From film to TV, gaming to comics and everything in between, here’s what you might have missed in pop culture news this week.
Russell Bobbitt, official propmaster for Marvel Studios, has recently shared a video of Loki’s sceptre being used in the upcoming Loki TV series, currently in pre-production for Disney+. The presence of this staff, which was first given to Loki by Thanos in the first Avengers film and contains the Mind Stone, suggests that Loki may be looking to retrieve the staff throughout the events of his own series. This would put him in possession of two Infinity Stones after he absconded with the Tesseract during the events of Avengers: Endgame. It is believed that the events in Loki will lead directly into the next big-screen picture, Thor: Love and Thunder.
— Russell Bobbitt (@MarvelProps) January 19, 2020
In other Marvel TV news, Sebastian Stan has revealed the first official photo of his character Bucky Barnes from the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series slated for release following the big screen Black Widow film in May.
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Production on another Marvel series, She-Hulk, has reportedly been scheduled to begin filming in July this year. Jessica Gao, who worked on the hit Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty, and even wrote the infamous Pickle Rick episode, has been tapped as the show’s head writer.
One Avenger to leave the Marvel fold, Captain America’s Chris Evans is now defecting to Apple TV+. Working furiously to get enough content together to put them in competition with rival platforms Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+, Apple has announced that Evans will helm a new thriller series, Defending Jacob, set for an April 24 release.
The latest Walking Dead spin-off series, The Walking Dead: A World Beyond, now has an official release date thanks to a new announcement from the show’s official Twitter account. Due for release on April 12, it has also been confirmed that the new show will only run for two seasons. The new limited series will focus on a group of young survivors who have only ever known life within the zombie apocalypse.
— TWDWorldBeyond (@TWDWorldBeyond) January 16, 2020
In a recent panel at the 2020 Television Critics Association tour, The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito has confirmed that his character Moff Gideon will have a much larger role in the show’s second season, which is slated for release later this year.
In other news to come out of the 2020 TCA tour, Better Call Saul showrunner Peter Gould has confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of the Breaking Bad prequel series will be its last, declaring “we’re going to do our damnedest to stick the landing”.
It looks like John Constantine will be coming back to the big screen after all, and he’ll be bringing Zatanna and friends with him. New reports are that JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production company are in the early stages of reviving DC’s long-running plans for a Justice League Dark film and associated TV series as part of his exclusive deal working for Warner Bros.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s Michelle Yeoh is reportedly in talks to join the MCU as part of the cast for the upcoming Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Set to begin shooting in Sydney shortly, Shang Chi is currently scheduled for a February 2021 release.
Director Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen only just hit cinemas earlier this month, but he’s not wasting any time on his next project and has just surprised everyone by announcing that filming has already wrapped on his next film with Jason Statham. The currently untitled film is believed to be a remake of the 2004 French film Le Convoyeur, about a troubled security guard hired by an armoured truck company.
The Matrix 4 is reportedly bringing another character back, this time in the form of Lambert Wilson’s The Merovingian. One actor who will not be returning, however, is Hugo Weaving. In a recent interview, Weaving revealed he had been approached to return to the role of Agent Smith, but due to conflicts in his schedule, Lana Wachowski “decided that the dates weren’t going to work. So we’d sorted the dates and then she sort of changed her mind”.
DC’s Black Adam, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is teaming up with Wonder Woman and Deadpool for a new Netflix film. Earlier this week, Johnson revealed that filming on the action-comedy Red Notice, co-starring Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, has officially begun. At the moment Netflix is anticipating a mid-2021 release.
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Day 1 of shooting our RED NOTICE has officially begun for @Netflix. Me and my friends @vancityreynolds and @gal_gadot are on the move. In the world of international crime, an Interpol issued RED NOTICE is a global alert to hunt down and capture the worlds most wanted. The world’s greatest art thief. The world’s greatest tracker. The worlds greatest conman. #REDNOTICE♟💎 #Netflix
Two weeks left before Birds of Prey hits cinemas, and keen-eyed fans have been quick to point out that the crossbow-wielding Huntress will don her comic accurate costume in the film thanks to a new TV spot. In a blink and you’ll miss it reveal, fans can check out the full Huntress costume at around the 14-second mark in the new spot.
Joaquin Phoenix is racking up the awards for Joker in the lead up to this year’s Oscars, and he has most recently taken out the Screen Actor’s Guild award for Outstanding Performance in a Lead Male Role. Many DC fans were especially chuffed to see Phoenix dedicate his win to The Dark Knight’s Joker, Heath Ledger.
“I’m standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor Heath Ledger.” Joaquin Phoenix thanks the late #DarkKnight star while accepting the #SAGAwards statue for #Joker https://t.co/tD2ozkArqi pic.twitter.com/k9q8hwFFrM
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 20, 2020
In local news, with Simon Baker (The Mentalist) at the helm, the 1930s period thriller High Ground will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this upcoming February. Callan Mulvey, Jack Thompson, Aaron Pederson, and Jacob Junior Nayinggul are also starring. There’s little word on the plot yet.
Also on the local front, 30 Miles From Nowhere, directed by Australian talent Caitlin Koller, has been picked up by Amazon Prime in Australia. The thriller-comedy starring Supernatural‘s Rob Benedict and Emmy-winner Carrie Preston (True Blood, Claws) will hit the streaming service sometime in the next few weeks.
CD Projekt Red has announced its highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 has had its release date pushed back five months. The dystopian themed role-playing game was initially due for release April 16, but will now drop September 17, allowing the studio to make sure the game is optimised for release. The multiplayer portion of the title is also expected to be pushed back, which can now be expected sometime later in 2021.
We have important news regarding Cyberpunk 2077’s release date we’d like to share with you today. pic.twitter.com/aWdtR0grYV
— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) January 16, 2020
In further delays, Techland has revealed their zombie survival sequel Dying Light 2 has been delayed indefinitely. Originally announced at E3 2018, the game was set for release in Spring 2020 (Australia’s Autumn), but with that time frame approaching rapidly, Techland CEO Paweł Marchewka has revealed the team will need more development time to work on it. In a Tweet posted by the Dying Light 2 account, the delay will allow them to create the game to fan’s expectations and their own high standards.
The entire Half Life series is free to play for the next two months. With the new VR title in the series, Half Life: Alyx, fast approaching, Valve have released Half Life 1 and Half Life 2 with all their expansions as free downloads on Steam. The games will only remain on Steam accounts until April 1, when they will subsequently be removed. Half Life: Alyx is set to launch in March, giving us plenty of time to revisit the Black Mesa Research Facility and City 17.
Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March, and we’re celebrating early by making all past games in the Half-Life series free to play for Steam users, from now until the day Half-Life: Alyx launches! https://t.co/giz801AKfu pic.twitter.com/ndUpN8NDYs
— Valve (@valvesoftware) January 21, 2020
A new patent filed by Nintendo has revealed plans for a touch pen attachment for the Nintendo Joy-Cons. While the patent was filed last June, it was published on January 16 and contained some illustrations on how the attachment would function. Replacing the wrist strap attachments, the touch pen will allow players to draw seamlessly on their screen without having to take the Joy-Con out of their hand – a feature that will be incredibly useful for titles like Super Mario Maker 2, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training. However, there is no word yet on when we might see it released.
Volume 2 of the Smash Bros Ultimate Fighters Pass has been set in action, with six more characters due to be added to the game by December, 2021. The pass will be available to preorder on January 28, the same day recently announced fighter Blyeth will enter the fray. This news will also mean that players will receive one additional fighter from their Fighters Pass than they did with the first volume pass.
Mortal Kombat fans can get excited as a new animated feature film, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, is set to be released in June. The new animated series will feature Community star Joel McHale as Johnny Cage, while Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter will be voicing Sonya Blade.
Netflix has finally revealed the first image for the highly anticipated third season of their animated series Castlevania. The new image reveals Camilla, the main antagonist in season two, plus three other characters. No word yet on the identity of these new characters and their loyalties, but it’s still an interesting and exciting tease for the new season.
Netflix has also announced this week that 21 Studio Ghibli original feature films will be added to the platform from February. Staggered over a three-month period, the films will be released periodically, and include classics such as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke.