Monday, June 30, 2014

The Cybermen Return for DOCTOR WHO Series 8 Finale

Prepare to be upgraded -- The Cybermen are returning to Doctor Who.

WalesOnline has posted some terrific new pictures of the Cybermen's invasion of the Friary, a section of the city centre in Cardiff, Wales.  Today's filming of the Doctor Who Series 8 season finale revealed not only the Twelfth Doctor's first encounter with the Cybermen, but also the return of the Brigadier's daughter Kate Stewart, her geeky science assistant Osgood, and the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, better known as UNIT.

According to the article, Kate confronts the Cybermen at some point in the story and "to prove her credentials, she throws down the very thing that springs the Cybermen to life.  With this, the Doctor calls everyone to back away."

In addition, actress Michelle Gomez appeared in the filming, portraying a new Mary Poppins-esque character called The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere.  Speaking about the role and the series, Gomez said, "Well, of course Peter Capaldi is our next Doctor, which makes complete sense.  I’m thrilled to join him.  Well, you would be, wouldn’t you?"

Added executive producer and Series 8 finale writer Steven Moffat, "I’ve known Michelle for years, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to Doctor Who.  She’s everything we need -- brilliant, Scottish, and a tiny bit satanic."

The Cybermen debuted in 1966's "The Tenth Planet," William Hartnell's final story, and last appeared in Matt Smith's final story, "The Time of the Doctor."  Kate Stewart and Osgood, meanwhile, last appeared in the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor," helping the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors negotiate a peace treaty with the Zygons.

Interestingly, Osgood previously wore a long, multicolored scarf resembling the Fourth Doctor's and now appears to be wearing a bow tie similiar to the Eleventh Doctor's.  Bow ties are cool, after all.

Doctor Who returns for Series Eight on August 23, 2014.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

SHERLOCK Returns for Christmas Special...in 2015

The game is back on at Christmas.  Well...Christmas 2015 at least.

After the end of "His Last Vow" in January, fans of the BBC television series Sherlock have been eagerly awaiting word of when Series Four will arrive.  Well, according to The Telegraph, a new episode is reportedly on the way, just not until Christmas 2015.

They spoke with Martin Freeman, who plays Sherlock Holmes' recently-married best friend Dr. John Watson, who said that a period of filming "looks pretty likely" in early 2015.  "If that’s going to be a special -- I’m speaking off-message here; if this was New Labour I’d get fired -- I think that might be for next Christmas.  A Christmas special.  That’s what I understand."

Meanwhile, Freeman was asked if his real-life partner Amanda Abbington is going to return as John's new wife Mary Watson.  "Certainly, yes, for the foreseeable future," he said, adding a spoiler from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Holmes stories.  "While we play fast and loose with the original stories, we generally follow the trajectory of what Conan Doyle did.  So he [Watson] gets married, and then Mary dies -- so at some point, presumably she’ll die."

The problem with making new episodes of Sherlock hasn't been due to lack of interest from Freeman, co-star Benedict Cumberbatch and executive producers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but finding an opening in everyone's busy schedules.  Freeman stars in Richard III at London's Trafalgar Studios next month and has recently finished filming the Hobbit trilogy and the first season of the FX series Fargo.  Cumberbatch has recently voiced the role of the dragon Smaug for the Hobbit trilogy and is currently filming Black Mass, then will also take on Richard III for a BBC production to be broadcast next year. As for Moffat and Gatiss, they've been working on Series Eight of Doctor Who and Gatiss recently appeared as Tycho Nestoris in Season 4 of HBO's Game of Thrones.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

DAREDEVIL Casts Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson

Nelson and Murdock, Attorneys at Law.

Marvel has announced that Elden Henson has been cast as Matt Murdock's legal partner and best friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson in the Netflix series Daredevil"In a town full of crime and corruption," states the article, "Foggy's friendship to the community and passion for improving it have made him a friend to its many residents from all walks of life."

The 36-year-old actor is perhaps best known as Fulton Reed in the three Mighty Ducks movies, and will be appearing as Pollux in the upcoming two films of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.  Henson has also appeared on various episodes of ER, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Grey's Anatomy and Intelligence.

"Elden plays one of the most important characters in the world of Marvel’s Daredevil, and we’re thrilled to see Foggy Nelson brought to life by such an incredibly talented actor," said Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television.  "He perfectly captures the heart and soul of this series, bringing an added resonance to Matt Murdock’s fight against the injustice in their great city."

Henson will be the second actor to portray Foggy Nelson in live-action, after Jon Favreau in the 2003 film DaredevilHe joins Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin, and Rosario Dawson as an unnamed character.

Created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, Foggy Nelson first appeared with Matt Murdock in 1964's Daredevil (vol.1) #1.  After rooming with Matt while they attended Harvard Law School, the two opened up a private law practice, Nelson & Murdock, in New York.  Foggy remains unaware of Matt's secret activities as Daredevil, until some time after an assassination attempt by Matt's former girlfriend, Elektra Natchios, under the orders of The Kingpin.  In recent issues of the comic book series, Foggy battled against cancer and eventually faked his death so that he could rejoin Matt in San Francisco.

The 13-episode series is slated to air on Netflix sometime in 2015.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Unexpected Rogues That Could Appear on THE FLASH

The Rogues are coming to Central City, but some of them could potentially be ones you don't expect.

Later this fall, the much-anticipated DC Comics series The Flash is scheduled to begin airing on The CW and we already know some of Barry Allen's Rogues Gallery of supervillains are in the works for the first season.  Clyde Mardon, brother of Mark Mardon (The Weather Wizard) is the first villain The Flash faces off against in the pilot episode, while two more -- The Reverse-Flash and one other -- are reportedly hinted strongly at as well.  In addition, Captain Cold (one of executive producer Geoff Johns' favorites) has been teased recently by Johns on his Twitter account.

That's an impressive roster so far, but certainly isn't enough to fill a full 22-episode season to satisfy comic fans used to seeing numerous DC supervillains on Arrow.  And while the other big Rogues such as the Mirror Master, the Trickster, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang and the Pied Piper will probably turn up sooner or later, I can think of five more villains Johns seemed to enjoy writing during his 2000-05 run on The Flash that could turn up one week to plague the Fastest Man Alive.

The Thinker -- Although originally created in the 1940s as an enemy of the original Flash, Jay Garrick, The Thinker was reworked as a member of Johnny Sorrow's modern Injustice Society in 2000's JSA #9 while Johns wrote the series.  He then brought the artificial intelligence system with a holographic body to battle the third Flash, Wally West, in Keystone City. 

With the Thinker's to integrate and control computer systems, it wouldn't take much to have him be a S.T.A.R. Labs creation out of control on the new Flash television series.

Blacksmith -- First appearing in Johns' The Flash: Iron Heights one-shot in 2001, Blacksmith operated an underground black market called The Network in Central and Keystone until she took an elixir from her ex-husband Goldface and gained the ability to reshape metal and merge it with flesh. 

As the founder of a new team of Rogues, Blacksmith could be introduced on the TV series as a simple black marketeer under investigation by the Central City Police Department before she acquires superpowers at some point.

Girder -- Another Rogue that debuted in The Flash: Iron Heights, Girder is a steelworker named Tony Woodward that causes a riot at the plant after assaulting a female co-worker and ends up thrown into a vat of molten metal that contains scraps from various S.T.A.R. Labs experiments.  His body is changed into living iron and he gains superhuman strength in the process.

The S.T.A.R. Labs component of Girder's origin practically writes itself for an episode, while his connection to Blacksmith as one of her Rogues in the comics could set up a potential Rogue War down the road should the series remain on the air long enough.

Magenta -- Created by Marv Wolfman and George PĂ©rez in the pages of 1982's The New Teen Titans #17, Frances "Frankie" Kane was conceived as a girlfriend for Wally West who started manifesting powerful magnetic abilities in her late teens.  She eventually became a superheroine named Magenta, until Johns reworked the character as suffering from a form of dissociative identity disorder that turned her into a supervillain out for revenge against Wally.

If Wally ends up being introduced in the series similar to Roy Harper on Arrow, Magenta could be depicted as Wally's psychotic girlfriend with magnetic powers.  Or she could simply be streamlined to be a temporary love interest for Barry Allen that becomes severely problematic for both him and Iris West.

Cicada -- This mostly-forgotten villain first appeared in The Flash (vol.2) #171 in 2001.  Cicada was David Hersch, a man who murdered his wife during a thunderstorm and is struck by lightning.  The event gives him a vision of being chosen to live forever and resurrecting his wife.  Calling himself Cicada and transferring the life force of others to keep himself alive, he acquires a bunch of cult-like followers and in order to bring about his wife's resurrection, he instructs his followers to go out and kill people The Flash has saved with daggers that absorb their life energy.

Cicada would give the television series a bizarre serial killing spree to investigate, perhaps as a potential running subplot over the course of a few episodes.  And with Magenta as one of his followers in the comics, her involvement with Cicada could bring even more story potential to the table.

The Flash will premiere on The CW on Tuesday, October 7th at 8 p.m. EST.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rian Johnson to Write and Direct STAR WARS EPISODE VIII

Hands up who saw this one coming...Yeah, I thought so.

Deadline is reporting that Lucasfilm is making a deal with writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episode VIII and write the treatment for Episode IX.  The 40-year-old director is best known as the writer and director of the 2012 time-travel film Looper that starred Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but also wrote and directed the films Brick and The Brothers Bloom in addition to a few episodes of the AMC TV series Breaking Bad.

Johnson takes over from Episode VII director J.J. Abrams, furthering the speculation that Episode VII will be a generational transition film that gives Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo a proper sendoff before continuing on with their children.  The film stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie and Max von Sydow, who will join original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker.

The news of Johnson as the next Star Wars director comes on announcements that Chronicle and Fantastic Four reboot director Josh Trank and Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards will be helming Star Wars spinoff films of unnamed characters.

Star Wars Episode VII is currently expected to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015, with Episode VIII probably in 2018.

How DC Comics Could Benefit from Their New TV Shows

As some of you recall, all four television pilots based on DC Comics/VERTIGO properties were picked up last month by their respective networks.  Later this fall and in early 2015, comics fans will get to enjoy Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and iZombie in live-action, but will DC Comics be able to take advantage of this increased exposure for their characters?

Diamond's sales list of the top 400 comics  for May 2014, taken from ICv2, shows that DC could certainly benefit from more readers who become interested after watching one or more of these series.  So with that in mind, here are some suggestions on how DC might solve some of their sales problems beyond letting Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder write everything...


The Problem -- Batman titles generally sell very well for DC, particularly Batman and the Batman Eternal weekly series at the moment, but a number of titles including Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Catwoman and Batwoman aren't.  Catwoman would certainly benefit the most from Gotham, but Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya and the rest of the Gotham City Police Department don't exactly have a series to showcase them as lead characters.

The Solution -- Catwoman could be relaunched as a series set in Selina Kyle's earliest days as a thief in Gotham City, a "Catwoman: Year One" series that delves deeper into her character and criminal escapades more than 42 minutes a week on Fox will allow.  As for Gordon and the GCPD, the most obvious solution is to bring back Gotham Central, the critically acclaimed police procedural series that ran for 40 issues from 2003-06.  It would be fantastic if DC could persuade Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and/or Michael Lark to return, but there should a number of top-notch creators who would love to work on such a title.

The Flash

The Problem -- According to Diamond's list, The Flash #31 came in at #62 with sales of 34,240 copies, and this is with the new creative team of Robert Venditti, Van Jensen and Brett Booth along with increased awareness due to the controversy of changing Wally West from a redheaded caucasian to a bi-racial character.  There's also the issue of Barry Allen's current relationship with Patty Spivot, his lab partner at the Central City Police Department, who isn't featured (at least, not yet) on the new TV series.

The Solution -- Presuming DC doesn't want to pull the trigger and bring in another new creative team, there should be more of an effort to incorporate elements from the TV series into The Flash comic series.  S.T.A.R. Labs could feature more in storylines and so could a more traditional Reverse-Flash that isn't Iris West's brother Daniel.  As for Patty, the simplest way to address things would be to break her and Barry up as a couple before exploring a potential Barry and Iris hookup.  It would be really bad for Barry's look if he flirts with Iris while still involved with Patty.


The Problem -- Constantine #14 charts at #138 on Diamond's list with just 17,422 copies and would probably be marked for cancellation by now if there wasn't a new television series.  The decision to relaunch the VERTIGO mature readers series Hellblazer as a sanitized New 52 series set in the DC Universe appears to have been a creative bust, although sales are still higher than Hellblazer's later years as a VERTIGO title.

The Solution -- The most sensible thing to do would probably be to bring back Hellblazer as a VERTIGO series, but perhaps with the title Constantine instead.  The Constantine television series promotes itself as "based on the series Hellblazer," not the current New 52 Constantine, so why keep the series that most fans don't seem to want, anyway?  There really should be a way to tell the mature readers stories that longtime fans prefer while still allowing Constantine to appear in the New 52 DC Universe.  Perhaps just having Constantine appear regularly in Justice League Dark while publishing a Constantine VERTIGO series is the answer?


The Problem -- There isn't an iZombie ongoing comic book series.  Not since the VERTIGO comic that ran for 28 issues from 2010-12, anyway.

The Solution -- In the immortal words of one Buffy Anne Summers, add it up, it all spells DUH.  A new iZombie VERTIGO series is certainly needed after the show begins airing.  Bringing back the original creative team of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, however, seems doubtful considering Allred is currently the regular artist on Marvel's Silver Surfer and Roberson had a rather public exit from DC Comics.  Still, it would be quite a notable event in the comics industry if it actually happened...

Gotham, The Flash and Constantine will begin airing this fall on Fox, The CW and NBC respectively.  iZombie will be a midseason replacement on The CW beginning in early 2015.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What to Expect in GAME OF THRONES Season 5

The long wait until next April has begun.

HBO's Game of Thrones ended its fourth season this past Sunday, with 70 minutes of plot twists, character developments and more major characters being killed off.  And now, fans have another interminable ten months before the series returns for Season 5 in 2015.

The Hollywood Reporter has listed a number of things of what we might expect to see next year, as the show focuses on events adapted from George R.R. Martin's novels A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons

For anyone who has read Martin's novels, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the television series will continue to add original story elements.  "We have to make a show that succeeds on its own terms," said showrunner David Benioff, "and sometimes that means veering away from the books.  Some people will be upset by that.  Some people will like it. Obviously we hope for more of the latter, but if we ever write a scene (or avoid writing a scene) because we're afraid of pissing someone off, we're sunk."

After the death of partriarch Tywin Lannister from a deadly case of crossbow arrow poisoning while on the privy, you can pretty much predict that his daughter Cersei won't be happy about her brother Tyrion's escape.  "Lena [Headey] is such a brilliant actor that I'm really into seeing what she’s going to do next," said director Alex Graves.  "What do you think is going to happen when Cersei wakes up?  Jaime set Tyrion free and he killed her father on the way out.  She is going to be really pissed off.  I don’t think I'm giving up anything if you think about what Cersei wakes up to in the morning."

Back in May, the site WinterisComing posted a casting list of new Season 5 characters, many of whom are centered in the late Prince Oberyn's homeland of Dorne...

Prince Doran Martell – Doran is described as the major new player this year, appearing in multiple episodes. The fiftysomething prince uses a wheelchair, is reclusive and rules wisely. It appears the show is looking to continue the trend it started with Pedro Pascal, and cast Latino actors for the Martell clan.

Prince Trystane Martell – Trystane, the handsome fiance of Princess Myrcella, is being aged up to 18.

Areo Hotah - Doran’s personal bodyguard will appear throughout the season, assisting the prince with his duties. The show is particularly looking for a black actor to fill the role

The Sand Snakes, Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters (with ages ranging 18-25):

Obara Sand – The eldest and most athletic Sand Snake will be having a major fight scene with a series regular character- not one who crosses her path in the books. This is an interesting change.

Nymeria Sand – Nymeria is described as “mixed race,” with her father being the fairer Oberyn and her mother being darker skinned. The second oldest of these Sand Snakes, she’s beautiful, emotional and very strong.

Tyene Sand - The youngest of the Sand Snakes that we meet uses her wits and seductive powers, and is less of a physical fighter than the other Sand Snakes. She is just as deadly as her sisters, however, but her weapon is poison.

In addition, WinterisComing also listed some other characters we'll be seeing in Season 5...

High Sparrow - The books’ pious head of a religious movement will be appearing in several episodes in season 5.

Septa Unella – The show is looking for a character actress to play the imposing and unrelenting septa who spends a lot of time with a major series character next year.

Maggy the Frog - A fortune teller in A Feast for Crows, she’ll be in one episode next year.

Lollys Stokeworth – Just last week in “Mockingbird,” Bronn announced his intention to marry Lollys, whom Tyrion considers “dimwitted.” It looks like the sellsword will still be around next year.

Yezzan - A sleazy Meereenese slave owner.

The Waif – The strange child from the books that Arya encounters will likely be played by an older actress, one in her later teens, and we understand the show is specifically looking for a woman of East Asian descent for the part.

And while on the subject of Arya Stark, the Season 4 ending showed her sailing off to Braavos, where she will presumably find the House of Black and White, a temple associated with the Faceless Men.  "It's really important to show her moving on," said Graves.  "The story isn't that the Hound is presumably dead.  The story is that she is now moving on to adulthood on her own in a seemingly dark way.  That is an important story to tell.  She is about to take off on a bigger journey than she's ever been on."

Lastly, Daenerys Targaryen ended Season 4 having to chain up two of her increasingly uncontrollable dragons while the third continues to roam Meereen, setting fire to sheep and small children.  Jorah Mormont has been banished and Daario Naharis is elsewhere, making things considerably difficult for the Stormborn.  "You are very much setting up next year, laying out that she is now alone.  Everyone she had on the way up has been banished or sent away," said Graves.  "She is in a very, very dark place that's going to lead into next year."

Oh, and there's one last thing from the third book, A Storm of Swords, that still needs to happen -- the appearance of Lady Stoneheart.  Many fans had hoped this was going to be the Season 4 finale cliffhanger, but maybe it will be a shocking way to end the Season 5 premiere?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Casts Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Those reports about a live-action Aquaman?  Looks like they're actually true.

After initial rumors that started in December and a report on Hitfix from three days ago, both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have confirmed that Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa will indeed be playing DC Comics character Aquaman/Arthur Curry in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeAn official announcement has yet to be made, but is expected next month at San Diego Comic-Con International.

The 34-year-old actor is best known as Khal Drogo on the HBO series Game of Thrones and as Ronon Dex on Stargate: Atlantis.  Momoa also portrayed the lead role of Conan in the 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian.  He joins Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone.

According to Hitfix, the worldwide destruction caused by General Zod's terraforming World Engine in Man of Steel will be addressed in Batman v Superman, especially by one person in particular.  "Someone else who's not particularly happy about what happened in that film is Aquaman," states the article.  "I'm not sure if that's the actual name they'll use or not, but what we're hearing is that he is not pleased about the World Engine and what it did to the Indian Ocean.  He will not have a major role in the film, but he will make an appearance, and it definitely sets him up to return once Snyder gets to Justice League."

Created by Paul Norris in 1941's More Fun Comics #73, Aquaman is a founding member of the Justice League whose Atlantean mother fell in love with a lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry.  Discovering as a youth that he could survive underwater and communicate telepathically with sea life, Arthur Curry eventually used his superhuman strength and swimming speed to become the defender of Earth's oceans and often assuming his destiny as the King of Atlantis.

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 Goyer, Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.  The film is scheduled to arrive on May 6, 2016.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blue Beetle and Katana in ARROW Season 3?

At this rate, we're going to see most of the DC Universe on television by 2016.

TVLine has new details on four new characters for the third season of the CW series Arrow, with two of them factoring into Oliver Queen's flashback sequences.  Now, the names provided are most likely false to prevent spoilers, but here's the list from TVLine...

"DANIEL" -- Though Daniel could be a fake name to throw off spoilerholics, this 20something gent — a major recurring character for Season 3 — is a handsome, enigmatic and highly intelligent entrepreneur developing groundbreaking technology. (Picture a business magnate in Ryan Gosling’s body.) Though exuding charm and confidence in public, he privately harbors a tragic past that will drive him to become a tech-powered superhero. Watch for this formidable fella to be a love interest for Felicity and a rival of Oliver’s – both personally and professionally.

"SETH" -- A well-educated criminal with grand ambitions and a knack for chemistry, this potentially recurring character gains power over his enemies by exposing them to a drug that drains their willpower. Oh, and he is very much a physical match for The Arrow.

"TOSHI" -- Majorly recurring in (at least) the Hong Kong flashbacks, Toshi will serve as Oliver’s teacher and handler, and eventually become a friend. A well-trained operative, skilled in weaponry, combat and intelligence gathering, he is also a devoted father and husband.

"AKIKO" --Toshi’s wife is
another of Oliver’s Hong Kong caretakers, and is herself highly skilled in martial arts.

"Daniel" seems likely to be none other than Ted Kord, better known as the Blue BeetleTed has been previously mentioned in a flashback by Moira Queen where she remarks how quiet Robert Queen is after attending a Ted Kord fundraiser.  His company, Kord Industries, also made an appearance when a mechanical product is stolen by Cyrus Gold for Brother Blood out of Queen Consolidated's applied sciences division.  The product was going to help mass-produce a serum that will give people super strength.  After a brief fight with Gold, the Arrow managed to destroy it and stop the villain.  His company is again seen as henchmen of the Clock King break in and steal a device that will allow the Clock King to break into any bank vault anywhere.  In addition, Ted Kord was recently reintroduced to DC Comics readers at the end of the Geoff Johns event series Forever Evil.

As for "Toshi" and "Akiko," I believe that "Akiko" is actually Tatsu Yamashiro, also known as Katana.  Tatsu is skilled in martial arts and is married to Maseo Yamashiro ("Toshi," presumably) until Maseo is killed by his brother Takeo with a sword, a katana called Soultaker, as their children are killed.  Tatsu takes possession of Soultaker and learns that her husband's spirit now resides inside her sword, allowing her to hear his voice.  After losing her short-lived ongoing comic book series, Katana recently appeared in the pages of -- you guessed it -- Green Arrow during the storyline "The Outsiders War."

"Seth," however, seems a bit more difficult to figure out.  While he could be simply as described, it's more than likely that he's a DC Comics character, but which one?  The only one that springs to mind is Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, but I imagine he's probably off limits for a future episode of Gotham.

Arrow returns in the fall on The CW, probably around October.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ben McKenzie Discusses GOTHAM and Jim Gordon

An Iron Man fan?  Well, we'll let that one slide...

Entertainment Weekly has posted an interview with Ben McKenzie, star of the upcoming Fox television series Gotham.  As Batfans know, McKenzie will portray Detective James Gordon, the future police commissioner of Gotham City, and he shared his thoughts about the character and his past history with the world of Batman.

When asked about what excites him about JIm Gordon as a character, McKenzie replied, "He’s a truly honest man.  The last honest man in a city full of crooked people.  It’s very tricky nowadays to play a true, honest-to-goodness hero.  Everybody is so cynical of people’s intentions.  What’s interesting about him is he comes into this city that he hasn’t lived in for two decades, since he was a kid, and has fresh eyes to a world he doesn’t actually know.  He thinks he knows it, and his journey will be to figure out how to make it better both for Gotham and himself without completely [losing] the moral standing that he has. He’s not an anti-hero, he’s a true hero — but he will have to compromise."

Of course, compromising will take Gordon into some morally grey areas, so will he be able to keep his ideals intact?  "He won’t," said McKenzie.  "And that’s one of the things we talked about very early on.  This is not a Batman-from-the-’50s kind of show, with moral duality in black and white.  In this world, everybody lives in the grey.  Everybody is on the take.  Everybody is compromised.  There is no way he’ll emerge unscathed from that.  How does he hold onto the thread of his mortality while getting things done?"

"Long story short: Gordon couldn’t be more human," McKenzie continued.  "In a DC universe where all of these characters are human, he is Exhibit A in being a simple, flawed human being.  He’s strong and smart and tough, but he’s going to make wrong decisions and trust the wrong people.  And he has no out — he can’t put on a cape and fly off."

In preparing for the role, McKenzie got some background on Gordon from none other than DC Comics' chief creative officer.  "I went to lunch with Geoff Johns and asked, 'What do I need to know?  I’m familiar with Batman and Gordon, but what’s my responsibility here?'  He gave me Gotham Central…and said two things -- The origin story of Gordon hasn’t been fully explored before.  As central as he is, Gordon has never been the focus.  And second, you can’t worry about that.  'We hired you to play you and to make this character fresh.'  And he said it without provocation.  That coming from the guy who’s so well versed in this, saying to make it your own, it was a real pat on the shoulder.  There’s a tendency with such a familiar world that it can be intimidating, but you got to relax and do it.  It ought to be bigger and grander and — frankly — cooler than most, but you have to treat it like a job."

And where did that familiarity with Batman and Gordon come from?  "I’m a big fan of Batman," said McKenzie.  "I can’t claim I grew up reading a lot of comics — weirdly the one I remember is Iron Man.  I would watch repeats of the cheesy biff-pow-bang show, the Adam West version, in the afternoons in Texas.  As I grew older, [the depictions of Batman] grew more sophisticated, and I loved the [Christopher] Nolan films.  The thing that I think is universally relateable about Batman is he’s not a superhero.  He has no special powers. He’s simply a man who’s experienced this extreme trauma, and has access to all sort of gadgets and weaponry that a wealthy person could have, and has an emotional need for justice."

You can check out more of the interview at the Entertainment Weekly link above.  Gotham is scheduled to air on Mondays this fall on Fox at 8 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DAREDEVIL Casts Vincent D'Onofrio as The Kingpin

The Man Without Fear will face off against The Kingpin of Crime.

Marvel has officially confirmed that Vincent D'Onofrio has been cast as Wilson Fisk, better known as The Kingpin, in the Netflix series Daredevil. The 54-year-old actor is perhaps best known as Detective Robert Goren on the NBC series Law and Order: Criminal Intent and as Edgar in the 1997 movie Men in Black.

The Kingpin is described in the announcement as "a powerful businessman whose interests in the future of Hell’s Kitchen will bring him into conflict with the blind attorney Matt Murdock and his alter ego Daredevil."

Created by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr. in 1967's The Amazing Spider-Man #50, The Kingpin was introduced as a crime boss adversary of Spider-Man but eventually became the arch-enemy of Daredevil.  Over the years, he has used a number of assassins, including Elektra and Bullseye, in various attempts to kill Daredevil, and his son Richard Fisk became the crime lord known as The Rose.

D'Onofrio will be the third actor to portray Daredevil in live action, after John Rhys-Davies in the 1989 television movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and Michael Clarke Duncan in the 2003 film Daredevil by Mark Steven Johnson.  He joins Charlie Cox, who was cast last May as Daredevil/Matt Murdock.

“We’re incredibly proud to have an actor with the gravitas and versatility of Vincent joining 'Marvel’s Daredevil' in such an integral role," said Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of Television.  "Wilson Fisk is an iconic villain whose cunning and power make him the dangerous equal of our hero."

Daredevil will air on Netflix sometime in 2015.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Guillermo del Toro Working on PACIFIC RIM 2 Script

There's a good chance we could cancel the apocalypse again.

According to BuzzFeed, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro is working on a script for the 2013 science fiction monster film.  During promotion for his new FX series The Strain at the Austin Television Festival, del Toro told BuzzFeed that he and screenwriter Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk) have begun work on a screenplay for Pacific Rim 2.

"I’m working very, very hard with Zak Penn," said del Toro.  "We’ve been working for a few months now in secret.  We found a way to twist it around.  Travis Beacham [co-writer of the first film] was involved in the storyline and now I’m writing with Zak because Travis has become a TV mogul."

The director made a point of saying that Legendary Pictures hasn't given a greenlight for the sequel -- yet -- but he and Penn are working on the project as if it's going to be filmed one day.  "I don’t have the money, but I’m proceeding like it is happening," he remarked, adding that he hopes to direct the sequel after producing his next project.

While Pacific Rim only made over $101 million in the United States, the film was huge overseas, bringing in a total of over $411 million worldwide.  And with a reported production budget of $190 million, it certainly seems like a good idea for Legendary Pictures to go ahead with the sequel, especially now that more people have seen the first film on HBO and home video.

Legendary Pictures Chief Thomas Tull recently told I Am Rogue that his production company would only make Pacific Rim 2 "if we can crack the story [and] we all think it’s great," and if del Toro is willing to direct it.

Del Toro also revealed that the script currently includes the characters Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and the story will pick up from the events of the first film.  "Some people were wondering if we were going to do the prequel. I was never interested in doing that first wave of invasion," said del Toro said.  "I’m going for very new, very crazy ideas on the second one, which are very different from the first one, but you will get really great spectacle."

Your move, Legendary...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

ANT-MAN Names Peyton Reed as Replacement Director

Okay, everyone can relax now...Ant-Man has a new director.

After going through several comedy directors as potential replacements for former director Edgar Wright, Marvel Studios has officially announced Peyton Reed as helming the first film for phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Reed is perhaps best known as the director of 2000's Bring It On and 2008's Yes Man starring Jim Carrey.  He's also directed several projects for television, including the Back to the Future animated series, The Weird Al Show, Mr. Show and Upright Citizens Brigade.

With a screenplay by Wright, Joe Cornish and Adam McKay (once considered as Wright's replacement), Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, and Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, Patrick Wilson and Matt Gerald in currently unrevealed roles.  In addition, Steven Price will score the film.

Marvel also provided a plot synopsis for the film:

Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Ant-Man is scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 17, 2015.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DOCTOR STRANGE Finds Director, Jared Leto Rumored

At long last, the hosts of Hoggoth are about to get hoary.

While Marvel Studios is scrambling to find a replacement director for Ant-Man, it seems they've managed to bring in a director for their long-awaited film adaptation of Doctor StrangeThe Hollywood Reporter announced yesterday that Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose director Scott Derrickson has signed on to helm the big-screen debut of the Sorcerer Supreme.

Derrickson confirmed the news himself on Twitter, with the following post...
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange debuted in 1963's Strange Tales #110.  Dr. Stephen Strange began as an arrogant and egotistical neurosurgeon that suffers permanent damage to his hands as a result of a car accident.  He searches around the world for a way to repair his hands, ultimately coming across a master sorcerer known as The Ancient One in the Himalayas.  When Strange learns that Baron Mordo, the Ancient One's disciple, intends on killing his master, the Ancient One agrees to teach Strange the mystic arts after Mordo is defeated.

As far as who will play the good doctor, Badass Digest claims that Marvel has (or at least had) their eye on Jared Leto, the 42-year-old actor and frontman for the band 30 Seconds to Mars who recently won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the film Dallas Buyers Club.  Other names that have been considered include Johnny Depp, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen.  Whoever ends up landing the role, it's expected there will be an announcement at this year's San Diego Comic-Con International along with plans for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

THE COLBERT REPORT Shows Goatee Solidarity with Tony Stark

And it's not even Movember yet.

During last night's episode of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert returned from his Memorial Day break sporting a brand new goatee.  The reason?  Solidarity with Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man.

With French economist Thomas Piketty appearing on the program to promote his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Colbert showed his opposition to Piketty's belief that there needs to be "a progressive global tax on capital" with "a punitive 80% tax rate on incomes above $500,000."

And that's where Colbert's new goatee comes in.  "I grew this in solidarity with my personal friend, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark," said Colbert.  "You see, if Piketty had his way, and Tony was coughing up 80% in taxes, suddenly he's not a billionaire anymore and can't afford to be Iron Man.  Then who's saving New York from the Chitauri invasion?  Hawkeye?!  Yeah, after he gets there on the bus."

"Billionaires protect us," he continued, growing emotional, "and tonight, I protect them.  I got your back, Tony."

Hawkeye could not be reached for comment on the bus.

If you'd like to check out the full video, you can view it below thanks to Colbert Nation...