Stunning official trailer for Foundation whets the appetite for more

A mathematical genius predicts the imminent collapse of a galactic empire, and he and his protege set plans in motion to preserve the foundational knowledge of their civilization in Foundation, Apple TV+’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s hugely influential series of science fiction novels. It’s a story that takes place across multiple planets over 1,000 years, with a huge cast of characters. That makes adapting it extremely difficult, particularly to film. But the streaming platform is betting that the series format will be better suited to bring Asimov’s futuristic vision to life. It’s certainly one of several hotly anticipated science fiction projects debuting this fall.

As I’ve written previously, Asimov’s original trilogy centered on a mathematician named Hari Seldon, who has developed a mathematical approach to sociology. Called “psychohistory,” it enables him to predict the future of large populations—like the Galactic Empire, which incorporates all inhabitants of the Milky Way. Unfortunately, Seldon’s theory predicts an imminent collapse of the empire. This will usher in a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years, after which a second empire will arise.

Seldon cannot stop the collapse, but he insists there is a way to limit those Dark Ages to just 1,000 years. He proposes creating a Foundation, a group of the most intelligent minds in the empire, charged with preserving all human knowledge in the Encyclopedia Galactica. Rather than executing Seldon, the committee decides to exile him to a remote world called Terminus, along with the members of the new Foundation, where they can begin compiling the encyclopedia.

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Final Eternals trailer is heavy on the exposition, eye-popping visuals

Plot details have been scant to date for Eternals, Marvel’s forthcoming film based on the comic book series of the same name created by Jack Kirby in 1976. We now have the final trailer, and it’s a doozy: nearly three full minutes of mostly new footage, heavy on exposition and the striking CGI-heavy visuals Marvel is known for. The trailer also answers one obvious burning question: just where were these incredibly powerful eternal beings when all the action with Thanos wiping out half of humanity was going down? I mean, humanity really could have used their help.

As I’ve written previously, the comic book storyline tells of alien Celestials who visited Earth a million years ago, creating two divergent races—the Eternals and the Deviants—by way of genetic experiments. Those experiments were also responsible for the rare emergence of mutations in certain humans, giving them super powers. The Eternals protect the human race from the Deviants, and the two races engage in recurrent violent clashes. The Eternals’ immortality and powers come from cosmic energy and their ability to channel it. A new Eternals comic series was launched in January of this year, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Esad Ribić. 

We know the film takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and that an unexpected tragedy will force the Eternals out of hiding to join forces with humans to fight their ancient enemy, the Deviants. An extended teaser dropped in May, set to a mournful cover of “The End of the World.” The teaser didn’t convey much information in terms of plot, but it did give us glimpses of our primary characters over the course of centuries.

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#entertainment, #eternals, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #trailers

Nic Cage chews scenery with gusto in Prisoners of the Ghostland trailer

Nicholas Cage’s unusual artistic choices over the years have been frequently remarked upon by critics, and no doubt he’s been in some pretty bad films over his long and storied career (*cough* The Wicker Man *cough*). But he’s also chosen some truly original, visionary independent projects, most recently 2019’s Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space and the bloody horror comedy Willy’s Wonderland earlier this year. He’s currently earning critical raves for his portrayal of a chef turned truffle hunter in search of his stolen truffle pig in Pig. And now we have the official trailer for Cage’s latest film, Prisoners of the Ghostland, a post-apocalyptic thriller that looks like Max Max transported into a surreal samurai Western.

Prisoners is helmed by idiosyncratic auteur Sion Sono. While Sono isn’t a household name in the US, he has enjoyed a fair amount of fame in his native Japan and on the film festival circuit. The Hollywood Reporter once called him “the most subversive director working in Japanese cinema today, with nearly 50 films of various genres—rite-of-passage stories fueled with social transgressions, all-out sex-and-gore thrillers, hip-hop musicals, and warm human drama.” He’s perhaps best known for 2008’s Love Exposure, a four-hour (!) art-house comedy drama inspired by Sono’s own youthful experience with a cult.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is Sono’s English-language debut, and it looks like a good fit for Cage’s colorfully flamboyant, mega-acting style. (Cage himself has called his method “Nouveau Shamanic” or “Western kabuki.”) The film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to decidedly mixed reviews, although both Cage’s performance and Sono’s striking visuals received praise.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #nicolas-cage, #rlje-films, #trailers

Post Mortem is the Norwegian vampire procedural dramedy we need right now

Scandinavian crime dramas have become so prevalent—thanks in part to Netflix including so much foreign content on their platform—that they’ve inspired the occasional sketch comedy parody. And now we’re getting Norway’s take on the supernatural police procedural, with vampires: Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes. Netflix just released some first-look images on the heels of dropping the official trailer last week, and Post Mortem looks like the darker cousin of iZombie and The Santa Clarita Diet with a dash of Six Feet Under.

Directed by Harald Zwart (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The Karate Kid) with Petter Holmsen (who also serves as head writer), the six-episode series is “an intriguing mix of thriller, drama, and supernatural elements,” according to Tesha Crawford, director of Nordic original series at Netflix. Per the official premise:

Live Hallangen is declared dead. Hours later she suddenly wakes up on the forensic table. A dark, insatiable hunger has awoken in her. Meanwhile, her brother Odd tries to keep the family driven funeral home afloat, but the stagnant death rate in the small Norwegian town of Skarnes makes it impossible. Live has to learn to control her new dangerous nature and decide if she is willing to sacrifice people’s lives for her own survival, which ironically goes hand in hand with the survival of the family business.

Kathrine Thorborg Johansen stars as Live, Elias Holmsen Sorensen plays Odd, Kim Fairchild plays Judith, Andre Sorum is Reinert, Sarah Khorami is Rose, and Terje Stromdahl is Arvid. In a statement, Zwart praised his cast members, saying that they all “embody the blend of Scandinavian mystique and dark humor.”

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We finally have a release date and new teaser for Apple TV+ series Foundation

This fall is shaping up to be a good one for fans of classic science fiction. Not only are we getting Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation of Dune on October 22, but Apple TV+ has finally announced the premiere date for the streamer’s hotly anticipated Foundation, a TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s hugely influential series. The first three episodes will debut on September 24, 2021, with weekly episodes released after that.

“In the decades since the Foundation series first saw print, Asimov’s prophetic science-fiction work has never been more relevant than it is now,” said showrunner David Goyer in a statement. “Growing up, I devoured Foundation and dreamed of one day seeing it on screen—but a feature film didn’t seem big enough to embrace the ambition. Thanks to the broader landscape of streaming and a valuable partnership with Apple and Skydance, we are able to bring the series to the screen in a way that truly does it justice.”

Per the official premise:

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New Picard S2 teaser taunts us with return of Q, time shenanigans

Patrick Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard in the second season of Picard, coming to Paramount+ in 2022.

We aren’t getting a second season of Picard until next year due to the pandemic delaying production, but Paramount+ has been dribbling out images and short teasers in the meantime. The latest teaser gives us our first look at the return of fan-favorite Q (John de Lancie), an extradimensional being with power over time, space, the laws of physics, and reality itself.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

As I wrote in my review last year, the series is set 20 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. The first season opened with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) having retired to the family vineyard. His bucolic existence was interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) who pleaded for his help. Alas, Picard failed to save her. She was killed in front of him by Romulan assassins belonging to a radical sect known as the Zhat Vash, who is dedicated to eradicating all artificial life forms. Picard discovered that Dahj was actually a synthetic, technically Data’s “daughter,” and she had a twin sister, Soji, who was also in danger.

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The world is rocked by the arrival of aliens in Invasion teaser trailer

Sci-fi drama Invasion follows multiple storylines across different continents, providing “a global look at how one alien invasion would affect us all.”

Apple TV+ has a solid hit with its alternative-history sci-fi drama For All Mankind, which just wrapped its second season, and the streaming platform clearly hopes to repeat that success with a new forthcoming sci-fi drama Invasion.

Don’t confuse this ambitious project with the 2005 ABC series of the same name about water-based creatures taking over the bodies of people living in a small Texas town after a severe hurricane (basically an aquatic riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Apple TV+’s Invasion is more of a 21st-century riff on War of the Worlds. Shot on four locations on four different continents—New York, Manchester, Morocco, and Japan—the series is intended to “make you question what you would do under extraterrestrial threat,” per the official premise, and “takes a global look at how one alien invasion would affect us all.”

Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Peaky Blinders) plays Sheriff John Bell Tyson, described as “a weathered rural lawman on the verge of retirement.” Shamier Anderson (Awake, Wynonna Earp) plays Trevante Ward, a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Golshifteh Farahani (Extraction) plays Aneesha Malik, a first-generation Syrian immigrant living in Long Island, while Firas Nassar (Fauda) plays her Syrian immigrant husband Ahmed Malik, a successful businessman. Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2, The Outsider) rounds out the main cast as Mitsuki, who works in mission control in Japan’s space program, JAXA.

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It’s the battle of the alien symbiotes in Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer

Tom Hardy returns to the big screen as the lethal protector Venom, taking on Woody Harrelson’s villainous Cletus Kasady/Carnage, in Sony’s forthcoming film Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) returns as intrepid reporter Eddie Brock, infected with a parasitic alien symbiote that gives him super powers, in Venom: There Will be Carnage. Directed by motion-capture icon Andy Serkis, it’s the sequel to 2018’s box-office smash, Venom. After being delayed for nearly a year due to the ongoing pandemic, Sony just dropped the official trailer, in which Brock/Venom must battle serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland), infected with another alien symbiote dubbed Carnage.

(Some spoilers for first film below.)

A Venom film was in development at New Line Cinema back in 1997, although the project didn’t really get off the ground until Sony acquired the rights to the character, as well as Spider-Man. Sony initially planned for Venom and Spider-Man to inhabit a shared universe, given their history in the comics. (Spider-Man was Venom’s first host, before moving on to Brock, and the character gradually evolved from villain to more of an antihero.) The disappointing box office performance of 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 changed those plans, and Venom was re-conceived as a standalone film, with Tom Hardy signing on as the star and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer agreeing to direct.

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Celebrate First Contact Day with this Star Trek: Discovery S4 trailer

Sonequa Martin-Green revealed the first trailer for the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery, as part of First Contact Day.

Actress Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays a key role in the series, revealed the first trailer for the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery, during First Contact Day 2021, a virtual event hosted by Paramount+ featuring panels, livestreams, and news of various forthcoming Star Trek properties.

(Spoilers for prior seasons below.)

Martin-Green plays Michael Burnham, an orphaned human raised on the planet Vulcan by none other than Sarek (James Frain) and his human wife, Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner)—aka, Spock’s (Ethan Peck) parents. So she is Spock’s adoptive sister. As I’ve written previously, the S2 season-long arc involved the mysterious appearances of a “Red Angel” and a rogue Starfleet AI called Control that sought to wipe out all sentient life in the universe.

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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

It’s the Tune Squad vs the Good Squad in Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer

The LA Lakers’ LeBron James stars as himself in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film Space Jam.

NBA basketball star LeBron James and a team of Looney Tunes animated characters must win a virtual basketball game against the digitized champions of an evil A.I. in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film, Space Jam. With its blend of live action and animation, the original became one of the most iconic films of the 1990s. The sequel updates the basic concept for the virtual age, to create what looks like a cross between The LEGO Movie (and LEGO Movie 2) and Ready Player One, with a dash of TRON for good measure.

(Some spoilers for the original film below,)

Space Jam is basically a fictional account of NBA superstar Michael Jordan’s return to basketball in 1995 after retiring in 1993 to play baseball. (It was inspired by a couple of Nike commercials.) In the film, Jordan falls into the Looney Tunes animated world to help the so-called “Tune Squad”—all the most popular animated Looney Tunes characters—win a basketball game against a group of enslaved aliens called the Nerdlucks. In addition to Jordan, NBA players Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues also make cameos. (The aliens steal the latter five’s talents to transform themselves into formidable opponents.)

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Rick and Morty fans won’t have long to wait for S5 as Adult Swim drops trailer

Rick and Morty S5 premieres on Adult Swim on June 20, 2021.

Rick and Morty fans won’t have to wait much longer for a fifth season of the irreverent, Emmy-winning animated comedy. Adult Swim just dropped the official S5 trailer, showcasing a new round of wacky interdimensional adventures for our favorite belching mad scientist and his wide-eyed, long-suffering grandson.

(Some spoilers for prior seasons below.)

For the uninitiated, Rick and Morty centers on the adventures of Rick Sanchez, an eccentric, alcoholic scientist who lives with his horse-surgeon daughter, Beth, her husband, Jerry, and grandkids, Summer and Morty. When not ensconced on the family couch or cooking up mad scientist schemes in his lab, Rick frequently takes Morty on zany adventures throughout the multiverse. The series grew out of short parody film of Back to the Future by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, who also voices the titular characters.

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#adult-swim, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #rick-and-morty, #television, #trailers

Harley Quinn has new bad guy allies in The Suicide Squad red band trailer

Idris Elba and Margot Robbie headline an ensemble cast of colorful supervillains recruited for a special military tactical response team in the red band trailer for The Suicide Squad (embedded below). It’s Director James Gunn’s (Guardians of the Galaxy) standalone follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s actually pretty tame as red band trailers go, playing up the jokey camaraderie amid all the explosions, gunfire, and blood spatter. Tonally, Gunn’s film feels like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool—in other words, it looks like a lot of fun, and it’s definitely something we’re keen to see when it debuts this summer.

(Some spoilers for prior DCEU films below,)

The original Suicide Squad took place a year after the death of Superman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) receives permission to create Task Force X, a tactical response team to combat “metahuman” threats. The group is composed entirely of criminals and supervillains and is led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The government plants nanite bombs in their necks to keep them reasonably under control, promising to shorten their sentences if their missions are successfully fulfilled. The all-star cast included Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Jared Leto as The Joker. 

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HBO drops full trailer for new sci-fi period drama The Nevers

Laura Donnelly stars as Amalia True and Ann Skelly stars as Penance Adair, two Victorian women who mentor gifted orphans in HBO’s new original series, The Nevers.

An inexplicable event confers supernatural powers on a select group of people in Victorian London, who must battle prejudice and those who would exploit their abilities in The Nevers, a new original series coming to HBO next month.

HBO won a fierce bidding war and approved a straight-to-series order in 2018, with Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, etc.) as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner. Whedon brought Douglas Petrie and Jane Espenson—both of whom worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer—on board as additional writers/executive producers. He said the following about the series title during Comic-Con in 2018:

They, themselves are not called that [The Nevers] in the show. It’s a phrase that’s meant to evoke a sort of reaction to their oddity, to what is considered unnatural. The idea that you should never be like this, you should never have existed. Something is not the way it should be, and you don’t have the right to have whatever weird power or ability that you have. And that idea, that some people are not of the natural order, is fascinating to me. I don’t agree with it. But to me, it’s one of those things where you take something negative, and you wear it as a badge of honor, basically. Certain things could never happen—they’re happening. And the people they’re happening to are taking their place in the world.

Last November, Whedon announced he was quitting the project, citing exhaustion and the “physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic.” (Whedon has been embattled in recent months by accusations of workplace harassment—both from Ray Fisher, aka Cyborg, during Justice League reshoots, and from several Buffy cast members—but HBO has said there were no similar reports about Whedon during production of The Nevers.)

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Sherlock Holmes takes a back seat to street kids in The Irregulars trailer

Sherlock Holmes takes a back seat to a ragtag group of street kids in the new Netflix supernatural drama The Irregulars.

The public’s appetite for all things Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed fictional detective—appears to be limitless, with film, TV adaptations, and/or reinventions being released almost every year. The latest offering is The Irregulars, a new supernatural drama from Netflix, that focuses on the the ragtag group of street urchins the Baker Street sleuth often relied upon to gather useful information.

Netflix also ventured into Holmesian lore last year with the film Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown as the young (and equally brilliant) teenaged sister of Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). It garnered generally positive reviews, and vague plans are circulating for a sequel, despite a lawsuit filed by the Conan Doyle estate over the portrayal of an overly “emotional” Holmes. (The lawsuit was dismissed last December.)

Netflix greenlighted The Irregulars in 2018, created by Tom Bidwell (who also produced an adaptation of Watership Down for the streaming platform). Bidwell had long had the idea for a series centered on the Baker Street Irregulars, led in the original fiction by a boy named Wiggins. The group is first mentioned in the 1887 story “A Study in Scarlet,” in which Holmes pays them each a shilling to track down a particular cabbie. They also feature in a chapter of the 1890 novel The Sign of the Four, and one member of the group briefly pops up in the 1893 short story “The Adventure of the Crooked Man.” Holmes described the Irregulars as being “sharp as needles… all they want is organization.”

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Netflix drops extended Shadow and Bone teaser, announces release date

Jessie Mei Li stars as Alina Starkov in Shadow and Bone, a new Netflix fantasy series adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling “Grishaverse” novels, premiering April 23.

Netflix unexpectedly dropped an extended teaser trailer for its forthcoming fantasy series Shadow and Bone during a panel at IGN Fan Fest. The hotly anticipated series is adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling “Grishaverse” novels and will premiere on April 23.

(Mild spoilers for the books below.)

Bardugo published Shadow and Bone, the first of a trilogy, in June 2012, followed by Siege and Storm in 2013 and Ruin and Rising in 2014. She told Entertainment Weekly in 2012 that she deliberately avoided the usual medieval fantasy motifs and drew inspiration instead from the Russian Empire in the early 1800s. “As much as I love broadswords and flagons of ale—and believe me, I do—I wanted to take readers someplace a little different,” she said. “Tsarist Russia gave me a different point of departure.”

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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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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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Lunar war brews and NASA gets militarized in For All Mankind S2 trailer

The space race in an alternate timeline continues in the second season of For All Mankind, returning to Apple TV+ in February.

Apple TV+ has dropped the trailer for the second season of For All Mankind, its science fiction drama about an alternate history where the space race never ended. The series was the linchpin of the Apple TV+ launch in 2019, and proved popular enough with viewers to warrant a second season.

(Some spoilers for the first season below.)

Series creator Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) has made a point of trying to keep the show reasonably close to reality, despite the science fiction concept, often consulting the original NASA plans for guidance, and incorporating archival footage throughout the season. Moore said the following during a 2019 panel Q&A after an IMAX screening of the first two S1 episodes at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC:

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Sean Bean joins cast as the elusive Mr. Wilford in Snowpiercer S2 trailer

Sean Bean joins the cast as the mysterious Mr. Wilford for Snowpiercer‘s second season, premiering on January 25 on TNT.

Is there any series that is not improved by the addition of Sean Bean (aka Ned Stark in the first season of Game of Thrones)? TNT clearly doesn’t think so, bringing Bean on board for the second season of Snowpiercer, the television reboot of the critically acclaimed 2013 film by Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite). Bean will play visionary billionaire Mr. Wilford, who invented an eternal engine that is now driving a massive train filled with survivors around and around the world after an apocalyptic event known as the Freeze.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

As we’ve reported previously, Bong’s film itself was an adaptation of a 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, about remnants of humanity trying to survive an ice age inside a 1,001-car train. The train is run by a reclusive transportation magnate named Mr. Wilford, who has separated the passengers according to class and has a nefarious plan to ensure life on the train remains sustainable.

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Anthony Mackie plays an android supersoldier in Outside the Wire trailer

Anthony Mackie stars as an android drone pilot in the near future who must track down a doomsday device in Outside the Wire.

A drone pilot is sent into a deadly militarized zone where he finds himself working for an android officer tasked with averting a doomsday scenario in Outside the Wire, the latest high-profile feature film from Netflix. This one stars Anthony Mackie as the android protagonist, fresh off his stunning performance in the sci-fi indie film Synchronic (included in our roundup last month of the best films released in 2020). That, and Netflix’s solid track record with its feature films, are reason enough to be intrigued.

Per the official synopsis:

In 2036, America serves as a peacekeeping force and human troops on both sides are supported by robot combatants called Gumps and drone pilots monitoring skirmishes from thousands of miles away. But after headstrong drone pilot Lieutenant Harp (Damson Idris) disobeys a direct order to intervene in a conflict, the Army deploys him to a military outpost to confront the human costs of his button-pushing.

Harp’s expectations of guarding a fence are upended when his new commanding officer Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) announces plans to infiltrate the demilitarized zone and apprehend Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk), a warlord who intends to launch a network of dormant nuclear weapons. Soon, Harp learns that his theoretical experience as a drone pilot means little out on the battlefield under enemy attack—especially after discovering that Leo is an A.I.-enhanced supersoldier whose strength, speed and demand for results promise to turn his real-world education into a trial by fire.

That pretty much sums it up. The trailer opens with Harp arrives for his reassignment, apparently because he has trouble following the rules—or, as Leo (the classified prototype supersoldier) prefers to think of it, an ability to “think outside the box.” A bit of a buddy-cop vibe separates the two, with Leo teasing his subordinate about the mushy inscription on the back of Harp’s girlfriend’s photo (“Awwww… ‘my gummi bear…. ‘”). We learn that Leo is capable of human emotion despite his extensive combat training (or, er, programming), and he has a neat trick of temporarily removing his tracker when he wants to go off the grid (“Sometimes you got to get dirty to see any real change”). Then the fisticuffs, property damage, and explosions kick in.

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#anthony-mackie, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #outside-the-wire, #trailers

Alan Tudyk plays a crime-solving alien in disguise in Resident Alien trailer

Alan Tudyk stars as an alien masquerading as a doctor in a small Colorado town in the new sci-fi dramedy Resident Alien, premiering on Syfy next month.

Geekerati icon Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Doom Patrol) plays an alien disguised as a small-town doctor who gets roped into solving murders in Resident Alien, a new sci-fi dramedy series coming to Syfy next month—finally. Based on the Dark Horse comic series created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, the show was supposed to premiere this past summer, but coronavirus, pandemic, yada, yada, yada.

Hogan and Parkhouse started publishing the Resident Alien comics in 2012 as installments of four-issue miniseries, with the sixth and final installment forthcoming. Hogan has said he drew inspiration from Twin PeaksThe Man Who Fell to Earth, and My Favorite Martian. The story involves an alien named Harry who crash-lands on Earth and starts solving murders in the remote town of Patience, Washington, while he waits for rescue.

Harry’s backstory is sprinkled throughout the miniseries in various flashbacks. He is Captain Ha Re, a biologist by training, and his special empathic abilities help him disguise his true appearance from most humans. The exceptions are the young granddaughter of a local mystery writer and Asta Twelvetrees, daughter of a Mohawk shaman, who can only partially see through the disguise and thinks Harry is a visiting spirit. Those empathic abilities also mean Harry can tell if someone is lying, so when someone in town is murdered in the first installment (“Welcome to Earth!”), he knows the police have arrested the wrong man and sets out to find the true killer.

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#alan-tudyk, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #resident-alien, #syfy, #television, #trailers

Disney+ drops Andor teaser, announces gazillion other Star Wars projects

Promotional image for multiple upcoming Star Wars series.

Enlarge / Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy unveiled a slew of forthcoming Star Wars projects at Disney’s Investor Day. (credit: Lucasfilm)

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy gave updates on a slew of forthcoming Star Wars film and TV projects at Disney’s Investor Day—including a behind-the-scenes teaser for Rogue One-spinoff series, Andor, set five years before the events of the 2016 blockbuster film.

“With The Mandalorian on Disney+, we’ve ushered in an entirely new era for Star Wars,” Kennedy said. “These interconnected shows, along with future stories, will excite new audiences, embrace our most passionate fans, and will culminate in a climatic story event.”

(Some spoilers below.)

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#andor, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #obi-wan, #rogue-squadron, #star-wars, #streaming-television, #trailers

Chloë Moretz battles gremlins on a plane in Shadow in the Cloud trailer

Chloë Grace Moretz stars as a tough-as-nails female Women’s Auxiliary Air Force captain who finds herself battling gremlins aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress in Shadow in the Cloud.

Chloë Grace Moretz (Kickass) plays a female WWII pilot on a secret mission who must contend with an evil gremlin attempting to dismantle her B-17 in mid-air in Shadow in the Cloud, a horror/action film that debuted at the Toronto International’s Film Festival in September, and is now coming to VOD on New Year’s Day.  Based on the trailer, it looks like a mashup of Gremlins meets Snakes on a Plane, with some over-the-top Vin Diesel-style action tossed in for good measure.

Set in 1943, the film had a somewhat rocky road on the way to completion. Max Landis—creator of the BBC’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, based on the Douglas Adams novels, and son of Director John Landis—penned the original draft script, and relative newcomer Roseanne Liang was hired to direct. Then Landis was accused of sexual and emotional abuse by eight women and dropped from the project. (In a since-deleted tweet, Director Josh Trank, who worked with Landis on the 2012 low budget superhero movie, Chronicle, said he believed the accusations and had even banned Landis from the set during Chronicle‘s principal photography.)

Liang overhauled the script herself, punching up the female empowerment angle while still maintaining the horror/action thriller sensibility. The film premiered at a Toronto drive-in, and proved hugely popular with festival attendees, even winning the People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness. (It already holds a 74 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) All that buzz led to a distribution deal with Vertical Entertainment and Redbox Entertainment, purportedly worth about $5 million—apparently the first “drive-in theater movie” to be so acquired, per Deadline Hollywood.

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#chloe-moretz, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #shadow-in-the-cloud, #trailers

Superkids must battle an alien invasion in We Can Be Heroes trailer

Director Robert Rodriguez revisits the fictional world of his 2005 flick, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, in new Netflix film We Can Be Heroes, debuting on Christmas Day

It’s been 15 years since the premiere of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, Director Robert Rodriguez’s fantasy adventure kids’ film that was hyped as the movie event of 2005. It fell short of expectations, but Rodriguez clearly retained a deep love for this imaginary world—deep enough that he was keen to revisit it with the forthcoming Netflix standalone sequel, We Can Be Heroes. And yes, the original Lavagirl, Taylor Dooley, makes an appearance.

(Spoilers below for The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.)

Rodriguez is an impressively versatile director, from his early Western/action films El Mariachi (1992), Desperado (1995), and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), to the Spy Kids franchise and last year’s science fiction blockbuster, Alita: Battle Angel. After the success of 2003’s Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Rodriguez pitched another immersive kids’ film, based on a story by his young son, Racer Max. It featured a young boy named Max, neglected by his parents and bullied at school, who creates an imaginary dream world in his journal, called Planet Drool. The inhabitants include Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner), son of a marine biologist, and Lavagirl (Dooley), who has a tendency to set things on fire—as well as “plughounds” and singing bubbles called LaLas. But when the school bully steals Max’s dream journal, those dreams start to bleed into reality.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #robert-rodriguez, #trailers, #we-can-be-heroes

Eldritch terrors come forth in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina S4 trailer

Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina Spellman faces the Eldritch Terrors in the final installment of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Sabrina Spellman and the good people of Greendale face their most terrifying adversary yet as otherworldly beings seek to bring about the end of all things in the official trailer for the fourth and final season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The Netflix series is based on the comic book series of the same name, a part of the Archie Horror imprint.

(Some spoilers for prior seasons below, most notably the S3 finale.)

As we’ve reported previously, the show was originally intended as a companion series to the CW’s Riverdale—a gleefully Gothic take on the original Archie comic books—but Sabrina ended up on Netflix instead. The show retains some of the primetime soap opera elements of Riverdale but it incorporates more full-blown horror without bowing to the niceties imposed by network television. As I wrote earlier this year, “Ultimately, the best thing about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is how gleefully and unapologetically the show leans into its melting pot of the macabre. It’s quite the high-wire act, exploring serious themes while never, ever taking itself too seriously—and never descending into outright camp.”

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#chilling-adventures-of-sabrina, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #streaming-television, #trailers

Zack Snyder drops B&W updated version of trailer for Justice League miniseries

There’s not much new footage in this black-and-white version of the trailer for ZackSnyder’s Justice League, but at least the music rights issues have been resolved.

Fans eagerly awaiting the debut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max next year were thrilled to hear that a new trailer was coming today to mark the third anniversary of the theatrical cut’s release. They’re probably feeling a teensy bit cheated right now, since what dropped was actually an updated black-and-white version of the teaser trailer from the virtual DC FanDome event in August—although the eagle-eyed viewer will spot a few seconds of new footage. But at least Snyder also provided a virtual breakdown of said trailer during a livestreaming event on Vero.

The August trailer had been removed from YouTube earlier this month because of contested music rights issues—the trailer was set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Now those issues have been resolved, and Snyder marked the occasion with this latest black-and-white offering, Cohen soundtrack intact. (You can watch the full-color version here.)

Apparently, Snyder’s ideal vision for Justice League would be a black-and-white IMAX version. “That, to me, is the most fan-centric, most pure, most Justice League experience, because that’s how I lived with the movie for two years, in black-and-white,” he told The Film Junkee in a recent interview.

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#dc-comics, #dceu, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #streaming-television, #trailers, #zack-snyder, #zack-snyders-justice-league

Bruce Willis returns to space to kick some alien derriere in Breach trailer

Bruce Willis battles an alien life form aboard an interstellar ark  en route to a New Earth in Breach.

An interstellar ark transporting the last humans on Earth to a new home inadvertently brings along a shape-shifting alien stowaway in Breach, a new sci-fi action film starring Bruce Willis and directed by John Suits. The trailer just dropped, and the film looks like a fairly generic mix of elements from Alien, The X-Files, and Event Horizon. But anything that lets Willis “yippee-ki-yay” his gun-toting way to saving humanity from aliens in space is okay by me.

Suits is best known for 2016’s Pandemic, essentially a zombie horror thriller shot entirely from a first person point of view, like a video game. He also directed the recently released short Diehard is Back, a fun Willis-starring commercial for Diehard batteries that pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the franchise, including a few cameos that should delight fans. (“From fighting his way to Advance Auto Parts to racing against the clock to install his new DieHard Battery—McClane will stop at nothing, to start his car again.”) So I’m hopeful that Suits can bring a fitting mix of suspense, action, and humor to Breach, and just let Willis be Willis.

Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shapeshifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board.

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#breach, #bruce-willis, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #saban-films, #science-fiction, #trailers

BBC drops new trailer and featurette for the upcoming His Dark Materials S2

Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise their roles for the second season of the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

His Dark Materials, the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic fantasy trilogy, received mixed reviews for its first season, although it still warranted an honorable mention in our 2019 year-end TV roundup. The second season debuts next month. HBO dropped the first S2 trailer in July during the virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home and a second longer one in August. Now BBC has released yet another trailer that includes a short featurette, with cast interviews and some cool glimpses behind the scenes.

(Spoilers for S1 and the Philip Pullman books below.)

As we’ve written previously, the three books in Pullman’s series are The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. They follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Lyra, who lives in a fictional version of Oxford, England, circa the Victorian era. Everyone has a companion daemon in the form of an animal—part of their spirit that resides outside the body—and Lyra’s is named Pantalaimon. Lyra uncovers a sinister plot that sends her on a journey to find her father in hopes of foiling said plot. That journey takes her to different dimensions (the fictional world is a multiverse) and ultimately to her own coming of age.

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#bbc, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo, #hbo-max, #his-dark-materials, #philip-pullman, #streaming-television, #trailers, #tv-trailers

The future of the Belt has begun in first trailer for The Expanse S5

The fifth season of the sci-fi series The Expanse will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on December 16, 2020.

Amazon Prime debuted the first trailer (embedded above) for the upcoming fifth season of The Expanse during the series panel at the New York Comic Con’s Metaverse today. And the stakes are high. According to the official premise, “The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice.”

(Some spoilers for prior seasons below.)

As we previously reported, The Expanse is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), exploring interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a Solar System long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and “Belters.” Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, The Expanse has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also its excellent use of accurate physics. The third and fourth seasons earned a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76 percent and 96 percent, respectively).

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #science-fiction-television, #streaming-television, #the-expanse, #trailers, #tv-trailers

Here’s the trailer, release date for Simon Pegg/Nick Frost sitcom Truth Seekers

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play ghost hunters in the new Amazon Prime horror comedy Truth Seekers.

Back in July, during the virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home, Amazon Studios released a beguiling teaser for Truth Seekers, the forthcoming sci-fi/horror/comedy series starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It looked like a lot of fun—how could you go wrong with a reunion of Pegg and Frost? The full trailer just dropped, and it definitely reinforces that positive first impression. We also now have a release date: Amazon will screen the first two episodes at the Canneseries festival on October 10 and will release the full series on Prime Video on October 30, 2020.

As we reported previously, the series was created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. It’s envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each of the eight episodes will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

Per the official synopsis:

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #nick-frost, #simon-pegg, #streaming-television, #trailers, #truth-seekers

Two demon-hunting siblings reunite to save the world in Helstrom trailer

Tom Austen and Sydney Lemmon star as siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom in Helstrom, a 10-episode horror series that hits Hulu next month.

An ethics professor and secret demon hunter reunites with his estranged sister to take on a powerful demonic entity in the trailer for Helstrom, an upcoming horror series based on Marvel Comics characters. The 10-episode series debuts on Hulu next month

Helstrom has a complicated back story. As we reported in 2019, Hulu announced the development of two new Marvel-centric series, Ghost Rider (with Gabriel Luna reprising his role from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Helstrom. The shows were intended to kick off a standalone “Adventure into Fear” franchise that would bring a chilling horror element to the Marvel formula. Ghost Rider soon fell by the wayside, and by December 2019, Marvel Television was shut down. That makes Helstrom the sole survivor of the planned fear-based franchise. Shooting finished in March, right before the coronavirus pandemic caused most Hollywood productions to grind to a halt. Showrunner Paul Zbyszewski’s contract was terminated in April—also due to the pandemic—but he stayed on for postproduction.

The series focuses on two characters from Marvel Comics. First: Daimon Helstrom, the son of Satan, introduced in Ghost Rider #1 (1973). He eventually became a recurring character in The Defenders. The other protagonist is his sister, Satana (Ana in the TV adaptation), who embraces the occult and her paternal heritage while Daimon chooses to defend humanity. Per the official premise: “The world isn’t ready for a Helstrom family reunion. As the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer, Helstrom follows Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Sydney Lemmon), and their complicated dynamic, as they track down the worst of humanity—each with their own attitude and skills.”

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hulu, #marvel-cinematic-universe, #marvel-comics, #marvel-entertainment, #streaming-television, #trailers

Everyone loves the new couple on the block in first Wandavision trailer

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively, in Marvel’s spinoff series WandaVision.

If you were watching the virtual 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards last night, you no doubt caught the debut of a new trailer for WandaVision, the first standalone series to be released in Phase Four of the MCU. The studio offered a sneak peek last year during D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Lacking any actual footage, that teaser was just snippets of The Dick van Dyke Show interspersed with snippets of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) from the various MCU films. At the time, I was skeptical of the concept, but this new trailer is quite promising and gives me hope that Marvel can pull it off.

WandaVision is meant to be a kind of sitcom/epic superhero mashup, with Kat Dennings reprising her role as Darcy from the Thor films, alongside Randall Park reprising his Ant Man and the Wasp role as FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) will play a “nosy neighbor,” and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men) plays a grown-up Monica Rambeau, daughter of Carol Danvers’ BFF Maria Rambeau, introduced in Captain Marvel. Within the MCU timeline, it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and its events will directly tie in to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, currently slated for a 2022 release. 

Per the official description: “WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s superhero characters, the Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”

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

“This is the way”: Disney drops first trailer for The Mandalorian S2

Pedro Pascal is back as the titular bounty hunter who befriends a mysterious Child in The Mandalorian S2.

Disney has dropped the first trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian, the Emmy-nominated first live-action Star Wars TV series created by Jon Favreau. Starring Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, the series takes place a few years after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

The basic premise is that, after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage. Pascal’s bounty hunter is “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.”

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#baby-yoda, #disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #jon-favreau, #pedro-pascal, #star-wars, #the-mandalorian, #trailers

Beware of sandworms: Dune trailer gives us our first look at an epic world

Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atriedes in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune.

Warner Bros. debuted the first trailer today for Dune, director Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious (could it be anything else?) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sprawling epic novel. It was preceded by a livestreamed event in which Late Show host Stephen Colbert interviewed Villeneuve and several cast members: Timothée Chalamet (who stars as Paul Atreides), Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

Dune is set in the distant future and follows the fortunes of various noble houses in what amounts to a feudal interstellar society. Much of the action takes place on the planet Arrakis, where the economy is driven largely by a rare life-extending drug called melange (“the spice”) that also conveys a kind of prescience. There’s faster-than-light space travel, a prophecy concerning a messianic figure, giant sandworms, and lots of battles, as protagonist Paul Atreides (a duke’s son) contends with rival House Harkonnen and strives to defeat the forces of Shaddam IV, Emperor of the Known Universe.

That brief synopsis hardly does justice to the sweep and enormous cultural influence of Herbert’s novel. When it was first published, the Chicago Tribune called it “one of the monuments of modern science fiction.” Astronomers have used the names of fictional planets in Dune to identify various topographical features on Saturn’s moon Titan. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the franchise also includes board games, computer games, and numerous prequels and sequels written by his son, Brian Herbert, with Kevin J. Anderson.

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#denis-villeneuve, #dune, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #timothee-chalamet, #trailers

Star Trek: Discovery S3 goes back to the future in first trailer

Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access for a third season on October 15, 2020.

It’s Star Trek Day today, marking the 54th anniversary of the TV debut of Star Trek: The Original Series. CBS All Access celebrated by streaming an entire day of programming related to the franchise, including several panels for its ongoing and forthcoming series. Among other tidbits, CBS dropped the first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery‘s third season.

(Spoilers for first two seasons below.)

Discovery is a prequel to the original Star Trek, set roughly 10 years before Captain Kirk and his crew took over the USS Enterprise and boldly went where no man had gone before. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, an orphaned human raised on the planet Vulcan by none other than Sarek (James Frain) and his human wife, Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner)—aka, Spock’s parents, which makes her Spock’s adoptive sister. 

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#cbs-all-access, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #star-trek, #star-trek-discovery, #trailers

Blast off: Disney drops first trailer for The Right Stuff dramatic series

In October, Disney+ will debut its new series, The Right Stuff, based on the 1979 book by Tom Wolfe.

A team of elite military test pilots finds itself tapped to be astronauts for Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program in the United States, in The Right Stuff, a new eight-episode dramatic series debuting in October on Disney+. Like Philip Kaufman’s Oscar-winning 1983 film of the same name, the series is based on the bestselling 1979 book by Tom Wolfe.

Wolfe became interested in the US space program while on assignment by Rolling Stone to cover the launch of Apollo 17, NASA’s last Moon mission. He spent the next seven years writing The Right Stuff, intent on capturing the drive and ethos of those early astronauts. (In a foreword to the 1983 edition, he pondered “What makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle… and wait for someone to light the fuse.”)  Wolfe spent a great deal of time consulting with General Chuck Yeager, who was shut out of the astronaut program and ended up as a contrasting character to the college-degreed Project Mercury team featured in the book. The Right Stuff won widespread critical praise, as well as the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

When United Artists decided to finance a film adaptation, the studio hired William Goldman (The Princess Bride) to adapt the screenplay, but his vision was very different from that of director Philip Kaufman, and Goldman quit the project. Kaufman wrote his own draft script in eight weeks, making Yeager more of a central figure; Goldman’s script ignored Yeager entirely. Goldman later wrote that “Phil [Kaufman]’s heart was with Yeager. And not only that, he felt the astronauts, rather than being heroic, were really minor leaguers, mechanical men of no particular quality, not great pilots at all, simply the product of hype.”

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #history-of-science, #nasa, #space-program, #streaming-television, #the-right-stuff, #trailers

A dark comic book conspiracy turns out to be all too real in Utopia trailer

John Cusack and Rainn Wilson star in Amazon Prime’s black comedy/conspiracy thriller, Utopia.

Last month, at the virtual San Diego Comic Con, Amazon dropped the first teaser for Utopia, a reboot (adapted by Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn) of the controversial 2013-2014 British black comedy/conspiracy thriller. Now the streaming platform has released the official full trailer, and the series looks like it’s going to be quite the wild ride.

As we reported previously, the series is about online fans of a dystopian graphic novel called Utopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel (which supposedly also predicts future world events). This makes them targets of a secret organization called The Network.

The British version received critical praise for its originality and visual style, offset by strong reservations about its extreme violence, which struck many as unnecessarily gratuitous. (The most famous scene involved a torturer using a spoon to gouge out a victim’s eye). It remains to be seen if Amazon’s Utopia will match the same scale of violence, although Flynn recently told Deadline Hollywood that it wouldn’t be as prominent.

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #streaming-television, #trailers, #utopia

Trailer for Ridley Scott’s Raised by Wolves is giving us strong Alien vibes

Executive producer Ridley Scott’s sci-fi series Raised by Wolves is coming to HBO Max in September.

Androids struggle to raise human children on a mysterious planet in the first trailer for Raised by Wolves, a new sci-fi series coming to HBO Max, courtesy of none other than Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, etc., etc.). Created by Aaron Guzikowski, who also penned the script for the 2013 thriller Prisoners, the ten-episode series was initially a straight-to-series order for TNT, but moved to HBO Max last October. Scott even directed the first two episodes, making this his US TV directorial debut.

“I’m always searching for new frontiers in the sci-fi genre and have found a true original in Raised by Wolves— a wholly distinct and imaginative world, full of characters struggling with existential questions,” Scott told Deadline Hollywood in 2018 about what drew him to the project. “What makes us human? What constitutes a family? And what if we could start over again and erase the mess we’ve made of our planet? Would we survive? Would we do better?”

The tagline for the series gives little away: “Mother was programmed to protect everyone after Earth had been destroyed. When the big bad wolf shows up, she is the one we must trust.” But the basic premise revealed during development is that the story involves two androids serving as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) figures on a strange virgin planet. They are programmed to raise human children to rebuild the population. However, the people of the fledgling colony develop stark religious differences, and “the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.”

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #raised-by-wolves, #ridley-scott, #science-fiction-television, #streaming-television, #trailers

Big Nurse gets her origin story in trailer for prequel series Ratched

Sarah Paulson plays Nurse Mildred Ratched in Netflix’s prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Fans of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—whether Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel or the 1975 Oscar-winning film starring Jack Nicholson—know that the sadistic, tyrannical Nurse Ratched is a crucial antagonist driving the story of a rebellious inmate in a psychiatric hospital. Now she’s getting her own back story in the form of a new prequel series, Ratched. Netflix dropped the first trailer for the series yesterday.

(Spoilers for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest book and film below.)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in a psychiatric hospital in Salem, Oregon, where Randle Patrick McMurphy is sent after faking insanity to escape a prison farm sentence. Nurse Ratched (aka Big Nurse) rules the place with an iron hand, systematically abusing the inmates under her charge. She maintains order by withholding basic necessities, medications, or patient privileges, but McMurphy’s rebellious nature challenges her authority, even in the face of shock therapy.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #ken-kesey, #netflix, #nurse-ratched, #ratched, #streaming-television, #trailers

An Ars roundup of the many trailers unveiled this weekend during Comic-Con@Home

Several studios unveiled new teasers and trailers for their 2020 fall series during Comic-Con@Home

Enlarge / Several studios unveiled new teasers and trailers for their 2020 fall series during Comic-Con@Home (credit: Sean Carroll (AMC/Hulu/HBO/Fox/Amazon))

People might not be able to flock to San Diego Comic Con this year in person, but the virtual convention, Comic-Con@Home, has been running all weekend, with countless panels, sneak peeks, and teasers and trailers for upcoming TV shows—but not many films, because let’s be honest: it’s not looking so good for major theatrical film releases in the fall. On Thursday alone, we got the full trailer for Bill and Ted Face the Music, a teaser for the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost horror comedy Truth Seekers, and the first trailer for S2 of HBO’s His Dark Materials. Rather than continue to cover each individually, we decided to compile the remaining trailers of interest into a single roundup post.

HBO dropped the final trailer for Lovecraft Country, debuting August 16.

Lovecraft Country (HBO)

HBO unveiled the final trailer for its upcoming horror series, Lovecraft Country, along with an official release date: August 16. It’s based on the 2016 dark fantasy/horror novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, which deals explicitly with the horrors of racism in the 1950s, along with other, more supernatural Lovecraftian-inspired issues. Per the official synopsis:

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#comic-conhome, #gaming-culture, #san-diego-comic-con, #television, #trailer-madness, #trailers

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost return to horror-comedy roots with Truth Seekers teaser

Amazon’s new supernatural comedy series Truth Seekers reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

A group of part-time paranormal investigators team up to uncover a deadly conspiracy in the first teaser for Truth Seekers, a forthcoming sci-fi/horror comedy series from Amazon starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The first teaser was unveiled today at San Diego Comic-Con @Home, which has had to switch to an online-only, virtual format this year due to the continuing pandemic.

Created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders, the eight-episode series is envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each episode will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

“You have to not make fun of the horror,” Pegg said during the Comic-Con panel. “It’s tempting with genre fare to parody that… but I think the key for horror-comedy is to take the horror seriously.”

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#amazon-prime, #gaming-culture, #nick-frost, #san-diego-comic-con, #simon-pegg, #streaming-television, #trailers, #truth-seekers

Netflix’s German sci-fi thriller Biohackers just might be the new Dark

New Netflix series Biohackers explores the high-tech world of biohacking and genetic manipulation.

With movies on seemingly indefinite hiatus—pour one out for the oft-delayed Tenet—until we collectively get our act together, streaming platforms are picking up the slack, pumping out original films and new series to keep us entertained while we’re all social distancing. Netflix just dropped the trailer for its latest foreign offering: the German sci-fi thriller Biohackers, about an ambitious young medical student seeking revenge on her mentor for the scientific sins of the past.

There isn’t much background information available yet on the series (not even on IMDb), other than the identity of the showrunner, Christian Ditter, and the main cast members. The German-born Ditter is best known in the United States for directing the 2016 rom-com How to Be Single and for his work on the 2017 Netflix comedy Girlboss, based on the autobiography of Sophia Amoruso, who founded the company Nasty Gal. (Girlboss received mixed reviews and was cancelled after one season.) Biohackers looks like a significant departure for him and an especially promising one, given the success of the German sci-fi series Dark, which just wrapped a mind-bending third and final season on Netflix.

Jessica Schwarz, best known stateside for her performance in the 2006 thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (based on the 1985 novel by Patrick Susskind), stars as Professor Tanja Lorenz. Swiss actress Luna Wedler plays Mia, a young medical student who gets drawn into the world of underground biohacking and illegal genetic-engineering experiments. “Stories in which ordinary people have to face exceptional circumstances have always fascinated me,” Ditter told Biohackinfo last fall after shooting wrapped. “Working with Netflix has allowed us to tell a gripping story that focuses on multi-layered and believable characters.”

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#biohackers, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #sci-fi, #streaming-television, #trailers

First teaser for The Boys S2 promises another wild and bloody ride

Our vigilantes are on the run from Homelander (Antony Starr) and the rest of the Seven in the second season of Amazon Prime’s The Boys.

The war between corrupt, evil superheroes and a ragtag band of vigilantes out to expose their true nature and curb the power of “super” in society will escalate dramatically, judging by the first teaser for S2 of The Boys. The Amazon Prime series—one of the most-watched on the streaming platform when it debuted last year—is based on the comics of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.

(S1 spoilers below.)

The Boys is set in a fictional universe where superheroes are real but corrupted by corporate interests and a toxic celebrity-obsessed culture. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is a self-appointed vigilante intent on checking the bad behavior of the so-called “supes”—especially The Seven, the most elite superhero squad and, hence, the most corrupt. Butcher especially hates Seven leader Homelander (Antony Starr), a psychopath who raped his now-dead wife. Butcher recruits an equally traumatized young man named Hugh “Hughie” Campbell (Jack Quaid, son of Dennis) to help in his revenge, after another Seven member, A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) used his super-speed to literally run through Hughie’s girlfriend, killing her instantly.

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #streaming-television, #television, #the-boys, #trailers

Superpowered siblings time travel to save the world in Umbrella Academy S2 trailer

The Hargreeves siblings are scattered in time and must reunite to stop the apocalypse in the second season of The Umbrella Academy.

A group of dysfunctional siblings with superpowers travels back in time to the 1960s in the hope of warding off the apocalypse in the official trailer for the second season of The Umbrella Academy. The Netflix series is an adaptation of the award-winning Dark Horse Comics series of the same name created by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

The comics are set in an alternate 1977 (the year Way was born) in which President John F. Kennedy was never assassinated. The Monocle, an alien disguised as billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, adopts seven surviving children out of 43 mysteriously born to random women who had not been pregnant the day before. The children are raised at Hargreeves’ Umbrella Academy and become a family of superheroes with special powers. But it’s a dysfunctional arrangement, and the family members ultimately disband, only reuniting as adults when Hargreeves dies.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #streaming-television, #television, #the-umbrella-academy, #trailers

Lady of the Lake takes center stage in Netflix’s Arthurian retelling Cursed

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the new Netflix series Cursed.

A young, outcast fey woman finds herself in possession of a mystical sword of great power in Cursed, a reimagining of the Arthurian legend told from the perspective of Nimue, aka the Lady of the Lake.

The 10-episode Netflix series is an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name, written by Tom Wheeler and illustrated by none other than the legendary Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, The Dark Knight Returns). It was published last year by Simon & Schuster—with eight full-color and 30 black-and-white original illustrations, making it a collector’s item for diehard Miller fans—but the series was already in development prior to the book’s publication. Wheeler is a well-known screenwriter, producer, and showrunner, with such credits as Empire (ABC) and The Cape (NBC), as well as the Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the series. The show also stars Devon Terrell (Barry) as Arthur; Gustaf Skarsgård (Westworld) as Merlin; Daniel Sharman (Fear the Walking Dead) as the Weeping Monk; Peter Mullan (Ozark) as Father Carden; Lily Newmark (Pin Cushion) as Pym; Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl) as Morgan le Fay; Sebastian Armesto (Broadchurch) as King Uther Pendragon; Matt Stokoe (Bodyguard) as Gawain; Emily Coates (Flack) as Iris; and Billy Jenkins (The Crown) as Squirrel.

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#arthurian-legend, #cursed, #entertainment, #frank-miller, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

Back to kick some demon derrière: Wynonna Earp S4 trailer is finally here

Melanie Scrofano returns as the titular gunslinging, demon-hunting heroine in S4 of SyFy’s Wynonna Earp.

The SyFy series Wynonna Earp has trod a rocky road on the way to its fourth season, much to the frustration of its loyal fanbase (“Earpers”). First, the start of S4 production was delayed until late 2019, due to financial troubles at IDW Entertainment. Shooting finally commenced this past January in Alberta, Canada, and was nearly complete when the coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of all  film and TV productions. Showrunner Emily Andres and her determined team have nonetheless managed to complete the season, and we now have the first trailer (uncensored, with colorful language fully intact), and an air date: July 26, 2020.

(Some spoilers for first three seasons below.)

The original comic book series created by Beau Smith in 1996 had Wynonna roaming the world hunting down revenants and other demons; the TV series mostly keeps her in her hometown of Purgatory (primarily for budgetary reasons). As I wrote when S3 wrapped way back in October 2018, Wynonna is the the Anti-Buffy: “She’s a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, promiscuous, bar-brawling free spirit with a chip on her shoulder. She never even had a shot at being Homecoming Queen in high school.”  

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #science-fiction-television, #syfy, #television, #trailers, #wynona-earp

In trailer for Brave New World, everyone but John the Savage knows their place

An adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World tops the offerings on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, launching next month.

NBC’s Peacock streaming service launches next month, and the jewel in the crown of its initial offerings is undoubtedly Brave New World, an ambitious adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 dystopian novel. The full trailer for this Peacock original series is finally here, starring Alden Ehrenreich as Huxley’s antihero, John the Savage, who finds himself struggling to adapt when he is thrust into a utopian society.

(Some spoilers for the book below.)

As we reported in April, Brave New World is set in the year 2540, in the World State city of London, where people are born in artificial wombs and indoctrinated through “sleep-learning” to fit into their assigned predetermined caste. Citizens regularly consume a drug called soma (part anti-depressant, part hallucinogen) to keep them docile and help them conform to strict social laws. Promiscuity is encouraged, but pregnancy (for women) is a cause for shame. Needless to say, both art and science (albeit to a lesser extent) are viewed with suspicion.

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#aldous-huxley, #brave-new-world, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #nbc-peacock, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

Apple gives us our first glimpse of Foundation, adapted from Asimov series

Jared Harris and Lee Pace star in Foundation, coming to Apple TV Plus in 2021.

At today’s 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple dropped the first teaser trailer for Foundation, a new TV series for Apple TV adapted from Isaac Asimov’s seminal Foundation series of novels. The new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, had already begun filming when the global pandemic shut down production in March. The teaser offers our first glimpse of what this highly anticipated series will look like, as well as a few peeks behind the curtain on set.

(Mild spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series started out as eight short stories by Asimov that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950, inspired in part by Edward Gibbons’ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The first four of those stories were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), with the final two stories appearing in 1953’s Second Foundation. Asimov’s publishers eventually convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Next came a pair of prequels: Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously. (Asimov died in 1992.)

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#apple-tv-plus, #entertainment, #foundation-series, #foundation-tv-series, #gaming-culture, #isaac-asimov, #jared-harris, #lee-pace, #streaming-television, #trailers, #wwdc-2020

If Buffy found religion: A Catholic order battles evil in Warrior Nun trailer

Alba Baptista stars as Ava in the Netflix adaptation of Ben Dunn’s comic series Warrior Nun.

A young woman wakes up in a morgue and finds she now carries an embedded divine object in her back in Warrior Nun, a forthcoming fantasy drama from Netflix, based on the comic series by Ben Dunn. Not only has the divine brought her back from the dead, but she now has superpowers and a new mission to fight hell on Earth.

The first issue in the manga-style comic book series, “Warrior Nun Areala,” debuted in 1994. The series features Sister Shannon Masters, a modern-day crusader for the Catholic Church’s (fictional) Order of the Cruciform Sword. In the series mythology, the Order dates back to 1066, when a young Valkyrie woman named Auria converted to Christianity. Renamed Areala, she selects a new avatar every generation to carry on her mission of battling the agents of hell. Sister Shannon is the Chosen One. It’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer got religion.

Dunn has said he was inspired to create the series after learning, via a New York Times article, about the Fraternity of Our Lady, which established a chapter in Harlem in 1991 to run a soup kitchen. One of the nuns (the fraternity has both nuns and priests), Sister Marie Chantel, trained in the martial arts (judo and tae kwon do), and many of her fellow nuns also practiced self-defense, albeit mostly for sport. Dunn envisioned a world with nuns as superheroes, where heaven and hell are real dimensions. It’s a fun series, because it’s not Catholic proselytizing, despite the Christian themes and the nuns’ sincere faith—unlike those infamous Jack Chick tracts and comic books. (I grew up reading the Crusader series, which honestly explains a lot about my rather warped psyche.)

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers, #warrior-nun