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    One of the greatest villains you haven't heard of yet comes to The Flash tonight. So who is Abra Kadabra, anyway?

    Feature Marc Buxton
    Mar 28, 2017

    The ability of the writers and the producers of CW’s The Flash to bring classic comic book villains to life has been truly magical since the series began. And with Abra Kadabra coming to DC TV, "magical" isn't just a clever turn of phrase. Who is this magical malcontent, you ask? Sit back and let’s go for a mystical ride back to the Silver Age of comics...

    When writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino first introduced Abra Kadabra in The Flash#128 (1962), he stood apart from the villainous pack. After all, up until that point, most Flash villains were either strange aliens or career criminals enhanced by improbably hi-tech weaponry. But Abra Kadabra, with his jaunty cape and mustachioed visage, was anachronistic when compared to the eye popping Silver Age designs of villains like Captain Boomerang or Captain Cold. Abra Kadabra looked like he belonged fighting Doctor Fate or Sargon the Sorcerer back in the Golden Age of comics, but there he was, wand, mustache, and all, battling the Scarlet Speedster.

    Most of Flash’s villains were technology enhanced or science based (well, except for the ones that were giant evil psychic gorilla dictators), and surprisingly, under the surface, Abra Kadabra wasn't much different. He wasn't a classic evil sorcerer, not really, he was a citizen of the 64th century. Citizen Abra was a stage magician who longed for accolades and applause but people living in an advanced civilization where time travel was possible weren't really impressed with magic hats or some mustachioed nutjob pulling handkerchiefs out of his mouth. So Abra did what any insane, narcissistic futuristic stage magician would do, he stole a time machine and traveled back to the 20th century where people would be awestruck by his tricks.

    Now, let’s stop here and let this sink in. Abra Kadabra abandoned a time period where there was no disease, war, or famine to come to the 20th century so people would clap for him. That’s pretty messed up.

    And when Abra got to the past, he didn’t even really use magic, he just used technology from his era to make people think he was using magic. That’s like me going back to 1654 with a flip phone and saying I was a wizard. People didn’t know what to make of the gaudily dressed egoist and kind of just watched his shenanigans with mouths agape. But Abra Kadabra would have his applause, oh yes. He used his super tech to force people to applaud. Try as he might, Abra Kadabra couldn't get people interested in his showmanship, but he was in Central City where the greatest celebrities were the Flash and his motley assortment of villains, so like any sensible magician, he turned to crime.

    In their first encounter, Abra defeated Flash by using his futuristic clap inducing technology (ahem). There was Barry Allen, clapping his hands and stomping his feet with such verve that he couldn’t stop Abra Kadabra. Later, Abra Kadabra attempted his greatest trick by making the Flash disappear. All that was left of Flash was his uniform as he was shot off into space. Flash used his speed to race back to Earth and easily defeated Abra Kadabra, but a very different type of rogue was born, one who committed crimes not for material gain, but to feed his own ego.

    With that out of the way, let’s look at some of the more magical moments of Abra Kadabra’s career...

    The Greatest Moment in the History of Western Fiction

    In The Flash #133 (1962) by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, something happens that is so awesomely improbable, it remains one of the wackiest, most awesome bits of comic book weirdness ever rendered on a comic book page. After Abra Kadabra escapes from prison, he sets up a puppet show (as one does). He uses his new found puppet glory to ruin Flash’s reputation. He builds a Flash puppet and humiliates it.

    That's kind of silly, but things soon take a glorious turn. Abra Kadabra uses his 64th century tech to set up a trap that turns Flash into a freakin’ puppet! Yes, Abra Kadabra transforms Barry Allen into a marionette, and Barry doesn’t even seem that phased by it. On the cover of this infamous issue, Flash is proclaiming, “I’ve got the strangest feeling I’m being turned into a puppet.”

    Now what does that feel like? Does it feel like you’re limbs get really stiff, or is it one of those weird feelings when you have to poop but not really? Does it feel like Jim Henson is whispering in your ear, or does it feel like you need a moment alone with Shari Lewis and Lambchop? Does you Kukla feel all Fran and Ollied? We want to know!

    Whatever the case, Flash was a puppet but somehow uses super speed to not be a puppet (I guess he vibrates at the opposite frequency of a puppet?) and defeats Abra Kadabra. But this moment of glory will forever define the endless insanity of Flash’s Silver Age adventures.

    Psst, Greg Berlanti, psst, Geoff Johns, pssst, Andrew Kreisberg. Gather ‘round, I need to talk to you. Yeah, let’s huddle. Please have Abra Kadabra turn Barry into a puppet on TV. Please, the universe needs this to happen. Thanks, you guys.

    Future Tense

    Abra Kadabra fights Barry Allen many times in the Silver and Bronze Ages, yet unlike other famed Flash foes, Abra always fought alone. The magician’s immense ego doesn’t allow him to play well with others.

    Abra Kadabra returned again and again in order to achieve the glory of defeating the Flash, but in all that time, no creator really delved into Abra Kadabra’s world of the 64th century...until the great Mark Waid that is. In The Flash #67-68 (1992), Waid and artist Greg Larocque present “Future Tense,” a tale in which Abra returns to his own timeline. The wrinkle they add to the Abra Kadabra legend is that in the future, certain malcontents and rebels worship the magician. They honor his non-conformist view of the world and form a sort of Cult of Kadabra. The rest of society wants Abra Kadabra dead and Wally West (who took over from Barry Allen after Crisis on Infinite Earths) must race to the future to save Barry’s magical mortal enemy. Wally saves Abra Kadabra and destroys the method by which the evil techo-wizard travels through time. So now, Abra Kadabra is stuck in the 20th century, far from the 64th rebellion that so honors him.

    Ironically, Abra Kadabra finds himself in a world where that applause he so desired is waiting for him...44 centuries in the future. Abra Kadabra dedicates himself to destroy Wally West as the magician now no longer wants plaudits for defeating Flash, he wants revenge. Abra Kadabra became a much more bitter enemy of Wally West than he ever was of Barry Allen and became one of Wally’s most obsessed and terrifying rogues. One wonders if CW’s Flash will follow suit and cast Abra Kadabra as more of a rival to Wally than Barry.

    His Greatest Trick

    In order to achieve his bloody goal of destroying Wally West, Abra Kadabra turns to the devil himself. In the 1995 Underworld Unleashed storyline by Mark Waid and Howard Porter, Abra Kadabra makes a deal with the demonic entity known as Neron. Neron had the penchant for upping the power levels of DC villains who sold their souls to the demonic entity. But Abra Kadabra’s ego was too huge to sell his own soul, so Abra Kadabra did the unthinkable and sold the souls of five of Flash’s rogues (Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and Captain Cold) to the devil.

    After this act that proved there is no honor among thieves, Abra Kadabra became Neron’s chief lieutenant. Not bad, from a puppet obsessed egocentric stage magician to the right hand man of the devil hisownself. Wally West and the heroes of the DCU would defeat Neron and save the rogues but now, Abra Kadabra had legit magical powers thanks to his Faustian deal. Abra Kadabra was finally a true wizard and ready to take his hatred of Wally West to the next level.

    And Now I’ll Make This Woman, Disappear

    With his new found devil enhanced magic, Abra Kadabra would soon commit his greatest atrocity. In 2000, in a storyline written by Waid and Brian Augustyn and drawn by Paul Pelletier, Abra Kadabra would go after reporter Linda Park, Wally West’s greatest love. Linda was Flash’s anchor to reality and whenever Wally got lost in time or space, Linda would be his beacon home.

    Yeah, on TV, Park was a sports reporter that had a brief fling with Barry Allen and then disguised herself as Doctor Light, but in the 90s, in the pages of DC Comics, Linda Park was a pretty damn big deal. That’s why it was so shocking when Abra Kadabra made Linda Park disappear from all of reality. Not only was Linda gone, no one remembered her. Abra Kadabra committed the ultimate act of revenge by magically robbing Wally West of his greatest love and his true purpose. With this one spell, all of a sudden, puppets, applause, and the wonderful silliness of the Silver Age was forgotten as Abra Kadabra took the stage as Wally’s greatest foe.

    Thankfully, Park was actually only shunted off into another dimension and the power of Wally and Linda’s love eventually reunited the couple. There was a whole thing with Wally’s twin from another dimension and more time and space shenanigans than you can shake a magic wand at, but the takeaway here is this, Abra Kadabra almost pulled off his greatest trick, making the love of his arch enemy’s life disappear.


    As many Flash fans know, after the comic book version of Flashpoint, Wally West himself disappeared. When Wally West returned in the pages of 2016’s DC Universe: Rebirth, a great mystery followed. Where was the former Flash, why was he gone so long and how did he return after so many years? Well, in the world of The Flash, when someone disappears, you can bet that Abra Kadabra had something to do with it.

    In the pages of Titans by writer Dan Abnett and Brett Booth, it was revealed that Abra Kadabra kidnapped Linda Park and the members of the Titans. He forced Wally West to travel so fast in the Speed Force to save his friends that Wally disappeared from reality. But in Rebirth, Wally returned and with him, a sense of hope and wonder returned to the DC Universe. The reemerged West and the reunited classic Titans defeated Abra Kadabra and restored Wally and the Titans to DCU prominence.

    But hey, Abra Kadabra was so damn powerful, he not only robbed the DC Universe of Wally West, he robed all of reality- including ours!- of the beloved hero. Think about that next time your laughing at the puppet stuff.

    And there you go, Abra Kadabra 101. If Abra Kadabra follows the same pattern of coolness and creative quality that so many other classic Flash Rogues have achieved on the CW, we’re sure Abra Kadabra will finally receive that standing ovation he’s always desired.

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    The Walking Dead boss Scott Gimple looks beyond the upcoming Season 8, addressing a possible time jump.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 6, 2017

    Warning: Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 finale, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” and the current storyline of the comic book series.

    The Walking Dead closed out a controversial, arguably agonizing Season 7 with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leading a coalition of communities to fire the first shot across the bow of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors, instigating a storyline referred to in Robert Kirkman’s comic book source material as “All Out War.” Consequently, this fall’s Season 8 will clearly become an extended colossal conflagration between the factions. However, if the show continues to follow the comics, then the eventual armistice could be followed by a two-year time jump!

    Speaking with THR, The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple has some intriguing things to say about the game-changing elephant of the time jump in the future storyline room. While we don’t know exactly how the All Out War will be fully waged in this fall’s Season 8, it is clear that the inevitable conclusion will leave the show – already mired in fan ire and controversy over the handling of the Saviors storyline – stuck in a creative quandary and here’s why.

    The Walking Dead comics conclude All Out War – after losing several more lives – with a fateful one-on-one showdown between Rick and Negan, resulting in Negan’s capture and incarceration at Alexandria, leaving Dwight in charge of the Saviors, with all the communities embracing a new vision of reciprocity. – The following issue (#127) jumps forward two years with Rick’s vision fully implemented, Negan still locked up and the arrival of a new group led by new female A-list player Magna. However, an accidental crossing of the non-delineated borders of the Whisperers, an animalistic group who wear walker/roamer skin masks, sows the seeds of another costly inter-factional war; one that sees Rick question his values and Negan attempt a good-guy turn. As Gimple explains of the time jump:

    "For the people who read the comics, they're going to be expecting this. We're doing the book, we do all sorts of variations on it, and then we do things that are inspired by it and then we change things up with a remix. But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting. And thus, we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we'll do that two to five years in real time."

    Gimple, thinking of the show’s longevity, seems to be considering – amongst other things – bypassing the time jump to power through the storyline in real time, depicting the building of Rick’s vision of an inter-community trade coalition, Dwight (Austin Amilio) attempting to lead the Saviors in a more honorable existence and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) fielding leadership of the Hilltop community. It’s certainly a reasonable approach, especially considering that the timeline between the dawn of the zombie apocalypse and All Out War is (out of necessity,) much longer on the show than it was in the comics. Gimple continues:

    "I've had a general plan for a long time, and invariably when I do that, there are little things that catch and change that plan. But in general, I think there's going to be a little bit more content that Robert [Kirkman] actually refers to. There's stuff in there that I was reading that I wondered about, and when I wonder about stuff that I like, I like getting into that stuff [on the show]. We're definitely going to honor it and do it, but we're definitely going to have either more of it or possibly do it in a different way."

    Gimple has been brainstorming the inevitable story shift, discussing production logistics with Kirkman, presumably since Issue #127 hit back in May of 2014. Yet, with increasing storyline and timeline divergences between the comics and the show, vastly different roads need to be taken toward the comic-adherent destination with the Whisperers. Comic plot points like Rick and Andrea’s married life, the tragic ending of Michonne’s romance with Ezekiel and Carl’s problem-causing romance with Whisperer Lydia, are completely nullified by the show’s structure with Rick romancing Michonne (Danai Gurira), chemistry between a still-alive Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Carl already involved romantically with non-comic character Enid (Katelyn Nacon).

    It will certainly be interesting to see how Gimple, Kirkman and the rest of the creative coalition approach this most crucial of thresholds for The Walking Dead, presumably sometime around Season 9. Indeed, while the series has gained its share of detractors, it remains a money-generating powerhouse that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon as far as AMC is concerned. However, for the viewers, that plot dilemma is barely visible on the horizon, as the All Out War with the Saviors will be a heartbreaking bloodbath dominating Season 8 this fall.

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    The director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is taking on Michael Crichton’s final novel Micro.

    News Don Kaye
    Apr 7, 2017

    As the buzz around the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales continues to grow ahead of its May 26 release, co-director Joachim Rønning is already lining up his next job. He’s in talks with Amblin to direct Micro, the final novel written by Michael Crichton, and if all goes according to plan he’ll begin shooting this fall.

    Micro follows a group of graduate students who are lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company, but instead find themselves miniaturized and left in the rainforest,  with only their scientific expertise and wits to help them survive. Think Land of the Giants only filtered through that high-tech, fast-paced Crichton style.

    Crichton, of course, died in 2008 and Micro was famously found unfinished on his computer. His publisher hired Richard Preston (Crisis in the Hot Zone) to complete the book and released it in 2011, when it became the last of the late author and filmmaker’s many best sellers. Crichton’s work continues to find new audiences with the continuation of the massive Jurassic Park franchise as well as the HBO hit Westworld, which was based on the original 1973 film he wrote and directed.

    Darren Lemke (Goosebumps) has written the screenplay for Micro, which Amblin hopes to turn into another franchise.  Rønning, meanwhile, continues to go solo after helming Kon-Tiki and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales with Espen Sandberg. Rønning also just finished directing the ABC drama pilot Doomsday and will direct Methusaleh, a Biblical epic in which Tom Cruise will play a 900-year-old man (no jokes about age-appropriate roles please).

    The fifth Pirates outing was screened recently at CinemaCon in Las Vegas and got a positive reaction, something both the series and star Johnny Depp could both use.

    Source: Deadline

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    Michael Shannon is the frontrunner to play Cable in Deadpool 2.

    News Mike CecchiniJoseph Baxter
    Apr 7, 2017

    While 20th Century Fox is still considering their options as to who will play Cable in Deadpool 2, we can start ruling out a few possibilities.

    Brad Pitt was interested in the role, but director David Leitch explained why that isn't happening. "We had a great meeting with Brad, he was incredibly interested in the property,"Leitch told "Things didn't work out schedule-wise. He's a fan, and we love him, and I think he would've made an amazing Cable."

    Also, remember that amusing photo of Pierce Brosnan hanging out with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman? Well, don't read into it. That had nothing to do with Brosnan being offered the role of Cable (although we still think he'd be a fun choice).

    Oh well.

    Meanwhile, last month, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Shannon has emerged as the frontrunner for the role of Cable, and right now it's tough to think of a more perfect choice.

    Stranger Things' David Harbour has also been considered for the part, and there have been a number of other high profile actors who have read for the role, as well. THR cautions that scheduling could derail this, as Shannon still has to shoot What They Had this spring, which is around the time Deadpool 2 is supposed to be in production.

    Shannon, of course, is no stranger to supehero movies, having played General Zod in 2013's Man of Steeland having a CGI assisted appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cable would allow him to bring his trademark intensity and surprising comedic timing to a different kind of superhero movie.

    Watch Deadpool on Amazon

    The brooding Cable first appeared in New Mutants #87, and like Deadpool, he's got comic book writer/artist Rob Liefeld in his DNA. His origin story is too complex to get into here, but needless to say, he's from the future, he has a liking for enormous guns, and he's the perfect foil for Deadpool's hyper antics. The idea of watching Michael Shannon play off of Ryan Reynolds in this movie is pretty delicious, so hopefully everything works out.

    Don't be surprised if official confirmation on this one comes out of one of Ryan Reynolds' social media accounts, too.

    Deadpool 2 Release Date

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

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

    John Wick is directing Deadpool 2. While the Deadpool 2 script is still officially in the hands of original film scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, it was revealed to Collider that screenwriter extraordinaire Drew Goddard has been brought onboard to work on the film’s script as a consultant.

    Deadpool 2 Trailer

    Logan didn't have a post-credits scene. Instead, it has kind of a pre-credits scene, which is basically a wacky teaser for Deadpool 2. It's not quite a trailer, but it's 100% legit, stars Ryan Reynolds, and was directed by David Leitch. This won't appear in the movie, but there's definitely a touch of what you'll see in it here in terms of tone.

    And by "tone" we mean "exactly what you expect/want out of a Deadpool movie." There's some nice symmetry to letting Ryan Reynolds drop this one before 20th Century Fox, since he's apparently the person responsible for the test footage leak that finally got this movie the greenlight in the first place a few years back. He continues to "deny" that.

    Watch it here. It's pretty great. ALSO it has come to our attention that mobile users are having trouble seeing the video, so you can click here to watch it if it isn't coming up. Sorry about that.

    A couple of things worth noting here:

    1. You can see the word "Hope" scrawled on that phone booth. This could be a joke, considering the Superman: The Movie theme is playing, that Superman's "S" is "a symbol of hope."

    However, it probably refers to Hope Summers, who is Cable's adopted daughter and holy moley does this get too confusing to get into right here.

    2. You can also see "Nathan Summers coming soon!" written on there. In other words, that's Cable, and it's no secret whatsoever that Cable is in this movie.

    Deadpool 2 Cast

    Another major piece of Deadpool's early history has finally fallen into place: Domino. Ryan Reynolds, who has made himself the #1 source for official Deadpool 2 news in the universe, announced that Atlanta's Zazie Beetz has landed the role. In true Ryan Reynolds fashion, he did it on social media...

    Domino is an assassin for hire, and founding member of X-Force, who first appeared in the very same comic that first introduced Deadpool, New Mutants #98. With an X-Force movie set to follow Deadpool 2, we can see where this is going.

    Anyway, don't expect this to turn into an X-Force movie or anything like that.

    "We were like the athlete who guarantees victory before the game," Deadpool 2 co-writer Paul Wernick joked in an interview with Variety last year. "It’s a world that’s so rich and we always thought Cable should be in the sequel. There was always debate whether to put him in the original, and it felt like we needed to set up Deadpool and create his world first, and then bring those characters into his world in the next one."

    But make no mistake, the focus is going to remain firmly on the Merc With a Mouth. "It’ll be populated with a lot of characters, but it is still Deadpool’s movie," Rhett Reese said. "We’re pushing forward very hard. I think by every account we will shoot it this year, and we’re on our multiple draft now. It’s taken different twists and turns, but it’s really coalescing, and we’re very, very excited."

    As for that "lots of characters" thing, it does indeed include Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. "I think we can say, yeah, they'll be in the sequel," Rhett Reese told Collider. "Yeah, they'll at least make an appearance," Paul Wernick added.

    "Clearly Cable is a character that’s not going to stay out of the Deadpool universe for too much longer," Co-writer Rhett Reese told us in an interview last year. "I mean it’s a character everyone loves. Whether he’s in the sequel or whether he’s in an X-Force thing still remains to be determined. In terms of who would play that part, I think it’s very much dependent on things like schedule, who’s available. We don’t necessarily write with actors in our minds because we just know from previous experience that you can write to a voice and if that person’s not in your movie, you’re screwed."

    Oh look, we're not done!

    Deadpool 2 Story

    What are you, joking? The first movie was more of a collection of jokes than an actual story...and that was just fine. But you have to figure this one will focus on a Cable and Deadpool team-up in some form. Although that doesn't mean that Cable's time-travel weirdness will balloon the budget. The writers are pretty clear about keeping this one under control. "We don't want $150 million to go make the next movie. That's not Deadpool,"Paul Wernick said."Deadpool doesn’t lift cities up into the air or battle aliens coming down to earth, that’s just not Deadpool."

    "I think if Cable and Deadpool team up, it will likely be in Deadpool’s world.,"Rhett Reese said."That allows us to control that budgetary thing a little more; I don’t think we’re gonna see Deadpool and Cable on some far-flung planet 300 years from now."

    So, whatever the Deadpool 2 story ends up being, expect it to be something that fits in Deadpool's world, not trying to fit Deadpool into somebody else's. That sounds reasonable.

    One thing is certain, though, it probably won't include a full-blown X-Men crossover. In an interview with IndieWire, Rhett Reese pointed out that the X-Men movies are currently stuck in the 1980s, while Deadpool is set in present day. Paul Wernick said the timeline would probably "eventually catch up" but Simon Kinberg, who produces the X-Men movies is "the keeper of that universe and maybe we'll see more X-Men playing in Deadpool's sandbox and probably Deadpool playing in their sandbox at some point."

    In a conversation with Den of Geek UK, Simon Kinberg talked about what to expect from Deadpool 2 after the runaway success of the first one. "I think the result is, we'll have even more freedom - and they give us an immense amount of freedom - but we'll have even more creative freedom going forward." And that's not all, as he added, "and maybe a little more money for the next Deadpool movie." 

    But since the first film was anything but a typical superhero movie, it makes sense that Deadpool 2 will have a particular point of view when it comes to sequels. “I think Deadpool 2 will comment on anything that’s happening in movies today especially in superhero movies,” Simon Kinberg told SlashFilm. “The sort of glut or saturation of these movies and the proliferation of sequels is definitely something we’ll play around with.”

    If nothing else, this movie will have some additional ammunition after the merciless critical flogging that expanded universe efforts like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have received.

    We'll continue to update this article with more information as it becomes available. An official confirmation and release date will probably be the first to arrive.

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    12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley’s mystery Marvel TV project might reflect his newfound desire to do something fun.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 7, 2017

    As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to dominate the big screen box-office, its continuity-connected television realm also expands with a growing array of television shows on ABC and, of course, on Netflix, leading to the crossover The Defenders. However, one long-discussed MCU mystery series for ABC is being written by John Ridley, the scriptwriting visionary behind the celebrated show American Crime and the Best Screenplay Oscar-winning historical epic film 12 Years a Slave. While Ridley still seems to be circling what he wants to do with the mystery project, he declares that he wants to tackle a fun franchise.

    In an interview with Variety, Ridley, who normally fields prestigious, pathos-packed, socially-conscious content, expressed his intentions to break his own topical creative mold with his gestating Marvel television script. Now at a point in life allowing him to reevaluate his approach, Ridley seems eager to shift his focus toward projects that put smiles on the faces of his children, explaining:

    “I would love to have a franchise. I’d love to have something that earned out. My kids are proud of the things I do, but it’s not like they’re waiting for American Crime; they’re at that age where they’re waiting for the Marvels and the Star Wars.”

    It’s quite a crossroads for Ridley, who is known for powerful and bleak stories in 12 Years A Slave, American Crime, Guerilla, a long-ago run on first responder procedural Third Watch and used to write comedy with Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The John Larroquette Show, Barbershop and the 2002 film Undercover Brother. Yet, his resume shows a spark of interest in the fun superhero realm, having co-wrote the DC Comics 2004 animated feature Justice League: Starcrossed and an episode of said series. Indeed, with his upcoming Showtime/Sky Television miniseriesGuerilla immersed in militant radicalism and racial strife in 1970’s London, it’s understandable that Ridley finds himself looking outward. He continues:

    “What defines a John Ridley project? This is the first time in my life where I can say there are ‘John Ridley shows.” Adding, “There are certainly days where I feel like, ‘Hey, I would love to do something that’s entertaining in a different way.’ My kids are like, ‘How come you’re not doing Transformers? How come you’re not doing something that’s fun?’

    As far as what Ridley’s mystery Marvel television project will become, there is still nothing even close to an answer. In an interview with EW back in January, ABC entertainment division head Channing Dungey had somewhat of an update. While not divulging any substantive clues, Dungey did provide an interesting tidbit about the project's current state. According to Dungey:

    “Yeah, so John is working on a rewrite of that script for Marvel at the moment. We have not seen a new version of it. He’s been on production of his show, over in London, and on Season 3 of American Crime, so those are the things that have been top of mind for him of late. But I have heard from Marvel that he is working on a revision to that script.”

    Rumors over the past few years have pegged Ridley’s project as being a variety of likely socially-conscious Marvel Comics adaptations ranging from the much-bandied The Inhumans (now confirmed for ABC), Cloak and Dagger (which we now know will arrive on Freeform), to a small-screen version of the current polymorphic-powered Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan that would likely run parallel to the 2019 Captain Marvel movie in which Brie Larson will star as (former Ms. Marvel) Carol Danvers. However, another loose theory has Ridley pegged to pen a television reboot of Blade, focusing on the iconic Daywalker’s vampire-hunting daughter. Thus, nothing has even come close to being confirmed.

    Nevertheless, this status update proves useful, since it seems to let the fans know that the Marvel TV project, whatever it might end up being, is not coming around anytime soon. However, in another instance of vague-but-useful tidbits, Dungey also made some auspicious comments regarding the chances that ABC’s current Marvel TV mainstay Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will stick around for a prospective fifth season, stating, “I’m very bullish on S.H.I.E.L.D. and we’re also really excited about our production with Marvel, ABC Studios, and IMAX, which we are working on for next fall as well.”

    For now, John Ridley is juggling not only his Marvel script rewrite, but more episodes of American Crime. His work on the TV miniseries Guerilla will premiere on Showtime on April 16.

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    After Wonder Woman and the Justice League movie we may get four Batman themed films, and lots of other DC superhero movies!

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Apr 9, 2017

    Updated with new information on The Batman solo movie, the Batgirl movie, the Nightwing movie, and more!

    Now that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have both come and gone, the DC Extended Universe is in full swing. The Wonder Woman movie is next up in June, and it's all leading up to the Justice League movie in November of 2017. 

    So, it's time to take a look at all of the DC superhero movies that will be released over the next few years. And trust us, there are a ton of them on the way, and we expect more details will be announced as we go forward. 

    We have all the release dates for every one of 'em right here, as well as official details, the most interesting rumors, and suggestions for further reading where appropriate. 

    Click the blue links to go to articles containing everything you need to know about the movies!

    Here's how this works, because the schedule is getting a little weird. We're starting with the dates that we know Warner Bros. has reserved specifically for DC superhero movies. You'll find that in some cases, there isn't officially a project attached to that date yet. Then we'll get into the stuff that we know for 100% certain is in development, but that don't have release dates. Then we'll get into some of the long shots at the bottom.

    June 2nd, 2017 - Wonder Woman

    The fact that it has taken this long to get us to a Wonder Woman solo movie is almost beyond belief. We don't have time to get into the rampant short-sightedness that is keeping women from taking marquee roles in superhero movies at the moment (and that's bound to change one of these days, especially given how their fortunes have changed on TV), but just know that Gal Gadot did some serious Amazonian ass-kicking in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then we get her solo movie on June 2nd, 2017, and then she's back again in Justice League (more on that down below).

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    Patty Jenkins (Monster) is directing, from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns. Chris Pine will appear as Wonder Woman's love interest, Steve Trevor.

    November 17th, 2017 - Justice League

    Zack Snyder will direct Justice League, and BvS co-writer Chris Terrio is back. The villain of this one is Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid's relatives, and it focuses on Batman building a team to confront him.

    Here's the official synopsis:

    Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

    Buy Justice League Stuff on Amazon

    This one will also introduce Aquaman's Queen Mera (played by Amber Heard), which would make sense considering that the Aquamanmovie will follow the next fall.

    March 16, 2018 - The Flash

    At this point, it's a safe bet that this isn't going to make that March release date, but technically the studio hasn't moved this yet. After losing two directors/writers in Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) wrote a screenplay, and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) this one needs some work. The latest is that it's being completely rewritten by Joby Harold. Meanwhile, no replacement director has been found. 

    Watch The Flash on Amazon

    Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Madame Bovary) is playing Barry Allen, but probably a very different Barry Allen than the one we currently love on TV. Billy Crudup will play Dr. Henry Allen, with Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. Ray Fisher (Cyborg in Batman v Superman and Justice League) will also appear.

    Now, about that release date change...there's now an empty space in July that Warner had previously reserved for a different DC superhero movie...

    July 27th, 2018 - Unknown

    This was formerly the date occupied by the Aquaman movie, but that was bumped to October, and then December. At one point we thought this could end up being the debut of Ben Affleck's Batmansolo movie but that film has just hit its own production problems, with Mr. Affleck bowing out as director, Matt Reeves coming on board, and a complete rewrite of the script looming. 

    Maybe The Flash, which is likely about to hit some production delays will just get a few months of breathing room? Or will Warner Bros. just use this for something else entirely that has nothing to do with superheroes? That seems like the most likely scenario, and I doubt we'll see The Batman before 2019. We'll probably find out very soon.

    December 21, 2018 - Aquaman

    Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman. There's no doubt that they've been taking Aquaman very seriously. Amber Heard will also appear as Queen Mera. There are reports that Black Manta is the film's villain.

    James Wan (Furious 7) will direct from a script by Kurt Johnstad (300: Rise of an Empire).

    April 5th, 2019 - Shazam

    Shazamhas both a writer (Henry Gayden, of Earth to Echo fame) and a star (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the villainous Black Adam) announced. If we end up getting to see Henry Cavill's Superman fight Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam some day, it's tough to imagine anyone would complain. Lights Out director David F. Sandberg is in the mix to direct this one, but hasn't been confirmed yet.

    [related article: Why the Shazam Movie is Important]

    But like other projects on this calendar, this doesn't seem to be on the fast track, and with a recently announced Black Adam solo movie with Dwayne Johnson now in development (more on that in a bit), it's not clear what that means for the immediate future of Shazam. The fact that Dwayne Johnson is just about the busiest man in Hollywood doesn't help, either.

    June 14th, 2019 - Unknown

    This was long ago announced as the Justice League 2 release date, but this is apparently about to change. Director Zack Snyder would like to take on another project, and there are recent indications that Warner Bros is prioritizing the Batmansolo movie over this, and that this could end up being that film's date instead.

    It's also possible that this could end up being David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens movie as part of a four movie 80th anniversary Batman celebration, and we have more on that down below.

    November 1st, 2019 - Untitled DC Film

    No information has yet been given as to the story or what characters will be featured in the film. Man of Steel 2is back in active development at the studio. Could this be it? It's yet another potential landing date for Ben Affleck's Batman solo movie, too. In fact, given that movie's ongoing troubles, this is probably its most likely arrival date.

    November is a safer month for high profile releases than October, and this could be where the now-rescheduled Justice League 2 ends up, although we suspect it will be a bit longer than that.

    The truth is that we just don't know what DC has planned for Nov. 2019, so we'll just have to wait and see. 

    April 3rd, 2020 - Cyborg

    And this one is the biggest surprise of them all. Ray Fisher made his first (very brief) appearance as Vic Stone/Cyborg in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will clearly have a crucial role to play in both Justice League films if they're grooming him for a solo film. He's going to feature in The Flash solo movie, too.

    No other details are presently available, and there are also rumors that this one might be reworked into a movie that would introduce the Teen Titans to the big screen. 

    July 24th, 2020 - Green Lantern Corps

    Fairly or unfairly, Green Lantern has the most working against him. The 2011 film failed to kickstart the DC Universe as planned, and received a lukewarm (at best) critical and box-office reception. There are, of course, ways around this.

    One way is to simply not make Hal Jordan the central Green Lantern of the movie. It was revealed at SDCC 2015 that the Green Lantern movie is now called Green Lantern Corps, and this one may focus on as many as three Green Lanterns, likely with John Stewart as the main Green Lantern of Sector 2814. David Goyer and Justin Rhodes are writing the script, but there's no director in place yet. There's a slim chance that Goyer could end up directing, though.

    We've heard bits and pieces indicating that Green Lantern won't even show up until the end of Justice League, or possibly even Justice League 2. By the time 2020 rolls around, a decade will have passed, and by then the character won't be considered so radioactive by studio execs. 

    Now, let's get into the projects that are in the works, but don't have release dates yet. We've grouped these roughly in the order we expect to see them based on how far along they are.

    Gotham City Sirens

    Harley Quinn isn't just for the Suicide Squad. Warner Bros. has tapped David Ayer to direct Gotham City Sirens, which will team Harley Quinn up with other female DC villain, most likely including Poison Ivy and Catwoman. It's not totally clear if this is replacing a Harley Quinn solo movie, which we have a few details on here.

    This one is on the fast-track, so it could take over that June 14th, 2019 release date vacated by Justice League 2. There are really thin rumors that Warner Bros. wants to release four Batman themed movies in 2019: Gotham City Sirens, Nightwing, Batgirl, and that Batman solo movie they keep promising us. I wouldn't put too much stock in that just yet.

    But let's talk about two of those other Bat-themed movies for a moment...


    The Lego Batman movie director Chris McKay has been tapped to direct a Nightwing movie. Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is working on a script. No other details are currently available, and this one doesn't have a release date yet, although there are rumors of a 2019 window. We wrote more about it here.


    Joss Whedon will write, direct, and produce a Batgirl movie, one that is reportedly based on Gail Simone's recent New 52 take on the character. We have some more details here, but there's no casting or release date to report yet. This is another one where there are rumors of 2019 in the wind, but don't put any stock in that yet.

    Suicide Squad 2

    While the critical response to the first film wasn't so hot, the box office was blazing, so Suicide Squad 2 is definitely happening. David Ayer going to be too busy with Gotham City Sirens until further notice, though, and possible directors include Mel Gibson, Danny Espinosa, and Jonathan Levine. Adam Cozad, who wrote The Legend of Tarzan, is working on a script.

    Justice League 2

    Don't be fooled by the fact that this lost its 2019 release date, Warner Bros. is still planning a second installment, since the first one is bound to make all kinds of bank. Things will stay quiet on this for a few more months.

    Black Adam

    Shazam doesn't have a director or a star to play its title character yet, but it sure does have a villain. And that villain, who will be played by Dwayne Johnson, is certainly strong enough to sustain his own movie. There's no release date set for the Black Adammovie, and this is the kind of thing that could work as a nifty prequel to set up the mystical world of Shazam if they choose to go that route. We're currently on the lookout for more info.

    Booster Gold (and maybe Blue Beetle)

    Flash and Arrow executive producer Greg Berlanti is going to executive produce and possibly direct a Booster Gold movie. Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class, a recent episode of CW's The Flash TV series) will write the script.

    Early reports described this as a "superhero buddy cop movie" that would involve Blue Beetle. We'll get you more updates on this as they become available.

    And now for the long shots...projects mentioned, rumored, or that haven't had any movement in a while.


    Warner Bros. knows they have one of the biggest stars in the world already in costume, so they're reportedly considering a Deadshotsolo movie, as well.


    Back on the schedule after years of being dormant, the Lobo movie may attempt to be the DCEU equivalent of Deadpool. Jason Fuchs must have impressed Warner Bros. with his work on Wonder Woman, because he's on board to write the script for this one.

    We'll update this with more information as we get it, but it should be a fun ride.


    Sandmanisn't a superhero movie, so the fact that he wasn't involved in an announcement that primarily focused on high-profile franchises (along with the superhero slate, Warner Bros. focused on Lego movies and Harry Potter spinoffs). It isn't a DC Universe movie that will have any bearing on future Justice League films. But it is one of the most successful, enduring comics of all time. 

    The latest news on this isn't encouraging, though. It appears to be a dead project.

    [related article: Sandman - The Essential Horror Comic of the '90s]

    Dark Universe

    Dark Universe might be more familiar to comic book fans under its comic name, Justice League Dark. This one will feature the supernatural characters from the DC Universe. Characters like Swamp Thing, Demon, Deadman, Zatanna, and possibly even John Constantine.

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    Guillermo del Toro was attached to this one for quite some time, but had to leave the project. Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) will now direct.

    Legion of Super-Heroes

    This one came as a big surprise when the rumor surfaced a couple of years ago. The word is that Warner Bros., perhaps inspired by the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, is looking to put together their own superheroic space opera. Nobody has been hired. Warner Bros. have simply placed this one on the table as a DC property potentially worth developing, and are inviting writers to make pitches.

    Metal Men

    Perhaps the longest of the long-shots, the Metal Men movie is something that's been in discussion as far back as 2007. It's the most bizarre concept of the bunch, involving a mad scientist and his group of sentient elemental robots, but like Suicide Squadand Legion of Super-Heroes, perhaps that uniqueness is what makes this one so appealing. Warner Bros. can't be seen to copy the Marvel model too closely, so veering away from solo outings for traditional heroes and into this kind of territory might be the very best thing they can do for the brand.

    The Metal Men recently received a New 52 facelift at the hands of writer Geoff Johns, the co-chair of DC Films. If they're a favorite of DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, it would be wrong to count the Metal Men out, even if there's been no public movement on this project in recent memory.

    We'll keep updating this with new information as we get it!

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    The Cursed Child came away with a record number of Olivier Awards yesterday in London, including Best Play.

    NewsKayti Burt
    Apr 10, 2017

    If you had any doubt Harry Potter and his friends were done dominating the cultural zeitgeist, then you were wrong. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the on-stage "sequel" to the beloved Harry Potter book series written by Jack Thorne, has won a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards. (The Oliviers are Britain's equivalent of the Tonys.)

    Which category did The Cursed Child take home awards for? Best New Play, Best Director, Best Lighting, Best Sound, Best Costumes, and Best Set Design. On the acting side, the actors playing Harry (Jamie Parker), Hermione (Noma Dumezweni), and Scorpius Malfoy (Anthony Boyle) all took home the prestigious theater award for their performances.

    Read why we think Scorpius Malfoy, and Boyle's performance of the character, is the absolute best part of this gorgeous play.

    The only awards for which it was nominated The Cursed Childdidn't manage to snag were Best Theater Choreographer and Outstanding Achievement in Music (which is a shame because Imogen Heap's emotive score is lovely and adds so much to the Cursed Child experience).

    "There was so much potential for cynicism and skepticism surrounding a production which could have been very tightly controlled and industrial and commercially minded," Parker said before later telling USA Today backstage: "I'm just so pleased and proud that the entire team are being celebrated."

    Dumezweni, whose casting as Hermione was met with some controversy due to the color of her skin, accepted her award with these words: "So many young actors and actresses come up to me and say, 'I'm so pleased that you're playing her. I'm so pleased that I can see a version of myself onstage. So I am very, very privileged to do that."

    (Perhaps also of interest to Den of Geek readers: Billie Piper took home an Olivier last night for Best Actress for her performance in Yerma, continuing her impressive post-Doctor Who career.)

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been embraced by critics and fans who have seen it (this critic absolutely loved it), while the released script has been met with more mixed reviews. While many Cursed Child critiques are valid and no doubt would remain steadfast for many who see the play performed on-stage, I do think the degree to which The Cursed Child stage play has been lauded speaks to just how much is lost when you don't see this story performed. I would present the sheer number of Olivier Awards won as further proof that The Cursed Child needs to be seen on stage to be fully understood.

    Obviously, that is not a possibility for most people — especially if you happen to live not in the U.K. Luckily for many American Potterheads, The Cursed Child is heading for Broadway in 2018. Hopefully, The Cursed Child will be released at some point in time in theaters, as well. After all, the number of people who make it to Broadway are still a geographically and/or financially privileged subset.

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    We look at all the Marvel Universe references and Easter eggs hidden in the Thor: Ragnarok trailer!

    News Mike Cecchini
    Apr 10, 2017

    Well, the first Thor: Ragnarok trailer might just have turned out to be the most pleasant surprise of the season. The previous two Thor movies are generally not considered to be anyone's favorite Marvel efforts. They've both been bogged down by concerns that are entirely too earthly considering that they're about a race of extradimensional/extraterrestrial gods/heroes/villains. Neither has fully taken advantage of the rich artistic legacy that would be appropriate for a set of characters who boast endless adventures by comic book visionaries like Jack Kirby and Walter Simonson. And they've never really gone out of their way to forge an identity outside of the obligatory solo adventures between Avengers movies.

    It's tough to judge from less than two minutes of footage, but Thor: Ragnarok at least looks like it wants to correct all of that. From a decidedly more ambitious outer space setting to director Taika Waititi's distinctive sense of humor (have you seen it yet? No? Go watch it), this suddenly looks a lot more appealing than its predecessors and a lot more fun than other superhero movies on the schedule.

    So here's how this works. I'm not going shot-by-shot or frame-by-frame. I'm just going to make connections as they seem appropriate and try to answer some big questions for everybody. If you spot something I missed, or if I'm flat out wrong about something, just drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, and we'll go from there.

    Watch the trailer here just in case you haven't already:

    Ready? Let's go...

    What is Ragnarok?

    Ragnarok is the Norse "twilight of the gods." This is the end of all things Asgard, and I won't get into potential spoilers here, it may end up requiring the death of many of your favorite supporting characters. Marvel has touched on Ragnarok more than once in the comics, most notably in stories by Walt Simonson and more recently by Michael Avon Oeming and Andrea Di Vitto. 

    The movie doesn't appear to be leaning too heavily on any of the comic book interpretations, and looks about as faithful to Norse mythology as the other movies have been, which is to say: not at all.

    Asgard has always been the best visual in the Thor movies, and one of their key failings has always been that we don't spend enough time there. While that isn't likely to change in this one, I think other complaints about how these movies have been far too earthbound are about to get thrown right out the airlock.

    Anyway, don't get too attached to Asgard...

    Is that supposed to be Yggdrasil, the world tree of Norse mythology? It sure looks like it, although it's not the gigantic, world-spanning, universe-centric thing we usually associate with it. 

    Then again, the Marvel Cinematic Universe plays fast and loose with the cosmology that surrounds this stuff, so it's entirely possible that Yggdrasil just serves a symbolic purpose here rather than the more literal connector of worlds it does in the Norse myths.

    The Jack Kirby Influence Is Strong

    I'm going to be referring to this throughout this article, so I just want to get a bunch of it out of the way up front. Jack Kirby is the guy who co-created a significant chunk of the Marvel Universe as you know it. The thing is, there isn't a hell of a lot of his imaginative, visual influence to be found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies a lot of the time.

    Thor: Ragnarok looks to fix that.

    This shot. This single shot might be my favorite frame from any Marvel movie ever. Not only is there a strong Jack Kirby influence visible in virtually every character and costume design you can see here, even in the shape of that crazy doorway, but there appears to be literal Jack Kirby artwork on the walls there. I'm not 100% sure, but some of this almost appears to be details from a piece of non-comics related Kirby art called "Dream Machine."

    See all those bizarre shapes and squiggly circuitry designs? This stuff is all over the trailer, virtually everywhere you look, whether it's on costumes, weapons, and even just walls and doors. I'll talk about this more as it comes up.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy Influence Is Pretty Strong Too

    Taika Waititi is a director with a particular sense of humor and timing, and his influence can be felt in many of this trailer's lighter moments. But since this movie (thankfully) takes things off of Earth for the majority of the action, it makes sense that this shares an aesthetic sense with Marvel's spacefaring (and immensely popular) Guardians of the Galaxy.

    For one thing, the use of Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song" throughout the trailer is a fairly Guardians-y stylistic choice. But so many of the aliens, weapons, and spaceships we see look right out of the Guardians playbook. This isn't a bad thing.

    You know who else the perfect blending of space stuff with the mythological elements reminds me of? The other greatest Thor artist/writer of all time: Walt Simonson. Simonson's influence on the Thor movies has always been pretty strong (particularly in Thor: The Dark World), as he really nailed the whole mythic but still high tech vibe that the movies have been striving so hard for.

    All we need is for Beta Ray Bill to show up in this movie. From what we've seen so far, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

    Thor: Ragnarok Villains


    The brilliant Cate Blanchett as Hela is responsible for the destruction of not just Mjolnir, but Asgard overall. In Norse mythology, Hela is a daughter of Loki, and in Marvel's version of things, she's the daughter of Loki, but not our Loki...basically a Loki who died in the previous Ragnarok, which is where all these gods end up anyway. It's not clear if they're going to go that route in this movie, but she does share his fashion sense with the green bodysuit. 

    Here's a look at her as drawn by Jack Kirby...

    Ah, but where is that glorious headdress that we know from the Marvel Comics?

    There we go. Much more intimidating.

    It's worth noting that when the trailer opens, Thor is already in Hel, which is, of course, Hela's domain, and where one goes when they croak. If you listen carefully, the music here is already the bass line from "The Immigrant Song."


    Surprise! Tom Hiddleston is in the movie as Loki. You...aren't really surprised, are you? I would hope not.

    Also, the guy on the left looks really familiar and I can't place him. Anyone help me out? He kinda looks like one of the baddies from the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, a movie that was visually inspired by the work of none other than Jack Kirby.

    Skurge: The Executioner

    Check out Karl Urban as Skurge! Skurge is another Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, and he first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #103. He's been around almost as long as Thor himself!

    So, I'm not totally sure about this one. Is that soldier in the middle a different look for Skurge? Do these guys work for him? Some of the soldiers have kind of a Kree look. Anyway, if anyone has a more concrete answer for this, please point it out in the comments or shout at me on Twitter and I'll correct this.

    And once again, I have to point out that not only the armor designs, but the guns themselves, and the weird, angular look of the miscellaneous items visible in this set all look like they were drawn by Jack Kirby.

    The Grandmaster

    Here is Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, looking pretty amazing. Also note that there are more Kirby-esque designs in the background. The Grandmaster is part of the same group of Elders of the Universe that Benicio del Toro's Collector (from the first Guardians of the Galaxy film) belongs to, so the Guardians connections here aren't just aesthetic.

    He loves games, so making him the reason that Thor and Hulk end up squaring off in an arena here makes about as much sense as anything else!

    In fact, let's discuss this for a moment...

    Planet Hulk

    Gotta love that Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster introduces him as "The Incredible Hulk," which I'm pretty sure is the first time those words have been used "in continuity" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    In the unlikely event that you aren't aware of this by now, Hulk is wearing his armor from the excellent Planet Hulk story, which saw ol' Jade Jaws exiled into space, where he ended up on the Planet Sakaar, where he became far more than just a gladiator.

    Planet Hulk is a really terrific story, and certainly could have supported its own movie. Maybe there isn't going to be any resolution to that here, and we'll get more of it in the future. I do know there are some issues between Marvel and Universal that make the prospect of a solo Hulk movie a little tricky, though, so you might not want to hold your breath.

    Also, while Planet Hulk wasn't a Jack Kirby story, I just want to point one thing out...

    I just love this arena crowd and needed an excuse to get this in here. But the weird, geometric look of the arena itself? You know which artist that reminds me of? Take a guess. That would be Jack Kirby.

    Even the "runes" on this door have a decidedly Jack Kirby-esque flavor.

    The moment you've all been waiting for, when two "friends from work" go all out against each other. It's amazing that this moment is somehow not even the coolest thing in this trailer.

    Anyway, while Hulk definitely spent time fighting in an arena in Planet Hulk, he never fought Thor. He did, however, fight the Silver Surfer, which would be a hell of a cool surprise if that ever happens in the MCU!

    However, in the animated Planet Hulk adaptation, they subbed in Thor-surrogate Beta Ray Bill for Silver Surfer, so we've kind of seen this play out before.

    Who is Valkyrie?

    Tessa Thompson looks extraordinarily badass as Valkyrie, presumably the last of the Valkyries. And, I know I'm basically a broken record at this point, but even the ornamental designs on the wings of her ship look like Jack Kirby artwork.

    She appears to be a bounty hunter working for Grandmaster, though, presumably because of this...

    This shot of an army of Valkyries taking on Hela is pretty great.

    But it would appear Hela is the reason why Tessa's Valkyrie is the only one left.

    Miscellaneous Observations

    These spaceships look kinda like some of the crazy ships that were designed by Chris Foss for Alejandro Jodorowsky's lost Dune movie.

    Here's one for comparison:

    You can see more here if you don't believe me.

    And for real, if you haven't seen the Jodorowsky's Dune documentary, I can't possibly recommend it enough.

    Idris Elba is back as Heimdall, which is always wonderful news. Presumably he'll have a little more to do in this movie. Anyone have any idea who he takes out with that sword? I couldn't quite tell.

    Well, this is certainly a new look for the former God of Thunder. Short-haired Thor has been a thing recently in The Unworthy Thor comics, a series which, like this movie, deals with what happens when our guy loses the right to wield Mjolnir.

    It goes along with his new weapons, too...

    A couple of things here. Thor's "club" looks a little familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it. And both the club and shield, not to mention the design of the wall in the background, all look like they were designed by, wait for it...Jack Kirby.

    What I presume to be the entire internet's reaction after watching this trailer, and what will absolutely be mine if Beta Ray Bill ends up appearing in this movie.

    Wanna talk comics or movies or TV? Spot something in the trailer that I missed? Hit me up on Twitter!

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

    News Mike CecchiniJoseph Baxter
    Apr 10, 2017

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

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

    New Mutants Latest News

    The New Mutants is now officially in pre-production. Director Josh Boone made the announcement with a series of tagged Instagram posts, notably an April 5 birthday cake sporting the classic slanted logo that used to grace the covers of Marvel Comics' initial 1983-1991 The New Mutants comic series during its earlier issues.

    #birthdaycake #prep #newmutants #productionoffices

    A post shared by Josh Boone (@joshboonemovies) on

    Boone also posted a photo of himself on the Fox lot with some tags indicating his enthusiasm as the process commences on this intriguing adolescent X-Men spinoff.

    New Mutants Cast

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    A photo posted by Josh Boone (@joshboonemovies) on

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

    New Mutants Story

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

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

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

    New Mutants Release Date

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

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

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

    A photo posted by Josh Boone (@joshboonemovies) on

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

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

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    Netflix is going to update a classic ghost story in upcoming The Haunting of Hill House series.

    News Tony Sokol
    Apr 10, 2017

    The mother of almost all ghost stories is coming to streaming TV. Shirley Jackson’s 1959 horror novel The Haunting of Hill House is one of Stephen King’s favorite books. It was made into a classic piece of early sixties cinema and will be now haunt Netflix in a modernized form.

    The 10-episode series based on The Haunting of Hill House will be written, produced, and directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus, Hush and will adapt King’s sadomasochistic game play novel Gerald’s Game into a movie. Flanagan will produce with his producing partner Trevor Macy for Amblin TV and Paramount TV.

    The Haunting of Hill House has been made into two feature films called The Haunting, one in 1963 which was written by Nelson Gidding and directed and produced by Robert Wise. It starred Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Riff from West Side Story, Russ Tamblyn. It was remade and panned in 1999. It was also adapted for the stage and performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 2015. It was parodied in Scary Movie 2 (2001).

    The book centers around Hill House investigators Dr. Montague, who is an occult scholar looking for something more tangible than book smarts; his assistant Theodora; a ghost whisperer named Eleanor, and the young, rich heir who will be stuck with the haunted real estate Luke. They think they’re looking for ghosts, but the house is looking for them.

    Jackson's novel is more of a story of terror than of horror. It ties the events that make for a haunting of a house into the psyches of the people investigating it.

    Normally, paranormal investigators don’t quite have the diabolical fun and frights that find their way into film and TV shots.

    “Having done several Paranormal Investigations, I have yet to encounter anything like this,” Brenda Jablonsky, a paranormal investigator from Indiana who will host the upcoming podcast "Crimes Against Spirit," told Den of Geek.

    The normal routine for a supernatural sleuth is a lot of hurry up and waiting. That’s not necessarily true for people how live in haunted houses.

    "I thought I was buying my wife her dream home,” Philip Siracusa, the author of The Horsefly Chronicles: A Demonic Haunting, told Den of Geek. “I didn't know I was buying my family a nightmare."

    The allegedly haunted house in Pennsylvania is said to sit on an desecrated burial ground, and the spirits are still hungry.

    "These days when I cook I make one meal for my family, another one for my ancestors and a third one for the Indians," Julia Siracusa, who lived in the house so long she goes by the nickname “the real haunted housewife,” added.

    While the Horsefly house hasn’t gotten quite the reputation of the hauntings at the center of films like Poltergeist and The Conjuring, investigators still think twice before knocking three times.

    "My friend Juila [Siracusa] invited me to visit her real haunted house and I am such a chicken shit medium that I asked her to check and see if their family ghost/demon said it was okay,” admitted Marie Bargas, a celebrity psychic who was recently tapped to investigate the house.

    But what do the strange amateur sleuths think of the film?

    “A remake of this movie would be interesting to see a hard to stop watching kind waiting for the next shoe to drop,” said Brenda. “I found the original suspenseful and exciting ,with the technology of today I think it would be a great show to see. As a fan of horror movies it will be a block buster.”

    The Haunting of Hill House will be the first time Netflix has worked up a scripted series for Amblin TV. It is the series the rising channel has done for Paramount TV. They previously worked together to bring out 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac, which stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.

    The Haunting of Hill House is still in the early stages of development.


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    In case you missed it, we look at the secret origin of Officer Will Simpson from Jessica Jones Season 1.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Apr 10, 2017

    Double Take is our new original video series debuting every Monday afternoon on the Den of Geek Facebook page. Each week, we uncover the hidden references, comics easter eggs, and Hollywood oddities you may have missed in your favorite movies and television shows.

    Double Take: Jessica Jones Comic Connections With Nuke

    While officially, Wil Traval plays "Will Simpson" a character who doesn't have any Marvel Comics counterpart, he turned out to be someone else entirely. His general drive to bring in his black ops past and skills to get rid of Kilgrave by any means necessary was our first clue. His traumatized ramblings about who "my boys are dead" was another one, and it's a piece of dialogue right out of the comics pages.

    "Frank Simpson" was Nuke, a traumatized soldier who became a failed super-soldier, and who appeared in the greatest Daredevil story of all time (and potential Daredevil season 3 or 4 story candidate), Daredevil: Born Again

    This may look familiar:

    Nuke was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli and first appeared in Daredevil #232 in 1986. He has popped up at various other points in Marvel Comics history, and assuming he survives Jessica Jones, he's the kind of guy who could be a secondary or tertiary antagonist in a future Captain America movie. I'm not counting on that, though.

    Sgt. Simpson busts out his American Flag zippo lighter in one episode, and as you saw from the above image of Nuke, that's a big part of the character's iconography. The flames remind me of the chaos that surrounded the character in Daredevil: Born Again, as well.

    Check out the video for more details!

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  • 04/11/17--11:47: Star Wars: Thrawn Review
  • The return to Thrawn's roots is fine, but lacks suspense.

    This Star Wars review contains spoilers.

    Although Grand Admiral Thrawn is known for being fond of preemptive strikes, the Thrawn novel always seems to be waiting for some signal to start.

    The newest Timothy Zahn novel generated a lot of anticipation in advance, since it re-introduces an iconic Legends character and makes him canon again. The book also promised to fill in some of the backstory for the version of Grand Admiral Thrawn currently working for the Empire in Star Wars Rebels. The novel does offer some shading to Thrawn’s Sherlock Holmesian characterization, but the people around him aren’t as well-drawn, and the novel seems to suffer from its placement in the saga. Too close to Rebels to be suspenseful and too far from Thrawn’s Chiss upbringing to seem alien, his exploits seem oddly banal for a character so surrounded by art.

    Every Holmes needs a Moriarty, and the lack of a clearly established villain is another thing that hurt the novel. The person codenamed Nightswan is introduced as a nuisance who has been plaguing Thrawn for some time, but his attacks aren’t personal. Nightswan’s identity is one of the big questions of the book, but the reveal seems both inevitable and unnecessarily safe. As much as I’ve criticized Rebels for having too many cameos, I kept expecting Thrawn to include a character more well known than Governor Pryce, or to pick up some more steam. With threats no more significant than space pirates and very early Rebel cells to challenge him, Thrawn’s rise through the ranks is mostly… inoffensive.

    Then there’s Thrawn’s John Watson, the translator-protege Eli Vanto. As the audience’s entrance into the story, Eli allows Thrawn to bounce explanations off of someone, giving Zahn a chance to explain what might otherwise seem like ideas pulled out of the ether. Vanto’s backwater home and the reaction he gets from upper-crust Imperials make him endearing, but other than his occupation, he seems almost interchangeable with the succession of other Imperial soldiers we see as Thrawn rises through the ranks.

    A lot of Vanto’s choices are, by nature, controlled by his relationship with Thrawn, and perhaps one of the most significant emotional decisions in the book occurs when he decides whether to continue on with his career or remain in Thrawn’s shadow. It’s a nicely placed scene, if brief.

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    To be fair, none of this is particularly unusual for a Timothy Zahn novel. I find most of his work to be dry, the sparse physical descriptions and even sparser emotional arcs contributing to a no-nonsense pace that drew a lot of fans back when the Expanded Universe was just getting started. Zahn avoids a lot of physical description of either space battles or physical fights, which I find frustrating but some fans may find enjoyable. Even a scene including explosive gas and space pirates doesn’t feel immediate, although I do like the way it establishes Thrawn’s penchant for intentionally springing traps and turning plans against their owners.

    Zahn’s tendency to repeat words and embellish his dialogue tags does seem to have been reined in a bit here. I was a bit worried after reading one of the excerpts, in which an attempt to make Emperor Palpatine frighteningly blasé about the tyranny of his reign just resulted in a scene in which every character seemed bored. The rest of the novel improves on the excerpt, though, leaving phrases like “a medium-sized eternity” behind for more precise, if unchallenging, language.

    One drastic change in this book is that we do get to see from Thrawn’s point of view, and his observations of body language (in both the visual and infrared spectrums!) are nicely different. It’s always cool to see an author try a new format, even if it doesn’t give a lot of insight into why Thrawn does what he does. His ambition is sometimes a mystery even to himself. I do like how the scenes with the Imperial cadets show that Thrawn is entirely unconcerned with gaining the approval of his peers. His calm persona never shakes. He's certainly consistent.

    However, that doesn’t mean the book doesn’t reveal new things about his backstory. The first scene was one of my favorites in the book, painting Thrawn as a clever ghost demolishing an unsuspecting Imperial squad. Hints at his life among the Chiss are just hints, but they’re intriguing ones. Thrawn also has a significant weakness: his machinations tend to leave other people in the dust, and the novel points out that he wouldn’t have been nearly as well-received except for some convenient connections. (Those could make for an interesting story themselves, and the novel certainly has several sequel hooks.)

    This weakness helps make Thrawn a bit less untouchable and adds to his character, as do the scenes in which he goes into detail about how he interprets a species’ behavior from their art. It still all feels like flavor rather than real characterization, though, and the lack of a personal motivation for Thrawn makes it all feel like it’s spinning its wheels.

    Soon-Governer Arihnda Pryce contributes more of a personal story to the novel. After playing second fiddle to Thrawn in Rebels, she does get the spotlight in the novel a bit. It’s good to be able to fill in some of the gaps about her history, and there’s some intriguing contradictions in her personality. These don’t quite cohere into particularly insightful characterization, but they at least make her a character who is more distinct and easier to explain than she was before: her sympathetic motivation doesn’t change the fact that she’s willing to throw other people under the bus to get what she wants.

    Unfortunately, though, her story is bogged down in the minutiae of mining and Lothal finances. These in particular are elements that I thought wouldn’t be nearly as important as they were: a large part of the plot is composed of Thrawn chasing down precious metals. I kept expecting those plot elements to unfold to reveal something else - something bigger, something more threatening, or maybe a familiar character. (Ahsoka as Fulcrum, perhaps?) Instead, for a novel focused on reading into tiny details, the big plot elements stay about the same throughout the book. Despite neatly filling in the gaps when it comes to Thrawn’s life, the novel gets dragged down by its own pacing. And if you’ve seen Rebels, you already know how it ends.

    Megan Crouse is a staff writer.

    ReviewMegan Crouse
    Apr 11, 2017

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    In the mood for a rewatch of the '90s X-Men animated series? Here's a list of the must-see episodes.

    Feature Michael S. Mammano
    Apr 11, 2017

    X-Men: The Animated Series. Few cartoon show from this era are held in as high regard. It was pretty much X-Men, Batman: The Animated Series, and Gargoyles. Everything else was simply beneath them.

    Which is not to say X-Men didn’t have its problems. In fact, when people remember it fondly, they’re mostly remembering Seasons 1-3, but thanks to the character designs available at the time the series was in development, X-Men made the early '90s relaunch and the designs made famous by Jim Lee the most iconic look for the mutant heroes. Just watching these episodes takes me right back to junior high and high school, when I was at the height of my love affair with the X-Men, and if you’re interested in such a trip down memory lane by way of Hulu or your own personal library, here is a handy guide to all the episodes you absolutely should not skip.

    NOTE: I’m going by the DVD order, rather than the order and grouping in which they’re arranged by Hulu who… I don’t even know what they’re doing, but just be aware that starting with Season 3, the episode order doesn’t always match up.


    Season 1 Episode 1

    Because you should always watch the pilot, even it’s terrible, which this episode is not.

    It introduces all our key players, manages to get in a lot of characterization without dropping tons of backstory (in fact, the one scene where the characters discuss their pasts is very natural and endearing), establishes the dynamics between those characters, and sets up the major themes and conflicts of the series. While some moments are a little clunky, a few snippets of dialogue are forced or poorly done, and Morph’s laugh will make you want to jab Wolverine’s claws into your ears, it’s a solid debut with some fantastically wry humor. Most of it relating to Rogue, because she’s her own separate category of awesome.


    Season 1 Episode 2

    Sure, Morph was created just to die and he wasn’t an overly likable character, but the point is that even if you didn’t like him, you could see why his friends did, so you cared when he died, not because you were grieving him but because his friends were. It also gave immediate depth to Wolverine, who was established in Part 1 as a gruff, pissy loner who didn’t seem to like anyone. Everything about Wolverine in this episode proved he was so much more than that.

    "Night of the Sentinels" established that, while still working within the constraints of Standards and Practices, this show was going to depict the risks and consequences of battle, be it Morph’s death or Beast’s incarceration, as well as an adult relationship between Scott and Jean. Not to mention that people who don’t necessarily get along can be on the same side. It’s only the second episode of the show, and it ends on such a bittersweet note with the noble, moralistic leader questioning his own command decisions in private (since he could never do it in front of his troops) and leaning on the woman he loves in his moment of doubt, while a scared kid finally finds a place to belong and learn about herself.

    Not all pilots have rewatch value, but this one does.


    Season 1 Episode 3

    This one almost didn’t make the list. Sure, it’s the debut of Magneto, but I feel there’s a much more interesting story told about him in the following episode.

    The reason this one qualifies is that it truly is a recreation of the X-Men’s first mission from their 1963 debut. Details were obviously changed due to the characters involved, but the story of Magneto commandeering a military base to launch nuclear missiles on an unsuspecting human population is pretty damn classic and certainly sets the tone. Aside from Wolverine’s incredibly narmy “Mission accomplished, buddy,” to Cyclops, which he would never in a million years say to anyone, let alone ol’ Cyke, this ep is pretty solid.


    Season 1 Episode 4

    A feast, to be sure. The relationship and conflict between Magneto and Professor X is distilled so perfectly in this episode. It’s just beautifully done.

    On top of that, you have that Sabretooth sub-plot where he plays Jubilee. And listen, anyone who’s going to get down on a thirteen-year-old for not being the best judge of character, especially when the offender in question strongly reminds her of one of her new guardians who himself is a killer who managed to rehabilitate himself... like… don’t pretend you didn’t do at least one incredibly stupid thing at that age. We all did. It’s just most of us weren’t in a position where our screw-up could endanger our lives.

    The other fantastic bit in this episode is Rogue administering CPR to Cyclops, probably a first in children’s television. And her commentary during that entire scene is the best. “Come on, pretty boy. Make a girl feel welcome.” God. Rogue for president. The only thing that kills the scene for me is that she can’t control Cyclops’ optic blasts when she absorbs them, which she should be able to do. His inability to shut his blasts off is not inherent to his power, it’s a result of childhood brain damage. But that’s one tiny nitpick. Aside from that, this one is solid gold.


    Season 1 Episode 5

    The story itself is great: The Morlocks, introduced here, kidnap Cyclops as a prospective “companion” (read: baby daddy) for their leader, Callisto. The Morlocks themselves are an intriguing concept and a commentary on minority ghettoization. The Morlocks can’t “pass” as X-inactive humans. They look different, sound different, maybe even smell different (I mean, definitely after hanging out in the sewers, but that’s another matter). And seeing Storm be a complete fucking badass is never a let-down.

    There are also great bits of characterization thrown in here, like Storm’s claustrophobia, a recurring challenge she faces over the course of the series. It’s a subtle little comment that trauma can be dealt with but in some cases not entirely overcome. The Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle, which will become a major sub-plot, is established here as well.

    What really makes the episode stand out to in-the-know fans, however, is how well it adapts Uncanny X-Men #169-170. While "Enter Magneto" was the first episode to do a direct adaptation of a specific issue of the comics, "Captive Hearts" was the first one to really do it well. Subbing out Angel for Cyclops allowed for a whole new angle on the story by playing with the already existing love triangle, reaffirming the strength of Scott and Jean’s relationship and driving home just how shitty it makes Logan feel.

    The one drawback is the replacement of Storm and Callisto’s knife fight with some weird Dath Maul lightsaber duel, but it’s a minor trespass.


    Season 1 Episode 7

    We can skip straight to this one, because I really don’t think an episode about Wolverine’s savior routine in an Inuit village is terribly compelling, and whatever set-up for this episode we got isn’t super necessary. "Slave Island", while a powerfully oversimplified depiction of the island nation of Genosha (seriously, that’s a three-parter, bare minimum), is a roller coaster to watch. The recurrence of Storm’s claustrophobia in a perfectly organic way, the question of Gambit’s morality and loyalty, the cavalcade of cameos (Sunfire, Northstar, Aurora, Feral, Rictor, and so on), and “I am still plugged in!” Just marvelous. The episode also features the return of the Sentinels and the introduction of Master Mold, establishing that they will be a recurring threat for the season.

    The only chink in this episode’s armor is Cable, whose character made absolutely no sense. Season 1 Cable and Seasons 2-4 Cable seem like completely different characters, and the latter is the one that gets it right. Here? It’s like the showrunners knew they had to throw him in there for the salivating fanboys, but just didn’t have any way to do it, so… he’s just some former mercenary in the Leader’s army who sports an X-Men insignia for… some reason. Personally, I just like to pretend Season 1 Cable didn’t happen and pretend he made his debut in Season 2’s “Time Fugitives.”


    Season 1 Episode 9

    The first Rogue-centric episode of the series doesn’t disappoint at all, taking the pain and loneliness at the core of her character and bringing it right to the forefront. And it also introduces Angel to set him up for the following episode, but let’s talk Rogue.

    The incident where her first kiss activated her powers and nearly killed her boyfriend, first mentioned in the pilot, is seen here, providing a context for her hostility toward Gambit for his advances despite her obvious interest. We also get a subtle look at the different shades of privilege. It’s easy for Cyclops to jump on the Mutant Pride rhetoric when his powers, however difficult to manage, won’t keep him from human contact for the rest of his life. He can slip on some ruby quartz goggles and rock Jean’s world. And yes, Rogue eventually opts out of the treatment (never knowing, of course, that it was all a lie), but the point is that this was presented as complicated issue that affects everyone differently, and it was great that Xavier pointed out that it’s a personal choice that every mutant would have to make for themselves.

    "The Cure" also introduces some key villains in Apocalypse and Mystique. Upon my first viewing I found it odd that Mystique was introduced in a Rogue-centric episode and that their relationship was never addressed, but seeing how it played out at the end of the season cast everything in a whole new light. But overall, this is a powerfully character-driven episode with some intense action and key world building with the introduction of Muir Island and Moira MacTaggert’s mutant research center. Good stuff.


    Season 1 Episode 10

    Angel’s seeking of the cure delivers him right into Apocalypse’s waiting hands. He is transformed into Death (later, Archangel), one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen, who set out to end the world as we know it so Apocalypse can build a new one according to his own vision.

    I mean, if that’s not enough for you… it doesn’t have to be, because Rogue’s subplot from the previous episode carries over when she confronts “Dr. Adler” only to find that he’s really Mystique! Not that they seem to recognize each other. What seems like a plot hole turns out to be a plot point soon enough.

    But overall, this episode is just hardcore.


    Season 1 Episode 12

    Why did I skip Part 1? I’m not gonna lie. I’ve never really been a fan of Bishop as a character, certainly not the way he’s depicted in the show. He’s self-righteous, stubborn, and unwilling to let anyone get a fucking word in edgewise. Whenever he shows up, the entire plot seems to be predicated on him being a stupid, intractable asshole. Lives could be saved if he’d just shut up for like *five seconds*, hear someone out, and consider his options. Which is not in and of itself so bad – people like that certainly exist – it’s just he’s never really called on it. Bishop has his moments, I’ll grant him that, but most of the time he is so utterly frustrating to watch that I can’t even really appreciate them.

    So, considering “Days of Future Past, Part 1” is pretty much just a big, sloppy blowjob for Bishop, I don’t see it as terribly necessary, especially when you get all the backstory and characterization on him that you need in the first few minutes of Part 2, which is pretty great. It references the comic all the way down to Mystique’s disguise. Gotta love that attention to detail. It also explains why Rogue didn’t recognize Mystique before (she’d only known her in one of her many disguises) and why Mystique would drop a multi-ton machine on her daughter (she knows Rogue’s powers very well and knew that she would be fine).

    What’s also really strong about this episode is how it leads right into the finale with the abduction of Senator Kelly and the strong hint that it was Magneto’s doing. This episode focuses on the legislation that would lead to Bishop’s Sentinel-infested future, but not the Sentinels themselves. Of course, the finale will be all about the Sentinels, who may become an even bigger problem because Senator Kelly was kidnapped. Bravo.


    Season 1 Episode 13

    When an episode opens with Magneto getting his ass kicked, you know you’re in for a ride.

    This isn’t the last we see of Gyrich, Trask, and the Sentinels, but it’s the last we’ll see for a while, and it’s one hell of a send-off. Yes, Magneto kidnapped Kelly, and yes, he was going to kill him, but the Sentinels got there first and now they want to replace his brain, and that of every prominent world leader on the planet, with computers. So the X-Men go to stop them, and it is just… it’s a lot of trashed robots.

    There are so many strong action moments in "The Final Decision." Wolverine’s blind fight in a darkened mine shaft with multiple Sentinels is only seen in snippets whenever they fire their lasers. Visually brilliant. Magneto’s eleventh hours aid and Xavier’s ejector seat finishing blow. Just awesome.

    But this episode is chock full of great character moments too. Rogue finally (sorta) kissing Gambit over her hand, Cyclops leading the charge in what could very well be a suicide mission, and Jubilee passionately rejecting being sidelined, insisting that she’s one of the team and knows what risks it entails. And Magneto, even after having fought the X-Men and spent decades going round with Xavier, pleads with them not to go and yet respects the hell out of them for doing it. “You’re all fools… heroic fools. The brave are always the first to die.” David Hemblen’s delivery still gives me chills 25 years later.

    And lest we forget, of course, the joy of Scott’s proposal to Jean immediately crushed by foreshadowing of something... sinister.


    Season 2 Episode 1

    Scott and Jean are getting married! And Beast is home! And he caught the bouquet! And there’s apparently an anti-mutant hate group that’s sprung up and is totally manipulating the media to make mutants looks bad. And Magneto’s in danger and needs Xavier’s help? And Morph’s alive! But he’s evil. Ohhhh, shit.

    How a single season premiere can pack so much in without feeling crowded is a testament to the writing. None of these elements feel extraneous, clunky, or out of place. It’s all just brilliantly woven together to set the stage for every one of this season’s storylines, and damn! There’s even room for some character beats, like Morph’s pointed resentment toward Jubilee for feeling that she replaced him, and Rogue’s “serves him right” when Gambit blacks out from kissing her, which is both sincere and tinged with concern. Lenore Zann as Rogue, as always, knocks it out of the park.

    Such a good episode. Without contest, the best season premiere of the series.


    Season 2 Episode 2

    So, Mr. Sinister has been hanging around, watching everyone since the pilot, which is when he picked up Morph’s dying if not dead body and healed it, but not without making his eye sockets look like he just got a bad nose job. Scott and Jean’s honeymoon is cut short by the Nasty Boys, and can I just say it is AMAZING that Hairbag was declared street legal in both the comics and the show. How did that pitch meeting go down? “Yeah, let’s have a fuzzy, ape-like character like Beast, only he’s stupid and has toxic breath. Oh, we should make him...Jamaican!” I just… how did that ever happen?

    This episode is a satisfying wrap-up to the story started in Part 1, especially because Morph isn’t fine at the end. He runs off with his head still full of demons. And Xavier and Magneto meet up in Antarctica only to be buried in an avalanche. Whaaaaat?!


    Season 2 Episode 5

    Let’s set aside that this episode will be mined for stock footage for the rest of this series, mainly the same scene, which anyone should be able to recite word for word by the third time they use it. This is it. This is the episode that deals with the Weapon X portion of Wolverine’s backstory. It also guest stars Alpha Flight, which is a real treat, though the way they shoehorn every character’s name into the dialogue so that the audience will know it is fairly awful. Like… we don’t need to know everyone’s name in the first scene. And I’m pretty sure that after all that they skipped Aurora. Like seriously, at that point, what was holding them back?

    But it’s a great episode that really illuminates Wolverine’s character, not just in backstory, but in showing that he’s a complete human being. Even a feral killer with knives in his hands breaks down and cries when he stops to take a minute to think about the horrific nature of what was done to him. That a '90s kids’ show would have arguably it’s toughest badass show emotional vulnerability… respect.


    Season 2 Episode 7

    Aaaaaand Bishop’s back and annoying as ever, but at least he seems to have a somewhat better handle on things.

    We actually start with Cable – the REAL Cable – whose distant future is being erased. It turns out that Apocalypse, who is the biggest of all bads in Cable’s time, tried to unleash some kind of plague, which Bishop has traveled back in time to prevent. However, in doing so he gets the X-Men killed and the antibodies created to fight the plague and thus immunize humanity against future illnesses, are never created. It’s a twist and a half, and it really puts Cable in a tortured position: to save his world, he has to ensure the success of Apocalypse, to destroy a past world, no less.


    Season 2 Episode 8

    Cable travels to the past (our present) to stop Bishop. The previous episode plays out again, seen mostly from Cable’s perspective and with his actions altering the events. In the end, he uses his knowledge of the X-Men to solve everything. He sees to it that Wolverine is infected with the plague so that his mutant healing factor can generate the antibodies everyone will need. Of course, Cable’s success required him telling Bishop to just pipe down and chill out. A shock runs through no one.

    This episode is a lot of fun, especially comparing it to Part 1 scene for scene. What could easily have come off as lazy and repetitive turns out to be fascinating and massively enjoyable to watch.


    Season 2 Episode 9

    Rogue’s backstory!

    What could easilyhave been a flashback slideshow manages to influence the present by paralleling the origin of Rogue’s flashier powers (the assault of Ms. Marvel) with the present day consequences of that action: Rogue absorbed Ms. Marvel’s consciousness to a degree she has with no other person, and now that consciousness is fighting to take control of Rogue’s body.

    What makes "A Rogue's Tale" especially powerful is that there are no easy answers. Ms. Marvel’s life was stolen from her, and by all rights she deserves it back, but Rogue can’t just put her back into her body. All she can do is seal Ms. Marvel away at the back of her mind to ensure her own survival. Is it justice? Certainly not. Rogue has stolen this woman’s life twice, and she has to live with that. What’s more, any ambiguity about her feelings regarding Mystique is demolished when she realizes that her foster mother had manipulated and used her from the beginning. At least she has her new life with the X-Men, but man, this episode is just 22 minutes of one emotional gut punch after the next.


    Season 2 Episode 13

    I’m not going to pretend there are NO reasons to watch “Reunion, Part 1,” but unless you’re super interested in watching Xavier and Magneto trade barbs with Discount Tarzan or truly absorbing just how much Mr. Sinister likes to employ annoying, cringeworthy henchmen or getting a taste of Morph’s foray into local theater, it’s probably best to just skip to Part 2.

    The Savage Land subplot that’s been running through the whole season finally becomes the main plot as the X-Men head to Antarctica on a rescue mission for both the Professor and Jean, who was abducted by Sinister in Part 1. Of course, the X-Men end up getting captured with their powers neutralized.

    Gambit admitting his love for Rogue and kissing her as well as a front row seat to Sinister’s crazy are the real highlights of the episode. In addition, there’s plenty of action, some hetero lifemate bonding between Charlie and Erik, and of course, more characters than you can shake a stick at.

    It works, though. Not as thematically strong a finale as “The Final Decision,” but still quite entertaining.


    Season 3 Episode 4

    There’s no real need to watch “Part 1: Sacrifice” as it has no real function outside of setting up Part 2, throwing out some bullshit line about Jubilee always wanting to be an astronaut (what?), and giving the floor to some of Jean’s best psi-gasms in the series.

    Hell, Part 2 barely makes the cut as it’s pretty much just an episode about Xavier’s dark side roaming around Manhattan and fucking with everybody. If it weren’t for the iconic “I am Phoenix” scene, the delicious shade Xavier and Banshee throw at each other upon first meeting on Muir Island, and Lilandra’s intro, I’d say skip it.


    Season 3 Episode 5

    Banshee! And Black Tom! And the Juggernaut, bitch! Yes, this is the episode from which most of that meme was mined, but in all seriousness, it’s pretty good.

    We’re given a very interesting set piece in Cassidy Keep, a dynamic fight, the introduction of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard, and something for pretty much everyone to do. This is episode is where "The Phoenix Saga" really gets cooking.


    Season 3 Episode 6

    Oh, the subtext! Every scene between Cyclops and Corsair is such a tease in the best way. “I’d know my older boy. He had his mother’s eyes.” Well, irony, why don’t you just punch me right in the balls?

    This is also when we start to really see Phoenix in all her glory, Jean grappling with her new calling as the guardian of a cosmic artifact. Slap on some Shi’Ar political intrigue between Lilandra and D’Ken and you’ve got quite an episode on your hands. Especially since our heroes essentially fail when D’Ken gets his hands on the M’Kraan Crystal and breaches it.


    Season 3 Episode 7

    There have been some emotional moments in the series up to this point, but “Child of Light” is the first time the show ever really broke my heart.

    Even being a huge X-Men fan and knowing that Jean would come back (because, let’s face it, that’s kind of her thing), I found myself wiping my eyes when she flew the M’Kraan Crystal into the heart of the sun to keep it safe. Her goodbye to Scott, her thanks to all her friends for the different kinds of strength they’ve given her… I must have watched that scene a hundred times in my life, and I still get goosebumps. Xavier’s words to Scott at the end, an attempt to console the inconsolable, just bury themselves in your heart as ol’ Cyke looks out to the horizon, just beginning to grieve.

    Shut up! I’m not crying. You’re crying!


    Season 3 Episode 10

    Revisiting Archangel is always a good move, and the series really captures his bitterness toward Apocalypse.

    In the comics, Angel and Archangel are both Warren Worthington III, but they’re very different characters. Angel was a carefree trust fund playboy who looked the part of a beautiful, divine being. Archangel was a spiritually broken monster who cursed his fate on an hourly basis. And oh boy, did he HATE Apocalypse.

    "Obsession" could easily have just been a grudge match, but it’s really about how Archangel’s anger and obsession is ruining him. In his undeterred drive to destroy Apocalypse, he’s only destroying himself.

    We also get to see Beast bond with Ship. D’aww…


    Season 3 Episode 11

    So, uh… Jean’s back. This confused the fuck out of many of us during the first run of this episode, because the episode where Jean returns to Earth alive wouldn’t air until the fifth and final season. Great job, guys. But we get the picture.

    Besides, this episode is fun because Dazzler! What I don’t get is why the animators felt the need for her auburn dye-job. This show isn’t exactly teeming with blondes, and when they did that probably non-canonical cameo of her back in “Mojovision,” her hair was the right color. Eh, whatever.

    This episode sets the stage for Jean’s descent into madness at the hands of Mastermind while establishing that the Phoenix Force has been altered, one might say corrupted, by its time in Jean’s body. It’s smart and weird, and hey, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of that song, “Body Heat,” let me know in the comments.


    Season 3 Episode 12

    Jean is seduced right into the arms of Mastermind and the Hellfire Club. Oh, I’m sorry. “The Circle Club” because REALLY, FOX KIDS? “Hellfire” was just fine in the comics. It would be the title of a song in a Disney movie a year later. Shit, Sleeping Beauty dropped that bomb in the 1959. The Circle Club? Really?

    Aside from being a fascinating study in brainwashing, manipulation, and ambition, this episode bears the honor of being one of the most faithful adaptations of a comic book to date, even more so than “Captive Hearts” and “Days of Future Past, Part 2.” This episode and the two that follow recreate Uncanny X-Men #132-137 with as few alterations as possible, and it totally works. The Hellfire Club are instantly menacing, and the venom they spew at one another is so cutthroat.

    I’m curious as to why the Jean as the Black Queen needed those tights while they were content to let Emma Frost, the White Queen rock out in her full Victoria’s Secret glory, but whatever.


    Season 3 Episode 13

    I feel like even trying to describe this episode would diminish it, but simply put, the Dark Phoenix is loose, and she gives the X-Men a run for their money. They only survive because she’s not threatened enough by them to feel the need to destroy them. After that, she goes on a little trip, EATS A FUCKING STAR, and heads home.

    Seeing Jean regress to a teenager in her childhood bedroom (anyone else notice she had a little stuffed cyclops? Awwww…) was weird and uncomfortable, as was her friend trying to figure out ways to take her down. Ultimately, she seems to be okay for the moment when the Shi’Ar show up, insisting she be executed.


    Season 3 Episode 14

    Xavier’s relationship with an alien empress is certainly put to the test when pretty much every spacefaring race back Lilandra up in insisting on the Phoenix’s execution. Xavier jacks some Shi’Ar legal loopholes from Lilandra’s brain and demands a trail by combat. The X-Men fight the Imperial Guard on the moon to decide Jean’s fate, but in the end Jean insists that she must die, because she can’t control the Phoenix. Her plea to Scott… you can hear that desperation in her voice, and props to Catherine Disher for a job well done.

    Unlike in the comics, Jean’s resurrection is immediate, accomplished by the Phoenix, now freed from the effect of Jean’s emotions, channeling a portion of each X-Man’s life force into Jean to restore her. It’s not the downer ending from the comics, but then again in the comics, there was no time after the M’Kraan Crystal situation Jean was thought to be dead. So, it appears her little time out was simply moved. And it still works.


    Season 3 Episode 15

    Yay! Iceman! This episode is as much about introducing X-Factor as it is about Iceman and his backstory with the X-Men, which seems more volatile than it was in the comics. It’s an interesting angle. Bobby Drake didn’t want to save the world. He wanted to get a life and live it happily with the woman he loved, who in the end just wanted to save the world. It’s not the first time this series has taken a fairly adult look at relationships, none of this will they/won’t they bullshit, just two people who care about each other and have personalities that come into conflict. Tasty! Not to mention we get a little foreshadowing that never really pays off in Cyclops and Havok’s imperviousness to each other’s powers, because they’re brothers.

    Also, fans of the DiC dub of Sailor Moon are in for a special treat if they listen closely. Denis Akiyama, who voices Bobby Drake/Iceman here is the voice of Malachite, and Terri Hawkes, who voices Lorna Dane/Polaris, was none other than Sailor Moon herself!


    Season 3 Episode 18

    I love me some Nightcrawler, so I was ready and willing to accept every weird curve ball this episode threw at me. Like… why are only three X-Men on vacation, and why is Wolverine along with Rogue and Gambit? Explain to me how that happens?

    This episode was famously controversial for its direct address of religion, specifically Christianity, and for having the nerve to air the morning of my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, forcing me to wait SEVERAL HOURS to see it.

    It’s a good, solid ep, even with all the ridiculous shit thrown in like Wolverine going to church and reading out of the Bible. I know what they were going for, and I could see why Wolverine would be a tempting character to try it with, but I just didn’t buy it. Now if it had been Rogue or Gambit, that I’d have bought.


    Season 4 Episode 1

    We were teased with an adaptation of The Age of Apocalypse, but there’s no real way to do it justice in a simple two-parter. What this episode really ends up being is a companion piece to "Days of Future Past" (thematically) and "Time Fugitives" (structurally).

    As with all time travel episodes, Bishop features front and center, and he’s actually a lot easier to take here. This might be because he has his sister, Shard, around to take the edge off. Bishop, Shard, and an alternate Wolverine and Storm in her Grace Jones-inspired punk look, travel all the way back to 1959 to save a young Xavier from an assassination attempt on the part of Master Mold’s forces.

    Age of Apocalypse was about showing the widespread and profound effect of Xavier’s absence from history. This episode gives us very little of that and is focuses instead on the solution, but it’s still a fun watch. Wolverine and Storm’s bizarro romance kind of makes sense in context and becomes the emotional throughline of both parts. Having these characters deal with literal racism, a marvelous opportunity given the time period and the fact that three of our band of time travelers are Black, was refreshing in a series that mainly trades in allegory. In Storm’s words, it’s so pathetic it’s almost quaint.


    Season 4 Episode 2

    To be honest, I’m not sure why this was really a two-parter, as part two is a whole lot of wheel-spinning. Nothing really new happens. Fitzroy turns out to be a rather ineffectual villain whose defeat is so easily accomplished it makes one wonder what the conflict actually was.

    My best guess is this: there are two moments in this episode that make it worth it: Forge and Shard’s sacrifice and the tearful goodbye of a desperately in love alt-Storm and alt-Wolverine. The first draft of this script was probably too long for one episode, but couldn’t stand to lose any of that stuff, so they foiled the rescue attempt, took the last few scenes, and padded it out to a full episode in order to make a two-parter.

    Do I mind? Not really. It makes for the rare occasion where a Part 2 is inferior to a Part 1, but whatever.

    I do wish Age of Apocalypse had gotten the proper treatment. You could work an entire season or at least a Phoenix Saga-length multi-parter out of it. But that’s okay. Like I said, the “what could have been” factor of the alt-Wolverine/alt-Storm romance is pretty trippy, and I believed it just enough that I found the erasure of that love from existence a true sacrifice.


    Season 4 Episode 6

    Easily the most baldly political episode of the series, we find Magneto finally throwing in the towel on his goal of mutant domination of the Earth, opting instead to just create a refuge for his people, a homeland of their own on Asteroid M, a sanctuary of his own creation set in orbit around the Earth. Naturally, this raises some suspicion on the part of the government, so Xavier and a few X-Men head up to Asteroid M (conflated here with Avalon, the '90s counterpart on which it is based) to see what it’s all about, and it turns out Magneto… is completely sincere about this relatively peaceful solution. It seems Charles has rubbed off on him a little in that he’s no longer seeking a war with humanity. He just wants to be left alone.

    Of course, his newest kiss-ass, Fabian Cortez, is still craving some of the old militant Magneto and is disappointed when his idol tells him to chill the fuck out, which leads to some Grade A betrayal.


    Season 4 Episode 7

    Under Cortez’s new doucheocracy, Asteroid M’s defensive missiles are a nuclear holocaust waiting to happen, so the X-Men – a surprisingly small number of them; where is everyone else? – head back up into space to deal with it. Magneto, thought dead, manages to pull himself together once the Earth’s electromagnetic field heals him, and he takes it upon himself to kill his own dying dream of a mutant homeland.

    There’s also a nice subplot running through both these episodes of yet another one of Xavier’s ex-girlfriends, Amelia Voght, a story that was toned down and made considerably less rapey for the series. It’s interesting, though, to see a pattern in Xavier’s past of forsaking his own personal life for the sake of his dream and his students. Besides, we all know he loves Magneto the most.

    Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, the button on the end of this episode shows us that Apocalypse is still around and up to no good.


    Season 4 Episode 8

    In the distant future, Apocalypse has an existential crisis, wondering if he’s doomed to fight mutantkind but never win for all time. So he ditches linear time and makes for the Axis of Time. Meanwhile, on his way home from 1959 in “One Man’s Worth,” Bishop gets thrown off course and ends up at the Axis of Time, dealing with Bender, a profoundly annoying Robin Williams/Jim Carrey pastiche of manic "humor." Also, Scott and Jean try to get married again, and Mr. Sinister manages to fuck it up AGAIN, this time directly by having the Nasty Boys attack and kidnap Jean. That’s… that’s a lot.

    Okay, breakdown? I give Bishop a lot of flack, most of it deserved, but I can’t help but admire how well his arc for the series is written. Every time we revisit him, we pick up more or less where we left off, and we get to see how his journeys through time alter the timeline, leading ultimately to this episode where I find myself totally on Bishop’s side in dealing with Bender. I just want him to clobber that wacky little fuck. Shoot him, Bishop. Shoot him with my blessing.


    Season 4 Episode 9

    With the X-Men, Apocalypse, Cable, Bishop, and Mr. Sinister & the Nasty Boys already in play, this episode brings Magneto, Sabretooth, Mystique, Archangel, Psylocke, Shard, and the freakin’ Shi’Ar Empire into the mix just to make sure we’ve got all our bases covered.

    The plot to capture the most potent psychics in existence continues. Meanwhile, in the future, Cable and Tyler seek to prevent all of this by commandeering the last working time travel device from the government and travelling back far enough to destroy Apocalypse’s Lazarus Chamber at its point of origin. First they’ve just got to get to it.


    Season 4 Episode 10

    Cable hijacks Graymalkin (which totally looks like a giant Metroid, am I right?) to travel back in time, but Apocalypse knocks him off course somehow. It seems to backfire as it sends Cable right onto the X-Mansion’s front lawn in the present day. Cable finds that his interests and the X-Men’s align, and after Wolverine beats some information out of Sabretooth, a plan is formed and put into motion. The team heads to Egypt to bust into the Lazarus Chamber, but they’re met my Apocalypse’s new Four Horsemen. Great designs on those guys. What appeared to be a rash action backfiring in Apocalypse’s face turns out to be part of his plan all along, as it led Xavier right to him.


    Season 4 Episode 11

    Everything comes to a head as it’s Apocalypse versus… pretty much everyone. Alliances are forged in the heat of battle that take the characters by as much surprise as the audience. Wolverine and Magneto saving each other’s asses? What?

    Also, Bishop earns my respect when he blasts Apocalypse out of frame just to shut him up. This was originally intended to be the series finale, but I’m kind of glad it wasn’t. For one, X-Men stories should not end on a scene with Cable, and two, it’s not the most emotionally resonant victory and doesn’t really tap into any of the series’ major themes or character arcs. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though.

    It’s a great episode to watch. If nothing else, for Apocalypse’s little sashay down the aisle of telepaths.


    Season 4 Episode 17

    We finally get the blanks in Magneto’s backstory filled in. He already had our sympathy for losing his family, but actually learning the details… it’s just horrifying. No wonder he went off the deep end.

    This episode also reveals the Link between the master of magnetism and the twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (yay! Scarlet Witch!).  To put it simply… who’s your daddy? That’s right, Mags learns that he has not one but two kids, and they don’t like him very much. And there’s also some blah plot about the High Evolutionary. Whatever. Magneto and his children are the heart of this episode, and they’re what make it worth watching.


    Season 5 Episode 4

    This episode actually takes place directly after The Phoenix Saga, but for some production reasons got pushed back to Season 5. It’s a shame really, because it actually gives Scott some space to grieve for Jean and explore his backstory when he goes back to the orphanage he grew up in. The Mr. Sinister connection is curiously glossed over, and instead we’re treated to a one-time appearance by someone Jessica Jones fans will know very well, the Purple Man himself, Kilgrave.

    While this episode does kind of stick out like a sore thumb, it is nice to see a character really going through the complicated feelings that surround loss, and consider how little really good material Cyclops gets because Wolverine is such a fucking diva, this was a really nice opportunity to give him the spotlight and really get to know him better. It’s too bad it came so late in the run that practically nobody saw it.


    Season 5 Episode 6

    Nightcrawler discovers what we already knew, that Mystique is his mother, which makes Rogue his foster sister.

    But wait! There’s more! In her extensive career as a spy, assassin, and terrorist, Mystique managed to take a tumble with Sabretooth at some point (I would love to know more about the circumstances surrounding that little tryst), which also makes the mother of… wait for it… Graydon Creed, the former leader of the Friends of Humanity, who’s setting all this up to get back into their good graces now that movement has outgrown him. And, you know, he did sort of abandon his position to spend some time in a mental hospital.

    As one can imagine, there’s more than enough venom to go around between all parties involved, and tensions run high. Family drama, am I right?

    All that would be good enough, but what really elevates this episode is the moment where Mystique within the span of a few sentences, goes from telling Nightcrawler that she’s a terrible person for abandoning him to grudgingly revealing that she regrets it and is haunted by what she did, and yet doesn’t believe she deserves to be forgiven. Easily one of my favorite episodes of the series.


    Season 5 Episode 13

    We’re taking a break from your regularly scheduled mutant adventures to explore the origins of Mr. Sinister in Victorian England, where he was simply Nathaniel Essex, and how his encounters with an ancestor of Charles Xavier played a part in the man he became.

    Why this episode is coming here, rather than the season that was all about Sinister is beyond me, but the fact that the writers went balls out and decided to do a completely isolated period piece is kinda admirable. Even if we’ve passed the threshold beyond which the animation for the show went sharply downhill. This episode isn’t particularly well written nor animated, but the sheer novelty factor of it, the spectacle, makes it worth a watch.


    Season 5 Episode 14

    There’s a hint of 1992’s X-Cutioner’s Song here with an assault on Xavier (here an attack that proved life-threatening, rather than a deliberate assassination attempt), but a briefly features Sunfire makes a valid point. Xavier was about was privileged as a mutant can get. He was famous, rich, and could easily pass for human, and he was still attacked out in the open on a live, global broadcast. It give Magneto the perfect excuse to finally start his war on humans. In honor of Xavier, the X-Men set out to stop Magneto, but discover he may hold the key to saving Xavier’s life.

    What’s truly amazing about this episode is how the writers managed to bring so many characters back for the finale, and making every appearance seem completely natural. Someone needs to impersonate Xavier to give a message to the media? Morph steps in. We need the foremost expert on mutant biology to help Xavier? Call Moira on Muir Island. When human medicine fails, and we need something more advanced? Lilandra and the medical technology of the Shi’Ar Empire. Can’t contact her without  boost to Jean’s telepathic powers? Magneto can help with that. Magneto, who nearly flies into a rage when Jean asks how much he loves Charles Xavier. “He was my only equal. I owe him my life!”

    It would have been enough for Charles to get closure with each of his X-Men, but acknowledging his lifelong bond with Magneto, completing the arc Morph began in the very first episode, honoring the two most important women in his life, Moira and Lilandra… it was so much more than anyone asked for, and it was brilliant. This was one hell of an episode and one hell of a finale. The only thing it lacked was another half-hour and a better animation budget. This is the perfect way to end an X-Men rewatch.

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  • 04/12/17--14:30: Astro City #43 Preview
  • First look at next week's Astro City issue.

    PicturesJim Dandy
    Apr 12, 2017

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    While The Girl with Dragon Tattoo films plan a comeback strategy, the book series will continue with an upcoming fifth volume.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 12, 2017

    It appears that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise has substantive news to divulge – well, regarding its original book series, anyway. While The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the belated sequel to the touted-but-underperforming U.S. 2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film, scrambles for a starlet to replace Rooney Mara as inked investigator Lisbeth Salander, the book series created by the late Stieg Larsson and continued by David Lagercrantz, will have a fifth book.    

    The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye will be the vengeance-telegraphing fifth outing of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books, collectively referred to as the Millennium series. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group made the official announcement, revealing that author David Lagercrantz will, for a second time, continue the canon of the Millennium novels originally authored Stieg Larsson, who passed away back in 2004. Lagercrantz first continued the Millennium series with the 2015 novel The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which, perplexingly enough, will serve as inspiration for the upcoming movie continuation, skipping the two novels that rounded out Larsson’s original trilogy. With Eye for an Eye, the exploits of Lisbeth Salander and partner Mikael Blomkvist will apparently take an even darker turn. Editor Sonny Mehta teases with possibly intentional redundancy:

    Revenge is not a fantasy for Lisbeth and in this new book, she exacts it with a vengeance.

    Outside the realm of cinema, the Millennium series maintain popularity in their own right, with Larsson’s posthumously published original trilogy in 2005’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2009’s The Girl Who Played with Fire and 2010’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (originally adapted as films in Sweden starring Noomi Rapace) and Lagercrantz’s 2015 offering The Girl in the Spider’s Web have collectively sold 85 million copies in 50 territories, 24 million of which came from U.S.

    As for the upcoming sequel/reboot film The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Fede Alavarez, known from the Don’t Breathe films and the Evil Dead remake from 2013, is currently signed up as its director. While recent rumors pointed to A-list actresses in Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman as prime candidates to replace Rooney Mara in her transformative role as Lisbeth in David Fincher’s 2011 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film, that notion, at least for now, remains unsubstantiated.

    The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye will arrive on book shelves on Sept. 12. However, the cinematic return of Lisbeth Salander – barring any more delays – will manifest through a new actress, with The Girl in the Spider’s Web planned to hit theaters on Oct. 19, 2018.

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  • 04/12/17--23:13: Deadpool 2: Who is Cable?
  • Now that we know Josh Brolin is playing Cable in Deadpool 2, the bigger question is...who the hell is Cable?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Apr 12, 2017

    With Cable making his film debut in Deadpool 2, where he'll be played by Josh Brolin, it’s been a common refrain amongst casual comics fans lately to ask those of us steeped in the folklore “Who is Cable and why should I care?”

    Five hours later, when our response ends with a pile of X-Men comics being used to light an effigy of Bob Harras while we chant “NO MORE RETCONS! NO MORE RETCONS!” many of those casual fans are often scared away from the X-Men, comics in general, and our homes.

    I’m here today to give you a clear, concise rundown of the history of Nathan Christopher Charles Summers...ha! Almost got it out with a straight face. The reality is Cable is a continuity black hole, but there’s a reason why he’s enduringly popular and I’m going to explain it to you in one sentence:

    He’s a badass soldier from the future.

    That’s the core of his appeal. There are layers (and layers and layers and layers...sweet Jesus are there layers) added over that, but at his core, he’s always just been a badass soldier from the future trying to build a badass army to prevent his awful future from coming to pass.

    Cable was introduced in 1990 to be a new mentor to the second generation of X-students, the New Mutants. He was more militaristic than his predecessors: Charles Xavier, the secretly monstrous founder of the Xavier school, and Magneto, the surprisingly incompetent reformed nemesis. He also showed up packing heat - he was covered in giant guns to the point where he eventually became a parody/poster child for the excesses of '90s comics. But at the same time, he was placed at the center of the third age of X-Men comics, one defined by Apocalypse and soapy family relationships.

    Cable was eventually revealed to be Nathan Christopher Summers, the child of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, taken into the future to save his life after he was infected with a virus that caused his body to morph into a pile of loose technology. While there, he discovered that he was destined to take down Apocalypse, the nigh-immortal mutant who eventually takes over the world and turns it into a Darwinist shitscape. He jumps back in time and takes control of the New Mutants to help further that goal.

    He becomes an interesting case study in comics storytelling - almost a decade after his first introduction, he actually succeeds in destroying Apocalypse and averting his terrible future (don’t worry, it’s comics: Apocalypse gets better). That set him adrift for a little while, but his core stayed the same. He was a badass soldier from the future, and he stayed that way whether he was fighting brushfire wars in eastern Europe, protecting a mutant messiah as they’re chased through the future like it’s Lone Wolf and X-Cub, or saving the world with his omega level telepathy and telekinesis after his techno-organic virus was completely cured.

    His link to Deadpool comes mostly from two things: they were both created by Rob Liefeld around the same time, and they shared the headlining role in one of Marvel’s better mainline hero books of the aughts, Cable and Deadpool. In that, Nate was mostly just the straight man in a straightforward superhero action/humor comic. Deadpool would do his thing (Bugs Bunny with an arsenal) while Cable did his (overpowered messiah saving the world with over-the-top action). It was a solid examination of some of Cable’s more absurd character elements, while also being a good, epic X-Men comic.

    Most recently, Cable had a new series announced at Marvel. In it, he’ll be (wait for it) a badass soldier from the future, jumping through time to protect the timestream. So it looks like they see what we’ve been enjoying, too.


    - In the Age of Apocalypse, Nate Grey was a clone made by Mr. Sinister to eventually challenge Apocalypse’s dominance. He was shunted to the 616 reality at the end of that mini-event and served no purpose in the main universe for a little while, until he was later reimagined as a weird mutant shaman and continued to serve no purpose but without being a direct rip on Cable.

    - Ultimate Cable is genuinely funny. The Ultimate Universe was a stripped down version of the main Marvel universe, a direct response to '90s excesses in convoluted continuity and overused guest appearances. With that in mind, Ultimate Cable was actually a future version of Wolverine.

    - Cable also appeared as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. He had a giant gun beam spam move, and anyone who chose him was of loose morals.


    - New Mutants #87 - Cable’s first appearance. It’s easy to see why he got so many people pumped. Rob Liefeld’s art, while objectively terrible, was also full of energy and enthusiasm and a lot of fun to look at.

    - X-Cutioner’s Song - This 1992 X-Men crossover is almost entirely gibberish. This is where the Summers connection was revealed, and it was all about Cable, Stryfe, Cyclops, Jean, and Apocalypse. The art, however, is actually pretty good. It’s got early Jae Lee, Greg Capullo, Andy Kubert ,and Brandon Peterson, and they do a great job of giving the reader something to do besides get a headache trying to chart a family tree.

    - The Twelve- Again, this is not a good comic, but it’s the pivot point of Cable’s story: here is where he stopped being Apocalypse’s nemesis and started being an ex-messiah.

    - Cable & Deadpool - This is where people started taking Cable seriously again. It was a fun, fairly uncomplicated superhero book that had great Deadpool moments, and did a lot of good character work on Nate.

    - Messiah Complex, Cable (vol. 2), Messiah War, and X-Men: Second Coming - This is my personal favorite era of X-Men comics. The three big crossovers are all very good, and focused on Cable and Hope. Cable’s solo book is also excellent, and you get some really good Badass Nathan Summers stuff in all of these.

    - X-Force vol. 4- Simon Spurrier is a madman. This series is like if Grant Morrison played with Transformers as a kid: it’s got a vivid ‘80s feel to it, but it’s just weird and good. This series prominently features a character whose mutant power is you forget about him if you’re not looking directly at him. And it has Dr. Nemesis, who is hilarious.

    - Uncanny Avengers - Gerry Duggan’s latest version of the X-Men/Avengers hybrid team has actually morphed into a follow up to Cable & Deadpool. It’s a straightforward superhero action book, but it’s got good character bits and is almost Busiek-like in its appreciation of Avengers and X-Men continuity.

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    Watch all of the big Star Wars announcements live from your couch with our Celebration 2017 live stream!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Apr 13, 2017

    It's time. Star Wars Celebration 2017 has arrived! We're getting a whole weekend of big Star Wars announcements, including some top secret revelations at the 40 Years of Star Wars panel that will kick Celebration off, as well as our very first peek at The Last Jedi, which will debut its first teaser trailer!

    We can also expect to hear lots of news about Star Wars Rebels season 4, witness the world reveal of Star Wars Battlefront 2, and see what Del Rey and Marvel have planned for Star Wars books and comics. 

    Buy all of your Star Wars movies, books, comics, and swag right here!

    If you couldn't make it out to Orlando this year, have faith in the Force - or at least this special live stream of all of the Celebration action. Starting at 11 am ET on Thursday, April 13, you'll be able to watch all of the big Star Wars panels, announcements, and behind-the-scenes footage from the comfort of your living room or at work! The live stream will run all the way through Sunday, April 16 at 5 pm ET, so there will be quite a lot to take in. 

    To kick things off, you can watch the 40 Years of Star Wars panel below:

    The Star Wars Show will be following up the 40 Years of Star Wars panel with an all-day stream live from the convention hall, starting at 12:30 pm ET on Thursday. Check out the stream below:

    Besides the 40 Years of Star Wars panel, we'll also get The Last Jedipanel at 11 am ET on Friday, where Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Rian Johnson will reveal a first look of the film. We expect much of the film's cast will also show up for the fun!

    Saturday brings us a panel and sneak peek at Star Wars Rebels season 4 at 11 am ET. Showrunner Dave Filoni and cast members run us through what the expect from the upcoming season of the animated show. 

    Star Wars Battlefront 2 will have its big world reveal at 2:30 pm ET on Saturday. A trailer for the game leaked earlier this week, but we suspect we'll learn quite a bit more about this Battlefront sequel at the panel. 

    Stay tuned for way more Star Wars news as we learn!

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    We've got your first look at the origin of The Gentlemen!

    News Jim Dandy
    Apr 13, 2017

    We got a chance to give you a sneak preview of the next issue of Astro City, and we jumped at the chance. Confession time: I read my first Astro City only a few months ago, after a buy-one-get-one Comixology sale on DC trades had me hunting for something to even out my binge on the first three collections of Ostrander-Yale Suicide Squad

    I can't believe I waited that long.

    Astro City started out as something between homage and pastiche, and almost immediately moved past that. Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross build a world that is recognizable but fresh at the same time. It's a love letter to the entire history of the comic industry, using nostalgia and familiarity in a way that adds depth to the story without using it as shorthand to fill in the entire picture. Busiek is absolutely masterful in crafting the story, and Anderson's art manages to feel classic while at the same time working from a modern perspective with layouts and pacing. 

    Bottom line: I've got a lot of reading to do, and so do you. Go read this preview!

    Here's what they have to say about this issue:

    ASTRO CITY #43 Written by KURT BUSIEKArt by BRENT ANDERSONCover by ALEX ROSSAt long last, it’s the origin of the Gentleman! Lord Saampa and his Serpent Cult strike in the U.S.…but are they here to serve their scaly god, or to save a soul? And either way, can the Gentleman stop them? Plus: Another incarnation of Astro City’s counterculture champions—this time, one you’ve seen before!

    Astro City #43 is in comic shops on April 19th.

    Check out the preview images here or in the gallery up top:

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    An R-rated Watchmen animated movie? What could possibly go wrong?

    NewsMike Cecchini
    Apr 13, 2017

    Is there an R-rated Watchmen animaed movie in development? Well, there could be. CBR brought a little piece of info from the Warner Bros. A-List Community survey to everyone's attention this afternoon, indicating that they're at least exploring the idea to see if enough people are interested.

    Keep in mind, this is a community survey, not a press release, which described "upcoming made-for-video movie, Watchmen" as "A faithful adaptation of the Watchmen graphic novel executed in an animation style that mirrors the source material (Anticipated MPAA R rating)."

    Representatives for Warner Bros. offered a "no comment" when I inquired about their plans. They have no comment, but I do.

    We are essentially 0-1 on Watchmen adaptations. It took 20 years to bring the most famous "graphic novel" of all time to the screen, and Zack Snyder's 2009 big screen version generally regarded, at best, as a mixed bag. While it's understandable that the studio is looking to see if there's an appetite for a faithful animated adaptation, what could this possibly offer, other than the novelty of seeing this story played out in animated form this time?

    WB's ongoing series of DC Universe Animated movies are often good fun, well animated, and with creative voice casting. While many of them adapt well known DC Comics stories, they're strongest when they don't feel obligated to try and adhere to the letter of their most decorated source material.

    But when they go wrong, they go very wrong. 

    Last year's R-rated animated adaptation of another iconic comic from the 1980s, Batman: The Killing Joke, took a deserved critical beating, both for some problematic creative liberties it took with the material and the fact that the animation itself looked cheap, rushed, and not at all worthy of the Brian Bolland artwork that graced the comic's pages. They blew it with Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, so why should we believe they'd do a better job with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons'Watchmen

    But DC Entertainment as a whole continues to go back to the Watchmen well, notably against the wishes of co-creator Alan Moore. The 2009 movie (which I'll admit is not entirely without redeeming qualities) aside, there have apparently been early talks with Zack Snyder to bring a Watchmen TV series to HBO, DC Comics published an appalling batch of Before Watchmen prequels in 2012, and now there's a looming Justice League/Watchmen crossover in the very near future.

    Watchmen is deserving of every bit of acclaim it has received over the last 30-plus years. But a significant piece of its brilliance is how it deconstructs comics as a form, not just superheroes. The 2009 movie did play with that a little, with its costumes and production design often acting as commentary on the excesses of the pre-Nolan/Singer/Marvel era of superhero movies. So what, exactly, could a Watchmen animated movie offer other than essentially having the story read to us by a cast of celebrities? Furthermore, how faithful could Watchmen be within the 70 minute confines of these direct-to-video efforts? Or would this follow in the footsteps of their Dark Knight Returns adaptation, which was split up into two parts on its initial release? 

    Given the source of this info it's too early to get worked up over this, as it may not even happen. It doesn't sound like a terribly promising idea. Perhaps Rorschach himself would find it amusing that Watchmen rears its head again as we find ourselves in the real world edging closer to nuclear war than we have since the comic was first published, though.

    Anyway, this is the only animated Watchmen we deserve.

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    When will we see Deadpool 2, the Gambit movie, X-Men 7, X-Force, or New Mutants? We have your upcoming X-Men movies schedule right here.

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Apr 14, 2017

    20th Century Fox has a Marvel superhero movie schedule that’s quite nearly as busy as Marvel Studios’ for the next few years. Even with the failure of the FantasticFour, they've got enough X-Men characters to keep everyone neck deep in mutants until further notice. 

    Deadpool was a runaway success for the studio in 2016, and Logan followed in that movie's edgy footsteps. New Mutants and Deadpool 2 are about to go into production, with X-Men: Supernova to follow shortly after. 

    Watch X-Men movies on Amazon

    But as for the other dates on the X-Men movie schedule? That's when things get a little tricky. We've done our best to sort everything out for you, but most of those dates don't have movies tied to them and vice versa. Let's give it a shot anyway.

    Oh, and none of this takes into account the fact that we're getting a new X-Men TV series on Fox this fall.

    March 2, 2018

    Most likely suspect: Deadpool 2

    We have to mention Deadpool 2 here because this is the closest to production. Josh Brolin has just been cast as Cable, so that's a pretty big deal. Drew Goddard is helping out with the script, too, which is a good thing. And it's going into production within the next month or so.

    That means there's a slight chance Deadpool 2 could be finished in time and this March release date could yield similar box office results for another R-rated superhero outing. 

    Watch Deadpool on Amazon

    But still, that's a fast turnaround. Don't be surprised if this date falls off the Marvel/Fox schedule entirely.

    Now, here's where we get into even more uncharted territory. There are currently THREE unclaimed slots on Fox's calendar, which they've reserved for Marvel movies. The dates in question are...

    June 29, 2018

    November 2, 2018

    February 14, 2019

    While it's possible that one of those 2018 dates could end up being the Deadpool 2release, it's equally likely reserved for one of these other upcoming X-Men projects.

    The New Mutants

    Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is directing the New Mutants movie. Boone will also co-write the film with Knate Gawley, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber. This has just entered pre-production, so one of those later 2018 dates seems more likely.   

    The New Mutants were the first of Marvel's X-Men spinoffs in the comics, dealing with a younger crop of gifted youngsters as the core X-Men cast expanded and aged. Danielle Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Cannonball, Magik, and Warlock will all be part of the team, making for a more racially diverse cast than we've seen in most X-Men movies so far.

    Learn more about the New Mutants right here!

    X-Men: Supernova

    Little is known about this at the moment, but it's due to begin production in Montreal later this year. This would be the proper X-Men 7that New Mutants most certainly is not. Simon Kinberg is probably going to direct this one. After Deadpool and New Mutants, this is the closest to production.

    The obvious speculation here is that we'll finally get a version of the Dark Phoenix Saga done properly this time around. We've written extensively about why that's a good idea right here.


    With Logan marking the last time Hugh Jackman will play Wolverine, the X-Men films are bound to find themselves in dire need of a new heroic "face of the franchise" some time in the next five years, and Channing Tatum as Gambit might just be the answer.

    A proven box-office draw like Tatum playing a sly, shady X-Man might be the way to go. Gambit's complex backstory should provide ample fodder for a solo movie, which will apparently focus less on traditional superheroics and more on his background as a thief. Everyone loves Deadpool, but clearly he (the character, not Ryan Reynolds) doesn't have the leading man looks of a Channing Tatum. Lea Seydoux will likely play opposite Tatum as Bella Donna.

    Of course, the big problem here is that Gambit recently lost director Doug Liman, and there is continual chatter that they haven't even gotten the script right yet. Not to mention the fact that they keep moving this troubled project off various release dates. We're sure it will happen eventually, but whether it still involves Liman, Tatum, or Seydoux when it does is another story.


    Jeff Wadlow’s early X-Force draft was met with vocal approval from X-Force co-creator, Rob Liefeld. The above concept art comes from that era of the film's development. The problem is, Mr. Wadlow is no longer involved in this one, but Joe Carnahan just came on board to write a script, and that guy knows action movies. 

    We're going to first meet Cable in Deadpool 2, which will also introduce Zazie Beetz as another X-Force member, Domino. It's possible that X-Force could essentially function as Deadpool 3 if they decide to pursue the same tone.

    Don't expect this one until at least 2019.

    What do you think? What else do you think can make it onto the X-Men movie calendar? Let us know!

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