THE GEEK THAT WAS – 17/04/16

osinA BRIEF LOOK BACK AT THE GEEKY GOINGS ON OF THE WEEK.

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Hello there and welcome to KOGITFW’s 100th post. Yes, that’s right kids this wrap up officially marks the 100th time I have sat at my laptop in my pants trying to string together sentences for you to gobble up with your eyes. I won’t dwell on myself for too long as there are headlines to get to, but I will say thank you to all my readers. If I could, I would show up at all of your houses and spoon with you for a minimum of 22 minutes… but I can’t, so stop being so needy.

After the release of Batman V Superman, the DC hype machine has retreated back to its fortress of solitude, making way for a slew of Marvel madness to hog the limelight. This week’s wrap up features news on Spider-Man, Thor and Doctor Strange. Don’t give a flying Drokk about Marvel? Never fear, because we also have updates on Avatar 2, American Gods, Star Trek, Star Wars, Pokémon, and the recent controversy surrounding the Ghost in the Shell live action film.

There’s probably some other stuff as well that we have forgotten about in our old age. But when 100 blog posts, you reach… research as good, you will not.  

SPIDER-MAN REBOOT TO BE CALLED SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

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Sony hosted its CinemCon presentation this week, where they announced which monstrosities they plan on releasing on the world over the next 12 months. Perhaps most terrifying of all is the planned 21 Jump Street/Men in Black crossover, now dubbed MIB-23. I can’t wait to not watch that one; in fact I’m going to start not watching it right now. But amongst the assorted sprinklings of faecal sorrow was a glimmer of light in the form of the Marvel produced Spider-Man reboot.

With Spidey debuting in Civil War this month, the next stop for his 3rd incarnation is a solo film which we now know is going to be called Spider-Man: Homecoming. Initial feedback of Tom Holland’s performance in Civil War has been very positive and both he and Marissa Tomei (young, sexy Aunt May) will both be returning for the film. It is rumoured that Sony and Marvel are currently courting Batman himself, Michael Keaton to join them as the main villain of the film.

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There has been a lot of speculation as to who young Peter Parker would be going up against in his first Marvel(ish) movie. Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige has stated that they don’t want to re-tread old ground with the reboot so that means bringing a previously unseen villain to the screen. The bookies’ favourites up to this point have been Vulture and Kraven the Hunter. Could Keaton be channelling his inner Birdman to play everyone’s favourite geriatric villain? Watch this space.

In other Spidey news, Director Tim Miller has been campaigning for the web slinger to make an appearance in Deadpool 2. But it seems unlikely that Sony and Fox could come to terms and even less likely that they would be willing to let the face of a kiddie-friendly franchise appear in an R-rated movie. Although if the Marvel/Sony deal has taught us anything it’s that anything is possible if there is money to be made.

NATALIE PORTMAN NOT RETURNING FOR THOR: RAGNAROK

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It’s no secret that Natalie Portman hasn’t exactly enjoyed being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it comes as no great surprise to hear that she will not be returning for Thor: Ragnarok. I guess Natalie just doesn’t like being in comic book movies… just like I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth… wait, what the hell was that? Seriously, what just happened?!

Anyway, getting back on track, Marvel will not be recasting the role of Jane Foster for Thor’s third cinematic outing. Instead they have cast Creed actress, Tessa Thompson as Thor’s new love interest. It is rumoured that she will be playing an Asgardian heroine, with Valkyrie or Brunhilde tipped as the most likely choices. Although there is also an outside chance that Thompson could be playing a non-Asgardian hero with rumours circulating that this could be a soft introduction for Captain Marvel.

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While this is certainly exciting news it seems odd that Marvel chose not move forward with Jamie Alexander’s Lady Sif as Thor’s new love interest. The two characters share a romantic history in the comic books and allusions were made to Sif’s feelings for Thor in the last two films. Regardless of what happens with the casting, Ragnarok is under pressure to deliver as Thor seems to be the weak link in Marvel’s current list of cinematic properties.

MARVEL RELEASES DOCTOR STRANGE TRAILER

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The departure of Jane Foster won’t send shockwaves across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the arrival of Dr Stephen Strange just might. Marvel gave us our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme this week with the release of the first teaser trailer for Doctor Strange. The film appears to be sticking close to the source text, while also embracing Steve Ditko’s psychedelic visual style that played such a huge part in the characters rise to popularity in the 60s.

This film marks a major turning point for the MCU as they move away from science and into the realm of magic and mysticism. The trailer feature some thrilling moments of sorcery as Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One leads Strange on his first out of body experience and Mads Mikkelsen’s mysterious villain makes reality collapse in on itself. We also see Strange wearing the Cloak of Levitation and posing in front of a window in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

There are those who have described Doctor Strange as a high risk project for Marvel. But the same was said about Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, both of which went on to do very well at the box office. If you are amongst those who are starting to suffer from superhero fatigue then Doctor Strange may just be the film for you, provided you can put up with Benedict Cumberbatch’s dodgy American accent. Doctor strange hits cinemas in October, more news as it breaks.

AVATAR SAGA TO BECOME A PENTALOGY

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In 2009, the self-proclaimed ‘King of the World’ James Cameron decided to make a live action remake of the popular children’s movie, Ferngully. You may have guessed that I didn’t particularly like Avatar, but James Cameron probably isn’t losing any sleep over that as Dances with Smurfs would go on to become the biggest box office hit of all time. 7 years later and Cameron remains uncharacteristically quiet while working on the long awaited sequel to the film.

But some news did emerge this week as it was reported that the planned trilogy has now been expanded to a pentalogy with 4 new films planned for December 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023. This would put it in direct competition with several of the upcoming Star Wars films and spin-offs. It will be interesting to see how Avatar performs against the rival franchise as its success has not necessarily transferred into brand loyalty in the same way that Star Wars’ has.

ALDEN EHRENREICH IN TALKS TO PLAY YOUNG HAN SOLO

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Talking of everyone’s favourite galaxy far, far away, it was rumoured this week that Blue Jasmine star, Alden Ehrenreich is the current front runner to play a young Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off. The film will be helmed by Lego Movie directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller and will follow the early exploits of Han as a fledgling smuggler. It also seems likely that a certain Wookie will make an appearance at some point as well.

Of all the scheduled Star Wars films this is the one that I am most dubious of, mainly due to the fact that I really don’t want to see anyone else playing Han Solo other than Harrison Ford. It feels like somewhat of a step back into the murky ‘prequel’ territory for the franchise, but then again it could turn out to be a lot of fun if handled correctly. Do you think Ehrenreich would make a good scruffy looking Nerf herder? Have your say below.

STAR TREK TV SHOW NOT SET IN REBOOTED UNIVERSE

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Now is a very exciting time to be a Trekkie as not only is there a new Star Trek film winging its way to cinemas this year but there is also a new series in development. As reported in previous wrap ups, the new show is being developed by Bryan Fuller, Nicholas Meyers and Alex Kurtzman for CBS. Due to contractual issues with Paramount the show can’t air until 6 months after Star Trek: Beyond has finished its cinematic run, so that’s an ETA of January 2017 at the earliest.

At this stage most of the information on the series is pure conjecture, but early reports suggest that the series will exist within the classic continuity rather than the rebooted cinematic timeline. It is also rumoured that the show will be a seasonal anthology, situated somewhere between the events of the original series and The Next Generation. Bryan Fuller is pretty trigger happy when it comes to social media so expect more updates in the near future.

CRISPIN GLOVER JOINS CAST OF AMERICAN GODS

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In other Bryan Fuller related news, his upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods gained two new cast members this week. Back to the Future actor Crispin Glover will be joining the already impressive cast as Low-Key, a trickster convict who is more than he seems. Glover will also be joined by Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom) who will be playing Mr World, the reprehensible advocate of the new gods. They join Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle in what is shaping up to be a strong cast.

Primary filming began on the show earlier this month so we can expect to plenty of on-set photos on Bryan Fuller’s twitter feed. Fans of the book needn’t worry about any liberties being taken with the story as Neil Gaiman has played a huge part in the development of the series. Although Gaiman and Fuller have stated that the show will not be a literal adaptation, but will instead use elements of the story to explore the huge narrative. American Gods reaches our screens in early 2017.

GHOST IN THE SHELL ADAPTATION ALMOST FEATURED ETHNICITY ALTERING VFX

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As much as we love to criticise them, remakes are very much a part of life when it comes to the movie industry. Yes Hollywood likes to remake foreign films in its own image but then again so do other global move industries. Where it all becomes a bit tricky is when we begin to wander into the murky waters of cultural appropriation. In short some things are so intrinsically linked to the culture that spawned them that to Westernise them is downright insulting.

There have been many examples where American remakes have completely devalued a classic film. For example Spike Lee’s awful and totally unnecessary remake of Old Boy, then again sometimes it works as in the case of Scorsese’s The Departed. However it was rumoured this week that in reaction to accusations of whitewashing in their live action version of Ghost in the Shell, Paramount had experimented with VFX to give Scarlett Johansson Asian features.

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Of course Paramount denies the allegations, but the fact remains that they have used an almost entirely white cast to tell a story that is still intrinsically Japanese. It begs the question; why not cast an Asian actress in the role in the first place? While it could be argued that there are no Asian actresses with the same level of star power as Johansson in the US market, surely this was the perfect opportunity to create that star.

Excuse the rant but things like racial equality begin to matter to you when you hit 100. Anyway, Hollywood whitewashing aside, a live action version of Ghost in the Shell still sounds like a really horrible idea to me. I am still haunted by the rumour that Fox was planning to make a live action version of Akira staring Justin Timberlake and Zac Efron. I actually believe the release of that film would have been one of the signs of the apocalypse.

BIDDING WAR BREAKS OUT OVER POKÉMON LIVE ACTION MOVIE

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Talking of American live action versions of beloved Japanese cartoons… I CHOOSE YOU LIVE ACTION POKÉMON FILM!! It seems Nintendo are interested in making their own Hollywood version of its Pokémon series, probably staring Justin Bieber as Ash and Miley Cyrus as Pikachu or something awful like that. With the franchise just as popular today as it was 20 years ago Hollywood studios are practically falling over themselves to win the rights to the film.

WB, Sony and Legendary Pictures appear to be the current favourites in the bidding war. It is interesting to see Legendary amongst the front runners as it has recently been purchased by Chinese investors. Relations between China and Japan have always been frosty; in fact Japanese films were actually banned in China until quite recently. So basically Pokémon appears to be the key to world peace, which is something we have suspected since the first appearance of Cat Buddha MewTwo.

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Wow, we tackled it all in this wrap up; racial inequality in mainstream media, global political conflicts, Benedict Cumberbatch’s rubbish accent… I guess we really are growing up here at KOGITFW. As ever we’d love for you to join the conversation, do you have an opinion on the things we’ve mentioned here? Was there anything we didn’t discuss that you would like to talk about? Well just pop a comment down there and we promise to respond. But until next time… keep on geeking in the free world.

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