From film to TV, gaming to comics and everything in between, here’s what you might have missed in pop culture news this week.
Earlier this week, The Simpsons composer Danny Elfman sent fans of the long-running series into a state of shock after suggesting the show might be “coming to an end”. Showrunner Al Jean was quick to squash the rumours via Twitter.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) November 28, 2019
DC Universe’s fourth live-action show, Stargirl, is reportedly being simultaneously broadcast in the US next year on both the DC Universe streaming app and Warner Bros.’ CW network, which indicates the show is likely to be far less adult-orientated than its predecessors Titans, Doom Patrol and the now-cancelled Swamp Thing. It is suggested that Bec Bassinger’s Stargirl will be introduced in the Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths event before her own series begins airing in early 2020. This particular project will be an intensely personal one for the show’s executive producer, acclaimed DC writer Geoff Johns, who originally created the comic book version of the character in honour of his late sister.
Geoff Johns also seems to have a fairly busy schedule ahead of him. Not only has he been picked to write the big-screen Green Lantern Corps film as one of DC’s most famous Green Lantern writers, but he’s also reportedly teaming up with the Arrowverse’s Greg Berlanti for a Green Lantern TV series adaptation. Berlanti previously co-wrote the 2009 Green Lantern film starring Ryan Reynolds, on which Johns also served as an advisor, and the two have also previously collaborated on The Flash and Titans.
Continuing the Arrowverse news, casting calls have gone out for the new Superman & Lois spinoff starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch. Rumours are the two new characters they are looking for, dubbed ‘Matthew’ and ‘Ethan’, are actually pseudonyms for Connor Kent aka Superboy and Bruce Wayne’s son Damian a.k.a. the third Robin.
A new trailer has revealed that one of The Doctor’s earliest recurring villains, the Cybermen, are set to return in the BBC’s upcoming 12th season of Doctor Who. Jodie Whittaker’s thirteenth Doctor is set to return and take on the Cybermen threat, who last appeared in the season 10 two-part finale.
Disney+ has officially hit the record books, with a new study revealing that the first three episodes of its live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian have already outstripped demand for other streaming favourites such as Stranger Things, Good Omens and The Umbrella Academy within the same initial release period.
Over to the MCU, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, has ruled out any chance of his character reappearing in the upcoming Disney+ series Marvel’s What If…? and WandaVision. In a recent interview, he is cited as saying that whilst he is aware of the upcoming shows “there will be no appearance of me coming out, or Quicksilver appearing anytime soon”.
Elizabeth Banks, director of the new Charlie’s Angels reboot, is reportedly heading into horror territory and is set to both direct and star in a new remake of The Invisible Woman for Universal Studios. Originally the Invisible Man was set to be part of a shared monster universe and even had Johnny Depp attached to star, though this was before the franchise launched The Mummy, which tanked at the box office and put a sudden halt to their ambitious plans. Instead, a separate one-off Invisible Man film was developed by Blumhouse Productions and is now due for release in February 2020, though this film will have no direct connection to the one being helmed by Banks.
Whoops! John Boyega has recently fessed up that the full copy of the Rise of Skywalker script which somehow found its way on eBay was his that he had misplaced. Luckily for Boyega and Star Wars fans seeking to avoid spoilers, Disney managed to swoop in and buy the script back before any leaks happened.
And with only three weeks left to go, JJ Abrams has confirmed that the final cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now officially complete after he has finished fine-tuning the VFX and sound mix. On a recent appearance on Good Morning America, he also shared a new clip teasing the appearance of First Order Stormtroopers equipped with jetpacks.
.@starwars launched 42 years ago. And 24 days from now, the final chapter will be revealed in theaters! We are THRILLED to have director @jjabrams with us this morning — and he’s sharing an EXCLUSIVE clip from #TheRiseOfSkywalker! pic.twitter.com/gOfUTGWzpW
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 25, 2019
Gotham’s infamous Arkham Asylum is rumoured to play a key role in Robert Pattinson’s upcoming The Batman film. Prior to director Matt Reeves assuming control of the project, an earlier version of the film intending to star Ben Affleck reportedly had the majority of the film set in Arkham, but this latest version will see the location appear in only a few important scenes. The key actors from both this production and next year’s Birds of Prey are also reportedly contracted to appear in multiple sequels and potential spin-offs.
In other The Batman news, Matt Reeves has tweeted out confirmation of a new casting reveal, adding The Big Lebowski’s John Turturro as Gotham City mob boss John Falcone. This is the latest in a string of announcements which have revealed Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.
His chance to play the role of the mutant Gambit may have fallen through when Disney bought out Fox Studios, but Channing Tatum is now reportedly set to helm a new adaptation of cult ’90s comic The Maxx. Created by Sam Keith, The Maxx focuses on the story of a homeless man who enters an alternate reality and assumes the body and persona of the titular purple-clad hero.
Hollywood creative executive Todd Garner has shared a new behind-the-scenes photo from the set of the upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot currently shooting in Adelaide.
Behind the scenes… looks can be deceiving… pic.twitter.com/kR2ZRojdUE
— Todd Garner (@Todd_Garner) November 26, 2019
Aussie filmmaker Anthony Garland’s high-concept sci-fi thriller Alternate has been greenlit for production, scoring funding from South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia. As reported by Cinema Australia, Alternate will commence principal production in Adelaide in 2020.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are getting a new Gigantamax Pokémon this December. The huge sleeping Pokémon Snorlax will be getting even larger during max raids, as his new form turns him into the size of a small island – complete with grass, shrubbery and a tree on top. Gigantamax Snorlax will be available to catch from December 4 to early January via max raids, so you’ll need to catch him before he wakes up and wanders off.
American game publisher Gearbox has announced its hero shooter, Battleborn, will be shutting down its servers in 2021. In a blog post from earlier this week, the publisher announced they will be taking Battleborn down from digital storefronts and will begin to move their focus on to other projects. From February 2020, the online currency in Battleborn (“Platinum”) will no longer be available. The servers will officially shut down on January 2021, when the game will no longer be playable across all platforms.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has announced that the next-generation console for Microsoft’s Xbox, known as Project Scarlett, will not have VR functionality. Spencer has explained that VR features will be left out of the next-gen console because there isn’t enough demand for it. While VR functionality already exists on PS4 and PC, Xbox found little success with its motion sensor Kinect and will likely keep its focus on virtual reality titles for PC. Project Scarlett is anticipated for release next holiday season.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it has acquired the studio behind one of the biggest VR games, Beat Games. The studio created the popular VR rhythm game Beat Saber and is expected to add Facebook support to the arcade title in the near future, including new modes, music and social features. As for mod support, Facebook is hoping it can maintain its support for the title within the modding community – as long as mods are done legally and within their policies.
The level cap for Apex Legends will be increased from level 100 after their patch update on December 3. The cap will be increased to 500 and other changes will be made to player level progression with the update. First of all, experience progress has been reduced by 5% up to level 100, making it easier to achieve for all players; also new Apex packs and gun charms will be accessible for old and new players alike. Apex Legends is available for Xbox, PS4 and PC.
The Pokemon Company has announced that after 9 years of operation, Pokemon Global Link is shutting down. The PGL has most recently served as an online battling hub for gamers on Pokemon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but will retire its services after February 24, 2020. However, regular trading and battling will still be available in those titles. Players of Pokemon Sword and Shield need not worry though, as the latest generation has moved away from utilizing the service and function entirely through the Nintendo Online Membership.
Acclaimed comic writer Howard Cruse has passed away aged 75. Cruse’s career began in the 1970s with the comic strip Barefootz, then in 1980, he created Gay Comix, a platform for openly gay comic writers and artists to publish their work and become known. Cruse was possibly most famous for Stuck Rubber Baby (1995), a graphic novel about Toland Polk, a gas station worker in the American south who ends up caught in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
In Marvel news this week, the new line of one-shots, The End, gets crazy with a Venom issue promising to take readers on an epic journey through time and space. The official synopsis read: “The alien symbiote who bonded with Eddie Brock has been through a lot… but not nearly as much as he has coming. In a tale that literally spans over a trillion years, Venom travels the length of space and time as the last defender of life in the universe!”
In some sad Mandalorian news, if you were hanging out for Santa to bring you a cute Baby Yoda toy this Christmas, looks like you’re going to be disappointed. Hasbro has confirmed to Vanity Fair that the Baby Yoda toy merch won’t be available until 2020, as Disney decided to keep the character under wraps for the series reveal by avoiding the potential spoilers which often come with developing new merchandise.
— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) November 26, 2019
Sideshow Collectibles has released an impressive Hawkgirl premium format statue depicting the Thanagarian hero in her iconic helmet. The highly-detailed design stands at 22”.
Funko has finally announced a focused Pop! Movie line for the classic Cinderella, featuring an all-new Cinderella design and the addition of the Fairy Godmother. But it doesn’t stop there for Disney fans this week as Funko has also announced an incredible 6” glow in the dark Maleficent Dragon Pop! Vinyl.