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    Mortal Engines, a film written by Peter Jackson, has cast Da Vinci’s Demons star Hera Hilmar as its female lead.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Feb 7, 2017

    The upcoming film adaptation of Philip Reeve’s popular teen-aimed apocalyptic novel series Mortal Engines appears to be running on all cylinders. With legendary writer/director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies, Peter Jackson, working on the script with his repertory team of (his wife) Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, we know the screenplay is being tackled by a trio who understand what it takes to adapt epic fantasies. Now, it appears that a crucial threshold has been crossed with the procurement of the film’s co-lead.

    It is being reported (via Deadline) that Mortal Engines has rounded out its primary starring duo with the casting of Hera Hilmar. The actress was notably seen on Starz’s 3-season run of Da Vinci’s Demons, Discovery miniseries Harley and the Davidsons and in films such as The Fifth Estate, Anna Karenina and the March release of The Ottoman Lieutenant, opposite Game of Thrones actor Michiel Huisman (who also starred in the Harley miniseries), which also features Ben Kingsely and Josh Hartnett.

    Beginning with Reeve’s 2001 original novel, continuing with three subsequent sequels, Mortal Engines is set thousands of years in the future in the aftermath of a global catastrophe that left the world decimated on a geological level. To escape the constant threat of earthquakes and volcanoes, which apparently left North America uninhabitable, the city of London was transferred onto a massive wheeled vehicle called a Traction City and resort to roving the world, raiding the waning resources of other cities in a dynamic called “Municipal Darwinism.”

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    Amidst this bleak backdrop, the story of Mortal Engines focuses on two young cast away characters looking to get themselves away from the desolation. Hera Hilmar will play Hester Shaw, a revenge-seeking drifter who finds common cause with Tom Natsworthy, combining their efforts to find and board the massive predatory vehicle that is London. Working opposite Hilmar as Tom will be Robert Sheehan, who, amongst an array of British television credits, appeared in the (failed) 2013 YA film franchise attempt that will likely cause many to misspeak this film’s title in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, later adapted as the Freeform series Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.

    In the director’s chair for Mortal Engines (not“Instruments”), is Christian Rivers, a longtime acquaintance of the Jackson/Walsh/Boyens power trio who was part of the visual effects department for many of their films, going back to the Rings Trilogy, who worked as a splinter unit director on the last two entries of The Hobbit Trilogy. Rivers recently ran second unit for director David Lowery on 2016’s Pete’s Dragon. Jackson, Walsh and Boyens are credited producers on Mortal Engines along with Amanda Walker, Deborah Forte and Ken Kamins.

    Mortal Engines Release Date

    Production is set to start in New Zealand in spring 2017, with a release date of December 14th, 2018.


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    What can we tell about the star of the new FX series, Legion, from his X-Men comics appearances?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Feb 7, 2017

    With the upcoming debut of Legion, FX’s new show about Marvel's David Haller, it seemed like a good idea to take a look at the title mutant’s history in the comics. So just who is Legion?

    Or who are Legion? Maybe we can give him the power of easily understood verb tense.

    David Haller is a complicated guy or 250. He’s a mutant with multiple personalities. Many, many multiple personalities, each possessing a different power. And not all of the personalities are his - he can also absorb the psionic essences of people who die in proximity to them, and then they, as distinct mental architecture in his mind, are assigned a different power.

    Legion is the second most powerful mutant in the Marvel Universe behind Franklin Richards, but at the scale we’re talking, trying to figure out who is more or less powerful is like two grains of sand on Bikini Atoll trying to figure out which atomic bomb that hit them was bigger.

    At one point or another, David has:

    - rewritten all of reality.

    - Destroyed a horde of Elder Gods with the wave of a hand.

    - Rewritten all of reality again.

    - Reset the rewritten reality back to normal.

    - Destroyed an invading army of Nimrod sentinels with the wave of a hand.

    - Rewritten all of reality a third time.

    - Escaped the end of a universe to wander Limbo.

    - And finally, you have probably guessed by now that he rewrote reality a fourth time.

    Despite all this, despite the fact that his overarching power is that he is a black hole stretching the very concept of the X-Men to an unrecognizable point, he’s actually been in a ton of really good X-Men comics. If the show is going to match what’s been printed, they’re going to have to work pretty hard.

    David Haller was created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz in New Mutants volume 1 #26, which retconned work that Claremont did with Dave Cockrum back in Uncanny X-Men #161. He’s the child of Gabrielle Haller, a Holocaust survivor sent into a catatonic stupor by the horrors of that ordeal and Charles Xavier, a world-class scumbag who routinely puts minors in harm's way in the name of his ideals. When she realized she was pregnant, Gabrielle thought about what kind of father Charles would make, and she wisely decided that it would be safer to be an Israeli diplomat in the 1970s than to allow Charles any contact with his son. So she didn’t tell him. He found out anyway, though.

    The man who raised Legion with his mother was killed shielding David from a terrorist attack on the Israeli embassy in Paris, a trauma that kickstarted David’s psychic powers and caused him to kill all of the terrorists in the embassy at the time. He absorbed one of their psyches into himself, Jemail Karami, and then became catatonic. After nine years in what was for all intents and purposes a coma, Gabrielle went to Moira MacTaggart for help, and the Professor found out he had a son when David’s catatonic form started absorbing the minds of all the people on Muir Island. The New Mutants eventually fought inside his mind alongside Professor X to give Jemail control over the other personalities - Jemail gained empathy through the use of Legion’s telepathy, while the other two personalities were sadists or nihilists.

    David is, as a character, defined by his mental illness. There are three main phases to Legion since his creation: the original story discussed above; his existence as a plot device for about five years real time; and the story of him learning to manage his condition. He remained an occasional character in New Mutants for a couple of years before the power of being an X-universe macguffin kicked in, and then he got possessed by the Shadow King.

    The Muir Island Saga is a minor X-crossover that marked the transition of the X-line from a tight, continuity-focused set of comics to the sprawling ‘90s mess that they became with the introduction of the Blue and Gold teams (and X-Force), marked the exact spot where Chris Claremont walked off the X-Men books he had been writing for a decade and a half, and it was a bit of a placeholder story that was originally supposed to be something dramatically different, but Uncanny X-Men #280 was also one of the first comics I bought with my own money, so I still think highly of it. The Shadow King took over Legion’s mind, controlled everyone on the island and caused X-Factor and the X-Men to reunite and co-mingle. It set the tone for this era of Legion stories in that he was a plot device more than an actual character.

    The same is true for “Legion Quest” and the Age of Apocalypse. David got better and decided that Magneto was the true impediment to his father’s good intentions (reminder: he brought a woman out of a coma to have sex with her), so he used his powers to travel back in time and kill Mags. Except he missed, killed Xavier instead, and created a splinter timeline where Apocalypse was in charge and everything was very bad. Then he got caught in a timeloop undoing the Age of Apocalypse and disappeared.

    He returned in a story that paralleled his original appearance: the reformed New Mutants, tasked with “cleaning up mutant messes” around the world, hunt down the being behind a mysterious murder and discover that it was one of Legion’s bad personalities. After a fight (and a sneaky deal with Illyana Rasputin), he is brought back to the X-Men’s floating sovereign island in San Francisco, where he is treated by a genius ex-Nazi hunter, a guy who is really into robots, and the woman who came up with the “cure” for being a mutant in Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men.

    He then popped up briefly in X-Men: Second Coming, the closeout crossover to the Messiah era of the X-Men (which was awesome) before being the catalyst behind Age of X. David had been capturing and cataloguing his personalities and their abilities with the help of the assorted science people on Utopia (the X-Men’s island). Unfortunately, one of those personalities really doesn’t like this, so she completely rewrites reality. In the new world, mutants have been hunted to near extinction. The only ones left live in a fortress, where all of the telekinetics (one of whom is Force Warrior Legion) reinforce a telekinetic wall every night after a regular battle with the human forces laying siege to their home. We learn that it was created by a rebellious personality, one he confronts and reabsorbs, but in a critical shift from previous Legion stories, one he learns and grows from. That growth continues after he restores the normal reality, and has to confront another handful of personalities impacting the real world.

    He works with his father and Dr. Nemesis to continue to conquer his demons until Avengers vs. X-Men, when the Professor is killed, an event that shakes David to his core. He then spends the rest of X-Men Legacy (volume 2) working to regain control, to find his place in the world in the shadow of a father who was the mutant equivalent of rich white Ghandi, and to process his feelings for Blindfold, a precognitive mutant who saw herself becoming David’s nemesis in the future. I’m not giving anything away about that book beyond this: its beauty is in its unexpectedness. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    Legion is a tough character with a history that doesn’t lend itself to adaptation, which is why so many people were surprised to see him getting his own show. But we’re already getting off on the right foot: early news about the show focused as much on the timeline fustercluck as it did on any plot or character details, as is only fitting for a character personally responsible for two alternate timelines and, in a thing of true existential beauty, a second Cable. Seriously, at a teleological level, the existence of a second version of the gaping continuity black hole at the center of the Summers family tree is like making a rose out of mirrors: beauty reflected on beauty ad infinitum. If the show is really dedicated to giving us Legion in all of his unfiltered weirdness, as a continuity-refracting prism, and they can give him the same heart from his last run in the comics, we might be in for something special.

    RECOMMENDED READING:

    Origin: New Mutants volume 1 #26-28.

    In addition to seeing exactly where David started, these issues are drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, and y’all know how I feel about him.

    Muir Island Saga: Uncanny X-Men #278-280; X-Factor #69 & 70

    Legion Quest: Uncanny X-Men #319-321; Cable #20; X-Men vol. 2 #40 & 41

    Age of Apocalypse: X-Men AlphaX-Men Omega

    These were fine. Not really Legion stories, but he was important to them. And Age of Apocalypse was insane, both as an event and as a publishing decision.

    Return: New Mutants vol. 3 #1-4

    Really you can just read this whole series. Zeb Wells wrote a lot of heart back into this team and made them feel integral to the ongoing X-universe, while Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took over later and did their usual outstanding work.

    Because it is dope: X-Men: Second Coming

    Someday I will write something longer about this era of X-Men, but Second Coming was the last great X-Men crossover. It felt huge and important, and it moved incredibly quickly, like a crazy action movie. There are great moments for a ton of characters, and Legion gets one.

    What if David had been important to Age of Apocalypse instead of a plot device: Age of X

    This crossover between New Mutants and X-Men Legacy was everything Age of Apocalypse promised: impossibly bleak, gorgeous to look at, but emotionally resonant from every aspect. Mike Carey is the most underrated X-Men writer of all time, and very quietly maybe the third best. Carey followed this up in the pages of X-Men Legacy in another great, but less essential story.

    The romance comic: X-Men Legacy vol. 2

    Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat wrote the weirdest, sweetest X-Men comic of all time when they relaunched X-Men Legacy following Avengers vs. X-Men. Legion, his struggles to deal with his illness, his budding romance with Blindfold and his relationship with his now-dead father. It was funny, weird, beautiful, and ultimately heartbreaking. And it was so good.


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  • 02/07/17--20:43: All Our Wrong Todays Review
  • Screenwriter Elan Mastai's debut novel is the perfect genre read for anyone who worries they're in The Darkest Timeline.

    Review Kayti Burt
    Feb 7, 2017

    All Our Wrong Todays, screenwriter Elan Mastai's debut novel, could not have come out at a topical time. The time travel story's protagonist, Tom Barren, doesn't have to wonder if he is living in the wrong timeline. He knows he is. After all, he was the one who messed it up.

    Tom comes from an alternate utopian timeline where retrofuturist ideas like flying cars actually came to be. It is only through his own irresponsible time travel machinations that our 2016 was formed. I'll leave you, dear reader, to decide if it is The Darkest Timeline or not. 

    There's something slightly comforting, not to mention generically clever, about spending time in a fictional reality where our timeline is the "wrong" one. The conceit casts All Our Wrong Todays' often unlikable protagonist as our closest confidante. Or, more accurately, we're his closest confidante. It is unsettling, at times, to be so strapped to such a self-indulgent, thoughtless narrator. As the book progresses, Tom begins to gain some perspective on how his actions affect others, but it literally takes him diverting history for the lesson to sink in. A self-centered privileged man with the power to change history and the perspective of a grasshopper: another topical element of this book.

    A self-aware "memoir," All Our Wrong Todays has an unusual structure for a time travel novel. It has the tenor of an oral story, but the ambitious plot and worldbuilding of a much more traditional science fiction tome. The book has been described in some places as a sci-fi novel for those who don't necessarily like science fiction. It has a literary bent, and is more akin to something like The Time Traveler's Wife than The Time Machine.  

    Mastai does a good job capturing the inherent tragedy in time travel and the realities of life not even temporal shenanigans can cure: losing your youthful energy, losing your loved ones, losing your life. But it is trying to tell a much larger-scale story than a story like The Time Traveler's Wife, and it loses something intimate in the proces, despite its memoir-like format.

    Like his script for romantic comedy What If, Mastai's strength is not in characterization or character dynamics so much as big ideas and existential questioning. What makes a successful life? What makes a successful timeline? 

    UnlikeWhat If's main character, Tom has a much better reason for being upset at the world (or, in this case, the multiverse) and the relative lack of depth or detail in the connection between Tom and his lady love Penny comes with a reason that holds weight — though one I cannot elaborate here as it is one of the big twists that fly at you in this book's roller coaster of a final act.

    All Our Wrong Todays sets itself up to say some grand, insightful things about the nature of our reality versus other possible ones, but never fully delivers. However, it does succeed as a fun, fast-paced, thought-provoking ride — the perfect novel for someone looking to indulge in the possibility that this is not the world we were supposed to grow into.


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    The Expatriates, based on the novel by Janice Y.K. Lee, is about three American expat women living in Hong Kong.

    News Kayti Burt
    Feb 7, 2017

    Nicole Kidman's Blossom Films has optioned The Expatriates, the bestselling novel from Janice Y.K. Lee, to be adapated as a TV series. According to Deadline, Kidman will produce the TV show, with a potential to star in it, as well.

    The Expatriates is the story of three American woman living within the tight-knit expat community in Hong Kong. The novel is being adapted by screenwriter Alice Bell (Suburban Mayhem), with the intention of being shopped to both premium cable networks and streaming services.

    The Expatriates project is in line with the last TV adaptations Blossom Films produced: Big Little Lies, a limited series starring Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley, set to premiere on HBO on February 19th. Big Little Lies was adapted from the book by Liane Moriarty and shares some of the same themes as The Expatriates — namely, motherhood, marriage, and a somewhat claustrophobic, privileged community.

    With Liane Moriarty's Truly Madly Guilty and A.S.A. Harrison's The Silent Wife, Kidman/Blossom Films seem to be carving out a niche for themselves through adaptations of female-targeted, best-selling books that address issues of privilege and womanhood in the modern world. Then again, Blossom Films is also developing off-Broadway vampire play Cuddles, so we'll have to see what sticks.


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    Warner Brothers Animation will take on classic Teen Titans story, The Judas Contract.

    News Mike CecchiniTony Sokol
    Feb 9, 2017

    While many celebrated superhero stories of the 1980s have already been adapted or have heavily inspired projects in other media (notably Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns), there's one that hasn't been touched yet, The Judas Contract, the 1984 comic book arc that changed the team forever.

    At the time, the Teen Titans were DC's answer to the X-Men, telling more mature, serialized stories that focused heavily on the relationships between the team as they tried to find their place in the world. That killer George Perez artwork certainly didn't hurt matters.

    The New Teen Titans was already an acclaimed title, but it was The Judas Contract that really put the book on the map, as it introduced new characters, foregrounded Dick Grayson's adoption of the Nightwing identity, and made Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson into an A-list villain.

    Check out the first clip, which shows off a pre-Nightwing Dick Grayson meeting up with Starfire for the first time. 

    Teen Titans: The Judas Contract will arrive later this spring. You can pre-order it from Amazon here.


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    The eight-episode adaptation of the beloved book comes from Breaking Bad writer/producer Moira Walley-Beckett.

    News Kayti Burt
    Feb 9, 2017

    Here's everything you need to know aboutAnne, the eight-episode Netflix/CBC TV adaptation of the much-beloved Lucy Maud Montgomery novel Anne of Green Gables...

    Anne Trailer

    We've got an Anne trailer! OK, well it's actually the Anne date announcement, but we get our first look at footage from the new series, so we'll take it. In the ginger-themed teaser, we get a glimpse at Anne, Diana, and Gilbert. What do you think?

    And here's a trailer of the 1985 adaptation, for nostalgia's sake...

    Anne Release Date

    Netflix will release Anne on May 12th, 2017.

    Anne Cast

    Anne has found its Anne-with-an-"e." After a casting search involving 1,889 girls from around the world, Anne has cast 14-year-old Irish-Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty in the title role.

    Anne creator Moira Walley-Beckett said of the casting:

    Amybeth is a wonderful and sensitive actress who embodies all of Anne’s qualities. She’s soulful and inquisitive, mercurial and passionate. Her ability to convey pain and joy is breathtaking. Amybeth is Anne for a new generation.

    Of filming in Prince Edward Island, McNulty, who lives in Ireland, told the CBC:

    First of all, anywhere you turn is a postcard, instantly," McNulty said of the experience of filming in P.E.I. "It's so gorgeous and the people are amazing, they're so lovely and welcoming. It was so amazing to shoot there, to think that's where Anne of Green Gables is, and is so loved.

    In addition to awesomely having the same last name as a The Wire character, McNulty already has some acting cred. She started acting at the tender age of six and has appeared in the film Morgan, the TV showsAgatha Raisin andThe Sparticle Mystery, as well as on stage in London Regent Park'sThe Sound of Music.

    Here's a sneak peek of what McNulty will look like as Anne in Anne...

    Anne has also cast Geraldine James (Sherlock HolmesThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and R.H. Thomson (The Englishman's Boy, Road to Avonlea) as Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, respectively. They can also be seen in the clip above.

    Anne Writer & Director

    The eight-episode adaptation has impressive behind-the-scenes pedigree. Moira Walley-Beckett, a producer and writer on Breaking Bad, will write all eight episodes of the adaptation. Walley-Beckett won an Emmy for her season 5 script "Ozymandias," which is often hailed as one of the best episodes of television ever. Walley-Beckett also created the ballet drama Flesh and Bone for Starz.

    Speaking to the CBC about what makes this adaptation of Anne of Green Gables different from the many others, Walley-Becket said:

    We're off-book. We're the essence of the book, we have the heart and soul of the book, we have our iconic moments that everyone can't wait for, and we're telling a new story. I think that is one reason why it's entirely its own ... This is a very grounded, real version of the story. Life in Prince Edward Island in the late 1800s was a hard, gritty, scrappy life. It was messy, it was covered in red mud ... The weather, the seasons, it's all part of our story. It's not doilies and teacups, it's life.

    The two-hour pilot will be directed by Whale Rider's Niki Caro, which also implies a certain modern visual flair that — though I adore the 1980s CBC adaptations — will mark a first for Anne of Green Gables adaptations. This is, really, the first TV adaptation attempted since the evolution of filming technology has made much more possible when it comes to television shows, which tend to have a tighter budget and filming schedule compared to feature films.


    Anne — Where to Watch

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix will handle all distribution of Anne outside of Canada, which will surely mean a lot of hits in America where the 1985 TV adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved book series is a cult classic. Not to mention all of the fans the books about the red-haired orphan who finds a home on Prince Edward Island in the 1890s have in Japan. (And, apparently, there was also a 1972 British TV adaptation of the novels, too?)

    Netflix Vice President of Content Elizabeth Bradley said of the project...

    Anne Shirley is one of Canada’s greatest gifts to the world, known and loved internationally, so we’re thrilled to be working with the CBC and Northwood [Entertainment] to bring this charismatic character to both new and old fans around the world.

    Um, agreed. Anne will stream globally on Netflix and air on CBC in Canada in 2017.

    Anne Filming

    Filming on Anne is already underway in Ontario, with previous filming on Prince Edward Island. The young cast has taken over the show's official Instagram account during the filming, and the results have been pretty amazing...

    Anne doesn't quite understand these Avonlea girls sometimes...

    A photo posted by Anne The Series (@annetheseries) on


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    Coolio might have been considered to play the Scarecrow by Joel Schumacher in an unproduced Batman 5.

    News David Crow
    Feb 9, 2017

    This weekend, The Lego Batman Movie will open as a kind of celebration for all things Batman. Yep, even those two less than loved Joel Schumacher Batman films will be getting tips of the hat. Still, before that movie even lands, THR is getting the Batman movie nostalgia started early with the revelation that rapper and sometime-actor Coolio almost played the Scarecrow in an unproduced fifth Batman movie.

    As surprising as it sounds, Coolio broke the news himself while chatting with the trade about why he even appeared in 1997’s notorious Batman & Robin. If you don’t recall, he shows up in that movie as the leader of a secret motorcycle street racing gang in Gotham, making bad insults at Barbara Pennyworth (Alicia Silverstone) and then betting she won’t survive the next race against his men.

    According to Coolio, it was a role that was supposed to lead to bigger and better things in what was ultimately an unproduced fifth Batman movie in that franchise’s current form.

    “The only reason I did that part was because they promised me the villain part in the following Batman,” Coolio said. “Which they didn’t do because Joel Schumacher—they fired him. Me and him didn’t get along that great anyway… [In] the next Batman, the villain was supposed to be the Scarecrow.”

    This is a bit surprising, because Scarecrow’s alias, Dr. Jonathan Crane, was never exactly a man of the streets. Then again, Batgirl was never a Pennyworth in the comics either, so it’s not like Schumacher cared much about source material fidelity. Plus, we do know that a fifth Batman movie was intended to feature Scarecrow and possibly Harley Quinn (as the Joker’s daughter instead of lover since Jack Nicholson’s villain fell off a cathedral in the first movie).

    Indeed, Schumacher has even suggested in the past that he had imagined Nicolas Cage in the role of Scarecrow. However, things were likely in flux, and the fifth Batman movie never developed far enough for this to really matter all that much.

    But it worked out for the property as a whole since Batman would go on to be rebooted in 2005 and with Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow too. Coolio also would kind of appear in a superhero movie as he had a small but pivotal role in 2003’s Daredevil… but the role got deleted on the cutting room floor, albeit it was eventually released in that film’s extended director’s cut.


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    We offer a complete guide to every Batman movie, TV show, cartoon, comic, and even BBC series referenced in The Lego Batman Movie.

    News David Crow
    Feb 9, 2017

    This article contains major The Lego Batman Movie spoilers.

    Holy plastic building blocks, Batman! Almost everything really was awesome about The Lego Batman Movie. After years of dark nights and grim glares at other superheroes, the newest adventure of the Caped Crusader, as voiced by Will Arnett’s perfectly overdone gravel, was a breath of fresh air. Not afraid to let Batman’s sidekicks have fun—even if our cantankerous main guy still prefers to wear only black and sing about “darkness”—The Lego Batman Movie is poised to entertain Bat-fans of all Bat-ages.

    Still one of its best gags is its shameless (and relentless) use of references, cutaways, and in-jokes to overstuff its narrative with more meta-humor than the most unwieldy episode of Community. As a consequence, it’s easy to get lost about just what is being winked at, and when you’re supposed to nod along. So below we have begun compiling in this living document all the references we caught on just one viewing of The Lego Batman Movie. If we missed anything, let us know by lighting the signal… or just leaving a comment or telling me on Twitter. Afterward, it’ll go in the below sections too.

    Given the expansiveness of nerd history present in The Lego Batman Movie, we decided to build blocks of our own to organize the content. Rather than going in chronological order, we’ll try to denote references by where they fall in Dark Knight lore. And since it was clearly most passionate about backslapping fellow Batman movies too, we’ll start by breaking up its reverence for heritage.

    The DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY

    What place is better to really begin than digging into the knowing Dark Knight Trilogy smirks? Sure, Batman v Superman might be the most recent one, and Ben Affleck is technically WB’s current face for costumed adventuring, but it is with Christopher Nolan’s triumvirate of ponderous self-seriousness where Lego Batman’s heart truly lies.

    This is made obvious before even the opening titles commence. By refusing to start with anything but darkness, Arnett’s Batman hisses, “Every serious movie begins with blackness.” At least all three of Nolan’s Batman movies do. In fact, The Dark Knight specifically washes WB’s logo in the same blue filter too. And does that sounds like Hans Zimmer’s Joker theme of rising string tension?

    Another nod to The Dark Knight is dropped early when an unimpressed jet pilot shrugs off Joker’s high-jacking. “Batman always stops you.” When Joker goes the full Spicer and denies the blatantly obvious, the guard adds, “What about that time with the two boats?” That’s another point for The Dark Knight.

    While the Lego Bane has his comic counterpart’s famed luchador mask, as well as the over-juiced steroid wrestler aesthetic, his voice is unmistakably a loving parody of Tom Hardy’s own unique vocalizations in The Dark Knight Rises. And it’s hilarious. Every damn time. He also appears to be wearing a way too small fur coat, which also likely references the bold fashion choices made by Hardy’s villainous demagogue.

    While mentioning The Dark Knight Rises, whether intentionally or not, The Lego Batman Movie seems to share some thematic DNA with that final Batman film with Christian Bale. Both feature a Batman confounded about what to do with his life when Gotham City is cleaned up, each shows him on a kind of death wish as a result, and both end with salvation by way of a Bat-family working together… mind you, since it’s Nolan the family is a bunch of old men, plus a fellow orphaned young man and Anne Hathaway’s slinky Catwoman. Still, both versions of Bats also seem ready to start a family at the end, giving up his loneliness.

    These are Chicago’s famed, movable downtown bridges. They figure prominently in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and they briefly show up as part of Gotham City’s architecture in this movie.

    One of the cleverest choices by Lego Batman writers is the revelation that loner Batman is just a big softy at heart who watches romantic comedies and dramas when no one is looking. By itself that’s kind of hilarious. However, the pièce de résistance is that the only clip they actually show is from Jerry Maguire, the movie where Tom Cruise earnestly tells Renée Zellweger that “you complete me.”

    It’s the same line that Heath Ledger’s Joker makes a mockery of in The Dark Knight when he tells Batman that his law and order, goodie-goodie act also completes him. This is like a three-dimensional pretzel of sarcastic meta-movie knowledge.

    BATMAN V SUPERMAN AND THE DCEU

    Beyond the above image getting a nod during a montage, one of the most amusing early tips of the hat to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes during the end of Batman and Joker’s opening battle. The Joker demands for Batman to admit that the Clown Prince of Crime is his greatest foe. But Batman demurs, “I like to fight around.” As proof he names Bane and Superman as his most recent casual beat-ups. For the record, Batman’s most recent films saw him fighting Bane (The Dark Knight Rises) and Superman (Batman v Superman).

    Lego Joker is exasperated. But you can’t be nemeses with another superhero?! Batman’s like, “Yeah, bro.”

    Also during the opening sequence, Lego Killer Croc swims down beneath the waterways of Gotham to turn on the Joker’s intricate and overly complicated bomb. Afterwards he exclaims, “Yeah, I got to do something!” Thus it must’ve been seawater down there, because the shade this line threw at Suicide Squad was salty.

    Near the end of The Lego Batman Movie, the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery begs for Batman to let them join the fight against Joker’s new evil army. “Using villains to fight villains? That’s a dumb idea.” You’re probably right, Batman. You’re probably right.

    TIM BURTON’S BATMAN MOVIES

    While Lego Batman was a bit shadier to the most recent stuff, it had plenty of nostalgia for the past, beginning with the Tim Burton Batman films, Batman and Batman Returns. For instance, right after the Joker denies that the “two boats” incident happened, the still skeptical pilot counters, “What about the time with Prince music and the parade?”

    Whenever the Penguin is onscreen, he is usually near an automated rubber ducky, which is straight out of Batman Returns. We also see him ordering around his rocket-wearing Penguin soldiers too, and that is a distinctly Tim Burton-y touch.

    In a wistful “what should have been” reference, we finally get to see Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face. While Williams is underused again (it seems like a contractual obligation at this point), it was still great to hear him cackle as Two-Face. Also, the design of Lego Two-Face suggests a melding of Williams with the villain designs Joel Schumacher embraced in Batman Forever.

    What would Batman name his most adrenaline-heavy, ass-kicking playist? "Let's Get Nuts." I think Michael Keaton would agree that's a good choice.

    When Lego Batman and Robin first go joy-riding in his enormous Batmobile, they almost hit an old lady crossing the road and have to slam on their brakes. This also seems like a nod to the end of Penguin’s short time at the wheel in Batman Returns.

    Here seems as good a place as anywhere to mention that I’m pretty sure all the Batmobiles got a shout-out during multiple shots of the Bat-fleet near the beginning of the movie. I definitely saw, among others, the Tumbler from The Dark Knight movies and the Batmobile from the Batman Forever vintage. But why list this here? Because I also spied the Batmobile from Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), which we all know is the best one. Obviously.

    There was also a giant statue like this one from Batman Forever or Batman & Robin that the Caped Crusader sped past at one point. Technically this is from those other movies, but they really don’t need their own subcategory, do they?

    BATMAN ‘66

    Perhaps more than any, it is the Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, which ran from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, that got the most loving stamps of approval from Lego Batman. After all, one comical satire has to recognize the game of another, right?

    As such, this is the only property given the actual clip treatment. That moment occurs when Alfred is tut tutting Bruce for his “episodes” of anger, naming all the years that Batman has had films… as well as 1966, the year this TV series (and its 20th Century Fox spin-off film) were released. And it’s the only one we get a momentary flash of as West does some bizarre interpretive dance in the guise of a merry Caped Crusader.

    Even Alfred is secretly impressed since he dresses as West’s Batman at the end of the film.

    Another obvious nod is Bat-Shark repellent. As soon as Dick Grayson eyes it and Batman insists “it’s useless,” we all knew it would come back in the third act, right? It’s Chekov’s shark repellent.

    Another constant—and always welcome—staple from the original Batman TV series is its groovy theme. In fact, the filmmakers leaned heavily on it, using the ditty early and often. A variation on the tune first appears when Batman is kicking all sorts of villain ass in the opening. During the mayhem, he orders his computer to go into “Overcompensate” Mode. This means playing a ridiculous tune Batman apparently wrote about himself, which uses riffs from the “Batman Theme Song,” including the way it emphatically shouts “BATMAN!” during the chorus.

    Lego Batman himself sings versions of the jingle throughout the movie, including when he throws a temper tantrum about not wanting to go to the party that Alfred insists he attends (he eventually caves). He also does this again when he and Robin are locked up by Barbara Gordon at Arkham Asylum. Of course, the best use of it is when the horn to the Batmobile blasts a midi-sounding version, which he first shows off while showboating for the orphans.

    What would a Batman satire or parody be without referencing the 1960s Batman show’s overuse of pop art graphics for the action? Yep, the third act is gloriously littered with POWs! and BAMs! Batman and Robin hit these goons so hard that the excitable text just bursts from their unconsciousness, broken bodies.

    Also straight out of the classic TV series is the idea that Alfred would sometimes go on missions with Batman and Robin while wearing a simple domino mask and hat for his disguise. Don’t believe me? Check out the above image from Batman: The Movie!

    King Tut is one of the many villains namedropped and hidden like so many easter eggs in The Lego Batman Movie. But he is especially worth mentioning since he was a villain created specifically for the Batman TV show. Played by actor Victor Bruno, King Tut was once a mild mannered Egyptology professor from Yale named William Omaha McElroy. But during a protest, the prof is hit in the head with a rock, and presto, he wakes up thinking he is the reincarnated King Tutankhamun. Thus a super villain is born. His aim is to turn Gotham City into ancient Thebes.

    Another villain originally from Adam West’s glory days making a cameo in the film is Egghead. Also created for the TV series, the most notable thing about Egghead is that he was originally embodied by the indispensable Vincent Price. Otherwise, he is a classic “evil genius” type with an affinity for eggs, as represented in his bald head and pale yellow suit. He only eats grade triple A white eggs, and he loves a good egg pun. Then again, who doesn’t?

    SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE?!

    Yep, we’re as surprised as you are that this movie earned its own section in this article, but we always enjoy unexpected trips into Otisburgh… or at least the classic Richard Donner vision for the Fortress of Solitude.

    Indeed, when Batman and Robin crash the Justice League’s supercool party unannounced, it is because the gang is throwing down in the Fortress of Solitude, which is constructed of nothing but majestic crystals, punctuating the snowy North Pole like a sea of diamonds in an icy rough. It also appears to be a great place to great rick-rick-ity-wrecked!

    The doorbell for Lego Superman’s fortress is the opening bars from John Williams’ Krypton theme in his epic Superman: The Movie score, because of course it is.

    General Zod is a constant presence in The Lego Batman Movie since Superman banishes him to the Phantom Zone early on in a news report before the Joker later sets him free. And Lego Zod looks an awful lot like Terrence Stamp’s General Zod. With that said, the Phantom Zone portal weapon and subsequent portal are quite different. Could that be a reference to Man of Steel? Given the otherwise cold shoulder the film gives the DCEU, I find it unlikely, but I can’t be sure.

    Also while at the Fortress of Solitude, we get a Lego version of Jor-El that is obviously meant to evoke Marlon Brando’s godlike presence as Superman’s ghostly space dad. His flame has long since extinguished, but he’ll always be with his son thanks to these irreplaceable crystals, mementos that he has bequeathed to his only—oh, okay, Batman just crushed them all. Never mind.

    ICONIC BATMAN IMAGE NODS

    This also seems like the best place to put a handy, dandy image dump which captures some of the images that first Lego Alfred mentions and then Lego Barbara Gordon later intimates during her power point presentation of Batman’s 78-year-reign of bizarre terror. The images include poster and still recreations from Batman v Superman, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Batman Returns, and Batman (1989), plus art from the first run of Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), the 1939 comic book Detective Comics #27 (where Batman first appeared), Frank Miller’s graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns (1986), Batman Begins, Batman: The Movie (1966), and Columbia Pictures’ 1943 serial, Batman.

    (There is also more than these pictures if you just want to scroll farther down to see).

    EVERYTHING ELSE BATMAN (OR OTHERWISE)

    And here is everything else that references comics, shows, and totally unrelated properties from The Lego Batman Movie. So it is also the best place to bring up Rosario Dawson’s wonderfully kickass version of Barbara Gordon. Now for comic book purists, Barbara Gordon has never replaced her father as Police Commissioner Gordon in the New 52 or almost any other Infinite Earth (she’s too busy being awesome as either Batgirl or Oracle for that kind of lengthy responsibility)… but she totally did that in Batman Beyond, the terrific futuristic spin-off/sequel to Batman: The Animated Series.

    Now, could it be a coincidence that Lego Batman made Babs the new police commissioner? Maybe, then again we also saw this suit referenced on Batman’s clothes line of uniforms midway through the film…

    We also caught in the background an unnamed Lego version of Blight, arch-nemesis of Terry McGinnis (the future’s Batman) and all around glowing green piece of nasty corporate work…

    So it’s safe to say Lego Batman also had Batman Beyond on the brain.

    Right down to the fact that this animated series from Bruce Timm and Paul Dini was the first to float the idea that Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon are a couple. Yuck, indeed, but it’s back again for The Lego Batman Movie.

    Also on the subject of animated villains, The Lego Batman Movie had a lot of fun with the rogue Condiment King, a wacky joke of a villain also created by Timm and Dini for Batman: The Animated Series. In that show, he was a standup comedy judge who once gave Joker the vote of no confidence when the latter was a struggling comedian (and gangster? He was already pretty nutty before the chemical bath in the cartoon’s universe).

    Thus when Joker comes back as a supervillain, he uses mind-altering drugs to turn all the judges into crazed supervillains who ruin their lives by committing petty crimes. Condiment King is one such baddie, happy to use ketchup and mustard and plenty of Adam West-inspired fast food puns. Saucy.

    Another villain from an admittedly darker side of Batman mythos is the Mutant Leader, a violent demagoguing anarchist who leads a bunch of skinheads to nearly overthrow a dystopian Gotham City in Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns. Batman almost kills him in a mud bath wrestling match that concludes with the Mutant Leader permanently crippled. His Lego version seems far less dangerous or defeated since he’s palling around with the Joker and gang at the beginning when Batman is grooving on his overcompensating tune.

    It would be too difficult to list all the many Batman villains cameoing in the film, so here’s a generic image of the rogues gallery! Chances are they’re all there. For my money, I spotted Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face, Bane, Harley Quinn, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, and Clayface. Also among the humorous C-listers getting a nod were Calendar Man, Catman, and the Clock King.

    And of course no Justice League or Super Friends punchline would be complete without a mocking bow aimed at the Wonder Twins. This duet of lameness was created for Hanna-Barbaera’s Super Friends cartoon in 1977. Weird, annoying (and incestuous?) aliens from the planet Exxor, they activated magic rings that allowed one to turn into an always complementary animal and body of water…. Yeah.

    But it wasn’t just Batman villains getting some love. Plenty of other famous pop culture rogues also escaped from the Phantom Zone to wreak havoc. And perhaps, not so surprisingly, many of them were villains in past or upcoming Warner Bros. films! Take for example Sauron, the 9,000-year-old floating eye from Middle-earth that got plenty of onscreen use and play as the Joker’s magical surveillance state in Gotham. He also was of course the villain in Peter Jackson/New Line Cinema’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and New Line is now a subsidiary of WB.

    On that note, WB’s favorite fantasy franchise also resurfaced in a glorious way when Voldemort turned out to also be chilling in the Phantom Zone. While this is more movie studio synergy, there is no denying that they had to use Voldemort. Seriously, they already had Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, it’d be criminal to otherwise ignore him.

    Also, lest you don’t remember, WB has their first King Kong movie coming out next month with the very appealing looking Kong: Skull Island. And wouldn’t you just know it? A talking version of Kong is also one of the major baddies biding his time in the Phantom Zone too. Huh, small world.

    Also while WB’s reported Doctor Who movie seems to have stalled for the time being, that franchise’s beloved villains still cropped up in The Lego Batman Movie. Feast your eyes on the Daleks. You know the weird antagonistic, movable trashcans that shout “EXTERMINATE?” Joker told you to ask your nerd friends about them. And here we are to explain that they’re supremely evil alien beings who have abandoned their organic bodies for eternal hive-minded life inside these nigh unkillable exoskeleton pieces of battle armor. You’re welcome.

    I don’t think WB has a Dracula movie on the horizon. He’s just an awesome classic villain who also happens to be in the public domain. Here’s a nifty image of Bela Lugosi in the role!

    (You can read our analysis of the entire evolution of cinematic Dracula conventions here.)

    But another classic from the Warner Bros. archives are the Gremlins, including the fearsome Stripe (the one with the Mohawk). These little baddies start out as cute and cuddly mogwai, but if you get them wet or feed them after midnight, they essentially birth these evil critters called Gremlins. And they will try to kill you. Lego Batman also acknowledges their urban legend history as being the creatures that downed World War II planes, as seen in their attack on Batman’s bat-plane.

    WB made two Gremlins movies, and while the first is an unassailable cult classic, many (including us) prefer the even more batty and Lego Movie-ish sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

    So that’s everything we jotted down after one viewing of The Lego Batman Movie. Did we miss anything? Disagree with anything we have listed? Let us know in the comment section below or give me a holler on Twitter!


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    As Divergent heads to television, the star of the films confirms she won't be back to play Tris.

    News Simon Brew
    Feb 10, 2017

    When Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series, came out last year and significantly underperformed at the box office, plans to press ahead with a fourth film were soon abandoned -- even though Allegiant ended on a cliffhanger (that's what you get for splitting up the final book in the first place).

    Lionsgate opted instead to move the Divergent franchise to television and finish the story there, but there had been some doubt over whether Shailene Woodley would return in the lead role of Tris. She had suggested in the past that she wouldn’t be interested in reprising the role on the small screen, and now she’s adamant.

    Woodley was asked by Vanity Fair if she was going to be involved in the Divergentproject going forward, and her answer was a firm "No," adding, “I’m not going to be on the television show."

    Unless Lionsgate reverses that decision and makes the last movie (Ascendant) for theatrical release after all, the studio is going to have to finish this series with its main character recast and its biggest star missing (not to mention that it's unlikely we'll see others like Miles Teller show up either). And to think that the studio once thought this could be its follow-up to The Hunger Games...

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    We take a look back at the 8 crusading actors who’ve played Batman in TV and the movies, as well as his animated avatars!

    Batman Actors
    The Lists James Aquilone
    Feb 10, 2017

    Holy revolving door, Batman! The Caped Crusader has been portrayed by more actors than any other superhero in movie history – eight to be exact. Most have lasted for just one film. But after The Dark Knight Rises, Christian Bale has become the first man to have played Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego more than twice on the silver screen. He didn’t have much competition – Michael Keaton was the only other actor to reprise the role. And we imagine that with the kind of deals being shaken out at WB that Ben Affleck has a good shot at topping both of those numbers, especially if you count his Suicide Squadcameo, which makes 2017's Justice League his third film in the cape.

    But before anymore history is made next year, let’s take a look at the men who have been Batman.


    Batman

    1. Lewis G Wilson

    Wilson was the first and youngest actor ever to play the adult Batman, and also the least successful. At 23, the unknown thespian donned the cape and the cowl in the 15-part 1943 Columbia serial Batman. While he looked the part of the dashing playboy, his physique was more Danny DeVito as the Penguin. One critic described Wilson as “thick about the middle.” Maybe that was why he wore his utility belt just below his chest. Critics also complained that his voice was too high and that he had a Boston accent. That, of course, wouldn’t be the last time someone complained about Batman’s voice.

    After Batman, Wilson’s career went nowhere. Most of his roles went uncredited. His next biggest movie part was probably in the 1951 cult classic Bowanga Bowanga. A few years later he was out of showbiz altogether. His son, Michael G. Wilson, however, fared better in Hollywood, becoming the executive producer of the James Bond series. Lewis G. Wilson died in 2000.

    Buy the 1943 Batman serial on Amazon

    Robert Lowrey Batman

    2. Robert Lowrey

    Lowery took over the role in the follow-up serial, 1949’s Batman And Robin. Unlike Lewis, Lowery, 36 at the time, was a veteran actor, having already appeared in The Mark Of Zorro (1940), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), and Dangerous Passage (1944). He also filled out the Batsuit better than Lewis, with his utility belt hanging where you would expect it on a non-octogenarian.

    Though Lowery never played Batman in another movie, he did get to wear the cape once more and make superhero history in the process. In 1956 he guest-starred on an episode of The Adventures Of Superman, marking the first time a Batman actor shared screen time with a Superman actor. (The two also appeared together in their pre-superhero days, in a WWII anti-VD propaganda film called Sex Hygiene). 

    After Batman, Lowrey enjoyed another 20 years in movies and TV. He died in 1971.

    Buy Batman & Robin (1949) on Amazon

    Adam West Batman

    3. Adam West

    The man logging the most hours in the Batcave, of course, was William West Anderson, whom you probably know better as Adam West. Either you love him for his goofy charm or hate him for blemishing the Bat’s image for several decades. His campy, over-the-top portrayal of Gotham’s Guardian infiltrated nearly every medium, including a 1966 movie and several animated series. 

    [related article: Batman '66 - The Comic Book Origins]

    Legend has it producer William Dozier cast West after seeing him play a James Bond-like spy called Captain Q in a Nestlé Quik TV ad. He beat future Wonder Woman co-star Lyle Waggoner for the role. Dozier, who supposedly hated comic books, decided the only way the show would be successful was if they camped it up. So blame him.

    Things would almost come full circle in 1970 when West was offered the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. West declined, later writing in his autobiography that he believed Bond should always be played by a Brit. Holy bad career moves, Batman!

    After the Batman series went off the air in 1968, West was resigned to typecast hell. At one point, he was forced to make public appearances as the Caped Crusader to earn a living. Then, in 1977, he returned to the tube as Batman, doing his voice in The New Adventures Of Batman, and then on such shows as Super Friends.

    Buy the Complete 1966 Batman TV Series on Amazon

    West’s resurgence as a pop-culture icon began in the early '90s when he starred as a has-been TV action hero in the pilot episode of Lookwell, produced by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel. It wasn’t picked up but took on a cult following online (check it out here). Since then his cult popularity has increased and he now makes regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy.

    [related article: Men of Steel - 11 Actors Who Have Played Superman]

    Michael Keaton

    4. Michael Keaton

    It took more than 20 years for Adam West to lose his exclusivity on Batman.

    When director Tim Burton (who like Dozier was not a fan of comic books) and Michael Keaton were announced for 1989’s Batman, fans went bat-shit crazy, thinking their beloved superhero was going to get the Adam West treatment again. Keaton's casting caused such controversy that 50,000 protest letters were sent to Warner Bros.’ offices. In an effort to appease the naysayers, Batman co-creator Bob Kane was hired as the film’s creative consultant. And in case you're curious, here is Keaton, Affleck, and a long list of other great castings that fans initially thought would suck.

    Other Hollywood stars considered for the role of Batman included Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Charlie Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, and Bill Murray. But producer Jon Peters said he cast Keaton because “The image of Batman is a big male model type, but I wanted a guy who's a real person who happens to put on this weird armor. A guy who's funny and scary. Keaton's both. He's got that explosive, insane side.'' 

    [related article: The Evolution of Batman Returns]

    The studio and the fans had nothing to worry about. Keaton’s performance received favorable reviews,and Batman killed at the box office. Variety magazine gushed, “Michael Keaton captures the haunted intensity of the character, and seems particularly lonely and obsessive without Robin around to share his exploits.” Keaton was rewarded by being the first actor to reprise the role on the big screen. And in 1992’s Batman Returns, Keaton again garnered positive reviews. 

    Of course, Keaton has now seen a career revival thanks to the spectacular Birdman, he's even suiting up again as the winged Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming!

    Val Kilmer Batman

    5. Val Kilmer

    When the Batman franchise was turned over to director Joel Schumacher, Keaton decided not to return. Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, William Baldwin, and Johnny Depp were reportedly considered as replacements. But the job was won by Val Kilmer – probably the most forgettable of the modern Batmen. Go ahead – try to remember. See? You can’t.

    [related article: Why We Never Saw Tim Burton's Batman 3]

    Schumacher became interested in Kilmer for 1995’s Batman Forever after seeing him in Tombstone (in which he played Doc Holiday, who Adam West also portrayed in a movie before he did the Batman TV series). Kilmer allegedly accepted the role without even reading the script or knowing who the new director was. 

    Schumacher quickly learned who Kilmer was, though, and the two clashed on the set. Schumacher later described Kilmer as “childish and impossible,” claiming that he fought with various crewmen and refused to speak to him for two weeks after the director asked his star to stop behaving rudely.

    Kilmer’s performance got mixed reviews. As The New York Times put it, “The prime costume is now worn by Val Kilmer, who makes a good Batman but not a better one than Michael Keaton.” Bob Kane felt otherwise, saying he thought Kilmer did the best job of all the actors to have played Batman up to that point.

    The movie performed better than Batman Returns at the box office, but Kilmer was destined to be a one-term Caped Crusader. Between his bad attitude and his concern that the superhero wasn’t getting as much screen time as the villains, he left the Batcave for good. Instead of filming 1997’s Batman & Robin, he did The Saint.

    After Batman, Kilmer’s career headed downhill. Though it was probably 1996’s The Island of Dr. Moreau that had more to do with that than Batman Forever.

    Buy The Batman Collection on Amazon

    George Clooney Batman

    6. George Clooney

    Clooney’s movie career was just taking off when he was cast in 1997’s Batman & Robin, with his breakthrough performance coming just the year before in Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn. Producers probably felt they pulled off a major coup landing the soon-to-be mega-movie star. Those producers, along with Clooney, may regret that decision now.

    Batman & Robin was a disaster, rife with homoeroticism, camp, and those infamous Bat-nipples. Clooney once joked that he helped to kill the franchise. “Joel Schumacher told me we never made another Batman film because Batman was gay.” The actor also called the movie “a waste of money.”

    Critics and fans agreed. In 1997, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “George Clooney is the big zero of the film, and should go down in history as the George Lazenby of the series.” Batman & Robin received 11 nominations at the Razzie Awards and frequently ranks among the worst films of all time. It was also the worst box office performer of the modern Batman movies. However, despite its many, many, many flaws, we will stick up for it a little...

    [related article - Batman & Robin: The Judas Defense]

    But all that did nothing to hurt Clooney’s career. After Batman, he went on to super stardom, starring in Out of Sight(with a cameo from Michael Keaton), Three Kings,and O Brother, Where Art Thou? over the next three years.

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    Christian Bale Batman

    7. Christian Bale

    Between Adam West and George Clooney, Batman seemed destined to remain a joke, at least when it came to live-action adaptations. Then came along Christopher Nolan. The Memento and Insomnia director was given the reins and he planned to reinvent the franchise, finally making the Dark Knight dark.

    Among the early candidates for the Batman/Bruce Wayne roles were Billy Crudup, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Cillian Murphy. But Nolan ultimately chose Christian Bale, explaining that “he has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for.” 

    Bale got generally favorable reviews for 2005’s Batman Begins, with several critics saying it reminded them of his brilliant turn in American Psycho. Not so brilliant, it seems, was his uber-husky Bat-voice. One reviewer compared Bale's guttural utterances to a “10-year-old putting on an ‘adult’ voice to make prank phone calls.” It got even more gravelly in 2008’s The Dark Knight, with NPR’s David Edelstein describing it as “a voice that's deeper and hammier than ever.”

    Even Kevin Conroy, the man behind probably the most recognisable Batman voice, chimed in, saying at a C2E2 panel in 2010 that Bale’s voice was “ridiculous” and implored the actor to stop doing it. If The Dark Knight Rises trailer is any indication, Bale hasn’t taken the advice. Still, while that film was not as well received as 2008's sterling The DarkKnight, especially in the fan community, we still will happily come to the defense of The Dark Knight Rises.

    Also, Bale was crucial to the alchemy in Nolan's second Batman feature, The Dark Knight. That film is generally considered the benchmark in the superhero genre that all other movies about caped do-gooders are compared to nearly a decade later. It is also the only superhero movie to win an acting Oscar, for Heath Ledger's iconic Joker, and is considered responsible for why the Academy now nominates 10 films instead of five for Best Picture. This occurred after The Dark Knight was egregiously snubbed in 2009.

    Buy the Complete Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy on Amazon

    8. Ben Affleck

    It is often said that history repeats itself, and so it did when Ben Affleck was cast in the role of Batman for Zack Snyder's controversial Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck was fresh off of seeing his third directorial effort, Argo, win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, cementing one of the most grandiose career comebacks in Hollywood history. He also was in the midst of filming Gone Girl with legendary auteur David Fincher at the helm. Nevertheless, fans went epileptic that the star of notorious flops like Gigli and Jersey Girl was now the "Bat-Fleck." The fact he appeared in the mediocre Daredevil movie from 2003 likely did him no favors.

    Yet, ironically, Affleck is now generally considered the very best part in an otherwise tortured viewing experience. Like Michael Keaton before him, Affleck enjoys fan adulation only a few years after intense backlash. Of course, the actual depiction of his Dark Knight in director Snyder's hands is far less universally loved. For the record, Affleck offers a solid performance as the Batman. He is neither as haunted and emotionally elusive as Michael Keaton's Bruce Wayne, or as noble and psychologically broken as Christian Bale's take on the character. In fact, Affleck lacks the lived-in quality of either performer's interpretation. But what he does have is a picture-perfect physique for the role that no actor has showcased before them, and a sense of dashing charisma that all other Bat-actors have lacked or underplayed.

    [related article: Batman v Superman and Batman & Robin: Two Sides of the Same Coin]

    Some fans even suggest he could be the perfect Batman due to his appearance and natural charm, but he was hampered in BvS with a voice modulator no less absurd than Bale's gravelly alternative, as well as a characterization of Batman that bordered on fascism, including as he ambivalently murdered many folks with direct gun shots, car collisions, grenades, knife stabs, and even crushing one's head in with a crate. This cruelty and totalitarian streak is in-keeping with Frank Miller's extreme vision of the character in The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. But that story was always a major departure from mainstream interpretations of the character. In fact, for all the visual upgrades to Affleck's Batman, his characterization completely lacks the altrusitic heroism and sense of driven purpose enjoyed by the much more humanistic (read: flawed) take offered by Christian Bale.

    Nevertheless, WB has indicated Justice League will be a course correction for the DCEU and Affleck's take, and might allow the actor to give the definitive Batman fans want, assuming of course Snyder's most 'creative' flourishes are reined in.

    Batman voices

    The Voices of Batman

    Speaking of Batman voices, there have been about as many men to voice the Caped Crusader as have portrayed him in live-action. But the bulk of the animated Batman work over the years has gone to two actors.

    In real life Olan Soule was a bespectacled pencil-necked geek, but that didn’t stop him from voicing the Dark Knight in six different animated series, beginning with 1968’s The Batman/Superman Hour. His run pretty much ended when Adam West took over voicing duties in the late '70s. Soule, who also appeared in such films as The Day The Earth Stood Stilland North By Northwest, died in 1994.

    Unlike Soule, Kevin Conroy could probably pull off Batman in real life, but so far he’s been relegated to voice work – and quite a lot of it. Conroy began voicing the superhero in Batman: The Animated Series, which made its debut in 1992. Since then, he’s done three other Batman series, a bunch of animated movies and videogames. 

    Others to voice Batman are Will Friedle (Batman Beyond), Rino Romano (The Batman), Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave And The Bold), Jeremy Sisto (Justice League: The New Frontier), and Bruce Thomas (who voiced Batman in commercials for GM’s OnStar service and portrayed the character briefly in the live-action TV series Birds Of Prey).

    But Will Arnett deserves special attention.

    With any other actor in the role, the presence of Batman in the 2014 cinematic smash The Lego Movie (which we reviewed here) could easily have become the sort of performance that gets neglected from lists like this. However, Arrested Development star Will Arnett brought some comedy magic to the role and landed his own spin-off movie as a result.

    It helped that movie came at the perfect time in Batman’s busy cinema schedule – long enough after The Dark Knight Rises for lampooning of Bale’s gruff Batman to be entirely welcome, and far enough before Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice that Arnett’s new iteration didn’t get lost in all the hype for Ben Affleck’s debut.

    The result of this perfect casting and canny scheduling was a Batman who will go down in the history books as the funniest, freshest and downright fun-est take on the character. From penning ‘dark’ lyrics to helplessly attempting to hide his secret identity, Arnett’s Batman was a gag machine who The Lego Movies primary younger audience really embraced.

    There were knowing winks in there for adult fans too, with such as dialogue as “I only work in black – and sometimes very, very dark grey’ appealing to comic book fans and Lego Batman’s painful attempts to hit a button with a Batarang surely connecting with anyone who’s ever got stuck for hours at a simple door-button in the Arkham Asylum games.

    Arnett’s delivery, combined with Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s zingers, made this portrayal a quick favourite for many, and it was telling that no one is complained about Arnett’s reprisal in an upcoming 2017 standalone story.

    In fact, The Lego Batman Movie only cemented the adoration received by Will Arnett's much more ego-centric version of Bruce Wayne. A petulant, selfish loner who secretly watches romantic comedies when no one is lookng, it is a broadly funny (and perhaps more honest?) take on a billionaire who sneaks out at night to beat up poor people. It also unabashedly referenced countless other Batman movie, comic book, and cartoon moments, which we unpack right here.

    The number one Batman?

    It’s probably not a worthwhile question to ask which Batman actor is the best. It’s hard to argue that Christian Bale isn’t tops among the live-action crowd (Though I’m sure there are some Adam West Michael Keaton, and Ben Affleck fans out there who might take up the cause).

    Still, Bale is no Christopher Reeve, whose iconic portrayal of Superman has made replacing him a seemingly impossible task. Bale has been a respectable Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the franchise can and has moved on without him. And though another half-dozen actors have resided in Wayne Manor, we have not found the definitive Batman. 

    Until then, Hollywood is sure to keep trying, and maybe Affleck will be able to do it all on his own when he's allowed to direct his own solo Batman movie following 2017's JusticeLeague


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    The Lego Batman movie isn't the first time Batman has gone down the comedy route.

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Feb 12, 2017

    An instantly recognizable theme song, outrageous death traps, ingenious gadgets, an army of dastardly villains and femme fatales, and a pop-culture phenomenon unmatched for generations. James Bond, right? Wrong. 1966’s Batman television series practically defined the comic book adaptation for the next three decades with its distinctive visual flair and parade of celebrity guests, even as it walked the line between loving adaptation and straight-up parody.

    When it first premiered in 1966, Batman was the most faithful adaptation of a bona fide comic book superhero ever seen on the screen. It was a nearly perfect blend of the Saturday matinee movie serials (where most comic book characters had their first Hollywood break) and the comics of its time. We take a look at the genesis of the TV series, and how it was both a product of its own time, and that of an earlier era.

    Both Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy had made the leap to the big screen before Superman had even hit newsstands, and both saw their serial adventures get two sequels. While Flash Gordon, particularly the first one, was a faithful (within the limitations of its budget) translation of the Alex Raymond comic strips, Dick Tracy was less so. The famed detective became a G-Man, and there was little in the way of fantastic gadgetry or the unfortunately deformed members of his comics strip rogues’ gallery.

    The first proper live-action superhero adaptation, however, was 1941’s The Adventures of Captain Marvel, perhaps the finest serial ever made. Years before Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve, this one made audiences believe a man could fly, and featured a perfectly cast Tom Tyler in the title role, but was still rather beholden to serial storytelling conventions and the aforementioned budgetary limitations.

    It took Batman a little longer to make it to the screen, and neither Columbia’s Batman (1943) or Batman & Robin(1949) are particularly distinguished efforts, even by the generally low standards of the adventure serial. Batman’s signature rogues' gallery is nowhere to be found, replaced with a generic, hooded serial villain, The Wizard, in Batman & Robin, or, worse, a distasteful racist stereotype in the form of Dr. Daka in 1943’s Batman, which often comes across as little more than an exercise in wartime propaganda. Batman and Robin are portrayed much as they are in the comics, with some unfortunately cheap costumes, and less than physically convincing actors in the title roles.

    The Columbia serials, with their lousy special effects and hack dialogue, did have one thing going for them: a series of remarkable action sequences. Nearly every episode of each of these fifteen chapter serials featured Batman and Robin crashing through windows, lurking on rooftops, walking tightropes, and engaging in protracted stunt fights with a series of anonymous henchmen. Those sometimes clumsy, but never boring, action scenes from the serials would be repeated and foregrounded (with some notable visual and sonic additions) once the television series came around. What’s more, legend has it that one of the early factors in Batman’s journey to the small screen was the presence of an ABC exec at a party thrown by Hugh Hefner, where the old serials were screened, and the audience was encouraged to cheer the heroes and boo the villains.

    Buy Batman: The Complete Television Series on Amazon

    For the most part, the comic book superhero had to adapt to the limitations of the serial format, rather than the medium adapting to the possibilities offered to it by the superhero, and virtually no attempts were made to call attention to the medium which gave birth to them. Whether it’s for practical purposes like budgetary restrictions (note Batman’s distinct lack of a Batmobile in the Columbia serials), or for the purposes of telling a more coherent story (the storybook whimsy found in the Captain Marvel comics, for example, would have felt out of place in Republic’s relatively grounded Adventures of Captain Marvelserial), there are usually decisions to be made regarding, at the very least, the visual representation of the character and surrounding world.

    That changed on January 12th, 1966 when the first episode of Batman hit the airwaves at 7:30, which was then considered prime-time. Batman wasn’t the first comic book show to hit the small screen in color (The Adventures of Superman had beaten the Caped Crusader to that particular punch several years earlier), but was handily the most faithful visual and tonal translation of, not only a comic book character and its surrounding mythology, but of the comic book format itself that had ever been seen. This was, of course, by design, and the show turned the perceived weaknesses of the comics into strengths. And while the fight sequences, frequent use of cliffhangers, and clipped, “serious” dialogue were certainly call-backs to the serials, the visual style of the show was sourced directly from the Batman comics of 1964 to 1965. This probably had more to do with the lack of easy access to back issues as research material for the writers and producers in 1965 than it did with any conscious decision to adhere to any one vision of the character, though.


    Executive producer William Dozier, who by his own admission, “had never read any comic book,” brought several Batman comics to read on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, and “thought they were crazy if they were going to try to put this on television. Then I had just the simple idea of overdoing it, of making it so square and so serious that adults would find it amusing [and] kids would go for...the adventure.” Perhaps the tone of the series would have been different if Dozier had acquired comics from earlier in the Caped Crusader’s published history, as, by this point in the mid-1960s, the Batman of the comics (and ultimately that of the show) isn’t the “grim avenger of the night” from Detective Comics #27, but instead a fully-deputized defender of the status quo of the era. While there was a lighter tone on display in the Batman comics of the mid-60s, there was also Carmine Infantino’s distinctive art, which brought with it changes to Batman’s costume including the now-iconic yellow oval around the bat-symbol, and the transformation of the Batmobile from a bat-headed sedan into a streamlined, bat-winged hot rod. 

    But the influence of these contemporary stories on the producers of Batman is so strong that a number of episodes were adapted almost directly from recent comics. For example, the opening two-parter (and the very best hour the series has to offer), “Hi Diddle Riddle/Smack in the Middle,” borrows a number of plot elements from “The Remarkable Ruse of The Riddler” story in 1965’s Batman #171. The show’s overnight success was then reflected in the comics, which attempted to duplicate the show’s outrageous tone and over-the-top storytelling, with an even heavier emphasis on “pop-art” visuals.

    Dozier, however, deserves considerable credit for helping make this take on the character work, as he “explained to [Adam] that it had to be played as though we were dropping a bomb on Hiroshima...that he wasn’t going to be Cary Grant, full of charm.” A show about two costumed crime fighters preserving order in a city full of colorful characters would likely have been met with understandable cynicism by the late ‘60s. Batman neatly sidesteps this problem by portraying Batman as a comedic, self-absorbed square, thanks to Adam West’s remarkable portrayal, which as Grant Morrison put it in Supergods, “distilled the quintessence of the serials into a thin-lipped, clipped, and stylized performance that was funny for adults to watch and utterly convincing [and] heroic to children.”  

    The producers then hedged this gamble by using as many of Batman’s most outrageous foes from the comics as possible, casting bankable stars like Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, and Julie Newmar in the roles, and encouraging them to run wild. As a kid, I never understood why my father appeared to be rooting for the villains on this show...

    Nearly 25 years before Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy and its four-color palette burned up the box office, Batman tried its very best to make a direct leap from the page to the screen. Colors are bright and primary. The costumes worn by our heroes (and at least a few of the villains) are form-fitting and appear to serve no practical purpose. They are, instead, purely aesthetic affectations that only highlight the grandiose, exhibitionist manias of Batman’s foes, and the utter ridiculousness of the very concept of a pair of masked vigilantes, one of whom is underage, working hand-in-glove with an incompetent police department and an adoring public! And while later cinematic representations of Batman at least tried to address the question of what kind of equipment, training, and armor would be necessary for a man to subject his body to physical punishment night in and night out, the producers of Batman took the most direct route possible. The costumes of, not only Batman and Robin, but Gotham’s entire most-wanted list, are lifted directly from the comic page, thin material, gaudy colors and all.

    Batman ran for 120 episodes over the course of three seasons, along with one feature film. As the show progressed, the jokes got stale, and the edgy satire of the first season became more children’s show than smart parody. It sputtered out at the end of a generally subpar third season. Still, its influence was profound. For much of the next 30 years (perhaps more), it seemed impossible for a comic book character to make the jump to live-action without being given a comedic, parodic touch.

    Some notable failures included; unaired (and rightfully so) Dick Tracy and Wonder Womanpilots, and a Spirit television movie (which, despite its shortcomings, is infinitely more faithful to Eisner’s vision than the recent Frank Miller film). While “comic book movies” and TV shows now reflect the higher aspirations of much of the source material, let’s not forget how Batman took two disposable pieces of children’s culture, and turned them, however briefly, into something more.

    Note: many of the quotes in this story come from The Official Batman Batbook by Joel Eisner, a wonderful resource about the TV series, and available on Amazon.

    * this article first ran on November 11th, 2014 *


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  • 02/12/17--20:00: Aquaman #17 Advance Preview
  • Exclusive first look at this week's new Atlantis adventure

    PicturesJim Dandy
    Feb 12, 2017

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    Warhead attacks in this week's Aquaman #17 from DC Comics.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Feb 12, 2017

    DC sent over an exclusive first look at this week's issue of Aquaman, and we've got some pages for you! Warhead, the villain shaken into activity by the war with Atlantis, strikes Arthur in New York. I'm on the record with my passion for Dan Abnett's work, and I think we're getting an all-time run on Arthur Curry here.

    For a character like Aquaman, who got two great runs (Peter David's and then Grant Morrison's take on Arthur in JLA) in more or less thirty years of being a joke, even with DC making up for lost time with Arthur since the New 52 relaunch (Johns/Reis, Parker/Pelletier, and now Abnett, Walker and Eaton) classics like this are still rare enough that we need to jump on them. Here's what DC has to say about the issue:

    AQUAMAN #17 Written by DAN ABNETT • Art by SCOT EATON • Cover by BRAD WALKER and ANDREW HENNESSY • Variant cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON“WARHEAD” part two! An ambassadorial visit to New York City is cut short when Aquaman senses a malevolent telepathic signal coming from deep within the city. An investigation pushes Arthur into the clutches of Warhead, a ferocious monster awakened during Atlantis’s war with the surface.

    Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments!


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    Imagine if an evil organization took control of our entire government and...nah, it's just too far-fetched.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Feb 12, 2017

    Information about Mavel's next big event is slowly trickling out, and this one looks like it's going to hit a little close to home.

    Marvel released a batch of information, from teaser images to a press release, announcing the new crossover. The first image announcing the event can be seen in the header, and has been confirmed by Marvel: the heroes of the Marvel Universe will be coming together to fight Nazi Alt-Right Captain America and his Secret Empire. Captain America: Steve Rogers writer Nick Spencer will work with Steve McNiven (the surprisingly good Monsters Unleashed), Andrea Sorrentino (the unsurprisingly good Old Man Logan) and Leinil Yu (the arc of Star Wars with the Rebel prison skimming the surface of a sun - so cool) to bring the story to stands.

    The original Secret Empire was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Tales to Astonish in 1966. Their composition and makeup seem to be drawn at random, as if Stan and Jack said "you know, Hydra and A.I.M. are cool, but their org charts make too much sense. What can we do with the number 9 that is gibberish by the second word of the explaination?"

    Seriously: they're a bunch of numbered people, ruled by a Council of Nine, who hire mercenaries and run false-flag UFO missions. They were started with Hydra funding, they occasionally kidnap mutants, and their secret headquarters was in Cincinnatti. The Secret Empire had their most famous moment in the 1970s during the Nixon administration when Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Sal Buscema strongly implied that Richard Nixon was actually a Secret Empire operative/plant. The timing of their re-emergence now is, we're sure, purely coincidental.

    Reemerging in the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers,the new Secret Empire's guiding design principle is "What would Twitter look like if Captain America were really a Nazi," making them the most terrifying villains ever created in comics. I bet they've even got their own publishing house, like Simonov and Sapojnik or something.

    Marvel followed this initial image up with a series of modifications seeming to indicate additional tie-ins to the crossover - "The Secret Empire will amaze you;""The Secret Empire will guard you;""The Secret Empire will avenge you," and so on. That was followed by a new image:

    The teaser images taken as a whole seem to indicate two things: that we'll be getting Secret Empire versions of all of Marvel's teams (the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Champions, the Defenders, the Avengers, the Extraordinary X-Men); and that by pairing Captain Marvel with Nazi Captain America hot on her Civil War 2 heel turn that was so egregious it ruined her solo book, Marvel isn't quite done with Carol yet.

    And speaking of hot on the heel turns of Civil War 2, we have Civil War 2: The Oath, which laid out the whole plan. Steve gets sworn in as head of SHIELD with new "emergency powers" that the galactic senate is sure he'll give back once the crisis is over. Meanwhile, Steve's been baiting the Chitauri into invading since pretty much when his solo series kicked off, and they're about to come to Earth in force. 

    Remember that vision Ulysses had in the pages of Civil War 2 where Miles Morales was standing over the dead body of Captain America on the steps of the capital? Of course you don't, why would you have read that dreck. I assure you it happened, though, because Captain America has been having similar visions, only instead of him lying dead in an alternate universe Spider Man's hands, it's of him leading a Hydra army as they represent the United States thanks to his fancy emergency powers. So there you go: Hydra is out in the open as an American military force, turning the entire country into some facist hellhole in many on-the-nose ways. 

    Secret Empire #1 is due out on May 3rd. Stay with Den of Geek for updates on this and other, more exciting crossovers.


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    The next X-Men movie going into production is Josh Boone's The New Mutants. Here's everything we know so far.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Feb 13, 2017

    The New Mutants were the first of Marvel's X-Men spinoffs in the comics, dealing with a younger crop of gifted youngsters as the core X-Men cast expanded and aged. So with the movie cast expanding and aging, it's natural that we'd eventually get a version of them on screen. Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is directing the upcoming X-Men spinoff, and he's co-written it with Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Knate Gwaltney.

    Boone is a professed New Mutants fan, and he has already confirmed that the team will look very much like those early '80s comics, and include characters like Danielle Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Cannonball, Magik, and Warlock. Mr. Boone also confirmed that the new X-Men movie that's about to go into production in Montreal this spring is indeed New Mutants.

    New Mutants Cast

    Last month the folks at That Hashtag Showhad a nice scoop. They broke a bunch of Iron Fist casting announcements and recently confirmed the characters appearing in Marvel's Inhumans TV series. It looks like they've just confirmed The New Mutants lineup, too. 

    Cannonball:

    [CHRIS] Male, 17 years old, Actor must be an adult (18 or over) or a legally emancipated minor; Tall, corn-fed Kentucky kid.

    Magik

    [ANNA] Female, 17 years old, Actor must be an adult (18 or over) or a legally emancipated minor; Russian, sexy, with an obvious mean streak.

    The "Anna" here refers to her real name of Ilyana.

    Sunspot:

    [ROB] Male, 16 years old, Actor must be an adult (18 or over) or a legally emancipated minor; Brazilian, cool, confident and extremely handsome.

    "Rob" is Roberto D'Acosta in the comics.

    Wolfsbane:

    [JESSICA] Female, 16 years old, Actor must be an adult (18 or over) or a legally emancipated minor; British, punk rock shorn red hair, waif-like.

    They also mention that Danielle Moonstar is in the movie, but there's no casting breakdown, because she "has already been cast." We have some more info on the casting down below, but we're probably due for some official casting announcements very soon.

    Back in May, a report from HitFix indicated that 20th Century Fox was lining up The Witch star Anya-Taylor Joy to play Majik and Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams as Rahne "Wolfsbane" Sinclair. 20th Century Fox denied the report, but both Ms. Joy and Ms. Williams have separately expressed their interest in the project. Well, ComingSoon reported in November that the original report was accurate, and more, Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars) is going to play Sam "Cannonball" Guthrie. 

    Of course, there's still no official word on any of this. But director Josh Boone just posted a piece of unofficial fan art on Instagram showing off Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane.

    #wolfsbane #rahnesinclair #newmutants #maisiewilliams #2018 @ashleyrguillory #xmen

    A photo posted by Josh Boone (@joshboonemovies) on

    You can read into this what you will, but again, this isn't official production art.

    New Mutants Story

    Coming Soon described New Mutants as anything other than your typical X-Men movie, or your typical superhero movie at all. Instead, they're going for a "Stephen King meets John Hughes" vibe with horror elements. The earliest New Mutants comics, with moody Bill Sienkiewicz artwork certainly would play into that influence.

    Check out an example of the art from those early stories, and yes, the bear is important...

    They've also got a genuine storyboard animatic from the film, revealing that at least one of the antagonists will be the Demon Bear which menaced the team in those same early comics. The Demon Bear is, yes, a bear, but it also feeds on negativity and has immense power of its own, so if this is the menace of the movie, you won't see any buildings coming down. 

    New Mutants Release Date

    That ComingSoonreport says the studio is targeting a Spring 2018 release date for New Mutants. 20th Century Fox has a bunch of untitled Marvel movies on their calendar, including March 2nd, 2018 (although there's a chance that could be reserved for Deadpool 2). Other possibilities (if Spring doesn't work out) would be June 29th and November 2nd of that year, or February 14th, 2019. But if New Mutants goes into production in early 2017, it could conceivably make that March release date.

    And just as a bonus, here's a pic of Boone and Gwaltney's original draft of the New Mutants movie when the scriptwriters turned it in back in April... 

    Cover of a certain script @knatelee and I turned in last night to @simondavidkinberg #newmutants second draft

    A photo posted by Josh Boone (@joshboonemovies) on

    And if it's a hit? Well, apparently Mr. Boone has envisioned this as a trilogy of films, so we'll see if that works out.

    A version of this article originally appeared on May 13th, 2015. It has been updated with new information


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    Yes, that really is Mr. Mxyzptlk coming to the next episode of Supergirl.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Feb 13, 2017

    Things are going to get really weird later this season on Supergirlwhen another Superman villain makes his way to the show. It isn't some kryptonite-powered powerhouse like Metallo this time, though. Instead, it's the 5th dimensional imp with reality warping powers, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Every now and then Mr. Mxyzptlk likes to show up in Metropolis to annoy Superman, because that's his favorite hobby, and the only way to get rid of him is to get him to say that difficult name of his backwards. 

    Peter Gadiot (Cyrus on the short-lived Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) will play Mr. Mxyzptlk, who will first appear in episode 13, appropriately titled "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk."

    Check out the official synopsis:

    When Mr. Mxyzptlk (guest star Peter Gadiot), a magical imp, shows up on Earth and declares his love for Kara (Melissa Benoist), she tries to let him down easy, thinking him harmless. However, he decides it’s a challenge and starts to wreak havoc on National City. Mon-El (Chris Wood) has seen beings like Mr. Mxyzptlk on Daxam and knows how dangerous they can be. He and Kara argue over how to get rid of Mr. Mxyzptlk, further straining their relationship. Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Maggie (Floriana Lima) celebrate their first Valentine’s Day together.

    And here's the trailer:

    Now, for reference, the 5th dimensional imp's name is pronounced "mix-yez-pitel-ick." Unsurprisingly, they get it right on this show, which tends to get most of this stuff right on the first try. Accept no other pronunciations. As for what it sounds like when you get him to say his name backwards, Superman authority Mark Waid seems confident that it's "kil-tepz-yex-ehm" and that's good enough for me. This isn't to be confused with how his name was spelled in his earliest appearances, Mxyztplk, which I seem to remember reading somewhere is pronounced "mux-izt-pulk" but I could be wrong.

    Mr. Mxyzptlk has been around since 1944, and he was created by Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Supes himself) and Ira Yarbrough. He's generally more of a trickster pain-in-the-ass than an actual villain most of the time. He pops in from his dimension  Now, considering the nature of his powers, he's certainly capable of more, and in Alan Moore and Curt Swan's legendary "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" story as well as Grant Morrison and Rags Morales' New 52 Superman reboot, we got to see a different side of the little guy.

    This isn't his first appearance in live action, either. He appeared in all of his comic book glory on the SuperboyTV series in the '80s (which I swear I'm going to get around to writing about one of these days), played by a perfectly cast Michael J. Pollard, who delivered a remarkably disinterested performance. A less visual version of the character was played by Howie Mandel on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and he also appeared in unrecognizable form on an extraordinarily bad episode of Smallville.

    Mxyzptlk was a staple of various Super Friends animated adventures, although his best moment outside of the comics remains his two appearances on Superman: The Animated Series, where he was voiced to perfection by Gilbert Gottfried. Both are essential viewing, and Mxy sports his 1940s look (although his modern spelling and pronunciation). Since Mxyzptlk is basically a Looney Tunes character in a superhero setting, those cartoons upped the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck factor, to great effect. Gottfried is back for the Justice League Action animated series, so that should be a treat.

    Watch Supergirl on Amazon

    Mxyzptlk will apparently appear in two episodes of Supergirl this year. It doesn't appear that he has a previous history with Superman (note that Superman villain Metallo didn't for the purposes of this show). But if it's a reason to bring back Tyler Hoechlin as the Man of Steel, this could be a lot of fun, especially if it's an excuse to do some crazy, funny stuff with the show.

    I'll update this with more info as it becomes available.


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    A year after the Deadpool movie, and in honor of Valentine's Day, we look at 12 ladies who took a piece of his heart before it grew back.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Feb 14, 2017

    In the Deadpoolmovie, one of the jokes in the marketing was portraying it as a love story to tie in with the fact that it came out just before Valentine's Day. It's not exactly lying as Wade's actions are all motivated by love.

    Sure, he may look like a sculpture made of dried bubble gum and he has some serious personality problems, but Wade Wilson has a lengthy list of love interests over the years. The sense of humor and abs probably help. Right now he's currently married and he's even tied the knot quite a few times prior. The guy gets around. Let's take a look at the ladies of his life who could look past his skin texture.

    Watch the Deadpool Movie on Amazon

    COPYCAT

    Vanessa Carlyle

    Don't let that blue-skinned appearance fool you. That's the same Vanessa that Morena Baccarin plays in the movie.

    Copycat lived with Wade years ago, when he was a simple mercenary. The two would likely have been married and spent the rest of their lives together, but then Wade came down with a bad case of cancer, told Vanessa to hit the road, moved on to Weapon X and things got complicated. Since Vanessa was a mutant shapeshifter, the two ended up working together after Wade became Deadpool. Around this time, Deadpool was complete human garbage and not only treated her badly, but at one point tried to kill her. Copycat left him for Garrison Kane, a character who isn't allowed to appear outside of the 1990s without first informing his parole officer.

    It was under this scenario that Deadpool enacted his first in-comic heroic action when he saved Copycat's life. Her powers were a mix between Mystique's shapeshifting and Rogue's power copying, so when she was mortally wounded, Deadpool tore off the top of his uniform and hugged her so that she'd copy his powers and heal herself.

    When Deadpool became more of a good guy, Copycat targeted him and failed. Then she tried to get back with him through disguising herself as various women interested in dating him. Deadpool later admitted that he knew it was her and the two rekindled their relationship.

    Copycat became aware of Deadpool's friendship with Siryn, became jealous and left him. Another reason why she left came from issues with her powers. She started working with a reformed Weapon X and they enhanced her abilities, but there were some serious side-effects. Weapon X brought Deadpool back into the loop and gave him the mission of killing Copycat. Deadpool instead rebelled and tried to save her life. She was sliced to ribbons by Sabretooth and died in Deadpool's arms, swearing that she always loved him.

    Every writer practically forgot about this afterwards, as Deadpool had crossed paths with Sabretooth on occasion and never had the sensible, violent reaction. It wasn't until AFTER the movie was released when Deadpool even brought that up. Even then, it was a secondary reason for him to consider killing Sabretooth.

    SIRYN

    Theresa Cassidy

    Due to a history between Banshee and Deadpool, Siryn ended up working alongside Wade during an adventure where they battled Juggernaut and Black Tom. During a fight with Juggernaut, Deadpool's mask came off and he begged Siryn not to look. Her gasp at seeing his face broke him down, but then she coaxed him with her touch and apologized. From there, Deadpool became infatuated with her and would regularly watch over her when she was asleep.

    She later admitted knowing he was there and feeling safe about it. Still creepy!

    Siryn acted as the angel on Deadpool's shoulder for a while, trying to steer him in the right direction. Unfortunately, Deadpool had a devil in Typhoid Mary, who disguised herself as Siryn and had sex with him, which caused him to have a major emotional breakdown. Once things with her team, X-Factor, settled down, she tried to get back with Deadpool, only for Copycat to take Deadpool's form and beat her up, causing her to despise him. She forgave him at some point, although the passion was gone.

    When dealing with a ton of depression due to the deaths of her father and her baby, Siryn had a one night stand with Deadpool. She seemed to regret it immediately and told him that it was over between them the morning after.

    DEATH

    Ah, the classic star-crossed lover story. The man who can't die and the woman who is literally the embodiment of dying.

    When being experimented on in Weapon X, Wade was so close to dying most of the time that he was able to see Death looming over him. Wade found himself in love with the skull-faced entity and she grew to love him too, what with him carrying the stench of murder.

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    As torturous as his days in Weapon X were, it was his time with Death that made it bearable. He planned to goad super-powered orderly and all-around jerk the Attending into killing him (mainly by calling him his real name of Francis), but Attending took out his frustrations on Worm, a fellow experiment who idolized Wade and even gave him the name Deadpool. Attending removed Deadpool's heart, which should have killed him, but as much as he wanted to spend his eternity with Death, Deadpool found his body healing for the sake of carrying out revenge in the name of Worm.

    Once that business was done with, Deadpool couldn't hear nor see Death anymore. Occasionally, he'd reach a state of near-death good enough to be able to meet with her until he was actually killed. Before the two could touch, Deadpool was revived on Earth. Turned out a jealous Thanos had used a cosmic artifact to give Deadpool eternal life.

    A more recent adventure between Deadpool and Thanos ended with not only the end to Deadpool's immortality curse, but he had a falling out with Death and moved on.

    MERCEDES WILSON

    A major climactic moment happened in Deadpool's solo series where a cosmic being that spreads pure bliss came to Earth and turned everyone into drooling, happy vegetables. Deadpool chose free will and killed the creature. The whole incident caused some repressed memories to return and he started to see visions of a specific woman wherever he went. He ended up finding this woman, who he began to remember as his wife Mercedes, and the two were equally confused. Especially when it was established by supervillain the Black Talon that Mercedes had died and was mysteriously brought back to life.

    Deadpool told the story of how he and Mercedes were happy together until evil mercenary T-Ray showed up at their home, half-dead. They took him in and in return, T-Ray killed Mercedes. Deadpool and Mercedes tried to run off to live happily ever after, but T-Ray caught up with them and revealed the truth: T-Ray was the real Wade Wilson and Mercedes was his wife. The two of them took in a mercenary named Jack who proceeded to kill Wade in an attempt to steal his life and accidentally took out Mercedes too. Then he believed himself to really be Wade Wilson and we got another big piece of Deadpool's origin.

    This was meant to break Deadpool, but despite being shown the possibly thousands of people he's killed over the years, the only victim he ever truly felt guilty about was Mercedes. Then he pointed out that he's at least trying to be better while T-Ray resurrected his dead wife for no reason other than revenge. Mercedes turned on T-Ray, but made Deadpool aware that she never wanted anything to do with him ever again.

    ANASTASIA

    In a story that seemed more Punisher than Deadpool, our hero was hired by some police officers to assassinate a handful of mobsters. Deadpool agreed because he needed the money and killing a bunch of bad people isn't the worst thing he could do to earn it. His contact was Anastasia, an attractive tattoo artist that Deadpool fell for immediately, partially for her dark sense of humor. On his third visit, she said that she really needed to give him a tattoo or else people would get suspicious, which led to Deadpool having to unmask in front of her. To his surprise, she seemed rather into his grotesque features.

    Deadpool would continue his job and would regularly come back to spend time with Anna. Fearing for her safety, he gave her a bunch of money and a phone, telling her to leave town until the whole thing blew over. Then it turned out to be one of those situations where everybody involved was corrupt and stabbing each other in the back.

    Anna turned on Deadpool and knocked him out with a shovel to the head. She buried him alive, but dug him up when her situation went south and she needed any help she could get. Once things were done with, Deadpool refused to trust her, feeling used from the beginning. Anna swore that that wasn't the case and handed Deadpool a gun. If Deadpool truly felt that way, he'd shoot her dead, but she was confident that he wouldn't.

    Deadpool shot her dead.

    He felt guilty about it for a while and was surprised when it turned out she was still alive. He married her in Vegas, but she was gone the morning after. What Deadpool never did realize was that Anna actually was dead. This was just Copycat messing with him.

    OUTLAW

    "Crazy" Inez Temple

    After pulling off a spectacularly impossible mob hit, Deadpool became the top name in mercenary killings and the envy of everyone in his line of work. While at the gym, he met fellow mercenary Outlaw, a cowgirl with the mutant power of enhanced strength. The two flirted and even crossed paths before one of his missions later on, but nothing of note happened. Mainly because Deadpool fell off the radar soon after and was believed to be dead.

    Outlaw fell in love with Alex Hayden, otherwise known as Agent X. Due to his healing factor, personality, scarred features, competency as a killer, and the fact that he showed up shortly after Deadpool went missing, many believed him to be Deadpool with amnesia. Their relationship came to an end when Alex cheated on her with his secretary Sandi (which was more of an instance of fill-in writer Evan Dorkin not quite getting the characters), but she at least stayed close to him as a member of his new organization Agency X. Around this time, Deadpool came back into play and he found himself teaming up with Agency X multiple times.

    At first, Deadpool's relationship with Outlaw never got much further than flirting and the occasional game of strip poker. During the story Suicide Kings, Deadpool was on the run due to belief that he caused a terrorist explosion. He hit on her a bit, but she swore that she had a boyfriend as a way to shut him up. Trouble followed, destroying Outlaw's apartment and causing her to be very cross with Deadpool.

    Once the adventure was done with, Deadpool spent a lot of money on getting Outlaw a new place to live. Since she could tell that Wade did this out of the goodness of his heart and not for the sake of getting into her pants, she rewarded him by letting him get into her pants.

    The two got married at some point, despite Alex's warnings. The honeymoon was far too much for Deadpool to handle, considering Outlaw's sexual eagerness mixed with her super strength. His body simply couldn't heal itself back together fast enough and his pelvis ended up in a thousand pieces over and over. The marriage soon got annulled.

    In other continuities, Outlaw has been the go-to love interest for Deadpool. In Deadpool MAX, she was a sex-starved psychopath meant to mix Outlaw, Domino, and Copycat into the same entity and was obsessed with Deadpool to the point of carrying a baby doll with her and insisting that it was his. In Deadpool Pulp, she played the femme fatale who acted as Wade's old flame on the other side of right and wrong. In the end, he had to kill her to save the US from a massive nuclear explosion.

    GRETCHEN WILSON

    Not much is really known about Gretchen. Years back, there was a miniseries called Identity Disc that was very blatantly the Usual Suspects starring a group of supervillains and had "Identity" in the title to cash in on DC Comics' big event comic Identity Crisis. The Kaiser Soze stand-in had a specific reason for each bad guy to do his dirty work, whether it was a way to help them or strictly blackmail. When killing time with Bullseye, Deadpool explained that his reward would be information on where to find his first wife Gretchen, who has a restraining order on him.

    He never did get his payoff due to the shocking reveal that the Vulture was behind everything (with the added shocker that he really wasn't). The story wasn't very good. Deadpool was last shown sadly looking over a photo of this woman we've never heard of before or after this storyline. I'm sure she was very nice.

    BLACK WIDOW

    "Yelena Belova"

    Early in Daniel Way's Deadpoolrun, the Merc with a Mouth ran afoul of Norman Osborn and became a thorn in the Goblin's side. The newest Thunderbolts team was sent to go deal with him, also very fresh into Andy Diggle's run on that series. Deadpool had a comparatively easy time dealing with the Thunderbolts except for team leader, Black Widow Yelena Belova. She was able to hold her own and between her fighting skills and looks, so Deadpool ended up going dopey and asked if she had a boyfriend.

    At first, Yelena rolled her eyes at his advances, but soon found herself laughing at his one-liners. Yelena was frustrated and amused by his antics, including how he flew a plane towing a banner with his phone number on it. During a fight between the two, Deadpool grabbed her close and kissed her. Black Widow was shocked by this and asked why he'd do that. From Deadpool's fevered point of view, he saw her as Death and told her he loved her.

    Deadpool was decapitated during the story and Yelena helped him by sticking his head back onto his shoulders and letting his healing factor do the rest. Down the line, unbeknownst to Deadpool, we found out that it was never Yelena in the first place, but the more heroic Black Widow Natasha Romanova trying to take down Osborn from the inside. Deadpool and Natasha did cross paths at another time, where he got some mixed signals and received a punch to the face for his troubles.

    ORKSA

    Deadpool took on intergalactic bounty hunter Macho Gomez, where at the end of their battle, Deadpool commandeered his spaceship and sent Gomez to his supposed death. Unfortunately for Deadpool, he found out that Gomez was affiliated with his in-laws' outer space towing business and soon our merc protagonist got roped into that.

    The gigantic Orksa was furious with Deadpool taking out her husband, but Deadpool calmed her down with a kiss and the two ended up getting married on the spot. This was Orksa's fourth marriage, which annoyed Obb, a coworker with eyes for her (er... eye for her because he's a freaky alien). Obb made a couple attempts at taking out Deadpool and failed, but Deadpool spared his life when realizing Obb's reasons for doing it. After helping some less-fortunate aliens survive a cokehead planetoid (yes, really), the two returned to Orksa, who realized that she had feelings for Obb. Deadpool divorced her, returned to Earth and noticed that he may have developed a fetish for chubby girls.

    SATANA HELLSTROM

    Deadpool was hired by Satana, sister of the Son of Satan (daughter of the father of the Son of Satan?). She had lost a bet with a group of nerds and was forced to marry one of them. Deadpool was cool with just killing them and going on his way, but they turned out to be human forms of various top-ranking Marvel demons like Mephisto and Dormammu. That's where he came up with plan B: marry Satana. Hey, if they were married, she wasn't allowed to get married to any demons!

    Asmodeus ended up getting the go-ahead to pursue Satana and thought he'd deal with Deadpool's trick by just killing him and taking care of the "death do us part" aspect of his marriage. Satana had magically enhanced Deadpool's soul and weaponry, which was just enough to take Asmodeus down. Unfortunately for Deadpool, once that was done with, Satana had their marriage annulled and took half of Deadpool's soul before they could even do the honeymoon mambo.

    And Satana is someone who's gotten frisky with Ghost from Thunderbolts, a guy who goes months without bathing. That's got to hurt Deadpool right in the confidence.

    CARMELITA CAMACHO

    In a story that takes place just a few years ago in terms of continuity, yet "came out in the '70s," a long-lost comic featuring an afro-sporting Deadpool teaming up with the Heroes for Hire led to him hooking up with Carmelita. Her father was killed by albino pimp the White Man and her mother hired Power Man and Iron Fist to rescue Carmelita from the kidnapper's clutches. Deadpool insisted on joining them because he simply felt like getting in the way and being a comedic nuisance. He ended up being caught by the White Man and was sent to rot with Carmelita. The two were in the midst of some sexual action when Luke Cage burst through the wall, horrified at what he was seeing.

    The heroes stopped the White Man and all was good, but once Carmelita saw Deadpool's face, she freaked out and ran away. That should have been the end of the story, but she returned sometime later with a daughter Eleanor, claiming it was Wade's and that she wanted some child support. He said Eleanor was too beautiful to be his and yelled at Carmelita to leave him alone...mainly for their own good.

    Some time later, the sinister Butler kidnapped Carmelita and Eleanor for the sake of blackmailing Deadpool to do his bidding. Deadpool tried to liberate them, as well as the loved ones of others that Butler and the North Korean government were experimenting on, but only few survived. To his outright horror, Deadpool found Carmelita's body in a pit of bullet-ridden victims. Witnessed by Captain America and Wolverine, Deadpool broke down and cursed himself for causing all this death just because he insisted on tagging along with Cage and Iron Fist all those years ago.

    Thankfully, Eleanor is alive and well. She doesn't live with Wade, but they're still very close.

    SHIKLAH

    Currently, Deadpool's main squeeze is Shiklah. Deadpool was hired by Dracula himself to unearth a slumbering succubus that Dracula was intent on marrying to bring their monster kingdoms together. Although Shiklah tried to suck Deadpool's energies with a kiss, she was shocked to see him survive it. Together, the two went on an adventure to reach Dracula, falling for each other on the way. This worked out for the better, as Dracula changed his plans and wanted Shiklah's death.

    To screw with that arranged marriage, Deadpool and Shiklah got married on the way to fighting Dracula. Afterwards, they had a real wedding with various members of Deadpool's supporting cast and a bunch of the superhero community showing up.

    While Shiklah rules her underground kingdom of monsters, Deadpool ducks out often to fulfill his duties as a mercenary and Avenger. While the two are crazy for each other, recent times have strained their relationship and a glimpse into the future shows a coming war between the two, as well as a scarred, succubus daughter who doesn't think too highly of her father.

    There have been plenty of other women in the Marvel universe who Deadpool's at least tried to get with, only to fall flat on his face. He's hit on Cable's old friend Irene Merryweather at least once, made a couple passes at AIM agent Dr. Betty, went on a disaster of a first date with Big Bertha, and I'm sure he'd love for Domino to give him the time of day. He's had affection for Thunderbolts teammate Elektra, only to have his dreams crushed when he discovered that she and the Punisher were friends with benefits.

    Oh, and he's also had some very homoerotic fantasies involving giving Cable a massage on a beach. Cable has supposedly had similar thoughts and the two have agreed never to talk about it. Ever.


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    Basking in the critical success of Riverdale, the company has signed a deal with Warner Brothers.

    News Chris Cummins
    Feb 14, 2017

    Here's another thing to love this Valentine's Day: The prospect of more Archie on television.

    Riverdale is one of this season's biggest surprises, a dark, soap opera take on the Archie characters that manages to be fiendishly addictive while still staying true to the core tenets of 75 years of source material. Although the series has garnered great reviews and gotten the sort of word of mouth/Twitter heat that networks dream about, ratings have been soft to date -- having fans of the nascent show worrying about it's future.

    Well, it's probably safe to say that Riverdale should be hanging around for awhile.

    From a just-published article from The Hollywood Reportercomes word that Archie Comics has just signed a development deal with Warner Brothers Television that would bring other properties from the ever-growing Archieverse to the small screen. The article uses the comparison of the CW's DC TV Universe as an example, and it's a fair one to be sure. Greg Berlanti helped bring those various series' to the network, and as executive producer of Riverdale, it makes perfect sense that not only would Warner want to keep him creatively satisfied, but that there is serious potential for several Archie shows here.

    On the deal, the exact details of which are being kept under wraps, Archie CEO Jon Goldwater had this to say:

    This deal with Warners is in many ways a culmination of the work, along with the amazing staff and freelancers who work at Archie, to bring these characters forward into the present day. To show that Archie is an iconic brand that is flexible, relevant and energized. It’s still Archie, and people want more of him and his friends. In the same way Batman can be dark, bright and funny or off-kilter, Archie can, too. He’s part of a pantheon of select characters and brands that are part of America. They’re part of the consciousness, so there’s a built-in knowledge there.

    While no confirmation about a second season of Riverdale is mentioned in the piece (the series just wrapped production on its first 13 episode season, with episode 4 airing this week), it's impossible to imagine that Warners would cancel an already-existing show while forging ahead with more potential Archie series. Then again, any glance at the headlines these days shows how nothing makes any sense anymore, so who knows. As for what possible other Archie shows could happen? Well, If you'll allow me to indulge my inner Archie fanboy for a second, here are but a few possibilities:

     - Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This is almost a given thanks to Sabrina's rumored involvement in the last couple of episodes of Riverdale this season. But what fans really want to see is a series based on the current Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack, which is set in the '60s and incredibly dark. As long as they don't go the Charmed route, this property should be in good hands.

    - Afterlife with Archie. This could actually be something that Riverdale could eventually morph into. Showrunner Aguirre-Sacasa has already gone on record saying that he would like to incorporate elements from this Archie zombie comic into a possible Halloween episode of the series, but seeing the current cast square off against the undead while dealing with their own teenage woes is a delicious prospect.

    - Josie and the Pussycats. A Riverdale spin-off in which the band goes on the road to make it big. Part Almost Famous, part Empire/Vinyl perhaps?

    - Jughead's Time Police. Because yes. Preferably animated in the classic Archie house style, but keeping Cole Sprouse on as the voice of Jughead because his casting as the character is perfection. Think Back to the Future-style stories but with a burger-consuming twist.

    - Cosmo the Merry Martian. Created by Bob White in 1958, Cosmo was Archie Comics' attempt at creating a funny outer space-set book filled with aliens and whimsy. The character has popped up in recent years, and is frequently featured in the digest books. A possible Cosmo animated series could fill the comedic sci-fi void left by Futurama. Although these characters are unknown by the general public, their irreverent nature and inherent charm would allow the right kind of writing staff to introduce them to an audience thirsty for cosmic cartoon hi-jinks.

    - Sam Hill. Private eye stories with a serious noir influence. Think Sin City, but subtle.

    - The Fox. This is one of the superheroes owned by the company that pre-dates Archie himself. Taking a cue from the characters recent Mark Waid/Dean Haspiel minis from the Dark Circle imprint, a possible Fox series could be a live-action series that mixes action with comedy a la The Tick.

    -The Black Hood. Another Archie hero, although this one -- focusing on the titular anti-hero -- is considerably darker. Crime writer Duane Swierczynski's current run on the book from Dark Circle is as much about the perils of addiction as it is about cleaning up the streets. It's not speaking with bombast to say that a Black Hood series could exist somewhere on the TV spectrum between The Wireand Marvel's Netflix TV offerings.

    - Life with Kevin. Based on Dan Parent's current digital exclusive, this series would chronicle an adult Keller's life in New York City as he tries to balance his career and professional lives. Ideally, the show would be a smart and funny show a la Looking.

    - Katy Keene. Like the Black Hood, this character is name-dropped in the Hollywood Reporter article, and a smartly written drama about a woman maneuvering her way through the fashion industry has some very real potential to be entertaining and a sharp mirror on society at the same time.

    - Li'l Jinx. This one could go a number of ways. Joe Edwards' lovable scamp is a kind of Dennis the Menace character, although not nearly as much of a pain in the ass as Hal Ketcham's claim to comics fame. Recent years have seen the character reinvented as a contemporary high schooler dealing with the issues of the day while maintaining or friendships, but a better route to take with the character is to use her as a template for a modern remake of The Bad Seed. Seeing how much a fan of classic genre tales that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is, this doesn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility.

    - Life with Archie. An anthology series set in the Archieverse in which our characters have to deal with such problems as cannisters of Satan gas, murderous teddy bears, Deliverance-worshipping yokels, aliens and the various other oddities that sprung from the 1970s comic of the same name.

    The article goes on to say that the comics are seeing Mark Waid double down on his commitment to the town of Riverdale as well:

    Coinciding with news of the Warner Bros. deal, Archie revealed that Mark Waid, the writer of flagship comic book series Archie, will be expanding his relationship with the company later this year by signing up to co-write a number of series, as well as mentoring upcoming writers, with the overall aim of growing the current stable of talent at the company.

    The takeaway from all of this is that the Archie media empire is growing by leaps and bounds. Sounds terrific to us.


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    Fast & Furious producer Neal Moritz is tackling a film adaptation of Talent, a 2006 comic book series from Boom! Studios.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Feb 14, 2017

    Boom! Studios comic book series Talent has become the focus of Hollywood talent looking to adapt it to film for quite some time. However, in the most auspicious development of a decade-long process, it appears that Talent has come into the orbit of a major producer behind an array of lucrative films series’. Now, the conceptual supernatural series with a tinge of superhero elements, has its best chance to arrive on the big screen.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, producer Neal Moritz, under his Original Film banner, will team with Boom! Studios to adapt their comic series Talent. The limited-run title, published back in 2006, was created by authors Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski, illustrated by Paul Azaceta. The story – a contemporaneous byproduct of television’s answers-craving Lost craze– centers on young college professor Nicholas Dane, who emerged as the sole survivor of a plane crash. However, the apparent miracle comes with the caveat of psychic abilities, allowing Nicholas to channel the talents of the 148 who perished in the crash. Eventually, the phenomenon makes him the target a killer conspiracy.

    As a producer, Neal Moritz’s name is attached to myriad Hollywood cash-cow films, notably the Fast & Furious series, the television-inspired comedic 21 Jump Street films and the recent Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt space film Passengers. He also fields projects in the world of televisions such as Fox’s imminently reviving Prison Break and AMC’s serial adaptation of Garth Ennis’s cult comic horror hit Preacher. While Boom! enjoys a first-look arrangement with Fox, Talent will deviate from industry norms and stray from that conventional setup, since Moritz has a first-look relationship with Sony. The unrealized previous version of the project was set up at Universal back in 2011 and had tapped The Avengers visionary sibling Zack Whedon to write the script.  

    Boom!, in its relatively young 12-year existence, has set itself firmly in the number three spot of comic book publishers and, since 2013’s Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg-starring 2 Guns, continues to grow as Hollywood rummages through their catalogue for more film adaptations. One notable Boom! adaptation currently in production is the apocalyptic-themed The Empty Man, starring James Badge Dale.

    Talent is just getting off the ground with the auspicious involvement of Moritz. He will be joined by his Original company cohort Toby Jaffe, Boom! executives Ross Ritchie and Stephen Christy as producers, along with Boom! vp Adam Yoelin as an executive producer. No timeframe has been announced for production or release dates.


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    Everything you need to know about American Gods, including latest news, cast, trailers, photos, and more!

    News Den Of Geek Staff
    Feb 14, 2017

    Long promised but never realized, Neil Gaiman's American Gods (arguably his best novel) is getting the cable TV series treatment. Bryan Fuller is shifting his attention from the gone-too-soon Hannibal to the American Gods TV series on Starz. Other creators behind the project includeco-showrunner Michael Green and fellow Hannibal alum David Slade behind the camera for the pilot.

    American Gods Latest News

    Hype continues to build for Bryan Fuller and Michael Green's American Gods, the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's beloved fantasy novel, which is destined for the Starz network.

    Neil Gaiman talked to the Wall Street Journal about the new show, elaborating that American Gods will be eight episodes and will only make it a third of the way through the books. Gaiman talked about the freedom the TV show has in branching out from Shadow's perspective. Episode four, for example, will give us Laura's perspective, starting all from before Shadow and Laura met.

    Speaking more generally about how the show has turned out, Gaiman said: "Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, the showrunners, have done a remarkable job and watching Ian McShane bring Mr. Wednesday, who is Odin, to life is an absolute joy."

    To listen to the interview, check out the video below...


     

    American Gods Release Date

    American Gods will arrive in 2017. As soon as there's an official announcement, we'll let you know.

    American Gods Trailer

    The first trailer for American Gods has arrived. Check it out below:

    American Gods Summary

    For those unfamiliar with American Gods, here's the official synopsis Starz released for the TV series:

    The plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of biblical and mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs.  Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.  

    American Gods TV Series Production

    Filming has officially begun on the 10-episode first season. Shooting will begin in Toronto and will continue in various American locations. Writer Neil Gaiman, showrunner Bryan Fuller, director David Slade (seated), showrunner Michael Green, and series star Ricky Whittle were all on hand for the promotional photo...

    American Gods has also added three new members to its ever-expanding and impressive cast: Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle) as Zorya Vechernyaya, Peter Stormare (Prison Break) as Czernobog, Chris Obi (Snow White and the Huntsman) as Anubis, and Mousa Kraish (Superbad) as The Jinn.

    At one point, HBO had planned American Gods as a series of six 10-12 episode seasons, but it never quite materialized. Back in February of 2014, Freemantle Media picked up the rights, and the project found a home at Starz in 2014 with Bryan Fuller (HeroesHannibal) and Michael Green (who is going to be very busy the next few years with Blade Runner 2Wolverine 3, and Prometheus 2 on his menu) as showrunners.

    In an interview with Crave Online, Bryan Fuller talked about plans for American Gods to be a kind of "Marvel Universe, not with superheroes but with gods... As detailed and integrated as the Marvel Universe is, and doing that with deities is something that excited all of us."

    In other words, this won't just be a straight adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel, and is instead being looked at very much as long form television, which may lead to more down the road. "In success we may have spin-offs of American Gods that follow lesser gods in greater detail than you might in the main series," Mr. Fuller added. 

    The whole interview is worth a read.

    Neil Gaiman gave fans a glimpse of the concept art, as well. This would be the bone orchard that Shadow dreams of in the book. It looks suitably moody...

    The first episode of season one will also be called The Bone Orchard, per this tweet sent out by Bryan Fuller...

    American Gods Casting

    Shadow and Laura Moon

    American Gods has gone on an all-star casting frenzy since first Fuller first told us how much diversity was important in casting this show back in May. British actor Ricky Whittle, best known for his role as Lincoln on The 100, has been cast in the lead role of Shadow Moon.

    Australian actress Emily Browning, best known for her roles in A Series of Unfortunate Events and Sucker Punch, will be playing his wife Laura Moon.

    Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood) has been cast as Low Key Lyesmith, Shadow's prison cellmate with a fast-talking personality and a past that is much more interesting than meets the eye. (For a clue, try saying his name outloud.)

    Mr. Wednesday

    Deadwood's Ian McShane (who worked with Green on too-soon-cancelled political drama Kings) will be playing Mr. Wednesday, "a crafty and endlessly charismatic con man, full of perverse wisdom, curious magic, and grand plans. He hires ex-con Shadow Moon to be his bodyguard as he journeys across America, using his charms to recruit others like him as he prepares for the ultimate battle for power."

    Old Gods

    Well, we already mentioned Zorya and Czernobog in our "latest news" section above, but rounding out the old gods crew is: Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is the New Black) as Mad Sweeney, and Yetide Badaki (Masters of Sex) as Bilquis. Mission Impossible star Sean Harris was originally cast in the role of Sweeney but pulled out of the project a week into production for personal reasons.

    But even though the show is well into shooting and a trailer has already been released (see below), American Godscast continues to grow. According to Entertainment Weekly, the show has cast Jeremy Davies as Jesus — yep, Jesus. Here's the official description of his character:

    Resurrected on Ostara’s feast day, Jesus has always been generous in sharing the Easter holiday with the ancient goddess. But the overly empathetic Son of God would be crushed to know that Ostara harbors some deeply buried resentment over the issue.

    Davies is best known for his role as physicist Daniel Faraday on Lost. He also played Dickie Bennett on Justified.

    American Gods has also added Psych star Corbin Bernsen to the cast as an Old God named Vulcan. Here's a character description, courtesy of Deadline...

    Vulcan is one of Mr. Wednesday’s (Ian McShane) oldest allies. He’s created a comfortable life for himself by harnessing his powers for the modern world, which makes him resistant to Wednesday’s plans.

    Entertainment Weekly released a sneak peek look at Vulcan, a new god created for the TV adaptation. Played by Corbin Bensen, Vulcan was not featured in Neil Gaiman's book, but was a character created by Gaiman nonetheless. Gaiman had intended to write an episode for the first season of the show (though scheduling made it impossible), and Vulcan was a part of the brainstorming for that episode.

    Speaking about the new character, Bryan Fuller tells EW:

    Vulcan's the god of the volcano and the forge, and what is the modern-day extrapolation of what that god could do? We started talking about America’s obsession with guns and gun control and, really, if you're holding a gun in your hand, it's a mini volcano, and perhaps, through this character, there's a conversation to be had.

    Michael Green elaborated more on how the Vulcan character came to be, saying:

    He's a brand-new addition who came from an experience Neil had. He was going through a small town in Alabama where he saw a statue of Vulcan. It was a steel town and, as he told the story, there was a factory that had a series of accidents where people were killed on the job and they kept happening because an actuarial had done the numbers and realized that it was cheaper to pay out the damages to the families of people who lost people, rather than to shut down the factory long enough to repair, and that occurred to him as modern a definition of sacrifice as there might be ...

    What’s interesting about a god like Vulcan who has bound himself to guns is it’s an evolution of what he was to what he could be, and that’s finding a new place in a world that didn’t have a place for old gods. That comes with a series of compromises but also a series of benefits for him. To say that maybe you can find a new place in this country, that it doesn’t always have to be so hard, makes him an interesting person as someone with a long history with Mr. Wednesday.

    Bryan Fuller sat down with Amazon to talk about the show, specifically the character of Bilquis and "the strangest audition" Fuller has ever participated in...

    New Gods

    Crispin Glover has been cast in the all-important role of Mr. World, the "seemingly omniscient leader at the center of the New Gods coalition." Mr. World must keep an eye not only on his enemies, but his own "allies." As the official description reads, "he realizes that their ringleader, Mr. Wednesday, poses an imminent threat." 

    Bruce Langley (Deadly Waters) will play Technical Bogy.

    Omid Abtahi (Argo) will play the recurring role of Salim, a “sweet, sad, and put-upon foreigner who is one half of a pair of star-crossed lovers,” in season 1. The role comes with an option to become a regular in season 2.

    The Iranian-born actor played the character Salim in Showtime's Sleeper Cell and Homes in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

    Gillian Anderson has been cast in the role of Media, the public face of the new gods, in the TV adaptation of American Gods. Media takes the form of several iconic celebrities to serve as the publice face and sales representatives for the new gods, living off of the attention people give to their various digital screens. She is clever, quick on her feet, and able to spin almost any situation. 

    Anderson has previously worked with Bryan Fuller on Hannibal, so this casting is such a surprise, but it is infinitely awesome.

    In yet another brilliant piece of casting, Orlando Jones has joined the cast of American Gods as Mr. Nancy, "the old African trickster god more commonly known as Anansi, and one of Mr. Wednesday’s (Ian McShane) oldest confidantes. Like Wednesday, Nancy is ready to bring this new America (and its new gods) to its knees, desperate to light a fire and watch the whole world burn."

    Demore Barnes has also joined up as Mr. Ibis, "the keeper of stories, past and present, and he recounts them with great relish. His old fashioned sensibilities do not preclude a wry wit."

    Kristin Chenoweth has joined the cast of American Gods as Easter. "I'm so excited to be reunited with my Bryan Fuller," said Chenoweth during the American Gods panel at SDCC 2016.

    Comedian Dane Cook has moved away from the spotlight after a brief run as a buzzworthy name in comedy, but it appears he'll be resurfacing on Starz. Cook may get to be the comic relief in the upcoming American Gods series. Deadline reports the comedian and actor has signed on to play Shadow Moon's best friend Robbie. Here's his character description: 

    Cook’s Robbie promises to hold Shadow’s (Ricky Whittle) job for him while he’s in prison. Robbie is married to Audrey, best friend to Shadow’s wife Laura (Emily Browning), and he provides another shoulder for Laura to cry on while Shadow is away.

    American Gods TV Show Images

    A new poster for American Gods has arrived out of SDCC 2016. Check it out:

    Starz just released the first image of Bilquis, played by Yetide Badaki (Aquarius). Bilquis, also known as the Queen of Sheba, "is an ancient goddess of love who craves the worship she inspired in eras long gone, and is eager to find that same relevance in today’s world." Showrunner Bryan Fuller chatted with Den of Geek about the role, saying:

    One of the exciting things for us in adapting this is that we get to expand characters, so Bilquis, who is only in a chapter of the book, then you don’t see her again, is a major player in this world.

    Though Bilquis only appears in two chapters in the American Gods book, her character makes quite an impression. We can only imagine what that role might look like in an expanded form...

    All hail Gillian Anderson, aka American Gods' Media. The actress, who will be guest starring in the series as the mouthpiece of the New Gods, just shared an image of herself in the juicy role. Check the Marilyn Monroe-esque loveliness out below, then scroll down to our character section to learn more about Anderson's role in the upcoming series...

    Entertainment Weekly unveiled the first official images from the series, featuring Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday...


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