comments, BritBox needs to expand the availability of its app. This is 2020.

Monday 24 August 2020

Welcome to the FanDome

DC FanDome is over and I missed it! Mostly because of DC Comics' debatable decision to use its own online portal and not livestream the event on YouTube.

So, I opted to watch DC's Stargirl, streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime in the UK. Geoff Johns' live-action series is a superhero gem comparable to the early seasons of The CW's The Flash and Supergirl with a Wizarding World twist.

However, Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, don's a virtual cowl to save the day (night if you were watching from the UK).

Guest post by Nick Smith

Unlike San Diego’s Comic-Con@Home event, a lot of which is still viewable on YouTube, the DC FanDome was live and direct, only existing for a giddy 24 hours. While some of the teases, trailers and concept art are now out and about on the internet, if you want to see Gal Gadot and Chris Pine playing Werewolf 1984, you’re out of luck.

With its FanDome, (presumably located somewhere beyond the Thunderdome round the corner from the Pleasuredome), DC Comics made a brave and bold attempt to embrace the interactivity of the internet, with rolling comments on the right-hand side of their Hall of Heroes (“Tweet with #DCFanDome for a chance to be featured”) and, in the main portion of the Hall, cast and crew talking to each other and answering questions from fans.

While the day had its tentpole movies to pitch, such as Wonder Woman 1984, The Flash and a Shazam! sequel, some of these flicks aren’t due for a couple of years and the ones in production – like The Batman, about 25% complete – whetted the appetite but weren’t worth holding your breath for (you would run out of air waiting for the release date). The trailer for The Batman looks great, suggesting that the Bat will be treated right. But more on that later…

Ironically, comic books didn’t really get a look-in; the closest we got was a laid-back, diversity-honouring interview with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer/Publisher Jim Lee (his favourite character as a kid was Matter Eater Lad!), a ‘Legacy of the Bat’ panel and a ‘Surprise DC Comics’ panel. The latter was about the return of Milestone Comics, with God Amongst Artists Denys Cowan amongst the panellists along with Lee, Reggie Hudlin, and actor Phil Lamarr (Static Shock). Yes, a Static film is on the cards – so even on a comic book panel, movies reared their powerful head.

Lee also reviewed portfolios of fan art focused on supervillains, a rare chance to hear opinions from the mentor and motivator. Other fan art was featured during the day, adding to the ‘for the fans’ aspect of the event.

A clip from the Joker documentary, “Put On a Happy Face,” included appearances by Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Frank Miller, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, Christian Bale, and a whole pack more. Any film that draws attention to Mark Hamill’s incredible talents is well worth a watch.

“I’m Batman: The Voices Behind the Cowl” was a panel that brought overdue attention to actors who voice the superhero. Not just the English-speaking ones, like LEGO Batman’s Will Arnett, but Jaron Löwenburg (who dubs a German version), Sergio Gutiérrez (Spanish), Claudio Santamaria (Italian), Iván Marín (Colombian) and others.

The Sandman is receiving an audio adaptation and there was a panel to prove it, featuring Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs and Michael Sheen. The panel also covered the new spin-off comic (The Dreaming: Waking Hours) and the forthcoming Netflix show. The big news: the Netflix version of The Sandman will be set in the present day rather than the 1980s/’90s setting of the original comics.

The Twitter brigade jumped on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s comment that his Black Adam was willing to kill, while Superman was not. Henry Cavill’s Supes knobbles General Zod, they tattled. The Rock’s Q&A session was a highlight of the FanDome, as he enthused about his 2022 movie Black Adam, revealed that the Justice Society of America (specifically Atom Smasher, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Cyclone) would be involved. The project has been in development for over 10 years. The star described it as a passion project and a dream of his.

Mr. Rock likes Adam’s grey-area position on heroism (‘superhero, anti-hero… villain?’). He wants Adam to fight with Superman. I’d spend money in a comic shop where you can have a conversation with The Rock about superhero morals. This was as close as you could get.

In the new Suicide Squad game “Kill the Justice League,” they have good reason to - Superman kills somebody (he’s being controlled by Brainiac). The graphics (you can see Boomerang’s twitching whiskers!), character interplay and sense of fun made this look like a must-play from Rocksteady, developer of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Will Arnett teleported into the ‘Fanzone,’ as he called it, cracking silly jokes and interviewing Rocksteady’s steadfastly British Creative Director and Co-Founder Sefton Hill. Will proved he knew his stuff by dropping a Taskforce X reference and asking about the through-lines from the Arkham games. According to Hill, they will come to fruition in the new project.

Gotham Knights was the other game featured; Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin and Red Hood take up Batman’s mantle after his death. I guess Batman doesn’t know about this whole death thing since he has a movie coming out too, in which he’s played by Robert Pattinson. The pointy-chinned actor gave a watchable performance in Water for Elephants but I’m not on Team Edward. However, after watching director Matt Reeves talk about the gritty film – a kind of Batman: Year Two – and seeing the trailer, with Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Zoe Kravitz with a tea cosy on her head, I’m sold.

‘Just like the OG animated series!’ enthused Tweeter Andre Saint-Albin. ‘The detective and the myth that is “The Batman”! Matt Reeves saying all the right things.’ Such as name-checking classic films Chinatown, The French Connection and Taxi Driver. What we really got from Reeves was an extended pitch for the movie and he’s excited, informed and intent on treating Batman as seriously as a playboy millionaire’s heart attack.

In other movie news, Aquaman 2 got a mention in a fun mini-panel with director James Wan and Ocean Master Patrick Wilson, discussing production of the first movie and the sight of, ‘Dolph Lundgren on a tater-totter.’ Wan admitted that nothing was easy underwater. Wilson reminisced about sitting on a blue oil drum, grateful he was made aware of the digital world that would be built around him. He compared the non-sets with, ‘black box theatre where there is nothing… that’s why we get into this business in the first place… we concentrate on relationships.’ Wan was friendly and confident, having done a great job with his team of creating creatures and making people look floaty in the first film.

Shazam 2’s title was announced (Fury of the Gods) in a splendidly goofy Shazoom meeting, and we were teased about the Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League; Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot formed part of the panel. The four-hour version of the Justice League epic will premiere on HBO Max in 2021.

With their Hall of Heroes day, DC Comics really attempted to provide variety and appeal to different ages; the Rock Q&A, for example, was accessible but he didn’t talk down to viewers/users/visitors. A different Q&A with an animated Harley Quinn was a lot sillier and filled with bleeped-out expletives. Like the Marvel Comics contributions to SDCC, their Distinguished Competition never forgot to be slick or fun.

This was the place to see actors from Wonder Woman 1984 play a whodunnit game – a little hard to follow but still fun. As one Tweeter said, ‘the cast… playing Werewolf on video is actually a fun and great idea for an event. Very creative #DCFanDome.’ For a Titans TV show segment, clips were shown then the panellists responded. The new season will visit a Gotham inhabited by the Scarecrow and Commissioner Barbara Gordon. CNN acknowledged real-life heroes around the globe, including the USA, India and our precious old Blighty.

A nod to Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary next year was too short and we didn’t really get the ‘celebration’ we were promised, but it was worth popping in to see Gal Gadot and Linda Carter together. We didn’t get too much information about The Flash movie but we did get confirmation that Ben Affleck would return as Old Man Bats.

Shazaam! star Zachary Levi hit the nail on the head when he jokingly described this day as trotting out known names to sell something. There was definitely a reliance on currently popular characters like the Joker (thanks to the excellent Joaquin Phoenix movie), Aquaman (thanks to hunky Jason Momoa), the much-anticipated Wonder Woman 1984, a follow-up to the hit Arkham Asylum game, and the ever-popular Batman. Thankfully, amidst all the Hollywood hoop-la, it was made clear that comics won’t go away – if nothing else they are a great testing ground for new ideas.

With hosts from around the world, including the US, Australia and New Zealand, and fan questions from as far afield as Brazil, DC Comics showed how global its reach truly is and how its fans help to spread the comic book gospel far and wide. By acknowledging the fans, there’s an inherent intent to do right by them, placing them all in a virtual Hall of Heroes.

Sunday 23 August 2020

The Batman first look at DC FanDome

Since the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman hasn't captured my imagination on the big screen under the auspices of Zack Snyder (Man of Steel). So, I'm hoping director Matt Reeves' The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson (Tenet) as the titular caped crusader, will be on par with last year's Oscar-winning Joker.

Fans (myself included) were treated to a first look at the upcoming movie during this weekend's DC FanDome. Nick Smith will be commenting on the state of the DC Universe in an upcoming post, but I thought I'd share the official teaser trailer with you.

Are you hyped for The Batman? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 22 August 2020

How to watch DC FanDome

DC FanDome, a stay-at-home 24-hour online event covering all things DC Comics, is this weekend.

As a lifelong fan of Batman, reruns of Adam West's camp crusader were synonymous with Saturday morning television and collecting die-cast Corgi toys in the mid-to-late seventies, Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter was a childhood crush, and Superman, Christopher Reeve's silver screen incarnation will always be definitive underscored by Hollywood composer John Williams' heroic soundtrack (Superman: The Movie was the second film I saw at the cinema, after Star Wars, and I still have a Superman pin from the screening), I'll be watching for sure.

To kick things off, Joker: Put On a Happy Face is available for free on Apple TV. The compelling documentary celebrates the cultural impact of Batman's archenemy and argues why The Crown Prince of Crime is the greatest comic book supervillain of all time.

DC's Stargirl has begun streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime (affiliate link) in the UK. The live-action series, based on Geoff Johns' superhero (a poignant tribute to the comic creator's late sister), is on par with Swamp Thing and Watchmen. In a move surprising no one, DC Universe's original shows are moving to HBO Max as part of a wider organisation reshuffle in the wake of major layoffs.

During lockdown a childhood passion for toy photography was reignited. Beginning with Wonder Woman 1984's Golden Armour action figure, from McFarlane's DC Multiverse line, shot on my iPhone SE.

To watch DC FanDome, simply visit here. Stay tuned for Nick Smith's coverage of DC FanDome. DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse is scheduled for 12th September.

What are you most looking forward to during DC FanDome? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 20 August 2020

First PS5 ad about all the feels

With the launch of next generation consoles PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series X only months away, Sony has released the first PS5 commercial, featuring CGI and socially distanced live-action footage, during a global pandemic. All the feels.

Sony's marketing push for the PS5 has begun in earnest starting with the company's ongoing sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. Last evening I noticed the PS4 logo had been replaced by PS5 during the semi-final clash between Lyon and Bayern Munich on BT Sport.

Much is being made of the DualSense controller's implementation of haptic feedback. As of now, the Xbox One controller remains my all-time favourite. Will that change this holiday season? Assuming I'm able to get hands-on, I'll let you know.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on getting a PS5 at launch? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Doctor Who immersive experience coming to London

Today would have been my late mum's 79th birthday and the mood has been bittersweet. However, Classic FM, one of mum's favourite radio stations, played Adventures on Earth (From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) in a moment of perfect synchronicity. Yes, it opened the emotional flood gates, but in the best way possible. My mood was further buoyed by the following timey-wimey news concerning our favourite Time Lord.

An immersive Doctor Who experience from the team behind long-running immersive show The Great Gatsby, delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has been confirmed to premiere in London in February 2021. Featuring Daleks, Cybermen and Time Lords, the unique story arc will have a tie-in with the multimedia event Time Lord Victorious.

The official plot synopsis for the event reads, “1940 – it’s the height of the Blitz. A weapon of unknown origin destroys a small corner of Mayfair, and simultaneously opens up a rift in space and time.

“For decades, UNIT has fought to protect the people of Earth from the dangers it poses, but they’ve been beaten back as the fracture multiplies out of control.

“Earth as we know it is at stake – now is the time for you to step up and be the hero. Travelling to impossible places, confronting menacing monsters and ancient aliens along the way, it’s a journey across space and time to save our race, and our beautiful planet.”

Doctor Who: Time Fracture is directed by Tom Maller and written by Daniel Dingsdale.

Dingsdale said: "Drawing from the rich legacy of Doctor Who, which spans over half a century, we are creating an adventure that will entertain both fans that have immersed themselves in the show’s universe for years, and audience members who will walk in from the street having never seen an episode. It’s going to be an absolute blast."

Louis Hartshorn, joint chief executive of Immersive Everywhere, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with BBC Studios to bring the incredible universe of Doctor Who to life in a way that only immersive theatre can.

"We can’t wait for audiences to step into the world of The Doctor, and find themselves closer to the action than ever before, in this expansive and ambitious new show.

"Based on everything we know now, we are confident that Doctor Who: Time Fracture will be able to go ahead as planned in early 2021 and will be taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our audiences and full creative team."

Doctor Who: Time Fracture will hopefully be as inclusive as the wonderful Doctor Who Experience, which I visited with friends, at London's Olympia, in 2011. Tickets go on general sale from Thursday 20th August and are expected to be in high demand. An Early Bird UNIT bundle is available for £20 and includes an exclusive Operation Time Fracture premium cotton t-shirt, a lapel pin badge and an A2 poster print featuring production artwork.

Monday 17 August 2020

Fortnite gets The Last Laugh

Epic Games' Fortnite may have been removed from both Apple and Google app stores for the foreseeable future. However, it's DC FanDome this week and the company has teamed up with Warner Bros. to bring a new DC Comics supervillain bundle including The Joker to Fortnite.

You'll be able to download the new The Last Laugh bundle (affiliate link) for £24.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch through Fortnite's in-game store or as a physical copy from retailers this November. “It will also arrive in time for the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X next-generation consoles,” Epic Games said. The company has previously worked with Marvel Comics.

With regards to the app store lawsuit. “For players on mobile and PC platforms, we've got you covered,” the Fortnite creator said. “We'll share how you'll be able to purchase the Fortnite: The Last Laugh Bundle soon.”

Stay tuned for further Fortnite and DC FanDome coverage.

Sunday 16 August 2020

John Williams’ classic film scores in Dolby Atmos

Hollywood composer John Williams, who celebrated his 88th birthday in February, is known to generations of film fans for his Oscar-winning soundtracks from Jaws to Star Wars. I can't listen to Adventures on Earth (From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) without breaking down in tears such are the bittersweet memories it evokes - amplified by my late mum's birthday being in the month of August.

Fans (myself included) can enjoy a brand new recording of the maestro's work, performed with gusto by Wiener Philharmoniker and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and conducted by the composer himself, in Dolby Atmos on Amazon Music HD or Blu-ray. Incidentally, Dolby has a storied history with the Star Wars franchise for which Williams' music is synonymous.

3D audio is no stranger to the company, says Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “As the label that was founded by the inventor of the Gramophone, Deutsche Grammophon has always embraced technological innovation. Building on the long tradition of our engineers, who produced multi-track and quadraphonic recordings in the 1970s and 1980s, Deutsche Grammophon was the first label to create Dolby Atmos mixes of entire symphony cycles starting in 2017. There are so many wonderful details and spatial effects in classical music that are lost in the standard stereo mix, but which are brought to life through the Dolby Atmos technology, adding another dimension to the listening experience. The ‘John Williams in Vienna’ album is a perfect showcase for that: the world’s most renowned film music composer with one of the top orchestras in the fabled acoustics of Musikverein.”

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was released in cinemas 40 years ago and the Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) received top treatment. “It was honestly one of the best presentations of that March I’ve ever heard,” Williams said of the performance. “They played it as though they owned it.”

“Performing at such a prestigious venue as the Musikverein with the magnificent Wiener Philharmoniker and the incomparable Anne-Sophie Mutter was a very great privilege indeed,” recalls Williams. “I’m delighted that listeners will be able to share that experience through the special technology of Dolby Atmos.”

John Couling, Senior Vice President, Commercial Partnerships, Dolby Laboratories added: “John Williams is undoubtedly one of the greatest film composers of all time and for him to have performed with the world-renowned Wiener Philharmoniker at what many consider the home of classical music is an unmissable spectacle. We’re thrilled to present this once-in-a-lifetime concert in Dolby Atmos for fans around the world, ensuring they can enjoy it as though they are sitting in the best seat in the house, any time they like.”

You can subscribe to Amazon Music HD (affiliate link) or buy the Blu-ray (affiliate link).

Saturday 15 August 2020

Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite

In the midst of a global pandemic a new Fortnite season is heralded by a stage-managed spat between Epic Games, Apple and Google, which has divided gamers following the removal of Fortnite from the tech titans' app stores due to the company bypassing storefronts and a 30% charge.

“Apple’s removal of Fortnite is yet another example of Apple flexing its enormous power in order to impose unreasonable restraints and unlawfully maintain its 100% monopoly over the iOS in-app payment processing market,” the company said in a statement.

Epic Games released a parody of Apple's 1984 commercial directed by Ridley Scott (Alien).

Whilst some commentators have suggested it's a David and Goliath battle, Epic Games has profited hugely from the runaway success of Fortnite, a $200 million dollar investment from Sony and licensing its Unreal Engine for use in video games and productions including Disney+ live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.

“We applaud Epic Games’ decision to take a stand against Apple and shed further light on Apple’s abuse of its dominant position,” a Spotify spokesperson said late on Thursday. “Apple’s unfair practices have disadvantaged competitors and deprived consumers for far too long. The stakes for consumers and app developers large and small couldn’t be higher and ensuring that the iOS platform [Apple’s operating system] operates competitively and fairly is an urgent task with far-reaching implications.”

The coronavirus pandemic has seen Apple's sales increase exponentially with the iPhone SE (I finally moved over to iOS devices full-time when the new model was launched earlier this year) being the biggest beneficiary. xCloud, Microsoft's upcoming streaming service free for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers (myself included), won't be available at launch. Clearly, a battle royale is in the making courtesy of clever marketing with Facebook entering the fray.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to finish streaming season one of Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet, an acerbic video game industry satire, on Apple TV+.

Friday 14 August 2020

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special on Disney+

The holiday season is almost upon us as the year passes by in the blink of an eye due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There's some festive cheer to look forward to with the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special coming to Disney+.

Our beloved band of heroes celebrate Life Day, introduced in 1978's infamous Star Wars Holiday Special and most recently mentioned in The Mandalorian, on Chewbacca's homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Set after The Rise of Skywalker, Rey sets out with BB-8 to learn more about the Force and meets friends and foes from the entire Skywalker Saga. There's a tie-in with this year's LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar and DK Books.

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special streams on 17th November on Disney+.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Halo Infinite delayed until 2021

Microsoft has confirmed the Xbox Series X will be released this November. However, Halo Infinite will no longer be a launch title and this could be damaging when the PlayStation 5 (PS5) is launching with an exclusive edition of Marvel's Avengers (including Spider-Man in 2021) and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales this holiday season.

Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, delaying Halo Infinite is a wise decision irrespective of how poor the response was from the gaming community during Xbox Games Showcase. That said, please keep everyone's favourite bald brute as an Easter egg. Personally, I'm more than happy with my Xbox One X and Game Pass, and will be playing Cyberpunk 2077 on Microsoft's mid-gen machine later this year.

Literally, as the UK enters its worst recession in decades, there's no incentive to buy an Xbox Series X at launch and the PS5 has that sleek alien form factor advantage that appeals to my sci-fi fandom too. Make Mine Marvel, Make Mine PlayStation.

Are you planning on getting an Xbox Series X at launch or has Halo Infinite's delay changed your mind? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 12 August 2020

Star Wars in crisis?

In this opinion piece regarding the current state of Star Wars, Matt Charlton, our resident Disney superfan, reflects on recent rumours in the wake of the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. Does the Force have a future?

Guest post by Matt Charlton

Like the whispers of a planetary blockade in place above the planet Naboo over a 'trade dispute', with news only just reaching the Galactic Senate and prompting the dispatch of two Jedi Knights to investigate, could there be any truth in a recent revelation from a YouTuber that we could well be facing a Star Wars Expanded Universe-esc (EU) retcon, which might result in the sequel trilogy being spun off to an alternative reality?

Be warned, spoilers will be afoot for those who have not yet seen the Skywalker Saga - if you would like to avoid them, please navigate away now.

It's no secret that the sequel trilogy wasn't well received by an especially vocal segment of the Star Wars fanbase. There were many people who were upset with story lines, casting decisions and many other issues that came to light from what many perceive to be a disjointed way of thinking, combined with conflicting ideas from The Walt Disney Company along with directors, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, screenwriters and an urgency to recoup the $4 billon dollar invested in acquiring Lucasfilm from George Lucas in 2012.

If there's one thing that we've learned in the Information Age, there is nought as fickle as a pop culture fanbase and given 24/7 access to the internet, boy do they like every one to know about it [the fandom menace casts a long shadow- Ed].

A lot of people were overly critical that director JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens followed George Lucas' A New Hope too closely. Some of the plot points certainly seemed to mirror those tropes we saw in 1977. Simply replace Starkiller Base with the Death Star and take Jakku's sandy landscape for what we saw in Tatooine with a teenager staring out into the sky wondering what might be possible and you can certainly see what people are saying - if you were that way inclined.

Personally, I loved The Force Awakens. I liked the new direction. I liked the teases about Rey's (Daisy Ridley) parentage, wondering about where Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) got Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) lightsaber from when we last saw it dropping through the middle of Cloud City on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back and wondering what on earth had happened to make Luke up sticks and run away, and why the heck R2-D2 ended up with a map to where he was if he didn't want anyone to find him?

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was the perfect embodiment of the dark side. Wonderfully played by Adam Driver with a depth we've not seen in the Star Wars universe for some time. It was a great start to the trilogy and I remember wondering if that was a gravestone we saw where Luke was on the cliff top, to the point where I would freeze frame the digital copy that I bought on the Apple TV in order to try to find clues in what The Last Jedi might bring us.

Rian Johnson's movie was a fairly radical departure from what we knew. A lot of people were unhappy with the way that Luke was written out. It's difficult to know how Mark Hamill felt about the way things went but I think he probably, like the rest of us might have wanted to see a little more than Force Projection as a display of Luke's powers. It was even worse when the resulting physical and psychological damage from this ends the life of our beloved hero. I loved him throwing the lightsaber over his shoulder. It was funny - though I'm not sure it was a very 'Luke' thing to do.

We know from The Rise of Skywalker that the X-wing, we see beneath the waves, is fully operational, but it could well be that until Luke transcended the living Force and gave up his physical form that he never truly believed that he could get over that stumbling block that Master Yoda (Frank Oz) had to help him with in The Empire Strikes back and lift it out of there. The accompanying score to that piece (mirroring the Dagobah swamp sequence) certainly helped my tear ducts to produce 'something'. He finally did it. Do, or do not. But there was nothing stopping him, physically from jumping into it and heading to Crait to help out, in person, and get a proper on screen reunion with his sister and his two beloved droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO.

The return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in The Rise of Skywalker was pretty cool, we got to see some pretty neat set pieces and some new Force powers. The pacing of the movie is pretty quick, it never feels as long as it is.

I think for me, looking back over the three 'new' movies as a whole - I enjoyed them, they were fun, and there are certain aspects of them that I love, but when you put them all together, as a trilogy - something isn't quite right. The poorest, out of the three was The Last Jedi. With Luke's bizarre behaviour, green milk drinking defeatist attitude and Yoda blowing up the (empty) Jedi library. The last act with them trying to outrun the First Order and having limited fuel was also a little lacking on story timing.

As a trilogy, it falls flat.

Is this down to a missing overarching vision? Was it a case of having too many different directors involved, then changing directors due to creative differences? Did Rian Johnson look to change too much of what JJ Abrams had laid the foundations for and it was too difficult to bring back to something that made sense?

One of the really jarring things, is Leia's (Carrie Fisher) Mary Poppins in space sequence, I didn't like that at all, it just felt like it went against everything we know about what would actually happen if someone found themselves out there in the vacuum of space. I know it's a movie, I know it's science fiction, but it just didn't gel for me, maybe it was the CGI, it just didn't look natural.

Although Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford all signed on for (at least) The Force Awakens, there was never a reunion of all three on screen. I think everybody expected this to happen. With Harrison Ford being taken out in the first movie, it was probably never going to be part of the plan, though he does return for The Rise of Skywalker. The untimely, devastating passing of Carrie Fisher will have also changed the direction of where they were originally going with the trilogy when it was first planned out.

There's been a lot of talk on the internet about how the fine folks at Disney aren't too happy with Star Wars - when they purchased Lucasfilm, they thought they were buying a license to print money, and it turns out that if the money you're printing isn't the denomination or the currency that the fans are wanting, they'll outright find another minting source.

I'm a big Disney fan. I love Disney. I also think that they did a stellar job with Marvel Studios since they took over, the whole of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) shows what is possible with joined-up thinking and an overarching storyline that can culminate in the coming together of multiple superheroes and a decade of planning to give us the Russo brothers' Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame blockbuster.

However, I don't know if they've taken the right path with Star Wars. I love there's a portion of the theme parks dedicated to all things Star Wars in Galaxy's Edge, I love that there's Darth Vader meet and greets and I love some of the other stuff that's come out. I even enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story, and I don't think there are many people who didn't enjoy Rogue One. In fact, I'd quite happily watch 3-hours of footage based around Darth Vader's single-handed assault on the docking corridor of the Tantive IV.

I remember the prequels coming out - I was 18 when The Phantom Menace was released. I remember when the first teasers dropped and you had to have QuickTime (QT) to watch them [I streamed it endlessly on my graphite iMac DV SE - Ed]. I remember being excited. I remember enjoying them. All three of them.

Sure some of the acting was wooden, some of the dialogue was cheesy, Jar Jar (Ahmed Best) was annoying, but overall I love them. I know a lot of other people didn't. There were similar feelings of unhappiness, the internet was still something that not many people had access to in the late 1990s and if they did it was on a single family computer rather than in the palm of their hand. It's a lot easier now to broadcast your opinion on an iPhone and have someone read it instantly.

If we think about the timelines of the trilogies, we can see some major differences.

The Phantom Menace - Anakin is a young boy
Attack of the Clones - Set 10 years after TPM
Revenge of the Sith - 3 years after AOTC
A New Hope - 19 years after ROTS
The Empire Strikes Back - 3 years after ANH
Return of the Jedi - anything up to a year
The Force Awakens - 30 years after ROTJ
The Last Jedi - Immediately after The Force Awakens
The Rise of Skywalker - A year after TLJ

The prequel trilogy spanned 13 years.
There was a 19 year gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
The original trilogy spanned 4 years. The sequel trilogy spanned 1 year.

It makes you wonder whether things got a little too granular, maybe there wasn't a big enough time jump to allow off-screen character development to take place, maybe this was influenced by the release schedule being one film every year [thankfully now abandoned - Ed]?

Say what you want about George Lucas, and him not having a 9 movie plan to start with [Lucas makes mention of the 9-part saga in the liner notes of The Empire Strikes Back - Ed] (I remember pre-internet this was something I used to excitedly discuss with my school friends). Star Wars was his baby. I know that the trade disputes/Trade federation weren't a great addition to The Phantom Menace, but it was more about bogging down the Jedi with red tape and distracting them from what else was going on, which gave Palpatine the platform that he needed to grab some emergency executive power to make things run faster so that he could 'help' Naboo. I get it, I get what he was going for.

I still would have rather had 3 movies about Anakin (Jake Lloyd/Hayden Christensen) at his darkest though. What we see implied with the Sand People and the Younglings is only scratching the surface at how far our young hero had to fall in order to become Darth Vader.

So anyway, back to the original point of this article. A concept was introduced in Star Wars Rebels called the Veil of the Force. If applied to the movies, this could allow for a multiverse/multiple timelines scenario. It could allow the events of the sequel trilogy to become things that are ignored/never happen. It could also give rise to something new - like a big screen version of Timothy Zahn's EU (now legends) trilogy complete with Grand Admiral Thrawn. That would be epic.

I completely understand why Disney did what they did with the EU content, by retconning/retiring all of the things that had come before, they could forge their own path. They wouldn't be constrained by stories that had been told before.

To paraphrase Doctor Ian Malcolm, just because they could do something, doesn't necessarily mean that they should have.

There's been a huge number of internet outlets pick up on the potential 'leak' from Dicktor Van Doomcock, with some mainstream UK tabloids also getting in on the act.

There's rumours that a Lucas cut of The Rise of Skywalker exists, and that it contains lots of additional footage that was left on the cutting room floor of the edit we ended up with. There are rumours that somehow Luke will be warned not to attempt to kill Ben Solo, stopping him from becoming Kylo Ren.

There are rumours that the higher ups at Disney aren't happy with the direction things have been taken in and there are rumours that things could be changing as and when contracts end.

There are also rumours that we could see additional Luke Skywalker movies, set in the Mandalorian timeframe that could also somehow tie into the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) live-action series.

I still want to know how the hell Maz got hold of the lightsaber, and like Mark Hamill want to know if it came with the hand still attached? :D

The Mandalorian has shown Disney that there is still a massive appetite for Star Wars content, and that the content doesn't necessarily have to have characters we have come to know and love in them. If the story is right, the direction is done well and there's a cute green alien involved, we're all over it.

Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is being touted as the new head of Star Wars alongside Dave Filoni, with the help of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. There are even rumours that George Lucas might be coming back to run Lucasfilm. Who knows at this point what is true or not.

I'm not sure a replacement sequel trilogy will be what we end up with, but I definitely think that Disney are doing some work, internally, to see what they can do to move forward from where they have seemingly ended up.

There are still so many aspects of the Star Wars universe that are ripe for exploration on both the big screen and on the small screen with Disney+, I don't think the stories are finished, and I'm excited to see where things end up going.

Do I think that there's enough hate to completely remove the sequel trilogy from Star Wars canon? Maybe.

Do I really believe that something like this will happen? Not really.

And besides, Master Yoda says that... Hate.... leads to Suffering.

What's next? We get Game of Thrones Season 8 redone? :D

The original YouTube video, with regards to the rumours.

Read an article on Cosmic Book News, which discusses the content of the video above and also lists Lucas' alleged demands.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 10 August 2020

Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who for Big Finish

Fantastic news for fellow Whovians. Christopher Eccleston (The A Word) is reprising the role of Doctor Who, for the first time in 15 years, for a new set of audio adventures from Big Finish.

Speaking about his return to the role, Eccleston said: “After 15 years, it will be exciting to revisit the Ninth Doctor’s world, bringing back to life a character I love playing.”

Eccleston was the first actor to play Doctor Who when the series returned to television screens, under the auspices of then showrunner Russell T Davies, in 2005. He brought an edginess to the role as exemplified in Dalek. I empathised, in a way I never had before, with the titular Time Lord's post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Eccleston and Matt Smith's regenerations left me emotionally bereft and I can't wait to hear Eccleston. Between ourselves, I haven't heard any Big Finish audiobooks. Then again, I haven't seen every available episode of classic Doctor Who. Sometimes it's good knowing there's things you've yet to experience. You know?

Sunday 9 August 2020

Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones on BBC America

Classic Doctor Who serial The Faceless Ones, starring Patrick Troughton as the titular character and sees the departure of TARDIS companions Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills), will be shown on BBC America this October.

BBC Studios builds on its previous success with Troughton's The Power of the Daleks and The Macra Terror to restore another lost serial, from the BBC's infamous purge of master tapes, using animation. This technique is used in the upcoming Fury from the Deep (affiliate link) on Blu-ray and DVD this September.

I read the Target novelisation, written by the late, great, Terrance Dicks, in middle school and have yet to see The Faceless Ones (read Andrew Lewin's review here). The release coincided with the coronavirus lockdown, War of the Worlds and Normal People.

The Faceless Ones premieres Wednesday, 7th October on BBC America. Classic Doctor Who is streaming on BritBox and every season since 2005 is streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Ridley Scott's Raised by Wolves on HBO Max

Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) continues to examine the relationship between androids and humans, a venerable trope most recently explored in Star Trek: Picard and HBO stablemate Westworld, in his upcoming sci-fi series for HBO Max, Raised by Wolves.

The Alien prequels met with mixed reaction from fans (myself included) of the franchise. Raised by Wolves suggests a return to a form last seen in The Martian and comparisons with I Am Mother are inevitable - machines raising endangered organic life - albeit in the aesthetic of Scott's Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

Raised by Wolves is produced by Scott Free Productions, with Scott, Aaron Guzikowski, David W. Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Adam Kolbrenner and Mark Huffam executive producing.

The 10-episode series begins streaming, with the opening two episodes directed by Scott himself, on HBO Max on 3rd September.

Sky recently inked a new first-run deal with Warner Bros. So, Raised by Wolves will probably be on Sky Atlantic in the UK although no official announcement has been made.

Friday 7 August 2020

Alien and Predator move to Marvel

For a generation of Alien, Predator and Star Wars fans (myself included), Dark Horse Comics satiated fevered fandom between movie franchise instalments and Kenner (bought by Hasbro) produced an amazing line of tie-in toys, available at Argos, in the nineties.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas in 2012, as expected, Dark Horse Comics lost the Star Wars license back to Marvel Comics. Following the House of Mouse's acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox's film and television assets, the Alien and Predator comics are also moving from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel Comics.

"There's nothing more thrilling than a story that will keep you at the edge of your seat, and Alien and Predator have delivered that time and time again!" C.B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel, told IGN. "I can clearly remember where I was when I saw each of these modern masterpieces for the first time, and reveling in how both masterfully weave extraterrestrial dread and drama into some of the most iconic scenes we've ever seen on film. And it's that legacy that we're going to live up to!"

"The incredible legacies of both franchises offer some of the most compelling and exciting worldbuilding in all of science fiction," said Marvel Editor Jake Thomas. "It is a thrill and an honor to be able to add to that mythology and continuity with all-new stories set within those universes."

"Alien and Predator are the two of the most identifiable, iconic characters of all time, and I love them for that," said comic book artist David Finch. "But mostly, it's being fortunate enough to be a kid when they were new. I've seen every movie they've ever been in, and I cannot wait to see them wreaking havoc in the Marvel Universe. I drew my pictures of them with a massive smile on my face."

"As a visual medium, comics are the perfect place to build on those moments, and we here at Marvel are honored to begin telling these stories for fans everywhere," added Cebulski. "As our release schedule continues to return, we can't wait to share more in the coming months!"

Due to the Disney takeover and coronavirus pandemic, director Ridley Scott's Alien prequels remain in cryostasis for now. However, there's talk of an Aliens live-action spin-off series coming to Hulu.

Alien and Predator begin their all-new comic book turf war in 2021.

Thursday 6 August 2020

Mulan on Disney+ is a 'one-off' this September

The longterm socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are yet to be fully determined in the wake of our shared trauma. As countries emerge from lockdown, it's increasingly clear that life will never be the same for any of us - heartfelt sympathies to those who have lost loved ones.

Cinema chains that have reopened, with social distancing measures in place, are struggling to entice large scale audiences back. So much so, AMC and Universal Pictures have struck a deal that would shorten the established theatrical window to just 17 days before new movies are available to stream online, at a premium price, with revenue sharing for both companies.

Disney has decided to drop the delayed live-action adaptation of Mulan onto Disney+ and into selected cinemas from 4th September. Disney CEO Bob Chapek explains why:

"We’re very pleased to be able to bring Mulan to our consumer base that’s been waiting for it for a long, long time, as we’ve had to unfortunately had to move our theatrical date several times. We’re fortunate that we have the opportunity to bring it to our own direct-to-consumer platform so consumers can enjoy it. But we’re looking at Mulan as a one-off, as opposed to trying to say there’s a new business windowing model that we’re looking at. So Mulan is a one-off. That said, we find it very interesting to be able to take a new offering, our premiere access offering, to consumers at that $29.99 price, and learn from it and see what happens not only in terms of the uptake of the number of the subscribers that we get on that platform, but the actual number of transactions we get on the Disney+ platform that we get on that PVOD offering."

Is this truly a one-off? Disney's decision cements a new era in vertical distribution for the House of Mouse. The studio previously released Artemis Fowl and brought Frozen 2, Onward and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to the streaming service early for those self-isolating. And Marvel Studio's Black Widow maybe next as we continue to live with coronavirus lockdowns in the 'new normal'.

Are you happy to pay a premium to see movies at home? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Chewbacca and Boba Fett vacation in Exmouth

Holidaymakers were greeted by surprise visitors from a galaxy far, far away... when Chewbacca, best friend of Han Solo and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, and bounty hunter Boba Fett appeared on Exmouth seafront (photo: Peter Hopkins) this week.

The odd couple have emerged from lockdown and seemingly become friends despite the notorious bounty hunter capturing Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back and taking him, frozen in carbonite, to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Boba Fett (Jonathon Curtis-Kroeger) and Chewbacca (David Wellbeloved) appeared on BBC Spotlight and were interviewed by Devon Live. The screen-accurate cosplaying Star Wars fans are members of Southern Troopers who fundraise for various charities including Children's Hospice South West - I recently donated rare Doctor Who memorabilia, raising hundreds of pounds for the charity.

So, if you're by the Jurassic Coast don't be surprised if you bump into Boba Fett and Chewbacca this summer. Socially distanced and wearing a mask (exceptions apply). You wouldn't want to end up frozen in carbonite whilst eating an ice cream...

Monday 3 August 2020

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep this September

Following the success of The Power of the Daleks, The Faceless Ones, Shada and The Macra Terror, another classic lost Doctor Who serial gets the animated treatment from BBC Studios this September.

Fury from the Deep is told across six episodes and stars Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield, in her last televised adventure.

The storyline concerns a colony of sentient, parasitic seaweed, last seen in the eighteenth century, returning to attack a number of gas instillations in the North Sea in an attempt to take over humanity.

The three-disc release gives fans the opportunity to enjoy Fury from the Deep in high definition, either in full colour or in black & white. The release will include the surviving clips from the original 1968 production as well.

The six new animated episodes are being made in full colour and high definition and will include the following exclusive special features:

Audio commentaries
The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury from the Deep
Original surviving footage
Behind The Scenes 8mm footage
Animating Fury from the Deep
Archive interviews with Peter Day and Victor Pemberton
Teaser Trailer
Photo Gallery
The Slide Audio Drama
PDF scripts

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep, coming 14th September, is available as DVD, Blu-ray, Steelbook and digital download. You can pre-order now from Amazon (affiliate link) and Zavvi (referral link).

Saturday 1 August 2020

Beam back aboard Discovery this October

Comic-Con@Home featuring a Star Trek Universe panel (including past and present cast members) may have ended. However, there's more exciting news for Star Trek fans.

Star Trek: Discovery season three begins on CBS All Access on 15th October and will be available on Netflix outside the US.

Discovery's second season ended with Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her crewmates facing an uncertain future (930 years into the future thanks to a wormhole) as Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) returned to the USS Enterprise to continue its mission. The latter deservedly garnering their own highly-anticipated spin-off series, Strange New Worlds.

"Now living in a time filled with uncertainty, the U.S.S. Discovery crew, along with the help of some new friends, must together fight to regain a hopeful future," CBS All Access teased.

In addition to Martin-Green, the cast for the third season of Discovery includes Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Ensign Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), David Ajala (Cleveland “Book” Booker) and Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou).

If Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks weren't enough Star Trek spin-offs for you. Star Trek: Prodigy is in development for Nickelodeon. Clearly, CBS All Access is for all things Trek.

Star Trek: Lower Decks, a new animated spin-off, starts streaming on CBS All Access on 6th August and, again, will be available on Netflix outside the US.

Are you looking forward to the return of Discovery? Let me know in the comments below.