Sunday, December 29, 2013


Well, of course they are aren't.

In an apparent attempt at studio one-upmanship, media conglomerate 21st Century Fox is looking to cross its licensed Marvel Comics properties The Fantastic Four and The X-Men into a film to rival Warner Bros.' upcoming Batman vs. Superman project.

Investment site The Motley Fool reports that Fox is looking to combine the two largest properties still remaining at the studio in an Avengers-style epic that should make their shareholders happy.  The article describes the movie's plot as "Based on a 1987 four-issue comic called Fantastic Four vs. [the] X-Men, the movie will see the characters against each other because of secrets regarding the Fantastic Four's origin."

In the four-issue limited series by writer Chris Claremont and artist Jon Bogdanove, X-Man Kitty Pryde loses control over her phasing abilities, and the atoms of her body begin drifting farther apart.  Magneto turns to Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards for help, sending the two groups into conflict with one another after a journal supposedly written by Reed claims that he deliberately planned the accident with cosmic rays that gave the Fantastic Four their superpowers.  The journal, naturally, turns out to be a fake, planted years ago by the FF's archenemy Doctor Doom and used in an attempt to make the X-Men indebted to him by saving Kitty's life.

Fantastic Four vs. X-Men would presumably be a sequel to Fox's Fantastic Four reboot by Chronicle director Josh Trank currently slated for release on June 19, 2015.  With the movie now less than eighteen months away, there still hasn't been any official confirmation of the cast, with Michael B. Jordan possibly having the role of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch.  In addition to Jordan's involvement, the rumored plot synopsis for the film has also been somewhat controversial for diverging from the original source material:

'The Fantastic Four' will tell the tale of two very young friend, Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. After an even transforms the boys, they find themselves empowered with bizarre new abilities. Reed becomes a scientific genius who can stretch, twist and re-shape his body to inhuman proportions. Ben becomes a monstrous, craggy humanoid with orange, rock-like skin and super-strength. However, the two end up being owned by the government and used as weapons. But after they mature, two others with powers come into the picture -- Sue Storm 'The Invisible Girl' and Johnny Storm 'The Human Torch.'

Meanwhile, the X-Men films are still chugging along, with Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past scheduled to arrive on May 23, 2014 and another sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, planned for May 27, 2016.  If the Fantastic Four reboot does well enough to justify Fantastic Four vs. X-Men, you can probably expect that sometime in 2018.

*** UPDATE AS OF 12/30/13 ***

Earlier today, I received the following message on Twitter from The Motley Fool, saying this report was an error from an overzealous writer.  The Motley Fool has since corrected their article.

Ah, well.  Nothing to see here, I suppose.  Move along...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reverse-Flash & Vibe Appearing in THE FLASH Pilot

You knew Reverse-Flash was probably going to happen, but Vibe?

The pilot for Arrow spinoff The Flash, starring Grant Gustin, seems to be coming together, with a couple of interesting details turning up on the interwebz.  First, Bludhaven Banter is claiming that a version of Eobard Thawne, better known as Barry Allen's archnemesis The Reverse-Flash, is slated to appear as a potential series regular.  Here's the site's report:

Alright, here's the scoop. In pilot episode for The Flash, there is a character called "Detective Eddie Thawne" which sounds a lot like Eobard Thawne, the name of Professor Zoom. Now, that's not a lot to go on, so I did some additional digging and it turns out that he may very well become the villain we all know and love. The description for the character states that he is "leading man handsome" (late 20s-early/mid 30s) and has recently transferred to Central City Police Department from Keystone. Thawne is set to be loved within the precinct and takes the credit for a lot of things that Barry can't. (We assume this'll mean he takes credit for some of The Flash's work, but that's just speculation on our part). However, the most intriguing part about this character is that his past will be a complete mystery. No one knows where he comes from, and he "harbors a dark secret". That does sound very ambiguous, but as a comic fan, it's easy to put one-and-one together to make two.

Now, in the Arrow episode "The Scientist," Barry Allen hinted at Reverse-Flash's involvement by mentioning a strange blur that resembled a person when his mother was murdered.  This is a possible reference to the limited series Flashpoint, written by DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns, who is helping develop The Flash for the CW.  If the pilot goes to a full series, you can see Thawne evolving into a villain over time, similar to Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor or Manu Bennett's Deathstroke.

Meanwhile, Moviehole claims that Hispanic superhero Vibe will also be featured in the pilot as his regular identity of Cisco Ramon.  The character recently returned to the DC Universe from relative '80s obscurity, appearing first as a member of a second Justice League team and then in his own monthly series, Justice League of America's Vibe, that ended after ten issues.  In current "New 52" continuity, Vibe was caught in the event horizon of a Boom Tube, causing interdimensional forces to rewrite his DNA with abilities of vibration manipulation and sonic waves able to disrupt the Flash's access to the Speed Force.

Bludhaven Banter adds that if The Flash is picked up, Vibe is expected to be a series regular, appearing in at least ten of the first thirteen episodes.  However, he will not have his superpowers for some time.

The pilot for The Flash will be directed by David Nutter and is expected to begin filming in Vancouver in March 2014.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

DAMN Good Television -- DOCTOR WHO: "The Time of the Doctor"

"It's the end...but the moment has been prepared for."

Those were the final words of the Fourth Doctor, played so memorably by Tom Baker, in the episode "Logopolis" before he regenerated into Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor.  This was the first time I experienced the concept of regeneration, which allows Doctor Who to continue on and on with new actors portraying the exact same Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.

And now, here we are the end of Matt Smith's era as the Eleventh Doctor, with Smith leaving in "The Time of the Doctor," another Christmas tale written by Steven Moffat.  This is the last of Moffat's trilogy of Doctor-centric stories that began with the Series Seven finale "The Name of the Doctor" and continued with the fiftieth anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor."

After such an eventful fiftieth anniversary, expectations for the final Eleventh Doctor story were going to be high and it seems Moffat tried hard -- perhaps too hard -- to meet them.  The Eleventh Doctor's swansong featured not only the return of the Daleks, but Cybermen, the Weeping Angels, a couple of Sontarans, and the Silence as well, all centered around a little town on an unknown planet called, of course, Christmas.

All things being Moffat, however, that's not enough for Eleven's finale.  No, there's a modified Cyberman head the Doctor has named "Handles" (presumably because "Wilson" was already taken), another spacey-wacey religious order called The Church of the Papal Mainframe headed by the Mother Superious Tasha Lem, and the mysterious planet?  It's not Earth, or even Ravalox, but Trenzalore -- the oogy-boogy planet where the Doctor supposedly dies at some point in his future and is buried.

Moffat does attempt to wrap up a few of the long-dangling plotlines introduced during the Eleventh Doctor era.  It turns out those nasty Cracks in the Universe from Series Five are being used by the Time Lords in an attempt to break back into the universe since their rescue in "The Day of the Doctor."  And that troubling TARDIS explosion in "The Pandorica Opens"?  The Silence was behind it, apparently, although the rather ominous voice that uttered "Silence will fall" doesn't sound a thing like any of the Silence.  Oh, and that whole business with Madame Kovarian in Series Six?  That was just her convoluted attempt to change the Trenzalore stalemate by engineering a child -- Melody Pond, a.k.a. River Song -- to kill the Doctor in his past before the stalemate begins.

Even with all this stuff crammed into the finale, the only thing that truly matters is Matt Smith.  The Doctor spends 300 years on Trenzalore, defending the town of Christmas from the alien races hovering above and preventing the Time War from restarting.  And through it all, Smith is given just about everything to play one last time, from youthful exuberance, to anger, sadness, and ultimately, resignation to his fate.  It's sad to see the Doctor as an old man of roughly 1,500 years, but the events of his thirteenth regeneration -- a new life cycle from the Time Lords -- allow us to see Eleven youthful once again for his final scene.

Oh, and what a final scene.  All the cumbersome story elements and dangling plot threads fall by the wayside as Clara Oswald enters the TARDIS and finds some discarded clothes and a half-eaten bowl of fish fingers and custard.  For a brief moment, we're reassured to see the Eleventh Doctor young and back in his stylish purple coat.  But of course, all is not well, and the Doctor hallucinates a young Amelia Pond, "the first face this face saw" in "The Eleventh Hour," while telling Clara (and the fans) that "I will always remember...when the Doctor was me."  And then comes The Cameo, a touching, tearful farewell that rips the hearts (both of them) out of every Whovian.  Smith then gives the perfect final touch, slowly removing his Doctor's signature bow tie and allowing it to drop to the TARDIS console room floor.

Despite Clara's tearful "Please don't change," the Doctor finally regenerates, not in David Tennant's overly long, heavily symphonic mass of explosions, fire and chaos, but BAM! in an instant, we have ourselves the new Twelfth Doctor, now played by Peter Capaldi.  Given less than a minute to introduce himself, the Twelfth Doctor is as bulgy-eyed as Tom Baker and immediately complains about the color of his kidneys.  Once again, the TARDIS is left in chaos with a newly-regenerated Doctor, but it seems there's some post-regenerative amnesia at work as the new Doctor asks Clara, "Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?"

So farewell, Matt Smith and hello, Peter Capaldi.  A new era of Doctor Who has begun, with some fans ready to see an older Doctor in the TARDIS again, and other bitter and resentful fans already deciding they absolutely hate the Twelfth Doctor...until years from now, when they beg over and over for him to stay and not be replaced by the Thirteenth Doctor.

To be continued next autumn...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Return of SHERLOCK in "Many Happy Returns"

The game is back on.  At last.

Taking a page from Doctor Who's book, the BBC series Sherlock teased the return of Sherlock Holmes in a new 7-minute Series 3 prequel episode titled "Many Happy Returns."  The story, written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, was released by the BBC this morning, giving Sherlock fans an early Christmas present.

Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Metropolitan Police Forensic Services member Anderson (Jonathan Aris) sit down in a pub, with Anderson attempting to convince Lestrade that Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is still alive after the events of the Series 2 finale, "The Reichenbach Fall."  He offers up three supposed Sherlock sightings:

1.  A breakway sect of Buddhist warrior monks infiltrated by a blonde drug smuggler exposed by an abbot with unusual powers of observation and deduction.

2.  An incident in New Delhi, where an Indian police detective explains how he solved a murder by working out the depth to which a chocolate flake had sunk into the victim's ice cream cone. 

3.  The mysterious juror in Hamburg, Germany, who somehow persuades a jury tconvinced that a man named Trepoff isn't guilty of the murder of his wife is, in fact, actually guilty.

"He's out there," remarks Anderson.  "He's hiding, but he can't stop himself from getting involved.  It's so obviously him if you know how to spot the signs."

We learn that Anderson, who used to give Holmes a hard time at crime scenes, lost "a good job fantasizing about a dead man coming back to life."  Before leaving, Lestrade feels sorry for Anderson and offers to put in a word about having his case reviewed.

"Just look at the map, though," replies Anderson.  "He's getting closer.  It's like he's coming back."

Lestrade goes to check on Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), bringing him a box of things that belonged to Sherlock.  He pulls out an uncut version of a video message that Lestrade insisted Sherlock make for Watson's birthday.  After he's alone, Watson watches the DVD and we realize how much he misses his presumably deceased friend.

"I'll tell you what you can do," mumbles Watson.  "You can stop being dead."

"Hello, John," begins the recording.  "I'm sorry I'm not there at the moment, but I'm very busy -- however, many happy returns.  Oh, and don't worry -- I'm going to be with you again very soon."

Watson pauses the recording when the doorbell rings, then we cut to Anderson, who smiles as he realizes that Sherlock Holmes is coming back.  And if that isn't subtle enough for you, a man outside reads a newspaper proclaiming "The Game is Back On!"  And then, the video recording suddenly starts again, with Holmes smiling and winking at the camera...and us as well.

If you'd like to watch "Many Happy Returns," you can view it below thanks to the BBC's official YouTube account...

Sherlock returns on January 1, 2014 in the UK and on January 19, 2014 on PBS in the United States.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Iron Man Villain Blizzard Coming to AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Let's just hope there aren't any "snow" and "ice" puns like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin.

One of the biggest criticisms of the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the show's reluctance to embrace Marvel Universe characters the way the CW's Arrow does for DC Comics characters.  When Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel's television division was asked about this by The Huffington Post, Loeb simply responded "Stay tuned, there's a plan."

Well, part of that "plan" is introducing Donnie Gill, better known as the Iron Man villain Blizzard in the January 14th episode "Seeds."  According to an announcement from Marvel, actor Dylan Minnette will be playing Donnie Gill in the episode, written by Monica Owusu-Breen and Jed Whedon.  The brief synopsis for "Seeds" -- "Coulson and May uncover startling information about Skye’s past, while the team is swept into a storm at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy."

Also, David Conrad returns as Ian Quinn, the scientist and industrialist introduced in the episode "The Asset" that introduced Dr. Franklin Hall, who becomes the Avengers villain Graviton.  When last we saw Quinn, he was escaping from his compound by helicopter when Hall's gravitation generator began to overload, presumably giving Hall his superpowers of gravity control.

So it seems there may be a connection between Graviton and Blizzard, at least through Ian Quinn.  Is the aforementioned "plan" to slowly develop the group of supervillains known in Avengers comics as The Masters of Evil?  Hopefully something along those lines, because the midseason finale reached a season low of 2.1 in the 18-49 ratings with 6.11 million viewers, according to TV by the NumbersSomething needs to change, apparently.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Paul Rudd Lands Lead Role in ANT-MAN

So much for all those "rumors," hunh?

The Wrap announced that actor Paul Rudd has landed the lead role in Edgar Wright's upcoming film Ant-Man, based on the Marvel Comics character.  Rudd has long been rumored as a frontrunner for the role along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who announced earlier this week that he will co-produce The Sandman for Warner Bros.

But just one week ago, Rudd attempted to downplay speculation that he was up for the role.  "Oh, that's all rumors, man," he told Absolute Radio while on the red carpet for his latest film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.  "There's nothing I know, sorry."  Meanwhile, rumors persist that Rashida Jones will be playing Janet Van Dyne in the movie.

Debuting in Tales to Astonish #27 in the 1962 story "The Man in the Ant Hill" by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym is a scientist who developed a substance called Pym Particles that allows the user to change their size.  Developing a helmet that allows him to control ants, Pym became one the founding members of The Avengers along with Janet Van Dyne, his crimefighting partner The Wasp.  Pym later took on other identities including Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket and The Wasp, while a former thief named Scott Lang assumed the mantle of Ant-Man.

The movie will be the first film in "Phase Three" of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, beginning just two months after Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of UltronWright will direct from a screenplay written by himself and Joe Cornish and is scheduled to begin principal photography in mid-2014.

The project has been in the works since 2006, when Marvel hired Wright to direct the movie as part of the original group of independently produced films.  However, the movie ended up in a number of holding patterns, until test footage of Ant-Man changing size and beating up two men in an elevator lobby was shown at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con.  Marvel agreed to delay production even further so that Wright could finish The World's End, the last film in the "Cornetto Trilogy" of comedy films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Ant-Man is currently scheduled for release on July 31, 2015.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Producing SANDMAN Film, May Direct & Star

JGL wants to show you terror in a handful of dust.

Deadline reports that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is finalizing a deal to co-produce a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's classic DC Comics/VERTIGO series The Sandman for Warner Bros.  Gordon-Levitt has teamed with co-producer David Goyer, who pitched a treatment to the studio, and the deal supposedly has Gordon-Levitt starring as the central character Dream/MorpheusIt's possible that he may direct the film as well, after making his directorial debut earlier this year with the film Don Jon.  A screenwriter has yet to be selected.

Gaiman's dark fantasy series debuted in 1989, chronicling the saga of Dream, the Lord of Dreams, and one of the aspects of the universe personified by a group of powerful beings known as The Endless.  As the series begins, Dream is captured in an occult ritual and imprisoned on Earth for seventy years, but escapes in the modern day and sets about rebuilding his realm of dreams.  Over the course of 75 issues, plus an annual and a special, Gaiman and a variety of artists (including Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Kelley Jones, Jill Thompson and others) explored both the modern world and the past, incorporating numerous elements of literature, mythology, religion, fantasy, horror and even superheroes.

Since the late nineties, there have been several failed attempts to bring Sandman to the big screen, with one script described by Gaiman as "not only the worst Sandman script I've ever seen, but quite easily the worst script I've ever read."  By 2001, the project became stuck in Development Hell, with Gaiman commenting on the despairing situation in 2007, saying "I'd rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie. But I feel like the time for a Sandman movie is coming soon.  We need someone who has the same obsession with the source material as Peter Jackson had with Lord of the Rings or Sam Raimi had with Spider-Man."

Five years later, Gordon-Levitt was featured in Warner Bros.' Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, which Goyer helped co-write the story for along with director Christopher Nolan.  Goyer has been key for Warner Bros.' development of DC Comics properties for films, including this year's Superman film Man of Steel and the upcoming untitled sequel referred to as Batman vs. Superman.

Gordon-Levitt has posted on Twitter about the project, apparently confirming that it will be based on the first Sandman volume, Preludes & Nocturnes.

The timing of the project also seems deliberate, with Gaiman returning to the world of The Sandman in a six-issue limited series called The Sandman: Overture that began earlier this year.  The second issue of the series is currently expected in February 2014.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Emilia Clarke Confirmed as Sarah Connor in TERMINATOR: GENESIS

There's another storm coming in.  And appropriately enough, it's the woman called Stormborn.

Deadline has officially confirmed that Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke will be playing the coveted role of Sarah Connor in Paramount Pictures' Terminator reboot Terminator: Genesis, directed by Game of Thrones' Alan Taylor.  Clarke will be joined by Jason Clarke (no relation) as the adult version of her son John Connor and presumably, the original Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a currently undisclosed role.

In the original movie, Sarah Connor was a young Los Angeles college student and waitress who is relentlessly pursued by an android known as a Cyberdyne Systems Series 800 Model 101 Terminator that traveled through time from the future.  Sarah is rescued by another time-traveller called Kyle Reese, who explains that the future is controlled by an artifical intelligence called Skynet and the T-800 has been sent to kill her before she can give birth to her son John, who becomes the leader of the human resistance against Skynet.

According to the article, the casting was down to Clarke and 21 Jump Street actress Brie Larson, with both of them testing for the producers at David Ellison's Skydance and Megan Ellison's Annapurna.  As fans of HBO's Game of Thrones know well, Clarke has a solid background portraying a formidable leader as the exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen, developing the character over the past three seasons from a young girl intimidated by her brother Viserys, to the Khaleesi of the Dothraki tribe, to the "Mother of Dragons" that freed tens of thousands of slaves.

Clarke is the third actress to portray the character of Sarah Connor, after Linda Hamilton defined the role in the original 1984 film The Terminator and the 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment DayFellow Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey revived the character in the fondly remembered 2008-09 Fox television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which lasted for two seasons.

Terminator: Genesis is currently scheduled to be released in theaters on July 1, 2015.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grant Gustin & ARROW Producers Discuss The Flash's Future

Pretty good midseason finale for Arrow, wasn't it?

At the end of last night's episode of the CW series, "Three Ghosts," fans of DC Comics superhero The Flash got to geek out a little when Grant Gustin's character Barry Allen returned home to Central City, only to be struck by lightning and sent crashing into a rack of chemicals.  This, of course, is the fateful event that gives Barry his powers of super-speed, but in our last glimpse of him, he's left unconscious in his lab and crackling with small discharges of electrical energy.

So what happens next?

In a new article by Comic Book Resources, Arrow executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, DC Comics' chief creative officer Geoff Johns, and Gustin discussed the episode and the Flash's future with reporters during a press event at the CW headquarters in Burbank, California.

Gustin was asked what he's looking forward to most in the upcoming pilot for The Flash spinoff series, which was originally slated to be episode 20 of Arrow's second season.  "I'm mostly looking forward to getting the pilot script and seeing how Barry's going to handle this happening to him," said Gustin.  "He's not just excited.  It's scary.  That's what I loved about the character in the audition process -- it's not just he loves superheroes, and he's a fanboy, and all of a sudden he's like, 'I'm going to be one, I'm really stoked about it.'  It's kind of like, 'This is terrifying. This is really happening to me.'  I'm really excited to play more of that."

Meanwhile, Kreisberg commented on The Flash introducing more characters from the DC Universe the way Arrow has.  "In the same way that Arrow was conducive to bringing on characters like Deadshot and the Huntress and some of the more grounded people," said Kreisberg, "hopefully with The Flash, there's a way to bring on some of the more fantastical characters, that will probably still go through the grounding lens with which we view everything.  But we could tackle some of the bigger villains, and possibly heroes.  There's a hint of a major character in the pilot.

"But it's always important to remember -- like with Arrow, everybody wants Batman to come on and whatnot, but Arrow has to be the coolest person on Arrow.  The same thing with The Flash -- Barry has to be the coolest person.  If we're lucky enough to get to do more past the pilot, it'll really be about making sure that the audience loves The Flash, and Barry Allen, and Grant Gustin, as much as we do."

That "major character" could possibly be Barry's archnemesis The Reverse-Flash, who murdered Barry's mother Nora Allen and framed Barry's father in the process.  Barry hinted at the Reverse-Flash in the Arrow episode "The Scientist," telling Felicity Smoak of seeing a strange blur that resembled a person when his mother was killed.  Johns remarked on this, saying "We're using a lot of mythology, a lot of characters from the comics in the development of the Flash show.  I don't want to get too specific yet, but you'll see a lot of characters, a lot of elements from that.  It's very much The Flash."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bryan Singer Returning to Direct X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Hey, you know that spiffy new X-Men: Days of Future Past movie coming out next year? They're already working on the sequel.

Director Bryan Singer surprised everyone last week on Twitter by announcing the next X-Men movie even though Days of Future Past doesn't arrive in theaters until May.  Singer tweeted the words "#Xmen #Apocalypse 2016!", which apparently means there's going to be a movie called X-Men: Apocalypse coming out in 2016.

Vulture has confirmed that Singer will indeed helm X-Men: Apocalypse after finishing work on Days of Future Past, making this his fourth X-Men movie.  According to the article, Apocalypse will be a direct sequel to story elements set up in the end of Days of Future Past.  Also, the 2016 film will continue with the younger cast of actors introduced in 2011's X-Men: First Class, which includes James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magento and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.

The move is a considerable showing of 20th Century Fox's faith in Singer, even though the production cost of Days of Future Past has reportedly grown to become the second most expensive movie the studio has ever made after James Cameron's Avatar.

As for Apocalypse's story, presumably the movie centers around the X-villain Apocalypse, who was created by Louise Simonson and Jackson Guice and first introduced in X-Factor (vol.1) #6 in 1986.  First Showing claimed to have spoilers of the Days of Future Past post-credits bonus scene that sets up Apocalypse, but Singer debunked at least one unsettling element of the supposed spoilers in another Twitter posting yesterday -- " is not an alien. :) "  So far, there's been no confirmation if the rest of the information from First Showing is actually legit.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 23, 2014.  X-Men: Apocalypse is currently slated to arrive on May 27, 2016.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Young Bruce Wayne to be Regular on Fox Series GOTHAM

Okay, this series just became a lot more interesting.

Over two months ago, a new Fox TV series called Gotham was announced that will center around the DC Comics character of Commissioner James Gordon in the days before he first encounters Batman.  But now, Television Show Auditions has posted a casting call for the series that reveals one of the series' regular roles will be a 10-year-old Bruce Wayne.  Here's the description posted on the site:
A 10-year-old Bruce Wayne is among the roles that are now being cast as series regulars on the upcoming Fox TV series "Gotham" which explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham City famous. Under development for over a year, the project has now been given a direct-to-series order by the network, which won an intense bidding war for the Warner Bros. Television rights to the show. Shooting on the pilot episode will get underway in March, 2014 and will center on Gotham City PD rookie homicide detective James Gordon who investigates the double murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

BAFTA TV Award nominee Bruno Heller will serve as executive producer, head writer, and showrunner on "Gotham". Heller is an English screenwriter who came into prominence when he co-created the HBO series "Rome" in 2005. After executive producing the short lived NBC series "Bionic Woman" in 2007, he then created the popular CBS series "The Mentalist" which is now in its sixth and final season. Heller is writing "Gotham" based on characters written by the late DC Comics comic strip and comic book writers Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Although the "Gotham" central figure of James Gordon first appears in Detective Comics #27 when Bruce Wayne is Batman, Heller begins the series re-creating the characters pre-#27. No "Gotham" roles have been cast as of December 6, 2013.

The production companies behind "Gotham" are Primrose Hill Productions and Bonanza Productions. Bruno Heller is founder of Primrose Hill. Bonanza Productions is a Warner Brothers Subsidiary. Primetime Emmy Award nominee Geoff Johns will oversee production for DC Entertainment. "Gotham" will premiere on Fox Network in 2014.

And of course, if young Bruce Wayne is a regular, it stands to reason that his faithful legal guardian Alfred Pennyworth will also be a regular on the series.

The decision to feature Bruce Wayne on Gotham is a surprise, considering Warner Bros.' past protectiveness of the character and not wanting TV versions conflicting with the various Batman films.  A series called Bruce Wayne was in development in 1999, but was shelved and redeveloped as the Superman-based series Smallville instead.  After Smallville became a success for the WB network, the producers then attempted to do Bruce Wayne as a companion series, but were denied and the Batman-related series Birds of Prey was produced as a replacement.  Smallville also attempted to feature Bruce Wayne on the series, but were forbidden and a replacement character called Adam Knight (played by Ian Somerhalder) was featured for seven episodes in season 3.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Moriarty Returns to ELEMENTARY in January

The world's greatest detective's greatest adversary is about to return.

Last May, the CBS series Elementary did the unthinkable by revealing that Irene Adler, the love of Sherlock Holmes' life, was actually his diabolical and mysterious arch-nemesis Jamie MoriartyGame of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer became the first woman to portray the famous literary villain on screen, completely changing the dynamic between Holmes and Moriarty in a bold, fresh way.

When last we saw Moriarty in the season one finale "Heroine," she was taken into federal custody after Holmes faked a drug overdose and lured Moriarty into a trap when she visited his hospital room.  The recent episode "We Are Everyone" revealed that Moriarty has been writing letters to Holmes from prison.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, series executive producer Rob Doherty discusses Moriarty's return in the episode scheduled for January 2, 2014.  Doherty describes the episode as "A young girl is kidnapped in New York City, and Sherlock and Joan come to believe that Moriarty may have orchestrated the abduction, which is a tad confusing since she’s been in federal custody for several months now.  So in the episode, they seek her out and she becomes something of a participant into the investigation into the kidnapping."

"We’re going to learn a lot more about Moriarty," he continues.  "We’re going to reveal some secrets regarding her past and where she comes from and what she’s done to get where she is.  You know, it’s definitely an episode with some major twists and we’re excited for it to air."

When asked about how Moriarty's return complicates things for Holmes, Doherty replies, "People who have enjoyed the complicated relationship will not be disappointed.  It remains as complicated as ever.  It’s very interesting for Sherlock to see her and be around her again.  And it’s, of course, not just about how it lands on Sherlock but Joan as well, given that Joan played such a major role in Moriarty’s takedown at the end of the first season.  There’s plenty of unfinished business between those, so we single those two out for a little alone time over the course of the episode."

As for how Moriarty feels about all this, Doherty remarks, "She recognizes that she was defeated but she hasn’t quite figured it out yet.  I think she’s certainly one to point out that she has a lot in common with Sherlock, but unlike him, she has remained independent to her detriment and ultimately, that’s really what led to her downfall last year.  She doesn’t have a Watson in her life, and she could probably benefit from one.  Sherlock and Joan as a unit tend to be stronger than Moriarity as a solo."

Elementary airs on CBS on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Trailer Teases the Sinister Six

Not one, not two, not three...but six villains? 

The first full trailer for Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released this morning, showcasing the return of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Emma Stone as his love interest Gwen Stacy.  In addition to Jamie Foxx as Electro, we get some brief glimpses of Paul Giamatti as The Rhino and someone -- perhaps Dane DeHaan, perhaps Chris Cooper -- as (presumably) the Green Goblin.

The trailer opens with Spider-Man plummeting downward toward the streets of New York City, only to pull up into a familiar web swing.  "Every day I wake up knowing the more people I try to save," says Peter Parker in a voiceover, "the more enemies I will make."  A shot of The Rhino follows, depicted in the film as a man wearing large mechanical armor with a rhinoesque horn, along with the back of the Green Goblin.  "And it's just a matter of time..." continues Peter as we see Electro unleashing blasts of electricity, "...before I face those with more power than I can overcome."

Peter is introduced to Harry Osborn (DeHaan), who reveals that his father's company OsCorp had Peter under surveillance.  When Peter asks why, Harry smiles and replies "Isn't that the question of the day."  Peter discusses the matter with Aunt May, played once again by Sally Field, who says to Peter "I once told you that secrets have a cost.  The truth does, too." 

More intrigue surrounding the mystery of the death of Peter's parents follows, with a Peter watching a video recording of his father (Campbell Scott).  "My name is Richard Parker," begins the recording, "I have discovered what OsCorp what going to use my research for. I have a responsibility to protect the world from what I know they're capable of."  A man in a hat and coat walks by very familiar sets of mechanical wings and arms, teasing that additional villains The Vulture and Doctor Octopus are also in play.  And of course, this could mean Peter's real threat in this movie is actually the supervillain group The Sinister Six.

Harry confronts his father Norman (Chris Cooper), asking what all of OsCorp's secret equipment is.  "The future," replies Norman. 

"We -- literally -- can change the world," says Harry.  "What about Peter?"

"Not everyone has a happy ending," answers Norman ominously.

Various scenes of destruction caused by The Rhino and Electro follow, with Gwen warning, "This is bigger than you, Peter."  "I made a choice," replies Peter as we briefly glimpse Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin.  "This is my path."

Electro then gets a voiceover, proclaiming "Soon, everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy...without Spider-Man!"  A small taste of a battle between the two follows, apparently taking place in a series of electrical transformer towers.

If you'd like to see the trailer, you can view it below thanks to Sony Pictures' official YouTube account...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 2, 2014.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gal Gadot Cast as Wonder Woman in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

At long last, we have a new Wonder Woman...just not the one we were expecting.

Deadline reports that 28-year-old Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman/Princess Diana in the still untitled Man of Steel sequel referred to commonly as Batman vs. Superman.  Gadot joins Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, and Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 2015 film directed by Zack Snyder.  With the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman now complete, this paves the way for a probable Justice League movie after Batman vs. Superman.

Gadot is best known as Gisele Harrabo in the Fast and the Furious movie series and has also appeared in the movie Knight & Day and the television series Entourage.  Various actresses were under consideration for the role of Wonder Woman, with Thor's Jaimie Alexander a popular choice.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gadot also beat out Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko and G.I. Joe: Retaliation's Elodie Yung. 

Snyder commented on the casting, saying "Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe.  Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Grant Gustin & ARROW Producers Discuss Barry Allen

It's almost time for The (soon to be) Fastest Man Alive.

Barry Allen, who becomes the DC Comics superhero The Flash, finally makes his 21st century television debut tomorrow night on the CW series Arrow.  In the episode "The Scientist," Barry arrives in Starling City to help investigate an unexplained robbery at Oliver Queen's company, Queen Consolidated.

The Hollywood Reporter and KSiteTV provided details on Barry Allen's introduction during a Q&A press conference on Monday, which included actor Grant Gustin and Arrow executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg.

Gustin was the first actor to read for Barry Allen and found the character "funny and endearing."  "I hadn't done anything like that," said Gustin.  "I had a lot of fun with that throughout the audition process.  [The producers] started steering me in that direction immediately as soon as I first met them.  They said to just have fun with it and I kind of took it from there."  Gustin also found Barry's likability appealing, which he hasn't had in his career so far. "I would be his friend," he said.  "I hadn't had the opportunity to play a character I would actually enjoy spending time with, so that's nice."

Gustin, now 23, was born in 1990, the same year The Flash television series starring John Wesley Shipp debuted on CBS.  However, Gustin claims he "wasn't trying to be any Flash that I knew about or had seen."

The subject of Gustin's youth has drawn considerable concern from some Flash fans, who feel Gustin is too young to be taken credibly as a police scientist.  "It's an elephant in the room, so we addressed it," said Kreisberg, mentioning Berlanti's suggestion that lines of dialogue should be added about Gustin's young appearance.  "The thing that was important to us was that he really should be a contrast to Oliver and to Stephen [Amell].  Stephen is the traditional square-jawed, muscle-bound hero.  That works really well, because he needs all that.  One of the things about Flash is he's a random guy who gets struck by lightning.  He needs the bolt of lightning to be a hero in a way Stephen doesn't."

Berlanti remarked that it was more important for the producers to find someone that embodied "the essence of the character" and also "someone who can fit into the Arrow universe we have, but still can potentially have the promise of their own universe and their own show."  Gustin's casting was crucial, with Berlanti adding, "Had we not found Grant, I'm not sure we would've done the character."

Barry Allen will also appear in the next episode "Three Ghosts," but it's not certain whether he will return to Arrow this season in addition to the spinoff pilot for The Flash.  "We're still trying to figure that out," said Kreisberg, mentioning that the original backdoor pilot plan created complications a normal pilot order wouldn't have.  "In some ways, this has freed us to take the Flash and just do the Flash separately and stay on a straight line."

However, Berlanti added that Barry's presence will still be felt throughout the season, but we'll find out "about what happened to him in the way that you’re hearing now about S.T.A.R. Labs on the periphery" and "in terms of Felicity, since she has a connection with him."

While Barry in helping with the investigation, he immediately bonds with Emily Bett Rickards' character Felicity Smoak, which affects how Felicity interacts with Oliver.  "Especially with the way the season has been going," said Kreisberg, "with Oliver and Felicity and their growing relationship or feelings for each other, the fact that Barry and Felicity are so similar, and they're both sort of uncomfortable in their own skins, and they're both very likable and personable, they just seem like they would instantly hit it off, which would just complicate things for Oliver even more.  It felt like the right way to go."  Rickards and Gustin apparently had a "chemistry test," which helped finalize the decision to cast Gustin.

"The Scientist" airs tomorrow night on The CW at 8 p.m. EST, with "Three Ghosts" airing the following week.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

SHERLOCK Series 3 UK Air Date Revealed in a Hearse

Too subtle?

While Americans were busy getting into fights at Walmart on Black Friday, Londoners were treated to something a little less violent but still somewhat gruesome yesterday.  According to the Express, the long-awaited transmission date for Series 3 of the BBC series Sherlock was revealed in a the back of a black hearse that was driven around London.

As a promotional stunt arranged by the BBC, the empty hearse (pay attention to that, it's important) was pictured with a floral tribute that spelled out "Sherlock 01 01 14," meaning Series 3 premieres in the U.K. on January 1, 2014.  In addition, there was a sign in the driver's window that read #SherlockLives, directing fans to use the hashtag on Twitter to follow and promote the series.

Episode one of Series 3, "The Empty Hearse," is written by Mark Gatiss and is based loosely on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The Adventure of the Empty House."  Episode two, "The Sign of Three," will air on January 5th and episode three, "His Last Vow," will air a week later on January 12th.

The publicity stunt was first hinted at the night before when Sherlock producer Sue Vertue posted the message "Keep your eyes peeled in the morning rush hour and pay your respects."  According to the article, the hearse was noticed outside the hospital of Sherlock's apparent demise on Gower Street at 9:30 a.m. yesterday morning.  At the end of Series 2 in "The Reichenbach Fall," Sherlock Holmes appears to hurl himself from the roof of St. Bartholomew's Hospital and is believed dead in an apparent suicide, only to be shown alive -- somehow -- at the end of the episode.

A short, 30-second teaser trailer for Series 3 was released last week that also promoted the #SherlockLives hashtag.  You can view it below thanks to the BBC's official YouTube channel.

Sherlock premieres in the U.S. on January 19, 2014 at 10 p.m. EST on PBS, provided you haven't found alternative means to watch the U.K. version beforehand.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eminem Channels Max Headroom in "Rap God" Video

Max Headroom fans, get ready to jump twenty minutes into the future again...

Rap music star Eminem, a.k.a. Marshall Mathers, once again shows his love of classic pop culture in his just-released video for "Rap God," the third single from his eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2The song debuted at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album has already sold at least one million copies within three weeks of release.

For those of you who aren't geezers that grew up in the eighties, Max Headroom is a fictional character portrayed by actor Matt Frewer as a stuttering artificial intelligence billed as "The world's first computer-generated TV host."  Max first appeared in a 1985 British cyberpunk TV movie called Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into The Future and was soon given his own music video program, The Max Headroom ShowThe character became a cult hit, even earning a science fiction drama series on ABC, called simply Max Headroom, that lasted for two seasons.

Max Headroom became a significant pop culture icon of the '80s, appearing with the band Art of Noise in the song "Paranoimia," as a television spokesman for New Coke, on the children's program Sesame Street and even at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Also, as he often does in his song lyrics, Eminem uses comic book references in "Rap God," by name-checking Superman villain General Zod, Superman's birth planet Krypton, Thor's realm of Asgard and even The Walking Dead.

Kneel before General Zod, this planet's Krypton...No, Asgard, Asgard

So you be Thor and I'll be Odin, you rodent, I'm omnipotent
Let off then I'm reloading immediately with these bombs I'm totin'
And I should not be woken
I'm the walking dead, but I'm just a talking head, a zombie floating

If you'd like to check out the video, you can view it below thanks to EminemVEVO on YouTube...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

DAMN Good Television -- DOCTOR WHO: "The Day of the Doctor"

"Let me get this straight. A thing that looks like a police box, standing in a junkyard, it can move anywhere in time and space?"
-- Ian Chesterton (William Russell), DOCTOR WHO: "An Unearthly Child"

Exactly fifty years ago today, the world of science fiction was forever changed when a British television series called Doctor Who premiered on November 23, 1963, one day after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  In the first episode, "An Unearthly Child," two teachers named Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright become concerned about Susan Foreman, a very mysterious student of theirs.  Following Susan to her home at 76 Totter's Lane in Shoreditch, London, they discover it's actually a junkyard belonging to someone called "I.M. Foreman."  The schoolteachers hear Susan's voice inside, coming from a strange British police box and are confronted by Susan's grandfather, a brusque, suspicious man known only as The Doctor, who tries to dismiss them away.  Forcing their way past the old man, Ian and Barbara step through the police box doors, only to find that it's considerably bigger on the inside with a futuristic design and a central hexagonical control console.  And from there, the rest is history...or the future, take your pick.

Fifty years later -- or just a couple of minutes, depending on how you travel -- Doctor Who is the world's longest-running science fiction series after 26 seasons from 1963 to 1989, a TV movie in 1996, and then another seven seasons and assorted specials since the show's return in 2005.  After eleven Doctors, umpteen companions and a whole lot of running, the series celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with "The Day of the Doctor," a special written by current showrunner Steven Moffat.

Obviously, hardcore Whovians would love to see a sprawling epic, filled with all eleven Doctors and each of their companions squared off against a grand alliance of Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Omega and any number of Masters.  However, the practicality of pulling that off with the first three Doctors sadly no longer with us, the next four considerably older than their respective eras as the Doctor and Christopher Eccleston declining to reprise his role as the Ninth Doctor made that pretty much impossible.

So Moffat decided to introduce a Ninth Doctor replacement in the form of John Hurt, playing a previously unrevealed incarnation known as the War Doctor.  In the six-minute prequel "The Night of the Doctor," we learn that Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor regenerates into the War Doctor (with the help of the Sisterhood of Karn) and chooses to become a warrior in order to put an end to the Time War between Gallifrey and the Daleks.

After a lovely nod to the opening of "An Unearthly Child," the very first Doctor Who episode, the special begins Clara teaching at the Coal Hill School, the very same school that the Doctor's granddaughter Susan attended.  Old-school monsters the Zygons make their long-awaited return to Doctor Who after 37 years in 1562 Elizabethan England, in connection with a mysterious three-dimensional painting from Gallifrey turning up in London's National Gallery in 2013.  The Eleventh Doctor and his companion Clara Oswald are literally brought in by UNIT are the Brigadier's daughter Kate Stewart to investigate, ultimately leading to the Eleventh Doctor joining up with his previous incarnation, played once again by David Tennant.  Meanwhile, the War Doctor is confronted by a sentient interface calling itself the Bad Wolf, which has taken on the form of Ninth Doctor companion Rose Tyler just as the War Doctor is about to activate the weapon that will destroy Gallifrey in the process of wiping out the Daleks once and for all.  (Yeah, right.)

Moffat can't help but indulge in some fan-pleasing banter between the three Doctors, each of them taking playful jabs at one another's clothes, appearance, etc. while reminding everyone around them that they're the exact same Time Lord.  There are sly nods to the past, a repeated line of dialogue here, pictures of former companions there, but nothing intrusive to the actual story.  We also get to see the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS interior once again, while the War Doctor's TARDIS features classic roundel wall design that Ten and Eleven can't help but geek out over.

But ultimately, we figure out that "The Day of the Doctor" is actually Moffat's attempt to resolve the rather disturbing issue of The Doctor sacrificing his home planet and his people to end the Time War.  The three Doctors realize that even their own timeline can be rewritten, sending them off in their own TARDISes to save the day, but to surprise of Whovians around the world, they're joined by the other Doctors in their TARDISes...even Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, who hasn't debuted yet!  The thirteen Doctors shunt Gallifrey off at the moment of its destruction, preserving the web of time and keeping the Doctor's personal timeline intact.  Gallifrey falls...no more.

So where has Gallifrey gone?  Well, that's a pretty interesting question, one posed by none other than Tom Baker himself in an absolutely lovely cameo as a future Doctor wearing one of his former faces, now seemingly in retirement as a National Gallery curator.  The Eleventh Doctor (or is that Twelfth now?) finds new purpose, to search for Gallifrey wherever it may be, although it seems likely his next incarnation, and perhaps others down the line, will have to do the heavy lifting.

Although a bit shaky at first, "The Day of the Doctor" ends up producing tears of joy for everyone who loves Doctor Who and after all the criticism Steven Moffat gets online, he can feel vindicated that he didn't screw up the most important anniversary story ever.  And now we wait for Christmas, the final episode with Matt Smith's Doctor.  Silence, please...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Affleck & Damon Producing Film of DC Comics' SLEEPER

And the race to adapt every comics property for film and television continues.

Variety has announced that Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd are producing an film adaptation of the superb DC Comics/Wildstorm series Sleeper for Warner Bros.  According to the article, their production company Pearl Street Films has a first-look deal with the studio, which has brought in Shawn Ryan and David Wiener to write the adaptation.

Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips, Sleeper was a series that ran for two "seasons" of twelve issues each from 2003-05.  Set in the Wildstorm Universe imprint under DC Comics, the series centered around Holden Carver, a morally ambiguous character also known as The Conductor, who had the ability to absorb pain and trauma and release it onto others when touched.  Under the direction of a man named John Lynch, Carver is placed undercover inside the criminal organization run by a supervillain known as TAO.  However, Carver begins playing both sides against one another in the hopes of freeing himself from the situation and be with Miss Misery, one of TAO's lieutenants.

Ryan is best known as the creator and showrunner of The Shield, a drama series for FX that focused on police corruption.  Wiener worked with Ryan on the ABC series Last Resort, which Ryan co-created, and also on season two of The Killing.

The project has been in the works since 2008, when Spider-Man director Sam Raimi and John Donen were producing through their company, Stars Road Entertainment.  Tom Cruise was reportedly interested in the role of Holden Carver, but was not formally attached.