Bond 25 is Back On With Cary Fukunaga!

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Image By Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan, via Wikimedia Commons

The search is over and Bond’s newest mission is officially back on! Five months ago, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli tabbed Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle to direct the 25th James Bond feature, starring Daniel Craig, in what is projected to be his fifth and final outing as Sir Ian Fleming’s legendary super spy. All was going well until Boyle elected to leave the film due to “creative differences” with the producers, leaving MGM, Eon Productions and Universal Pictures to find a suitable replacement. Today, Wilson and Broccoli believe they found the right man to helm Agent 007’s latest mission in Cary Joji Fukunaga.

We are delighted to be working with Cary. His versatility and innovation make him an excellent choice for our next James Bond adventure,” said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

I’m not exactly familiar with Fukunaga’s body of work but from what I’ve seen and read this is a tremendous opportunity for Fukunaga and his resume must have truly impressed Wilson and Broccoli to land this gig. At first glance, this seems like a breakthrough opportunity for Fukunaga but everything he’s done at this point of his career has culminated in success and acclaim for him.

After helming what critics universally agreed to be the one good season of HBO’s True Detective, Fukunaga continued making a name for himself as an inventive filmmaker with directing Beasts of No Nation, as well as writing and producing The Alienist. He now heads Netflix’s new Maniac miniseries with Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.

New details about Bond’s new film have also been released, such as Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are slated to helm writing the picture; it’s unknown if John Hodges’ script will be used in any capacity since Hodges and Boyle are frequent collaborators and Boyle is no longer directing the feature. Production is scheduled to begin in March 2019 and the film is scheduled to release worldwide on February 14, 2020.

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Henry Cavill Exits the DC Universe!

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Image by Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment

Just when you think the DC Universe can’t take anymore hits, especially when this superhero franchise needs another win in the worst way, this happens! In 2013, Man of Steel kicked off the DC Universe and Henry Cavill stepped into the blue suit and red cape for Zack Snyder’s interpretation of Superman and did so again in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 and Justice League last year. Now it appears that Cavill’s time as the last son of Krypton has come to a close as reports are coming in that he will no longer suit up to play Superman in future movies.

Warners had been trying to enlist Cavill, who most recently co-starred in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, for a Superman cameo in Shazam!, which stars Zachary Levi and will bow April 5. But contract talks between Cavill’s WME reps and Warners broke down, and the door is now closing on other potential Superman appearances.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: I’m disappointed and surprised, even though I shouldn’t be because the DC Universe is hemorrhaging and the prognosis appears critical because there is no one in sight to save it and turn it around. With Aquaman and Shazam! on the horizon, Wonder Woman 1984 behind them, Matt Reeves’ The Batman in production, Ezra Miller’s Flash movie, Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2 and other DC pictures in the works, things appeared to be looking up for this franchise but now, with the actor who played the character who initiated this franchise on his way out, I can’t exactly see anyway this franchise can be saved going forward. Heck, I doubt Kevin Feige can save the DC Universe at this point!

Cavill did a respectable job as Superman, considering the materials he was given to bring this character to life. Snyder’s vision to deconstruct the iconic character in these films, paired with below-average storytelling, not to mention the turbulence that came when Snyder was removed from Justice League, didn’t exactly help the franchise but Cavill did the best with what he was given and it’s a shame that he won’t get the chance to ride out on a high note with this character going forward. He is now the second actor who is projected to phase out of the DC Universe (Ben Affleck is reported to be in limbo as Batman and is trending toward exiting).

There is no word on who will be next to play Superman, let alone if the character will be a fixture in any DC movie going forward. There were reports that a Man of Steel sequel would be in development, but they may as well let that sink with the already sinking ship of this franchise. Just unbelievable! I wish the best for Cavill going forward.

Danny Boyle is Out as Bond 25 Director

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Image by Maximilian Bühn, CC-BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s like we’re seeing a pattern here when it comes to the next James Bond movie. Some time after the release of Spectre, star Daniel Craig has expressed that he has grown tired of playing James Bond and wanted to walk away from the role. Almost a year later, Craig pulled a turnaround and decided to stay on as Agent 007 for one more film. In March, it was announced that Oscar winning director Danny Boyle would helm the next James Bond feature with Daniel Craig attached to star. Now, Bond 25 is back to square one as Danny Boyle will no longer direct the film.

Obviously, this is a blow as Boyle is quite the talented filmmaker as evidenced in his previous works including Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting, Steve Jobs and 127 Hours and I was quite intrigued to see what he would bring to the Bond franchise. Now, I don’t know where they want to take Ian Fleming’s British Super Spy. Between this and swirling rumors about who may end up succeeding Craig as Bond in future films, the fate of 007 in cinema is certainly looking shaky more than stirred.

With Boyle stepping aside, it remains to be seen if this affects Eon and MGM’s plan to have the film released in November 2019. Who will direct the film now? Your guess is as good as mine.

Disney is Going to Absorb 20th Century Fox!

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Image by comingsoon.net

This move has been months in the planning and I’ve been keeping track of what would become of this ever since it was announced in December 2017. Now that it is official, let’s take a look at what it means. Originally, Disney opened with an almost $50 billion offer to purchase the rights to Fox’s film and television assets, now that number has jumped $20 million higher, possibly due to the fact that Comcast tried to get in a bidding war for Fox but pulled out weeks ago. Anyway, the melding of Disney and Fox has begun and it will take some time before it is complete.

What this means?

The dissolution of the longtime powerhouse studio gives Disney complete control over not only its X-Men and fellow Marvel superhero team the Fantastic Four, but box-office-busting franchises like the slowly-but-surely-expanding Avatar series and the long-dormant-but-hey-who-knows-these-days Home Alone, plus small screen powerhouses like The X-FilesIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—and all of FX and FXX for that matter, not to mention National Geographic—and (here’s the kicker) The Simpsons

But let’s slow down for a moment, shall we? This does not mean that we’re going to see the X-Men and the Fantastic Four sharing a screen with The Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy anytime soon, although it is not outside the realm of possibility for a project down the road. This deal was born from communications that led to Spider-Man becoming a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a few years ago. Disney is already a giant in the media industry because of its ownership of Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and ABC but this move is bold. In fact, this merger also Disney a controlling interest in Hulu, since Fox already owned a controlling interest in their shares before the acquisition became official.

Am I a fan of this move? To be honest, not really because this move was born from the idea of possibly bringing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I’m concerned about how they will integrate these already established franchises in possible future films and how they’ll avoid continuity issues. I actually preferred the X-Men franchise and the MCU to remain separated entities but if Disney can find a way to make the two cohesively meld together in a way that makes sense, I won’t complain.

Anyway, it’s done and when the merger becomes complete, Disney will be an ever greater superpower than ever. For now, the MCU will remain the MCU and their schedule will still include Captain Marvel and the untitled sequel to Avengers: Infinity War. As for the X-Men franchise? X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and The New Mutants are the only confirmed projects currently in production. My guess is, we’ll probably see signs of the universes becoming one after 2019 or 2020, so until then, we’ll just have to wait and see how this merger will proceed going forward. It almost makes me wonder what else Disney will end up owning in the foreseeable future?

Comic Con Trailer Tracker 2018!

I am time-zones away from what I like to call the biggest nerd fest of the year: San Diego Comic Con. This is the period where I get major announcements for my favorite and anticipated films and television shows for the next 12 months, and I like to take this time to watch all of the trailers and bring them here to you for you, my faithful readers to enjoy. So, let’s take a look at what Comic Con has to offer us, shall we?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Allison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Turner, Zoë Kravitz and Johnny Depp

In theaters on November 16, 2018

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Directed by: Michael Dougherty

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, Bradley Whitford, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds, Ziyi Zhang and Ken Watanabe

In theaters on May 31, 2019

Shazam!

Directed by: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Dylan Grazer, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Faithe Herman and Natalia Safran

In theaters on April 5, 2019

Aquaman

Directed by: James Wan

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Temeura Morrison and Djimon Hounsou

In theaters on December 21, 2018

If there are any new developments, I will be sure to put them up as soon as I get them.

James Gunn will not be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

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Image By Mingle Media TV, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you read that headline correctly! In a shocking move, Gunn has reportedly been fired from the MCU after years-old tweets from the Guardians of the Galaxy director, in which he joked about pedophilia and sexual assault, were collected and released to the public. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn made the move official in a statement:

The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him

I’m not even sure what to say at this point because I’m completely stunned by this turn of events. The impact that Gunn brought to the Guardians of the Galaxy features were a principal reason why the films went on to such critical and financial success for Marvel and Disney. In fact, he was hard at work for the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which was set for production later this year in order to meet its 2020 proposed release date. Now, plans for the feature are on hold as Marvel and Disney need new blood to finish the standalone series following the space traveling band of outlaws.

I don’t blame Disney for letting Gunn go in light of these recent developments. No one should ever have the audacity to joke about sexual assault or child molestation, let alone be dumb enough to put them on the internet where everyone can see and find them. Also, the manner in which the tweets were found were underhanded, if I had a word to use for it. There is plenty of blame and shame to go around in regards to this situation, if you ask me.

Gunn has issued an apology in response to his dismissal.

My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocativeI have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time. Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.

I will keep track of who Marvel and Disney will eye to close out the Guardians of the Galaxy arc for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Standalone Joker Movie Finds Its Star: Joaquin Phoenix

At this point, I’m not sure what the heck Warner Bros. is doing with their DC Comics Properties! If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is best described as a well-oiled machine that’s firing on all cylinders, the DC Universe should be described as a physician that can’t tell if a man is dead or alive. Anyway, remember that Joker movie that’s happening outside of the current DC Universe? It is apparently moving forward with a fixed production plan, under the direction of Todd Phillips and now stars Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix!

The film is on track to begin production in two months time, has a $55 million budget and is aiming for a 2019 release date. It seems that the vision Warner Bros. has for this film is unique compared to other DC properties.

Todd Phillips is directing the film and co-wrote the script, which the studio describes as being an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Scott Silver co-wrote the script.

And the stand-alone is meant to be darker and more experimental in tone and content (at least as experimental as a studio can be with established brands such as DC), which is described as being akin to a crime drama.

This isn’t the first time Phoenix has been courted to star in a comic book picture. At one time he was the frontrunner to star as Doctor Strange but Phoenix turned the role down due to a reported aversion to being contractually obligated to starring in sequels. Phoenix has an outstanding body of work as a performer landing multiple Academy Award nominations for the films Walk the Line, The Master and Gladiator and his other notable credits include Her, Hotel Rwanda and Inherent Vice. I believe he’ll bring the proper madness to the makeup of the Clown Prince of Crime but I just don’t see a purpose as to why the studio is going forward with this project; especially since the DC Universe is seeking to move forward with another standalone Joker movie with Jared Leto reprising his character from Suicide Squad.

The logic behind Warner Bros. moves at this point? As logical as the character who has been the antithesis of Batman’s character since 1940. Let’s see what happens shall we?