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    Goodbye Christopher Robin, a biopic about Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne, will star Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Jun 7, 2017

    Goodbye Christopher Robin will showcase the real-life story of author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin Milne in a dynamic that would eventually inspire the creation of the inimitable children’s franchise Winnie the Pooh. Of course, Christopher Robin would serve as the primary inspiration things, as the human boy centered amidst the hijinks of his stuffed animals Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Roo and Eyeore. However, as the film will reveal, the father-son dynamic was apparently a rocky one in real life before they eventually found their way.

    Lest anyone be confused, Goodbye Christopher Robin is a completely separate project from director Marc Forster’s upcoming dramaChristopher Robin in which Ewan McGregor – like Robin Williams’s Peter Pan in Hook– stars as a jaded adult version of the fictional Christopher Robin of Winnie the Pooh lore.

    Goodbye Christopher Robin Poster

    The Goodbye Christopher Robin poster has arrived, proving some artistic context to the batch of film photos released by Fox Searchlight a few months back. Here, the duo of Gleeson’s A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) are seen holding hands against a gold sketchpad-like backdrop as the landmarks of London seemingly start to take shape by way of their heretofore untapped power of imagination.

    Goodbye Christopher Robin Cast

    Domhnall Gleeson plays A.A. Milne, the eventual Winnie the Pooh creator, who is dealing with a troubled relationship with his son Christopher Robin. The Pooh-centric project should also prove to be an intriguing collaborative turn for the white-hot career of Gleeson, who, besides the secured future status of his Star Wars: The Force Awakens character, also recently came off a role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-winning historical suspense thriller The Revenant and also reaped rampant buzz as the main character of Ex Machina alongside Alicia Vikander and his The Force Awakens co-star Oscar Isaac. Amongst the array of projects on Gleeson's docket, he will notably reprise his role as the megalomaniacal General Hux in this December's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

    Margot Robbie plays Daphne Milne, A.A.’s wife. Robbie, the breakout star of 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street has become a repertory leading lady in film such as Focus, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad. She’ll reprise her Suicide role as Harley Quinn in the gestating Gotham City Sirens spinoff and takes a rather intriguing role as a woman leading a double life in the thriller Terminal. Besides upcoming roles in Mary Queen of Scots and Marian, Robbie will lend her voice to the upcoming Peter Rabbit animated feature and will play the notorious Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in the biopic I, Tonya.

    Kelly Macdonald plays Olive. Best known for her 2010-2014 series-spanning run as Margaret Thompson on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Macdonald also achieved prominence as the voice of main character Merida in the 2012 Disney/Pixar hit Brave and for her role in 2007’s No Country for Old Men. Her acting slate currently contains projects such as a TV movie, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, called The Child in Time and director Etan Coen's upcoming take on Doyle's detective, Holmes and Watson, in which she plays a (younger) Mrs. Hudson. Macdonald recently reprised her film debut role from 1996’s Trainspotting asjunkie-drawing jailbait Diane Coulston in the 2017 sequel T2 Trainspotting, with the now-grown character ending up as a solicitor.

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Mary Brown. The dynamic London-born actress currently stars in the Amazon comedy Fleabag, also seen on U.K. shows such as Crashing and Broadchurch. However, Waller-Bridge will, like Gleeson, make a big screen jump into the Star Wars cinematic canon as part of the untitled 2018 Han Solo“Anthology” spinoff film. Interestingly enough, segments of the Doctor Who fandom frequently cite Waller-Bridge as a desirable candidate to – as the first female Doctor – replace the departing Peter Capaldi.

    Will Tilston plays the titular role of 8-year-old Christopher Robin. The film serves as his very first onscreen acting role for the burgeoning child actor.

    Stephan Campbell Moore, Alex Lawther, Richard McCabe, Nico Mirallegro, Geraldine Somerville and Shaun Dingwall also appear in the film.

    Goodbye Christopher Robin Crew

    Simon Curtis serves as director for Goodbye Christopher Robin, working off a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce (The Railway Man, Millions). Curtis was behind the camera for 2015’s World War II-era drama Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, also working on U.K. series such as Black Box, Freezing and Cranford.

    As Curtis commented in a released statement:

    “I am delighted to be collaborating with Frank Cottrell Boyce to tell the remarkable and poignant story of the family behind the creation of Winnie the Pooh. We are assembling a wonderful cast, headed by two actors I am longing to work with – Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie.”

    Goodbye Christopher Robin Story

    Publishing the first Winnie the Pooh story in the December 24, 1925 edition of London’s The Evening News, Milne created one of the most popular and enduring children’s properties in the world from the ursine inspiration of his son Christopher Robin’s teddy bear, which was named after a black bear cub he saw at the zoo. However, don’t look for Goodbye Christopher Robin to be an ebullient, lighthearted tale of a simple man who created a lucrative children’s empire. The film will apparently be a sobering drama about Milne’s troubled family life and his rocky relationship with the aforementioned Christopher Robin, who, of course, manifests as a primary human character in the Pooh lore. The character of the boy’s nanny Olive will also be a primary part of the film’s familial dynamic.

    Goodbye Christopher Robin Release Date

    Goodbye Christopher Robin is scheduled to be released on November 10, 2017.


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    Connie Nielsen confirms that she and Robin Wright will reprise their Wonder Woman roles in Justice League.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Jun 7, 2017

    Warning: Spoilers for Wonder Woman ahead!

    Wonder Woman thankfully gave comic book movie fans some things that were long overdue, namely the first (modern) female-led solo superhero film and a redemption-achieving entry in Warner’s burgeoning DC Comics film continuity that finally managed to live up to its dramatic hype. Upon a successful $103 million domestic opening weekend comes news that we’ll be seeing more from two of the film’s memorable supporting players in this fall’s film crossover event Justice League.

    In an interview with the LA Times, the Wonder Woman cast trio of star Gal Gadot, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright provided some perspective on the film’s impact, namely in their scenes together in the film’s first half, taking place on Themyscira, the mythical island of the Amazons; a gorgeously scenic setting shot in the 9,000-year-old city of Matera in Italy. However, Nielsen, who plays Hippolyta, Queen of Themyscira and mother of Diana/Wonder Woman, divulged an intriguing tidbit about the character's future, namely that she and Robin Wright’s Antiope will have a role in Justice League. With the trio discussing the onscreen mother/daughter relationship between Diana and Hippolyta, the exchange occurs as such:

    Gadot: Of course; the mother and daughter relationship is always a beautiful but complex relationship. I think that there's a lot more to explore.

    Nielsen: And [Wright and I] got to do more in Justice League as well. As sisters as well. Kind of badass as well. We can't say much, but ...

    Wright: And more of the story, you get some of the history.

    While the idea of a character intrinsically connected to one of the Justice League ensemble film’s main characters returning is hardly a surprise, the overall news remains intriguing since Wright’s scene-stealing badass legendary warrior Antiope – the sister of Hippolyta and aunt/sensei to Diana/Wonder Woman – was memorably martyred early in Wonder Woman, killed in a battle with invading German soldiers, fulfilling the Joseph Campbell-esque death of the mentor stage in the Hero’s Journey for Diana.

    While Justice League might undergo some structural changes with Joss Whedon stepping in for Zack Snyder as relief director, the already-shot film will likely cover its character exposition via flashbacks for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck’s Batman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, with the looming presence of Henry Cavill’s Superman, who is prospectively set for a “Reign of the Supermen” style resurrection after his “death” in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

    Indeed, with backstory characters in Diane Lane’s MARTHA! (okay, Martha Kent) and Amber Heard’s Queen Mera also confirmed to appear in Justice League, it does seem that the Hippolyta/Antiope scenes will be similarly flashback-related, expanding what we know of the familial relationship depicted in Wonder Woman, before Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor fatefully pierced the magical veil and crashed his stolen plane off the coast of Themyscira, pursued by some scared/angry Jerrys.

    Wonder Woman is very much in theaters right now. Justice League will see the heroes of Warner’s DC Comics movie universe come together to tackle interdimensional evil from Apokolips when it arrives on November 17.


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    The Wonder Woman movie is here, and that's just the beginning of the DCEU goodness awaiting us, from Justice League to Batman and more!

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    May 31, 2017

    With Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad now in the books, the DC Extended Universe is in full swing. The Wonder Woman movie is nearly here, 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

    Here's an excerpt from our review:

    Wonder Woman takes a page from, dare we say it, the Marvel Cinematic Universe playbook by telling a mostly straightforward origin story. While it is somewhat predictable in its basic structure, the movie also provides the kind of satisfying narrative and character arc missing from its predecessors. And for possibly the first time since the DCEU officially started with 2013’s Man of Steel, the movie features a lead character who unambiguously embraces the call instead of refusing it with aspects of that character’s own personality and history creating more organic conflicts later on. There is also genuine warmth in the relationships that the movie sets up, creating the kind of empathy that was sorely missing from the more nihilistic BvS and Suicide Squad.

    Amazon has all your Wonder Woman needs.

    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, there's zero chance this makes that March release date. 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, and potential directors now include Matthew Vaughn and Robert Zemeckis. The latest is that it's being completely rewritten by Joby Harold. 

    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. Patrick Wilson is Ocean Master and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is Black Manta.

    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...

    Nightwing

    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.

    Batgirl

    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.

    Deadshot

    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.


    Lobo

    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.

    Sandman

    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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    Hey, you thought making another Civil War comic was unnecessary? You ain't seen nothing yet.

    PreviewGavin Jasper
    Jun 8, 2017

    Several years ago, Marvel released a miniseries called Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Written by Cullen Bunn, who is always writing a Deadpool miniseries at any given moment, it was...mediocre at best. The story depicted an alternate universe where that world’s Deadpool became a nihilist and dedicated himself to killing all the heroes and villains in order to unmake reality. Bunn followed it up with Deadpool Killustrated, where our demented protagonist went after characters from literary classics. This culminated in Deadpool Kills Deadpool, a story that seemed to exist purely to kill off the Deadpool Corps.

    Remember Deadpool Corps? Lady Deadpool? Kidpool? That flying zombie head? Anyone?

    Anyway, Bunn gradually became a better writer over time and the landscape of Marvel itself has changed a lot since those comics came out. Heroes are either accompanied by extra versions of themselves or replaced with altered takes. I mean, we went from having Wolverine to having his daughter as a replacement, an older version of himself from an alternate future, and Sabretooth being a Wolverine stand-in. Deadpool himself went from being a side-character from the X-Men corner of Marvel to an Avenger who pals around with Spider-Man on a regular basis.

    Cullen Bunn will be back in the saddle, this time with Dalibor Talajic on art, as he writes Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again. This time it’s another universe and yet another Deadpool (though with the same taste in red diaper tights as his predecessor) who has lost his marbles. Due to what appears to be a run-in with MODOK, he goes on a killing spree and we get to see an All-New All-Different bloodbath.

    Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again will be released in July. Check out some of the covers and interior art below.

    Your first look at the new series by Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic

    New York, NY—June 6, 2017—If you’re Deadpool and you kill the entire Marvel Universe, why not eat some chimichangas…and then kill all over again? Proving there’s nothing like revenge, the superstar team of Cullen Bunn (X-Men Blue, Venomverse) and Dalibor Talajic (Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, Redwolf) reunite to bring you Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again, and the Merc with the Mouth has never been more ready to return to that katana.

    “This is not a sequel to the original story,” warns series writer Cullen Bunn. “This is an all new murderous rampage. The Marvel Universe has changed a great deal since the first series. So, of course, Deadpool had to up his game and change his tactics.”

    How so? “Deadpool is pulling out all the stops on this killing spree,” continues Bunn. “In the second issue of the original series, he killed Spider-Man. In the second issue of this series, he goes after the entire Spider-Man family. And that's not all. Good ol' Wade is approaching these kills in all new ways, and he's going after huge targets. How does Deadpool kill an entire pantheon of mythic beings? You'll find out in the first issue. And that's just the beginning of the carnage.”

    Of course, if you’re Wade Wilson, it doesn’t mean things are going to be easy – especially when you’re on a mission to kill the X-Men, the Avengers, Gwenpool, Spider-Man, and more! You’re not going to want to miss this all-new five-issue series, Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again, hitting comic shops this July!

    Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe AGAIN #1 (of 5) (MAY17089)

    Written by CULLEN BUNN
    Art by DALIBOR TALAJIC
    Cover by DAVE JOHNSON
    Variant Cover by JAY FOSGITT (MAY170822)
    Variant Cover by PEPE LARRAZ (MAY170821)
    Variant Cover by MICHAEL WALSH (MAY170820)

    Gavin Jasper is always creeped out when they draw Deadpool with normal eyes peeking out of the mask. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    How Fear the Walking Dead might give rise to the Whisperers, the gruesome enemies from The Walking Dead comics.

    Feature David S.E. Zapanta
    Jun 8, 2017

    This article contains spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead, for The Walking Dead season 7, and for issues 132-157 of Image's The Walking Dead comic book.

    When talking about spin-offs, whether they be TV shows or books or movies or video games, it's hard not to think about the intellectual properties that beget burgeoning multimedia empires. In the case of Robert Kirkman's mega-successful Image comic, The Walking Dead, the title has produced novels, toys, games, and yes, a spin-off show on AMC.

    Though not nearly the blockbuster that TWD is, FTWD is nevertheless on its third season. While it's definitely set in the same TWD universe, as of the season 3 premiere, Madison, Travis, Nick, et al find themselves close to the border with Mexico—a far cry from the Washington, D.C. metro area that Rick and company currently occupy. And while Rick and crew have weathered a few years of the zombie apocalypse, Madison's group is still in the early months of the world's collapse. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as FTWD doesn't benefit from being a clone of the original show.

    And yet, as much as I love FTWD (as my review of the season 3 premiere will attest), I do think Fear could benefit from a more direct tie to TWD. To my mind, the best way to do this is have the Whisperers, a massive band of wanderers who camouflage themselves in walker hides and roam the countryside among the dead, originate on FTWD. It's not as farfetched as it seems, especially given the notion that Kirkman himself has hinted that the Whisperers—already major players in the comic—will eventually turn up to threaten Rick and company in the show as well. Whether that happens in season eight remains to be seen. But in the meantime, that allows Kirkman and FTWD showrunner Dave Erickson to lead someone from the spin-off down a path that will give rise to the Whisperers.

    Initially, as I sat down to write this, I had Madison (Kim Dickens) firmly in mind as Alpha, the Whisperers' fierce, tough-minded leader. Madison is definitely no pushover. We saw her take the reins of control in the seaside hotel last season, laying down laws even as she coordinated a successful purge of walkers from the resort. We've seen her commit morally questionable deeds to protect her family—like locking Celia in with walkers. Plus, she has a daughter, just as Alpha does. While Alpha's daughter Lydia gets treated as property by her mother—freely being offered up to the men in the group, I don't (and wouldn't want to) see a similar fate befalling Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). If FTWD's writers go this route, this is certainly one story element I hope they jettison. Some people may argue that Madison isn't nearly ruthless enough to be Alpha, but consider Carol's stunning (yet believable) transformation from mousy, battered wife to postapocalyptic badass throughout TWD's seven-year run. Plus, we're already seeing shades of Rick Grimes at the start of Fear'sthird season with the Clarks' arrival at Broke Jar Ranch. 

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    Of course, there might be an even more obvious choice for Alpha: Nick (Frank Dillane). While some viewers find him flighty, flakey, and impulsive, there's no denying that Nick's developed a weird camaraderie with the zombie horde. Not only does he wear their guts in many of the episodes, but he also walks alongside them. There's a scene in the season 2 episode “Grotesque” in which Nick is shambling with a horde of zombies that begin whispering to him (or so he believes). But let's back up a bit here and consider the hows and whys that lead to Nick traveling with a pack of walkers.

    Earlier in season two, in “Ouroboros,” Nick is inadvertently doused in spilled zombie blood, and quickly discovers the blood makes walkers see him as one of their own. Anyone who watches TWD is already familiar with this trick. We saw it first in season one’s “Guts,” in which Rick and Glenn slather themselves in liberal amounts of zombie blood and viscera to blend in with a walker horde. And it works! It works so well that one wonders why this isn't more of a regular occurrence on TWD. Reportedly, then-showunner Frank Darabont was opposed to relying too much on this device, which is both a good and bad call. Good, in the sense that it offers a magical get out of jail free card to Rick and company, thereby robbing the series of much of its necessary tension and drama. And bad, in the sense that if I found a foolproof way to survive in the zombie apocalypse, I'd always be smeared in walker guts. (Or at the very least, sporting riot gear and/or rocking a duct-tape suit.)

    FTWD has no such qualms having Nick spend a large amount of screen time wearing his zombie "blood suit." Let's not forget that Nick is a recovering drug addict, either. In the apocalypse, his new high comes not from pills, but from walking among the dead. To do this, he transcends the outward trappings of his blood suit by essentially embracing the macabre thrill of zombie role-playing. And when you consider the Whisperers' penchant for masquerading as the dead, isn't this just an extreme, perverse form of cosplaying?

    To Nick, zombies aren't the real threat—it's the living that pose the biggest danger. So it's only natural that he'd find comfort and safety among the dead. He's even eaten their leftovers, scavenging meat from a freshly killed dog's carcass. Sure, he's half-starved and battling heat exhaustion at this point, but Nick is unworried that the zombie infection might be passed on by saliva. The bottom line, despite the show's title, is that Nick does not fear the walking dead. Like Celia and Alejandro, he believes the undead are just the next stage of mankind's evolution.

    It's this casual, carefree mindset that suggests how Nick could easily found the Whisperers. One would imagine that in its nascent days, the Whisperers would exist solely as a means to an end for surviving the apocalypse. Under Nick's early guidance, the group would be peaceful, its ranks growing in number only as more people saw the logic in blending in with the dead. If the show did go this route, it's doubtful that Madison would follow Nick, at least not for very long. But it's possible Alicia could remain, to keep a watchful eye on her brother. If he were to become the Alpha, who's to say she couldn't become his Beta? Who knows, maybe if and when FTWD crosses over with TWD, why couldn't Alicia and Carl become a couple, much like he and Lydia do in the comic? That is, assuming Alicia survives - because right now, at the start of season three, she's grappling with the emotional fallout not only from struggling to survive, but watching loved ones die.

    Could characters from FTWD really end up meeting with Rick and company down the line? First, there's the matter of geography. Nick, Alicia, and Madison are west of the Continental Divide, Rick and his group to the east of it. Fuel is a dwindling resource in the postapocalyptic world. People may be making bullets, but they're certainly not refining gas (at least not yet). So bridging the distance between the two groups poses the kind of daunting task generally undertaken by Hobbits.

    Then there's the matter of time. FTWD is a couple of years behind TWD's current timeline. And the latter show's timeline is a few years behind that of the comic. If TWD remains faithful to the comic, a big time jump is inevitable. Until then, the Whisperers aren't really supposed to enter the picture for quite some time yet. So for Nick or Madison to found the Whisperers and to catch up to TWD both in distance and time, the very nature of FTWD exploring the early days of the apocalypse would have to be all but abandoned. There would need to be a time jump in the spin-off, as well.

    Which leads to my last theory as to who might be the most logical choice to become Alpha and lead the Whisperers—namely TWD's own Jadis.

    Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her group of oddball scavengers were introduced in season seven, mostly as a means for Rick to bolster his ranks in his escalating fight with Negan and his Saviors. This is all well and good, but Jadis and her junkyard minions eventually turned on Rick in a last-minute, jaw-dropping betrayal. Hell, Jadis even shot Rick and kicked him off a wall. If that doesn't scream bad blood, I don't know what does. What it does do, more than anything, is set the stage for a brand new enemy. It also keeps the Whisperers in-house, as it were, without having to muddy up timelines or bring in characters from FTWD.

    While this last theory may be a bit of a long shot, it's also the most practical, organic way of bringing an important faction to a show deeply entrenched in its own complicated mythos. Only time will tell if any of these theories will bear themselves out. In the meantime, we'll continue to follow Nick's slow shamble toward what might very well be his destiny on The Walking Dead...


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    Ant-Man and the Wasp has added Killyjoys star Hannah John-Kamen for what is being called "key role" in the Marvel sequel.

    News Den Of Geek Staff
    Jun 8, 2017

    Ant-Man, released in 2015, represented the culmination of nearly a decade of delays, directorial shake-ups and numerous script revisions. Showcasing a most unlikely of cinematic centerpieces with a version of Marvel’s proportionally protean Avenger team member, the payoff would be substantial, yielding a $519.3 million global gross.

    Now, director Peyton Reed returns behind the camera for sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp with star Paul Rudd as the insect-size-shrinking hero, joined atop the marquee by Evangeline Lilly, who – as revealed in the first film’s mid-credits scene – will assume the role of the sequel’s co-titular Wasp in a scale-shattering team-up blockbuster.

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe's smallest (and biggest) superhero(es) will be back in front of cameras in July and there are no surprises when it comes to the shoot location for the sequel - Atlanta's Pinewood facility, which has been the home of many-a-Marvel production to date.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Latest News

    Hannah John-Kamen will join the cast of Ant-Man and the Wasp for what will apparently be a “key role” in the film, reports Variety. For now, that is the extent of what is known about John-Kamen’s casting in the Marvel cinematic sequel.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp is one of the increasingly prestigious projects booked for the U.K.-born Hannah John-Kamen, known for her role on the space-set Syfy ensemble series Killjoys, which returns for Season 3 on June 30. John-Kamen has been notably seen in two separate episodes of the popular horror anthology series Black Mirror, fielded a recurring role on Game of Thrones in 2016’s Season 6 and played a nameless First Order officer in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    However, bigger prospects lie ahead for John-Kamen with a role in director Steven Spielberg’s 2018 video game-centric sci-fi thriller Ready Player One and a supporting role in director Roar Uthaug’s 2018 Tomb Raider reboot film, which stars Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft.  

    Indeed, for Hannah John-Kamen, the mysterious Ant-Man and the Wasp role will be quite the MCU feather in a career cap that’s rapidly filling.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Cast

    No surprises here. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Peña will all reprise their Ant-Man roles, as will their characters' sagely overseer Michael Douglas, who revealed the state of his goatee on Facebook in his confirmation for the production's July 2017 kickoff.

    Additionally, the nigh-ubiquitous David Dastmalchian returns, as will rapper/actor T.I.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Villain

    Mr. Reed confirmed at a press event for the Ant-Man Blu-ray last year (with Den of Geek's Don Kaye in attendance) that they already have a "definite take" on who the villain will be this time around.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Release Date

    Ant-Man and the Waspopens on July 6th, 2018.


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    We have your first look as Rucka & Evely close in on the end.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Jun 9, 2017

    DC sent along an exclusive preview of the upcoming Wonder Woman #24, the second to last issue of Greg Rucka's run as writer on the title, which continues to tie up the last of these story threads from the last year.

    Here's the official solicitation info from DC, and you can check out the preview pages in the galleries at the top and bottom of this page:

    WONDER WOMAN #24 Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY • Variant cover by JENNY FRISONRetailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.“Godwatch” epilogue! With Godwatch’s purpose fulfilled, Diana and Cale are forced to confront the choices of the past…and a new direction for the future.

    Since Rebirth kicked off, Wonder Woman, with its interweaving stories, has been a perfect introduction to Diana and her world for anyone just coming to the comics because they're interested in the movie. But there's something more important about Diana's universe that I want to discuss:

    While Wonder Woman the movie was a triumph, when was the last time you went to see a comic book movie and could immediately go to the shop and grab a perfect distillation of that movie's themes and musings on its central character the way you could with this movie and last week's Wonder Woman Annual? I very nearly popped over to my shop, gave my crew a $20 and said "give the annual to the next 4 kids under 12 who walk through that door."

    Rucka and Nicola Scott's story about the first encounter of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman was incredible, but each story in the annual did a terrific job of examining a component of Diana's character and showing why she is unique and powerful not only in her fights with kaiju or against the Markovian army, but as a symbol and a part of the DCU as a whole. A lot of the credit goes to the individual storytelling teams - Rucka and Scott on the Trinity origin; Vita Ayala and Claire Roe (who is AMAZING) on the King Shark story in Markovia; Michael Moreci and Stephanie Hans on one about Diana's honor; and Jackson Lanzig, Colin Kelley and David LaFuente on one about Diana's battle with a kaiju - but we should send some similar praise to the editorial team, who scheduled, planned and facilitated this book in a way that will certainly capture new fans of Diana's.

    Wonder Woman #24, the second to last issue of Greg Rucka's run and the beginning of the end wrapping up multiple big storylines, is due out on Wednesday, June 14th.

    Check out what he and Bilquis Evely have put together:


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    The Black Panther trailer takes us to places we've never been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's everything we caught.

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Jun 9, 2017

    It’s here! Marvel has released the trailer for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. And while it’s hard to get excited for anything after watching J.R. Smith brick off-balance three point shots for a quarter (they debuted the trailer in the middle of the first quarter of the NBA Finals game), holy socks this trailer is amazingAnd as always, we picked through it to find every interesting shot, reference and sequence for you!

    But first, maybe you should watch the trailer if you haven't already because, as we just mentioned, it rules.


    Take a look.

    We start the trailer being introduced (or reintroduced, if you want) to Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaw and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross. Serkis previously played Klaw (also conveniently his supervillain name) in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #53, where he stole vibranium from Wakanda, murdered T’Challa’s father and got his hand chopped off. He then replaced it with a sonic gun and turned himself into a robot made of solid sound, something that will probably not happen here.

    Ross made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. He was created by Priest and Kenny Martinez in Ka-Zar, and brought back in the pages of Priest’s legendary run as writer on Black Panther in 1999. He’s a medium-high level State Department employee given the responsibility of guiding T’Challa around New York, where he then gets roped into fights with Mephisto, Atlantis, Man Ape, and Iron Man, and sits in on a diplomatic meeting between Black Panther, Dr. Doom, Namor, and Magneto. Needless to say, Priest’s run, which seems to have heavily influenced this movie, was awesome.

    Klaw is explaining to Ross that Wakanda’s perception as a third world country is a front, as we get to see glimpses of the country from T’Challa’s perspective, and it looks incredible. The visuals seem to draw strong influence from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first two arcs on Black Panther (which have set the status quo for Wakanda in the rest of the Marvel Universe).


    Coates has spent a lot of time delving into Wakandan geography and society. It’s a hyper-advanced, with diverse cultures and a deep connection to the geography. It’s also generally hidden from the rest of the world, something we saw in the post-credits scene in Civil War.

    Black Panther gets shot up by (presumably) Klaw’s gang, but the bullets bounce off of him and he kicks the hell out of them. His suit is made of woven vibranium, an incredibly strong, valuable metal found only in a meteor that crashed in Wakanda a long time ago. Wakanda is the only source of vibranium on Earth, and it’s the source of their tremendous technological advancements.

    Hey you know how badass Michonne is? Multiply that by a million. Check out Danai Gurira as Okoye. T’Challa is the King of Wakanda, and he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and of course, we met him in Captain America: Civil War last year on screen).

    Okoye is a member of the Dora Milaje, the King’s all-woman royal guard. We’ll see more of them throughout the trailer. For example...


    Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje were created by Priest and Mark Texiera in 1998.

    Here we see Forest Whitaker as Zuri, who in the comics was a warrior ally of T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and predecessor as Black Panther).

    This is Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger. Killmonger first showed up in Don McGregor and Rich Buckler’s Jungle Action in 1973, where it was revealed that his father was forced to help Klaw in his initial raid on Wakanda, and he and his family were exiled for it. He developed a hatred of the Black Panther, and turned himself into evil Batman - peak physical condition, genius strategist, science-ey guy - to fight him. It makes sense that Killmonger would be breaking Klaw out of jail here.


    Here's a look at him without the mask, presumably about to pay for the previous crimes in this sharp-looking Wakandan throne room...

    He's not the only villain in the movie, though...

    That's Winston Duke as M'Baku. In the comics, M'Baku was originally an Avengers villain known as Man-Ape, created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. He’s super fast and super strong, and has tried to lead many a coup against the throne.

    From behind, this looks like Man Ape has captured Ramonda and Everett Ross. 

    Here we see Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, a Dora Milaje guard...

    She’s walking through a casino that Okoye then rips up and oh my god you guys this might be the best Marvel trailer yet.


    Angela Bassett is playing Ramonda, T’Challa’s stepmother and Queen Mother of Wakanda. They nailed so much of the look of Wakanda and Black Panther’s world here, it’s incredible. She looks like Brian Stelfreeze drew her.


    Shuri! T’Challa’s sister (and eventual Black Panther herself) shows up here, packing panther-glove-cannons. She was created by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. in 2005, became Panther in 2009, and has had quite a rid all in all. She’s played by Letitia Wright.

    And that’s that! Did we miss anything? Guess wrong about plot points? Did we inspire you to go track down Priest’s run on Black Panther? Let us know in the comments!



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    The Droids animated series is a forgotten yet essential chapter in Star Wars history.

    Feature Stephen Harber
    Jun 10, 2017

    Droids is a tragically forgotten piece of Star Wars culture. Taking into account that the show has basically been disowned, in part because it’s incredibly dated, this cartoon about two droids wandering around desert planets getting into trouble isn’t likely to get the acclaim it deserves anytime soon. Which is funny. Droids happens to be an influential relic from the younger days of a rapidly growing multimedia franchise that didn’t know what to do with itself.

    The fingerprints of this obscure Saturday morning cartoon can be seen in just about everything that followed it, from the novels to the Dark Horse comics, to the prequels and The Force Awakens. Droids isn’t just an animated series that caters to a younger crowd, it’s actually a gateway drug that intiated its audience into the upper echelons of the Star Wars expanded universe. It’s about time humanoids and automatons alike started treating it that way.

    A long time ago (1985) in a galaxy that…kind of looked like this one, actually, the Star Wars universe was not yet the enormous place overpopulated with oddly named yet marketable creatures that it is today. Back in those days, the SW experience consisted of the original trilogy films, the toyline, the Marvel comics, a few forgettable tie-in books with awesome looking covers, and that one nutty Christmas special. If you wanted to fully immerse yourself in the Star Wars experience, all you needed were a few tiny action figures, your memories of what happened on the big screen, and those gratuitous clips of TIE fighter battles spliced into the occasional episode of Muppet Babies. Remember those?

    Buy all your Star Wars movies, books, comics, and merch here!

    Return of the Jedi had already come and gone, and Kenner needed a way to continue making money off of the Star Wars brand. The Power of the Force toyline was a quick cash grab that consisted of already released action figures repackaged with gold coins, and that just wasn't fun. Since there wouldn’t be another feature film to fuel merchandise for another fifteen years, something had to be done to make sure the most profitable media franchise ever stayed profitable for everyone involved. Lucasfilm also needed to keep that easy cash flow going, so what was the win-win here?

    A Saturday morning cartoon about Star Wars, of course. And it was about damn time. Enter Droids, the animated series chronicling the galactic misadventures of everyone’s favorite artificially intelligent comic relief characters: C-3PO and R2-D2. George Lucas had been developing this show with animation studio Nelvana for a couple years now - along with a sister show, Ewoks - to air on the ABC network. After working on the cartoon short from the notorious holiday special (which introduced us to Boba Fett), Lucas knew he wanted to work with the company again to keep feeding his multi-million dollar baby that was once just a kooky avant garde film. And so, with ideas of how to construct a universe zooming around in his head like so many X-Wings rushing to poorly guarded exhaust ports, he did.

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    But after spending less than a decade caught up in the whirlwind of creating a pop culture revolution, Lucas wasn’t keen on his involvement with the series being too “hands on.” Ready to work on other projects like Willow and Labyrinth, he was willing to let others tell new stories about our beloved talking tin cans. Thus, Lucas recruited the likes of Paul Dini, Ken Stephenson, Raymond Jafelice, and Peter Sauder to find creative direction for the first two animated Star Wars series ever.

    Although nowhere near as grandiose as today’s animated Star Warsepics like Clone Wars or Rebels, Droids is fairly high concept for an ‘80s cartoon. Perhaps not as much as its syndicated contemporaries of the time, like Jayce and the Wheeled Warriorsor even Thundercats, but when compared to the rest of the shows from its sleepy programming block (like reruns of Looney Tunes, Superfriends and The Littles), Droids was ambitious.

    The fundamental concept of the series affected its formula, themes, stories, tone, everything. Because Artoo and Threepio would spend their time wandering around the galaxy in search of new “masters” who have their own quests to undertake, there’s no consistent status quo. This is nothing to bat an eye at these days, but in the simpler time that was the 1980s cartoon golden age, it was jarring. Most of the cartoons from that era had cute good guys arguing with grumpy bad guys against a neon-colored backdrop. (Sorry, Ewoks…) Droids, however, was the antidote to this. 

    What about Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie? Sorry, clone cadets. Those crazy kids weren’t invited to this party. Droids takes place in the years between Episode III and IV, the “Rise of the Empire” era - or it’s supposed to anyway. As it’s not canon anymore (thanks to Darth Mouse), I don’t know what to make of it. Fortunately enough, Anthony Daniels agreed to return and lend his vocal chords to the soundscape of the cartoon, alongside a theme song by The Police’s Stewart Copeland that was set the tone of the series quite well, despite its contemporary sound.

    So what if the show had to fill a Skywalker shaped void every so often? It was still fascinating to see what crazy stuff RD-D2 and C-3PO got into next. Droids was designed to be an adventure serial in the purest sense of the term, and the show finally gave fans the freedom to explore the Star Wars universe after spending years imagining what the rest of it looked like.

    And yet, despite having a lot of very exciting concepts going for it, the actual experience of watching Droids was frequently more monotonous and oddly sad than I expected. I mean, watching C-3PO be whored out during a slave auction and later forced to clean up bantha sh*t while everyone else is asleep isn’t the most uplifting material to eat your Corn Pops to.

    It could have been a lot worse, though. Artoo and Threepio actually did manage to find employment by quite a few generous masters over the show’s run, even if they weren’t what we would call “memorable” or “of importance” - or hell, even “three dimensional.” Each one of them gives us good vibes, but that doesn’t stop them from being knock-off versions of better characters from the Original Trilogy. Sure, they look different in visual design, but they share the same gallantly rebellious streak that it’s hard not to draw comparisons. There was at least one moment in each of the thirteen episodes in which I stopped and thought,”Uh huh, great, but how friggin’ awesome would it be if Luke and Leia were here instead of Bekky Tooshbottom and Wenis Lampo?”

    Okay, so those aren't actual character names from Droids. No, the real ones were much more forgettable than that. Trust me. But they were nice people who always treated their slaves...uh , I mean, robots...er, I mean, droids well.

    Also, each “master” had their quests, too, which motivated them enough to have character arcs of their very own. Gasp! That’s nothing short of a miracle for the very sugary, very un-serialized climate of mid-’80s Saturday morning TV.

    Droids covered a ton of ground for a TV show that ran for only one brief season of just thirteen episodes. By the time I finished watching all of it, I felt as if I had watched the equivalent of maybe double that - in a good way. Its singular season is broken up into three major story arcs or “cycles” that center on three separate groups of masters. Each cycle is made up of three to four different standalone episodes that are chapters in their respective storylines. Whew. Need a minute?

    Let's talk about each of these story cycles one by one.

    THE FIRST STORY ARC (Episodes 1-4)

    The initial story cycle of Droids kicks off at a strong pace, burning through the first four episodes in no time. Our little orphan droids get adopted by a couple of speeder bike racers named Jord Dusat and Thall Joben on a desert planet. The gang later joins forces with a Rebel Spy named Kea Moll (aka diet Princess Leia) to stop the evil Fromm gang from using a weapons satellite called the Trigon One. After they prevent the evildoers from...whatever they were going to do with that, our temporary team of heroes wind up being targeted by Boba Fett in a high stakes speeder race, thanks to the relentlessness of those pesky Fromms. (Damn you, Tiggy Fromm!)

    First of all, speeder bikes? How RotJ is that? Second of all, desert planet? This is basically remaking A New Hopebefore The Force Awakensdid. Well, not exactly. The conflict that plays out between the, um, speed biker gang and the Fromms may have dire consequences for the galaxy, but it’s nothing as impactful as blowing up five planets. Since this story arc introduced smaller scale storytelling in the Star Wars universe, it was now okay for all characters to act more like humans and less like archetypal embodiments of cosmic forces. Or something.

    Let’s talk about those Fromms. As Star Wars bad guys go, the Fromm gang is more on the Jabba the Hutt end of the spectrum than the imposing Empire side. In other words, they're not that threatening. The leader Tiggy (or Tig, as he prefers to be called) is on the whiny side. And he has daddy issues. But these traits are what made him so unique when compared with the rest of the Droidsrogue gallery, and might be why he still has weird fan art made about him to this day.

    As heroes go, Thall Joban and Jord Dusat are nice dudes. They’re the kind of peripheral characters who seem intriguing when you catch a glance of them walking around in the background of a scene on Tatooine or something. But when you actually spend time with them? Not as interesting as you’d hoped they’d be. Indeed, they take both the droids and us on an decent adventure that feels Star Wars-y enough, but there's an aggravating vacuum where their personalities should be. Yes, they’ve got character traits and edgy hair styles and a landspeeder mysteriously named The White Witch. But what do they have inside? What defines Thall Joban? How is he different from everyone else in Star Wars? Why is he someone we can trust? We don’t really know, as he and his colleagues suffer from classic Saturday morning superficiality syndrome. But that comes with the territory here. 

    THE SECOND STORY ARC (Episodes 5-9)

    In the second story cycle, C-3PO and R2-D2 are rescued along with a mysterious android from a slave auction on Tyne’s Horky (yes, another desert planet with another f**ked up name) by a young miner named Jann Tosh. After taking them back home and introducing them to his Yosemite Sam-in-space uncle Putch Gundarian, Tosh and the boys are shocked to discover that the nameless android is in fact Mon Jalupa, the missing prince of Tammuz-an in disguise. This revelation sets off a chain of events that take up the next five consecutive episodes, each one expanding the Star Wars universe significantly more than the last. Talk about world building. I can’t imagine how kids felt back when this was airing.

    This follow-up arc improved greatly on the last. The first cycle is a classic in its own right, but the second is more engaging to watch as its plot kept evolving, and the stakes kept getting higher. Plus, it involved the Rebellion, and we're all familiar with that crowd. It conjured up the same New Hope iconography, again much like The Force Awakens, to good effect.

    Speaking of which, this cycle also has something else in common with Episode VII: its main villain basically has the same name as Kylo Ren except for one tiny letter. 

    KYBO REN.

    Look, Kybo Ren and Kylo Ren are nothing alike whatsoever. I’m not suggesting that they share any characteristics - at all. They’re like granny smith apples and blood oranges: you can’t compare them, they taste so different, and one is more plump and juicy than the other. I'm just asking, why are their names so similar?

    Was J.J. Abrams sitting around in the writer’s retreat at Skywalker Ranch, being all, “Nah, forget about calling him Jedi Killer. Let's name him after that one fat guy from Droids. You know who I'm talking about. The Genghis Kahn looking one. Remember him? I loved that show, man. Can you make him look like Darth Revan, though? Knights of the Old Republicwas so dope. Thanks.”

    Either way, Kybo Ren (or Gir Kybo Ren-Cha) was a space pirate that, like the Fromm gang before him, was made from the same villainous yet slimey cloth as Jabba the Hutt. He’s another one of those dastardly underworld criminals with no redeeming value whatsoever, yet plenty of resources at his disposal. On paper he sounds bad to the bone, but in action? He’s basically the type of silly bad guy you’d see on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As such, I had a hard time taking the overweight stereotypical Asian man with the ridiculous Fu Manchu moustache seriously. His pirate crew? Sad to say, I don’t remember them much, despite having just marathoned this show recently. Hmm. That says a lot.

    As “masters” go, Jann Tosh was pretty decent, as was Jessica Meade, the adventurous freighter pilot who has my vote for weirdest Star Wars name ever. She was basically a cross between Han Solo and Princess Leia. Meanwhile, Jann was somewhere in the middle of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. That's the only way to accurately describe these characters, since 1.) we couldn’t focus on them for long and 2.) they’re ‘80s cartoons, so they’re not that captivating. One defining characteristic of Jann that I can be certain of, is that he didn’t like wearing any undershirts.

    THE THIRD STORY ARC (Episodes 10-13)

    The third and final story cycle just might be Droids’ best. It introduced us to the droids’ favorite master of all time: Mungo Baobab. I think it’s because he has the most fun name to say out of anyone on the show. I mean, it’s fun to say even in your own head. Repeat it to yourself for 30 seconds. I dare you not to smile.

    Mungo is a galaxy class merchant whose family runs the infamous Baobab Merchant Fleet. Throughout the final four episodes of the series, Mungo drags Artoo and Threepio along with him on his quest to find a trade route to the Roon System in order to acquire more Roonstones, which apparently were hot sh*t. Also, doesn't he kind of look like Jesus to you? 

    After successfully traversing the Cloak of the Sith and outsmarting the Empire’s troops, Mungo was able to find passage to the Roon System with R2-D2 and C-3PO’s help. But once there, his search for the source of the Roonstones was constantly interrupted by General Koong and his Storm Troopers. As he continued his borderline obsessive search for the Roonstones, Mungo questions whether or not his treasure hunt is really even worth it, making important realizations about what truly matters in life in the process. (Or something.)

    The final chapter of the show was the most ambitious of all, outdoing even the ambitious scope of Jann’s arc managed to accomplish. This is the point where the show came to life and started hitting its stride. If Droids had continued on for a second season, surely it wouldn’t have been a bad idea if Mr. Baobab stuck around for at least another arc or two. As a protagonist, Mungo’s character served as the nice grounding presence the show needed, a real swashbuckler. He was a high ranking businessman whose code of honor and civic responsibility didn’t clash with his adventurous spirit, and felt more like leader you could look up to than the younger misfits from before. Bottom line here is, Mungo Baobab had his sh*t together.

    Another reason why this last story cycle was so great? It had a villain with a familiar face: the Empire itself. General Koong is the best bad guy out of the whole series, period. If Ranier Wolfcastle and Dolph Lundgren had a lovechild that suffered third degree burns and was given cyborg reconstitution to survive, I figure he’d look a lot like Koong. How can you go wrong with a villain like him? I know his Storm Troopers used laser rods instead of guns to blast our heroes, but that’s nothing big. Blame ABC’s Standards & Practices for that, not Lucasfilm.

    THE TV SPECIAL

    After the thirteenth and final episode aired in November of 1985, the Droids saga was suddenly over. There was an hour-long animated special called “The Great Heep” which was supposed to air for the holidays a month later in December, but for some curious reason, it was pushed back until June of the following year. When it did finally air in the summer of ‘86, it got the lowest ratings of that week, not to mention the lowest ratings out of any TV special that aired that season. Ouch.

    This decision fries my circuitboards. “The Great Heep” is probably the best segment that came out of the Droids television series for a couple reasons. One, its extended running time gives it the luxury of moving along at a much less stilted pace. You don’t get bored and nothing feels rushed like it did week-to-week. The second is that "Heep" focuses directly on droid culture. In every single episode of the show, Artoo and Threepio are doing what they do best - tagging along with humans and doing cute stuff to provide comic relief amongst all the hard sci-fi action that’s going on around them. In “Heep”, they get to interact with other droids more than they usually do, which is something I wish we got to see in the episodes proper. (It was called Droids, was it not?)

    In the special, R2-D2 and C-3PO travel to a planet called Biitu to rendezvous with Mungo, but they don’t know that he’s been imprisoned by a gigantic droid who goes by the name of The Great Heep. Heep also captures the two droids and forces C-3PO to be part of his, um, lube crew while pampering Artoo by putting the little cutie in his droid harem. There, Artoo meets KT-10, his first and only love interest (okay, so that may be debatable.) But that’s what Heep does to all of the R2 units before he eats them to survive…

    This special hits emotional beats that any self-respecting animated feature film would, including splitting up our heroes and giving us a fake-out death moment. Why was this special never given a wide home video release in the U.S., Lucasfilm?! Seriously, it’s like they think it’s as bad as the Holiday Special or something. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, yeah, it is kind of weird in that it introduces us to the concept of Droid harems, and that Fidge kid and his pet Chubb were kind of annoying. But come on! There are way worse things that have been released under the Star Warsbrand since then and you know it.

    THE COMICS

    While Droids was trying to force kids to appreciate its lofty quirks on the airwaves with perpetual reruns, the series branched out into other forms of media. From ‘86-87, Star Comics (the shortlived Marvel imprint that published mostly cartoon tie-ins for a younger audience) ran a monthly series based on Droids. Because it was built on the same premise as the TV show, there were no set “masters” featured throughout its entire run. Each issue revolved around Artoo and Threepio being tossed around between little cartoony brats and aliens that were very un-Star Wars like in appearance. Marvel pulled some crazy sh*t during their original Star Wars run, but at least they ran wild with creative freedom. Droids was based on an animated TV series with a very distinct visual style that wasn’t seen in the panels of the comics whatsoever. It was like the droids were stuck in some demented cartoon candy land and could never escape their cutesy tormentors, which winds up being more unintentionally disturbing than the show ever was.

    At one point, there was an Ewokscrossover published, and no, it’s definitely not canon. I haven’t seen any of the Ewoks series at this point, so I can’t confirm that it’s in line with the tone or spirit of that series at all. What I can tell you, however, is that its plot is pretty friggin’ bizarre.

    Artoo and Threepio find themselves on a diplomatic mission to the planet Sooma, which appears to be populated by bad guys ripped straight out of an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon. There they get tricked into delivering an incredibly irritating amphibious child named Prince Plooz back to his home planet when they get attacked by his father’s space fleet. As they try to escape using the hyperdrive, they inadvertently blast themselves into a hole in space and somehow end up 100 years into the future (?) on Endor, searching for the little brat who jumped out in an escape pod. Of course they run into those fuzzy wuzzy little indigenous teddy bears, who think Plooz is something called a Star Child. Nothing really exciting happens save for a ginormous boulder that almost fall on our heroes, which R2-D2 stopped somehow. It's not important.

    For the final three issues, Star Comics got all greedy and released an adaptation of A New Hope from the point of view of the titular droids. (Yes, you know I had to sneak that phrase in again.) There’s not much to report from this retelling except that there are completely dumb cutesy moments that were shoehorned into the story for no reason at all except because it would be “cute.” Case in point: did you know that after they landed on Tatooine, the droids immediately ran into an underground kingdom of mole creatures? Well, according to issue six, they did. Outside of that...uh...they didn’t do much else except get into trouble with Stormtroopers. By the time the final issue rolls around, you’re pretty much just reading yet another comic adaptation of Episode IV, with hardly any extra details added. Gotta admit, those covers looked sweet anyway.

    THE TOYS

    The Droids toyline was a godsend for Kenner...or so it seemed. When most of the new merchandise didn't sell as well as they'd hoped, a few of the action figures you see above were held back for a second wave that never actually got released. Mungo Baobab is on that list, as is General Koong. Sadly, '80s kids everywhere were deprived of having an action figure of Space Jesus or Cyber Dolph Lundgren to call their own. This was an injustice to nobody at the time, but it makes the most obsessive collectors of today shed a tear.

    And who the Force is this "Pilot" dude? Unless I'm missing something, he was not in the show. According to this video, he may have been lifted from their other toyline, just like the A-Wing itself. Speaking of the A-Wing: that's most certainly the centerpiece here, as it made electronic noises, and kids love those. It was met the general expectation of a StarWars toy, unlike the cartoony action figures that didn't match the Star Wars brand (at the time.) 

    The C-3PO and R2-D2 figures were repaints from previous Star Wars toy collections, so they weren't anything people wanted at the time. Nowadays, you'll find Droids R2-D2s figurines going for $500 and up on eBay. Even the Boba Fetts - that are also still in their packaging and much cooler - go for way less. What gives?

    Now that I’ve blasted through the entirety of the Droids animated series as an adult, I think what I can say I appreciate the most about the show is its visual style. Droidswas the kid-friendly answer to Heavy Metal magazine. Even if it settled for being cutesy at times, it still maintained a strong cyberpunk aesthetic, which elevated the program from being “just another Saturday morning cartoon” to being a fantasy sci-fi trip that anyone who liked Star Wars could enjoy. This is something else that made Droids feel so ahead of its time. It wasn’t just there to be cute and fuzzy like its sister show. It was an ambitious creative laboratory in which Lucas and his team practiced world building.

    But let’s be honest: back in 1985, cute and fuzzy is what sold toys to kids and got them to tune in. That could be why Droids didn’t last as long as Ewoksdid. Ewoks was emotional and cuddly, and spoke directly to that Smurf-y demographic, which was huge at the time. Droids was complex and clinical, much like the Prequel Trilogy would be years later. But at least it had a beating heart.

    You should follow Stephen on Twitter @OnlyWriterEver. He'll follow you back. Also, check out his blog and his secret Power Ranger tumblr, too. 


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    From A New Hope and The Force Awakens to the outer limits of the Expanded Universe, celebrate the best female Star Wars characters.

    The Lists Alana Joli Abbott
    Jun 11, 2017

    Since the release of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, the internet has been in a roar of rumors and speculation concerning Rey's role in the movie. Is she the last Jedi in question? And who are Rey's parents? 

    While the women of Star Wars haven't always been in the spotlight, there have always been plenty of kick ass women to admire long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Check out this list of our top 25 women from the Star Wars canon and Legends:

    Leia

    First Appearance: A New Hope

    If you think of women in the Star Wars universe—whether canon or in the old EU/Legends storylines—Princess/General Leia Organa (Solo) is definitely the top pick. Not only is she the only woman in the primary cast of the original films, she returned as the leader of the Resistance in The Force Awakens.

    She's always been a mover and shaker in the anti-Imperial world, and in the EU, she saves Luke from turning to the Dark Side by saving him from a clone of the Emperor—while pregnant with her third child. In some stories, she has trained as a Jedi. She's become the political leader of the New Republic. She's been a mother whose son turned to the Dark Side in not one, but both timelines.

    Leia goes through a lot, but regardless of the punches she takes, she keeps on going and never turns to the Dark Side (unlike some other Skywalkers).

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

    Rey

    First Appearance: The Force Awakens

    Though we don't yet know much about Rey's past (and maybe we never will), it's clear she's a survivor. She can take care of herself, and others—even when faced with an ex-Jedi trained in mind control trying to torture her. Whether she's got a lightsaber or a really cool staff, she's able to fight her way out of messes—and despite her fears of her Force sensitivity, she's able to call on those abilities when it counts.

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    Mara Jade

    First Appearance: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

    Of all the female characters in Star Wars Legends, Mara Jade, who was introduced in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, is undoubtedly the most popular. Trained as the Emperor's Hand, her final mission for the Empire is to kill Luke Skywalker. But when she first encounters the not-yet-Jedi-master, she realizes they need to work together to survive, and overrides the Emperor's command. It takes several books for that deep hatred, seeded into her by the worst father figure ever, to turn into love, but eventually she and Luke get married, ending the string of not-as-cool romantic interests in Luke's storyline.

    Maz Kanata

    First Appearance: The Force Awakens

    It takes a lot of awesome to compete with Yoda as one of the coolest characters in the Star Wars universe, but Maz, with her crazy goggles and her knowledge of the Force, is definitely in the running. She steals every scene she's in during The Force Awakens, and we can only hope we'll eventually find out just how she ended up with Luke's original lightsaber.

    Jaina Solo (Fel)

    First Appearance: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

    Daughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo in Star Wars Legends, Jaina not only becomes a Jedi Master who stands against her brother when he turns to the Dark Side, she's also an amazing pilot. Like her uncle, she's the star of Rogue Squadron, and though she walked perilously close to the Dark Side, she returned to the Light and was named the "Sword of the Jedi" by Luke.

    Ahsoka Tano

    First Appearance: The Clone Wars

    A fan favorite introduced in The Clone Wars animated series, Ahsoka is Anakan's Padawan learner and apprentice. Taken prisoner at one point, Ahsoka organizes a coup against her captors, freeing herself and the rest of the captive Jedi younglings. After being framed as a terrorist and expelled from the Jedi Order, Ahsoka disappears from the ranks of the Jedi—surviving Order 66—only to turn up in Star Wars Rebels as "Fulcrum," an agent of the growing Rebellion.

    Aayla Secura

    First Appearance: Attack of the Clones

    A Jedi General during the Clone Wars, Aayla Secura is one of the stand-out badass women of the Prequel Trilogy. She's one of the team of Jedi who rescues Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé on Geonosis, and she is in turn rescued by Anakin and Ahkosa during the Battle of Quell. When she's murdered by her supposed allied Clone Troopers on Felucia during Order 66, Yoda feels her death through the Force.

    Korr Sella

    First Appearance: The Force Awakens

    She doesn't show up for long in The Force Awakens, but in the novelization, Korr's role is much more prominent. As a teen, Korr began working for Senator Leia Organa, who was a member of the Galactic Senate of the New Republic. When Leia leaves the New Republic to form the Resistance, Korr goes with her.

    By the time of the film, the New Republic has been reluctant to give the Resistance the help it needs to stand against the First Order, and Korr is the one chosen by General Organa to travel to the Senate and plead for the necessary aid. The result is tragic: Korr is among those in the Hosnian system who are destroyed by the First Order's Starkiller Base.

    Mission Vao

    First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic (Video Game)

    While there are several badass women in the Knights of the Old Republic video game from BioWare, the most unique of them isn't one of the Jedi, it's a rogue who sticks with the PC as the hero tries to save (or take over) the Old Republic. Abandoned by her con artist brother at a young age—after he taught her the valuable survival skills of lock picking, demolitions, and other abilities that make her invaluable to the PC—she stands up for a Wookiee who's being picked on by street thugs. It doesn't initially go so well for her (she's no match for thugs in combat), but it gives her a valuable partner in Zaalbar the Wookiee, who becomes her inseparable companion. She eventually confronts her brother and realizes that she can't rely on the rosy picture she's created: she needs to choose her own path in life (and, with the help of the Light Side, become a hero).

    Qwi Xux

    First Appearance: Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson

    While most of the women of Star Wars are recognized for their combat prowess, piloting skills, diplomacy and leadership, or other generally heroic traits, Qwi Xux stands out as one of the smartest people in the galaxy. In Legends, she's the mastermind engineer behind the Death Star—something she doesn't realize has ever been created, because why would anyone want to actually use a weapon like that! When she realizes how her engineering and innovation have been used to cause harm by the Empire, she immediately joins up with the New Republic to apply her intelligence to the betterment—rather than the harm—of the galaxy.

    Hera Syndulla

    First Appearance: Star Wars Rebels

    As the owner and pilot of the Ghost, Hera is the leader—and the heart—of the heroes of Star Wars Rebels. She's the only one allowed to know the identity of "Fulcrum," and she's the one who chooses which missions the crew takes. But while she's a leader, she also knows to trust her team to do their jobs—though she occasionally has to nudge them in the right direction. She also becomes Phoenix Leader in the Rebellion, works alongside Leia and Lando Calrissian, and generally wears her optimism like armor, no matter how many bad things happen around her.

    Ania Solo

    First Appearance: Legacy Vol. 2 #1

    Far in the future of the Legends timeline, a young woman, living on her own, works as a junk dealer. When she discovers a lightsaber, her life changes. It's a little bit reminiscent of Rey, but it's not her story—it's the story of Ania Solo, great granddaughter of Han and Leia, who ends up taking arms against Darth Wredd with a lightsaber she doesn't know how to use, a stolen Starfighter, and her blaster. While she doesn't win, she ends up rescuing the Jedi who takes on the fight, and becomes the partner of another Jedi, before being framed for murder and later becoming a secret agent for the Empress.

    Jan Ors

    First Appearance: Dark Forces

    Pilot and mercenary Jan Ors, who has training as a professional ballerina and an aerospace engineer, is the daughter of anti-Imperial terrorists in the Legends timeline. Jan followed that mold, infiltrating Imperial Intelligence and feeding that information to the Rebel Alliance.

    After her cover is blown, she becomes a freedom fighter for the Alliance, recruiting Imperial Kyle Katarn into the Rebellion. During the New Republic Era, Jan works as a spy and mercenary, frequently partnering with Katarn (who has become a Jedi, and with whom she's romantically involved). Eventually, she becomes the head of the Republic clandestine intelligence agency Alpha Blue, which works best outside the rules.

    Shaak Ti

    First Appearance: Attack of the Clones

    Like Aayla Secura, Shaak Ti was a Jedi General during the Clone Wars and fought in the Battle of Geonosis, rescuing Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Anakin. When the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was attacked by Anakin and Darth Sidious, Shaak Ti was the Councilor who evacuated the survivors before the Temple could be destroyed. She sought out the survivors of Order 66, trying to find a place where the survivors could heal and carry on the Jedi tradition. She joins a group of Force sensitives on Felucia and becomes their leader. She also rides a rancor in the first Force Unleashed game, which is one of the coolest things ever put on screen.

    Nomi Sunrider

    First Appearance: Tales of the Jedi #3 

    One of the earliest badasses in the Legends timeline, Nomi was vital to defeating Exar Kun during the Great Sith War. She was able to use her powers to completely cut off Exar Kun's Sith apprentice, Ulic Qel-Droma, from the Force, devastating the Sith forces. To make matters a bit more complicated for Nomi, Qel-Droma had once been a friend—and a love interest—before he fell to the Dark Side trying to defeat it from within. A Jedi musician during the New Republic Era composed an entire ballad ("The Ballad of Nomi Sunrider") to recount her legendary deeds.

    Tahiri Veila

    First Appearance: Junior Jedi Knights: The Golden Globe by Nancy Richardson

    When has anyone of consequence been born on Tatooine? Not including the Skywalkers, Tahiri Veila of the Legends timeline fulfills that qualification and shares some backstory with Luke: she's the child of moisture farmers and is orphaned. But rather than running off with a Jedi Master, Tahiri is adopted by Tusken Raiders and raised among the Sand People.

    Recruited to become a Jedi, she becomes instrumental to forming peace in the Yuuzhan Vong War. Captured by the Vong, she's given a Vong personality, which she has to unite with her human personality in order to survive. The joint result enables her to communicate with and understand the Vong, and she helps the Vong adjust to an era of peace. During the Second Galactic Civil War, she joins the fallen Jedi Jacen Solo, now known as Darth Caedus, as his apprentice, but eventually she turns away from the Sith, leaving her adrift, no longer a Jedi, no longer a Sith.

    Sabine Wren

    First Appearance: Star Wars Rebels

    Mandalorian warriors have a reputation as the galaxy's most serious and dangerous fighters. Sabine, a Mandalorian, fits that mold well: she's an expert with weapons of all kinds, forged her own armor, and became a bounty hunter after deciding that the Imperial Academy on Mandalore didn't agree with her. Though she initially has hopes of joining criminal organization Black Sun, Sabine instead falls in with a band of Rebels captained by Hera Syndulla. Sabine continues to forge her own path and finds creative uses for her explosives, including detonating a bomb that painted a squad of Stormtroopers blue.

    Aurra Sing

    First Appearance: The Phantom Menace

    Though she appears only briefly in the Prequel Trilogy, bounty hunter Aurra Sing effectively taught Boba Fett everything he knows, making her the mentor to the best known bounty hunter in the Star Wars galaxy. An associate of Jango Fett's, she joins Boba in the mission to kill Mace Windu in order to avenge Jango's death. She provides an example of utter ruthlessness to the sometimes reluctant, young Boba. A crack shot and assassin, she tries unsuccessfully to kill Padmé Amidala twice—but despite being caught, she lives to fight (and kill) another day.

    Asajj Ventress

    First Appearance: Clone Wars microseries

    One of the most ruthless villains in all the canon galaxy, Asajj Ventress is dedicated to killing all Jedi. She wields two lightsabers and is incredibly skilled with them—it's not just flash, it's ability, and if she decides she wants someone dead, they're on the chopping block. When she's betrayed by Count Dooku, who she served as an apprentice, she becomes a bounty hunter, because that's the best way to keep killing Jedi. Not one to limit her enemies, she also goes out of her way to piss off Boba Fett, and she enjoys goading her enemies into making mistakes by virtue of her wit and sharp tongue.

    Brianna the Handmaiden

    First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

    Brianna has one of the most interesting story arcs in Knights of the Old Republic II: she's the member of an isolationist order led by Jedi historian Atris. Stoic to a fault, Brianna is the only one among the sisterhood of handmaidens to leave the safe walls of their temple upon Atris's order to join the Jedi Exile as a spy. But Atris's orders are only half the motivation for Brianna—she is curious about the teachings of the Jedi and is eager to see one in action. She trains the Exile in Echani fighting techniques, and the Exile helps her discover her own Force sensitivity. By training as a Jedi, Brianna breaks her oath to Atris—but that ends up a moot point when Atris turns to the Dark Side.

    Darth Traya/Kreia

    First Appearance: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

    While plenty of Dark Side villains are adept at manipulating their enemies—and their allies—one of the most accomplished at this is Darth Traya from Knights of the Old Republic II. Setting herself up as a mentor to the Jedi Exile, who is regaining her Force abilities despite having been cut off from the Force by the Jedi Council, Darth Traya moves the Exile around like a piece on a chess board, maneuvering the Exile into revealing the locations of hidden Jedi Masters so that Darth Traya can murder them. The Exile's mentor and companion thus becomes the final enemy the Exile must defeat.

    Lumiya

    First Appearance: Star Wars Vol. 1 #56

    A secret apprentice to Darth Vader in the Legends timeline, Lumiya attempts to infiltrate the Rebellion and discredit or assassinate Luke Skywalker long before she becomes a Sith. She manages to ostracize Skywalker, but doing so nearly destroys her, and it's only through Darth Vader's interference that she survives, her body restored through cybernetics much like Vader's.

    Reborn as Lumiya, she trains to become a Dark Lady of the Sith. Years later, she's responsible for the fall of Jacen Solo to the Dark Side, effectively starting the Second Galactic Civil War. She faces off against Luke several times before he eventually defeats and kills her—but in the meantime, she develops one of the coolest lightsaber variants in Star Wars: the lightwhip.

    Oola

    First Appearance: Return of the Jedi

    While Oola the dancer might be a surprise on this list, she's one of those characters who has gathered a life outside the films with cosplay and parody comics. One of these parody comics is from Blue Milk Special, which rescued both Oola and Biggs Darklighter from their untimely deaths in the Original Trilogy, giving them their own Quixotic adventures in side-strips called appropriately "The Tale of Oola and Biggs." Surviving Jabba's palace—and the rancor pit—is a pretty big triumph, even if it's not canon.

    Sana Starros

    First Appearance: Marvel's Star Wars #4

    How often does a character from the Star Wars comic series make headlines? It takes a slow news day, but the introduction of Sana "Solo" was reported all over the media as proof that the new EU was messing up the favorite romance in Star Wars. But forget about the controversy of Han Solo's supposed first wife: Sana comes on the scene dressed as a bounty hunter, and her first act is to blow the knee-caps off a bunch of Rodians who threaten her. She's driven by greed—like many a good smuggler before her—but she ends up joining Leia and the Rebellion under the excuse that she's doing it until she gets her money. Yeah, yeah, we've heard that before from some other Solo…

    Captain Phasma

    First Appearance: The Force Awakens

    Although her scenes in The Force Awakens are few, Phasma is the definition of badass female character, as not only the commander of her own elite Stormtrooper unit, but also a member of the triumvirate that leads the First Order in its evil doings, which also includes General Hux and Kylo Ren. Most notable is her appearance. Her chrome armor is made out of a material called chromium salvaged from a Naboo yacht that once belonged to Emperor Palpatine. Many have called this imposing Stormtrooper a successor in popularity to the mysterious bounty hunter Boba Fett.

    Honorable Mention

    Katie, the Star Wars Girl

    One of the coolest Star Wars stories actually happened in real life. Katie loved Star Wars, and was teased mercilessly for carrying a Star Wars water bottle to school by her male classmates, who said that only boys could like Star Wars. When her story hit the internet, fans of all stripes—led by the 501st Legion—came out to support Katie and encourage her to keep her love of the series alive. She wanted to be a Stormtrooper for Halloween, and again the 501st came to the rescue, providing her with her own uniform so long as she would pass it along to another girl when she grew out of it. Hopefully, with the fantastic female leads we're seeing in the new Star Wars films, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Armor will grow and live on.

    Alana Joli Abbott is a freelance contributor.


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    Deadpool 2 will see Ryan Reynolds breaking his enemies and the fourth wall when the film arrives on June 1st, 2018.

    NewsMike CecchiniJoseph Baxter
    Jun 12, 2017

    Deadpool 2 has the lofty task of following up the film industry's biggest surprise story of 2016 in Deadpool, which turned a meager (for a blockbuster) $58 million budget into a $783 million global phenomenon. With Ryan Reynolds set to reprise his role as the Marvel Comics Merc with a Mouth, he will be joined by a classic comic book rival in Cable, played by Josh Brolin, who makes a detour from his Marvel Studios gig as Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War to play an equally-iconic antagonist to our antihero.

    John Wick's David Leitch 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.

    With that established, here is everything we know about Deadpool 2!

    The latest news is that Shioli Kutsuna has joined the cast in "a key role." We have no idea who she's playing, and neither does Deadline.

    Deadpool 2 Release Date

    Production on Deadpool 2 kicks off in June in Vancouver, which gives it plenty of time to make its June 1, 2018 release date.

    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.

    Watch Deadpool on Amazon

    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.


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    Valiant continues their march to the big screen with comics vet Reginald Hudlin directing Shadowman.

    News Jim Dandy
    Jun 13, 2017

    Reginald Hudlin, a veteran of just about everything entertainment related, has been brought in to direct Valiant Comics' Shadowman according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.

    Hudlin joins Salem showrunner Adam Simon, brought in to rework a script from J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, among other things), on the project. Valiant is working with Sony Pictures to bring their comics universe to the big screen, with Harbinger and Bloodshot movies already on the slate. 

    Shadowman is the gateway to Valiant's magical side: Jack Boniface is a New Orleans musician who gains the power to influence the Deadside, a supernatural realm just askance of normal reality. He's currently starring in Valiant Comics' annual summer crossover, Rapture, alongside Ninjak, the Geomancer (the living spirit and guardian of Earth), and Punk Mambo. 

    Hudlin has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry over the course of his career. He's written comics, including a well-received run on Black Panther and on the comics adaptation of Django Unchained. He's a former BET executive, and produced the television adaptation of The Boondocks. He's also working to relaunch Milestone Media, and his next big screen project is intriguingly described as a "Thurgood Marshall thriller" called Marshall.

    There's no release date attached with Shadowman, but we'll update you when we know more.


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    Netflix’s reboot of The Haunting of Hill House has acquired its star in Game of Thrones actor Michiel Huisman.

    News Tony SokolJoseph Baxter
    Jun 13, 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 Cast

    Michiel Huisman has been tapped to star in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, reports THR. In a revelation that may shed light on the context of this reboot series, Huisman will reportedly play a character named Steven Crane, a published author of supernatural-related books and the oldest living sibling of the Crane family. In Shirley Jackson’s original 1959 novel, as well as the 1963 and 1999 film adaptations – both billed as The Haunting– the legacy of the “Crain” family was connected to the titular haunted house. In the case of the 1999 film, the late Crain patriarch explicitly manifested as a ghost.

    The Netherlands-native Huisman is, of course, best known for his role on HBO’s Game of Thrones as Daario Naharis, the rogue warrior and part-time lover of claimant queen Daenerys Targaryen; a role that, in the very least, might be on the shelf, since he was unceremoniously left to oversee the conquered Eastern kingdom of Meereen after she left to conquer Westeros. Besides an array of roles in his native country, Huisman was notably seen in recurring roles on Orphan Black, Nashville, Treme, and miniseries Harley and the Davidsons, as well as films such as 2015’s The Age of Adaline and 2017’s The Ottaman Lieutenant. He has quite a full docket of film roles, notably in director Gideon Raff’s historical spy thrillerRed Sea Diving Resort, which stars Chris Evans.

    The Haunting of Hill House Story

    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.

    SOURCE: VARIETY


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    In a sea of dystopias, Anne Corlett's sci-fi debut is a refreshingly intimate, hopeful take on the post-apocalyptic genre.

    ReviewKayti Burt
    Jun 14, 2017

    The Space Between the Stars is a story about intimacy and loss, grief and community. It's a story about figuring out if life has meaning when the world as we know it has ended, with an earnest exploration of how we do — and, perhaps more often, don't— deal with trauma.

    The literary-skewing science fiction novel is one of the most cathartic books I've read in a while, a salve for anyone who has read or watched a "gritty" post-apocalyptic story and wondered why the story isn't telling us how anyone feels about the end of the world. It makes me wonder why all end-of-the-world stories aren't explicitly about collective and personal trauma because, the way British debut author Anne Corlett writes it, how could they ever be about anything else?

    In many ways, the set-up of The Space Between the Stars reminds me of Firefly. It tells the story of a ragtag band of survivors looking for purpose in a world that has gone to hell. Like Joss Whedon's beloved TV show, the group of colonists even includes a former priest, a sex worker, a young person who sees the world a bit differently than everyone else, and a no-nonsense ship captain with a heart of gold.

    Unlike Firefly, however, The Space Between the Stars tells its story from a specific female character's point-of-view. Jamie is our protagonist, a 40-year-old veterinarian who tried to escape her own grief over a miscarriage and the unresolved trauma of her mother's death by moving to the fringes of the galaxy. We begin her story with a hell of a hook: Jamie waking up from the viral fever to discover she has somehow survived when the vast majority of the human race has not. It's the beginning of The Walking Dead or your favorite video game. And what follows more than delivers on the narratively-rich set-up...

    The Space Between the Stars follows Jamie as she makes her way across a galaxy trying to determine what survival will look like for her and for the human race. Most post-apocalyptic these days tend to try to force their narrative tidily into a "utopian" or (more often) "dystopian" box. The Space Between the Stars is refreshingly nuanced in its treatment of the end of the world as we know it. There are things that are horrific about the new world order — if it can even be called an "order" in the direct aftermath of the traumatic pandemic — but these horrific things are vestiges of the old world. It's unclear, at this point, if the system of "haves" and "have-nots" will stick or rather give way for something new... something better.

    There are still good things to be experienced at the end of the world: joy and connection and healing. Jamie never loses her intense sadness, shock, and anger over the extreme loss of life, but she is also still mourning the very personal tragedies that upended her life before the apocalypse. It takes the end of the world for her to deal with them in any honest way, and for her to begin to embrace concepts like community and family again.

    The Kirkus review of the book calls Jamie "staggeringly unlikable" for (amongst other things) the way in which she admits to not having wanted her unborn child. While these things are subjective, I couldn't disagree more. I found Jamie's issues with intimacy and what the people in her life expect from her refreshingly relatable. 

    Women are socialized to be nurturers and caregivers and are often represented in stories as unending founts of affection, understanding, and empathy. As a woman, this has not been my experience and to see a female character depicted as confused and frustrated by her own inability to be close to others (in part because of the multiple traumas she has experienced) and others' inability to understand that was cathartic. 

    Jamie literally goes to the edges of humanity because she can't get the space she needs when she is surrounded by other humans. She is unable to put up the boundaries she needs and, therefore, unable to properly deal with her trauma. Because of this, Jamie's empathy often fails her, especially in relation to Rena, a supporting character who has been irreversibly changed by her own traumas. This may make Jamie unlikable at parts, but it also makes her thoroughly human.

    If you're looking for hard sci-fi, this is not it. The futuristic space setting is more of a backdrop than the point, but Corlett calls on some familiar genre tropes to tell her story about isolation vs. connection at the end of the world. If you're into the space adventure genre, you'll feel at home here.

    Ultimately, The Space Between the Stars gives a pretty satisfying and hopeful answer to the question: What meaning does life have in the wake of an apocalyptic event? The same it had before the apocalyptic event: whatever meaning you are able to bring to it. Family. Community. Connection. These are things worth striving for, whether the world is ending or not. 

    The Space Between the Stars is now available to buy via Amazon and Penguin Random House.


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    Game of Thrones Season 7 will be joined by a new aftershow, hosted by Bill Simmons, to replace After the Thrones.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Jun 14, 2017

    Game of Thrones Season 7 promises a pulse-pounding penultimate run for the epic series, starting in July. Thus, HBO plans to put each of its seven episodes into context with a new aftershow. While the premium cable outlet previously served up an aftershow called After the Thrones, it appears that they’re going back to drawing board under a rebranded title with a familiar host who’s still under contract.

    According to THR, HBO will complement Game of Thrones Season 7 with a new aftershow called Talk the Thrones, which will be hosted by Bill Simmons, a former ESPN analyst who, after the cancellation of his HBO sports talk show Any Given Wednesday last year, remains under a lucrative contract with the outlet. Simmons, a self-proclaimed “casual” Thrones fan, had been known to discuss the series in off-topic segments on his defunct HBO series. His tenure on the revamped Talk the Thrones will stream live on Twitter and Periscope upon the conclusion of each new Game of Thrones episode, providing all the context-driven discussion and analysis that fans require in the post-episode digestion process.

    With its Twitter/Periscope designation, Talk the Thrones is clearly designed to grow and curate the already-massive social media activity generated by the television serial adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire novels, this time with more multimedia designs. Indeed, the move was enough of an event to garner a response from Twitter COO Anthony Noto, who states:

    Talk the Thrones brings the witty banter and real-time analysis you find on Twitter to a live show with hosts that keep it engaging well after the TV show ends. The Ringer continues to produce unique live shows about some of the most-discussed entertainment and sports topics on Twitter."

    With Talk the Thrones, HBO has effectively cancelled After the Thrones, hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, which aired last year in conjunction with Game of Thrones Season 6. Their hosting and discussion style didn’t quite mesh with a major segment of the audience; something that probably necessitated Talk the Thrones. However, that duo will not be completely exiled north of the proverbial Wall, since they will be retained to host a separate recap show that will – as After the Thrones did – stream on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO on Demand.

    The almost Seinfeld-esque concept of the “show that talks about a show” continues to be an intriguing television staple that’s a testament to just how deep certain genre shows are ingrained into popular culture. Popularized by the loose-talk podcast atmosphere utilized by host Chris Hardwick on the 2011-launched Talking Dead, the tremendously popular aftershow for The Walking Dead and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead (also held on special occasions for fellow AMC series Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and Preacher), the concept has yet to pay off substantially for Game of Thrones and HBO is clearly trying to change that.

    Game of Thrones Season 7 will wantonly rock Westeros off its axis when it premieres on HBO on July 16, followed by the Twitter/Periscope premiere of Talk the Thrones.


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    Legendary composer Danny Elfman steps in to musically complement the colossal clashes of Justice League.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Jun 15, 2017

    Justice League, Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ pièce de résistance superhero ensemble effort, has a daunting task ahead if it wishes to match the financial and artistic benchmarks achieved by Marvel Studios’ Avengers films. However, the score for the November-scheduled super-team film should be more than adequately covered with the acquisition of replacement composer Danny Elfman.

    According to THR, a shakeup from Justice League’s relief director Joss Whedon, who recently stepped in for Zack Snyder post-principal photography after tragic circumstances, will not only see some London-based reshoots, but a changing of musical visionaries. Under the directorial stewardship of Whedon, Justice League will see a major personnel change, with Danny Elfman stepping in for the previously-tapped Antonius Holkenborg, an experienced talent in his own right, who operates under the nom de disque Junkie XL.

    Snyder had been collaborating with Holkenborg on the Justice League production, after having worked with him on 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While a reason for the composer switch has yet to be provided, it was clearly not a voluntary exit for Holkenborg, who released the following bittersweet statement:

    "As my mentor Hans Zimmer told me: you haven't made it in Hollywood as a composer until you get replaced on a project. So, I guess I finally graduated this week. It pains me to leave the project, but a big thanks to Zack for asking me to part of his vision, and I wish Danny, Joss and Warner Bros all the best with Justice League."

    Nevertheless, with Danny Elfman, Justice League lands one of the most experienced and successful television and film composers of all time; one who previously worked with Joss Whedon at a similarly late stage on his last comic book superhero mega-movie in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The rest of Elfman’s resume is, of course, a surreal list of blockbuster hits and television staples (seriously, the man composed the theme to The Simpsons). He’s notably been attached to the signature hits of repertory collaborator Tim Burton. Besides Ultron, Elfman’s comic book movie credits include Batman, Batman Returns, Dick Tracy, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Hulk, Wanted and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

    Justice League, with new director Joss Whedon and composer Danny Elfman, will serve as the proverbial Hall of Justice to Warner/DC’s cinematic heroes in Gal Gadot’s box office queen Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck’s Batman, Ezra Miller's Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and, in a spoiler that’s not really a spoiler, Henry Cavill’s somehow-resurrected Superman. The film arrives on November 17.


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    While we recently lost Adam West, it appears that he left a final posthumous performance as Batman, in animated form.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Jun 15, 2017

    Adam West was, for multiple generations, the beloved introductory live-action hero that Gotham deserves from his starring role in the 1966-1968 Batman television series, leaving an enduring onscreen legacy. However, it turns out that the actor, who passed away on June 9, also left fans one last performance as Batman, by way of the previously-announced sequel to the animated feature Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

    As revealed via Warner Bros.’ confirmation to 13th Dimension, the upcoming animated sequel Batman vs. Two-Face will feature a completed voice performance by Adam West. The feature, the sequel to Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, the celebrated 2016 DVD/Blu-ray animated revival of the 1966 television series, will, just as its predecessor, feature a voice cast consisting of original series actors such as Adam West’s Bruce Wayne/Batman, Burt Ward’s Dick Grayson/Robin, and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman. While a more ancillary angle to West’s recent passing raised questions about the feature’s status, Warner’s confirmation that West did complete his voice work should quell any doubts.

    Additionally, Batman vs. Two-Face’s classic district attorney-turned-scarred-supervillain will arrive with a voice performance from another 1960s TV star in Star Trek icon William Shatner. 2016’s Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders successfully revived the campy, angular-shot-showcasing aesthetics and story continuity of the 1966-1968 series, which never quite manifested the A-list villain Two-Face, despite a legacy going back to his 1942 DC Comics debut.

    Consequently, the addition of William Shatner as Harvey Dent/Two-Face feels akin to an episode of the classic show that exists purely in an alternate universe, buttressed on the plausible idea of Shatner contemporaneously fielding the villainous guest role onscreen. Indeed, the teaser image rolled out last year, showcasing a young-Shatner-resembling Two-Face, drives this fantastical concept home swimmingly. 

    Batman vs. Two-Face has yet to announce a release date. However, Comic-Con 2017 looms close, arriving on the same bat-time (late July), same bat-location (San Diego), seemingly as good a time as any for Warner Bros. to finally reveal when we can expect this feature, which now serves as the swan song of Adam West’s Batman.


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    What should have been Batman 3 became Batman Forever, and it happened without Tim Burton and Michael Keaton. Here's why.

    Batman 3
    Feature David Crow
    Jun 15, 2017

    Nowadays with a half dozen (or more!) cape-and-cowl movies being released each year, it’s easy to take for granted what filmmakers like Richard Donner and Tim Burton did for the superhero genre. Prior to their decade-apart DC superhero epics, the form was largely viewed by the mainstream as stuff meant to distract the little ones and shut-ins. This seemed especially true for Batman.

    But if Donner made people believe a man could fly, Burton made them believe he could also be psychotic enough to dress up like a bat and beat up crazed clowns. Batman was more than a hit movie in 1989; it was a pop culture phenomenon that could be felt on every T-shirt, poster, and trading card being hawked that summer. As the film that buried the Adam West image of the Caped Crusader, Batman proved to a global audience that the story of Bruce Wayne could be one filled with brooding trauma and fanciful daydreams that crept into our nightmares. It out-grossed Ghostbusters II and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that summer, and went on to be the highest grossing film of all-time up to that point with over $400 million worldwide.

    It's no surprise then that Warner Bros. fast-tracked a sequel (putting Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian on permanent vacation), and the dream team of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton were back for more with 1992’s Batman Returns. That movie was a saturating force in pop culture as well, appearing on lunchboxes, backpacks, and, of course, McDonald’s Happy Meals. It also grossed an undeniably profitable $266 million in worldwide box office receipts. Nevertheless, the hue of Batman’s signal in the sky experienced substantial and immediate changes.

    Within the relatively short span of three years, which marked the distance between Batman Returns and Batman Forever, the series not only underwent a facelift, but had a full-on reboot before the word even existed in Hollywood lexicon. Michael Keaton became Val Kilmer, the Art Deco hellscape that was Anton Furst and Bo Welch’s Gotham City became an Andy Warhol inspired Las Vegas party on steroids, and Tim Burton’s tearful angst for the mythology’s rotating cast of freaks turned into Joel Schumacher‘s “toyetic” Happy Meal generator.

    In fact, if it weren’t for the inclusions of Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth and Pat Hingle as the perpetually underused Commissioner Gordon, there would be nothing to connect Batman Forever with the two films that came before it. And that is exactly the way Warner Bros. wanted it.

    Watch Batman Forever on Amazon

    Tim Burton’s Batman 3never happened because of the reaction to Batman Returns, which was swift and brutal throughout the press.

    The screenwriter of Batman Returns, Daniel Waters said he was aware of the potential backlash immediately. As a subversive voice who made his bones on the cult classic dark comedy about teen murder and suicide, Heathers, Waters was one of the driving forces that turned the sequel into a near fable about the sameness of freaks, be they cats or bats. And when recalling the first time he saw the movie with an average audience (for the 2005 documentary Shadow of the Bat – Part 4: Dark Side of the Knight), Waters said, “It’s great. The lights are coming up after Batman Returns, and it’s like kids crying, people acting like they’ve been punched in the stomach, and like they’ve been mugged. Part of me relished that reaction, and part of me to this day is like, ‘Oops.’”

    For the same documentary, director Burton also seemed bemused and baffled by the mixed reactions 13 years later. Says Burton, “One person would come in and go, ‘This is so much lighter than the first movie.’ And then the next person would come in and go, ‘Oh, this is so much darker than the first movie.’ And it’s like, light and dark are opposites! But it was 50 percent passionately one way and 50 percent the other.”

    The most infamous fallout from this bitter buzz came on the merchandizing side of Batman Returns, which like the box office took a noticeable hit. But the financials were the least of it when the PR for WB’s bat-shaped golden calf became factored in. And it started with those damn Happy Meals.

    Batman Returns opened on June 19, 1992 and before the Fourth of July weekend, The Los Angeles Times was famously publishing angry letters over the content of the film and its connection to McDonald’s. One angry letter dated June 27, 1992 said, “Violence-loving adults may enjoy this film. But why on Earth is McDonald’s pushing this exploitative movie through the sales of its so-called ‘Happy Meals?’ Has McDonald’s no conscience?”

    Putting such irony over faith in an international corporate conglomerate responsible for the McNugget aside for a moment, the backlash to the Happy Meals soon spanned all major media outlets.

    An Entertainment Weekly article published in July of that year quoted the Dove Foundation, a Michigan-based nonsectarian Christian organization, as saying, “Parents…trust McDonald’s. So why is McDonald’s promoting a movie to little kids that’s filled with gratuitous graphic violence?”

    The most humorous thing about this public relations nightmare was how both McDonald’s and Warner Bros. attempted to downplay the fiasco.

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    McDonald’s spokeswoman Rebecca Caruso said, “The objective of the [Happy Meal] program was to allow young people to experience the fun of Batman the character. It was not designed to promote attendance at the movie. It was certainly not our intent to confuse parents or disappoint children.”

    Riiiight.

    A Warner Bros. press release one-upped that by stating that the promotion is tied to the then-53-year-old character and not Batman Returns. “We were careful not to provide actual toys from the movie,” the statement read.

    Judge for yourself by watching some of the vintage 1992 McDonald’s commercials for Batman Returns by clicking right here. Also, savor the following line for the Batman Returns themed cups: “With five Frisbee Bat-disc lids straight from the movie.”

    For whatever it’s worth, McDonald’s did not pull the Happy Meal line early despite recent internet rumors, and maintained them until Sept. 7, 1992. However, discomfort over this reaction may have led to McDonald’s reportedly asking Steven Spielberg to tone down the most violent sequences of the following summer’s Jurassic Park in time for fast food tie-in deals.

    Many years later for the aforementioned 2005 Shadows of the Bat documentary, scripter Sam Hamm, whose own screenplay for Batman Returns got thrown out for Waters’ work, graciously defended the movie from aggrieved parents. “The movie itself, apart from being a merchandizing machine, apart from all the toys sales it was supposed to generate, the movie itself was never presented as a child-friendly movie. And so, I just think it’s a mistake of perception. I think the parents who complained just got it wrong, but there was no attempt to deceive anyone.”

    Be that as it may, it did not mean heads weren’t ready to roll at Warner Bros. As early as late July 1992, WB executives were allowing themselves to be anonymously quoted as unhappy with the diminished box office performance of Batman Returns, which cost $45 million more to make than the 1989 film (that cost $35 million unto itself).

    “It’s too dark [and] it’s not a lot of fun,” one WB suit lamented to Entertainment Weekly. Meanwhile, smelling blood in the water, a rival studio chief said to the magazine, “If you bring back Burton and Keaton, you’re stuck with their vision. You can’t expect Honey, I Shrunk the Batman.”

    Obviously, for any Batman fan over eight-years-old, it’s fabulous to hear what the industry perception of the character was even after Tim Burton’s two brooding flirtations with German Expressionism in gaudy costumes.

    Initially Tim Burton was still expected to return to what was being called “Batman III” in the trades. There were even reports that Robin Williams was expected to play the Riddler for Burton’s third Batman film (more on that in a moment), as well as a return for Michelle Pfeiffer in her iconic role as Catwoman. However, all of these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt since Burton never made it to the scripting stage for Batman 3.

    In the Shadows of the Batdocumentary, Burton recollected his exit from the franchise.

    “I remember toying with the idea of doing another one. And I remember going into Warner Bros. and having a meeting. And I’m going, ‘I could do this or we could do that.’ And they go like, ‘Tim, don’t you want to do a smaller movie now? Just something that’s more [you]?’ About half an hour into the meeting, I go, ‘You don’t want me to make another one, do you?’ And they go, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no!’ And I just said, ‘No, I know you!’ So, we just stopped it right there.”

    And with Tim Burton out, Warner Bros. was free to tap Joel Schumacher to helm the next Batman movie with the understanding that it would be much more toy (and Happy Meal) friendly. For the children and their parents. Of course.

    However, Michael Keaton did not leave immediately with Tim Burton. Indeed, he was slated to return to what became Batman Forever rather late into its 1994 production. And yes, Robin Williams, who was famously shafted by WB when they used him as a negotiating chip against Jack Nicholson for the role of the Joker in the 1989 film, was in line to play the Riddler going into 1994. According to a 1995 Variety article, Williams dithered too long after the role was offered, and rising star Jim Carrey (coming off Ace Ventura and The Mask) “stepped into the role.” It has never been clarified if Williams disliked the script and direction Schumacher was developing or if Carrey and his agent pulled one over on the legendary actor, but quite honestly, Mr. Williams’ legacy probably benefitted from it.

    Also of note for not appearing in Batman Forever were actors Billy Dee Williams and Marlon Wayans. Williams had famously been cast as Harvey Dent in the original 1989 Batman film with the expectation to play Dent’s twisted and tragic alter-ego, Two-Face, in a later installment. On the 2005 DVD edition of Batman, Williams said, “I really wanted desperately to obviously do Two-Face… I wanted to see what I could do with it. It would have been different from Tommy Lee’s. I’ve got my own kind of madness.”

    This led to an internet rumor that Williams was paid for the part in Batman Forever due to his 1988 contract. Williams has recently denied this. Comicbook.com quoted Williams from a Nashville Comic Con in 2013 as saying, “You only get paid if you do the movie. I had a two-picture deal with Star Wars. They paid me for that. But I only had a one-picture deal for Batman.”

    However, Wayans did get paid for not appearing in Batman Forever. Having originally been cast by Burton to appear as Robin in Batman Returns, Wayans was cut from an already crowded film. However, when Schumacher came in for the third Batman movie, the decision came down for Robin to be played by Chris O’Donnell, despite Wayans already having a two-picture deal. In 2009, Wayans told io9, “I still get residual checks. Tim Burton didn’t wind up doing three, Joel Schumacher did it and he had a different vision for who Robin was. So, he hired Chris O’Donnell.” And like that, there coincidentally were no more major parts played by African Americans in the Batman franchise.

    Keaton, meanwhile, famously threw the movie into upheaval when he departed Batman Forever less than a year before its release. In a July 1994 Entertainment Weekly article, an “insider” said, “He wanted $15 million. He wanted a chunk of the gross, he wanted a chunk of merchandizing.” While possible, this seems like typical studio tactics of throwing shade on an individual during a messy break-up. Keaton’s producing partner, Harry Colomby, countered, “Money was never the issue. Not doing this movie means he probably gave up $30 million based on his back-end deal.”

    According to EW, Keaton was unhappy that Schumacher replaced his pal Tim Burton. Further, “[After one meeting with Schumacher] Michael was not feeling confident.” He reportedly disliked that his input about making it more of Batman’s story (as opposed to the villains’) had been ignored, and that he was not consulted once during the script writing.

    During his appearance on a 2013 WTF Podcast with comedian Marc Maron, Keaton maintained his position nearly 20 years later. “The guy who’s doing them now, Chris Nolan, he’s so talented, it’s crazy,” Keaton said. “[Christian Bale] is so talented. It’s so good….You look at where he went, which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was having meetings about the third one. I said, ‘You want to see how this guy started. We’ve got a chance here to fix whatever we kind of maybe went off. This could be brilliant!’” Keaton added that after Burton left and Schumacher came aboard, “I could see that was going south.”

    After Keaton departed, Rene Russo, who was cast only one week prior to Keaton’s exit, was replaced with Nicole Kidman in the role of Dr. Chase Meridian, because she was perceived as too old to be Val Kilmer’s love interest.

    The rest, as they say, is history. But perhaps it was for the best? A third Tim Burton Batman movie could, in theory, have starred Robin Williams in a role just as depraved as Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Danny DeVito’s Penguin, and opposite a returning Pfeiffer who’s so puuurfect for the part of Catwoman that I couldn’t resist the pun. Maybe Keaton would have had more to do, as well.

    Then again, if not for Batman Forever’s successor, the infamous Batman & Robin mega-flop, the series would not have so embarrassingly and spectacularly imploded. Ergo, there might not have been something brilliant but dormant for Christopher Nolan to reboot in 2005 into the masterful The Dark Knight Trilogy. In that sense, it may have been for the best. But it never hurts to wonder in lieu of a neon-backlit Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones doing a Benny Hill routine.

    This article first ran in September of 2014. 


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    Vulture and Shocker are already coming to Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there are plenty of others we still haven't seen.

    Spider-Man Villains
    The Lists Marc Buxton
    Jun 16, 2017

    Considering how many villains already appeared in the five Spider-Man movies released since 2002, not to mention the ones we already know are coming to Spider-Man: Homecoming, a fan would think that Hollywood has covered all the great Spider-Man villains (just think of how many were set up or teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for example). With Marvel and Sony promising at least two more Spidey movies after Homecoming opens in July, Kevin Feige and friends are eager to give audiences something they haven't seen before...and that means new villains.

    Since Spidey has one of the greatest rogues' galleries in all of comics, there are still plenty of quality bad guys who we didn't get to meet in the Sam Raimi or Marc Webb movies. So here is a look at the Spider-Man villains who might share the screen with Tom Holland as we go forward...

    Spider-Man Villains

    25. Stegron, the Dinosaur Man

    First appearance: Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #19 (1974)

    Created by Len Wein and Gil Kane

    With ties to the Lizard, Stegron might be obscure, but he could be an intriguing possibility for a future Spidey film. Who wouldn’t want to see Spider-Man fight dinosaurs? Stegron controls dinosaurs, which if you think about it, might be the most useless power ever. Let’s say Oscorp creates dinosaurs and then creates Stegron. It could happen right? There’s some strange things going on behind Oscorp walls.

    Let’s not pretend that Spidey fighting a T-Rex wouldn't make the five year old in all of us hyperventilate with excitement.

    24. Videoman

    First Appearance: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Season 1, Episode 7 (1981)

    Yeah, Videoman. To any child of the '80s, Videoman was as integral a part of the world of Spider-Man as the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Videoman was introduced in the first season of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friendsand he trapped our intrepid heroes in a stand up arcade console.  

    Listen, in the '80s, there wasn’t a comic film every two months, or a bunch of TV shows featuring our beloved comic icons. We took what we had, and what we had was Videoman, and we loved him.

    23. Man Wolf

    First appearance: (as John Jameson) The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Poor John Jameson was sort of wasted in his first and only film appearance in Spider-Man 2. The son of J. Jonah Jameson was left at the altar by Mary Jane and then never heard from again. An American hero and astronaut deserves better, especially one that has a tendency to transform into a werewolf. J.J.J. will probably be reintroduced in the new Marvel Spider-Man movie so it would be a simple matter to introduce his son, a character Spidey rescued in his very first issue back in 1963.

    When Jameson is exposed to the Godstone during a space mission, he was transformed into the Man Wolf. At first, Man Wolf was a fairly typical werewolf, but then he took to the cosmos and found that in space; he could control the wolf and became a galactic champion called Stargod. Yes, he was like Flash Gordon, but a werewolf. Can you say: solo movie?

    22. The Prowler

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (1969)

    Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema

    When young prodigy Hobie Brown lost his job, he grew disenfranchised with the system and created the Prowler armor to stick it to the man. When Spidey was believed to be part of the death of Captain Stacy, the Prowler decided to bring the wanted wall crawler to justice. 

    The Prowler is one of the richest but least talked about latter day Stan Lee characters, and it’s about time such a cool anti-hero has his day. Armored heroes are certainly popular, and since Spidey will be hanging around with Tony Stark in the new movies, maybe it's this guy's time to shine. Then again, there's talk that he might be part of the upcoming Miles Morales animated Spidey movie, so that might put a damper on his live action possibilities.

    Spider-Man Villains

    21. Speed Demon

    First appearance: (as the Whizzer) Avengers #70 (1969) (as Speed Demon) Amazing Spider-Man #222 (1981)

    Created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema

    The Flash is a TV star while Quicksilver has appeared in two, count 'em two, film franchises. As all this proves, everyone loves a speedster and with the comic’s heroic runners present and accounted for across all platforms of media, maybe it’s time fans get to experience a faster than light douchebag like Speed Demon.

    In the pages of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (you need to go read this comic), the Speed Demon stole a puppy. At super speed. He’s a dick. And if featured in a future Spider-Man film he can be a high profile dick.

    spiderman

    20. Swarm

    First appearance: Champions #14 (1977)

    Created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne

    He’s a Nazi made of bees, what else do you need to know?

    Who can forget his signature cry of “SWWWWARRRRMMMM” from his appearance on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends? Swarm could be an Oscorp experiment gone horribly wrong. I mean really wrong. I mean "Nazi made of angry bees wrong." In a cloak.

    19. Big Wheel

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #182 (1978)

    Created by Marv Wolfman, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito

    Of all the villains that have not yet appeared in a Spider film, none are more worthy… no, I can’t DAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Big Wheel, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, what an ass. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I’d like to buy a vowel HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Look at this schmuck HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Ok, moving on...

    18. Hydro Man

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (1981)

    Created by Dennis O'Neil and John Romita, Jr.

    Seriously, this list could almost be called the top 25 villains created by John Romita Sr and Jr...jeez, what a creative force of nature that family is. Anyway, we got to see Sandman featured in Spider-Man 3, and while that isn’t the best Spidey movie of the bunch, the Sandman scenes were really powerful and visually stunning. If you think about it, Hydro Man has a pretty terrifying power, the ability to drown anyone, anywhere, or sneak into any facility through a faucet or a, eww, toilet.

    The comics never really gave Hydro Man his due, but let’s all be honest, the second you saw the water aliens in The Abyssback in the day, you thought of old Hydro Man. And who can forget, Amazing Spider-Man#217 (1981), where Hydro Man and Sandman bonded to form the gigantic Mud Thing, an event so traumatic, it led to Sandman reforming, another seminal Spider event that would make good film fodder.

    And think of the Poland Spring endorsement deals!

    17. Spider Queen

    First Appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 2 #15 (2004)

    Created by Paul Jenkins and Michael Ryan

    Lots of classic villains on this list, but other than Morlun, there’s not a great deal of modern baddies. Well, the Spider Queen is certainly deserving of consideration. The Queen was originally the first female Marine to go into combat in World War II, when she was exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb test; her “insect gene” is activated. She wants to transform the world’s population into arachnid hybrids like her, and was the big bad in Dan Slott’s fantastic Spider-Island event.

    16. Jack O’Lantern

    First appearance: Machine Man #19 (1981)

    Created by Tom DeFalco and Steve Ditko

    Another heir to Green Goblin legacy, the villain known as Jack O’Lantern started out as something of a joke. There have been a number of Jacks over the years, and they have gotten more deadly as time has marched on. The original Jack, Jason Macendale took up the legacy of the Hobgoblin, but it’s the newest Jack O’Lantern introduced in the pages of Venom, that has become one of the most horrific new villains in the Marvel Universe.

    As a child, this new, unnamed Jack O’Lantern murdered his own parents under orders from the Crime Master and claims to have killed all the former wearers of the Jack O’Lantern suit. Ties to the Goblin legend and ties to Venom (who you just know Marvel will bust out eventually), and a cold blooded psychotic freak, this often overlooked creep show has all the makings of an A-list film villain.

    spiderman villains

    15. Hammerhead

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #113 (1972)

    Created by Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr.

    Spidey’s war with organized crime is on hold while he deals with Oscorp and their future cadre of enhanced killers, but crime is still rampant and the tattooed killer is still out there. Hammerhead is the most Dick Tracy-esque of all Marvel villains, and might be a bit anachronistic for the big screen, or he might be the exact thing future Spidey films need to be different.

    How many hi-tech villains can one franchise have? Maybe we need a little old school evil, and this cigar chomping old school douchebag fits the bill.

    14. Tarantula

    First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (1974)

    Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru

    What’s cooler than a mustachioed mercenary with pointy shoes? Pretty much nothing really, am I right?

    Tarantula was one of the cooler Spidey villains introduced in the '70s and in the pages of the comics, he sometimes transforms into a Man Spider, and we all know how much Hollywood likes its giant beasties.

    C’mon, it’s a dude with a bandana mask and stabby boots, how is that not marketable?

    13. The Beetle

    First appearance: Strange Tales #123 (1964)

    Created by Stan Lee and Carl Burgos

    The original Beetle was created by Carl Burgos, the creator of Marvel’s original super-hero the Golden Age Human Torch. That’s some cool stuff right there.

    Anyway, the Beetle is a unique visual with his odd extendy fingers, his unique helmet and his funky wings. The original Beetle armor would have a really cool retro vibe if put in the film, or Marvel can go the route of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon by making the Beetle a silent, armored killer.

    Whatever way they go, as all Thunderboltfans know, Abner Jenkins becomes more than a one note villain when he turns to the side of the angels while a member of the T-Bolts, and that little added wrinkle could be just the edge the Beetle needs to be a pretty compelling movie villain.

    12. Sin Eater

    First appearance: Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107 (1985)

    Created by Peter David and Rich Buckler

    When Sin Eater arrived on the scene in the early '80s, things got very real for Spider-Man and his world. The Death of Jean Dewolffwas the first major work by legendary writer Peter David and it remains one of the most intense, grounded, and violent Spider-Man stories of all time. Any true Spider-Fan should be giddy with anticipation at the prospects of seeing the Sin Eater on the big screen.

    It can be argued that the Sin Eater saga was when Spidey grew up and the saga also started Eddie Brock on his dark path as the photojournalist wrongly accused the wrong man of being the Sin Eater. Any movie focused on Sin Eater would be a departure for the Spidey films, but it would certainly make the new Marvel Spider-Man movie stand out from the crowded superhero pack.

    11. Vermin

    First appearance: Captain America #272 (1982)

    Created by J. M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck

    Spider-Man movies certainly like their human/animal hybrids, and there are none of those combos more horrifically disturbing than Eddie Whelan, the creature known as Vermin. In the comics, Vermin was created by none other than Arnim Zola, who we've gotten to know in movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldierand on Agent Carter.

    Vermin was the perpetual victim, a misunderstood and tormented creature suddenly given unspeakable power. Like Curt Conners’ ability to control lizards, Vermin can control rats and stray dogs, so there is film precedent for Vermin’s abilities. Vermin also ties into the classic Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline, and wouldn’t we all like to see that story adapted to the screen with Vermin along for the ride!

    10. Tombstone

    First appearance: Web of Spider-Man #36 (1988)

    Created by Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk

    Lonnie Lincoln, albino gangster and cold-blooded killer, has been one of Spidey’s most enduring street level foes. In fact, when Daredevil absconded with Kingpin, Tombstone took over as head gangster of Spidey’s world.

    Tombstone is an incredible visual and is a very different animal than the science freaks Spidey has been fighting in the recent set of films. The comic Tombstone has a deep connection to Daily Bugle editor in chief Robbie Robertson, so once the Bugle crew is introduced in earnest; it could also be time to introduce the iciest gangster in Spidey history, the stone cold killer, Tombstone.

    9. Carrion

    First appearance: Spectacular Spider-Man #25 (1978)

    Created by Bill Mantlo, Jim Mooney, and Frank Springer

    Whoa Nellie, is this a complicated one. Carrion started out as the rotting clone of Miles Warren (more on him in a bit) but the Carrion persona ended up being wielded by two other sick and twisted individuals. A future film could jettison all that and just focus on the villain’s horrific power set, the ability to turn organic matter to dust, telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, and intangibility.  

    No matter who wielded the power, Carrion was a freak of science, a lab-created nightmare and could be Harry Osborn’s ultimate weapon against Peter Parker or a master villain in his own right. Carrion was also a running buddy of Carnage and could fit into any saga that utilizes that particular maniac, like teaming John Wayne Gacy and Jeffry Dahmer, but with really, really scary super-powers.

    Spider-Man Villains

    8. Morlun

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #30 (2001)

    Created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr

    Not every idea J. Michael Straczynski presented in his run on Amazing Spider-Man was gold (Gwen and Norman Osborn having an affair my webbed butt), but the introduction of the villainous Morlun was the stuff of legend. When Morlun appears, fans get the feeling that Spidey cannot win; he is the ultimate test for Peter and one that Peter has barely survived. Morlun is the devourer of those with Spider powers, an ancient evil that does not rest.

    To Morlun, the ol' Web-Head is a totem, a being that carries an animal spirit, and to Morlun, these beings are dangerous and must be destroyed. As we all know, there are plenty of totemistic beings in the Spider film universe, which could be just what Morlun needs to make his big screen debut. Morlun would up the ante for Peter, a foe that really tests Peter’s power and will.

    Plus, Morlun rocks an ascot, so you know he’s badass.

    7. The Jackal

    First appearance (As Miles Warren) The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965) (As the Jackal) The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (1974)

    Created by (Miles Warren) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Jackal) Gerry Conway and Ross Andru

    The mad geneticist Miles Warren, a former professor of Gwen and Peter, cloned poor Gwen, kicking off a cycle of torture for Peter Parker that ended with one of the most infamous stories of all time, The Clone Saga. The Jackal was in love with Gwen and couldn’t live without her; he blamed Peter for her death and created a clone of Gwen and later, a clone of Spider-Man himself. 

    Okay, maybe he's best saved for later movies...

    6. Chameleon

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    He was the first costumed villain Spider-Man ever faced. Chameleon has deep familial ties with Kraven the Hunter, a character who has also never been seen on film. Whether with Kraven or solo, the Chameleon is one of Spidey’s deadliest foes because he could literally be anyone. The first Spider-Man villain definitely deserves some film love, and his power set would bring some unique challenges to the big screen.

    5. Morbius, the Living Vampire

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)

    Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane

    Morbius was once dying of a rare blood disease, but found himself transformed into a bat-like creature of the night when he tries to devise a cure for his ailment. This tale of life and death has enough drama to carry a film and present Spider-Man with a very different, very tragic sort of foe. A post modern, high tech vampire, now that’s a concept that deserves its time in the sun. This vampire don’t sparkle, he just kicks acres of ass, and it’s time mainstream Spidey fans get to experience the Living Vampire.

    4. Hobgoblin

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (1983)

    Created by Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr.

    Spider-Man’s greatest foe of the post Bronze Age era. Many different men have worn the mask of the Hobgoblin to bedevil Peter Parker for decades. Whether it was the original Hobgoblin Roderick Kingsley or the arrogant scoundrel Phil Urich of the modern era, the image of the Hobgoblin has always caused Spidey fans’ hearts to skip a beat. After the unthinkable act committed by Harry Osborne as the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (hands up if got freaked when you saw poor Gwen’s green jacket), the vile legacy of the Goblin is secure, and the Hobgoblin has always been the next step in that heritage of evil.

    Marvel needs a new kind of villain for their movies, and could feature different men behind the Hobgoblin mask. Seriously, who can forget the cover of Hobgoblin’s first appearance? The villain ripping an effigy of Spider-Man in half is burned into the brains of Spider-fans forever. Not many villains secure their legacy on their first cover appearance alone, but Hobgoblin did and it's time that legacy extended to other media.

    3. The Scorpion

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (1964)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Possibly the longest running and most important Spidey villain not yet featured in a film, the Scorpion has deep ties to Spidey, Venom, and the freshly sort-of introduced J. Jonah Jameson. Max Gargan was a salty dude, a skell that was hired by Jameson to at first track Peter Parker and then, to be grafted into the Scorpion battle suit, a suit which he got trapped in, making him into a freak and a bitter killer. The hate filled Gargan dedicated his life to destroying both Spidey and Jameson.

    The insect motif, the quest for vengeance, the obsession, all these aspects of the Scorpion would make Gargan a perfect screen villain. Gargan later became bonded to the Venom suit, so if Marvel wants to do something with Venom but avoid the Eddie Brock baggage from an older franchise, there's a way out.

    2. Carnage

    First appearance (as Cletus Kasady) The Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1991)

    Created by David Michelinie, Erik Larsen, and Mark Bagley

    Just the words “Maximum Carnage” alone would send children of the Chromium Age into a tizzy. Perhaps serial killer Cletus Kasady can be introduced in a future Spidey film before we meet his more famous symbiotic big brother.

    It would be hard to do Carnage justice in a PG-13 movie as he is more of a Freddy Krueger type than a classic Marvel villain. Carnage is sometimes maligned as being an empty one-note baddie, but there can be no arguing that he is one of the most popular Spider-Man villains created in the last 25 years...plus, he has a cadre of maniacs and monsters that can also be used to bedevil Spider-Man. With Carnage can come Shriek, the Spider Doppelganger, Carrion, and other assorted maniacs and nightmares. 

    1. Kraven

    First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (1964)

    Created by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Now, stick with us, because a guy in a fur vest might not sound like the best candidate for a big screen Spider-Man movie. But we have our reasons...

    For one thing, Kevin Feige is hinting that we'll see more low-key threats in order to keep the focus on the personal drama in Spidey stories. You know what an insecure teenager like Peter Parker would take personally? A reality show star like Sergei Kravinoff coming to town with a very public mission to hunt and capture Spider-Man.

    Even if Kraven isn't the main baddie of the first film and gets his furry ass handed to him in suitably humiliating fashion in the first act, it allows them to set up one of the greatest (and darkest) Spider-Man sagas of all time for a future film, Kraven's Last Hunt. You'll just have to trust us on that one if you haven't read it, but we promise, it's like nothing Spidey has ever had to deal with on screen before.

    This article originally ran on May 9th, 2014. It has been significantly updated to reflect all of the crazy, happy developments regarding the Spider-Man franchise, Sony, and Marvel.


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    This early look at a Michael Keaton Batman Forever costume gives us a glimpse of what might have been.

    Michael Keaton
    News Mike Cecchini
    Jun 16, 2017

    Batman fans ask a lot of questions, but there's one that comes up more than others around here: "What if Tim Burton and Michael Keaton had done Batman Forever?"

    Now we at least know a little bit more about what a Michael Keaton Batman 3would have looked like, thanks to images of these early production models from early in Batman Forever's production.

    The sculpt is by Jose Fernandez, who also sculpted Catwoman's cowl in Batman Returns and the Robin suit in Batman and Robin. The top two look like the "sonar" batsuit from Batman Forever, while the bottom resembles that film's primary costume.

    Watch Batman Forever on Amazon

    Check 'em out:

    Don't get too excited over the grey suit. That's probably just the material used for the sculpt, and this likely would have been painted black like the other batsuits in the franchise. But the yellow oval with the contrast of the black cape, boots, and gloves on a grey bodysuit does look pretty striking when put in the context of the '90s Batmanmovies, doesn't it? The lack of nipples doesn't hurt, either.

    I'm not sure about the exact chronology of these photos, which originally surfaced on the Brotherhood of the Bat message board and comes to us via The Movies (with a hat-tip to some old friends, too). It's likely that these were made after Tim Burton had departed the project, but before Michael Keaton did.

    Join Amazon Prime - Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now

    We outlined how Tim Burton's Batman 3 became Batman Forever right here, if you'd like to read more.

    Mike Cecchini believes no batsuit is complete without the yellow oval. Join his crusade on Twitter.

    This article originally appeared in December of 2014.


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