From film to TV, gaming to comics and everything in between, here’s what you might have missed in pop culture news this week.
Work has only just begun on the first few episodes of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings television series, but new reports are that it has already been renewed for a second season, and the show writers have been reconvened to begin mapping out the story. Thoughts are that, given the scale of the show, many scenes from the first and second seasons will be shot back-to-back, much like Peter Jackson’s LoTR film trilogy.
After much anticipation, Disney+ began streaming to Australian audiences earlier this week, in the second week of its international rollout. Aussie Star Wars fans have been quick to catch up on the first two episodes of the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian on the new platform, and have encountered the series’ surprise reveal currently taking the internet by storm.
With Disney+ now in place, Marvel television is beginning to clear the decks for the new wave of MCU-connected Marvel content planned for future release on the service. As such the third season of Marvel’s Runaways, currently planned for release in December, has been announced as the show’s final run, and they have assured fans the show will wrap things up neatly over its final 10 episodes.
British actress Sophia Di Martino, known for her role in Into the Badlands, has been announced as a new cast member joining Tom Hiddleston in the upcoming Loki series for Disney+. No official announcement has been made regarding the role she will play, though rumours are that she will actually be playing an alternate female version of Loki, and will be sharing the lead role with Hiddleston himself. If true, this wouldn’t be a new take on the character, as 2009’s The Mighty Avengers saga saw the trickster god reborn as a woman.
Over on the DC side of the fence, the CW Arrowverse is gearing up for its massive Crisis on Infinite Earths cross-over event and has released a series of teasers for its December release. Drawing in legendary DC actors from eras past, the event will begin with Supergirl before moving across to Batwoman, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
Also in Arrowverse news, producer Marc Guggenheim has confirmed that the CW’s next Arrowverse all-female spinoff series, Green Arrow and the Canaries will be set in 2040 and will focus on Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak’s daughter Mia.
The #Arrow spinoff takes place in 2040. We already spoiled that Oliver is dead by that time, so his not appearing in Arrow 809 (the spinoff episode) isn’t affected by what happens in Crisis (or, for that matter, the series finale). https://t.co/BkrFGnj6Fl
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) November 19, 2019
Reports are that Legendary Television has already signed a deal with Frank Miller to adapt his Sin City franchise into a television series, and they are also seeking out director of the Sin City films, Alita: Battle Angel’s Robert Rodriguez to return to head up the series. The deal is contingent on Legendary securing a streaming platform to take the first season on.
Less than a month to go until the Skywalker saga comes to a close in The Rise of Skywalker, and Entertainment Weekly has secured a new photo showing Resistance pilot Poe Dameron’s first time behind the controls of the Millennium Falcon. The most famous hunk of junk in the galaxy has been a fan-favourite since its first appearance in 1977’s A New Hope, though rumours are the ship which made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs won’t make it all the way through the next film whole.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson took to Twitter at the end of last week to announce the official release date of his outing as DC’s Black Adam, and the official Batman account has responded by officially inviting him to come and visit the Batcave. Black Adam is planned for a December 2021 release.
The fate of one DC superhero still continues to hang in the balance, and Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill has recently confirmed in an interview with Men’s Health that he is still the DCEU’s Superman, insisting that “the cape is in the closet. It’s still mine”. This is in the face of more recent rumours which suggest that a new Superman film being helmed by JJ Abrams would seek to recast a younger Superman, more in line with Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Fox Studio’s forthcoming Kingsman prequel The King’s Man has been pushed back by Disney for seven months, setting its new release date for September 2020. Originally the film, which charts the origins of the Kingsman Secret Service Agency, was supposed to have been released this month, but was pushed back by Fox and its November 15 release date was given to Ford v. Ferrari instead. It would seem this latest delay has nothing to do with the quality of the film, simply Disney seeking to avoid the film competing in an already overcrowded Valentine’s Day release period.
Like father, like son. Earlier this month Supa-Star Jason Isaacs, known for his role as Harry Potter’s Lucius Malfoy amongst many others, headed down under to greet Aussie fans, but his onscreen son, Tom Felton, now has his own eyes set on the role. In a recent interview, Felton has admitted that whilst he is uncertain about the possibility of returning to the role of Draco Malfoy in a big-screen adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, he is certain that the original films will be rebooted eventually and he would happily come back and play the role of Lucius “in a heartbeat”.
It probably comes as no surprise, but No Time to Die’s Daniel Craig has recently reconfirmed that once his latest Bond film is released he will officially be done with the role of 007. Nothing concrete has been announced about who will be Craig’s successor, though rumours are that producers are keen to approach Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge to pen the next script after being very impressed with her rewrites on No Time to Die. In the meantime, Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond is scheduled to hit cinemas in April 2020.
Following on from his acclaimed zombie flick Little Monsters, Australian actor-turned-director Abe Forsythe has been confirmed to direct the next instalment in the Robocop franchise, Robocop Returns, which will act as a direct sequel to the original film.
Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang will release in Australian cinemas on January 9 before heading onto Stan on Australia Day. True History of the Kelly Gang is inspired by Peter Carey’s award-winning novel of the same name and is an extraordinary, fictionalised re-telling of the life of legendary Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly. Written for the screen by Shaun Grant (Snowtown) and directed by Kurzel (Snowtown, Assassin’s Creed), the film features a spectacular cast including George MacKay, Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis, Claudia Karvan, Earl Cave and Charlie Hunnam.
In a shock announcement, Valve has revealed that there is a new Half-Life game in the works. Half-Life: Alyx was announced on Tuesday and will be a VR take on the infamous series. While it isn’t quite Half-Life 3 and will require a powerful PC with a VR headset, fans have still been sent into a frenzy over the reveal.
We’re thrilled to announce Half-Life: Alyx, a new full-length entry in the Half-Life series, built by Valve for VR.
Return to Half-Life in March 2020. Pre-purchase now on Steam. pic.twitter.com/GZkhp2Prx1
— Valve (@valvesoftware) November 21, 2019
Developer Obsidian revealed its new sandbox co-op survival title Grounded at XO19 last week in London. The title has been likened to the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and is about a bunch of kids who have been shrunk down to microscopic proportions and have to survive in your everyday backyard. The game, which will run on Unreal Engine 4, is due to release on Windows and Xbox One with the Game Pass on April 25, 2020.
British video game developer Rare revealed its new IP, Everwild, during its XO19 presentation. So far all we know about the title is that it’s a gorgeous looking game set in a natural fantasy world. Check out the trailer below for a preview of what to expect.
Ten Final Fantasy favourites will be making their way to Game Pass some time in the near future. Titles included are FFVII, FFVIII: Remastered, FFIX, FX: HD Remastered, FFX-2: HD Remastered, FFXII: The Zodiac Age, FFXIII, FFXIII-2, Lightning Returns – FFXIII and FFXV. No news on when they’ll be dropping, but it’s good news for classic Final Fantasy fans!
After being announced two years ago, we’ve finally seen our first trailer for Age of Empires IV. Two of the biggest reveals for the beloved RTS series are that it’s set in the medieval era and two of the civilisations being represented are the Mongols and the English. So we can expect to see units such as knights, warriors, catapults and cavalry duke it out in epic siege battles. While we don’t have a release date for Age of Empires IV yet, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, is now available on PC.
Good news for Street Fighter V fans (as if they didn’t see this coming), the game is coming out with another new edition, continuing that proud Street Fighter tradition. This time it’s the Championship Edition, which not only includes all the previous DLC and content from Arcade Edition, but veteran fighter Gill is back from Third Strike.
It is reported that a new Spongebob spinoff in the works as part of the new Netflix and Nickelodeon deal. Focusing on Spongebob’s grumpy and iconic neighbour, the series will focus on the music career of Squidward Tentacle. No further details or release date have been circulated as of yet.
A new trailer for the final season of Steven Universe, dubbed Steven Universe Future, has been released this week, depicting Steven and the gems as they settle into regular life, with some unfortunate tension starting to bubble. Steven Universe Future is set for release on December 7.
One of last year’s best shows, Megalobox, isn’t out of the ring just yet. The production staff announced at Anime NYC this week that the anime would return for a second season!
This week in comics news, Marvel’s Punisher series has a more fearsome foe than Frank Castle. A warning though, this will contain spoilers for Punisher: Soviet #1. The new series, which has been written by Punisher veteran Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, features another Punisher who shares some similarities with Frank. However, when Frank comes across the aftermath of this other Punisher’s work, it appears they may be different after all. The next issue is due to go on sale on December 11.
In other Marvel news, Ghost Rider has been given a terrifying new power. Again, this will also contain spoilers for Ghost Rider #2. The new power, dubbed the Damnation Stare, judges a being’s worthiness to remain on the mortal plane, determining whether or not they should be sent back to hell. Ghost Rider #2 is available now.
Over at DC, a brand-new character is now a Green Lantern. Sojourner ‘Jo’ Mullein is the latest human to be given a green power ring and assigned to protect a sector of space. This time, however, she has been assigned to a sector at the furthest reaches of the Guardian’s domain. Although the sector is quiet, where a murder hasn’t occurred in 500 years, things heat up once the lantern is on the scene. Lantern Mullein is quickly thrown into the midst of a mystery and it is up to her to solve the case. Far Sector #1 is available now.
The epic Tracy Tubera x Marvel Sneakerhead Collection was released this week from Unruly Industries, featuring T’Challa, Miles Morales and Deadpool in their iconic superhero suits. The three-piece series incorporates Tubera’s unique artistic flair with exaggerated proportions and some fresh kicks.
An exciting week for Funatics as two versions of Stephen King were announced, featuring a very bloodied and violent depiction, much like his writing style. Other notable releases this week include additions to Pop! NBA and Pop! WWE, and the exciting addition to Pop! Animations with The Dragon Prince.