So the nominations for the 91st Oscars are out, and as usual we take a look at where the science fiction/fantasy genre landed – and it’s mostly Disney vs. Disney between Black Panther and Mary Poppins Returns – but neither received any acting nominations, which is disappointing.
Black Panther scored a Best Picture nomination, along with Production Design, Costume Design, Original Score, Original Song for “All The Stars”, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing,
Mary Poppins Returns is nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Original Score, Original Song for “The Place Where Lost Things Go”,
Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin, Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story all received one nomination for Visual Effects.
A Quiet Place received one nomination for Sound Editing.
Incredibles 2, Ralph Breaks The Internet and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse all share the Animated Film nomination with Isle of Dogs and Mirai.
ABC gives big commitment to female superheroes show from Marvel and Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg
Despite Disney focusing a lot on its upcoming streaming service, they aren’t leaving their broadcast network out in the Marvel cold – Deadline reports ABC has given a production commitment for a series about female superheroes written by Allan Heinberg, the scribe behind Wonder Woman. No title or description has been given so far, but it is expected to focus on some lesser superheroes within the Marvel universe.
Heinberg has worked on various Shondaland series for ABC, starting with Grey’s Anatomy in 2006. And for Marvel Comics, he co-created and wrote Young Avengers and Avengers: The Children’s Crusade with co-creator/artist Jim Cheung. For DC Comics he re-launched Wonder Woman in 2006 and co-wrote JLA: Crisis Of Conscience.
Variety is reporting that Disney may be stacking the deck for its upcoming streaming video service by starting early development on some limited series based around characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and Loki and the Scarlet Witch are likely the be first.
The plan is for a number of limited series – generally 6 to 8 episodes each, and are expected to feature the same actors as have appeared in the MCU as well. Marvel Studios will produce and MCU shepherd Kevin Feige is expected to be fully hands on for the development. This differs than the previous network and Netflix efforts, which have focused on other characters or secondary characters from the MCU.
They would join a Star Wars series from Jon Favreau and a High School Musical series, along with original movies and recent releases.
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.
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.
Lucasfilm announced that Jon Favreau, who helped usher in the era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Marvel Studios, will now take the reins of the upcoming untitled live-action Star Wars series that will be part of Disney’s direct-to-consumer video service.
“I couldn’t be more excited about Jon coming on board to produce and write for the new direct-to-consumer platform,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
Favreau is familiar with the Star Wars universe as well, having voiced Pre Vizsla in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and will appear in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. “If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”
Favreau was nominated for an Emmy in 2005 for producing dinner for Five, and and won the Saturn Award in 2009 for Best Director for Iron Man. He directed both Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and executive produced the Iron Man and Avengers movies, and also appeared as Tony Stark’s assistant Happy Hogan in many of them. He’s currently working on The Lion King for Disney.
No release date for the Star Wars series has been announced.
Another weekend TidBits to catch up…
Marvel’s Blank Panther is devouring the box office, likely looking at $150 million this weekend, and possibly opening the window to the entire Marvel universe for a shot in the films. A beautifully visual movie superbly acted – expect a review shortly.
In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has been keeping to the top of the charts, winning most weeks since Star Wars: The Last Jedi died down, and provided a lighthearted movie among the more intense competition. It will cross $900 million world-wide today. See what we thought of the film.
Disney Channel has ordered up a third installment of The Descendants, their teen-centric fantasy musical TV movie series. The Kenny Ortega-produced franchise follows the teen descendants of Disney’s well-known princesses and villains and stars Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope and China Anne McClain. The teaser (see below) has Mal (Cameron), the descendant of Maleficent, indicate that the new villain will be – her dad.
The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s upcoming series based on the Gerard Way graphic novels about a dysfunctional academy/family of superheroes, named a number of regular and recurring cast this week. Regular cast announced incclude Cameron Britton (Mindhunter) will be Hazel, an infamously ruthless and efficient time-travelling hit-man; Colm Feore (House of Cards, The Chronicles of Riddick) is Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a wealthy entrepreneur and world-renowned scientist and the adopted father of the academy students; and Adam Godley (Breaking Bad), will portray (via voice/motion-capture) Pogo, a genetically-engineered chimpanzee. Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) will appear in a recurring role as Detective Patch, a fast rising, by the book detective of the police department. Previously announced as starring in the show are Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher.
You may have heard about this tiny little deal in the entertainment world…Disney has agreed to purchase assets from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Studios, in a deal worth over $54 billion! Disney gets all of the film and television assets except the broadcast network (they already own ABC), sports and news divisions, which will be retained by Fox. Although this doesn’t include the broadcast network, it seems to leave the network without a TV production studio as a sibling, which the other major networks have.
Disney will also get the rights to all the upcoming Avatar movies, which isn’t surprising since the Mouse House has already incorporated the franchise into its Animal Kingdom theme park.
But one of the biggest ramifications everyone has been talking about is what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fox has owned the rights to the X-Men for some time, which as a result has left the X-Men out of the MCU, even for cameos. In fact, we ended up with two different versions of Quicksilver. In fact, both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch where at the center of a battle between the two studios – Fox claimed they were part of the X-Men universe, while Disney wanted to use them in the Avengers. The studios came to an agreement to allow both to use the characters, so long as neither mentioned the other in either way. Fox never used Scarlet Witch, but Quicksilver first appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and then in his MCU version in Avengers: Age of Ultron alongside Scarlet Witch.
Now with the acquisition, that line gets blurred and the X-Men could easily be included in the MCU going forward, if so desired. In fact, Hugh Jackman, who said he was retiring from playing Wolverine after Logan, left the door open if he could appear in an Avengers movie. So maybe Wolverine isn’t quite done yet.
Another Marvel rights property related to the acquisition is the Fantastic Four, but the rights issues are a little murkier. Fox did not own them outright but rather were in a partnership with the original optioner, Constantin Films. The rights and productions have an interesting history on its own, but rather than regurgitate it here Screen Rant has an excellent write-up. So the status of that property is perhaps less clear, although Disney mentioned them in their press release:
Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
So Disney at least believes they are back in the fold.
Oh, and what of Deadpool, the R-rated superhero? Disney isn’t known for going after the R-rated audience, but Deadpool broke all the rules and was a massive success. Well, Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned that specifically while addressing shareholders: “[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
So there you have it. It might be a while before we see the rewards on screen, but I think I can hear the gears of MCU master Kevin Feige’s brain turning now…
TidBits: Tarantino wants the captain’s chair for Star Trek; Disney hits $5B; Stranger Things readies round 3; American Gods duo leaves
Time to get caught up after a very busy weekend capping off a few busy weeks around here with school productions…so some tidbits from the past several days…
Director Quentin Tarantino has an idea for the next Star Trek movie…we don’t know what it is, but according to Deadline J.J. Abrams thinks enough of the idea to pull together a writers room to discuss and develop a script. Tarantino typically operates with free reign over his original movies, where a franchise like this might present challenges, so we’ll see how this shapes up.
Disney has blasted the $5 billion worldwide barrier for a record third time this year, following Thor’s Hammer smashing through box offices all over. Thor: Ragnarok has crossed $800 million alone.
The kids from Stranger Things will be back as Netflix picked up a third season of the hit thriller series. No word on what 80s iconic properties might show up this time around.
Michael Green and Bryan Fuller have abruptly left the production of the second season of Starz’ American Gods series. The two brought Neil Gaiman’s novel to the small screen and acted as executive producers/showrunners. No reason so far as been given for the departure, but rumors are that budget cuts were being imposed by FremantleMedia North America’s new head of scripted programming, Dante di Loreto.