It’s a very exciting time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are just two movies left in Phase Three, with over a decade of filmmaking coming to a head when Avengers: Endgame finally arrives in theaters. The surviving heroes will have to unite with some new faces in order to fight Thanos after his finger snap of death wiped out half the galaxy. Assistance will come from Ant-Man and Captain Marvel, with the latter being described as the most powerful hero in the MCU.
Captain Marvel’s powers will finally be revealed in her solo movie this weekend, before she crosses over in Endgame a month later. It’s unclear how the Avengers will be able to reverse Thanos’ snap, although time travel has been a common theory. This was given extra wight when Samuel L. Jackson teased that Carol Danvers could time travel during press for Captain Marvel. But now he’s admitting he was pulling our leg, recently saying:
Well, that puts one rumor to bed. Captain Marvel isn’t typically a character who could hop around time and space. So Samuel L. Jackson admitting he was messing around will no doubt help to calm the nerves of hardcore comic book fans who took umbrage with this bold change in the canon.
Samuel L. Jackson told the truth during an appearance on Kroq radio alongside Captain Marvel co-stars Brie Larson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Clark Gregg. When doing press for the upcoming Marvel blockbuster, it turns out that Jackson accidentally made his time traveling comments out of mere exhaustion. It seems to have its origin in a set visit, and then snowballed as the news hit the internet, and Marvel fans began collectively losing their minds.
Aside from making Captain Marvel even more powerful than she’s already rumored to be, giving Carol Danvers time traveling abilities would have presumably had major implications for the events of Avengers: Endgame. Time travel seems all but inevitable in the upcoming ensemble film, especially as reports from the set indicated a return to The Battle of New York from The Avengers. While many believed this would be accomplished through Ant-Man’s exposure to The Quantum Realm, Samuel L. Jackson’s comments about Captain Marvel made things all the more confusing.
Luckily for moviegoers, answers are coming shortly. Captain Marvel will arrive in theaters on April 8th, and Avengers: Endgame will follow suit on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
In recent years, the horror genre has entered a renaissance, and Jordan Peele’s stunning directorial debut, 2017’s Get Out, certainly played a part in getting audiences captivated to see more terrors and frights on screen. The sketch comedian-turned-critically acclaimed filmmaker is a huge horror fan, who recently revealed one icon he sees as the scariest villain. Here’s what he said:
It looks like the star of the Halloween franchise, Michael Myers (a.k.a. The Shape), caught Jordan Peele’s eyes as the creepiest horror antagonist of them all, per a WSJ Magazine interview. It’s for a good reason too – his motivations behind that his wrongdoings seem to simply stem from curiosity above anything else. Cue the chills!
Jordan Peele brings up a good point here. While many villains have evil intentions because of their nature (maybe they’re a demon or a wicked doll) or are inspired by power or revenge, the Halloween villain is purely kills out of fascination and enjoyment of the chase. When a killer such as Michael Myers is getting pleasure out of murder, there is no changing their mind. It’s truly horrifying!
The Halloween films has had 40 years of staying power, as eleven films have been made starring Jordan Peele’s pick for favorite villain. Michael Myers recently saw a comeback with the 2018 direct sequel to the original Halloween starring Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode. 2018’s Halloween made over $253 million worldwide at the box office, becoming one of the most successful films for the franchise.
The Get Out writer and director certainly brought a new definition of “horror” to the big screen when its exploration of liberal racism in America today was the centerpiece jump scare. Get Out went on to be nominated for four Oscars and score one win for Jordan Peele’s original screenplay.
Jordan Peele is gearing up for the release of his second film Us this month, which will be full-on horror and promises to be way scarier than Get Out. The upcoming movie is about a family of four (played by Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) who become terrorized by doppelgängers of themselves during a summer getaway. Us also stars Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Us will premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas on Friday, March 8 and hit theaters on March 22, with early tracking at a $35 million opening weekend. The movie’s monsters seem to be about ourselves being our worst enemies… I’d say that’s up there as far as scary premises.
For the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron will have a hands-on role in a new Terminator movie with November’s Terminator: Dark Fate, where he serves as producer and creative consultant. But James Cameron is a busy guy, and he is also still working on his long-awaited Avatar sequels. The Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, explained how James Cameron worked on Terminator 6 and Avatar at once, saying:
You often hear the names of big Hollywood directors attached to certain movies as producers, but that title doesn’t always mean that person had an active creative role with the film itself. That isn’t the case here. As Arnold Schwarzenegger told TheArnoldFans, James Cameron is a control freak, and the Terminator characters and story are ones he co-created and is attached to. So despite having a lot on his plate filming Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, he still made time for Terminator: Dark Fate.
He didn’t just give a couple of notes either; by the sound of it, James Cameron had an active enough role that Arnold Schwarzenegger actually took note of his influence and collaboration with director Tim Miller. The director and producer had a creative back and forth on this sixth Terminator film, with the franchise’s creator giving his input on its latest entry.
James Cameron discussed big picture stuff like the direction of a scene, down to specific bits of dialogue and the actual design and look of the characters. He and director Tim Miller had a collaborative relationship where they both worked together to form what this film will be and deliver the best possible product.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he felt the film was in good hands with Tim Miller and James Cameron, and that pairing is certainly encouraging. Tim Miller’s Deadpool was a smash hit, and the last time this franchise was exceptional (minus the brilliant and cancelled-too-soon Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesTV series, of course) was when James Cameron was last involved with Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He knows this world and these characters, and is two for two in delivering great movies in this universe, so his return is exciting.
How exactly James Cameron made time for his work on Terminator: Dark Fate, while also working on the Avatar sequels in terms of logistics is unclear. But somehow he was directing the Avatar sequels while being a producer on Dark Fate. Perhaps we can just chalk it up to efficiency, excellent time management and that James Cameron is James Cameron. Or some Terminator-esque time travel shenanigans.
The plot for Terminator: Dark Fate is still being kept under wraps, but it is expected to retcon some of the continuity and act as a continuation of the first two films. As such, it will see the return of Linda Hamilton’s iconic Sarah Connor and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. The film also stars Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta and Gabriel Luna.
Terminator: Dark Fate opens in theaters on November 1 and James Cameron’s Avatar 2 is set to hit theaters on December 18, 2020. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies fighting for your attention this year.
It’s rare that a super villain can achieve anywhere near the same amount of popularity that the hero they frequently battle, but The Joker is definitely at that level. Debuting in 1940’s Batman #1 (the same issue where Catwoman first appeared), the Clown Prince of Crime has long been cemented as the Caped Crusader’s arch-nemesis, so naturally he’s also been adapted in other media numerous times. In fact, we’ve reached a point where The Joker is now the star of his own movie, and he won’t even be fighting Batman!
As one can logically assume from this kind of prominence, The Joker isn’t a simple role. With so many years of history, there are various ways one can play this character, so with that in mind, we’ve decided to look at the actors who’ve bring this cackling fiend to life on the silver screen. Just to be clear, this feature is only discussing theatrical portrayals of Joker, although I do recommend checking out Cameron Monaghan’s performances as Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska on the Fox series Gotham, as those twins cover the Joker spectrum excellently.
Cesar Romero’s Joker in Batman (The 1966 Movie)
Although Batman made his first live action appearance in a 1943 film serial, it’d be another 23 years before The Joker got to follow suit in the live action Batman TV series. Cesar Romero, who had an extensive movie and TV resume and was arguably known best beforehand as The Cisco Kid in six Westerns released between 1939 and 1941, was cast as the Clown Prince of Crime, and for the most part, he nailed the character quite well. Modeled off how Joker was portrayed in the Silver Age of Comics, when superhero stories were more kid-friendly, Romero’s Joker was more of a goofy prankster than a psychopathic murderer, which fit with the TV series’ tone nicely. Romero also refused to shave off his mustache when playing The Joker, requiring the white makeup be applied over the facial hair.
Two months after the Batman Season 1 finale aired, these versions of the characters made the jump to the big screen in the first ever full-length theatrical Batman movie, simply and appropriately titled Batman. Cesar Romero’s Joker teamed up with Frank Gorshin’s Riddler, Lee Meriwether’s Catwoman and Burgess Meredith’s Penguin teaming up to cause all kinds of trouble, with this clip demonstrating their dynamic together and Romero’s overall Joker personality.
Naturally, Romero’s Joker in the Batman movie didn’t differ in any way from how he played the character on the Batman TV series, and the movie was critically well-received and performed decently commercially. In the grand scheme of things, while Romero’s Joker is definitely not nearly as frightening as later versions of Joker, he still has a sizable amount of fans all these years later.
Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman (The 1989 Movie)
As popular as the 1960s Batman TV series was and still is, there’s no question that it’s campy and kooky, basically meaning you can show it to fans of all ages. The 1989 Batman movie, on the other hand, isn’t something you necessarily want to show to the kids. It marked the Caped Crusader’s first on-screen entry into adult territory, and Jack Nicholson was hired to play The Joker in this tale. Nicholson was unquestionably the biggest actor in this movie thanks to his performances in Chinatown and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and he beat out actors like Brad Dourif, Tim Curry, John Lithgow and James Woods for the role.
Jack Nicholson had many memorable moments as The Joker in Batman, but arguably the weirdest one was when he and his goons defaced the paintings inside a museum while dancing to Prince music.
There were two chief differences with Jack Nicholson’s iteration of The Joker compared to how he’s depicted in the comics: one, we knew his real name (Jack Napier), and two, he was the one who murdered Bruce Wayne’s parents as opposed to the traditional culprit, Joe Chill. Beyond that, though, Nicholson’s Joker was a relatively faithful adaptation of the super villain, from gaining his clownish visage after falling into a vat of chemicals to preferring to kill people “artistically” and with dramatic flair. We were only treated to one appearance from this Joker, although had the movie Batman Unchained moved forward, the plan was for Nicholson’s Joker to appear when Batman hallucinated him after being dosed with Scaercrow’s fear gas. In any case, for nearly two decades, it’s safe to say that Nicholson’s Joker was the definitive live action Joker, and even now, he’s still fondly remembered by many for portraying the character not as a pest, but as the psychopathic murderer he is at his core.
Mark Hamill Voice Acting Joker in Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
Obviously everyone has their favorite version of The Joker, but it’s not exaggerating to say that most Batman fans label Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, as the definitive voice of the Clown Prince of Crime. Hamill has voiced across Joker across numerous projects for nearly 30 years, but he’s chiefly known for playing the character within the DC Animated Universe, specifically Batman: The Animated Series. A year after that TV show debuted, it jumped to the big screen with Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm, which didn’t fare well commercially during its theatrical run, but was met with critical acclaim and has had a wonderful home video life.
Serving as the secondary antagonist in Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm, Mark Hamill’s Joker was largely the same as it was on television. He could be wacky and absurd one minute, but then turn on a dime and become incredibly horrifying the next minute. This was highlighted nicely when Joker first shows up to meet Salvatore Valestra, his boss from his pre-clown days.
However, because the movie wasn’t subject to the same censorship rules Batman: The Animated Series had to follow airing on Fox Kids, that allowed more wiggle room with making Joker more adult. Even under a PG rating, Mask of the Phantasm got away with Joker much more adult, such as him actually killing people and making sexual innuendos. While I’ll argue that the direct-to-video Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker gave us the darkest version of Mark Hamill’s Joker in the DCAU, Mask of the Phantasm is nonetheless a great example of how Batman’s arch-nemesis can tread a fine line between funny and terrifying.
Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight
After being teased at the end of Batman Begins, The Joker surfaced several years later as the main antagonist in The Dark Knight, played by Heath Ledger. I don’t need to remind any of you that Ledger’s take on The Joker was acclaimed and netted the actor a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. That said, it is worth remembering that in the lead-up to The Dark Knight’s release, there was skepticism about Christopher Nolan’s version of the Clown Prince of Crime. Along with Ledger’s previous acting work causing concern that he could properly pull off a villain like this, this version of The Joker is quite different from how he is usually depicted, particularly his physical appearance (wearing makeup, dying his hair green and having a Glasgow smile carved into his face) and use of traditional weapons rather than dangerous gag items.
Nevertheless, this Joker was incredibly dangerous, as shown in the scene when he killed Gambol (who’d put a bounty on Joker’s head) and basically turned the phrase “Why so serious?” into one of the most unsettling lines in movie history.
Ultimately, though, the spirit of the original Joker was alive in Heath Ledger’s Joker. He thrived off chaos, and rather than wanting to be just another powerful, money-obsessed crime boss in Gotham City, he aimed to spread anarchy and give the people a better class of criminal. Ledger’s Joker was definitely a more politically-skewed version of the character, but he went all out with giving audiences something incredibly different from what had come before, which included locking himself in a hotel room for six weeks to figure out his Joker’s voice, movements and mannerisms. The result was that Ledger’s Joker is not only widely considered to be the best live action interpretation of the cackling madman, but also one of the best movie villains overall.
Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad
Eight years after we watched Heath Ledger’s Joker nearly bring Gotham City to its knees, Jared Leto put his own spin on the character in Suicide Squad, the first movie not to have Batman and Joker directly fighting one another. Although Leto’s Joker saw the return of some of Joker’s traditional physical traits, like naturally chalk-white skin and green hair, like Ledger, he also had some drastic differences, like tattoos covering his whole body and bejeweled teeth. Because Suicide Squad featured his main squeeze, Harley Quinn, in her first live action film appearance, his role in the movie revolved around his relationship with her: how he manipulated Harleen Qunizel when she was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, how he became depressed after she was imprisoned and his efforts to free her from Task Force X.
Like his comic book counterpart, Jared Leto’s Joker was also a powerful figure in Gotham City, as show in this clip where he kills another crime boss simply for making a lustful comment about Harley Quinn.
Although Suicide Squad was a commercial hit, it was thrashed critically, and Jared Leto’s Joker performance was among the more negatively received elements. For starters, Joker didn’t get that much screen time in the movie, so that meant for some people, there wasn’t enough scenes to properly judge this version of the character. Others were just dissatisfied with this Joker’s physical appearance and/or his weird mannerisms, or just the fact that he came across as a standard, if eccentric, gangster rather than the colorful super villain we know best. It also didn’t help that Leto’s refusal to break character during principal photography led to him doing some crazy things, including sending bizarre gifts like a briefcase full of bullets, a live rat and used condoms. So Jared Leto’s Joker performance certainly isn’t one of the more popular ones, but he may have an opportunity leave a better impression in the future. Assuming he doesn’t become too busy with playing Morbius the Living Vampire or DCEU plans don’t change further, that is.
Zach Galifianakis Voice Acting Joker in The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Batman Movie is a humorous celebration of Batman’s decades-long history, so naturally The Joker would be involved in the festivities. This movie portrays Batman and Joker’s feud through a romantic-like lens, so when the former tells the latter that he doesn’t mean anything special to him, Joker is hurt. But that just leads Joker to crafting his most ambitious plan yet: surrendering both himself and the rest of Gotham City’s super villains into police custody, and then tricking Batman into sending him into the Phantom Zone when the Caped Crusader suspects he’s up to something. The result: Joker allying himself with villains from other areas of pop culture, escaping the Phantom Zone and attempting to destroy Gotham City. Eventually Batman, having realized he’d been selfish to everyone in his life, “makes up” with The Joker, and the two work together to save the city and send the other villains back to the Phantom Zone before resuming their usual rivalry.
The scene when Joker surrenders himself to the GCPD is a good demonstration of how Zach Galifianakis’ Joker has a more playful edge, but still acts incredibly suspicious.
While there’s nothing wrong with Zach Galifianakis’ Joker performance, there’s also nothing particularly exceptional about it either. It simply sounds like Galifianakis as you hear him in movies like The Hangover and Keeping Up with the Joneses. The actor is amusing enough in the role and is given some good lines, but ultimately, there’s nothing particularly memorable about it. Which is fine, as Galifianakis does a satisfiable job with what he’s given, and fans of the actor will likely appreciate what he did. If The Lego Batman Movie 2 does move forward, the filmmakers might as well bring him back for it.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker In The Upcoming Movie
Admittedly, we can’t comment too much yet on what’s in store for Joker since the movie is months away from being released. That said, from what’s been revealed from this movie so far, both officially and unofficially, this is going to be a significantly different depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime. For one thing, Joker is telling the eponymous character’s origin story without Batman’s involvement. Bruce Wayne will be in the movie, but as a child and with both of his parents still around. Then there’s the fact that like Heath Ledger’s Joker, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is wearing clown makeup instead of falling into a vat of chemicals. However, the leaked set photos and videos show Phoenix’s Joker leading a crime wave across Gotham City, so clearly this incarnation of the character is just as talented in igniting chaos as his predecessors.
Although Joaquin Phoenix had expressed interest in starring in a comic book movie as early as 2014, he was more interested in doing a “character study”-kind of movie, hence why he declined to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since Joker doesn’t take place within the DCEU and isn’t adhering closely to the comics source material, this allowed Phoenix more freedom with putting his own stamp on the main character, who in this continuity is Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who is driven insane and turns to crime after being disregarded by society. We’ll have to wait for a trailer to get our first taste of Phoenix’s Joker performance, but at the very least, this movie will be an interesting experiment that could shake up the comic book movie genre, as well as satisfy Phoenix’s desire to contribute to the genre without being locked in for numerous sequels.
Be sure to let us know in the comments below not only which of the above actors gave your favorite Joker performance, but to name anybody you like who played the character on TV, direct-to-video movies or video games. Joker hits theaters on October 4.
A Star is Born was a massive theatrical hit but the part of the movie that is clearly going to have the longest legs is going to be the music. Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” won an Oscar as well as several other awards, but that’s not the only hit song that has come from the movie. Recently, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder performed the song “Maybe It’s Time” as a solo acoustic number and it’s pretty close to perfect. Check it out.
While “Shallow” is the song that gets all the attention, I think there are a couple of pieces in A Star is Born that are actually better songs and “Maybe It’s Time,” written by Jason Isbell, is one of them. Eddie Vedder’s performance at the Innings Music Festival in Tempe, Arizona is simple but the song lends itself to that sort of interpretation. While Bradley Cooper‘s character in A Star is Born is certainly capable of loud raucous songs, this isn’t one of them.
It’s fitting that Eddie Vedder would perform “Maybe It’s Time.” Vedder and Bradley Cooper are personal friends and Cooper has said that he spent a lot of time with the singer in order to learn what he needed to know in order to play the part of Jackson Maine. While Cooper says that Vedder mainly helped him with little details about the inner workings of the music industry, it’s hard to claim that Vedder didn’t have some influence on the character himself, however unintentional that may have been.
The song is essentially the theme song for the character of Jackson Maine. He’s looking back on his life and career and trying to figure what his way forward is. While Vedder has never seemingly had a problem figuring out how to navigate his future, he’s been making music professionally for over 30 years and probably has a lot of thoughts about where his career has taken him in that time.
When A Star is Born first came out many expected it to be the film to beat come awards season. While the movie didn’t do badly for itself, it wasn’t the powerhouse many expected it to be. Lady Gaga was frequently defeated in the Best Actress category by Glenn Close. The movie was frequently nominated for Best Picture but it wasn’t able to pull out the wins.
One can expect that Lady Gaga will make a song like “Shallow” and others from A Star is Born part of her regular repertoire. It will be interesting to see if other singers follow Eddie Vedder’s lead and help other songs from the film live on by performing them. It will be interesting to see if the ultimate legacy of the movie comes from the music.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three has been a massive success, as every single blockbuster has been a critical and box office hit. But there has been some controversy, namely James Gunn’s departure from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Disney parted ways with Gunn over controversial tweets from a decade ago, and Guardians 3 was put on indefinite hold. But the director has already found his next project, pivoting to DC for The Suicide Squad.
James Gunn has a list of frequent collaborators, including Michael Rooker and his brother Sean Gunn. Sean Gunn plays Kraglin in the Guardians franchise, while also doing the motion capture acting for Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon. So could he also have a role in The Suicide Squad? It seems he’d be down to join the developing project, recently saying:
Well, that’s going to make fans of the Gunn brothers very happy. While there doesn’t seem to be any concrete plans to include Sean Gunn in The Suicide Squad, the Gilmore Girls alum is down to join the project if his director brother needs him.
Sean Gunn’s willingness to join The Suicide Squad is very exciting, although it seems that the villain-centric DC blockbuster is still in the early stages of development. Being related to the writer/director would presumably grant Sean with access to early information, including information regarding a possible role. News about James Gunn’s involvement and new vision have only begun trickling out, so smart money says its too early to nail down something like a part for his brother.
In his same conversation with The Hollywood Reporter at the Captain Marvel premiere, Sean Gunn also explained how James Gunn puts the narrative first, so he won’t be included in The Suicide Squad unless it makes sense. He said:
Sean Gunn may be a frequent collaborator with his brother James, but that doesn’t mean the filmmaker will put him in a project for no reason. There has to be a character that fits and properly moves the story forward. But they’ve clearly got a great working relationship, as Sean Gunn has appeared in the following projects by James Gunn: The Specials, Super, The Belko Experiment, and the first twoGuardians of the Galaxy movies.
While it’s unclear if Kraglin will appear, Sean Gunn’s contributions as the on set Rocket will be seen onscreen when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
The next James Bond movie has been slightly delayed, but the movie is happening, and Daniel Craig will be back in the lead role. Of course, it seems quite likely that Craig will be done after this next film and whatever happens, at some point, sooner rather than later, Craig will be done playing Bond, but the role will certainly go on. The question of who the next James Bond will be will exist until there is one, and right now the odds on Cillian Murphy getting the role just got a lot better.
When I talk about the odds, I’m speaking quite literally, as I’m talking about bookmakers in Britain who actually do keep odds on who the next James Bond will be. Cillian Murphy had seen odds of 7/1 but those odds have just dropped to 100/30 (slightly worse than 3/1 if you don’t want to do the math). He’s not the front runner, but he’s now in second place behind Tom Hiddleston and Richard Madden who both have 2/1 odds.
If there’s a reason the odds have gotten so much better for Murphy, it’s not entirely clear. His name has never been entirely absent from any conversation about the next James Bond. When Danny Boyle was set to direct the next film, but before Daniel Craig had agreed to return, Yahoo says Murphy’s name had come up a possible replacement, but obviously it never came to that.
Murphy may be best known for playing the villain Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman Begins. He also had a role in Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk and has had a successful TV run on the series Peaky Blinders.
Considering the time that it took to get Daniel Craig to commit to playing James Bond one more time, it seems likely this will be his last go-round as the super spy, though the film has not been announced to be his last. If he hasn’t already told producers this is his last, then assume we’ll all go through the “will he, won’t he” one more time as Eon Productions tries to get him to do one more movie, before the producers even consider looking elsewhere.
Once we get there, however, there are a lot of interesting candidates. Everybody from Idris Elba to Tom Hardy has been rumored as a possible Bond in the past. Expect all of them to get thrown into the mix once again. Even an actor who might not have been a hot prospect a couple years ago when producers were last looking could be in a very different place a couple years from now when the hunt is on again. There will probably be some young actors who aren’t even on our radar now who will also be contenders.
Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron was talking about doing a feature film adaptation of the Battle Angel Alita manga since the early 2000s, but he never got around to it. Now, roughly two decades later, Alita: Battle Angel is finally in theaters; but James Cameron only produced the film, while Robert Rodriguez directed it. James Cameron didn’t just give up the reins to his passion project easily though, Robert Rodriguez had to work for it, as the latter explained:
It sounds like Robert Rodriguez basically had to prove himself to James Cameron to take on a project that was so important to the Aliens director. That test required Robert Rodriguez working on the script for Alita: Battle Angel and fixing its issues, thereby not only proving himself capable, but also proving that he had a grasp on the material. He understood how it should be adapted, and was clearly the right fit to direct.
It’s quite a vote of confidence because, as Robert Rodriguez told The Irish Times, James Cameron has no problem shelving a project he has the rights to indefinitely rather than see it done poorly. That’s an admirable trait, but with the can getting perpetually kicked further down the road thanks to the priority of his multiple Avatar sequels, it risked never happening if he didn’t pass it off to someone else.
As we’ve heard, Robert Rodriguez wanted to see James Cameron’s Alita: Battle Angel and since James Cameron wasn’t going to make it, he did and endeavored to make it feel like a James Cameron movie. Fortunately, James Cameron was still involved and gave him a great starting point.
Robert Rodriguez didn’t have to start from scratch, because James Cameron had already laid out his vision for Alita: Battle Angel in 600 pages of notes and drawings. And we’ve previously heared how Cameron introduced Rodriguez to Alita with a 15-minute presentation complete with narration, artwork and story concepts.
That all made it clear that James Cameron indeed wanted to make a manga movie that felt like the source material, retaining the weirder elements less familiar to Western audiences, like Alita’s giant eyes. So the movie was all there, Robert Rodriguez just had to fix the 186-page screenplay and it was his. He did just that and it sounds like he did it with style too, taking only a month and doing it for free.
Now Alita: Battle Angel is finally in theaters and despite mixed reviews, it has gotten a positive audience response and recently crossed $350 million at the worldwide box office. Although it still has a ways to go to become profitable and hopefully get a sequel greenlit.
Alita: Battle Angel is now playing. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all the year’s biggest releases and for all your movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.
While Clark Gregg‘s agent Phil Coulson doesn’t have superpowers, the character is as loved by fans as any of the Avengers. Between his appearance in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and the ongoing Agents of SHIELD TV series, he’s become a significant part of the story. However, if it was always the plan for Coulson to become a recurring part of the MCU, somebody forgot to tell Clark Gregg, as he didn’t know his role was growing until the middle of filming Iron Man 2. According to Gregg…
Clark Gregg made his debut as Agent Phil Coulson in the original Iron Man, back when the only hint that there was ever going to be anything like the MCU came in a post-credits sequence back when people didn’t know they needed to stay through the credits. He was Tony Stark’s liaison with SHIELD.
He returned for Iron Man 2 and likely just assumed that he’d just be a small part of whatever shenanigans Tony Stark got up to. The Incredible Hulk was the only other Marvel movie at that point and while Robert Downey Jr. did appear in a post credits sequence of his own, connecting the stories, it still wasn’t clear just how well the MCU idea would work. Hulk wasn’t a hit like Iron Man had been.
It’s clear from the way Clark Gregg talks to Polygon that he’s as much a fan of the Marvel movies as he is happy to be a part of them. Of course he would get excited about the chance to be in Thor as well as the Iron Man movies. I like how it was just sort of planned to have Clark Gregg appear in the movie and he was asked if he was free after telling him he was going. Based on his response, it was probably assumed he would make himself available if he made it clear how happy he was to be making the movies.
His fate in The Avengers was probably somewhat disappointing to him, though Gregg says he was humbled by the outpouring of support from fans who wanted to find a way to bring him back. One theory was that dead Coulson could have been a Skrull. Now, Gregg is back on the big screen in the MCU in the 90s prequel Captain Marvel which opens on Friday, and so are the Skrulls. Is Coulson actually a Skrull? No spoilers.
The past few years have been a very exciting for Star Wars fans. Once Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the galaxy far, far away began to expand at impressive rates. The House of Mouse has released one Star Wars movie every year, starting with The Force Awakens. The current trilogy has brought back the trio of original heroes alongside the new cast, but Mark Hamill has one issue in the way this all went down: Han, Luke, and Leia never reunited.
The sequel trilogy includes OG cast members, but it’s largely focused on the new class of heroes in Rey, Finn, and Poe. Instead, Han, Luke, and Leia were each scheduled to get their own big movie, which prevented them from actually sharing scenes together. When speaking about Han’s death in The Force Awakens, Mark Hamill made his opinions known, saying:
I’m not crying, you’re crying. While the Star Wars franchise is taking big risks and churning out a ton of content, Mark Hamill doesn’t approve of every change. When it comes to keeping the trio of heroes separate, that’s one choice he couldn’t vibe with.
Mark Hamill’s comments to Den Of Geek make a great deal of sense, especially when it came to the relationship between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Han was a major presence in The Force Awakens, while Luke was noticeably absent until the blockbuster’s final moments. Leia was able to share scenes with both her partner and brother, but Han and Luke weren’t so lucky. And as such, Mark Hamill didn’t get to work with Harrison Ford again in the franchise that launched their careers into space.
In fact, Luke’s friendship with Han was totally lacking from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The audience didn’t get to watch Luke grieve over Han’s death, while Han never expressed how much he missed his best friend. So you can’t help but empathize with Mark Hamill’s feelings. After all, he’s both the main hero and biggest cheerleader of the epic space opera.
But Disney has been pushing boundaries and expanding the Star Wars franchise in brave ways. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi was extremely subversive and went against all the expectations of the sequel. It should be fascinating to see how the Skywalker Saga and current trilogy are wrapped up with J.J. Abrams’ mysterious Episode IX.
Episode IX will arrive in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.