Thursday 31 March 2022

Obi-Wan Kenobi at Star Wars Celebration

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi will now premiere on Disney+ during Star Wars Celebration.

Today's announcement was made by the titular Jedi Master himself, Ewan McGregor.

Read the official synopsis:

"The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader."

Obi-Wan Kenobi sees Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader) reprise their roles from George Lucas' prequel trilogy. Disney+ is the perfect platform to fully explore the tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi's greatest failure: losing Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and the rise of an evil Empire.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres with two episodes exclusively on Disney+ on 27th May.

Are you looking forward to seeing Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ and the return of Star Wars Celebration? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Top Gun: Maverick finally flies this May

Paramount Pictures has released a new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick.

Read the official synopsis:

"After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.” Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it."

The sequel to Tony Scott's beloved original has been delayed for a couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Top Gun: Maverick will be in cinemas on 27th May.

Monday 28 March 2022

Apple wins best picture for CODA

Apple TV+ is the first streaming service to win the best picture award at the Oscars for CODA.

"I can't believe it," Emilia Jones, who plays Ruby Rossi the child of deaf adults, told BBC News. "I honestly can't. When they called Coda out, we all just couldn't believe it. You know, we're the little underdog independent movie that kind of did it. And I'm just so grateful to everybody that has watched the movie, loved the movie and supported it. I'm on cloud nine."

Jones, daughter of singer and presenter Aled Jones, appeared as Merry Gejelh in Doctor Who and plays Kinsey Locke in Locke & Key on Netflix.

The Cupertino-based company is focused on prestige content. This win will only bolster the tech titan's position in an increasingly overcrowded space once dominated by Netflix.

Have you seen CODA on Apple TV+? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Darkness rises in LEGO Star Wars

The fine folks at WB Games have sent over a dark side trailer for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga coming soon to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (PS4), PlayStation 5 (PS5), Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles.

Read the press release from WB Games:

"In what will be the biggest and most visually striking LEGO Star Wars™ game yet, the trailer gives a look at the dark side of the Force featuring the saga’s greatest villains across all nine films. Players will be tested to join the dark side by many notorious villains such as Emperor Palpatine™, a shadow looming over the entire saga. With the ability to generate lightning from his fingertips, Palpatine is extremely dangerous and menacing.

General Grievous™, a spindly four-armed droid, is most notable for his powerful presence and ability to handle four lightsabers at the same time. Darth Maul™ is a formidable warrior strong with the dark side. Kylo Ren™, admirer of the villains who have come before him, wields an intimidating crossguard lightsaber with a vengeance. There is Boba Fett™, the legendary bounty hunter. And, of course, Darth Vader™ with his fearsome appearance, brutal moves and ambition to rule the galaxy. These are just some of the many villains players will encounter in their journey across the galaxy."

TT Games' latest instalment in the LEGO Star Wars video game franchise has been in development for several years and subjected to numerous delays. LEGO Star Wars fans (myself included) will soon find out if the Force is still with it.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (affiliate link) is set to release on 5th April.

Friday 25 March 2022

Marsh mystery Where the Crawdads Sing

2 years ago, the UK went into lockdown for the first time with a new normal in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19). Like many, I’ve lost family and friends during the ongoing pandemic, attended funeral services online and helped elderly and clinically vulnerable neighbours without access to technology. All the while socially distanced and shielding.

Normal People, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones (War of the Worlds) and Paul Mescal as ill-fated lovers, became a poetic pop culture phenomenon on BBC Three and Hulu. Subsequently, Edgar-Jones has appeared alongside Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) in Fresh on Star on Disney+ and will soon be seen in a movie adaptation of Delia Owens' novel Where the Crawdads Sing.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has released an official trailer featuring a new song by Taylor Swift.

Read the official synopsis:

"From the best-selling novel comes a captivating mystery. Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, isolating the sharp and resilient Kya from her community. Drawn to two young men from town, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world; but when one of them is found dead, she is immediately cast by the community as the main suspect. As the case unfolds, the verdict as to what actually happened becomes increasingly unclear, threatening to reveal the many secrets that lay within the marsh."

“I fell so deeply in love with the world that Delia created, she has such a poetry to her writing. And her characters are so incredibly special, and deep and complex — particularly Kya, of course,” said Edgar-Jones in a video on Instagram. “I would describe Kya as fiercely resilient, wonderfully curious and strong. And I just feel so privileged and excited to be playing her.”

Where the Crawdads Sing is in cinemas this July.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

The 8-Bit Wonder Years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum 8-bit home computers - sparking one of gaming's greatest school playground rivalries.

Christmas 1982, I unwrapped a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K and saw Disney's Tron. From then on I was hooked on computers, thanks to Sir Clive Sinclair and the generosity of my parents.

When Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International, began an aggressive home computer price war in the early eighties, the fabled Commodore 64 'bread bin' would take pride of place alongside an Atari VCS and Sinclair ZX Spectrum in the summer of 1984. The first game I remember playing on the machine was Sega's Up'n Down following an especially gruelling physiotherapy session.

Com-Com 64, as I affectionately nicknamed it, became a gateway into Lucasfilm Games.

From Rescue On Fractalus! to The Eidolon, I was enthralled by early titles from George Lucas' video games division founded during the production of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It was rebranded as LucasArts before Disney purchased Lucasfilm and shuttered the studio. Disney's decided to bring back the Lucasfilm Games brand for all future licensed games.

It's only apt that Nick Smith, our very own 'Commodore kid', reflects on the 8-bit home computer and console revolution that influenced a generation of geeks (myself included).

Guest post by Nick Smith

They bleeped. They were blocky. They were simple and they took a long time to load up, if they loaded up at all. They were Commodore 64 games.

Released in 1982, the C64 amazed us with the games it offered, available on cartridge, cassette and diskette to play, rewind and repeat. But we wanted more.

In its heyday, the console provided movie tie-ins, revamps of popular arcade games, versions of Nintendo or ZX Spectrum games, or generic knock-offs from car boot sales.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 64, here are just a few of the memorable games we played back in those 8-bit heydays.

Manic Miner

Take Mario, give him a pick, stick him in tunnels and what have you got? Manic Miner, that’s what! Instead of jumping on plums or whatever Mario does, Mr. Willy dug tunnels and it was so much fun that my sister and I were hooked like gold-diggers at a millionaire’s fishing tournament.

Willy explored different caverns, collecting flashing objects before he suffocated. As if that wasn’t enough, he also faced toxic flora and slime, spiders, robots and deadly drops off his precarious platforms. So addictive were the adventures of this chip off the old plumber that Manic Miner was the most popular game of 1984, spawning the sequel Jet Set Willy.


Delivering papers can be an arduous, thankless task. Just ask the players of Atari and Midway’s Paperboy, released by Elite Systems for the 64 in 1986. As you cycled through blocky, green-hued streets, you delivered papers to subscribers, picked up more news en route, and smashed up the homes of neighbours who didn’t have a subscription. Encouraging vandalism was lucrative for the game makers; a sequel came out on various platforms, including the Commodore Amiga, in 1991.


Part of the draw of this game was its splitty subject matter. As you tried to traverse busy digital streets, you risked getting run over by a car and your little froggy life just got harder as you progressed.

Legend has it that Konami game designer Akira Hashimoto was inspired by a frog trying to cross a road with heavy traffic. He got out of his car and ushered the frog to the other side of the street. Since Chickener would be a terrible name for a video game, Hashimoto stuck with frog for his protagonist and a web-footed star was born.


Part of the fun of being a Commodore 64 user was seeing the progress of the graphics over the years, as designers pushed the little machine to handle more complex pixelation. While Manic Miner et al were fun, 1987’s Predator amazed us with its visuals that did their best to capture the feel of the blockbuster movie.

Predator emphasised the survival aspects of the film. No machine gun? No problem, you can use your Schwarzenegger-sized fists. Camouflaged alien lying in wait? Lay some mines to take him out. Sure, you couldn’t see the drool dripping from the predator’s mandibles. But he was still satisfyingly ugly.


Another movie tie-in, this one turned unlikely subject matter – an alienated Vietnam veteran turned invulnerable one-man army – into a kids’ game.

Rambo was released in 1985 to tie in with Carolco’s blockbuster First Blood Part II. As Rambo, the player had to locate equipment, rescue POWs and escape while being hounded by a remorseless enemy horde.

Maybe it was the cinematic cover or the hunting-and-savaging gameplay but the Bowie knife-toting Rambo was a cut above his peers, gaining a whopping 96% score from Zzap!64 magazine.

Star Wars

Once you got used to the vector graphics, Star Wars was a blast. Not only could you play the Atari arcade game in your home, on your TV, but you also took the role of Luke Skywalker and fly an X-wing through the Death Star trenches.

Parker Brothers brought the game to the 64 around the time of Return of the Jedi’s release. By then it already felt like a classic, spawning dozens of follow-up games that continue to this day. However, few gaming experiences compare to flying through space as Red Five, blasting TIE fighters, dogging the Empire from the comfort of your settee.

Attack of the Mutant Camels

Sci-fi games were so popular in the early ‘80s that even sheep in space stood a chance at success. Dropout physician Jeff ‘Yak’ Minter added camels to his shoot-‘em-ups and the rest is dromedary history. I spent many happy hours playing Attack of the Mutant Camels, which reminded me of the AT-AT attack in The Empire Strikes Back. Piloting a jet plane, I was tasked with zapping giant yellow camels before they got to my base, the option to trip them not included.

Minter liked llamas so much that he named a software company after them and incorporated the ungainly creatures into some of his games. The surreal backgrounds and colours enhanced the fun.

Live and Let Die

One of the simplest games on this list was also one of the most difficult. Domark had already digitised James Bond with enjoyable results with A View to a Kill in 1985. 3 years later they retooled a game in development called Aquablast and gave it the more recognisable title of Live and Let Die. Tying a game to a 15-year-old movie reflects the enduring popularity of Bond in general and the film’s lengthy speedboat chase in particular.

However, piloting a boat wasn’t easy because it was vulnerable to mines, rocks, defensive cannons and random pieces of wood. We’d have to wait several years before Tiger Electronics brought us the addictive third-person shooter Goldeneye and by then, the 64 felt like a distant memory.


Elite was a highly influential trading game using vector graphics, giving it a similar look to Star Wars. This intergalactic strategy model was open-ended, giving players plenty of time to explore, mine asteroids, work as a merc or earn booty as a pirate, building up a stash while tackling Thargoid antagonists. The real joy of the game, however, came from simply flying through hyperspace and getting immersed in the daddy of all open-world games.


Not to be confused with the recent disaster movie, Moonfall was a trading game like Elite with humbler aspirations. This time Frontier Alfa was the setting and goods were limited as you travelled from one lunar settlement to another. While landing and piloting your ship was no picnic, the ultimate goal was a lofty one: buying all the bases and factories from aliens to free their human slaves. Never has capitalism looked so good.

Games Gone By

There were many more games and many more long summer days to play through. There have been many other game systems. The graphics have vastly improved. The load times certainly have. But back then when video games were new, we were pixel pioneers, bit-sized pathfinders, joystick journeymen pushing those platform games to their bleeping limits. The C64 was our vessel and shop-bought cassettes were our fuel and the highway promised to go on forever.

What are your memories from the 8-bit home computer and console era? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Great Scott! From DeLorean to The Mandalorian

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) exclusively reports that Christopher Lloyd is appearing in the third season of The Mandalorian, which is currently filming in California.

The beloved award-winning actor best known for the iconic role of Doc Brown in The Back to the Future trilogy is ditching the DeLorean for all things Mandalorian.

Lloyd's also starred in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Addams Family.

The titular Mandalorian, played by Pedro Pascal, most recently appeared in The Book of Boba Fett.

The Mandalorian's third season is rumoured to premiere this holiday on Disney+.

Are you looking forward to seeing Christopher Lloyd in The Mandalorian? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 18 March 2022

Damon Lindelof's Star Wars?

According to The Ankler, Damon Lindelof, who co-created Lost with JJ Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and worked with the director on the big screen Star Trek reboot, is rumoured to be in talks for an upcoming Star Wars movie.

Neither Lucasfilm nor Lindelof have confirmed this. However, in 2020 the award-winning co-creator of The Leftovers mentioned he wanted to work on Star Wars and is a lifelong fan of the franchise:

"At some point, but certainly not in the immediate future, I feel like I would love to do something in the Star Wars universe. Maybe a decade from now when I would no longer be blamed for ruining it. That would be a hoot."

Is Damon Lindelof a good fit for Star Wars after Star Trek? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Meet Marvel Studios' meta Ms. Marvel

Marvel Studios has released an official trailer for Ms. Marvel on Disney+.

Read the official synopsis:

"Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel is a new, original series that introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City. An avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, Kamala is a Super Hero mega-fan with an oversized imagination—particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel. Yet Kamala feels invisible both at home and at school—that is, until she gets super powers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Life gets better with superpowers, right?"

With the arrival of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in Marvel Studios' Hawkeye and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in Ms. Marvel, Young Avengers assemble.

Ms. Marvel, which is rumoured to dovetail into the Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels, premieres exclusively on Disney+ on 8th June.

Are you looking forward to Ms. Marvel? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Paramount+ has officially announced that Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries) is joining the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Wesley will play a young James T. Kirk before he replaces Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) at the helm of the USS Enterprise.

“Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunners/executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers said in a joint statement. “Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds reunites Star Trek: Discovery season two fan-favourites, Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The trifecta will be joined aboard the USS Enterprise by new series regulars Babs Olusanmokun, Christina Chong, Celia Rose Gooding, Jess Bush and Melissa Navia.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts exclusively on Paramount+ on 5th May. There's no official announcement regarding the UK premiere, but it will be coming soon.

Are you looking forward to seeing Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

The Darkest Knight

As I've written previously, one of my fondest undergraduate memories was attending a special 70mm screening of Tim Burton's Batman, with Nick Smith, at the Odeon Bournemouth.

So, it's only justice that my scholarly partner-in-crime dons the dark detective's cowl for The Batman. The Dark Knight Trilogy casts a long shadow... How does this latest incarnation compare?

Guest post by Nick Smith

The Batman has been a long time coming. It was worth the wait.

The DC Comics adaptation was heralded when Ben Affleck assembled the Justice League and the title was confirmed in 2016. The movie was teased over the past couple of years, with cast/crew interviews and trailers. Ultimately, Robert Pattinson (Tenet) would replace Affleck in the titular role. Meanwhile, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a touching tribute to familial love and loss.

It wasn’t anybody’s fault – COVID-19 slowed down production, with multiple breaks in filming. Sadly, one crew member died after becoming infected. This grim event shrouded an already gloomy movie, which blends Denny O’Neil’s dark knight detective, David Fincher’s serial killer thriller Se7eN, and the relative realism of Batman: Year One.

In this lengthy tale, Bruce Wayne is two years into his vigilantism. He’s a haunted emo kid who sulks and sneers at his father figure, Alfred Pennyworth (Andy Serkis), while coming to terms with the brutal death of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Thankfully, we’re not subjected to yet another rerun of their murders, which has been depicted innumerable times in comics, animation and live-action films.

Yet the tragic event permeates this movie down to the final turning point, where another orphan compares his fate to Bruce’s.

Pattinson gives an enthrallingly broody performance as the driven rich kid Bruce, keeping the pouty facial expressions that made him infamous in The Twilight Saga to a minimum. Zoe Kravitz, who previously voiced Catwoman in The LEGO Batman Movie, reprises her role with enthusiasm and makes her character’s soap opera-worthy lineage plausible. The Batsuit, vehicles and Batcave help to make their environment as authentic as possible.

The real standout characters are James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) and Alfred Pennyworth. The actors flesh out these two-dimensional DC characters and make them seem as if they’ve been breathing in the shadows of this grimy fictional city all their lives, weary yet still hopeful thanks to the Batman.

Beyond keeping it real, though, director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) has a palpable love for the Batman’s grittily woven world. His joyful response to getting the opportunity to play in Gotham’s gutters shows through in the action scenes, the tone of the film and even in the music from Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Spider-Man: No Way Home), which occasionally echoes the ‘60s TV show theme.

Allowing Pattinson to react like a human being to dangerous circumstances, rather than an invulnerable hero, Reeves entertains the audience while keeping up a sense of danger and doom. He pulls off this tough balancing act so well he'd put the Flying Graysons to shame.

Affleck portrayed an older, more cynical Bruce Wayne and it would be great to get beyond the hero’s early years. But in the meantime, it’s a treat to mire ourselves in the devilish, demented Gotham of The Batman.

Have you seen The Batman? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 11 March 2022

Enter Darth Vader

This week's Star Wars news has provided some much-needed hope.

Star Wars Celebration returns in May and Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor as the titular Jedi Master, is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly (EW).

Culminating in a Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser trailer and the first look at Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), which evokes Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

When EW asked whether Hayden Christensen might be making an appearance in the Star Wars special event series unmasked, the prequel trilogy star teased, “I wish I could tell you. I’m sworn to secrecy.”

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres exclusively on Disney+ on 25th May.

Are you excited to see Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader duel once more? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 10 March 2022

Return of a Jedi in Obi-Wan Kenobi

On Wednesday, Lucasfilm dropped a teaser trailer for Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Nothing prepared me for this.

Read the official synopsis:

"The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader."

Obi-Wan Kenobi sees Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader) reprise their roles from George Lucas' prequel trilogy.

With the combination of Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) StageCraft and director Deborah Chow (The Mandalorian) at the helm of the six-part special event series, there's an opportunity to fully explore the tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi's greatest failure and the rise of an evil Empire in the wake of Order 66.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres exclusively on Disney+ on 25th May.

From John Williams' iconic Duel of the Fates to the Inquisitors from Star Wars Rebels. I'm ready. Are you? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Obi-Wan Kenobi in Entertainment Weekly

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is the cover story for Entertainment Weekly (EW). This coincides with the launch of an official Twitter account and rumours of a teaser trailer dropping later today.

Speaking exclusively to EW, Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) says, "We find Obi-Wan at the beginning of our story rather broken, and faithless, and beaten, somewhat given up."

Very little is known about the six-part special event series set a decade after the cataclysmic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. However, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen will reprise the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader respectively.

Disney+ is the perfect platform to fully explore the tragedy of Obi-Wan Kenobi's greatest failure: losing Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and the rise of an evil Empire.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres exclusively on Disney+ on 25th May.

Are you looking forward to seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader clash on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Star Wars Celebration returns in May

Star Wars Celebration is coming back as an in-person event this year and coincides with the 45th anniversary of the original Star Wars movie's release in North America.

Lucasfilm has shared the following note to fans:

“Hello there!

It’s been almost three years since we last saw everyone at Star Wars Celebration — we’ve missed you! We obviously have a lot of catching up to do with everyone, and want to thank you for your patience and support through what has certainly been a challenging time for all.

A lot has happened since 2019 — in addition to current and upcoming Star Wars streaming series, there’s been a brand-new era of Star Wars storytelling introduced in books and comics, immersive Star Wars experiences unveiled at Disney Parks, and exciting games that continue to explore and expand the Star Wars galaxy like never before.

And there’s so much more to come — which is why we can’t wait to see everyone in Anaheim where we’ll showcase all the exciting things happening in our galaxy far, far away in a safe and comfortable setting for friends to reconnect at a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can only be found at Star Wars Celebration. See you in May!”

Whilst the schedule for Star Wars Celebration has yet to be announced. With the success of Star Wars spin-offs on Disney+, the future of the storied franchise created by George Lucas is bright.

After attending Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016, I can't recommend it highly enough. For fellow fans interested in the official event, tickets go on sale from 15th March. You can get all the details here.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, which was the first movie I saw digitally at the cinema.

Going to Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 and would like to cover the event for this site? Please contact me.

Are you excited about the return of Star Wars Celebration? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 7 March 2022

Star Trek Strikes Back

“Mon Capitan, How I've missed you...”

Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Star Trek: Picard is back as fan-favourites reunite for an explosive second season that mostly ignores a squandered first in this instance.

As season one unfolded, a real-world pandemic took hold, social distancing, self-isolation and lockdowns became the new normal making the need for nostalgia more pertinent than ever.

When Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) finally catches up with Star Trek: The Next Generation's Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna (Marina Sirtis) in the episode Nepenthe, I found their reunion deeply affecting. Culminating in one of the best episodes in the franchise's storied history.

From a compelling detective story to a full-blown threat of Cthulu-inspired mechas destroying all organic life in the galaxy, season one descended into a muddled morass, and the less said about Picard's death and rebirth as an android, the better.

The second season opener, The Star Gazer, instantly picks up the Starfleet baton and runs with it, phasers firing in all directions. Romulan ally Laris (Orla Brady) poses the question of why is Picard alone before Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Q (John de Lancie,) and the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) all make memorable returns to the galactic fray as the tragic childhood catalyst for Picard’s stargazing is explored.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. So, it's great to see a Star Trek series aspiring to the franchise's zenith. Frankly, this is the Star Trek: Picard series fans (myself included) deserved in the wake of Star Trek: Nemesis.

As I've stopped watching Star Trek: Discovery, Picard's explosive reply will satiate exploring the final frontier until Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Star Trek: Picard is a compelling and dark rumination on the passage of time, as another life-threatening crisis engulfs Europe. The second season opener, a soft reset, sweeps away fading lockdown memories of the tonally-jarring first season and I’m here for it. Make it so.

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard drop every Thursday on Paramount+ and Friday on Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

What are your thoughts on Star Trek: Picard? Does it deserve a second chance? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Tom Veitch: Legacy of a Dark Empire

Tom Veitch has died at the age of 80 due to complications from coronavirus (COVID-19).

The comic book writer is best known to Star Wars fans (myself included) for his seminal Dark Empire trilogy, originally published by Dark Horse Comics in the nineties. Poignantly, Luke Skywalker's return in The Book of Boba Fett left me misty-eyed and yearning for a live-action adaptation on Disney+.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based comic book guru, looks back at Tom Veitch's pioneering career.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Where do we go when we die? Or, perhaps more importantly, where do we want to go? If hell is of our own making then perhaps that applies to any afterlife.

In The Light and Darkness War, Vietnam vets fight in a sci-fi Valhalla while dealing with the psychological effects of the Nam conflict. The gritty script by Tom Veitch and exaggerated, bristle-chinned characters drawn by Cam Kennedy captured my attention when the comic was first published by Epic Comics in 1988.

Lazarus Jones, the main character, has survivor’s guilt, mourning the death of his helicopter crew. As his mood and his world gets darker, he finds himself in another world where his fallen comrades fight a different war. The heroes find a solace of sorts but knowing that the battle is eternal, they don’t exactly get a happy ending.

Veitch used comic book action as a gateway to examine themes of brotherhood, loss, and how we treat veterans once a war is done. He went on to explore the sanctity and connectivity of living things in his Animal Man run for DC Comics in the early ‘90s, where down-to-earth superhero Buddy Baker learned there were other Animal Masters linked to Earth’s fauna. The natural world had to be defended, Veitch surmised, and humans had to consider the paradise they were paving.

Around the same time, Veitch and Kennedy reunited to depict another legendary conflict, this time set in the Star Wars universe. Readers were finally able to see Luke, Han and Leia again in a limited series from Dark Horse Comics that took place after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and captured the essence of the original trilogy, with high adventure, a fast pace and a spiritual subtext along with some breathtaking space battle art.

Along with Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir to the Empire (also set after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi), Veitch’s world rebuilding kickstarted the deluge of Star Wars fiction and merchandise through the ‘90s, in turn, a proof of popularity that would help make the prequel trilogy a reality.

The Old Republic era was first introduced in Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, also written by Veitch and published by Dark Horse Comics. Lucasfilm Games published BioWare's award-winning Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series in the early part of this century. A movie set in that period is rumoured to start filming this year.

Although Veitch is best known as a comic book writer with a background in underground titles like Skull Comix, he was also an author and poet. He passed away on February 18th 2022 at the age of 80. Whether his own afterlife is an Eden or a Valhalla, he has left a grand legacy of storytelling, full of empathy and excitement, leaving his mark in print and in the stars.

What are your memories of reading Tom Veitch's comic books? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Alien on Hulu

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), a new standalone Alien movie is in the works along with a live-action spin-off series already greenlit for FX on Hulu and Star on Disney+.

Fede Álvarez, the lauded horror director behind Don’t Breathe, will write and direct an original standalone movie in the storied franchise for Hulu. Sir Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien and prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, will produce the upcoming movie and series for the House of Mouse.

Álvarez is reportedly eschewing big blockbuster thrills in favour of Alien's nightmarish haunted house roots.

In related news. Alien is coming to Star on Disney+ this month. Hopefully, it'll be available in 4K UHD like the original Predator, which has never looked better.

Are you looking forward to the new Alien movie and spin-off series? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 3 March 2022

Alan Ladd Jr., who greenlit Star Wars, dies

Oscar-winning producer Alan Ladd Jr. has passed away at the age of 84.

His daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones, director of a documentary about her father entitled "Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies," broke the news on that film's official Facebook page:

"With the heaviest of hearts, we announce that on March 2, 2022, Alan Ladd Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His impact on films and filmmaking will live on in his absence."

Ladd famously backed George Lucas' Star Wars when other Hollywood studios passed on the project.

“My biggest contribution to Star Wars was keeping my mouth shut and standing by the picture,” Ladd told Variety.

Ladd also greenlit Star Wars' Twentieth Century Fox stablemate Alien with Sir Ridley Scott at the helm.

He is survived by his wife, Cindra Pincock, his children Kelliann and Tracy Ladd, his half-brother David Ladd, half-sister Alana Ladd, and step-sister Carol Lee Stuart-Ladd.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I thank you, Alan. The film Force was with you. RIP.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

The Adam Project mocks multiverse

Netflix has released an official trailer for The Adam Project. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) reunites with Free Guy director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) for a timey-wimey nostalgia trip in homage to the movies of George Lucas (Star Wars) and Steven Spielberg (Jaws).

Read the official synopsis:

"After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self on a mission to save the future."

Jennifer Garner (Alias) and Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) co-starred in 13 Going on 30. Ruffalo has also appeared with Zoe Saldaña (Guardians of the Galaxy) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The Adam Project is set to premiere exclusively on Netflix on 11th March.

What did you think of the official trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Daredevil leaves Netflix for Disney+

Before WandaVision, there was Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders exclusively on Netflix.

Personally, I really enjoyed Daredevil when it debuted back in 2015 and was quoted in publicity for a series that championed diversity. Marvel's live-action spin-off series on Netflix were all cancelled in 2018 and have now left the streaming service before moving to Disney+, beginning in Canada, later this month.

Unlike Marvel's Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. already available on Disney+ in the UK. Due to the graphic nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) spin-offs on Netflix, it's assumed they'll be available on Star on Disney+ outside the US.

Daredevil (Charlie Cox) most recently appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio) in Marvel Studios' Hawkeye.

In related news. Marvel Studios' Moon Knight will begin streaming on 30th March on Disney+.

Should these spin-offs be revived? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.