• Andrew Lynch


Fast & Furious Films Finally Finishing

La Famiglia will ride no more (in about 4-5 years).

The Fast & The Furious franchise is set to end its supercharged saga with 2 more films after the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, or F9.

Justin Lin, who directed The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and the upcoming F9 will sail the franchise home with FF10 and 11.

It’s been a wild ride for the frenetic, 4-wheeled franchise which started in 2001 as a knock-off Point Break film with an undercover cop infiltrating a gang of street racers who are stealing (*chuckle*), DVD players.

From there, Dominic Toretto’s ‘family’ has moved up in the world by taking down Mexican drug cartels (with cars), stealing a vault in Brazil (with cars), and working with international spy agencies to stop various global domination plots (with cars).

The F&F franchise more than ‘Jumped the Shark’ (which refers to when a franchise goes too far or over-the-top), instead it rode the shark like a jet ski, jumped it over a fighter jet and did a kickflip off of it.

However, this may not be the end for the series with the wording being the end of the ‘saga’, implying it as the end of the Vin Diesel storyline.

That still leaves a continuation in the spin-off series established in Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw, which starred Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham as either Hobbs and/or Shaw, who knows.

Financially, the franchise has grossed a global earnings of $5.8 billion from 9 films released over 17 years, with Furious 7 and The F8 of the Furious both earning over $1 billion.

F9 looks to be another box office hit as the franchise found its niche of self-aware, balls to the walls action films that have a international appeal with its simplistic stories and characters.

F9 is set to be released May, 2021.

Willow Disney+ Sequel Series

The long-demanded sequel to the other George Lucas fantasy series has been announced with a Willow sequel series headed to Disney+.

Willow, released in 1988 was written by Star Wars creator George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, star of 70s sitcom Happy Days and director of the recent Solo: A Star Wars Story.

A cult fantasy, family movie, Willow is about a young farmer, played by Warwick Davis not in creature make-up for once, who must protect a baby from an evil queen.

Released in the 80s, the film sits alongside films like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal as 80s fantasy films with incredible puppetry, make-up and practical effects work.

For Disney+, the sequel series will involve Ron Howard in a producorial role with Jon M. Chu, director of Crazy, Rich, Asians helming the first episode.

It also marks the first non-Star Wars project for Lucasfilm following its acquisition by Disney back in 2012.

Ron Howard said in a statement, “This isn’t a nostalgic throw-back, it’s a creative lean-forward (whatever that means) and it’s a blast to be a part of it all”.

Willow is currently available to stream on Disney+.

Another Reboot of Power Rangers who haven’t been popular since the 90s

Hasbro are giving it another crack with another attempt at making a modern franchise out of the Power Rangers.

Jonathan Entwistle, director on Netflix series’ including I Am Not Okay with This and The End of the F***ing World, is overseeing the latest reboot.

Unlike previous attempts though, Hasbro are looking beyond a movie franchise with Entwistle developing movie and TV series.

Hasbro, the toy company behind Transformers and G.I. Joe, released a modern reboot in 2017 which only grossed $142 million worldwide off a $100 million budget which should really tell them how much demand there is Power Rangers.

Hasbro still persist, as they do with the Transformers franchise and G.I. Joe franchise, both fading out financially with reboots on the way.

Power Rangers, or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, was a 90s TV show/sensation which saw footage from a Japanese kid’s show intercut with American actors and voice dubbing to tell a somewhat cohesive advertisement for toy-I mean, cohesive TV program.

There have been constant TV series airing since the 90s, but none have captured the hype of the craze in the 90s with only a gritty, fan film that brought back some original cast members stirring some interest.

Jared Leto Returning for Zack Snyder’s Justice League which everyone is soooooo happy about

Oh good.

Zack Snyder is resurrecting everything for his Director’s Cut of Justice League with Jared Leto appearing as The Joker.

Leto only played The Joker in Suicide Squad where he was more Clown Prince of White Trash than Crime, complete with teeth-grill and obnoxious tattoos.

Leto’s Joker was never included in any marketing for Justice League’s initial release.

Instead, he is returning for reshoots for the Snyder Cut mini-series, alongside Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher and Amber Heard who are also reprising their roles.

Funny, for a movie that most fans said “definitely existed”, Snyder seems to be doing a lot of extra work to make it happen. Almost as if the Snyder Cut was nothing more than the rabid obsession a fans.

Snyder is probably given carte blanche with this 4-hour epic, which is more than the footage he shot for Justice League, and combining his previously planned 2-part epic into one 4-part mini series.

Now Snyder is throwing everything into the project, with glimpses in the trailer of the Knightmare World, a setting which was confirmed to only appear in his Part 2 of Justice League; rumours of the Green Lantern Corp; time travel; the Speed Force, and a litany of other DC references to whip Snyder fans into a frenzy about.

It is unclear what role Leto’s Joker could play, especially in a film where Batman is focused on an alien invasion.

Potentially, he could appear in the beginning as a cold open foil for Batman, which would be the first time Ben Affleck’s Batman and Leto’s Joker appeared opposite one another.

There is another, more injust way he could be included…

Joe Manganiello Also Returning for Snyder Cut

…which may have to do with the news of Joe Manganiello also involved with the reshoots, or more aptly, the additional photography of the film.

Manganiello appeared in the post-credit’s scene of Justice League as the mercenary Deathstroke, with him meeting with Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor who is plotting to form an evil counterpart to the JL, the Injustice League.

Manganiello welcomed the announcement of the Snyder Cut on Instagram and said that it would “include the original post credit scene”, with a sword, bat and skull emoji.

Potentially the original scene involved Batman, hence the bat emoji, and which ties into footage Ben Affleck tweeted in 2016 of Deathstroke on the set of Justice League.

Like with Leto, Manganiello returning implies that new footage will be shot so that ‘original’ scene may not be shown after all.

Yet, it does indicate that the reason for bringing these two characters into the Snyder Cut could be to fully introduce the Injustice League, only for the movie to end and no possible continuation to happen with Warner Bros. and Snyder cutting ties once the series is released.

Zack Snyder's: Justice League is set for an early 2021 release on HBO Max in the US and alternate platforms globally.

Raya and The Last Dragon Teaser Trailer

In happier news, Disney have released the first trailer for Raya and The Last Dragon, their latest animated project.

Raya and The Last Dragon stars Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as Raya, a warrior who must unite the world by finding the last dragon.

Along with Tran, Awkwafina will voice Sisu, the dragon that Raya finds on her quest.

More of a first look than a trailer, the footage primarily focuses on a young Raya doing her best Lara Croft impression as she makes her way through a ruined temple filled with booby traps.

Raya, pronounced ‘rye-ah’, looks more action orientated than previous Disney animated films but with the same tropes of recent films like Moana such as an adorable animal sidekick.

Raya is also Disney’s first animated film influenced by South-East Asian culture and with a protagonist of South-East Asian heritage (Tran’s family is from Vietnam).

Thankfully, unlike Disney’s recent live-action Mulan, which was directed and written by only white people, Raya and The Last Dragon' s writers are of Asian heritage. Unfortunately, the directors are still 3 white men.

Raya and The Last Dragon still looks like another stunning Disney animated film with some slick action and art design and is set for release March, 2021.

First Photos from Uncharted Movie

Tom Holland revealed the first image from the Uncharted movie, the latest attempt at making a good video game adaptation.

Holland is seen in the iconic outfit of series protagonist, Nathan Drake, which looks similar to the outfit of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

Filming on the video game adaptation recently resumed in September in Spain and Berlin, after starting and stopping in March this year.

Prior to this, Nathan Drake voice actor, Nolan North tweeted set photos of him meeting with Holland on set and symbolically passing the torch onto the 24-year old actor.

Tom Holland is joined by Mark ‘Markie Mark’ Wahlberg who is playing Sully, Drake’s mentor/partner/weapons and vehicles guy, with one notably absent feature of the character.

Recent leaked set photos from Uncharted show Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg in suits outside some kind of event, maybe an auction for an artifact they need as in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Fans took issue with these photos when it was noted that Markie Mark was missing his character’s signature moustache.

This may have been rectified/resolved as Wahlberg posted a video on Instagram with him wearing a prosthetic moustache.

Moustache mania aside, this film has immense pressure on it for a couple of reasons.

One, a movie adaptation has been long demanded by fans who have wanted to see the Indiana Jones style adventure realised in live action, with a fan favourite choice Nathan Fillion, who Nathan Drake’s character model resembles.

Secondly, Uncharted has the chance to break free of the ‘Video Game Curse’, which is the widely held belief that movies based on video games never do well.

There have been some recent successes with Sonic The Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu earn middling box office returns and critical reception, but a history of films like Assassin's Creed, Doom, Resident Evil and Super Mario Bros prove the struggle Hollywood has had.

Perhaps Uncharted might unbury the secret to the long-lost video game movie treasure (not sure if that metaphor really paid off).

Uncharted is from Ruben Fleischer, director of Venom and Zombieland series, and is set to be released July, 2021.

Mindhunter Cancelled at Netflix

In another blow for Netflix Original content, David Fincher revealed that Mindhunter will most likely not return for a 3rd season.

Fincher, who was a director and executive producer on the show revealed in an interview that the series was too time consuming and “a very expensive show”.

David Fincher is primarily a film director, having directed Fight Club, The Social Network and Gone Girl, and found the TV director style to be “exhausting”.

Fincher said to Vulture, “It’s a 90-hour workweek. It absorbs everything in your life. When I got done, I said ‘I don’t know if I have [season 3] in me right now’”.

Mindhunter is a crime-drama series about the formation of criminal psychology unit in the FBI with 2 agents interviewing people who have committed horrendous crimes like Charles Manson.

Fincher has also finished work on his first film in 6 years, Mank, which is distributed by Netflix and is about the making of the seminal Citizen Kane.

Initially, Fincher was going to “Finish Mank and then see how [I] feel” but along with Mindhunter being time consuming it was also cost ineffective, according to Fincher since “for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show”.

Netflix are always cagey about the viewing numbers for their series, so we can only assume what the numbers are but it’s safe to assume that viewers of a grim series about investigating rapists and serial killers is a niche audience.

Netflix have axed a number of their original shows including GLOW and Teenager Bounty Hunters, citing financial struggles admist the pandemic.

Scarlett Johansson is The Bride of Frankenstein

Universal's Monster Universe is reborn again with Scarlett Johansson cast in Bride, an adaptation of The Bride of Frankenstein.

From Apple and A24, the studio behind indie films like Uncut Gems and Midsommar, Bride is directed Sebastián Lelio who directed and won Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman.

Bride will focus on an ideal, perfect wife who is created by a narcassistic entrepenur and later rebels against her obsessive creator and attempts to live in the real world which view her as a monster.

Yes, Scarlett Johansson, the most horrific looking actress alive.

The Bride of Frankenstein was introduced in the movie of the same name, released in 1935 as a partner for Frankenstein (yes I know, it's Frankenstein's Monster, we get it, well done).

She, like her male counterpart, has a patchwork face of various skins and an iconic beehive hair-do, with a white, lightning bolt shape down the sides.

Johansson's version will probably have nods and references to this version, but most likely appear relativley human to be the "ideal" wife but also grotesque enough to be seen as a monster.

Bride joins the latest reimagining of the Universal Monsters that started with The Invisible Man and continues with Wolfman starring Ryan Gosling, with A-List talent involved in topical horror stories based on classic monsters.

These versions are completely removed from Universal's planned cinematic universe franchise which lived and died with 2017's The Mummy, since characters like Dracula and Frankenstein are in the public domain.

Johansson said to The Hollywood Reporter, "I [am] extremely excited to emancipate this classic anti-heroine and reanimate her story to reflect the change we see today".

Jurassic World: Dominion Resumes Production

Finally, after a confirmation of a number of COVID cases in the production crew, filming on Jurassic World: Dominion has resumed in the UK.

To announce it, director Colin Trevorrow tweeted a photo of the original cast trio outside a significant sound stage.

In the photo, Sam Neill (Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Elle Sattler) and ah, Jeff, um ah Goldblum (Ian Mal-ah, chuckle-com) share an artsy chuckle outside the Richard Attenborough Stage.

Richard Attenborough played John Hammond, the founder and creator of Jurassic Park who passed away in 2014.

Jurassic World: Dominion pairs the old and the new with the Jurassic Park cast appearing alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and is eyeing a June, 2022 release date.

Not much more news beyond that, just a heartwarming photo to end it all on.