March 6-8, 2020
From film to TV, gaming to collectables and everything in between, here’s what you might have missed in pop culture news this week.
Many of those who have watched season three of Netflix’s Stranger Things are raving about it being the best yet, and the hype has been backed up by some serious stats.
.@Stranger_Things 3 is breaking Netflix records!
40.7 million household accounts have been watching the show since its July 4 global launch — more than any other film or series in its first four days. And 18.2 million have already finished the entire season.
— Netflix US (@netflix) July 8, 2019
Veronica Mars is heading back to TV screens later this month, and actress Kristen Bell has announced in a recent interview that not only would she be willing to return to the role if a fifth season is on the cards, but that she “will do Veronica Mars until it’s Murder, She Wrote. I will keep doing this show until everyone in Neptune is dead. And then the big reveal is that Veronica‘s the criminal; she killed everyone!”
George R.R. Martin has recently let some titbits loose about the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, including the information that the series, set 5,000 years before the events of GoT, will see Westeros divided into 100 different kingdoms, that the Stark family and Direwolves will appear, and that there won’t be any Lannisters (yet).
Joining the streaming service battle, Warner Bros. has officially named their own platform designed to go toe-to-toe with Netflix, Amazon Prime, the upcoming Disney+ and more. Dubbed HBO Max, the platform is aiming for a 2020 launch date.
It’s been announced this week that Cuphead is the next video game title to be adapted for a place on the small screen, with an animated series currently in production at Netflix. No news on a release date yet, but it’s been confirmed that Cuphead creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer will be on board to executive produce.
Loosely based on William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Netflix’s The Society has officially been renewed for a second season set to air next year.
Things are certainly moving quickly for the Mortal Kombat reboot, and director Simon McQuoid has reportedly found his Sub Zero in Indonesian actor and martial artist Joe Taslim. Taslim is best known for his roles in Star Trek Beyond, The Raid and Fast and the Furious 6.
Ghostbusters 2020 has reportedly added two new cast members in the way of child actor Logan Kim and Celeste O’Connor (who recently starred in Netflix’s Irreplaceable You). The roles of both actors are yet unknown, but they’ll be joining already confirmed cast members, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard.
Whilst Fast and the Furious spin-off Hobbs and Shaw will be making its way into cinemas shortly, production is also underway for Fast and the Furious 9. Recently, series star Vin Diesel took to Instagram to announce the return of Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren to the franchise.
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In a recent interview with Empire, Joker director Todd Phillips admitted that his upcoming film doesn’t “follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about”. This is probably not that surprising for serious DC fans, who are aware the Joker’s true origins have long been shrouded in mystery in the comics, and despite the film’s departure from comic canon, early reactions to the film have all been positive so far. There is even Oscar buzz surrounding Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in the lead role.
Fresh from the Mouse House, two new trailers have been released for both Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and the upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan.
And some sad news for Disney fans, actor Cameron Boyce who starred in Disney’s direct to video series The Descendants as the son of the villain Cruella DeVille passed away aged 20. Boyce’s final performance in Descendants 3 is set to air on the Disney Channel in August.
In further sad news, Rip Torn, known for his role as Agent Zed in the Men in Black franchise has passed away aged 88. He is survived by his wife, four children and six grandchildren.
Pokémon has announced yet another new feature to Sword and Shield, Gigantamaxing! Now certain Pokémon in certain battles can Gigantamax, becoming even bigger than Dynamax Pokémon, and it will also alter their appearance, giving them access to new moves. They’ve also previewed a few new Pokémon for fans to get excited about.
The Nintendo Switch Lite was just announced as a cheaper alternative to owning a full Switch. It only comes in handheld mode, features no kickstand, dock, or HDMI port, but it does have an actual D-pad.
Introducing #NintendoSwitchLite – a compact, lightweight system that’s dedicated to handheld play!
This new addition to the #NintendoSwitch family arrives on 20/09 in 3 different colours.
— Nintendo AU NZ (@NintendoAUNZ) July 10, 2019
Microsoft has slipped up a bit this week, accidentally revealing that the Final Fantasy 7 Remake would be coming to Xbox One. They promptly took the post down, saying they had nothing to report.
This week was the last JoJo Friday for a while, as episode 37 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo aired. Vento Aureo, or Golden Wind, is Part 5 of the long-running manga series, and is the latest to be adapted by anime studio David Productions. The hour-long finale special airs on the 29th of July, plenty of time to catch up on the series before it hits screens!
Anime Expo yielded quite a few exciting announcements, such as a new movie from the author and director of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo. The upcoming film is titled Orbital Era, and tells the coming-of-age stories of four youth on a space station, set to run over four seasons.
Sunrise, the studio behind Cowboy Bebop, will also be producing a TV adaptation of Akira, which will finally cover parts of the manga that the movie was never able to.
The Toei Animation panel revealed a ‘final’ Digimon movie in the works, which will follow several years after the events of Digimon Adventure tri.
Studio Trigger also announced another exciting project following their first feature film, Promare, a TV show called BNA – Brand New Animal. The series will be directed by veteran animator Yoh Yoshinari, who also created and directed Little Witch Academia.
And lastly, a “final” My Hero Academia film has been announced, titled Heroes Rising. The author, Kōhei Horikoshi, announced that this really will be the last film in the series — “probably”. It’s set for a December 20 release in Japan.
Hot Toys Collectables, in paying tribute to the late legendary comic creator and pop culture icon Stan Lee, have announced the release of a premium format figure of the man himself. The premium figure has been sculpted based on his cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and is slated for a post-Toy Fair release. The news of this figure has been long awaited and subsequently exploded online. Excelsior!
This week heralded significant excitement for both Batman and TMNT fans alike, with DC Comics announcing the release of a complete action figure range based on the well-received crossover film. The figures are set to be released in boxed pairs, featuring both a Batman character and one of the turtles. Slated for a September release, this is a must-cop for fans of either franchise and comes stacked with accessories.
Lead image: Disney’s Mulan.