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- 06/16/17--11:48: _Hammer Horror’s Cap...
- 06/16/17--15:10: _The Passage: Boardw...
- 06/16/17--16:18: _Spider-Man: Homecom...
- 06/16/17--22:31: _Jack Kirby To Get D...
- 06/17/17--13:37: _How Batman II Becam...
- 06/17/17--14:30: _How Fear the Walkin...
- 06/18/17--20:16: _20th Century Fox In...
- 06/19/17--10:00: _Exclusive! Wonder W...
- 06/19/17--11:49: _The Best Serial Fic...
- 06/19/17--14:07: _Outlander Season 4:...
- 06/19/17--14:58: _Venom and Silver & ...
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- 06/20/17--21:05: _Watchmen HBO Series...
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- 06/22/17--13:54: _The Defenders Trail...
- 06/23/17--14:55: _Syfy Orders Pilot f...
- 06/23/17--15:34: _X-Men: Dark Phoenix...
- 06/23/17--18:55: _Robotech #1 Preview...
- 06/25/17--14:24: _Michael Keaton Talk...
- 06/26/17--16:50: _How Harry Potter Wa...
- 06/16/17--16:18: Spider-Man: Homecoming VR Trailer Puts You in the Stark Suit
- 06/16/17--22:31: Jack Kirby To Get Disney Legends Award at D23
- 06/17/17--13:37: How Batman II Became Batman Returns
- 06/17/17--14:30: How Fear the Walking Dead Might Be Setting Up the Whisperers
- 06/18/17--20:16: 20th Century Fox Invests Big In BOOM! Studios
- 06/19/17--10:00: Exclusive! Wonder Woman/Conan Crossover Coming This Fall
- 06/19/17--11:49: The Best Serial Fiction You Should Be Reading
- 06/19/17--14:07: Outlander Season 4: Cast, Release Date, Plot
- 06/19/17--17:04: Teen Titans TV Series Character Breakdowns Surface
- 06/20/17--21:05: Watchmen HBO Series in Development From Damon Lindelof
- 06/22/17--13:54: The Defenders Trailer, Photos, Casting, Story Details & More!
- 06/23/17--14:55: Syfy Orders Pilot for George R.R. Martin Series Nightflyers
- 06/23/17--15:34: X-Men: Dark Phoenix Confirmed to Have Dazzler
- 06/23/17--18:55: Robotech #1 Preview Pages Revealed
- 06/25/17--14:24: Michael Keaton Talks Which He Prefers Playing: Hero or Villain
- 06/26/17--16:50: How Harry Potter Was Nearly Very Different
Hammer’s Horror Hero Captain Kronos has guts. And you can see then in Titan’s new comic series.
Mind you, get home before dark now. There is death in every doorway, trembling in every heart. Several young maidens have been found dead in the countryside of Eastern Europe. Their faces aged mercilessly in the unrelenting sun. Locals think there is a vampire in the woods. It is a mystery only Captain Kronos can solve. What he doesn't know about vampirism wouldn't fill a flea's codpiece.
Hammer Films and Titan will be release on a new comic series featuring Captain Kronos in September. The comic will continue the story of the original 1974 cult movie Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter, which was written and directed by Brian Clemens. Hammer’s Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter was planned to join the studio’s horror franchises, alongside Christopher Lee’s Dracula, but never materialized.
Captain Kronos will be written by Dan Abnett (Aquaman, Guardians of the Galaxy), and drawn by Tom Mandrake (Sidekick, The Spectre).
Titan released the cover art and a a special "Hammer Glamour" cover featuring Hammer actress Caroline Munro. Although this writer could never get Wanda Ventham’s turn as Lady Durward out of his head. I suspect mesmerism. Sadly, she was no match for Captain Kronos, and his two assistants, Grost and Carla.
The debonair Kronos was a vampire victim himself, and knows vampire’s strengths and weaknesses. There are “as many species of vampire as there are beasts of prey,” we learn in the movie. “Their methods and their motive for attack can vary in a hundred different ways,” almost as many as the methods of their destruction.
Captain Kronos joins Peter Milligan and Ronilson Freire’s The Mummy: Palimpsest, which debuted last November, as the second title of Titan’s Hammer Comics.
The Passage, Fox’s TV adaptation of Justin Cronin’s vampire novels, will see Mark-Paul Gosselaar headline the announced cast.
Fox’s ambitious television forays into genre television – notably exemplified by its upcoming Marvel Comics X-Men spinoff series The Gifted– will also consist of a grandiose small screen serial adaptation of The Passage, Justin Cronin’s popular 2010-2016 trilogy of vampire apocalypse novels, as announced earlier this year. Accordingly, the series is making vampire-powered progress, with the first reports of its cast members, including a toplining Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
The Passage story centers on a bleak future in which humanity has been overrun by virus-imbued vampires created after an ill-conceived secret U.S. government experiment to create super soldiers called Project Noah.
The Passage Latest News
Vincent Piazza joins the vampire apocalypse of Fox’s The Passage to play Clark Richards. The character seems to have the makings of a standout, said to be brilliant and charming with a dark sense of humor. Clark is intriguingly described as “all restless energy and fierce intelligence.”
Piazza typically dwells in urban Italian-American roles, with runs on HBO’s The Sopranos, FX’s Rescue Me, before landing as a series regular for HBO's Prohibition-era crime drama Boardwalk Empire, playing the fact-based mobster Lucky Luciano. He also fielded a major role in director Clint Eastwood’s 2014 Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons Broadway-adapted biopic Jersey Boys and starred opposite Patricia Arquette in the 2015 mob drama The Wannabe. The suspense thriller Never Here will be his next film offering, which arrives on June 18.
The Passage Cast
Mark-PaulGosselaar will play a Brad Wolgast, an FBI agent who, initially tasked with bringing the viral patient zero – a 10-year-old girl named Amy Bellafonte – to her experimenters, has a crisis of conscience and instead rescues the girl from her fate as a test subject, leaving both on the run from the irate bureaucrats. However, just as in Cronin’s novels, Fox’s The Passage will tell its story across multiple timelines, following Wolgast and Amy in the prime/present timeline and a flashback timeline, explaining the origin of the viral vampires through Amy’s eyes.
Gosselaar, freshly cast off from his co-starring role on Fox’s recently cancelled first-woman-in-baseball drama Pitch, tops the marquee for this series. Gosselaar, of course, brings nostalgic gravitas as the fourth-wall breaking star of the 1980s/90s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell, as well as his run on legendary police drama NYPD Blue and legal drama Franklin & Bash.
Saniyya Sidney will play a crucial co-lead role as the messianic, super-powered, immortal patient zero of The Passage’s vampire apocalypse, Amy Bellafonte. The prodigious actress has been making the rounds on increasingly prestigious projects in the short span of a year, going from the 2016 Roots television remake to a role in Season 6 of FX’s American Horror Story, graduating to the awards season stratosphere by appearing in Oscar-nominated films FencesandHidden Figures (a duo of films whose concurrent Oscar nods became the source of a legendary award show flub). Besides The Passage, Sidney is set to appear in the comedic TV movie Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History and the 2018 sci-fi drama Fast Color.
Helping Wolgast and Amy fight the virus in the present timeline are the rest of The Passage cast, consisting of Genesis Rodriguez (Time After Time, Big Hero 6) as Alicia, B.J. Britt (Antoine Triplett from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Pitch) as Peter and Jennifer Ferrin (Hell on Wheels, Time After Time) as Sarah. Additionally, Brianne Howey (Fox’s The Exorcist, Horrible Bosses 2) plays test subject Shauna.
The Passage Crew
The Passage arrives under the purview of Alien visionary Ridley Scott, who initially acquired the rights to Cronin’s literary epic with intent to make movies. Scott boards the Fox series as an executive producer alongside another well-known visionary in Matt Reeves, director of 2008’s Cloverfield and current writing and directorial steward of the Planet of the Apes film franchise, with the third outing of the current iteration, War for the Planet of the Apes, set to hit in July. Reeves also happens to be attached as director to the somewhat embattled Ben Affleck-starring Batman solo spinoff film The Batman.
The Passage has redefined, reinvigorated and, arguably, redeemed the vampire genre in the literary world, presenting them as nuanced and dangerous, erasing memories of Twilight-like sparkly fang-wielders. While its multiple timeline format should lend itself well as a television series, it will be interesting to see if it can mesh well enough with the content and format limitations typically attributed to network primetime series.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is touting an intense VR Experience trailer, revealing the gadgetry of the Stark suit.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will soon make its long-awaited arrival, marking the first solo cinematic outing for Tom Holland’s cross-studio, Marvel Cinematic Universe-adherent version of Marvel Comics’ most iconic costumed hero. Seeing as the film showcases the expected amount of intense web-slinging scenes, the film will herald itself additionally with a VR Experience, as evidenced by the new trailer.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Virtual Reality Experience will be the closest that you’ll ever get to putting on the Tony Stark-developed, gadget-imbued Spider-Man suit that’s been touted in the film’s trailers. Not only do you get to see the impressive piece of sartorial engineering kept in an equally-impressive tech-imbued suitcase, but you’ll see the immersive interactive action through the (unprecedentedly expressive) eyes of Spidey’s mask. While the trailer doesn’t contain any interactive elements, you can fulfill more immediate desires for vicarious thwipping and swinging across New York City one full week before the film's arrival, since the VR Experience will be ready to use on major VR platforms such as (Sony’s own) PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on June 30.
VR is an increasingly-utilized tool that blockbuster films embrace in their promotional process, recently exemplified by director Ridley Scott’s Alien: CovenantVR offering. For Spider-Man: Homecoming, the development occurred as a home-brewed project over at Sony Pictures. As its senior vice president of Virtual Reality Jake Zim comments on the Spidey experience:
“Spider-Man is the most beloved superhero in the world, so we knew Spider-Man: Homecoming VR had to be something special. Fans can wear the suit, fire the new web shooters – THWIP! – and swing through the air in a faceoff with The Vulture. It’s every fan’s fantasy turned into virtual reality.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming will do whatever a spider can to land at theaters on July 7. If you are so inclined, Spider-Man: Homecoming – Virtual Reality will be available before that on June 30, allowing you to do a bit of first-person reconnaissance on the lay of the cinematic land.
The genius behind much of the Marvel Universe will get recognized as a Disney Legend at this year's D23 Expo.
Disney will acknowledge the genius of Jack Kirby at the D23 Expo in July, just over a month before what would have been the brilliant writer and artist's 100th birthday. This is perhaps the most high profile celebration of Jack Kirby and his legacy that Disney has undertaken since they purchased Marvel, and it's part of a continued thaw between Marvel and the Kirby legacy that began with an amicable 2014 settlement with the family, which rewarded the estate with an undisclosed sum in recognition of his contributions to Marvel.
Jack Kirby, in case you don't know, is one of the founding pillars of Marvel Comics. While Stan Lee was the "face" of the company (and in some ways still is, thanks to his enduring cameos in Marvel movies), Kirby was the key artistic and creative force in their partnership. He co-created Captain America (with Joe Simon) in 1941, and with Lee, he brought us the Fantastic Four (which ushered in Marvel as we know it), Thor, The Hulk, The X-Men, Ant-Man The Avengers, Black Panther, the Inhumans, SHIELD, and countless others. It's unlikely that anyone drew more pages or created (or co-created) more concepts at Marvel in the 1960s than Jack Kirby.
Kirby left Marvel at the end of the '60s (only to return for a stint in the 1970s), and died in 1994, long before he had a chance to see his creations become the driving forces of billion dollar blockbuster movies. So while Kirby never worked for Disney (who purchased Marvel in 2009), they're doing the right thing by honoring the man who so much of their recent success springs from.
Other honorees receiving the Disney Legends Award this year include Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, Oprah Winfrey, and, of course, Stan Lee. The ceremony will take place on Friday, July 14 at 10 am in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center.
To learn more about Jack Kirby, visit kirbymuseum.org, the home of The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center. This writer is a trustee of that organization.
How did Batman II, the sequel to one of the most successful summer movies of all time, turn into the very anti-commercial Batman Returns?
Who broods more than Batman? That is at least the point of view filmmakers took with Batman Returns, a Tim Burton art-piece masquerading as blockbuster entertainment. The bleakest and kinkiest superhero movie ever made, Batman Returns takes the first line of the original Sam Hamm screenplay to heart: “It’s finally happened; Hell’s frozen over.” Decorating his urban decay with shiny Yuletide wrapping, Burton and his collaborators crafted the most artful cape and cowl picture—a German Expressionist painting so cynical about the holidays, abhorrent commercialism, and the supposed goodwill of man that Ebenezer Scrooge might even cringe.
How this definitively anti-Christmas movie got made on a staggering $80 million budget and then slapped on the back of McDonald’s Happy Meals is almost as fascinating as the skintight vinyl of the movie itself.
Batman Returns is the perverse product of studio logic that in desire to repeat success allowed for a wholly different creature to claw its way past the red tape of formulae and onto the big screen.
Following up on the financial rewards of 1989’s Batman was a no-brainer in the immediate aftermath of its world domination. The highest grossing movie all time upon its release, the Caped Crusader took in an unheard of $400 million worldwide and toppled the summer’s other heavy hitters, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters II. But more impressively, the Dark Knight reached pop culture icon status in a way never before seen when his simple gold-and-black logo became ubiquitous on every T-shirt, trading card, and toy store window. It was inescapable for everyone… except for perhaps a slightly nauseous Tim Burton and Michael Keaton.
Whereas studio executives and even screenwriter Hamm were clamoring at the idea of “Batman II,” Burton famously called a continuation of the film in 1989 a “dumbfounded idea.” Consider that while Batman was nigh universally loved during the heights of Batmania, Burton described the film to Empire magazine in 1992 as “a little boring at times.”
Keaton held out for a significant pay raise, but Burton wanted the discretion of choosing a screenplay and story different than what came before—a decision that would drastically change the direction of the picture and perhaps the entire franchise.
In the months before Batman’s phenomenal success, screenwriter Sam Hamm hinted to Comics Scene that he really wanted to use Two-Face and explore how heroic DA Harvey Dent (played by the unflappably charismatic Billy Dee Williams in the 1989 film) became the tragically deranged Two-Face. However, Warner Bros. and Burton had other ideas.
Likely based off the popularity of Burgess Meredith’s foul performance in the 1966 Batman TV series, WB insisted that Penguin be the big bad of Batman II. Further, both Hamm and Burton had a thing for Catwoman.
“They really wanted the Penguin,” Hamm explained in the 2005 documentary Shadows of the Bat. “Because they sort of saw the Penguin as the number two Batman villain. We wanted to do Catwoman, so we wound up doing Penguin and Catwoman.”
The result was two drafts Hamm turned in for Batman II, which would have made a very different present than what we finally unwrapped in 1992. Literally continuing from the first line of his 1988 Batman screenplay (which began by describing Gotham as “hell has erupted through the sidewalks”), Hamm’s treatment was a direct follow-up to the 1989 film.
While it was certainly Hamm’s conceit to set the Batman sequel in the doldrums of Holiday Cheer, the blanket of snow and Christmas wreaths were more a decorative ornamentation around St. Batman, and the story feels like a direct expansion of what came before: Bruce Wayne is still dating Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale and is even engaged to her by the end, and he is fighting criminals of the same cartoon-noir decadence as Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Sure, one bad guy is dressed like a dastardly Santa Claus, but instead of having a comical toy gag like the Penguin’s umbrellas in the final film, evil Santa is sporting an AK-47 and mowing down police officers with the kind of stylized grittiness associated with the first Batman picture.
Batman II might have been an interesting film since it would have carried over many more of the elements from the 1989 experience that people loved. The villains were psychotic and violent, but they were not freaks in that patented Tim Burton way. The Penguin is a small time criminal with a penchant for birds—which he often uses as weapons with Hitchcock-inspired attack pigeons—and Selina Kyle is the highly sexualized vamp that she’s usually portrayed as in the comics, albeit turned up to 11. Her costume is described as literal “bondage” gear, and she has no qualms about massacring large groups of men with assault rifles or her own claws.
However, Batman II further attempted to ground the title character back in his comic book roots. Bruce Wayne (and even Vicki Vale) is far more the protagonist than he ended up being in the finished film, and one who has developed a strict “no kill” policy. The story is also haphazardly about Bruce Wayne trying to protect the homeless, who are about to get Giuliani’d in Gotham’s Central Park equivalent. He’s also uncovering the secret history of the Waynes.
This leads to the rather lackluster main plotline about Penguin and Catwoman murdering the wealthiest men in Gotham (and framing the Batman while doing it) in an attempt to collect secret “Raven” statues, which ultimately leads to a Christmas Eve Agatha Christie-esque visit to Wayne Manor in the bizarre hope of finding buried treasure hidden (unbeknownst to Bruce) in the Batcave. Oh, and it also introduces Robin as a 12-year-old homeless orphan kid that knows martial arts.
Obviously a busy take on the character, these early drafts needed plenty of work. Still, they maintained the old Hollywood feel of the previous movie. If Batman drew liberally from wiseguy gangster dramas, Batman II appeared to be pulling from The Maltese Falcon except with Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor doing the public service of bumping off the most corruptible of one percenters.
Burton was severely disappointed in this approach and wouldn’t sign the dotted line. Not until WB promised, in Hamm’s words, to let Tim make a “Tim Burton movie,” as opposed to a Batman sequel.
“A Tim Burton Movie”
What finally brought Tim Burton onboard for the sequel was the free rein that he and his handpicked new screenwriter, Daniel Waters, received for their vision. Burton had been a fan of Waters’ work on the ultimate dark teen comedy, Heathers (think Mean Girls except actually mean). As a result Burton and Waters had a level of latitude relatively unprecedented before or since with superhero movies.
“Tim and I never had a conversation about ‘what are fans of the comic books going to think?’” Waters said in the Shadows of the Bat documentary. “We never thought about them. We were really just about the art.”
As a result, and with Keaton’s insistence (who deleted much of Batman’s dialogue by choice in the scripting process), the focus bounced back from Batman to the villains, who changed dramatically in the script. As Burton himself expressed, he never really got the appeal of his main villain in the comics. “You could find the psychological profile of Batman, Catwoman, Joker, but the Penguin was just this guy with a cigarette and a top hat. What is he?!” Burton mused in 2005.
The result was Waters and Burton agreeing to turn the Penguin into a tragic figure every bit as freakish as the Batman. Indeed, Oswald Cobblepot became a repulsive mirror for our hero, a child of wealth who lost his parents when he was abandoned in the sewers on Christmas Eve like a freak show version of Moses.
Also, as Burton admitted to Empire in 1992, Waters brought a political and social satire element to the plot by taking from the Batman TV series and having this repellent oddity run for Mayor of Gotham in a recall election (think episodes “Hizzoner The Penguin” and “Dizzoner The Penguin”). This was only made possible by the smiling machinations of Gotham industrialist Max Shreck, a Waters invention. “I wanted to show that true villains of our world don’t necessarily wear costumes,” Waters said to Empire.
However, his most unique change was his metamorphosis of Selina Kyle from street-wise femme fatale to the ultimate 1990s feminist allegory. “Sam Hamm went back to the way comic books in general treat women,” Waters told Film Review in 2008. “Like fetishy sexual fantasy. I wanted to start off just at the lowest point in society, a very beaten down secretary.” While the ripped costume stitches came from Burton, Waters imagined Catwoman being a psychological (and sexual) fable about the feminine. It was a change Waters half-joked in 2005 that he was ready to “lose the job” over.
Other changes included distancing itself from Batman II’sstrict “no kill” policy subplot. Instead, Batman liberally murders many, many people in Batman Returns. “A lot of people complained that our Batman actually killed people,” Waters said in a 2005 Batman Returns special feature. “Some purists would say, ‘Batman would never kill people!’ But I would always say, ‘We don’t live in the time where you can drop criminals off with a net on the front of City Hall.’ The times are darker, so you have to make your character darker.”
Waters ultimately wrote five drafts, which changed aspects drastically. Max Shreck was initially Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent (Catwoman’s electro-kiss at the end of Batman Returns would have left him with the scar and split personality), and in a later draft, Shreck became the Penguin’s long lost brother, a secret Cobblepot (a layer that had to be removed from an overstuffed script). Even Robin made an appearance. However, as Waters later described Robin as “the most worthless character in the world,” his and Burton’s attempt was half-hearted at best: Robin was a fully-grown Batmobile mechanic with a faded “R” on his jump suit uniform. Marlon Wayans was even cast in the role and an action figure was made until the character’s last-minute excision from the screenplay. Wayans still gets residual checks for his two-picture Robin deal (Joel Schumacher later opted to recast Robin with white actor Chris O’Donnell for Batman Forever).
As this is a full Yuletide unpacking of Batman Returns, we've broken it up over two pages. Read more here...
Is Fear the Walking Dead actually an origin story for the Whisperers? There's definitely evidence that it could be...
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.
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...
Comic book movies aren't going anywhere anytime soon!
Having previously established first look development deals for film and TV rights with 20th Century Fox, BOOM! Studios -- the publisher of everything from comics based on the Bill & Ted franchise to the WWE -- has just announced that Fox has just made a "strategic investment" with the company that yields great creative potential and will further cement the relationship between the pair. What does this mean? Well, to paraphrase Jem and the Holograms (as we are wont to do) it's showtime/synergy!
From the press release:
The investment gives TCFF a significant minority stake in the largest independently-controlled comic book and graphic novel library. Differing from other major publishers in the space, BOOM! partners with creators to share ownership of original series.
“Our industry’s soul is its storytelling and artistry, and as we continue to foster an environment at Fox that serves as a home for the world’s best storytellers, this investment in BOOM! allows us to work even more closely with their incredible stable of writers and artists,” said TCFF CEO and Chairman Stacey Snider. “We look forward to the projects we have with them ahead, and are proud to have an opportunity to further energize their storytelling through this partnership.”
“Fox’s investment will fuel BOOM!’s generation of more original content like Lumberjanes, Mouse Guard, and Grass Kings. Fox has been an incredibly supportive partner and our creative alliance has been tremendously successful – high-level directors, big screenwriters, and marquee talent have found BOOM! an attractive platform. Now BOOM! can greenlight more new series from comic book creators, deepen its distribution relationships, and widen its marketing reach. Great news for our creators, retail partners, and fans. Fox is committed to BOOM!’s creators through this deal and it means BOOM! will have better support and resources to publish world-class content,” says Ross Richie, CEO and Founder of BOOM! Studios.
More than just a blurring of the lines between where the comics company ends and the studio begins, this deal is seemingly great news for BOOM!'s ever-growing stable of non-licensed titles and their creators. The release goes on to mention how several of BOOM!'s original properties including Irredeemable and Imagine Agents are already being developed into media projects launched from the printed page.
In other words, thanks to the continued success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC films as well as their own comics-based movies, Fox wants to double down on these types of projects as there still remains plenty of story -- and financial -- potential to be explored here.
Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti are teaming for first ever meeting between Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian!
Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian seem like pretty logical characters to pair together. But since little legalities like publishing and licensing concerns have never quite lined up for the two, they've never crossed over. That's all going to change this fall, though.
This September, we'll see Wonder Woman/Conan thanks to a collaboration between DC and Dark Horse Comics. The book is from beloved Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone, artist Aaron Lopresti, inker Matt Ryan, and colorist Wendy Broome. The series teams the Themiscyrian and the Cimmerian for six issues and starts on September 20th.
Here's what the solicit for the first issue says:
What makes one a legend? How do legends carve their name into history, when countless others are forgotten? Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian are destined by the fates to be legendary, but when their stories collide, will both emerge victorious, or will the fickle Gods cut their lives short?
Simone and Lopresti previously worked together on Gail's legendary run on Wonder Woman, one of the most well-regarded stretches by a writer on Diana's comic ever. In addition to her time with Diana, Simone also had a much praised run as writer of Red Sonja for Dynamite, so there is a wealth of barbarian-related experience coming to this project.
“I love crossovers, I love Wonder Woman, and being able to bring the undisputed greatest warriors of the DCU and Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age together for the very first time is a dream come true,” said Simone.
The story starts with Conan washing ashore in a strange land and meeting Wonder Woman, a legendary gladiator. They're soon captured by a powerful slave owner and have to face off with a dark power trying to take both of them down.
Wonder Woman/Conan begins its six-issue run on September 20th.
Check out the cover!
Our ongoing roundup of the best serial fiction out there has just been updated with lots of new entries!
Serial fiction isn't a new thing—Dickens was doing it back in the 1800s. But there's been a new surge of serial fiction, with related technology that Dickens never would have dreamed possible. Need your fiction in short bites? There's an app for that. Several, in fact.
If you're one of those people who reads in line at Starbucks, and your phone is easier to maneuver than a paperback, check out some of these excellent apps. Prefer a larger screen? Plenty of these serials are available in your browser (or as purchases for your e-reader) as well.
Whether your taste runs to historical fiction (Julian Fellowes Belgravia or Whitehall from SerialBox), urban fantasy (Ilona Andrews's "Innkeeper Chronicles" or Serial Box's Bookburners), post-apocalyptic YA (ReMade), Asian fantasy (Lian Hearn's "The Tale of Shikanoko" or JY Yang's "Tensorate" series), or something with a little more contemporary flare (Geek Actually), you'll find something — probably several somethings — to love.
Why serials? Some readers' favorite writers may be trying out the format. Recognize the names Max Gladstone, Delia Sherman, Malinda Lo, Sarah J. Maas, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, and Brian Francis Slattery? Odds are good you've heard of most of them!
But many serial readers have been groomed by internet reading to read differently. These new readers are looking for a quick read on cell phones: that could be an article on a really excellent geek news website, or it could be shorter-than-novels fiction. The rise in contemporary serial fiction is looking to find a place in that niche reading time.
There's an app for that.
When Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey launched his Belgravia app for the serial novel he was releasing (see below), his was just one of the apps available for short bites (and bytes) of fiction on Android and iOS devices. While some are single-novel apps, most are platforms where you can access a lot of fiction at various price points. Here are some you should know about:
Radish features a wide variety of self-published authors. Readers subscribe to stories for micro-payments, starting below a dollar, that are charged with each episode. Readers can search by genre as well as tags (including "werewolf,""rebellion," and "blackgirlmagic") to select their titles.
Tapas is a similar app, though you can earn and purchase coins and keys that unlock chapters of stories. Some of these are from traditional publishing houses, such as Hachette, who have licensed their books (such as excellent kid's book The Wild Robot by Peter Brown) to the app.
Most are from self published authors, including (now movie-famous) Andy Weir, whose The Martian was originally a serial at his own website before it was a feature film, has a number of titles on the app.
The biggest draw-back of the app is that the bite-sized chunks are very small, so readers won't likely want to just get by on the keys and coins they can "earn" from the app's promotions.
Online indie serial hosting site Wattpad released a messaging-based story serial app called Tap, which gives serials an extra sense of immediacy that mimics some of the fun of an alternate reality, transmedia game like Andrea Phillips's brilliant The McKinnon Account.
Serial Box has several serials that can be read--pay per episode or series subscription--through their website, on the e-reader, or via their app. One of the biggest perks of Serial Box serials is that any episode purchased includes the audio version, which is great for readers who need their fiction on the (literal) run. Check out series synopses below.
Bookshots is James Patterson's bite-sized fiction project: two novellas come out each month, priced at $3.99. Patterson is the idea man while his co-writers do the heavy prose lifting, and several dabble in Patterson's previously established worlds, including his Alex Cross books.
Now that you know which apps are available, on to the specific serials you should check out...
The Best Serial Fiction You Should Be Reading
While I read a lot of fantasy, in both serial and standalone form, I don't often get the pleasure of reading contemporary stories about women who like the things I do — all the gamer geeky, SFF fannish fun stuff that fills my every day Facebook feed in my friends circle.
Geek Actually, which launched in June 2017 from Serial Box, is filling a hole in my fiction-reading life I didn't even realize I had. The five main characters are members of a chat group and circle of female friends who call themselves the Rebel Scum. Most, like me, are women with careers that revolve around their geeky passions.
The focus on powerful and healthy female friendships — a theme that shouldn't be limited to MLP:FIM — is a delight, and the diversity of the cast is both wonderful and unsurprising, given the writing team behind this serial: Fandom Hearts series author Cathy Yardley, Dirty Sexy Geeky author Melissa Blue, Cecilia Tan of the Vanished Chronicles, and TV-writer-cum-novelist Rachel Stuhler (Absolutely True Lies).
Geek Actually is just in its beginning stages, but I'm really excited to see where it goes.
The first season of this intense YA post-apocalyptic serial recently wrapped, making it perfect for binge-reading all at once.
Twenty three teenagers, all of whom died in the same minute, become the last hope for humanity when they awaken in a brand new world. Here, there are robots that hunt humans, a dangerous jungle, and the ruins of an ancient civilization. For the teens — who might be the last people on the planet — to survive, they have to learn to work together.
With the continued love for YA dystopian futures in longer, doorstopper fantasy titles, this is an entry into the genre that you can take in chunks. The writing team includes some familiar names for YA (and wider) readers: Matthew Cody, Kiersten White, E. C. Myers, Andrea Phillips, Carrie Harris, and Gwenda Bond.
Tor.com has been quietly dominating the novella market, releasing several excellent, critically-celebrated short-ish stories predominantly in e-book format.
Among these are two forthcoming stand-alone novellas that introduce JY Yang's Tensorate series. The Tensorate series is a technology-vs.-tradition tale of two twin siblings, Mokoya and Akeha, drawn to opposite sides of a rebellion.
The two children of the Protectorate, Mokoya and Akeha, were sold into slavery as children. Mokoya can sense the future, while Akeha can see the mechanics of manipulation among the adults who govern their world.
Akeha views the Machinist rebels against his mother's rule as a way to free the Protectorate from its rot. Mokoya becomes embroiled in a hunt for the deadly naga, but discovers that conspiracy lies beneath magic.
Both stories release on the same day in September, 2017, so this is a great binge-reading duology, with the promise of more tales to come.
Witch just wrapped Season 2 of a saga set in 1970-71 Prague at the height of not only the Cold War, but an ongoing struggle between sorcerers of the Ice, who want to preserve the status quo, and the Fire, who seek to remake the world with magical fire. In the midst of this conflict are KGB agent and witch Tanya, whose grandfather set her on the course for both the Party and magic, and Gabe, a CIA agent who stumbled into too much magic in Cairo and now has to learn control in order to get his life back on track.
The setting is fascinating — just enough technology to feel modern, right up until the moments when it isn't, with a sense of things crumbling around the edges while magic seeps in. Season 2 builds on both the conflicts and kinships between Gabe and Tanya, as well as giving some previously minor (and some new) characters the spotlight.
The enhancement of the cast breathes even stronger life into the series, and the banter between Gabe and newcomer Edith is an ongoing delight. Witch has a great writing team (including creator Lindsay Smith, Bookburners creator Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, and guest author, multi-time Hugo and Nebula award winner, Michael Swanwick).
When Season 1 ended, Sal Brooks, a NYC detective who has become a member of the Catholic church's covert team to lock down demons and the tomes that contain them, watches her brother, previously possessed by a demon and now melded with... something else, disappear in front of her eyes. Season 2 answers some of the lingering questions from Season One.
The concept of Bookburners, which had a writing team of Max Gladstone, screenwriter Margaret Dunlap, Philip K. Dick winning writer Brian Francis Slattery, and urban fantasist Mur Lafferty for Season 1, and adds pro transmedia and serial writer Andrea Phillips for Season 2, is that books are one of the few ways to trap and contain the demons plaguing humanity. The demons as depicted by the team are truly frightening — by turn terrifying and grotesque.
But those demons have to confront a worthy team: Liam, a hacker who is getting over his own former possession; Grace, a supernaturally swift martial artist with a curse of her own; Father Menchu, the spiritual and practical leader of the group whose early encounter with an "Angel" shaped his faith; and Asanti, a librarian whose curiosity for the arcane is sometimes too powerful for her own good.
Despite, or perhaps because of, their own past damage and their flaws, these protagonists are imminently easy to empathize with, and while the world becomes grayer over the course of Seasons 1 and 2, those nuances further develop the world.
If you're familiar with Ellen Kushner's Riverside fantasy series, beginning with Swordpoint, you've already got a great hook to start this serial: Tremontaine is a prequel to the adventures in the novels. It also serves as a great introduction to Kushner's world for those unfamiliar with her work — or any of the other excellent writers on the team, including Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, Patty Bryant, and Paul Witcover.
Readers meet Diane, Duchess Tremontaine, who is facing financial difficulties but scheming on ways to improve the situation for herself and her city; Ixkaab (Kaab) Balam, a fierce daughter of traders who gets into a duel over a woman's honor just as she arrives in the city; and Micah, a brilliant young girl from a farming family who is taken under the wing of a scholar who thinks she's a boy.
Tremontaine has finished its second season, with plenty of swashbuckling and political intrigue to keep readers hooked, and series creator Ellen Kushner has posted a guide to the Riverside novels and the order in which they occur chronologically for readers wanting to delve more deeply into that world.
Husband-and-wife team Ilona and Gordon Andrews have been releasing a series of free novellas on their website as a reward to loyal readers, and the third novella in the series, One Fell Sweep, wrapped in at the end of 2016, with the promise of more novellas to come.
Each weekly installment is a partial chapter, typically readable inside of fifteen minutes, and enough of a bite sized chunk to whet your appetite for whatever comes next. Though no release date has yet been announced for the fourth serial, the first three are available as complete books for purchase (and well worth it).
The story revolves around Dina, an Innkeeper, host for interstellar travelers that include familiar mythological figures like werewolves and vampires, as well as more outlandish aliens. Her inn feeds magic into her, so she can change reality on her inn's grounds to better accommodate--and defend against--her guests. In Clean Sweep, the first novella, a supernatural danger threatens Dina's non-magical neighbors. Dina isn't supposed to get involved, but she's not the type to let what she's supposed to do stop her from doing what's right.
Andrews creates a very cool world mixing fantasy and science fiction tropes and populates it with a fully realized cast, including not only Dina but the local werewolf-in-denial and Dina's struggling inn's only regular guest, a vampire noble claiming asylum on earth due to her previous ruthless acts.
If you don't need a guarantee that your space opera is going to be regularly updated (this serial updates very sporadically because it's free and the authors write other books as well), you might want to check out The Starkillers Cycle by Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard. The pair, known best for their YA fantasy, combine their love for space fantasy and tough women in the 26 chapters currently posted.
The serial opens with Mel, a prisoner who was convicted of murder, killing another inmate in self defense, and choosing to escape and brave the jungle of her prison planet rather than face the consequences of another conviction. Other characters include a debutante who leaves her glittering world to become an accomplished pilot, an ex-military escaped prisoner worried about the sisters he left behind, and a law enforcer whose family thinks he should have a higher profile job--who's recruited to confront Mel after her latest in a string of supposed crimes.
The language is graphic, and the content is what you'd expect from the darkest of Maas's work--plenty of threats of torture, blood, and potentially disfiguring injuries--but despite the grim edge, it has the atmosphere of large-scale space fantasy, chock full of adventure, excitement, and rich families seeking to shape the galaxy as they see fit.
If you're an old-school reader who'd rather wait until the whole story is complete, there are a bunch of finished serials to pick up, too...
Told over the course of four novellas, all published in 2016, this mythical medieval Japanese epic features a disinherited lord, courtly intrigue with the heirs of the Lotus Throne, and a sorcerer who creates a mask for a young man, capturing within it the spirit of a great stag.
As the story progresses, the Imperial heir and his sister must survive in wild, spirit-infested wilderness, the sorcerer helps a new race of people, not quite human, not quite demons, come into their own, and both the magical and the political become embroiled in the battle for the throne.
Fans of Lian Hearne's earlier Tales of the Otori series will definitely enjoy this, as will readers who like their historical fiction with a fair dash of fantasy.
In the mood for courtly drama, full of machinations, intrigue, and fantastic clothing? Settle in for the turmoil of the romance of Queen Catherine of Braganza, her husband, King Charles II of England, and his mistress, Barbara.
Catherine, infanta of Portugal and devout Catholic, hopes for love in spite of hers being a marriage of state. Charles expects little more than to like the woman he initially finds as doll-like, but her love for his dogs (he's passionate about the Spaniels; his mistress hates them) and her innocent desires begin to break through his resolve to keep her at a distance.
In turn, Charles fears the interference of his wife in the way his mother nearly ruined his father--and all of England--with her desires. And in the midst of this, the married Barbara, Lady Castlemaine, is bearing Charles's second child, while her husband stews, his pride unwilling to meekly accept the title Charles has bestowed in exchange for his wife.
It's initially difficult to like the scheming Barbara over the earnest Catherine, but as the risks to her station--and the fates of her children — grow by the second episode, she might gain a little of the readers' sympathies. Whether she will keep her place at Charles's side or eventually Catherine will find love propels the story — as well as the stories of the servants, particularly young Jenny, who may well become the Queen's truest ally.
This is captivating historical fiction, and the 17th century setting is made vivid by a writing team that includes creator and playwright Liz Duffy Adams, fantasist Delia Sherman, romance novelist Barbara Samuel, Regency romance writer and urban fantasist Madeline Robins, fantasist Mary Robinette Kowal, and YA thriller writer Sarah Smith.
Fans of Downtown Abbey will gravitate to this new story written by Julian Fellowes, which revolves around the Trenchant family: James, an upwardly mobile merchant with aspirations toward mingling with the nobility, who has the ear and trust of the Duke of Wellington; his wife, Anne, who would rather be settled and happy than constantly working to socially advance; and their daughter Sophia, a young woman in love with a Lord about to risk his life in one of the greatest battles in European history.
The tale begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo at a ball that has become infamous for its proximity to the battle. The Belgravia team integrates real historical details into the text through hyperlinking, and though the style, where dialogue is hidden within a paragraph of prose, takes some pages to get used to, the setting is viscerally described, and the characters presented with an open eye to their flaws as equally as their virtues.
The series wrapped last year, and both the app (with special features) and the print book are available for binge readers.
Indexingby Seanan McGuire and its sequel, Indexing: Reflections, take fairy tale characters and insert them into a noir-style modern world. In the world of the serial, fairy tales can come to life among normal families, unless they're disrupted by the ATI Management Bureau, who stop storybook intrusions before they can take over--when they're lucky.
Rather than being written in chapters, each serial segment was released as an episode, so reading them back to back is like binge-watching Grimmor Supernatural. Indexing was a part of Amazon's Kindle Serial fiction experiment in 2012, and there are somewhere around 70 other finished serials in the Kindle store.
The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart
The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheartby Andrea Phillips is a children's fantasy originally published in twelve monthly installments. Funded by Kickstarter, the original serial also gave readers a chance to treasure hunt alongside the daring pirate captain Lucy Smokeheart by solving a riddle in each chapter.
The complete edition includes the puzzles and the key to solving them. Phillips' world involves carnivorous mermaids, praise for both bacon and chocolate, magic, and danger suitable for middle grader readers and adults alike.
If you're looking to dabble in free fiction, you can always check out Tuesday Serial, a collection of serials from around the web, submitted by the writers who create them. The site has been active since 2010, so there are years worth of chapters to read and enjoy. And if you're a nook user, Barnes and Noble has launched its Serial Reads program, which offers a serial as part of the new free Readouts nook feature, with Kristin Higgins's In Your Dreams.
Queendom by Kim Antieau took a different outlook on the serial: she released a fully written and realized novel of a post-apocalyptic, non-dystopian future in five parts, complete with extras that aren't going to be available in print. Sadly, if you missed the serial in December 2015, those extras are gone. But the novel itself — a politically driven plot in which a cook becomes a spy and an elected queen searches for those who are seeking to destroy her nation's economy — is available.
The best part about serials is that they're happening live — and if enough people are reading them, they make great Internet water-cooler conversation. So if you're catching up on the latest issue of Geek Actually or The Witch Who Came in from the Cold and need to gush — or just want to make sure I know about the hot new serial you're reading — come on over and find me on Facebook.
Everything we know so far about Outlander Season 4...
Let's talk Outlander Season 4!
Yeah, we know. Outlander Season 3 hasn't even aired yet, but that doesn't mean we can't start talking about Outlander Season 4, right? Starz has already picked up Outlander with showrunner Ronald D. Moore for Season 4, which will adapt Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel.
Outlander Season 4 Cast
Will Frank and/or Jack Randall be back in Outlander Season 4? While neither character gets any serious mentions past the Voyager book, Ronald D. Moore recently told TV Guide about the possibility of Tobias Menzies return in Season 4 or beyond:
You never know. We've talked about it. There's always the possibility of flashing back and revisiting him in either role if we had a reason to. Diana in subsequent books kind of touches back to Frank for various reasons. We might do that. It really depends on how we break that in subsequent years.
In other casting Outlander Season 4 casting news, according to Entertainment Weekly, Starz has cast its Rollo, the wolf hybrid who joins the Fraser clan after being found by young Ian Murray and becomes a beloved member of the family. Yes, they are just as adorable as you would expect...
Move over, direwolves. You have some competition.
Though production on Outlander Season 3 is not yet finished, the producers wanted to begin training these Northern Inuit puppies as soon as possible for their Season 4 role. According to Starz: Rollo has a "penchant for getting into trouble, often sticking his large, wet nose into places it doesn’t belong ... The dog will play a key part in the adventure that lies ahead."
What does Gabaldon think about the all-important casting? She said:
They look cute, but tough. They should be just right to play Rollo when the time comes. They’d need to growl and look menacing on command, I think, and carry back prey of one kind or another to their master. I assume they wouldn’t let them catch things on camera … especially fish, of course.
Outlander Season 4 Release Date
Outlander Season 3 will be hitting Starz in September of 2017, so we wouldn't expect Outlander Season 4 to come around until at least September 2018. We'll keep you updated with any new information as we hear it.
Outlander Season 4 Plot
Outlander Season 4 will adapt Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel. Though we don't have an official synopsis for the upcoming season, we do have a synopsis for the book (via Gabaldon's official site). If you aren't into spoilers, avert your eyes...
DRUMS OF AUTUMN is the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series, following VOYAGER. Here Claire and Jamie, with Jamie’s nephew Young Ian, seek to find a place for themselves in the colony of North Carolina, treading a dangerous line between Governor Tryon’s patronage and Claire’s knowledge of the brewing revolution in America, between the help of Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta, last of his MacKenzie kin (“MacKenzies are charming as larks in the field–but sly as foxes with it.”) and the unwanted obligations of her slave-run plantation. As they find mountain land and begin to build their first cabin, their newfound life is bittersweet, with the thought Brianna–the daughter Claire has left behind, the daughter Jamie will never see–always near.
Spider-Man spinoff films Venom and Silver & Black will seemingly take place in the same Marvel movie universe, after all.
When news surfaced that Sony Pictures was attempting its own Spider-Man Cinematic Universe with spinoff projects Venom and Silver & Black, it seemed to contradict the cross-company unity with Marvel Studios that was established in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War when Tom Holland’s new Wall-Crawler showed up to steal Captain America’s shield and the movie, seemingly codifying his place (and that of his friends and rivals,) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While fans may have subsequently become resigned to the vexing idea of non-MCU Spidey-spinoffs, a key producer’s comments may quell that notion.
In a recent interview (via German site FilmStarts), former Sony Pictures co-chair, now Spider-Man: Homecoming producer Amy Pascal, chimed in on the ambiguity surrounding the continuity status of would-be spinoff films Venom and Silver & Black in relation to the film from which they will be spun-off in July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and the sprawling and lucrative continuity of Marvel Studios’ Avengers-centric movie universe that directly connects to the seminal solo film. With Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sitting beside her, Pascal explains the dynamic that will be present in the two Spidey spinoff endeavors, stating:
“Those movies will all take place in the world that we’re now creating for Peter Parker. They’ll be adjuncts to it, there may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world and they will be connected to each other, as well.”
Pascal's words, while auspicious for the continuing place of Spider-Man himself in the MCU, might imply that things like the cross-studio, shared-universe-confirming appearance of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man in July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming may not be a given, going forward with Sony’s Spider-Man-connected projects. This is especially the case with the spinoff films in 2018’s Venom, which will star Tom Hardy as Spider-Man’s classic alien-symbiote-wearing enemy, or, for that matter, Silver & Black, which will put together a dynamic duo of antihero femme fatales who have famously crossed paths with Spidey in the comic book lore in mercenary Silver Sable and thief and sometime Spider-Man love interest Black Cat. In this case, being "connected" to the MCU could take on a looser meaning.
Interestingly enough, the easily assumed idea that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would show up for necessary exposition in spinoff films Venom and Silver & Black is also not exactly given. Pascal’s answer to a follow-up question seems to imply that even this seemingly essential idea is not confirmed. As Pascal states about the (still-hypothetical) idea of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man showing up in one or both spinoff projects:
“There’s a chance... there’s always a chance.”
While the Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios arrangement remains nebulous, Pascal’s latest comments provide a bit of optimism for fans who wish to see the idea of a shared universe stoked in the projects that Sony releases after July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming with Venom, Silver & Black and the already-greenlit, 2019-scheduled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel. Pascal also likened the shared Marvel universe movie dynamic to chapters in a book that you "have to" read before the next one and an "investment" in a "larger story." While her words seem to take the also-present Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige by surprise, his silence might reinforce the veracity of her claims – at least, for now, anyway.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will kick off a new, brighter, (sort of) MCU-connected iteration of the often-rebooted Wall-Crawler when it arrives on July 7.
The long in development Titans live action TV series will premiere in 2018, and the first casting breakdowns have surfaced.
A few years back, word got around of a Nightwing and the Teen Titans TV series, known simply as Titans, that Warner Bros. Pictures was developing for cable network TNT. Akiva Goldsman wrote a pilot script (we have some details on that here), and things were moving along before the plug was pulled. We figured this project was dead. It turns, out, Warner Bros. was just biding their time. Instead, Titanswill be one of the centerpieces (along with Young Justice Season 3) of a new, subscription digital TV service that will launch in 2018.
Here's the official synopsis for Titans:
Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven, and many others. Titans is a dramatic, live-action adventure series that will explore and celebrate one of the most popular comic book teams ever.
Akiva Goldsman (Underground, the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, and, of course, Batman and Robin) is back as writer, which makes us wonder how much of that original pilot script remains, along with DC President and CCO Geoff Johns, and DC TV guru Greg Berlanti. Goldsman, Johns, Berlanti will be joined by Sarah Schechter (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl) as executive producers of the series from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
No word yet on whether this takes place in the same universe as the other DC superhero TV shows, but given the "multiverse" approach we've seen so far, it's a safe bet.
As far as the roster goes, the "and many others" from that synopsis is worth noting. Goldsman's previous Titans pilot script also included Barbara Gordon and Hawk and Dove. Geoff Johns tweeted that we can expect Beast Boy in the lineup this time, as well, and now there's some evidence for that.
The folks at That Hashtag Show have scored casting breakdowns for the series, which gives us an idea of who will be coming to the party.
The first is "John Crossland" which is totally code for Dick Grayson...
Male, late 20s-early 30s, Caucasian. Equal parts charm and impenetrability, John is a cop. He has a nice smile, tired eyes and a cool, distant manner. However, when provoked, his eyes are so lethal “they drain a man of every last bit of spleen.” John is haunted by the murder of his family. Unbeknownst to those around him, he is also a vigilante. In the shadows, he fights with the commitment and conviction of an artist, the brutal grace of a dancer. Mentally and physically, he is covered in a map of scars. And though he fights to escape his past, it is often a losing battle…SERIES LEAD
Then there's "Sarah" who is almost certainly Raven.
Female, Mid teens, Open Ethnicity. Troubled, bullied, often scared but unwilling to show it, Sarah is a loner more comfortable hiding in her hoodie than making friends. Haunted by a dark force inside her, Sarah experiences violent episodes that she cannot understand or control. She is also plagued by recurring nightmares that lead her across the country in search of help…SERIES REGULAR
And "Casey" who we can safely assume is Starfire...
Female, 20s, Open ethnicity. Casey is a tall, stunning woman, her beauty so magnificent it’s almost inhuman. Elegant, refined and mysterious, she is on the hunt to discover who is trying to kill her and why. And those after her are in for a surprise because she’s more deadly than anyone they’ve ever encountered…SERIES REGULAR
And then there's "Jax" who sounds like Beast Boy to us...
Male, Mid-late teens, Open Ethnicity, Asian preferred. Funny and charming, this amateur thief’s humor hides his insecurities and past pain. Not the toughest kid on the streets, he’s learned to survive in the world with his wit and quick-thinking…SERIES REGULAR
We'll update this with more information as it becomes available, but this is very exciting news!
The Leftovers' Damon Lindelof is going right back to HBO to develop a Watchmen TV series.
This is a pleasant surprise. With The Leftovers having just wrapped its final season to wild critical acclaim, Damon Lindelof is sticking around HBO to develop a Watchmen TV series. Yes, you read that right. Watchmen is finally getting the prestige cable drama that fans have wanted for as long as prestige cable drama has been a thing.
Lindelof's vision is apparently unrelated to a Watchmen series discussed by Zack Snyder (who directed the film version) and HBO back in 2015. It's not clear how far those talks got, or what the actual plan for it was. After all, with Snyder involved, it seems unlikely it would have been a re-adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel. According to Variety, the Lindelof version is "starting over from scratch" and has nothing to do with those previous discussions.
The big question, then, is just what will this new series be? Is it another adaptation of the graphic novel? Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation has its defenders, and visually it's certainly faithful enough to the comics, but it was admittedly limited by the constraints of a movie runtime. A TV series could spend more time exploring the flashbacks to the Minutemen era, or fleshing out some of the supplementary text material that happens in between the comic chapters.
In 2013, DC Comics released a series of Watchmen prequels, appropriately titled Before Watchmen, from an assortment of creators not named Moore or Gibbons. They were met with what can charitably be described as a mixed response from fans and critics. Nevertheless, there's plenty of existing material to fuel a Watchmen series for several seasons. Then again, Lindelof and friends might not have to delve into the spinoffs to flesh out the graphic novel. There's enough going on in any one of the original's twelve chapters to fuel multiple episodes.
Watchmen writer Alan Moore has been notoriously outspoken about his disapproval for all adaptations and spinoffs, and that's unlikely to change here. But for the rest of us, the chance to see this series given another chance at the screen, perhaps one that's a little less stylized than the movie version, is certainly appealing. There have also been rumblings of an R-rated animated movie, but hopefully that won't come to pass. After all, you can't really improve on the source material, and whenever anyone messes with it, they're only met with diminishing returns. In fact, maybe you should just read the book instead.
We'll update this with new information as we get it.
Zach Snyder's occasionally maligned superhero epic deserves more credit for somehow improving upon an already great ending.
We know you miss the squid. We know. Just hear us out for a moment.
Zack Snyder’s Watchmen certainly has its flaws. It follows the comic book a little too faithfully, resulting in a movie that feels like more of a traditional comic book adaptation rather than a fascinating study of how superheroes would operate in the real world.
Watch the video below for our take or read below for more!
It’s not without it’s strengths, however. In addition to a brilliant opening credits sequence, Watchmen the film also massively improves on the ending of the comic book.
In the comic book, Adrian Veidt’s a.k.a. Ozymandias’ grand plan involves kidnapping some artists and having them design an intergalactic giant squid. Then he uses his massive amounts of money and technology to create that squid in the flesh and has it terrorize New York, therefore creating the illusion of a common cosmic enemy for all of humanity rally against.
The movie wisely omits the artist angle entirely as it would take up too much time. Instead of a giant space squid, Ozymandias instead uses some of the power he’s collected from Doctor Manhattan to essentially nuke Manhattan (the city, not the guy). This creates the impression that Doctor Manhattan has turned on humanity.
Making Earth’s common enemy the innocent Doctor Manhattan adds a new level of tragedy and sacrifice to the story that the original ending didn't have. Whenever possible it’s best for a story to make use of the existing characters that we care about rather than some Macguffin. And despite all Watchmen the comic’s brilliance, that’s all the squid really is - a Macguffin.
In the Watchmen movie ending, Doctor Manhattan takes on a more active role in Ozymandias’ grand plan even if its without his knowledge or consent. Once Ozymandias’ plan is revealed, however, Doctor Manhattan can’t help but seemed a little impressed. This is logical after all. Kill millions to save billions. It’s the exact kind of plan both the smartest man in the world and a budding deity would both get behind.
By using the specter of Doctor Manhattan as the enemy, the Watchmen movie’s ending is not only more poignant but also helps hammer home one of the big themes of the novel: the many shades of gray to humanity’s conception of morality. The smartest and most godlike of the characters (Ozymadias, Doctor Manhattan) seem OK with this warped version of utilitarianism while the most extremely “human” of characters (Rorshach) will accept no crime in the pursuit of the greater good whatsoever. Then there are the normal Janes and Joes who just want this to be over so they can go home (Nite Owl and Silk Spectre).
Snyder rightfully catches some barbs for missing the ultimate point of Watchmen here and there but his depiction of the ending and the improvements he makes upon it show that he fully understands at least one important aspect from the novel: heroism is hard.
Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist and others will team up as The Defenders in 2017. Catch the latest news!
Marvel's master plan for teaming Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist (plus some members of their supporting casts) in The Defenders Netflix series is well underway, and we'll see it later this year. The Defenders showrunners are Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez (Daredevil Season 2), with Drew Goddard (Daredevil Season 1, The Martian, Lost) returning as executive producer. The Defenders is currently filming in New York City.
The Defenders Latest News
Netflix has released a new poster for The Defenders, showing the titular Marvel street level team in black-and-white, armed with unity and angry, badass countenances. While it doesn't exactly come with any notable revelations, it's still a cool and inspiring image that stokes the quickly-approaching August arrival of the monumental team-up series.
The Defenders Trailer
The first trailer is finally here!
Huge points for appropriate use of Nirvana's "Come as You Are."
We last saw Elektra in the concluding moments of Daredevil Season 2, when the volatile romance between her and Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock ended – in an inevitable spin on her classic comic book fate – with her apparent death during a clash with clandestine ninja criminal organization the Hand by returning rival Nobu Yoshioka (Peter Shinkoda). However, as we also saw, the Hand, with post-mortem interest in Elektra, dug her up and placed her body into a sacred sarcophagus to be reborn as their new leader the Black Sky. Relevantly, the new promo for The Defenders gives us a slight tease for the end result of that macabre process.
Thus, while expectations for The Defenders would presumably have a resurrected Elektra pegged as an ally, we could find our heroes on the wrong side of her signature set of sais, at least, initially, anyway. Since the Hand played a major role in the last Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist, showcasing a shakeup in its leadership, it will be interesting to see how things play out in The Defenders, with Elektra as the Black Sky, along with Sigourney Weaver’s billed main villain, “Alexandra.”
The Defenders Release Date
A security footage-style teaser video titled "Midland Circle Security Elevator B" features street level MCU heroes in a blindfolded Daredevil, bullet-ridden hoodie-rocking Luke Cage, suit-sporting Iron Fist, and a camera-shy Jessica Jones awkwardly sharing an elevator and some obligatory Muzak. However, the time code in the upper-right ending with "08:18:20:17" divulged the long-awaited crucial bit of info.
With that oblique move, Netflix has officially revealed that The Defenders will premiere on August 18, 2017.
The Defenders Story
It's not much, but it's all we've got right now...
Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal - to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.
“Every one of them is following their own trail of bread crumbs, trying to unpack a mystery in New York,” showrunner Marco Ramirez told Entertainment Weekly. “We wanted them all caught off guard. Once they’re in that room together, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, s—, who are you?'”
The Defenders Photos
Hit the gallery to see some official stills.
While we've already seen this team in the trailer, this new image of them suited up and ready to go, compliments of Empire, will still always be a treat.
And how about this cool poster from Joe Quesada?
The Defenders Cast
Charlie Cox will return as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, as will Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Finn Jones as Iron Fist, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage. Don't be surprised if some other characters we meet along the way join the party, like Jon Bernthal's Punisher. Expect supporting cast from each of their shows to at least make appearances, and that will likely include Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson.
“We're incredibly excited to be able to bring our four street level heroes together in an epic tale woven by Doug and Marco whose work on Marvel’s Daredevil speaks for itself,” said Executive Producer/Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb in a statement when the showrunners were announced in April 2016. "They write and produce not only great action and adventure, but also the heart and touch of humor that's makes us Marvel. With the inclusion of Drew Goddard, we've got a team that's as formidable as the Defenders themselves."
“This is the big one. Four amazing casts, four amazing series, now all in one amazing story,” added showrunners and Executive Producers Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to deliver the show that both we and the fans have been waiting for.”
The first hero who isn't yet a headliner to be confirmed for the series is none other than Simone Missick's Misty Knight. “I believe I’m safe to say that I will be on The Defenders,” Simone Missick told The Wrap.
Misty is a huge highlight of Marvel's Luke Cage Netflix series, so having her in The Defenders should be treat.
The Defenders official Twitter account just keeps dropping casting bombs on us. The latest is that Elodie Yung will appear as Elektra. This show gets better by the day.
They also confirmed that Jessica Henwick, who will first appear in Iron Fist, will reprise her role as Colleen Wing in the upcoming Defenders team-up series. Here's a brief snippet of Henwick kicking butt:
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 3, 2016
The official Twitter account also confirmed what we already knew, that supporting characters from other Netflix shows like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil like Elden Hensen's Foggy Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page, Scott Glenn's Stick, Simone Missick's Misty Knight, and other will be part of the series.
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 2, 2016
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) October 31, 2016
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 1, 2016
And it doesn't look like we'll get Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk in this one, unfortunately.
Marvel's The Defenders Netflix series will consist of eight episodes (the usual count for their assorted solo series if 13), and Marvel has announced the director of the first two episodes. S.J. Clarkson, whose credits include episodes of Jessica Jones, Vinyl, and Orange is The New Black will occupy the big chair for those crucial first two installments.
“S.J.'s take on the material is outstanding. We loved her work on “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and couldn’t think of a more talented and accomplished person to helm the first two episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders,” said Marvel’s Head of Television and Executive Producer, Jeph Loeb in a statement.
The Defenders Villain
Sigourney Weaver was announced as the antagonist to deafening applause on the NYCC Main Stage back in October. Since then details have been scarce...until now.
Entertainment Weekly has our first look at Sigourney Weaver as the mystery antagonist of Marvel's The Defenders Netflix series, although this still doesn't tell us a whole lot. We know her name is "Alexandra" and that's all they're telling us. At least for the moment.
Here's a photo of her in character, which marks the first official set photo we have from the series at all!
“We knew it would take something massive to pull these four characters from their individual worlds to work together,” Defenders showrunner Marco Ramirez told EW, “but also small enough that it felt like it existed in our world.” Start your speculation engines, comic fans!
Last month, Ms. Weaver spoke to Movies.com a little about what to expect.
"It has a wonderful cast, and we're doing it right here in New York, which means a lot to me...Basically the four heroes come up against this really nice woman, who I'm playing...It's been a blast and I really love my character. I love the shows, too, which I wasn't familiar with before doing this. A real love letter to New York. To me they're not superheroes; they're people with a gift. It's just a different scale, and I'm really enjoying the scale of it. The apocalyptic thing is a little harder for me to understand."
EW also unveiled the first proper look at the team together:
We'll update this with more information about The Defenders Netflix series as it becomes available.
A version of this article originally ran on April 11th. It has been updated with new information.
Syfy fast-tracks TV series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s novella and 1987 movie Nightflyers.
Nightflyers stands as one of George R.R. Martin’s more intriguing pre-Game of Thrones space science-fiction offerings, starting as a 1980 novella, eventually inspiring a schlocky, limited-release 1987 film adaptation. However, it appears that the Literary God of Death’s old property is about to be reincarnated as a television series over at Syfy, which ordered a pilot for their Nightflyers television series.
“We are looking forward to diving deeper into George R. R. Martin’s chilling world of Nightflyers,” Bill McGoldrick, executive vice president of scripted development for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, said in a statement. “The script that Jeff delivered encapsulates this classic sci-fi horror story and adapts it to a platform where we can truly explore the depths of madness.”
Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay for the 1987 Nightflyers film, is onboard the series as a producer. It doesn't look like Martin will be involved with the series, at least for now.
The story of the George R.R. Martin-conceived supernatural space thriller is set on the eve of Earth’s destruction, depicting the travails of the crew of the most advanced ship in the galaxy in the titular spacecraft the Nightflyer. Adrift in space without a planet to call home, the goal of the surviving humans is to intercept a mysterious alien ship which is believed to hold the key for their survival. However, as the ship closes in on its destination, it becomes apparent that the Nightflyer’s onboard AI and its elusive captain – with mysterious motivations – may be leading the crew on a primrose path ending in the hopeless, horrific darkness of deep space.
The genesis of Nightflyers occurred with George R.R. Martin’s original 1980 novella of the same name for which he received Japan’s Seiun Award in 1983 for Best Foreign Language Short Story of the Year. The story was subsequently collected as the title entry in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers collection. The 1987 film adaptation, directed by Robert Collector (Jungle Warriors), starred perennial 1980s movie love interest Catherine Mary Stewart and Dynasty’s Michael Praed, manifesting with a limited release that grossed a paltry $1.145 million dollars at the box office (and sent Martin back to television to write for Beauty and the Beast).
Nightflyers will see Martin’s original story adapted for television by screenwriter Jeff Buhler, who wrote the 2008 Bradley Cooper-starring horror film The Midnight Meat Train and is working on the upcoming horror thriller remake Jacob’s Ladder. Onboard as executive producers are Gene Klein, David Bartis and Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity franchise blockbuster director Doug Liman, all of whom are representing production company Hypnotic, which Liman co-owns with Bartis. Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films along with Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions are also onboard.
While X-Men: Dark Phoenix ambitiously tackles the iconic comic story, it will also debut the pop star mutant Dazzler.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix has the potential to become one of the biggest redo efforts in cinematic history, after 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand arguably botched its take on the iconic early-1980s “Dark Phoenix” storyline from the pages of the X-Men comic books. However, it appears that Dark Phoenix will also become the platform for the cinematic debut of a popular Marvel Comics character in Dazzler.
According to EW, the one and only Alison Blaire, better known to the Marvel Comics fandom as Dazzler, is coming to the big screen in the 2018-scheduled X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The character, who debuted in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men in 1980, was initially depicted as a pop disco siren – originally known to get around on roller skates – who also happens to possess the mutant power to convert sound vibrations – notably from her singing voice – into beams of light and energy.
Dazzler – who remains a perennial part of the Marvel Comics Universe – has always been seen as an eccentric comic curiosity and a contemporaneous sign of the mirror-ball-fixated, disco-listening times. Interestingly, the character's conception was originally designed to serve a cross-promotion effort with the rock band KISS. Her 1980 arrival in the pages of The Uncanny X-Men was heavily-heralded and she was worked into the early issues of "The Dark Phoenix Saga." In fact, at one point in the early 1980s, a Dazzler solo movie was being planned with the braided 10 actress Bo Derek eyed to star.
The arrival of Dazzler into the Fox X-Men movie mythos was actually heralded in an Easter egg moment that acknowledged her existence in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse in which Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey is shown a comic-book-accurate LP of Dazzler’s (fictional) album “Sounds of Light and Fury.” In fact, back in April 2016 – on the cusp of Apocalypse’s May release – Turner herself stoked speculation over Dazzler, posting the aforementioned Easter egg on social media, tagging a picture of it with the name of music megastar Taylor Swift. That speculation will undoubtedly be reignited with this news.
Regardless, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, will clearly focus on a very familiar ordeal that potentially carries catastrophic cosmic implications, tied to the romantic relationship between Tye Sheridan’s Scott Summers/Cyclops and Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, who makes a dangerously omnipotent transition into the titular Dark Phoenix. With the ultra-powerful telepath Grey being taken over by a malevolent cosmic entity with an insatiable desire for destruction, hard, likely-tragic choices will have to be made.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which recently confirmed Simon Kinberg as its director, is scheduled to arrive at theaters on November 2, 2018.
The upcoming comic includes changes that longtime fans need to see.
It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally got a solid look at the new Robotech comic. We've got the first five lettered pages and they hint at some big changes for the Robotech unvierse.
Right off from the artwork we can see that Roy and some other officers are invetigating the crashed SDF-1. Eagle eyed fans will note one of those officers helmets read, "Hayes." Could this be Lisa Hayes' father? Also, this might just be the art style but does Vanessa look older than the rest? That'd be a nice little twist that would give some depth to her character.
We've also got a trailer that not only showcases the art but also has one hell of a tagline.
"Following Carl Macek's Original Vision". What does that mean? Could it mean more closely uniting the sagas without worrying about footage restrictions? We can't see wait to see.
For some insight on the new comic, wrier Brian Wood spoke about the direction of the series and his familiarity with the franchise.
Wood grew up as a fan of the original Americanized Robotech as a kid, messing with his antenna to try and get a decent picture of the show. He tried to get his hands on anything Robotech he could find, only managing to score a few issues of the original Comico series and The Art of Robotech.
What stood out to him more than anything about the show was that his older sister would watch it with him.
“(She was) probably in her early teens at the time, and why on earth would a teenage girl wake up at 5am or whatever it was on a weekend to watch robot cartoons with her little brother? That’s stuck with me my entire life, the fact that the characters and the drama was compelling enough for me and for her, even though we were very different types of people.”
Woods points to Roy and Claudia as the characters he related to the most, along with Lisa. “I like her stern, follow the rules style.” Beyond the characters he also loves the ship designs, Veritech designs, “and the fast-paced style of the combat in the show - the winding, snaking missiles, Roy’s Skull-1 tail art, and the genuineness of the relationships."
Even if Wood is a big fan of the original series, he knew he had to “aggressively modernize and streamline it” for the new audience picking up the comic.
“I love the show, I just re-watched the whole thing, but there’s no getting around the fact its dated, and not everything in it ages so well (although I admit a lot of it was ahead of its time).”
Woods points to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as a prime example of how to both pay respect to what’s come before but also update it and that’s the approach Titan is taking with the comic. They’ll be introducing new elements that weren’t in the original show, as we can already see from the new artwork, but Woods says,
“The main draw here is how we’re aiming to capture two audiences - the existing fans, and any other people who either don’t know where to start with Robotech, or maybe aren’t interested in it because the old episodes seem dated.”
Woods stresses that he wants to share this franchise with everyone. The summary below should give fans a glimpse into just how Titan Comics will be going about that.
Not just another retelling of the Macross saga ... In July, the story continues as we bring Carl Macek's original vision full circle. Taking into account every iteration of the series, this new Robotech #1 casts a fresh eye over classic characters like Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Lynn Minmei, Roy Fokker, Claudia Grant, and Henry Gloval. Brian Wood and Marco Turini take us back to a Macross Island where *nothing* can be taken for granted.
Check out this interior art page by Marco Turini that gives us a few more clues of what's to come.
Below are most of the covers released for the Robotechcomic series.
COVER A: STANLEY ‘ARTGERM’ LAU
COVER B: KARL KERSCHL
COVER C: BLAIR SHEDD ACTION FIGURE VARIANT
COVER D: MICHAEL DIALYNAS
COVER E: WALTRIP BROS. RETRO VARIANT
COVER F: BLUE LINE VERITECH SKETCH VARIANT
COVER G: 1:10 VARIANT - KARL KERSCHL (MINMEI)
Cosplay Cover Variant - Kitty Honey
Stay tuned to Den of Geek for all things Robotech and get hyped for the comic series! Robotech #1 hits stand on July 26th.
Shamus Kelley still needs some sweet Rick Hunter shades. Follow him on Twitter!
During the Spider-Man: Homecoming press conference, Michael Keaton talks which is more fun to play, Batman or the Vulture.
During the Sunday morning press conference for Spider-Man: Homecoming, it was lost on absolutely no one that at the center of a long table was Michael Keaton, Tom Holland, and Robert Downey Jr.: Batman, Spider-Man, and Iron Man.
With that kind of heroic team-up, there were more than a few questions for Keaton and Downey about bequeathing to Holland some advice for becoming a superhero legend. But Keaton specifically has the most complicated history in the genre, starring in one of its earliest bastions of success, Batman (1989), and then eventually playing the lead in its most vicious (and hilarious) deconstruction, Birdman (2014). Now here he is playing another winged character, however this time with a villainous turn He plays the Vulture opposite Tom Holland’s giddy web-slinger.
So perhaps the most interesting thing that Keaton had to say was which does he prefer: heroes or villains? Batman or Vulture?
Upon being distinguished by a journalist for playing one of the most iconic heroes of all-time, Keaton quips, “And don’t you forget it!” But then when considering which type of role he prefers, Keaton more earnestly says:
“They’re both fun. I think actors tend to be drawn toward, not necessarily villainous, but [yeah] probably villainous characters. It kind of tends to be often true when you delve into the dark side, it gets interesting. Because the reality is the lead or hero sometimes by the nature of the piece has to be, not one-dimensional, but has to represent a thing, a very strongly.
“Whereas supporting actors or character actors often—they’re more dimensional. You know without going into this and some sort of bullshit actor talk, but it tends to be true. A lot of times, I think everyone, or most of us, had some experience where you’re playing one role and you’re looking at some of the minor roles, and you’re thinking, ‘Oh man, I’d like to have a bite of that! It’s just so much fun.’
“And I’ve been fortunate where I get to play a lot of different things: real tiny parts and big parts. They’re both fun, they’re both different. It’s more iconic and you make a hell of a lot more dough being the lead guy.”
On the last line, the room laughs and perhaps unconsciously turns toward Robert Downey Jr. who looked (as he did all morning) quite comfortable in his role of superhero movie rock star. Indeed, he and Keaton had some other playful banter throughout the conference. The highlight of which might have been when Keaton alluded to the idea that he and Downey enjoyed a supposedly shared apartment in Queens back in the early 2000s.
When asked why Spider-Man movies don’t shoot more action in Queens, Keaton deadpans, “Robert, I think you and I have gotten some action in Queens.”
Amused by the setup, Downey corroborates this by saying, “We had a flight down there: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”
Holland, the young new superhero sandwiched between the two interrupts the laughter to tell (likely to the producers’ relief), “What role models.”
When it comes to being onscreen superhero legends, they really are.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens July 7.
It's the small decisions along the way that shape major successes - and Harry Potter had lots of potential turning points...
This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.
Spanning a series of books, films, merchandising prospects, an amusement park, a spin-off film, and West End show, Harry Potter is one of the most iconic franchises in the history of fandom.
But things could have been very, very different…
Spoilers lie ahead for the Harry Potter series.
1. What if Harry Potter had never been published?
It’s been well-documented that JK Rowling struggled to get her first book published.
Almost a dozen houses, including Penguin, TransWorld and Harper Collins, rejected Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone outright.
When a first chapter arrived at Bloomsbury Publishing, it was destined to remain in the slush pile until its curious black binding caught the eye of a lowly assistant. On a whim, Bloomsbury CEO Nigel Newton gave it to his 8 year old daughter, Alice, to read.
"She came down from her room an hour later glowing,"said Newton in a rare personal interview with the Independent."She nagged and nagged me in the following months, wanting to see what came next."
First edition copies of the book now sell for tens of thousands of pounds, but Bloomsbury bought the rights to the original manuscript for the princely sum of £2,500.
And the rest is history.
2. What if Harry’s parents had lived?
Child protagonists are an unfortunate lot.
In a bid to set their proteges on a path to independence, authors will resort to drastic measures to set them free of adult supervision. Packing your protagonists off to boarding school is one way to get them out of the shadow of boring grown-ups.
Double homicide by an evil wizard is another.
JK Rowling’s mother was struggling with the later stages of multiple sclerosis while the author was drafting Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. Anne Rowling died six months later, without ever knowing about the book her daughter was writing.
Rowling told Oprah Winfrey that she knew then that Harry would be an orphan, and that her grief helped shape the story: "If she hadn't died, I don't think it's too strong to say that there wouldn't be Harry Potter. The books are what they are because she died."
Themes of loss echo throughout the series, and it’s fair to say the story would have been unrecognizable had Lily and James lived.
3. What if Ron had died?
In an act of "Potter heresy," J K Rowling recently admitted that she "wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment," and that she didn’t think the pair’s combative relationship would have survived into their adult years.
But the Hermione/Ron relationship might never have made it past puberty had things gone differently, as Rowling considered killing one of them off in book five.
"Midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn't in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off, out of sheer spite,"she told Daniel Radcliffe in an interview after the film series ended. "I did seriously consider killing Ron."
4. What if Harry had been American?
Daniel Radcliffe almost didn’t play Harry Potter. Despite being a favorite of producer David Heyman, after finding out that filming would take place in America, Radcliffe’s parents decided that the job would be too distracting for their 11 year old son, and pulled him out of the running.
Steven Spielberg, who had originally expressed an interest in directing the first film, had his sights set on Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment. Jonathan Lipnicki and Eric Sullivan had also expressed interest in the part.
The Harry Potter films would have looked very different had Spielberg directed them: he had planned to animate them, with Robin Williams playing Hagrid!
After Chris Columbus took over directorial duties, American actor Liam Aiken was signed on to play the boy wizard. "I flew to England, and a week later I had the role. Then the next day, I didn’t,"said Aiken. "But I understood; like James Bond, Harry has to be British."
Aiken went on to play Klaus Baudelaire in A Series Of Unfortunate Events.
It was only when filming was confirmed to take place in Britain - apparently due to J K Rowling’s insistence that British actors play the lead roles - that Daniel Radcliffe’s parents backed down and allowed him to take the part.
5. What if Sir Ian McKellen had played Dumbledore?
It’s long been established that Sir Ian McKellen was offered the part of Dumbledore after O.G. Albus, Richard Harris, died before filming on Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban began.
McKellen turned down the role, having already played one iconic wizard in the Lord Of The Rings films, after Harris dragged him in an interview. "Seeing as one of the last things [Harris] did publicly was say what a dreadful actor he thought I was, it would not have been appropriate for me to take over his part,"said McKellen.
Harris’s family urged filmmakers to offer the role to his old drinking buddy, Peter O’Toole, but it eventually went to Michael Gambon.
Other alternate universe casting choices include Hugh Grant, who was originally considered for smarmy lothario Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. Helen McCrory, who went on to play Narcissa Malfoy, was originally cast as Bellatrix LeStrange, but had to pull out after becoming pregnant.
JK Rowling herself was originally asked to play Lily Potter in the Mirror of Erised scene in the first film, but turned it down: "I really am not cut out to be an actress, even one who just has to stand there and wave. I would have messed it up somehow."
The Harry Potterfilms could have looked very different indeed!
6. What if Emma Watson had quit?
When her contract came up during the filming of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Emma Watson seriously considered turning her back on the series to concentrate on her studies.
"I would have been public enemy #1, I think, if I hadn’t continued,"Watson told MTV News in 2010."But I did think about that."
Producers moved the Harry Potter filming schedule around to fit with Watson’s A Level exams. And it’s a good thing, too - the studious star scored a hat-trick of three As, and went on to graduate from Rhode Island’s prestigious Brown University.
7. What if Dean Thomas had been a major character?
On her pre-Pottermore website, JK Rowling said that Chris Columbus, director of the first Harry Potter films, was taken aback by the amount of surplus information the author was able to give him on the peripheral character.
Ostensibly muggle-born, Dean’s heritage formed part of an earlier working of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. "Dean’s father, who had never told his wife what he was because he wanted to protect her, got himself killed by Death Eaters when he refused to join them,"Rowling wrote in an FAQ about Dean. ‘The projected story had Dean discovering all this during his school career.’
An easter egg alluding to this ghost plot" - Rowling’s own term for story threads that never quite made it into the books - appears in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. When asked if he was Muggle-born by the Nazi-esque Snatchers, Dean responded he wasn’t sure: "My dad left my mum when I was a kid. I've got no proof he was a wizard, though."
Dean’s loss was our gain, though, as his story being nixed meant that a fan favourite came to the fore: "I suppose in some ways I sacrificed Dean's voyage of discovery for Neville's, which is more important to the central plot."
An early illustration - which Rowling shared on her website - shows Dean, then named Gary, with Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville, sneaking out of bed to encounter Fluffy in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
8. What if Peter Pettigrew had never betrayed the Potters?
Rowling revealed on her pre-Pottermore website that early drafts of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone were very different to the one she eventually settled on.
Betraying Rowling’s Gothic sensibilities, the very first draft had the Potters living on a remote island, with Hermione’s family - then known as the Puckles, before Rowling changed them to the less whimsical Graingers - living nearby.
It was Hermione’s father who discovered Lily and James’ murder.
Rowling also revealed that, in early drafts, Peter Pettigrew never existed.
"There were various versions of scenes in which you actually saw Voldemort entering Godric's Hollow and killing the Potters and in early drafts of these, a Muggle betrayed their whereabouts. As the story evolved, however, and Pettigrew became the traitor, this horrible Muggle vanished."
9. What if Michael Jackson had written a Harry Potter musical?
Long before Harry Potter And The Cursed Child - the two part play which makes it’s West End debut later this year - JK Rowling was approached by the Prince of Pop.
"Michael Jackson wanted to do a musical,"Rowling told Oprah Winfrey in an interview celebrating the end of the series. "I said no to a lot of things."
10. What if Harry Potter was made into a TV series?
Since the last film was released almost five years ago, fans have championed a Harry Potter TV series.
And, with the likes of Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Outlanderriding high in the ratings, book-to-TV adaptations are proving an increasingly popular prospect.
it would seem like a Potterverse serial would be an easy win, but Rowling nixed the idea when questioned about it on Twitter.
Asked "where is our TV show, J K Rowling?", the author responded: "Right after the opera, Potter-on-ice and the interpretative dance version of Beedle The Bard #NotActuallyHappening"
Probably a good thing, too. What are we leaving our children to reboot?