The Star Wars TV Series Will Cost Big Bucks (And Other News)!

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Details have been thin on the ground since the announcement late last year that Disney’s new streaming service will feature a live action Star Wars TV series.

But a new report by the New York Times has revealed a couple of interesting titbits about the show, currently being developed by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau.

First up is the news that the show, running to ten episodes, will cost around 100 million dollars. That’s, um… about ten million dollars an episode, according to my trusty financial advisor, which might sound like a lot of moolah to you and me, but actually comes across as kind of cheap when you consider the final six episodes of Game of Thrones will cost a staggering $15 million apiece.

Secondly, Favreau has confirmed that the series will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, (also the timeframe for the upcoming animated series Star Wars Resistance – why, it’s almost like there’s such a thing as corporate synergy in the world). According to a comment made by Favreau back in May, his series will take place seven years after the fall of the Empire, while Resistance will cross the bridge in the timeline and depict the rise of the First Order, which leads towards The Force Awakens.

It’s entirely possible we’ll be hearing more about the Star Wars live-action TV series and I’ll bring you more news as it lands.

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Make It So: Patrick Stewart Returns To Trek With New TV Series

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Confirming rumours that have been circulating for some time, Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and showrunner, Alex Kurtzman today announced the return of Patrick Stewart to the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new Trek TV series.

Taking the stage at the Star Trek Las Vegas show, Kurtzman brought out Stewart to a wild reception from the crowd, and the veteran actor told them “he may not be the Jean-Luc you know.”

“With overwhelming joy, it’s a privilege to welcome Sir Patrick Stewart back to the Star Trek fold,” Kurtzman said. “For over 20 years, fans have hoped for the return of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and that day is finally here. We can’t wait to forge new ground, surprise people, and honor generations both new and old.”

A report at the news site, Deadline, states that the new series is not a Star Trek: Next Generation reboot but will tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. It will be overseen by Kurtzman who signed a deal with CBS TV Studios to develop new Star Trek content.

Stewart also announced the news via Twitter, saying:

“I will always be very proud to have been a part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but when we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Seeking out new life for him, when I thought that life was over.”

“During these past years, it has been humbling to hear many stories about how The Next Generation brought people comfort, saw them through difficult periods in their lives or how the example of Jean-Luc inspired so many to follow in his footsteps, pursuing science, exploration and leadership,” Stewart continued. “I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason – to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times. I look forward to working with our brilliant creative team as we endeavor to bring a fresh, unexpected and pertinent story to life once more.”

The creative team for the new series will include James Duff, a recent addition to Discovery as an executive producer, former Discovery executive producer Akiva Goldsman, Discovery writer, and Star Trek novelist, Kirsten Beyer, and Pulitzer prize-winning Author Michael Chabon.

The new (as yet untitled) Picard series will join Star Trek: Discovery, which is about to launch its second season, and the upcoming Star Trek: Short Treks four-part limited series, so if you’re not a Star Trek fan now might be a good time to take that long vacation you’ve been thinking about. The rest of us will put on our rubber Spock ears and stock up with snacks and Romulan ale to celebrate this very welcome news.

First Photo From Star Wars Episode IX

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The as-yet untitled (publicly, at least) Star Wars Episode IX director, J J Abrams, has celebrated the first day of filming by dropping the first production photo from the film on his Twitter feed.

Feast your no-doubt eager eyes on this and we’ll talk after the break:

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Along with the photo, dominated by the camera but carefully showing John Boyega’s Finn in conversation with someone in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, Abrams left the following touching message:

Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part. #IX

Star Wars Episode IX will see newcomers Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie and Keri Russell join series regulars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd, alongside Billy Dee Williams returning as Lando Calrissian and the final appearance for Princess/General Leia Organa, using unseen footage (originally shot for The Force Awakens) of the late Carrie Fisher.

Expect to start seeing a lot more information creeping out (which I’ll be happy to bring you) as we reach the home stretch for the final film in the current Star Wars trilogy.

The film will open around December 18, 2019.

She’ll Be Back

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Empire Magazine has just shared the first image of Linda Hamilton as the iconic Sarah Connor, from forthcoming sequel/reboot/whatever Terminator Film Without A Title.*

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The full picture reveals her standing alongside co-stars Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes, in the new film produced by James Cameron (while simultaneously making four hundred back-to-back Avatar sequels) and directed by Deadpool’s Tim Miller.

Whether this is a film anyone actually wants to see is still undecided, after the last three sequels (Rise of the Machines, Salvation and, ugh… Genisys) failed to deliver the goods in ever worse ways. The irritating mangling of the word Genesis alone explains my wariness towards this project, despite the always welcome presence of Hamilton (returning to the franchise for the first time since Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991).

The new Terminator movie is released in November 2019.

*Likely to be changed before release

Black Brings Back The Predator

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Let’s get this clear: I straight-up love Shane Black and the original Schwarzenegger Predator is a stone-cold classic!

The following Predator movies are mostly harmless fun of varying quality (though there’s not really any need to speak again of the execrable Aliens vs Predator movies, right!?) so while we might not actually need another movie featuring the unearthly hunters,  having Black at the helm raises the  anticipation levels considerably.

The first trailer has just dropped, so see what you think and we’ll talk more after:

This doesn’t set my pulse racing, but it does intrigue me. Black’s trademark snappy dialogue is certainly in place and bringing the Predator to surburbia is a concept ripe for gnarly fun. And let’s face it, the (uncredited) co-screenwriter of the original Predator is certainly more equipped than most to shape another go round with these guys and has yet to deliver an unsatisfying movie – though I’m going to be mighty disappointed if there isn’t at least one scene set at Christmas.

I’m giving this the benefit of the doubt and betting on Black to deliver suitable thrills and chills. The Predator will be unleashed on September 14th.

Are You Getting A Good Feeling About The New Solo Trailer?

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Disney have just dropped the full-length trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story and, well, it’s pretty good.

Take a look and see what you think…

So the main take here is that we actually get a little more of Alden Ehrenreich’s performance as Han Solo, in the unenviable position of taking over from screen legend, Harrison Ford. While this trailer still doesn’t sell me completely, I have to admit he’s looking a little more promising. It seems to be an approximation of Ford’s swagger without being a slavish imitation.

The main problem is that Donald Glover (taking over Lando Calrissian from Billy Dee Williams) absolutely steals every shot he’s in, leading me to wonder why this film isn’t actually called Lando. Still, there’s the added value of Woody Harrelson, and that’s never a bad thing.

Will Solo overcome its highly troubled production problems and give us the high-spirited heist movie the trailer promises? And will Ehrenreich win us over as our beloved rogue? We’ll find out in just over six weeks. Meanwhile, sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on the trailer…

Solo: A Star Wars Story punches its way into cinemas on May 25th.

“You in…?” Disney Finally Proves Solo Is An Actual Movie

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With all the industry scuttlebutt that’s been hanging over the production of Solo – A Star Wars Story (Miller and Lord being fired from directorial duties at the eleventh hour, incoming director Ron Howard seemingly reshooting swathes of material) , and with so little little visible evidence of the actual film (we’re just three months from this sucker arriving at our local multiplexes, for goodness’ sake) it was beginning to feel like we were being sold a fake bill of goods.

But now, just to prove cynical old naysayers like myself wrong, here’s an actual trailer and proof that Solo is a film and really exists. See for yourself…

See? Alden Ehrenreich really is playing Young Harrison Ford and Donald Glover really is Young Billy Dee Williams. Woody Harrelson is playing Grizzled Old Career Criminal and Emilia Clarke is The Woman (hopefully her role will be better than that but not judging from this first trailer).

Difficult to tell from this whether this actually real movie will be any good after all the backstage shenanigans, but Howard is – at the very least – a steady pair of hands.

We’ll be able to judge for ourselves when the film really does hit cinemas in just over 90 days…

 

 

There’s Something Happening Here – The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Trailer

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If you haven’t yet caught Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, starring the brilliant Elisabeth Moss, you’ve missed out on one of the finest TV dramas of 2017.

Now would be a good time to catch up with this harrowing story, as Hulu have dropped the trailer for the second season and announced an airdate of April 25th.

This timely series takes place in a brutal, dystopian future of gender politics and the new season steps into new territory as it expands the storyline past Atwood’s novel. Thankfully, the author is very much involved and if season two is even half as good as the original then the TV landscape for 2018 will be shaping up very nicely.

Meanwhile, here’s the trailer to whet your appetite…

“This Is Not Going To Go… The Way You Think!” – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Spoiler Free Review)

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“This is not going to go… the way you think!”

Luke Skywalker’s ominous words, highlighted in the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, could easily stand as the film’s throughline.

The overwhelming message of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that families are complicated and move in unexpected directions. It also has a lot to say about being screwed up by our fathers.

Overwhelming also accurately describes what I felt about the film at the end of its two and a half hour journey. It’s somewhat overlong but it features some astonishing action sequences, is one of the visually richest Star Wars films and contains what might be my single favourite moment from the entire franchise.

In many ways, The Last Jedi mirrors both the darkness and structure of the Original Trilogy’s middle film, The Empire Strikes Back, but writer and director Rian Johnson is smart enough to take off into some truly wild new directions during the final third.

Picking up right where The Force Awakens left us, this new installment hits the ground running and the pace barely lets up. The expanding group of characters, old and new are pretty successfully juggled so that everyone is given satisfying arcs, this particularly benefits Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron, and Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as Leia and Luke. Daisy Ridley continues to command the screen, especially in her dealings with Adam Driver, their interactions are electric.

John Boyega gets to play off new-to-the-franchise Kelly Marie Tran – both of who are great value but unfortunately shuffled into the film’s weakest thread – a trip to a casino world that’s given a decent barbed comment on the social structure of the Star Wars galaxy but feels rather unnecessary, structurally, and also, dare I say it, feels rather like an outtake from the dreaded Prequels. Indeed, this thread also manages to waste the always welcome presence of Benecio Del Toro.

While Johnson’s generosity to give everyone breathing room is commendable it does also see The Last Jedi surrender some of Empire’s structural elegance in favour of a more scattershot approach that leaves the film feeling a little overstuffed.

Still, this is a film with more on its mind than just rehashing the franchise for a new generation or showing off special effects. The relationship dynamics established are nicely developed, and not all in ways you might be expecting, Johnson keeps things surprising, and manages that to the very last frames. The Last Jedi is drenched in darkness but garnished with light and hope.

The consequences of familial actions, in particular those of fathers, is a deep running vein through the film, but it also suggests that family finds its own shape and can be forged in new ways.

Alongside all the drama Johnson gives us breathless action and some of the most gorgeous filmmaking and visuals of the series, using the colour red to particularly strong effect. An opening space battle and a dizzying lightsabre battle are among the highlights.

There are lots of callbacks (visually and thematically) to both Empire and Return of the Jedi, and a beautiful closing moment for one character which returns us right to the heart of Star Wars (Episode IV). To say any more would involve spoilers, but suffice to say there are some big emotional pay-offs.

As I mentioned before, The Last Jedi also features a sequence, possibly my favourite of the franchise, so balls-out audacious that it more than makes up for any deficiencies the film might have. You’ll know it when it arrives, a moment so glorious and exciting it will leave you very happy that Johnson is forging the future of Star Wars with his upcoming new trilogy.

I’m not certain The Last Jedi is quite the masterpiece many have been proclaiming, it’s too inelegant for that, but it’s eager to please and will leave you exhausted as you emerge from the cinema. It’s a shot of pure Star Wars adrenaline.

Like family, The Last Jedi is messy and doesn’t go the way you think. Ultimately though, you can’t help but love it.

Star Wars – The Last Jedi Trailer

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Let’s face it, I could pretty much be writing my shopping list here but you’ll be skipping past my no-doubt exciting consumer needs to take a look at the final trailer for Star Wars – The Last Jedi. Okay, off you go…

Well, there’s certainly a lot to unpack, with a great deal more of the story hinted at than in previous trailers. Personally, I’m rather excited to see what Rian Johnson has in store for us at Christmas, to the point where I’m actually rather disappointed that Disney/Lucasfilm decided to go with J J Abrams again for the final episode of this trilogy in the latest round of Hire-And-Fire-The-Director.

Will this be a simple nostalgia retread, like The Force Awakens, or will we get some real development in the saga this time? I guess we’ll see soon enough…

Star Wars – The Last Jedi opens on December 13th (at least, here in Norway, your country’s mileage may vary). Book your tickets now.

Okay, so… cereal, two pints of milk, brunost…