Archive for June, 2018
Harlan Ellison, one of science fiction’s most prolific writers and also contributed some of the best television episodes of Star Trek and The Outer Limits and was a consultant for Babylon 5 (and made a cameo appearance), passed away at home in his sleep unexpectedly today. It was announced by his wife via a friend, and confirmed by his agent. He was 84.
Ellison wrote uncountable stories, both classic and even horrible ones, the latter of which he would use his pseudonym of “Cordwainer Bird”, reserved for anything he felt wasn’t good enough. He worked on a number of TV programs, including creating the scripts for the Outer Limits episode “Demon With A Glass Hand”, and the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”. He also developed a pilot script for a show that became The Starlost, which became an infamous example of creator-vs-producer interference among other problems that resulted in a subpar show (which was credited to Cordwainer Bird).
He was also a divisive figure, never afraid to give out an insult, and wasn’t afraid to sue over stories and rights. He famously sued over The Terminator, claiming it was derived from two of his Outer Limits episodes, the aforementioned “Demon…” and “Soldier”, and in an out of court settlement the producers were required to include his name in the credits. Early in the history of then Sci-Fi Channel, he has a regular segment on the show Sci-Fi Buzz, which he often wouldn’t say the name of (or the channel) because he detested the name “sci-fi”. He could be simultaneously entertaining and infuriating, which made him fascinating.
After the undeserved poor box office performance for Solo: A Star Wars Story, further “Story” films in the franchise are reportedly on hold, while Disney and Lucasfilm focus on Episode IX – but the exact state of things is unclear.
The previously announced “Boba Fett” movie may still be moving but is likely to get retooled for a smaller budget. The rumored “Obi-Wan Kenobi” movie was still looking for a director but that film could be a longshot now.
It seems that the announced new trilogies from Rian Johnson and the team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are still in development, as is the live-action TV series from Jon Favreau.
It is a shame that this movie is being seen as a failure. It’s really only 20% behind that of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the four week international box office, but it also was the most expensive film in the franchise, topping A Force Awakens with a reported budget over $250 million. It had an uphill battle as well, facing production issues while resulted in the replacement of the directors and reshoots, as well as a so-called “fan” boycott over the perceived quality of The Last Jedi. It was also the first attempt at visiting the backstory of a well known and loved character, which can be a treacherous place with fandom who come with their own preconceived imaginations of their stories and don’t want anything that can alter their pristine images. Rogue One focused on all-new characters and only dwelt in the grey areas of the known story. Alas, it means we may never see the resolution of the surprise at the end…at least in this form.
Sorry Timeless fans, but NBC has officially passed on a third season of the show. Now, we’ve been here before, when they announced that the show was canceled after the first season but fan uproar managed to convince NBC brass to reconsider. Unfortunately this time there doesn’t appear to be any hope for a second such resuscitation with the second season ratings failing to hit targets. However, we understand that NBC and Sony have been talking about a possible 2-hour wrap-up movie – but nothing has come of it so far.
Co-creator Eric Kripke mentioned that Sony had been looking for another outlet as well, but no luck:
Gutted by this, guys, I know you are too. Behind the scenes, Sony has been trying hard to set it up elsewhere, but no luck so far. I think this 2 hour movie is our best shot. We're ready to make it if @nbc really wants it. Let 'em know how you feel. #clockblockers https://t.co/arNi9iS9GF
— Eric Kripke (@therealKripke) June 22, 2018
Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2, a sequel that took 14 years to make (and even references that in a short teaser) seems to have been worth the wait…it broken the records for a weekend opening for an animated film and a PG-rated film this past weekend, with a $183 million domestic gross, which lands it 8th all-time. And it wasn’t done there – it took in an additional $28.3 million just for Monday, another animated record and the second best Monday in June ever, behind Jurassic World. The movie is an excellent, fun continuation of the story of a family of Supers, who are outlawed due to the damage often surrounding their heroics – but it may be time for Supers to be legal again.
Speaking of Jurassic World, its own sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is tracking for a $135-165 million opening weekend on what is looking like a busy weekend.
I am so sorry for the lack of updates lately. The last few weeks has been CRAZY. My oldest daughter graduated high school, and my youngest had her middle school play – we are heavily involved in the drama programs with both kids, and I emcee the annual high school drama banquet, which was a few weeks ago as well. And that’s on top of “normal life” – so it’s been tough trying to follow all the news – we’re very behind in all our RV shows as well, and I owe a friend a book review as well…but anyways, here is a rapid recap of the last week or so…
HBO has given a pilot order for one of five the potential Game Of Thrones spinoffs, this one for a prequel series set in the “golden age of Heroes”, which “descends into its darkest hour”, where we will learn about the white walkers, the Starks of legend, and more. Given it was just announced, there is no director, cast, etc. yet but it comes from Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman) and George R.R. Martin, with Goldman acting as showrunner. Martin said on his blog he currently prefers the title “The Long Night”, but that isn’t definite yet. Martin also said that one of the other four ideas for spinoffs has been shelved, but the other three are still possible.
As for that other fantasy mega-franchise, Amazon appears to be banking on its deal for the Lord of the Rings franchise, having cleared a lots of its shows off the slate. The head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke said in a Deadline interview that they aren’t going to try and compete at the volume level with Netflix, adding, “You can’t go big and go irrelevant.” While there is little to go on, they are currently only working on one series – “one big series,” and that while it isn’t remaking the movies, it will involve “it’ll be characters you love.”
Speaking of Salke and Amazon, she also addressed the idea of Amazon Studios picking up the canceled Lucifer. “I know that international, especially the UK group, was really bullish on that show, I haven’t checked in on that today (Thursday), but I heard conversations were ongoing on that yesterday.” So, keep heart, fans. Amazon recently rescued The Expanse after Syfy canceled the show, just as it was heading into the next phase of the story.
As for Amazon’s cross-net rivals, Netflix has given a 10-episode order for Away, about an international crew on a treacherous year-long mission to Mars, from Andrew Hinderaker (Penny Dreadful), Jason Katims (Parenthood) and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). It centers on an American astronaut who leaves behind a husband and daughter to lead the crew in a story of hope and humanity.
The upcoming BBC series His Dark Materials based on the novels of Philip Pullman has some cast…James McAvoy (the X-Men franchise) will play Lord Asriel, the father of the primary character Lyra (Dafne Keen, Logan), who discovers a way to parallel worlds. Clarke Peters (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) plays the master who raises Lyra. Ruth Wilson (The Affair) will play Marisa Coulter, Asrael’s former lover and appears to want Lyra for a mysterious purpose. Earlier this year, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) was announced to play Lee Scoresby, an “aeronaut” who helps Lyra. Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will direct.
I haven’t mentioned Marvel at all yet, have I? Well, Avengers: Infinity War became just the fourth movie to cross the $2 billion international box office mark, after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And it is still holding strong at the box office. On Marvel’s small screen, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger became Freeform’s biggest new series in two years, with an L+3 of 1.64 million, which also put it as the most watched telecast on the network in nearly a year.
And finally, we don’t talk much about MTV, but while the network might not be returning to its real roots in music, it may return to its past – a live action version of Aeon Flux, the sci-fi series that started as a series of shorts on the network’s Liquid Television block of trippy animated series. THe show was previously turned into a live action feature starring Charlize Theron as the tightly-clad assassin n 2005, but the movie flopped. Jeff Davis (Teen Wolf) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead) are set to produce, with Davis writing.
Sadly, the word has come down on the future of The Librarians, and it wasn’t good. From producer Dean Devlin:
Sad news. After multiple negotiations at several different networks, we’ve been unsuccessful at moving #TheLibrarians to a new home. Unfortunately that means season 4 was our last season.
— Dean Devlin (@Dean_Devlin) June 6, 2018
The official Facebook page was a bit more hopeful of it continuing in another form at least:
Freeform has decided not to renew Shadowhunters for another season, but has elected to order two more 1-hour episodes to allow for a proper conclusion.
The show, based on The Mortal Instruments series of novels from Cassandra Clare, has covered the existing novels so far, with Season 3 covering books 4 and 5. The two extra episodes will cover the final book, and not end the show on a cliffhanger as the remaining Season 3 episodes, part of a 10-episodes back half order and not expected to air until next Spring, were already in the can.
According to a statement from the network, “We are very proud of Shadowhunters, a series that broke new ground in the genre world and became a fan favorite. However, along with our partners at Constantin, we reached the very difficult decision not to renew the show for a fourth season. But as big supporters and fans ourselves, Freeform insisted on and championed the filming of a special two-part finale that would give devoted fans a proper ending. The twelve episodes will air in spring of 2019. We want to thank our talented creators, producers, cast and crew along with our colleagues at Constantin for their hard work and dedication and to Cassie Clare for her incredible book series. We look forward to the final chapter of this breakthrough drama.”
EVP of Programming Development Karey Burke added later that the decision was “purely economic”. The network has been shifting to shorter orders of shows, and that apparently triggered a clause that ended the deal between Netflix and Costantin Films, the production partner for the show, making it harder to justify the costs.
Both this Transformers spinoff movie…and Bumblebee’s body style…are set in 1987…I wonder how they upgrade their bodies?
Peter Jackson released the first trailer for the upcoming Mortal Engines – check it out!
Join an immersive virtual universe when Ready Player One arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. From Warner Bros. Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures, along with filmmaker Steven Spielberg, comes the action adventure Ready Player One, based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Ready Player One stars Tye Sheridan (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Mud”), Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” TV’s “Bates Motel”) and Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One – A Star Wars Story,” TV’s “Bloodline”). The ensemble cast also includes Lena Waithe (TV’s “Master of None”), T.J. Miller (“Deadpool,” TV’s “Silicon Valley”), Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Simon Pegg (the “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” movies) and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Dunkirk”).
Three-time Oscar® winner Spielberg* directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. It is based on the novel by Cline, which has now spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers List, recently climbing to the No. 1 spot, as well as reaching No. 1 on Amazon’s Most Read Fiction chart. Ready Player One was produced by Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Dan Farah. Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.