Chris Pine & Chris Hemsworth ‘drop out’ of “Star Trek IV”

Actors Chris Pine & Chris Hemsworth have both dropped out of “#StarTrek IV”. While deals with other returning cast members (Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and John Cho) are expected to close, sources say that negotiations between Chris Pine & Chris Hemsworth and the companies making the new installment (Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media), have fallen apart. Both sides walking away from the table.

Both Pine & Hemsworth (who are both among Hollywood’s A-list when starring in DC or Marvel movies) are said to be asking the studios to stick to existing deals. But (according to insiders), Paramount contends that Star Trek is not like a Marvel or Star Wars movie and is trying to hold the line on a budget. In other words, Paramount is reneging on existing deals with Pine & Hemsworth by trying to force them into taking pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following the last film, which was a mediocre performer: Star Trek Beyond.

Chris Pine has played Captain James T. Kirk in the 3 movies since the “Star Trek” reboot began and Chris Hemsworth appeared briefly at the beginning of the first reboot as James Kirk’s father.

Chris Hemsworth & Chris Pine

Chris Hemsworth & Chris Pine

While it’s unclear what is going to happen with “Star Trek IV”, Paramount and Skydance insiders say the movie remains a priority development and is not being put on hold. Whether that means they will try to recast Captain Kirk & Kirk’s father is to be seen.

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Sir Patrick Stewart to Reprise Iconic “Star Trek” Role in New Series

Sir Patrick Stewart will reprise the role of “#StarTrek: #TNG” Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the franchise’s new series to air on #CBS’ #AllAccess streaming service in the fall of 2019.

The much-beloved actor said,

“I feel I’m ready to return to him for the same reason — to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times.”

Sir Patrick Stewart tweeted,

“It is an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him. Read my full statement in the photo.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 11.24.27 AM

 

Sir Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

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Jeremy Bulloch Announces His Retirement

Actor Jeremy Bulloch, who played the iconic #BountyHunter #BobaFett in #StarWars, has announced his retirement from attending conventions. His announcement is listed below:

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to stop attending conventions and hang up the Fett helmet. It has not been an easy decision to make. In 1979 I was called onto the set of Empire Strikes Back to play Boba Fett, and since that day it has changed the entire direction of my life in such a wonderful way. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to inspire so many generations of Star Wars fans. I have had over 20 years of traveling with my wife Maureen to some amazing countries and have met so many wonderful fans. Thank you all so much and we will miss you all.

‘May the Force be with you always’

Jeremy

We wish Jeremy all the best in his well-earned retirement!

Jeremy Bulloch

Jeremy Bulloch

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Disney Fired Director James Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3”

#Disney has fired James Gunn from directing “#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy, Vol. 3” after a number of tweets he make nearly a decade ago in which he joked about pedophilia & molestation came to light.

Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, released the following statement:

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”

James Gunn then released the following statements:

“Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”

“It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”

He went on say the following:

“For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.”

James Gunn

James Gunn

How James Gunn was Fired

Two of the individuals most responsible for creating the firestorm regarding James Gunn’s old tweets were alt-right (white supremacist) figures Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, both of whom had long been railing against Hollywood. Mike Cernovich (and helped by Jack Posobiec & other far-right individuals) is known for playing a key role in manipulating public opinion during the 2016 election with “Pizzagate“: a far-right, white supremacist conspiracy theory about a supposed satanic pedophilia ring run by prominent Democrats out of a D.C. pizzeria.

Online Petition to Rehire James Gunn

An online petition for Disney to rehire James Gunn has received over 50,000 signatures. Though it seems unlikely that Disney will relent.

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Toxicity within the “Star Wars” Fandom

The #StarWars fandom is huge. By huge, we mean tens of millions of fans around the entire globe and they all share one thing in common: a very strong & genuine love for the franchise. Unfortunately, there’s also a dark & toxic side within the fandom. While this toxic side is not indicative of every fan, it can occur within a very vocal minority of the fandom over a variety of complaints about things within the franchise that they’re unhappy about. And, unfortunately, usually the more unhappy they are about something, the more vocal they become.

As the monk & poet John Lydgate (c. 1370 – c. 1451) once wrote,

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

“The Last Jedi”

While the 7th film in the “Star Wars” franchise (“The Force Awakens”), was a huge box-office success when it opened in theaters in 2015 with earnings over $936-million, the 8th film (“The Last Jedi”) that opened in 2017 did not perform anywhere as well, though it did earn a respectable $620-million. Still, that was only about 2/3 as much earnings as “The Force Awakens”. Why the difference?

the-last-jedi-theatrical-blog

In the early weeks following the opening of “The Last Jedi” in theaters, movie goer ratings for the movie were very poor on both RottenTomatoes.com and IMDb.com. While some people claimed that RottenTomatoes.com had been hacked as a way to account for the poor movie goer ratings, other factors since then (that we’ll get to) demonstrate that to be unlikely. We posted on this blog about the poor movie goer ratings not long after the movie was released in theaters.

But that wasn’t all: the movie failed to maintain a large audience in the early weeks immediately after the film was released, which is in sharp contrast to how well “The Force Awakens” performed 2 years earlier. “The Last Jedi” did so poorly in China during its first week that 92% theaters removed the film after the first week.

Negative Reactions to “The Last Jedi”

So why did “The Last Jedi” not sit well with fans or do as well at the box office? An article from Forbes from last December gives several possible reasons. Another article that was released in March of this year (4 months ago) in futurism.media paints an even bleaker picture as to what made the movie terrible:

“Before I delve into my own personal feeling of betrayal, I want to first state that I understand that some people did, in fact, enjoy The Last Jedi. Several of my friends went to see the film and said they thoroughly enjoyed it. I, however, had a drastically different feeling about the film. Ever since the film’s release, there’s been a divide in the Star Wars community over the film’s reception. On popular review site Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Jedi scores a 48% audience rating, ranking it as the worst audience rated Star Wars film behind Attack of the Clones, which comes in at 57%. So even though some people, who are well within their right, enjoyed the film, here’s why I feel it ranks, for me personally, as the worst Star Wars film.”

The articles’s author then goes on to point out questions raised in “The Force Awakens” that many fans wanted to see answered in “The Last Jedi”:

“Who are Rey’s parents? Who are the Knights of Ren? What’s the significance of Snoke? Is there any hope of redemption for Kylo Ren? And most importantly, what’s going to happen to Luke? All questions we eagerly waited two years to find out the answers to. Instead, we get treated to The Last Jedi…”

The answers that director Rian Johnson gave in “The Last Jedi” weren’t satisfactory for many fans. As for Luke Skywalker, the author of the futurism.media article is very blunt about his feelings:

“Luke is probably the worst character in the film, mainly due to that fact there is a comparison to make between Luke in these new films and the original trilogy.”

True, Rian Johnson went into a very different direction with Luke Skywalker than most fans would have ever expected and many fans didn’t like how Luke was portrayed.

While this article paints a very negative picture of “The Last Jedi”, it still pails in comparison to a petition and a campaign that some angry fans started:

  1. Shortly after the film’s release in December, 2017, some angry fans started a petition to have “The Last Jedi” stripped from the “Star Wars” canon.
  2. Then only a few weeks ago, some angry fans started a campaign to raise money to film a remake of “The Last Jedi”.

We don’t expect Disney or LucasFilm to honor either of these requests from angry fans.

Actress Kelly Marie Tran Harassed Online

The angry fan reaction didn’t stop with complaints about the movie, petitions or a campaign to remake the movie. Some angry fans went after actress Kelly Marie Tran on social media. The months of harassment became to unbearable that she finally deleted her Instagram account last month.

The Hollywood Reporter best summed it up in an article entitled “Toxic Fandom Is Killing ‘Star Wars'”:

“But others hated [The Last Jedi]. Hated everything it stood for. Hated what they saw as a social justice warrior remix of the Star Wars they grew up with. And they hated Tran’s Rose most of all because they decided that she was the avatar for all that was wrong with the franchise. Those fans — a minority but a loud one — found their ‘them’ in the very thing they used to love.

Those who chose this particular vein of the Dark Side, emboldened by the faceless intoxication of the internet, went hard on Tran. Racist invective, misogyny, rape and death threats all hurled at her constantly, unrelentingly, transforming what had been a Cinderella story — The Last Jedi was Tran’s first major film — into a modern-day nightmare.”

Kelly Marie Tran

Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico

Rian Johnson Fires Back in Response to Kelly Marie Tran Harassment

Director Rian Johnson spoke up about the harassment that Kelly Marie Tran received, describing the fans harassing her as being “manbabies” on his Twitter account.

“Solo: A Star Wars Movie”

Angry fan backlash to “The Last Jedi” wasn’t limited to that film. It now includes the next movie: the standalone movie “Solo: A Star Wars Movie”, which we discussed in a blog post several weeks ago.

“Solo: A Star Wars Movie” now holds the dubious honor of being the lowest grossing movie ever in the “Star Wars” franchise. To date, it has only earned about $380,487,122 worldwide ($211,627,976 domestic + $168,859,156 foreign) in spite of the fact that it’s a very entertaining movie whose storyline is not directly connected to “The Last Jedi” with the exception of the characters Han Solo and Chewbacca. In fact, Chewbacca is the only character in common between these two films.

solo-official-poster

Ahmed Best Was Once Suicidal

In response to the backlash from angry fans that Kelly Marie Tran underwent, actor Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the “Star Wars” prequels, publicly admitted that he became suicidal from the negative reaction he received from angry, toxic fans nearly 20 years ago. He has since thanked fans who have expressed their support since he admitted just how bad things had become for him because of the toxic fans.

Ahmed Best

Ahmed Best

Director Christopher McQuarrie “Cured”

Earlier this month, director Christopher McQuarrie (who helped to do some reshoots on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) flatly stated that the toxic fan response to Rian Johnson on “The Last Jedi” has “cured” him of ever wanting to direct a “Star Wars” movie. He also won’t direct a superhero film for the same reason.

Christopher McQuarrie

Christopher McQuarrie

Advice to Toxic “Star Wars” Fans

Just remember what Yoda said in “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace” when he was talking with the young Anakin Skywalker:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda.

References

Real-life Hogwarts Express Looking to Hire a Volunteer Harry Potter Expert

The real-life Hogwarts Express (a.k.a., the North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railway) is looking to hire a volunteer #HarryPotter expert to greet fans at the Goathland Station, which was featured in the film as Hogsmeade Station.

The North Yorkshire Moors Historical Railway Trust needs super-fans to dedicate their time to answering the questions of Harry Potter fans who visit the station on a daily basis. The job will require the candidate to lead “small to medium-sized groups of Muggles and Wizarding enthusiasts on tours around Goathland station, delivering knowledge on the history of the railway and the station’s association with the Harry Potter franchise.”

The candidate will also be required to “Work with the Education Officer to create an engaging Wizarding itinerary with the aim of group visits and ensuring that they have an enjoyable visit that fulfils any required learning objectives.”

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