Untitled HAN SOLO STAR WARS spinoff set John Powell as composer!

The STAR WARS feature film universe is getting only its third-ever new composer for the upcoming Untitled HAN SOLO Movie. Indeed, while John Williams is synonymous with STAR WARS, Lucasfilm’s ramping up of the franchise with the spinoff ROGUE ONE brought in a new voice to the series, Michael Giacchino. And now, while Williams is scoring STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, it looks like the spinoffs will continue to have different composers as John Powell has been announced as the composer behind the Untitled HAN SOLO Movie.

Powell is a veteran composer whose work ranges from the BOURNE franchise to KUNG FU PANDA to the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON movies. His work on the latter films in particular is magnificent, but he knows his way around blockbusters having also worked on films like PAN, THE ITALIAN JOB, and HANCOCK. He’s an excellent choice and I really can’t wait to hear what he puts together. Per the official press release, he will be putting together a score “in the style of the original Star Wars movies,” while retaining “Powell’s original voice.”

While Giacchino scored ROGUE ONE, he was not that film’s original composer. Alexandre Desplat was working on it up until the last minute, when he exited the project. His work was said to be complicated by extensive reshoots, and thus Giacchino was brought into the fold and given an insane deadline of just over a month to write and record the entire score. So, all things considered, he did a fine job. Powell has plenty of time here as HAN SOLO doesn’t hit theaters until May 25, 2018.

Ron Howard is currently at the helm of the HAN SOLO movie, which recently went through an extremely rough patch as directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired with only three weeks of filming left on the schedule. Howard is now working on an extended production schedule, finishing out production in a manner more in line with what Lucasfilm wants. It’s unclear if Powell was lined up to compose the score before Lord and Miller exited, or if this decision was made once Howard came onboard. It’s curious, as Howard traditionally works with composer Hans Zimmer.

BOND 25: Yann Demange, Denis Villenueve & David Mackenzie on director shortlist!

It sounds like BOND 25 is very much heating up. While there have been a number of variables up in the air for the SPECTRE follow-up, namely if Daniel Craig will actually return, EON Productions set a November 2019 release date the other day, signaling that they’re moving forward. Indeed, Deadline now has the list of the three frontrunners in line to direct BOND 25, and they are fantastic. The three names in Deadline’s report are Denis Villeneuve (ARRIVAL), Yann Demange (’71), and David Mackenzie (HELL OR HIGH WATER).

All three of these filmmakers are great, and I’d be happy with any one of them. Villeneuve is probably the “biggest” name of the bunch, having helmed terrific thrillers like SICARIO and ARRIVAL before making the big leap with this fall’s BLADE RUNNER 2049. He can handle action, character, and story in equal measure, and he would likely bring DP Roger Deakins back into the fold after Deakins shot SKYFALL.

Mackenzie is a “hot” name at the moment, coming off Best Picture nominee HELL OR HIGH WATER. He also directed the 2013 film STARRED UP and his name surfaced recently as a possibility to step into Universal’s SCARFACE remake. And Demange broke out in a big way with his thriller ’71, and he most recently wrapped WHITE BOY RICK with Matthew McConaughey.

While Christopher Nolan and Edgar Wright have surfaced as possibilities recently as well, these two filmmakers likely wouldn’t take on BOND until the franchise needs a reboot, so they can start from scratch and enact their own unique vision. We learned this week that Craig is expected to reprise his role as Bond for BOND 25, so whether this is a closing chapter or just another new entry is still unknown.

Sam Mendes reinvigorated the franchise with the stunning SKYFALL and returned to helm SPECTRE to mixed results. That film introduced Christoph Waltz as franchise villain Blofeld, so it’ll be interesting to see if BOND 25 continues that thread or leaves it be. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have scripted almost all of the recent BOND movies, are back to pen the screenplay for 25.

The distribution rights to Bond are still up in the air, as studios like Sony, Warner Bros., Annapurna, Fox, and Universal are all vying for the opportunity to produce and distribute the next few BOND movies after EON’s contract with Sony ended on SPECTRE. That will likely be secured up shortly as EON is looking to put the pieces into place, and Deadline notes we should hear who’s directing this thing by the end of the summer.

WONDER WOMAN II set for December 13, 2019 release date!

In a surprise to absolutely no one, WONDER WOMAN II is 100% happening, and Warner Bros. has now officially announced a release date. The film will hit theaters on December 13, 2019, which is a change of pace from the summer release of the first film. That puts it opening one week before the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE reboot and a little over a week before the highly anticipated musical adaptation WICKED, but as of now WONDER WOMAN II is the only superhero movie set for release in December of that year.

Warner Bros.’ announcement for WONDER WOMAN II does not include a director, which means that negotiations with Patty Jenkins must still be ongoing. Jenkins is the reason why WONDER WOMAN works as well as it does. She brought all the disparate ideas together in one cohesive vision with a passion for the character and a distinctly female point of view, which made all the difference. That “No Man’s Land” sequence would have been entirely different had anyone else directed the movie (or maybe even non-existent), but in Jenkins’ hands it’s the thesis for WONDER WOMAN. So if Warner Bros. doesn’t lock in Jenkins for this follow-up, that’s going to be an issue.

Jenkins is reportedly already working on a treatment for WONDER WOMAN II with Geoff Johns and has expressed her desire to return, so this is likely just a result of contract negotiations. She was not under an option for a sequel, and given how successful and huge WONDER WOMAN has been, she comes to the negotiating table for WONDER WOMAN II with a lot of leverage. It’s possible she may even be working on a contract that sees her consulting on other future DCEU films.

The film has not-so-quietly become the biggest success story of 2017. Its worldwide box office total is over $780 million, but in a unique case in today’s landscape, over half of that has come from the domestic box office. Indeed, WONDER WOMAM is now Warner Bros.’ third highest grossing film of all time domestically, behind just THE DARK KNIGHT ($533.3 million) and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES ($448.1 million), and it’s the highest grossing superhero movie of 2017 as it surpassed GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. It’s been holding phenomenally week to week, as word-of-mouth caught on and folks are lining up to see this thing two, three, four times in the theater.

With that kind of success, Warner Bros. would be crazy not to make a sequel, and hopefully solidifying Jenkins as the director will be a signal that the studio is committed to the quality that WONDER WOMAN has brought to the DCEU.

Lionsgate developing BALLERINA, a female-led action film set in the JOHN WICK universe!

JOHN WICK may be getting some company. Lionsgate is eyeing a female-led action project to serve as a possible spin-off for their breakout action franchise led by Keanu Reeves. Per THR, the studio won out in a bidding war for the spec script BALLERINA, which follows a young woman raised as an assassin who goes on the hunt for the trained killers that murdered her family. So, yep, that sounds like a very WICK-esque movie.

The BALLERINA script marks the first sale for screenwriter Shay Hatten, who cut his teeth as a writer’s assistant for Robert Downey Jr.’s Team Downy. Hatten’s dark comedy script MAXIMUM KING landed a spot on the Black List in 2016 and earned the young writer representation at CAA. That script fictionalized Stephen King’s experiences writing and directing his 1985 MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. Plot details for BALLERINA are being kept under wraps for the time being.

Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, who produced the first two JOHN WICK films and will return for the announced third chapter, will produce BALLERINA with an aim to expand the franchise. Per the report, “BALLERINA has been described as being in the vein of LA FEMME NIKITA, the 1990s female-centric assassin movie that helped launch the career of filmmaker Luc Besson, but with a more pulpy, hyper-stylized bent a la Quentin Tarantino or Matthew Vaughn.” The script went out to studios last week, and both Warner Bros. and Universal were reportedly bidding for it when Lionsgate saw it as a potential extension of the WICK franchise and won out.

This is a super smart play on the studio’s part. People love JOHN WICK, but Chad Stahelski has already said he envisions the third film as a final chapter and who knows how long Reeves will want to play the character. But people also love the world of JOHN WICK — the Continental, the coins, the High Table, all of it. It’s a fascinating piece of world-building unlike any other and it’s rife with potential for expansion.

Daniel Craig set to return as James Bond in BOND 25, due November 8, 2019!

Yesterday, we learned that EON had set a release date for BOND 25, but we didn’t know the distributor, the director, or if Daniel Craig would return. According to The New York Times, “two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid conflicts with Eon and MGM,” say that Craig is coming back, and since the Times is pretty trustworthy publication, I’m willing to put my faith in their reporting that the actor will make his fifth appearance as Bond in the upcoming sequel.

While some fans have been eager to see a new actor take on the role, Craig has done a solid job throughout even if sometimes the movies themselves have let him down. He’s not the reason QUANTUM OF SOLACE was bad, but he’s definitely part of the reason why CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL are so good.

It’s also worth noting that Craig’s film career has struggled to take off outside of Bond. While it looks like he’s having a blast in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming LOGAN LUCKY, he hasn’t really had any hits outside of the Bond franchise. To be fair, Craig does a bit of stage acting, so it’s not like filmography is packed, but whenever he veers away from Bond, he ends up in something like DREAM HOUSE. In a studio system built on franchises, Craig hasn’t found a new place where he can maneuver if he stops being Bond, and being Bond gives him a lot of power for the time being.

BOND 25 opens November 8, 2019.

JAMES BOND 25 set for November 8, 2019!

It turns out that even though we still don’t know who’s getting the rights to the JAMES BOND movies, who will direct the next one, or even if Daniel Craig will return to star, there’s just no stopping 007.

That’s not too surprising since everything would need to click into place very quickly if they wanted to make a 2018 release date, and the Bond movies have been quite comfortable in their November slots for the past (you have to go back to 1997’s TOMORROW NEVER DIES for an entry that wasn’t released in the U.S. in November), but it is surprising that EON, the company that owns the rights to Bond, feels comfortable enough to make that announcement despite lacking major pieces to make and distribute a movie.

However, the fact that they feel confident enough to announce that they’ll have a new BOND movie in theaters by November 2019 signals that they must be fairly close to lining up the three major pieces they’ll need—a distributor (studios are still fighting for the rights), a director (some names have been rumored, but nothing official), and a star (it’s possible Craig could come back, but again, nothing has been confirmed). The only thing they have for sure is that longtime Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are set to write the screenplay.

Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring in a new Bond. Craig seems fairly tired of playing the role (he’ll also be 51 when BOND 25 comes out), the cinematic landscape is changing, and we’ll have hit a four-year gap between BOND movies. The last four-year gap was between QUANTUM OF SOLACE and SKYFALL, but that was because MGM was in a financial meltdown. The four-year gap before that was between DIE ANOTHER DAY, the last Pierce Brosnan BOND movie, and CASINO ROYALE, the first Craig Bond movie.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe unites in epic AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR banner!

A brand new poster for Marvel’s AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR has made its way onto the Internet in all its glory. This ambitious piece attempts to gather the superheroes of the MCU together in one place to take on Thanos and his infamous Black Order. There’s a lot going on here, so I’ll break it down further below.

While on one hand this is a smash-job of epic proportions, on the other hand…it kind of works! I particularly love the fact that Thanos anchors the whole thing at the center and the light from the Infinity Stones bathes the various groups of heroes (and villains) gathered around him. And, of course, the Earth–as the philosophical center of our known universe–appears in the background to give the grandest possible scale to the whole thing.

Starring Josh Brolin, Vin Diesel, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Pom Klementieff, Zoe Saldana, Robert Downey Jr., Karen Gillan and many more Anthony and Joe Russo‘s AVENGERS: INFINTY WAR opens May 4, 2018.

Thanos and the Black Order

Thanos has long been the big bad behind the scenes of the MCU and, as this poster shows, he seeks to gather up all of the incredibly powerful Infinity Stones into the Infinity Gauntlet to gain control over reality as we know it. This poster clearly displays that concept, though if he’d actually gathered all the stones already, Vision would probably be dead, Doctor Strange would be without a portion of his magic, and the movie would be without a plot. Still, this is a pretty impressive and imposing stance for the Mad Titan.

The Black Order members include:

  • Corvus Glaive – Thanos’ most favored general who has enhanced strength, speed, durability, and endurance and uses a bladed pike which can cut through anything. When Corvus Glaive has the bladed pike in his hand, it makes him immortal.
  • Proxima Midnight – A member of the Black Order and the wife of Corvus Glaive who is a master hand-to-hand combatant, has super-strength and is nigh impervious. Her lance transforms into unavoidable toxic light beams.
  • Ebony Maw – A member of the Black Order who has genius-level intellect, specializes in persuasion. Utilizes a teleportation device and force field generator.
  • Cull Obsidian – A member of the Black Order who has super-strength, enhanced density, and impenetrable skin. He is the brother of Corvus Glaive.

Loki and Thor meet the Guardians

The rest of the poster teams up the MCU’s superheroes in interesting ways that may or may not have anything to do with their shared screen time in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. The Avengers as we know them and the “New Avengers”–including Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Falcon, and possibly Spider-Man–have had a few movies to get to know each other, but the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (along with Teen Groot) have yet to cross paths with the title heroes. Expect that to change in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR sooner than later. And it looks like Wanda and the Vision continue to grow close, that’s sweet.

What’s interesting here is that Loki appears alongside his half-brother Thor, a bit of an oddity concerning the villain’s various nefarious roles throughout the history of the MCU. But with THOR: RAGNAROK filling in more of the story before AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, perhaps this will make more sense after the fact…or perhaps the master trickster has yet to play his final hand.

Bearded Cap and Blonde Widow

That beard, you guys. How can Thanos ever hope to win against its hypnotic majesty and all-American power? Short answer: He can’t. But while I was distracted by Cap’s best Logan impression, Black Widow went and turned her red hair blond. After the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Cap went to Wakanda with Bucky Barnes, having been granted asylum by T’Challa. However, Natasha Romanoff was forced to go into hiding to avoid government retaliation after her betrayal of Team Iron Man. That would explain the blonde do. Cap’s got a beard because, well, I guess he likes it.

Swingin’ Spidey, Angry Hulk: What’s New?

The aforementioned THOR: RAGNAROK will bring the Hulk back into the picture in a way we haven’t seen before in the MCU. The superheroes are going to need all the muscle they can muster to take on Thanos and his team, so it’s a very good thing that he’s back in action. However, we also get a shot of the former Winter Soldier here (perhaps thawed out due to the threat posed by Thanos) alongside everyone’s favorite wall-crawler in his new Iron-Spider Armor, I presume. This Stark tech was teased at the end of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, but was ultimately turned down by Peter Parker, who opted to remain a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man a bit longer. Expect him to don the suit in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, even if it’s only temporarily.

Iron Man between the Daughters of Thanos

Now that the adopted sisters Gamora and Nebula appear to have put their differences aside thanks to the events of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, we’ll get to see them on the same side as they attempt to take down their super-abusive father, Thanos. These two probably have the most personal investment in the death of the Mad Titan, though his threat against the Earth and the universe as we know it should be enough motivation for the rest of the team.

I like that Tony Stark, in his new Iron Man armor, stands between the alien sisters in this poster; a very precarious position to be sure. However, Tony’s also sporting a scar under the eye, so he either cut himself shaving or is showing off some battle damage from CIVIL WAR (he was pretty smashed up after fighting Cap, but he looked okay-ish in HOMECOMING).

That about does it for this first look at the artwork of AVENGERS: INFINTY WAR! Maybe you can find Ant-Man where I could not. He could be microscopic.