Review: Our favorite trickster god is charismatic as ever in Loki premiere

Tom Hiddleston stars in the latest MCU series, <em>Loki</em>, which premiered last night on Disney+.

Enlarge / Tom Hiddleston stars in the latest MCU series, Loki, which premiered last night on Disney+. (credit: Marvel Studios)

It’s hard to write a killer TV pilot that compels viewers to come back for more. You have to establish a fictional world, introduce the main characters and core premise, and set up a compelling trigger for the subsequent chain of events—all without making things seem frenetic or incoherent and without employing labored explanatory riffs. That’s true even in the case of a well-established fictional universe like the MCU. Fortunately, the first episode of Loki, Marvel’s new series reviving Tom Hiddleston’s beloved Asgardian trickster god, mostly gets it right—even if it does occasionally lapse into lecturing narrator mode (“talky, talky”).

(Only mild spoilers below, with a bit of spoiler-y speculation below the gallery.)

We all remember that scene in Avengers: Endgame when a 2012 version of Loki snags the tesseract containing the Space Stone and vanishes through a portal. That’s where the series opens, with our trickster materializing in the middle of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, much to the bemusement of a gaggle of locals. It’s not long before another portal opens to bring forth a team of armed guards who “arrest” Loki on behalf of an entity known as the Time Variance Authority (TVA). TVA agents are the so-called “custodians of chronology” in the MCU, monitoring violations to the timeline. Catch their attention by trying to change history, and you just might meet the wrong end of the Retroactive Cannon (Ret Con) and have your entire history deleted from the historical timeline.

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel-studios, #mcu, #mcu-phase-four, #streaming-television

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Review: ‘Loki,’ on the Light Side of the Marvel Streaming Universe

After “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the Norse god’s Disney+ series lets some laughter in.

#comic-books-and-strips, #disney-plus, #hiddleston-tom, #loki-tv-program, #marvel-entertainment, #mbatha-raw-gugu, #mosaku-wunmi, #television, #wilson-owen

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The Game Winner for Disney+? Slapping Down the Sports Clichés.

Ever since “The Bad News Bears,” family sports stories have followed a predictable pattern. Two current series succeed by breaking it.

#big-shot-tv-program, #brill-steven, #cobra-kai-tv-program, #disney-plus, #estevez-emilio, #graham-lauren, #kelley-david-e, #lorey-dean, #stamos-john, #television, #the-mighty-ducks-game-changers-tv-program

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JJ Abrams: Lack of plan in Star Wars’ latest trilogy was a “critical” flaw

No, the Collider interview doesn't mention Jar Jar, but who doesn't love an opportunity to put JJ next to Star Wars' other big "JJ"?

Enlarge / No, the Collider interview doesn’t mention Jar Jar, but who doesn’t love an opportunity to put JJ next to Star Wars’ other big “JJ”? (credit: Sam Machkovech / Lucasfilm / Getty Images)

An upcoming interview with filmmaker JJ Abrams will span the entirety of his career, and that means it includes significant statements about his work on the latest Star Wars trilogy. From the sound of things, 17 months of distance from his last Star Wars film, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, have given him either the clarity or the cushion needed to speak frankly on what the film arguably flubbed.

Ahead of the full interview’s publication—which takes advantage of the upcoming 10th-anniversary Blu-ray of Abrams’ Super 8—Collider released an excerpt on Wednesday focusing on his directing and co-writing work on both Episodes VII and IX. The takeaway seems loud and clear: the new trilogy as a whole, which he bookended, would have benefited from more consistency.

Abrams’ quotes in isolation may sound like he’s speaking about the entirety of his career, but they’re specifically in response to Collider’s questions about the director and writer hand-off between entries in the “Rey trilogy.” His first answer includes a bigger-picture estimation about best-laid plans, hinting to issues with a single actor or when “a relationship as written doesn’t quite work.”

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #jj-abrams, #lucasfilm, #star-wars

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Review: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier aims high, but falls a bit short

Confession: I wanted to like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier more than I ultimately did. The various trailers seemed so promising, giving off vibes of a “buddy cop” action flick, with a bit more room to flesh out the character development and themes. What we got was a show that was trying to do too many things at once—including setting the stage for the Phase 4 films coming down the pike—and as a result, it never did any of those things as well as it could have done.

(There are a few major spoilers below the second gallery. We’ll give you a heads up when we get there.)

F&WS picks up in the wake of Avengers: End Game, when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) handed his Captain America shield to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier), having chosen to remain in the past and live out his life with Peggy Carter. Sam and Bucky must grapple with losing Steve and the burden of his legacy. Meanwhile, the US government has named their own new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), a decorated veteran and ultimate “good soldier” who thinks he can better embody “American values” than Rogers. (The nerve!)

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When Blackness Is a Superpower: From Falcon to Black Panther and More

From Falcon to Black Panther to a potential new Superman, a wave of rejuvenated heroes, reimagined by Black creators, are rewriting superhero mythologies.

#black-people, #captain-america-book, #dacosta-nia, #disney-plus, #mackie-anthony, #marvel-comics, #parris-teyonah, #spellman-malcolm

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Secrets of the Whales explores language, social structure of giants of the deep

National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry spent three years documenting the cultural lives of whales. His journey is the subject of a new four-part documentary series on Disney+, Secrets of the Whales.

Intrepid film crews tracked various species of whales all over the world, capturing their unique hunting strategies, communication skills, and social structures for Secrets of the Whales, a new four-part documentary series from National Geographic, now streaming on Disney+.

The project started with National Geographic Explorer and photographer Brian Skerry, who spent three years traveling around the globe documenting the culture of five different species of whale: orcas, humpbacks (aka “the singing sensation of the ocean”), belugas, narwhals, and sperm whales. The Massachusetts-born Skerry recalls visiting the beaches of New England as a child and being fascinating by nature documentaries about the ocean. “There was something especially awe-inspiring about whales,” he told Ars. “There are so many secrets. If I spent the rest of my life just [filming] whales, I would be very happy.”

Skerry pitched a one-hour documentary to National Geographic about his project, which turned into four hours when producer, writer, and director Brian Armstrong (Red Rock Films) signed on, along with Oscar-winning director James Cameron as executive producer. “It started off as a photographer profile [of Skerry], but the scope became so big,” Armstrong told Ars. “[We realized] it’s about the whales and their culture—a big breakthrough topic. It’s subtle, but you’ll notice when we do introduce human characters, you’re usually looking out from the whale’s point of view as we get into their world.”

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #james-cameron, #national-geographic, #science, #secrets-of-the-whales

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Hollywood Journalist Prepares for a Surreal Oscar Night

A Times journalist gives a sneak preview of the Academy Awards on Sunday and offers insights on a changing film industry.

#academy-awards-oscars, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #los-angeles-calif, #movies, #theaters-buildings, #union-station

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With ‘Earth Moods’ and Its Ilk, TV Goes From Meditative to Vegetative

“Earth Moods” may look like a screensaver, but you’ll have to pay Disney+ to enjoy its calming effects.

#anxiety-and-stress, #disney-plus, #earth-moods-tv-program, #hbo-max, #joe-pera-talks-with-you-tv-program, #painting-with-john-tv-program, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #schitts-creek-tv-program, #ted-lasso-tv-program, #television

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40 Acres and a Movie

Disney can’t change its problematic past. But can it make a new future with Marvel?

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Our favorite trickster god teams up with time cops in official Loki trailer

Tom Hiddleston returns as everyone’s favorite Norse god of mischief in the forthcoming limited spinoff series Loki.

We just finished enthusing over WandaVision and are still awaiting the final episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Solider, but Marvel has a lot more in store for us. The studio just dropped the official trailer for Loki, its spinoff limited series starring Tom Hiddleston as the charismatic trickster demigod and (adoptive) brother to Thor. According to the official premise, after absconding with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, Loki “is a fish-out-of-water when he lands in a world of trouble with the bureaucratic TVA (Time Variance Authority).” One Ars staffer described the overall tone as “Men in Black meets Doctor Who,” which sounds like a winning combination to me.

As we’ve reported previously, Marvel Studios announced the development of its various limited series for Disney+ in 2018, all featuring supporting characters from the films who were not given their own standalone movies within the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). Details have largely been kept under wraps, but we do know that, like WandaVisionLoki will tie into the forthcoming MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it will consist of six episodes.

A brief shot from Loki that aired during the Super Bowl last year showed the titular character wearing a jumpsuit with the initials “TVA” stamped on it. TVA agents are the so-called “custodians of chronology” who monitor violations to the timeline in the MCU. Catch their attention by trying to change history, and you just might meet the wrong end of the Retroactive Cannon (Ret-Can) and have your entire history deleted from the historical timeline.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel-studios, #tom-hiddleston, #trailers

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Star Wars: The Bad Batch trailer arrives ahead of May the Fourth launch

This week’s one-two Disney+ news punch revolves around Star Wars—a PB-and-choc combo of TV series that has so far paid off richly, especially after the shaky conclusion to the franchise’s latest film trilogy.

First up is the newest Star Wars series to debut, coming in barely over a month. We learned last month that new series Star Wars: The Bad Batch is slated to launch on Tuesday, May 4 (huh, we wonder why they picked that date). On Tuesday, Disney followed that news with the premiere of that CGI-animation series’ first trailer, which immediately follows in the footsteps of Clone Wars‘ revival on Disney+ a little over a year ago. The new series also sees longtime Clone Wars steward Dave Filoni return as co-executive producer.

Tailed by Tarkin

Clone Wars‘ seventh season opened by focusing squarely on the Bad Batch, a ragtag group of clone troopers (also known as Clone Force 99) whose mutations turned them into supersoldiers above the rest of the clone fray. Their combination of action-filled missions and comic-relief banter set a solid tone for a season that barreled toward epic set pieces long-teased by Filoni, particularly the Siege of Mandalore.

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#bad-batch, #disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #obi-wan, #star-wars, #star-wars-the-clone-wars

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Black Widow’s delays will finally end with combined theatrical, Disney+ launch

After losing its initial May 2020 release date to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow has finally settled on a release strategy: a simultaneous launch in theaters and as a “premier access” purchase on the Disney+ subscription service, both coming Friday, May 28.

Should you choose to watch Black Widow at home, this will require a one-time payment of $30 on top of your Disney+ subscription fee, which will unlock the film for repeat viewings ahead of its eventual release for all base subscribers. The same will apply to Cruella, the live-action prequel to the Disney animated classic 101 Dalmatians, which will get its own theater-and-Disney+ simul-launch on Friday, July 9.

The announcement, as distributed in a Disney press release on Tuesday, notes that this follows the “successful release” of CGI-animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon both in theaters and on Disney+ on March 5—apparently confirming that the decision made dollars and sense for everyone at Disney, following a similar release strategy for 2020’s live-action version of Mulan.

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#black-widow, #disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #marvel-studios

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Falcon & Winter Soldier series premiere: More of Disney+‘s slow-burn status quo

How much energy can you muster for a drawn-out superhero option on TV this weekend? In terms of content that favors deliberately paced cinematics over instant, wham-bam action, the DC Comics universe already has a four-hour option capturing headlines—and for good reason.

Hence, HBO Max has mildly spoiled the debut of new Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The first episode launched Friday, March 19, without the surprise and weirdness factor that came with January’s Wandavision premiere. Without novelty on its side, the series has to stand on more familiar laurels. Thankfully it succeeds at that, but the results don’t quite reach the “rush to watch right now” conversation-starter status Disney+ has enjoyed over the past few months.

Shield retires a shield

This is now Marvel Studios’ second post-“unsnappening” series, and it’s the first to take a more predictable tack on the fallout throughout the Marvel universe. Endgame set this new TV series up in shameless corporate-synergy fashion when Chris Evans handed his Captain America shield to Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), essentially telling audiences, “Two superheroes will continue a specific plotline—so stay tuuuuned.”

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TV’s Battle of the Binge: Why the Wait Can Be Worth It

Streaming TV promised to free us from schedules, but series like “WandaVision” show that weekly rituals still have power.

#bridgerton-tv-program, #disney-plus, #for-all-mankind-tv-program, #marvel-entertainment, #television, #the-boys-tv-program, #the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier-tv-program, #wandavision-tv-program

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: What You Need to Know

The heroes of this new Disney+ series share a complex relationship that has evolved over multiple films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are the most crucial bits of history and context.

#disney-plus, #mackie-anthony, #marvel-entertainment, #stan-sebastian, #television, #the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier-tv-program

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Marvel drops one last trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts this Friday on Disney+.

With WandaVision now in the rearview mirror, Marvel fans have turned their attention to the imminent premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier this Friday. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) for a series set after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

As we’ve reported previously, after the Avengers and their many allies finally defeated Thanos in Endgame, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) handed over his shield to Sam so he could take on the mantle. But will Sam accept it? That’s a big part of what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will explore over the course of its six episodes, and showrunner Malcolm Spellman has said the tone will be similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Sam and Bucky will “team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.” The primary villain will be Baron Helmut Zemo, a Sokovian colonel-turned-terrorist who is obsessed with defeating the Avengers, with Daniel Brühl reprising the role from Captain America: Civil War. Director Kari Skogland has said that his appearance in the series shows him “paying for his crimes” and “in a very sad place.”

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Is Marvel’s Latest Double Act

The new Disney+ series, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, uses its superheroes to examine a world still on edge after a global catastrophe.

#disney-plus, #mackie-anthony, #marvel-studios, #stan-sebastian, #television, #the-falcon-and-the-winter-soldier-tv-program

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What ‘WandaVision’ Gets Right (and Wrong) About Female Superheroes

In the Disney+ series, Wanda Maximoff has depth and power, a turn for the Marvel world. But she faces a familiar dilemma: Hero work or domestic bliss?

#bettany-paul, #disney-plus, #olsen-elizabeth-1989, #parris-teyonah, #television, #wandavision-tv-program, #women-and-girls

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N.H.L. Returns to ESPN in a 7-Year Deal With an Emphasis on Streaming

The agreement assures hockey a higher profile on SportsCenter and gives ESPN the perfect sport for its streaming ambitions

#abc-inc, #bettman-gary, #disney-plus, #espn, #hockey-ice, #national-hockey-league, #nbcuniversal, #sportscenter-tv-program, #television, #walt-disney-company

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Why Disney+ only needed 16 months to crack 100 million subscribers

Why Disney+ only needed 16 months to crack 100 million subscribers

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Disney)

In the Walt Disney Company’s latest shareholder call, we expected to hear good news about its popular Disney+ service—especially as a highlight for a company otherwise besieged by the realities of a pandemic. Sure enough, the news was incredibly good for the company’s upstart streaming service, with CEO Bob Chapek confirming a tidy threshold: over 100 million subscribers.

Thanks to Disney’s recent fiscal announcements, the number isn’t entirely surprising, considering we saw counts of 86.8 million this past December and 95 million in February. But in two other respects, the number is gargantuan. First, Disney originally projected a four-year plan to get to 90 million subscribers, and that estimate has clearly been blown past.

Second, the other megaton streamer in the conversation, Netflix, needed much longer to cross that alluring 100 million mark: a whopping 10 years. Disney+ only needed 16 months.

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#disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #video-streaming

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How the ‘WandaVision’ Creator Brought Her Vision (and Wanda’s) to Life

Jac Schaeffer shared some of the secrets behind the show’s origins, its Marvel-size finale and those impossibly catchy tunes.

#content-type-personal-profile, #disney-plus, #jac-schaeffer, #marvel-entertainment, #television, #wandavision-tv-program

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Review: WandaVision sticks the landing with a very Marvel-esque finale

For all its touted meta-elements celebrating different TV decades, WandaVision wrapped up its nine-episode run in classic Marvel fashion, with Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda and Paul Bettany’s Vision valiantly defending their suburban nuclear family from the nefarious forces lined up against them. It was a satisfying, quite moving finale to this imaginative series. But fans expecting a surprise big-name cameo—Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange was a favorite of the pre-finale rumor mill—were disappointed.

(Some spoilers below; major reveals for finale below the gallery. We’ll give you a heads up when we get there,)

Frankly, I was skeptical of the WandaVision concept when the studio offered a brief sneak peek during D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige—a fan of classic sitcoms—envisioned the series as a love letter to the golden age of television, with each episode channeling a sitcom style from a particular decade. Head writer Jac Schaeffer (Captain Marvel, Black Widow) championed the concept from the start, despite a brief backlash against the perceived silliness of the title. Schaeffer thought viewers would change their minds once they actually saw the series, and she was right: WandaVision currently boasts a 92 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It even won over my skeptical soul.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #streaming-television, #wandavision

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Kelly Marie Tran: ‘I’m Not Afraid Anymore’

The actress has left the “Star Wars” bullies behind to star as Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess in “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She says, “I’m finally asking for the things I want.”

#actors-and-actresses, #asian-americans, #content-type-personal-profile, #cyberharassment, #discrimination, #disney-plus, #movies, #race-and-ethnicity, #raya-and-the-last-dragon-movie, #social-media, #star-wars-movie, #star-wars-the-last-jedi-movie, #tran-kelly-marie, #vietnamese-americans, #walt-disney-company, #women-and-girls

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Teyonah Parris Didn’t Get ‘WandaVision’ at First, Either

The actress was thrilled to join the Marvel series as the agent Monica Rambeau, after memorable roles in “Chi-Raq” and “Mad Men.” But early on, she was just as confused as the rest of us.

#disney-plus, #marvel-entertainment, #parris-teyonah, #television, #wandavision-tv-program

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Best Movies and TV Shows Streaming on Hulu, Disney in March

Every month, streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for March.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hulu-com, #movies

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Meet the Songwriters Behind the ‘Wandavision’ Hit ‘Agatha All Along’

The Disney songwriting power couple behind “Frozen” and “Coco” wrote the very spoiler-y “WandaVision” theme that has permanently lodged itself in people’s brains.

#anderson-lopez-kristen, #disney-plus, #hahn-kathryn-1973, #lopez-robert-1975, #music, #television, #wandavision-tv-program

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‘WandaVision’ Lives Inside TV. Just Like We Do.

After a year of pandemic life, the superhero show’s inventive premise — television as both escape and prison — is all too relatable.

#bettany-paul, #disney-plus, #hahn-kathryn-1973, #olsen-elizabeth-1989, #television, #wandavision-tv-program

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‘WandaVision’ Lives Inside TV. Just Like We Do.

After a year of pandemic life, the superhero show’s inventive premise — television as both escape and prison — is all too relatable.

#bettany-paul, #disney-plus, #hahn-kathryn-1973, #olsen-elizabeth-1989, #television, #wandavision-tv-program

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The + That’s Taking Over Streaming Platforms

An idea that seemed like a real plus when streaming was newer has fallen into cliché.

#advertising-and-marketing, #disney-plus, #labeling-and-labels-product, #nbcuniversal, #paramount-pictures, #viacomcbs-inc, #walt-disney-company

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Plus + Plus + Plus = Streaming Name Surplus

An idea that seemed like a real plus when streaming was newer has fallen into cliché.

#advertising-and-marketing, #disney-plus, #labeling-and-labels-product, #nbcuniversal, #paramount-pictures, #viacomcbs-inc, #walt-disney-company

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Gina Carano Is Off ‘Mandalorian’ Amid Backlash Over Instagram Post

The studio’s statement came hours after a new backlash against the actress, who on Instagram compared “hating someone for their political views” to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust.

#carano-gina, #disney-plus, #lucasfilm-ltd, #social-media, #the-mandalorian-tv-program

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Disney redundancy: Fox CGI-animation studio behind Ice Age, Rio to shut down

Two rows of posters for animated films.

Enlarge / By the end of April, the dedicated Blue Sky Studios team behind the above films will be shuttered by its current owners at Disney. (credit: Blue Sky Studios)

After acquiring 21st Century Fox in 2018, Disney moved forward with content plans that, in some ways, celebrated and married the combined corporate-entertainment universes. But film cancellations and corporate redundancies soon followed, and today’s announcement is a huge one for CGI animation. Blue Sky Studios, the makers of the Ice Age and Rio film series, is shutting down.

Citing “the current economic realities,” a Disney spokesperson confirmed to Deadline that Blue Sky will be fully shut down by this April, affecting all 450+ employees in the Greenwich, Connecticut, studio. But Disney will keep all the rights to Blue Sky’s series and characters, and according to the same Deadline report, an unnamed animation team inside the Disney corporate machine is moving forward with an Ice Age series exclusively for Disney+.

Bad Nimona news

For years, CG animation at Disney had a severe split in quality between its outside partnership with Pixar and the company’s in-house Disney Animation Studios. That changed with the megaton budget and years of stops-and-restarts in the making of 2010’s Tangled, a critical and commercial success that paved the way to more internal-production successes like Frozen, Moana, and Wreck-It Ralph. At the same time, Pixar became a wholly owned Disney property in 2006 and continued to thrive with its own universe of existing IP and new series.

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#blue-sky-studios, #disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #pixar

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Marvel drops action-packed two-minute Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, coming to Disney+ in March.

Marvel Studios did the Super Bowl right by releasing a lengthy two-minute trailer for its upcoming new series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.  Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) for the Disney+ show, which is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The pair will “team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.”

(Some spoilers for prior MCU films below.)

You may recall that after the Avengers and their many allies finally defeated Thanos in Endgame, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) handed over his shield to Sam so he could take on the mantle. But will Sam accept it? That’s part of what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will explore over the course of its six episodes, and showrunner Malcolm Spellman has said the tone will be similar to Captain America: Winter Soldier. Marvel is purportedly spending in the range of $25 million per episode to ensure a cinematic quality for the series.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #falcon-and-the-winter-soldier, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-cinematic-universe, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #trailers

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Iceland Has a Request for Disney+: More Icelandic, Please

Disney brought its streaming service to Iceland last year. Now, the country’s education minister has sent a letter of complaint over the lack of Icelandic dubbing and subtitling.

#disney-plus, #iceland, #language-and-languages, #television, #walt-disney-company

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Black Panther director Ryan Coogler developing Wakanda series for Disney+

Promotional image for Black Panther.

Enlarge / We’ll be getting more Wakanda-centric stories thanks to a new development deal between Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and The Walt Disney Company. (credit: Marvel/Disney)

Following on the success of The Mandalorian and WandaVision on Disney+, The Walt Disney Company has tapped Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to develop an as-yet-untitled new series for the streamer focusing on the fictional nation of Wakanda. Deadline Hollywood reports that the planned series is part of an exclusive five-year deal between Coogler’s Proximity Media production company and the Mouse House to develop the new TV series, including shows for other divisions of the company.

“Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation,” said Bob Iger, executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company, in a statement. “With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.”

Coogler earned praise for his films Fruitvale Station and Creed before helming Black Panther. The film grossed a whopping $1.3 billion worldwide—the highest-grossing film by a Black director and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time—and became the first MCU movie to win multiple Oscars (Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design). It was nominated for Best Picture, although it didn’t win.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #ryan-coogler, #streaming-television, #wakanda

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in February

Every month, streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for February.

#amazon-com-inc, #bliss-movie, #disney-plus, #earwig-and-the-witch-movie, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #judas-and-the-black-messiah-movie, #movies, #nomadland-movie, #television, #tell-me-your-secrets-tv-program, #the-investigation-movie, #the-muppet-show-tv-program, #the-united-states-vs-billie-holiday-movie

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Warrior princess fights to save humanity in Raya and the Last Dragon trailer

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina star in Disney’s new animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon.

Disney has released the official full trailer for its upcoming animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon, with Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina voicing the titular characters. It has the distinction of being the first Disney animated feature to be remotely developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with home equipment and mostly communicating via Zoom. The pandemic also caused the film’s release date to be shifted multiple times. It’s now slated for a March 5 release, both in theaters and on Disney+ with premier access.

Disney first announced the film during its 2019 D23 Expo and presented co-directors Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Frozen II, Blindspotting) at D23 the following year. The fictional fantasy land of Kumandra was inspired by several different Southeast Asian cultures—Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and the Philippines—and the production team traveled extensively to most of those countries to research the film. A Lao visual anthropologist also reviewed the final designs.

Per the official synopsis:

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#disney-animation, #disney-plus, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #raya-and-the-last-dragon, #trailers

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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ Hit No. 1 in a Week. Here’s How.

The debut single from the 17-year-old Disney actress became a TikTok smash, broke Spotify records and topped the Billboard chart thanks to a “perfect storm” of quality, gossip and marketing.

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Wandavision premieres in ways that would never work on ABC—and that’s great

The black-and-white world of <em>Wandavision</em>, as occasionally interrupted by color in its first two episodes on Disney+ as of today.

Enlarge / The black-and-white world of Wandavision, as occasionally interrupted by color in its first two episodes on Disney+ as of today. (credit: Disney)

The modern era of Marvel Comics television has been a jumpy one, with ABC and Netflix dividing-and-conquering based on available comic series, exclusivity deals, and otherwise trying not to step on Marvel Studios’ gargantuan toes. Fans got some fascinating television out of the process, but those network deals eventually fizzled—perhaps not coincidentally, right around the time that the Disney corporate umbrella began plotting its own content-filled streaming service.

As a result, today’s premiere of Wandavision on Disney+ is far from the first TV series with clear links to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it’s definitely the clearest one yet. Take two major actors from repeat MCU films, slap them into the first-ever TV series that opens with a Marvel Studios logo, and you’ve got yourself one massive statement of intent.

As if that weren’t gutsy enough, Wandavision goes further in terms of ambition with a two-part series premiere that will befuddle fans and outsiders alike. After over a year of squint-worthy reveals, with hints of black-and-white TV throwbacks and superhero-filled intrigue, we have 65 minutes of goofiness, dread, and a sense that this weird series is only going to get weirder.

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #wandavision

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What Is Most Popular on Streaming Platforms? Old Network TV Shows

“The Office,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Criminal Minds” each accounted for more viewing time than any other show or movie on streaming platforms last year, according to Nielsen.

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Marvel’s Latest Frontier? In ‘WandaVision,’ It’s the Suburbs

Marvel’s first series for Disney+ is part drama, part homage to vintage sitcoms, following the misfit heroes played by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany to some weird places.

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in January

Every month, subscription streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for January.

#apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #television

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Winter TV Preview: 21 Shows to Watch

Newcomers and old favorites include a Marvel series, the long-awaited return of “Gomorrah” and Judi Dench among the orangutans.

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This Year Was a Disaster. We Hope the Sequel Is Better.

We streamed, we watched, we worried. We also wondered what the catastrophe called 2020 will mean for movies.

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Bollywood, Reeling From the Pandemic, Shifts to Streaming

India’s film industry, which relied on theatrical releases, is experimenting with going straight to streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar.

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In ‘Soul’ on Disney+, Pixar Has Its First Black Lead Character

Mindful of animation’s history of racist imagery, the studio aimed to make the jazz pianist at the center of the film as specific as possible.

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‘On Pointe’: The Real-Life Adventures of Some Very Young Dancers

This six-part documentary on Disney+ takes viewers inside the School of American Ballet. You’ll get your “Nutcracker” fix, too.

#bills-larissa, #children-and-childhood, #content-type-personal-profile, #dancing, #disney-plus, #documentary-films-and-programs, #new-york-city, #new-york-city-ballet, #on-pointe-tv-program, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #school-of-american-ballet, #television

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This Blockbuster Is Coming to a Living Room Near You

The next generation of event viewing is likely to look more like ‘Game of Thrones’ and less like ‘Tenet.’

#computer-and-video-games, #disney-plus, #movies, #nolan-christopher, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #warner-brothers

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The Biggest Casting News From Disney’s Investor Day

“Black Panther 2” will not recast King T’Challa. Harrison Ford is picking up the hat and whip again. And “Star Wars” recruited Rosario Dawson for her own show.

#actors-and-actresses, #disney-plus, #marvel-studios, #movies, #pixar-animation-studios, #star-wars-movie, #television, #the-mandalorian-tv-program

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