Thursday, January 31, 2013

Felicity Smoak Joins Team ARROW in "The Odyssey"

At last, Oliver Queen can stop making lame excuses just to get a little vigilante IT support.

SuperheroHype reports that Emily Bett Rickards' geek girl character Felicity Smoak will finally be brought into Team Green Arrow Hood in the February 13th episode "The Odyssey."  The Queen Consolidated computer/research expert first appeared last October in "Lone Gunman" and has helped Ollie on a number of cases, ranging from retrieving information off Deadshot's computer to tracking down Malcolm Merlyn's arrow to cracking Ted Gaynor's computer drive.

Oliver's recent couple of explanations to obtain Felicity's help have become increasingly poor, hinting toward this inevitable decision to officially bring her into the fold.  The CW network's official description for the episode:

After Oliver is shot, he turns to a surprising person for help – Felicity. Diggle (David Ramsey) is stunned when he sees Felicity walk through the front door of the lair dragging a dying Oliver behind her, and the two team up to save Oliver’s life. As Oliver (Stephen Amell) hovers between life and death, he flashes back to a seminal event on the island – a daring escape attempt with his new friend Slade Wilson (guest star Manu Bennett).

"The Odyssey" is written by Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti and is also rumored to feature the first appearance of the DC Comics character Shado.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CW Wonder Woman TV Pilot AMAZON Delayed

It really shouldn't be this hard, should it?

According to Deadline, the CW network's pilot Amazon, based on the DC Comics character Wonder Woman, has been rolled/delayed into the next pilot season and won't debut this fall as planned.  The CW finished its pilot orders and picked up eight potential new series, but Amazon was not among them.  However, the site claims that the CW may order an off-cycle pilot so that production can move ahead sooner if the network likes the final script.

The Hollywood Reporter claims they weren't happy with the earlier version from writer Allan Heinberg, who previously wrote the Wonder Woman story arc "Who is Wonder Woman?" for DC Comics.  The drama series was described as an origin for Diana of Themyscira, set in present day during the character's early days as a hero.  The original casting sheet described Diana (using the false name of Iris) as follows:

She comes from a remote, secluded country and until now has spent most of her life as a soldier and a leader on the battlefield.  Because of relentless brutality of her life at home, Iris looks at our world with absolute awe and astonishment.  She’s delighted ­and just as often horrified ­ by the aspects of everyday life that we take for granted: skyscrapers, traffic, ice cream.  It’s all new and fascinating and sometimes slightly troubling ­to her.

Iris is completely unschooled in our world, our culture, our customs.  And she’s completely inexperienced at interpersonal relationships.  She has no social filter, does not suffer fools, and tends to do and say exactly what’s on her mind at all times. She’s bluntly, refreshingly honest.  She can tell when you’re lying to her. And she doesn’t have time or patience for politics or tact because she’s too busy trying to experience everything our world has to offer.

There are too many sights to see ­and things to learn ­and people to care for. Hers is a true, noble, and generous heart.  And she will fight and die for the people she loves.  Iris is a fierce warrior with the innocent heart of a romantic ­and she will fight to the death to make the world safe for innocents and true romantics everywhere.

Earlier this month, the CW had begun the process of casting for the series, with Being Human (UK) and Torchwood actress Amy Manson rumored for the part of Diana.

The delay of the Amazon pilot follows on recent failed attempts to bring Wonder Woman to both the small and big screen.  In 2005, director Joss Whedon was lined up to helm a Wonder Woman movie for Warner Bros., which fell apart and Whedon moved on to direct the very successful film adaptation of The Avengers for Marvel Studios.  And in 2011, Friday Night Lights actress Adrianne Palicki starred as Wonder Woman in a TV pilot for NBC from producer David E. Kelley, which was very poorly received and not picked up by the network.  Another movie attempt by Warner Bros. was reported in June of 2012, with Green Lantern screenwriter Michael Goldenberg hired for the project that may have been shelved for the character's inclusion in a Justice League movie.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

J.J. Abrams Confirmed as STAR WARS EPISODE VII Director

The Franchise is strong with this one.

After two days of the internet breaking in half, Jeffrey Jacob "J.J." Abrams was confirmed as the director for Star Wars Episode VII late last night on the official Star Wars website.  The 46-year-old director, all of ten years old when the first Star Wars film was released, will helm the first of a new series of Lucasfilm movies under George Lucas' successor, Kathleen Kennedy.  "To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor," said Abrams.  "I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."

"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie," said Kennedy.  "J.J. is the perfect director to helm this.  Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise.  He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture."

Lucas shared his approval with the selection.  "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller," he said.  "He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."

Abrams, his producing partner Bryan Burk and his company Bad Robot will produce the film along with Kennedy, the first since Disney purchased the franchise.  Writer Michael Arndt will handle the screenplay, with Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Simon Kinberg (writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith) consulting.

Personally, Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) or Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity) would've been my preferred choices, but Abrams has a solid track record in terms of box office and breathing new life into stale properties.  His 2009 reboot of Star Trek brought in over $385 million worldwide with a production budget of just $150 million.  By bringing the concept back to its roots with a young, fresh cast, and replacing tedious conference room scenes with emotional and relatable character moments, he made an entirely new generation of Trek fans.

He also rescued the Mission: Impossible franchise, which stalled out after John Woo's disappointing second film.  Abrams directed Mission: Impossible III ($397 million worldwide with a $150 million budget) and produced Ghost Protocol, arguably the best of the series, which hauled in an incredible $694 million worldwide with a $145 million budget.  Also, his film Super 8 (co-produced with Steven Spielberg) earned $259 million worldwide with a tiny budget of just $50 million.

And when you factor in his success on television with the ABC series Alias and Lost along with the Fox series Fringe on top of his film success, there's no reason why Lucasfilm wouldn't do the basic math that Abrams + Star Wars = $$$.  It also doesn't hurt that Abrams is an admitted Star Wars fan, which is why he incorporated some of Star Wars' style into his two Star Trek films.

Yes, there will probably be lens flares and even worse, lame lens flare jokes from Abrams haters.  And unless John Williams returns to score Episode VII, things may sound a tiny bit off with Abrams go-to guy Michael Giacchino mostly likely composing.  However, I think most of us, especially the ones who remember watching Star Wars (Not "Episode IV," not "A New Hope") in the theater as kids, are just glad that Lucas isn't returning once again to remind us that he's not the man he used to be anymore.

For the first time since I walked out of the theater since seeing Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 1999, I'm finally -- finally -- encouraged about Star Wars again.  He may be a little short to be a Stormtrooper, but here's hoping J.J. Abrams is here to rescue us.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


At last, a Marvel NOW! title that actually feels like

This first issue by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie may be titled "Style > Substance," but proves you can have both style and substance.  As a book featuring the next generation of Avengers, you expect it to have a younger, looser feel and so far, it certainly does.  It's a fun and promising series with character moments that remind me of the glory days of Wolfman and Pérez's The New Teen Titans or Levitz and Giffen's Legion of Super-Heroes.

Gillen isn't very big on backstory here, choosing instead to dive right in and let the readers fill in the blanks as they go along.  Hawkeye's protégé/future replacement Kate Bishop is now sleeping with the alien Noh-Varr, the former Marvel Boy and The Protector.  Hulkling tells his boyfriend Wiccan that he's tired of living "in the phone booth" and wants to return to being a superhero.  The new latina Miss America is gunning for Kid Loki, informing the young Asgardian, "You've got a head you don't need."

The dialogue is sharp and fresh, without trying to be overly hipster, complemented by McKelvie's clean artwork and some solid coloring by Matthew Wilson.  McKelvie's style (which, yes, also has substance) suits the book's tone nicely, with visually interesting panels and a slightly animated look that adds to the characters' youth.  The spread on pages four and five is particularly innovative, working what could otherwise be a house ad showcasing the series' premise into the story.

Since this issue is really just a prologue of what's to come, it remains to be seen how all six of these characters will play off one another after they're brought together.  If you're one of those comics fans frustrated by how Teen Titans and Legion have forgotten what it means to be young and relatable, or miss books like New Mutants and New Warriors even though you're not sure why, you may want to consider checking out Young Avengers.  As this first issue says, after all, everyone should try it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ARROW Casts Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance


Entertainment Weekly reports that Doctor Who and E.R. actress Alex Kingston is joining the CW series Arrow in a recurring guest-star role.  Kingston will be playing Dinah Lance, the mother of Katie Cassidy's character Dinah "Laurel" Lance and ex-wife of Paul Blackthorne's character Quentin Lance.  Later this season, Dinah will return to Starling City to "make amends with her family that she abandoned years earlier following the tragic death of her daughter (Sara) aboard Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) yacht."

Kingston is the second major star from Doctor Who to appear in a recurring role on Arrow, after John Barrowman signed on to play Malcolm Merlyn, father to Oliver's best friend Tommy.  Arrow producer Andrew Kreisberg is "a lifelong Doctor Who fan," who asked Barrowman to be a part of the show and developed Malcolm Merlyn around him.  Interestingly, Kingston appeared in the Doctor Who two-parter "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" with Colin Salmon, who plays Walter Steele on Arrow.

On the 2002 TV series Birds of Prey, actress Lori Loughlin played Carolyn Lance, a similar version of the Golden Age Black Canary, Dinah Drake Lance.  This character was also the estranged mother of the young Dinah depicted in the series.

Personally, I'm just hoping that Dinah's first words to Laurel are "Hello, sweetie..."

Superman's Pal, JENNY Olsen in MAN OF STEEL?

In addition to the decision to cast actor Laurence Fishburne as Clark Kent's Daily Planet editor Perry White, there could be a more unexpected change to the Superman mythos in this summer's Zack Snyder film Man of Steel.

Several websites have noticed that movie information site IMDb has a detailed cast list for Man of Steel that doesn't include Superman's longtime supporting character Jimmy Olsen but has actress Rebecca Buller listed as "Jenny Olsen."

Of course, IMDb has posted incorrect information once or thirty times, so fans need to take this into consideration before freaking out over losing one of comics' most famous ginger characters.  However, it's also worth nothing that Buller appears in a brief shot in the second Man of Steel trailer shown above where Perry and "Jenny" are fleeing from some collapsing building (The Planet?) in Metropolis.

If Jimmy is indeed Jenny in this movie, the change could be an attempt to show more prominent female characters on screen.  However, you have to wonder why when already there are central characters such as Lois Lane, Lara Lor-Van, Martha Kent, Lana Lang and the villainess Faora.  And if there's a desire for more female Daily Planet employees, then where's Catherine "Cat" Grant?

Man of Steel arrives in theaters on June 14, 2013.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DOCTOR WHO Fan's Message in a Bottle Travels North Sea to Australia

Time is just a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, oceany-woceany stuff.

According to a recent article by The Telegraph, an 11-year-old boy named Cade Scott threw a message in a bottle into the North Sea seventeen months ago that arrived just before Christmas 2012 all the way down under in Australia.

At the age of eight, the young Whovian wrote a short message on a Doctor Who postcard in August 2011 that said "I love Dr Who. If found, please send back with your name and address and how old you are. Cade."  With the help of his father, Cade sealed the postcard in a wine bottle and tossed it into the sea at Roker, Tyne and Wear.

A response arrived seventeen months later in the form of a postcard from 25-year-old Matthew Ellam in Perth, Western Australia.  Matthew wrote back again on January 7, 2013 and said "Hi Cade, thanks for your postcard. I found it whilst celebrating Christmas on the beach in Perth, Western Australia! Happy New Year!"

Cade bottle had traveled across the world almost 10,000 miles and it's believed this could be the longest-ever journey made by a message in a bottle.

Cade was glad his message was found by someone.  "I’m really pleased I got a reply," he said.  "I didn’t know how far away Australia was."

Of course, with Doctor Who, it's entirely possible that the bottle made several unexpected detours to the 51st Century, the planet Skaro and the Apollo 11 launch in 1969 first...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Five Years of FRINGE

After five seasons and 100 episodes, it's time to finish up your last strawberry milkshake.

On September 9, 2008, 9.13 million viewers and fans of executive producer J.J. Abrams' previous television series Alias and Lost tuned in to see Fringe, his major debut into the world of science fiction.  This latest series would focus on the members of a special division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as they involve themselves in mysteries of the strange, disturbing and unexplainable.

Sound familiar?  It should, considering the Fox network aired nine seasons of a little show called The X-Files that ended just six years earlier.  Fringe's first season was essentially an updated version of The X-Files that struggled to distinguish itself apart from introducing its own mythological elements such as rogue scientist David Robert Jones, Olivia Dunham's Cortexiphan treatments as a child test subject, and ultimately, the big revelation that Dr. Walter Bishop's son Peter actually died as a child.

About one-third through Season 2, Fringe finally found its voice in the game-changing episode "August."  The show's mythos expanded beyond X-Files mysteries with the introduction of the Observers, mysterious time-travelers that play a huge role on Season 5, and the concept of parallel universes.  In addition, Peter learned that Walter brought him over the parallel Earth and kept him as a replacement for his deceased son.

Season 3 fully embraced the parallel Earth concept, with Walter's dark doppelgänger "The Walternate" and a more energetic and less serious version of Olivia nicknamed "Fauxlivia." The season jumps back and forth between the two Earths, even having special opening credits for the episodes set on the alternate Earth.  As part of Walternate's schemes, Fauxlivia swaps places with Olivia and engages in a relationship with Peter, ultimately having his son Henry.  Peter ends up becoming part of a huge, intricate machine that creates a bridge between the two universes but erases Peter from reality in the process.

As a result, the show's fourth season began with an alternate timeline where Peter did not exist.  This creates opportunities to explore past stories differently until Peter finally is brought back and he and Olivia rekindle their romance.  Late in the season, another game-changing episode "Letters of Transit" introduces the dystopian world of 2036 and Peter and Olivia's daughter Henrietta (Etta).

That episode becomes the basis of Fringe's final season, with the series and characters jumping ahead to 2036 with Walter, Peter, Olivia and Astrid Farnsworth emerging from being sealed in amber in 2015 shortly after the Observers take over Earth in an event known as "The Purge."  Etta is killed by the Observers, Peter almost becomes an Observer in a quest for vengeance, and a young Observer child named Michael is key to Walter's plan to defeat the Observers once and for all.

Over the course of the entire series, the show becomes increasingly experimental with its format.  Glyph codes are featured in images during cuts to commercial breaks.  Some episodes are set during events in the 1980s with their own '80s-style opening credits and new wave theme music.  One episode is set in a noirish detective story from the 1940s, while another features CGI animated versions of the characters, and a third has an homage to Monty Python.  One standout moment even linked the show to the world of Twin Peaks

Fringe became one of the most innovative and hard science fiction series ever to air on television, but gradually declined in the ratings until being being consigned to Fox's dreaded Friday night "Death Slot."  However, the series persevered and managed to survive just long enough to reach the magic number of 100 episodes for syndication, debuting in rerun goodness last fall on the Science Channel.

My wife Lori and I greatly enjoyed our time together watching Fringe and I take some small pride in being able to convert my 70+-year-old parents into regular viewers as well.  We've shared a number of conversations about the series about Saturday breakfasts together and that's something I'll always cherish as time goes on. 

So thanks for five great years, Fringe.  Here's hoping tonight's final two episodes give you the sendoff you so definitely deserve...although, I wouldn't say no to a movie...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ARROW Season 1 Spoilers

The CW series Arrow finally returns from its holiday break tonight with "Burned," the first of nine new episodes running through March 27th.

According to The Huffington Post, a number of Oliver Queen's allies and enemies will be returning later in the season, including The Huntress, Deadshot and China White.  Here's a rundown of what's coming up over the next several episodes:

Episode 10 - "Burned" by Moira Kirland and Ben Sokolowski

The CW’s Official Description -- OLIVER HANGS UP HIS HOOD — Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) confidence is shaken after being beaten by the Dark Archer and he takes a break from being Arrow. However, when Laurel (Katie Cassidy) calls Arrow for help investigating a firefighter’s suspicious death, he reluctantly agrees but his hesitance while fighting almost costs him his life. Meanwhile, Tommy (Colin Donnell) throws a benefit for the firefighters and Thea (Willa Holland) tries to lift Moira (Susanna Thompson) out of her depressive state.
Andrew Dunbar appears in this episode as the Batman villain Firefly.

Tonight's episode has Stephen Amell's character at a low point after his beatdown by the Dark Archer (Malcolm Merlyn) and considering giving up his vigilante crusade.  But according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, this will be part of Ollie's evolution from "a vengeance-based vigilante to a justice-based hero."

Episode 11 - "Trust But Verify" by Gabrielle Stanton

The CW’s Official Description -- TOMMY AND MALCOLM HAVE A HEART-TO-HEART TALK AND OLIVER AND DIGGLE ARE AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER — The next person on Arrow’s (Stephen Amell) list is Diggle’s (David Ramsey) commanding officer and mentor from Afghanistan, Ted Gaynor (guest star Ben Browder). Oliver suspects Ted is responsible for recent armoured truck robberies, but Diggle defends Ted and takes a job at Ted’s security company to keep an eye on him. Oliver decides to make a move on Ted, which puts him at odds with Diggle. Meanwhile, Thea (Willa Holland) suspects that Moira (Susanna Thompson) is having an affair with Malcolm (guest star John Barrowman). Tommy (Colin Donnell) and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) have an awkward dinner with Malcolm.

Episode 12 - "Vertigo" by Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski

The CW’s Official Description -- SETH GABEL (“FRINGE”) GUEST STARS WHILE THEA FACES PRISON TIME — Thea (Willa Holland) is in trouble with the police after she gets caught using a drug called “Vertigo.” Oliver (Stephen Amell) thinks the only way to keep her out of jail is to find the dealer, a man who goes by the name of “The Count” (guest star Seth Gabel). Oliver turns to McKenna Hall (guest star Janina Gavankar), an old flame and current Vice cop, for help. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) steps in to defend Thea, and Felicity (guest star Emily Bett Rickards) gives Oliver some disturbing news about Moira (Susanna Thompson). David Ramsey, Colin Donnell and Paul Blackthorne also star.

"We love Seth and his interpretation of the character and the Count was always introduced with the plan to make him a recurring villain," said Guggenheim.  "In fact, Episode 12 ends with a set-up for his next appearance.  Seth plays the character with a lot of flair and it's a new color for the show.  Those people who think the Arrow is all about business-suited one-percenters will really want to check out this episode."

Episode 13 - "Betrayal" by Lana Cho and Beth Schwartz

Manu Bennett debuts as the person underneath Deathstroke's mask, who may or may not be Slade Wilson.  "I'd caution against making any assumptions about the role he's playing," Guggenheim said.  "We're a bit crafty over here at Arrow and we've demonstrated a certain fondness for using people's comic book-based expectations against them.  That said, Oliver will make a shocking discovery about Manu's character that will completely change how much, or even whether, he can trust him."

David Anders from Alias and Once Upon a Time will play Cyrus Vanch, a brand-new villain created specifically for the TV show.  "We wanted to have a villain who was purely sociopathic and without conscience and limitations, but also someone who was so incredibly smart that his tactics and the intelligence of his strategy would rival Oliver's tactics and ability to strategize," said Guggenheim.  "We'd been having so much fun with established DC villains that we thought it was time to create someone new and add a new toy to the toy box.  The fun about Vanch is that he's absolutely ruthless, but at the same time, a great tactician.  He's the thinking man's villain."

Episode 14 - "The Odyssey" by Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti

This episode will feature the DC Comics character Shado, who will supposedly have her familiar dragon tattoo.

Episode 15 - "Dodger" by Beth Schwartz

Colton Haynes makes his debut as Roy Harper and Battlestar Galactica actor James Callis appears as The Dodger.

There are no plans for the Dodger's return yet, but according to Guggenheim, "Andrew and I were watching James' first day and immediately vowed to bring him back.  He's terrific.  The Dodger is a new type of adversary for us.  He offers a slightly lighter touch than previous villains we've had on the show, but James really grounds him with an air of menace that makes the Dodger fit with the tone we've established in the first fourteen episodes."

Episode 16 - Title Unknown

Deadshot returns with an all-new look and teams up with China White.

Episode 17 - Title Unknown

Jessica De Gouw returns as The Huntress/Helena Bertinelli.

Other Season One spoilers --

At least one other person aside from Diggle will learn Oliver's secret identity fairly soon.

Emily Bett Rickards computer expert character Felicity Smoak has "a big role to play in the second half of the season," said Guggenheim.  "Of course, she'll continue to be Oliver's unwitting assistant, but also remember that, thanks to Walter, she has a copy of the Second Notebook."

An LGBTQ character is on the producers' to-do list.  "As an out writer/producer, that's always important to me, but it's also equally important to do it in a way that's fresh and interesting," said executive producer Greg Berlanti.  "Hopefully we'll get to introduce the character before the end of year.  It's definitely high on our priority list."

"Viewers who are wondering when Oliver is going to realize his mom (Moira) is naughty will want to pay particular attention to Episodes 12 thru 14," Guggenheim said.

Tommy Merlyn may or may not start becoming a villain this season.  "He doesn't know that his dad is the Dark Archer. What's going to happen if and when Tommy makes that discovery? How does his father's uber-scheme affect Tommy?  Those are the questions we're raising and then driving to our big finale," said Guggenheim.

Arrow airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on The CW.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ELEMENTARY Teases Moriarty and Irene Adler Casting

CBS' Sherlock Holmes series Elementary has had a hard road convincing fans of the BBC series Sherlock that there's room for both modern-day versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous literary creation.  However, after this past Thursday's episode, titled simply "M.," that road may be getting a little easier.

The show's twelfth episode featured Vinnie Jones as a hitman ultimately revealed to be Sebastian Moran, based on the character that first appeared in Doyle's story "The Adventure of the Empty House."  After initially believing Moran was the murderer of his love Irene Adler, Holmes stabs Moran (deliberately missing every organ) and turns him over to the police.  With Moran wanting revenge on the man who set him up, he tells Holmes that his employer is none other than Holmes' literary arch-enemy, Moriarty.

So with Elementary stepping its game up, fans of the show are now wondering when Moriarty will make his debut.  According to an article yesterday by The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Rob Doherty intends on keeping Moriarty's casting a secret as long as possible.  "We're approaching very carefully and as quietly as we can.  At the end of the day, we want a tremendous actor," said Doherty.  "It's less fun for me if you know who he is."  He also remarked, "We have a few more weeks before we have to sweat that."

And with the various references to Holmes' supposedly-but-not-probably deceased love Irene Adler, it's not surprising that Doherty wants to explore the past relationship further, at least in flashback form.  "She's an important element to Sherlock's backstory," he said.  "I'd love to have a face to that name.  She's got to be unique.  You will see a living, breathing actress reading lines and portraying Irene."

Elementary will also be featured in the coveted post-Super Bowl XLVII timeslot on February 3rd, with Doherty feeling pressure to make the most of the opportunity to bring in new regular viewers.  "It's hard to go from 10 to 11, but I did.  Mostly what we felt was great excitement."  He also said the episode will "expose the show to people who may not have checked it out yet" but will be "something that our regular audience would really have fun with."

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gina Carano as JUSTICE LEAGUE's Wonder Woman Speculation Respeculates

Yes, Superman is currently dating Wonder Woman...and maybe not just in the comics.

Just over three months ago, rumors began that mixed martial arts fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano was going to be Wonder Woman in the upcoming 2015 Justice League movie after Carano was spotted with Man of Steel star Henry Cavill at an unveiling for McClaren Automotive.  This speculation followed on developments in DC Comics' Justice League series where the characters of Superman and Wonder Woman abruptly began showing romantic feelings towards one another.

Well, Carano and Cavill officially debuted as a couple yesterday at the Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles by appearing together on the red carpet.  The two presenters were spotted holding hands and E! News reported that the couple have been dating since September after Cavill ended his relationship with fiancee Ellen Whitaker.

Rumors persist that Wonder Woman could make a surprise appearance in Man of Steel, perhaps in a post-closing credits cameo similar to the recent Marvel cinematic universe films.  If so, there may have been Warner Bros. screen tests to see if Carano had chemistry with Cavill, which could've been where the two first met one another.

Even if the Man of Steel cameo doesn't happen, it's possible Carano tested with Cavill for Justice League just to see if she was right for the role of Wonder Woman.  Man of Steel director Zack Snyder made comments back in November that it made sense for Cavill to reprise Superman for Justice League.  "I don't know how Justice League is going to be handled," said Snyder, "but Man of Steel exists and Superman is in it.  I don't know how you'd move forward without acknowledging that."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DOCTOR WHO 50th Anniversary Audio Adventure Announced

While Whovians around the world continue to wonder if Steven Moffat has a big multi-Doctor story planned for the upcoming Doctor Who 50th anniversary special this November, Big Finish already has us covered.

The production company announced today that there will be a special audio adventure release in November titled Doctor Who: The Light at the End.  The 100-minute story will celebrate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary with actors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann reprising their respective roles of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors.  Of course, each Doctor needs a companion, so Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher will also reprise their respective roles of Leela, Nyssa, Peri Brown, Ace and Charley Pollard.

"We wanted to do a proper, fully-fledged multi-Doctor story for this very special occasion," said writer, director and executive producer Nicholas Briggs, "and it’s wonderful that all the surviving Doctors threw themselves behind the project so enthusiastically.  That’s not to say the first three Doctors don’t appear – We wanted to pay homage to the whole history of the classic series."

"And that’s not all,” said producer David Richardson, "because Geoffrey Beevers is back to create mayhem as the Master, and there will be a number of appearances from some much-cherished old friends from the TV series…"

Here's the official plot synopsis for The Light at the End:

November 23rd 1963 proves to be a significant day in the lives of all eight Doctors…

It's the day that Bob Dovie's life is ripped apart…

It's also a day that sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events which forces the first eight incarnations of the Doctor to fight for their very existence. As a mysterious, insidious chaos unfolds within the TARDIS, the barriers of time break apart…

From suburban England through war-torn alien landscapes and into a deadly, artificial dimension, all these Doctors and their companions must struggle against the power of an unfathomable, alien technology.

From the very beginning, it is clear that the Master is somehow involved. By the end, for the Doctors, there may only be darkness.

Doctor Who: The Light at the End will be released in two different versions.  A five-disc limited special edition includes two hour-long documentaries, plus The Revenants, a Companion Chronicles story performed by William Russell as Ian Chesterton.  The special edition comes in a special packaging and includes exclusive professionally photographed images of the cast.  The standard edition has the first two discs, featuring the two hour-long episodes of the story.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

TWIN PEAKS is Not Happening Again

The rumors of Twin Peaks returning for Season 3 are not what they seem.

During the past few days, fans of the ABC cult classic television series from 1990-91 became excited at increasing internet speculation that the show would finally return for a third season on NBC, of all places.  The whole thing apparently started on a 4chan message board from an anonymous poster (always a reliable source...ahem...) who mentioned that he was "lucky enough to be in on a meeting David Lynch (co-creator of Twin Peaks) was having with some NBC executives."  He also brought up several "pointers" he supposedly learned:
  • Season 3 is set the same amount of time it has been since Season 2
  • Lynch wants to be very hands on with the project but they executives were very open about how "unusual" his tastes were.  They seemed a little on edge about him tackling it alone.
  • Lynch wants most of the cast back
  • The story would revolve around that good (Dale) Cooper is still in the (Black) Lodge, and a young (female!) reporter will basically uncover the truth behind Twin Peaks, BOB and the Lodge
  • Since Season 2, bad Cooper has been in prison in another state for the murder of two Twin Peaks residents.  He didn't know which ones yet.  It seems since Season 2, bad Cooper went on a rampage.  Everyone still thinks it's the real Cooper.
  • Lynch was adamant that the show opens by recreating the first Red Room scene in Season 1.  This take place in modern day, and was a hint that Cooper would be trapped within the Red Room.
This post came just a day after Moviehole featured an article asking if Twin Peaks could be revived in 2013.  The piece quoted past comments from David Lynch who said, "Well, I always go by ideas.  One night maybe I catch an idea and get all fired up about it and maybe call Mark Frost and write something.  Who knows?  It hasn’t happened yet."  They also mentioned word from executive producer Robert Engels that "he's taken a couple of calls in recent years from networks" interested in bringing the show back in some way.

However, a couple of days later, co-creator Mark Frost pretty much killed the rumors on Twitter, posting this comment:

Yesterday, Frost also remarked on the silliness of NBC being the network to bring Twin Peaks back...

So Peaks Freaks are still without Season 3 and poor Agent Cooper is still trapped in the Black Lodge...for the foreseeable future at least.  But hey, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks Twin Peaks Season 3 would make a damn fine comic book series for whatever obviously brilliant publisher that managed to obtain the licensing rights.  And you know...I'm reasonably certain I could find the time to write it...

Friday, January 4, 2013

DAMN Good Movies -- My Top 10 Movies of 2012

Another year is officially in the history books, so I thought I'd pass along a few random thoughts about my personal favorite films of 2012.  For those not familiar with my typical disclaimer, this list only contains films I actually managed to see in theaters or on home video, so if you don't see your favorite here, that's probably why.

1.  Skyfall -- Most likely to be overlooked come Oscar nomination time, Sam Mendes' fiftieth anniversary for the James Bond film series resulted in one of the best Bond movies ever.  Everything clicks here, from Adele's old-school opening credits theme song to Javier Bardem as Silva to Dame Judi Dench's showcased exit as M.  This was also one of the most personal OO7 movies ever, easily since Bond married and quickly lost Tracy di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  Ultimately though, the film serves a vehicle to bring in a new Q, Moneypenny and M, finally completing the origin story of James Bond that began with 2006's Casino Royale.

2.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- Unfairly maligned by a number of so-called film critics, Peter Jackson's long-awaited return to the Middle-earth realm of J.R.R. Tolkien was entertaining and worthy of his previous work.  In a more lighthearted outing, Jackson incorporated various story ideas from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings appendices and crafted The Hobbit into a full-fledged prequel trilogy.  Cameos from stars Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett enhanced the film without overpowering the focus on Young Bilbo and the new Dwarf characters, and the nostalgic score by returning composer Howard Shore was certainly welcome as well.

3.  The Avengers -- Fans of comic books have dreamed for years of what a superhero movie by director Joss Whedon would be like.  After the failed attempt to launch a Wonder Woman film franchise, they finally got their wish with The Avengers and Whedon more than delivered.  The responsibility of uniting the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America film depictions was huge, but Whedon once again showed his mastery of character interaction and drama balanced with comedic timing.  His grasp of group dynamics is note perfect, but his sense of cinematic vision and imagery still seems limited to a standard television budget.

4.  Django Unchained -- Quentin Tarantino manages to drop N-bombs just about every other sentence in his latest film, but reminds the sensitive politically correct that yes, people did talk pretty horribly about black people in 1858 Mississippi.  The movie isn't one of his best and could've easily lost a good twenty minutes, but still manages to be solidly entertaining thanks to some standout performances by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio.  It's also reassuring that Tarantino still doesn't play it safe, as far too many directors do these days, as he turns in another brutal, bloody and fascinating tale of revenge.

5.  Lincoln -- This Steven Spielberg film is bound to get some Oscar buzz, some of it deservedly so, some of it...not so much.  As a historical docudrama, it mostly succeeds to fill non-historians in on President Lincoln's final days in office and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery.  The performances are solid, primarily from Best Actor lock Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens and James Spader as W.N. Bilbo.  The problem is, Spielberg centers his film called Lincoln around the 13th Amendment more than Lincoln himself.  He seems more interested in showcasing all the political wheeling and dealing, to the point where he outright skips Lincoln's assassination to make room for it.

6.  The Dark Knight Rises -- As the end to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, this film is satisfying enough but has a number of things to annoy diehard Batfans.  Batman is still a fugitive from Gotham City police after eight years, Commissioner Gordon has become a coward afraid of revealing what happened in The Dark Knight, "loyal" butler and mentor Alfred Pennyworth abruptly leaves the moment Bruce decides to return as Batman, and Bruce Wayne is more than eager to retire as Gotham's protector despite all the supposed trauma of his parents' murders that drove him to train for years just to become Batman.  Regardless, it was still great fun to watch Tom Hardy terrorizing Gotham as Bane, Marion Cotillard revealed as Talia al Ghul, and Anne Hathaway as arguably the best on-screen Catwoman.

7.  Looper -- One of the more creative efforts of 2012, this movie by Rian Johnson feels like an adapted Philip K. Dick story.  The idea of young mob assassin tasked with killing his older self sent back in time is a great story premise with some intriguing timey-wimey concepts.  One particular standout involves a horrified older man who gradually begins losing body parts one by one as his younger self is dismembered.  Ultimately though, the drama of Old Joe vs. Young Joe is pushed aside for a secondary plot involving a telekinetic boy destined to grow up and become a powerful tyrant. 

8.  The Amazing Spider-Man -- The decision by Sony Pictures to have Marc Webb reboot their Spider-Man franchise from the ground up just five years after the last outing with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst was a strange one, but for the most part, it worked.  Andrew Garfield was very effective as a more scientific and wisecracking Spidey, and Emma Stone made a surprisingly good Gwen Stacy despite being a more natural Mary Jane Watson.  Unfortunately, Rhys Ifans' Lizard turned out to be a disappointing villain with a pointless scheme of transforming New Yorkers into lizard creatures like himself, especially compared to more impressive menaces like Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin and Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus.

9.  Prometheus -- Probably the most frustrating movie of the year.  On one hand, you've got Ridley Scott directing a prequel to Alien (!), with a solid cast of actors and some stunning costumes, cinematography and special effects.  On the other, you've got a terrible, nonsensical script by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts filled with plot holes and poor characterization.  The first half actually builds pretty nicely, but ventures into shark-jumping territory the moment Noomi Rapace undergoes an automated surgical procedure to remove a gestating alien baby and then starts running around in action scenes with a stapled abdomen.  Yeah, I know.

10.  Chronicle -- The first real highlight of 2012 was this "found footage" gem by Josh Trank.  At first, you think this movie is going to be about three high school guys having fun and pulling pranks on people with their new telekinetic superpowers, sort of like the old Scott Baio movie Zapped!, but then the tone shifts halfway through and becomes a fresh, realistic take on the superhero genre.  The script by Max Landis is pretty sharp for the most part, although any regular comic book reader could see one character's descent into supervillainy almost inevitable.

All in all, a pretty solid year for movies. Bring on 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Your 2013 Geek Movie and TV Calendar

Once again, the new year brings us closer to The Films and TV Shows You've Been Dying to See for Like Forever.  If you enjoy sci-fi, fantasy and comic book based entertainment as I do, you already have several must-see flicks and television programs in the pipeline for 2013.  With that in mind, I thought I'd go ahead and give a helpful chronological rundown of which geek movie and TV goodness arrives when.  Some of these films will be worth the long wait, others you wouldn't watch even if they were free on cable, but each have their audiences and key target demographics.  Start planning your work vacation/sick/personal days accordingly.


5 - Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice (TV)
6 - Downton Abbey (TV)
11 - Fringe (TV)
14 - Continuum (TV)
16 - Arrow (TV)
17 - Archer (TV)
19 - Ripper Street (TV)


6 - Spies of Warsaw (TV)
7 - Community (TV)
10 - The Walking Dead (TV)
14 - A Good Day to Die Hard (Movie)


29 - G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Movie)
31 - Game of Thrones (TV)


Spring 2013 - Doctor Who, Hannibal (TV)
5 - Jurassic Park 3D (Movie)
19 - Oblivion (Movie)


3 - Iron Man 3 (Movie)
17 - Star Trek Into Darkness (Movie)


June 2013 - True Blood (TV)
14 - Man of Steel (Movie)
21 - Monsters University, World War Z (Movies)
28 - Kick-Ass 2 (Movie)


3 - Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger (Movies)
12 - Pacific Rim (Movie)
26 - The Wolverine (Movie)


2 - RED 2, 300: Rise of an Empire (Movies)
9 - Elysium (Movie)


20 - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 3D (Movie)
Fall 2013 - Boardwalk Empire, S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)


October 2013 - American Horror Story (TV)
4 - Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 3D (Movies)
25 - The World's End (Movie)


November 2013 - An Adventure in Space and Time (TV)
1 - Ender's Game (Movie)
8 - Thor: The Dark World (Movie)
22 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Movie)
23 - Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special (TV)


13 - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Movie)
25 - 47 Ronin (Movie)