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Articles on this Page
- 02/23/17--16:08: _Diary of a Wimpy Ki...
- 03/04/17--22:21: _Pryde of the X-Men:...
- 02/23/17--18:55: _Nightwing Movie Com...
- 03/06/17--06:08: _Mary Poppins Return...
- 03/06/17--11:00: _Logan: James Mangol...
- 03/06/17--14:00: _Wonder Woman: Patty...
- 03/06/17--14:00: _Wonder Woman: Steve...
- 03/06/17--14:00: _Wonder Woman: Ares ...
- 03/06/17--14:00: _Getting Wonder Woma...
- 03/06/17--14:45: _Detective Comics #9...
- 03/06/17--15:12: _Detective Comics #9...
- 03/06/17--15:22: _Logan Director Jame...
- 03/07/17--09:22: _Celebrating Hugh Ja...
- 03/07/17--13:44: _American Gods TV Se...
- 03/07/17--16:20: _Powerless: Classic ...
- 03/07/17--18:35: _Riverdale Season 2 ...
- 03/08/17--10:11: _Marvel's Iron Fist ...
- 03/08/17--13:06: _Miss Fisher's Murde...
- 03/09/17--10:13: _Logan: Wolverine's ...
- 03/09/17--14:50: _The Night Manager S...
- 02/23/17--16:08: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Trailer Showcases New Cast
- 03/04/17--22:21: Pryde of the X-Men: The Animated Series We Almost Got
- 02/23/17--18:55: Nightwing Movie Coming from Lego Batman Movie Director
- 03/06/17--06:08: Mary Poppins Returns: Cast, Release Date, and News
- 03/06/17--14:00: Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor Will Be a Man for All Seasons
- 03/06/17--14:00: Wonder Woman: Ares and the State of Gods in the DCEU
- 03/06/17--14:00: Getting Wonder Woman Right With Patty Jenkins
- 03/06/17--14:45: Detective Comics #952 Exclusive First Look
- 03/06/17--15:12: Detective Comics #952 - Exclusive Preview Pages of New Batman Comic
- 03/06/17--15:22: Logan Director James Mangold on Cut Tragic Flashback Scene
- 03/07/17--09:22: Celebrating Hugh Jackman's Wolverine
- 03/07/17--13:44: American Gods TV Series: Release Date, Trailer Cast
- 03/07/17--16:20: Powerless: Classic Batman Adam West to Guest-Star
- 03/07/17--18:35: Riverdale Season 2 Confirmed
- 03/08/17--10:11: Marvel's Iron Fist Review (Spoiler Free)
- 03/09/17--10:13: Logan: Wolverine's Tragic Love Life
- 03/09/17--14:50: The Night Manager Season 2 in Early Development
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul revives the film franchise with a Vacation-style spin and a new cast.
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.
We revisit the classic '80s X-Men animated special to find out why it didn't get a full-series order. And then we pretend that it did!
I remember the first time I saw Pryde of the X-Men. My parents bought me a copy of it from the local K-Mart and because they knew I liked the Fox Kids cartoon, even if it was too loud and aggressive at times. I could tell they weren’t the same thing just by looking at the cover, but that just made me even more curious about the whole thing. When I popped it in the VCR, I was treated to a highly charged 20-something minutes that I wish could have stretched on indefinitely. Everything about the special is exciting, right down to the theme song, which got stuck in my head more often than its iconic cousin (the fact that it had lyrics probably helped).
If there’s any such thing as a “kitchen sink pilot”, this would be it. There are so many characters, concepts, themes, settings and dynamics introduced in such a compressed amount of time that it’s pretty damn impressive how its writer Larry Parr was able to pull it off.
So let's take a look at this one to see what made it so special!
Who made Pryde of the X-Men?
As with other classic ‘80s cartoons featuring Marvel superheroes, Pryde of the X-Men was brought to you by Marvel Productions. Instead of making a 13th episode of the Robocop animated series, a show that nobody needs to remember, they made the very first cartoon featuring the world’s favorite genetic outcasts. It was animated overseas by Toei, the geniuses behind almost every noteworthy anime this side of Miyazaki.
So why was there only one episode made?
Because the Muppet Babies demanded it.
What happened was, Marvel ran into some financial difficulties around 1989 after Prydewas produced. New World Pictures sold the Marvel Entertainment Group to the Andrews Group, halting production on all animated series except that trippy one about Jim Henson’s furry daycare. It was so popular it needed to sacrifice a decade of television based on Marvel’s superheroes at its altar...because the X-Men aren't cute enough.
Were there any more episodes planned or written?
Since Prydewas intended to be a one-shot pilot to create interest from markets and networks, there wasn’t much of a master plan as far as a potential series would go. And although we can dream about how spectacular and gorgeously animated Phoenix Saga adaptation would have been, we’ll just have to get by with the other gorgeously animated one we got a few years later.
Speaking of which…
Did this influence the ‘90s cartoon at all?
Yes and no. Yes, in that as a pilot, “Night of the Sentinels" did noticeably evoke the general structure and premise of Pryde, swapping Kitty for Jubilee. No, in that the entire affair was tonally different in every way. The similarities between the two are incredible only because they differ so vastly from each other.
Is this why Dazzler was in that one video game?
Konami’s classic X-Men beat ‘em up coin game? Yep.
In fact, as you’ve probably read elsewhere, that game was all inspired by the character designs from Pryde. Not only that, these were also used as the basis for the 1989 PC game Madness on Murderworld, which was exponentially more dull than it sounded. But for some reason, Paragon Software decided to go with a different look for Dazzler, making her look like Madonna if she starred in The Running Man.
Hold on, there’s one more video game that Pryde’s distinctive artstyle influenced: the semi-classic 8-bit Uncanny X-Men for NES. But, again, Dazzler gets the short end of the disco stick - LJN’s creative team replaces her with Iceman. That’s okay, because she will forever be immortalized in the coin-up game and made to seem more important than she actually was to the show. Thanks, Konami!
Were there toys planned or released? Action figures? Bedsheets? Matching pillow cases? Any other merchandise?
Outside of those video games we just talked about and a random “graphic novel” adaptation in 1990 called The X-Men Animation Special, not really. I think the sheets would have been really neat, though. I like that idea. Can somebody mock that up please?
Why was Wolverine Australian?
Apparently voice director Rick Holberg was forced into giving Logan an accent from down under because of that trendy “shrimp-on-the-barbie” zeitgeist of the late ‘80s when Crocodile Dundee was all the rage. Ironically enough, Wolverine was planned to be an Aussie expatriate in the comics at some point, but let’s thank the sweet X-gods that didn’t happen.
Hey, wait a second! Did Professor X just…
Move his leg? Yep, that happened. Either Charlie boy isn’t fully paralyzed on Earth 8919 (which is the Marvel Multiverse designation for this cartoon), or this was just an animator’s slip-up. You decide!
Is this continuity with the other Marvel Productions universe alongside Hulk or Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, etc.?
I’m not quite sure about that. Officially there is not confirmation either way. Unofficially, I’d be inclined to say that yes, Pryde of the X-Men is part of the continuity that those classics shared.
Why’s that? Because of, the season three episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (okay, there was that season two episode as well. But I like this one better).
If you don’t remember it that clearly and can’t guess from its undescriptive title, Spider-Man and his roommates go on a field trip to the mansion where we meet our favorite mutants - and Wolverine is Australian in that, too. That’s because both iterations voiced by the same actor, Neil Ross. My view is that Prydeis a future iteration of that same team (it also features an invasion by Juggernaut). Do with that what you will.
What else is notable about this cartoon?
It started the rather dark trend of every animated series having the mansion destroyed by opposing forces. It’s also the only time that Emma Frost has been a member of Magneto’s brotherhood – ever – in print or any other type of media.
Wait, one last thing: who belted out that epic theme song?
That’s legendary film and TV composer Robert J. Walsh, who was responsible for the music behind Jem, Transformers, Defenders of the Earth, Inhumanoids, and most of your other ‘80s childhood favorites. Oh yeah, and Leprechauntoo.
If you haven’t heard it in a while, let me do the honors.
Ah, that's better.
Well, since we're all here, we might as well share with you one last thing before we let you go. We present to you our very own hypothetical episode guide to this proposed X-Men animated series that should have happened! It will be the standard one season thirteen episode order, with Prydecounting as the first. Get ready for your imaginations to be tickled, as well as your mutant abilities.
(But not in a creepy way. Promise.)
1x02: Escape the Savage Land!
Professor X and his X-Men are baffled to discover a tropical jungle in the middle of Antarctica. There they meet Ka-Zar, a brave warrior who helps them fight off a group of monsters that stalk our heroes. Things get even stranger when Magneto suddenly appears…
1x03: One Nation, Under Nefaria
Count Nefaria traps the entire city of Washington, D.C. beneath a giant dome that not even the military's forces can penetrate. Then he makes his team of X-Men imposters look responsible for the deed. Can the real X-Men clear their names and free the US capital before it’s too late?
1x04: Not by a Longshot
Cerebro detects a new mutant in the city. When the X-Men meet up with him, they find out he’s an amnesiac and doesn’t remember anything about his past, or his abilities. The team is in awe of his apparent streak of good luck, but so is Magneto…
1x05: And Your Enemies Closer
When a mad scientist named Dr. William Stryker kidnaps Professor X and wires him up to a machine that will use his psychic energy to destroy all mutants across the world, the team turns to the only person that’s powerful enough to stop it from happening: Magneto.
1x06: Island of Fear
After the X-Men answer a distress call from their friend Banshee in Scotland, they travel across the globe to his island laboratory and find it in shambles. A monstrous experiment of his is on the loose, and it lurks in the dark, watching the team…
1x07: Flight of the Dark Phoenix, Pt. 1
Jean Grey, a former member of the X-Men who disappeared after a fateful mission in outer space, finally returns to the mansion. Cyclops is beside himself. Is she what she seems? But while the rest of the team explain her history to Kitty, the White Queen plots to harness Jean's psychic powers for her own use. Meanwhile, a group of aliens appear on earth, searching for something called the Phoenix.
1x08: Flight of the Dark Phoenix, Pt 2
Despite the White Queen’s attempts to control Jean Grey’s mind, the powerful Phoenix entity won’t allow it. But everyone is shocked when the mysterious extraterrestrials put Jean Grey on cosmic trial for destroying their entire home planet! Can the X-Men stop this madness, or will the Phoenix powers be the end of Jean Grey?
1x09: The Weapon X-periment
When the Danger Room malfunctions during training, Kitty Pryde and Wolverine are stuck inside one of its simulations. While the rest of the team try to fix the problem in the control room, Wolverine tells the new recruit about how he joined the X-Men and the mysterious “Weapon X” project.
1x10: Meet The New Mutants
When the X-Men are captured and taken off into space by strange aliens known as the Brood, it’s up to Kitty Pryde and a group of misfit teenage students from Xavier’s School for the Gifted to save them. But the real question is: can they get along first?
1x11: The Spider-Man Adventure
Chaos ensues when Mysterio joins forces with Magneto to take over the Daily Bugle headquarters. The X-Men team up with Spider-Man and his amazing friends Firestar and Iceman once again to derail their plans, making Kitty feel like the odd one out.
1x12: The Uncanny Space Knight
When a race of alien witches known as Wraiths come to take over our planet, the team calls upon the help of their number one enemy - ROM the space knight. But Magneto seeks to reprogram him to serve his own agenda...
1x13: Back to the Present
Kitty keeps phasing in and out of the future, one that’s ruled by the Brotherhood of Mutants and their army of robot sentinels - a dark future where the X-Men have lost the war and are hunted like fugitives. Can she stop this timeline from coming to pass with the help of Wolverine and Professor X?
Wasn't that fun? Now, who wants to take a shot at Season 2?
Stephen is currently producing a comic called Occult Generation he kickstarted with his friends last year that's a lot like the X-Men, but with more magic and set in 1920s New York. You shold check it out. Also, follow him on Twitter at @onlywriterever while you're at it. Kapeesh?
It looks like Nightwing is coming to the DC Extended Universe, Lego Batman's Chris McKay is set to direct!
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.
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.
The sequel will be set 20 years following the original film with Emily Blunt in the title role as the magical nanny.
Here it is -- the first photo of Emily Blunt in her costume for Mary Poppins Returns:
Disney has also provided us with a synopsis for the film that reads:
The film is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers’ additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).
Directed and produced by Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns also features Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury and arrives at the end of 2018.
Dick Van Dyke to Appear in Mary Poppins Returns
Dick Van Dyke has confirmed that he will be in Mary Poppins Returns! The original Mary Poppins cast member, Van Dyke was speaking to The Hollywood Reporter for series about creatives over the age of 90 when he dropped the good news, saying about the film:
This one supposedly takes place 20 years later and the kids are all grown up. It’s a great cast — Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that guy [Lin-Manuel Miranda] from Hamilton.
Personally, I'm really glad that Van Dyke not only know about Hamilton, but it was maybe a selling point for him returning for Mary Poppins Returns, up there with Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury.
Taking bets on whether Van Dyke will do the accent — or if he will return as chimney sweep Bert at all.
Mary Poppins Returns Cast
Mary Poppins Returns is securing quite the cast. First, the news broke that Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods) will be playing the title role (after Den of Geek broke the news that she was the frontrunner for the role back in September), then the sequel secured Hamilton creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda for the role of a "lamplighter" named Jack.
Then, Variety reported that Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda is in talks for a role in the film. Miranda will play Jack, a "lamplighter" akin to Dick Van Dyke's Bert character in the original 1964 film. Hopefully, he puts on a terrible Cockney accent, as is tradition...
Miranda is having quite a year. In addition to the massive success of Hamilton, he also wrote original music for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (yep, that was his toe-tapping original composition in the cantina scene). He's also composing music for Disney's upcoming animated family film Moana. Presumably, Miranda's involvement with the Mary Poppins sequel could include developing new songs for the film.
Meryl Streep is also, reportedly, in talks to join the cast of Mary Poppins Returns as the famous nanny's cousin, Topsy.
Ben Whishaw, who is perhaps best known for his role as Q in the most recent James Bond films (but who has impressed in a sloew of projects, from TV's The Hour and London Spy to film's Cloud Atlas and Paddington), will play a grown-up version of Michael Banks, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Michael Banks is apparently "a key figure" in the story, which picks up 20 years following the events of the 1964 film.
When Banks experiences a person loss and sees the return of his big sister Jane, they team up with Mary Poppins and lamplighter friend Jack to help the family... and presumably to sing. Here's a snippet of Whishaw singing for The Tempest soundtrack...
The "extension" of the Mary Poppins on-screen universe also nabbed Colin Firth. According to Variety, Firth is in negotations to play William Weatherall Wilkins, the president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. The Mary Poppins sequel might not be something that anyone particularly asked for, but it's hard to argue with the casting for the project thus far.
Mary Poppins Returns Director & Writer
The Mary Poppins sequel is being directed by Rob Marshall, who worked with Blunt and Streep formerly on movie musical Into the Woods. The screenplay is coming from David Magee who wrote the screenplay for Finding Neverland, another film featuring a children's book classic character.
In conversation with Vulture, Marshall said that "it is not a new Mary Poppins," and that "[author] P L Travers wrote eight books altogether. They worked from the first book, and we are working from the other books, not touching the iconic brilliance of Mary Poppins."
"This is an extension," he added. "I’m a huge fan of the original, and I’m a very good friend of Julie Andrews, and I hold it in such awe."
Mary Poppins Returns Story
The story will pick up 20 years following the events of the 1964 film during Depression-era London, drawing from author P.L. Travers' later adventures with the Banks family...
Michael Banks is all grown up and has brats of his own. He calls in his big sister Jane to keep them in line. She hooks up with nanny-cam ready Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins Returns takes its characters from the Mary Poppins books, but will be a sequel, not an adaptation.
Mary Poppins Returns Production
Mary Poppins Returns is scheduled to shoot in London in early 2017, and has Marshall, John DeLuca and Marc Platt as producers.
Mary Poppins Returns Release Date
Mary Poppins Returns is slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day, December 25, 2018.
Hugh Jackman might be done as Logan, but James Mangold and Dafne Keen talk with us about X-23 and the possibility of another Western motif.
This article contains Logan spoilers.
James Mangold’s Logan was a bittersweet experience for many moviegoers. On the one hand, it was a strong farewell to Hugh Jackman’s interpretation of the Wolverine, a character he’s been playing for the better part of two decades. On the other, it also means no more Wolverine, period. Well kind of. Because what likely surprised many folks was just how good Logan’s pint-sized heir, Laura Kinney/X-23 (Dafne Keen), was in the film. Only 11-years-old during production and primarily either mute or speaking in brief bouts of Spanish, she nevertheless was always fiercely vocal in her performance.
Logan also leaves the door open for more X-23 goodness down the road, which is something that we were very curious to talk about with both Mangold and Keen during a pleasant sit-down with the pair last month. The director and his wee leading lady expressed sincere interest in doing an X-23 movie, albeit Ms. Keen (now circling the world weary age of only 12) proved to be often as selective in her use of words as Laura, which only enhanced the charming dynamic between the two.
“Yeah, I’m wide open to that,” Mangold says on the subject of an X-23 movie. “I think we could have a great time. The first thing is, always, you need a script, you must have a good script.” He then adds while turning to Dafne, “You game for it, you open?”
She smiles with an affirmative nod, “Yeah.”
Of course, while there is no script, one imagines that there are some storytelling ideas already bouncing around Mangold’s head. After all, he made a superhero Western with Logan and made a kind of clawed samurai film with 2013’s The Wolverine. However, Mangold seemed to signal he’d toy around with the idea of continuing the Western motif for X-23’s future adventures.
“I don’t think you have to keep changing genre,” Mangold says. “I think the key is—I mean I don’t have an answer because I don’t have a story yet, but I think you give good examples in both The Wolverine and Logan in finding genre, but samurai films and Westerns are honestly very similar. They have different props, with swords versus guns, but the sense of honor, the sense of economy in the stories are similar. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just don’t make a superhero movie [that plays like a] ‘superhero movie.’”
Still, I ask if he has ideas for what an X-23 movie would be like. The director without missing a beat leans forward and smiles, “I always have ideas.”
During the interview, however, we were able to discuss the many striking decisions the filmmakers made that led to him and Keen sitting at that table. As we detailed here, Mangold consciously made some potent choices to turn X-23 not only into a child (she’s a teenager in the comics) but also a young half-Mexican girl searching for a better life beyond the U.S. Previously, Mangold had told me he was aware of the political powder keg this touched upon, but now in a follow-up, he commented on the thought process that led up to that.
“I think [writer] Scott Frank and I, when we were writing, we landed on—first we moved the script to the Texas border,” Mangold recalls. “At first when we were playing the script, Laura would speak from the beginning, and then we realized, ‘Oh, that’s just going to be too cute. There’s only this snappy banter from the beginning.’ And then even when we had her kind of quiet, we felt like, ‘We need it to go somewhere.’ So then suddenly Scott was like, ‘Why don’t we just make her half-Mexican, a Hispanic kid, so even when she starts to talk, you’re still going to have two people who can’t completely understand each other all the time.
“In a sense, I think that’s what makes the relationship so charming and at the same time it doesn’t seem so cute. You [don’t] just go into suddenly standard sassy, precocious child dialogue.”
But when Keen is finally able to unload, it is quite a powerful shock. The young actress, who hails from Spain and comes from an acting family, was able to visibly channel X-23’s anger with nary a word. And when she finally does speak, it is in an explosion of fiery, cascading Spanish—she even gets to hit Hugh Jackman fairly hard in the face while doing it.
When bringing up the scene, she appears modest about it, but her director agrees that she hit Jackman “pretty hard.” Repeatedly.
“I think that was a startling day for a lot of the crew, because I think Daf arrived on-set, she was doing her scenes, and everyone thought she was really cool and doing great, and then suddenly that scene, I remember turning to Trevor [Loomis], he was our focus puller, and suddenly our script supervisor Sheila [Waldron] was like, ‘Oh my God.’ And everyone—because not everyone in the crew had been through the whole reading process with Daf and knew just how ready she was to leap into talking and letting him have it. She’s saying some pretty nasty things in Spanish.”
At this point, Dafne interjects that her favorite lines from the sequence apparently got lost on the editing room floor.
“You cut them out or something,” she says with a hint of disappointment. Her director is surprised, asking, “Did we cut out the worst words?” Dafne nods affirmatively again, “Yeah.”
Of course, the most moving moment for Laura is one of the few times she speaks English. While overcoming incredible personal sorrow, she pauses to recite Alan Ladd’s final lines of dialogue from Shane. It’s a movie that Mangold and I had discussed at length about influencing Logan. So of course, I felt compelled to ask Dafne if her director had encouraged her to watch the film in preparation for Logan. Curiously, she revealed that she and her family sought out both Shane and Mangold’s Walk the Line while she was auditioning for the film.
“I remember in the casting that I decided to watch Shane one morning,” Keen says with a slight and formal English affectation to her cadence. She then volunteers to the surprise of her director, “And we watched Walk the Line in the car going to the airport.” Apparently, he was unaware she had viewed his 2005 biopic on Johnny Cash.
When we both asked what she thought of each film, she said with equal politeness, “I liked them. They were fun.”
Mangold erupts in laughter, “Very diplomatic of you.”
Logan is in theaters now.
Our full interview with Patty Jenkins in the post-production edit bay of the DCEU's Wonder Woman movie!
The making of Wonder Woman has been a longtime coming for Patty Jenkins. Even though it’s already been about two years since she first signed on to the superhero epic, which will see Gal Gadot lasso World War I German foes into defeat on June 2, she’s been thinking about the film ever since 2004—when she first pitched writing and directing Princess Diana’s adventure to Warner Bros. following her Oscar winning film, Monster.
She is very reflective on this when she sits down with myself and eight other journalists in a London screening room, several floors below the post-production editing suite that hopes to hit the reset button on the DCEU’s tone. Indeed, moments earlier Geoff Johns, an executive producer and writer on the film, had told us that Jenkins is doing for the Diana character what Richard Donner did for Superman, but it’s Jenkins’ own passion that is most convincing. She has thought for ages about just what decade a Wonder Woman movie should be set, never mind how she’ll handle meeting Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
Following the first several scenes that were screened for us—which included the sight of Danny Huston’s villainous Erich Ludendorff “regaining his strength” from a gas that allows him to crush a 1918 metal gun like it’s made of putty—we were able to discuss that scene and so, so much more over 45 minutes. Below is most of the conversation we had with Jenkins. I personally only asked four of the questions, but the friendly chat enjoyed too many great insights to leave it at that.
This could potentially dive into spoiler territory, but are we supposed to take away from this that Danny Huston is Ares?
This whole thing is really interesting to me, because I don’t think we set out to be super mysterious with who the villain is, but it’s kind of funny it’s turned into what it’s turned into. So now I don’t want to comment about it, but there’s definitely, you know, good fun characters. [Laughs]
… I have very mixed feelings about all of this, because on the one hand, it’s interesting there have been not-real and real spoilers talking about various things, and honestly the only thing I can say to you guys is until you’re inside one of these movies, you cannot believe how absolutely not-real some of them are. [Laughs]
I’m sure you guys know, because you’ve been around it so many times, but when we watch some of these stories take off, [it’s] ‘oh my God, one person says they know one person who knows one person who speculated one thing,’ and then it gets picked up and travels like wildfire. It’s been shocking to watch how those things progress.
So this is about a third of the way through the movie?
Yeah, it’s typical first act, second act break, you know? It’s like the first act is really her origin, it’s where she came from and who she is. That’s what’s been so super-fun about this. You look at who she goes on to be in the world in the future, and seeing this person from a child on to becoming an adult and the hero that she is in this film, and watching their whole origin and storyline.
Can I ask you about your journey on getting this film made? I know you pitched this story like 10 years ago.
It’s funny, it wasn’t quite that I pitched it, it’s I had been making superhero short films, hilariously, because I went on to see a door open to write and direct Monster, and I was like, ‘Oh great, I’ll do that.’ And then suddenly, I was a super dark director. But people who knew me growing up were like, ‘Of course you’re making Wonder Woman.’ That’s the irony; the irony is it’s much more shocking that I made Monster than it was that I made that.
As soon as I made that film, because I don’t love all superhero films, but I love a great one. So my first meeting with Warner Brothers was in 2004. They said, ‘Hey, so we’re interested. We want to meet you and what do you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘Wonder Woman! I want to do Wonder Woman.’ And since then I came in every year to have a meeting about it at some point.
And then interestingly, and it’s funny because my mom sent me the script and I’ve got it framed somewhere, but I have copy of a submission to me, ‘Patty, we’d love for you to think about writing and directing Wonder Woman. And I was pregnant when I got it. [Laughs] It was like 2008, and I was like, I can’t now, now’s not the time to do it.
So it went on its own various journeys, and I kept going into meetings on it, and talking about it, and different ideas. So when this came back around, I’ve been around the block now. And I almost did Thor, and saw how that went. That story turned into something I didn’t feel like I was the right director for. You just start to have respect for things need to have the right director for the right thing.
So when it first came back around, it wasn’t finding its place in the universe, so it was more speculative. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I’ve always wanted to do Wonder Woman, but now it’s complicated, because now it’s in a whole other thing. It’s just not me coming in and doing it. But they went on their journey, and then it turned out that they found themselves wanting to do exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for all those years, which is just a straight up origin story. Just a freed up, just an origin story and be very straightforward about it.
“And so then they came back to me, and said, ‘We want to do the origin story, and I said, ‘So do I! Let’s go!’ [Laughs] So it’s been interesting, because it was both a sudden thing, but also an easy sudden thing, because I’ve been talking about it and thinking about it… [My assistant] and I have pulled photos for this movie and put together visual presentations on how it would be done like many times. So it was like boom. I know exactly how I want to do this movie.
For me, as a woman watching this film, there’s a context under which, over the last 10 years or 20 years, a lot has changed for women with the rise of digital media, and the feminist movement has reached a new age with social media as well, and the representation of women. So you’re watching it with a different set of eyes, so I was wondering whether there were any changes that informed how true to the character you wanted to be, and how you as a woman in Hollywood as well, you’re one in a minority of role models.
Oh, thank you. It did change, but interestingly it changed in a slightly different way. I went into it saying, ‘She’s my Superman.’ Like she can’t be dark or angry or nasty, and I kept seeing female heroes had to be some alt-character. They just couldn’t be the main lead. They had to be made more interesting somehow. I was like, ‘No, no, no, not here. She’s just got to be Wonder Woman. She’s Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman, let her be, you know?’
The thing that surprised me is that I came in naively thinking, let’s make that. But there was more fear in the world at every studio about doing that kind of thing. Just a belief only boys liked action movies, and boys didn’t like female characters, so what do you do to address that? And that’s what changed. Things like Hunger Games started to show something else was possible, so I think the way I always wanted to do it became possible.
You know I grew up in a bit of a feminist fantasy with a single mom, and was totally shielded in a way from the idea that I couldn’t do something or that there couldn’t be something. So I think it’s been more of an education for me. Why can’t everyone see that it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog or a woman, or a person from another country or wherever, it’s about the story you’re telling.
You’ve told universal stories about different things. So I think people are more nervous about that than they are starting to be now. It’s ironic that you could make an animated movie about a dog being a universal character, but God forbid it be a human being who wasn’t a [man].
It’s funny the way she says, ‘I’m the man who can.’
It’s funny, because if you just replace that line with a different reading, I don’t like it as much. Because the one I like is the one where she’s completely oblivious. ‘I’m the man who can!” which is what it sounds like before. Now it sounds a tiny bit more strident. Like, ‘I’m the man!’ She has no feminist agenda at all, and it never occurred to her that anybody would be—that is what made her being or having any kind of feminist storyline at all, which you just can’t avoid, is her total obliviousness.
And that’s something I cared a lot about, which is she can never be lecturing and she can never be scolding, because she just walks out, ‘What’s going on? Why would this be happening? I’ve grown up in a land—why are you acting like that? I’m going to take my clothing off, what’s the problem?’
Which is just such a funnier way of looking at it and talking about it. ‘That’s absurd! Why wouldn’t I fight?’ So anyway, we had fun with that part of it.
Could you talk about the changes from 2004?
It changed every time, I think, because I had a couple versions that were modern day, and you find someone who is the long lost great-great grandchild of this Wonder Woman, or great-grandchild or whatever. And you’re like, ‘Oh, there was this story in the ‘60s about this person who was Wonder Woman,’ so you’re referencing Lynda Carter more and kind of saying there was this superhero Wonder Woman who walked the earth and did all these things, and then as the story starts to progress, ‘She’s like, yeah, my grandmother and whatever’ and then poom, some woman comes along and you’re like, ‘Oh that’s her!’ She’s just immortal, she went into hiding all this time.
“So all these various ways of does it have to be the original origin story or do we jump to modern times? I didn’t want to do her origin story in modern times. So it was like it was depending on which way it could be done. If it was about making it a modern movie.
Thor is fine to go into modern times, because people don’t really associate him with the ‘70s or the ‘60s. But she kind of is associated [with that era]. We know about Thor too, but I didn’t want to start with that story now.
When did you start focusing on a World War I backdrop for the story?
That was a decision that I actually stepped into. When I had always talked to them before, it was always assumed it was World War II, and then when I came into the project, the studio and Zack [Snyder] and everybody had decided, ‘Oh, let’s look at World War I.’ And I ended up loving it, because ‘Wow, that’s really interesting, because we’ve already seen so many World War II movies, and it’s such a well-known story.’
Whereas if you’re looking at a god with a belief system coming into man’s world, World War I was the first time we had mechanized war, we started bombing people from afar, that it was a world without any kind of pride or system of what was honorable and what wasn’t.
They’ve always been shooting people from afar, but they didn’t have the technology to do it in the same way. And so it became a cool thing just to explore a different period of time and to tell a story you haven’t seen before. And who’s the bad guy was much more gray in World War I, which made it interesting, because they’re not just straight up villains, an obvious villain. She ends up being able to question, ‘Well, what’s going on here? Why are you firing that gun? Aren’t you on the good side?’ So the complicated nature of that was really fascinating, of her observation.
How has the character of Steve Trevor changed through your various versions and also how difficult was he of a character to get right, because I imagine you don’t necessarily want him to be a damsel in distress character?
He is actually very difficult, but also very easy in a way. So he hasn’t changed not at all since I’ve ever be interested [in this movie]. I didn’t want him to be a damsel in distress. I didn’t want to make an issue out of it, I didn’t want to make a feminist statement with him. I wanted the guy who you wanted [her] to be with, who you wanted to be with, and who’s also trying to do something else at the same time. And I wanted to live up to that emotionally myself.
Who’s the guy who’s like ‘okay, cool,’ but they could still be like, ‘That’s a little intimidating.’ But they could also help you when you need help or love you or support you or whatever. And so since the beginning, I’ve cared about hitting that same target that anybody would want to hit for your love interest, which is make him someone I am in love with, who believes me and helps me where I have weakness. And the vulnerability of that relationship meant everything to me, and I would say it all the time throughout the movie to other people. ‘You would never do that to Superman, you would never do that to Lois Lane.’
Like if we would ever have this, ‘Well, she can’t need his help.’ I’m like, so if Superman was like, ‘Fuck you Lois, man!’ How satisfying would that be to anybody? They have to need each other. It has to be a love story; everybody has to be stronger or more powerful. We just have to make it work in that sort of way, and we can’t overthink what he means if she needs him for a second or if she knows more than her in this way, and she knows more than him in another, because she’s a superhero. Don’t worry about her.
So I think Superman is a great parallel for her. You wouldn’t do it to Gwen Stacy, you wouldn’t do it to anybody. So it’s important that all of those people have their people in the world who believe in them and love them and help them, yet understand their lives are complicated.
You mention Gwen Stacy, and you’ve obviously had history with Marvel and DC. What do you think is the most striking difference between the two universes in your experience?
I think there’s been a tonal—I think Marvel sometimes goes for more fun, and DC goes to make a more serious film. But I think there’s shades of gray in all of it, like I think Doctor Strange was a more serious film, and I think this is more of a lighter film. And I don’t think Suicide Squad was particularly un-light. They’re all over the place. I think there may be slightly more consistency in the tone of Marvel films recently, but I don’t think that will always stay the way.
I love them both, I will never stop being grateful for wanting me to do their movie, you know? That’s not an obvious choice, and I met them, and we hit it off and had great conversations about it, and at the time it seemed like they could go a lot of different ways, and they wanted to go the way I wanted to go. And then things shifted, and they decided they needed to go another way to fit into their universe, and it was not something that I found myself suited for. And so it was a much more peaceful departure, but I’ve always had fond memories of them, and I respect what they do.
Could you talk about the pressure? You’re coming into the biggest genre that’s going on right now, there’s so many filmmakers who’ve come and gone off these projects. Could you talk about what that experience has been like for you and fitting into a wider universe?
It’s funny, there are two different realities going on. The one reality is the idea of getting to make a movie like the movies that impacted me as a child is my life’s dream, you know? Like it’s my life’s dream to make a great film. To make a masterpiece in my lifetime would be my life’s dream. And so you never will; you’ll never end up feeling like you did, so each time I’ve ever worked on something or thought about something or made something, you’re already aiming so high for yourself. You’re like, ‘This could be it!’ It’s so hard to make a film. This could be it, and it’s not.
So on the one hand, almost nothing changed. My relationship to this movie is still ‘am I the right director?’ Okay. ‘Can I do it?’ Okay. ‘Can I make it great? Oh my God, are we getting close? Oh my God, don’t let it get messed up! Oh Jesus!’ It’s like the same ride in a way, but certainly I flip back out to this intense focus of what this movie means and what does it stand for, and I was very aware of that with Thor where I was like, ‘Mmm.’ If I’m not confident that I’m the best person for this movie, and I’m not confident I can make a good movie out of this, this is politically a big step backwards for women directing blockbusters. [Laughs]
So you do have to be very aware the whole time that these people need something great, and do I believe I can aim for great with them, and that we have a chance?
You have to be aware of what their needs are too, but in this case, [it’s] slightly less intense, because I believe in a great Wonder Woman. I don’t have an alt-agenda. I believe in a great Wonder Woman origin story. I do. So all of those conversations become better, but yeah, it’s definitely an interesting life experience, fascinating all the time to do it. ‘Wow, this is wild how much it matters and how much it matters to a lot of people, and girding yourself to the fact.’ Like girding my son that ‘somebody is going to say everything. Someone’s going to hate it; someone’s going to like it; someone’s going to think it should be this way or that way.’ And you hope for the best and you hope for all of those things, but you also have to know that you’re stepping into a very intense world where she belongs to a lot of people, and you have a lot of people to please.
How was it working with Geoff Johns?
Geoff and I are really close. Super-close. So since my first meeting ever, years and years and years ago, I pitched, it was before I did it, I pitched in a room, and I pitched a storyline and Geoff Johns’ eyes lit up, and he said, ‘That’s what Dick Donner did for Superman.’ And he and I were like, ‘Ding!’ [Laughs]
So he and I have become super close, we have very similar goals for this movie, and I love him and his work, and I’m so grateful that he’s around.
Obviously Richard Donner’s Superman was a major influence, but were there other types of genres or maybe war films that you were drawing upon for this setting and time period?
I ended up being very ‘Superman meets Casablanca.’ It came up a lot, and Indiana Jones. It was those three films where I was like, ‘It’s a classic film. We are making a classic film.’ We care about humor, we care about epic, we care about heroism, we care about arc and story, and make it elegant. Go for it, don’t hold back and be more interesting with ‘shazang!’ Just try for that pocket all the time.
It was really those three films with the kind of war hero, who Steve Trevor is: Indiana Jones or Rick from Casablanca meets Wonder Woman? It’s like, I’m in for that story, and that’s a great Steve Trevor. So that was sort of our way of doing it.
Can you talk about Etta Candy’s relationship with Diana since they have that close bond in the comics?
There’s been a lot of different versions of Etta, and this is the version who works for Steve, obviously, because she’s in a man’s world. So she becomes like the humorous woman who’s completely entrenched in this specific time period of the world where it is sexist and it all those things, but she’s got a great sense of humor and a great way of handling and navigating all of that. So it’s kind of the spirit of Etta Candy.
Is Wonder Woman’s [Hans Zimmer] theme going to show up?
Yeah, it’s going to show up, but it’s an interesting thing. It’s a great theme, but it is a very specific theme, so it’s not the kind of thing you could ladle all over a little girl [Laughs] or a naïve person. So it has its own journey. I see the entire movie as the creation of both the character and the theme. But it’s not the easiest thing to just throw all over the place.
How did you define your action style for this, because that’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in your prior work? So I’m very curious what your influences were of what the action would be in this film.
There wasn’t one particular thing, I think it was a lot of different things. Like I said, what made it like everything else, what made it simple and very difficult is like any dramatic scene, if you’re really tethered in your point-of-view, then you know how to tell a story. I’m with her going across that battlefield and I’m telling the story of that, and that I know how to do.
So this one was not difficult because I’m doing it like I would any scene. And you need what adds up to making it exciting is the shots of the story. Someone is shooting and someone is running. You’re always going to look for the greatest shot you can find when you’re standing there. ‘Oh, looking straight down, that’s pretty cool and helps to tell the story.’ So there’s no influence on something like this, you’re just living up to a scene and how to really be there emotionally.
And then when it came to deploying different tricks and moves, I don’t even know where to start and end, because we would look at hundreds of things for every scene, and how like, ‘Okay cool. How should we go about this to get the feeling that we’re looking for?’ To really see her in action for the first time or in the beach battle to be, again, I was in her point-of-view for the the beach battle where you’re watching and like, ‘Woah, what is going on?’ Someone is seeing a battle for the first time, which is different than if your question is who is going to win.
If your question is, ‘Woah, warfare!’ that’s a different approach than ‘who’s going to win, who’s going to win?!’ And you’re going to shoot it differently and approach it and how to get those shots, and what those shots are. You look at all different kinds of influences. But I mean that’s the interesting thing I cared about from telling this story from completely inside her point-of-view for the most part.
What was your inspiration for your Themyscira?
My Themyscira? The same as Steve Trevor. I want it to feel like what that should feel like now. So Steve Trevor, I want him to make me fall in love with him like a guy that I don’t feel sorry for. And Themyscira, so much of what classic Themyscira is, is selling exotic magic. But a lot of it is dated, like the Roman columns. We’ve all been all over the world much more now. Is it that hitting the same tone?
So what is taking that same classic thing but making it feel like what Themyscira should feel like? Where you say, ‘Woah, that looks almost real but it’s so magical, I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.’ So that was it. I was like taking the many things from the lores, different influences but always marching toward someplace you’re desperate to go that feels absolutely real.
Patty Jenkins on why Chris Pine's Steve Trevor will be the perfect kind of love interest to Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman in the new film.
During our visit to the Wonder Woman edit bay in London, one not-so-surprisingly important aspect that was repeatedly underscored was the desire for Steve Trevor to be presented as a winning sidekick to Gal Gadot's Princess Diana, and certainly a likable, secondary hero in his own right. Director Patty Jenkins particularly stressed she wanted a character she could fall in love with but also not feel sorry for. This also seems to be a crucial element for the filmmakers, who are likely aware of some audiences’ prejudgments about an action movie where the male lead is also the supporting love interest (such as when Chris Pine was asked by Jimmy Kimmel, “Who talked you into this?”)
“He is actually very difficult, but also very easy in a way,” Jenkins says. “So he hasn’t changed, not at all, since I’ve ever been interested [in the movie from 2004]. I didn’t want him to be a damsel in distress. I didn’t want to make an issue out of it, I didn’t want to make a feminist statement with him. I wanted the guy who you wanted [her] to be with, who you wanted to be with, and who’s also trying to do something else at the same time. And I wanted to live up to that emotionally myself.”
Jenkins also rejected the other argument where some might suggest that Wonder Woman should reject having a male partner in action during the war, or that she should constantly tell him off.
Says the director, “Like if we would ever have this, ‘Well, she can’t need his help.’ I’m like, so if Superman was like, ‘Fuck you, Lois, man!’ How satisfying would that be to anybody?” For Jenkins, it’s about having a character who can carry his own weight and complement Wonder Woman, but also not threaten to overshadow her from being who she is: the big hero of her own story. As with Lois Lane or Gwen Stacy, “It’s important that all of those people have their people in the world who believe in them and love them and help them, yet understand their lives are complicated.”
Judging from the footage we've seen of the dynamic between Diana and Steve, which we detailed how it veers from comic banter to in-the-thick of war camaraderie here, it works very well, indeed.
Wonder Woman opens June 2.
During our edit bay visit to the Wonder Woman's post-production, we learn that there will be a conspicuous absent of greek gods in the DCEU.
During our visit to Patty Jenkins at the Wonder Woman edit bay last week, we discussed many aspects of the film, and marveled at 15 minutes of footage, which we dissected here. However, we also got a fascinating glimpse into what the first act of the film will look like, and what it means for the lack of gods in the DCEU, when Anna Obropta, production liaison on Wonder Woman, gave us a detailed overview of the film's first section.
For starters, the film is told as a flashback from the framing device of 2017’s Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) sending Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) a long lost photograph of WWI glory days. Yet, luckily, from that point, the movie promises to be fairly straightforward by following Diana’s origin from eight-years-old and onwards. Indeed, the actual history of the Amazons will be related to a child Diana when her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) reads a storybook to Diana, which will come alive in an animated sequence that sounds vaguely reminiscent of A Monster Calls.
“It looks to me almost like a Michelangelo painting that comes to life and animates to life,” Obropta says. “So it’s not live-action. It’s a bit of a film that’s entirely CG.”
It also will come with some interesting revelations: There are almost no Greek gods left in the DCEU other than Ares. Even Zeus, who instead of Aphrodite is credited with creating the Amazonian race in the Wonder Woman movie, will have long expired when the story starts. In a twist that has both vaguely Christian and Arthurian undertones, Zeus created humanity to be companions to the gods, but like the Bible’s Lucifer, Zeus’ son Ares, the God of War, becomes jealous of the King of the Gods’ affections towards man. So he sets off to poison man’s mind with war and by killing the other gods.
Zeus creates the race of warrior Amazon women to fight Ares, allowing them to rise out of the sea like a legion of Aphrodites, but the God of War again gets his way by turning man against the Amazons and having them enslave the women (this is also why Hippolyta wishes to have nothing to do with Steve Trevor or his “war to end all wars” later in the movie).
Hippolyta eventually earns her crown by freeing the Amazons from mankind’s treachery, but by then Ares has dealt a killing blow to Zeus, the last living god in his way. As Zeus dies, he creates Themyscira, an island where the Amazons can be free from Ares or man.
He also creates the God Killer sword, which unlike in the comics, comes with a prophecy: A young girl will be born to the Amazonians who is destined for greatness, and who will use the sword to kill Ares. For the record, the Amazonians are unsure who this proverbial Arthur will be to remove the sword from the armory stone, but since Diana appears to be the only child born among them (supposedly a gift from Zeus, as he breathes life into a clay figurine Hippolyta makes), it’s surprising it takes so long for them to wager the guess.
Against Hippolyta’s wishes, Diana is trained in the Amazonian arts by the queen’s sister, and Diana’s aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright). Antiope wants Diana to prepare for battle, and sure enough Diana will eventually prove herself to be stronger than her militaristic aunt or any other Amazonian before her. And when she eventually learns of the Great War—after the German Army unsuccessfully tries to invade Themyscira, no less—Diana becomes convinced she must help Steve Trevor escape by taking the God Killer Sword out of the armory, as well as what will become the iconic Wonder Woman costume, and find Ares hidden somewhere among the war’s frontlines, wherever the fighting is fiercest.
It is here where another scene we had screened for us should be noted, and it is a sequence between the villainous German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his mad scientist helper, Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya). Ludendorff establishes typical villain bonafides early with his “kick the dog” moment being him shooting one of his lieutenants for no other reason than to scare his other underlings. As according to Obropta, Ludendorff has gone rogue and is planning to win the war, despite German leadership seeking an armistice, by developing a new poisonous gas with WMD capabilities. The gas is designed by Dr. Maru, and in our scene she promises it will “be terrible.”
But more tellingly, she also gives a dose of another special gas to Ludendorff, whose face becomes aglow in CG-veins, and who suddenly gains a new strength that allows him to crush the gun in his hand like it was made of plastic. She also promises it is meant to allow him to “regain your strength.” If Wonder Woman is on the search for Ares, it might seem like a good bet that Ludendorff is the fearmongering Greek god in disguise. In fact, that question was posed exactly to Patty Jenkins, who, ever so delicately, pivoted in a dodging motion.
“This whole thing is really interesting to me, because I don’t think we set out to be super mysterious with who the villain is,” Jenkins says. “But it’s kind of funny it’s turned into what it’s turned into. So now I don’t want to comment about it, but there’s definitely, you know, good fun characters.”
We are not so sure we entirely buy that artful explanation, but we'll all know for sure just who Ludendorff really is when Wonder Woman opens on June 2.
We were in the Wonder Woman edit bay with Patty Jenkins, seeing battle footage and discussing how to make a "classic" Wonder Woman movie.
Of all the impressive things glimpsed on a trip into Warner Brothers’ Wonder Woman edit bay, none was quite so promising as the passion director Patty Jenkins displayed for the project. We might’ve borne witness to a detailed and intriguing plot synopsis of Wonder Woman’s first act, as well as around 15 minutes of actual footage from the movie (including a major action sequence that we’ll unpack momentarily), yet beyond any guarantee of extra doses of humor or noble Amazon deeds, it was Jenkins’ insistence that Wonder Woman was “my Superman” which most caught my attention. And I believed her.
… After all, she’s been trying to make this movie for the better part of 15 years.
“I don’t love all superhero films, but I love a great one,” Jenkins said with a smile. It was a fairly sunny morning, at least by English standards, in the London neighborhood of Soho. Flanked by a group of nine journalists, including myself, the American filmmaker sat not in her actual editing suite, but in a more accommodating screening room several floors below. Having literally just made the journey straight from a monitor bestrewn with Amazon badassery, Jenkins’ mind could’ve been running in a million different directions at once. However, as she remarked about her affinity of the genre, she was specifically recalling the path she’s been traveling since first pitching to write and direct a Wonder Woman movie for WB following her success on the Oscar winning Monster.
“My first meeting with Warner Brothers was in 2004. They said, ‘Hey, so we’re interested. We want to meet you, and what do you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘Wonder Woman! I want to do Wonder Woman.’ And since then I came in every year to have a meeting about it at some point.”
For the director, it’s been a quixotically fast yet long courtship with the studio. She didn’t officially get the greenlight to helm the picture until April 2015, but there were plenty of false starts in-between, including a missed opportunity to begin working on the project in 2008 that had to be turned down due to her pregnancy, and then there was her own fleeting collaboration with Marvel Studios when she almost directed Thor: The Dark World. But perhaps that collaboration didn’t happen for the same reason she always kept coming back to Diana of Themyscira.
“You just start to have respect for [the] need to have the right director for the right thing,” she reflects about Thor’s ship passing in the night; it also applies to how she is finally nearing the finish line on a movie that will see Gal Gadot wield the Lasso of Truth without having to share the spotlight with any other brooding capes. In fact, the final hurdle for Jenkins seemed to be that, for a moment, WB was most interested in where Wonder Woman fit amongst building a massive and crisscrossing shared universe.
Yet, Jenkins seems to have has gotten what she wants: Beyond a framing device that features Ben Affleck’s Batman sending a World War I photograph to modern day Diana Prince, who’s working in Paris at the Louvre’s antiquities department, this is entirely a “straightforward” origin movie that is meant to embrace the heroism, adventure, and, well, wonder of the Wonder Woman character.
For Geoff Johns, who is credited as both a screenwriter and executive producer on Wonder Woman, this origin story is as definitive as what “Dick Donner did with his Superman movie.” But it’s Jenkins’ added elevator pitch about what she’s looking for that is most persuasive, and it’s a decided step away from anything else we’ve seen thus far from the onscreen DC Extended Universe.
“I ended up being very ‘Superman meets Casablanca,’” Jenkins recalls of her previous discussions on influences. “[Those] came up a lot, and Indiana Jones. It was those three films where I was like, ‘It’s a classic film. We are making a classic film.’ We care about humor, we care about epic, we care about heroism, we care about arc and story, and [we] make it elegant… Indiana Jones or Rick from Casablanca meets Wonder Woman? It’s like, I’m in for that story.”
And given the footage we saw, and its emphasis on both the adventure and drama above simply action or angst, it’s fair to say they’re off to an encouraging start with it.
The Footage: Comedy & Drama
During our 90 minutes inside Wonder Woman’s post-production process, we were shown four scenes that amounted to about 15 minutes of the overall film, with the samples highlighting the two aspects WB likely wishes to emphasize: It's going to be a departure from the grimly brooding undertones of the first DCEU movies, but it's reaching for a level of dramatic tension that remains absent from most of the superhero genre’s biggest stalwarts. For now, these elements seem fairly complementary.
The first scene, which is reminiscent of what Anna Obropta, production liaison on Wonder Woman, called the picture’s “enormous amount of light and playfulness, and humor,” is a moment from near the end of the movie’s first act. At this point, Gadot’s Diana has elected to ignore the strong warnings and reservations of her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), who had forbidden helping the recently captured World War I spy, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
For thousands of years, Hippolyta and her Amazons have forsaken the world of man in favor of their island paradise on Themyscira. Diana has never seen a male specimen… particularly one as affable as Chris Pine, who apparently has an emotional puppy dog confession when the Amazons lasso out his secrets in an interrogation. So in the dark of night, she steals away with Steve, a sword called the God Killer, and new armor that looks awfully similar to 1940s comic book designs.
When our scene opens, it is accompanied by lush romantic strings on the film’s temp score, and Steve and Diana are alone on a ship traveling to England, yet the dialogue is less sweet nothings and more evocative of the kind of sex comedies from the 1960s and ‘70s that might’ve starred Jane Fonda or Audrey Hepburn once upon a time. In this scene, it involves the American pilot trying to explain why it might be construed as improper for him to sleep next to an Amazon princess beneath the stars on the bow of a ship.
“You don’t sleep with women?” Diana asks while Trevor stammers and drifts to the other side of the boat. Pine in perfectly flustered comic timing gets out, “I do sleep with women—yes, I do. But out of the confines of marriage, it’s just not polite to assume.” One gets the sense that their relationship will play along the fish out of water staples that have worked for decades too. I was particularly reminded of Disney's Splash where much of the humor and repartee is derived from Tom Hanks simply trying to explain why 20th century humans do what they do to Darryl Hannah’s mermaid, although here, there's the sense that despite being naïve to man’s customs that Diana is almost gently tormenting her companion.
The sequence goes a long way to building the relationship and characterizations of both Diana and Steve through humor. Clearly, Trevor is a world-weary vet who is being thrown off guard by not only Diana’s naiveté to the world, but also her resilient individuality. She is insisting that he take her to the frontlines for she believes that is where she’ll find the Amazons’ greatest foe, Ares the God of War, but he is dismissive, suggesting the only way to win the war is to get his latest stolen intelligence to the men who can fight. “I’m the man who can,” Diana says with both a sense of obliviousness to Steve’s initial patronizing, as well as in a lighthearted way to show the film’s rejection of putting Wonder Woman in any kind of box.
“[It’s] a funnier way of looking at it and talking about it,” Jenkins says of the scene and how it plays into society’s expectations for gender roles, particularly in the early 20th century. “That’s absurd! Why wouldn’t I fight?”
Indeed, for Jenkins the whole scene might suggest a more organic approach to mine comedy out of a story than a bit of self-aware quipping, right down to the juxtaposition of the music and the characters’ noticeable discomfort. “That’s such a romantic track, you wouldn’t think it would turn out to be so funny. Turns out that’s exactly what’s being funny while they’re just incredibly awkward.”
Yet, the scene that strongly indicates the film works well is one that is entirely devoid of comedy at all. While one of the other sequences we viewed also underscored the fish out of water laughs, there's a decided grit to Wonder Woman that appears to strike an appropriate balance.
The standout, by far, is what happens during Diana’s second major action sequence in the film, here along the trenches of No Man’s Land in France. Unlike the pulpy self-awareness and lightness of the World War II action scenes in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Jenkins plays the horror of war straight when Steve reluctantly takes Diana to the frontline against the wishes of his men and even his superiors, including David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan, a member of the British War Council.
The sequence opens with Diana seeing displaced refugees and visitors struggling with a dying horse as they flee the nearby carnage. The Amazons have apparently mastered hundreds of languages (they’ve had millennia to do so), and Diana can hear the fear and horror in the French villagers’ voices, but Steve and the Allied soldiers refuse to let her help: There is no time and in the Great War, you can’t save everyone.
“This is No Man’s Land, Diana” Steve screams over the sound of mortar fire and men dying behind him. “It means no man can cross it! This battalion has been here for nearly a year, and they’ve barely gained an inch.” No man can cross it… but a Wonder Woman can.
In what will certainly be a moment enshrined in fan culture for years to come, the action scene becomes not about winning a battle, but Diana understanding that she can save lives by realizing her own confidence in her powers. The temp track used in the scene we watched is John Murphy’s epic third act score from Sunshine (and which was also used memorably during Hit-Girl’s big scene in Kick-Ass), and it’s every bit as grandiose and operatic here as Diana finally drops her robe and steps out onto the battlefield in her Wonder Woman armor. Rupert Gregson-Williams is composing original music for the final version of this scene, and he’ll likely be striving for something every bit as massive for this moment of self-realization in the face overwhelming violence.
The sequence is hard to undersell since it is staged with the kind of dignified glory that has been missing from DC films over the last few years. It’s Wonder Woman striding across a field of death, slowly gaining determination and speed as she goes. And to the shock of the Allied soldiers, she’s able to shrug off mortars and bombs with her shield, and deflect bullets with her bracelets. She is such an unstoppable moving target, bounding higher than a tall building into the midst of the German defenses, that she gives Steve Trevor the opportunity to lead a brigade charge, shotgun in hand, across No Man’s Land behind her and into the German trenches, bullets blazing.
It’s a unique approach to a superhero action sequence, particularly following Batman v Superman, since Wonder Woman is focusing on heroism over just sheer spectacle.
“It’s an interesting thing, because not a lot of people understood what I wanted with No Man’s Land,” Jenkins explains afterwards. “It’s like, ‘What is she going to do? How many bullets can she block?’ And I was saying it’s not about that. It’s not about action or fighting. It’s about her. It’s about ‘I’m going to do this thing’ and then getting her way across…. As a result, I storyboarded and treated it very much like I would a dramatic scene. It’s this rhythm, you know? So I needed to see how many shots I wanted for each of those moments to build to that rhythm.”
If all the action packs a similar punch, Wonder Woman could return the kind of heft to DC set-pieces that hasn’t been seen since Christian Bale flew off in a jet over the bay.
Let Wonder Woman Be Wonder Woman
But above all else, the takeaway from the visit is the desire for this to be a singular and inclusive representation of what Wonder Woman has meant to fans and pop culture over generations. For Jenkins, this is about realizing a character she’s been imagining from a period well before she directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar in Monster.
“I had been making superhero short films,” Jenkins recollects of her time prior to the 2003 drama. “I went on to see a door open to write and direct Monster, and I was like, ‘Oh great, I’ll do that.’ And then suddenly, I was a super dark director. But people who knew me growing up were like, ‘Of course you’re making Wonder Woman.’”
And for Jenkins that means making the type of movie she’s always generally envisioned. While the World War I setting was a particular invention by WB and Zack Snyder as they first incorporated Diana Prince into 2016’s Batman v Superman, Jenkins says throughout her multiple pitches over the years, she always was determined to tell a Wonder Woman origin story set in the past—she even initially imagined it could be set in the 1960s as a bit of an homage to the iconic Wonder Woman TV series with Lynda Carter from 1975. Nevertheless, her vision for Diana always leaned toward the more noble and aspirational.
“She’s my Superman,” Jenkins states. “Like she can’t be dark or angry or nasty, and I kept seeing female heroes had to be some alt-character.” Jenkins also credits her interest in the character partially to growing up in a “feminist fantasy” with her single mom who shielded her away from the thought that she couldn’t do something. And over the years, it became a matter of convincing studio brass that Wonder Woman herself also didn’t need restrictions.
“She’s just got to be Wonder Woman, she is Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman, let her be, you know?” She then adds, “The thing that surprised me is that I came in naively thinking, let’s make that. But there was more fear in the world at every studio about doing that kind of thing. Just a belief only boys liked action movies, and boys didn’t like female characters, so what do you do to address that? And that’s what changed. Things like Hunger Games started to show something else was possible, so I think the way I always wanted to do it became possible.”
And we’ll see exactly what Jenkins and Gadot’s Wonder Woman can do do when they (finally) get their big screen bow on June 2.
Advance preview of this week's issue of Detective Comics
This week's big Batman book is Detective Comics #952. We have your first look at the next issue of "League of Shadows"
DC sent over an exclusive first look at this week's Detective Comics #952, the next issue in the big "League of Shadows" story arc.
The best thing about the Batman comics right now is that the creators all seem to like the same stuff I do.* Tim Seeley and Javier Fernandez just did a love letter to the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Batman & Robin in the last issue of Nightwing; Tom King and David Finch are rehashing Knightfall (and Finch's art has really never looked better); Gotham Academy is a way to trick middle grade readers into watching Batman: The Animated Series with their parents; and here in Detective Comics we get to spend time with all the mid-90s characters I grew to love when I was getting started collecting. Tynion and Barrows have spent a lot of time building out the Bat-family here - first with Tim Drake and Spoiler, then with Batwoman and Clayface, and now in this arc, which the series has been building to since the Rebirth renumbering, with Cassandra Cain and Azrael. This is an exciting, solid Bat-comic. Take a look.
*Actually, the best thing about the Batman books is that they're all good stories told by skilled creators. Liking the same comics as me is the second best thing.
Here's the official synopsis:
DETECTIVE COMICS #952 Written by JAMES TYNION IV Art by CHRISTIAN DUCE Cover by EDDY BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA Variant cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details. “League Of Shadows” part three! Batman’s team faces the League of Shadows, which believes in only one thing: complete and utter destruction! The League’s plan for the city is revealed…but can even that secret compare to the bombshell that is the identity of Cassandra Cain’s mother?
While Logan was an emotional epic, the director reveals that unexplained key context was cut from the script.
Warning: Spoilers for Logan ahead.
This past weekend’s release of Logan inventively mixed grit, humor and heart with bleakness to arguably become Hugh Jackman’s finest performance in his 17-year stint as Wolverine, marking a poetically appropriate endpoint. The film achieved an $85.3 million weekend domestic gross and a $152 million foreign take that displaced Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as Fox’s third-best international opening. Yet, early accolades aside, the context of its story seemed to hinge on a mysterious unexplained plot point.
Speaking to THR’s Heat Vision, Logan director James Mangold discusses why he made the decision to omit a scene that would have taken shape as a tragic flashback revealing what happened to the other X-Men. Despite what Deadpool once implied, it's not budget-related. While villain Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) introduced the idea that the telepathic mutant brain of an aged Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is classified as a weapon of mass destruction in the wake of his increasing senility, an incident occurring in the film in which one of Xavier’s fits incapacitates an entire casino full of people is compared on a radio news broadcast to an incident in Westchester, NY (where the X-Mansion resides,) in which 600 people – including members of the X-Men – were killed. As Mangold explains:
"I wanted to make a movie less about information and more about character."
Indeed, for all of Logan’s accomplishments a single storytelling entity, it also managed to muddle the already-convoluted continuity of the X-Men film series with head-scratching references to things like (for example,) the Statue of Liberty battle from 2000’s original X-Men; something that took place in the original timeline, supposedly erased after 2014’s course-correcting Days of Future Past. However, the decision to cut the fate-revealing Logan flashback scene was apparently made in the name of artfulness. Mangold, who worked on the script with Scott Frank and Michael Green, found power in vagueness, explaining:
"It actually hits home a lot harder than the versions that really painted out specifically the flashback, Of course there are versions we wrote that were never filmed with the actual flashback of what happened, but I’ve found the experience of watching it is far more poignant to just know that it was something really regrettable and it was bad and most likely, friends were lost. Or maybe it was people we didn't know."
Relevantly, in Marvel Comics’ Wolverine: Old Man Logan series, which was the general inspiration for Logan, the incident in question occurred when the bowl-headed Spider-Man rogue Mysterio used an illusion to trick Wolverine into massacring the entire X-Men team while under the impression that they were a group of invading super-villains. The tragedy facilitates a guilt-filled suicidal state similar to the one we see with Jackman’s movie version, who contemplates an adamantium-bullet suicide. However, the early scenes in which Logan, hiding out with Caliban (Stephen Merchant) lives in a makeshift desert home setting, acting as a caregiver to an aged Xavier, arguably carries subtext implying that their woeful situation is the result of something so tragic and personally guilt-laden for Xavier that his deteriorating mind won’t let him remember. – Take that as you will.
Of course, the Logan creative team aren’t giving us any indication as to who was responsible for the incident or even what occurred. At this point, it resides in the imaginations of the fans; something that co-writer Michael Green finds more than satisfying. While he claims that there are no official plans to reveal the answers to this mystery, Green states:
"Nothing will be better than going online and reading fan theories about what happened at the end because I want to hear that version. I know what I think happened, I even know what did happen, but it doesn’t matter, because what’s canonized here is the emotional effect of things."
Logan has Hugh Jackman’s title character shedding his Wolverine status and on the run with a newfound ravenous bundle of joy at his side. The film can be caught at theaters everywhere.
Logan spoilers ahead, as we look back on Hugh Jackman's time as Wolverine...
This Logan article contains minor spoilers. It was originally published at Den of Geek UK.
Along with his Logan co-star Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman is the joint longest-serving superhero actor in movie history. He's played Logan, aka Wolverine, in nine out of ten X-Men films since the turn of the century. Jackman was even referenced in a tenth one that he wasn't in, last year's Deadpool, when our hero used a magazine photo of him as a makeshift mask.
But with Logan, a sad and violent drama that posits all of the character's previous adventures were sanitized, Jackman is hanging up his vest and adamantium skeleton, and it's hard to know how the X-Men franchise will get on without him. Up until now, he's been a permanent fixture in a comic book movie industry that developed a remarkably high turnover since he started in 2000's X-Men.
The big screen has seen three Peter Parkers, for example, and three Bruce Banners. Heck, there's been at least two of almost every other X-Man in his own franchise too, including Professor Charles Xavier. This is the character that made Jackman a movie star and even in between pursuing more conventionally complex work in films like The Fountain, The Prestige, and Prisoners, he's continued to return to his signature role and Fox has been happy to have him at the center of most of their X-Men movies.
It's not just a matter of popping in to film a new sequel or a quick cameo every few years either. Jackman has put in his hours in the gym over the last 17 years, getting progressively more and more ripped with each successive sequel. With the exception of trying to do a berserker rage in his scene-stealing cameo as himself in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, he's taken this character seriously.
Starting from Bryan Singer's original film and that admission to Rogue that it always hurts when his claws pop out, Jackman has found humanity in the hard-drinking, cigar-chomping mutant and lent credibility to a character who some comics fans feel was ill suited to a PG-13 franchise. As is the case with an alarming number of characters from stories that were originally designed for children, Wolverine fans have been clamoring for a more explicit film about the character for years now and Jackman has apparently kept that in mind.
Making 2006's third installment, X-Men: The Last Stand, must seem very short-sighted in retrospect, but Fox was banking on a series of prequels, starting with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, to keep the franchise going. The fact that he's still good in this film, which is lamented in some quarters as one of the worst comic book movies ever made, illustrates how he's been consistently great as Logan, even in some not-very-good films.
Everyone behind the scenes knows they're onto a good thing with him, even if they don't always necessarily know how to use him. Jackman gamely showed up in some comics-faithful get-up in last summer's X-Men: Apocalypse, even though there was arguably no place for him in it, further entangling him in what might have looked like a clean break from the pre-existing continuity, once upon a time.
His cameo in First Class, telling young whippersnappers Charles and Erik to go fuck themselves, is the only thing that tethers this soft reboot to the previous films. As a result, its sequel, Days of Future Past, had the unenviable task of pouring both continuities into one status quo-busting time travel extravaganza, seemingly just to keep Jackman around. Logan is the only constant in the topsy-turvy continuity of the X-movies.
Wolverine's spin-off series is similarly wild in consistency. Jackman's Fountain director Darren Aronofsky persuaded him to stick around after X-Men Origins for The Wolverine, by suggesting that future films should highlight situations in which Logan is truly vulnerable, rather than focusing on his invicibility. James Mangold would end up shepherding that film to the screen, as Aronofsky was diverted by 2014's Noah, but at the time, The Wolverine was the most interesting movie to feature the character since X2.
It presents an interesting pivot for the character, but was flawed as a result of its function in the franchise. Mangold has recently revealed that the film's slam-bang CGI-slathered ending was not what they envisioned, and it's further undermined by a bizarre post-credits stinger to set up Days of Future Past, a film which eventually retconned this one, not 12 months after it was released.
But without Jackman's loyalty to the franchise, we wouldn't have Logan, whose existence as a major studio film feels like a thank you to its star, more than a lucrative spin-off. The massive weekend box office numbers are probably a welcome bonus, but can't be entirely unexpected given the popularity of Jackman's portrayal. It might not the best X-Men movie, if you define an X-Men movie in some other way, but it's arguably the best movie to be based on characters from this property.
Logandoes separate itself from the previous continuity by positing for the first time in the franchise that the X-Men have appeared in comics and movies, and when Logan sneers about idiots in leotards trivializing real events, we're reminded of how Wade Wilson has an action figure of Origins' Deadpool with the sewn-up mouth. The film doesn't quite go as far as Deadpool in its meta-narrative, but there's an implication that, in this umpteenth different timeline, the previous movies might have been in-universe products based on the grim reality.
The film also seems to be a cathartic exercise for Jackman, following the previous flawed attempts to take him beyond the main movies. One sub-plot in the film involves shady genetics company Transigen developing a soulless killing machine called X24, which turns out to be an bigger, badder duplicate of Logan with none of his personality. It's the point at which the film might have tipped back into comic book theatrics, but as an antagonist, X24 is on-theme, serving as a representation of how others have bastardized this character in the past.
Wolverine existed before Hugh Jackman and will exist again, but now that he's moving on, they've got a challenge on par with recasting Superman after Christopher Reeve. In fact, it's tough to see that Wolverine has any future in this iteration of the franchise. They've made some leaps, but Jackman is inextricably tied up in several different eras within the films and the enormous emotional impact of Logan comes from some of us having watched this version of the character since we were 10 years old.
He's so instrumental in this franchise that there's a strong argument for this to be the last film in this current cycle. We know that won't happen, but the argument against rebooting is to keep the cast on board. Now after Jackman and Stewart's final curtain, with Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence potentially dragging their feet about coming back now that their contracts are up, Fox are losing many of the key players who have kept the franchise going this long. You don't get a movie like Days of Future Past, in which you can put great actors like Stewart, Ellen Page, and Ian McKellen to work watching a bloke sleep for most of the running time, without someone like Jackman holding it together.
In Logan, the definitive star of the X-Men franchise closes on a film that's finally every bit as worthy of his performance, but also finds new dimensions in him. His portrayal has never chimed with the stocky and surly portrayal in the comics, and perhaps that's where his inevitable replacement will break new ground on screen, but for a generation of film fans, Hugh Jackman is the best there is at what he does.
Everything you need to know about American Gods, including latest news, cast, trailers, photos, and more!
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've got a first look at American Gods' Mr. Nancy/Anansi, played by Orlando Jones...
Jones did a great interview with Vanity Fair in which the photo is featured. Topics discussed include Jones' own fannishness around American Gods and Bryan Fuller, as well as the possibility of a Anansi Boys spin-off series. What are the chances we might get a Anansi Boys TV show? Jones said:
All I know for sure is that when Michael and Bryan had called me and asked me about playing the character and walked me through what they were thinking, part of the discussion at that time was Anansi Boys, and that they wanted to spin it off and pursue that character. As you know, the first season is really about setting up the world of American Gods and introducing you to all the wonderful characters. If there is a spin-off of any kind, I’d love to do it. I love this character. I love these writers. I’ve been fortunate that this is one of the most exciting and incredible experiences I’ve been able to do as an actor, and I’ll continue for as long as I possibly can.
So, it's a definite possibility, but it also definitely too early to tell. American Gods hasn't even premiered yet.
We also 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 (Heroes, Hannibal) and Michael Green (who is going to be very busy the next few years with Blade Runner 2, Wolverine 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.
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...
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) March 28, 2016
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.
— American Gods Amazon (@AmericanGodsTV) December 17, 2016
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.)
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."
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 Gods' cast 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...
— American Gods Amazon (@AmericanGodsTV) December 20, 2016
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...
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) June 30, 2016
Entertainment Weekly unveiled the first official images from the series, featuring Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday...
NBC’s superhero universe comedy Powerless has nabbed itself a former superhero icon in the classic Batman Adam West.
NBC comedy Powerless is capitalizing on the current cinematic and small screen superhero surge in a unique way, focusing on the unsung engineers of Wayne Industries who develop inventions to accommodate a world in which the battles of powered heroes and villains regularly leave ordinary folks stuck with the destructive aftermath. Now, one of television’s definitive classic superheroes is about to arrive in person.
According to EW, the one and only Adam West has been booked for a guest-starring role on an upcoming episode of Powerless. West has already logged his name in the show’s credits, having provided an Easter Egg of a voiceover in a Wayne Security commercial in the series’ February 2 pilot. However, the former star of the campy, but beloved 1960’s pop-culture-dominating Batman television series will soon make a physical appearance on the series. West won’t have to remember his character’s surname, since he’ll be playing Dean West, chairman of Wayne Industries, who will make a crucial visit to the workplace of the primary characters. However, it’s bad news for Alan Tudyk’s douchey middle-management overseer and Wayne family member Van and for Vanessa Hudgens’s studious, but socially-awkward supervisor Emily Locke, since Chairman West arrives in the wake of company cuts, set to deliver potentially bad news.
West, of course, became a “Bang!” and “Pow!”-delivering pop-culture icon playing the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1966-1968 Batman television series and in 1966’s Batman: The Movie. He came into that role as a guest-role mainstay of myriad high-profile television series’ dating back to the mid-1950’s. However, his post-Batman CV has mostly consisted of voice work, notably in his recurring role as himself on Family Guy in which he is the town mayor. West also recently (kind of) reprised his role as Batman in last year’s animated feature Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, joined by his former co-star in Robin actor Burt Ward. West also notably appeared (as himself) in an episode CBS’s Big Bang Theory last year.
Powerless can be seen on NBC on Thursday nights. The premiere date of Adam West’s guest-starring role has not yet been revealed.
Archie and friends will get another season of high school antics on The CW. Here's everything we know about Riverdale season 2...
The CW's newest comic book-inspired drama, Riverdale, has been renewed for a second season, as confirmed by Archie Comics' official Twitter handle:
BREAKING NEWS: SEASON 2 OF #RIVERDALE IS HAPPENING!
GET YOUR BURGERS AND CELEBRATE. https://t.co/P4NCpYtm1X
— Archie Comics (@ArchieComics) March 7, 2017
This take on the world of Archie, which is essentially a combination of the melodrama featured on Gossip Girl and the murder mystery setup of Twin Peaks. The approach has been well-received, including by us. Said our reviewer about the pilot episode:
Twenty-one minutes. That's all it takes for Riverdale, The CW's oh-so stylish blend of post-Gossip Girl teen drama and Twin Peaks-inspired mystery, to have Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) begin making out. But like everything in this highly addictive show, there's so much more bubbling under the surface than you initially realize.
And Riverdalehas been doing well in terms of ratings, too. The pilot pulled in 1.4 million viewers, and has averaged about 1.2 million since. It's currently The CW's second most-watched non-superhero series.
Riverdale is the brainchild of Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer behind the resurgence of Archie Comics in recent years with great horror comics Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Riverdale Release Date
No release date has been set for Riverdale season 2. It's not crazy to assume that the second season will premiere at some point in 2018.
Marvel's Iron Fist Netflix series takes longer to get going than its predecessors. Maybe a little too long.
This Iron Fist review is based on the first six episodes. It contains NO spoilers.
With three shows and four total seasons under their belt, the Marvel Studios/Netflix partnership now comes with a fairly concrete set of expectations. You know you’re going to get something a cut above the average network superhero TV show in terms of production value, and there are places they can go that their broadcast counterparts can’t. Like its predecessors, Iron Fist establishes a slightly different tone (this one comes from Dextershowrunner Scott Buck) and is mostly self contained, with few connections to previous series that might put off a new viewer.
Danny Rand (Finn Jones) has been presumed dead for 15 years, after the plane carrying him and his parents vanished over the Himalayas. When he suddenly returns to New York City and arrives on the doorstep of the company he would have been heir to, he finds his childhood friends Joy and Ward Meachum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) running the show. Their father Harold (David Wenham) was the elder Rand’s business partner, and Rand Enterprises has been run by the Meachum family since the incident. They aren’t exactly thrilled to see Danny, although they have little reason to believe he is who he says he is, and his strange claims about where he’s been don’t exactly help his case. After all, would you believe someone who said they survived a plane crash only to spend the next 15 years in a city not on any map while being trained by monks?
It’s more complicated than it sounds, and weaving in Danny’s backstory proves a little trickier than it did in earlier Marvel/Netflix efforts. As usual, our main character’s origin is only hinted at and glimpsed in flashbacks and exposition. This worked well with the “accident of science” superhero origin stories we've seen on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, but when there’s an entire secret civilization being alluded to, and Danny’s actual motivations and the nature of his powers remain pretty obscure, it's a tougher sell. If the show would commit to whether the audience is supposed to believe Danny's outlandish story or not, that would be one thing, but it tries to have it both ways, particularly in its earliest episodes. It’s a shame, as this might have been a risk worth taking.
Finn Jones' casting raised some eyebrows, but he brings a particular everyman quality to the role, and he alternates between an almost childlike serenity and the kind of irrational outbursts you might expect from someone who has had no knowledge of the modern world since he was ten years old. While the “rich white guy returns home after years abroad/in training” similarities are unavoidable, Danny’s characterization is unique enough to prevent any of this from feeling like an echo of Batman Begins or Arrow. It's easy to see where Danny's personality will fit in with the rest of the team once The Defenders rolls around. He’s surrounded by a solid supporting cast, and the Meachum family (Stroup, Pelphrey, and Wenham) provide a good balancing act of warmth and skepticism with their possibly sinister motives.
Every one of these Marvel Netflix efforts has a breakout supporting character, and in this case, it’s unquestionably Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing. Like Simone Messick’s Misty Knight on Luke Cage, Henwick immediately gives the impression that she could carry her own show (and depending on how far Marvel and Netflix are willing to take their partnership, she may get her chance). In fact, the most spectacular fight scene in Iron Fist (so far) doesn’t even belong to the title character, but rather to Colleen Wing.
But there’s something missing from Iron Fist. Visually, it’s a little bland for many of these early episodes, often lacking the cinematic pop that made Daredevil or Luke Cage such visual standouts. While every Marvel Netflix series has pacing problems, and many feel like they spread 8-10 episodes worth of story over 13 chapters, it usually takes a few installments before you feel the show begin to spin its wheels. But Iron Fist is a particularly slow starter, and it takes nearly three before you get a sense of why anyone behaves the way they do. Flashbacks are awkwardly placed, characters make baffling decisions, and the general impression is sometimes that the show is filling time.
Part of the problem might be that Iron Fist has something of an identity crisis. So much time is spent at Rand Enterprises that you almost feel like the show is trying to fool viewers into thinking it’s a corporate drama as it sidelines its mystical/martial arts elements. That’s actually a cool pitch, but none of the corporate stuff is intriguing enough to hang the show’s hat on. I’m certainly not a viewer who needs constant action or references to Marvel mythology to hold my attention (it’s admirable how much these shows play in their own sandbox rather than rely on Marvel's increasing interconnectivity), but you need to give us a little more to buy Danny’s story and that he’s the king badass he’s expected to be.
Things take a better turn in episode 6, directed by none other than Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, who is no stranger to the highs and lows of martial arts movies. This is the first time you start to feel the show really find its feet, and it’s no coincidence that there’s a stronger visual identity and more obvious martial arts connections on display here. It’s certainly the most action packed, but it’s also the first one that revels in the mystical weirdness of Danny’s world, and it works beautifully.
I kept waiting for Iron Fist to kick it into another gear, and that sixth episode aside, it never quite did. If nothing else, Marvel’s Netflix efforts have earned the benefit of the doubt, and I’m willing to believe that the next seven episodes make up for lost time. But it’s worth pointing out that both Daredevil Season 2 and Luke Cage took noticeably different turns in their second halves. Hopefully Iron Fist is just a slow burn, and the steady build that begins in episode three and blossoms in episode six continues for the rest of the series. Iron Fist might just be the unfortunate victim of the raised expectations that come with these projects.
We'll find out when all 13 episodes of Iron Fist arrive on Netflix on March 17th.
I'll be back with a spoiler filled breakdown of all the crazy Marvel stuff in the show when those episodes drop. Hit me up on Twitter to talk superhero TV, but I'm not talking spoilers on there!
Happy International Women's Day! Why not celebrate with a binge-watch of this Australian period detective drama on Netflix?
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is one of those rare TV shows that not only follows through on its initial, delightful premise's promises, but manages to fill a pop culture void in the process. And on a day like International Women's Day, it seems more important than ever to celebrate characters like Phryne Fisher — a bold, empathetic, and sexually-liberated woman who doesn't let social mores hold her back.
Miss Fisher has the witty intrigue of Sherlock, the opulent style of Downton Abbey, and the bombastic feminism of Agent Carter. But there's something gloriously unique about Miss Fisher. Maybe it's the fact that the show features a rare kind of heroine: a woman over the age of 35 who is unabashedly sexual with no desire to settle down, and who isn't punished for it.
Or perhaps it's the fact that the show not only features a clever, complicated woman at the center of its ensemble, but is created and written by women, as well. Or maybe it's the refreshing fact that — amongst a sea of gritty, anti-hero tales — Miss Fisher takes joie de vivre as an essential theme. Whatever the seret ingredient(s), Miss Fisher delivers on a delightful journey quite unlike anything else on television...
The plot: life, love, and murder in post-war Melbourne.
"So I did the only thing I could in the circumstance.""You called for help?""I stabbed him in the shoulder."
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian period drama based on a series of novels by Kerry Greenwood. It stars Essie Davis (The Babadook, Game of Thrones) as Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher, an independently-wealthy, "modern" woman with a passion for solving crimes and absolutely no concern for what "mannered" society thinks she should be doing with her life. Instead, she catches murderers, takes lovers, and creates her own little found-family matriarchy within the walls of her St. Kilda mansion. (Address: 221B, of course.)
When we first meet Phryne, she is returning to Melbourne from England to ensure that the man she believes murdered her sister is never released from jail. This is the larger story arc of the first season, but the best parts of this show really come in the murders-of-the-week — and, if you've read any of my iZombie reviews, then you know I am not generally the type to prefer episode-specific plots over serialized story elements.
Each mystery delves into a differenty segment of Australian society, with many of them focusing on Melbourne's immigrant populations. Some explorations are more effectively-rendered than others, but Miss Fisher spends a lot of time investing in the ephemeral settings and characters of these plots. There's the one with the Latvian anarchists. The one with the seaside temperance society. The one with the sanitorium for "hysterial" women. The list goes on, with each foray into a Melbourne subculture offering its own peak into post-war Melbourne.
Miss Fisher benefits from having a longer per-episode running time than most American shows (just like Sherlock). The 53-minute episodes allow for the show to really delve into the details, characters, and motivations of the murder-of-the-week plots without skimping on the great character moments that really make this show worth watching.
What drives it all forward is Miss Fisher's passion for life, a deep appreciation defined by the character's own struggles. She grew up poor in Melbourne, inheriting title and wealth only after much of her extended family was killed off in World War I. Her sister was murdered when they were just children, and Phryne has never truly forgiven herself for letting it happen. Phryne worked as a nurse in World War I, comforting dying soldiers (the war hangs like a pall over many of the characters of this world, informing much of the context of the story).
Miss Fisher has seen the ugliest parts of life and continues to in her work as an investigator of murders. But, rather than dull her spirit, these experiences have only made her appreciate life, love, beauty, and pleasure all the more. Miss Fisher knows how precious life is and, even in the occasionally ridiculous moments of this show, this truth grounds the absurdist action.
We need more Phryne Fishers in our popular culture.
"You women are all the same.""I'm quite sure we aren't."
Even in the age of peak TV, there is a lot of redundancy on television. Phryne Fisher rises above the din. Sure, many of the elements of her character are familiar: She is a highly-competent investigator who sleeps around and investigates crime because of her own personal tragedy. This isn't an unfamiliar archetype. It is hardly ever, however, an archetype that gets to be female — not to mention a women over the age of 35 or in the early 20th century.
Miss Fisher novel author Kerry Greenwood said about the conception of the character:
"Phryne is a hero, just like James Bond or the Saint, but with fewer product endorsements and a better class of lovers. I decided to try a female hero and made her as free as a male hero, to see what she would do. Mind you, at that time I only thought there would be two books."
This character is brought to life by the exceptional Essie Davis, who you might recognize from her turn in the wonderfully scary Australian horror film The Babadook or the much-lauded original (Aussie) version of TV drama The Slap. Davis will also appear in season 6 of Game of Thrones. In this behind-the-scenes featurette, the Miss Fisher creators speak about how Davis brings the character to life...
If you've spent any time on the internet lately, then you may have noticed the upsurge in think pieces about the rise of the single women as an increasingly socially-acceptable (and politically-relevent) alternate to married life. Last month, British journalist Laurie Penny wrote a piece called "Maybe you should just be single" for The New Statesman. In it, she said:
"There are many different routes to a life of love and adventure and personally, I don’t intend to travel down any one of them in the sidecar. So we need to start telling stories about singleness—and coupled independence—that are about more than manicures and frantic day-drinking. We need to start remembering all of the women down the centuries who chose to remain unpartnered so that they could make art and change history without a man hanging around expecting dinner and a smile. We need to start remembering that the modern equivalents of these women are all around us, and little girls need not be terrified of becoming them."
Miss Fisher is that alternative model (albeit only one possible version of it — and a white, rich, gorgeous version at that). She is that rare fictional example of what life can be like for women who chose not to get married and/or have children — and how that alternative can be just as fulfilling.
Miss Fisher isn't a story about a spinster finding love later in life and finally getting the traditional family she needs and deserves. It is about a sexually-liberated, vibrant, empathetic woman who has a wonderful family and community of her own making. Phryne is not someone to be pitied. She is one of the most alive characters on TV — a master detective who speaks multiple languages, knows martial arts, and can fly an airplane. Miss Fisher is competency porn at its most addictive, and its main character is a new, much-needed kind of archetype.
Miss Fisher is really an ensemble show about found family.
“When I came to work for you, Miss, I was afraid of everything and you taught me so many things and you made me brave and you made me happy.”
Miss Fisher probably has a lot in common with your favorite found family dramas — a la anything by Joss Whedon. These are imperfect, but ultimately good people who choose to belong to one another. Starting in the pilot episode, Miss Fisher basically starts collecting underdogs. As a character with immense privilege (her family inherited lots of money during the war), she has the power to affect change within her city.
Though the show very much has Phryne Fisher at its center, it is a well-developed ensemble cast of characters who make up this story. By placing them in various positions of social power, Miss Fisher is able to make comments on structures of hierarchy and power, showing how each character's identities — especially class, religion, and gender — affects how they see, interact with, and are treated by the world.
Dorothy "Dot" Williams is Phryne's very own Watson. When Dot first meets Miss Fisher as a maid suspected of murder in the pilot, Dot is afraid to use the telephone because her priest told her electricity will explode the Earth's molten core. By the end of season 1, Dot is going undercover at a mill to solve a murder.
Phryne is very much Dot's mentor, inspiring her to go for what she wants. Though they are very different women with very different strengths, they share a love and respect for one another. Female relationships, in general, are front and center on this show in a way they typically aren't in most TV fare (usually because there aren't enough female characters to depict varied female relationships). In addition to Dot, Phryne has important relationships with her Aunt Prudence, adopted daughter Jane, and her lesbian doctor best friend Mac.
Phryne's household is rounded out by her stalwart, yet up-for-anything butler who is actually named Mr. Butler, and two Communist cab drivers who do odd jobs for Miss Fisher when the case calls for men able to blend into working class spaces. Together, they all make up a strange, wonderful kind of family.
The police procedural element: aka feminist male allies.
"Beside every good man is a good woman and she must always be ready to step in front."
It's especially interesting to see the feminism of Miss Fisher infused into the structure of a police procedural, a form generally so comfortable with a) enforcing the status quo and b) putting women in the role of victims rather than justice-bringer or even killer. In the world of Miss Fisher, the institutions and many of the characters may be sexist, but that's no reason to accept sexism. Instead, Miss Fisher asks more of its characters — including the male ones.
Miss Fisher's forays into crime-solving often leads to clashes with the police. Luckily, her local detective inspector happens to be a reasonable sort. Inspector Detective Jack Robinson is Miss Fisher's sometimes foil, sometimes partner-in-crime, and always epic love interest. Stern and dutiful to Phyrne's playful and spontaneous, Inspector Robinson works wonderfully as a counterpoint to Miss Fisher's mischievous strain of moralism. They make a good team, not least because Jack sees Phryne as an equal with her own set of strengths (not to mention casual relationship to the law) to complement his own...
Rounding out the central quartet with Phryne, Jack, and Dot is Constable Hugh Collins. Hugh is Jack's bumbling, yet endearing police minion. He also happens to be Dot's sweetheart. (Yes, she actually describes him as such to others, on occasion.) Jack and Hugh are total feminist male allies, though the role comes more naturally to weathered soldier and divorcee Jack than it does to sweet, naive Hugh.
Though Hugh sometimes stumbles in his efforts to let Dot be her own modern woman, he always comes around in the end. In one crowning moment, he equates personal bravery not with saving his girlfriend from danger, but with allowing Dot to take her own risks in her job with Miss Fisher. This show is not at all interested in equating the damsel-in-distress trope with any kind of romance, and its male love interests (usually) fall into line. When they don't, Phryne and Dot have an eye roll at the ready.
A show run by women about women's issues.
"A woman should dress first and foremost for her own pleasure."
Each episode of Miss Fisher has a different social justice issue at its heart. Often times, these issues concern women specifically. In the very first episode, Miss Fisher takes down a dangerous back alley abortion operation, in additon to exposing a drug trafficking ring and solving a murder. Other complex, underrepresented issues the show takes on include: reproductive rights, contraception, female sex workers, gendered double standards, and LGBTQ issues.
There is always a push for greater diversity in television and film. Much of this happens in front of the camera, but it is equally important behind the camera. Having a person write about something they have never experienced — i.e. being a person of color, a woman, an LGBTQ person, etc. — is never going to be as effective as having people write about identities they themselves have experienced. Watching Miss Fisher, you can tell that it is written by women.
Fiona Eagger and Deb Cox created Miss Fisher and serve as series showrunners. Cox spoke to Australian books and publishing blog Fancy Goods about the decision to adapt Miss Fisher for the television screen, saying:
"It was hard to find a reason to bring stories about psychotic killers and serial murderers to the screen. So when we alighted on the Phryne Fisher murder mystery series—and discovered stories led by an entertaining but wonderfully subversive, feminist character, laced through with our own history and tackling social issues with a balance of grit and humour—we knew we could turn it into something we could be proud of which would fit stylistically with our mode of storytelling and reflect moral values we shared."
The logistics of a potential fourth season.
Though Miss Fisher has done well in both Australia and abroad, it has not yet been renewed for a fourth season and its fate remains unclear. Davis' relocation to London seems to be a deciding factor. ABC Director of Programming Brendan Dahill recently told TV Tonight:
I love Miss Fisher and we are currently trying to resolve the Miss Fisher conundrum, because Essie is living in London these days. She’s got young kids in school, in London and so, she doesn’t want to be away from them for 3 or 4 months at a go. So, there are some logistical issues that we are trying to resolve. We’d love to bring more Miss Fisher back, but it means finding an affordable way of doing it.
There's no Miss Fisher without Miss Fisher...
But there is hope!
According to Australia's Herald Sun, Miss Fisher creators Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger have plans for a movie trilogy a la Indiana Jones starring beloved Phryne Fisher. The movie would see Phryne go on cases around the world and would film in London, accommodating Davis' relocation.
The fact that the movie is not yet financed might seem like a big, uncertain obstacle for its progress and it is, but I don't think Eagger is exaggerating when she says the Miss Fisher fanbase is "so passionate." Last summer, CEO Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told The Sydney Morning Herald that he has friends "constantly asking" when Netflix will get another season of Miss Fisher.
What might it look like? Eagger and Cox have done a first pass on the script for the film, with Eagger teasing:
We want it to be like the Indiana Jones movies. We might not have Steven Spielberg's budget but that is what [Phryne Fisher] is — an action hero. She got to be able to fly the world ... It could be Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears so she has to go to Arabia. We'd love to go to India. We have fun thinking about the destinations.
It's unclear which, if any, of Miss Fisher's supporting cast would return for the movie trilogy, which, for me, is the biggest question mark when it comes to this next evolution of the story. Ultimately, however, it's just nice to have some confirmation that this fictional world isn't finished.
For information on the proposed Miss Fisher prequel series, read our full story here.
So what are you waiting for? If you haven't already checked out Miss Fisher, you're in for a hell of a ride in her Hispano-Suiza. In America, the series' three seasons are all currently available to stream on Netflix. Is there any better way to celebrate International Women's Day? Maybe, but there might not be a more fun way to celebrate it than with Miss Fisher.
You think dating is a nightmare? Whatever you do, don't date Wolverine.
When one thinks of Wolverine, one automatically thinks of violence, mystery, savagery, and... romance? Sure Logan doesn’t always conjure up images of long walks on the beach, candle light dinners, or steamy make-out sessions to a background track of Barry White, but for a guy not known for the hearts and flowers, Wolverine has certainly had his fair share of lovers.
Wolverine wears his heart on his sleeve (and at times, he wears other people’s hearts on his claws), and has had many romantic connections both in the X-Men and in the pages of his own comic series. He gets around when it comes to love, but sadly, many of these affairs end pretty damn tragically; he's had to bury so many lovers that it'd even put Matt Murdock to shame. So let us pay tribute to those ladies who've had braved the hairy chest and stabby claws of Wolverine.
First appearance: X-Men #1 (1963)
Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
If it's true that the greater Logan’s love for a partner, the greater the danger she's in, one can argue that Jean Grey is Wolverine’s greatest love. When Logan first laid eyes on this red-haired mutant, he instantly fell claws over heels. Wolverine loves the forbidden, so the fact that Jean Grey was engaged to Wolverine’s rival and foil Cyclops only made the always rakish Wolverine burn hotter with desire.
As Wolverine and Jean Grey grew closer, passion turned to admiration and Wolverine fell in deep love with his comrade-in-arms. Wolverine’s heart broke when Grey became the Phoenix and was lost to the X-Men the first time, but when Jean Grey rose from the grave, Logan thought he had another shot at his true love. But like many of history’s great loves, the romance between Wolverine and the former Phoenix would always remain unrequited. Not only does Logan have to witness the object of his deepest affections in the arms of another, he's also had to watch Jean die again (and again). As we said, Wolverine has buried many lovers, but poor Jean was buried more than once.
First appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1
Created by: Len Wein and Dave Cockrum
Man, that Jean Grey stuff was depressing, but happy days, the Wolverine-Storm romance has not ended in death and heartbreak. Yet.
Storm has romanced two of the most brilliant thinkers in the Marvel Universe, the King of Wakanda, T’Challa (AKA the Black Panther), and the smartest of all X-Men, the technomancer Forge. But even Storm likes a rough tumble with a beer-drinking man’s man once in a while, which explains her on-again, off-again affair with Logan.
Wolverine and Storm shared a few lip locks in the early days of their tenures as X-Men, but things got downright steamy after Storm divorced Black Panther. Yeah, Wolverine was a big time rebound for the weather goddess, which might explain why, unlike so many Logan lovers, she lived to tell the tale.
First appearance: Ms. Marvel #17 (1978)
Created by: Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
The Mystique-Wolverine romance is the very definition of an unhealthy relationship. On one side you have a killer mutant with questionable memories of his past and a history of love affairs that ended tragically, and on the other hand, you have an immoral shape shifter who thrives on psychological torture.
In the must read Get Mystique story arc by Jason Aaron, it is revealed that Mystique and Wolverine have had a love affair that stretched all the way back to the 1930s. They once even led a gang of crooks in Mexico and were the Bonnie and Clyde of the mutant set until fate tore them apart. Logan and Mystique are sometime lovers, sometime rivals, but always steamy and troubled.
First appearance: New Mutants #98 (1991)
Created by: Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld
This one is purely physical. Domino is one of the most dangerous women in the Marvel Universe, and, Wolverine, is well, short, feral, and always horny. Wolverine and Domino’s steamy hookups are truly dangerous friends with benefits type situations, but hey, after all the romantic tragedy in Logan’s life, he deserves some of the casual wanky cranky.
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #118 (1979)
Created by: Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Mariko Yashida is considered by many to be Wolverine’s true love. Mariko is a demure and refined Japanese aristocrat who also happens to be the daughter of a crime lord. But in each other’s arms, Mariko and Logan found true peace and romantic contentment. The two never married because Mariko was honor bound to handle her father’s criminal empire, but she was always there for her savage lover whenever he needed a respite from his violent life.
Sadly, it all ended in tragedy when Mariko was poisoned by a criminal rival named Matsu'o Tsurayaba, who used the toxin of a rare blowfish to guarantee Wolverine’s love a horrifically painful death. To spare Mariko the pain, Logan killed his beloved, but his revenge was legendary. Wolverine captured Matsu'o Tsurayaba, and every year on the anniversary of Mariko’s death, Wolverine slices off one of the assassin’s body parts. This has been going on for a very long time.
First appearance: Wolverine vol. 2 #10 (1989)
Created by: Chris Claremont and John Buscema
Silver Fox was a Native American woman who Wolverine fell in love with in the early part of the 1900s. The two lived a tranquil life together, but since this is Wolverine we’re talking about, I think you know where this is going. Oh, it goes there and then it goes a few steps further into horror when she was raped and killed by Sabretooth.
Or was she?
Later events indicate that Silver Fox’s death was an implanted memory. In the modern era, Wolverine finds her alive and a member of Team X, an elite team of mutants and super powered mercenaries. Silver Fox then betrays Logan and joins HYDRA. And then dies. And this is just confusing and depressing. How can a little hairy guy living in a cabin with a beautiful woman become some mind-numbingly confusing and tragic? That’s Wolverine for you.
First appearance: Avengers Annual #10 (1981)
Created by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden
This one might be a bit unsettling for fans of the X films. In Fox’s X-Men movie franchise, Wolverine and Rogue have an inspiring father/daughter relationship. But in the comics, not so much.
You see, there was a time when the X-Men encountered a space being known as the Golgotha. This creature had the power to amplify people’s inner emotions. When Wolverine and Rogue were exposed to Golgotha, it is revealed that there was a deep seated desire between the two legendary mutants. They engaged in some lip wrestling that was equal parts hot and steamy and all around creepy. The X writers never really followed up on this deep rooted desire between the two, but it’s there. You have to wonder if Jackman and Paquin know about this.
First appearance: Conan the Barbarian #23 (1973)
Created by: Robert E. Howard, Roy Thomas, and Barry Windsor-Smith
We don’t want to overwhelm you with alternate universe romance, but a few are worth mentioning. In What If? Volume 2 #6 (1990), Marvel presented "What If... Wolverine Had Lived During the Age of Conan the Barbarian?" Well, he would hook up with Red Sonja, that’s what would happen.
We all know from Jean Grey that Logan has a thing for redheads, and Red Sonja is the most badass, deadly redhead in comic history. This is a match made in the hells of Hyboria, but it’s bloody appropriate that these two stone cold killers hook up in this sword and sandal alternate reality.
First appearance: Daredevil #168 (1981)
Created by: Frank Miller
We’ll hit you with another alternative world Wolverine romance. In the MC2 Universe (the same alternate reality that gave the world Spider-Girl), Wolverine and Elektra get married and have a daughter. So yes, between the MU proper and the MC2 ‘verse, Elektra has hooked up with both Daredevil and Wolverine. No wonder she has died like six thousand times. Anyway, Elektra and Logan’s daughter becomes the hero known as Wild Thing because what else would you call the daughter of these two very stabby lovers?
First appearance: Wolverine Vol 3 #40 (2006)
Created by: Daniel Way and Javier Saltares
Itsu was Wolverine’s lover during World War II. For a time, the two were very happy together, and Itsu even became pregnant. I think you see where this is going.
One day, Logan returned home to find Itsu dead and the baby torn from her womb. It turns out that Itsu was killed by none other than the Winter Soldier. The baby was not truly lost, and grew up to become the villainous Daken. One has to believe that these days, Wolverine isn’t inviting old Bucky to any poker games. Longing, rusted, furnace, daybreak, seventeen, benign, nine, homecoming, one, freight car, indeed!
First appearance: Wolverine Vol 3 #66 (2008)
Created by: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
Wolverine’s ladies aren’t even safe in the future. In the Old Man Logan reality, Logan leaves his violent past behind to be with a woman named Maureen. She was a former employee of the Weapon X program, but later in life, Maureen fell in love with Wolverine and the two settled down and had two kids.
Due to his violent past, Wolverine vowed never to pop his claws again. But Logan and Maureen lived in a broken world, where groups of super villains took over, and a violent group of thugs known as the Hulk Gang (a gang of killer redneck Hulks, duh) demanded protection money from the Logan family. The former Wolverine went on a quest to collect the money, but when he returned home, he found that the Hulk Gang had killed Maureen and the kids because they were bored. Believe me, there was some snikt action after that.
First appearance: Wolverine Vol 3 #42 (2006)
Created by: Marc Guggenheim and Humberto Ramos
Yes, Wolverine’s curse of love and death even extends to fish people. Amir was an Atlantaen warrior who helped Wolverine find the villainous Nitro during Marvel’s first Civil War. Even a woman used to the crushing depths and the mysteries of the oceans couldn't survive falling for Logan. After Amir and Wolverine’s first moist encounter, she was killed by the villain known as Shogun.
First appearance: Wolverine #1 (1982)
Created by: Chris Claremont and Frank Miller
Hey, this one worked out okay! Yukio is one of the greatest assassins and warriors in Japan. She and Logan have been rivals as wells as lovers, and while their relationship is more casual than some of the others on this list, over time the two honorable killers built a trusting kinship. Wolverine values Yukio so much that he's trusted her to raise his step-daughter Amiko. Plus, when Wolverine has to go kill, like, thousands of ninjas, he can always give Yukio a call. Fans even got to meet Yukio in The Wolverine film..
First appearance: Captain America vol.1 #110 (1969)
Created by: Jim Steranko
So yeah, Wolverine was once for real married to this once leader of HYDRA. You see, Viper blackmailed Wolverine into marrying her so she could become the leader of the criminal empire of the lawless state known as Madripoor. Wolverine had no choice but to tie the knot, even going as far as obeying when she demanded they consummate the marriage.
It wasn’t exactly domestic bliss, because after the wedding, Viper got possessed by the evil Ogun. In order to drive Ogun out of his wife’s body, Wolverine had to impale her with his claws! As she was bleeding out, Wolverine offered to exchange divorce for medical attention and Wolverine was a single man once again. Despite the fact that his wife was completely evil, the fact that Logan had to end a divorce by stabbing his betrothed just proves that, yeah, this dude’s love life is cursed.
First appearance: Wolverine Vol. 3 #13 (2004)
Created by: Greg Rucka and Darick Robertson
The Native was another creation of the Weapon X program. After she escaped, Sabretooth manipulated Wolverine into track her down. During the hunt, Wolverine began to have latent memories of a once romantic relationship with Native during his Weapon X days. After Logan finds her, Native shows him some drawings of the two feral killers as lovers.
Wolverine and Native renew their romantic bond and Native even becomes pregnant. Until—say it with me now—Sabretooth kills Native. Sigh. It’s a shame because you’d think that since Native is as uncontrollable as Wolverine she would have been one of the few Logan lovers that lived.
First appearance: Origin #1 (2001)
Created by: Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada, and Andy Kubert
Rose O’Hara was Logan’s first true love. Rose looks eerily similar to Jean Grey, which explains that X attraction, but as you can guess, Rose’s story also ends tragically.
Young Logan loved Rose, but Rose felt only deep friendship for Logan. She marries another and lives a happy life as the wife of a camp foreman. Her happiness was not to last, as during a fight with a killer and former childhood friend named Dog, Rose falls on Wolverine’s claws and dies. At least poor Rose can take heart that she started a trend—a really bloody and heartbreaking trend.
First Appearance Wolverine: Weapon X #1 (2009)
Created by: Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
Melita Garner is perhaps the most human of all of Logan’s lovers. She is a reporter that begun a romance with Wolverine after he saved her from a group of muggers. Their professional relationship soon blossomed into a romance that was...surprisingly normal and healthy. Melita wasn’t a mutant or an alien or an escaped government experiment or the head of a crime family or anything super extraordinary, she was just a daring reporter trying to expose the world to truth and justice and for that, she won Logan’s heart.
It all ended when Melita received a package in the mail containing photographs of Logan making love to Yukio. The pictures were actually of Mystique morphed into Yukio, but the impact was the same. Melita called it quits, but happily, she lived to tell the tale of her romance with Wolverine.
First appearance: Logan #1 (2008)
Created by: Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso
Logan met Atsuko in Japan during World War II after he and another soldier escaped a Japanese prison camp. Logan’s brother-in-arms wanted to kill Atsuko, but Logan protected her. He and Atsuko quickly struck up a romance, and wouldn’t you know it, the other soldier returned and tried to murder Logan’s new lady. Atsuko killed the soldier with her father’s sword, but was shot in the struggle.
Not all of Logan’s lovers were ladies. Well, in the regular Marvel timeline, as far as we know, Logan is heterosexual, but in the alternate universe of 2012’s X-Treme X-Men, Wolverine’s romantic tastes were a bit more varied.
In this world, a mustachioed Ron Swanson looking version of Wolverine was in love with that universe’s Hercules. The love between Logan and Herc became the emotional center of the short lived X-Treme X-Men series, and it was a fun romance to behold. An undying badass mutant and an undying braggadocios demi-god finding love in each other’s arms. It was daring and surprising, and Herc lived to tell the tale, which is one better than most of Logan’s lovers, no matter what universe they lived in.
First appearance: Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1 (1987)
Created by: Jim Owsley and Mark Bright
Charlemagne was an ex-KGB agent that had a torrid romance with Wolverine. In the must read classic Spider-Man Versus Wolverine #1 (1987), Charlemagne’s cover gets burned after she turns on her KGB handlers. When the KGB came out in force to take her down, Charlemagne knew that she would be tortured to death and begged Wolverine to kill her before she is captured. Wolverine stabs her with his claws but flinches. The tough as nails Charlemagne was suffering and begs Wolverine to end it all, at this inopportune moment, Spider-Man shows up and prevents Wolverine from delivering the killing blow. During the fight, Charlemagne snuck up on Spidey who lashes out and kills her with one shot. It was a tragic moment not only for Spider-Man, but for Wolverine as well, as he loses another love.
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #229 (1988)
Created by: Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri
Another one that lived!
Tyger Tiger is an on-again, off-again lover of Logan who also rules the criminal underworld of Madripoor. She rules with a fair hand and doesn't allow certain crimes into her country. Wolverine allows Tyger to continue her operations because he knows she will keep the lawless nation free of sex slavery, hard drugs, and terrorism. With Tyger, it’s all about gambling and other relatively victimless crimes. Wolverine has helped Tyger protect her empire, and whenever the crime lord and the mutant hero make the beast with two backs, Wolverine and Tyger Tiger burn bright in the darkness of the night. That there was a highfalutin literary joke in case you thought we only did poop and dick jokes around here.
First appearance: Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure #1 (1990)
Created by: Walter Simonson and Mike Mignola
Let’s end on a strange but happy one. Gahck is the chief of a Savage Land tribe known as the Tribe of Fire. For those not in the know, the Savage Land is a place in the Marvel Universe where many different tribes live amongst dinosaurs and other long extinct creatures. It’s kind of like if Edgar Rice Burroughs threw up in the Marvel Universe.
So Wolverine meets and falls for the beautiful and wild Gahck and they become lovers. Unbeknownst to Wolverine, Gahck bears a son, and this one doesn’t die or turn evil or anything. Somewhere, right now, a kid that looks like Logan is fighting a dinosaur in the Savage Land. That makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and a tiny bit terrified inside. Let’s just hope that Junior here is luckier at love than his daddy.
The stylish, star-studded spy miniseries The Night Manager could get a second season, with confirmation of early development.
Last year’s lavishly-set miniseries The Night Manager was an impressive and slick television event. Adapting the 1993 novel of the same name by the iconic English espionage author John le Carré, the miniseries, a joint intercontinental offering from the BBC and AMC, starred Tom Hiddleston as an ex-soldier-turned hotelier who is thrust into the world of an amoral arms dealer played by Hugh Laurie. While, its six-episode run did come to a seemingly satisfying conclusion, fans will be delighted to hear that a second season could, nevertheless, be on the horizon.
A joint statement from producing studio The Ink Factory and broadcasters AMC and the BBC has announced that a prospective second season of The Night Manager is in early stages of development. Said statement also quickly points out that no commitment has been made to produce Season 2, with the triumvirate stating that “nothing is definite yet and we have nothing to announce.” However, it does somewhat corroborate what Season 1 director Susanne Bier told Broadcast earlier this week that the Season 2 script was “slowly being developed.” Yet, it does seem unusual and/or promising that a “grain of salt” type news tidbit was proliferated in an official statement.
The Night Manager utilized elegant aesthetics and suspenseful action, put through the lens of top-notch performances from a spectacular cast, with stars Hiddleston and Laurie supported by names like Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Debicki, Tom Hollander, Alistair Petrie, Adeel Akhtar and Tobias Menzies. It also reaped awards season riches, earning Primetime Emmys for director Susanne Bier and Victor Reyes’ musical score. The Golden Globes, however, yielded performance accolades, with wins for Tom Hiddleston (Best Actor), Hugh Laurie (Best Supporting Actor) and Oliva Colman (Best Supporting Actress).
While Season 1 of The Night Manager played out the events of the book, it did so with notable changes to the ending, seemingly delivering apparent just deserts to Laurie’s arms dealer Richard Roper as he’s whisked away by his cheated terrorist clientele; a stark contrast to the character’s more auspicious fate in le Carré’s novel. Yet, even with the miniseries succumbing to a more saccharine happy ending, things were left open-ended enough to see the further travails of Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine for Season 2. Of course, with such a task requiring the continuing compounding of anachronisms to le Carré’s source material, the risk runs higher of bastardizing the integrity of the story. Director Bier offers a cautious caveat to Broadcast (via Variety) explaining:
“We all very much want to do a season two but the thing we absolutely do not want is to do something that does not live up to the level of season one. That would be a really bad idea.”
Of course, the aspect of “money talks” will also come into play when it comes to the prospects for Season 2. The miniseries aired in over 180 countries, garnered accolades and seemed to evoke a generally positive response, barring the tangential outrage from le Carré purists over its array of alterations. With big-name stars now enjoying the loose schedule of recurring limited event television, exemplified by Tom Hardy’s recently-renewed FX series Taboo, it’s quite feasible that The Night Manager could become an intriguingly sophisticated recurring small screen side hustle for Tom Hiddleston. Whether that ultimately happens remains to be seen.