Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Simmons Reveals DOCTOR WHO Fandom on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agent Leo Fitz may want to seriously consider investing in a David Tennant Tenth Doctor costume.

During "The Only Light in the Darkness," tonight's episode of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., life sciences specialist Agent Jemma Simmons revealed her fondness for a certain world's longest-running science fiction television series by the name of Doctor Who.

As fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or Captain America: The Winter Soldier are aware by now, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been extremely compromised by the evil forces of HYDRA, to the point of complete FUBAR where no one knows exactly whom they can trust.  Enter Agent Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt), who insists that no one is leaving until they go through "orientation," which turns out to be a highly advanced lie detector test.  The lie detector was designed by Nick Fury himself so that even Black Widow couldn’t beat it, though it's not mentioned whether she did or not.  (Let's face it, she probably did.)

Koenig begins examining the team with the question "
You're stranded on a deserted island and you're allowed is one item found in a box.  What's in the box?" and we get a montage of answers.  However, it's Elizabeth Henstridge's character Jemma Simmons who proves the most revealing with her response.  "The TARDIS," she replies to the delight of Whovians everywhere.

The Doctor Who reference makes perfect sense of course, given Simmons' British geek background and the perfectly logical reasoning that The Doctor's machine of time and relative dimensions in space could get her off that deserted island rather easily.  "The Only Light in the Darkness" was written by Monica Owusu-Breen, a former writer and producer of such sciencey fictiony shows as Lost, Fringe and Revolution.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rockne S. O'Bannon Updates Fans on FARSCAPE Movie

"Who’s your daddy?  C’mon, you know who your daddy is.  Who’s your daddy?  D’Argo, tell him who his daddy is."
"I'm your daddy."
-- John Crichton and Ka D'Argo, Farscape: "Thanks for Sharing"

About two months ago, Scapers all over the world were excited to learn that a movie based on their beloved TV series Farscape is officially in the works.  The innovative television series, which ran for four seasons on the Sci-Fi channel from 1999-2003, received a three-hour miniseries called Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars in 2004 to tie up dangling plot threads from the Season 4 cliffhanger and give fans desperately-needed closure. 

But apart from several series of comic books from BOOM! Studios published from 2008-2011 that continued the saga, fans pretty much resigned themselves to the notion that Farscape was finally done.  That is, until word broke that Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson and Farscape executive producer, was planning to direct a Farscape feature film.

According to Tor, the script by Justin Monjo would involve this premise -- "Set to follow the awesome comics written by our favorite Keith R.A. DeCandido, the film would follow John and Aeryn’s son, D’Argo (or Little D, as we will always refer to him).  Because their baby was exhibiting a set of interesting powers that made him a magnet for galactic villains, we find that John and Aeryn hid their son on Earth to grow up.  Now the kid is 19 and ready to go into space with his parents."

Well, Comic Book Resources has an update on the project, made by none other than Farscape showrunner Rockne S. O'Bannon during yesterday's panel for NBC's Revolution at WonderCon Anaheim.  "We are, in fact, in the script stage of a Farscape feature," announced O'Bannon to an enthusiastic crowd.

"[We’re] still in early, early stages," O’Bannon continued, cautioning fans that the film still isn't a done deal...yet.  He went on to credit Brian Henson’s efforts in bringing the film project to life.  "He was like a dog with a bone," said O’Bannon.  "He would not give up on it."

Friday, April 18, 2014

SPIDER-MAN Producers Crush Hopes of Marvel Film Crossovers

Spider-Man teaming up with the Avengers or the X-Men?  Pffft!  Fanboy, please.

In a recent interview with IGN, Spider-Man movie producers crushed any hopes that Marvel fans may have had of seeing the amazing Spider-Man joining forces with Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, The Human Torch or Wolverine.

"I think I’m probably a little bit of the militant here," said longtime Spider-Man producer Avi Arad.  "I think it will take a moment in which we’ve run out of ideas.  There's so much to tell about Spider-Man.  There's so much to tell about the Sinister Six.  The relationship between Spider-Man and Venom will bring a whole other world in."

It's no coincidence Arad seems more interested in The Sinister Six and Venom, considering there are spinoffs planned for both of those properties to develop a self-contained Spidermovieverse for Sony Pictures to compete against the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  According to Variety, both films are slated to be released before The Amazing Spider-Man 4 in 2018.

"We did it in the books.  We did team-ups all the time," he continued, referencing Marvel Comics' regular character interactions.  "Even with DC.  You know, we'd flip a coin, 'Okay, who's going to win, Batman or The Hulk?  We'll make a cover out of it.'  But we really feel very confident that we have so much to do […] Peter Parker is unique -- he's really different.  He's not an Avenger.  He's not an X-Man.  He's unique and we revere that.  And we'd rather work really hard to have the right ideas than -- you know in the toy business we used to make toys glow in the dark when they weren't selling well and it gave at least another Christmas.  We don't need it yet."

Arad's Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-producer Matt Tolmach seems to share the same fondness for isolationism.  "You know Avi always refers to that question as a stunt," he said.  "If you were to do that, you know, Spider-Man in the Avengers is a stunt.  And I get why everybody -- you know, fans and audience members and movie goers -- I understand it.

"When you think about the Sinister Six and you think about Venom and you think about Carnage and you think Spider-Man in whatever way you want in association with those movies, they feel like they're built for Spider-Man.  Like that's where his story needs to go and wants to go and it has to be about more than a stunt.

"Stunts can be cool but it's also a business, and so the other side of the answer is they're owned by different companies.  And there's a ton left in Sony's world.  There's a lot of business left because there's a lot of story left.  So for them to want to take this character and put it with Marvel and Disney is a huge undertaking and probably, as Avi's saying, isn't necessary until you feel like, 'Wow, we're sort of out of ideas.  What should we do?'  And we're far from out of ideas."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FLASH GORDON Approaching Return to the Big Screen

Gordon's alive!

Eighty years after his debut in a comic strip by Alex Raymond, science fiction adventure hero Flash Gordon may finally be making his return to the big screen.  According to Film Divider, Star Trek 3 screenwriters J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are also writing a new Flash Gordon film with producer Jon Davis and are in the process of making a studio deal.

Their take on the character is more serious adventure, designed to "reclaim Flash Gordon from his current reputation in the way that Tim Burton redirected the public conception of Batman."  Although the classic character has appeared in various movie serials and TV shows, the 1980 film Flash Gordon starring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol and Max Von Sydow remains the most widely remembered adaptation.

This movie by Mike Hodges was recently featured in Seth MacFarlane‘s Ted, with an appearance from Jones, referencing the film's campy, cult charm along with rock band Queen’s unforgettable score

Initially conceived by Alex Raymond as competition for the popular Buck Rogers, Gordon was a polo-playing Yale graduate who, with companions Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov, journeyed into space to find the source of fiery meteors that were bombarding Earth.  Gordon soon found his arch-enemy in Ming the Merciless and the group's adventures on the planet Mongo included meeting Ming's daughter Princesss Aura, Prince Barin in the forest kingdom of Arboria, and Prince Vultan, leader of the flying city of the hawkmen.

Universal had director Breck Eisner linked to a new, big-screen Flash Gordon in the mid-2000s, which failed to happen.  The rights reverted to Hearst Entertainment, who then optioned them out to Sony, where Eisner remained attached as director.  Together with Dracula: Year Zero‘s Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, Eisner attempted to develop what would have been a lavish 3D feature film.

The character's last notable live-action adaptation was in the 2007-08 Sci Fi channel television series Flash Gordon, which starred Eric Johnson and Gina Holden and ran for just one season of 21 episodes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pierce Brosnan Has "No Desire" to Watch Himself as James Bond

And here you thought Die Another Day was a bad Bond movie.

In an interview posted yesterday by The Telegraph, former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan dismissed his own era as the famous British secret agent, calling his performances "never good enough."

Now 60, Brosnan starred in four James Bond films -- GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002) -- with each film arguably being worse than the one that preceded it.  During promotion for his fourth and final Bond film, Brosnan expressed interest in returning for a fifth, saying "I'd like to do another, sure. [Sean] Connery did six.  Six would be a number, then never come back."  But after former Bond Roger Moore received criticism for staying in the role until he was 58, fiftysomething Brosnan ended up announcing in 2005 that he was finished with the role.  Daniel Craig, 37 at the time, was announced as the sixth James Bond eight months later.

On this time as James Bond, Brosnan told The Telegraph.  "I felt I was caught in a time warp between Roger and Sean.  It was a very hard one to grasp the meaning of, for me.  The violence was never real, the brute force of the man was never palpable.  It was quite tame, and the characterization didn’t have a follow-through of reality, it was surface.  But then that might have had to do with my own insecurities in playing him as well."

When asked if he ever watches any of his Bond movies, Brosnan replied, "I have no desire to watch myself as James Bond, 'cause it’s just never good enough.  It’s a horrible feeling."

However, Brosnan apparently holds no animosity toward his successor, Daniel Craig.  In a recent article for ShortList, Brosnan was asked what he thought of Craig's recent Bond film Skyfall and if seeing Craig on screen is like watching him date an ex-girlfriend.  "It's all his," laughed Brosnan.  "He’s the man, he’s the dude.  There’s only one Bond and that’s him.  I didn’t see any of the others, but I loved Skyfall.  I thought what [director] Sam Mendes did was very rich and textured and had real balls to it – I was very impressed."

Friday, April 11, 2014

BATMAN: STRANGE DAYS Animated Short Released

Bruce Timm, we really missed you.

This past Wednesday, the much-anticipated Batman 75th Anniversary animated short Batman: Strange Days debuted during Cartoon Network's Teen Titans Go!  The three-minute short from Warner Bros. Animation celebrating Batman's 75th anniversary was produced by Bruce Timm, most famous for his work on the classic Batman: The Animated Series.

The DC Nation short features Batman, voiced once again by Kevin Conroy, tracking a mysterious giant who has kidnapped a young woman to the lair of Professor Hugo Strange, one of his oldest enemies.  Strange insists that the giant be careful with the young woman, because Strange needs every drop of her blood for his experiment.

We then see Batman, depicted in his original 1939 costume, swooping down from the sky in a vintage Batplane and firing tear gas cannisters at Strange and the giant.  The gas quickly overwhelms them, allowing the young woman to escape.  Switching the Batplane to autopilot mode, Batman leaps out and begins brawling with the giant, surrounded by clouds of mist.

Meanwhile, Strange recovers the young woman, threatening Batman to stay back or he will kill her with a medical scalpel.  Saying nothing, Batman moves forward, causing Strange to step back and fall down a steep cliff.  Batman fires a Batarang cable to save the young woman from falling, but allows Strange to fall (apparently) to his doom.

"Is it...Is it over?" asks the young woman.

"For now," Batman replies in vocal perfection that only Conroy can give.

Another short from Darwyn Cooke, celebrating the animated series Batman Beyond, is expected later this year.  You can view Batman: Strange Days in full below, thanks to the official DC Entertainment account on YouTube...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Peter Mayhew Reprising Chewbacca for STAR WARS EPISODE VII

At last we have the mighty Chewbacca...

The Hollywood Reporter confirms that actor Peter Mayhew will reprise his classic role of Chewbacca the Wookiee for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Episode VII.  Mayhew, now 69, has been rumored to return for Episode VII ever since he canceled an appearance at the Texas convention Comicpalooza "due to filming."

Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn revealed last week that filming for Episode VII has already begun and that most of the cast is set.  "We have a lot of them [in place]," said Horn about the central cast, whose names have not been announced.  "We’re just not completely done yet."

Mayhew joins Adam Driver, announced in February as the film's lead villain, and original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, who are expected, but not officially confirmed, to give their characters a proper sendoff.  Mayhew last reprised the character on film in 2005's Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Little has been revealed about the film's premise apart from that it will be set thirty years after Return of the Jedi and will introduce the next generation of Star Wars heroes, who will take over the franchise starting with Episode VIII.  "There will be some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads," said Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger during Disney's annual shareholder's meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Star Wars Episode VII is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.