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Disneyland At Christmas: Best Tips and Tricks For Visiting During The Holiday

Mickey and Minnie Characters in front of Christmas tree

There’s never a bad time to visit Disneyland; it is the happiest place on Earth, after all, but if there’s a best time to visit Disneyland, it might be right now. Disneyland is a place that makes you feel like a kid again, and there’s no better time to be a kid than during the Christmas holiday season. Put the two together, and you have double the magic.

However, like with any Disneyland vacation there’s a lot to do, and a limited time to do it all in. So, what all is there to do during the holidays that you don’t want to miss and what’s the best way to make sure you see it all? Good news, we can answer those questions. Here are a few thoughts on things you’ll want to check out, and the best way to handle them.

Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house

Disneyland’s Holiday Themed Attractions

The biggest reason to visit Disneyland Resort is, of course, all the attractions. The Christmas season tends to be a busy time at Disneyland, but the up side of that is that there is rarely any maintenance scheduled during the period, so all the rides you want to ride should be up and running. However, there are a number of special attractions only available during the holiday season that you won’t want to miss.

First and foremost, you have the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The classic Haunted Mansion is given a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay that starts with the Halloween season celebration and lasts through Christmas. This is probably the most popular attraction in the park that has a special holiday theme, so it’s probably worth hitting, or at least grabbing a FastPass, early. If you’re there at rope drop, go there first. As always, the highlight is the gingerbread house that is built from scratch every year. This year, it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion.

It’s A Small World also gets a holiday overlay, which includes a holiday version of the classic song, which might drive you a little less to distraction if you’re not a fan of the original Sherman Brothers classic. Although, if that’s the case, we need to talk.

Candy canes

Hand Puffed Candy Canes

While the attractions are pretty well known and are obviously going to be well-publicized, not everything special at Disneyland during the holiday is going to be broadcast everywhere. One item that many Disney fans know, but the general public might be less in-the-know about, are the special handmade candy canes you can only get this time of year.

Only a limited number of the special sweets are made each day and they’re only available certain days, so if you want one, you have to work for it. The candy canes are available at either Disneyland’s Candy Palace or Disney California Adventure’s Trolly Treats, depending on the day.

You’re going to have to head straight to the appropriate location as soon as the gates open, which means you may want to get the park as early as an hour before Disneyland opens in order to be sure you’re one of the first inside. Head over to the shop as fast as you can and get in line. From there, wristbands will be handed out which will give you a return time. Then you can go about your day and simply return at the right time to get this unique and limited item.

Here’s the 2019 schedule

Candy Palace at Disneyland

November 29; December 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, and 24

Trolley Treats at California Adventure

November 30; December 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, and 25

Candy Cane Churro

Disneyland’s Holiday Food Is Not To Miss

Attractions may be where we spend most of our time at Disneyland, but the second most fun thing to do in the park is, without question, eat. There are so many good food items to eat — whether it’s from a cart or a table service restaurant — that it’s essentially impossible to eat everything you want during a normal vacation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Personally, if I’m getting breakfast in the park, I always head over to New Orleans Square and hit the Mint Julep Bar for a bag of Mickey beignets. They’re always good, but during the holidays you can get candy cane beignets there, and that’s even better. Grab some before hitting the Haunted Mansion, as it makes the wait much more bearable. Basically every place you can get food at either park is going to have something new to try, so be sure to check out as much as you can. There’s a whole collection of unique churros you’ll only find in specific locations. You can basically churro your way all across the Disneyland Resort and never eat the same flavor twice.

Over at Disney California Adventure, in addition to all the extra food at the normal restaurants, you’ll find pop-up locations throughout the park with all kinds of festive foods and drinks to enjoy. Consider picking up the Sip and Savor Pass, which will allow you to try several of these offerings of your choice for a fixed price.

Grand Californian gingerbread house

The Grand Californian Gingerbread House

The Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house is a must-see creation, but it’s not the only gingerbread house of note within the Disneyland Resort. There is another, and you won’t find it inside either of the parks. Whether or not you’re staying at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or not, make a point to head through Downtown Disney and visit the place.

It’s a beautiful hotel that also houses the Napa Rose, the best restaurant in the resort, so you’ve got enough of a reason to go there anyway, but make sure to stop off in the lobby and check out the gingerbread house on display. You can get much closer to this one than you can the one in the Haunted Mansion.

Sleeping Beauty Castle dressed up for the holidays

Nighttime Viewing at the Disneyland Resort

No matter where you are, among the best parts of the holiday season at Disneyland and California Adventure are the decorations and specifically, the lights. Disneyland Resort is certainly no different, and if you’re the kind that likes to cruise around your neighborhood and look at the lights on the houses, you’ll want to do the same and cruise Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to see everything there is to see there.

Even if you don’t want to go inside It’s a Small World, make a point to visit the exterior after dark, as it is lit up beautifully every year. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is, of course, impossible to miss, especially when it’s done up for the holidays. One final place you’ll want to be sure you don’t miss is Cars Land over in Disney’s California Adventure. The neon lights are worth checking out year round, but during the holidays there’s a special glow to everything.

Of course, both parks have special holiday nighttime shows worth checking out as well. Disneyland’s Believe… In Holiday Magic, Fireworks Show and Disney California Adventure’s World of Color – Season Of Light are both must see events. For World of Color, considering making reservations at one of the restaurants that includes preferred viewing area space. You have to eat anyway, right? This way you’re guaranteed a decent spot, and also a good meal.

Neil Patrick Harris at Walt Disney World's Candlelight Processional screenshot

Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional

This one is only relevant to your trip if you’re going on certain days, and those days are coming up soon, the Disneyland Candlelight Processional, an event that was started by Walt Disney himself, will be taking place at the park on December 7th and 8th. A stage is constructed at the end of Main Street U.S.A. opposite the castle, and guests are treated to music and stories of the season.

The narrator of the event this year has not been revealed. It will likely be a surprise, but it’s almost always a significant celebrity and somebody with a strong Disney connection. Past narrators have included Chris Hemsworth, Dick Van Dyke, and Warwick Davis among many, many others. It’s a standing room only event and it will be crowded, but sometimes you just have to deal with that to experience something special.

There’s so much to do at Disneyland during the holidays. This is far from everything being offered by the veteran theme park, but it will certainly get you started and get you in the spirit of the season. If you can’t make it before Christmas, don’t worry, all of these holiday festivities actually last into the new year, and won’t actually end until January 6, 2020.

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Leia’s Role In The Rise Of Skywalker Is As Profound As Han In Force Awakens And Luke In Last Jedi, According To J.J. Abrams

General Leia Organa In Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker

While the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy has done an amazing job establishing its new generation of heroes – Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, and BB-8 – it’s also done a fascinating job weaving in its key legacy characters. Harrison Ford’s Han Solo got to play a significant role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, helping to shepherd Rey, Finn, and BB-8 to the Resistance in the Millennium Falcon, and then Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker was a central figure in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, reluctantly training Rey in the ways of the Force.

This has left an interesting question up in the air in regards to the role of Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. The pattern would suggest that the upcoming blockbuster would be the beloved character’s opportunity to take center stage, however, the actress passed away unexpectedly months before the start of production.

Given the circumstances, you might presume that the idea of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker having Leia as its central figure might not be feasible, but I learned from director J.J. Abrams this week that he feels that Leia’s role in the movie is just as “profound” as those played by Han and Luke in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, respectively.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the director yesterday during the Los Angeles press day for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, and directly asked him about the aforementioned pattern. In discussing how the production found the right way to include General Leia Organa in the story, he explained that the character’s presence in the film is far more significant than you might think:

Clearly we would have done other things had Carrie, been around, but I will say despite her not being with us anymore, her presence in the movie is not inconsequential. She’s not being ‘added in’ so that she’s in the movie. And I would say that her story, her role, the importance of Leia, I would argue is as profound as what you’re saying even though she wasn’t here.

In a macro examination of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa was positioned by the story at the center of everything from the get go. In addition to being the leader of the Resistance against the First Order, she was also made to be the mother of the central antagonist, Kylo Ren a.k.a. Ben Solo, while also being the ex-wife of Han Solo, and the sister of the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Every aspect of the narrative was built to lead back to her.

The significance of Leia’s position in the universe meant that the Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker filmmakers couldn’t just write her death into the opening scroll, or take her out of the story completely. J.J. Abrams explained that they knew there were certain avenues that weren’t available to them, and that it took a lot of work to find the right way to do things:

There was no way, as I’ve said before, to tell the story without Leia. She’s too important. It’s Skywalker saga. She is the living Skywalker in our story. You don’t want to start the story and say something happened to her in between movies. It didn’t feel right. We’d never recast it. A digital Leia wouldn’t work. There was no way to do it.

There was no real way to generate significant new footage featuring Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, but that’s when it donned on the filmmakers to look back at material that was previously relegated to the cutting room floor. J.J. Abrams himself shot extra scenes with Fisher that didn’t make it into the final cut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and there was a realization among the Rise of Skywalker team that the material could be repurposed as part of the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga.

While we won’t know exactly what this footage contains until we’re actually watching Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker later this month, the material caused the metaphorical light bulb to turn on in J.J. Abrams his head as he realized how it could be used for his new movie. Said the writer/director,

When we looked at the footage from Force Awakens, which I was obviously very familiar with, and realized we had a number of scenes we could use, and, and write scenes around, it was suddenly like, ‘Oh my God, we could tell the story with Leia in the film.’

At the end of the day, the circumstances facing the team behind Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker weren’t obviously not ideal, and in a perfect world Carrie Fisher would have been alive to perform new scenes as Leia. But J.J. Abrams feels not only that he did everything he could to make Fisher’s role in the movie work, but also lucky that he was able to give her a part to play and honor her memory:

Obviously we did everything we could with the material that we had. I would have loved to have done other things too, but I feel lucky that we got to do what we could.

The role played by Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker has long been one of the most anticipated elements of the new movie, but learning J.J. Abrams’ feelings in regards to the way the role parallels those played by Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the big picture makes it even more exciting. And now the countdown stands at just 15 days.

Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for a whole lot more of our Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker coverage both before and after the release of the film – including more from my interviews with not only with J.J. Abrams, but also stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams.

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How to Wear White and Pastel Dresses This Winter

Thanks to winter’s gray skies and chilly temps, you’re probably not feeling inspired to add color to your outfits right now—especially the Easter-egg pastels that are usually reserved for spring. But wait! While you might be in inclined to box up your white and pastel dresses until April, we encourage you to keep them in rotation as you start to get chunky-knit-and-jeans fatigue. (It happens to all of us, sooner or later.) Need some style inspiration? Consider the photos below a lesson in cold-weather pastels.

Look for pastel takes on rich fabrics that have the warmth of winter, like Priyanka Chopra’s velvet turtleneck and palazzo pants combo in silvery mint. (Yes, you’ve seen this monochromatic turtleneck ensemble before. This look is ALL the trends.)


Similarly, a pastel dress in a cozy knit brings to mind the soft blanket she’d rather be curled up with. Paired with boots in a dove gray—versus a harsher black—the look stays light and soft, but fully winter-ready.

Christian Vierig

This summer’s floaty dresses charmed us with their delicate floral patterns. Introduce yours to your closed-toe footwear, starting with combat-style boots

Christian Vierig

The no-white-past-Labor-Day rule is dumb, but that doesn’t mean the color super-easy to style. One idea: Pair an ivory dress with a shaggy jacket in the same shade and sheer tights that let a little skin peek through. The look says, “winter is here. And she has a touch of ’70s attitude.”

Hanna Lassen

23 Best Engagement Gifts for Couples

Engagement season is upon us and even though the magical time seems blissful and carefree on Instagram, it can become pretty stressful for the happy couple, who start fielding “So when’s the big day?” questions immediately following the congratulations.

Finding the best engagement gifts for your friends can help the lovebirds keep their sanity throughout the initial stages of wedding planning—which is why we asked married, or soon-to-be-married, Glamour editors and real women about the thoughtful gifts they received (or wish they had) following their engagements. From home goods to sex toys, keep scrolling for the best engagement gifts that will make the exciting (yet-low-key-crazy), period of their lives run a bit more smoothly.

All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Colin Trevorrow Shuts Down Latest Rise Of Skywalker Rumors

Star Wars has a tremendously active fanbase, and what comes part and parcel with that is a lot of rumor and speculation. There are many people in the world who are hungry for all of the latest inside information and behind-the-scenes talk that the smallest tidbits can snowball, and in combination with what turn out to be poor sources it can ultimately become misinformation.

That seems to be the case with a new report that popped up today regarding writer/director Colin Trevorrow’s vision for the film that became Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. The filmmaker took to Twitter today to shut down the story, saying that he only decided to do so because all of the details were completely untrue:

Nothing is officially known about the details of the drafts Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly put together, as Lucasfilm keeps those kinds of things very secret, but a report suggested possession of inside information about the script. I say “suggested” in the case, because Trevorrow very flatly refutes all of it as bunk.

This is very much a case of the accessibility of filmmakers on social media being a good thing, as it helps to have word from the official source that information being spread around is false. As everyone is well aware, rumors can spread like wildfire on the internet, and while it’s unfair to expect any artist to police every single rumor that emerges about their work, it is nice when a bit of confirmation is available in a world full of speculation.

For now we neither know much about Colin Trevorrow’s vision for Star Wars: Episode IX, nor really J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – but at least the latter has a ticking clock on it. We are now just a little over two weeks away from the blockbuster’s release in theaters around the globe, and expectations and anticipation is through the roof for what is heralded as the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker will be arriving in theaters everywhere on December 20th – and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for a whole lot of our content, including interviews with J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Naomi Ackie, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams in the coming days and weeks!

Eight People a Day on Average Are Sexually Assaulted in an Uber, According to New Uber Report

It’s the app that made getting into a stranger’s car seem normal. Billed as a safer alternative—for women in particular—to one-man taxis, Uber is now responsible for nearly four million trips a day. But after almost 21 months of data collection, the platform has released an unprecedented safety report, a record of thousands of sexual assaults and over 100 Uber-related deaths. The first of its kind across not just ride-share apps but most big businesses, the 78-page document is a damning account of violence

The review, which Glamour previewed, tabulates and categorizes all reported incidents from 2017 and 2018 and focuses on the most critical: fatalities and sexual assaults. In that period and after around 2.3 billion rides, 107 people died in Uber-related motor vehicle fatalities, 19 people died in Uber-related fatal assaults, and nearly 6,000 people experienced sexual assault—that’s on average eight reports per day and eight more than most of us think about when we open the app to request a ride.

The sexual assault claims run the gamut. For the report, Uber developed five categories of sexual assault, defined in consultation with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and the Urban Institute. The names sound clinical—non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, and non-consensual sexual penetration. But advocates stress that consistent taxonomies for assault are essential; the fact that we don’t have them is just one of countless reasons it’s been so hard to put reforms in place. And no matter how dispassionate the tone, the numbers are a gut punch: 464 reports in 2017 and 2018 claim the most serious offense—non-consensual sexual penetration (of which most of those victims were riders; 92% overall). But the data also points to a less recognized problem—assaults on vulnerable drivers. Across all five sexual assault categories, the percentages of drivers and riders who report even out. Drivers, who have few defenses against intoxicated users, report assaults at more or less the same rate as riders.

In an introduction to the data, Uber stresses that 99.9% of Uber trips—of which there are now close to 4 million per day—“end without anything going wrong or anyone contacting us” and that the “vast majority” of the .1% of reports that Uber does receive are not safety-related at all. (True, but context that Uber repeats more than once in a document that also details hundreds of cases of serious assault. The effect is somewhat disquieting.)

Clean Skin Care Routines: 4 Women With Great Skin Share Theirs

We all have those Instagram accounts we check daily, turn post notifications on for, and refer to in conversation like they’re our actual friends. If you’ve ever scrolled onto one of these photos and wondered, How does she do it? you’re in luck. Welcome to our series Insta Stalking, in which we talk to the women behind the accounts we’re obsessing over about their beauty secrets. Below, four women with great skin share their clean skin care routines.

Thanks in part to the internet, we now have more information than ever about what we are actually putting on (and into) our bodies. As women gain awareness and interest in what’s in their products, the “clean beauty” movement has rapidly grown. While there’s nothing wrong with pushing for products that are better for us and the planet, there are so many buzzwords—clean, green, natural, organic—floating around that it’s hard to sort through the noise. Add to the fact that every retailer and brand has their own definition of the word clean, and things can get a little murky.

Generally speaking, clean beauty refers to products free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial fragrance (again, this varies depending on who you ask), but has grown to lump products with all-natural or organic ingredients. Some also take sustainability into account. There’s also a lot misinformed stereotypes associated with clean beauty: That it’s crunchy (think more Whole Foods than Sephora), ineffective, or expensive, which can make going green intimidating. To make things a little easier, we asked four women who are passionate about clean beauty to define what it means to them, and share their clean skin care routines. Read on for the products they can’t live without.

Gabby Azorsky, 23, e-commerce sales assistant in Brooklyn

The beauty industry is fairly unregulated, so it’s important to me to use products with ingredients and from companies that I trust (I follow the EU’s standards as a guideline, which has stricter policies than the US). Sometimes I’ll use a product that isn’t “clean” for special occasions or a fun makeup look, but for daily wear, keeping it clean makes me feel like myself.

I eat colorfully, organic, and as unprocessed as possible, and think of my personal care in the same way. Eating lots of leafy greens, nourishing foods, and drinking plenty of water is the most important part of my skin care routine. Product-wise, I like to keep it simple. I have a few core products that I stick to, and then rotate or play with new products as I run out. I also generally switch out my cleanser and face oil with the seasons.

Black Widow: 5 Confirmed Theories For The Next Marvel Movie

Natasha Romanoff is back from the dead (but not really) in the upcoming Black Widow

WARNING: this article contains some crucial spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. If, for some reason, you have not seen it, proceed with caution!

On December 3, 2019, fans finally got to catch a glimpse of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff leading her own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first trailer for Black Widow. Marvel fans have been wanting to see Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff headline her own solo Black Widow film since she first exploded into the MCU in 2010’s Iron Man 2.

The film’s mysterious plot, in typical MCU fashion, has garnered much speculation since it was first announced. Is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? Is a sequel possible after that tragic moment in Avengers: Endgame?

There is still much left to learn about Black Widow until the film opens Phase Four of the MCU in May 2020, but, as of now, there are a few things that we know for sure. Such as…

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow ponders her future... or her past

Black Widow Will Take Place Between Civil War And Infinity War

As previously mentioned, excitement for Black Widow’s solo film was soon met with confusion after Avengers: Endgame saw the tragic death of Natasha Romanoff, sacrificing herself in return for the Soul Stone.

Theories surrounding the plot of Black Widow erupted every which way, with fans asking if Natasha Romanoff had really died, if Captain America brought her back to life when he returned the Infinity Stones, or if her soul was trapped in an alternate dimension in which the film takes place. Fans also discussed the more logical concept of Black Widow being a prequel that would offer a deeper explanation to the Marvel heroine’s origins of espionage.

Well, as the film’s trailer and IMBb description have made clear, Black Widow will take place in between the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Therefore, two things are for sure: Black Widow is both prequel and sequel, and, as Scarlett Johansson is certain of, Natasha Romanoff is dead. But at least we will get to see her in action one last time.

The Black Widow teaser depicts an unseen (only heard) conversation between Natasha Romanoff what appears to be William Hurt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (and more on him later), in which he tells her that he heard she “had to leave in a hurry,” echoing the events that occur with her toward the end of Captain America: Civil War where Tony Stark warns her that people will be coming for her. It quickly becomes apparent that, while in hiding, Natasha chose to return to Europe.

Could there be a chance that we’ll see a cameo from Chris Evans as Steve Rogers and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson before the blacklisted trio break off onto separate paths? Or Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark? Maybe we will also catch a glimpse of Natasha Romanoff’s transition from redhead to blonde. Perhaps we may learn more about Black Widow than we are even ready for.

David Harbour as the Soviet Captain America, Red Guardian

David Harbour Will Be Starring As Red Guardian In Black Widow

Since starring as Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper in Stranger Things, David Harbour’s career has consistently been on the up and up, landing bigger and bigger roles. For his second attempt at bringing a comic book character to life after 2019’s Hellboy reboot, the 44-year-old actor will appear in Black Widow as Alexei Shostakov, otherwise known as Red Guardian.

Red Guardian made his first appearance in Marvel comics in 1967. As one could tell from his battle helmet and the star embroidered on his chest, the character was essentially created as a Soviet equivalent to Captain America, complemented with a bright red shield to cement the resemblance.

Alexei Shostakov was originally depicted in the comics as a fighter pilot for Soviet Union during World War II before becoming the second of many to wear the Red Guardian mantle, as well as being the husband of Natasha Romanoff. While it is not clear what David Harbour’s iteration of Shostakov will be in relation to Scarlett Johansson’s character in Black Widow, there is no denying the “dad vibes” he gives off in the trailer.

William Hurt's Thunderbolt Ross looks to have shed off a few years for Black Widow

William Hurt Will Reprise His Role As Thunderbolt Ross In Black Widow

As previously mentioned, the Black Widow trailer sports an appearance by an old friend of the Avengers: Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Played by William Hurt, the Army general with an ongoing love-hate relationship with the Marvel heroes since his introduction to the MCU in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk is heard in the trailer speaking to Natasha Romanoff about how she “had to leave in a hurry,” which it seems safe to say is a reference to her evading capture at the end of Captain America: Civil War.

The only reason I say it “seems” that way is because, in the brief shot of Thunderbolt Ross in the Black Widow trailer, he looks far younger than he looked in Captain America: Civil War. It appears that Marvel has given William Hurt the digital de-aging special, following a trend that the studio has arguably perfected.

The use of this CGI trickery raises speculation that Black Widow might end up delving deeper into Natasha Romanoff’s history before joining the Avengers and it seems that Thunderbolt Ross is connected to her past.

Florence Pugh is Black Widow's sister?

Florence Pugh Will Appear As Black Widow’s “Sister,” Yelena Belova

One of the most exciting moments of the Black Widow trailer sees Natasha Romanoff in a brutal face-off with a Russian-accented blonde woman. The fight concludes with Romanoff telling her opponent, “It’s good to see you too, sis.”

The “sister” in question is Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh – though it’s not entirely clear if she is a blood relative sister, or simply a colleague and/or friend who is sisterly. The British actress, who garnered attention for her skin crawling performance in Ari Aster’s slow-burn horror masterpiece Midsommar, is seen in the trailer joining forces with Natasha Romanoff for more than just a “family reunion.”

Yelena Belova’s comic book counterpart, first introduced to Marvel comics in 1999, is Russian spy and assassin trained by the Red Room, the same organization known for training Natasha Romanoff, and would eventually succeed her as the second person to honor the Black Widow title. Along with Red Guardian a supposed father figure, the sisterly relationship makes Black Widow look to be quite the family affair.

Taskmaster has changed his look quite a bit for Black Widow, too

Taskmaster Will Be The Main Villain In Black Widow

The Black Widow trailer confirms talk that the film will mark the first appearance of Marvel antagonist Taskmaster. However, the villain’s spot in the trailer has also sparked some controversy.

Taskmaster is seen in the teaser showing some mad archery skills and donning a helmet sporting a wicked mouth guard resembling the bottom half of a skull. The thing is, that is not the look the original concept art promised.

Fans voiced their disappointment that this iteration of Taskmaster is a far cry from the appearance of his comic book counterpart, a mercenary Anthony “Tony” Masters with incredible abilities in mimicry who was first introduced in 1980. Some have joked he shares a stronger resemblance to a Power Rangers villain.

Of course, some have speculated that, in the frequent tradition of altering character history, this iteration of Taskmaster may not be Tony Masters, but another familiar MCU character who knows his way around a bow and arrow. Additionally, no actor is currently credited in the role, so could this be Marvel’s method of hiding the fact that Taskmaster is really Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye?

That might be a bit of a stretch considering the fact that the story takes place after Captain America: Civil War, where they were last on the same side, so we’ll just chalk that up to one of the many mysteries soon to be revealed when Black Widow hits theaters May 1, 2020. Be sure to check back for more updates on Scarlett Johansson’s solo Marvel outing here on CinemaBlend.

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The Big Venom Lesson That The Producer Says Is Informing Venom 2

With any franchise, there are always lessons to be learned from the first film, about what worked and what didn’t that can be used to make an even better movie the second time around. According to the producer of Sony’s 2018 surprise smash hit Venom, there is one big lesson in particular that will be informing next year’s sequel Venom 2. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend, producer Matt Tolmach explained what they took from the reaction to the first film, saying:

Sometimes the biggest lesson about a film isn’t what didn’t work but what did, and for Venom what worked was the central relationship between Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and the symbiote Venom, also voiced by Tom Hardy. This is the thing that Venom producer Matt Tolmach has heard the most about the anti-hero’s solo film and the big lesson that will be informing Venom 2. Audiences want more of Eddie Brock and Venom interacting with one another.

Venom and Eddie bantering back and forth, insulting one another, fighting and ultimately learning that they are better together than they are apart was a true highlight of the first film. And that has been further reinforced by the feedback the filmmakers have received. In Matt Tolmach’s mind, the dynamic between the symbiote and his host that proved so appealing in Venom is all due to the performance of Tom Hardy.

The producer and the filmmakers behind Venom 2 recognize the strength of that performance and the Venom-Eddie relationship and how much audiences appreciated that element of Venom. That is a lesson they can and are taking into the creation of the sequel, which will presumably lean into that relationship.

The love for the Eddie/Venom dynamic is incredibly encouraging because as Matt Tolmach notes, it is testament to the strength of the characters. Eddie Brock and Venom are the central relationship at the heart of the Venom franchise and if those characters and that relationship don’t work you have nothing. But since the relationship does work and not only does it work, but people want more of it, you have a solid foundation on which to build and that will continue and grow in Venom 2.

As the big lesson Matt Tolmach took from Venom, it sounds like we can expect a lot more of fun interactions between Tom Hardy’s dual identities in Venom 2. The film should provide ample time to hit the ground running on that front too since Eddie and Venom will presumably still be together at the start of the film, so the insults and tater tots and lobster baths can start right away.

With the big lesson from Venom being the strength of the relationship between Eddie and Venom, you can understand one of the reasons why Andy Serkis might have been tapped to direct the sequel. Eddie and Venom have a real Gollum and Sméagol dynamic and you’ve got to imagine Andy Serkis can have some real fun with that and let Tom Hardy really cut loose and try some things out. We’ve already heard that the actor and director have great chemistry.

Venom 2 is currently filming and is set for an October 2, 2020 release date. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see all of the big movies headed to theaters next year.

Adam Driver Says Every Scene Of New Netflix Movie Marriage Story Was ‘Tough’ To Shoot

Talking about a movie as emotionally intense as writer/director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story almost always leads to the question of just which scene was the toughest to shoot. Be it a test of technical mastery, or a moment of peril, there’s always that one day on set that manages to be a squeaker. Only, in the case of actor Adam Driver’s time on Baumbach’s latest film, every day felt pretty tough to him.

At a recent roundtable interview, Driver laid out his thinking in these terms:

The tale of a couple going through a taxing divorce, Marriage Story sees Adam Driver and co-star Scarlett Johansson through various phases of their character’s ultimately doomed coupling. The concept of this film alone feels like it’s a rough one to get through, no matter if it’s merely reading its script or actually watching it. But to have to live through those moments on set, as opposed to similar but more blockbuster moments on a set like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, has to be the greatest challenge of all. And Driver is no stranger to that hypothesis.

This whole line of thought stemmed from a question from the moderator of THR’s Actor Roundtable, one where Adam Driver was asked about which scene was the toughest in the entirety of Marriage Story’s production to engage with. And just as you see above, plus in remarks made by Driver earlier in that conversation, the uniformly difficult nature of this very emotional story ran consistently through the entire production. Something that the actor attributes to the “good writing” that Noah Baumbach put into this very personal tale.

Reading that entire response from Adam Driver not only has me worried about watching Marriage Story this coming weekend, as it debuts on Netflix tomorrow, but it also has me more intrigued to do so. With our own Sean O’Connell giving the film a perfect 5 star review, labeling the film as a “broken relationship, but two of the year’s best performances,” it’s starting to feel like I might not have enough tissues to take this in one sitting.

It’s been an interesting year for Netflix, as they’ve landed several highly acclaimed films that have been released in 2019, and seem to be continuing that trend with Marriage Story. The public will now have their chance to weigh in on just how hard this emotional story hits, as it will be on Netflix’s streaming platform as of tomorrow, and is currently in limited theatrical release. And if you like your Adam Driver a little more upbeat and brooding, you’ll be able to check him out in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens in theaters on December 20th.