-Who the heck is taking over the Han Solo stand-alone movie, seems to be one of the big questions right now. With the departure of Chris Miller and Phil Lord due to creative differences, rumors have been flying. At the fore is Ron Howard but the one of the script’s writers, Lawrence Kasdan is also up for consideration. Anyone who steps into this project is facing some challenges as the movie. There are still several weeks of shooting left to be done for starters and obviously tons of digital work as well as editing in order to keep things on track for a May ‘18 release. The film is supposed to be about Han from age 18-24 and cover acquiring the Millennium Falcon as well as rescuing Chewbacca and creating his life debt.
-Will the Watchmen come to HBO? Damon Lindelhof, who recently finished out The Leftovers for HBO is planning on continuing to work the network on his next outing, a take on the iconic comic created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Supposedly, this has no connection to a prior attempt in 2014 by HBO and the full-length movie. With the fact that D.C. was working Watchmen elements into comics recently, this all seems very timely. One can only hope Damon does the comic justice.
-Moffat and Gatiss, the team behind the popular Sherlock series, are about to take on the undead. The two have set their sights on a Dracula series done in the same manner as the Holmesian tribute show- episodes of a film length, but a very short series. The time span of Dracula’s life is what makes this interesting allowing them to set episodes in different time periods and cover aspects of the vampire’s life.
-Need to get your game on before diving into the next season of Game of Thrones? Well, Drink Company and the Ommegang Brewery have created a pop up bar in D.C. that will run from June 21st to August 27th. With 3k sq. feet of in depth GOT décor the bar features not only the Ommegang series of GOT beers but also themed drinks whose names tie to the series. There will even be a Hall of Faces whose occupants were molded from friends and family of the employees of Drink Company.
-The kaiju have risen! Filming has started in the Atlanta area for the Warner Bros. second new Godzilla film. This time it looks like it will be a monster free-for-all as Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah join the stage for a big old kaiju rumble. The monsters are all after each other and it looks like a lot of humans could get trampled in the process. The film is expected to air in March of 2019 and the plans are still in place to produce the monster matchup, Godzilla vs. Kong in the near future.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson has launched a kickstarter to bring an educational game to life about space exploration. Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey was announced at the electronics convention E3 and has a goal of $314k. In game play, Tyson will serve as your holographic assistant as you first travel to Promixa Centauri and then the rest of the galaxy in a ship you can personalize to accomplish a number of science based missions to colonize and explore. There’s plenty of star power attached to the project with Bill Nye, Mike Massimino, Janna Levin and Charles Liu as well as writer talent like Larry Niven, Peter S. Beagle and Len Wein. Game play will feature solo missions, mulitplayer and even so VR modules and expansions are planned.
-Pojo’sPure Vermont Soaps is going to make sure you not only clean up well but also repel the unnatural. Only $10 a cake, Pojo’s Garlic and Holy Water Vampire repelling soap with traditional goat’s milk and honey adds Holy Water and Garlic oil comes with a 100% money back guarantee of efficacy. If you’re up against the shapeshifters, Pojo suggests their Pure Vermont Silver and Holy Water Werewolf Repelling Soap which contains oil of Rosemary, Holy Water and Colloidal Silver. Finally, to clean up after the inevitable conflict Pojo’s offers Soapocalypse—which adds Vitamin E, oil of tea tree and oil of peppermint. The perfect thing to keep you fresh after your endeavors against the supernatural.
-Bill Nye is back and he’s planning on saving the world—saving it with facts. His Netflix show will premier on April 21st. Unlike it’s predecessor, his new show has a different format and will be more like a talk show featuring both guests and comedic interludes. Almost seems like he’s taking a page from the book of his friend Neal DeGrasse Tyson who’s popular Star Talk is laid out the same way. There’s still plenty of hands on science and Bill plans to tackle everything from holistic medicine, GMOs, and sex to Global Warming.
-For those of you who have enjoyed it so far, del Toro’s Trollhunters will be back for a second season. But how are they going to deal with the loss of their voice actor one might wonder. After Anton Yelchin’s tragic passing del Toro might have been left in a tough spot, but fortunately they had recorded enough material for the show to proceed to a point where del Toro says the main character’s voice would change and allow them to add a new voice talent. Netflix expects to bring the show back later sometime this year. For fans here’s the really good news: del Toro’s plan is for 52 episodes and since it was received so well in the first season there’s reason to believe that Netflix will want to bring those all to light.
-It looks like May gets a double dose of Star Wars, besides May the 4th Be With You, Star Wars turns 40 years old. So there are plenty of new toys coming out just in time, like a series of die-casts for the main characters of A New Hope, 3 3/4 inches tall about $15 each. There’s an Obi Wan Kenobi lightsaber at $180, a Black Series Luke figurine on a diorama with lights and sound for $50 and even an anniversary edition of Star Wars Monopoly.
-Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is aces. Actually it aced it first test. The film got a 100 out of 100 from its reviewers. Now that’s unusual. That means that everybody that saw it gave it high marks. Typically films are reviewed in order to determine weak points and other areas that might need additional editing. Apparently, the lucky few who seen the whole movie were pretty happy with, well everything. It doesn’t guarantee success for a movie at the box office and the original film was a little of an oddball, but that kind of reaction is certainly making the MCU creative teams happy.
-Lucas Film recently made a point of announcing that Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher will not be ‘recreated’ for any more Star Wars Films. Shortly after Fisher’s death rumors began to circulate on the web that Lucas Film was seeking the rights to recreate her image for future films. According to the studio Fisher had already completed the necessary filming for SWVIII. (For more on digitally recreating characters, be sure to read Eric Hardenbrook’s article “All You Can Make Up”)
-Own a piece of two superhero films? Sure, if you are willing to pay the price. Neal Saunders Auctions has both pieces from the Christopher Reeves Superman costume and the Michael Keaton Batman costume up for auction. The Superman lot is the blue tunic and starts at $40k. The Batman ensemble is much more complete: cape, cowl and body suit are mounted on a display unit and replica belt, boots, gloves and emblem complete the set starting at $35k. Both auctions end on January 26th.
-Last Call—the following genre shows are ending in 2017: Grimm, Black Sails, Orphan Black, Teen Wolf, The Leftovers, and The Strain. Here’s to the entertainment they provided and being able to binge watch them again on Netflix and Hulu.
-Sometimes when you’re making a movie, the mistakes are too good to cut and the genre has plenty of them. In Guardian’s of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt is supposed to be handing over the Infinity Stone when he almost drops it. The bobble was so comedic, the producers kept it. They may have planned Ian McKellan as Gandalf’s awkard avoidance of the chandelier in Bilbo’s home, but that part where he ran into the rafter was pure chance and too good to lose even though it had to have hurt. In LOTR the flag that comes loose from the roof in Rohan and blows away was not planned at all, but kept because it added to the feeling of desperation.
-AMC and James Cameron are coming together to produce a 6 hour documentary series on the history of Science Fiction. Unsurprisingly, titled James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. While the series will cover the origins of the genre all the way through current movies and books, it will be divided up into segments dealing with big ideas.
-Spike TV is at work developing Stephen King’s The Mist into a TV series. When asked how they plan to proceed they stated they were taking a page from developing the movie Fargo into a series. They also how to use elements from the Frank Darabont film of The Mist as well.
-DC has something unusual planned and it’s starting to show in the newly revamped Batman. It looks like the Watchmen are being layered into the DC full universe. Batman ran across a certain bloodstained smiley face button that made a lot of Watchmen fans sit up and take notice. There have been other hints in the Flash and other places that a larger power seems to be manipulating the world—could that perhaps be Dr. Manhattan? Tim King who is writing the new Batman series says all of this is no accident but rather very carefully laid groundwork for a big event that is still coming. Look for more Watchmen influences is the word.
-Get your light saber on—LudoSport arrives from Europe in San Francisco to open a Light Saber Academy. Running schools across the pond since 2006, LudoSport will bring the formalism and competitive edge to the sport that it has been promoting. According to their school, there are seven forms of combat and ten rules. Combatants are ranked by experience and much like martial art schools wear appropriate uniforms based upon their skill. Starting in Italy, LudoSport has since opened schools in Russia, the U.K., Sweden and Belgium. The San Francisco school will be the first one in the U.S.
-While we’re on the topic of Star Wars, which given the recent drop of the second Rogue One trailer shouldn’t surprise, you can redecorate Star Wars style. There are three different beds available: the land speeder, the X-Wing bed—where it’s split down the center by the ship like a bundling board and the Millennium Falcon cockpit bed. Finally, the tie fighter desk rounds out the collection is the cheapest item in the collection at $400 with the X-Wing bed being the most expensive at $1,200.
-Apparently, some creative person was really reaching for some serious product placement when they decided that the TV show General Hospital was the place to advertise the new Doctor Strange movie. Two characters in a romantic moment discuss going to see the movie and one says that he’d never see it without her. Ok, so it is the longest running soap and there are plenty of people watching it—but are they really your target audience? Gotta’ wonder some days.
Celebrate the Book and Celebrate the Book’s Mini-Comicon Carlisle’s Bosler Library presents a celebration of the written word featuring guest author Lisa Scottoline. The event runs all of the week ending 10-22-16. The Mini-Comicon will run from 3:00PM to 9:00PM on Thursday. Major vendor and guest author events are on Friday and Saturday. Most events take place at the Bosler Library in Carlisle, PA.
Barnes and Noble Lancaster will be hosting Star Wars cosplayers for Star Wars reads on 10-30-16
Philcon—the convention of the Philadelphia Science Fiction will be held in Cherry Hill, NJ November 18-20th. C.J. Cherryh is the guest of honor, David Seely the Artist Guest of Honor and L.E. Modesitt Jr. the Special Guest. More information is available at Philcon.org
Chessiecon will be held in Baltimore from Novemeber 25-27 at the Radisson North Baltimore Hotel. The Guest of Honor is Sarah Pinsker, Artist Guest of Honor—Tabitha Ladin and Musical Guest of Honor S.J. Tucker. More information at www.chessicon.org
-This year’s Emmys finally recognized the amazing performances of Orphan Black’s star Tatiana Mazlany. Tatiana has played numerous versions of the main character Sarah Manning and her clone sisters. Her true talent lies in the ability to make each persona unique and individual. Orphan Black has been repeatedly lauded for its portrayal of strong female characters, LGBT inclusiveness and adventurous plotlines. Sadly, Orphan Black’s fifth season will be its last but is good that it’s finally being recognized. The Emmy’s also picked out several other genre items for awards: the Best Lead Actor went to Rami Malek for his work on Mr. Robot, “The Abominable Bride” Sherlock won for best TV Movie and Game of Thrones was awarded Best Drama Series.
-There could be a Furiosa Road in the future. The Herald Sun leaked rumors that the film is already in development and could even start shooting as soon as the end of the year. The new film will be a prequel focusing on Furiosa. George Miller was quoted as saying earlier that he wanted to do a smaller film before jumping into another big production, so all of this is still speculation. In addition, the Black and Chrome version of Fury Road will release in the Mad Max High Octane Collection as well as the Black and Chrome edition, which will have both the color and black and white films.
–Pacific Rim: Maelstrom, the follow up jaeger/kaiju bashup has cast another star and she’s a pop singer. Cailee Spaeny will be teaming up with John Boyega (Force Awakens) in a follow up to the successful movie. There are a number of concerns about the followup: del Toro is not directing the movie- instead Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil) is and the big names stars are not returning. Cailee’s addition to the cast is an unusual choice and it’s hard to see if it’s a positive or not.
-Disney has its hands on everything now-a-days including a new movie version of Madeleine L’Engle’s award winning novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Storm Reid (12 Years a Slave), will be playing the part of Meg as she travels to another world to rescue her lost father. They’ve also brought onboard Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling to play Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who respectively. The classic coming of age story features interplanetary travel as well as facing your fears.
-He may have sung “Jessie’s Girl” but now he’s just the devil. Rick Springfield has joined the cast of Supernatural to play the father of all lies. The upcoming 13th season with feature new folks at the helm, Robert Singer and Andrew Dabb in addition to a certain rock and roll legend.
-So last newsletter we let you know about the new Star Trek series, Discovery and mentioned that it was premiering in January, which was awesome news. Sadly, we’ve got some less than happy follow up from CBS. In order to make sure that things are 100%, the start date has been moved to May 2017. Brian Fuller and Alex Kurtzman stated they wanted to take the extra time to ensure the quality of the end result.
-Evel Knievel never made it across the Snake River Canyon but Eddie Braun just did. Not only did he make the jump on a rocket bike using the same design specs as the original from 42 years ago, he also flew 2000 feet into the air at 400 miles an hour. Braun spent 1.5 million dollars and 3 years in planning to accomplish this feat. He also worked with Scott Truax, the son of the original creator of the rocket. The bike was built using the original blueprints with the only update being the parachute system. Others have talked about attempting the jump, including Evel’s son, but only Braun took the challenge to completion. Truax felt that he’d redeemed his father proving that the bike worked fine and if Evel had not hit the parachute early, he would have been successful.
–Avatar 2 is will begin filming next year with an expected release in 2018. Nine years after the record breaking
movie came out, a new Cameron epic will hopefully hit the screens. There are two more Avatar films to follow this one and the hope is that the entirety will be finished and shown by 2023. Stephen Lang will be returning to reprise his role as Colonel Quaritch.
–Vampire Hunter D will be reborn in a TV show done with CGI animation. Hideyuki Kikuchi’s series runs from the initial novel from 1983 to the 29th book in the series recently released in May. Kikuchi’s world has inspired a number of different adaptations: 2 movies, audio dramas and a manga series. Now Unified Pictures will bring to the small screen the story of D, a dhampir—half vampire, half human– who hunts vampires in a post apocalyptical world more than 10,000 years in the future.
-The Doctor Who spinoff, Class is starting to sound a little like the other show that Doctor Who inspired– Torchwood. Coal Hill School has deep roots in the milieu since it was the very school that Susan, the first Doctor’s grand daughter attended. Time and again the school has made appearances and Class takes a look at what all of that time traveling activity might have done to the location (which might sound similar to the idea of the Rift in Cardiff attracting alien activity). The primary cast is mostly newcomers. Playing students are: Fady Elsayed, Vivian Oparah, Greg Austin and Sophie Hopkins. Katherine Kelly rounds out the cast and is best know for her work on Coronation Street.
-You can have it all, but it will cost you. First there were rumors, then there were pictures and now there’s the price tag– the complete extended Hobbit + Lord of the Rings boxset is big and expensive—around $800. Thirty discs, in faux leather cases housed in a wooden shelf with a hundred page book. The expected release is October 4th. The package also includes reproductions of water color work by John Howe and Alan Lee. The Hobbit Extended collection includes an hour of additional previously unavailable footage and 34 hours of extended content. The Lord of the Rings Extended collection includes 2 hours of extended scenes and 33 hours of extra content. Digital versions are also available through download and access to Ultraviolet versions for playing on a number of different formats.
-While we’re on the topic of Lord of the Rings, did you know that David Bowie tried out for one of the parts? Dominic Monaghan, better known as Merry was waiting to audition for LOTR, he happened to notice a very familiar looking figure sign in for his turn. Dominic felt that Bowie was reading for Gandalf’s part, although many a fan might assume that he was after Elrond’s role since it’s easy to compare that to the Goblin King. It’s never been confirmed which part, but it is still pretty cool that Bowie tried out for a part.
-Finally, yes apparently Ian McKellan did actually turn down a ridiculous amount of money when he was asked to officiate a wedding as a certain wizard. When approached by Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas to officiate their Tolkien inspired wedding and offered 1.5 million to do the deed, Ian supposedly told them that Gandalf doesn’t do weddings. Their wedding however did go off any way without a certain wizard in attendance and the final price tag for the whole affair came to a whopping 10 million dollars.
–Young Frankenstein will be getting a behind the scenes book thanks to Mel Brooks. Rebecca Keegan will be aiding Brooks and they plan to interview the films producer, directory of photography and even Cloris Leachman. Young Frankenstein is considered a classic and was even added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry.
-Netflix scored a big coup recently by becoming the provider for the new Star Trek series due to arrive in January of 2017. Netflix will make the episodes available a day after they air on TV. The deal also allows Netflix to continue to show all of the other Star Trek television shows: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. The word is that new show will have a different ship with a different crew but the follow the same ideology as the other shows. The new Star Trek will start production as early as September in Toronto.
-That’s new Star Trek, however the original series turns 50 this year and the folks at Shmaltz Brewing are serving up two beers in celebration: the Golden Anniversary Ale : The Trouble with Tribbles and the Golden Anniversary Ale : Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant. The Trouble with Tribbles brew will be comprised of a number of different hops including: Comet, Polaris, Aurora and Admiral and include wheat malt as a tribute to the quadrotiticale wheat/rye variant that featured in the original episode. Voyage to the Northeast Quadrant will be of a more standard fare for the less daring drinker. Both brews will debut at the San Diego Comicon.
–Mr. Robot feels like the real deal with regards to hacking because they went to the experts for advice. The security firm, Tanium deals with all kinds of issues in cybersecurity and their chief security architect, Ryan Kananciyan is an expert at breaking into computer systems to determine their weaknesses. Also Andrew McGregor, who is the director of security for Tanium, worked with the FBI in the past investigating issues with government systems. These two are helping the showrunners keep it real and the results are what make Mr. Robot stand out from the pack.
-Stephen King has several movie projects going forward. Pictures are emerging from both The Dark Tower and It. The image of Pennywise from It is all over the Internet and certainly seems to contain the same sort of menace that Tim Curry did. Pictures of Idris Ibla and Matthew McConaughey are also floating around as well a interviews and rumors about The Dark Tower. King himself is quoted as saying that he reviewed the script and removed a significant amount of Roland Deschain’s dialog. He also pointed out that two characters from the book Eddie and Susannah will not be in the movie. King also stated he is 100% behind the adaptation.
-The news just hit the Internet that the next season of Game of Thrones will only be seven episodes long and will be arriving later in the year than usual. Most feel that the seven is related to the seven kingdoms and or seven gods. Fans will also have to wait a little longer for the DVDs of Season Six, which are set to drop on November 15th. Those who are willing to watch things via digital download can enjoy this year’s show on August 1st.
-IDW and cyberpunk muse William Gibson take time travel to an exploitative end in the new comic Archangel. The Splitter gives you access to alternate timelines and from them you can take the goods or even takeover. This is Gibson’s first comic and he seemed very positive about the result, in fact he was concerned that it might be difficult to live up to expectations in future
projects. Archangel’s first issue drops on the stands May 18th and continues for three more.
-Michael Fassbender is being very complimentary about the latest Alien franchise film, Alien:Covenant, currently filming in Australia. Fassbender, reprising his role as David the android from Prometheus, was impressed by the set and described them as similar to those from Bladerunner. He also let drop that there are some chest bursters in the new film. Convenant also stars: Billy Crudup, Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston and Jussie Smollett. Rumor says the movie with include a trip to the Engineer’s world and revelations about the ultimate fate of humanity.
-Netflix has cast Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs in their television adaptation of Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon. (Altered Carbon was a Watch the Skies book for March of 2008) Kinnaman defintely has some genre experience from the reboot of Robocop to the up coming Suicide Squad and he’s used to working with Netflix since they picked up and continued The
Killing. Laeta Kalgordis who will be executive producing acquired the rights to four of Morgans Kovacs novels with the intent of
developing the properties because of her personal interest in the stories. Kalgordis also worked on Avatar, Terminator Genesis and Alita: Battle Angel.
-It’s just possible that Hollywood’s hot new screenwriter, Derek Connolly(Co-wrote Jurassic World, Kong: Skull Island and tapped for Star Wars:Epsiode IX) could be just what it takes to put Pacific Rim 2 back in to motion. It’s unconfirmed if Connolly will be scriptwriting, idea generating or even reworking elements already contributed by Del Toro, John Spathis and Zak Penn, but where as the property was in limbo- this is a positive step forward.
The News and Blues for Network Genre Shows
ABC went on a tear recently and started canceling shows left and right. What won’t be returning: Castle, Agent Carter, The Astronaut Wives Club, Galavant and even the Muppet Show. There is a grassroots effort starting to have Netflix pick up Agent Carter and this would not be a bad thing because the rental agency/content provider/studio has proven it is capable of
running good shows. There’s a small problem though, Hayley Atwell, who’s played Agent Carter for two seasons, is one of the leads in ABCs new legal show Conviction. Now since Agent Carter is typically 10 episodes, this is about half the commitment of a full season for a regular show. ABC also hopes that new fare like Time After Time, premise taken from both the book and the movie of the same name, where HG Wells chasing Jack the Ripper into the future and Still Starcrossed, which follows the Noble Houses of the Capulets and the Montagues after the events of Romeo and Juliet, will serve to soften the blow of the cancellations. NBC figures if you are soured by recent cancellations you might enjoy another time travel show, Timeless, where a time machine is stolen with the intent to destroy America by changing its past. Can a scientist, soldier and historian team along with the prototype time machine stop the changes without creating more themselves? Not your idea of the perfect show? How about traveling over the rainbow to Emerald City? Drop Dorothy Gale and a police dog into a dark version of Oz and let the fun begin. Here’s what might make this one a winner though—it’s directed by Tarsem Singh, you might remember him from the visually stunning, The Cell. NBC cancelled its share of shows too including You, Me and the Apocalypse. While we’re talking about what won’t be back, CBS pulled the plug on their AI episodic, Person of Interest as well as CSI:Cyber. CBS is being very close mouthed about anything new having only just starting to announce the shows that are renewed, such as Elementary. They did however save some face by moving Supergirl to CW instead of the sad alternative.
-The sky is falling, but right now it’s only falling over Antarctica. Explorers and scientists at the Southern most point of the world have found a crater that may tie back to an impact recorded in 2004. It’s a big continent down there and prominently white so sometimes it takes the human element to find something new since the plane doing the flight was actually measuring ice shelf thicknesses and variations in the local gravitational field. The 2 kilometer wide crater was found on the King Baudoin Ice Shelf. Now if they can just be smart enough to keep the alien frozen when they dig up the ship, things will go much better than all the movies we’ve seen.
– When their blood is used to save a life, blood donors in Sweden receive a text to alert them. With blood donations flagging, a new idea was put into use—remind the donors of their importance. It’s so very simple and also effective. Donors also receive a text right after they donate. It makes sense that people like to be thanked and know you’ve made a difference.
-On April 20, the cast and the crew of The Expanse are heading back to work for season two and their taking someone new with them, New Zealand Actress Frankie Adams. Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham, who are also collectively known as James S.A. Correy, the authors of the expanse series and the TV showrunners, Hawk Otsby and Mark Fergus knew they had to find the right person to play the Martian Marine Bobbie Draper. In the books, Bobbie is big, as at the very least tall big and very much a fighter. She’s a wonderful character because she’s a duty bound person in a world that is full of gray areas. While the show personnel and writers threw around names like Gina Carano(Fast and Furious 6) and Gwendoline Christie(Game of Thrones), the fact was that neither really fit the character except for their physical size and prowess. In fact they were looking for a Polynesian or Samoan actress and Frankie fit the bill perfectly being Samoan, a fairly well known actress in New Zealand, and also an amateur boxer.
-Neil Gaiman is all over the news these days and now we’ve got some really good news—Good Omens is coming to TV. We read the book some time ago and it was a favorite and while it is also a favorite to Gaiman, he never wanted to pursue the adaptation without his co-author,Terry Pratchett’s help. The two had a deal to only work on Good Omens material together and with Pratchett’s passing Gaiman set aside any projects. Until in a very Pratchett like twist, Gaiman received a posthumous letter giving him permission. So in addition to American Gods, we can now look forward to Good Omens.
-What if you could play against your friends even if they weren’t on the same gaming platform? Microsoft X-Box is taking a bold step forward with their next game Rocket League in offering cross platform play. Of course this is only an invite and it will take the participation of PS4 and PC game developers as well. Another consideration is that in some instances some platforms such as the PC might have an advantage over the others in a first person shooter due to the user interface, so how do you keep things fair? But still this is been years in the making and could truly refresh and reopen the gaming market.
-We could be on the way to using slick technology like Minority Report on any flat surface thanks to Sony’s Future Lab R&B team. Called the ‘interactive tabletop’ the projector utilizes motion tracking and depth perception to notate objects the user wishes to manipulate. The system is set up to recognize hand gestures and can also measure objects placed on the table field. It’s easy to many possible future uses for this technology.
-So if you have a cartoon, the voice talent can really help the viewer establish a character in their minds. Take that one step further and obviously a live action version would literally come to life if the voice talent could play the leads. The question is then if you were rebooting The Tick and couldn’t get Patrick Warburton to voice him would things still work? Amazon believes in the project and Patrick is onboard as an executive producer. Casting has already begun with Griffin Newman and Valorie Curry are set to play Arthur and his sister Dot. The original version was full of quirky fun and the live action tried to follow in its footsteps. One can only hope that Amazon holds onto the spirit and the humor of the original with whomever they cast as The Tick.
-Expanse actor is a late addition to Star Trek Beyond– Shohreh Aghdashloo was picked to play a role in the command structure of the Federation. With the film due out on July 22nd, it’s interesting that the producers felt that Shohreh’s inclusion was important enough to do reshoots to add her character. Her recent performance in the Expanse as Chrisjen Avasarala definitely caught someone’s attention and prompted the add.
–Star Trek Axanar, legal or no? There’s been a lot of conversations, including judicial ones about this and interestingly enough the Klingon language might be a key element in the case. CBS and Paramount brought a suit against the films producers alleging infringement to which they responded with a counter motion for dismissal based on the fact that CBS and Paramount were not indicating which individual copyright was at issue. Klingon may be a different story though. So here’s the real funky twist, in another case Google and Oracle are in a fight over whether or not or not Google can use Oracle’s Java API code. In this case the API is considered a language. So when the case was ruled in Oracle’s favor it established a precedent that it is possible to copyright a language– maybe even Klingon. If that’s the case then it’s another element that CBS and Paramount can use against the Axanar producers. On the other hand has this opened another can of worms– can you prosecute someone for speaking Klingon or Quenya or Dothraki since they can be copywritten? Things are about to get interesting as CBS and Paramount just filed a new motion last Friday, so we’ll have to follow this story further.
-When it premieres on November 18th, Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them will be the first movie in a trilogy according to a recent news release by author, J.K. Rowling. While Rowling stated awhile ago she was done with a certain magician named Potter (which was not completely true considering a certain play whose script will be released in July) it certainly hasn’t kept her from writing about the magical world as a whole. Her twitter feed just launched the news of two follow up films to Magical Beasts. Beasts has some talent that has starred in SF&F films before like Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston and Ron Perlman. Rowling has also been posting online “A History of Magic in North America”. IO9 recently had some very interesting and somewhat less than complimentary things to say about the episodic posts. It certainly seems that the magical Potterverse, or should I say Rowlingverse, is far from over.
-How do you prove you have a lot of free time on your hands? Build a life-sized model of the Hulkbuster Iron Man suit out of Legos. It only took 940 hours and a team of Lego experts to put more than a million blocks into a very iconic configuration.
-Quite a sight on the Isle of Wight. Motorists were treated to a surprise triceratops in the middle of the road through the town of Godshill. Martin Simpson the owner of Island Gems believes it might have taken about 5 “hefty lads” to relocate his dinosaur. Pictures are circulating around the net of the dino in the road.
-CBS has picked an unusual property to reboot—could the man in mullet save the world with a paperclip once again? The network has ordered a pilot for a new version of the 80’s show MacGyver. Now it’s been tried before with the WB contemplating a Young MacGyver show or possibly even a movie. The pilot sounds like it will be a younger MacGyver recruited to a shadowy organization who will employ his talents to avert disasters.
-Some casting news from the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, Michael Pitt will be playing the role of the Laughing Man opposite Scarlett Johanssen’s Major Kusanagi. The Laughing Man is already being labeled as the villain in the picture, which is interesting because the Laughing Man was many things in the series including an easily identifiable antagonist but never really the bad guy. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the movie. Also Pilou Asbaek was tapped to play Batou. His most recent assignment was playing Euron Greyjoy for season six of Game of Thrones.
-William Shatner’s biography, Leonard hit the shelves on Tuesday 2-16-15. Commentary about the book is mixed. Leonard isn’t particular organized and jumps around in time but at the same time gives insight about Nimoy that is not well known. At the same time reviewers also point out the book not only spills secrets that only an insider like Shatner would know but actually focuses more on the “why” of what Nimoy did in terms of his life and his career.
-Star Wars VIII’s filming has started and there are some new stars on board. Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran are all involved with shooting that has begun at Pinewood Studios in London. Supposedly, the new script is so good Abrams is regretting giving up the opportunity to helm the picture. The film is set for a December release in 2017.
-J.J. Abrams is pretty much everywhere now a days except he seems to have gone one place no one expected—back to Cloverfield. The word was around that there was a project in development, a disaster flick sometimes called Valencia or The Cellar, but nobody really knew where things stood with it. That was until the trailer showed up for 10 Cloverfield Lane, which appears to be a sort of parallel storyline about a woman held underground with two men where it is no longer safe to be above ground. You do have to hand it to Abrams that in such a connected time as this he still managed to pull off quite a surprise.
-Darth Vader will apparently be back for more screen time in Rogue One : A Star Wars Story coming this December on the 16th. The rumor is that a certain voice actor will be returning to reprise his role and it would be a real pleasure to hear Mr. James Earl Jones once more. The rumors also state that Brian Muir who
created the signature Vader helmet is once more at work designing a costume for the movie. The real question remains—who will be donning said costume since David Prowse is now sadly too old for the job.
-Although it sounds like an X-File (don’t forget the series reboots January 25th!), Russia has a plan to deal with asteroids that could threaten the Earth. Now numerous scientists have pointed out again and again the danger posed by another dinosaur killer catching us unaware and unprepared. As of right now, nobody has an approved method of dealing with something like this. NEOShield is the official name of the plan, which would explode a
nuclear weapon to alter the course of the asteroid. The explosion would not be aimed directly at the asteroid but rather close enough to it do deflect it away from the planet. This makes better sense than targeting the asteroid since the resulting fall out would cause an exceptional amount of damage as well. Roscosmos is developing a program to use four satellites to look for potential planet killers. So the question is how long would we hesitate to allow the use of a nuke against the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 if it was Russia who was going to save the world?
–Next year marks the beginning of the last season of The Mythbusters, but they’ve already finished filming it. Adam Savage tweeted a number of pictures during the wrap party. Jamie Hyneman gave Adam one of his berets that Adam had hit with buckshot and attendees were given pieces of Buster the team’s ever suffering crash test dummy.
-When they make you wait, why wait? Neil Blomkamp’s Alien film has been brought to a halt but rumors are already circulating about his next project. Neil’s next film will likely be a time travel procedural based off of Thomas Sweterlitsch’s forthcoming book The Gone World. So before it’s even out, they’ve already sold the film rights and plans are being made to film it—sounds like time travel to me. The reason that Neil isn’t working on something Alien is actually kind of interesting as well and it goes back to the beginning of things. According to Ridley Scott, Prometheus 2 will explain the origin of the Xenomorphs. It makes sense not to have competing Alien movies.
–Lucifer will premier on January 25th at 9PM. Based on a characterization by Neil Gaiman in the Sandman Series and then fleshed out by writer Mike Carey for a separate comic, the television show takes some definite liberties with the story line but does keep the same tone for the main character. The pilot was released early to judge audience reaction and it looks like FOX TV has finally committed to an airdate.
-Here’s an old classic that’s given new life due to the relaunch of the Star Wars franchise—bucket o’ army men has become Death Star of Storm Troopers. Same sort of idea except we’re talking white instead of green except for one molded from pure Darth Vader black.
-Traditional methods of movie making are changing and growing and changes are also occurring in who makes movies. Known more for distributing movies, Netflix has put its money behind Bong Jun-ho, the creative force behind Snowpiercer, to the tune of 50 million dollars in order to support his new movie Okja. Plan B, a company owned by Brad Pitt, will also be backing the film set to start production in 2016 with an expected release in 2017.
–The Expanse, based on James S.A. Correy’s novels will premier on SyFy November 23rd. The pilot was shown at the San Diego Comicon. It sounds like the characterization for Miller is dead on, the backdrop of the closed in spaces and the quick moves of the camera recreates the claustrophobic atmosphere but it sounds like the extraneous sounds and the belter slang might make it difficult to follow some of the dialog. There are some small changes in the back story and we will meet one of the characters sooner than she arrives in the books. On the other hand the beginning follows the action of the book directly.
-Philadelphia recently had a moment that felt like a flashback to the film 12 Monkeys when two zebras got loose and roamed the streets. They escaped from the UniversalSoul Circus at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and proceeded to lead police and locals on a merry chase. About 40 minutes later both were apprehended although one had gotten as far a two miles away from the circus.
-With a towering skyline, Dubai has problems most cities don’t and they are planning to use solutions most people won’t– jetpacks. Martin Aircraft of New Zealand will be providing the jetpacks to aid in emergency response for Dubai. Each pack costs around $250k and can carry up to 265 pounds.
–X-men are coming to the small screen. Apparently, Marvel and Fox are now working together to create two pilots for new TV shows. One will deal with the origin of the Helffire Club and the other will be centered around Legion, the son of Doctor Xavier. Fox wants a piece of the superhero action. It will be interesting to see how the shows fair in a TV environment where extent shows like Heroes Reborn and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. already are firmly entrenched in how humans and mutants interact.
-Open Bionics has found a way to make kids with missing limbs super with the help of Disney. The company was chosen to be part of the Disney Accelerator program which gives them additional funding if they can tie things to entertainment properties. So Open Bionics used 3D printing to create affordable limbs that are designed to incorporate designs from Ironman, Frozen and Star Wars. The limbs include LED lights and sounds. Kids deserve limb replacement at a reasonable price and why shouldn’t they be cool as well?
-Right now everyone seems to up in arms about change. They don’t like a female Thor or an black Captain America and they sure didn’t waste any time hating on Star Wars either. But creative people and places keep making changes and challenging roles. Universal is stepping up to the block by making the mummy a woman for their Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe and why not. If you look at Universal’s The Mummy the whole reason the reincarnated priest is doing everything is to revive the love of his life. Egyptians mummified both male and female royals and finally Nefertiti, do we need to go on?
-The apes are not over. Once again the Planet of the Apes is coming to the big screen with War for the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis will be reprising his role as Caesar. Steve Zahn will be taking on a new primate role and Woody Harrelson and Gabriel Chavarria will be the human stars this time. War is set for a July release in 2017.
-In our local area, you may have occasionally heard the unique squawking cry of a pheasant. That sound has become rarer and rarer as the fence row and field habitats that the birds need to reproduce are constantly reduced. Millersville Biology students are tracking released pen raised pheasants with radio transponders in Lancaster County Park to discover where the birds will seek cover and how they survive. Carrying a radio antenna a receiver that generates loud beeping sounds has caught the attention of several of the park goers but the students persist in their research. For our area in Southern Pennsylvania, the pheasant is on the edge of their survival range. In addition to the removal of habitat the birds are also temperature sensitive and eggs laid farther North are often not fertile. Out of the released pheasants, two are missing presumed dead and another one a little smarter managed to slip out of the radio collar. Three remain active. Students volunteer their free time to track the birds. Wild life tracking has been done for years and in the future the task may be delegated to autonomous drones
-The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage trust found a surprise locked in ice when they were restoring a hut used in an exploration of the area 100 years ago. Hidden away for a century were 22 negatives that show images of the area and the explorers from the ship Aurora. Not only providing historic information, the images also show how the landscape has changed after the passage of time
–How do you out-do your first monster movie– by throwing another monster at it. But what if you take another popular monster and combine the impact? Legendary is transferring their distributorship of the upcoming King Kong follow up movie Skull Island to Warner Brothers and at the same time also looking at acquiring some rights. The way to make your third movie successful might be to take Skull Island coming out 2017 and Godzilla 2 slated for 2018 and throw their two respective monsters at each other in the near future.
-Harrison Ford’s characters have two big questions surrounding them: “Did Han shoot first?” and “Was Decker a replicant”. The second question remains vague since Ridley Scott had one answer and Harrison Ford another and it certainly didn’t help that there were seven different versions of Blade Runner. Denis Villenueve, the director for Blade Runner 2 told fans at the Toronto International Film Festival that he will resolve the issue. Of course he won’t let that cat out of the bag until the movie comes out and there isn’t a release date yet.
-If you look carefully at Karl Urban playing Dr. McCoy in the new Star Trek movies you might notice the ring on his pinky finger, that is a tribute to the original actor DeForest Kelley. Kelley wore the ring as a memorial to his departed mother. She actually won the ring on a bet when she was vacationing. Gene Rodenberry had a strict no jewelry policy on the set but after he heard the story he gave Kelley permission. If you look carefully, you will see that the ring not only shows up in the series but also the movies as well. The ring had a small blue stone but that wasn’t often visible as Kelley turned that inward to protect it.
-The animated Batman 66 has scored a coup in signing on a classic voice to match to a classic villain, in fact one she’s played before. Julie Newmar will be voicing catwoman for the movie. This is a nice finishing touch to a film that already has Adam West and Burt Ward onboard to voice their original characters: Batman and Robin.
-Warner Brothers must really have faith in Mad Max: Fury Road because they’ve signed Tom Hardy for three more films. The trailers are full of insane action and one can only hope that it is possible to keep that fever pitch of madness for three more films.
-Matt Smith has been a busy man since he hung up his bowtie working on Terminator: Genysis, Patient Zero and How to Catch a Monster. But now it sounds like the former Doctor has an invite to the Potterverse. Smith is the current favorite for the lead role in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is expected to start production this summer.
-J.J. Abrams new Star Wars movie, due December 18th isn’t the only thing coming this year. Taking full advantage of the increased interest Disney plans on releasing at least 20 Star Wars books before the movie arrives. Some of these books will be used to explain the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens others will be children’s books, sticker books and beginning readers that will focus on the original characters to garner attention to the Star Wars universe. Also the Secret Cinema organization is planning its next big show and it’s The Empire Strikes Back. From the beginning of June through the beginning of August they will be running showings in London. Secret Cinema is know for elaborate sets and often displays their showings against the sides of large buildings. They are also going to be doing the 30th Anniversary of Back to The Future in L.A. with a full-scale mock up of Hillvale as well as numerous actors dressed for the parts.
-The Hawk has decided that his name is reserved. Stephen Hawking™ has joined Harlan Ellison™ in protecting just how his name is used. Since he has become somewhat of a cultural icon, certain things like t-shirts bearing the logo “The Hawking Dead” may not be in his best interest. The renowned scientist got there just a little after physicist celebrity, Brian Cox™ who also recently applied for a trademark.
-The film and TV adaptations of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has become the proverbial hot potato and came to rest recently in Sony’s lap. Initially, Universal backed Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsmith in their plan of a trilogy of movies and an associated TV series. Concerns about budget and delays brought about the
project’s cancellation. Afterwards it was hoped that Warner
Brothers would step in and take things over which did not occur. However, Sony will now be picking up the project, but without Howard. Goldsmith is still involved and has rewritten the script along with Jeff Pinkne but now the movie is focused around the events of the first book: The Gunslinger. Sony says it is still committed to bringing the full scope of the project to the big screen.
-Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, will be looking very different this season for two reasons. One she’s going to be in Bravos and her outfit will definitely reflect her new home. We’ve gotten used to her having only one set of clothes in her travels with the Hound. However, there is another reason, she’s going to be taking a trip in all of time and space. Maise will be guest starring with Peter Capaldi in an upcoming Doctor Who Adventure. Her exact role remains unknown at this time.
-Photographer J.R. Blackwell has an ambitious idea that she’s started a kickstarter for—she wants to put the authors into their own created worlds via photography. In Their Own Worlds is planned to be a book of images that capture the author as a character of the very stories that they right. Blackwell has already gathered more than half of the requested $5000 to initially fund her project. She plans on using a skilled team of professionals to do large scale shoots and then eventually display the results in a gallery show. Her group of authors include: P.J. Schnyder, Jared Axelrod and Tee Morris.
-”Respect the Robot” was Ankara Mayor Melih Gocek’s response to the Turkish Union of Engineers who took issue with his use of tax money to erect at 20’ tall robot statue. The robot is there to promote a new theme park, but some people are not amused.
-Tangerine Kitty and the Metro Trains Melbourne’s “Dumb Ways to Die” has been overhauled by Egor Zhgun to reflect gruesome demises of the Game of Thrones Characters. Cleverly done using the same words, the animations are fitted to the instance.
-Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk on a spaceship once again is the rallying cry for the Indigogo campaign of the webseries Con Man. Well, they’re not exactly on a spaceship, in fact that’s the whole reason for the show. Both actors play actors from a cancelled show called Spectrum, where they were the captain and the pilot. Life now for Tudyk’s character consists of doing the concircuit in an attempt to resurrect or maintain what’s left of his career. Fillion’s character on the other hand has gone on to success. They are hoping to raise $425,000 dollars to be able to film the 10 scripts Tudyk wrote. One day after starting the project, it was fully funded, which shows the continuing support of their fans.
–Ascension is dead. SyFy recently posted that they were happy with results of their “Event Series” but do not intend to pursue it farther. It’s difficult to see the three part series as complete with the resulting cliffhanger ending, but apparently the network has decided to spend its money elsewhere which may bode well for the Expanse.
–Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company is apparently up for a little Jaunt. Plan B scored the rights to Stephen King’s story “Jaunt” which was published in the collection Skeleton Crew. It’s a good question how the adaptation will go since there’s not a whole lot of story to work with. “Jaunt” is about an odd teleportation system somewhat similar to that described in Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. When this might all happen is a good question too since Plan B apparently has a full slate including World War Z 2.
–The Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku, Japan plans to let you sleep with Godzilla. Not only does the hotel have several Godzilla themed rooms including one with a giant clawed hand hovering over your bed, it also has a giant Godzilla head on the roof. That way you can rent of the penthouse rooms and have Japan’s favorite monster leering at you through the window.
-NASA could be running out of batteries—the kind that power Curiosity are made from plutonium 238 which is a byproduct of producing nuclear weapons. Since we haven’t been making weapons, we haven’t been making what keeps the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) going and going and going. In fact what we have stockpiled would only make three more MMRTGs which is not good because there are other missions that would definitely benefit such as the Europa sub. NASA’s plan for an alternative has failed so now the Department of Energy is looking for new ways to make the necessary plutonium. It is however anyone’s guess if they will have some ready in time for the next NASA missions requiring an MMRTG.
-It’s Zombies vs. Dr. Who and Game of Thrones as Patient Zero hires on some familiar faces. At the head of the survivors team is the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Not far behind him are Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly). Matt’s character is immune to a highly infectious strain of super rabies that changes the infected into killing machines. His job is to find the source and then the cure.
-Things started with a music rumor from Giorgio Moroder and led to the revelation that Tron 3 was in the works. Moroder tweeted that he had 5 tracks that were for a Tron game and he was going to share them with artist Skrillex to see if he was interested in remixing any of them. Fan speculation that this was not necessarily a game but rather a new movie rose until additional tweets came out stating that October 5th was the first day of shooting and that Garret Hedlund was returning to the starring role. It also sounds like Joseph Kosinski will be returning to direct. Fan speculation is rampant about Olivia Wilde and even Bruce Boxleitner also participating. What’s interesting is that given the beginning of all of this is Georgio Moroder going to be doing the soundtrack? What about fan favorites Daft Punk?
SFWA has opened its membership to small press and self published writers. New requirements are a novel earning $3000 dollars, 10,000 words published at $.06/word and 1,000 words published at $.06/word for associate membership. Stephen Gould announced the change on 2-3-15 and applications will be open to qualifying writers on March 1st.
-Outcast is a new series coming from Cinemax based on the comic by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Cinemax has ordered a ten episode run. The series follows Kyle Barnes who’s been fighting
demonic possession for most of his life.
-David Bautista could be the next Kurgan. Roll that thought around in your head for a moment. Bautista recently starred in Guardians of the Galaxy and has now joined the cast for the Highlander reboot planned by Summit Enterprises.
-If you’ve been missing the man with the boomstick, Starz may be willing to help you out. They’ve got a new series in the works, Ash vs. the Evil Dead. It just wouldn’t be the same without Bruce Campbell and Starz is planning on ten half hour episodes of gore.
-Grant Linehan is working with UK channel 4 to give you more geekery like the IT Crowd, except in space. Cloud 13 is a new show concept with a crew of misfits on a space station that holds
information from all over which tends to amount to quite a few
images of cats and everything else that clutters the internet. Sadly, the crew may not be up to the task.
-The disparity between the books and the show of Game of Thrones is going to get worse in Season 5 and some of the characters you’ve followed could be on the chopping block. D.B. Weiss and David
Benioff are planning to step outside the lines of the book and rumors are that there are Starks and other main characters who may not survive. Now this isn’t something that hasn’t happened before since some characters have been consolidated and others like Robb Stark’s bride survive in the books but not in the show. So is this a
reaction to the fact that they will soon be running out of source
material or an attempt to garner more attention—only time will tell.