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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Paul McGann Reads "The Day of the Doctor" at Comicpalooza 2014


Of course he dreams.  Even when he was only in his eighth incarnation.

In recent years during Doctor Who panels at conventions, it's been rather fashionable to have previous Doctors read some dialogue from modern Doctor Who episodes to hear how their Doctor would sound in the same scene.  Past efforts have included Colin Baker reading "The Rings of Akhaten" speech and Sylvester McCoy reading from "The Pandorica Opens."

Well, one of the latest recreations took place this past weekend at Comicpalooza 2014 in Houston, Texas, this time with the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann.  During a Q&A panel moderated by Jesse Jackson, one of my oldest friends and fellow former member of the comics APA TitanTalk, McGann was asked by a woman named Molly Martin to either sing something or read the final monologue from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor."

McGann thankfully opts for the latter, putting an Eighth Doctor spin on the special's final scene where the Eleventh Doctor gives a voiceover monologue about what he dreams ahd where he's going, then leaves the TARDIS to join his previous eleven incarnations (including John Hurt's War Doctor).

Despite joking about setting himself up for a fall, McGann gives a lovely delivery that starts around the 1:09 mark.  Here's the video found on YouTube, thanks to user Adam Perez...



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

DAREDEVIL Casts Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock


And still not ginger!

Marvel has officially confirmed that Charlie Cox has been cast in the lead role of Matt Murdock, the man without fear, in the Netflix series DaredevilThe 31-year-old English actor is perhaps best known as Owen Sleater in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and as Tristan Thorne in the 2007 film Stardust, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman.

Created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett in 1964, Matt Murdock was blinded as a young boy by a radioactive substance, but gained heightened senses of smell, taste and touch in addition to a radar-like sense that allows him to "see."  After his boxer father is murdered by gangsters after refusing to throw a fight, Matt assumes the identity of Daredevil and fights crime in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City.

Cox will be the third actor to portray Daredevil in live action, after Rex Smith in the 1989 television movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and Ben Affleck in the 2003 film Daredevil by Mark Steven Johnson.

The new drama series will run for 13 episodes and recently had a change in showrunner, after Drew Goddard left the position this past weekend due to signing on to direct the Spider-Man spinoff film The Sinister Six for Sony.  Goddard will remain as an executive producer on the series, but Spartacus and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Steven S. DeKnight will now serve as showrunner.

Daredevil will air on Netflix sometime in 2015.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

DAMN Good Movies -- X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST


It's time once again for another of my movie takes, this time on the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, based on the popular Marvel Comics superteam.  As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...feel free to be mutant and proud...

This fifth X-Men film (not counting the two Wolverine solo films) was originally supposed to be the second of a prequel trilogy that started with 2011's X-Men: First Class that was directed by Matthew Vaughn.  However, the movie only made over $353 million worldwide, over one hundred million less than 2006's poorly-received X-Men: The Last Stand by Brett Ratner, so 20th Century Fox realized something more was needed. 

Plans for Vaughn to return for the next First Class movie centered around the Kennedy assassination in 1963 fell by the wayside, with X-Men: The Last Stand screenwriter Simon Kinberg coming back and loosely basing the storyline around the classic comics story "Days of Future Past" by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.  Vaughn left to direct Kingsman: The Secret Service, while producer Bryan Singer came back to helm the picture, his first since directing the first two X-Men films in 2000 and 2003.

In the original comics version, Rachel Summers, the future daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey, sends the consciousness of an adult Kitty Pryde back through time into the body of her younger, present-day self.  Kitty's mission is to prevent the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by Mystique and her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and change history so that the dystopian future, where mutants are either dead or incarcerated in internment camps, never happens.

But in this Days of Future Past, because Singer and Kinberg are Singer and Kinberg, most of anything resembling established X-Men lore goes right out the window.  Now it's the future Kitty Pryde who suddenly has the mutant ability to send Wolverine back through time into the body of his younger, 1973 self.  Logan's mission is to prevent the assassination of Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels, by Mystique and change history so that the dystopian future, where mutants are either dead or incarcerated in internment camps, never happens.

Singer, rather predictably, ignores what previous directors Brett Ratner and Matthew Vaughn brought to the table and goes back to his familiar comfort zone.  Another narration by Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier sets the tone, followed by another swirling CGI fest of DNA strands and returning composer John Ottman reusing his theme from X2: X-Men United.  The brightly-colored original X-Men uniforms from First Class are replaced with dull, dark grey uniforms in the future, and even Magneto's crimson costume that was so faithful to the comics is retconned away by a bland, dark grey replacement.

However, even with Singer's apparent issue with vibrant color, he still knows how to make a decent movie with a ridiculously huge cast of characters.  Although most of the film is set in 1973, he goes back -- to the future! -- every so often to remind the audience that things are all kinds of crazy there as well.  But while watching future X-Men being killed off one by one has some impact, it's hard to really feel anything knowing there's a plan in motion to quickly erase those deaths.

And in addition to providing a solid finale for the original cast, this movie addresses mistakes Singer and his various screenwriters have made over the previous four films.  The deaths of Cyclops and Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand?  Fixed.  Kitty Pryde with Iceman instead of Colossus?  Fixed.  Days of Future Past is the solid ending to Bryan Singer's X-Men that he never got to make, certainly much better than The Last Stand, but also sets things up to continue on with the First Class group of actors.  The real question is, will Singer make the most of the opportunity to send the X-Men along a different direction?

The film's huge cast give some decent performances with a lot of great character moments. Here are some of the things that stood out:

WOLVERINE/JAMES "LOGAN" HOWLETT -- Returning for his seventh (!) outing as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman doesn't seem ready to let the character go any time soon.  He's seems more comfortable in the 1973 setting than he does in the future, and has considerable fun playing with Logan's timey-wimey disorientation.  But it's his final scene where he sees Jean and other X-Men alive and well that has the most impact.

PROFESSOR X/CHARLES XAVIER -- While it's just lovely to see and hear 73-year-old Patrick Stewart reprising Professor X one last time, it's James McAvoy who gets to do the heavy lifting.  It's fascinating to watch Xavier as a bitter, broken young man who slowly finds his way to hope for the future once again, even though McAvoy doesn't appear ready to go bald just yet.

MAGNETO/ERIK LEHNSHERR -- The same goes for 75-year-old Ian McKellen, who gets a death scene in the future despite it being quickly erased.  Meanwhile, Michael Fassbender proves again that he's more than worthy of Magneto's helmet, embracing his villainy far more this time out.  The sequence where he drops RFK Stadium around the White House is truly impressive and shows how far the franchise has come since the days of Magneto and his mutation-inducing machine.

MYSTIQUE/RAVEN DARKHOLME -- With Jennifer Lawrence's star rising higher and higher ever since First Class, it made so much sense to use Mystique more and Days of Future Past's storyline was a perfect choice for doing so.  As the assassin of Bolivar Trask, Mystique is absolutely crucial to the plot and Lawrence seems to enjoy embracing her darker side.

BEAST/DR. HENRY "HANK" MCCOY -- Nicholas Hoult essentially serves as Xavier's personal assistant for most of the film, although he's there for all the key fight scenes.  It seems Hank has found a way to switch his Beast abilities on and off at will, making it much easier to save some money on the makeup budget.  And in a nice cameo, Kelsey Grammer returns as his older self, alive and well in the future.

BOLIVAR TRASK -- After impressing everyone on Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage was an unexpected but certainly welcome choice to portray the creator of the Sentinels.  He doesn't portray Trask as truly evil, certainly not compared to others like William Stryker, but makes him more misguided than anything else.

QUICKSILVER/PETER MAXIMOFF -- Evan Peters plays the X-Men version of Quicksilver before Aaron-Taylor Johnson appears as the same character in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  There was some initial skepticism online after seeing his goofy hair and silver disco jacket, but the superb "Time in a Bottle" sequence where Quicksilver takes out several Pentagon guards in a kitchen in slow-motion should give The Flash television series more than a few ideas about super-speed.  Oh, and there's a great subtle reference about Magneto being Quicksilver's father that I won't spoil here.

SHADOWCAT/KITTY PRYDE -- As mentioned above, Ellen Page's Kitty Pryde somehow gained the ability to send people's consciousness back through time in addition to walking through walls.  Despite this excessively convenient change, at least Kitty gets something to do that matters to the storyline. 

ICEMAN/ROBERT "BOBBY" DRAKE -- Shawn Ashmore gets a beard to make his baby face look older in the future, and we finally get to see Iceman making ice slides to travel around on.

STORM/ORORO MUNROE -- Halle Berry returns one final time as Storm, but as usual, doesn't get to do very much.  She does get to throw a bunch of lightning at the approaching swarm of Sentinel transport ships, for all the good it does until she ends up impaled through the stomach by one of them.  Which, of course, ends up erased anyway.

COLOSSUS, BISHOP, BLINK, SUNSPOT & WARPATH CAMEOS -- Also known as the Legion of Expendable X-Men.  And for some reason, solar-powered super-strength wasn't enough for Sunspot because Singer and Kinberg decided he's better off as the Human Torch.  Go figure.

WILLIAM STRYKER -- Josh Helman appears as the 1973 version of Brian Cox's character from X2 and Danny Huston's from X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  And as you might expect, he's primarily there to rub his hands and go "I'm going to do all kinds of nasty stuff to you one day, Wolverine, boohahaha..."

ROGUE CAMEO -- In possibly the most pointless cameo, Anna Paquin gets about 0.3 seconds of screen time at the end of the movie where we see Rogue with Iceman once again, while Kitty is off teaching a class with Colossus.

CYCLOPS AND JEAN GREY CAMEOS -- James Marsden and Famke Janssen also return in the It's a Wonderful X-Life happy ending.  It's an important one though, as we see the ridiculousness of their characters being killed in The Last Stand mercifully negated by the new timey-wimey timeline.

CHRIS CLAREMONT AND LEN WEIN CAMEOS -- In a lovely nod to comics fans, the creators/writers of the all-new, all-different Uncanny X-Men appear as Congressmen Parker and Davis during the congressional hearing scene where Trask is attempting to obtain federal funding for the Sentinels.  And thankfully, John Byrne is nowhere to be found.

APOCALYPSE CAMEO -- And lastly, the next film's Big Bad turns up in the post-credits bonus scene as he telekinetically forms the Pyramids of Giza as four horsemen stand behind him and a large crowd of worshippers chant the name of "En Sabah Nur."

All in all, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a great sendoff for the original X-Men cast while expanding the potential of the First Class cast.  There's a lot to keep track of here, and you may have a bit of trouble unless you've watched at least a couple of the previous films, but those who have are rewarded nicely.  And with Singer already lined up to return for the next film, 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, there's no reason why that shouldn't be just as entertaining.  Just don't expect much in the way of primary colors, okay?

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

1. Superman (1978)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
3. The Avengers (2012)
4. Man of Steel (2013)
5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
6. Spider-Man (2002)
7. Batman Begins (2005)

8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
9. Watchmen (2009)
10. Iron Man (2008)

11. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
12. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
13. X-Men: First Class (2011)
14: The Wolverine (2013)
15. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

16. X2: X-Men United (2003)
17. X-Men (2000)
18. Thor (2011)
19. Batman (1989)
20. Superman II (1981)


Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,

Charles

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Filming Begins on BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE


Hunh.  Who knew that this movie was going to be a courtroom drama?

Zack Snyder's untitled Batman vs. Superman film finally received a title this afternoon, the rather clunky Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeIn addition, the film's official logo was revealed, which can be seen above.

Batman v Superman was originally announced as a sequel to last year's Man of Steel featuring Batman, but quickly evolved into a prequel to the upcoming Justice League movie with the addition of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg.

And look, there's an official press release...

CAMERAS ROLL ON DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER’S “BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE” FROM WARNER BROS. PICTURES
May 21, 2014 at 1:21pm


Principal photography is underway in Metro Detroit, Michigan

BURBANK, CA, May 21, 2014 – Filming is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the highly anticipated action adventure from director Zack Snyder, starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, and Ben Affleck as BruceWayne/Batman.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” also stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, with Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from “Man of Steel,” Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a role newly created for the film.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”is written by Chris Terrio, 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 Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

Principal photography will take place on location at Michigan Motion Picture Studios and on location in and around Detroit, Michigan; Illinois; Africa; and the South Pacific.

Set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Second GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Trailer Goes to the Place That's the Best


After a weekend of teasers, the full trailer for Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy has finally arrived following a Q&A session on Facebook.

The second trailer to James Gunn's film opens once again with Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), confronted by Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) as he attempts to retrieve an orb from a temple.  This time, however, we see more of the battle between the two as Star-Lord dons his facial mask and attempts to flee.

As the song "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum begins playing, we get to see Quill along with the other Guardians of the Galaxy as he begins a voiceover.  "So here we are," he begins, "a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac.  But we're not going to stand by as evil wipes out the galaxy."

We then see Glenn Close as Nova Prime Irani Rael, the leader of the Nova Corps whose mission is to protect the citizens of Xandar and keep the peace.  "Are you telling me the fate of twelve billion people is in the hands of these criminals?" she asks a subordinate.

Various action shots of Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer and Gamora follow, with Quill rallying the other Guardians.  "I look around and you know what I see?  Losers.  But life's giving us a chance."

"To do what?" asks Drax.

"Something good...something bad...a bit of both."

Next, we get to hear how Bradley Cooper sounds as the voice of Rocket, who shrugs and says, "Ah, what the hell...I don't got that long a lifespan, anyway."

More fleeting images, including Karen Gillan as Nebula and Benicio del Toro as The Collector, until we see Groot checking out Quill's "Awesome Mix No. 1" cassette tape before being startled by Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling" from the first trailer.  And at last, we finally get to hear Vin Diesel uttering the words every Marvel fan has been waiting for..."I am Groot."

Lastly, we see John C. Reilly as Nova Corps officer Rhomann Dey, who tells us in a snarking tone, "This might not be the best idea."

If you'd like to check out the new trailer, you can view it below thanks to JoBlo Movie Trailers on YouTube...



Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters on August 1, 2014. 

You're welcome.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TWIN PEAKS Coming to Blu-Ray with 90 Minutes of Lost Scenes


I've got good news.  That TV show we like is going to come back in style.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the long-anticipated Blu-Ray release of David Lynch and Mark Frost's 1990-91 television classic Twin Peaks is finally coming out on July 29th.  In the new set, Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, Peaks Freaks will get every episode of the series in High Definition and the following according to Reuters...

"Both the U.S. and international versions of the series' pilot, the North American Blu-ray debut of Lynch’s prequel/sequel movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and nearly 90 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes from the film.  The set also features newly transferred Log Lady introductions for each episode, picture upgrades to many shots in the TV series, a new featurette with Lynch and the actors who portrayed the Palmer family which includes a mesmerizing return to the lives of their characters today, and hours of never-before-released material that dives into the fascinating story behind the celebrated pop culture classic.

"Along with a newly transferred version of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, created from a 4K scan of the original negative, the box set contains the long-awaited missing pieces from the original version of the film – nearly an hour-and-a-half of deleted/alternate scenes from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – often referred to as the "holy grail" of Twin Peaks fandom.  This feature-length experience has been directed and edited by Lynch exclusively for this release.  Capping off more than 30 deleted/alternate scenes is an epilogue providing a fascinating glimpse beyond the cliffhanger finale of the TV series."

"During the last days in the life of Laura Palmer many things happened, which have never been seen before," said Lynch.  "They're here now alongside the new transfer of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Twin Peaks, the television series."


And here's the disc breakdown for the set...

Disc One:
Pilot
  • Original Version
  • Alternate International Version
Episode 1
Episode 2
Special Features
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD) 
Disc Two:  
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Special Features
  • Season 1 Image Gallery
  • Twin Peaks Sneak Peeks (HD)
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Previews and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Three: 
 
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Special Features
  • A Slice of Lynch: Uncut (HD) – NEW!
  • Season 2 Image Gallery
  • Promos (HD/SD)
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Four:
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13
Episode 14
Special Features
  • Series Deleted Scenes
  • Series Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW!
  • Outtakes (HD) – NEW!
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Five:
Episode 15
Episode 16
Episode 17
Episode 18
Special Features
  • Return To Twin Peaks
  • Location Guide
  • The Glastonbury Archives
  •     17 Pieces of Pie: Shooting at the Mar T (AKA RR) Diner
  •     Mark Frost Interview with Wrapped in Plastic
  •     Learning to Speak in the Red Room
  •     An Introduction to David Lynch
  •     Lucy Bumpers
  •     1-900 Hotline
  •     Production Documents
  •     Image Galleries
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Six:
Episode 19
Episode 20
Episode 21
Episode 22
Special Features
  • Postcards From The Cast
  • Twin Peaks Sneak Peaks (HD)
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Seven:
Episode 23
Episode 24
Episode 25
Episode 26
Special Features
  • Cast And Crew Interviews
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Eight:
Episode 27
Episode 28
Episode 29
Special Features
  • Secrets From Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks (HD)
  •     Northwest Passage: Creating the Pilot
  •     Freshly Squeezed: Creating Season One
  •     Where We’re From: Creating the Music
  •     Into the Night: Creating Season Two
  • Log Lady Intros (HD)
  • Preview and recaps on select episodes (HD)
Disc Nine:
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
The Missing Pieces: Deleted/Alternate Scenes (HD) – NEW!
Special Feature
  • Archival Interviews
Disc Ten:
Special Features
  • Between Two Worlds (HD) – NEW!
  •     Palmer Family Interview
  •     Actors Discussion
  • Moving Through Time: Fire Walk With Me Memories (HD) – NEW!
  • Reflections On The Phenomenon Of Twin Peaks
  • US Trailer
  • International Trailer
  • Fire Walk With Me Photo Gallery – NEW!
  • Atmospherics (HD) – NEW!
  •     Trees/Woods
  •     Pie
  •     Signs/Places
  •     Coffee
  •     Notes
  •     Water
  •     Donuts
  •     Owls
  •     The Ring
  •     The Red Room

Lastly, if you're curious about what some of that lost Fire Walk With Me footage looks like, you can check out a two-minute preview clip thanks to CBS Home Entertainment's official YouTube account...




The CW Debuts Extended Trailer for THE FLASH


"My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive..."

Earlier today at the New York Upfronts presentations, The CW released its fall schedule along with a new 5-minute extended trailer for the pilot episode of their new series, The FlashLast night, The CW released a one-minute teaser for The Flash, but this extended trailer is the one DC Comics fans have been waiting to see.

The trailer begins with a young Barry Allen being beaten up once again by a gang of neighborhood kids, lamenting that he "wasn't fast enough" to avoid the fight.  "It's better to have a good heart than fast legs," reassures Barry's mother Nora (Michelle Harrison).

"When I was eleven, my mom was murdered," says a present-day Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in a voiceover as we see fleeting images from that tragic day.  "I saw what looked like a ball of lightning.  Inside the lightning, there was a man.  He killed my mom."  As fans of Geoff Johns' run on The Flash comic book series know, Barry's mother was murdered by none other than his arch-enemy The Reverse-Flash and sure enough, we see his familiar yellow image blurring across the screen.


We soon see the events shown in the Arrow episode "Three Ghosts," which featured the lightning strike that sent Barry crashing into a rack of chemicals.  "I've spent my whole life searching for the impossible, never imagining I would become the impossible," he remarks.  And then we find out what happened next, as Barry is rushed to the hospital and his heart is revived.  He wakes up in S.T.A.R. Labs, where he meets scientists Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), then realizes his accident has produced some unusual changes.  "Lightning...gave me abs?" Barry says in amazement.

Cisco explains that Barry was in a coma for nine months, as Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) wheels into the room to welcome him back.  Meanwhile, Iris is stunned to see Barry up and around.  "I watched you die, Barry.  You kept dying, your heart kept stopping."  At that moment, a tray spilled by a coffee shop waitress that begins to fall in slow motion echoes a scene from Barry Allen's first appearance in Showcase #4, and Barry begins to wonder what's happening.

Caitlin informs Barry that he had a distal radius fracture (a broken wrist) that healed in just three hours, then she, Harrison and Cisco take Barry out to a Ferris Air testing facility to gauge how fast he can he run.  As Barry whoops in delight with his newfound super speed, the measuring gun comes in at over 700 MPH, the speed of sound.

Harrison tells Barry that S.T.A.R. Labs has been searching for other metahumans like himself, leading into the pilot's villain -- Clyde Mardon, the brother of Mark Mardon, better known to Flash fans as the Weather Wizard.  Clyde begins wreaking havoc on Central City, controlling the weather to advance his crimes.  Barry sees it as his responsibility to stop Clyde, but Harrison warns him, "You're not a hero.  You're just a young man who was struck by lightning."

Barry realizes he needs help to catch Clyde and anyone else out there like him, so he asks Caitlin and Cisco to join his new crusade.  Cisco offers up something that might help, a scarlet uniform that is "made of a reinforced tripolymer.  It's heat and abrasive resistant."

And then, Barry is reunited with one Oliver Queen, The Arrow (Stephen Amell), on a downtown rooftop.  "What if I'm not a hero?" asks Barry.  "What if I'm just some guy who was struck by lightning?"

"I don't think that bolt of lightning struck you, Barry," replies Oliver.  "I think it chose you, because you can inspire people, watching over your city like a guardian angel, making a difference, saving people...in a flash."  As he leaps off the rooftop, Oliver leaves Barry with one final suggestion.  "Take your own advice...Wear a mask."

If you'd like to see the full trailer, you can check it out below thanks to The CW's official YouTube account...



The Flash will air on The CW on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The CW Debuts Teaser Trailer for THE FLASH


Whatever you do, don't blink.  Blink and you'll miss him.

Not fast enough for Flash fans, The CW finally debuted a teaser trailer for The Flash toward the end of Arrow's Season 2 finale, "Unthinkable. The one-minute teaser, titled "Don't Blink," didn't feature anything from the show's pilot episode, but did have the first on-screen live-action pairing of Green Arrow and The Flash.

As the song "Birth" by the band 30 Seconds to Mars begins playing, we see Stephen Amell as The Arrow walking across hills in slow-motion towards toward a firing range target nailed to a tree.  He notches and draws back an arrow, but just as he releases, a scarlet blur crackling with electricity streaks past and catches the arrow in mid-air just before striking its target. 

The Flash whoops in celebration at his achievement, while The Arrow simply mutters "Showoff" in response.  The Arrow then releases three arrows at once, with The Flash smiling defiantly and saying "Game on."

And for those who haven't seen the teaser, or just want to watch it again, here it is courtesy of The CW's official YouTube account...



After a particle accelerator causes a freak storm, CSI Investigator Barry Allen is struck by lightning and falls into a coma.  Months later he awakens with the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel.  Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only "meta-human" who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion -- and not everyone is using their new powers for good. Barry partners with S.T.A.R. Labs and dedicates his life to protect the innocent.  For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won't be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become...The Flash.

The Flash will air on The CW on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Zack Snyder Reveals Ben Affleck as Batman with New Batmobile


The Dark Knight is returning.

One day after teasing the unveiling of the new Batmobile on his official Twitter account, Batman vs. Superman director Zack Snyder went one step further by revealing Batman's new ride along with our first look of co-star Ben Affleck as Batman.

As you can see by the picture Snyder posted, Affleck's Batman costume borrows heavily from the look of Frank Miller's design from his classic 1986 limited series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns


The shorter cowl ears and larger, thicker bat chest emblem certainly indicate Miller's series will be a major influence in terms of tone.  In July 2013, during the official announcement of the film at San Diego Comic-Con International, Snyder stated that the movie would take inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, but later clarified that his film will not be based on the graphic novel.  "If you were going to do that," said Snyder, "you would need a different Superman.  We’re bringing Batman into the universe that now this Superman lives in."

The still untitled Batman vs. Superman film is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 6, 2016.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

First Trailer for NBC's CONSTANTINE Debuts


Bollocks?  Not hardly.

Days after being picked up as a series for NBC, the first three-minute trailer for Constantine was officially unveiled earlier today on YouTube.

We open on the Ravenscar Psychiatric Facility for the Mentally Deranged, where we see that everyone's favorite occult detective, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), receiving electroshock therapy before meeting with the man in charge of Ravenscar.  "Before you checked yourself in here," says the unnamed man, "you were working as an exorcist and master of the dark arts?"

"That says master, does it?" replies Constantine.  "I should really change that to petty dabbler.  I hate to put on airs."

Before long, of course, Constantine comes across an apparently-possessed young woman inside a large room at Ravenscar, but tries to convince himself that it's not his problem.  As soon as he notices a disturbing swarm of insects crawling the walls behind him, however, all is he do is sigh and utter "Bollocks" before turning back to help.

We then meet Lucy Griffiths' character Liv Parsons, who experiences a strange upheaval of parking lot pavement before Constantine comes to her rescue in the back of a New York City cab.  "I knew your father," Constantine tells Liv.  "I promised him I'd look after you.  If you don't listen to me, you'll be dead by morning."

Next, we're introduced to Manny (Harold Perrineau), an angel assigned to watch over Constantine.  "You damned a girl to Hell -- along with her, your soul," Manny remarks as we see images of the young girl Astra being drawn into Hell by a demon.  "There's a lot of panic down here.  People can sense what's on the way."

"What's on the way?" asks Constantine, but Manny merely smiles and says "We should go" before flying off.

Meanwhile, Liv goes to her mother's house to ask when her father died, but her mother tells her that she's "not prepared to have this conversation."  All at once however, Liv looks up at her nana, horrified to see her eyes pitch black and her mouth oozing a sickening black liquid.

Now officially freaked out, Liv drives off and runs into Constantine again, demanding to know what's happening to her.  "You're waking up," he tells her.  "You're seeing the world for what is really is."

Constantine draws Liv close by the hands, allowing her to see what he sees -- "Souls...trapped, searching for a way out.  Now that you can see these things, they can see you...and they don't like to be seen."

The next person we see is Perrineau's former Lost co-star Jeremy Davies, who warns of "Things crawling out of the shadows on a scale we've never seen before."

Back to Constantine, who asks someone (Manny, presumably?) "You suggesting that it's not too late for me to save my soul?"

We get a glimpse of Charles Halford's character Chas inside his cab, just before it's violently rammed by a truck.

Explosions, breaking glass and supernatural goodness follows, as we see Constantine and Liv using an arcane symbol to send some sort of demon back to Hell or the nearest convenient parallel dimension.

Lastly, we go back to Ravenscar, where Constantine is leaving the scene of the demonic possession.  As we notice the entire large room has been trashed, Constantine merely shrugs at the damage and walks past a group of onlookers, remarking "She did it..."

If you'd like to view the trailer, you can check it out below thanks to NBC's official YouTube channel...



Constantine will air sometime this fall on NBC, Friday nights at 10 p.m. EST.

Friday, May 9, 2014

ABC Picks Up AGENT CARTER, Renews AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.


Looks like Peggy Carter has more than one shot, after all.

Mere hours after pilots for four DC Comics/VERTIGO properties were picked by by various television networks, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that ABC has picked up Agent Carter, based on the short film Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter that was featured on the Iron Man 3 home video release.

Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Agent Peggy Carter, who first appeared in the film Captain America: The First Avenger and again in the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Set one year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter follows Steve Rogers' World War II love interest as she builds her career as a secret agent while Captain America remains frozen in ice.

According to the article, "The story is set in 1946 and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad.  Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life -- Steve Rogers."

The Hollywood Reporter claims that Agent Carter will be a short-order series, probably used to fill in the winter hiatus for ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which received a renewal from ABC for a second season.  Since Agent Carter explores the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's expected both shows will tie in together at some point.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s renewal was a matter of some concern, after the series debuted last fall with 12.1 million viewers, only to lose over half that audience during the course of its troubled first season.  However, the desperately-needed creative boost from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated on all levels by agents of HYDRA, has helped the show's key 18-49 demographic grow from 2.5 million adults to 4.1 million.

The Agent Carter script was written by Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley, and developed by ABC Studios and Marvel Entertainment, but was never given the greenlight for a pilot.  Instead, there was a rumored presentation filmed for executives that apparently did the job.  Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas will serve as showrunners.

Agent Carter is expected to debut on ABC sometime in late 2014.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

CONSTANTINE Picked Up by NBC for Fall 2014


This fall is going to be absolutely fantastic for DC Comics/VERTIGO fans.

In addition to earlier news, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that NBC has picked up the supernatural drama series Constantine for their fall schedule.  Constantine joins other DC Comics/VERTIGO properties Gotham (Fox), The Flash and iZombie (The CW) that were also picked up this week, in addition to The CW's Arrow, which was renewed for a third season.

Based on the comic book series Hellblazer, Constantine explores the world of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), "a working-class Londoner with deadpan humor who is a mysterious conman and occult detective
 haunted by the recent loss of a young girl's soul. No stranger to the dark underworld that exists parallel to our own, Constantine has been studying the dark arts since he was a teenager. He's taught himself spells, rituals, curses and conjuring, but the one person he most wishes to see -- his mother, who died giving birth to him -- remains out of reach, at least so far. When Liv, the daughter of a late friend, is targeted by demons, Constantine steps in to save her and the two form an alliance."

In addition to Ryan, Constantine will feature the following cast members...

Lucy Griffiths as Liv Parsons, a young woman who works at a rental car facility, gets caught up in John's world when she discovers something is after her.  Liv's deceased father, Jasper, knew John and John owes a debt to him.

Harold Perrineau as Manny, an authoritative angel assigned to watch over Constantine who has the power to step into other people’s bodies, and although he is meant only to observe, Manny will not hesitate to help out if he can save a life.

Charles Halford as Chas, Constantine’s oldest friend and staunch companion who possesses powerful survival skills that might possibly be supernatural.

Constantine is expected to debut on NBC sometime this fall.

THE FLASH Picked Up by The CW for Fall 2014


The Fastest Man is alive!

The CW television network announced their 2014-15 slate today and The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Arrow spinoff The Flash has been picked up as a new drama series.  The show is one of four new series ordered by The CW, including iZombie (based on the DC Comics/VERTIGO comic book series), Jane the Virgin and The Messengers.

Barring any cast changes, The Flash will star the following actors:

Grant Gustin as The Flash/Barry Allen, a Central City assistant police forensic investigator who receives his powers after being caught in a chemical explosion at a lab caused by a lightning strike, following an incident at S.T.A.R. Labs with their particle accelerator.

Candice Patton as Iris West, Barry's best friend, possible love interest and daughter of...

Jesse L. Martin as Iris' father Detective West, a member of the Central City Police Department who acts as a surrogate father to Barry.

Rick Cosnett as (future Reverse-Flash) Eddie Thawne, a recent transfer to the Central City Police Department, whose past is a mystery and harbors a dark secret.

Danielle Panabaker as (future Killer Frost) Caitlin Snow, a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who lost her fiancĂ© during an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs.

Carlos Valdes as (future Vibe) Cisco Ramon, a mechanical engineering genius who is the youngest member of the team of scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs.

Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells, the mind and money behind Central City’s S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, who becomes a pariah after the lab explodes until he learns he helped create The Flash.

In addition, recurring characters for the series will include former TV Flash John Wesley Shipp in an unnamed role, Michelle Harrison as Barry's mother Nora Allen, and Patrick Sabongui as CCPD captain David Singh.

Gustin first appeared as Barry Allen earlier this year in the Arrow episodes "The Scientist" and "Three Ghosts," while Panabaker and Valdes' characters were introduced later on in the episode "The Man Under the Hood."

The Flash is expected to debut on The CW sometime this fall.

Monday, May 5, 2014

GOTHAM Trailer Debuts with Series Order from Fox

 
Jim Gordon is coming to save Gotham City...for at least thirteen episodes.

The Batman prequel series Gotham was picked up by Fox today, receiving an order of at least thirteen episodes for the 2014-15 television season.  Starring Ben McKenzie as DC Comics character Detective James Gordon, the drama explores Gotham City following the murder of young Bruce Wayne's parents and various characters who eventually become Batman's most dangerous enemies.

And during the airing of tonight's premiere of 24: Live Another Day, the first trailer for Gotham made its debut, giving us our first good look at the new series.  Entertainment Weekly posted a 45-second teaser trailer, but here's the full two-minute extended trailer thanks to the official Fox account on YouTube...



"I love this city," an older man says to Gordon, "and I can see it going to hell.  Sometimes I think this place is cursed.  I won't let it fall apart without a fight."

"There's a war coming," a bloodied, disheveled Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) tells Gordon.  "A terrible war.  There will be chaos...rivers of blood in the streets, I know it."

We also see fleeting images of Gotham supporting characters, such as Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).  "You have a little danger in your eye," Mooney says to Gordon.  "I wonder what you plan to do with that."

A brief exchange between Gordon and his new partner Bullock follows.  "You kill people before?" asks Bullock.  "That was war," replies Gordon.  "This is war!  We're at war!" counters Bullock.

We then see the defining moment of young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) watching his parents murdered in Crime Alley by a masked criminal, who may or may not be Joe Chill.  Gordon introduces himself to young Bruce, huddled under a police blanket that shrouds him like a cape.  "I promise you," vows Gordon.  "I will find the man who did this."

"I'm learning to conquer fear," Bruce says to Gordon as we witness his parents' funeral service.  "Fear doesn't need conquering," Gordon responds.  "Fear tells you where the edge is."

As we see Bruce coming dangerously close to the edge on the roof of stately Wayne Manor, Gordon continues trying to reassure Bruce.  "However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light."

Finally, we receive glimpses of some of the future Batman villains, including The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova),The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), and even a young Poison Ivy. 

Gotham will premiere on Fox sometime this fall.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

DAMN Good Movies -- THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2


Yes, I'm back with another of my movie takes, this time on the film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, based on the classic Marvel Comics superhero.  As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...let's go web-swinging...

Two years ago, Sony Pictures released Marc Webb's reboot of the highly-successful Spider-Man franchise.  Too soon, some thought, and many fans ending up dismissing The Amazing Spider-Man as little more than "Twilight Spider-Man."  However, since the moviegoing audience extends far wider than diehard Spidey fans, the movie made over $750 million worldwide with a production budget of $230 million, so surprise, we now have The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Picking up some time after the first film, we find Peter Parker firmly established in his role as Spider-Man.  He's rocking a much better costume this time and seems to have won over a good portion of New York in the process.  But since this is Peter we're talking about, nothing is ever that easy and juggling his responsibilities as Spider-Man starts taking its toll on his personal life, particularly his relationship with Gwen Stacy.  In the previous film, Peter made a promise to Gwen's dying father that he would stay away from her, but quickly broke said promise and now feels all kinds of guilty.

And before we forget this is a superhero movie, we're gradually introduced to three Spider-Man villains, including Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn, who we just now learn was friends with Peter after his parents were declared dead.  After a brief bromance reunion skipping rocks along the river, Harry reveals that he's dying from a genetic disease that apparently took the life of his father, Norman, and sees Spider-Man's blood as the cure for his condition.  Peter refuses, realizing that radioactive Spidey blood cocktail could be a really bad idea, which of course sends Harry off the deep end into full supervillain mode.

That alone should be enough to tell an effective story, but screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner add another major supervillain, Electro, into the mix along with things like more of Peter's mysterious dead parents and the return of "The Man in the Shadows" from the first film to set up even more supervillains to create the Sinister Six spinoff film.

As a result of having to address so many story elements in the span of two hours, the script feels clunky and overly cumbersome in places.  Splitting this movie into two films, one with Electro and one with the Green Goblin, probably would've focused the narrative instead of coming off like bloated fanboy porn.  That's not to say the movie is a failure though, because there are some truly amazing special effects that impress, and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's dating in real life only adds to their terrific onscreen chemistry. 

And even with the excessive story elements, the film's cast give some terrific performances with a lot of great character moments.  Here are some of the things that stood out:

SPIDER-MAN/PETER PARKER -- Andrew Garfield returns, far more confident in his role to the point of borderline cockiness.  Don't worry, Peter is still a neurotic mess but Garfield gets to unleash far more Spider-Man smacktalk this time around, reminding all of us of how different Spidey is compared to superheroes like Wolverine or Captain America.  He still may not be everyone's definitive Spider-Man after Tobey Maguire, but this film certainly won't lose him any fans. 

GWEN STACY -- Once again, Emma Stone gets to be a bit more than the traditional superhero girlfriend.  Gwen is revealed as high school valedictorian during an early graduation scene, then is shown as being worthy of attending Oxford and often smarter than Peter before ultimately meeting her fate.  Anyone that read the classic Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #121-122 was going to see Gwen's death coming a mile away the minute the Green Goblin shows up, but by shifting the location away from the George Washington Bridge, it's more of a surprise.

ELECTRO/MAX DILLON -- The decision to cast Jamie Foxx as Electro wasn't the worst move Marc Webb and the producers could have made, but just about everything else about the character might have been.  Max Dillon starts off as the most pathetic ubernerd since Jim Carrey's Edward Nigma in Batman Forever, but thankfully it doesn't last very long.  Instead of sticking to his comic book origin as an electric lineman who gets struck by lightning, this Max Dillon is a gifted but ignored electrical engineer stuck with maintenance in OsCorp's labs and ends up falling into a ginormous tank of genetically modified electric eels.  Because electric eels.  And no, there's no explanation why Dillon doesn't simply call himself "The Eel" like the rest of Spider-Man's animal-based villains.

GREEN GOBLIN/HARRY OSBORN -- Dane DeHaan was such a creepy villain in Chronicle, so it was no surprise to see him cast as Harry.  He's quite a change from James Franco and is a little annoying with his douchey bang combover, but manages to make the role his own before his rapid change into the Green Goblin.  Anyone hoping for a decent Green Goblin after Willem Dafoe as a Power Rangers villain can keep on hoping, as this Green Goblin becomes green and warty with mumbly teeth, then immediately decides to put on a very handy high-tech flightsuit and fly around on a glider.  Maybe one day...

THE RHINO/ALEKSEI SYTSEVICH -- There were a lot of fan concerns about having three villains in this movie, but The Rhino is little more than a fun afterthought.  Paul Giamatti seems pretty much wasted here, with only one sequence early on ramming a truck through congested New York City traffic and then turning back up all the way at the end in a mechanical suit of armor resembling a rhino.  The final scene turns a bit sweet with a young child, previously rescued from bullies by Spider-Man, facing off against The Rhino while wearing a Spider-Man costume.

MAY PARKER -- Sally Field reprises her role as Peter's aunt and sounding board, although she doesn't get to do very much.  We learn that Aunt May is still having financial trouble since Uncle Ben's death in the previous movie, forcing her to take on a nursing job in a nearby hospital.  She also finally breaks down and gives Peter a few more details about his dead parents.

RICHARD AND MARY PARKER -- And speaking of those dead parents, Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz get a flashback sequence of their own when they're attacked on a private plane by a man sent to assassinate Richard.  Unfortunately, most of the sequence is shot in nausea-inducing shakycam, but we're left with the notion that Peter's parents die as the plane spirals downward and crashes.  We also see Richard again later in a video message left inside a hidden lab in an abandoned subway station, where he explains that he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman Osborn's biogenetic weaponization plans.  Well, that was important to someone, I suppose.

NORMAN OSBORN CAMEO -- Chris Cooper turns up in a deathbed scene just to show us that he's dying of some genetic disease that turns him green and warty with fingernail claws, and oh yeah, Harry has it as well.  Then he dies -- apparently -- but before doing so, gives Harry a flash drive device he claims contains his life's work.  Hopefully, there were some decent MP3s on there as well.

ALASTAIR SMYTHE CAMEO -- As the future Spider-Slayer, B.J. Novak doesn't do much apart from treat Max Dillon like crap at OsCorp.  Maybe he'll get to be in the Sinister Six spinoff or return for Amazing Spider-Man 3?

CAPTAIN GEORGE STACY CAMEOS -- Even though his character was already killed off, Denis Leary returns in several non-speaking appearances just to make Peter feel guilty.  Which he does -- really, really well.

OBLIGATORY STAN LEE CAMEO -- Stan "The Man" turns up in the early graduation ceremony scene as a guest, pointing at Peter and going "Hey, I think I know that guy!"

All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't really amazing, but isn't the disaster some comic book fans and movie critics are trying to claim it is.  It's a fun ride, at least as good as the previous movie, if not better, with a lot of great moments.  Unfortunately, those moments don't flow together as well as they should and once again, we have some disappointing villains that drag down the movie's potential.  That doesn't matter much to Sony Pictures, however, because the movie will make all kinds of money regardless.  The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is already scheduled for June 10, 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is currently slated to arrive on May 4, 2018 (on top of the Sinister Six and Venom movies in the works), so here's hoping you aren't totally sick of Spidey four years from now...

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

1. Superman (1978)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)
3. The Avengers (2012)
4. Man of Steel (2013)
5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
6. Spider-Man (2002)
7. Batman Begins (2005)

8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
9. Watchmen (2009)
10. Iron Man (2008)

11. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
12. X-Men: First Class (2011)
13: The Wolverine (2013)
14. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
15. X2: X-Men United (2003)
16. X-Men (2000)
17. Thor (2011)
18. Batman (1989)
19. Superman II (1981)

20. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,

Charles


Friday, May 2, 2014

TERMINATOR: GENESIS Casts DOCTOR WHO's Matt Smith


If you've ever wanted to see an episode of Doctor Who with Terminators, this is probably as close as you're going to get.

Deadline is reporting that former Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been cast in the upcoming Terminator reboot Terminator: GenesisThe article claims this will be "a major role that will grow in the second and third films."

Directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator: Genesis also includes Arnold Schwarzenegger as some form of aging Terminator/T-800, Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Zero Dark Thirty's Jason Clarke as John Connor, A Good Day to Die Hard's Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and Day Okeniyi as Danny Dyson, the son of Miles Dyson, the inventor of the neural-net processor that leads to the development of Skynet.

Skydance Productions confirmed the news on Twitter today with the following post...
Terminator: Genesis is scheduled for release in theaters on July 1, 2015.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The War Doctor Returns in DOCTOR WHO: ENGINES OF WAR

Granddad's back!

When last we saw John Hurt's The War Doctor in Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor," his old body was wearing a bit thin after saying goodbye to the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors and Clara Oswald.  Inside his TARDIS, The War Doctor began regenerating into Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, completing the continuity gap since Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor, and was presumed never to be developed further as a character.

No more.  The War Doctor stands.

Doctor Who TV has revealed that the forgotten eighth and a halfth Doctor is returning in a new BBC Books hardcover novel by George Mann titled Doctor Who: Engines of War.

The news was taken from the pages of Doctor Who Magazine #473, just hitting stores in the U.K., with quotes from Mann about what Whovians can expect.  "A new companion!  Calculating Time Lords!  New Dalek paradigms!  It’s a war story, at its heart, set against the backdrop of great turmoil and chaos.

"But it’s also about the Doctor’s personal journey, how he ends up where he is at the beginning of 'The Day of the Doctor.'  He’s been through the wringer; and in Engines of War, he’s not given any reprieve."

Doctor Who: Engines of War will be released in the U.K. on July 31, 2014, with a United States release sometime afterward.