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.
Steve Ditko, a comic book artist who co-created with Stan Lee the characters of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, passed away. He was found in his apartment in New York on June 29th. He was 90.
He started out studying under Batman artist Jerry Robinson at the Cartoonists And Illustrators School in New York City, and in 1953 he went to work for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. He created the character of Captain Atom in 1960 for Charlton Comics. He also drew for Atlas Comics (which became Marvel Comics in 1961), where he worked with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He left Marvel in 1966 and went back to Charlton, later DC Comics, returning to Marvel in 1979, and retired in 1998.
The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe provides a breath of fresh air, sunshine and humor in the midst of its darkest time. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues with the precedent set by Ant-Man – a superhero movie set with humor. Whereas the other movies would often include humorous lines here and there, here the premise incorporates the fact that the protagonist is inept but good-hearted, surrounded by ultra-smart people whose technobabble is way over his head. Paul Rudd continues his perfect portrayal as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, again joined by Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, and Michael Peña as Luis. Joining the ranks this time are Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, a former colleague of Dr. Pym, and Killjoys‘ Hannah John-Kamen as Ava.
I’m going to say this right now – every Marvel movie should have Michael Peña’s Luis do all the catch-up exposition.
I won’t get too much into the plot as I hate to give any spoilers, but at least to answer the pressing question as to what happened to Ant-Man during Infinity War – he’s been under house arrest since the events of Captain America: Civil War, having reached a plea deal for having violated the Sokovia Accords, and is about to be released after his two-year sentence, during which he has had no contact with Pym or Hope, who are in hiding. But a vision that Scott has indicates that it might be possible that Janet Van Dyne – Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother, may still be alive.
Hannah John-Kamen’s Ava provides a new character that takes the story’s conflict in a new dimension, and her portrayal is perfect – I look forward to seeing her in future movies.
Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War is likely the biggest movie ever in a number of ways – including breaking opening weekend records. It is expected to gross $248-250 million domestically in its opening weekend, beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opened just short of $248 million, keeping Disney atop the studio mountain with its two acquired mega-franchises.
Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of over a decade’s work shepherding a story that started with 2008’s Iron Man, ushering in a new era of successful superhero films and the start of an interrelated universe of films building a story character by character. 2011’s Thor brought us the first of what we would learn to be Infinity Stones, a set of six unique gems of incredible power created at the birth of the universe. Each represented a unique aspect of the universe – Space, Reality, Power, Mind, Time, and Soul – and give the holder special powers. Possessing more than one makes the wielder incredibly powerful. Possessing all six – well, that’s what Thanos wants.
There is very little I can say about the movie that isn’t a spoiler, so I’ll limit myself to what little there is that isn’t. This movie is practically non-stop, with powerful action sequences and emotional points throughout. There are so many characters we know I’m amazed they were given the amount of time that they could! The visuals were superb – except there was one that just looked horribly fake. If you’ve seen it, you might know which one.
As for the ending (no spoilers) and the still unknown-titled Avengers 4 (the title itself would constitute a major spoiler for Infinity War, and will be released after sufficient time has passed, likely after the home release), I know what has to happen it I’m both happy and angry that it needs to happen…perhaps we should set up a special corner of the internet where those of us who have seen the movie can hang out and communicate, just so we can vent?
Hmm…a quite scary anti-hero…might not be for the younger kids…
Opens October 5th, 2018
In case somehow you haven’t seen this yet…tears were shed when it was seen…
After clearing his name, Luke Cage has become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem with a reputation as bulletproof as his skin. But being so visible has only increased his need to protect the community and find the limits of who he can and can’t save. With the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line that separates a hero from a villain.
So, Marvel Studios asked on Twitter who excited people were to see Avengers: Infinity War on May 4th…
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) March 1, 2018
But Robert Downey Jr. wanted to see it earlier…with a few “friends”…
Any chance I could see it earlier?
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 1, 2018
Anything for you, Mr. Stark! How’s April 27th?
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) March 1, 2018
Great. With friends?
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 1, 2018
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.
In theaters May 4th