Vanessa Hudgens Is Doing Another Netflix Christmas Movie And This One Has Time Travel

While it’s true that most people think of the Hallmark Channel when it comes time to binge brand new Christmas movies every year, Netflix has slowly been stepping things up in that warm-feeling inducing genre for the past few holiday seasons. Last year, in fact, the streamer brought us the Vanessa Hudgens (and Vanessa Hudgens) led The Princess Switch, which featured the Hudges playing a duchess and a baker from Chicago who realize they look identical and decide to switch places during the Christmas season. Well, it would seem that Hudgens and Netlfix enjoyed being in business together, because she’s just boarded another holiday film for the company, The Knight Before Christmas. And, this time, there’s time travel.

As if a pleasant Christmas movie where two beautiful people fall quickly in love weren’t enough, The Knight Before Christmas will add in the oh-so-familiar magic component which is common to many holiday films. The movie will focus on, you guessed it, a brave English knight who is forced to seek out his true quest when a sorceress accidentally sends him to the modern day from their medieval era. In our time, he, of course, discovers that he’s falling into deep romantic love with a kind high school science teacher, who just so happens to be disenchanted by the whole idea of falling in love.

I don’t know about you, but to me this already sounds like a curl up with a cozy blanket and a warm (possibly spiked) beverage holiday movie home run. For real, can I add this to my queue right now?

Hudgens isn’t content to just act in The Knight Before Christmas, either. According to Deadline she will also executive produce the movie, alongside Brad Krevoy (who also served as executive producer on The Princess Switch and has a resume filled with Christmas movies), Amanda Phillips Atkins, Lorenzo Nardini, Jimmy Townsend and Eric Jarboe. The feature will be directed by Monika Mitchell (Lifetime’s The Christmas Contract), written by Cara Russell and will also star Josh Whitehouse (Poldark, the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel).

Aside from the fact that The Knight Before Christmas has some holiday movie pedigree working for it behind and in front of the camera, it’s hard not to be excited about having yet another Netflix-based Christmas film to dive into in the holiday season ahead. And, any lover of these movies who also enjoys the fact that they frequently deal in magical coincidences / real life Santa Claus / other hints or outright evidence that the holidays are a special time of year, should be especially excited about the time travel aspect.

I can already see how some of this will play out. Our medieval hero will be shocked that Vanessa Hudgens’ teacher is allowed to work and wasn’t married off by the age of 13. He will be incredibly surprised by any building larger than four stories, flummoxed by cars, confused by cell phones and possibly daunted by the sheer amount of everything that is everywhere. But, and this will be a very important but, he’ll be a steadfast believer in love and capable, even in all his modern day mystification, of leading our heroine to a place where she can let her guard down and fall into his hunky loving arms. The big question will be whether she goes back in time with him (bad idea) or he stays put in our time.

Seriously, you guys, if you’re not convinced that Vanessa Hudgens, she of the High School Musical legacy, has made a perfect choice in deciding to tackle The Knight Before Christmas I’m convinced that your holiday season might just be a mostly joyless affair. While there’s no debut date set for The Knight Before Christmas right now, it’s set to begin filming this April and will likely be ready to stream on Netflix before you put your holiday decorations up.

Colin Farrell Loved The Dumbo Sets So Much He Spent Extra Time Just Wandering Around

Few auteurs have made as big an impact on modern cinema than Tim Burton. The filmmaker’s style is identifiable from a mile away, and it’s a specific aesthetic that has driven some of the most visually interesting features to be released in the last 35 years. His work possesses many charms, including a wonderful practicality, and it’s that particular element of Burton’s filmmaking process that really boggled the mind of Colin Farrell in the making of Dumbo.

Unlike many of the stars of the new Disney film (including Eva Green, Danny DeVito, and Michael Keaton), Colin Farrell didn’t have the experience of working with Tim Burton prior to the making of the new live-action adaptation, but that just meant that the entire experience was brand new to him. This was something that he very much reveled in during production, as he recently told me about how he would actually spend extra time on set when nobody was around, taking it all in. Discussing his expectations for working with Burton, Farrell explained,

Colin Farrell wore his appreciation for the beauty of Tim Burton’s Dumbo on his sleeve when I had the opportunity to sit down with him earlier this month during the new film’s Los Angeles press junket. During the interview he mentioned that he had met the director years before making the new movie – specifically they had a chat while drinking coffee poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel (don’t you just love Hollywood?) – but that meeting apparently didn’t fully prepare the actor for the experience of collaborating with the filmmaker. So when he arrived and saw the massive, practical, and colorful sets that had been built for the live-action adaptation of the Disney animated classic, he was really blown away.

There are some actors who can’t get off set fast enough when they are done with a day of production on a movie, but that most definitely wasn’t the case for Colin Farrell in the making of Dumbo. Instead, he found that the experience of being alone on the massive circus sets that had been built overwhelmed him with emotions – particularly a thankfulness that he has a life that allows him to be a part of beautiful art. Said Farrell,

In Dumbo, Colin Farrell stars as Holt Farrier, a circus performer who we first meet at the start of the story when he returns from fighting in World War I. He is beyond elated to once again be with his two children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), but he’s also not quite the man he used to be, as an injury sustained during battle led to him losing his left arm. He does his best to try and return his life to what it was before he left, but finds challenges from his disability. It’s a scary and hard time, but optimism soon arrives in the form of a young elephant with ears so big that they allow it to fly.

The seventeenth film from Tim Burton, and also starring Alan Arkin in addition to all the names mentioned above, Dumbo will soon be arriving in theaters – scheduled to land on March 29th. Between now and then, be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, as we have plenty more coming from my interviews with the movie’s cast and filmmakers.

Looks Like Hulk And Thanos Will Get A Rematch In Avengers: Endgame

It’s a super exciting time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over a decade of filmmaking will come to a head when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters next month, completing Phase Three of the behemoth franchise. The anticipation is made all the more high due to the twist ending of Infinity War, which saw Thanos succeed in uniting the Infinity Stones and wiping out half of all life in the galaxy.

There are a ton of questions going into Avengers: Endgame, as the studio has been keeping its cards close to the chest ahead of the film’s release. Aside from the new suits and rumored time travel, a big question surrounding the upcoming movie is the role of The Hulk. The big green guy was noticeably absent through most of Infinity War, refusing to come back out after being beat down by Thanos in the opening scene. Now it appears that a rematch is coming, according to leaked merchandise. Check out the photo below.

Does anyone else have chills? Thanos and Hulk will hopefully come to blows again in Avengers: Endgame, whenever the latter finally agrees to resurface. Given the state of the galaxy after The Decimation, the surviving Avengers are going to need all the help they can get. That is, if this leak from Twitter is to be believed.

Years after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk finally returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Ragnarok. He spent years on Sakaar, with with the big green guy in full control of Bruce Banner’s body for the entirety of that time. Hulk and Bruce’s power dynamic is clearly off, and thats a narrative that continued through Avengers: Infinity War.

Thanos laid waste to the Asgardian ship in the film’s opening scene, in his quest to find the Space Stone. But our heroes had a few cards up their sleeve, and Hulk was able to briefly get the jump on the Mad Titan. But he wasn’t strong enough to keep up with Josh Brolin’s villain, and Thanos quickly got the upper hand and knocked Hulk out. But it appears that round two is coming with Endgame.

Bruce Banner might not have gotten his own solo movie after Phase One, but Mark Ruffalo’s character still had an interesting arc throughout the last two slates of movies. Ruffalo and Kevin Feige crafted a three movie narrative for the character, played out across Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Endgame. So just like Phase Three, that story will come wrap up next month when Endgame finally arrives in theaters.

Hulk was noticeably absent from the trailers for Avengers: Endgame, so The Russo Brothers are trying to keep his plot line under wraps for the time being. Instead, we should expect plenty of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, at least until things really heat up with the upcoming battle against Thanos.

Avengers: Endgame will arrive in theaters on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

How Much Money Us Is Expected To Make During Its Opening Weekend

It looks like the shapeshifters will hand the baton off to the doppelgängers at the box office this weekend, as the MCU’s smash hit Captain Marvel makes way for Jordan Peele’s horror film, Us. Jordan Peele’s debut film Get Out wound up becoming wildly profitable, earning over $250 million on a $4.5 million budget. And although it is far too early to tell if Us will enjoy similar success, it does look like it will get off to a strong start opening weekend.

The horror movie from Universal and Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw productions is tracking to open in a wide range from $38 million to $48 million according to The Hollywood Reporter. There is even a belief among some box office analysts that Us could reach or crack the $50 million mark this weekend.

Based on this tracking, things are looking good that Us will come in first at the box office, beating out Captain Marvel in its third weekend in release. Even at the low end, a $38 million opening bow would improve on Get Out’s $33.4 million domestic debut in 2017. Us cost more than Get Out though at $20 million, but it still looks poised for box office success.

These predictions are up from the earlier tracking that had the film landing between $35 million and $40 million. Those numbers came in before the Usbuzzy premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival and before the positive reviews started coming out. Now it’s the week of the release and the buzz has increased and the opening weekend box office tracking seems to reflect that.

Other than Captain Marvel, which has been in theaters for a couple of weeks now, Us will not have any major competition this weekend; no other studio putting out a wide release opposite the follow-up to Jordan Peele’s box office hit, Get Out.

If Us manages to go as high as $50 million this weekend, it will be a feat similar to what A Quiet Place managed last year. John Krasinski’s film too had a buzzy SXSW premiere and opened in early April to $50 million. Like A Quiet Place and Get Out, Us will also likely benefit from positive word of mouth.

The reviews are in for the film and they are very positive, indicating that Jordan Peele has once again delivered. Only this time, it is a true horror film, yet one that still give you plenty to think about once you leave the theater. As the kind of film that is likely to inspire discussion, it may drive people to the theater to participate and perhaps even have repeat viewings, as star Winston Duke has recommended.

Us opens on March 22. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see all the other movies you should have your eyes on this year.

Triple Frontier’s Twist Was Actually Ben Affleck’s Idea

Warning: spoilers for Netflix’s Triple Frontier are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, and want to remain unspoiled, bookmark this page and come back later.

It’s a moment that comes as a shock to everyone who watches Triple Frontier: the moment where Ben Affleck’s Tom “Redfly” Davis is taken out by a fatal headshot, thanks to a rash action he’d taken earlier in the film. The karmic consequence of killing a handful of farmers, it’s a kill that shocks and surprises anyone who would expect someone like Affleck to make it to the end of the movie. But as co-writer/director J.C. Chandor recently explained, the decision to kill Ben Affleck’s character was not only spawned in a re-write, it was from a note from Affleck himself. Chandor’s version of events goes like this:

Killing off any random character that wasn’t Ben Affleck might have worked in Triple Frontier. Doubly so, considering that by time Affleck’s lead is killed while defending his friends in a mountain range fire fight, it really felt like the whole team would be walking away from this caper with their lives. But even in the movies, when it’s your time to go, it’s time to go.

According to remarks Ben Affleck made to Collider during the Triple Frontier press day, that decision was inspired by, among other things, a random crime drama from the 1980’s. That specific film, and the effect it had on Affleck’s decision, can be read below:

As mentioned before, Tom’s death is the consequence of his cold blooded murder of South American farmers trying to claim some of the money stolen in Triple Frontier as their own. If it wasn’t for that particular incident, Ben Affleck’s character wouldn’t have been hunted down by one of the farmer’s sons, and he would have lived happily ever after. Or as happily as he could have with $5 million. But who was originally supposed to die?

While J.C. Chandor isn’t divulging which Triple Frontier character was originally on the chopping block, the smart money would be on either Garrett Hedlund’s Ben or Charlie Hunnam’s William originally taking the big dirt nap. With one being shot during the actual robbery, and the other going out of their way to protect their brother, the process of elimination helps narrow it down to those two characters. And comparatively, they could be considered characters secondary to Affleck’s Tom or Oscar Isaac’s Santiago.

This only makes the effect of this big rewrite all the more impressive. The finished film doesn’t feel like it has just two “star” team members and three “secondary” characters. Rather, the entire team of Triple Frontier is important in their own individual ways. So no matter died, it would have stung. But the fact that it was Ben Affleck is even more shocking, as it violates the conventional wisdom that a star of his stature always makes it to the end. A decision to which we, as movie fans, must say bravo.

Triple Frontier is currently available on Netflix, and being shown in limited theatrical release.

Rogue One Originally Had A Happy Ending

The epic conclusion to 2016’s Rogue One was bold, tragic and yet incredibly satisfying. One might call killing off each and everyone of the rebels introduced to in the Star Wars spinoff a brutal ending, but it added new depth and emotion to A New Hope and showed the stakes of the series’ conflict more than ever before. However, the scene that sticks in our minds of most when we think Rogue One wasn’t initially in the backbone of the script.

Shocking isn’t it? Rogue One’s co-writer Chris Weitz recently said before he came on to the project, the spinoff actually had a happy ending. In his words:

Wait? Does this mean Jyn and Cassian were going to originally tie the knot at the end of Rogue One? Chris Weitz doesn’t specify, but what could have been certainly doesn’t top the perfect finale we got in the 2016 spinoff. Looks like the writers’ early draft was aimed to please the Disney brand, but wasn’t doing service to the story to be told.

When Chris Weitz came on as screenwriter, he told The Cult Popture Podcast that he pushed for the characters’ mission to become a suicide mission for this smart reason:

If the writers didn’t kill off the cast of Rogue One, fans would have certainly wondered why they were never mentioned in the Star Wars franchise starting with A New Hope. In the movie, they are able to send out the weakness of the Death Star to the Rebellion right before their demise, allowing for Luke Skywalker’s heroic journey to still make sense and feel untouched. So, the end of Rogue One just had to end the way it did and without it, the movie would not have been so highly regarded by fans.

Thanks to positive reception of Rogue One, the series is getting a spinoff of its own for the studio’s upcoming streaming platform Disney+. The Rogue One television series will by a spy thriller starring Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, taking place before the events of the 2016 movie. The developing series has The Americans writer and executive producer Stephen Schiff signed on as the showrunner.

Disney+ has a Star Wars series titled The Mandalorian from Jon Favreau coming to the platform when it launches later this year. The Skywalker saga is also set to conclude when Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

Disneyland Is Teasing Big Changes For Spider-Man In Upcoming Attraction

Right now at Disneyland Resort construction is ongoing to transform a corner of Disney California Adventure into a new Marvel superhero themed space. We already knew that one of the new attractions would be focused on your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and now we have a bit of new information about the upcoming attraction, and it will apparently be used to create an all-new version of the character exclusive to Disney Parks.

Most of the new information we got from the Disney Parks Blog comes in the form of back story. We already knew that each Marvel themed area at the various Disney parks was designed to work like a local Avengers outpost for the education and training of new recruits. This will include, at both Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris, the creation of the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (or WEB, because Spider-pun) by Tony Stark. The purpose of WEB is to develop advancements in super powered technology, and the first assignment that WEB has been tasked with is creating new enhancements for Spider-Man’s suit.

It’s not clear what these new enhancements will be, but if they’re truly “new” then we’re talking about seeing Spider-Man with powers that we haven’t seen him use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or potentially even in the comics.

Exactly how this will work is not set out in detail but the idea of the attraction is clearly something interactive where guests will be able to help create these new powers, as such, there may be multiple different new abilities you can give the wall-crawler, perhaps with the idea being that you can go back to the attraction multiple times and create new powers.

Of course, it’s also made clear that the goal of the attraction is to let guests engage with the superheroes and the super powers, so get ready to use these new abilities yourself.

In addition to the new attraction, Disney also revealed that a new walk around character for Spider-Man is coming to the parks who will be dressed in an original costume. The new design was created by Marvel Studios‘ Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding.

One of the questions I’ve had about the new Marvel land from the beginning was in what ways, if any, it would be connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The one existing Marvel attraction at Disney California Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout, uses the cast of the films and the new Ant-Man and the Wasp attraction at Disneyland Hong Kong does the same. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean these two parts of Marvel are connected. putting Spider-Man in an entirely originally designed costume in the parks would seem to indicate a separation between the two worlds.

That doesn’t mean Tom Holland won’t appear in the attraction, we don’t know that for sure one way or another, but making the theme park universe it’s own thing certainly opens things up and gives the storytellers more options.

This is the exact opposite idea of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where it has been made clear the events that take place within the new land are as much canon as anything that happens in the movies.

In addition to the Spider-Man attraction we know that the new Marvel land will open next year in California with another attraction focused on Doctor Strange. An E-ticket ride focused on the Avengers will follow at some point in the future as apart of a second phase in the land.

New Shazam! Video References Superman And Justice League

Shazam! will be the first DCEU solo film that features a superhero who wasn’t introduced in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and didn’t fight alongside the trinity in Justice League. At a glance, Shazam! might appear to take place in a different world entirely, but a new video from the film makes it clear that Billy Batson’s superhero exists in the DC world with references to Superman and the Justice League. Take a look:

This Chinese spot for Shazam! on Twitter shows that this movie takes place in a world like ours where kids are big fans of superheroes, but unlike ours it is a place where superheroes actually exists. Freddy Freeman is a big superhero fan and is thrilled to find that his new foster brother has superpowers, dropping references to Superman and other members of the Justice League.

As we’ve seen in the previous trailers, Freddy has one of Batman’s Batarangs, so not only is Batman someone kids idolize, he has his own memorabilia. It’s also fun to hear Freddy say “heroes fly” after the first Shazam! trailer, where Billy Batson was testing out his new powers and having difficulty doing much more than impressive jumping. To Freddy and kids like him, Superman is at the top of the superhero mountain, in large part due to his powers of flight.

Freddy specifically references Superman’s death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, showing how the events of the previous films are common knowledge in Shazam!

The best reference to the Justice League in this video is when a clearly out of his element Billy Batson tells Freddy Freeman that he can’t talk to fish, asking what good that power would be even if he could. This is a hilarious reference to the long-standing criticism and joke about Aquaman that he is the hero that talks to fish.

Freddy Freeman dunks on this oversimplification, saying that Aquaman’s powers allow him to command an army of billions of ocean dwellers. This seems to reference the events of December’s Aquaman and the war that took place beneath the surface. While saying this Freddy also tugs at his shirt that appears to have the Aquaman logo on it.

Unlike The Walking Dead, which takes place in a world where zombies were never part of pop culture, Shazam! takes place in a world where superheroes are something kids obsess over while also being real. That’s what makes the conceit of this movie so fun, a kid gets the kinds of powers that every kid dreams of having. He gets to experience all the joys of those powers while also discovering that with great power…you know the rest.

These little Easter eggs are fun for DC fans but they do raise some interesting questions about the DCEU overall and where Shazam! fits in it. The underwater world was being denied in the media in Aquaman, Superman was a controversial public figure and Batman was being viewed as a criminal in BvS. In Shazam! these superheroes are beloved by kids and have their own merchandise.

That makes the timeline for Shazam! in relation to the rest of the DCEU kind of murky. We know that at one point Henry Cavill’s Superman was expected to make a cameo in Shazam! and Zachary Levi is still hoping for his character to be part of the Justice League one day, but the continuity is all a bit unclear.

It’s probably best not to overthink it. The DCEU may be dead as Warner Bros. seems to be moving further and further away from the shared cinematic universe model and just focusing on making the best movies it can one at a time. To that end the early reactions to Shazam! are very positive teasing that the actual film is just as fun as the trailers and videos like the one above make it out to be.

Shazam! bolts into theaters on April 5. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of this and all the other big movies coming this year.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3: What We Know So Far

There is no questioning that the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is one of the greatest achievements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to the titular group’s big screen debut, general pop culture awareness of their existence was basically zero, and many questioned why Marvel Studios would take such a huge risk on an unknown property. Two blockbusters later, the brand has earned $1.6 billion at the global box office, and the characters have become some of the most popular in the entire comic book movie canon.

Because of this, fans have spent years both expecting and waiting for the third movie in the series, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and soon enough it will be making its way to a theater near you. But, what do we know about the project? When is it coming out? Who is making it? Who will appear? It’s for addressing all those questions and more that we have written this latest installment of our What We Know So Far series, so read on and find out everything you need to know about the upcoming space adventure.

Guardians of the Galaxy in Avengers Infinity War

What Is The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Release Date?

In October 2014 – approximately seven months before the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Marvel Studios held a special event in Los Angeles where they made a big show of announcing their Phase 3 slate, revealing all of the projects they were making for the next five years (or at least all the ones that were in the works at that time). Unfortunately, the company hasn’t been as forthcoming when it comes to information about their Phase 4 plans. Not wanting to count their chickens before they hatch / give everything away, Marvel has held off on officially announcing release dates for films coming out after July 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, and that includes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been clues – but it’s also worth noting that plans have very much changed during the blockbuster’s development. Originally it looked as though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was going to be one of the three films slated for release in 2020, but for reasons we’ll get into in a minute those plans were put on hold after July 2018. Now, with James Gunn working on another project at another studio, it appears that the movie won’t be released until at least 2022, but even that isn’t 100% certain.

What Is The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Rating?

In 2016, Tim Miller’s Deadpool changed the comic book movie world forever. While it had once been thought that superhero features couldn’t be successful without attracting teenage audiences, the Merc With The Mouth put that theory to rest by making a stunning $783.1 million worldwide with an epic number of swear words, a touch of nudity, and quite a bit of ultra-violence. We’ve seen a few more success stories since then as well, including both Deadpool 2, and Logan, but Marvel Studios has not yet made the plunge when it comes to R-rated blockbusters – and as a result we can definitely assume that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be certified with a PG-13.

As a writer / director, James Gunn does have a number of R-rated credits on his resume, including his first two features – Slither and Super – and there are a few adult references to be found in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That being said, the idea that this series will change gears for its third installment is ridiculous. We won’t actually know what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be rated until the movie is ready to come out, as the MPAA doesn’t do its grading until after a project has been assembled, but you can be certain that this is a blockbuster that will be made with a PG-13 rating in mind.

James Gunn on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Writer/Director

This one is a bit of a journey, so strap in.

To the surprise of very, very few, in the weeks leading up to the 2017 release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn announced that he had made a deal with Marvel Studios to take the helm of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3confirming that the movie would “conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy.” He wrote the script himself, and wheels were clearly in motion to make the blockbuster one of the earliest films released as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four.

But then the troll attack happened. In the days surrounding San Diego Comic-Con 2018, James Gunn found himself at the center of some controversy due to some nearly decade-old Tweets that had been dug up by those who were, apparently, unhappy with his politics. The social media messages, which featured extremely distasteful jokes about horrendous subjects, put the family-friendly Walt Disney Company in an awkward situation, and they made the decision to remove Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in response.

Of course, that was only the start of the controversy. In the following days, weeks, and months, it wasn’t only fans who voiced thunderous support for James Gunn (with over 400,000 signing a petition for his reinstatement), but also many of his colleagues. The members of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast – including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker – all signed an open letter requesting that Gunn be reinstated, and many fellow directors made their voices heard on the subject as well. When names like Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi, Chris Lord and Phil Miller were proposed as possible replacements at the helm of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the filmmakers let it be known that they stood behind Gunn and had no interest in taking the job.

For more than half a year it was unclear how exactly Marvel Studios would be able to move forward with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but the situation was resolved in mid-March 2019. Following the release of Captain Marvel, the news was made official that a new deal had been made with James Gunn that would see him reinstated as the director of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy capper. This coincided with a few plan changes for the project in terms of scheduling, as Gunn had spent his months being fired working out a deal with Warner Bros. to both write and direct the upcoming The Suicide Squad – which is currently on track for release in August 2021. This is why it’s unlikely we will see the filmmaker’s third epic space opera until 2022 at the earliest.

Now that he’s directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 again, James Gunn will actually become the first filmmaker in Marvel Studios history to complete a full trilogy for the franchise. At this stage it’s unclear exactly what he has planned story-wise for the film – which is no surprise given the secrecy surrounding these projects – but details should start to come out as we get closer to the movie entering production.

Star Lord Chris Pratt in Avengers Infinity War

Star-Lord

The role of Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord completely changed Chris Pratt’s career overnight. One minute he was the goofy, lovable idiot on Parks and Recreation, and the next he was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He is now known in pop culture as one of the “Chrises” (along with Evans, Hemsworth, and Pine), and because of his popularity it’s basically impossible to imagine that he won’t be back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. There is, however, one little hitch.

Those who saw Avengers: Infinity War know that as things currently stand in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star-Lord is dead. Along with half of the universe, the leader of the Guardians was turned to dust when Thanos managed to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet and snap his fingers. We suspect that the events that go down in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame will change this status, but right now we have no idea if that’s actually true, or really any clue how it might happen.

Gamora dead in Avengers Infinity War

Gamora

Like Star-Lord, Gamora is another character who is technically dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this time (prepare to see a lot more of this as we continue), but it’s worth noting that her situation is a bit different. Rather than being dusted in The Decimation, Gamora was killed by Thanos when he was trying to acquire the Soul Stone – with the Mad Titan forced to make a sacrifice of something he loved in order to acquire the precious ingot. Because of this, it’s unclear if Gamora will be brought to life should the surviving members of the Avengers and Guardians save everyone destroyed by the snap, or if her timeline has come to an end.

It would certainly be an earned death story-wise, though the permanence of it would be a serious bummer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as the film would be missing one of the best characters from the first two movies. That being said, even if Gamora is gone for good it’s still possible that Zoe Saldana could make an appearance in the upcoming blockbuster, via dreams, flashbacks, or any other various narrative devices. She did, after all, form an incredibly close relationship with Star-Lord during the four years in which they knew each other, and it’s hard to imagine him just forgetting about her after the whole Thanos ordeal is over.

Drax The Destroyer disappearing in Avengers Infinity War

Drax The Destroyer

During the whole “James Gunn getting fired” saga, nobody stood up for the writer / director the way that Dave Bautista did. Clearly recognizing and fully acknowledging how Gunn very much changed his career by casting him as Drax, Bautista was extremely vocal about how incredibly pissed off the whole situation made him. Even though it could have potentially hurt his career, he wasn’t at all shy about his fury aimed towards Disney, and he even suggested that he would request a release from his contract with the studio if Gunn’s script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 wasn’t used.

Now that James Gunn has been rehired, one can imagine him seriously rewarding Dave Bautista for his incredible loyalty – but exactly how that might play out is currently up the air. Why? Because like the previous two characters mentioned, Drax The Destroyer currently exists as flakes of dust floating around the atmosphere on Titan. Again, there is expectation that he will somehow be resurrected in Avengers: Endgame, and going by the comics he may even be the one to put Thanos down, but we have no evidence right now to suggest that will happen.

Rocket in Avengers Infinity War

Rocket

Finally, a character who is currently alive! Rocket is one of only two Guardians of the Galaxy who survived The Decimation – left without any of his teammates on Earth in the aftermath of the Battle Of Wakanda. He did what he could to try and help the heroes stop Thanos from completing the Infinity Gauntlet, including assisting Thor in the creation of Stormbreaker, but the efforts weren’t enough at the end of the day, so in Avengers: Endgame we’ll watch as he teams with all of the survivors to try and save the universe.

James Gunn has said many times that Rocket is his favorite character among the Guardians, and the one he most relates to, so it’s pretty easy to imagine that he will have a meaty role to play in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We can assume that he will once again be brought to life courtesy of performance capture work from Sean Gunn, and with the voice of Bradley Cooper, but beyond that we won’t have any firm expectations for the character until after we see Endgame.

Groot in Avengers Infinity War

Groot

Of all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, weirdly it’s Groot who has the hardest time staying alive. The original version of the living tree sacrificed himself so that the Guardians of the Galaxy could live through their first movie, and while Baby Groot managed to survive Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the slightly older version of himself – Adolescent Groot – was another character turned to dust in Avengers: Infinity War.

It’s hard to imagine Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 featuring a somber narrative following Rocket in a post-Groot universe, however, and we expect that somehow events will transpire that bring the character back to life. At the very least we hope this to be the case just because we want to see what the next stage of his evolution looks like.

Nebula Karen Gillan in Avengers Infinity War

Nebula

Nebula, played by Karen Gillan, has had a very different trajectory than most in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She started out as a rage-filled antagonist – an ally of Thanos and possessing a true hatred for her sister, Gamora – but her edges definitely softened through the events of both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. And, based on what we know about Avengers: Endgame, it seems like she is going to evolve even more by the time we see her in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Along with Rocket, Nebula is the only surviving member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after The Decimation, though they were in two very different places when the snap went down. In the case of the blue cyborg, she was stranded on Titan along with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and there is a presumption that they will have to work together closely in order to A) get back to Earth, and B) get revenge against Thanos. But will she survive the mission and have the opportunity to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? As of right now that’s a very big question mark.

Mantis in Avengers Infinity War

Mantis

Brought to the big screen by Pom Klementieff, Mantis became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy when the team saved her from Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and her special extraterrestrial skills have been put to good use. She is not only a powerful empath, but also can put even the most powerful beings to sleep with her hands – though it takes a good amount of concentration and energy. This was useful for a good minute in the battle against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but sadly right now she can be counted among the dead Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Given that she hasn’t exactly been around very long (less time than every other Guardians character), we definitely want to believe that Mantis will be back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but right now we technically don’t have any actual evidence of that being true. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out in Avengers: Endgame, and once we know the details of the fallout we’ll be able to judge the situation better.

Be sure to keep your eye on this guide, as we’ll keep it fresh with new details on the development of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as they become available to us!

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It’ll Reportedly Be Years Before The X-Men Make Their Way To The MCU

It’s no secret that superhero movies are everywhere. The comic book genre is arguably the most profitable one in the filmmaking world, leading to a variety of studios producing their own installments, and vying for box office supremacy. 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise was there through it all, starting with Bryan Singer’s original 2000 movie. But now that series of films may be coming to an end, as Disney has officially acquired Fox and its various properties.

Marvel fans seem mostly excited about the merger, as it will give the X-Men (and hopefully The Fantastic Four) the opportunity to finally join the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it’s unclear when this transition might occur, especially with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants both in the can. And a new report indicates that the mutants wont join the shared universe for a number of years.

According to THR, the X-Men probably won’t appear in the MCU until 2021 or later. If Kevin Feige doesn’t already have a completed script for the mutant group, then it should take some time to develop a project for the titular team to star in. Marvel blockbusters don’t happen over the night, so 2021 might even be a bit generous. After all, we’re already waist deep into 2019, and there’s been a ton of attention paid to releases like Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.

With the Fox and Disney deal in ink, the House of Mouse is seemingly moving forward with its plans– including certain characters previous owned by Fox. While the future of the X-Men is currently unclear, Walt Disney Studios has already prominently featured Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool on its website. It looks like the Merc With A Mouth is going to be left to his own devices, but that probably won’t extend to the current X-Men franchise.

There’s a ton of star power associated with X-Men movies, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe likely won’t want to foot the bill such A-list actors. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sophie Turner no doubt require some serious cash for their services. Instead, it seems more likely that Marvel Studios will start fresh, and assemble a new cast of X-Men.

Additionally, most of the starring X-Men cast has been with the franchise since 2011’s X-Men: First Class. The actors’ star power have grown considerably, and Dark Phoenix will mark the fourth film for the OG cast members who are still on board. As such, they might want to switch it up, and be released from their contracts with the franchise. Jennifer Lawrence has been slowly headed toward the door for years, and it looks like she’s being killed off early in Dark Phoenix.

Dark Phoenix will arrive in theaters (after a few delays) on June 7th. CinemaBlend will keep you updated on the X-Men’s inclusion in the MCU as details become public. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.