Friday, January 31, 2014

SUPERMAN/BATMAN Casts Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred

At last, Superman has found his arch-enemy.

Deadline reports that Zack Snyder's upcoming and still-untitled Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman has cast two major roles, with The Social Network and Zombieland star Jesse Eisenberg as central villain Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne's butler and closest friend, Alfred Pennyworth.

The actors will join Henry Cavill, returning as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as the latest Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.  Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane will also reprise their respective roles of Lois Lane, Perry White and Martha Kent from Man of Steel.

"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," Snyder said in Warner Bros’ announcement.  "What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain.  He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman.  Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions."

On the subject of Irons as Alfred, Snyder remarked, "As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure.  He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman.  It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne."

Eisenberg, now 30, will the be third actor to portray Lex Luthor in films, after Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey.  Irons will be the fourth big-screen Alfred, after Alan Napier, Michael Gough and Michael Caine.

The article also mentions that Chris Terrio is currently writing the script from a screenplay by David S. Goyer.  Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns executive producing.

The Superman/Batman movie is currently slated for release on May 6, 2016.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

X-MEN Producer Wants GAMBIT Movie Starring Channing Tatum

Poor Taylor Kitsch.

Back in ye olden days of 2009, before the film John Carter effectively killed his ability to star as a leading man, Kitsch appeared as one Remy "Gambit" LeBeau in the movie X-Men Origins: WolverineThe flick wasn't very well-received by X-Men fans, but they still hoped for a possible spinoff film starring their favorite Marvel Comics Cajun.

Well, according to a new report from Empire, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner loves the idea, but has someone else in mind to star.  "I'm dying to do a Gambit movie with Channing Tatum," said Shuler Donner.  "That doesn't have to be a great big movie.  It's a thief in New Orleans, it's a whole different story.  He's on board, and I have to get the studio on board.  How can anyone resist Channing?  He's such a sweetheart."

Tatum's career certainly has more going for it at the moment than Kitsch's, after Jupiter Ascending, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike and two high-profile appearances as Duke in the G.I. Joe movies.  During a press conference for White House Down last year, Tatum remarked, "I would like to play Gambit.  Gambit’s my favourite.  I’m from New Orleans, around that area.  My dad’s from New Orleans, and I like to do a Cajun accent.  I could do it for real."

"No knock on Taylor Kitsch, though," he continued, "’cause I actually like his Gambit, but I’ve always lived around Cajun people.  Gambit was always like the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking guy.  He was the punk rock of all the superheroes.  He’s a thief.  He kind of rode the line."

With a rising star like Tatum already in mind, that might make things easier for Shuler Donner to sell 20th Century Fox on the project.  Considering X-Men: Days of Future Past is set for release in May, X-Men: Apocalypse has already been slated for 2016, and another Wolverine movie is in the works, it's obvious that Fox still sees gold in them thar mutants.  But a solo X-Men character not played by Hugh Jackman?  Time will tell on that one...

Monday, January 27, 2014

DOCTOR WHO: Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor Costume Revealed

However, the big question remains...Does he know how to fly the TARDIS?

After a month of anticipation, the BBC have officially revealed the costume for Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who Series 8.  And as you might expect, there's a press release...

The Doctor has a new look as Peter Capaldi’s era officially begins. In a picture released today by the BBC, Capaldi can be seen in the costume that will define his time as the Twelfth Time Lord in one of TV’s biggest roles. Sporting a dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, dark blue trousers, a white shirt as well as black Dr. Marten shoes, the look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden.

Commenting on his costume, Peter Capaldi said: “He's woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 per cent Rebel Time Lord.” While lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat added: “New Doctor, new era, and of course new clothes. Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over - Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you!”

Filming for episode one of series 8 began earlier this month, after 10.2 million tuned-in on Christmas Day to get their first much-anticipated glimpse of Capaldi’s Doctor. Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, commented: "Peter Capaldi's Doctor is officially recorded in history today with the unveiling of his new costume. It's sharp, smart and stylish - The Twelfth Time Lord means business."

Doctor Who is a BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC One.

And here's the full costume....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Probable Reverse-Flash & Killer Frost

The Flash doesn't have a series commitment yet and his gallery of Rogues is already growing.

Deadline reports that The Vampire Diaries' Rick Cosnett and Necessary Roughness' Danielle Panabaker have been cast in the pilot for The Flash, starring Grant Gustin as the DC Comics superhero.  The pilot, directed by Smallville and Arrow veteran David Nutter, is expected to begin filming this March in Vancouver.

Cosnett will play Central Ciity police detective Eddie Thawne, announced last month as a recent transfer from Keystone whose past is a complete mystery and "harbors a dark secret."  Introduced as Barry's rival within the CCPD, it seems likely that as long as the series is picked up by The CW, Thawne will eventually becomes The Flash's archnemesis the Reverse-Flash.

As for Panabaker, she will portray Caitlin Snow, described in the article as "a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancé during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs."  Comics fans may recognize the name from last year's Justice League of America #7.2 as the newest character to take on the identity of supervillain Killer Frost

Originally created in 1978 by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom in the pages of Firestorm (vol.1) #3, the current version of Killer Frost is a scientist sent to S.T.A.R. Labs Outpost #72 in the Arctic to work on a thermodynamic engine whose creator has committed suicide.  Discovering the outpost is infiltrated by H.I.V.E. agents, Snow is attacked inside the engine and the coolant system merges her body with ice, turning her into a heat vampire.

This latest casting update follows on recent news that Law & Order actor Jesse L. Martin will play Detective West, a blue-collar cop who is father to Iris West and legal guardian to Barry Allen following the murder of Barry's mother and arrest of his father.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Deathlok & Lorelei Confirmed for AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Do you remember last fall, when Angel and Marvel Comics fans were disappointed to find out that J. August Richards was only playing a guy called "Mike Peterson" in the pilot for ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?  Well, it turns out he's going to be something more...

During yesterday's Television Critics Association set visit, Marvel revealed that Richards' Mike Peterson is going to become the cyborg character Deathlok in the February 4th episode, "T.R.A.C.K.S."  In "The Magical Place," fans learned that Peterson survived an explosion, is missing a leg, and has had his eye replaced by the mysterious organization known as Centipede.  The official description for Deathlok:

Transformed into the cybernetic solider against his will, Mike Peterson must struggle to find the man in the machine. With a high-tech eye that allows him to see through walls, super strength and increased speed courtesy of a cybernetic leg, will Deathlok fight alongside the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or against them?

Created by Doug Moench and Rich Buckler, the character first appeared in Marvel's Astonishing Tales #25 in 1974, debuting as Luther Manning, an American soldier who dies and is reanimated in a post-apocalyptic future as a cyborg.  Other characters using the Deathlok identity followed, including John Kelly, Michael Collins and Jack Truman.

"We have been waiting all season for this moment where we can reveal that Mike Peterson's story arc is an origin story," said executive producer Jeffrey Bell.  "We're thrilled to have J. August Richards playing Deathlok and to have our audience enjoy this favorite Marvel character on the show."

Richards commented on the revelation, saying "If you would have asked when I was nine years old what I wanted to be, I would have said a super hero and I'm so excited to be one now as an adult on TV!  It's a dream come true."

Meanwhile, there are more details of Jaimie Alexander's reprisal of Sif on the series.  According to a post on Twitter from Marvel, Sif's specific mission that returns her to Earth is "to track down Lorelei, a villain from Walter Simonson's Thor run." 

The character first appeared in 1984's Thor (vol.1) #337, Simonson's first issue, as an Asgardian who asks Loki's help to win Thor's love.  Posing as a mortal Earth woman called "Melodi," she is "saved" by Thor during Fafnir the dragon's rampage in Manhattan, then later gets Thor to drink golden mead, which turns out to be a love potion that places him under her control.

According to TV Guide, the role of Lorelei will be played by Elena Satine, who also portrayed DC Comics character Mera in the Smallville episode "Patriot."  Barring any repeats, the episode featuring Sif and Lorelei should air on February 18th.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DAMN Good Comics -- BLACK WIDOW #2

You know how frustrating it is that Black Widow has never received her own solo movie?  It's even more frustrating after reading this comic.

After a solid, "Done in One" debut two weeks ago, the second issue of the new Black Widow series continues the exploration of Natasha Romanov in her dangerous and often deadly personal crusade for atonement.  Writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto keep peeling back layers, ever so slowly, to one of Marvel's finest espionage characters and make her more intriguing by the issue.

In "Shanghaied," Edmondson opens with a bang -- or rather, a car crash -- that immediately puts Natasha at the wrong end of a gun and hooks the reader in the process.  It turns out to be an effective tease, as we quickly jump back fourteen hours, feeling like we're watching an episode of the ABC TV series Alias.  We learn that she's been hired by an old acquaintance named Mr. Lin to find his kindapped son that, of course, results in an encounter with a new adversary named the Iron Scorpion.

Meanwhile, the mystery of Natasha's lawyer/manager/central supporting character Isaiah Ross deepens, with an office meeting involving a man called Aames, a representative seeking restitution for his client's "significant loss of property."  Apparently more than just an empty suit, Isaiah takes it upon himself to find out more, discovering a plan to blackmail Black Widow and also kill Isaiah in order to encourage Natasha to pay up.  To our surprise, Isaiah's response to this isn't simply warning his superspy employer, but instead taking upon himself to shoot Aames and his two cohorts dead inside their limousine.  Obviously, there's more to Isaiah than meets the eye and he's definitely of interest in the future.

And once again, Noto produces some exquisite artwork filled with bold coloring and exciting action sequences.  He gives Natasha's red hair considerable emphasis, with the color popping off the page against her dark bodysuit and more subdued backgrounds.  It makes sense, immediately drawing your eye to the character and giving his take its own distinctive style.  This is, quite simply, one of the most gorgeous and cinematic books Marvel's currently producing.

All in all, if you're not already sold on this newest run of  Black Widow, I highly recommend jumping on board now instead of waiting for the trade.  Like Hawkeye, this could turn out to be an unexpected hit, one that builds through positive word-of-mouth over the next few months, then has slackers and latecomers scrambling to track down early issues.

Monday, January 20, 2014

SON OF BATMAN Trailer Debuts with Damian Wayne

At long last, Damian gets his due.

The trailer for Son of Batman, the latest DC Comics animated feature direct to home video, was released earlier today by TV Guide.  Based on the storyline "Batman & Son" by Grant Morrison and Adam Kubert, Son of Batman is centered around Damian Wayne, the child of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, the daughter of the villainous Ra's al Ghul.

Appearing first as an infant in the 1987 graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham, Damian was fully introduced as a headstrong, 10-year-old character in 2006's Batman #655 and soon took over the identity of Robin as Dick Grayson's partner when Bruce Wayne was believed to have been killed by Darkseid.  He remained as Robin after his father's return, fighting crime at his side until he was killed last year by The Heretic, an agent of Talia, in the pages of Batman Incorporated (vol.2) #8.

The cast for Son of Batman was also listed in the article, which include the following:

Batman/Bruce Wayne -- Jason O'Mara (voicing the character for the second time, after the previous release Justice League: War)
Robin/Damian Wayne -- Stuart Allan
Talia al Ghul -- Morena Baccarin (who previously provided the voice of Black Canary for the Justice League Unlimited animated series)
Ra's al Ghul -- Giancarlo Esposito
Alfred Pennyworth -- David McCallum (NCIS)
Man-Bat/Kirk Langstrom -- Xander Berkeley (Nikita, Kick-Ass)
Deathstroke/Slade Wilson -- Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds)

Son of Batman is scheduled to arrive sometime this spring.  If you'd like to check out the trailer, you can view it below thanks to TV Guide...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

HANNIBAL Season 2 Trailer is Served

It's almost time for the second course.

After months of anticipation, the first trailer for the second season of NBC's Hannibal debuted today online.  The series based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris was a pleasantly gory surprise, especially coming from NBC, and proved popular enough to earn a second series of thirteen episodes.

When we left FBI Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) at the end of Season One, he was imprisoned after being framed for murder by the brilliant and cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).  The new two-minute trailer opens with an ominous voiceover from Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) as he talks to Will in his cell:

"You know, in my time, I've seen people broken by the world.  This work that we do, you just can't take it all in.  My biggest fear is that we'll learn that you knew what you were doing the whole time.  Will Graham, you're under arrest for murder."

Naturally, Dr. Lecter continues to pin his crimes on Will while assisting Jack and the FBI in the investigation.  "Will claims someone else committed the crimes he's accused of."  Jack replies, "He said that person is you."  "Well, you have to investigate me," remarks Lecter as we see his mouth being swabbed for DNA.  "It's in my best interest."

A brief scene of Jack follows.  "Will Graham is either delusional or he's a psychopath, neither of which I can trust."

We then see Lecter conversing with Raul Esparza, once again as recurring character Dr. Frederick Chilton, administrator of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.  "He tells everyone that you are a monster," remarks Dr. Chilton.  "There are days when even Will doesn't understand his own thinking," replies Dr. Lecter.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), consultant profiler for the FBI, isn't happy about the turn of events.  "I told you not to put him out there!" she yells, presumably at Jack Crawford.

More with Jack and the imprisoned Will.  "We investigated your claims about Dr. Lecter," Jack says to Will.  "I am not the intelligent psychopath you're looking for," replies Will.

As a slow, haunting cover of the song "Stand by Me" begins, we see some disturbing images, including Lecter slowly sniffing a corpse, a figure with stag antlers rising from a stream and bodies arranged in the pattern of an eye cornea, accompanied by a voiceover from Will talking to Dr. Lecter.  "I don't know which is worse...believing I did it or believing that you did this to me."

We see Alana aiming her gun at someone approaching her, followed by a brutal kitchen fight between Dr. Lecter and Jack that results in Jack being wounded in the neck.

"I'm going to remember," continues Will, "and when I do, there will be a reckoning."

If you'd like to view the trailer, you can check it out below thanks to the official Hannibal account on YouTube...

Hannibal Season 2 premieres on February 28, 2014 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jaimie Alexander Reprising Sif on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Well, she does have some time to kill before Thor 3 arrives...

Zap2it has reported that Thor actress Jaimie Alexander is going to reprise her role of Asgardian warrior Sif in episode 15 of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  According to the article, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee revealed the cameo during ABC's TCA winter press tour.

"We're shooting it now," Lee said to reporters.  "Jaimie Alexander is there.  That's going to be absolutely integral to that hour of television."  According to Marvel's website, "Sif has come to Earth with a very specific mission.  Unfortunately, we can’t tell you just what brings her to our neck of the woods just yet."

Alexander was last seen as Sif in 2013's Thor: The Dark World, in a bonus scene during the closing credits where she and Volstagg leave the mystical MacGuffin called The Aether in the care of upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy villain The Collector.  She was reportedly in talks with Warner Bros. for the role of Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming Man of Steel sequel, but the role instead went to Gal Gadot.  Last November, Alexander was very open to the idea of reprising Sif in a spinoff film, remarking "I would love for there to be a spinoff film.  I would absolutely say ‘Yes!’ If the fans want it and there’s a strong enough desire for it, it will happen. So, fingers crossed!"

The move comes at a time when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to try and rebuild its ratings, which Paul Lee commented on during the press tour.  He admitted the show's initial fall after the premiere was disappointing, but said ABC is feeling "very, very good" about its stability creatively and ratings this season.  This week's episode (which earned a 2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall) was in line with the previous week, and once again the night’s No. 3 program in the 18-49 demographic and No. 1 among males 12-34 (1.7/6).

"It took us a little bit of time to find our sea legs," remarked Lee.  "Creatively, we're loving what we're seeing for that night."  He added that he thinks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could be around "for a very, very long time."

The next new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is scheduled for February 4th at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.  Barring any additional repeats, Jaimie Alexander's episode should air on February 18th.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thomas Kretschmann Cast as Baron Strucker in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

At last, are we finally getting S.H.I.E.L.D. versus HYDRA?

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that German actor Thomas Kretschmann has landed the role of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel, The Avengers: Age of UltronKretschmann is perhaps best known as Abraham Van Helsing on the NBC TV series Dracula, and played Hauptmann Kahn in the 2013 film Stalingrad and Cross in the movie adaptation of Wanted.

Kretschmann's casting follows on recent news that Elizabeth Olsen will play the Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson will be the Scarlet Witch's brother Quicksilver, and James Spader will voice the film's sentient android villain, Ultron.  Kretschmann will be the second actor to portray Baron Strucker in live-action, after Campbell Lane in the 1998 TV movie, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #5 in 1964, Baron Strucker is a former Nazi officer that became the head of HYDRA, the main terrorist organization in the Marvel Universe that functions as a rival to S.H.I.E.L.D..  Made nearly ageless thanks to a serum, Baron Strucker essentially serves as Nick Fury's arch-enemy and was recently shot in the head by Fury in Secret Warriors #27.  Strucker's children Andrea and Andreas von Strucker were killed by Baron Helmut Zemo and Norman Osborn (a.k.a. the Green Goblin) respectively, while Strucker killed another of his sons, Werner.

HYDRA was last seen on film in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, formed during World War II by Hugo Weaving's character, the Red Skull.  It's not yet known if the Red Skull or HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola will return in Age of Ultron.

Also not known is how HYDRA will connect to the ABC TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has yet to reference the organization during its first season.  However, the series has made a number of nods to April's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so those connections may be made somewhere down the line as Age of Ultron draws closer.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wally West Makes New 52 Debut in THE FLASH ANNUAL #3


When we last saw the third Flash, Wally West, he was helping his recently resurrected uncle, Barry Allen, in the DC Universe event storyline "Blackest Night" and was told by Barry to stay behind and protect himself and second cousin Bart Allen from the dangerous Black Lantern Corps.  And then in 2011, DC Comics rebooted its entire fictional universe in the limited series Flashpointrevamping Barry Allen as a younger lead character in a new Flash series with no sign of Wally West anywhere.

Wally's fans were understandably upset, especially since the character had been their Flash ever since the previous DC Universe reboot in 1986's Crisis on Infinite Earths #12.  An entire generation had grown up with Wally West as the Flash, reading about him in comics and watching him on the Justice League animated series, where he was voiced by Smallville actor Michael Rosenbaum. 

The writing, however, had been on the wall after Barry Allen was brought back in 2008's Final Crisis #2, then given creative emphasis once again in the following limited series The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns, who had written Wally's adventures in The Flash for several years.  But to many fans, benching Wally West for Barry Allen after so many years made as much sense as the idea of giving Barry's series to original Flash Jay Garrick in 1986.  And on the subject of Jay, he's already back in the New 52 series Earth 2, proving there's plenty of room in the DC Universe for more than one Scarlet Speedster.

Well, at long last, Wally West is back...or will be shortly.  USA Today revealed yesterday that Wally is slated to return in The Flash Annual #3, scheduled for release on April 30, 2014.  The new Flash creative team of writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen with artist Brett Booth make their debut a week earlier in The Flash #30.  Here's the solicitation text for Flash Annual #3...

On sale APRIL 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

The start of a major new arc for the Fastest Man Alive! In the future, The Flash is a broken man. His powers have failed him time and again at great cost to him and the city he has sworn to protect. Now he’s coming back to 2014 to stop the one event that destroyed his life. Meanwhile, in the present, Barry Allen must contend with thieves trying to capitalize on the devastation of FOREVER EVIL. It’s a tale of two timelines that ushers in one of DC’s most storied characters…featuring The New 52 debut of WALLY WEST!

Apart from this, details of Wally's debut into "The New 52" continuity are practically nonexistent at the moment, opening the door to fan speculation.  Is Wally now a teenager again as he was when he first debuted in 1959's The Flash #110?  And if so, will he get his powers of superspeed and take over as Kid Flash from Bart Allen, currently in the series Teen Titans?  Or is he still an adult Flash who somehow survived the events of Flashpoint?  And if he's an adult, are his wife Linda Park and kids Jai and Iris still in existence?  Oh, and is the reason for finally bringing Wally back to the DC Universe because Wally West is the Flash featured in the Justice League movie, while Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is featured on The Flash television series?

So many questions, but at least it should have people talking about The Flash again.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Epic First GAME OF THRONES Season 4 Trailer is Epic

At long last, winter is coming...back.

Just before the premiere of HBO's new series True Detective, HBO debuted the long-awaited trailer for Game of Thrones Season 4, based on the popular fantasy saga "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin.  Season 4 promises to cover the last third of Martin's third novel in the series, A Storm of Swords, along with some elements from the fourth, A Feast for Crows.

The trailer opens with an ominous dragon’s shadow above the city of Meereen, then gives us everyone's favorite brat villain, King Joffery, telling his uncle/birth father Jaime Lannister "They know I saved the city.  They know I won the war."  Scenes of death and carnage flash before our eyes as Jaime replies, “The war’s not won.”

As the song "Feral Love" by Chelsea Wolfe begins to play, Ser Jorah Mormont begins a voiceover.  "It’s tempting to see your enemies as evil," he says as quick glimpses of Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, and Tyrion appear, "but there is good and evil on both sides, in every war ever fought."  Over his words, a terrified man is stabbed to death in an alley.  Daenerys Targaryean, seen briefly on her new Meereenese throne, remarks "They have a choice -- They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one."

We then shift to Tyrion Lannister, who walks through the throne room of the Red Keep with shackles on his hands.  In a jail cell, he remarks "Things are tense right now...I don't think I'm talking my way out of this one."  New character Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne (played by Pedro Pascal) stares at the empty Iron Throne.  And then it’s on to Mr. Cheerful, Jon Snow.  As Ygritte and other wildlings wreak havoc on the landscape, Jon warns the black brothers that the wildlings "If the wildlings breach the Wall, they'll roll over everything and everyone."

Shots of Yara Greyjoy sailing in a longboat follow, along with Jaime being painfully fitted with a false hand, a tear falling down Cersei’s cheek, and an infant boy being left naked in the snow.  All of this with a voiceover from Littlefinger, saying "Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?"

Prince Oberyn instructs Tyrion to tell Tywin that he has arrived.  "And tell him the Lannisters aren't the only ones who pay their debts."  Meanwhile, Cersei is not happy (and honestly, when is she ever happy?) about Joffrey and Margaery's wedding.  "You’ll fight over him like beasts until you tear him apart!  I will burn our House to the ground before I let that happen!”

Jaime dramatically slams a massive book closed, Alliser Thorne cries out that the black brothers will fight, swords descend on bound men, and Melisandre remarks, "There is only one hell – the one we live in now."  A still tied-up Theon is slapped in bed, a girl in a dark cape enters a courtyard full of snow, Arya spins around with her sword, and Daenerys looks down, satisfied, at crowds cheering her presence.

But of course, it's Tyrion who gets the final teasing line, remarking "If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place."

If you'd like to view the trailer, you can check it out below thanks to the official Game of Thrones account on YouTube...

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6, 2014.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ray Wise Confirms TWIN PEAKS Blu-Ray Promo Directed by David Lynch

Leland's a babe in the woods, with a large hole where his conscience used to be, but apparently that's a "yes" to a big Twin Peaks rumor.

During a recent interview with Fangoria for the home video release of Big Ass Spider!, actor Ray Wise has confirmed recent rumors that Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch has filmed a promo for the upcoming release of Twin Peaks on Blu-Ray.  Wise played attorney Leland Palmer on the series, father of the murdered and secretly troubled teenager Laura Palmer.

"Yeah, we [shot the promo for the Blu-ray] two days ago," Wise said to Fangoria.  "It’s been done.  I don’t know if I was supposed to leak that to anybody, but yeah, we did it and I’m not at liberty to say what was done.  I can say that it’s going to be a big surprise."

This follows on a Bleeding Cool report earlier this month of a casting call for the promo.  Here's the casting call listed in the article:

Hot Caucasian Girl – Brunette or Redheads Only. To play waitress, 18-27. Must have an amazing body, busty, very period looking face.

Also, The Digital Bits posted some details on the Blu-Ray set four days after the Bleeding Cool piece, saying that Paramount in Australia announced the Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery set for April 30th, including both ABC television seasons and the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.  However, they note that Lynch is continuing to work on new special features content and the United States release could end up being something this summer.  But at least it is happening again.

And for those familiar with the series, March 25, 2014 will be exactly 25 years since Laura Palmer met Special Agent Dale Cooper in the Black Lodge and told him that she would see him again in twenty-five years.  The scene aired during the show's television finale on June 10, 1991, but in terms of story, the event took place on March 25, 1989.


STAR WARS EPISODE VII Giving Luke, Leia & Han Proper Sendoff

So essentially, we're looking at Star Wars Episode VII: Generations.

With less than two years to go until Star Wars Episode VII is scheduled to arrive in theaters, the rumors surrounding the film are ramping up.  The latest batch suggests Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, Adam Driver from HBO's Girls and Breaking Bad actor Jesse Plemons are under consideration for involvement...somehow.  And those are in addition to other names being thrown out, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Jack O'Connell, Alex Pettyfer, Saoirse Ronan and Sullivan Stapleton.

The Hollywood Reporter has an update on the speculation, including an explanation for why screenwriter Michael Arndt left the project last fall, with director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan taking control.  According to the article, the reason for the split was a "difference in opinion of which characters to emphasize."

Arndt apparently focused on the children of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), with the original trilogy stars serving as supporting characters.  However, Abrams wanted Episode VII to center around Luke, Leia and Han, so that everyone could enjoy them as leading characters one last time before giving them a proper sendoff.  The next generation of Star Wars heroes (who may or may not be Ben Skywalker and Jacen & Jaina Solo from the Star Wars novels) will now be the supporting characters in Episode VII, but taking over in Episodes VIII and IX.  In addition, some of Arndt's characters have been written out with other ones being introduced.

Star Wars creator George Lucas was also involved in the creative debate, but reportedly accepted the decision by Abrams and producer/current Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy.  Abrams and Kasdan's changes have affected a number of young actors already cast, because there's no need for their characters.  One role originally envisioned as a 20-year-old male has been aged into a 40-year-old.

Some other rumored tidbits mentioned in the article include Weaving supposedly meeting for a role of an Imperial commander, and the search for a twentysomething female actress who is either of mixed race or black that could possibly be playing Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter.

Star Wars Episode VII is slated to arrive on December 18, 2015.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ben Kingsley Returns as IRON MAN 3's Trevor Slattery

As Mel Brooks once said, it's good to be the king.  Well...unless you're Trevor Slattery.

Last May, a considerable number of Marvel Comics fans went to see the movie Iron Man 3, anticipating the long-awaited confrontation between Tony Stark and his archenemy The Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley.  Unfortunately, what they actually got was the "What a twist!" revelation that The Mandarin was merely a fictional facade, portrayed by a drunken British actor called Trevor.

No, there isn't a SPOILER WARNING here.  It doesn't deserve one.

Entertainment Weekly has confirmed rumors that Kingsley is reprising his role of Trevor in a new Marvel One-Shot short film to be included with the Thor: The Dark World Blu-Ray/DVD release.  Titled All Hail the King, the short is written and directed by Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce and serves as an epilogue to Iron Man 3.  Trevor, now locked away in the maximum security prison Seagate, is "reveling in his newfound infamy. (It’s as close to fame as he’s ever gotten.)"

Slattery has agreed to an interview with a filmmaker (played by Scoot McNairy), who is making a documentary following up on the events of Iron Man 3.  The interview takes place in Slattery’s unusually large cell, which features memorabilia from his past, including a King Lear poster on the back wall referenced in the movie as "the toast of Croydon — wherever that is."  The documentary explores the actor’s past (including a Miami Viceish TV pilot from the ‘80s) but also tries to determine if The Ten Rings terrorist organization really exists, and if they hold a grudge against Slattery for making them look foolish.

"Imagine a real terrorist organization whose beliefs were long held and religious for thousands of years, and imagine a drunk, British actor coming along and essentially telling the world that he’s the face of your organization," Pearce said.  "I think they would be right to be quite angry."

Thor: The Dark World arrives on home video on February 25, 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stan Lee Appearing on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

He's been a World War II general, a high school librarian, a beauty pageant judge, a mental ward patient, and now "The Man" is joining forces with S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that comic book living legend Stan Lee is appearing in an upcoming episode of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.DIn 1965, Lee co-created S.H.I.E.L.D. with the late Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics' Strange Tales #135 in the shared feature "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D."  He now serves an executive producer on the television series.

There aren't any details yet of Lee's character, although the article claims Lee remarked it's a "big role" which could simply be his traditional penchant for hyperbole.  In recent years, the 91-year-old writer, editor, publisher and media producer has been famous for his cameo appearances in films based upon Marvel properties that started in 2000 with Bryan Singer's X-Men.  Since then, Lee has cameoed in four Spider-Man movies, three Iron Man movies, two Thor movies, two Hulk movies, two Fantastic Four movies, the third X-Men movie, and films based on Captain America, Daredevil and The Avengers.

In addition, Lee has turned up in other comic book-related movie and television projects, including the 1995 Kevin Smith film Mallrats, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, various episodes of The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, Heroes, Entourage, Nikita, and the web series The Guild.

Lee's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is expected to be on February 4, 2014, although that could change.

Friday, January 3, 2014

DAMN Good Movies -- My Top 10 Movies of 2013

Another year is officially history, so I thought I'd pass along a few random thoughts about my personal favorite films of 2013.  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.  American Hustle -- After last year's surprise Silver Linings Playbook, I'm curious if David O. Russell will finally get that Academy Award for Best Director.  This is another ensemble film, but it captures the cheesiness of the late '70s so well and ends up being more than just a showcase for his cast.  But hey, how can you not like a movie with Batman as a skeevy con man with a bad combover and a gut, Lois Lane posing as his British aristocrat partner, Hawkeye as a schmoozy New Jersey mayor, and Mystique as Batman's manipulative wife who's prone to almost burning down the house on a regular basis?

2.  Saving Mr. Banks -- John Lee Hancock's film about the development of Disney's Mary Poppins is blatant Oscar bait, but it's entertaining Oscar bait.  Tom Hanks as Walt Disney is perfectly inspired casting, even though the film (a Disney production, of course) completely ignores awkward subjects like Uncle Walt's apparent antisemitism.  Expect a Best Actress nod for Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers and maybe a Best Supporting Actor nod for Paul Giamatti or even Colin Farrell, of all people.

3.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug -- The second of Peter Jackson's overly-expanded adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is a signficant improvement over the first, if only because it doesn't take over a half an hour for things to get moving.  The addition of new female Wood Elf character Tauriel is a welcome break from the dwarf sausage fest, and Legolas fans can enjoy seeing him show off all over again.  But at last, we finally get Smaug, voiced so well by Benedict Cumberbatch, in some truly impressive sequences set inside the Lonely Mountain.

4.  Star Trek Into Darkness -- That's right, regardless of what a bunch of bitter old Trekkies want so desperately to believe, this is actually a decent movie.  J.J. Abrams' film isn't perfect, because no film is, but it's way more fun and entertaining than The Final Frontier, Generations, Insurrection and Nemesis could ever hope to be.  And yes, Benedict Cumberbatch would've probably been more effective as Gary Mitchell than Khan Noonien Singh, but he manages to make the role his own instead of simply rehashing the late Ricardo Montalban.
5.  Man of Steel -- Another film unfairly maligned by cynical fanboys.  There are legitimate criticisms of Zack Snyder's first take on Superman (Jonathan Kent's uncharacteristic paranoia, the excessive destruction of Metropolis), but did everyone conveniently forget about Bryan Singer's failed reboot Superman ReturnsThat movie proved it was time to move past the Donner films of thirty years ago, and overall, Snyder delivered with a fresh, stylish depiction of Krypton, some truly super uses of superpowers, and a much more worthy successor to the late Christopher Reeve than Dean Cain, Brandon Routh and Tom Welling.

6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire -- The second of four films based on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games book trilogy moves beyond an Americanized Battle Royale and develops into its own mythos. Thankfully, Francis Lawrence proves to be a better director than his predecessor, exploring the central themes with a larger budget that results in more of an actual film and less of a cheap, made-for-TV movie on Syfy.  However, as compelling as Katniss Everdeen is, the supporting cast (especially the men) still seems horribly underwritten and the abrupt ending comes off like a TV commercial break.

7.  The Wolverine -- After losing Darren Aronofsky, no one expected James Mangold's movie to turn out as well as it did.  It's even better on the Blu-Ray "Extended Cut" that adds in a bit more violence and a few more F-bombs, although still falls short in the third act where the engaging drama abruptly shifts tone into a standard superhero movie.  Regardless, the film's setting in Japan makes more a great change of pace, and star Hugh Jackman still refuses to phone in his performance even after all this time.

8.  World War Z -- A pleasant surprise that could've been much, much worse.  Marc Forster, the guy who dropped the ball in Quantum of Solace, dealt with numerous rewrites and reshoots, so you would expect a complete mess as a result.  But somehow, inexplicably, Brad Pitt flying around the world on global zombie attack tour flows together pretty damn well.  There's also a fun bit for Doctor Who fans, with new Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi as, of all things, a W.H.O. doctor.

9.  Pacific Rim -- One thing that's great about films by Guillermo del Toro is that they're never dull.  And this film, with Earth under assault by giant monsters called Kaijus and defended by men piloting equally giant mecha called Jaegers, is certainly no different.  Charlie Hunnam showed potential as a movie star, Idris Elba showed he's still awesome as Idris Elba, and Ron Perlman still finds a way to steal every scene he's in.  Unfortunately, the movie turns out to be little more than Giant Monster vs. Giant Robot destruction porn, which has its audience, albeit a far too limited one as the disappointing box office proved.

10.  Thor: The Dark World -- Another movie that suffered considerable creative problems during production.  Alan Taylor's sequel to Thor pales in comparison to Kenneth Branagh's Flash Gordonqesue first movie, but the returning cast is as appealing as ever.  Fans of Tom Hiddleston's Loki are rewarded with his increased presence, which makes you wonder if the movie should've been called Loki: The Dark World instead.  Unfortunately, former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston disappoints as the new Big Bad, Malekith, and the bonus closing credits scene probably makes no sense unless you're a diehard Marvel Comics fan.

All in all, a fun year at the movies and a definite upgrade over 2012.  Bring on 2014!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Your 2014 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 2014.  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 on Netflix, but each have their audiences and key target demographics.  Start planning your work vacation/sick/personal days accordingly.


- Sherlock (UK) (TV)
2 - Community, Elementary (TV)
3 - Dracula (TV)
5 - Downton Abbey (PBS), The Simpsons (TV)
6 - Almost Human, @Midnight (TV)
7 - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Intelligence (TV)
8 - American Horror Story (TV)
10 - Helix (TV)
13 - Archer, Bitten (TV)
15 - Arrow (TV)
17 - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Movie)
19 - Sherlock (PBS) (TV)
21 - Knights of Badassdom (Movie)
24 - I, Frankenstein (Movie)
29 - Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond (TV)


February 2014 - Survivor (TV)
7 - The LEGO Movie (Movie)
9 - The Walking Dead (TV)
12 - RoboCop (Movie)
14 - House of Cards (TV)
26 - The Americans (TV)
28 - Hannibal (TV)


6 - Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (TV)
7 - 300: Rise of an Empire, Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Movie)
9 - Once Upon a Time (TV)
14 - Veronica Mars (Movie)
21 - Divergent, Muppets Most Wanted (Movies)


April 2014 - Game of Thrones, Mad Men (TV)
4 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Movie)
19 - Orphan Black (TV)


2 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Movie)
16 - Godzilla (Movie)
23 - X-Men: Days of Future Past (Movie)
30 - Maleficent (Movie)


June 2014 - Defiance, True Blood (TV)
13 - How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Movie)
27 - Transformers: Age of Extinction (Movie)


11 - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Movie)
18 - Jupiter Ascending (Movie)


1 - Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie)
8 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Movie)
22 - Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Movie)


September 2014 - Boardwalk Empire, Doctor Who, Elementary, Gotham, Homeland, Once Upon a Time, The Simpsons, South Park, Survivor (TV)


October 2014 - American Horror Story, Arrow, The Walking Dead (TV)
17 - Dracula Untold (Movie)


7 - Big Hero 6, Interstellar (Movies)
21 - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Movie)


17 - The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Movie)
25 - Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special (TV), Into the Woods (Movie)