Star Wars 8 Director Rian Johnson Has A Cameo In Rogue One

During a major panel to promote the upcoming Star Wars adventures, Rian Johnson revealed that both he and his assistant would show up during the events of Rogue One. He said:

We’re each one of the guys in the firing chamber of the Death Star.

So it looks like Rogue One: A Star Wars story will continue the long tradition of in-jokes and cameos in Star Wars movies. All that being said, it sounds as though Rian Johnson’s cameo will be an incredibly brief one. He claims that he and his assistant joined the cast as unnamed Imperial officers who work in the firing chamber of the Death Star. To corroborate his claim, he also shared a behind the scenes photo of himself and his assistant in full Imperial outfits.


The image of the two Death Star cannon operators has become one of the most iconic images in the history of Star Wars. In particular, these two officers show up in A New Hope to fire the Death Star’s enormous laser when Grand Moff Tarkin decides to destroy Alderaan in front of Leia Organa — although we cannot confirm whether or not these are intended to be the exact same officers.

Although it’s seemingly an incredibly minor detail, the fact that Rian Johnson will have a cameo in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shows that the filmmakers behind the new movies have an acute understanding of the franchise’s traditions. If you blink you might even miss it, so make sure to keep an eye out for Rian Johnson’s role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The film hits theaters on December 16.

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Civil War Concept Art Recreates and Hawkeye & Ant-Man Pose

Captain America: Civil War blew the door off the box office earlier this year, with an entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that pitted hero against hero in an incredible showdown.

Any superhero film worth its salt is going to have some great comic panel moments that really capture the intense action the medium is known for. Civil War was full of these, but one scene in particular blew folks away when the film’s second trailer dropped, and that was Ant-Man riding Hawkeye’s arrow into battle.

Marvel movie concept artist Andy Park has been responsible for a wealth of exciting images from the MCU canon. His latest Twitter reveal shows off the visual precursor to the big Ant-Man/Hawkeye moment in the film.

Park’s imagery never fails to impress, but it’s incredible to think of how much time and effort goes into planning out every moment of these tentpole films. While this concept imagery doesn’t seem to act so much as a direct storyboard, it’s likely vital to selling the big (read: expensive) moments that the filmmakers think will drive audiences into the theater.

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The Next Season Of Game Of Thrones Arrives Summer 2017

As for the delay in production, each season of Game of Thrones has taken longer and been more difficult to produce than the one before – an issue exasperated by the need for colder weather in the TV show’s more Northern filming locations in season 7 (after all, “Winter is here“).

Game of Thrones’ seventh season will indeed run for only seven episodes, and will debut in the summer rather than the spring of next year, per the announcement from HBO.

“Now that winter has arrived on ‘Game of Thrones,’ executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing. Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.”

In addition, HBO announced the the season is mostly being filmed in Northern Ireland, with other locations including several cities in Spain (Sevilla, Caceres, Almodovar del Rio, Santiponce, Zumaia and Bermeo) as well as Iceland.

What can we glean from this? Well, the filming in Iceland indicates that we’re going to spend some time in season 7 North of the Wall, while Northern Ireland has served as the location headquarters for King’s Landing, as well as various other interiors, throughout the series.

Yes, it’s disappointing that Game of Thrones fans will have to wait a few months longer for the resolution to Season 6’s plots. But if it results in a better, more satisfying show? It will be worth the wait.

Game of Thrones will debut in the summer of 2017 on HBO; an official date has not yet been announced.

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J.J. Abrams Teases Next Star Trek Sequel

While Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters next week, talk is already turning to the next installment in the rebooted franchise. After helming 2009’s Star Trek and its first sequel, J.J. Abrams found himself busy with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and stepped back to a producer role for Beyond, with Fast & Furious 6 helmer Justin Lin coming onboard. But when asked if they’ve already thought about ideas for Star Trek 4, Abrams responded enthusiastically:

“Yes, and there’s something that hopefully we’re figuratively minutes away from talking about. The answer is 100% yes, and it’s incredibly exciting.”

It’s not uncommon for studios to start work on sequels before the imminent film is released, but the Trek franchise has been a curious case. The 2009 reboot was a commercial success as was Into Darkness, but neither film hit the heights of other blockbuster franchises like Fast & Furious or Star Wars.

Chris Hemsworth will reportedly be returning to the franchise after playing George Kirk—Chris Pine’s father—in the 2009 film’s fantastic prologue, re-joining the series for Star Trek 4.

It’s possible Abrams and Co. will officially announce this casting next week during the film’s Comic-Con premiere, so stay tuned. Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters on July 22nd.

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Daisy Ridley Celebrated The Wrap Of Star Wars Episode VIII

As the cast starts to wrap production on Rian Johnson’s entry in the legendary sci-fi franchise’s canon, we already saw Mark Hamill’s sign-off, and now we have Daisy Ridley’s goodbye.

The Star Wars actor shared her fond farewell to the production of Star Wars: Episode VIII through her official Instagram account, and it’s a pretty cryptic image. If you look at it a certain way, it looks like Daisy Ridley is in a very similar setting to the one we saw her in towards the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It would seem highly unlikely that the powers that be at Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd. would let Daisy Ridley show off too much of the Star Wars: Episode VIII set, but at the same time a little tease seems like the least that could be done. The photo could very well be set on a new planet that we haven’t seen yet, seeing as Starkiller Base isn’t the only snowy planet in the Star Wars galaxy. Also, it certainly doesn’t help that the outfit Ridley is wearing in this photo doesn’t look like it’s changed much from the original outfit that Rey was wearing throughout Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It’s a long road between now and Star Wars: Episode VIII, but we’d like to congratulate Daisy Ridley on wrapping what we’re already anxiously anticipating to be one of 2017’s biggest hits. Star Wars: Episode VIII will be released on December 15, 2017, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story serving as an appetizer to hold us over on December 16th.

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Legendary Is Catching the Rights for a Live-Action ‘Pokemon’ Movie

According to Deadline, Legendary Pictures is in the lead to acquire the rights to make a live-action movie based on the popular Nintendo video game. For those who have never played Pokemon, you play as a young trainer who is tasked with catching adorable monsters and them pitting them against each other in battle.

There’s been a surge of interest in Pokemon in the past several days since the release of the popular app, Pokemon GO, which is an AR game that puts Pokemon in the real world and you can see them on your smartphone screen.

Deadline reports “Details are scant at this point, and no deal has been closed, but I am persuaded that it’s headed that way. Attempts to get comment from Legendary were unavailing, and calls to Pokemon USA were not returned.”

Legendary studios saw mixed success with its video game adaptation of Warcraft earlier this year, a film that tanked in the U.S., but was a smashing success in China.

But while Warcraft is steeped in mythology and the movie suffers a bit for trying to address all that mythology, Pokemon could be a much easier sell. It’s kid-friendly, could easily fit in the formula of a sports film, and is designed to reach a wide audience.

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Wonder Woman Movie Synopsis Released

While it remains to be seen what the fortunes of Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe project will be with the release of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, eyes will thereafter turn to Wonder Woman.

While details regarding Wonder Woman‘s solo effort have been coming in bits and pieces, Warner Bros. had yet to release a full synopsis. That is no longer the case, however, as fans anticipating the heroine’s solo-feature debut can read the official synopsis for the film, which is due to hit theaters next June.

As part of a press release laying out Warner Bros.’ big plans for San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the studio laid out the following as the first official plot synopsis for the Patty Jenkins-directed period-actioner Wonder Woman.

“’Wonder Woman’ hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

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‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’: Pic Confirms a Fan Favorite’s Return

(Spoilers for Kingsman: The Secret Service ahead)

Considering how we last saw Harry, it seemed unlikely that Colin Firth would return for the sequel. Yet rumors persisted that he would, either via a twin, flashback, or “faked his own death” scenario, until a report surfaced those plans had been scrapped, which was then seemingly rebuked by a teaser poster featuring Harry’s signature glasses over the text “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

But wonder no more! Thanks to a behind the scenes picture from new addition Pedro Pascal featuring Firth in full Harry Hart attire with the text “Hide behind Harry”, we’ve finally got legit confirmation that Harry Hart is back in action to some extent.

It was Firth’s turn as the gentleman superspy that really stole the show. As Hart, Firth had the opportunity to somehow play both toward and against type, and he knocked it out of the park as the diligently well-mannered but ruthlessly lethal agent. And Kingsman has just the right level of ridiculousness and surrealism to pull off a character revival. Now, hopefully we’ll get to see him in action alongside his former protegee, Taron Egerton’s Eggsy.

Matthew Vaughn returns to direct the sequel, co-writing the screenplay with Jane Goldman.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 16, 2017.

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Finding Dory Passes Captain America: Civil War at U.S. Box Office

Walt Disney Pictures took in more than $1 billion at the U.S. box office alone in the first five months of 2016, easily breaking the record previously set by a major Hollywood studio. Moreover, the three movies that helped Disney reach that benchmark – animated film Zootopia, live-action/CGI re-imagining The Jungle Book, and Marvel Studios sequel Captain America: Civil War – were all critical darlings and general audience favorites, in addition to being commercial hits.

Disney’s 2016 run has cooled a bit since then, between the critical/commercial under-performance of Alice Through the Looking Glass and The BFG, in essence, bombing at the U.S. box office (in spite of a positive reception). On the other hand, Disney/Pixar’s animated Finding Dory has countered that by living up to the hefty expectations that surrounded the Finding Nemo sequel ahead of its theatrical release.

Per Box Office Mojo, Finding Dory took in $20.3 million at the U.S. box office this weekend, putting its domestic total at $422.6 million and placing it ahead of Civil War to become the top-grossing 2016 film, stateside (side-note: Finding Dory technically surpassed Civil War at the domestic box office on Friday). Internationally is another story, as Civil War remains the top-grossing 2016 movie worldwide with a take of $1.15 billion – with Finding Dory currently in sixth place, with $643 million. Nevertheless, the Finding Nemo followup’s financial performance stateside is worth noting.


‘Star Trek Beyond’s Sulu Is the Franchise’s First Gay Character

While promoting Star Trek Beyond in Sydney, it’s been confirmed that USS Enterprise helmsman Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is, in fact, gay. That makes Sulu the first openly gay character in the storied franchise. And it took until 2016 to make that happen.

Sulu’s sexuality in the new film is an homage to actor and LGBT activist George Takei, who famously played Sulu in the 60s Star Trek series and the first six feature films in that franchise; Cho confirmed that writer Simon Pegg and Lin made the decision with Takei and changing social mores in mind:

“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out [of] it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”

Sulu’s sexuality is just as important as the appearance of African-American actor Nichelle Nichols starring in the prominent role of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura in the 60s series. This was the show that featured the first interracial kiss seen on TV, so it clearly has a long history of pushing social boundaries.


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J.K. Simmons Teases “Badass” Commissioner Gordon

Speaking with EW, Simmons revealed that he’s due back in London for one last go-around of shooting before his time on the picture is complete, adding that he’ll “hopefully get to play Commissioner Gordon in a handful of movies” assuming everything works out. But as for what kind of Gordon we’ll see in the movie, Simmons hopes to bring some edge and independence to the character:

“People of my generation remember Commissioner Gordon as this jolly, ineffectual Santa Claus type, and I think over the years in the comics there’s definitely much more of a badass side to him. One of the things that’s interesting to me is investigating hopefully a little bit more of that badass [side]…You’re living in a universe where it’s pretty tough to be a badass compared to somebody like Batman, but in the universe of non-superheroes I like the idea of Commissioner Gordon as a guy that can take care of himself, a guy that’s a real partner to Batman, not just a guy that turns on the bat signal and goes, ‘Help! Help, Batman!’”

Indeed, Ben Affleck’s iteration of Batman is one who’s been around the block many times, so it stands to reason that Gordon has a long-established relationship with Batman.

BUT: The Whiplash actor explained to The Huffington Post that his workout routine had nothing to do with Justice League, and is simply a result of his commitment to staying in shape:

“I just like to work out now. And getting to the gym really has nothing… I’m not going to the gym because of Justice League. I’m just going to the gym because after the last time I got super fat and out of shape, I decided that I was done doing that.” I was going to — for as long as I’m going to be on the planet — I’m going to try and take care of myself. So that’s pretty much coincidental [to filming Justice League].”

So while we’ll see a Commissioner Gordon in Justice League that can handle himself, I’m not sure we should be holding our breath for some fisticuffs action. For more on Justice League, peruse Steve’s set visit coverage below. The film opens in theaters on November 17, 2017.

Chris Evans Steps Down As Host Of Top Gear

Announcing his decision via Twitter, Evans said he had given the show his best shot but that ultimately it wasn’t enough. The presenter added that it was time for him to concentrate on other existing projects, such as his radio and charity work.

For Evans, the decision to leave will have been a tough call. A self-confessed petrol head, Evans was always a fan of the show and appeared in previous seasons in the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment of the show. Following reports that suggested he and Evans did not get along, it was rumored that LeBlanc gave the BBC an ultimatum, saying he would quit if Evans wasn’t told to leave. While Evans has oftentimes irritated viewers, and has failed to win over the sizable American audience, LeBlanc has ingratiated himself with the Brits by showcasing a dry wit and humor and of course, his nationality has helped him with the BBC America audience, too. Out of the two, LeBlanc has consistently proven himself to be the stronger, more competent and more knowledgeable host, despite not having anywhere near the amount of experience Evans has as a presenter.

It remains to be seen whether LeBlanc, or any future presenting team, can manage to turn Top Gear around for the BBC and return it to being one of the jewels in its crown. With Clarkson, Hammond and May launching their own motoring show on Amazon Prime, it could well be that the Top Gear audience of old decide to follow them.