The Disney Streaming Service Finally Has A Name

We’ve known for quite some time that Disney was planning its own dedicated streaming service. Now we finally know what to call it. Speaking at The Walt Disney Company Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the name of the service launching in 2019 will be called Disney+

It’s not necessarily all that shocking a name. Disney’s current streaming service product for ESPN is called ESPN+ as well so it all fits into the existing branding., but it’s nice to be able to refer to the streaming platform as something other than “streaming platform.”

In addition to confirming the name of the service, Bob Iger also gave a bit of detail about some of the material that would be on it. Most excitingly, he announced an as yet unrevealed show that will be on the service. In addition to the Star Wars series that had been announced from Jon Favreau, The _Mandalorian,_ there will be a second series that will be a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which will star Diego Luna.

More to come…

Why Zoe Kravitz Was Thrilled To Play Leta Lestrange In Crimes of Grindelwald

In a moviemaking market dominated by the superhero genre, there’s another major franchise that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon: Harry Potter. J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World has helped to define pop culture since her acclaimed and record breaking novels hit in the 1990’s, and has continued to stay relevant in the decades since.

Aside from multiple amusement parks and Cursed Child plays playing on Broadway and the West End, the magical world of Harry Potter is being expanded through the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise. The prequel series has a five movie plan, with the first sequel arriving in November with The Crimes of Grindelwald. New characters are being introduced, including Zoe Kravtiz’s Leta Lestrange. Kravitz recently explained why she was so thrilled to take the role, saying:

I thought it was really important. And this takes places in the 1920s, so what was it like to be a person of color in this world at this time? She might have been one of the only children of color in Hogwarts at that time. She’s an outcast and whether it’s spoken about or not, I associate that, of course, partly with what she looks like. I think they were mostly only auditioning women of color for this role. I know it was an important thing for Jo. She was very aware of what she was doing.

Aside from the opportunity to join a major franchise and become an even more high profile actress, it seemed that Zoe Kravitz’s venture into the Wizarding World meant something special to her. Playing Leta Lestrange helps to diversify the franchise, and tell a story that directly relates to the muggle world we all live in.

Zoe Kravitz’s comments from her recent interview with LA Times help to flesh out the actress’ intentions with becoming a member of the legendary Lestrange family. But more than that, it also potentially teases the events of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Because aside from her role in the action and main narrative, it seems that Leta’s part will also address issues of race.

The Harry Potter franchise generally likes to keep its secrets, so each movie and play is largely a mystery before it hits theaters. Leta Lestrange has only been seen in a few brief shots of the trailers, and teased to have a romantic relationship with both Newt Scamander and his brother Theseus. But Zoe Kravitz’s role will also shine a light on race issues, including within magical society. Race has never really been a subject in the Wizarding World, so The Crimes of Grindelwald has yet another opportunity to break new ground for J.K. Rowling’s beloved universe.

The Harry Potter books may have become originally popular by encouraging children to read, the story always had dark and complicated themes. J.K. Rowling made complex issues accessible for all ages, including the feelings of being out of place, having a bad family life, and dealing with trauma and loss. And with Rowling continuing to develop the Wizarding World through new works, she can allow it to change with the times and encourage conversation around race.

How Leta Lestrange’s race factors into the plot of The Crimes of Grindelwald remains to be seen, but Zoe Kravitz and J.K Rowling clearly have a very specific intention for the character, including how a black witch in the 1920’s would function in society. It’s doubly fascinating since Leta belongs to the Lestrange family, who is known for being obsessed with its “pure” Wizarding Blood line– and would eventually spawn infamous witches like Bellatrix Lestrange.

This isn’t the first time J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World has related to the muggle world, and addressed issues seen in contemporary society. After the Harry Potter novels were all released and the films franchise was in full affect, Rowling revealed what Albus Dumbledore was actually a gay man. While Dumbledore’s never had a romantic plot line or opportunity to show this aspect of his character, the revelation angered certain fans of Hogwarts, and was a shocker for most.

Both of these issues may end up having a part in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as Jude Law will be playing a younger version of Albus Dumbledore in the upcoming sequel. While the bulk of the story should be about tracking down and stopping Johnny Depp’s villainous title character, Zoe Kravitz’s statements make it clear that J.K Rowling is putting new types of stories into the still budding franchise. Luckily for Harry Potter fans, they won’t have to wait long before getting answers, as The Crimes of Grindelwald will arrive shortly.

There’s actually been a fair amount of controversy surrounding Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ahead of its release, so the pressure is on for the sequel to really deliver in both quality and box office performance. It began before the film was even filming, as Johnny Depp was cast as the title character, after making a brief appearance in the first film’s third act. But when Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard made allegations of domestic violence, fans took umbrage with his inclusion in the franchise. But J.K. Rowling herself defended the casting decision, so Depp’s role was filmed in its entirety.

When the final trailer for The Crimes of Grindelwald was released, it was revealed that the sequel would include a human version of Nagini, Voldemort’s murderous pet snake and Horocrux. While this offered the opportunity to expand the canon and explain Nagini’s connection to the Dark Lord, some had a problem with Asian actress Claudia Kim playing a servant. But Kim herself has defended her upcoming role as Nagini, and encouraged naysayers to see the movie in its entirety before passing judgement.

Luckily for fans, naysayers, and muggles alike, all of the wondering and questions will soon be coming to an end. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will arrive in theaters on November 16th, 2019, complete with Zoe Kravtiz’s mysterious Leta Lestrange. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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Altered Carbon And Pacific Rim Are Getting Spinoffs On Netflix

Netflix is always one to surprise its audience with unique adaptations and spinoffs, and this news is no exception. The streaming service revealed that it’s in the process of developing anime spinoffs for the Pacific Rim film franchise, as well as its Netflix original series Altered Carbon. The spinoffs are a result of a collaboration with Asian entertainment, which will export both of these shows to subscribers worldwide.

The Altered Carbon spinoff doesn’t have a ton of details but is said to explore “new elements” of the story’s mythology. That description, plus the fact that the live-action series is currently developing Season 2, could mean this is an adventure separate from the one of Takeshi Kovacs. It could also be a tale that dives into Takeshi’s life before the events of Season 1, before he was re-sleeved and put to work for Laurens Bancroft.

Netflix enlisted some top-tier anime talent for its Altered Carbon series, as writer Dai Sato will pen the upcoming anime. Sato is known for his contributions to works like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, various installments of Ghost in the Shell, and many other notable anime shows. Sato will be joined by writer Tsukasa Kondo, and animation will be handled by Anima animation studio.

As for the Pacific Rim anime, a few more details are out on the franchise’s latest venture. The project will be set during the battles between Kaiju and Jaegers and will unveil a new story that promises to expand upon the first two films in the franchise. The tale follows an “idealistic” teen boy and his “naive” younger sister as they travel in an abandoned Yeager across dangerous lands in search of their missing parents.

The Pacific Rim anime has Thor: Ragnarok writer Craig Kyle sharing a co-showrunner gig with former head of writing for X-Men: Evolution Greg Johnson. Legendary Entertainment will be overseeing the production of the project, and no animation studio is listed at this time. Regardless, it’s exciting to think what this show can become with both these men at the helm.

The Pacific Rim and Altered Carbon spinoffs were two of five announced anime Netflix intends to collaborate on in Asia. The others, while not as buzzworthy of the first two, still sound like something fans of anime will be excited for. Beyond the previously mentioned, Cagaster of an Insect Cage, Yasuke, and Trese will arrive on the platform somewhere down the road. Netflix also announced the development of some live-action originals that will be produced in Thailand and China.

Why Outlander Changed A Key Book Detail For Season 4

Outlander may be based on an epic novel saga by Diana Gabaldon, but the show has not always been 100% faithful to the books. That’s true of any adaptation from page to screen, as what is possible on one doesn’t necessarily work on the other. Well, Outlander showrunner Ronald D. Moore came up against a key plot point from the Drums of Autumn novel that might not have translated well. In the book, Stephen Bonnet stole Claire’s wedding ring from Frank. On the show, Bonnet stole the ring from Jaime.

Viewers who haven’t read the books wouldn’t have noticed anything particularly odd about Bonnet making off with Jamie’s ring, although it still would have been tragic considering Jamie and Claire had just had a conversation about the ring. For folks who are familiar with Drums of Autumn and the role one of Claire’s stolen rings plays in a pivotal arc, the ring switcheroo came as a surprise.

Book spoilers ahead. When Brianna travels back in time in the book, she spots Claire’s ring from Frank on Stephen Bonnet. Understandably, Bree doesn’t want to leave Bonnet with the ring that the man who raised her gave to her mom, so she tries to get it back. After the show switched the rings, viewers had to wonder if it was the first of multiple changes to Brianna’s story in the past. Well, Ronald Moore recently revealed the very simple reason why Claire lost Jamie’s ring to Bonnet:

Honestly, the reason for the ring switcheroo is so straightforward that I’m almost disappointed! Ronald Moore’s comments at the recent Savannah College of Art and Design Film Festival (via EW) reveal that Stephen Bonnet stole Jamie’s ring because Jamie’s ring stands out more than the plain gold band from Frank. Although the gold ring held great sentimental value to Claire despite how her marriage to Frank fell apart, it’s not so remarkable that Brianna would see it and immediately connect it to the parents who raised her.

Jamie’s ring was made out of the key to Lallybroch, and it certainly wasn’t crafted by anybody or with any materials from the 20th century, so Brianna would have noticed it on her mom’s finger. If she spies that distinctive ring on Stephen Bonnet, of course she’s going to have questions for him and want it back!

Alas for Brianna, her discovery of Jamie’s ring on Bonnet will lead her into the same awful circumstances that Frank’s ring lead her to in Drums of Autumn. Ronald Moore confirmed earlier this year that the scene in which Bonnet rapes Bree when she comes for the ring will be included in the show. Given what happens to Bree after the rape, it wasn’t really a twist that could be omitted from the show unless the show was to diverge from the books in a huge way.

While viewers may be especially sad that Claire was parted with Jamie’s ring by the dastardly Stephen Bonnet (who could turn out to be the series’ most terrifying villain), book readers can take heart that the twist was changed so that the ring discovery would be believable on the small screen. Other book changes with this arc may be minor.

Outlander‘s stars recently chatted about how Bonnet differs from the dastardly Black Jack Randall, and Sam Heughan shared his regrets about not wearing a kilt for Season 4. To see what’s in store next for the Frasers in America and Brianna in the 20th century (so far), tune in to Starz on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes.

Those Harley Quinn And Joker PUBG Skins Have A Ridiculous Price Tag

This news comes to us from Gamerevolution, who is reporting that the crossover event for PUBG and Suicide Squad is proving to be an unexpectedly costly affair. That’s to be expected when you’re dealing with licensing but, still, those prices are mighty high for simple cosmetic items.

Speaking of which, you can spread out the pain a bit by buying the items piecemeal. If you just want to grab Harley’s costume, that’ll set you back $19.99. Her hair is $3 on its own, as is her makeup and her bat. The Joker’s hair and make-up are $5 a pop, with the costume being $19.99.

While cosmetics costing money is all well and good, the push-back from the community seems to be over the fact that the game itself already costs $29.99. In other words, the Harley Quinn pack costs almost as much as the entire game by itself, and the Joker bundle isn’t too far behind. Games like Fortnite, which also features for-pay cosmetics, are at least free-to-play games.

Speaking of Fortnite, it’s hard not to see this collaboration between PUBG and Warner Bros. as a direct response to the competition. Earlier this year, Fortnite hosted a special game mode that featured Thanos, the California Raisins reject who single-handedly annihilated half of the Marvel Universe. That event was free, though, and didn’t include licensed costumes outside of the fact that players got to temporarily turn into Thanos himself.

There’s no special game mode tied to the Suicide Squad costumes in PUBG, though, and the movie is well over a year old at this point, so the timing seems super odd. And, again, the pricing just seems a bit on the extreme side.

Circling back to Fortnite, the team at Epic recently announced a partnership with the NFL. The football costumes will cost $15, but they also come with some rad customization options. For starters, buying the costume will allow you to choose from any of the 32 NFL teams, which can be changed at will between matches. Also, you can choose your jersey’s number at will. That’s a heck of a lot of options, all at about half the price PUBG is charging for just the Harley Quinn costume.

But the nice thing about all of these cosmetic items is that nobody has to pick them up. If they are worth the money to you, that’s fantastic; give them a purchase and go have a blast. If you don’t want them or think the price is too high, your game won’t be impacted in the least.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Already Outsold The First Game

While it was expected that Red Dead Redemption 2 would outperform its predecessor, it’s unlikely that anyone could have predicted the sequel would actually outsell the original in just over a week. But after just eight days, RDR2 has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, adding to its growing number of achievements.

What’s important to keep in mind here is that the original Red Dead Redemption was itself a resounding success for Rockstar Games and publisher Take-Two. While industry analysts like Michael Pachter originally thought the first Red Dead Redemption would be a misstep for Rockstar following the success of Grand Theft Auto 4, they had themselves a heaping helping of crow after the game started flying off of the shelf.

We make that point only to clarify how big this news is for Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s not like its success is being compared to a moderately well-received game. The original Red Dead Redemption has sold an insane number of copies over the past eight years and now the follow-up has gone on to surpass it in just eight days.

This pace was set early on when we learned that Red Dead Redemption 2 made a whopping $725 million during its first three days on the market. As Variety reminds us, that meant that Roackstar’s new game enjoyed the most successful “opening weekend” for any media, including movies. By comparison, the most successful opening weekend for films is The Avengers: Infinity War, which brought in about $641 million worldwide earlier this year. That means Red Dead earned damn-near $100 million more than the most successful Marvel/Disney film of all time, which ain’t too bad for an industry some still try to argue is dying.

It’s also worth noting that Red Dead Redemption 2 had some negative buzz surrounding it heading into launch due to the revelation that Rockstar staff members were putting in some rather hefty hours for crunch. Despite that fact, Variety is reporting that Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick does not believe those revelations had an impact on game sales. This is not meant as a commentary on the industry or individuals buying the game, just a statement of fact that the game sold insanely well even amidst the crunch news that took over the industry news cycle for a good week.

Looking ahead, it seems likely Red Dead Redemption 2 will continue to break records. The holiday season is upon us, which will likely mean another spike in sales as the new Western appears on plenty of wish lists. Also, Red Dead Redemption Online is expected to go live at the end of November, which will likely only increase the game’s staying power. And if Rockstar continues to support RDR2 like they’ve supported Grand Theft Auto V over the past eight years, it seems like the sky is limit for the Van der Linde gang.

How Much Muscle Michael B. Jordan Packed On For Creed II

If Michael B. Jordan wanted to retire from acting, he could probably make a nice living for himself selling workout supplements and fitness programs after his transformation in this year’s films Black Panther and Creed II. In the latter film, Michael B. Jordan reprises Adonis Creed and looks every bit the part as a championship level, heavyweight boxer, and with good reason. The actor put on a whopping 20 pounds of muscle for the role.

It is not easy to get those kinds of gains even with the kind of help and resources Michael B. Jordan enjoys. Money doesn’t do the lifting or the cardio for you, it takes a ton of work to pack on 20 pounds of muscle. Clearly Michael B. Jordan was willing to do that work to achieve this kind of transformation.

The results speak for themselves too. In the trailers for Creed II, Adonis Creed looks positively yoked with a granite-carved physique. Although it also required a ton of work, Michael B. Jordan’s Creed II physique is not the same as the one he had for the villainous Killmonger in Black Panther.

Each role requires a different look and different workouts and diets to achieve it. For Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan had to look like a weapon, with size taking precedence over low-body fat or functionality. For Creed II, Michael B. Jordan had to be convincing as a high-level boxer. That required a different training regimen, as his trainer Corey Calliet explained:

Michael B. Jordan looks more cut as Adonis than N’Jadaka, and that’s the result of the training differences Corey Calliet described to Yahoo Lifestyle. Black Panther‘s role required size, which meant a lot of weight lifting. For Creed II, the actor did two-three full body workouts a day, and these workouts were way more cardio intensive. The diet was also very different as well to shred away all the excess and make for that boxer aesthetic.

That’s part of what makes Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago so terrifying. As huge and muscle-bound as Michael B. Jordan looks in the film, he’s still dwarfed by the son of Ivan Drago. That should make for great drama in the film as Adonis has to face an opponent that has physical advantages he does not.

Florian Munteanu is an actual boxer, so the fact that Michael B. Jordan, while physically smaller, looks like he belongs in the ring with him, is a testament to the work he and his trainer put in for Creed II.

Creed II punches its way into theaters on November 21. Check out our Holiday Movie Guide for all of the sequels, blockbusters and awards contenders headed to theaters and streaming services the rest of this year.

New Ralph Breaks The Internet Video Is All About Gal Gadot’s Shank

Since a sequel was announced for Wreck-It Ralph, Disney fans have been buzzing about Vanellope’s run-in with all the Disney Princesses in one room. The studio originally didn’t disclose another exciting appearance of Diana Prince herself, Gal Gadot. The original voice role was announced just a few months before the film’s release. In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Gadot is playing a badass racer named Shank who looks to make quite the impression on Vanellope. Take a look:

No, “shank” you Gal! The Wonder Woman actress shared the special look at her character on her Instagram, in anticipation for the coming Disney sequel. Ralph Breaks the Internet will have our arcade game pals journeying through a Wi-Fi router into the World Wide Web, to find a replacement wheel for Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush. Somewhere along the way, the pair will encounter Gadot as Shank in her street race game Slaughter Race. Shank has been described as a tough-as-nails racer who has incredible driving skills and immense kindness at her core.

Since Vanellope is quite the skilled racer herself, she will face-off against Shank and leave the leading video game character crazy impressed. In the special look, Vanellope is super starstruck by her and can’t stop gushing about her to Ralph.

The clip teases a sweet exchange between Vanellope and Shank, who seem to be talking about her dream to continue racing in the game. Vanellope however feels like she can’t tell him of her aspirations or leave him to the world of arcade games alone, to which Shank offers some advice about.

While Wreck-It Ralph had the unlikely pair become best pals, the sequel will test their friendship as they find conflict with each other on their surfs through the internet. Ralph’s voice John C. Reilly has previously explained that his character and Vanellope’s (voiced by Sarah Silverman) are challenged as Ralph holds on a little too tight and stints his friend from growing. It’s a deep message for Disney to take on in Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Gal Gadot’s Shank may be at the center of it.

Along with tackling what it means to be a real friend, the sequel will of course poke fun and discuss the world of the internet and video games. Wreck-It Ralph was about the nostalgia of a old gaming platform but Ralph Breaks the Internet has the ability to venture into the present and make quips, and commentary on the virtual world we often spend our time in.

For the lucky few who have seen Ralph Breaks the Internet, the film has skewed toward a positive reception. Disney Animation rarely graces fans with sequels, so the expansion of this world is an exciting one, including the addition of Gal Gadot in her first collaboration with the studio. Ralph Breaks the Internet races to theaters on November 21.

The Affair Has Cast A New Love Interest For Helen

Showtime’s drama The Affair is gearing up for its final season and just brought on a fresh face to help tell the final leg of its story. The series has tapped Danish actor Claes Bang to play a love interest for Helen and is guaranteed to shake things up for two characters. Bang will play Sasha Mann, an actor who will apparently change the lives of both Helen and Noah before the curtain goes down on the show.

Claes Bang’s Sasha Mann is an A-list movie star poised to play Helen’s lover in Season 5 of The Affair. Variety reports Sasha lives a minimalist lifestyle and views things through the lens of an objectivist. Sasha’s lifestyle and way of thinking are said to have an impact on Helen, and will help influence her to live her life another way whilst experiencing a “personal loss.” Does this mean that Season 5 will pick up with Vik dead?

One would think that was the case, as the character was in pretty bad shape in The Affair‘s Season 4 finale. Take that, plus the fact that Helen has a new boo thang, and it would seem that Stage-4 cancer took Vik away. Of course, there’s a small chance he pulled through and decided to shack up Sierra considering she’s having his baby, although things certainly didn’t seem to be heading that direction when Helen left his room.

There was no specific mention of how Claes Bang’s Sasha will interact with Noah, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the ex-husband butts heads with Helen’s new lover. Then again, Sasha is some big-time actor who doesn’t seem to have an incredible ego judging from his minimalist lifestyle, so perhaps the two will end up bonding? Again, this feels like a scenario where anything could happen, especially given the wild offseason The Affair has had so far.

Claes Bang is one of the few fresh faces in The Affair Season 5, which has pressed on despite the high-profile exit of star Ruth Wilson in Season 4. The jury is still out as to why she left exactly, as both parties are hinting the exit happened for different reasons. There was also the recent news that star Joshua Jackson may be quitting ahead of the new season as well, so more castings could happen down the line.

Claes Bang’s casting in The Affair marks another achievement for the foreign actor, who will be seen in The Girl In The Spider’s Web when it’s in theaters. That’s two big chances for Bang to make a name for himself in America, as the actor first gained acclaim for his role alongside Elisabeth Moss in The Square. Should Bang capture the attention of audiences in The Affair, this may not be the last time we see him on American television.

The Affair will return for Season 5 at Showtime, with its premiere coming sometime in 2019. For a look at potentially great shows headed to television in the meantime, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide.

J.J. Abrams Would Be Honored To Direct Some Of HBO’s Game Of Thrones Prequel

Unless you’ve been hiding under a very large rock since 2011, you know that HBO’s Game of Thrones has millions upon millions of fans. One of those fans is director J.J. Abrams, and he says he’d be honored if he were asked to get involved in one of the show’s coming prequel series, but he does see a potential drawback for himself.

It’s always good to see someone who’s reached such a high point in their career be filled with such admiration for what others do, especially if they’re in the same field. And, it’s pretty obvious from J.J. Abrams’ words to MTV International, whom he spoke to in order to promote his new horror film Overlord, that he’s a very big fan of the work that’s done to bring Game of Thrones to fans.

While Abrams says he’d be honored if he were asked to direct some of the upcoming episodes for the Game of Thrones prequel spinoff show that’s currently the furthest along in production, the one big potential drawback he can see would actually be him getting too involved. For him to direct an episode, he’d need to know all about the tricks that go into bringing the Seven Kingdoms to life on the small screen, and Abrams believes that might actually ruin the fan experience for him as he tries to get absorbed in viewing the show.

This version of Game of Thrones lore will be a bit different from what we’ve seen from the hit HBO series, though. As the original show entered production on the final set of episodes for the finale season, which will air sometime in 2019, the network began fielding ideas to keep the world alive by doing shows that would deal with the extensive history George R.R. Martin created for this complex fantasy universe.

While it’s been reported that about five ideas were at play originally, right now HBO has only given a pilot order to one of those potential shows. This show is currently untitled (even though George R.R. Martin is partial to one particular title), but the show will, supposedly, focus on events from many thousands of years before Game of Thrones began. This is said to include the Age of Heroes during a time of the longest winter, the actual origins of the White Walkers, Starks from ancient times and “mysteries of the East.”

With storylines like that to play with, you can both see why J.J. Abrams would be eager to take part in helping to bring the new show to life, but also why he’d want to go in fresh as a fan and have no idea what’s coming. Adding to the intriguing plot, though, is the fact that the show has begun casting, with two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts being the first big name cast in the pilot recently. Anyone could understand Abrams wanting to work with what will surely be a stacked cast by the time it’s all said and done.

Well, whether J.J. Abrams gets a call to direct some of the Game of Thrones spinoff won’t even be decided on for quite a while. The pilot for the proposed show is just now really ramping up production, and it could be some time before we know for sure if HBO decides to put the show on the air. And, if it does go to series, it won’t air until after the final season of the mothership show, which we still don’t have a concrete return date for.

All of this means that J.J. Abrams and all the other Game of Thrones fans will have to do more of what we’ve done so well in the past: sit back, think up wild theories about what could be coming…and wait.