Vampires beware! SYFY's Van Helsing is firmly back in the present day with the teaser for Episode 5 ("Sisterhunt") of the fifth and final season. Having escaped the clutches of her government interrogators, Violet (Keeya King) is back with Ivory (Jennifer Cheon), and they're looking to mete out some justice to the members of the blood-sucking community who think they can just kill innocent people with impunity and get away with it.
"The vampires that did this," Violet says after coming across the mutilated corpse of a young woman, "are gonna pay the price." There's only one issue here: Violent seems to be under the control of Dracula (as we know Tricia Helfer's head vampire is still pulling the strings from the White House).
Check out the teaser:
At San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, King didn't hesitate when asked if she would ever want to be a vampire. "Oh, absolutely," King said. "When I was a kid, I used to watch this movie called The Little Vampire ... I was obsessed with vampires in it ... So, I would sleep like this [crosses arms over chest] because I wanted to be a vampire."
“I’m Mexican-Korean and I know there’s other people out there like me, and it’s great to bring that to a character, and have people see someone that looks like me out there, and, you know, kind of relate," Cheon recently said of Ivory during an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada. "And in that aspect, it’s been a real blessing. It’s been an honor to use my platform for this."
Episode 5 of Van Helsing's final season premieres on SYFY on Friday, May 14, at 10 p.m. EST.
The first four episodes of Season 5 are now available to stream on the official SYFY app. The app is free to download, and viewers can either connect to their cable subscription to access the full content or sign up for an NBCUniversal profile and use up to three free credits.
Hey, remember that time in Van Helsing Season 5 when we dipped into a time portal, got rocketed centuries into the past to a vampire-infested town in the middle of Transylvania, saw Dracula become Dracula (Tricia Helfer), the Oracle become the Oracle (Jesse Stanley), and Jack (Nicole Muñoz) literally suck some darkness from the neck of The Dark One and bottle it up into an amulet?
OK, good, so it wasn't a fever dream. Jack really did meddle with the past, and the future she will hopefully someday return to really did get irrevocably altered.
Just how altered are we talking here?
For one, it's got President Dracula working overtime in crisis control mode.
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Van Helsing Season 5, Episode 4, "State of the Union."**
We find ourselves at the Fort Collins black site army base, where Violet (Keeya King) and Ivory (Jennifer Cheon Garcia) have been detained for their roles in the assassination attempt on President Archer's (Jennifer Cheon Garcia) life. While being interrogated, Violet finds that her motive — President Archer is really Dracula — is a hard sell, and one that cuts no ice with the army corporal tasked with supervising Violet and Ivory until further notice.
That further notice arrives when President Dracula issues the prisoners' executions and decapitations. Dracula knows she's not batting 1000 these days, ever since Jack sapped some of her strength and bottled it up in the amulet; so rather than trying her luck, Dracula decides it's probably wiser to nip any confrontation with the vampire hunters in the bud.
Violet's ears must have been itching, because back at Fort Collins she's in the middle of faking her own suicide in order to lure a gullible guard into her improvised cell and take him hostage. The commanding corporal and some of her men arrive at the scene and call Violet's bluff. When Violet relents, the corporal tells her and Ivory that they've been marked for execution. When the soldiers leave, Violet reveals to Ivory that the bit of theater she pulled earlier was just a way for her to swipe the guard's keycard, which will give them access to the entire base.
Once out of confinement, Violet and Ivory make for the server room, where they get their hands on backup security footage. They pull up some exculpatory evidence of President Dracula feasting on a human victim and show it to the corporal. It has the desired effect, and the corporal defies orders, fakes the executions of the "traitors," and returns their stuff. Among that stuff is the all-important amulet containing the blood of The Dark One, which is plus a few grams of darkness, as we viewers know.
Unfortunately, Violet does not. She notices that the blood inside the amulet has changed, and opens it up to peer inside, releasing some of that extra darkness when she does. That darkness escapes through the Fort Collins HVAC system and gets lost in the ether.
Feeling her oats, President Dracula goes on live TV to broadcast an ad hoc State of the Union Address. Exploiting a made-up story of a new breed of human-passing vampires, Dracula suspends all civil rights and imposes martial law across the nation. No doubt Dracula can sense her past, present, and future slipping out of her grip, and this latest gambit is her way of reasserting control.
But depriving the body politic of its rights is no substitute for depriving a human body of its blood, and for a post-address snack President Dracula and Bathory feast on flesh of several of the presidential aides in the Oval Office. Only the feast isn't as invigorating as Dracula had hoped it would be, and doesn't sit well with Bathory at all: The Oracle is seized by a vision in which she's dead, rolling on the floor. Could it be indigestion? Sure. But it's likely something that a Pepto can't clear up.
The bad portent has Bathory nervous, and she whips out her trusty tarot set to calm her anxiety. However, it's stacked against her: Not only does she throw Death and The Fool, but cards that read Jack, Vanessa (Kelly Overton), and Violet have somehow crept into her deck as well. Either this is a serious manufacturing defect, or the tarot is responding to the winds of change set in motion all those centuries ago...
Just then, that errant wisp of darkness that escaped the amulet finds its way through an Oval Office window, and right into Dracula's body, replenishing some (but not all) of her power. Will it be enough for her to take on all the entire Van Helsing brood, as prophesied in the Oracle's cards?
Disney+'s recently concluded The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series was all about how Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson went from the aerial Avenger to the new Captain America. Now Marvel Studios has gone a step further in revealing the process of creating his origin story with a new video breaking down the series' visual effects, and how they made Sam look like a worthy successor to the shield.
In the video below, VFX supervisor Eric Leven says it was important to make Sam's flight feel distinctly different compared to fellow flyers like Iron Man and Thor.
Check out Sam in action:
In breaking down the debut episode's action scene, wherein Sam goes up against Batroc the Leaper and his wingsuit-wearing crew, Leven shows how much of that combat was real versus CG. Blending digital backgrounds with real actors wasn't terribly hard, and any time they had a chance to do something for real, like having Mackie fly behind a plane and land on it, it was done for real. (The plane was on solid ground, of course. Mackie's no Tom Cruise.) And during close ups of Sam's face, to simulate the feeling of flight, Mackie had an action cam put in front of his face while the rest of the world moved around him.
Delving further into the series, Leven talks about how the VFX crew worked to make Sam's official debut as Captain America feel heroic in the series finale, something specifically desired by series creator Malcolm Spellman. Though the scene where Wyatt Russell's John Walker tries to stop a convoy of government officials from plummeting to their death was done via blue screen staging, Sam's subsequent rescue was done mostly practically. VFX rigged up the convoy in a way for Mackie to "push" the convoy, while the pit was shot at a realistic parking garage before being touched up on a computer to make the fall look more dangerous than it actually was.
The big action scenes were some of Leven's favorite on the show, having worked on them for over a year, but the VFX doesn't just stop there. Smaller details require visual work as well, such as eliminating zippers and seams, which Leven jokes don't exist for superhero costumes. For Sam's Captain America suit, Leven and his team had to step in, since the fabrics to make his cowl are "really, really hard to get in real life," in his words. To compensate for this, the costuming department built the costume as close as they could, and the effects team stepped in when needed. Wrinkles in the cowl or separation from his face? The team had to touch those up so the cowl would look snug on Mackie's face. It was a lot of work, but in his eyes, it all paid off.
The Falcon Captain America & the Winter Soldier's entirefirst season is available now on Disney+.
Prison breaks are always tough, but escaping jail in outer space would undoubtedly be more difficult. Showrunner Julie Gearey (Prisoners’ Wives, Cuffs, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) takes that challenge on, however, in the sci-fi series Intergalactic.
The U.K. show aired earlier this year across the Atlantic, but Peacock will be streaming the eight-part series starting on May 13. To get us up to speed on the convicts' escape plans, the streaming platform just released a thrilling new trailer.
Check it out here:
Intergalactic follows Ash Harper (Savannah Steyn), a young cop and pilot who is wrongly convicted of a treasonous crime and sent to prison. The trailer reveals said prison ship, which has a Guardians of the Galaxy-esque vibe. A crew of prisoners, led by Tula Quik (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), take over the ship and (unlike Guardians) kill the pilot. With no one else to fly the ship, however, Tula "recruits” Ash to fly them across the galaxy to Arcadia, where they’ll all be free.
Now Ash must stay alive with the other escaped convicts, and maybe clear her name? She says she’s working undercover in the trailer, after all, so perhaps she’s hoping to get her law-abiding career back by surviving and turning in her fellow escapees. The rest of the trailer features Ash throwing punches like the best of them, some explosions, and lots of fighting, so it’s a safe bet to say that things don’t go smoothly for the prison breakers.
In addition to Steyn and Ducan-Brewster, the series stars Eleanor Tomlinson (“Candy”), Parminder Nagra (“Rebecca Harper”), Craig Parkinson (“Dr. Lee”), Thomas Turgoose (“Drew”), Natasha O’Keeffe (“Emma”), Oliver Coopersmith (“Echo”), Imogen Daines (“Verona”), and Diany Samba-Bandza (“Genevieve”).
Intergalactic begins streaming May 13 on Peacock.
SYFY WIRE and Peacock are properties of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
Thirty-six years ago, the late artist known as Prince won an Oscar for Best Original Score for Purple Rain. His musical movie not only crossed genres to make him a household name, but showcased a slew of talented musicians like Morris Day and The Time, Wendy & Lisa, and more. Everyone who stood on stage with Prince was exceptionally gifted. That was by design, as every artist that came through Paisley Park was trained and coached by Prince himself.
The graphic novel MPLS Sound aims to capture Prince’s transcendent rise and the birth of the “Minneapolis sound” by telling the story of his influence through the fictional funk band Starchild.
MPLS, which came out in April, was one of Humanoids' last releases before publisher Mark Waid announced the company was pausing printing due to the pandemic. The 121-page graphic novel was co-written by Heavy Metal Magazine’s Executive Editor Joe Illidge and Hannibal Tabu (Noir Is the New Black) with art by comics newcomer Meredith Laxton.
The brainchild of former Humanoids editor and Fair Square Comics founder Fabrice Sapolsky, who assembled the creative team before leaving the company, MPLS Sound is a love letter to Prince fans everywhere. The story follows Theresa Booker, a (fictional) budding musician who fell in love with Prince as soon as she laid eyes on him. Inspired by his music, she pulls out her dad’s old guitar and practices until her fingers bleed. Theresa’s raw talent gets her noticed, but leading a band is where her heart is, and with the help of her brother, Ellis, she slowly builds Starchild and makes her dream a reality.
Set in Minneapolis in the early 1980s, the graphic novel is so realistic in location and tone that it’s hard to believe Starchild didn’t actually exist. MPLS Sound parallels the band’s journey with many prominent Prince protégés and contemporaries making appearances, including “His Royal Badness,” who styles and grooms the group at one point. But the dream isn’t all it's cracked up to be when the reality of being a Black woman leading a band in the ‘80s collides with egos, art, and fame.
Part music history, part magical journey, the creators achieved the incredible task of blending fictional characters with well-known, real-life musicians and giving us an unflinching look at the music business of the 1980s.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Illidge, Tabu, and Laxton about the research that went into MPLS Sound, their favorite Prince tracks, and how exactly one goes about drawing music.
Dig, if you will, the pictures.
Hannibal, you had mentioned before that your initial meeting with Fabrice was pretty funny. Can you explain?
Tabu: He invited me to the Humanoids offices and began to outline this ambitious publishing plan for Ignited and Omni and all these other [H1] books, and I got very excited. Then, he said, "Forget about all of that." I was very confused.
He had researched my music journalism in the 1990s with MTV and The Source, and figured I was the right person to start the MPLS creative process with.
Did you know that you would be drawing Prince when you first got involved with this project, Meredith?
Laxton: Early in 2018, Fabrice Sapolsky and I were introduced by a mutual friend, Tom Lyle, prior to a portfolio review. He had mentioned that he was looking for an artist to work on a book that featured a certain famous musical talent, but would not say who.
I was astonished to find out that Prince was one of many famous cameos I would have to draw. It was a lot of pressure, initially, because the likenesses had to be spot on.
Which was the longer process, developing the story or getting the character designs just right?
Illidge: The character designs are the genius of Meredith, whose art really helped me dig deeper into the world of Minneapolis during those years. Once the characters are visualized, they take on a new dimension for the writer.
Developing the story took a good while, and the story went through different permutations. The soul of the story is Theresa's journey, so it was a priority that her path rang true, that it dovetailed with history and with the experiences of Black people during that time.
This project was very heavily researched, it seems. Can you elaborate on that process?
Tabu: I did extensive interviews with two Minneapolis residents. One was a white woman who moved [to Minneapolis] in 2016, and the other was a Black woman who still lived there and was in her early thirties. Between the two of their experiences, I got a sense of the city.
I also read Let’s Go Crazy by Alan Light, Prince by Ronin Ro, I Would Die 4 U by Touré, and Prince by Eric Braun — and I listened to Jimmy Jam's interviews on Questlove's podcast.
How did you decide on the era of Prince’s career to place Theresa's story?
Illidge: The story Humanoids wanted us to tell had to precede the forming and debut of The Revolution, so we had to look at 1980 to 1983 as the timeline through which the drama unfolded. Considering how many things happened with music and the musicians that worked with Prince during those years, it allowed us a great opportunity to have Theresa go through a specific arc that echoed the experiences of others, but at a different speed with different characters and life nuances.
Tabu: Well, I didn’t want to cover "weird Prince" after the Cherry Moon phase, nor "struggle Prince" before Controversy, so we settled for him on the edge of the precipice, getting ready to fly. Fabrice found this as the most interesting period due to the many influences that came from it — Andre Cymone, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, etc. We figured at the birth of the sound that would be the most interesting point to do this. Likewise, there are a lot of love songs written about how things begin or how they end. Middles often don’t have the same creative grist.
How did you approach drawing music?
Laxton: There was talk about possibly adding lyrics or musical intonations in the background, but, ultimately, the decision was made to leave the performance scenes silent. My thinking is that the visuals would be enough to invoke the idea of music and the reader would insert the sound elements through their imaginations.
There are epic cameos in this piece. Did you plan those going in?
Illidge: The cameos emerged naturally in the story. Without spoiling it for upcoming readers, every real musician or producer who appeared in the story served a purpose in pushing and pulling. There’s... a moment of truth, a painful truth. Prince's various appearances in the story were of high, overview import. For the other people, their impact is more ground-level.
What was the process like designing the newer characters?
Laxton: Hannibal had based Theresa and Ellis off people in his life and sent me descriptions and photos to work from. For the rest of the gang, I drew a lot of inspiration from other popular musicians and rock stars, but, more importantly, I wanted them to reflect people that I’ve known personally.
What is the biggest surprise in your research of Prince and his influence?
Illidge: The degree to which Prince controlled, and sometimes created, the music that other bands he curated would play in live performances. Prince's relationship with Morris Day and The Time reveals some of this. Prince's influence was so great that he shaped the public identities of other people as a natural part of his process, which is both impressive and unsettling.
Tabu: I was surprised to find out how stringently his colorism played into things, especially visible in some of the Brown Mark coverage. Before I started the project, I knew about how Prince was very generous with his philanthropy and politically active working toward the betterment of Black people, but to create that money and create a space, and he practically used the paper bag test.
It was a very odd dichotomy, but we are all complex people.
What's your favorite Prince song, and are there any Easter eggs in the comic?
Laxton: That is a really tough call. “Raspberry Beret,” “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and “Purple Rain” are some of my favorites. I listened to a lot of Prince while I worked on the pages, and at times, it got a little emotional. I tried to slip in some references to other artists as well. Like posters or photos on walls, but more specifically in the fashion choices of our main characters.
Tabu: It's a tie between “Thieves in the Temple” and “Housequake,” with a special place in my heart for “4 the Tears in Your Eyes.”
Illidge: It would be a tie between “Let's Go Crazy” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” There are no big Easter eggs in MPLS Sound, but we hope everyone enjoys this secret history that sat alongside our own. It's ultimately about the persistence of the creative spirit.
Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's regular round up of the latest and snazziest merchandise on the internet. This week, Star Wars: The Bad Batch descends on the world of Lego, while Star Trek beams itself back up to action figures, and... no one can withstand beach balls of this magnitude!? Check it out!
Wine aficionados looking for a something exotic to pour into their glass might want to take note of a special bottle going up for purchase that is literally out of this world — because it's been aged in outer space.
This lucky cache of Bordeaux hopped the flight to the International Space Station and spent over a year in Earth orbit as part of an experiment to see if space wine aged faster or tasted different in that extreme environment. Now a single bottle from this stash is being offered for sale by Christie's auction house.
The rare example of Pétrus 2000 was sent up to the space station 250 miles above our planet by Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU) and pre-sale estimates indicate that it could haul in an estimated $1 million via Christie’s Private Sales, with the proceeds going to fund future space missions.
“This bottle of Pétrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine,” Tim Triptree, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department, noted in a statement this week. "Christie’s is delighted to bring this first of its kind bottle to the market and to support Space Cargo Unlimited to continue their research into the future of agricultural practices.”
Per Christie’s official description, their “space-aged” bottle comes with a deluxe handcrafted trunk, an elegant decanter, two glasses, and a corkscrew crafted from a meteorite. For a cool million, they’re also offering a terrestrial bottle of regular Pétrus from 2000 (worth thousands of dollars itself) to allow the discriminating buyer to sample and compare the two themselves.
Back in November of 2019, researchers packaged 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine up to the space station aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft to study how microgravity affects wine as it ages. Bottles remained in custom sealed canisters at the orbiting structure before heading back to Earth on a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft this past January.
According to a new study, this intrepid vino stored at the International Space Station as part of SCU’s Mission WISE for 438 days did taste different than its Earth-bound counterparts and actually aged faster.
Twelve panelists participated in the taste test after the wine dropped back down from outer space, including professional wine testers, who noted some distinct differences in the cosmic grape juice when compared to unaltered Earth-aged bottles.
"Unanimously, the two wines were considered to be great wines, which means that despite the 14-month stay on the International Space Station, the 'space wine' was very well evaluated sensorially," said researcher Philippe Darriet with the University of Bordeaux in a statement.
"Differences were perceived concerning the color of the wines. Concerning aroma and taste components: the two wines were described with a rich vocabulary attesting to remarkable olfactory and gustatory complexity; sensory dimensions of sweetness, harmony and persistence were particularly noted.”
Nicolas Gaume, co-founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited stated that proceeds of the sale from the out-of-this-world wine will allow them to continue Mission WISE, with six more space-set experiments to help invent the agriculture and food needed for tomorrow’s Earth.
Two weeks before Doctor Who star Noel Clarke was set to receive a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, the organization received multiple anonymous tips from women alleging to have been sexually harassed and assaulted by him in a variety of different ways in professional settings. Allegations have…
War is hell, and it's coming for the aliens in Season 2 of Epix's modern day twist on War of the Worlds. But are they actually aliens? According to the synopsis for the show's sophomore outing, the remaining survivors are left wondering if the menace from beyond the stars is actually... human. What a twist! This "sparks a tense fight to take back the planet" and "for some, the sheer desperation to survive will lead them to contemplate sacrificing one of their own." That someone could be Emily Gresham (Daisy Edgar-Jones), who discovered at the end of Season 1 that she may have a personal connection to the aliens.
It's definitely a new take on the classic H.G. Wells novel of the same name, which clearly established them as malevolent Martians. That said, the tale has been so many times over the decades, it only makes sense that creator/executive producer, Howard Overman (Misfits) would take the property in an unexpected direction. "It's a fresh look at it," cast member Natasha Little (Sarah Gresham) said last year during an interview with HeyUGuys. "It's certainly not an adaptation of the book. It sort of uses that as a springboard."
Watch the Season 2 trailer now:
During that same chat with HeyUGuys, Edgar-Jones gave her thoughts on why setting the story in modern day Europe was so appealing to her. "One of the more interesting things I thought we explored was our relationship with technology and our dependency on it," she said. "We've grown so used to being able to solve things at the touch of our phones or to communicate that way and to travel using airplanes and all of that. And so, I think it's interesting to explore what it would be like if suddenly, that technology wasn't available to us and we have to navigate the world using other tools ... And that's why the modern adaptation is interesting."
Gabriel Byrne, Léa Drucker, Stéphane Caillard, Adel Bencherif, Ty Tennant, Stephen Campbell Moore, Bayo Gbadamosi, Aaron Heffernan, and Emilie de Preissac co-star. Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps executive-produce alongside Overman for Urban Myth Films.
Enjoy some out-of-this-world key art:
War of the Worlds re-invades Epix for its second season Sunday, June 6 at 9 p.m. EST. Invade the gallery below for a slew of first look production stills.
Sure, it’s a show about a regenerating Time Lord with sci-fi powers who travels through vortices to fight malevolent mutants and shapeshifting cyborgs. But Doctor Who hasn’t taken root as a pop culture phenomenon on the strength of its sci-fi credentials alone. Beneath the Daleks’ cold skin and the TARDIS’ deceptive booth disguise, there’s a trove of high-stakes stories, real human drama, and plenty of good, old-fashioned, action-fueled tension.
Through more than half a century and 13 Doctors, the iconic BBC serial has put its characters through enough story stress to keep viewers on the edge of their seats — even if you could somehow strip away all the spacey trappings. And there’s probably no one alive more qualified to spill the secrets on telling a good story fit for the Who-verse than former showrunner and writer Steven Moffat.
Moffat, a Hugo and BAFTA winner who’s also ventured beyond sci-fi as a co-creator and writer for Sherlock, recently revealed in the "Writing Doctor Who" special edition of Doctor Who Magazine a trio of key things to keep in mind if you aspire to send Jodie Whittaker (or her eventual successor) spiraling through space and time. Moffat’s “rules” for writing an effective Doctor Who story focus on feeling free to let your mind wander beyond genre confines, being versatile, and knowing how to keep an audience hooked by toying with expectations.
Via Bleeding Cool, Moffat says it’s best to write what you know — whether it’s sci-fi or something else. “[I]f you wrote an episode of Black Mirror, I think you'd have to be very good at sci-fi,” he said, pointing to drama writers Rona Munro (“The Eaters of Light” with Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor) and Catherine Tregenna (Torchwood) as recent examples. “But if you can write action, adventure, humor, romance, and emotion, you will do fine on Doctor Who.”
Writing within your comfort zone means the sci-fi stuff can happen organically, Moffat added. “If you need some old hack like me to invent some sci-fi names for the monsters, that's fine. But even then, I don't think you need that. That's where 'timey-wimey' comes from. The Doctor doesn't speak in sci-fi jargon – he invents his own idiot-sounding jargon.”
Thinking outside the sci-fi box and drawing on all your tale-spinning talents helps, too: “I can't think of a writing skill that you don't use on Doctor Who,” Moffat explained, suggesting that a well-balanced story is one that requires a versatile writer’s toolkit. There’s no writing “resource you will not call on,” he said. “You need to be good at plotting, character, action, humor… and good at stage directions!”
Most important, perhaps, is knowing when to bend your own rules — all so viewers can stay hooked. “There's stuff like 'Get them out of the TARDIS as fast as you can!,’” he explained, hinting that a show’s internal logic is “a rule… until it isn’t.” If there’s an especially tense action scene, for example, where the TARDIS can’t take much more and the suspense is putting the audience on the edge of its seat, “stay there for a while!” Moffat joked.
Current head writer and EP Chris Chibnall already has plenty of momentum heading into the show’s Series 13, with Whittaker set to reprise her role as the Thirteenth Doctor, as Doctor Who gets set to debut a new eight-episode batch later this year. We’ll take Moffat’s writing rules to heart and spin some Who-verse tales in our own heads as we catch up with past seasons at HBO Max…while we wait for word from BBC for a firm Series 13 premiere date.
The animated adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Carnegie Medal-winning 2001 children’s book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents has already commandeered a huge celebrity voice cast, but apparently there’s always room for more. Now Doctor Who’s David Tennant has joined the ranks, alongside Game of Thrones’ Emilia…
According to Dave Bautista, however, Guardians mastermind James Gunn once had an idea for a spinoff about the literal-minded Drax and his naive pal, Mantis (Pom Klementieff). "There were talks for a while about a Drax and Mantis film. It was really because it was James Gunn's idea," the wrestler-turned-actor recently told Digital Spy. "He really wanted to do a Drax and Mantis film. He laid it out to me. I thought it was such a brilliant idea, but I haven't heard any follow-up from the studio."
It's not clear when Gunn floated the idea along, but if we had to wager a guess, we'd say it was probably around the release of Vol. 2 (where Drax and Mantis first met), but before Gunn was briefly fired by Disney in the summer of 2018. Whatever the case, Marvel Studios obviously isn't making the project — at least not at the moment. "I don't think they're very interested, or it doesn't fit into the way they have things mapped out," Bautista explained, while also hinting that Vol. 3 could be the end of his MCU tenure. "But other than that, no. I mean, as far as my obligations, I've got Guardians 3, and that's probably going to be the end of Drax."
Set to kick off production sometime this year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled to hit the big screen on May 5, 2023. Marvel Studios confirmed the release date earlier in the week in a special sneak peek at Phase 4 of the MCU. "I don't know what the script of the third film is, to be honest with you," Bautista said. "There was a script years ago that obviously is going to have to change because the whole direction of the Marvel universe has changed."
Replying to a SYFY WIRE article about the possible return of Howard the Duck last summer, Gunn confirmed the screenplay is complete. "Our designers and visual development geniuses are busy creating new, fantastic designs of other worlds and alien beings," the filmmaker wrote on Twitter last month. "I'm not sure the galaxy is big enough for all this magic. This. One. Is. Huge. I'm excited."
Bautista's next starring role can be found in Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead. He wanted to be in the film so badly, that he passed up a chance to work with Gunn on The Suicide Squad(out Aug. 5). Snyder's zombie-heist film hits theaters next Friday (May 14) before arriving on Netflix the following Friday (May 21).
Next week, DC Comics will publish DC Festival of Heroes, a celebration of the company's Asian characters and Asian creators commemorating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Within its pages, readers will find DC Comics mainstays such as Cassandra Cain, Ryan Choi, Connor Hawke, and many more characters in brand-new adventures from all-star comics talent, but the celebration isn't relegated to pre-existing superheroes.
Festival of Heroes will also feature the debut of Monkey Prince, a new Asian superhero created by writer Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan) and artist Bernard Chang (The Second Life of Dr. Mirage) and based on the classic Chinese character Monkey King, best known for his appearance in the 16th-century classic novel Journey to the West.
In a press roundtable earlier this week, Festival of Heroes editor Jessica Chen explained how the idea of Monkey Prince grew out of her own childhood fascination with Monkey King, a super-strong, super-fast, shape-shifting hero who's been passed down as a beloved Chinese cultural figure through generations. For Chen, who grew up with Monkey King stories thanks to her parents, the character always felt like an intriguing fit for the DC Universe.
"In a way, Monkey King was kind of my first superhero, and after being at DC Comics, I've always wanted to somehow introduce Monkey King as a superhero because his origin story just kinda writes itself," Chen says. "So I've been kind of vocal about that around the hallways over the years."
Last year, in anticipation of upcoming publishing events like Festival of Heroes, Chen got the green light from DC editor-in-chief Marie Javins to pursue a Monkey King-themed story, and she immediately thought of Gene Luen Yang, the acclaimed creator behind graphic novels like American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints.
"Immediately we started brainstorming 'How do we translate this Monkey King character to DC so it's very specifically DC in its DNA?'" Chen explained.
For Yang, whose DC Comics work includes New Super-Man and the Harvey Award-winning Superman Smashes the Klan, the idea of translating Monkey King's time-honored and often-adapted legend into the DC Universe was an intriguing challenge.
"I mean, one of the issues with doing something with the Monkey King is that in Asia, specifically in China and in Japan, he is so popular that it feels like almost every working cartoonist in China and Japan has done something with him," Yang told SYFY WIRE. "There is adaptation after adaptation of Journey to the West, of the story that originally tells his adventures. And even Dragon Ball Z, which is one of the most popular anime and manga series on the planet, is essentially a retelling of the Monkey King story. So, one of the questions that we struggled with early on was, first, how do we not overlap with any of the stuff that's out there? And second, we just felt like there was no reason to bring him into the DC universe unless it could feel very natively DC.
"So, we talked a lot about, 'What does it mean? What is that? What is DC? What can DC bring to the Monkey King legend, and what are the ways of expressing the Monkey King legend in a uniquely DC way?' "In terms of story, one of the overlap points that I saw was, in the original Monkey King story, a lot of the action is built on this idea that demons wanted to eat holy people. They wanted to eat the heroes and saints of the time, because they believed that by eating holy people, by eating these heroes and saints, they would be able to get immortality. There was something magic about their flesh. So, DC is full of heroes. It's full of these paragons of moral virtue. So, it felt like a really nice and easy overlap, so we wanted to play with that idea.
As the project took shape, Monkey King became Monkey Prince, a shapeshifting teenage hero whose adventures are overseen by his mentor Shifu Pigsy (also based on a major Journey to the West character) and whose relationship with his father is... complicated. To craft the art for the character's debut, Yang and Chen turned to Chang, best known to DC readers for long-running work on titles such as Batman Beyond and Green Lantern Corps and who shares a childhood history with Monkey King's story.
"As an immigrant growing up here in the U.S., American superhero comics, like Batman, Superman, that was like my gateway into learning English and also American culture," Chang says. "Going back to the bedtime stories, that was just actual books [featuring Monkey King]. And at the time, because I came here so young, I wasn't able to read Chinese, so it was all imagery that was in my head. When my father would read a couple of pages every night, the Monkey King is like an original superhero, where he could fly, have super-strength, have all these abilities and powers to fight all these rogue villains, all of these different kinds of bad guys. So, it became a natural progression that my father kind of reintroduced this Chinese superhero to me at a young age."
Just as Yang had to work out how to introduce the character into the DC Universe narratively, Chang had to make him a natural fit visually. That meant designing a new costume, complete with a mask and chest emblem. You can see Monkey Prince in action, plus some character designs, in the gallery below.
"Gene had talked about a mask to hide his identity when he becomes the Monkey Prince. Even, also, an iconic logo that he would have that would be recognizable," Chang says. "You know, Superman has the S, but even the S represents something in his story. Batman has the bat. So, we wanted to create something that was iconic, that could last, that would also represent this character visually."
Over the course of his debut story, "The Monkey King Hates Superheroes," readers will meet Monkey Prince, get a sense of his powers, see him interact with a DC Comics icon or two, and even get a sense of exactly why he hates superheroes, along with a few hints at a larger backstory. So, does all that setup mean we'll see more of Monkey Prince in the near future?
"I think working on this, even though it's a 12-pager, originally it was even supposed to be kind of shorter, and there's just so much stuff. And once we really started digging into the character and how he would integrate into the DC universe, you really begin to see all the other possibilities," Chang teases.
Yang adds, "Yeah, I think all we can say is Jessica, Bernard, and I, we have got a lot to say. We have got a lot to say about the legend of the Monkey King in the DC universe, and it looks like we're going to get the chance to say it."
However, Monkey Prince is far from the only superhero taking center stage in Festival of Heroes. Following an introduction from writer and activist Jeff Yang, the massive special features everything from a new Tai Pham Green Lantern story by Minh Lê and Trung Le Nguyen to a Cassandra Cain short written and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen to the title story: A direct rebuke of hate groups starring Katana and a few special friends, written by Amy Chu and drawn by Marcio Takara. It's a lot to pack into one comic, but Chen assures fans that it's far from the end.
"The more we can see ourselves reflected in mainstream media, in front and behind [the scenes], the more we are closer to long-term changes in our society," she says. "And so this book is a celebration of how far we've come, but it definitely won't be the last of how much more we'll continue to push for representation."
DC Festival of Heroes will be available in stores on Tuesday, May 11.
The thing that makes Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy stand out in a crowded field of superhero series and movies is right there in the name: "Legacy." Generations and the passing of world-saving responsibility from one era of heroes to another have been a major aspect of long-running superhero comic universes for decades. Mainstream superhero movies, though, haven't been able to fully explore this theme yet. The MCU, which did feature Hank Pym as the first Ant-Man and Tony Stark's mentorship of Spider-Man, is starting to go down this road in earnest with series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, nothing the franchise has done so far comes close to interrogating what a multi-generational superheroic legacy looks like in action the way Jupiter's Legacy does.
"A big ensemble, taking place over two generations with this epic sci-fi story. It's kind of got everything," Mark Millar, the creator of the 2013 comic the show is based on, told SYFY WIRE ahead of the series premiere today, May 7. "We had to top everything that came before, as crazy as that sounds."
The series follows the exploits of the superhero team known as The Union, who have been saving the day for 90 years after first acquiring their extraordinary abilities on a voyage to a mysterious island. In the present day, however, their children — the next generation of heroes — are starting to wonder if their elders' old-fashioned code needs updating for the modern era. There's a dangerous supervillain and a mysterious conspiracy, but these characters' real kryptonite is their relationships with each other.
"You have the superheroes with the capes and the spectacle and the wild rides, but you also have a very intimate look into these seemingly perfect super-beings and their personal lives — their disfunction," says Elena Kampouris, who plays Chloe Sampson, the daughter of the greatest heroes of all, The Utopian (Josh Duhamel) and Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb), and who wants nothing to do with the crime-fighting life.
"He's all-powerful, he can fly around the world and shoot laser beams out of his eyeballs, but he powerless when it comes to communicating with his 20-year-old daughter," says Duhamel, who plays the Superman pastiche The Utopian, known to his family as Sheldon Sampson. "Having taken the responsibility of being The Utopian for so long, he forgot to be there as a father."
There's tension all throughout The Union. Sheldon can't understand his rebellious daughter, but his son Brandon (Andrew Horton), who is trying everything he can to follow in dad's footsteps as the hero The Paragon, can't seem to get his approval either. Grace Sampson (Bibb) has been a wife, mother, and Lady Liberty for decades, but she's beginning to wonder how much longer she can be the glue keeping the family together. Meanwhile, Sheldon's brother Walter Sampson may have powerful mental abilities as the hero Brainwave, but as actor Ben Daniels puts it "having Elvis Presley as a brother," takes its toll — and he's been living in his younger brother's shadow for a century.
Even the family relationships that a viewer might think are "good" in Jupiter's Legacy are more complicated than that. Fritz Small (Mike Wade) was one of The Union's founding members, saving the day as the hero The Flare, but now his daughter Petra (Tenika Davis) fights crime as The Flare II.
"Often you have complex family relationships, but you don't really get to see how those relationships can be restored and mended. So, I love the character journey between Fritz Small and Petra Small because you actually get to see what it looks like for a father and daughter to have that wounded relationship that got mended," Davis says. "It's not completely perfect, we are still struggling with things, when we do come together, we do have that unity with one another."
Davis adds that she thinks it's especially important to see an on-screen representation of a Black family that has made amends after some difficulty, which is notable as in Millar's original comic, Fritz Small was white.
Jupiter's Legacy takes a near-universal concern — growing up and determining who you want to become — and makes the stakes supersized.
"You have seen this in Marvel and DC before where somebody takes on the mantle of Batman or takes on the mantle of someone else. But, that person always knows what their identity is — their personal identity," explains Ian Quinlan, who plays Hutch, a non-powered character who is nonetheless living in the shadow of another generation. His father, George Hutchence (Matt Lanter), was a founding Union member named Skyfox who went on to become a supervillain. "In this show, you're seeing people who are trying to become like their parents but who also struggle with not trying to be like their parents. You have these people who are struggling with who they are and who they want to become and how they want to become."
Of course, when the people having family and personal drama are the world's greatest superheroes, their struggles and debates affect other people, too. As The Utopian, Sheldon has had his fellow heroes adhere to a strict code: They don't kill and they don't use their powers to interfere too much with humanity.
"His intentions are in the right place. This is a guy who only is there to serve and to make the world a better place in his mind," Duhamel explains. "But 'The Code,' in the public's mind and even in his family's mind is a bit antiquated. He's learning that he better change with the times or they're going to pass him by. There's a lot of good that can come from that. It's sort of the North Star in a way.
"Is he a bit rigid in his sticking to that? I would say, probably," Duhamel admits. "But, he also knows that if you start changing, it could be a slippery slope. And if the motives behind this change aren't for the better, that can also be very dangerous.
"The show is about 'Millennials versus Boomers,'" Millar says, succinctly summing his creation up. "The Boomers are like 'We don't want to change things. What we do is make sure the system continues because the system is generally good. Most people do OK with the system and the chaos that could come if the system falls apart is terrifying. So, we try to maintain the status quo.'
"Whereas over on the other side, the Millennials are like 'Well the status quo isn't great for everyone,'" Millar continues. "'There's actually quite a lot of people who are doing very badly under it.'"
Crucially, neither side is presented as being totally right or wrong. When things are this complex and personal, the last thing you need is an escaped supervillain who brings everything to a head in Episode 1. That, however, is where Jupiter's Legacy begins.
Season 1 of Jupiter's Legacy is now out on Netflix.
Last week, Shudder’s hit anthology series Creepshow aired its second season finale, “Night of the Living Late Show,” featuring a character who’s obsessed with a nearly 50-year-old movie called Horror Express. It’s a real movie—and a really entertaining movie at that. If you’ve never seen it, now’s the perfect time.
A lot of people dream of meeting George Lucas. It's a bucket list item for a lot of nerds to be able to sit down one day and just talk about Star Wars, the universe, and everything else with one of the most important pop culture minds of the 20th century, and as a result there are a lot of celebrities out there who cherish their stories of Lucas encounters.
Then there's Seth Rogen's version of what it was like to meet George Lucas, which is...well, it's different.
Rogen stopped by Conan O'Brien's podcast Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend this week to promote his new collection of essays, Yearbook, and O'Brien brought up a particularly intriguing encounter from the book itself. Back in 2012, when Rogen was just beginning to make the transition to directing and producing after finding success as a writer and actor, he and creative partner Evan Goldberg booked a meeting with the legendary Steven Spielberg. That would've been momentous enough, but when Spielberg walked in Rogen and Goldberg realized he was accompanied by his Indiana Jones co-creator, George Lucas.
"Which was mindblowing! They're there together," Rogen said. "For like a nerdy kid, one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my entire life."
While Spielberg excused himself to take care of a quick bit of business, Lucas sat down with Rogen and Goldberg to make small talk. Now, if you were around in 2012, you might remember that a lot of the small talk of the time revolved around the theory that the world was going to end because the ancient Mayan calendar ended that year. George Lucas definitely remembered, and according to Rogen he seemed to be taking it fairly seriously.
"Very quickly, the conversation turns to like 'How's it going?' 'Not great, we're nearing the end of 2012 and the world is gonna end,' essentially," Rogen said. "To which me and Evan are like 'Is he joking?' A question that still haunts me to this day, and again, I think I know the answer. Was he joking? It did not appear he was joking."
In the video below, Rogen explains how he and Goldberg kept trying to dig deeper into Lucas' mindset, only to find the conversation got even stranger the more they tried to figure out if the legendary creator was kidding or not.
"We [made] a joke like, if you've got a spaceship to escape Earth, can we get a seat on that thing?" Rogen recalled. "And he was like, 'No.' It makes me think he wasn't joking because, if you were joking, you would just say 'Yes'... But, no, he said, 'No.' To this day, I am confounded and plagued by that story."
So, was this a serious encounter with an apocalypse-haunted George Lucas, or did Lucas' famously dry sense of humor and inscrutable demeanor get the better of the two comedians? We might never know, but it definitely makes for one of the weirder stories in the long history of random George Lucas encounters. Also... does this mean Lucas does have a spaceship handy?
I’m not 100% sure why the Muppets are so excited that we’re “halfway to Halloween” that they created a hashtag for it [Editor’s Note: Excuse you, some of us are excited about the Best Holiday. - Jill P.], but I’m happy to hear that Kermit and the gang won’t just be premiering a new Disney+ special closer to the…
Earlier this year, Mark Millar described Jupiter's Legacy as "the most ambitious superhero project ever." Does that assertion hold up now that the small screen adaptation (based on Millar and Quitely's groundbreaking comic book of the same name) is streaming on Netflix? Reviews for the deconstructionist superhero show are now coming online and critics aren't holding back on their thoughts.
A current score of 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes should give you an idea of which way the wind is blowing. Fortunately, that number only represents the critics and not the general audience, which has bestowed Jupiter's Legacy with a fresher 77 percent.
"Jupiter’s Legacy is without a target demographic — despite occasional swearing and some cartoonish violence, it’s practically BYU TV–level bland compared to The Boys — and messes with the show’s focus," writes Daniel Fienberg for The Hollywood Reporter. "When there’s nothing to be gained from watching a superfluous superhero TV show, at least there’s nothing to be lost from skipping it entirely."
NPR's Glen Weldon also compared the show to other 21st century comic book translations with a nifty list of quick bullet points:
Less cynical and empty than Amazon's The Boys
Less bright and blood-flecked than Amazon's Invincible
Less weird and imaginative than Netflix's The Umbrella Academy
Less funny and idiosyncratic than HBO Max's Doom Patrol
Less dark and dour than HBO Max's Titans
Less innovative and intriguing than Disney+'s WandaVision
Less dutiful and disappointing than Disney+'s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Less thoughtful and substantive than HBO's Watchmen
Liam Nolan of CBR took the comparitive critique one step farther by likening Jupiter's Legacy to the widely-maligned debut season of Iron Fist: "By the end of Jupiter's Legacy Season 1, the series has delved no deeper into any of its big questions than it did in the very first scene of the show. This leaves the show feeling much more similar to the much-maligned Iron Fist Season 1 than Daredevil, and that's genuinely disappointing."
Ouch...Set across two different timelines (the 1930s and modern day), the series follows a group of aged superheroes (a Justice League-esque team known as The Union) who hope to pass on their world-saving enterprise to their super-powered children. Easier said than done when the world is a lot harsher than it was almost a century ago.
Sounds like a pretty solid set-up, but CNN's Brian Lowry posits that "Jupiter's Legacy moves in what feels like slow motion. The result is a Netflix drama that's impressive in its scope — adding to the growing roster of dark comic-book tales — but frustrating in its sluggish pacing, oscillating between twin timelines over the course of its eight initial episodes ... Watching Jupiter's Legacy isn't a heavy lift. Yet even allowing for the fact that fleshing out the story works against moving faster than a speeding bullet, it would behoove all concerned to move a whole lot faster than this."
In a three-star review for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan writes that the project takes its subversion a little too seriously: "Any opportunity for fun is shut down by perpetually morose teens, action set-pieces we have seen many times before and clunky speeches about the state of the world ... The occasional lighthearted moment would not negate the show’s sincerity. The confidence to include some might even display its depth."
Not everyone has something not-so-nice to say. IGN's David Griffin, for example, qualifies the debut season as "a success." His verdict concludes that the first eight episodes are "filled with memorable characters with impressive powers and mysterious locations to explore. Though many of the compelling aspects that make this series work are centered around the founding members of The Union during the 1930s rather than the kids' adventures in the present day, there will hopefully be time for them to take the spotlight later: The mystery surrounding Skyfox's disappearance leaves plenty of questions that I'd love to see addressed in a potential second season."
Josh Duhamel leads the ensemble cast as Sheldon Sampson, aka The Utopian, an idealistic savior modeled in the vein of DC's Superman. Back during the Great Depression, Sheldon traveled to a mysterious island where he — along with his brother, Walter Sampson/Brain-Wave (Ben Daniels); wife, Grace Sampson/Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb); and friends, Fitz Small/The Flare (Mike Wade), and George Hutchence/Skyfox (Matt Lanter) — gained metahuman abilities. Now, their progeny (mainly Chloe and Brandon Sampson; played by Elena Kampouris and Andrew Horton) are primed to carry on the...legacy.
"You can't fault Jupiter's Legacy for scale or for establishing compelling core characters," writes Richard Trenholm for CNET. "It's just a shame events unfold so slowly. It's strange to say that a show filled with so much stuff doesn't do enough. Jupiter's Legacy is superpowered enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound; if only it remembered it could move faster than a speeding bullet."
Netflix currently owns the screen rights to all of Millar's creatow-owned comics (published under the "Millarworld" banner) and already plans to adapt more than half a dozen of them into films and TV shows. Just yesterday, Millar himself provided an update on several of the streamer's upcoming projects based on his works.
Along with thinking, organized zombies, Zack Snyder’s living mercenaries in the upcoming Army of the Dead will have to deal with at least one undead white tiger as they venture into the overrun ruins of Las Vegas in search of $200 million dollars stashed in an abandoned casino. The idea of an army of zombies having an…
Space exploration and electric car whiz Elon Musk is set to add another entry to his resume this weekend: Saturday Night Live host. To prove it, NBC has dropped a fresh teaser showing Musk and musical guest Miley Cyrus on set and getting ready for this week’s new episode.
Musk, of Space X and Tesla fame, has been teasing wacky skit ideas for his hosting gig on Twitter (we’d just about guarantee Dogecoin gets a mention somewhere along the way), and in the first promo for this weekend’s skit-fest he’s talking rocket launches and laundry with Cyrus.
“I’m a wild card, so there’s no telling what I might do,” Musk jokes in the promo. Of course, this is also the Mother’s Day weekend episode as co-star Cecily Strong points out, so the threat of having their moms on the feed should keep things from getting too wacky.
Check out the teaser below. The episode (of course) airs on Saturday night.
After Musk and Cyrus host this week, Saturday Night Live has also lined up its final two hosts and musical guests of the season that will follow. Keegan-Micheal Key will host the May 15 episode with musical guest Olivia Rodrigo; and Anya Taylor-Johnson will host on May 22 with musical guest Lil Nas X.
Boo! It's not easy being green, but it's also not easy being chalk-white once you've been scared half to death. The Muppets are finally going where they've never gone before: a Halloween special.
To ring in Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products' "Halfway to Halloween" campaign, the Mouse House dropped a short teaser for Muppets Haunted Mansion, which arrives on Disney+ sometime this fall. The comedic announcement, made by Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn, was short on details, but the official release promises "a star-studded Muppets cast, celebrity cameos, all-new music, and spooky fun for families to enjoy together."
In terms of story, the plot revolves around Gonzo being challenged to spend one night in the scariest place on Earth: Disney's Haunted Mansion. The iconic theme park ride, which has been in operation since the late 1960s, was the subject of a film adaptation starring Eddie Murphy in 2003. A big screen reboot is currently in the works with Dear White People director, Justin Simien.
Watch the shocking (and we mean that quite literally) Muppets announcement below:
The good news if you won't have to wait five months to get the heebie jeebies from the Muppets crew.
The nefarious Uncle Deadly has been tapped to host Disney Parks' first interactive YouTube experience, which takes fans on a self-guided tour of Disney's most terrifying attractions around the world. You'll pay visits to the Haunted Mansion (Walt Disney World and Disneyland), Mystic Manor (Hong Kong Disney Resort ), and Phantom Manor (Disneyland Paris) — all of which reveal "secrets behind the magic and story and gives you the chance to learn about some spine-tingling illusions," teases the description. The tour finishes off with a special look at the aforementioned Halloween special.
Check out the rather "Deadly" teaser now:
Disney+ is currently home to all things Muppet-related (save for the original Muppet Babies cartoon). The property's most recent iteration came in the form of a six-part unscripted series — Muppets Now — which premiered on the streamer last summer. Right now, it's unclear whether the show has been renewed for a second season.
In 2019, the family-friendly platform decided not to move forward with Muppets Live Another Day, a limited follow-up to 1984's TheMuppets Take Manhattan from writer and executive producer, Josh Gad. The project, which would have featured original songs from Frozen and WandaVision veterans, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Lopez, was described by Gad as "Muppets by way of Stranger Things." The actor shared a page of the un-produced script last March.
See below for more "Halfway to Halloween" goodies:
A night full of creepies and crawlies with a behind-the-scenes look at the Haunted Mansion attraction at Walt Disney World Resort with appearances from Walt Disney Imagineers, a first look at an all-new Haunted Mansion trend collection and appearances from some of your favorite friends from regions beyond! Today and throughout the weekend, Disney Parks will also be featuring all new content including a spooky transformation into Madame Leota from Garrett Clayton, a sinister secret menu item reveal at Disney Springs, and more.
Even Madame Leota would approve of the hauntingly yummy limited-time treats offered at The Ganachery and Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs and Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes at Downtown Disney District. From pumpkin pie milkshakes to creepy cool cookies, Disney Parks has delicious specialty offerings brewing in their cauldrons for #HalfwaytoHalloween. They're also treating you to some wickedly tasty recipes from our parks and the soon-to-be-released Disney Villains: Devilishly Delicious Cookbook.
This Halloween season, a special event is brewing at Magic Kingdom Park. Float on over to Disney After Hours Boo Bash for a special three-hour event that begins when the Park closes! With party music, decorations and character cavalcades galore, guests young, old and immortal can dress in costume for the occasion and get their fill of Halloween candy, exclusive culinary offerings, spooktacular entertainment, favorite attractions, and more. Disney After Hours: Boo Bash runs select nights Aug. 10th through Oct. 31st.
Proper childcare techniques were not something the Clones learned on Kamino. Now that Hunter and the rest of Clone Force 99 have fled and taken the gifted child Omega with them, what exactly are they gonna do next? They’ve rescued this kid, what are they going to do with her?
***WARNING: From this point on, there will be spoilers for Episode 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. If you haven’t seen it yet, then what are you doing? Get outta here Dewey, you think you want this but you don’t. Get outta here!***
Who is the friend they're going to see? A clue is in the episode’s title, “Cut and Run.” Once the Batch (Dee Bradley Baker) and Omega (Michelle Ang) pull up on the planet Saleucami, fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars may have a good idea of who the friend is. After Hunter says that the friend is a deserter, fans almost certainly know who is about to make an entrance.
The friend is none other than Cut Lawquane, a Clone who decided to abandon the war and start a family. Rex (and audiences) met him back in Season 2 of The Clone Wars in the episode “The Deserter.” He and his family tended to a gravely wounded Rex.
Cut’s family is back too, and they consist of his wife Suu (Cara Pifko) and his children, Jek (Kath Soucie) and Shaeeah (Nika Futterman). The latter two teach Omega how to play catch, and that’s just one of the many wonders Omega enjoys on this planet. She’s never been anywhere but Kamino before, so dirt is fascinating to her.
Even though the war is over, the Empire has increased it’s presence on this planet. They’re seizing ships, and are being really high about checking everyone’s chain codes. The Batch notes that they aren’t just registering ships, they’re registering people. That’s not great for anyone here, as they’re all deserters now.
The main story involves Cut choosing to get himself and his family off of the planet with the help of the Batch, but the heart of the episode lies with Hunter and Omega. Hunter is going with the first instinct many characters apparently have after saving a child who loves them: Dump the child off on someone else.
He wants her to go with Cut’s family, as she is not a soldier and would be in serious trouble if she kept traveling with the Batch. He doesn’t tell her that he’s planning this, and he doesn’t ask her what she wants either. He thinks that he’s doing this to protect her, and that may be true... what's also true is that he’s protecting himself. To take care of this kid, he’s going to have to learn and grow. Who wants to do that? Better to just pawn her off on some farmers and bail.
Cut and Suu teach him a few things, not judging him for breaking out the “I’m doing this to protect you and keeping it a secret to protect you” trope. Kids will always get into trouble, as Cut and Suu’s kids prove just as much as Omega. It’s their job to protect them from that trouble.
When Omega gets into a tangle with a Nexu, Hunter doesn’t know what to do. Waxer and Boil got a crash course in something similar back in the Season 1 episode of The Clone Wars, “Innocents of Ryloth.” They had to care for little Nera in the middle of a war zone, and they didn’t have Cut Lawquane standing by to help.
Hunter does, and Cut talks to Omega and demonstrates how a father behaves. Hunter isn’t built for that, at least he doesn’t think so, but in the end, his choices don’t matter. Omega almost accepts going with Cut after she finds out what’s happening, but then she doesn’t. She runs back to the Batch (having taken the medallion off her head earlier in the episode), and makes it clear that they're her family now whether they like it or not.
She tells Hunter that she has a lot to learn about how they all live. That's nice of her to say, but she’s not the one who really has to adapt. Hunter is aware of this and tells her that he has a lot to learn too.
“If this is where you want to be, then this is where you’ll stay,” he says, and hopefully we’re now officially past the “dump the kid on someone else” phase and can move on to growing as a family unit.
It was great to catch up with Cut Lawquane, who must have left his soldier life behind to such a degree that the Order 66 programming didn’t affect him at all. He knows about what's happening, though: He recently had a visit from Rex.
We love Cut, but the mention of Rex has us hoping that the show is getting ready to bring in the greatest Clone of them all.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch streams new episodes every Friday on Disney+. Dirt is amazing.
Welcome to The Week in Gaming, the place where we pause each week to take a look at the video game news beats both big and small that you might be missing — while also taking a peek around the corner at what's ahead. Check in each Friday for news (and occasionally even views) on everything from sprawling RPGs to Metroidvania platformers to the latest in VR and free-to-play. We'll even throw in a good old-fashioned board game every now and then!
Mother Miranda, does Resident Evil Village nail a whole new level of creepy. Ethan Winters and Chris Redfield may be getting to chew the scenery in a hyped-up screen reunion as Village stalks its way into players’ hands today. But it’s Capcom’s fresh swerve toward Bloodborne-style gothic ambiance — and a certain fan-favorite 9-foot matron’s lust for blood — that will probably signify Village’s long-term place in RE lore once the demons are dead, the daughter is safe, and the cellar dust has finally cleared.
With more hype than there’s probably ever been for a Resident Evil game, Village arrives today with consensus support from critics. On the morning of its release, the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are sitting at respective Metacritic scores of 84 and 82, with reviewers haunted by the game’s atmospheric setting, varied environments, deep bag of survival tricks, and balanced gameplay...which actually gives Ethan a fighting chance in all those pinned-down survival standoffs.
Most of the criticism stems from item scavenging that could be a little less tedious, particularly when the otherwise-helpful map insists that there’s one dark crevice somewhere that you’ve still managed to overlook. Some reviewers wished for a little more challenge, signaling that iconic baddie Lady Dimitrescu, for all her giant-sized Mr. X-style menace and meme-able adoration on social media, is disappointingly easy to avoid. And the story, while ambitious, didn’t resonate with some critics as effectively as the moody surroundings themselves. Overall, though, most are in agreement that there’s never been a Resident Evil game that treads so unapologetically into the realm of the supernatural… and that it ends up being an ideal fit for a horror series that’s always forced players to stay alive in dark places.
If only the critics could extend some of that abundant good will to Ethan, who’s never been more of a fish out of water than in Village’s insanely gothed-out, deep history-meets dark-lore setting. Perhaps even more than in Raccoon City, the environments in Capcom’s new survival horror stalker feel like one big ever-present thematic set piece, framing every fright within a film-worthy context of secret myths and deranged personal histories.
So far in our early playthrough (and yes, we’ve even peeked ahead), it’s the kind of wacked-out, best-left-alone stuff that tends to develop in isolated places where decades of cultish weirdness intermingles with the longtime inhabitants’ warped sense of megalomaniacal grandeur, and it all makes Ethan’s real mission — finding out what’s become of his kidnapped daughter Rose — a more unnerving survival gauntlet than anything that’s come before in the RE universe.
That’s not to say that Village is a tougher challenge than past RE games. With a new guard mechanic, a comparatively generous stream of scavenge-able supplies, a hugely refined inventory screen, and weapons that (eventually) feel up to the task of taking out the most durable of monsters, keeping Ethan alive won’t be an endeavor that’ll frustrate series veterans. And though Village has plenty of moment-by-moment jumps (just wait ’til you meet your first lycan in the tall grass), it’s probably not going to sit atop fans’ been-there, played-that rankings of the scariest games in the franchise.
But the bleak, wintry atmosphere and supernaturally saturated pall that hangs over Ethan’s every desperate move is a big mood, delivering a creepily unique setting that gets under your skin and haunts your memories long after you’ve set the controller down. There’s a dreadfully delicious sense of place in Village that’s likely to persist stubbornly in your head. Unlike a zombie-infested police station or a decrepit convenience store, there’s simply nowhere in Village’s sinister cloistered world where a guy like Ethan has the comfort of feeling like he’s fighting to defend familiar turf.
While no one’s likely to accuse Capcom of going for cinema-grade drama, the setting itself feels like something ripped from the most effective of freaked-out screen places where an everyman like Winters endangers himself just by showing up at all. Think Werner Herzog’sNosferatu remake, or the Carcosa ruins from True Detective’s first season — all minus any pretense to award-worthy performances — and you’ll be in the video game ballpark. And while we won’t spoil anything here, the story does tread into unexpected territory near the end, setting up some super-intriguing possibilities (as well as a pretty big character moment), all of which points the way for a possible protagonist shake-up when the inevitable ninth RE game appears.
With a massive and well-earned fan base, a horror setting that just begs to be explored beyond the games, and the momentum of soaring popularity, Resident Evil as a franchise is heading into a season of big buzz — not only on the strength of this eighth full-scale installment, but in a range of crossover projects bound for screens big, small, and even virtual. Director Johannes Roberts is bringing Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City to theaters on Sept. 3 in reboot that severs ties with Paul W.S. Anderson’s hugely successful REmovie series from the past. Netflix is prepping the debut of Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness for a July series premiere. And Oculus is remaking GameCube classic Resident Evil 4 for its Quest 2 VR platform, complete with a VR-centric switch to a first-person point of view.
In short, there’s never been a better time to be a Resident Evil fan…regardless of whether you take your survival old-school, current-gen, or simply kicked back in a dark room with a side of popcorn. Resident Evil Village is available today for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Google Stadia, and PC.
The best of the rest
Netflix gets animated with League of Legends
Speaking of franchises with crossover potential: Netflix has set an upcoming premiere window for Arcane, the animated League of Legends spinoff series it first announced in partnership with developer Riot Games back in 2019.
LoL fans got a sizable first taste of Arcane’s nicely-adapted animation style when the 2019 announcement teaser dropped. But where that one showed off a sweeping, epic scope of places and faces, Arcane’s brief new clip brings out the game’s signature flair for sass — and for anyone who’s sunk hours into LoL’s colorful PvP world, it’ll look plenty familiar:
Arcane marks Riot Games’ first foray into the world of made-for-TV animation, and more details — including an episode count and specific plot beats — have yet to be announced. But while we’re waiting for a firm debut date, Netflix revealed this week that the series is on track for a fall 2021 premiere.
Via IndieWire, Arcane’s story setup “follows the origins of two iconic League champions — and the power that will tear them apart,” and the action zones in on a pair of Runterran locales: “the utopian region of Piltover and the oppressed underground of Zaun.” Netflix is billing Arcane as an event series, which means we're probably getting a self-contained story from start to finish when League of Legends officially makes its first small-screen crossover later this fall.
Sony's new accord with Discord
Aside from butter-smooth frame rates, Pixar-worthy graphics, and near-instant load times, part of what distinguishes next-gen consoles from the past is their increasing integration with social platforms and game-adjacent internet media. With that in mind, Sony revealed this week a new partnership that’s set to link Discord communication with the PlayStation experience — though the details aren’t yet crystal clear.
Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said this week that Sony had bought a minority investment share in Discord, a move that likely signals Microsoft’s previous reported interest in buying outright the immensely popular communication platform, which serves a reported 140 million users, is effectively off the table.
Ryan didn’t do a deep dive in explaining how Discord and PlayStation will tie their services together, nor even whether it’ll strictly be a next-gen-only feature. But it sounds as though players will definitely be able to tap into Discord’s social functions in some significant way, whether directly from their Sony devices or via a PSN subscription.
“Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network,” Ryan said in SIE’s announcement. “Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year, allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together.”
- At this point it’s not a shock, but it is indicative of Nintendo’s ever-broadening reach: Switch consoles officially sold like crazy last year, moving a reported 84.59 million units (via VGC) for the 12-month fiscal period that ended last month. That’s an increase of 4.72 million units compared with the previous year, following a pace that poises the Switch to overtake the Wii’s lifetime sales total — potentially as early as March of 2022. It also doesn’t put the Switch all that far behind the PS4, which at 115 million units (to date) was steadily creeping up on the PS2’s all-time historic record of 155 million…before the PlayStation 5 came along last fall.
- Apex Legends kicked off its Season 9 this week, bringing (among lots of other stuff) a new 3v3 “Arena” play mode, new legend Valkyrie (who gets acrobatically mobile thanks to a jet pack), plus a new update to the Olympus map first introduced in Season 7. Check out the new S9 Legacy update trailer above, and hit Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legendslanding page for all the free-to-play details.
- The Division is also set to get in on the free-to-play game, thanks to the upcoming release of Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, a console game that'lll be set in the franchise’s post-apocalyptic world while unspooling “an all new perspective on the universe in a new setting,” according to publisher Ubisoft. No release date has been announced yet, though developer Red Storm Entertainment is targeting a premiere for consoles and PC sometime between now and 2022.
- The PS2 and Xbox-era Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is getting a short-notice re-release today for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Developer Interplay and publisher Wizards of the Coast revealed via IGN earlier this week that the new version isn’t a full remaster or remake, and essentially brings a 4K boost to the original game for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, while offering backward compatibility for anyone who’s already switched over to a PS5 or Xbox Series X. This one’s a digital download only, so be on the lookout via your system’s online storefront to dive back into a D&D-derived RPG classic.
- Agent 47 is methodically working his way through his own inner demons as part of Hitman 3’sSeven Deadly Sins postgame content rollout. Our able assassin’s next confessional confrontation takes on the Season of Pride, an all-new DLC mission slate that cometh — hopefully not before a fateful fall — when the new expansion releases on May 10 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.
Tenet’s John David Washington is teaming up with Gareth Edwards for a mysterious new sci-fi project. Get a teasery new look at the characters of The Green Knight. Black Lightning prepares for its finale. Plus, what’s coming on The Flash, and F9 teases, well, carnage. To me, my spoilers!
When a massive star explodes at the end of its life, it creates one of the most ostentatious displays in the Universe: a supernova.
This is a colossal release of energy that propels the outer layers of the star outward at speeds of an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. For a brief time, this single object can outshine an entire galaxy of billions of stars.
They found it in observations taken by a mission called eROSITA (extended Röntgen Survey Imaging Telescope Array; Röntgen is the German word for X-rays, after their discoverer). This is a space-based X-ray observatory on board a German-Russian spacecraft called Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma, which orbits the Sun about 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth in a spot called the L2 point, a volume of space where a spacecraft can remain semi-stable without too much effort.
eROSITA can survey the entire sky in X-rays every six months, and is planned to complete eight such surveys over its four year mission. X-rays are high-energy forms of light that are emitted from extremely energetic sources like black holes, pulsars, and exploding stars. In this case, X-rays are emitted by the expanding debris from an exploded star as the gas is accelerated by shock waves, or powerful magnetic fields accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light.
The astronomers inspected the images taken by eROSITA in the hopes of finding new supernova remnants, and Hoinga was the first they found. It's big, about 4° across — eight times wider than the full Moon on the sky! — but quite faint. Once they saw it they looked at old X-ray and radio wave surveys (many remnants are bright in radio) and found it in a few… but that was because they knew where to look. The remnant is so large and faint that it was missed before. Also, it's in a part of the sky off the galactic plane, where you don't expect to find supernova remnants as often, and in a direction where there are a lot of background sources confusing the images. It's no wonder no on spotted it before.
It appears to be a classic spherical shell, made as the expanding debris pushes against the gas between the stars, snowplowing it up. It's also filled with hot gas that emits X-rays as well, something that's also commonly seen.
However, not much else is known about it. They looked for some ways to ID what kind of star exploded and what the gas is made of, but came up empty. They're not even sure it was the result of a massive star exploding; that usually leaves behind a pulsar but none was found. They note that sometimes the huge explosion can give a brobdingnagian kick to the pulsar, sending it flying through space. If the remnant is more than about 17,000 years old then that's enough time for the pulsar to physically leave the remnant, making the search more difficult. They're hoping to follow up on that. But it's possible that this is what's called a Type I supernova, where a white dwarf explodes. That kind of supernova can leave nothing behind, which may be why nothing is seen.
In fact that's something of an issue. A star explodes in the Milky Way galaxy roughly two or three times per century. We should be able to see them for about 100,000 years, and astronomers calculate that means there should be 1,200 in the galaxy. However, only 300 are known. Some may be too faint to spot, or hidden on the other side of the galaxy, or faded faster than usual. But it's still an open question why so few are seen compared to what's expected.
Hoinga and eROSITA may help there. If more are found in the X-ray data, and Hoinga can be studied at other wavelengths to get more physical data about it, that could solve this mystery of the missing supernova remnants.
There could be up to a thousand such objects in the galaxy, the expanding debris from titanic explosions littering the sky, yet almost totally invisible unless you know exactly what to look for.
Amazing. I keep saying the sky is full of treasures we have yet to find, and here the sky is helpfully proving me right once again.
In the age of Star Wars’ Rebellion, deciding whether or not to rise up against the Empire is often seen as a clear-cut decision: will you be a hero, or will you shy away from a duty all good people should aspire to? But in The Bad Batch’s exploration of the Empire’s earliest days, choosing why to fight or not becomes…
Space is the final frontier, and now that frontier finally has timeshares. That’s the premise at least for the new Apple TV+ show, Hello Tomorrow!, a dramedy starring Billy Crudup (aka Doctor Manhattan in 2009’s Watchmen).
Apple announced the new show today, while noting the series was picked up for 10 half-hour episodes. As Apple TV+ described in a press release, Hello Tomorrow! is set in a “retro-future world,” and focuses on a group of salespeople who sell timeshares on the Moon. Crudup will play one of those salespeople, Jack, a man of “great talent and ambition, whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, revitalizes his desperate customers but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him.”
The series was written and created by Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jasen. Jonathan Entwistle (The End of the F***ing World) is directing the series. Bhall, Jasen, Entwistle, and Crudup are also executive producing the show, which is backed by MRC Television.
This isn’t Apple TV+‘s first foray into space. Another Apple Original series,For All Mankind, explores what might have happened if the Soviets landed on the Moon first. Is Hello Tomorrow! the potential future world of For All Mankind? Very likely not, but who knows? Maybe the Cold War in For All Mankind will come to a détente over timeshares.
No news yet on when Hello Tomorrow! will go into production or make it onto the Apple TV+ streaming platform.
Horror streamer Shudder adds another feather to its cap—and a curiosity object to its “Summer of Chills” programming—with George A. Romero’s The Amusement Park. The film is a 52-minute oddity the director shot between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, and thought lost for nearly 50 years.
Among other epic happenings, the trailer shines a light on an ominous eclipse, a romance between Chibi-Usa and Helios, and an evil foe who wants to spread nightmare incarnations called Lemures, seize the Silver Crystal, and rule over the Moon and Earth.
Intrigued? Check out the trailer below:
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon was originally created by Naoko Takeuchi, and the Eternal double feature is directed by Chiaki Kon, with music by Yasuharu Takanashi, and character designs by Kazuko Tadano. The movies cover the entire “Dream” arc from the original manga series, where the celebration of an eclipse becomes complicated when Usagi and Chibi-Usa meet Pegasus and have a run-in with the mysterious Dead Moon Circus troupe.
In addition to the trailer, Netflix also announced the voice cast for both movies, including star Stephanie Sheh as Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon. She's joined by Kate Higgins (Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury), Cristina Vee (Rei Hino/Sailor Mars), Amanda C. Miller (Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter), Cherami Leigh (Minako Aino/Sailor Venus), Sandy Fox (Chibi-Usa/Sailor Chibi Moon), Veronica Taylor (Setsuna Meioh/Sailor Pluto), Erica Mendez (Haruka Tenoh/Sailor Uranus), Lauren Landa (Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune), Christine Marie Cabanos (Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn), Robbie Daymond (Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask), Michelle Ruff (Luna), Johnny Yong Bosch (Artemis), and Deby Dayberry (Diana).
And last but certainly not least, Netflix also released a bunch of stills from the films. Check them out in the gallery below!
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie premieres on Netflix on June 3.
The long-awaited Sailor Moon Eternal films are finally making their streaming debut outside of Japan, and the newest trailer for the double feature promises a gorgeous new take on one of the Sailor Scouts’ most compelling arcs.
In the wonderfully weird comic art collecting world, art fiends like myself refer to the page of art that we treasure the most as "the Holy Grail." That's the panel page, splash, or cover we'll supposedly mortgage our home and auction off a kidney for to add to our collection.
How you define what a Grail is depends on the type of collector you are and by how much you're willing (and able) to spend to acquire it. Sometimes, you have to adjust your definition of a Holy Grail because it lives in a zip code you can't afford. I'm a huge John Byrne fan, as anyone familiar with Behind the Panel knows. And a Byrne X-Men page inked by Terry Austin would be an ultimate collecting goal... except those pages are now way out of my price range.
Since the rent is too damn high in Byrne X-Men-landia and I can't compete with deep-pocketed Byrne collectors like Rob Liefeld, I downshifted my interests. Thankfully, Byrne's catalog is full of awesomeness, so I was able to recently pick up my first JB original, a half-splash from Alpha Flight #17. That will happily occupy a place in my collection. I'm sure collectors who focus on comics or action figures have to make the same adjustments as certain realities of life come into play.
I've been thinking about this a lot since my recent trip to the SC Comic Con in Greenville, South Carolina. While I'm mainly an art collector these days, because I clearly hate having money in my pockets, I still collect comics. I have a modest but well-curated collection of books, some of which are considered "key" comics, as well as books that hold great nostalgic appeal (like Treasury Comics!). Which is why I spent my time at the Greenville show digging through comic long boxes to check off some books on my want list.
I was relatively successful. I found a nice mid-grade Silver Age Hawkman #1 that I've wanted for quite awhile, along with an Uncanny X-Men #130 (first appearance of Dazzler) and a killer copy of Saga #1, first printing. Of course, as with any show I attend, the top book on my list is always Avengers #9. I have owned and still own comics that are much more "important" and certainly more valuable than that early Avengers issue. But that 1964 book is special to me because it marks the debut of one of my favorite Avengers, and the superhero who has more sartorial fabulousness than any hero in history.
Of course I'm talking about Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man. Don't bother coming at me with anti-Wondy foolishness. The man is a fictional national treasure. He made the safari jacket cool, but his original costume, the one on the cover of his first appearance, is even better. A near-perfect superhero design by artists Jack Kirby (who drew the cover) and Don Heck (he penciled the interior story), it's been a fascination of mine for years. Because I'm such a big fan of Wondy's, I've always resisted buying one of the low-grade copies I've seen at other conventions. He's my guy. I wanted, nay, I needed a nice, glossy copy of this book. I have always told friends that that book was my comic book Holy Grail.
Now I may be old-school, but I have no problem using eBay to fill some holes in my collection. But I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and given my affinity for this particular book, I decided not to cheat and go after one of the copies on eBay. Except, I had no luck finding a copy of Avengers #9 at the show. Didn't see one copy, and this was a show full of rare comics. However, the show was overall a success and I flew home mostly satisfied — but the night I returned home, I made the mistake of going down the eBay rabbit hole. There it was... the comic I've been searching for, and a pretty nice copy at that.
Yep, I caved. I negotiated a bit with the seller, agreed on his counter to my counter, and bought the comic. It arrived in rapid fashion, perfectly shipped thanks to this very careful eBay seller. The book is gorgeous, and when I pulled it out of the priority mail box it arrived in, I was quite giddy. Check out the image below of the newest addition to my personal collection:
Here's the strange thing. While I was pleased as punch to finally have a copy of the book, it didn't feel like I thought it would to bring it home. It didn't feel like a Grail. Part of that probably has to do with my using eBay, but given how long it may be before I go to another con, I did a fairly good job rationalizing away my taking the collecting shortcut.
It took me a minute, but then it hit me. The comic wasn't my Grail because if it were, it would mean that I had sated my collecting thirst. It didn't, and it never will. Not two days later, I was working on buying another couple of Silver Age Marvels, and closing that deal had me as excited as when I unwrapped my Wonder Man first appearance. I'm reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies ever, Heat. When Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) suggests to his friend Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) he should sit out their next heist, Cheritto brushes him off by explaining that it's not about the money for him: "For me, the action is the juice."
That basically sums up a big part of the appeal of collecting for me, and I bet for many others.
All this talk of Grails, holy and otherwise, is utter collector nonsense. I can't begin to count all the art pages on the Comic Art Fans website that are described in all-caps as GRAILS… only to see they've been marked "SOLD." That's just the way it is. We love our rare, high-grade comics, original art, and comics-adjacent collectibles, and there are specific items we will move heaven and earth to acquire and proudly display. But we love the search for those geeky treasures even more. We are cosplaying Ahabs, forever searching for our white whales, which hopefully have sharp corners, white pages, and a CGC grade of at least 9.6.
Don't forget that Behind the Panel is a multi-platform series. Our video series is loaded with my in-depth interviews with some of the best comic book creators in the business. The Behind the Panel podcast is an audio documentary series that provides unique insight into your favorite creators and stories. Check 'em out, we think you'll enjoy them.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBCUniversal.
Welcome back to Important Toy News, the SYFY WIRE column that shows you all the best and coolest happenings in the world of amazing toys and collectibles for the week.
Get ready, my fellow lover of toys, because we are heading right back into that toy box for another week of newly announced toys and collectibles that are heading your way soon. Join me, your resident if not favorite Toy Journalist, while we collect all of the things we love in toy form! I apologize in advance that your credit card is parachuting out of your wallet and waddling over to your computer. Happens to me all the time.
And this week, things are getting particularly turbo as we admire just some of the goodies unveiled while May the 4th be — err, was — with us.
Iron Studios is showing off some of its best and most amazing work with this Star Wars "General Grievous Deluxe BDS Art Scale 1/10 – Star Wars – Iron Studios" statue. The Revenge of the Sith villain is native to the planet Kalee, a world inhabited by a red-skinned reptilian humanoid race, the Kaleesh, though as you can see, Grievous has been made more machine than man. (Or should that be more machine than Kaleesh?)
Either way, this piece is just outstanding and the likeness of General Grievous is spectacular. It costs $349.99 and fans should keep their eyes on Iron Studios for ordering information.
The celebration of Star Wars continues with an amazing Ahsoka Tano reveal from Sideshow Collectibles! The Ahsoka Tano Premium Format Figure measures 19.5 inches tall and 14 inches wide as the Togruta warrior strikes a battle-ready stance. It includes a sculpted Morai proximity piece, which, via Sideshow "depicts her beautiful green convor companion perched on a complimenting Malachor rubble base."
From Star Wars to Star Trek, we're getting galactic with our next action figure. EXO-6 presents the next 1:6 scale articulated figure from Star Trek: First Contact: Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Standing approximately 12 inches tall, every element of this crazy-precise recreation of the iconic captain, from his 24th-century tunic to his custom black boots, has been captured with authentic detail that fans will be happy to engage with. You can preorder it directly from EXO-6 for $189.99.
Bishop, The Last X-Man, joins the Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective! His X-Men ready suit contains multiple holsters for all his heavy artillery. According to Mezco, he also has "a removable paludamentum that drapes freely over his shoulder [and] three head portraits — a scowl, an angry stare, and a modern bald head portrait, allowing for a multitude of distinct looks."
Indie toymaker Super7, the company known for making the thing they grew up loving into toys, is working with a brand-new series now, as it's releasing figures based on the new Netflix series Yasuke. Yasuke isthe story of a Black samurai warrior in an alternate version of feudal Japan, and will now debut two new styles of vinyl figures for Super7. Three characters — Yasuke, Natsumaru, and Achojah — make up the first wave.
Super7's Yasuke figures will be available for pre-order exclusively from Target on Thursday, May 5. The 6-inch SuperVinyl figures retail at $19.99 each, while the 3-inch SuperVinyl SD figures are $9.99 per figure.
Hello Kaiju Kitty has arrived in 3-inch vinyl toy form by Kidrobot! Each of the mini vinyl Hello Kitty monster figures from this mutant collection comes packaged in clear window boxes if you're a mint collector who wants your kitties to battle from the box.
We've reached the end, my toy collecting friends, and we're going to wrap this issue of Important Toy News with a game. More specifically, my new favorite board game, which comes to us directly courtesy of Funko Games and Disney.
The beloved Disneyland ride It's a Small World has been transformed into a delightful board game for people of all ages. Seriously, I just adore this game. It is an engaging find-and-match challenge that includes a 3D game board. The goal for players is to, per Funko Games, "journey through the waterway in a team boat and match picture cards to the scenes as they travel from room to room." You can order it today from Shop Disney for $29.99.
This week a new Star Wars animated series on Disney+, The Bad Batch, re-introduced us to the last days of the Clone War and the rise of the sinister Empire. But amid the blaster fights and familiar faces, some fans have shown concern that the show’s major characters have had their skin tones adjusted, pushing them…
While some comics are pure escapism, others can serve as conversation starters. That's certainly the case for The Good Asian, in which hard-boiled Chinese American detective Edison Hark hunts down a killer in 1936 Chinatown. While he comes from a place of privilege, raised by a white family, Hark's being used as a tool by a racially charged police force to rough up Chinese immigrants. Will he get past his own self-loathing to bring help to his community, or will he be no different from those who cut his checks?
This fictional story is set within a factual period of American history, during the fallout of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) and Page Act (1875), which respectively prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers and banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States. They are the only laws to have ever been signed and implemented that banned all members of a single ethnic group from immigrating to the United States.
Racism against Asians didn't stop there, though. Americans who colonized the Philippines in the early 1900s demonized the Filipinos and their hygiene as a "contaminated race" yet still ruled the country as a territory until 1946. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, incarcerating people under "suspicion" to Japanese Internment camps. Canada too, had its own anti-immigration acts against the Chinese and internment camps for Japanese Canadians. The SARS outbreak in 2003 triggered anti-Asian racism in Toronto, Canada, and since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, anti-Asian actions all across the globe have been steadily on the rise, amplified by world leaders spreading "yellow peril," a racist ideology that paints people of Eastern Asian descent as threatening, unsanitary, lower class citizens.
In The Good Asian, Pichetshote and Tefenkgi construct an instant heavyweight contender, wherein the weight of America's sordid history is felt with each turn of the page. So in Part One of SYFY WIRE's interview with co-creators Pornsak Pichetshote (Infidel) and Alex Tefenkgi, we spoke about Asians being labeled "model minorities" and what a "good Asian" means today, subverting the Asian male stereotypes, and the creative process. Now, in Part Two, we discuss the inspiration of Edison Hark, the loyalty Asians have to their roots, the silencing of blue collar Asians, and ongoing anti-Asian violence.
At the end of the first issue, you explain some of the inspiration came from Charlie Chan, who is ultimately inspired by Chang Apana, a real-life Chinese Hawaiian policeman in 1957. Were you following these breadcrumbs to the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 or did you feel like this was the place to set The Good Asian?
Pornsak Pichetshote: I'm ethnically Thai Chinese, but I self-identify as Thai American. The reason I do that is because my father had parents come from China, but he grew up in Thailand. As a result, we'd always consider ourselves Thai, especially after my father passed away. Part of me dealing with that, I found myself drifting back into my Chinese roots and I made a visit to China. Normally in that story, you hear about what I learned about Chinese culture, mythology, but because I'm so interested in Americana, I ended up drifting towards Chinese American history. That's when I read about the Chinese Exclusion Act.
I felt really embarrassed that I was a grown-ass adult and never heard about this before, or the immigration act in 1924 that limited the amount of Asians and Arabs that came into the country. Again, was I a bad Asian for not knowing this? That's a huge part of our history. That was rummaging through my head and I had memories of Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, then they collided. Wouldn't it be interesting? Why not take some of the DNA, some of the inspiration of Chang Apana, and examine what that character would have to be. Chang Apana became a police officer because of the patronage of a white woman. There's no place aside from Hawaii where you could be a Chinese American police officer. The only way you could do that was with a certain amount of white privilege.
You have a lot of immigrants from Central and South America and one thing they have common is language, but as Asian Americans, we don't even have that, right? It's this wide group of people lumped together. What does it mean? What do we have in common? All of that led to talking about the Chinese Exclusion Act, America's history, whether it was anti-Asian American history or being very suspicious of Asians at a time there's also an Asian police officer — all of that was very rich to me.
Asians who are either born or come to live in America are often torn as they try to quickly acclimate to the culture, but at home are often told by older generations to not forget their roots, language, and ways. It's hard to know what to lean into being first and second generation Asian Americans. So with Edison Hark, there's a struggle there of helping where others can't. Or does he just do what's necessary to keep his station?
Pichetshote: I hope that when we talk about it with Edison, it externalizes it. I love what you just said about the loyalty you have, the concept of America versus your roots as an Asian. For Edison, that becomes literal in terms of becoming a cop to do good, but when the laws don't look at his people as equal, he realizes that "part of me being a Chinese cop means policing Chinese people. They only want me so that I can help them police Chinese people and are propagating the racism of that time."
Am I bad if I am good in terms of [a] white America that says that all of these things are bad, and treating people that I know that are like me is good in this way? What is my identity that still tries to remain true to both of these things? Part of being Asian American is this balancing act of West and East that seems completely in contradiction with each other.
The phrase, "An American was killed in Chinatown" stuck out to me in the first two issues, where amongst Asian Americans, "Americans" is oftentimes the term used for white people. When you look at the systemic racism and who wields the power and control, you see just how much America is built for whites. For many around the world, Americans are white and that speaks to how insignificant minorities can feel about their cultures thriving here.
Pichetshote: It was definitely part of my research that I couldn't find any documentation to white people or Asians referring to white people as "white." It felt like that happened later on in the development of our racial consciousness talking about race. In Black literature you'd read "white people," but it was often written from their perspective. White people never referred to themselves as "white people," it was always as "Americans." So that aspect of it, like a lot of parts of [The Good Asian], is a facet of history. It provides such a clear picture of what race relations were like at the time.
The American experience is not equal because of race and/or economic class. But the Asian American experience in this country is so varied too, right?
Pichetshote: You're totally right. The American experience is different; the Asian experience is different. After writing a lot of the book, one of the things that's happening in the book is a conversation about class amongst Asians. When you look at these recent attacks, while the conversation about Asians has changed in the last 100 years, the conversation about poor Asians, blue-collar, working Asian Americans hasn't really changed at all. We don't talk about them; they're still kind of invisible in the media. If you see them, they're usually being interviewed in an episode of Law & Order to get to the bad guy because they saw something.
There isn't a conversation about them and it's not an intention coming into the book where I wanted to talk about them, it was just trying to be true in the moment and I went, "Wow, in the last 100 years, this piece hasn't changed."
Alex Tefenkgi: The experience I have is being mixed race. When I was young in school you could call me "mixed," but they really don't know from where. It was part African and part something else. This something was a bit unsettling for them. I had problems with that, where kids would call me "Miyagi's kid" [referring to The Karate Kid] even though at the time I didn't know I was Asian. For me it was weird to hear. On the other side, sometimes because I was half African, I wouldn't get bullied. It was difficult because I didn't know where to stand. When I went back to Vietnam, I was still considered a foreigner. It's like I'm part of a community, and part of no community at the same time.
Pichetshote: A lot of what Alex is saying resonates with me because I don't know if I'm the right person because the experience is so vast, I worry about that. I think about the line from The Souls of Black Folk, that says "measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." When I talk about it, I'm measuring it, I'm trying to figure out where I fit along the scale even as I talk about it. Do I meet the height requirement? And if I don't meet it, I feel like I have to preface my thoughts more.
Let's move toward the hate crimes being done to Asians and mistreatment of immigrants in this book. You don't want to date the book, but it's hard not to feel like this 1930s noir story is so current.
Pichetshote: We worked through this book through 2020 and we've watched the rise in the number of Asian hate crimes pick up. It was happening, and it was quiet in the news and media so you only heard about it through friends and relatives. You thought, "Is it as bad as you think?" because surely if it is as bad as it sounds, you'd hear about it more. You don't want to be anachronistic, but again, it's been 100 years and we don't talk about the lives of blue collar-class, working Asians.
If anything, what happens in the book portrays a less brutal account of what happened to Asians at the time than in real life only because there's no record of it. [Hate crimes against Asians] made national news because Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu put up a very expensive campaign for advocacy and Olivia Munn heard something that happened to her mother's friend. It's taking rich Asians talking, and people caring about those rich Asians, to talk about poor Asians. It was almost too easy to talk about it.
Tefenkgi: The Asian community in France is not vocal about what's happening to them. When I was with my friends in Vietnam, it was all hush-hush. It's never spoken about and they're not vocal. With social media it's changing, slowly. I feel like there's a scale of comparing one's pain and suffering with others and whether it's right to speak up. Maybe some Asians think of what the Black communities are and what have been going through too and think it's not as severe. But it shouldn't be about the level of pain or suffering you got, you should just be vocal about it to stop everything.
Lastly, The Good Asian has opened up doors for the two of you to collaborate again on DC's Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration anthology, which comes out soon. What can you tell us about that?
Pichetshote: It's a four-page story about Ryan Choi's the Atom, with an appearance by Bruce Wayne, using the themes of the character to talk about one aspect of the contemporary Asian experience.
Tefenkgi: I'm really proud to be a part of this anthology! I'm deeply honored I was asked to draw with all those talented Asian creatives. To be a part of this celebration [and The Good Asian] pushes my confidence in my Asian heritage forward. It's a significant step, that has a particular echo, as an artist and a person.
The Good Asian #1 is out now and is a nine-issue miniseries published by Image Comics.
It is impossible to overstate how big a deal Captain America: Civil War was (and still is) when it was released five years ago this week.
The Russo Brothers’ second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had the unenviable task of not only finding a credible and emotionally honest way to pit the Avengers against one another, but to also set up narrative tentpoles through which to thread the road to Avengers: Endgame while bringing another studio’s cash cow, Spider-Man, into the mix. The fact that they pulled it off in an effortlessly satisfying and entertaining way is almost as unbelievable as the abilities Civil War’s lead characters possess.
However, the third Captain America movie (aka Avengers 2.5) is just one of many significant milestones in the evolution of producer and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige’s plan to make Marvel, well, Marvel. In honor of Civil War’s fifth anniversary, and to celebrate 13 years of Marvel Studios’ big-screen adventures, here’s a look back — in order of release — at the 12 most memorable events that helped build the MCU.
Star Trek’s world raises a lot of ethical questions—but its transporter technology has always been one that strikes at some of the most existential. Are we the same people if all our molecules are mapped, broken down, and copied into a different location? What happens if that process is disrupted? And what happens if…
While the movie box office is slowly finding its legs as summer inches closer, the phenomenon of big-name projects skipping theaters in favor of a straight-to-streaming debut is finding legs of its own. Now we can add sci-fi thriller Infinite and Sony’s musical Cinderella retelling to the growing list of movies whose opening day will unfold not in theaters, but in the living room.
In the case of the Antoine Fuqua-directedInfinite, not only is the movie switching gears to head straight to streaming; it’s also releasing way ahead of its originally-planned Sept. 24 theatrical premiere. Via Deadline, ViacomCBS revealed during an earnings call that the Mark Wahlberg-starring story of a man with a sci-fi identity crisis will instead launch directly to Paramount+ sometime in June.
Infinite, which originally had MCU mainstay Chris Evans in the leading role, is based on author D. Eric Maikranz's novel The Reincarnationist Papers, following the universe-saving exploits of the aptly-named group of gifted immortals collectively known as “The Infinite.” Wahlberg stars as Evan McCauley, a man nearing a nervous breakdown thanks to memories and abilities he has no direct recollection of acquiring. With humanity facing an existential threat, The Infinite recognizes what’s really going on with Evan (like them, he’s lived several past lives and wields immense power — but can recall none of it)...but the catch is that they must persuade Evan that he’s the key to saving the world.
Adapted by Todd Stein with a screenplay from Ian Shorr, Infinite also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Cookson, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, Toby Jones, and Dylan O’Brien. There’s no firm release date, but the movie is set to arrive at Paramount+ this June.
Sony, meanwhile, is sweeping Cinderella out of movie houses and onto the small screen in a shift away from its planned debut in theaters. Variety reports that Amazon Prime will instead serve as the release platform for Sony’s musical take on the classic story, which stars Camila Cabello as the titular rags-to-riches stepdaughter.
Cabello won’t be singing solo, though, with plenty of additional musical star power rounding out the Cinderellacast. Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, and Missy Elliott are also set to bring the tunes, alongside a lineup that also includes Pierce Brosnan, John Mulaney, Minnie Driver, James Corden, Nicholas Galitzine, and Romesh Ranganathan. Menzel will menace Cabello’s character as the wicked stepmother, with Brosnan playing King Rowan. Porter will appear as Cinderella’s fairy godparent, while Driver stars as Queen Beatrice.
Written and directed by 30 Rock veteran and Pitch Perfect creator Kay Cannon, Cinderella was reportedly set to carriage-ride into theaters this July. The movie’s Amazon release date hasn’t yet been revealed, so we’ll be watching until the stroke of midnight for additional premiere-date news.
New sci-fi movie Infinite—starringMark Wahlberg and directed by Antoine Fuqua—is coming out a few months ahead of schedule, but you won’t see it in theaters. Paramount just announced that the film, most recently scheduled for release in September, will now debut on Paramount+ sometime in June.
Matt Lanter plays one of the greatest heroes of his era. He's strong and good-natured, but perhaps even more important than all that, he's a loyal friend. However, he's destined to become a fallen hero, shunned by those who once loved him. This description could apply to Anakin Skywalker, who Lanter voiced in Star Wars: The Clones Wars, Star Wars Rebels,The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, and Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, but it also applies to George Hutchence, the superhero-turned-supervillain known as Skyfox in Netflix's upcoming series Jupiter's Legacy.
Lanter — who has a prolific live-action filmography in addition to his many years spent voicing Anakin — is aware of the similarities between the two characters. The story of how Anakin fell, became Darth Vader, and ultimately redeemed himself needs no retelling at this point, though George's story is likely new to anybody who didn't ready the 2013 Mark Millar comic the series is based on.
George's tale beings in 1929, when his best friend Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel) seemingly suffers a mental break following the Stock Market Crash and his father's subsequent suicide. Sheldon's having visions, and George is pretty much the only person willing to entertain his friend's crazy ideas. He's rewarded for his faith, as the pair and five others who travel to a mystical island are gifted with incredible superpowers. They form a team known as the Union and George helps save the day as the hero Skyfox — until he doesn't anymore.
In Jupiter's Legacy's other setting, 90 years later in the present day, George is MIA, having been deemed a traitor and a reviled supervillain. Exactly what happened during those nine decades that caused George to turn evil is unknown, but Lanter suggests that it's more complicated than it might seem. It's also, as it turns out, not unlike the complexities of Anakin's turn to the Dark Side.
"I think Anakin is really such a human, broad story at the core. It's good versus evil. That's a biblical theme. This has been going on since the beginning of time, for humankind," Lanter tells SYFY WIRE. "I think there's a portion of Anakin where, eventually, he thinks he's doing the right thing. He thinks he's on the right side of good and evil, but in Anakin's case, he's clearly doing some pretty evil things in the name of good.
"I think we're going to get to see some of that happening down the road with George, [him doing] things that might be perceived as evil or bad might be in the name of good," Later continues.
He adds that the label of the world's greatest supervillain is just that: a label. One that was given to him first by Sheldon's brother (and fellow Union member) Walt Sampson, then adopted by the rest of the team, and from there, the whole world.
Exactly what happened to make George this way is a mystery that's slowly teased and answered throughout Jupiter's Legacy's first season and beyond. And, only time (and future seasons) will tell if, like Anakin, there's still good in George after all.
The first season of Jupiter's Legacy premieres on Netflix on Friday, May 7.
DuckTales may have ended on TV (sigh), but the adventures of Huey, Dewey, and Louie will continue in a new middle-grade book series from author Tommy Greenwald and illustrator Elisa Ferrari: the mystery-themed Duckscares. The first entry, The Nightmare Formula, is out now, and io9 has a peek inside.
In less than a month, on June 4, the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park will welcome its first public guests, with brand-new rides and experiences set within the Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe. Within the Campus are dedicated sections —Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, the Pym Test Kitchen, the Avengers HQ Compound, and Doctor Strange's Ancient Sanctum — and Disneyland Resorts has revealed for the first time today what the cast members for each area will be wearing as they help guests soak up all that glorious Stark Tech.
All of the costumes have been designed by Joe Kucharski, Sr. Costume Designer at Disney Live Entertainment. In a release from Disneyland Resorts, Kucharski says he worked closely with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Marvel Studios creative team to integrate cast members into the extensive world of the Avengers. “I was inspired by the immersive design of Avengers Campus and the unique stories at each address," he explains in the announcement. "Our cast members play a unique part in the guest experience and these costumes are designed to help them embody their role in this epic story."
Here are the revealed cast member costumes celebrating their section superhero hosts: Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the Guardians of the Galaxy:
Along with the main areas featuring a mix of rides, live experiences, and dining, Avengers Campus will also be dotted with in-world food stands, like Terran Treats, which helps fold the existing Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: Breakout! ride into the Avengers Campus world, and the Shawarma Palace food cart that celebrates the Avengers' favorite post-boss-battle meal.
Both California Adventure and Disneyland are now open to California residents only, however, with capacity limitations and required pre-booked reservations. Avengers Campus opens on June 4 with its first wave of attractions available to those guests lucky enough to land those coveted online reservations.
io9 is proud to present fiction from LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE. Once a month, we feature a story from LIGHTSPEED’s current issue. This month’s selection is “Hypnopompic Circumstance” by Gene Doucette. You can read the story below or listen to the podcast on our website. Enjoy!
Right off the bat, the prolific comic book writer revealed that he's developing a six-part live-action series set in a world of espionage. "My first since Kingsman, but a very different kind of property," he wrote, teasing that the show's head writer "is someone I’ve been a massive fan of for two decades, and he was the only person I approached. This has the potential to be one of the biggest franchises I’ve ever created. I’m so excited and I hope you will be too!"
The Magic Order is magically back in active development after its progress slowed to a crawl as a direct result of the COVID-19 health crisis last October. "Some time away has given us a chance to come back with a completely fresh look at the material, and we should be getting into our new writers’ room very shortly," Millar explained. In addition, a second volume of the comic (published by Image, the title follows five families of magicians who protect the Earth) launches this October with artwork by Stuart Immonen. A third installment is scheduled to drop "immediately afterwards" with illustrations from Gigi Cavenago.
American Jesusis also chugging along with Everardo Gout (Marvel’s Luke Cage) and Leopoldo Gout (Molly’s Game) still at the helm. Gout is also on board to direct the series, which follows a 12-year-old boy who discovers that he is a returned incarnation of Jesus Christ. "I’m blown away by the creative choices that Netflix has allowed us, and particularly since this series will feature Spanish and English dialogue," Millar wrote.
Aside from Jupiter's Legacy, this year will also see the release of Super Crooks, an anime series about a heist concocted by a group of super-villains. Comprised of 13 30-minute episodes, the project (produced by Bones.inc of My Hero Academia) is set to drop some initial footage during June's Annecy Festival.
And last, but most certainly not least, we have the film adaptation of the bunch: Reborn from The Tomorrow War director, Chris McKay. Bek Smith (a graduate of the Marvel Writing Program) is penning the afterlife-centric script, with Sandra Bullock producing alongside Vertigo Entertainment.
Movie versions of Empress, Huck, and Sharkey The Bounty Hunter are also in various stages of development, with a fifth feature —Prodigy — added to the docket with a "phenomenal script" from Eternals writers, Matthew and Ryan Firpo. Created with artist Rafael Albuquerque, Prodigy centers on the world's smartest man who is recruited by governments to solve the problems they cannot.
Head below for our exclusive coverage of Jupiter's Legacy:
This month, Image Comics imprint Skybound Entertainment is commemorating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a series of charity variant covers drawn by Asian creators. Today, the imprint founded by The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman announced it will launch a similar initiative in June for Pride Month, and once again, all proceeds will go to a good cause.
Skybound announced Thursday that it will unveil a series of nine different charity variants in June, all drawn by LGBTQI+ creators, attached to major comics releases like The Walking Dead Deluxe, Fire Power, Oblivion Song, and more. The full complement of covers has not yet been revealed, but you can see the Fire Power #12 cover by Kira Okamoto below.
All proceeds from the sales of these variants will go to the Transgender Law Center, the "largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people."
“The trans community has seen an unprecedented attack on their rights in recent years, and Skybound has decided to launch this program to raise money to support this important fight for equality,” Sean Mackiewicz, SVP and Editor-in-Chief of Skybound Entertainment, said in a press release. “We support the Transgender Law Center’s mission to ensure all transgender and gender nonconforming people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression."
The Pride Month announcement comes weeks after Skybound launched a similar initiative for AAPI Heritage Month, with variant covers on key titles appearing throughout the month of May. Other Pride Month initiatives announced by major comics publishers so far this year include special one-shots, variant cover initiatives, and more at both Marvel and DC Comics.
For Diamond pre-order codes and more information on each of the variant covers, head over to Skybound's website.
Eden Prime. Ilos. The Suicide Mission. The Battle of London. A small apartment with one hell of a party on the Citadel. There are many moments and places in the Mass Effect universe to turn to as some of the most memorable, definitive pieces of its story. But few can encapsulate what Mass Effect was, and what it would…
You remember those old Mazda commercials with the tagline of "zoom zoom"? Well, the Fast Saga takes that motto quite literally with a new sneak peek at F9 that features all-out vehicular destruction for a minute-and-a-half straight. Dubbed "Total Car-nage" (ha, nice!), the video contains almost no dialogue, favoring to show off all of the insane practical effects the production was able to pull off for the third-to-last chapter in the Fast & Furious series. These things were done for real and if a particular set piece was too dangerous, they simply stuck a camera inside the doomed vehicle with a crash test dummy.
It's a great reminder that epic summer blockbusters are finally on the up-and-up after more than a year of constant tentpole delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Who drives like a bat out of hell?" asks Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson). "A Toretto," replies Tej Parker (Ludacris). Pretty funny coming from them since they'll actually be taking flight in the franchise's first-ever trip to outer space. The stakes have never been higher — or more explosive — as Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is forced out of retirement to face off with his revenge-driven brother, Jakob (John Cena).
Watch "Total Car-nage" below:
The one thing that I take a lot of pride in is really scaring the crap out of my crew," the movie's director and co-writer, Justin Lin, told Entertainment Weeklylast month. "When we have these production meetings and I’m sitting there in front of people and describing what we are about to do, I love that kind of nervous silence before we all focus and figure out how we’re going to do it. Personally, I feel that good action sequences are nothing if you don’t have a connection with these characters, and one of the big things I wanted to do coming back was elevate and really push growth in every character."
F9 rolls into theaters everywhere Friday, June 25. Until then, you can catch a free screening of one of the first eight Fast Saga films every Friday at participating theaters.
In 1973, after the groundbreaking success of Night of the Living Dead but before he expanded his legendary undead universe with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, George A. Romero took on an interesting filmmaking assignment. He was commissioned by The Lutheran Society to create a movie that would dramatize poor treatment of elderly people in America, but by the time he was done, the film was considered too dark and brutal to be released, and so it was shelved. Now, after it resurfaced in 2019, The Amusement Park is finally hitting streaming, and you can check out the first trailer today.
Horror streaming service Shudder announced Thursday that it will release The Amusement Park, Romero's legendary lost film that those who've seen call a fascinating stylistic precursor to his later work, on June 8, making that day a very exciting one for Romero completists. The film stars Lincoln Maazel (who also worked with Romero on Martin) as an elderly man who descends deeper into isolation and darkness as he tries to navigate the chaos of an amusement park, which emerges as a metaphor for the disorienting nightmares of aging. Some who've seen it already have dubbed it Romero's scariest film, in part because of the subject matter and in part because of the imaginative and terrifying way in which he's able to convey the loss of control that comes with again.
The trailer below has also captured that, and the result is a very unnerving experience.
The wide release of this fascinating piece of movie history is part of what Shudder has dubbed its "Summer of Chills," during which the streaming service will drop at least one high-profile horror release onto its service each week from June 3 to August 19. It all begins with the Shudder Original psychological thriller Caveat, continues through much-anticipated releases like Son and The Boy Behind the Door, and culminates with the streaming debut of Jakob's Wife, the new horror film starring Barbara Crampton.
This is also, notably, not the only major Romero revival news of the year. Back in February, Romero's wife Suzanne noted that there are potentially dozens of new films to be made from the developing scripts her husband left behind upon his death in 2017, and just last week there was movement on his script for what was to be his final word on the zombie genre, Twilight of the Dead. Romero may be gone, but his impact on horror continues.
Lucasfilm values its secrecy. It’s so worried about and vigilant against leaks about their upcoming Star Warsprojects, they keep scripts locked away until actors come to them to audition, and lock them back up when the actors leave. It’s a process that gives actors virtually no time to prepare—which is a huge problem…
You might have trained everything from Aerodactyl to Zubat, but there is one Pokémon you would probably rather not catch.
Pokemonas is the newest bacteria to creep out of the unknown. It might seem like a micro-Pikachu, but catching these could mean a fatal case of lung disease, since they are lung parasites which invade and live in spherical amoebas that are like their own Pokéballs. Microbiologist Kenneth Dumack from the University of Cologne found this out when he and his research team screened different species of amoeba and almost literally caught a Pokémon — but even the most skilled trainer should probably run from these creatures.
Maybe it was a discovery hidden in the game somewhere. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo franchise whose Eevee-lution turned it into a worldwide phenomenon.
“Pokemonas belongs to the Legionellales bacteria group, which developed mechanisms on exploiting other cells,” Dumack, who led a study recently published in Frontiers in Microbiology, told SYFY WIRE. “So the benefits from living inside other cells are numerous; there are plenty of nutrients and a high supply of energy at all times. It is almost guaranteed that the bacteria will not starve.”
Anything but cute, these pocket monsters are endosymbionts, or organisms that live inside another organism without harming it. Amoebas are their defense from predators, UV radiation, and (in what would be a highly ironic twist to an already warped real-life video game) viruses ready to attack. The amoebas are the only ones that get away unharmed. Because Legionellales reproduce inside amoebas, it isn’t exactly easy to disinfect water that is already contaminated. Pokemonas is related to some potentially deadly types of Legionellales bacteria. Legionellales include the infamous Legionella pneumophila that starred on Monsters Inside Me after an unfortunate victim was exposed to infected water.
Dumack’s research on Legionellales bacteria involved screening several types of often-overlooked Thecofilosea amoebas, which was when he discovered Pokemonas. Theocofilosea really could pass for Pokéballs because they are spherical structures you can see through under a microscope. This is why he even referenced the uncanny resemblance to a Pokéball in ihis study. Being transparent makes most Theocofilosea species difficult to see, even magnified, which makes them almost as elusive as Feebas and frustrating to scientists, who often mistake them for other things. However, these types of amoebas also gave Dumack more insight into Legionellales.
“The most important finding in studying these amoebas is that we now have clear evidence that Legionellales, who are able to avoid the immune system of animals and humans, did not gain these abilities by adapting to early animals,” he said. “They adapted much earlier in their evolution—probably to almost all complex single-celled forms of life.”
Legionellales went through their own evolution, not unlike Pokémon, just not so flashy. They evolved as parasites from when they first appeared. There are many more host organisms for these bacteria than there were previously thought to be, and even Dumack was surprised by how diverse they are. Whether or not Pokemonas is a pathogenic to humans remains unknown for now. Further research, including the sequencing of its genes, will determine that by searching for genes it may or may not have in common with parasites that gorge on humans. It could also reveal exactly what gives parasitic Legionellales an appetite for something that is still alive.
“Genetic sequencing of Pokemonas will give insight how parasites mastered the infection of complex cells, including the cells of humans,” Dumack said. “Most important will be the comparison of Pokemonas to known human pathogens.”
Maybe Pokemonas is harmless and a total Jigglypuff—but for now, try not to catch this one.
Dark Horse’s Lady Killer is being turned into a movie. Marvel offers vague teases for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Marvels. Emma Stone goes behind-the-scenes in new Cruella footage. Plus, what’s to come on The Handmaid’s Tale and Black Lightning. Spoilers now!
Next month, horror fans everywhere will finally get to see the much-anticipated third installment in The Conjuring film series. Since the first film in the series debuted in 2013, the Conjuring franchise has expanded out from the main story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to include spinoffs like Annabelle, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona.
Announced by DC Comics last month as the flagship title in a new DC Horror imprint, The Conjuring: The Lover will give longtime fans and newcomers alike a new story that leads into the events of The Devil Made Me Do It, adding depth and context to the film while pushing The Conjuring universe into comics for the first time. Today, DC Comics released a creepy first look at this all-new story, and SYFY WIRE sat down with writers David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle to talk about how it all came together.
For Johnson-McGoldrick, who's scripted the last two Conjuring films, a project like The Lover presented an intriguing opportunity to flesh out The Devil Made Me Do It's main story, in which the Warrens encounter the real-life case of Arne Johnson, who was tried for murder in 1981 and claimed he was not guilty due to demonic possession. In The Lover, readers won't follow the Warrens, but they'll be introduced to a college student named Jessica who comes to realize, amid all the other stresses of school and life, that something dark is hunting her. So, what does Jessica have to do with the Arne Johnson case?
"In the context of the film, Jessica's story is a precursor to what's happening to the main character, the cursed person in the film, Arne Johnson. All the things that are happening to Arne Johnson, they all happened in the past," Johnson-McGoldrick said, calling The Devil Made Me Do It a sort of "last chapter" to a bigger story. "They happened to this Jessica girl first, and so it really sets the table for what the stakes are for the film. If you were to go out to and read this comic book before you ever saw the movie, it would establish stakes. It would establish what's going to go wrong, if our heroes don't prevent this from happening to Arne."
While Johnson-McGoldrick emphasized that fans won't have to read the comic to understand the events of the film, he noted The Lover does create "another piece" of the overall mythology tied into The Devil Made Me Do It, and attentive viewers will even be able to spot connections to Jessica in the film itself. Beyond that connective tissue in the plot, Johnson-McGoldrick and Ogle also faced the challenge of telling a Conjuring story — which viewers have become so enamored with on the big screen — in a new format for the first time. With that in mind, they had to boil down The Conjuring as a franchise to its essential elements, and translate them to the comics page alongside artist Garry Brown, whose creepy pencils you can check out in the gallery above.
"It's something that is scary, something that is good fun and something that kind of leaves you really kind of crawling underneath your skin," Ogle, whose past comics work includes Teen Titans and Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan, said. "I've seen the Conjuring movies so many times. My niece and nephew actually introduced them to me because they were such big fans. They saw them in the movie theater and they're like 'You have to watch them.' So of course I watched it with them and I was like 'Oh, this is so much fun.' This is something that's one of those things where you want to watch it in the dark and you want to be spooked by it, and it's even better because it's based on a true story."
Johnson-McGoldrick added, "I think the other piece of that, and I think Rex did a really good job of capturing it as well, is I feel like the Conjuring universe films tend to be also very character-driven, like right from the very first movie. I didn't have anything to do with that one, but I mean Ed and Lorraine, their characters, their marriage, their love is really front and center. Sometimes it feels to me like Conjuring movies are sort of like the supernatural almost becomes a manifestation of the strife that the characters are experiencing in real life. So [in The Lover] you introduce this character of Jessica who's having all these problems, cause she doesn't want to be away at school, and she has these secrets that she's keeping, and it's manifesting in our story as the supernatural element."
Though no other comics specific to The Conjuring universe have yet been announced, Johnson-McGoldrick and Ogle are very aware that The Lover is helping to launch a whole new wave of horror comics at DC that will continue with more still-unannounced DC Horror titles later this year. It all feels like a larger part of an overall boom in horror comics, and genre comics outside of superheroes in general, that they're pleased to be part of as both creators and readers.
"There's so many good comics out there right now. I just finished reading Gideon Falls over at Image, and it's just such a beautiful, well done horror comic," Ogle said. "For the last few decades, superheroes have been very prevalent, but now comics and graphic novels are opening up and people are realizing, 'Wow, we can tell all kinds of different stories again.' So we're having kind of a Renaissance, and it's just a really good time to tell new fun, original stories, and it's even better for me that they're going to be spooky."
The Conjuring: The Lover debuts June 1, just days before The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It hits theaters, and will run for five issues. Each issue will also feature a backup story that sheds light on an object from the Warrens' famous supernatural artifact room, beginning in issue #1 with a story from writer Scott Snyder and artist Denys Cowan.
Hard to believe it’s been almost two years since we spent time with the kids from Hawkins, Indiana on Netflix’s Stranger Things. Harder to believe still that it was over a year ago Netflix released the first teaser for the upcoming fourth season, which saw Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) in Russia, just where we…
After months and months of delay, A Quiet Place Part II has decided to speak up with a brand-new trailer. Unfortunately, that means everyone is getting ripped to shreds by sound-sensitive monster-aliens. But seriously, we've got some fresh and terrifying footage for the highly-anticipated follow-up to John Krasinski's directorial debut/sleeper horror hit from 2018. The movie was supposed to debut in March 2020, but became one of the countless projects delayed by COVID-19. It was indefinitely bumped, then moved to early September, before being pushed to Memorial Day weekend.
Picking up mere moments after the first movie, Part II follows the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) as they leave the safety of their farm home for greener pastures. While they've discovered the creatures' sonic weakness, they're not out of the woods yet, especially since Mama Abbott (Blunt) has a newborn to look after. Now out in the wild, the family meets Emmett (Cillian Murphy), another survivor with a haunted past.
Check out the latest footage below:
Krasinski returns as writer, director, and actor for the sequel. Yes, actor. His character died in the first film, but Part II features flashbacks to the day the aliens first attacked, thus allowing him to reprise the role of Abbott patriarch, Lee. Indeed, the final trailer begins with a clever, yet incredibly heart-wrenching callback to the noisy space shuttle toy that led to the death of the Abbotts' youngest child at the start of the first movie.
"It's very exciting to be able to come back to theaters to see A Quiet Place 2 because it was always designed for a theatrical experience," the director says in a new spot (see below). "The second movie is much bigger. It's a much scarier movie."
"It's such an inspired sequel," Blunt adds. "The world expands in this one because they have to venture out ... It's a horror movie, you want to watch it in the dark. Jump and leap and gasp together. I'm really excited for you guys to see it."
"To all our A Quiet Place fans," Krasinski wrote on social media when the project was first delayed. "One of the things I'm most proud of is that people have said our movie is one you have to see all together. Well due to the ever-changing circumstances of what's going on in the world around us, now is clearly not the time to do that. As insanely excited as we are for all of you to see this movie...I'm gonna wait to release the film 'til we CAN all see it together! So here's to our group movie date. See you soon!"
Djimon Hounsou (Charlie's Angels) co-stars.
A Quiet Place Part II tip-toes into theaters Friday, May 28 — more than a year after its intended release date.
Sometime over the weekend, the 30-meter long 20+ ton first stage core booster of a Chinese Long March 5B rocket will re-enter Earth's atmosphere in an uncontrolled manner, with pieces of it crashing somewhere on the planet.
The thing is, we don't know where.
Now, don't panic. It's a big planet, and the odds of it hitting anyone are low… but not zero. To be more clear, this is a worrisome event but not one to be freaked out about.
Why don't we know where it will hit? There are several factors here. For one, it's slowed by the very thin upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere, and the density of the air is so low there that even a small change affects orbiting objects strongly (the density also changes with solar activity; space weather can make the upper atmosphere puff up, and it reaches higher).
For another, video from an observer on the ground shows the booster rapidly changing brightness over time in a cyclical way, indicating it's tumbling as it orbits —when we see it broadside it reflects more sunlight toward us and it appears brighter than it does when we see it end-on. That means the cross-section it presents to the atmosphere changes all the time, making it even more difficult to predict its orbit and fall.
Third, it's moving fast. Orbital speed in low Earth orbit is roughly 8 kilometers per second, so every second you're off in your prediction means you're 8 km off in your prediction of where it is.
The small amount of drag it feels right now is stealing orbital energy from it, so it drops lower. As it drops lower the air gets thicker, so it drops faster. Eventually it hits a part of the atmosphere thick enough that as it rams through the air the gas ahead of it compresses violently and heats up, creating an artificial meteor. It “burns up”.
The problem here is that not all of it will burn up. Fuel tanks, for example, are relatively lightweight for their size, and they're made of heat-resistant material. They can survive the hottest part of re-entry and get to the ground. This, obviously presents a danger.
The orbit of the booster is slightly elliptical, and orbital dynamics means things get a little weird. Once per orbit, as it's nearest the Earth (what we call perigee), the increased drag tends to lower its apogee, the point of its orbit where it's farthest from Earth. This has the effect of making the orbit more circular, but dropping it down lower. My friend and astronomer Jonathan McDowell is an expert in tracking such things, and has been posting updates on Twitter.
What are the odds it'll hit over land? Relatively low. The Earth is mostly water, but you also have to account for the tilt of the rocket's orbit, too. At a roughly 42° tilt, the path it takes over the Earth is over land about 25% of the time. A lot of that land is uninhabited, dropping the odds of injury further. The orbit, however, takes it as far north as New York City and as far south just past the southernmost part of Australia. Anyplace from 42° N and 42° S latitude is under the path of the rocket.
The Long March 5B rocket launched on April 29 and is a two-stage rocket with four strap-on boosters for added thrust. It's a beast, one of the most powerful rockets in use, which is what's needed to launch the heavy components the China National Space Administration (the official name of the space agency) wants to meet their goals. That's why the first stage core booster is so big: 33 meters long, 5 wide, and a mass of 21 metric tons without propellant.
In general, the first stage of a rocket doesn't get to orbit. It gets the second stage as high and fast as it can, then is dropped so that the second stage can take over and boost the payload to orbit. This multi-stage method has been used for decades to launch payloads; by dropping the first stage the rocket isn't carrying dead weight with it, which saves a lot of fuel. With current fuels, it would be impossible to launch heavy payloads without using this system.
In most modern launches the first stage is suborbital; the US launches from Florida to the east so that a first stage drops into the Atlantic. The second stage has enough fuel left over to de-orbit itself safely, targeting someplace uninhabited (usually the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean). That doesn't always happen, though. SpaceX had a malfunction on a recent launch that left a Falcon 9 second stage to de-orbit uncontrolled, and it burned up over the Pacific Northwest of the US, causing quite a bit of consternation.
If it seems like forever ago that we got the first teaser for A Quiet Place Part II, well—it was December 2019, with the first trailer dropping in January 2020. But the much-delayed, much-anticipated horror sequel seems set for its May 28 opening, and today’s final trailer suggests the wait will have been worth it.
Frank McRae, a former NFL player who appeared in over 40 films including James Bond’s License to Kill, Last Action Hero, and Batteries Not Included, has died. Deadline is reporting that he passed away on April 29 from a heart attack. He was 80 years old.
McRae was born in 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee. He played college football at Tennessee State University and then moved on to the NFL, where he played defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams before starting his acting career.
McRae’s first credited role was in the 1973 TV movie Snatched. He went on to become a character actor in several big budget films. On the genre front, he’s best known for his role in the 1989 James Bond movie, License to Kill, where he played Sharkey, a fisherman who was good friends with Bond (Timothy Dalton) and Felix Leiter (David Hedison) and ended up paying the price for it.
Acting against Arnold Schwarzenegger’s in 1993’s Last Action Hero, McRae played the exasperated police captain, Lieutenant Dekker, who spends most of his time screaming at Schwarzenegger’s action hero parody, Jack Slater. In Batteries Not Included, a family sci-fi film about a group of small alien machines who help save an apartment building under threat of redevelopment, McRae played Harry Noble, a former boxer who lived in the building who had a love of machinery, even machinery from outer space.
McRae also appeared in several other films, including 48 Hrs., Red Dawn, Hard Times, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Loaded Weapon, and Used Cars.
He is survived by his son, Marcellus, daughter-in-law Suzanne, and three grandchildren — Camden, Jensen, and Holden. Donations in his memory can be made to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.
John David Washington, best known for his roles in Tenet and BlacKkKlansman, is heading back to sci-fi. Deadline is reporting that the actor has signed up to star in True Love, an original sci-fi film written and directed by Rogue One’sGareth Edwards. Edwards and Kiri Hart will produce on the project, and New Regency will produce and finance the film.
We don’t know much about the plot of True Love, other than it’s a near-future sci-fi tale. The film will also be Edwards’ first project after directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which gave Star Wars fans the details behind how the Resistance stole those Death Star plans.
True Love isn’t Washington’s first foray into genre. The actor recently starred in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, where he played a CIA agent working to stop a disastrous event that involves a method of time travel that’s very confusing by most accounts, even for time travel. The movie was released last year and did relatively decent sales given it premiered in the middle of a global pandemic. Washington is also starring in New Regency’s upcoming David O. Russell film along with Christian Bale, Margo Robbie, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and Chris Rock.
In addition to Rogue One, Edwards directed the blockbuster Godzilla; combined,the two films grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide. Edwards also directed the critically acclaimed Monsters, a 2010 indie film that takes place on a near-future Earth infested with aliens.
No news yet on when the film will go into production, though it’s safe to say it will show up in theaters sometime in the near future (though hopefully not the near future of Monsters).
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