Ron Howard takes command of Han Solo movie!

An interesting development has occurred over the last few days related to the Star Wars anthology film focused on Han Solo. Originally, the film was well underway on the road to production with directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, writers Jon and Lawrence Kasdan and stars such as Alden Ehrenreich as the title character with a supporting cast including Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Joonas Suotamo, Michael Kenneth Williams and Phoebe Waller-Bridge but dissention between Miller and Lord and the production team has forced the directors to abandon the project leaving the film in a state of standstill.

It didn’t take long for Kathleen Kennedy and her team of producers to find a suitable replacement to pilot the film. Today, it has been confirmed that Academy Award winning director Ron Howard will assume command of the Han Solo origin story.

Ron Howard has certainly enjoyed a great deal of success throughout his career. His body of work as a filmmaker includes prestigious films such as Backdraft, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Frost/Nixon, Rush; he certainly has the clout and the creative spirit to shape the origin story of the character who would become an important figure in the Star Wars universe. Personally, I think Kathleen Kennedy and the Star Wars production team missed out on an opportunity to hand the film to a director of color or a woman but I’m willing to give Ron Howard a chance with this project.

The Han Solo movie will arrive in theaters by May 25, 2018.

Tom Hardy is a web-slinging anti-hero!

A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures announced that the Marvel character and Spider-Man antagonist Venom would be featured in a standalone spinoff set to arrive in theaters sometime next year. The fan-favorite character has already made his big-screen debut in the disappointing blockbuster Spider-Man 3, portrayed by Topher Grace, but this project is seen as an opportunity for Sony to get the character right and potentially usher in a new anti-hero universe based on Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

News has broken that names have now been confirmed to sign on for the spinoff. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer will direct and Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is set to star in film.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the latter of whom worked on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wrote the script for Venom. Plot details are being kept in the black but Hardy, who is said to be a Venom fan, will play Eddie Brock, the character who first became Venom.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing along with Amy Pascal.

The internet is calling this casting a coup and I can’t help but agree. Hardy is an excellent actor who is a year removed from his first Oscar nomination in The Revenant and has starred in action and drama movies a plenty including Inception, Warrior, has a superhero movie under his belt already portraying the sinister Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, rode through the wasteland in Mad Max: Fury Road and will star in the upcoming Dunkirk; I can’t help but be impressed by Hardy’s body of work thus far and I look forward to seeing him give life to this tragic and deadly character. Venom is set to snare an audience on October 5, 2018.

Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars. Again.

jimmykimmelhwofsept2012

Image by Angela George, via Wikimedia Commons

A few months ago, a moment which I like to believe was the greatest upset of all time occurred under the watch of Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel, obviously, was not at fault for the controversial mix-up at the Oscars but the consequences for the Best Picture mix-up have led to shakeups. Fortunately, Kimmel will avoid said shakeups. That’s right, Kimmel is back for a second tour of duty as Oscars host!

Jimmy Kimmel will be back as host of the Oscars when the 90th edition of the annual Academy Awards ceremony is held March 4.

The Academy and ABC announced Tuesday that the late night host will reunite with producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd for the 2018 show.

I welcome this news since I found Kimmel an entertaining and refreshing Master of Ceremonies during the 89th Oscars. He fueled his “feud” with Oscar nominee Matt Damon, he arranged for cookies and doughnuts to parachute from the ceiling upon the audience, he had a Lion King moment with Lion star Sunny Pawar, he made sure the President was watching, he arranged for tourists to stop by and have photo moments with the nominees; he certainly kept the show interesting and I look forward to his encore on March 4, 2019.

Captain Marvel Will Have Two Directors

The lineup for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will lead to The Avengers: Infinity War, set for release on May 4, 2018. Captain Marvel, starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson figures to be a part of this lineup somehow but Marvel Studios has significant plans for the superheroine. It was announced that Larson landed the role late last year and Marvel Studios would search for a director to helm the film starring Larson and written by Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman. It was a widely held belief that Captain Marvel would have a female director since she would be the first Marvel heroine to lead her own movie but now the search has concluded and the film does indeed have a female director but with a twist. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck got the job!

Image by Vanity Fair

I confess, this has certainly caught me by surprise since I have no idea where these two came from but judging by Marvel’s hiring process, it makes sense.

Execs met with the duo many times before the studio decided to go with them and the pair impressed the studio time and time again with their vision for the heroine. The two have experience in both the TV and film world, which Marvel sees as a strength.

Best known for their character-study dramas like Ryan Gosling’s “Half Nelson” and Ryan Reynolds’ “Mississippi Grind,” Boden and Fleck directed episodes for such popular TV shows as “The Affair” and “Billions.”

Considering how Kevin Feige and Marvel have gambled and won on talents such as the Russo Brothers, Peyton Reed and James Gunn and trusted filmmakers like Jon Watts, Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler and Scott Derrickson with leading productions on their pivotal heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Boden and Fleck follow a pattern that has served Marvel well in the past. I’m not familiar with their work together to this point but I’ll certainly have my eye on where Captain Marvel will go from this point forward. Captain Marvel set for release on March 8, 2019.

cptmarvel

Image by Marvel Studios

It’s time for the Jedi…to end?! The Last Jedi trailer

The next chapter of a new generation is on the horizon. When last we left the Star Wars universe, the scavenger Rey was swept up into the fray between the First Order and the Resistance and at the center of this conflict was one individual: Luke Skywalker. The legendary Jedi Knight, who once proved pivotal in the overthrow of the sinister Galactic Empire, suddenly vanished in the galaxy’s most turbulent hour and the quest to locate him has delivered gains and losses on both sides. At the conclusion of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Rey made her way to come face-to-face with the mythic Skywalker and where this encounter goes from where the last film left off, forebodes a grim outcome. This is the teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Laura Dern, Benecio Del Toro, Billie Lourd, Gwendoline Christie and the late Carrie Fisher. The fate of the galaxy will be revealed on December 15, 2017.

Thor: Ragnarok trailer drops the hammer!

The mighty prince of Asgard was away when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes waged civil war with each other. It turns out that he had his own issues to deal with while Captain America and Iron Man had their knockdown, drag out disagreement, such as returning to Asgard to discover that an ancient evil has risen to lay waste to everything in her path and not even Mjolnir can stand against her. Thor is thrust across the universe and must find his way back to save his home before the Nine Realms are reduced to dust but first, Thor must hold his own against…”a friend from work.” This is the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok.

Written by Eric Pearson and directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. Thor: Ragnarok thunders into theaters on November 3, 2017.

Joss Whedon sends up the Bat-signal for BATGIRL!

batgirl_by_shamserg-d6ny6m2

Image by shamserg

Filmmaker Joss Whedon’s last two forays into the superhero genre, The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, were hits as far as I was concerned and as far as the world was concerned, he retired from the realm of heroes after Ultron made its way into theaters.  I never expected to hear this news though and it’s surprising and exciting: Whedon will produce, write and direct a standalone Batgirl movie!

Batgirl first appeared in DC Comics in 1967 as Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon in “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!” by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino.

Now in the past few weeks, Batman’s presence in this expanding DC Cinematic Universe has certainly opened up many doors. For instance, The Batman, starring Ben Affleck, has roped in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves to helm the project, which has been delayed due to rewrites and other circumstances, the character Nightwing will be given his own standalone feature and now this?! Color me excited!

joss_whedon_by_gage_skidmore_7

Image by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Batgirl will be DC’s second film with a female-driven lead, the first being Wonder Woman and I for one, am certainly looking forward to seeing how Whedon will shape this film going forward. At this juncture, Whedon leading the project is the only details I can give; there are no actresses or actors attached, nor any mention of a specific story that will be adapted for this film. Furthermore, there is no telling when this movie or The Batman or Nightwing will make its way into theaters.