Archive for July, 2018
HBO has given a straight-to-series order (Deadline) for a series based on author Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 best-selling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife from former Doctor Who head writer/producer Steven Moffat. The story follows a romance between Henry, a man who has a disorder that results in him randomly traveling through time, and his wife Clare who has to deal with his disappearances and the danger he is often in.
In fact, Moffat said that the Doctor Who episode “The Girl in the Fireplace” was a result of him reading the novel – and apparently Niffenegger took notice. “When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realized she was probably on to me,” he said. “All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after – but not necessarily in that order.”
Moffat, Sue Vertue and Brian Minchin will executive produce for Hartswood Films in conjunction with Warner Bros Television. The novel was previously adapted into a film in 2009 starring Eric Bana and Rachael MacAdams.
It isn’t another cancellation-turned renewal, but it is a bit of a reprieve – Timeless WILL get an ending in the form of a two-part finale which will air on NBC during the holiday season.
While the creators had hoped another outlet would come along to allow the show to continue, that didn’t happen. “While we wish we could’ve made another dozen seasons of Timeless, this is the next best thing,” said Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke, the creators and executive producers. “We’re thrilled to take the Lifeboat out for one last spin and bring closure to our story. The studio, network, cast and crew are all doing this for one reason only: the fans. Because they deserve it. Because the fans made this happen and we thank them for their passion, support and helicopters.”
Stars Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer and Malcolm Barrett took to social media…
So, are you ready to get Rufus back?!?
— Matt Lanter (@MattLanter) July 31, 2018
So excited! Jokes & ☕️ come spilling out of me. 🤦🏻♀️. Love you #Timeless fans! Thanks to you & everyone at @Sony & @NBC for making this happen! #timeteam #clockblockers #SaveTimeless pic.twitter.com/lPmyZYRGsQ
— Abigail Spencer (@abigailspencer) July 31, 2018
Stranger Things third season is officially delayed until Summer 2019, according to Cindy Holland, Vice President of original content at Netflix. But it is for good reasons.
“It’s a handcrafted show,” she said. “The Duffer brothers and Shawn Levy have worked really hard, and they understand the stakes are high. They want to deliver something bigger and better than what they did last year. And so they really want to take the time to get it right.”
In the meantime over at Amazon Studios, writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay have been tapped to develop and write Amazon’s ambitious The Lord Of The Rings series. The series is set prior to the events of The Fellowship of the Rings, but according to them, will feature familiar characters.
Payne and McKay most recently worked together on the Star Trek 4 script.
The official cast announcements have been made – and Carrie Fisher WILL appear in Star Wars: Episode IX.
All the expected actors will return, and as expected, Billy Dee Williams will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant are also joining the cast, along with Keri Russell, who was expected to appear but was left off the list because she hadn’t finished the paperwork. Filming begins August 1st at Pinewood Studios in London.
Fisher, who died in 2016, will appear as Leia by using unsused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said director J.J. Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie [Lourd, who has appeared in the last two films alongside her mother], we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.” In addition to Lourd’s approval, Fisher’s brother Todd Fisher said he “couldn’t be more personally thrilled and happy that our Carrie will reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new and final Star Wars Episode IX using previously unreleased footage of her shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Mark Hamill also weighed in on Twitter, “It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.”
It's bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I'm finding solace in the fact that she won't BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.#CarrieOnForever pic.twitter.com/7ueMqBxQwa
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 29, 2018
When news broke about a potential new Buffy: The Vampire Slayer series last week, there were hints/assumptions that it would be a “reboot”, which naturally for any show with a deeply devoted following began a backlash storm on the Internet.
The term reboot many times gets used where it probably shouldn’t. A “reboot” to me means you are starting over, with the same basic story idea. Like telling a new origin story. You forget any previous version exist, at least it terms of telling the story – paying homage is still OK. The new Battlestar Galactica was a reboot. In this case the only thing we knew from the original announcement is that cast will be diverse and it will be set in the present day.
However, showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen was adamant that this is not a “reboot”, but a sequel. It will feature a different cast, but is set within the same world 15 years after the original series ended and build on the mythology that is already there:
— monicaowusubreen (@monicabreen) July 26, 2018
And if you are wondering who Owusu-Breen and worried about her taking over Joss Whedon’s series, keep heart: She’s working with Joss Whedon, who will be involved creatively and executive produce the series, but he’s a busy boy. The two have worked together previously on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but in addition to that Owusu-Breen has written for such shows as Alias, Lost, Fringe, and Charmed – which are shows that seem share the same fanbase as Buffy, thanks to similar themes and/or strong female characters. So while there is no guarantee any of your favorite Buffy characters may appear, the possibility does exist.
I’d also caution a bit on the optimism that this show is in early development, and does not yet have an outlet, or even a script. However, we have fairly high confidence this will find a good outlet.
I apologize once again for the lack of updates, especially on such a busy weekend as San Diego Comic Con. As it turns out I was pretty busy on the weekend, some of it unexpected, and was not able to keep up with all the news coming out – and shocked at some of it. However I did do a lot of behind-the-scenes work to improve the response of the web site, and I hope it is noticeable.
So please forgive me while I try to get on track again. In the meantime, here is just some of the news that came out of Comic Con and since…
One of the big news items was that shortly before he was to appear at a panel for one of his other movies, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired from the franchise by Disney over tweets he made nearly 10 years ago that were, frankly offensive. Gunn stated in a release afterwards that the tweets were made as “totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” and has regretted them ever since. He accepted the decision and responsibility for his actions then, but also said he has changed in the years since. Many of his colleagues and actors have shown great support for him and expressed shock at his firing and asked Disney to reconsider, as have much of the fan base.
That might not be so far fetched, given today’s announcement that AMC has investigated the sexual assault claims against TV personality and The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra last month, and decided to reinstate him.” Hardwick has been suspended after Dykstra’s claims in an article, and the network had Yvette Nicole Brown take over his SDCC panels as well as host the Season 9 preview of The Walking Dead and act as interim The Talking Dead host. She will still handle the preview special.
Speaking of The Walking Dead, the shocking announcement was that star Andrew Lincoln, the central character of the show for its entire run, will be leaving the show to spend more time back home in the UK and taking time off. He added that “No one is bigger than the story,” and the show still has a lot of life in it.
In other casting news, Supergirl added transgender actress Nicole Maines as Nia Nal, a new CatCo reporter who also is superhero Dreamer. April Parker Jones also joins as a regular playing Colonel Haley, a hardline military commander, and David Ajala will recur as Manchester Black, a ruthless vigilante-type character. Previously announced regulars were Jesse Rath returning as Braniac-5 (a.k.a Brainy), and Sam Witwer joining as Agent Liberty. Over at Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jeff Ward (Deke Shaw) was upped to a series regular.
Syfy announced that Wynonna Earp would be renewed for a fourth season, while Freeform renewed Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger for a second season. USA however canceled Colony after its third.
Here’s a bunch of the trailers released as part of San Diego Comic Con – certainly not a complete list, so if I’ve missed them it isn’t intentional, there were just so many…
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Also from San Diego Comic Con, we have the full trailer for Series 11 of Doctor Who!
In what turned out to be a very surprising announcement during a low-key panel at San Diego Comic Con to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, producer Dave Filoni and guests hit everyone with a Death Star-sized announcement – Clone Wars is coming back! While we await more specific word on the fate of the franchise beyond Episode IX, we may have something to tide us over…12 new episodes will be produced and air on Disney’s upcoming direct streaming service – availability dates yet to be determined – and help close the story that was left open after five seasons and a few extra “lost episodes”.
Filoni himself didn’t think they would get to tell the rest of the story. On getting it finished, he told StarWars.com, “Personally, it’s very rewarding. Any opportunity to put the final pieces of the story in place is meaningful as a storyteller. I’m happy for the opportunity to define these things and the end of this part of the Clone War. It also makes me reflect on all the people that I got to work with over the years. It reinforces the things I learned from George. It reminds me of the important elements that go into making Star Wars. So, it’s nice on several levels, and I think for the crew that’s still here that worked on Clone Wars, they feel that, as well.”
Beyond the 12 episodes we don’t know much more yet, but we DID get a trailer, and we see a favorite character returning…
Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One heads to Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday (available on streaming/digital services now), based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, and this is going to be a must-have for anyone who has grown up in the video game culture that started in the 70s with the original Atari Video Computer System (a.k.a. Atari 2600) – which, by the way, figures prominently in the movie…
Despite the era of nostalgia, the movie itself is set in the near future, after events have resulted in many locations becoming slums. To escape, almost everyone takes part in a massively multiplayer virtual reality environment called OASIS, co-created by James Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg). Many take the game VERY seriously – losing in the game results in losing their in-game characters, called being “zeroed out” and leads to suicides in some cases. People spend a lot of real money to enhance their in-game experience, such as full-body feedback outfits, 360-degree treadmills, etc.
When Halliday passes away (Morrow left the company), he wills control of OASIS to be given to the one who finds an in-game Easter Egg, which can only be obtained by completing three different game quests to obtain one of three different keys. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse), a 17-year-old orphan living with his aunt in the “Stacks”, shoddily-built vertical trailer parks, known in OASIS as Parzival, teams up with his on-line friend Aech (Lena Waithe, Master of None) to take on the first quest, a race through a city with many obstacles, to find the key before other “gunters” – easter egg hunters – find it first, including an army of players from the Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a corporation who wants to take over the OASIS and use it to sell marketing to the players, and will stop at nothing to do so. He also befriends Art3mis (Olivia Cooke, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), a famous gunter, along with Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki), to form the “High Five” and team up in the quests.
Also appearing (at least in voice) are T.J. Miller (Deadpool), who’s voice provides a nice counter to the apparent rugged bounty hunter person of i-R0k; Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) as Nolan Sorrento, the CEO of IOI; and Hannah John-Kamen (Killjoys, Ant-Man and the Wasp) as F’Nale Zandor, a real-world IOI operative hunting down the High Five.
While the plot is somewhat basic and predictable, it’s the visuals and references that are really interesting. I at first thought that this was going to be too CGI-centric and a distraction, but after a bit it felt natural in a weird way. And there are some stunning recreations, like the parts from The Shining). But what really hooked me was all the little things, both overt and background, that referenced the things we grew up with. From the many characters that can be seen in the background to the appearance of the Iron Giant (although, as some point out, misused), to the various Atari games and more. There are so many it will take multiple viewings to spot many of them – finding easter eggs in a movie about finding easter eggs!!! I saw a Colecovision towards the end…and I want Halliday’s t-shirts!
If you are particularly interested in motion-capture acting as well, check out the special features to see how a lot of it was done – there is just as much live acting, if not more!
Overall, it was a very enjoyable movie with some laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of “did-you-see-that”s as well!