Marvel’s Secret Invasion Series Taps Thomas Bezucha and Ali Selim to Direct

Illustration for article titled Marvel's Secret Invasion Series Taps Thomas Bezucha and Ali Selim to Direct

Image: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Secret Invasion series is crazy stacked with A-Listers like Oscar winner Olivia Coleman (The Favorite), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Kingsley Ben-Adir (Bridgerton), with Samuel L. Jackson reprising his role as Nick Fury, and Ben Mendelsohn coming back as Skrull shapeshifter Talos.

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And now the show has its directors Thomas Bezucha (Let Him Go) and Ali Selim (The Looming Tower). They will lead this amazing cast of actors, with writer Kyle Bradstreet (Mr. Robot) will write and act as executive producer.

The Hollywood Reporter states there are no details of the show’s plot, but the series kicks off production later this year in Europe, but the specific location is under wraps. There is no word on how many episodes are in the series or if they’re 30 or 60-minutes long.

In the Secret Invasion comic series, Skrulls invade humanity while impersonating superheroes. Marvel.Fandom gives a good summary of what happened before war broke out on Earth.

“Located on interstellar crossroads, Earth was viewed as prime territory by many alien cultures. One of these cultures was the Skrulls. Due to a large number of superhumans on Earth, all invasion attempts were thwarted every time. The Skrulls, despite their previous inability to conquer the planet, still viewed Earth as rightfully theirs. After the Kree-Skrull War, the Illuminati took it upon themselves to travel to the Skrull throneworld to inform them not to involve Earth in their struggles again. Upon arrival, however, the Illuminati were captured and experimented upon before they were able to escape.”

Secret Invasion is suitable for the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe. Did you read Secret Invasion? What do you think of this new phase of the MCU? Comment Below!


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Howard the Duck Is Still the Weirdest Marvel Movie Ever

A young Tim Robbins and the title star of Howard the Duck in an airplane.

A very young Tim Robbins realizes he’s in Howard the Duck.
Screenshot: Universal

io9 ReviewsReviews and critical analyses of fan-favorite movies, TV shows, comics, books, and more.

Over 20 years before Iron Man kick-started what’s now the Marvel Cinematic Universe—the pop-culture juggernaut that devours so much of the box office—another Marvel hero got his chance to save the world. Big difference, though: the star of Howard the Duck didn’t exactly set the world on fire with his efforts.

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To celebrate executive producer George Lucas’ birthday today (happy 77th!), we decided to revisit Howard the Duck, a movie that became an instant punchline when it was released back in 1986 but has since become a bit of a cult classic. It’s not hard to see why, on either count. The year it was released, the top 10 highest-grossing movies in America included Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Aliens, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—all of which happen to share certain themes with Howard the Duck, which gives us a slick, scrappy, underdog hero who’s also a fish out of water and happens to be from outer space. But none of those films featured petite stunt people in a duck costume playing a character (voiced by Chip Zien) that’s action hero, comic relief, and, uh, romantic leading man all rolled into one. Contemporary audiences were more than a little unsure of what to make of Howard, but it’s that bizarre mishmash of traits that’s given the movie its strange longevity.

Howard the Duck, based on the early 1970s comic character created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, lets you know exactly what kind of movie it’s aiming to be from those first scenes on Howard’s home planet of Duckworld. His bachelor pad reveals a culture exactly like America, circa 1986, except everything is duck-themed: the city is Marshington, DC; “Mae West and W.C. Fowls” smirk down from a movie poster, as does “Indiana Drake” (the Breeders of the Lost Stork pun isn’t the first wink at Lucas in this thing); and copies of Rolling Egg and Playduck magazine hammer home what could be some of the punniest production design ever attempted. Alas, we don’t get to spend much time on Duckworld, because before long a giant laser on Earth accidentally blasts a wormhole through space and brings Howard back with it—where he’s immediately set upon by mid-1980s “punk rockers,” a goofball menace that’s very specific to the era (see another 1986 release, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, for maybe the greatest-ever example of the character type).

Quack!

Quack!
Screenshot: Universal Pictures

Fortunately for Howard (as well as anyone hungry for more puns), he declares “no more Mr. Nice Duck” and busts out some relatively badass “quack fu” on a pair of overly accessorized low-life types who’re harassing Beverly (Lea Thompson), a struggling rocker who takes a shine to the feathered alien. This passes for a meet-cute in Howard the Duck, and Beverly—a generous soul with some of the biggest ‘80s hair outside of Headbangers Ball—sets about trying to help Howard get home. That quest propels the film until about the halfway point, when we get a villain that isn’t just “asshole Earth people” (and there are plenty of those, including a motorcycle gang, cops, Howard’s boss at his short-lived job at “Hot Tub Fever,” and Bev’s greedy music manager). When that pesky laser plucks another, less friendly alien from the cosmos, it quickly takes over the body of the laser scientist (Jeffrey Jones, who was also the villain in Ferris Bueller that year) who plots to use the device to summon other “Dark Lords of the Universe” to spell Earth’s doom. The laser is Howard’s only hope of returning home, so this is concerning on multiple levels.

That’s pretty much the entire plot of Howard the Duck—really, the movie puts all its money on the entertainment value of a character who is human in every way except for the fact that he’s a duck. His flirtation with Beverly is played less for laughs than Howard’s relationship with the buffoonish scientist (Tim Robbins) who’s first way too excited to meet an alien, then gets caught up in Howard’s predicament. You can’t really fault director Willard Huyck—who co-write the script with his wife and frequent collaborator Gloria Katz, who also produced—for not knowing exactly what to do to make Howard feel less like a cartoon. The tone bobbles uneasily between comedy (the script is stuffed with silly one-liners like “Prepare to eat beak!”) and sci-fi action bolstered by special effects that haven’t aged very well. However, Jones’ performance is suitably unhinged, especially in the epic diner showdown that’s easily the movie’s best sequence; the stop-motion monster that dominates the film’s climax is also a retro delight.

Hellooo, ladies.

Hellooo, ladies.
Screenshot: Universal Pictures

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However, at just under two hours the movie is way too long, and certain sequences—like Howard’s perilous plane ride to rescue a kidnapped Beverly, since he can’t fly (or swim, as we’re repeatedly reminded)—drag on forever. There are also some other weird touches, like the movie taking place in Cleveland when it was obviously filmed in California, or Howard clearing a room by announcing he has “space rabies” and threatening to bite anyone who gets in his way. That’s not even factoring in Howard the Duck’s musical sequences—pop star Thomas Dolby wrote the songs and has a cameo—or, we’d be remiss not to mention again, Howard’s cross-species romance, which even the movie itself has a hard time embracing.

The fact that Howard the Duck—only the second live-action Marvel Comics adaptation, after 1944’s Captain America serial—exists at all is kind of unbelievable, especially considering the publisher’s sky-high profile today. And it’s not like Marvel has disowned Howard; he famously popped up in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as Avengers: Endgame, and has consistently appeared in comics, animated series, and video games over the years. He’s earned some love to go with all those derisive laughs, at last. But a Howard the Duck remake, which is definitely a thing that someone somewhere is trying to get off the ground, would be a hard sell. The main reason anyone appreciates the original movie is the way its collection of ill-fitting pieces—some corny, some horny, some totally ‘80s, some electrified sci-fi, all wrapped around a guy in a frankly ridiculous duck costume—are jammed together with such blunt-force determination. It is a relic of a time before the MCU, and yet it is part of the MCU, and there’s no way even the best special effects could recreate that peculiar magic.

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The X-Men’s Hellfire Gala Wants You to RSVP… for Murder

Partial cover of The Trial of Magneto #1 by Valerio Schiti.

Partial cover of The Trial of Magneto #1 by Valerio Schiti.
Image: Marvel

Even though everything is so hunky-dory in the sovereign island of Krakoa that Marvel’s mutants are throwing a high-fashion party that actual real-life celebrities are attending, we all know the X-Men can’t have nice things for long. It sounds like the Hellfire Gala is going to go poorly… for two people in particular.

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Marvel says someone’s getting murdered at the mega-event, and Magneto’s going to be so upset he’s going to need to star in his own comic about it, titled The Trial of Magneto, from writer Leah Williams and artist Lucas Werneck. Here’s part of the official press release:

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Full cover of The Trial of Magneto #1 by Valerio Schiti.
Image: Marvel

“A horrific murder. A horrifying revelation. A trial that will divide the new mutant nation.

“This thrilling saga will threaten the Reign of X and upend the world of mutants. And with the very future of Krakoa hanging in the balance, mutantkind’s relationship with the rest of the Marvel Universe may never be the same. The current team of mutant investigators from Leah Williams’ acclaimed run on X-Factor #10 will play a vital role in solving this complex mystery, and fans should pick up X-Factor #10, a Hellfire Gala tie-in and the final issue of the series, on June 30 to discover whose tragic fall leads into this new X-Men epic.

“’When has Magneto ever allowed bureaucracy to get between himself and what’s just? In the island paradise of Krakoa, safe haven and home for mutants—Magneto’s hard-fought, greatest desire of seeing his people at peace and thriving has finally been achieved. But Magneto’s loyalty extends only as far as it is first earned, so after the Hellfire Gala, when he learns that even a paradise could still be filled with lies… the Trial of Magneto will begin,” Williams says.

Here’s my question: Mutants can be resurrected as easily as “press X to continue” on a video game controller. They’re literally dying for funsies. Who cares if someone gets killed… unless it’s a human being, who can’t be resurrected. In that case, what human does Magneto currently care enough about to get upset when they’re murdered? Is it one of the celebrities? Is it Ira Glass? Is Magneto a This American Life fan who donates regularly to NPR and carries a telethon tote bag with him around Krakoa?

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I guess there’s another possibility in that it’s Magneto who gets killed at the party, and Trial has him search for the person who ruined his night. But in any case, what exactly is the trial Magneto is going to go through?

Some of these questions will presumably be answered when Marvel releases The Trial of Magneto #1 on August 18—but before that the first issue, the cover will be updated at some point to reveal the victim, so stare at the above outline for the next few months and squint really hard.

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We Are Exhausted, We Are the ’90s X-Men Cartoon’s Jean Grey

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Jean really trying to keep the Phoenix contained.
Screenshot: Disney+

By the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean’s naps were less about her and more about the Phoenix fully subsuming her personality and going on an interstellar rampage that left billions of people dead. At the beginning of the saga, though, Jean was still in the throes of her possession and trying to force the Phoenix out with little success. Out of all the times in Jean’s life where she prioritized lying down, few are as understandable as her Phoenix heel turn considering the effort she was exerting. Easy a target as Jean is for derision (some of it deserved), you’ve got to give her credit for always picking herself back up, eventually, even from death. Her whole resurrection bit’s mostly due to the Phoenix’s power, sure, but it’s nice to think that at least some of it is due to the fact that throughout her superheroic career, she never wasted any energy pretending she wasn’t on the brink of physical and mental exhaustion. Relatable.

X-Men: The Animated Series is now streaming on Disney+.


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Nebula’s Got Gamora on the Brain in an Exclusive Marvel Book Excerpt

Cover art from the Disney Books novel Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms. Nebula, holding a spear, looks to the left, as her sister Gamora, holding a sword, looks to the right.

A crop of the cover to Gamora and Nebula: Sisters at Arms by Mackenzi Lee.
Image: Disney Books

The daughters of Thanos are in a race to retrieve the heart of a planet in a new YA book starring two of Marvel’s fiercest warriors. Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms was written by Mackenzi Lee, who previously wrote the book Loki: Where Mischief Lies—and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt.

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In Sisters in Arms, someone has asked Gamora to retrieve the heart of the planet Torndune. She doesn’t know who it is, only that she has to do it. Meanwhile, Nebula follows Gamora, hoping to outshine her sister and beat her to the heart—the result of a long-standing rivalry driven into them by their dear old dad. It’s a story that dives into the relationship fans have become so fond of, not just over the years in Marvel Comics, but in the past decade from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies all the way through the end of Avengers: Endgame. However, this book, like other Marvel Press books, doesn’t quite adhere to any overarching continuity. It’s just a story featuring these great, recognizable characters.

“Part of the joy of contributing to the Marvel Universe is working with stories and characters that overlap, change, grow, and exist across formats and years and generations and creators,” Lee told io9 via email. “Every writer, actor, and director who tells these stories brings something new to them, and we all keep building on the work of those before us to create richer, deeper, more interesting characters. It’s like working in the greatest collaborative writing space of all time, where your co-workers are everyone from Stan Lee to Zoe Saldana, to the writers and artists making the comics today.”

“In Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms, readers will see their favorite alien cyborg sisters earlier than in some of their best-known iterations,” she continued. “They’re still in the throes of a past that we have mostly only heard about—as daughters, and agents of Thanos, their own identities still in flux as they learn who they are to themselves and each other outside their father’s control. The book not only lays foundation for who we will see them become, but also sheds some light on who they were.”

Below, io9 is excited to debut an exclusive excerpt from the book featuring Nebula’s arrival, after Gamora, on Torndune. She takes a different approach from her sister—but is still haunted by the rivalry Thanos has embedded in her.


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Image: Disney Books

From Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms by Mackenzi Lee:


Sister Merciful took Nebula to a private docking bay on Rango-15, where a shuttle was waiting for them, staffed by security officers in black uniforms and driven by a silent man in a crisp suit that didn’t match the trickle of gray rot starting to heal along the edges of his finger nails. The shuttle took them to a Temple Ship docked beyond the orbital stations, a sleek, boxy skyscraper suspended in space with black windows and a dark exterior so glossy it was impossible to tell whether it was actually black or that was simply the reflection of the sky on every surface. The mirror image of the stars barnacled its face. It was the sort of sleek, futuristic mega Church headquarters Nebula would expect to see closer to the central systems. Out here, it looked like an anachronism, something from the future while the rest of the system was stuck in the past.

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When their shuttle docked and they disembarked, Nebula’s first breath was of air so clear and filtered it made her light-headed. She hadn’t realized how much dust was slipping through the filter in her vent until she stopped breathing it. The interior of the Temple Ship matched the exterior: glossy, modern, and architectural. Everything was straight lines and sharp angles. The Church’s symbol—a teardrop shape with a dragged-out point bisected by a short perpendicular line—was inlaid into everything: etched into the floors and the windows of the viewing platforms overlooking the docking bay, even inscribed on the control panels beside each door. The acolytes here were dressed in crisp, sharp red robes with pointed shoulders, and Nebula wondered briefly if the ragged mantles the missionaries wore on Rango-15 were a guise so that they looked more of the people.

“Our Temple Ships are the cornerstones of our organization,” Sister Merciful explained as she led Nebula from the docking platform and down a hallway lit with lurid fluorescents. “They house the offices of Church officials, keep our records, and shelter our cardinals, as well as serve as sites of worship for any members of our congregation.”

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Nebula resisted the urge to take an exaggerated look around at the lack of members from the ranks of the Torndune mines. They might be welcome, but they couldn’t get there if they tried. “Why don’t your cardinals stay on the stations with the poor they’re ministering to?”

“Our cardinals must be in the best mental and physical shape possible to minister to the needs of the beings in places such as the Torndune orbital stations.” Sister Merciful swept her sleeves back off her hands and made the sign of the Matriarch as they passed a portrait of her on the wall. “It takes a great deal of strength to witness so much suffering.”

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It also takes a great deal of strength to suffer that much, Nebula thought, and it sounded like Gamora’s voice in her head. That was something her sister would say. Nebula shoved Gamora from her mind and followed Sister Merciful down the corridor, each step clicking like tossed dice. “We have many chapels here, of course,” Sister Merciful explained, gesturing to a window on their left that overlooked a massive cathedral where dozens of red-robed cardinals stood in militant rows, their hoods and shoulders in perfect alignment. “There are also recreation facilities, libraries, gardens, and laboratories.”

“What does a church need with a laboratory?” Nebula asked.

“The Matriarch receives revelation from the holy of holies, the Magus Himself, as to how the lives of our followers might be improved, and sometimes His plan involves experimentation in the sciences. For example.” She stopped at a viewing platform, and Nebula peered through the mirrored window. Below, large generators the size of most of the buildings on Rango-15 were assembled in long rows, lights on their panels flashing green as they rumbled softly. She could feel the vibrations through her feet.

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“The source of power for the ship,” Sister Merciful explained. “A complex system developed at our Church headquarters to power all our ships with a clean, sustainable energy source.”

“Crowmikite?” Nebula asked.

Sister Merciful smoothed her robes beneath her fingers and ignored the question. “We give the beings of Torndune a great gift,” she said. “The greatest gift of all, which is the gospel of Magus, and the testimony of the revelatory power of our holy Matriarch.”

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Nebula had a hunch that the miners of Torndune would prefer a hot meal in the breathable air of one of these Temple Ships over a testimony of the true and living god, but that seemed an inappropriate opinion to voice to her host.

Gamora would say it.

She shoved the thought away. Gamora isn’t here.

“So, daughter of Thanos,” Sister Merciful said with a smile as they continued down the hall. Some of the red paint from her lips had smeared onto her teeth, so that it looked like she had ripped into a dead animal. “What brings you to this far corner of the galaxy?”

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“I’ve been sent to find something on Torndune for my father,” Nebula replied.

“Perhaps we could help you,” Sister Merciful said.

“Perhaps,” Nebula said with no conviction. All she was hoping to get out of this exchange was a shower and food that didn’t come in the form of a powdered-vitamin pack. “What is it you want from me, exactly?”

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Sister Merciful stopped and opened her hands before her. “The Universal Church of Truth and Her Holiness the Everlasting Matriarch are friends of Thanos. We simply wish to see his daughter taken care of while she does his good work in a system in which we serve. Why do you assume we want something from you?”

Because I’ve been around this galaxy enough to know nothing comes for free, Nebula thought bitterly. Out of the corner of her eye, she swore she saw another figure behind her own reflection in the mirrored window overlooking the generators—the skeletal, sharp features of Lady Death—but when she turned, there was no one there. The circuit in her head throbbed, and she rolled her shoulder. The betony oil had left it sticky, and the movement squelched.

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Sister Merciful’s eyes flicked to Nebula’s metal arm. “We have someone on board who could look at that arm for you,” she said. “Maybe give you something more fitting for a warrior of your stature.”

Nebula wasn’t sure she was worth any more than a rusted handmade scrap limb. She hardly felt like a warrior, and certainly not like the warrior she had imagined she would be. But she nodded. “I’d appreciate that.”

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“It would be our pleasure.” Sister Merciful placed a hand on Nebula’s mechanical arm, and it took Nebula a moment to remember why she couldn’t feel the touch. The cardinal smiled, revealing her bone-white teeth streaked with red. “Help is always out there, daughter of Thanos,” she said. “All you must do is ask.”


To read more, you’ll have to pick up Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms when it’s released on June 1. Here’s the pre-order link.

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Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Bautista on the set of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.

Bautista on the set of the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
Image: Marvel Studios

Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.

Tenet’s John David Washington is teaming up with Gareth Edwards for a mysterious new sci-fi project. Get a teasery new look at the characters of The Green Knight. Black Lightning prepares for its finale. Plus, what’s coming on The Flash, and F9 teases, well, carnage. To me, my spoilers!

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Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

True Love

Deadline reports John David Washington will star in Gareth Edward’s True Love, a project only described as a “near future sci-fi story.” Details on his character are not available at this time.


Secret Headquarters

Deadline also reports Owen Wilson will star in Secret Headquarters, a “high concept family action movie” from Project Power directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Based on an original screenplay by Christopher Yost (Thor: Ragnarok, The Mandalorian) the story concerns “a kid who discovers the secret headquarters of the world’s most powerful superhero hidden beneath his home and must defend it with his group of friends when villains attack.” Jerry Bruckheimer is attached to produce.


My Best Friend’s Exorcism

THR has word Chris Lowell (GLOW) will star alongside Elsie Fisher and Amiah Miller in the upcoming film adaptation of Grady Hendrix‘s novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Dave Bautista stated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is “probably going to be the end of Drax” in a recent interview with Digital Spy.

I don’t think they’re very interested, or it doesn’t fit into the way they have things mapped out. But other than that, no. I mean, as far as my obligations, I’ve got Guardians 3, and that’s probably going to be the end of Drax.

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Renfield

Appearing as a guest on Kevin Smith’s Fat Man Beyond podcast, Robert Kirkman described Universal’s solo Renfield movie as a “fun, extremely violent comedy.”

We’re doing this cool movie for Universal that’s a focus on Renfield. It’s a story about him being Dracula’s henchman and how shitty a job that is. It’s a fun, extremely violent comedy because I’ve got a crutch, and it’s violence.

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[Coming Soon]


Orphan: First Kill

Meanwhile, Brent Bell appeared as a guest on Bloody-Disgusting’s Boo Crew Podcast to discuss the “childlike” yet “extremely violent” tone of the upcoming Orphan prequel starring Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther.

The movie has a very childlike quality in some ways, but it’s also extremely violent at other times. Because she’s a violent psychopath. The movie is turning out just awesome. [Esther] is this very romantic person who so much wants love and then when she doesn’t get it, a different side of her comes out. And it’s brutal. So the movie really plays both of those sides really well. So it has a really big heart for her, but it also has a real… super dark side. We’re right in the final stages of finishing the movie.

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The Green Knight

There are five new character posters for A24’s The Green Knight.

Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Photo: A24

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Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Photo: A24

Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Photo: A24

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Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Photo: A24

Illustration for article titled Dave Bautista Thinks Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Could Be the End for Drax

Photo: A24

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F9

A new F9 featurette hypes the film’s “car-nage.”


Paper Girls

Ali Wong has joined the cast of Amazon’s Paper Girls adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang’s comic as “Adult” Erin — “the woman the show’s 12-year-old Erin (Riley Lai Nelet) grows up to become. When the two Erins finally come face-to-face, they are forced to confront the gap between their childhood hopes, dreams, ambitions and the reality of their grown-up life.” [THR]

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Hello Tomorrow!

Billy Crudup will star in Hello Tomorrow!, a 10-episode half-hour dramedy at Apple TV+. Written and created by Amit Bhalla and Lucas Jansen, the story concerns “a group of traveling salesmen hawking lunar timeshares” in a retro-future world. Crudup plays Jack, “a salesman of great talent and ambition, whose unshakeable faith in a brighter tomorrow inspires his coworkers, revitalizes his desperate customers but threatens to leave him dangerously lost in the very dream that sustains him.” [Spoiler TV]

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Unknown

Deadline also has word Craig Macneill and Clay Chapman (The Boy) are developing Unknown at Amazon, “a psychological horror anthology series that plunges into the corners of the American landscape, probing the intersection of folklore and our bloody history of true crime.”

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Moon Knight

A photo of Ethan Hawke on the alleged set of Marvel’s Moon Knight has surfaced.


Legends of Tomorrow

The Legends cause the Cuban Missile Crisis, those scamps, in the synopsis for “Bay of Squids” airing May 23.

FOLLOWING ORDERS – The Legends are shocked when Rory (Dominc Purcell) takes command and manages to find the location of an important Alien, but he also lands them in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ava (Jes Macallan) is eager to question the Alien, but they must steal it back from the Cubans and Russians who think it is bio-warfare sent by the Americans. The team makes the decision to split up, leaving Nate (Nick Zano) and Zari (Tala Ashe) to work together to stop a nuclear disaster alongside JFK while Behrad (Shayan Sobhian) tries to leverage his newfound friendship to stop Castro from starting a war. Meanwhile, with Spooner’s (Lisseth Chavez) help, Rory makes an unlikely deal that could lead him on a solo mission to find Sara (Caity Lotz). Adam Tsekham, Olivia Swann and Matt Ryan also star. Sudz Sutherland directed the episode written by Phil Klemmer (604). Original airdate 5/23/2021.

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[Spoiler TV]


Black Lightning

Black Lightning draws to a close in the synopsis for “The Book of Resurrection: Chapter Two: Closure” airing May 24.

BLACK LIGHTNING” SERIES FINALE – After four seasons, the game-changing, relevant and electrifying series comes to an end. Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, China Anne McClain, James Remar, Marvin Jones III, Jordan Calloway and Chantal Thuy star. The episode was written by Charles D. Holland and directed by Salim Akil (#413). Original airdate 5/24/2021

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[Spoiler TV]


The Flash

Barry and Iris team up to prevent the destruction of Central City in the synopsis for “Family Matters, Part 2″ directed by Chad Lowe.

TEAMWORK – Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) come together to try and stop a dangerous force from destroying Central City. Chad Lowe directed the episode with story by Jonathan Butler & Gabriel Garza and teleplay by Thomas Pound (#711). Original airdate 5/25/2021

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[Spoiler TV]

Relatedly, here’s a super dramatic trailer for next week’s episode.


Superman & Lois

Meanwhile, Jordan struggles with a new superpower in the synopsis for “Man of Steel” directed by David Ramsey.

DAVID RAMSEY DIRECTS THE EPISODE – Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) struggles to help Jordan (Alex Garfin) who is grappling with a new power. Meanwhile, Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) enlists Clark’s help which leads to a surprise encounter. Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jordan Elsass, Dylan Walsh, Erik Valdez, Inde Navarrette and Wole Parks also star. (#107). The episode was directed by David Ramsey and written by Jai Jamison. Original airdate 5/25/2021.

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[Spoiler TV]


My Hero Academia

Finally, Adult Swim has released a trailer for the fifth season of My Hero Academia’s TV broadcast.


Banner art by Jim Cook

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They’re Just Letting Everybody Into the Hellfire Gala, Apparently

Emma Frost as she appears on the cover of Marauders #21.

Emma Frost as she appears on the cover of Marauders #21.
Screenshot: Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson/Marvel

The X-Men’s upcoming Hellfire Gala is both an extravagant celebration of Krakoa’s newfound ascendance in the world, and a bold statement to humanity that the mutants come in peace but are not to be messed with. At least that was the vibe one could have easily gotten from all the fuss Marvel’s been making about the event, which is slated to kick off later this summer. A new look, however, might make you scratch your head.

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The X-Men’s high fashion gala ensembles have all exuded a level of otherworldly grandiosity that’s defined this most recent era of the mutants’ history and made it seem as if the function was going to be an exceedingly exclusive affair. But Marvel recently announced a list of real-world celebrities slated to make cameos in the Hellfire Gala event which makes it sound as if the Gala’s every bit the promotional stunt within the comics’ universe as it is for Marvel as a publisher. “As Krakoa opens its gates to the world, the Gala will go down in history for its shocking twists, incredible Mutant Fashion looks, and surprise appearances from heroes and celebrities alike,” Marvel announced in a public statement. Who, you might ask? Well, that’d be Eminem, Conan O’Brien, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Ira Glass, and Pete Alonso. With more to come, of course.

A teaser of who might show up at the Hellfire Gala.

A teaser of who might show up at the Hellfire Gala.
Image: Marvel

The idea that Emma Frost would invite (or at least seed the idea) Eminem, Megan Rapinoe, Ira Glass, and other celebrity humans to a high-profile mutant gathering is… fitting with her character in the sense that she might have some ulterior motive. From an optics perspective, it’s an odd choice of potential guests all the same, even though celebrity cameos in comic books have been fairly commonplace for many decades. But just because celebrities can show up in comic books doesn’t mean they should, particularly if their appearances might distract from the important matters at hand like mutants modeling their custom couture.

For the record, here’s the Hellfire Gala reading list:

  • Hellions #12 – on sale 6/2, written by Zeb Wells; art by Stephen Segovia
  • Marauders #21 – on sale 6/2, written by Gerry Duggan and Chris Claremont; art by Matteo Lolli and John Bolton
  • X-Force #20 – on sale 6/2, written by Benjamin Percy; art by Joshua Cassara
  • X-Men #21 – on sale 6/9, written by Jonathan Hickman; art by Russell Dauterman, Nick Dragotta, Sara Pichelli, and Lucas Werneck
  • Excalibur #21 – on sale 6/9, written by Tini Howard; art by Marcus To
  • New Mutants #19 – on sale 6/16, written by Vita Ayala; art by Alex Lins
  • Planet-Size X-Men #1 – on sale 6/16, written by Gerry Duggan; art by Pepe Larraz
  • X-Corp #2 – on sale 6/16, written by Tini Howard; art by Alberto Foche
  • S.W.O.R.D. #6 – on sale 6/23, written by Al Ewing; art by Valerio Schiti
  • Wolverine #13 – on sale 6/23, written by Benjamin Percy; art by Scot Eaton
  • Way of X #3 – on sale 6/23, written by Si Spurrier; art by Bob Quinn
  • X-Factor #10 – on sale 6/30, written by Leah Williams; art by David Baldeón

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Hannah John-Kamen Is Red Sonja and Yes, Perfect Casting Is Possible

Meet your new Red Sonja.

Meet your new Red Sonja.
Image: Marvel Studios

While the notion of a Red Sonja reboot hasn’t always been the most exciting thing, this one big piece of news changes all that. Hannah John-Kamen, who kicked all kinds of ass in Killjoys and Ant-Man and the Wasp, has been cast as the fearsome warrior.

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“Hannah is a very talented actress who we’ve been following for years and she IS Red Sonja,” director Joey Soloway said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “Her range, sensibilities and strength are all qualities we have been looking for and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this journey together.” Soloway, best known for their work on Transparent, is directing from a script they co-wrote with Tasha Huo, who is showrunning Netflix’s upcoming Tomb Raider animated show. All of which just feels so much better from the person who was originally going to make the film.

For Kamen, who’ll soon be seen in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, this feels like the right role at the right time. She’s already stood toe to toe with some of the best in the business, be it Steven Spielberg or Michael Douglas, but was always a few names down from the top of the call sheet. Now she’s got her own franchise—putting her own spin on a powerful character last seen headlining a movie in 1985, as played by Brigitte Nielsen—and it’s likely to make her the household name she deserves to be. (Also, if she’s not in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we riot.)

No word on when the trio might finally roll cameras to bring Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith’s sword-wielding Marvel Comics creation to life, but this previous statement from Soloway makes us incredibly excited for that to happen. “I have loved Red Sonja forever and I feel so honored to help shepherd her story and start this cinematic journey,” they said earlier this year. “There could not be a greater moment in our world for Red Sonja’s ways of wielding power and her connection with nature and our planet. She is an ancient heroine with an epic calling, and translating that to the screen is a dream come true for me as a filmmaker. I can’t wait to collaborate with Tasha on this vision.”

Tasha and, now, Hannah too.


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Marvel’s Getting in on That Cat Manga Business Now

Peter finds himself no match for Chewie.

Peter finds himself no match for Chewie.
Image: Nao Fuji/Viz Media/Marvel Comics

I mean, where Junji Ito goes, publishers should follow, right?

Marvel and Viz Media have announced a new partnership to bring two manga volumes to print, one entirely new to the West and the other releasing for the first time physically. The latter is mangaka Nao Fuji’s Marvel Meow, which originally debuted on Marvel Comics’ official Instagram, but will now be released as a special collection charting the adventures of your feline friend and mine, Captain Marvel’s Flerken Chewie (a.k.a. Goose for those familiar with their MCU counterpart). The series follows Chewie’s escapades as (in true kitty style) no one in the Marvel Universe, hero or villain alike, can stop themselves from simultaneously falling in love with, and being at the mercy of, Chewie’s whims.

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Image: Nao Fuji/Viz Media/Marvel Comics

Viz and Marvel will follow that up with the first English translation of Sanshirou Kasama and Hikaru Uesugi’s Deadpool: Samurai Shonen Jump digital series. It’s a spin-out of a one-shot last year that, as the title implies, sees the Merc with a Mouth flung through time to feudal Japan, forcing him to adapt and become a wandering ronin.

Marvel Meow will release in fall 2021, with Deadpool: Samurai following it sometime next year.


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Thor Shaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Truly Important Ways

Tom Hiddleston debuted as Loki and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in 2011.

Tom Hiddleston debuted as Loki and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in 2011.
Photo: Marvel Studios

On May 2, 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born. The release of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man was the first part in a story that’s now sprawled over a decade, almost two dozen movies, and changed film history as we know it. However, all of that might not have played out the same way had it not been for what happened a few years later, and almost exactly 10 years ago: the release of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.

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On May 6, 2011, Thor—starring relatively unknown actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston—was released in theaters in the United States. The film was number one at the box office for its first two weeks and ended up grossing almost $500 million worldwide. It wasn’t quite the smash hit that some of Marvel’s later films became, but it was a success, and Thor has since continued on as a big part of the overall franchise. In fact, he’ll be the first Marvel Studios superhero to extend his solo adventures past a trilogy; his fourth film, Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, opens next year.

As for why we think Thor is almost as important to the creation of the MCU as Iron Man, that answer is two-fold. The first part is easy: it went cosmic. The previous Marvel films (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2) were all Earth-based. Thor took the story away from Earth, showing that the MCU was actually a “universe.” Without Thor, you don’t get Thanos, you don’t get the Guardians of the Galaxy, you don’t get Captain Marvel, the upcoming Eternals, etc. That’s pretty crucial. But the biggest reason is fearless, game-changing casting. Think about it. Iron Man had Robert Downey Jr., who’d been laying low for awhile in Hollywood after some difficult years but was still a well-known name. Incredible Hulk had Edward Norton, a multiple Oscar nominee who’d been in Hollywood since the mid-‘90s. They were both established stars.

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Photo: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Thor did fill its ranks with a few major stars—Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins—but they weren’t the leads; the main characters were played by Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Before Thor, did you know who either of those guys were? Probably not. Hemsworth had a small but crucial role in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek; he was also in hundreds of episodes of the Australian soap opera Home and Away. So he was working, but still a newcomer to Hollywood. Hiddleston’s biggest credit was—well, he kind of didn’t have one. He was on a British drama named Wallander (alongside Thor director Branagh) and a British comedy called Suburban Shootout. Neither of which, to our knowledge, ever made any significant impact outside of the UK.

While both Hemsworth and Hiddleston certainly had fans and following overseas, Thor brought them to the forefront in Hollywood, showing off their tremendous talents. Since then? Holy crap. You’d be hard-pressed to find two more beloved actors in the MCU and the film world at large. Fans love them and both have blown up outside of Marvel. Hiddleston’s worked with acclaimed directors like Jim Jarmusch, Steven Spielberg, and Guillermo del Toro, while Hemsworth is a bona fide action and comedy star, with films like Netflix’s Extraction, the Ghostbusters reboot, and the upcoming Furiosa prequel.

By featuring actors who weren’t established stars, Thor was the MCU film that put the comic book characters, and not the actors, at the forefront. As a result, the film in turn made stars out of its heroes and villains. It’s a trend that has come to define Marvel Studios; from Chris Evans to Brie Larson to Chadwick Boseman and Elizabeth Olsen, the MCU turned actors you kind of knew into household names—megastars even. Thor was an entertaining film that brought one of Marvel Comics’ biggest characters to life in a way many probably thought impossible, but because of how it all came together its legacy will live on outside of fiction for years to come.

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