Star Wars: “Rangers of the New Republic” Spinoff No Longer in Development at LucasFilm

With the firing of Gina Carano in February, 2021, #LucasFilm has now stopped development of the new series #RangersOfTheNewRepublic, which was to be a spinoff of #TheMandalorian. The series was announced at Disney’s Investors Day event in December, 2020, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirming they’d work in conjunction with The Mandalorian to buildup to a massive crossover event.

It was strongly believed that the series was going to star Gina Carano as Cara Dune at the time of her firing from LucasFilm because the character Care Dune became a ranger in the New Republic during the second season of “The Mandalorian“.

In a Variety report on Dave Filoni’s Executive Creator Director position at Lucasfilm, the outlet notes that “Rangers of the New Republic” is “not currently in active development.” No reasoning for this was given, but the other “Mandalorian” spinoffs remain in the works.

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RIP Kentaro Miura

#RIP: well-known manga artist Kentaro Miura (三浦 建太郎) unexpectedly passed away on May 6, 2021 at the age of 54. He is best known for creating the #DarkFantasy manga called #Berserk, which ran for 40 volumes and 363 chapters. The story centers on the characters of Guts (a lone mercenary) and Griffith (the leader of a mercenary band called the “Band of the Hawk”). Publication began in Hakusensha’s “Monthly Animal House” beginning in 1989; then “Monthly Animal House” was renamed Young Animal in 1992. Publication of the Berserk manga began In North America with the first volume published on October 22, 2003 by Dark Horse Comics in conjunction with Digital Manga Publishing. All 40 current volumes were published as of September 25, 2019 in North America.

A novel adaptation that was released on June 23, 2017 and entitled “Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight” was written by Makoto Fukami and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. It is focused on the new Band of the Hawk’s apostle Grunbeld.

The first Berserk anime TV series ran for 25 episodes from 1997 to 1998; a second Berserk anime TV series ran from 2016 to 2017. Several TV movies were also created:

  • “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King” (2012)
  • “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey” (2012)
  • “Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent” (2013)

Three video games were also produced based upon the manga:

  • “Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage” (1999)
  • “Berserk Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War” (2004)
  • “Berserk and the Band of the Hawk” (2016)

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Kentaro Miura (三浦 建太郎, 1966-2021)

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RIP Charles Grodin

#RIP: actor Charles Grodin passed away at the age of 86 on May 18, 2021. He played Tony Abbott in #HeavenCanWait (1978), Vance Kramer in #TheIncredibleShrinkingWoman, Fred Wilson in #KingKong (1976), drummer boy in #20000LeaguesUnderTheSea, & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Charles Grodin (1935-2021)

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AT&T to Sell WarnerMedia and DC Comics to Discovery

On Monday morning, AT&T and Discovery, Inc. announced a deal whereby AT&T’s #WarnerMedia will be spun off and combined with #Discovery in a new standalone media company. The deal (which is still subject to regulatory approval) will combine two treasure troves of content, including the #HBOMax & discovery+ streaming services; #DCComics characters; and the #HarryPotter films, whose distribution is under #WarnerBrothers.

DC Comics is a subsidiary of the Global Brands and Experiences division of Warner Brothers, which itself is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia through its Studios & Networks division.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav (who’s been CEO since 2007) will run the combined business, according to Monday’s announcement. Prior to being the Discovery CEO, Zaslav worked for NBCUniversal, where he was responsible for a number of channels, including “The Sci-Fi Channel” before it was rebranded as the #SyFy Channel on March 16, 2009.

Zaslav’s ascension is part of a surprising move by AT&T and Discovery to pool their media resources and make a bid to compete more directly with large rivals like Netflix, Walt Disney and NBCUniversal. Zaslav will have a broader portfolio of resources as his company and AT&T form a joint venture that will combine his company’s TLC with Warner’s TNT and TBS; the flagship Discovery Channel with Warner’s DC Comics characters; and lifestyle-focused Food Network with Warner programs

David Zaslav

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Disney/LucasFilm Remove John Boyega from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Promotional Art Again

#LucasFilm and parent company #Disney continue to tarnish their own reputations. While both claim to be inclusive EEO companies, they continue to pander to countries (especially China) that don’t like people of color.

In an official tweet posted to celebrate “Star Wars Day” (May the Fourth) yesterday, the official #StarWars Twitter account shared a fan-made poster by artist Leke Fonge intended to represent the film “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens”, which was the first of the three Disney Star Wars sequel trilogy of movies.

The poster shared by the official Star Wars Twitter account (and later deleted) depicted two characters from the film: Rey and Kylo Ren:

Modified Poster by Leke Fonge Shared on Official Star Wars Twitter Account on May 4, 2021

But, a poster by the same artist and shared on the official Star Wars website includes Finn standing between Rey and Kylo Ren, along with the Millennium Falcon and a number of First Order TIE fighters:

Leke Fonge-made Poster Shared on the Official Star Wars Website

The same artwork that was posted on the official Star Wars website was then also shared on Disney+:

Same Leke Fonge-Made Poster Shared on Disney+

After fans noticed this obvious discrepancy and complete removal of John Boyega’s character of Finn from the poster shared on the official Twitter account, they were outraged and were highly critical of Disney and LucasFilm. This prompted the powers that be at Disney or LucasFilm to delete the original tweet that left out Finn, then replacing it with a different tweet with the exact same wording and yet another poster that not only included Finn, but depictions of Han Solo and Chewbacca also:

2nd Tweet Posted by Official Star Wars Account after Deleting the 1st Tweet that Excluded Finn

At no point was one of the other people of color ever depicted in these pictures: Poe Dameron as depicted by Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac.

This removal of Finn was very reminiscent of the original movie posters released in China for “The Force Awakens” in 2015 that had severely shrunk Finn as compared to his very prominent position in the poster released in the U.S.:

“Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” Posters released in the U.S. (Left) and China (Right).

And in Sept., 2020, John Boyega had this to say regarding the treatment that he and his character received at the hands of Disney and LucasFilm:

“You get yourself involved in projects and you’re not necessarily going to like everything. [But] what I would say to Disney is do not bring out a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are and then have them pushed to the side. It’s not good. I’ll say it straight up.”

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RIP Nathan Jung

#RIP: actor Nathan Jung died at the age of 74 on April 24, 2021. He played Ghengis Kahn in the “#StarTrek: #TOS” episode “The Savage Curtain”; Kendo Killer in #TheAmazingSpiderMan (1977 TV series); Tang in #Manimal; Wing Kong hatchet man in #BigTroubleInLittleChina; Yoji in #HighwayToHeaven; Chinese warrior in #Darkman; Jzuk-Mao in “#LoisAndClark: #TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman”; & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Nathan Jung (1946-2021)

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RIP Billie Hayes

#RIP: it is with deep regret that we share that actress Billie Hayes passed away at the age of 96 on April 29, 2021. She played the flamboyant villain Witchiepoo in “H.R. #Pufnstuf” (1969 TV series), Witchiepoo in Pufnstuf (the 1970 movie); Weenie the genie / Witchiepoo in #Lidsville; witch in #Bewitched; witches (voices) / additional voices in #TheNightmareBeforeChristmas; Sister Rosalind in #Tabitha, & more.

Our sincerest condolences to her family, friends and fans. May she rest in peace.

Billie Hayes (1924 – 2021)

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RIP Felix Silla

#RIP: actor Felix Silla has passed away at the age of 84 on April 16, 2021. He played an Ewok in “#StarWars VI: #ReturnOfTheJedi”, Cousin Itt in #TheAddamsFamily, Emperor Penguin in “#Batman Returns”, Dink in #Spaceballs, a Taolisian in “#StarTrek #TOS”, Twiki in #BuckRogersAndThe25thCentury, Lucifer in #BattlestarGalactica, Colonel Poom in #Lidsville, Polka Dotted Horse in #HRPufnstuf & more.

Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Frank Silla (1937-2021)

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