Mads Mikkelsen Replacing Johnny Depp in “Fantastic Beasts”

Following the apparent removal of Johnny Depp from the filming of the third #FantasticBeasts film a few weeks ago, actor Mads Mikkelsen will be taking over the role of Gellert Grindelwald. Depp resigned at the request of #WarnerBrothers Studio after losing a libel case against The Sun over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater”.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is known for his film roles in “Casino Royale” (opposite Daniel Craig’s James Bond), #Marvel’s #DoctorStrange and as Galen Erso in “#RogueOne: A #StarWars Story”.

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Upcoming Book Reveals More of George Lucas’ Original Plans for a “Star Wars” Sequel Trilogy that Disney Ignored

When George Lucas sold #LucasFilm and #StarWars to The #Disney Company in 2012, he did have treatments and a plan for the sequel trilogy. This isn’t the first time that he has discussed this, but he did reveal more about the nature of what he intended for a sequel trilogy in an upcoming book entitled The Star Wars Archives. 1999-2005″ that was written by Paul Duncan and edited & published by TASCHEN.

During an interview with the book’s author last year, which he included in the book, George Lucas described that Darth Maul would have trained a new apprentice, Darth Talon (as conceptualized below), who would have occupied a similar role to Darth Vader, while Maul continued to control the criminal underworld.

In George Lucas’ words,

“Maul eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe, as the Empire fails, he takes over.”

“Darth Maul trained a girl, Darth Talon, who was in the comic books, as his apprentice. She was the new Darth Vader and most of the action was with her. So these were the two main villains of the trilogy.”

This trilogy would have taken place only a few years after the events of “Star Wars VI: #ReturnOfTheJedi”, with Leia trying to bring order back to the galaxy as Luke attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order. While Luke would have accomplished his task, Leia would have succeeded in establishing a New Republic, solidifying her as the true “Chosen One.”

When discussing these exciting reveals on Twitter, author Duncan confirmed to fans, “These were some of his ideas when prepping the films in 2012, before he sold to Disney, as related to me by George in an interview last year.”

YouTuber Thor Skywalker released an interesting video discussing this topic, which we have shared below:

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Johnny Depp Leaves “Fantastic Beasts” Franchise

Actor Johnny Depp will no longer be playing the role of Gellert Grindelwald in J.K. Rowlings’ #FantasticBeasts movie franchise, which is a series of prequels to #HarryPotter. Depp made the announcement today on his Instagram account claiming that #WarnerBrothers had asked him to leave the franchise.

Releasing a short statement of their own, Warner Brothers has confirmed that Depp will leave the franchise, but did not comment on the nature of the separation or confirm that they asked him to go.

Coming just days after Depp lost a libel lawsuit against a British tabloid that characterized him as being abusive, it’s likely that this is related to the ongoing controversy surrounding back-and-forth abuse allegations between himself and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp did not specifically link the two in his letter, but he did bring the trial up, pledging to appeal the ruling.

His Instagram post can be seen below:

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald

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RIP Sir Sean Connery

#RIP: Scottish-born actor Sir Sean Connery has died at the of 90. He played Prof. Henry Jones in “#IndianaJones and the #LastCrusade”; Zed in #Zardoz; Marshall William O’Neil in #Outland; King Agamemnon / fireman in #TimeBandits; the Green Knight in “#SwordOfTheValiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”; Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez in #Highlander & “Highlander 2: #TheQuickening”; King Richard in #RobinHood; King Arthur in #FirstKnight; voice of Draco in #Dragonheart; Allan Quatermain in #LeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen; Paul Bradley in #Meteor; & much more, including the original James Bond, 007.

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

Sir Sean Connery (1930-2020)

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Netflix Cancels “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” After First Season

Netflix announced on Sept. 21, 2020, the cancellation of its series “#TheDarkCrystal: #AgeOfResistance”. The internet series was a prequel to the original 1982 Jim Henson film and told the story of a group of young Gelflings who discover that their overlords — the evil Skeksis — are duplicitous and plan to consume their subjects’ life energy via the dark crystal in order to fuel their own.

News of the cancelation comes mere days after the show won an Emmy for best children’s series. Executive producer Lisa Henson said,

“We can confirm that there will not be an additional season of ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.’ We know fans are eager to learn how this chapter of ‘The Dark Crystal’ saga concludes and we’ll look for ways to tell that story in the future. Our company has a legacy of creating rich and complex worlds that require technical innovation, artistic excellence, and masterful storytelling. Our history also includes productions that are enduring, often finding and growing their audience over time and proving again and again that fantasy and science fiction genres reflect eternal messages and truths that are always relevant. We are so grateful to Netflix for trusting us to realize this ambitious series; we are deeply proud of our work on ‘Age of Resistance,’ and the acclaim it has received from fans, critics and our peers, most recently receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program.”

From Variety.
“The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance”

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John Boyega: Disney Sidelined his “Star Wars” Character

In an interview with British GQ magazine published on Sept. 2, 2020, actor John Boyega candidly criticized how The #Disney Company treated himself and his character of Finn in the #StarWars sequel trilogy. In other words, #racism marred his time spent in a galaxy far, far away. Boyega said,

“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.”

In the first sequel trilogy film (“Star Wars: #TheForceAwakens”, directed by J.J. Abrams), Boyega played Finn, a former Stormtrooper who wielded a lightsaber, as a major driving force of the narrative. But in the following two films (“Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” and “Star Wars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker”), Disney & #LucasFilm gave more space to Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and sidelined Finn.

But John Boyega wasn’t only referring to himself, he was also talking about the other people of color in the cast. Namely, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac: who he feels suffered the same treatment. Boyega acknowledges that some people will say he’s “crazy” or “making it up”, but the reordered character hierarchy of “The Last Jedi” was particularly hard to take. Boyega went on to say the following in the interview:

“Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver. You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know fuck all. So what do you want me to say? What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience…’ Nah, nah, nah. I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They gave all the nuance to Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam knows this. Everybody knows. I’m not exposing anything.”

In an August, 2018 essay published in the New York Times, Kelly Marie Tran, who is Vietnamese-American and was introduced in “The Last Jedi” before being sidelined in “The Rise of Skywalker”, wrote about the her own ordeal with racism, saying she had gone “down a spiral of self-hate” due to all the harassment she had received:

“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them. Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.”

“[Society] taught me I existed only in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests—and perhaps the most damaging—waiting for them to rescue me. And for a long time, I believed them.”

When John Boyega’s face first appeared from beneath a stormtrooper helmet in the first released trailer for “The Force Awakens”, racist hashtags like #BoycottStarWarsVII suddenly appeared on social media. Boyega acknowledged the boycotts in the British GQ magazine directly, saying that he was

“the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race.… It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realize, I got given this opportunity, but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me. Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and Black that and you shouldn’t be a stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

Then there was Disney’s official poster for “The Force Awakens” released in China. While it was very similar to the one released in the U.S., Boyega’s image as Finn, which was prominent in the U.S. poster, was severely shrunk in the Chinese one.

"Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens" Posters

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

John Boyega’s words in the interview are an indictment on the systemic mistreatment of black characters in blockbuster films, saying,

“They’re always scared. They’re always fricking sweating.”

Boyega also viewed the return of director J.J. Abrams to “The Rise of Skywalker” as a salvage job, saying,

“Everybody needs to leave my boy alone. He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your shit.”

While Boyega acknowledged that “Star Wars” was an “amazing opportunity” and a “stepping stone” that has precipitated so much good in his life and career, he was palpably exhilarated to be finally saying all this. To dismiss his words as merely professional bitterness or paranoia is to miss the point. His primary motivation is to show the frustrations and difficulties of trying to operate within what can feel like a permanently rigged system. He is trying to let you know what it feels like to have a boyhood dream ruptured by the toxic realities of the world.

John Boyega

John Boyega

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Judge Rules Against Video Game Developer Who Claimed “Star Trek: Discovery” Ripped Him Off

An appeals court took some literary license when discussing a copyright lawsuit over the beloved #SciFi series #StarTrek. Writing on behalf of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Denny Chin borrowed some iconic language from the show’s opening while issuing a decision on a case between CBS Broadcasting Inc. and video game developer Anas Abdin, who claimed that “Star Trek: Discovery” borrowed a concept he came up with:

“Today, in the latest round of Star Trek-related litigation, we are asked to boldly go where no court has gone before.”

Chin wrote that the panel decided the case was consistent with the findings of a lower-court judge. In the ruling, Chin said that Anas Abdin failed to show there was substantial similarity between his video game concept and the television series. Abdin has maintained that a concept he introduced in 2014 on several online forums and websites (tardigrades) was later utilized by CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Netflex Inc. in the show “Star Trek: Discovery”, which premiered in September, 2017.

The appeals court noted that information about tardigrades was publicly available and cited a Smithsonian Magazine report that tardigrades, which are commonly seen on moss or the bottom of lakes, have also been found surviving in boiling hot springs and buried under ice on Himalayan mountaintops.

The appeals court wrote,

“The tardigrade’s ability to survive in space has been reported and discussed in numerous scientific studies and thus has entered the public domain as a scientific fact.”

“Facts and ideas are not protected by copyright.”

"Star Trek: Discovery" Image

“Star Trek: Discovery” Image

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RIP John Saxon

#RIP: actor John Saxon has died at the age of 84. He played Sador in #BattleBeyondTheStars, Consul Tarrant in #TheFantasticJourney (TV series), Captain Radl in #WonderWoman (TV series), Nedlick in #TheBionicWoman, Nedlick / Maj. Frederick Sloan in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, Capt. Anthony Vico in #StrangeNewWorld (TV movie), Dylan Hunt in #PlanetEarth (TV movie), Ianto in NightGallery, Marco Polo in #TheTimeTunnel, Allan Brenner in the sci-fi / horror film #QueenOfBlood, Dr. Jack Costain in the sci-fi / horror film #BloodBeastFromOuterSpace, Michael Anderson / Cyrano de Bergerac / Monsieur Berandt Sabatier /  Evan Watkins / Professor Harold DeHaven / Colin McArthur / Dr. Roger Sullivan in #FantasyIsland, Dudley Stone in #TheRayBradburyTheater, Benjamin O’Connell in #Monsters (TV series), himself in #WesCravensNewNightmare, & more.

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

John Saxon

John Saxon (1935 – 2020)

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Diamond Comic Halts Payments; More Comic Book Shops Permanently Closing

The state of the #ComicBook industry continues to worsen as more comic book shops permanently close and primary comic book distributor “#DiamondComic Distributors” halts payments to publishers and other vendors due to severe cash flow problems.

In a letter released to the public by Stan Heidman, president of Geppi Family Enterprises (the parent company of Diamond Comic Distributors), Diamond said the move is in response to the impact of the #COVID19 pandemic on the supply chain. He said,

“While the full impact of this epidemic is still unknown, one thing is certain: supply chain disruptions have cash flow implications across the extended industry that can’t be underestimated. While we work to understand the current industry landscape, the unfortunate truth is that we are no longer receiving consistent payments from our customers. This requires that at this time, we hold payments to vendors previously scheduled to release this week.”

A network of about 2,000 independent comic book shops that buy their stock from Diamond Comic nonreturnable at wholesale prices. Diamond Comic Distributors delivers comics periodicals (mostly superhero), graphic novels, prose books, and pop culture merchandise, to these stores. Last week as comics shops around the country were forced to either shut down completely or restrict admittance to their shops due to the pandemic, Diamond announced it was halting shipments of new weekly comics to comics shops indefinitely.

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Diamond Comic Distributors is having cash flow problems for one simple reason: comic book shops aren’t open in most of the U.S. and some are more are starting to permanently close. Three more comic book shops reported that they are permanently closing in the past week:

Sho’Nuff Comics of Tuscaloosa, Alabama Closing

The store released the following statement on Facebook on Mar. 24:

“This is something that we never thought we would have to be writing. After March 31st Sho’Nuff Comics will no longer be in business. Through the month of April we will have sporadic hours, but will keep them updated on Facebook. Due to many different factors and the current health crisis, it’s all but done us in.”

Blue Moon Comics of San Rafael, California on Verge of Closing

The store released the following statement on Facebook on Mar. 20:

“Just wanted to inform you of our status. We have stopped all comic shipments at this time. So, no new comics for the next month or so. Stephen and I are accessing the viability of keeping the business going. As you know, business has not been good for quite some time and this may be fate’s way of saying it is time to stop. When we know you will know. Thank you all for your support over the years. We do this for you, the comic fans and the love of the medium!! Please be safe and lets all hope for good things to come after this trying time is over.”

Purple Turtle Comics of Vallejo, California Closed

After opening only a year ago, after opening only a year ago, the popular store that ran signings with well know comic book creators, the Diamond shutdown was too much, it seems; and the store has closed permanently.

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