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    As you may, or may not, know, The Last Jedi shares its title with a Star Wars Marvel comic from the early 80s...

    Feature John Moore
    Feb 21, 2017

    Note: Potential spoilers for Episode VIII (2017), massive spoilers for Marvel’s Star Wars #49 (1981)

    Avid followers of Mark Hamill’s twitter feed may have noticed this rather cryptic message pop up in his feed recently.

    It concerns issue #49 of the original Marvel Star Wars comic run that began in 1977, an issue that has recently become of special interest because it shares its title (The Last Jedi, should you have been living in a cave since January) with director-writer Rian Johnson’s upcoming Episode VIII. We decided to take a closer look and speculate if Hamill’s decision to directly link the comic to a presumably highly formative time in the director’s life could mean that there may be more of a link between Star Wars #49 and the next part of the Skywalker saga than just those three words.

    Of course, in a franchise as packed with spinoffs and supplementary material as Star Wars is, there are only so many combinations of words that add up to a useable subtitle, so this may be nothing... but there is some form for this kind of connection in the age of the Disney and Lucasfilm Story Group.

    Legends and Legacy

    For example, you may remember some easter eggs emerging before The Force Awakens that linked the plot of the film to Star Wars Legacycomic from 2013. The Legacy easter egg seems to have been pretty legit. Explained in detail on Star Wars News Net, an onscreen message in Star Wars Rebels led one viewer on a trail to Star Wars Legacy v2 #9, a Dark Horse-era publication that told the story of a female character, working in a junkyard, who finds a lightsaber hidden inside a communications droid and then embarks on an adventure - pretty close to what could have been the opening of the The Force Awakens, had JJ Abrams not changed his mind about it fairly late in the day.

    Admittedly, the reason for me citing the easter egg story at the time was that the comic also revealed said female character to be Ania Solo, a descendant of Han and Leia, which now seems to be an unlikely origin for her analogue, Rey. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to notice the similarities in plot between the two when they’re brought to your attention, and it remains fun to speculate on how much it may have influenced the plot of The Force Awakens.

    While that was a truly well hidden egg, planted in the corner of a screen on Star Wars Rebels, Hamill’s recent tweet and Johnson’s title give us two explicit links between Star Wars #49 (which sits firmly under the non-canonical ‘Legends’ label) and the next Star Wars movie. Is that just a bit too obvious, or could there be something more to it than a catchy three-word coincidence?

    Before we dive down that rabbit hole, let’s first deal with a story that emerged shortly before the title of the film was released a month or so ago that could put this in some additional context. A tidbit that you may have missed. Specifically, the story that Rian Johnson had been sitting on the title of Episode VIII since the very first draft of his script.

    As he tells it, there was no workshopping or committee involved in choosing the title, no shortlist of options filtered through the Disney marketing department; The Last Jediwas always called that, from the first moment he put pen to paper. Probably, we suspect, well before he started to commit to a story... But was it nigh-on 40 years before? Let’s see...

    The Last Jedi’s story

    The first The Last Jedi is set after Empire. It was published in April 1981, coming four issues after Marvel finished its graphic serialisation of Episode V, in issue #45 (to ‘double-bag’ its place in the timeline, Luke notes his cybernetic hand in one scene). It begins with Luke and Leia on a mission to a mysterious planet in search of the source of a distress signal. A signal that they believe will lead them to something that offers “the means to turn an entire solar system against the Empire.” That something is actually someone, however: the long-lost Prince Denid of Velmor, heir to the throne of a planet coveted by both sides of the galactic civil war.

    Thus, it falls to Luke and Leia to return Denid to his homeworld, stop the ascension of his pro-Imperial younger brother to the throne, and ensure Velmor aligns with the Rebel cause, something they hope will in-turn influence many other planets to follow suit. Of course, it’s not that simple.

    Once the group reach Velmor - with Leia and Luke disguised as Denid’s fiance, and a bounty hunter who discovered them, respectively - Imperial forces are already embedded on the planet. What’s more, they are exerting influence over the would-be King - Denid’s younger brother, Anod - through an alliance with the incumbent Regent, Zelor.

    Zelor, we’re told, has been ruling Velmor since covertly organising an insurgency that led to the death of the Anod and Denid’s parents, and forced Denid to flee the planet. Now, however, with Anod of an age to take his rightful place as monarch, and with the unexpected return of Denid, Zelor has two challenges to his position of power. Unwilling to relinquish the throne, he pulls strings behind the scenes in an attempt to rid himself of both heirs to the throne, the fiance, the bounty hunter, and the Imperial oversight of Captain Zeta Traal, by setting them against each other - unaware of the true identity of two of those he is dealing with.

    Dubrovnik in Space

    And thus the speculation starts, specifically relating to whether we could see any link between this convoluted plotline and the role that the location filming in Dubrovnik will play in Episode VIII. Visually, one can easily see the location playing host to something not-unlike the city of Den Velmor in #49. Also, rumors of Hunger Games-esque costuming, and the reports on Benecio Del Toro’s potentially villainous 'man in black' could certainly sit within any scenery that echoes of the Oz-like stylings of Velmor’s 70s Marvel-style incarnation, and that the staging that the set pics coming out of the Croatia seemed to hint at.

    Similarly, if rumors suggesting that del Toro’s 'Tug' character is an officer of the New Republic, but also a villain - as he has described himself - are in the right ballpark, that could set him up in a role similar to Zelor: a man eager to align himself with The First Order in an attempt at a power grab. That power grab could perhaps be at the expense of Laura Dern’s character, that rumors suggest could be in line to take control of The Resistance following an attempt on Leia’s life early in the film.

    We’re also told that Finn, potentially alongside Poe and a character played by Kelly Marie Tran, spend a significant portion of the plot hunting down the assassin that targeted Leia, starting on the planet Dubrovnik is depicting. This is a progression of events that could put them in a similar position to Luke and Leia on Velmor. While you can make your own ‘shipping’ jokes about that (a sub-plot to #49 is Luke’s jealousy over Prince Denid charming Leia, and eventually proposing to her - and we all know what the internet thinks about Poe x Finn), what I’m referring to is that they would potentially be moving around a strange planet, in disguise, caught up within its own political machinations that also feed into a wider galactic power struggle.

    Jedidiah’s journey

    Moving swiftly on, it’s time to get to the most interesting character in Marvel’s The Last Jedi. It’s someone I haven’t mentioned yet: Jedidiah - Jedi, for short. He is a Velmoc (an insectoid race indigenous to Velmor) and a trusted companion of Prince Denid who, we’re told, has protected the Prince during his long exile. More interestingly, though, Jedidiah is force sensitive, and was once a candidate for Jedi training who refused to take up his place as part the Order having foreseen Zelor’s treachery and the need for him to protect the young Prince.

    The tragedy of Jedidiah is that, in saving the Prince from their crash landing on the planet where they have been trapped, he sustained injuries that “robbed him of his reason,” leaving him only with memories of “his lost dream of becoming a Jedi Knight...”, after which, “he entered a fantasy world from which he has never returned.”

    In short, he’s a crazy old alien, lost in his own world that makes little sense to anyone but himself. A world of honor, and courage, and the values of the now-gone Jedi, and in which he is entrusted with the protection of Denid. Luke, however, having apparently learned little from his first encounter with Yoda, is not impressed with this, and treats Jedidiah with an attitude little short of disdain. At first less-than-impressed that he didn’t answer the call of the Jedi, he later tells Threepio to “keep this crazy old guy away from me” as he will “have enough trouble without babysitting him.”

    That dismissive stance is, once again, one that he comes to regret when, at the story’s denouement, Jedidiah connects with Luke via the force and rushes to selflessly save the young would-be Jedi’s life, at the price of his own. Leaving Luke to realise what he lost by not being more respectful of the aging, somewhat looney, Velmoc.

    “Somehow, this valiant old man found the strength and the wits to save my life... but lost his...”, he says, before adding that “He did that for me... Though I scorned him and derided him in my heart! He lost his life, and I lost him!”

    The last Skywalker?

    While rumors regarding Johnson’s The Last Jedi have so-far hinted that Luke Skywalker survives the story, and will appear in Episode IX, there is a distinct possibility that - not unlike Yoda after his decades of exile - the Luke that Rey finds on Ach-To is not exactly what she was expecting of a Jedi master. Hamill and Daisy Ridley were certainly riffing on that idea when they posted the now-infamous picture of him in Yoda-as-backpack pose during down-time in filming.

    Could Luke’s experiences, not least The Knights of Ren laying waste to his dream of creating a new Jedi order and his time (presumably) alone on Ach-To, have sent him into a hermit-like rambling form of madness similar to that of Jedidiah? If so, what effect could the rumoured arrival of Rey, and eventually Kylo Ren, have on him? Not good, by quite a few accounts.

    Again, it’s certainly easy to imagine a plot where a frustrated Rey has shown less and less respect to Luke during her training, disappointed in the gap between the Skywalker Legend on which she was raised and the reality she is living, only to regret that attitude after Luke steps in to save the save the day. Perhaps by sacrificing himself in some profound way to protect her, or her friends, through some example of true Jedi power. Could Rey have to come to a epiphany in her The Last Jedi similar to that which Luke does in the comic?

    We’re not necessarily talking about Skywalker making the ultimate sacrifice that Jedidiah makes, but we’re not ruling it out either. If Star Wars has proven one thing, it’s that death is no indication as to whether or not a character will appear in a subsequent movie - and any rumour insisting that Hamill will appear in Episode IX should carry this as a nota bene.

    The last words, plural

    On the final story page of Star Wars #49, Luke delivers a short soliloquy over Jedidiah’s coffin where he admits “I thought you were a crazy old man, but I was wrong, Yours was the soul of a true Jedi Knight... The Last Jedi... I pray that I meet death as valiantly as you did...”

    Though it is a poetic ending to the story, and stands as a great piece of Star Wars dialogue that would be graced by Daisy Ridley’s delivery - and probably sit comfortably in any of the films - it bears pointing out that it isn’t necessarily factually correct. At least not from a certain point of view.

    At the approximate timeline point at which Marvel’s The Last Jedi story sat (notwithstanding its non-canonical status), though Luke is “not a Jedi yet”, Yoda was still alive. However, as has been widely pointed out, Jedi is a plurale tantum - the plural of Jedi is also Jedi - so neither the title of that story, nor the new film, necessarily refer to just one character.

    We’re not going to open that can of worms right now, though.

    The chances of The Last Jediclosely reflecting the plot of a comic from 1981 are, frankly, zero. There will be no Wampa-like monster emerging from the jungle to confront Luke, no Oz-like civilisation with Insectoid co-habitants, no Anod, no Zalor. However, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that certain elements may be reflected in it, if - as is also possible - Rian Johnson, or someone with the Lucasfilm inner circle, has come across this comic before.

    Hamill’s tweet, and his #EverythingOldIsNewAgain hashtag, may just be him showing off his geek chops by noting the clash of names - indeed, that’s a very likely, if not the most likely explanation. However, in a universe where Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni are actively deep diving Legendsmaterial for Rebels, fringe characters from The Clone Wars cartoon are promoted to starring roles in Star Wars anthology movies, canonical instalments are getting made by Lucas-nerds like JJ Abrams and Gareth Edwards, and the cross-pollinating Star Wars universe is being driven by alpha-fanboys like Pablo Hidalgo, that a title, character and plot points a writer/director remembers from a 1981 comic he read when he was seven years old could turn up in a 2017 movie suddenly seems a possibility. What a time to be alive, eh?

    This is all speculation, of course, but interesting nonetheless.

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    While director Guillermo del Toro had hopes for Hellboy III, it was apparently nixed before it got off the ground.

    News Joseph BaxterJohn Saavedra
    Feb 21, 2017

    Hellboy fans had a ray of hope last month when the film franchise’s writer/director Guillermo del Toro suddenly took to Twitter with a poll (albeit a rigged one,) designed to gauge the interest of a potential audience for a long-belated third film entry. After an enthusiastic, “Hell, yes,” dominated over a tepid, but positive, “Yes,” del Toro again whetted appetites with a subsequent tweet promising a sit-down with star Ron Perlman and creator Mike Mignola. Unfortunately, del Toro’s latest Twitter update was no so auspicious.

    Del Toro took to Twitter this morning, officially revealing that plans for Hellboy III were cancelled before they even formally started. Sounding dejected, del Toro broke that bit of bad news in a way akin to ripping off a Band-Aid, quickly and with a sobering sense of finality, stating, “100% the sequel will not happen.” While del Toro didn't reveal why Hellboy III was nixed, it does seem that some unforgiving practical realities arose during del Toro’s sit-down with key Hellboy personnel. Moreover, it is worth noting that back in October star Ron Perlman stated that he was too busy to tackle a prospective Hellboy III, though he did leave a little leeway, also saying that he’d be up for it “one day.”

    Yet, it does seem that the “one day” in which Perlman – now 66 years-old – dons the cumbersome red makeup and prosthetics to again become cinema’s favorite cigar-chomping, hard-drinking hell-spawn won’t be happening, probably ever. Besides Perlman’s unavailability, Del Toro’s docket isn’t exactly flexible, with directorial projects in an upcoming dark-styled animated version of Pinocchio and romantic fantasy film The Shape of Water to go along with projects to which he’s attached as producer such as film sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, dark DC superhero team-up Justice League Dark and the imminently-concluding FX series The Strain.

    Del Toro’s 2004 original Hellboy– adapting Mike Mignola’s macabre Dark Horse comic series – was an arguably paradigmatic cinematic offering arriving about 4 years before the current epoch of comic book movies. While it didn’t exactly break the bank with a $99 million global take on the back of a hefty $66 million budget, fan enthusiasm and del Toro’s willpower incited an unlikely 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which performed a lot better with $160 million global on the back of an $85 million budget. With the franchise being dormant for nearly a decade, it’s reasonable to assume that an evolving budget/expected-gross ratio and an over-crowded comic book film scene were additional factors in the preemptive demise of Hellboy III.

    Regardless, it’s a disappointing day for Hellboy fans and del Toro.

    Our original article below as it appeared on January 18, 2017:

    Guillermo del Toro Wants You to Vote on the Fate of Hellboy 3

    When it comes to long-buried sequels that totally should still happen, Hellboy 3 is at the top of the list. I know it, you know it, Ron Perlman knows it, and Mike Mignola knows it. Best of all, monster movie auteur Guillermo del Toro knows it. Which is why he's launched a new poll on Twitter to get this doomed sequel made:

    As you can see, the only real answer is "Yes." What's the catch to this very one-sided poll? Del Toro has promised to sit down with lead actor Perlman and Mignola, creator of Hellboy, to talk about the long-gestating third movie that can't seem to find that precious green light - if the poll gets enough votes.

    Of course, this is in no way an indication that this movie will get made, as it would still have to find a studio to call home. It just means that del Toro is considering sitting down to start figuring out how the story could continue. This is definitely encouraging though, considering that only a few months ago Perlman suggested Hellboy 3 was dead because they were all just too busy to get back to work on this. 

    And it's not like del Toro is less busy than he was back in October. He's in the middle of filming his new movie, The Shape of Water(which is coincidentally a movie about a fish man who sounds a lot like Abe Sapien), and producing the Pacific Rim sequel. He's also working on a movie adaptation based on the classic children's book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. There's also that long-gestating vampire wrestler indie film, tentatively titled "Silver," which del Toro is dying to make. Even if something good were to come out of del Toro's meeting with Perlman and Mignola, Hellboy 3 would still be a way's away. 

    But, if you're one of those fans dying to see the sequel finally happen, you can at least let your voice be heard on del Toro's Twitter.

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    The nominations for the annual genre awards have been announced. Did your favorite book, short story, movie, or TV show make the cut?

    News Kayti Burt
    Feb 21, 2017

    The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced their nominees for the 2016 Nebula Awards, which honor novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories within the genre world. Though the main focus is fiction, the Nebulas also recognize genre TV and film with the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation.

    Awarded annually since 1966, the Nebulas are industry awards — voted on by other science fiction and fantasy authors. This differs from the Hugos, which rely on fan votes (or, more specifically, by supporting and attending members of WorldCon).

    Voting for the Nebula Awards will begin on March 1st, with the awards to be presented at the Nebula Conference, which will run from May 18th to May 21st in Pittsburgh.

    Here are the nominees...

    Best Novel

    All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
    Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
    The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
    Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
    Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)

    Best Novella

    Runtime, S.B. Divya ( Publishing)
    The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson ( Publishing)
    The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle ( Publishing)
    Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
    The Liar, John P. Murphy (F&SF)
    A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson ( Publishing)

    Best Novelette

    “The Long Fall Up,” William Ledbetter (F&SF)
    “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea,” Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
    “Red in Tooth and Cog,” Cat Rambo (F&SF)
    “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories,” Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
    The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde ( Publishing)
    “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay," Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)

    Best Short Story

    “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies,” Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
    “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
    “Sabbath Wine,” Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
    “Things With Beards,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
    “This Is Not a Wardrobe Door,” A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine)
    “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers,” Alyssa Wong (
    “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0,” Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)

    Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

    Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
    Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
    Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
    Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind,’’ Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO
    Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

    Andre Norton For Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy

    The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)
    The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
    The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
    Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
    Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
    Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Kathy Dawson Books)
    The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

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    Hugh Jackman confirms that he will not be appearing in a Wolverine/Deadpool crossover with Ryan Reynolds. Logan is it.

    News David Crow
    Feb 21, 2017

    For years we have known that Logan (formerly the movie called “Wolverine 3”) would be the final time we would see Hugh Jackman as the clawed and feral superhero. It’s a role he originated 17 years ago, and we can already say Logan is an extraordinarily moving sendoff to Jackman’s alter-ego…but Ryan Reynolds at least doesn’t think it has to be. Indeed, the actor who willed Deapdool into existence has repeatedly expressed hopes of luring Jackman out of superhero retirement for a Deadpool/Wolverine crossover.

    It’s apparently not to be. Jackman confirmed that he is now positive that he put it all on the table with Logan and seems pleased to walk away while on top.

    “I’m out,” Jackman told Fandango. “That’s probably bad timing, because I love Ryan Reynolds and I love Deadpool, but I knew I was out and I couldn’t have made this movie if I was questioning I was out. I was a pain in the ass for a lot of people with this movie, because it mattered so much to me. Even when we started writing this, and even when I asked James Mangold to come onboard, I said, ‘Dude, I don’t know if I’m gonna’ make it.’ Unless it’s exactly what I want, I prefer to not do it. I couldn’t live with it. So this is it.”

    And what an “it” Logan turned out to be. A violent, grizzled, but strangely heartfelt and sentimental modern day Western with superpowers, the picture is a triumph for Jackman, Mangold, and everyone else involved. While there are plenty of narrative situations that could allow Jackman to play Logan in a Deadpool sequel, we have to admit that it feels kind of perfect to end Jackman’s Wolverine legacy where it’s at.

    Of course, no one said anything about the wee Dafne Keen and her ferocious X-23, who could also wind up in a Deadpool or X-Force movie…

    Logan is out in theaters on March 3. Apparently with a post-credit scene that neither we or any other journalists had the chance to see.

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    X-Men: Supernova, a new take on the Dark Phoenix Saga, is happening and Simon Kinberg is hoping to direct the picture.

    News David Crow
    Feb 21, 2017

    One didn’t need to be psychic to see this coming after Sophie Turner and James McAvoy both hinted the next X-Men film, apparently titled X-Men: Supernova, was filming this summer. But it now appears official: Simon Kinberg is in line to both write and direct the seventh X-Men team movie.

    Collider broke the news late Tuesday, reporting that Kinberg, a frequent writer and constant producer on the X-Men films since 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, has completed a screenplay for what is tentatively called X-Men: Supernova and is now in discussions to make his directorial debut on the film. Further, Collider’s Steve Weintraub suggests that the film is indeed based around the Dark Phoenix Saga, which means that Turner is confirmed to play the pivotal role of Jean Grey as her character becomes a cosmic level threat.

    None of this is shocking since the hints left by Turner and McAvoy suggests that the next X-Men movie was shooting this year, indicating a director and screenplay had to already be in place. While Weintraub says that 20th Century Fox has not yet signed off on using this particular screenplay or Kinberg as director, the quickly approaching production date suggests it’s closer to a done deal than not.

    We also at Den of Geek, have long suggested that the best way to reinvigorate the franchise after the disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse was to reinvent it as a space opera and work their way up to Dark Phoenix. It’s one of the all-time great X-Men sagas that The Last Stand completely threw away. However, jumping right to the Phoenix’s fiery downfall is a bit of a surprise.

    Kinberg has been a longtime successful producer at 20th Century Fox, having worked on the Oscar nominated The Martian, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Deadpool, and Logan. He also produced and wrote the screenplays for X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse.

    With that said, as good as the screenplay was for Days of Future Past, it tended to benefit from a tight structure offered by both its potent comic source material and valuable work done by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (writers on X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service). Apocalypse left more than a little to be desired, and was also the first X-Men movie since 2009 to be met with a negative critical reception.

    In such a context, one hopes Kinberg really paid attention to the feedback on Apocalypse and adjusted accordingly. Hopefully if he also directs, he’d likewise be closer to the filmmaking dexterity of his producer credits.

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    There's nothing better than an evil talking psionic gorilla, and The Flash's hairiest villain Grodd is the very best (or worst) of them all!

    The Lists Marc Buxton
    Feb 21, 2017

    Grodd returns for another round on The Flash with "Attack on Gorilla City" and next week's "Attack on Central City."

    Now, the world is learning what faithful DC Comics fans have known for decades, Gorilla Grodd freakin’ rules. Since his first appearance in 1959, Grodd has been one of DC’s most enduring and unique villains somehow transcending the innate silliness of the concept and becoming one of the biggest badasses in comics.

    Seriously. Grodd is like a fevered mash-up of Caesar from Planet of the Apes, Professor Xavier, and Stalin. That’s one scary ape right there.

    Recently, the world has learned that it is Grodd’s world and we just live in it. So to catch new fans up on some of the greatest Grodd moments over the years, we present this list of Grodd’s greatest capers, atrocities and monkey shines. Moments that speak to why this despotic super ape is one of the greatest foes the heroes of the DC Universe, particularly The Flash, ever faced. 

    So join us as we present...

    The Prime 8: 8 Moments that Prove That, Grodd Damn It! That’s One Awesome Gorilla!

    1. Flash #106 (1959)

    by John Broome by Carmine Infantino

    How much is that homicidal, despotic, feral gorilla in the window?

    Before Gorilla Grood made his debut in The Flash #106 in 1959, Flash fought his fair share of gimmicky human criminals and non-descript aliens, but when a certain super gorilla debuted, the insanity of the Silver Age can be said to have truly begun.

    Now keep in mind, that back in the early Silver Age, most comics contained two or three stories, so in like half a comic, John Broome and Carmine Infantino introduced the world to Grodd, Gorilla City and Solovar, the wise king of the gorillas. In this issue, Grodd invades Central City to learn the secret of mind control in order to take control of Gorilla City’s mighty army. Why Grodd thought the secret of mind control was located in Central City is anyone’s guess, but hey, it was 1959, just go with it.

    Infantino’s renderings of Grodd rippled with raw sinew and power as the legendary artist established Grodd’s physical presence. But it was the look in Grodd’s eyes that made the character so enduring...a look of malevolent intelligence to go with his raw brute strength. Yeah, Flash defeated Grodd in this, the gorilla’s debut, by running around the ape so fast that Grodd couldn’t think straight and passed out, but Grodd would return, again and again.

    Before we leave this issue, just think about what an insane concept Gorilla City truly is, a city where a race of gorillas gained sentience through exposure to a UFO (later retconned into a meteor) and built a super secret advanced society. It was like Edgar Rice Burroughs meets...I don’t know what. And it worked, becoming one of the strangest but constant locales in the DC Universe.

    Who woulda thunk it?

    2.  Flash #115 (1960)

    by John Broome and Carmine Infantino

    It’s like a crossover between The Flash and The Biggest Loser.

    So "The Day Flash Weighed 1000 Pounds!" began with our ape of the hour, Grodd, sitting in his cell in Gorilla City contemplating how the Flash always defeats him when he clearly has a superior intellect. You see, Grodd has a pill that allows his mind to leave his body and take over a human of his choosing.  Grodd chooses and pill possesses a man named Willie Dawson and gets a job in a circus so he can communicate with and have access to apes.  Grodd uses the monkeys to commit petty crimes instead of, I dunno, the President of the United States or the Flash never occurs to anybody, but hey...Silver Age! 

    As Dawson, Grodd creates a gun that will increase a target's weight by 1000 pounds, so he’s now like the opposite of the gypsy from Stephen King’s Thinner. Anyway, Grodd zaps Flash who now looks like Homer Simpson in that episode where he got really fat and wore a Mumu. Another side effect of the gun was amnesia so the confused Flash becomes a circus freak now that he looks like a scarlet blimp. When fatty Flash passes a funhouse mirror, he remembers who he is and sadly doesn’t get a reality cable show. He then dehydrates himself to get rid of the weight and defeats Grodd. All total in this issue, Grodd used a mind swapping pill and a fat gun.

    Hey Berlanti! Hey Johns! I dare you to adapt this issue for TV. I freakin’ dare you!

    3. The Challenge of the Super Friends

    “Revenge on Gorilla City" Season 1, Episode 8. Original airdate Nov. 4, 1978

    Saturday Morning Simian.

    Oh, to be young again. Most people’s exposure to the greatness of Grodd was in the Challenge of the Super Friends cartoon where the simian psycho was a member of the Legion of Doom. Who can forgot Grodd’s snarling voice (masterfully performed by television vet Stanley Ralph Ross, who also wrote almost a third of the 1966 Batman series. Who knew?) his fevered visage and his crudely drawn but imposing ape physique. Grodd really stood out amongst the saccharine villainy of Saturday morning and must have scared the Cocoa Puffs out of more than one pajama clad child.

    In "Revenge on Gorilla City," Grodd did what he did every night, Pinkie...he tried to take over Gorilla City. The Legion of Doom backed his play, feeling that conquering Gorilla City and then Africa would allow them to conquer the world.

    Anyway, Grodd uses a penis shaped power neutralizer invented by Brainiac to nullify the Super Friends’ powers. It even works on Batman and Robin for some reason and renders their utility belts useless. Without their belts, the Dynamic Duo crumble like a house of cards as the Super Friends‘toon taught kids across the world that Batman and Robin were pathetically useless without their toys. Oh, '70s.

    As silly as this and all other episodes of the Super Friendsusually got, Grodd stood out among the usually disposable weekend villainy that was featured on Saturday mornings. He really was a frightening, snarling bundle of rage and even in the confines of '70s children television, there was vast badass potential for our fave super gorilla.

    4. The Flash #295 (1981)

    by Cary Bates and Don Heck

    The Gorilla of Your Dreams.

    Writer Cary Bates had one of the longest runs of the Flash of any writer in the character’s rich history. Bates worked on The Flashin three separate decades and much of the greatness of The Flash TV series is owed to concepts and characters utilized by Bates. So here’s to you Cary.

    Of course, during his long tenure on the Flash, Bates utilized Grodd because no true creative spirit can resist an evil psychic monkey dictator. This issue not only shows Grodd in all his putrid glory, it gives him a new ability, the ability to enter and control someone’s dreams. I don’t want Gorilla Hitler in my dreams, do you? (shudder) 

    In this issue, something called Operation Wordwash has wiped out all memory of Gorilla City from the memories of every human being except the Flash. It opens with confused New Yorkers gazing at the Gorilla City Embassy building, wondering what its purpose could be. That’s right, in the DC Universe; there is an embassy smack dab in New York that houses super intelligent gorilla diplomats.

    God, I love comics.

    Anyway, Grodd sabotaged the Orwellian Operation Wordwash to erase all memory of himself from King Solovar and the Super Apes’ mind as well. Solovar and Flash began having dreams that they are fighting each other in intense battles. Turns out, this was actually real as Grodd was twisting reality to make each champion think they were fighting each other. See, the Flash and Solovar were actually fighting Grodd who shielded his true self from his enemies’ minds by using the dream forms of Flash and Solovar. Oh, that damn, dirty ape.

    Flash figured the whole thing out because he dreams at super speed and these Grodd induced lucid visions were happening at regular speed. Now, think of the consequences of this, a super powered, sociopathic ape can control dreams. No wonder I have been waking up flinging poop lately with a hankering for bananas.

    5. Flash #69–70, Green Lantern #30–31 (1992)

    by Mark Waid, Gerard Jones, Mark Bright, and Greg LaRocque

    A giant evil gorilla and a guy with a huge head walk into a bar…

    There are about a billion and a half Grodd stories entitles Gorilla Warfare and there will probably be about a billion and a half more before we're done, but this crossover between Flash and Green Lantern is certainly the best of the bunch. This can be considered the first modern age Grodd tale and while he is still recognizable from the Silver and Bronze Ages, master '90s scribes Mark Waid and Gerard Jones crafted a more politically fueled Grodd.

    In this four parter, it is revealed that the villainous Hector Hammond (the big headed villain from the Green Lantern movie...don’t hold that against him) was actually mutated by a similar meteor to the one that transformed the apes of Gorilla City. Hammond and Grodd team up and take on Hal Jordan and Wally West. Allied with Hal and Wally are the Bureau of Amplified Animals led by Silver Age classics Rex, the Wonder Dog and Detective Chimp.

    Any story that features Detective Chimp automatically rules.

    Over the course of the story, readers got to meet the insurgents that blindly follow Grodd’s every whim as Jones and Waid explored Grodd as a charismatic dictator, a gorilla terrorist who now has an army backing his evil whims. With Hammond by his side, this more megalomaniacal Grodd is a new threat for a new age and actually succeeds in transforming Green Lantern into a gorilla by exposing him to that fateful meteor. This story has it all, a modern Grodd, a monkey Green Lantern, and a chimp wearing a deer stalker with a magnifying glass. It needs to be sought out in back issue bins immediately.

    6. Martian Manhunter Annual #2 (1999)

    by Len Kaminski and Gus Vazquez

    Martian Monkey Shines.

    In 1999, DC Comics bound that year’s JLA annuals together with the story, (wait for it) JLApein which Grodd tries to transform humanity into apes to use as his army against King Solovar and Gorilla City. In this issue, the Martian Manhunter utilizes his keen detective skills and gathers the greatest apes in DC history to gather information on Grodd. The issue features Detective Chimp, Monsieur Mallah (monkey with a beret!), Sam Simeon (the ape half of Angel and the Ape, who is revealed in this issue to be Grodd’s brother!), and Congorilla.

    That’s a heaping helping of monkeys for your comic book dollar.

    It concludes with Martian Manhunter and Grodd having an epic psychic battle as the two most powerful mentalists in the DCU go at it, Martian versus gorilla. Once again, this is the more despotic, Machiavellian Grodd who pushed the Justice League and the Martian Manhunter to their absolute limits.

    Seriously, it’s a detective from Mars versus a psychic gorilla dictator. What’s not to love?

    7.  Flash Vol 2 #178 (2001)

    by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins

    Not So Funny Anymore.

    Grodd didn't appear for a few years following JLApebut when he did, boy, was he freakin’  scary. This issue was the first time legendary Flash writer Geoff Johns utilized Grodd, and it was so unforgettably brutal, it changed the character forever. You know that rampaging beast you have thrilled to on CW’s The Flash? yeah, that version of Grodd began right here. Scott Kolins rendered Grodd as a snarling, unstoppable force of nature while Johns created a perfect balance of animalistic fury and serial killer cunning. 

    Basically, a new company called The Cage Factory creates a cell that they brag could hold any being. When Grodd is transported to Iron Heights prison, the unstable villain known as Magenta releases the lock on Grodd’s cage and the following rampage has become the stuff of nightmarish legend. Johns presents Grodd as a being who takes great joy in mentally showing his victims just how he is going to rend them limb from limb by imprinting the image in their brains, and then actually did it, leaving a trail of carnage and death behind. That JLApestuff was now a thing of the past as Grodd wasn’t a joke anymore but one of the most savage and feared creatures in the DC Universe.

    8. The Flash #13 (2011) 

    by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul

    Don’t Worry, he’s ‘armless.

    It took thirteen issue of the New 52 Flash comic, but when the new version of Gorilla Grodd made his debut, it was quite memorable for all involved. Barry Allen first encountered the bloodthirsty gorilla despot after being shunted to Gorilla City by the Speed Force. Barry narrowly and luckily defeated Grodd but when the murderous beast arrived in Central City, this new Grodd proved to the world that he was just as savage as his pre-New 52 predecessor.

    During Grodd’s rampage, the young Rogue known as the Trickster decided to get into the ape’s good graces. Well, being the grumpy goose that he is, Grodd answered the Trickster’s offer of friendship by tearing the Trickster’s arm off. So that was Grodd’s first introduction to the DC New 52...limb removal. Hey, the Trickster was played by Mark Hamill, who is well known for losing a limb as Luke Skywalker and here we have the modern version of Hamill’s character losing a limb at the hands of Grodd. Whoa...mind-blown!  

    So there you have it, and there are so many other great Grodd stories in addition to our Prime 8. One wonders if any of these Grodd tales that we listed here will be featured in CW’s The Flash someday. Will Grodd mutate other gorillas in Planet of the ApesCaesar like fashion and create a new version of Gorilla City, or will Grodd be the lone ape beneath Central City ready to strike when Barry and company least suspect it? 

    We'll just have to wait and see, because...

    This article originally ran in May of 2015.

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    The LMD invasion triggers an absolutely bloody and explosive episode of Agents of SHIELD.

    It took four years, but I think Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD may have finally achieved near perfection.

    For four seasons now, Marvel Studios’ inaugural series has hovered around greatness but never quite achieved that milestone. Think about it, when Agents of SHIELD began, it was a show that continued the story of the likable SHIELD agent dude that Loki killed in The Avengers, and that was pretty much it. People were expecting the ABC actioner to be an extension of the Marvel films, but it soon become apparent that Agents of SHIELD would be movie-adjacent at best.

    Since then, Agents of SHIELD has introduced some new concepts into the MCU such as the Inhumans and Ghost Rider while developing HYDRA into a more multi-layered threat. But the series never quite hit that epic apex that the Marvel film releases seem to nail so effortlessly.

    Well, tonight it did.

    While Agents of SHIELD has always had a difficult time finding its narrative purpose, and it’s even had a more difficult time finding grade A-villains, it never really had a problem introducing enjoyable protagonists. Coulson, May, Fitz, Simmons, and Daisy have grown into beloved Marvel icons thanks to season after season of character-building conflicts. I didn’t really know how much I love these people—no, these heroes—until tonight’s episode. This evening, some of these characters fought for their very lives against LMD doubles of their friends, and this reviewer realized how much he would miss these characters if they were lost in this battle.

    Last week, it seemed like Coulson, Mace, Mack, and Daisy were replaced by LMD duplicates. Well, it turns out that this episode still had some cards left to play. For instance, it wasn’t Daisy that was replaced by AIDA and Radcliffe. I overlooked it last week, but how was AIDA going to replicate Daisy’s Inhuman Quake powers? Answer: she wasn’t, but there was still four LMDs inside SHIELD, and this is where things got tense.

    Daisy is not an LMD, but there are four remaining LMD infiltrators. Last week, it looked like Fitz and Simmons would have to fight for their lives against the LMDs. That statement would be half-right, because it was Simmons alone that would have to do battle with her friends’ android doppelgangers because it is revealed that Fitz is an LMD!

    This is where the hour packs a potent punch. Since the first season of the series, it really has been Fitz and Simmons that have been the beating heart of Agents of SHIELD. The two have fought through countless battles, they have literally been separated by galaxies, and they have survived crippling injuries to find love in each other’s arms. With the LMDs inside of SHIELD, it is that well-earned love that is in so much danger. As a fan, one just really wants to see Fitz and Simmons’ romance survive, and this week, that love is in more danger than it has possibly ever been. So you’re rooting for Fitz and Simmons. You’re pulling for them every second to find a way to beat the LMDs, and then, the rug is pulled as Fitz reveals himself as a Cylon, er, I mean LMD.

    And the best part is that when this is revealed, Simmons is of course horrified, but she almost instantly fights back and stabs the electronic shit of her lover’s robotic double. In that one moment of bravery and startling violence, Simmons defines herself as a woman of action and as a hero. She is a gentle and refined woman who loves deeply, but when danger to SHIELD is about, even if that danger looks exactly like her soulmate, Gemma Simmons stabs the bejeezus out of it.

    But Simmons is not alone in her struggle. Again, Daisy is not an LMD, but there are still Daisy LMDs ready to go. Happily, for our heroes, Daisy discovers those LMDs in a very Westworld like scene and takes the fight to the ‘bots. She teams with Simmons and dedicates herself to battle for the love of Fitz and Simmons. The fight between Daisy and Mack and Coulson might very well be the most heart in throat moment in Agents of SHIELD history. Daisy without her quake harness and gloves versus two robot killers that wear the face of her best friends. And Daisy wins by shaking robot Mack apart. Robot Coulson survives but this moment serves a reminded just how powerful and capable Daisy has become. A long way from that snarky computer hacker from season 1, huh?

    It’s hard to cover every moment that makes this week’s Agents of SHIELD the show’s finest hour. I’ll just say that this was Jeb Whedon’s directorial debut on SHIELD, and man, did he ace every freaking frame. Every struggle seemed so important to both plot and character, and what else can you ask for?

    But how do Daisy and Simmons escape the LMDs you ask? It seems that one LMD discovers her humanity. May is so well programmed to replicate the real Melinda May that she cannot overcome her sense of duty to her friends and to SHIELD. Robot May blows herself and the base up, allowing Daisy and Simmons to escape. Amazing, powerful stuff.

    There are some developments on the villain said of things as it looks like we must bid farewell to Doctor Radcliffe. Radcliffe was in the Framework when AIDA pulls him out and tells him about Simmons and Daisy’s escape from the LMDs. She then proceeds to tell Radcliffe of a paradox that exists in her programming. She’s supposed to protect the Framework and Radcliffe at all costs, but Radcliffe and his stormy emotions present a constant threat to the Framework should he have the whim to shut the Matrix like simulacrum down. So AIDA kills Radcliffe but plugs him into the Framework moments before his death. Now, the dying doctor can live a lifetime in the Framework while he bleeds out in reality. Heady stuff, that.

    Yet Radcliffe isn’t the only player that goes in the Framework. You thought this episode had it all before? Well, get this: Daisy and Simmons enter the Framework to bring the whole thing crashing down. Before the episode ends, we get to see what each agent is doing in the electronic paradise. It’s all very Black Mercy as we see that Mack is a family man, Coulson is a teacher, Fitz is a successful and rich, Simmons is dead (!), May is the head of – HYDRA-, and Daisy is living in blissful harmony with, no, not Lincoln, but Gant F’n Ward. Yeah, I can’t take it either and it’s going to be a long hiatus until April.

    Between the death of the LMDs, the death of Radcliffe, the creation of an android Superior, the revelations of the Framework, and the non-stop action this week, one has to say that “Self Control” will go down as the best episode of Agents of SHIELD in the four-year history of the show.

    For the first time since the mid-season break, I didn’t even miss Ghost Rider.

    ReviewMarc Buxton
    Feb 22, 2017

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    After some director drama, Deadpool 2 is still happening. Here's everything we know so far.

    NewsMike Cecchini
    Feb 22, 2017

    So, Deadpool 2 is still on track, and My Entertainment World have this one set (along with a working title of "Love Machine") for a May 1st kickoff in Vancouver.

    So where does that leave the question on everybody's mind...when the hell will we actually see this movie?

    Deadpool 2 Release Date

    20th Century Fox has two dates on its 2018 calendar reserved for Marvel/X-Men related properties: March 2nd and June 29th. If Deadpool 2 does indeed go into production on May 1st, then June 29th seems more likely. But June 29 doesn't seem like prime real estate for an R-rated movie, while March 2nd is closer to when the original thrived.

    We'll let you know as soon as any of this is locked up.

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    “Attack on Gorilla City” is a lot of fun if you don’t look too close.

    This Flash review contains spoilers.

    The Flash Season 3 Episode 13

    Hey! I’m Jim, your very special guest. I’m your regularly scheduled Legends of Tomorrowhost, filling in for Mike on one of the most highly anticipated episodes of The Flash ever: the Flash team visits Earth 2’s Gorilla City and confronts Grodd, the evil telepathic gorilla from season 1. Just typing that sentence was a blast, so you’d think the episode would be amazing.

    It...was fine.

    It was slightly better than fine, to be honest. But it coasted by on a delightful first act and some joyful acting by the cast, who had to work to overcome some pretty lazy writing. They lampshaded a good chunk of it, but they couldn’t paper over all of it, and the result was an episode I hoped would be better than it actually was.

    We pick up where last episode left off, with Jessie Quick coming to Earth 1 for help saving her dad (Harry Wells) from the clutches of Grodd and the apes in Gorilla City. The team decides to act, thinking if they can save Wells from the clutches of Grodd, they can take away the only man on Earth 2 who knows how to open portals between worlds and prevent one of the headlines from the future from coming true. So a team of them - Cisco, Caitlin, Barry, and Julian in his best Indiana Jones cosplay - open a portal to Earth 2’s Gorilla City and head over to save Harry, while Wally and Jessie stay on Earth 1 to feel feelings.

    That’s about the point where the episode goes from wonderful to “man, remember how wonderful that first part of the episode was?” Barry asks Julian to cover for him at work, and they banter back and forth about travelling the multiverse to visit the Planet of the Apes, and it was awesome. Iris tells Barry, “Don’t do anything stupid,” and Barry’s response is perfect - “like go to a city full of gorillas?” Even the setting is acknowledged by the cast as a little ridiculous: my first note on the episode was, “Man, central Africa looks a LOT like rural Vancouver,” and about 10 minutes later, there’s Caitlin making fun of the weather. But even here, if you think too hard about it, it starts to fall apart. Team Flash’s plan is faintly reminiscent of the legendarily terrible Uncanny X-Men story arc “The Draco,” where we find out Nightcrawler’s dad was a demon who teleported to Earth a bunch to impregnate women whose eventual offspring would open a portal that would let him teleport to Earth. Wells might be the only person on Earth 2 who can open portals, but there are at least an infinity people in the rest of the Multiverse Grodd could lure there and use (and as we see in the last scene of this week’s, he does).

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    The rest of the episode is just adequate, a charismatic cast doing the best they can to hold onto the energy and momentum of the opening scenes. Solovar is introduced as the leader of Gorilla City, and Grodd lured them there so Barry could defeat Solovar in “THE ARENA” in the most telegraphed failed political destabilization since CALEXIT. He does, but refuses to kill Solovar. Then they get double crossed by Grodd, but they’re clever enough to escape with Wells and they make it to Earth 1 just ahead of the gorilla army, now led by their new leader Grodd. The whole thing is rendered pointless by the appearance of Gypsy in the stinger, though, because Grodd could have just used her anyway...

    The episode is really held together by Tom Felton’s performance. He’s just the right mix of dickish and awe-struck - sure, he’s been the thrall of the god of super speedsters, but this is the episode where things get weird for him. Felton keeps Julian’s standoffish essence through it, but he is also thrilled to be part of it. And he and Danielle Panabaker play off of each other really well - their relationship feels very real and organic.

    As for the backup story about Jessie and Wally’s developing relationship, the best thing about it is that it ended quickly. The writers tried to make Jessie play like she was confused about her feelings for Wally, but it made no sense and was stupid and was resolved at the end of the episode by having them kiss and Jessie stay on Earth 1, so no long-term damage was done.

    Overall, the most disappointing thing about this week’s Flash was how not-special it felt, despite being an episode where Flash fights Grodd in a city full of intelligent gorillas on a parallel Earth and where Kid Flash and Jessie Quick finally hook up.


    -Julian gets his boss to let him join the Earth 2 expedition by telling him he and Barry are going to a “morphology conference in Bludhaven.” Bludhaven is where Nightwing, adult Dick Grayson’s alter-ego, eventually sets up shop. (It’s also eventually destroyed when Deathstroke detonated Chemo, a building-sized sentient bag of chemical waste, over it, allowing Command-D to set up shop there, giving Mokkari and Simyan a chance to set up the Evil Factory there and it’s the location of the final battle between Superman and Darkseid in Final Crisiswhich is super great you guys.)

    -I know typecasting is unfair, but it is REALLY weird seeing Draco Malfoy pack heat.

    -The only thing this Solovar has in common with his comics counterpart (so far) is the fact that he’s the leader of Gorilla City. Solovar was created by Carmine Infantino and John Broome, and in the comics he was the head of a technological utopia hidden from the world of Man. He’s also been on TV before - he was in a few episodes of Justice League/JLU.

    -Turns out Harry Wells was lured to Gorilla City by a “mathematical cryptogram.” More evidence that HR Wells is secretly a bad hombre?

    -Next week on Flash, Gorilla City invades!

    ReviewJim Dandy
    Feb 22, 2017

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    In May, a special anniversary issue will have Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote bond once again after going well over a decade apart.

    Preview Gavin Jasper
    Feb 22, 2017

    Usually, rubber-banding back to the status quo is the least surprising development that can happen in a comic. Yes, guys like Wolverine, Xavier, Cyclops, and Bruce Banner are currently dead, but we all know that they’ll be back eventually. That’s just how these things work. That’s why, on the surface, it shouldn’t be that surprising that this May, Eddie Brock will once again become the host for Venom.

    But get this: Eddie Brock’s been separated from the Venom symbiote since the end of 2004! That’s a long-ass time to skew from the classic formula. That’s almost as long as Jean Grey’s been dead!

    Regardless, it’s time to take it home. The current series has the alien costume attached to criminal scumbag Lee Price and as of Venom #6, Eddie will be taking back his old liquid clothes. This will lead to Venom, if you add all of Venom’s comics they will hit roughly 150 issues. Presumably. Probably not, but it sounds cool.

    The main story will be by Mike Costa and Tradd Moore, but we’ll also get some interesting backups. Robbie Thompson and Gerardo Sandoval – the creative team from Venom: Space Knight– will fill in the blanks over why Flash Thompson is no longer Venom’s host. Meanwhile, Eddie Brock creator David Michelinie and Ron Lim will tell a tale that takes place back in the early 90s when Venom was a violent vigilante.

    Although the alien costume was created in Secret Wars, Venom didn’t appear as a fully-formed concept until Amazing Spider-Man #300 in 1988. In 2004, Eddie Brock sold the symbiote to the mob while giving the money to charity. Eddie later became Anti-Venom, lost those powers, became the host for Toxin, gave up that symbiote during the Carnageseries, and is now just on his own. As for the symbiote, it bounced around from Angelo Fortunato to Mac Gargan to Flash Thompson to currently Lee Price.

    Coincidentally, both Eddie and the costume are more intent on being better beings, but we’ll see if that holds up when they’re once again bonded.

    Venom #150will be available this May.

    Gavin Jasper misses the Anti-Venom design. Follow Gavin on Twitter!

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    Arrow would have its heroes atone for their sins... which may be a wee bit overdramatic given how squeaky clean they are.

    Arrow prides itself on being the dark, gritty and dangerous arm of the ever-growing DC TV Universe (a.k.a. Arrowverse, depending on your stomach for puns). Episode 14 of season 5, “Sin-Eater,” sought to revisit that darkness for a handful of the show’s core characters, only to inadvertently hang a lantern on the fact that far too many of them don’t have real sins to contend with at all.

    The episode’s big ark had to do with the Green Arrow finally having to answer for his hand in the murder of Detective Billy Malone. The SCPD has had a big manhunt going on after it lost one of its own, and Oliver has been keeping the secret that season 5's big bad, Prometheus, manipulated him into killing the young officer. “Sin-Eater” dedicated a lot of screen time to the hero trying to grapple with the guilt he feels, even going as far as to claim the detective’s death was his fault.

    He sought the advice of Quentin Lance, who was dealing with his own guilt after three former villains (Carrie Cutter, Liza Warner, and China White) escaped prison. The last time he saw Warner, he convinced her to go straight, but she fell off the wagon as soon as she saw he was working with Damien Darhk last year. He also seeks the advice of Felicity, who has spent all year feeling guilty for stopping a mess of nuclear missiles with the exception of the one that hit Havenroc. It’s at this point that we have to acknowledge that the dark turmoil that the show makes its focal point far too often comes with an asterisk.

    Yes, Oliver killed Malone, but other than introducing Bruce Wayne, there’s no one on Earth that wouldn’t have been fooled. Arrow does a lot with high-concept villains and city-ending plots that are very much responsible for its enduring fanbase. However, after five seasons, the showrunners have not gotten out of their funk of manufacturing emotional arcs out of past insanity. In the comic books, we can turn out back on villains of the week with ease. The show, however, makes us marinate with it for several episodes before there’s any catharsis (or we can move on to something better).

    If that’s going to be the formula, showrunners need to stop building back doors to protect character’s integrity like Lance being forced to work for Darhk, Diggle being tricked by the government, or, yes, Oliver not actually being responsible for Malone’s death. Honestly, at times the only one making sense in this episode was Thea, which brings us to the biggest highlight of this week.

    Thea was back in a big way for “Sin-Eater.” Fans have previously complained that, after just becoming interesting in the latter half of season 3, Thea took a big back seat in season 5. Many have had enough change to the core group with the loss of Laurel and the addition of numerous new characters. As a result, it was refreshing to see Thea play a key part. Additionally, her presence came with a big dose of the much-lacking sin this episode was supposed to be talking about.

    Oliver has been dating Susan Williams, his least-shipped relationship to date. Not only is she just not Felicity, but she’s been actively investigating him only to finally discover that he is the Green Arrow and didn’t spend the full five years stranded on Lian Yu. She confronted him with that knowledge this episode, which was a very boring way for this massive bombshell that’s been building over the course of 14 episodes to come out, because he easily deflected the question.

    However, that wasn’t enough for Thea, who decided to team up with Felicity and burn Williams’ career straight the hell to the ground. For those that aren’t in the know, a plagiarism claim to a journalist is like a track star losing his or her leg. Oliver is rightfully furious, a woman who he (liked?) had her life ruined after all. At the same time, fans weren’t into this relationship, and it wasn’t fun to see him so hard on Thea and Felicity for their involvement in the caper. What finally made the arc interesting was how relatively unapologetic Thea was.

    It feels weird to review “Sin-Eater” without talking about the trio of evil, known to some as the Star City Sirens. The girls were the main McGuffin of the episode and they all did a terrific job in their villainous roles. It’s also fun to see returning villains rather than brand new ones. After all, you don’t build an extended universe to not use it.

    Sadly, the ladies doing a good job by being onscreen was it for the night. Those hoping to get a dose of girl power were sadly left lacking. There was no element of bonding between the ladies, therefore making them incredibly less formidable compared to Team Arrow. As for their big plan, they just beat up three groups of thugs and found a stash of money left behind by Tobias Church… The end. Perhaps it’s a matter of expectations rather than delivery. With The Flash taking on a gorilla-packed two-episode ark this week, and Legends of Tomorrow bringing the Legion of Doom to life, maybe people expected more from the returning trio than a one-off story.

    Then again, with Prometheus’ identity still a mystery, several characters getting limited airtime, and a big cliffhanger regarding Mayor Queen covering up the murder of Malone, Arrow has its hands full without a new big bad.

    ReviewTyler McCarthy
    Feb 22, 2017

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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 23, 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

    We have an official release date for American Gods! The adaptation will debut on Starz on Sunday, April 30th at 9 p.m. ET. The show will enjoy its world debut at the SXSW festival in Austin on March 11th, so look for first impressions around that date.

    Neil Gaiman recently 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 debut on April 30th at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.

    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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    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul revives the film franchise with a Vacation-style spin and a new cast.

    Trailers Joseph Baxter
    Feb 23, 2017

    When the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid first arrived in 2010, it would have been hard to conceive that it could become a four-film-spawning franchise that would still be kicking some seven years later. However, after a five-year dormancy, the series, based on the irreverent novels written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, is set to relaunch with its fourth film entry Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. Seeing as said “wimpy kid,” originally played by Zachary Gordon, is no longer a kid, this new entry has wiped the entire cast slate clean, even the parents!

    New cast aside, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul trailer also reveals a stylistic detour, with the new version of the Hefley family taking a page out of the classic Vacation film series Griswold playbook with a torturous family road trip, cramming themselves into a car for days. However, the eponymous embattled wimpy kid himself Greg (Jason Drucker) and his impetuous brother Rodrick (Charlie Wright) have other plans in mind, concocting an ill-conceived scheme to – despite being too young to drive – hijack the family truckster to attend a Comic-Con-type geek pilgrimage event. This, of course, raises the ire of mother Susan and father Frank, who have seen their perfectly planned vacation spiral into comedic chaos.

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul also made interesting choices in recasting the parents. Replacing Rachael Harris as Susan is 1990’s icon Alicia Silverstone. Indeed, the sight of the actress who stole hearts in a trilogy of Aerosmith videos and as protagonist Cher in one of the decade’s defining films in 1995’s Clueless now playing a doting mother to rowdy teenagers will make Gen-Xer’s feel their age. In an oddly poetic twist, replacing Steve Zahn as Frank is his former cast-mate (and band-mate,) from 1996's That Thing You Do! Tom Everett Scott. While Scott’s leading man days are likely done, he still manages to field major roles, recently seen in Oscar-favorite La La Land and on television on Scream: The TV Series and Reign.

    In the director’s chair for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the series’ repertory helmer David Bower (Astro Boy, Flushed Away). After inheriting that role from original film director Thor Freudenthal, Bower has been handling the franchise since the 2011 sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, following that film up with 2012’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is set to make mom angrily shout, “As if,” after a boring family vacation is hijacked with a wanton rampage of rebellion. The film is set to hit theaters on May 19.

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    It looks like Nightwing is coming to the DC Extended Universe, Lego Batman's Chris McKay is set to direct!

    News John Saavedra
    Feb 23, 2017

    THR is reporting that a Nightwing movie is in the works at Warner Bros. Chris McKay, who most recently helmed The Lego Batman Movie, is set to direct the movie from a script by Bill Dubuque (The Accountant).

    Nightwing is one of at least three newly rumored DC projects to be in development at WB, a list that also includes Gotham City Sirens from Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Suicide Squad 2, which is currently courting Mel Gibson to direct.

    Nightwing is, of course, Dick Grayson's alter-ego. Grayson was first introduced in Detective Comics Vol. 1 #38 in April 1940 as a member of the acrobatic Flying Graysons. After his parents were murdered, Grayson was taken in as Bruce Wayne's ward. And thus, the first Robin was born. In the 1980s, Grayson stepped out of Batman's shadow and became the vigilante Nightwing. The character was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson.

    The Bat Family member was previously going to arrive to the small screen as part of a Teen Titans project at TNT. In the comics, Nightwing is the leader of the vigilante group made up of young sidekicks.

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    Interestingly enough, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice featured a reference to a Robin, albeit one murdered at the hands of the Joker, although it remains unclear which Boy Wonder is memorialized in the Batcave. In the comics, it's Jason Todd, the second Robin, who was murdered by the Joker in the infamous arc "Death in the Family."

    The Nightwing movie would suggest that the DCEU will follow a similar continuity to the one in the comics. McKay and Dubuque will have to answer the big question: what has Nightwing been up to this whole time? Since we can assume Grayson has been Nightwing for a while by the time of BvS, the DCEU will have to explain where the acrobatic vigilante has been all this time. 

    No release date or cast has been announced for Nightwing

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    The story of one of the great Rebel heroes in the Star Wars saga.

    Feature Marc Buxton
    Feb 24, 2017

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduced a bunch of new Rebel heroes that use the "Rogue" call sign to battle the burgeoning Empire. When the title of the film was first announced, it undoubtedly raised some eyebrows among fans of the original canon. Because that name, Rogue, has been an inescapable part of Star Wars lore for many decades.

    Fans will remember that Luke Skywalker proudly used the Rogue call sign during the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, but he wasn’t the only Rebel hero to fly the Rogue flag. In fact, another Rebel pilot, Wedge Antilles, might be Rogue Squadron's most celebrated leader, having led the squadron many years after the fall of the Empire.

    Ever since the very first Star Wars film, Wedge has been one of the greatest heroes of the Rebellion. Wedge survived everything the Empire threw at him, and yet Wedge’s name is rarely mentioned alongside Luke, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the other famous heroes that brought down the Empire. But the real Star Wars fans know Wedge Antilles, because in a way, Wedge is the glue that binds the Star Wars saga together. For many fans, it was through this blue collar fighter pilot's eyes that they continued to experience the saga in the years after Return of the Jedi.

    Wedge Antilles and the love fans have for this character is what separates the casual Star Wars fan from the hardcore. If you ever pretended that your Luke Skywalker X-Wing pilot action figure was a Wedge, then this article is for you. So get ready to pay tribute to one of the unsung heroes of the Rebellion and join us as we honor a true flying ace.

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    He Did Some Good Back There

    Wedge Antilles first appeared in the third act of the original Star Wars. It was a curious inclusion, as the film already had a number of spotlight characters during the climactic attack of the first Death Star. There was, of course, the hero of the saga - Luke Skywalker - but while filmgoers watched with bated breath as Luke attacked swarms of TIE Fighters and took his famous flight down the Death Star trench, the action was also split up. Viewers also had to track the progress of the Rogue Leader, who was supposed to take the first shot at the Death Star exhaust port and Biggs Darklighter, Luke Skywalker’s childhood friend.

    That was a great deal of action to keep straight during this unforgettable sequence, but inserted into the action was a young pilot named Wedge Antilles. Designated Red Two, Wedge saw his fair share of the action during the battle, even saving Luke’s life on one occasion. On the surface, it seemed that Wedge was cannon fodder. After all, Rogue Leader and Biggs both died, but something curious happened. As Luke took his last run at the exhaust port, Wedge’s ship was damaged and he broke off with an apology. Wedge had lived and it seemed curious at the time. Why had this pilot that was not mentioned in the film until that point survive while others pilots like Biggs did not? Why bother? The answer became clear in The Empire Strikes Back, but let’s get to that in a moment.

    First, let us discuss the actors that played Wedge. That’s right, I said actors. Wedge first appeared during the Rebel briefing on Yavin. During this scene, the Rebel high brass explained to the gathered group of Rebel pilots (and to the audience), the plan to attack the Death Star. One pilot spoke up and questioned the possibility of hitting a target as small as the Death Star exhaust port. This pilot was Wedge Antilles as played by British actor Colin Higgins. Higgins was an experienced television actor who was not used to the breakneck pace of filming a motion picture.

    After Higgins flubbed a number of lines, Wedge’s briefing scene dialogue was shortened to the single line that made it into the film. Higgins was fired and replaced by actor Denis Lawson. Both Higgins and Lawson were overdubbed by voice actor David Ankrum in the final cut of Star Wars, but it’s interesting that Lucas had given Wedge so much dialogue. Did the bearded one have greatness in mind for Wedge in the early days of Star Wars? It would seem so as each draft of the original Star Warsscript had a Wedge-like character, a secondary pilot that received a healthy dose of lines and action.

    In some earlier scripts, the Wedge character was named Chewie, but that was changed when characters started to use that moniker as a nickname for Chewbacca. Once Chewbacca was inserted into the saga, pilot Chewie became Wedge and the rest is history. Wedge served as Red Two in the attack on the Death Star and was the only pilot besides Luke that made the trench run and survived. Wedge’s survival was a minor thread in the narrative of Star Wars, but it was a thread that bound the rest of the original Star Wars films together in a very cool way.

    One Rogue

    The call sign Rogue was first used in The Empire Strikes Back during the Battle of Hoth. During this epic skirmish, Wedge flew side by side with Luke Skywalker. All of a sudden, the pilot that survived the Death Star battle was back, indicating to fans that the Star Wars universe was bigger than just Luke, Han, Leia, and Darth Vader. There was an entire galaxy of adventures going on behind the scenes and Wedge was evidence of those unseen escapades. This time, Denis Lawson was the sole actor to play Wedge.

    Wedge not only survived the Battle of Hoth, he and his gunner Wes Janson were the first characters to find a way to take down the horrifying AT-ATs that were going through Rebel ships and troops like a walking deli slicer.

    Wedge and Janson used tow-cables to bind the AT-AT’s legs and brought down the of the immense walker. The scene is unforgettable, as the Rebels finally scored a hit on the Empire, and it was Wedge’s flying skills that earned the Rebellion that fist pump moment. Wedge did not appear for the rest of The Empire Strikes Back, but he made a very memorable contribution to the action. It seemed that Lucas had Wedge survive the Death Star attack for a reason, to be the background glue that bound the saga together.

    Wedge was a survivor and he would return - but this time, it would be not as Luke’s wingman, but as a squadron commander leading the charge against the Empire.

    Red Leader, Standing By

    How far he came. From an overdubbed character played by two actors to the X-Wing pilot leading the charge at the Battle of Endor. By the time Return of the Jedihit theatres, fans were more than familiar with the name Wedge. When the now familiar X-Wing (this time with a few A-Wings, B-Wings, and Y-Wings thrown in for good measure) roll call sounded off before the Rebel fleet engaged the second Death Star, no one was really surprised that Wedge Antilles was now Red Leader. After all, other than Luke, Wedge was the only survivor of the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Hoth. Who else would the Rebels turn to take out the space station and the Emperor himself?

    Once again Wedge flew and survived an attack on a Death Star. Wedge was the wingman to the Millennium Falcon. Aboard the most famous ship in all the galaxy, Lando Calrissian and his Sullustan co-pilot Nein Numb relied on Wedge’s skill and bravery. This time, Wedge took one of the shots that took out the Death Star and the Empire. That afterthought pilot that for some reason survived the original Star Wars had dealt the final blow to the Empire’s galactic tyranny.

    During the celebration on Endor, fans finally got to see Denis Lawson out of the cockpit. Remember now, at the time Return of the Jedi was made, most people believed that it would be the last Star Wars film ever. So the celebration on Endor was to be the last moments fans got to spend with the heroes. There were a scant few minutes to say goodbye to all the beloved heroes of the Rebellion, and a few precious moments of that chronal real estate was spent with Wedge. Fans got to see Wedge spend a few seconds reunited with Luke Skywalker, and as the two embraced, it was clear that Luke and Wedge had shared many adventures that fans were not privy to. Because that’s what Wedge represents, tales not told, adventures not yet shared. Wedge Antilles is a constant reminder that in Star Wars, the action never truly ends, whether fans see it or not.

    The Wedge Awakens - Sort Of

    When it was announced that Disney had purchased Star Warsand was going to produce sequels starring the original cast, the possibilities were endless. Now that we live in a post Force Awakens world, we know that Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, R2-D2, C-3P0, and even side characters like Nein Numb and Admiral Ackbar all returned for another fight. But the high-flying ace whose presence bound the original saga together was conspicuous by his absence. Wedge Antilles was always ready to hop into his cockpit for another mission, but sadly, the man behind Wedge, Denis Lawson was not.

    During a 2014 Q&A for the film The Machine, Lawson was asked if he would be interested in slipping back into an X-Wing for the new Star Wars films. “I’m not going to do that...” Lawson answered. “They asked me but it just would’ve bored me.” Well, that’s too bad, huh? One wonders what role Wedge might have played during The Force Awakens. Would he have replaced the Snap Wexley character as Poe Dameron’s wingman or did J.J. Abrams have something else in mind for the character that survived attacking two Death Stars?

    We may never know, but, despite Lawson’s cosmic ennui, Wedge lives on in the new Star Wars era. Wedge appeared in the first post-RotJ novel, Star Wars: Aftermath, and its sequel Aftermath: Life Debt, both written by Chuck Wendig. In Aftermath, Wedge once again serves as the background glue that binds the diverse parts of the saga together. In this novel, Wedge is captured by the remnants of the Imperial forces and forced to undergo torture at the hands of Imperial loyalists. Of course, Wedge does not break and the rescue of this great Rebel hero is a central plot point in the novel. Because of course it is. It’s Wedge. He may not have been present as the Force awakened, but if Wendig’s novels are any indication, the ace pilot of the Rebellion will continue to play a major role in future Star Warsadventures.

    A Look Back

    While Wedge’s future seems to be in novels and comics (and mayhap a video game or three), the past of this great pilot was recently revealed on an episode of Star Wars Rebels. Whenever Rebelsfeatures an Original Trilogy character, the cartoon makes that hero’s (or villain’s) arrival seem very special. Rebelsdid it with Lando, it did it with Darth Maul, it did it with Leia, and you can bet your S-foils that it did it with Wedge.

    After years of being part of the Star Wars mythos, Wedge finally had his origin revealed in a second season episode of Rebels entitled "The Antilles Extraction." In this unforgettable installment of Disney XD’s popular animated series, Mandalorian Rebel Sabine Wren goes undercover in an Imperial flight school. There, she meets some hopeful TIE cadets that she builds a strong bond with. One of the cadets expresses his desire to escape the Empire’s brutality, and you guessed it, that young TIE jockey was none other than Wedge Antilles.

    Along with Wedge, Rebels introduced the youthful version of Wedge’s Hoth wingman Hobbie, as the entire episode acts as a prelude to the legend of Wedge. For fans, it was just beyond awesome to witness the origin of Wedge Antilles, a pilot that they shared so many heart-stopping moments with in the Original Trilogy. You can rest assured that there will be more Wedge to come on Rebels as the episode ends with the future Rogue leader firmly entrenched in the Rebellion.


    Rebels and the Wendig novels are now the only major continuations of the legend of Wedge Antilles that are part of the current canon. But in the old school Star Wars novels and comics, there are countless Wedge adventures to be enjoyed. If you love Wedge, (and really, who the heck doesn’t), then you owe it to yourself to check out the X-Wing: Rogue Squadronseries of novels by Michael A. Stackpole and the X-Wing: Wrath Squadron series of novels by Aaron Allston. Published between 1996- 2012, these novels track Wedge’s adventures as leader of both the famous Rogue Squadron and the black ops Wrath Squadron. In these books, Wedge becomes the Star Wars version of Phil Coulson, as the legendary Rebel pilot puts together two different bands of aces to continue the fight against the Empire. The whole thing is like a version of DC’s Blackhawks in space, as the legend of Wedge is explored by two talented writers from every angle.

    And that’s it. As the legend of Star Warscontinues to grow, let us never forget one of the first Rogues, a pilot that separates the Star Wars hardcores from the casual fans - the man, the myth, the survivor - Wedge Antilles!

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    Matt Ross, director of the acclaimed comedy Captain Fantastic, boards sci-fi novel adaptation Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Feb 24, 2017

    The directorial career of actor-turned-director Matt Ross is taking off, since he is set to make a large genre leap, going directly from work on last year’s indie comedy Captain Fantastic to helming a project that sounds like an ambitiously sprawling sci-fi dystopic drama resonating with themes akin to the classic mind-bending work of Philip K. Dick.     

    It was announced that Matt Ross has been appointed by Tri-Star to direct a sci-fi crime drama called Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Tom Sweterlitsch, the story centers on the mind-displaced dilemma of John Dominic Blaxton, who lives in Pittsburgh – specifically, a virtual reality representation of the Steel City after it was destroyed by a mysterious explosion. Within an elaborate infrastructure called the Archive, Blaxton operates in a virtually identical representation of Pittsburgh filled with its late residents, including his wife and unborn child, who were killed in the city-destroying incident. However, Blaxton’s VR habit of investigating archived cold cases lands him in the middle of a mystery with powerful implications centered on the murder of a woman who, for a seemingly inexplicable reason, was deleted from the Archive.

    As Ross elaborates in a statement:

    "Tomorrow and Tomorrow is prescient, it posits a world not so dissimilar from today, a direction we are all clearly headed, where technology has altered the ways in which we interact with each other and the world around us. I hope to examine, following the book's lead, the degree to which our lives are enhanced, and deeply compromised, by the technology that is already an inseparable part of our daily existence."

    Tri-Star president Hannah Minghella chimes in, explaining why Ross was the perfect person to helm the film, stating:

    “The triumph of Captain Fantastic is that it is at once funny, emotional and thought provoking. It's this ability to explore a thematic idea in a way that is both intelligent and entertaining that makes Matt such an exciting director for Tomorrow and Tomorrow. As a futuristic crime thriller, the book uses the near future to reflect on timely questions about our world today and how virtual reality impacts actual reality. It’s Matt's interest in exploring the complex intersection of technology with morality and love that makes his vision for Tomorrow and Tomorrow especially compelling."

    For Ross, landing this potent project seems like a critical moment regarding his second hat as a director. He’s also a veteran actor whose resume goes back to the mid-1980’s. He’s banked several appearances in memorable films like American Psycho, The Aviator and Face/Off and on television, currently on HBO’s Silicon Valley, with recent runs on American Horror Story, Revolution and Big Love. Ross’s burgeoning directorial resume received a significant boost, having written and directed 2016’s Captain Fantastic, a lighthearted comedy centered on the arboreal off-grid foibles of a single father with a large family played by Viggo Mortensen. Ross made his feature-length debut with the 2012 infidelity-centric drama 28 Hotel Rooms, which he also wrote and directed.

    At this point, it is unclear if, like his previous two features, Ross will write the screenplay to this latest directorial endeavor. However, Tomorrow and Tomorrow sounds like a timely film project set to arrive in an era when the increase of innate connectivity within society ironically breeds new depths of alienation.

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    Patrick Stewart seems to like the idea of Professor Xavier meeting Deadpool. Could it happen in Deadpool 2?

    News Joseph Baxter
    Feb 24, 2017

    While the release of Logan on March 3 marks the purported swan song of Hugh Jackman’s legendary 17-year onscreen tenure as Wolverine in the X-Men films, its co-star Patrick Stewart hasn’t quite put in a similar notice for his role as Professor Charles Xavier; one that he shares with a younger counterpart in the movie timeline played by James McAvoy. Pertinently, a question posed by a fan about Stewart possibly fielding the role in an appearance opposite Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool garnered an intriguingly cheeky response.

    Appearing in a levity-lifted Huffington Post Twitter Q&A alongside Logan star Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart was posed a fan question that likely interests all comic book movie connoisseurs regarding another onscreen run as Xavier to meet Merc with a Mouth Deadpool, prospectively in the imminently shooting Deadpool 2. After reading the question aloud, Stewart’s ensuing answer – while seemingly riddled with sarcasm – was provocative to say the least, stating:

    “Might we ever see Charles Xavier meet Deadpool? I would love that. Just set it up!” Looking over at a curious Jackman, he adds, “You have influence in these, right? Make it happen, Hugh.”

    Jackman, who seems to be genuinely thrown off by Stewart’s answer, attempts to nudge the celebrated knighted thespian, asking, “Is it gonna happen?” with Stewart cheekily answering, “Yeah, sure!”

    At that point, Jackman seems to play along with the “joke,” further nudging Stewart about possibly making an announcement of some kind, which Stewart – sporting a Cheshire grin – flatly refuses. However, a clearly intrigued Jackman then states, “I love it. I would pay to see that.”

    Indeed, it’s safe to say that legions of fans across the world would also pay to see that. However, with Deadpool 2recently adding ace writer Drew Goddard as a consultant on the verge of a May production date, it doesn’t seem likely that a Professor Xavier appearance – at least, one worthy enough of Stewart signing onto the film – could be concocted so quickly. Yet, such a meeting remains in the realm of possibility down the line, especially with Deadpool making a funny callout in the first film to Xavier, and, for that matter, Patrick Stewart himself, answering Colossus’s request to speak to “Professor Xavier” with a fourth-wall-wrecking response, “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines can get so confusing.”

    Deadpool also made light of its own low-budgeted nature, stating of the conspicuously-empty X-Mansion, “It's a big house. It's funny that I only ever see two of you. It's almost like the studio couldn't afford another X-Man.” While Hugh Jackman has already expressed his refusal of a Deadpool Wolverine appearance (despite the first film skewering him multiple times), the first film's gritty, insular, low-budgeted nature became one of the qualities that endeared it to fans. Yet, it does seem inevitable that some A-list X-Men players will eventually start showing their faces in the Deadpool films and having Xavier, specifically Stewart’s, show up, whose post-contemporary Days of Future Past, pre-Logan iteration mostly lines up with their place in the “confusing” X-Men movie timeline, would be a great way to codify the series’ rather clunky shared universe dynamic.

    While Stewart’s enthusiasm should be taken with a telepathic-powered grain of salt, we can count on the fact that Deadpool 2 is set to commence production soon, with a release date penciled in for March 2, 2018.

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    We sit down with producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker to discuss how "X-Men: Supernova" is deep in prep, and how Logan is affecting it.

    News David Crow
    Feb 24, 2017

    While sitting down Friday morning with Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker, it’s clear that the X-Men producers are savoring the moment. On a whirlwind media tour for Hugh Jackman’s mutant swan song, they’ve been everywhere from New York to Berlin and back again promoting Logan, a film that much like Deadpool and FX’s Legion before it, has been met with a near euphoric critical reception. It’s enough to make one wonder if it all will have a major influence on the purported X-Men: Supernova, the upcoming seventh X-Men film in the franchise.

    Indeed, with rumors circulating that Kinberg is even in line to direct the next team X-movie—he wrote the screenplays for the last two X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse—it’s a subject we were very intent on bringing up. Kinberg, who confirmed his interest in doing more on X-Men 7 which is “deep in prep” (although nothing is agreed upon in terms of directing it), spoke very candidly about whether the receptions for Logan, Deadpool, and Legion are having an effect on what fans are calling “Supernova.”

    “It has,” Kinberg said about Logan influencing the next X-Men movie. Hutch Parker also pointed it just isn’t X-Men films either—but the marketplace as a whole that’s raising the bar on superhero pictures.

    “I think five, 10, 15 years ago, there was a feeling that titles alone were enough to make a movie, and to open a movie,” Kinberg reflects. “And we found—the industry has found—in the last three, four, five years that if you don’t make a great movie, you get exposed for it, and you get exposed before the movie even opens. And people look at Rotten Tomatoes more than they look at movie times, and if you don’t have a good Rotten Tomatoes score, and you don’t have good critical reception of the movie, you don’t have a movie that’s going to succeed, with very, very few exceptions.

    “So it’s a great challenge to us as filmmakers that each of these movies feels original, fresh, and good. So with the X-Men movies, they’ll be as different from Logan as Logan was from Deadpool. And what they will have in common, all of them, hopefully and at least in their intention, is to be provocative and radical, and new and fresh, even though we’re seven, eight, however many movies into a franchise.”

    But how specifically will X-Men 7 differ from what’s come before? Both Kinberg and Parker confirmed that they’re deep into production on the film, which looks like it is closer to fruition than fans might’ve expected a month ago.

    “In terms of development of the next X-Men movie, which Hutch and I are in deep, deep inside of right now, regardless of what my role is going to be on the movie—and we really are deep inside it and in prep on it, in truth—it is the challenge that we have given ourselves, and that the studio has given us too, by the way, is to make it feel fresh and different from all of the X-Men movies that have proceeded it and feel like it’s a new experience. And that’s a great opportunity as an artist and a filmmaker.”

    Further, while Kinberg and Hutch would not answer whether there would be a more cosmic or science fiction bent to X-Men: Supernova, Kinberg did promise that the film would be more grounded and gritty than any X-Men movie fans have seen before.

    “I can’t really talk about the content of what we’re talking about right now,” Kinberg begins. “But we certainly want to enter into new areas that the X-Men haven’t entered into before. And that means just not the possibility of what you said, but really the interpersonal dynamics between these characters has to feel different, and heated and visceral, and human and relatable in ways that maybe some of the movies in the past have been more theatrical and sort of operatic. We would like the next movie to feel grounded and even gritty and dangerous in ways that we haven’t really seen an X-Men movie be.”

    That next X-Men movie will come eventually, and certainly with a Kinberg screenplay too. In the meantime, Logan opens on March 3, and it really is fantastic. If you come back a little later, we’ll have our full interview with Kinberg and Parker about that clawed opus.

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    Exclusive preview of the best Young Animal book so far.

    PicturesJim Dandy
    Feb 26, 2017

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  • 02/19/17--23:00: Batgirl #8 Preview
  • Exclusive first pages from Batgirl #8

    PicturesJim Dandy
    Feb 19, 2017

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