Michael B. Jordan Talks Wakanda Forever and Kilmonger’s Possible Return

Actor Michael B. Jordan as Kilmonger in Black Panther

Actor Michael B. Jordan as Kilmonger in Black Panther
Image: Marvel Entertainment

The topic of Black Panther and its sequel is an emotional one. Its leading man, Chadwick Boseman, passed away last August from colon cancer. Understandably, the cast has mixed emotions about returning to the set without Boseman.

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Recently, actress Lupita Nyong’o commented on her feelings on shooting the Black Panther sequel. “I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like to step on set and not have him there. His passing is still extremely raw for me.”

Last week, Marvel revealed the title for the Black Panther sequel titled: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. On the Just for Variety podcast, actor Micheal B. Jordan gave his thoughts on the new title. “Nice. A good ring to it, I like that. I think that’s great,’ he says.

“We all took a hit with the loss of Chadwick [Boseman], so for them trying to figure out how to move forward, I know it’s not an easy thing to do. So the fact that they settled on a title and figuring out the story, I think is truly incredible. If anybody could figure [it] out, [it’s] Ryan [Coogler, director] and Kevin Feige [Marvel Studios President] and their wonderful producers over there is going to figure out the way to do it.”

There’s speculation that Jordan could be reprising his role of Kilmonger, or returning in another capacity. He recently cleared that up on the Jess Cagle show when asked the likelihood of his return on a scale of one to ten. “I’ll go with a solid two. I didn’t want to go zero. Never say never. I can’t predict the future.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives July 8, 2022. Check the Marvel film release timeline for information on all other Marvel titles.


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Updates From Indiana Jones 5, Marvel, and More

Us, looking at scraps of Indy 5 news.

Us, looking at scraps of Indy 5 news.
Image: Lucasfilm

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

Dark Horse’s Lady Killer is being turned into a movie. Marvel offers vague teases for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Marvels. Emma Stone goes behind-the-scenes in new Cruella footage. Plus, what’s to come on The Handmaid’s Tale and Black Lightning. Spoilers now!

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Illustration for article titled Updates From Indiana Jones 5, Marvel, and More

Lady Killer

According to Deadline, Diablo Cody is attached to write an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book series, Lady Killer, written by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich, illustrated by Joëlle Jones, and colored by Laura Allred. The project is for Netflix with Blake Lively attached to star. Lively will play Josie Schuller, “by all appearances the perfect 1950’s housewife— but when she’s not catering to the needs of her family, she leads a secret life as a highly-trained killer for hire. She really likes the second job, and her husband has no idea.”


Indiana Jones 5

During a recent interview with Collider, Mads Mikkelsen stated he was “invited in to create” his Indiana Jones 5 character.

I do think I’m invited in to create a character, I think that everybody wants that. That’s why they pick certain actors that they think can come up with certain things, and it will be a collaboration as it always is. Interesting enough, again a little like Riders of Justice, there is kind of a genre mix in Indiana Jones always. There is something that is a little larger-than-life, almost back to the 30s with a Peter Lorre kind of feel, and then you have Indiana Jones who kind of is a straight man. But he does produce a lot of funny and interesting things, but there are different character genres in some of those films.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Marvel (via /Film) has released an official logline for Wakanda Forever.

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda, and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film.

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The Marvels

/Film additionally has a synopsis for the upcoming sequel to Captain Marvel.

Marvel Studios’ The Marvels will feature Brie Larson returning to the role of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers. In the film, she’ll be joined by Teyonah Parris, who was first introduced as adult Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, along with Iman Vellani, who will appear as Ms. Marvel in the upcoming Disney+ series of the same name. Prepare to experience it and fly higher, further, and faster with the film, directed by Nia DaCosta!

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Blade

THR also reports filming on the Blade reboot has been pushed back to 2022.


Killer Klowns from Outer Space 2

Appearing as a guest on Slasher Radio, Stephen Chiodo revealed 2019’s Critters Attack! was partially responsible for the cancelation of Syfy’s planned Killer Klowns from Outer Space sequel.

There was a deal… MGM controls the rights…and they went to SYFY. They did Critters, and you saw what that turned out to be like. But they wanted to do Klowns for like two million [dollars]. And we don’t want to do that…we did it for two million back in the ’80s. So we didn’t want to do it. And even MGM didn’t want to do it… they said it was a more valuable property than just signing off for that little money.

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[Bloody-Disgusting]


Gunpowder Milkshake

Gunpowder Milkshake has been rated “R” by the MPAA for “strong bloody violence throughout and language.” [Bloody-Disgusting]

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Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Bloody-Disgusting additionally has the IMAX poster for Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

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Illustration for article titled Updates From Indiana Jones 5, Marvel, and More

Photo: Lionsgate


Cruella

Emma Stone discusses Cruella in a new featurette.

Elsewhere, two new Cruella TV spots tease the characters’ secret origins.


Castlevania

Netflix has released new images from the fourth and final season of Castlevania.

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The Handmaid’s Tale

Planes begin dropping bombs on Offred in the trailer for next week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.


Black Lightning

Black Lightning’s feud with Tobias Whale “ends tonight” in the trailer for “Unfinished Business.


Nancy Drew

Tom Swift debuts in the trailer for “The Celestial Visitor”next week’s episode of Nancy Drew.


Kung Fu

Finally, the gang heists a museum in the trailer for next week’s episode of Kung Fu.


Banner art by Jim Cook

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Marvel’s Loki Will Mischievously Show Up on Disney+ a Few Days Early

Hi Tom.

Hi Tom.
Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Leave it to Loki to screw everything up. The next Disney+ series from Marvel Studios was set to debut on Friday, June 11, following the scheduling pattern set by WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. But it seems that’s not how Loki does things: the show will now debut June 9, which is a Wednesday, and continue to debut on Wednesdays instead of Fridays.

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Here’s Tom Hiddleston breaking the news with a decidedly Mean Girls catch phrase.

On the one hand, there’s not a lot to analyze here. The show is coming out on a different day of the week than the others. Big deal, right? Well, yes and no. What’s the thought behind the move? Both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were huge successes for Disney; their Friday releases meant they dominated cultural conversation not just for the weekend, but the week that followed. It feels very “God of Mischief” to drop on Wednesday and disrupt your regularly scheduled work week—but beyond that, is the hope to somehow get more buzz by having three days per week to break down the show? And if so, why change it up now?

All good things to discuss in the comments below. But the main takeaway is that Loki is arriving a few days early; he’ll see you Wednesday mornings at 12:01 a.m. PST starting June 9.


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Doctor Strange 2 Had to Be Rewritten When Marvel Cut Strange From WandaVision

Strange happenings behind the scenes.

Strange happenings behind the scenes.
Image: Marvel Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch was signed to appear as Doctor Strange on the finale of WandaVision. Then Marvel decided against it and had to change everything.

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Rolling Stone spoke to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and he explained how this surprising news all went down. Basically, because Marvel had announced Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) would be appearing in the Doctor Strange sequel Doctor Strange and Multiverse of Madness, the plan was for Cumberbatch to appear on the show to tie into that movie. One version had him pop up in one of WandaVision’s commercials. Another had the commercials as actual messages from Strange to Wanda. But eventually, they just cut him out.

“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Doctor Strange,’” Feige told Rolling Stone. “But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie—here’s the white guy, ‘Let me show you how power works.’”

Once Strange’s link to Wanda was cut out of the show, the movie itself had to be changed too, most likely to add in the bit of story linking the Sorcerer Supreme and Scarlet Witch that would’ve happened on the show. As the MCU stands now, WandaVision left Wanda alone in some faraway place, studying up on her new powers. Some have suggested she got away too easily, without paying the price for what she did to the people of Westview, but Olsen herself has a tease about that.

“She had to get away before the people who have to hold her accountable got there,” Olsen told the magazine. “And where she went is a place that no one could find her. Because she knows that she is going to be held accountable, and I think she has a tremendous amount of guilt.”

It sounds like that might be a clue to how Wanda plays into the Multiverse of Madness. We’ll find out March 25, 2022.


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2021 Summer Movie Preview: Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy You Can (Maybe) Watch in Theaters

From the post-apocalypse to the moon, there’s a lot of places to be whisked away to this summer.

From the post-apocalypse to the moon, there’s a lot of places to be whisked away to this summer.
Image: Paramount, Warner Bros, A24, Marvel Studios, and Netflix

We feel like Janine in Ghostbusters, except instead of screaming “We got one!” it’s “Summer movies!”

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Yes, after basically a full year without movies in theaters, covid-19 vaccinations and health regulations have made it possible for some theaters to reopen—that means it’s time for an actual summer movie season. Hollywood is dusting off the blockbuster films that were supposed to come out in 2020 and releasing them this year and the boom in home viewing means an equal amount of intriguing films are coming to various on-demand and streaming services over the next few months. It’s not the traditional summer movie season by a long shot, but it’s close and we’ll certainly take it.

Note: It should go without saying but considering the pandemic is still ongoing, movie release dates can shift at any moment. All below dates are tentative and subject to change.


MAY

Cerebrum: In director Arvi’s Cerebrum, a man named Tom Davis (Christian James) signs up to participate in an experimental test of neurological technology capable of backing up a person’s consciousness digitally. Soon, he becomes involves in a strange series of events involving him committing a crime he can’t exactly recall committing and might not be responsible for. With Tom’s mind not being quite in a fixed state of existence within his own body, there’s likely some credence to his belief that he’s innocent—but while he might not be able to recall moments from his recent past, others do, and what they’ve seen disturbs them deeply. (May 4 on demand)

Benny Loves You: After spending a major chunk of his early adult life waiting for it to feel meaningful, Jack (Karl Holt) resolves to become a different person by tossing out a number of things from his past—like his once-beloved stuffed animal, Benny. But while Jack may have found a reason to move on, Benny loves what they once had, so much so that when the doll comes to life, he decides that the best way of righting Jack’s wrong is to murder people in a variety of ridiculous ways, all the while chirping pre-programmed phrases meant to make children feel safe. (May 7)

The Devil’s Child: Colombian filmmaker David Bohórquez makes his feature debut with this chiller about a young home-care nurse with a traumatic past. Things take a turn for the terrifying when her latest patient, an elderly man dwelling in a remote mansion, soon starts displaying malevolent powers. (May 7)

The Unthinkable: Explosions throughout Stockholm plunge the city into chaos, and citizens are left with no way of leaving the area where the strange attacks all seem to be occurring. Things become that much more complicated when reports spread that the military’s spotted an unidentified aircraft floating nearby. It’s unclear what exactly is plaguing the city as Alex (Christoffer Nordenrot) risks the danger to go searching for Anna (Lisa Henni), but what he finds is that the entire world may be on the brink of something devastating. (May 7)

The Water Man: When the mother (Rosario Dawson) of a young boy named Gunner (Lonnie Chavis) falls mysteriously ill in ways his father (David Oyelowo) tries to shield him from, Gunner puts his faith in the legendary Water Man, an otherworldly being who’s said to have immense restorative abilities. No one around Gunner pays much attention to his growing fascination with the Water Man, or his growing belief that he might live somewhere in the dense forest near his home—but as Gunner embarks on a journey with his friend Jo (Amiah Miller), the two quickly find that the Water Man may be much more real and dangerous than anyone truly knew. (May 7)

Oxygen: Suddenly awaking from an unknown sleep to find herself in a cryo-freezing unit, a young woman (Mélanie Laurent) is on a race against time to find both her memories and how to get out before her oxygen runs out. (May 12 on Netflix)

Spiral: From the Book of Saw: The Saw series seemed pretty dead after the putrid last film, Jigsaw, but then superfan Chris Rock came on board. He pitched a new take on the series, put himself in the lead, and brought along Samuel L. Jackson. The result, we hope, will breathe new life into one of modern horror’s most enduring franchises. (May 14)

The Djinn: There are a couple of other horror movies floating around out there with very similar titles, but this one—written and directed by Justin Powell and David Charbonier (The Boy Behind the Door)—is about a mute boy who must fend for himself after he accidentally awakens a very sinister spirit while innocently trying to make a wish. (May 14)

Army of the Dead: Zack Snyder’s first film was about zombies. His most recent film was about a team of heroes in a huge cinematic universe. And his next film, Army of the Dead, brings those two ideas together. It’s Snyder’s attempt at a fun, violent, horror-action film that’s poised to launch other spinoffs along the way. If this first film is as good as we hope, at least. (May 14 in theaters, May 21 on Netflix)

Seance: At a posh boarding school, new girl Camille (Suki Waterhouse) finds her not-so-warm welcome from the resident cool clique compounded by an ill-advised group decision to try and contact the ghost that’s said to haunt the property. Veteran horror screenwriter Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest, 2016’s Blair Witch) makes his directorial debut with this spooky-looking tale. (May 21)

Dementia Part II: Apparently made on a dare, this movie hit festivals to much acclaim a few years ago, but now it’s getting a wider release. When an ex-con gets a job doing handyman work for an elderly woman named Suzanne, he discovers she has… well, you know. Then he discovers there’s a lot of people being affected by Suzanne’s dementia, specifically in the way of knife wounds and possibly cannibalism. This indie horror movie looks like it was made for $10,000, but it’s such a clear homage to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 that it undeniably has charm. (May 21 in theaters, and June 1 on VOD and home video)

Ghost Lab: A supernatural thriller from Thailand that is, as you may have guessed from the name, about a lab that does research on ghouls and ghosts. Directed by “Goff” Paween Purijitpanya, it stars “Tor” Thanapob Leeratanakachorn, “Ice” Paris Intarakomalyasut, and “Nychaa” Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich. (May 26 on Netflix)

Cruella: Beneath the many layers of affected glamor and costume jewelry, there are two truths about Cruella DeVil (Emma Stone): she was always evil to her core, and destined to be done in by a pack of literal dogs. But before the fashionable supervillain would get what’s coming to her, she got in a few good years of wreaking absolute criminal havoc throughout London as revenge for being mistreated as a lowly employee at a respected fashion house. If we’re all being honest, that’s also something she seems to have deserved from the looks of Cruella’s trailers, which might end up making the character’s larger existential story one about balance. (May 28 in theaters and Disney+)

A Quiet Place Part II: Here’s how you’ll know if the 2021 summer movie season is actually a thing: if you’re sitting in a theater to watch this horror sequel, which was supposed to be released last March and had more delays than any other film out there. So if you’re watching Emily Blunt and her family surviving in a world where monsters kill you if you make a sound, summer movies are officially back. (May 28)

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JUNE

Spare Parts: When a grungy rock band gets run off the road, the grrls wake up to discover their arms have been amputated and replaced with weapons. Oh, and now they’re all gladiators for the amusement of an ersatz emperor and his bloodthirsty subjects. This Canadian B-movie somewhat upends the “attractive women forced to fight” trope by having its unwilling participants become not only willing but happy and fulfilled in their new roles as warriors, but this isn’t going to be for everyone. (June 1 on VOD and home video)

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Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal the Movie 1 & 2: Holy crap, new Sailor Moon movies??? (June 3 on Netflix)

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are back for more adventures in supernatural terror inspired by their famous case files. Instead of another haunted-house tale, the third installment in the massively popular Conjuring series will be a courtroom drama—no doubt enhanced by scary-as-hell scenes outside the courtroom, too—based on a real case in which an accused murderer tried to use demonic possession as his defense. (June 4 in theaters and HBO Max)

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Samaritan: We know almost nothing about this movie starring Sylvester Stallone other than he says it’s supposed to be “a different kind of superhero movie” and this incredibly brief, vague synopsis: “A young boy learns that a superhero who was thought to have gone missing after an epic battle 20 years ago may in fact still be around.” This is a bit concerning, given that the movie is supposed to come out in a mere month, but maybe we’ll get a trailer soon? (June 4)

Flashback: When Frederick Fitzell (The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien) starts having visions of a girl that vanished back in his high school, he gathers his old friends to figure out what happened—by taking a mysterious drug called Mercury that either gives him flashbacks and/or possibly sends his consciousness back to the past… and maybe even more. Flashback doesn’t have a star-studded cast, but take a moment to watch the trailer, because this movie looks fascinating. (June 4)

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Illustration for article titled 2021 Summer Movie Preview: Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy You Can (Maybe) Watch in Theaters

Photo: Netflix

Awake: We don’t have any footage of this one yet but it’s a sci-fi thriller directed by Mark Raso and written by him and Joseph Raso. It stars Gina Rodriguez, Lucius Hoyos, and Love and Monsters Ariana Greenblatt along with Jennifer Jason Leigh, Finn Jones, Shamier Anderson, and Frances Fisher. (June 9 on Netflix)

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Wish Dragon: If you didn’t get enough magical dragons from Raya this year, how about some more? The summary is as follows: “In Sony Pictures Animation’s Wish Dragon, Din, a working-class college student with big dreams but small means, and Long, a cynical but all-powerful dragon capable of granting wishes, set off on a hilarious adventure through modern day Shanghai in pursuit of Din’s long-lost childhood friend, Lina. Their journey forces them to answer some of life’s biggest questions—because when you can wish for anything, you have to decide what really matters.” It stars the voices of John Cho, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jimmy Wong, Constance Wu, Will Yun Lee, and more. (June 11 on Netflix)

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Untitled Horror Movie: No, it’s not a placeholder! Nick Simon’s horror-comedy follows a group of actors (Claire Holt, Luke Baines, Darren Barnet, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Katherine McNamara, and Timothy Granaderos) about to be out of jobs when their long-running TV show is canceled. What better way to pass the time by filming your own horror movie, and accidentally summoning a bloodthirsty demon to pick each of you off while doing so? (June 15)

Luca: If Luca’s (Jacob Tremblay) parents didn’t make such a fuss about keeping him from wandering out of the ocean to the surface world where humans dwelled, it’s likely that he would have been content to spend his days living hidden in the sea with the rest of his amphibious people. But once Luca begins sneaking up to the surface to hang out with his new buddy Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), who makes a point of bucking their people’s norms, it takes almost no time before the fish boys are sneaking around among humans, all the while hoping that their secret’s never found out. (June 18 on Disney+)

Peter Rabbit 2: James Corden is back and bunnied up for the next animation/live-action hybrid take on Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s book icon. Unappreciated for his antics at home, this time Peter goes on the run in search of adventure… only to find it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. (June 18)

F9: With this film poised to be the blockbuster of the summer, the return of the Fast and Furious franchise arrives with high expectations. Like, beyond sky-high. Like, we’re going to space because that’s what the franchise is now. F9 is the first part in a trilogy of Fast films that’ll bring the saga to a close, and that means it’s going to be epic as all hell. (June 25)

Werewolves Within: If the trailer is anything to go by, this based-on-a-VR-game tale of a small town with a sudden werewolf problem looks like a blast. As an added bonus, the cast includes What We Do in the Shadows’ Harvey “Guillermo” Guillén, who we would follow into any genre but are delighted to see him keeping it in the horror family here. (June 25)

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America: The Motion Picture: We just found out about this wild one where the makers of Archer retell the founding of the United States. It stars a curiously buff George Washington (voiced by Channing Tatum), along with Sam Adams (Jason Mantzoukas), Blacksmith (Killer Mike), Geronimo (Raoul Max Trujillo), and Thomas Edison (Olivia Munn). (June 30 on Netflix)

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JULY

The Forever Purge: The fifth and purportedly last installment in the indefatigable Purge series picks up after the election in part four, which saw the annual ritual of murderous mayhem abolished. Naturally, that doesn’t sit well with the Purge faithful, as an unfortunate couple discovers when they seek refuge in the wrong Texas border town. (July 2)

The Tomorrow War: Chris Pratt plays a soldier recruited across time to form an elite squadron of temporally displaced commandos tasked with fighting for a future Earth ravaged by alien invaders. (July 2 on Amazon)

Black Widow: We got emotional every time we heard that Marvel Studios music on Disney+ for WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so to hear it in a theater, watching a new Marvel Studios movie… well, we’re not entirely sure how we’ll react. Plus, we finally get to learn more about Natasha’s past and family and see how that may impact the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (July 9 in theaters and Disney+)

Space Jam: A New Legacy: Michael Jordan may be the only original Space Jam star who doesn’t appear in this sequel. As the trailer showed, an alarmingly robust lineup of Warner Bros. characters will watch as LeBron James and the Looney Tunes attempt to escape a virtual world. (July 16 in theaters and HBO Max)

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Cinderella: Although this is a musical, Disney has nothing to do with this modern retelling of the Cinderella story. Pop star Camila Cabello stars as the titular serving girl, with Billy Porter as her fairy godparent, and Frozen’s Idina Menzel as her evil stepmother. Other than the time frame, it seems like this adaptation will otherwise be faithful to the original fairy tale, as comedians John Mulaney and James Corden will play the two mice who become footmen, so you can probably expect pumpkin carriages and glass slippers as well. (July 16)

Night House: David Bruckner (The Signal) directs Rebecca Hall (Godzilla vs. Kong) in this eerie tale of a recently widowed woman who starts to believe she’s being haunted by her husband’s ghost, with a troubling mystery about his death lurking around the edges of her grief. (July 16)

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Great White: Here’s a new spin on the killer shark movie as Katrina Bowden (30 Rock) and four other strangers crash land and must fight to survive in the water against… well, you guessed it. (July 16)

Old: If growing old wasn’t scary enough, just wait until the concept finds its way into the capable hands of director M. Night Shyamalan. He’s weaponized aging with his new film about random people on a beach that ages its occupants at an alarmingly fast rate. A simple idea. A scary idea. And we are terrified to see what happens next. (July 23)

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Hotel Transylvania: Transformania: Genndy Tartakovsky is out of the director’s seat for the fourth Hotel Transylvania, which sees Dracula (Brian Hull, replacing Adam Sandler) and his dysfunctional vampire-human family return for one seemingly final time. (July 23)

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins: Hasbro reboots the G.I. Joe franchise by focusing on the origin story of the franchise’s most popular character, Snake Eyes (as did 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but no matter). Crazy Rich Asians breakout Henry Golding plays the ninja, with Andrew Koji as his archrival Storm Shadow and Samara Weaving and Úrsula Corberó as the fan-favorites G.I. Joe agent Scarlett and Cobra officer the Baroness, respectively. It’s extremely weird that a major summer blockbuster like this hasn’t released a trailer yet—especially since the movie was originally scheduled for March 27, 2020—but hopefully, there’s nothing to worry about. (July 23)

Jungle Cruise: After Disney made billions on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you’d assume the studio would rush right back and make movies about all of its theme-park rides. Alas, that didn’t happen. In fact, it won’t be until this movie that one single ride gets its own full-fledged, big-budget Disney action movie. So you have to think it’ll be worth the wait. (July 30)

The Green Knight: King Arthur’s (Sean Harris) nephew, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) is all-too-accustomed to being in the presence of living legends whose existences are entangled in the deeper magics of the world that many people don’t necessarily believe in. This, among other things, is what pushes Gawain to set out in search of the legendary Green Knight (Ralph Ineson), a being said to be more than human, and neither friend nor foe. (July 30)

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans: Guillermo del Toro is back for more as “the heroes from Trollhunters, 3 Below, and Wizards must team up to face a mysterious enemy who threatens to take over their worlds.” Sounds like its own MCU! (July 21 on Netflix)

Nine Days: When violin prodigy Amanda dies in a car crash, Will (Black Panther’s Winston Duke) has a tough job: interviewing and selecting which one of five candidates gets to be reborn in her place. If the candidates (including characters played by Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård, and Tony Hale) can’t make their case over the course of nine days, they’re erased from existence. This surreal, somber existential drama has been widely acclaimed, as has Duke’s performance. (July 30)

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Illustration for article titled 2021 Summer Movie Preview: Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy You Can (Maybe) Watch in Theaters

Photo: Netflix

Blood Red Sky: Listed as supernatural horror on Netflix’s website, the official description for this one is: “Flying with her young son, a mysteriously ill woman is forced to unleash a dark secret when terrorists attempt to hijack their transatlantic flight.” So… werewolves… or vampires… or zombies on a plane? We shall see. (TBD July on Netflix)

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AUGUST

The Suicide Squad: From the trailers, it’s pretty evident James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is gonna be a blast. What we’re wondering though is—if it has characters from the other Suicide Squad movie, but also new characters, and also a talking shark, what the heck world is this movie set in? Maybe the bigger question is, does it even matter? We aren’t sure but our excitement to find out will continue to increase through August. (August 6 in theaters and HBO Max)

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The Last Matinee: Think of the opening of Scream 2, but made into a whole movie. That’s The Last Matinee, about a killer who begins to pick off audience members who’re watching a new horror film. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theater! (August 8)

Free Guy: What would happen if one of the NPCs in your favorite video game became self-aware? That’s kind of the setup for Free Guy, which has Ryan Reynolds blasting his way through a video game world. It looks absolutely ridiculous and that’s exactly what we want it to be. (August 13)

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Don’t Breathe 2: In this sequel to 2016 horror hit, the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) is back to make a fresh group of home invaders fervently wish they’d picked another address. This time, he’s trying to make a fresh start with his adopted daughter, until she’s kidnapped and he has to dig deep with his own particular brand of revenge. (August 13)

Demonic: “A young woman unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed in this horror-thriller from director Neill Blomkamp,” according to the official synopsis. Reportedly, the film will also include sci-fi elements, which isn’t surprising given the director’s pedigree, which includes District 9 and Elysium. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the film is that Blomkamp managed to shoot it entirely during the pandemic, so it’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. (August 20 in theaters and on VOD)

Candyman: As the summer comes to a close and the fall creeps in, what better movie to bridge the gap than Nia DaCosta’s Candyman? Another of the 2020 holdovers, this horror remake/sequel explores the hook-handed killer from the past in a new, modern context. We’re very ready to be scared by him once again. (August 27)

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Reminiscence: Set in a near-future ravaged by rising sea levels, Nicholas (Hugh Jackman), a man who uses technology to investigate and re-live peoples’ memories, finds himself falling for a client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). But when another client’s experiences implicate Mae in a series of violent crimes, Nicholas finds himself thrust into a dark and personal new investigation. (August 27)


TBD Summer

Illustration for article titled 2021 Summer Movie Preview: Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy You Can (Maybe) Watch in Theaters

Photo: Netflix

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Fear Street Saga: R.L. Stines’ other horror novel franchise is finally getting its due with not one, not two, but three films, all directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak. Fear Street: 1994, Fear Street: 1978, and Fear Street: 1666 are all coming to haunt us, trilogy-style. (TBD on Netflix)

Vivo: When a sudden tragedy tears Vivo, a musical kinkajou (Lin-Manuel Miranda) from owner and friend Andrés (Juan de Marcos González), the lively mammal is heartbroken. But Vivo’s outlook shifts after he comes into contact with Andrés’ old partner, superstar Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), to who Andrés never got to profess his love. Though Vivo can’t actually speak, he knows that he has what it takes to convey Andrés’ message to Marta, but he’s going to have to actually get to her first if he wants to accomplish his goal. (Summer TBD on Netflix)

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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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Marvel’s Secret Invasion Is Being Invaded by Oscar Winner Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman is joining the MCU.

Olivia Colman is joining the MCU.
Photo: Amazon

How big is Marvel Studios these days? It can get Oscar-winning actors to appear not just in its movies, but on its streaming shows. Case in point: Olivia Colman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2019, is joining up with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn for Secret Invasion, one of several upcoming Disney+ Marvel shows.

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The Hollywood Reporter broke the news and though there’s no word on who Colman will be playing, “an infiltration of Skrulls on Earth figures into the proceedings” of the show, which is unsurprising since it shares a name with the iconic comics event where, well, exactly that happens. We don’t know for sure, but it’s likely that Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion picks up after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home where Nick Fury (Jackson) was revealed to be out in space on a Skrull ship while Talos (Mendelsohn) was back on Earth, pretending to be Fury. All of which was set up in Captain Marvel, and likewise there’s no word on how, or if, the show will impact the sequel to that movie, which is set for release November 2022.

Colman won that 2019 Oscar for The Favourite—and, looking across her career, it’s so perfect that she won for that. In that role, she was required to be funny and dark and intense all rolled into one, which is basically everything she, herself, can do as an actress. Many of us probably remember her first from her small, funny role as one of the police officers in Hot Fuzz. More recently, she’s been stunning and stoic as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown. But she also stood toe-to-toe with new Indiana Jones cast member Phoebe Waller-Bridge for two seasons of the amazing Fleabag and got another Oscar nomination this year for her movie with with Odin himself, Anthony Hopkins, in The Father. She’s a powerhouse of talent that will be a formidable friend (or foe) to Fury and his crew.

Secret Invasion does not yet have a release date but One Night in Miami star Kingsley Ben-Adir is also on board, and Mr. Robot’s Kyle Bradstreet is showrunning.


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Disney+ Subscriptions Are About to Get More Expensive

Illustration for article titled Disney+ Subscriptions Are About to Get More Expensive

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP (Getty Images)

Disney+ is getting pricier, but there’s still time to score it at a discount.

As previously announced back in September, Disney+ subscriptions and its bundle package with ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu are getting a price hike. Beginning March 26, subscriptions for the service will jump from $7 to $8 per month, while the annual subscription option will jump from $70 to $80 per year. The Disney+ bundle will increase from $13 to $14 a month. In other words, anybody looking to stay with the service for the next year would be wise to get the annual plan at a discount while they still can.

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Disney+ sister services also recently saw their subscription fees increase. The ad-free version of Hulu with Live TV increased to $71 per month from $61 per month in December, while its ad-supported version jumped from $55 to $65 per month. The ESPN+ annual plan saw its subscription costs increase in January from $50 to $60 after a previous increase in monthly costs from $5 to $6 last year.

Frankly, an increase in Disney+ subscription costs was inevitable. The company has dumped a ton of resources into producing 100 new titles for the service each year—Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic included—and recently soared past 100 million subscriptions far ahead of schedule. It’s even restructured its business to focus on making its streaming properties a success.

But it has also created more value on the service with its Premier Access offering, which allows users to pay to see major films from home the same day they release in theaters. Just this week, the company announced it would use this release model for two of its highly anticipated 2021 releases, the live-action remake of Cruella and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow. Its originals are performing well, too. WandaVision premieres seemingly crashed the dang site, for crying out loud.

Even after its price hike, Disney+ is still a steal—particularly for families. Disney may be focused on scale at the moment, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear about yet another price increase in the not-so-distant future.

Black Widow Is Coming Home on July 9

Black Widow is coming home.

Black Widow is coming home.
Image: Marvel Studios

Well, it’s official. You’ll be able to watch Marvel’s Black Widow, at home, on July 9.

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The next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was originally supposed to be out last May. Due to covid-19 though, it moved once, then twice, and now we finally know it will be released both on Disney+ and in theaters simultaneously. Disney+ Premier Access will require an additional fee, of course.

With the Black Widow announcement, Disney also revealed its upcoming film, Cruella, will follow the same strategy, coming to theaters as well as Disney+ (via Premier Access) on May 28. Also, Pixar’s animated Luca, will now be skipping theaters and debut exclusively on Disney+ June 18.

New release dates were also given to the following films:

  • Free Guy on August 13, 2021
  • Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on September 3, 2021
  • The King’s Man on December 22, 2021

Eternals is currently still set for November 5 which means fans will get not just three (at least) Disney+ Marvel Studios television shows this year, but four movies as well, when you factor in Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. These moves also suggest previous Disney+ releases of planned theatrical movies, such as Mulan, Soul, and Raya and the Last Dragon, must have been fairly successful for the company. If it wasn’t, odds are Disney probably wouldn’t have duplicated the strategies for Luca, Black Widow, and Cruella.

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz, Black Widow was directed by Cate Shortland and written by Eric Pearson from a story by Jac Schaeffer (WandaVision) and Ned Benson. The film is a prequel, taking place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgamebecause…yeah.

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Wants to Tackle Big Issues, Fictional and Otherwise

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This is a key relationship in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Photo: Marvel Studios

All Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier needed to be was Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan talking shit and beating up bad guys. If it was that and only that, it would have been great—but Marvel Studios isn’t satisfied with just great. In a world where Sam Wilson has been given Captain America’s shield and half the galaxy’s population has just reappeared out of nowhere, obviously there are more interesting stories to tell, in addition to plenty of shit-talking and beating up bad guys.

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The first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will start streaming on Disney+ this Friday and with it, fans will get their best look yet at what the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like after the events of Avengers: Endgame. That means no Iron Man and, more importantly, no Captain America. Unless Sam wants to step up to the shield.

That dilemma, and the aftermath of what’s come to be known in-universe as “the Blip,” is where you’ll find most of the drama in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Drama that’s being spearheaded by Malcolm Spellman, the show’s head writer and executive producer. Best known for his work on Fox’s Empire, Spellman spoke to io9 about the important issues the show deals with, how it initially developed at Marvel, and what excites him most about it all.


Illustration for article titled The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Wants to Tackle Big Issues, Fictional and Otherwise

Photo: Marvel Studios

Germain Lussier, io9: I’m curious about when you pitched the show and first got hired. How did that work? How many ideas were already in place? Were there any parameters or limits? Did they already have an ending in mind? How much freedom is there versus what Marvel already had planned?

Malcolm Spellman: All of that. I walked in, I say, “Kevin [Feige], this is how it’s going to go.” No. Marvel partners you with their creative execs. So I got lucky enough to be partnered with Nate Moore and his partner, Zoie Nagelhout, who grew up at Marvel. And they’re just in tune with Kevin and they present you with ideas to start a conversation.

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Almost everyone I’ve sat with thinks that [Marvel is] control freaks—and they’re not, because they know you’re working side by side with their creative team and they just want to get the conversation going. They want you to do the best you could do. So there was no ending. Like, there were definitely ideas. There was definitely a menu of characters. There were different arenas to play in. And then they make it clear that you’re free to change it. And of course, as we worked on this thing, it changed a million times. It is not preconceived notions. They want this stuff to be inspired and born from a truly fair and pure creative space, not from Marvel mandates on checking boxes. 

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Photo: Marvel Studios

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io9: So what were the main ideas that made you want to do it? I mean, obviously, you walk in and you know it’s going to be Falcon and the Winter Soldier. You know it’s after Endgame. You know Sam’s been handed the shield. Beyond that, what were the main things that got you excited about this?

Spellman: Number one, getting to unpack all that baggage that Bucky has accrued and all the fans being aware of it. And to present Bucky not as a tortured hero, but as a human being who has been burdened for so long. Basically, whether you have a friend who has a terrible spouse or a friend that has an addiction issue or a friend that’s dumping money into a house that they need to get rid of, we all have those people in our lives that we wish would break off the thing that’s weighing them down. And by doing that, I think Bucky became super relatable and super modern in that fans got to see him dealing with the same kind of stuff they do. Same holds true for Sam. We want both these heroes to emerge as people who have a real-life story that makes them relatable and makes them modern in how common their struggles are at home.

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io9: I love that. Now, this show is so ingrained in the idea of the Blip and after the Blip. More than the movies have so far, you really dig into the realities of the anger and division that that created. Was that an idea that kind of developed in your discussions? Was it already there? And what is it like coordinating that to make sure it lines up with anything else that comes after?

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Spellman: Yeah, I mean, we very early on knew that that was the thing we wanted. When you’re doing a buddy two-hander, one thing that genre does really well, people always think of the humor, but what buddy two-handers do is use humor to tackle real issues without ever boring the audience or losing the fun.

And so the Blip was just an issue that was so attractive to me because everybody, when we first started, was feeling out of sorts, you know what I’m saying? Everybody is feeling like things are changing. The Blip was the perfect embodiment of that. And then some magic happened, which is we got shut down because we had to deal with covid. And covid, obviously, is an international tragedy, but the magic of the shutdown was that we got to connect the Blip to that even more directly.

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Photo: Marvel Studios

io9: You mentioned real issues. One of the things that Kevin Feige has been saying in interviews is how the show is going to address social issues regarding race. And in the pilot, we get that with the scenes [spoiler redacted]. But I was wondering if you could explain a bit more about how real-world issues of racism are going to work into the framework of a superhero show.

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Spellman: I mean, there’s no way around it. The shield in Steve Rogers’ hands looks very, very different than the shield in Sam’s hand. And a Black man carrying that symbol is not a thing that is necessarily appropriate. And Sam’s got to deal with that because he was tasked with this great thing from Steve. Yet he is decidedly not only Black, but from the South, you know what I’m saying? And that’s not going nowhere, that issue. I can’t wait to see y’all…because the great thing about Marvel is you’re able to tackle those issues in ways that are left of obvious because there is always somebody that embodies an issue and then is able to bring it to life in a unique way.

io9: So do you think the fact that America would be such a shitty place for Black people plays into his debate to not immediately just take the mantle of Cap?

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Spellman: I think it’s right there on the surface. I mean, it’s not an accident that you see [spoiler redacted] talking in that first episode. They are the two…like again, T’Challa is African and does deal with issues—his point of view is Black, but it’s African. And not only is he African, he’s royalty, you know what I’m saying? I mean, as far as he’s concerned, he is top of the food chain wherever he goes. In America, the identity of Blackness is very, very different and the relationship with the Stars and Stripes is very, very different and Sam is not hiding from that and has to cope with it. Yeah, that’s right there.


The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is right here too. It’ll be on Disney+ Friday.

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