Vikings Production Company Under Fire For Allegedly Mishandling Finances

Sometimes the drama behind the scenes of your favorite show is just as intense as it is in front of it. Just ask Vikings. The production company behind it and other historical dramas is under fire.

A legal battle is currently unfolding in an Irish court between the production company behind the hit television show and a shareholder. It is a battle that has been raging for a while now. However, there is a new development in the case.

An investigation is now underway regarding the financial records of producer Octagon Films, per Deadline. It is all part of the ongoing legal dispute between Octagon Films’ founders and shareholder W2 Filmproduktion. In a new development, accountants will investigate the former’s financial records. Both sides have appointed accountants in the disagreement.

W2 has alleged that producers from Octagon Films have diverted funds from the company and given it to themselves or companies they own. Or as Ragnar may say, taken the treasure. W2 alleges that somewhere between 40 to 50 million euros were mishandled, per Independent.IE. The accused Octagon producers have denied the claims.

In a ruling in October, the judge in the case approved the freeze of the two Octagon producers’ assets. That decision was made following an allegation by W2’s CEO that the producers would dissipate or dispose of assets.

The case is expected back in court a few months from now in February 2019. A chance to return sooner is in the cards. That is if the accountants do not agree on what is found.

For fans of historical dramas, Octagon Films may be a familiar fixture when it comes to spotting production logos. Octagon has not only produced History’s Vikings, but it has also produced the Showtime smash, The Tudors. Interestingly, both series have starred Jonathon Rhys Meyers in prominent roles.

Jonathon Rhys Meyers starred in the lead role of King Henry VIII in The Tudors. Years later, he joined the cast of Vikings in the final scene of the series’ fourth season. He made his full-fledged debut as Heahmund in Season 5.

Along with Vikings and The Tudors, Octagon Films has also produced two other Showtime historical series. Those would be the Eva Green horror series Penny Dreadful as well as The Borgias, which starred Jeremy Irons and Midnight, Texas‘ François Arnaud. At this point, Vikings has been the most enduring of Octagon Film’s high-profile historical dramas.

Penny Dreadful and The Borgias each lasted for three seasons. A spinoff of the former series is currently in the works. Vikings, on the other hand, is on the verge of premiering the second half of its fifth season. Of the three Showtime series mentioned above, The Tudors comes closest to Vikings‘ run with its four-season stint.

Vikings has a steady lead though with its fifth season finishing up and a sixth one on its way. Despite the off-screen drama, Vikings is set to sail into the second half of Season 5 on Wednesday, November 28 at 9 p.m. ET on History. The long-running drama is among many series returning with new seasons this fall and the midseason.

One Hallmark Movies Star Absolutely Loves Working For The Network

It’s no secret now that tons of people love Hallmark movies. Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries produce made for TV movies year round, and specialize in Christmas themed romances, heartfelt stories and mysteries that have people coming to the networks in droves on a monthly basis. If you’ve watched more than a handful of these films, you will have likely noticed that several actors seem to make appearing in these movies a priority. Well, now one of those actors, Kristoffer Polaha, has revealed what’s so wonderful about working in Hallmark films.

My first experience for Hallmark was in 2015 on a movie called The Dater’s Handbook…At the time, I thought maybe I’d do just one film and then hop back onto a network series, but Hallmark kept showing me the love and my wife sagely told me to ‘Go where the love is.’ She was right. Hallmark operates on loyalty and they created a new business model in our industry. Mildly put, I love acting for Hallmark.

As Kristoffer Polaha mentions in the piece he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter, Hallmark is about love and loyalty, two things which are apparent when you watch their films. Most Hallmark movies are focused on relationships, either between family members, friends or romantic partnerships. And, like I mentioned above, you’d be hard pressed to watch more than a few of the films done for either of the Hallmark channels and not see the same actors pop up over and over again. So, it would seem that building relationships and keeping them strong is something that the networks like to focus on in real life, as well.

Polaha notes that Hallmark kept showing him the love, and it’s obvious from his increasing catalog of Hallmark Channel movies that he means those behind the network liked working with him and decided to keep offering him opportunities to be a leading man in several romances. In fact, since The Dater’s Handbook, Polaha has done four more movies with Hallmark; Hearts of Christmas, Rocky Mountain Christmas and Pearl in Paradise were released previously, with his most recent effort, Small Town Christmas, set to debut on December 16 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Part of the “new business model” Kristoffer Polaha is talking about probably relates to the way Hallmark has no fear in casting the same actors in similar roles for many of their movies. With each movie being unrelated to the others (unless it’s specifically stated that the film is a sequel) it’s still not uncommon to find actors reprising leading roles. And yet, there doesn’t ever seem to be any doubt that the same actors can reappear in film after film for Hallmark and get the audience on board with whatever new (ish) scenario they help present to viewers.

I say new (ish) scenario not to be mean, as even Kristoffer Polaha goes on to talk about how most Hallmark movies have the same basic theme (usually falling in love), but that the familiarity is what seems to be bringing people to the movies instead of driving them away. As someone who’s watched a fair number of these films (and even made fun of some of them), I can tell you that Polaha and Hallmark have really set on something major.

Going into a Hallmark movie, it’s never any secret that the leads will fall in love, the broken family will reconcile, the career obsessed single dad will discover that there’s more to life than making money or that Christmas joy and the spirit of the holiday season will conquer all. No one who watches a Hallmark movie is tuning in for the result, they’re tuning in for the journey. The family friendly, easy to digest, uncomplicated and sometimes silly journey that will always be pure escapism from the troubles of real life.

For some reason, Hallmark has been able to make dozens upon dozens of movies every year that use a few basic ideas in different combinations and still get people to not only watch, but eagerly anticipate the next film coming down the pike. The familiarity Kristoffer Polaha talks about is driving fans to the networks, instead of driving them away. You don’t put it on Hallmark wondering what you might get; you put it on Hallmark because you know you won’t have to think about how hard personal relationships really are.

Speaking of personal relationships, Hallmark clearly has strong working relationships with many of the actors who have starred in the channel’s movies, seeing as how the same stars tend to show up repeatedly. And, who can really blame them? Aside from the fact that it must be nice to be an actor who can rely on a few jobs a year, it must also be a boon to know that when you head to those jobs, you’ll be working with people you can trust and who have faith in your talent and what you bring to the table. Plus, there’s no doubt at this point that millions of people will see your work if you star in a Hallmark movie. You might not get famous from doing them, but you won’t be toiling in obscurity, either.

It turns out that working for Hallmark multiple times isn’t just about getting a paycheck for Polaha, either. According to him, having tons of people reliably throw themselves into Hallmark movies at any time of the year has made his work relevant in a way he wasn’t expecting. After recounting a story about finally being able to connect with an older fan who’d seen his work in Hallmark movies, but nothing else he’d ever done, Polaha talked about how the films even help him bond with his own family.

As an actor, I am leaning into Hallmark because it’s fun to sit with my seven-year-old and show him what I do for a living. These are family-friendly movies. I’m leaning in because my 91-year-old Nana finally thinks I’ve made it in Hollywood because I’m on Hallmark. I’m leaning into them because they are leaning into me and showing me the love.

It would seem that there are several actors who’ve elected to “lean into” Hallmark just like Kristoffer Polaha. And, we’re the better for it. For more more on what you can catch on TV when you’re not watching Hallmark movies, check out our 2018 fall premiere guide and our 2019 midseason premiere guide.

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Why Ahsoka Needs To Be In Star Wars’ Rogue One Prequel Series

Star Wars is expanding that galaxy far, far away in some big ways thanks to the upcoming Disney+ streaming service that will deliver two live-action Star Wars shows. The latest to be announced is a Rogue One prequel series that will star Diego Luna as Rebel spy Cassian Andor, which comes as good news for franchise fans still bummed about the end of Rogue One. Details about the show are scarce, but there are some big reasons why none other than Ahsoka Tano needs to appear.

The setting of the series (which has yet to receive an official title) before the events of Rogue One means that the timing is perfect for former-Jedi-turned-Rebel-operative Ahsoka Tano to play a part in the action. Not too much information is available about what Ahsoka was up to in the earlier years following the fall of the Republic, but Star Wars Rebels tells us that she was a key part of the pre-original trilogy Rebellion.

Given that Cassian was a spy for the Rebellion for years before he ever met Jyn Erso, it would make a whole lot of sense if he had at least met Ahsoka on a few occasions. Ahsoka once wasn’t too well-known in the galaxy beyond the Rebellion’s inner circle, as even Kanan had been in the dark about her work for the Rebellion prior to her appearance in Rebels‘ first season finale. He only knew her by the title of “Fulcrum.”

Well, the Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide revealed that Ahsoka was not the only member of the Rebellion to carry the Fulcrum title. Cassian was also known as Fulcrum during his time as a spy (as was Kallus after he joined the Rebellion in Star Wars Rebels Season 3). Wouldn’t it track for two Fulcrums to have interacted?

Admittedly, the timeline isn’t altogether clear about when Cassian held the Fulcrum title. Still, Ahsoka turning up on Cassian’s Rogue One prequel would make sense. She wouldn’t have to be a major character, but a cameo or guest shot surely wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. General Leia has a relatively minor role in Star Wars Resistance; why not Ahsoka in the Rogue One prequel?

If the timeline isn’t enough of a reason for Ahsoka (or certain Star Wars Rebels characters) to show up in the Rogue One prequel, then there’s the simple point that it would be a shame for any Star Wars TV show to happen without a sign of Ahsoka. She starred in The Clone Wars, played a pivotal role in Star War Rebels, and was featured in a number of Forces of Destiny shorts.

Ahsoka hasn’t appeared in Star Wars Resistance yet, but she survived the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, so she could appear there or in The Mandalorian, especially since she ended Rebels heading off on a mission with a Mandalorian. Star Wars should continue the Star Wars TV trend by incorporating Ahsoka somehow, in some way!

Of course, one of the most notable aspects of Rogue One that set it apart from other Star Wars projects was the absence of Force-sensitive heroes, with Darth Vader as the only one wielding a lightsaber. If the Rogue One prequel shares the same tone and focuses more on spy action (not to mention the fact that most of the surviving Jedi were keeping a low profile ahead of the original trilogy), we shouldn’t expect to see Jedi like Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger on the regular, if at all.

Star Wars Rebels fans know that Ahsoka was not a Jedi when she worked in a Fulcrum role, proving that she did not return to the Order (figuratively or officially) before Order 66, which may or may not be covered by the upcoming new season of The Clone Wars. She could appear in the Rogue One prequel more in her capacity as spy and operative than as a Force-wielder, and that would allow the show to keep its largely Force-free tone while still incorporating her.

As somebody who loved Star Wars Rebels and counts the original trilogy-adjacent era as my favorite of the Star Wars franchise, I would love to also get appearances from Rebels characters, and Hera and Kanan appearing before the events of Rebels could work. In fact, I’m still kind of bummed we didn’t get them in Solo. Nevertheless, Ahsoka is arguably the original character from Star Wars animated TV that would make the most sense to appear on the live-action series.

Speaking of which, the Rogue One prequel could present a chance for Star Wars to finally bring Ahsoka into live-action. It would sadly mean that voice actress Ashley Eckstein likely wouldn’t be able to portray the character, but how awesome would it be to get another Togruta in live-action? We may even know an actress who could tackle the role to perfection.

Back in February 2017, Rosario Dawson revealed that she would be on board to play Ahsoka in live-action. At the time, she suggested playing Ahsoka in a future Star Wars film, but why not the Rogue One prequel? Back when she originally threw her name in the ring to play Ahsoka, live-action Star Wars shows were all but inconceivable, with all the Star Wars action going down on the big screen. Dawson has been willing to play an iconic TV character in a huge franchise before; could Star Wars be the next?

We shouldn’t start counting on Rosario Dawson or anybody else absolutely bringing Ahsoka to live-action for Diego Luna’s Rogue One prequel (even though art of Dawson as Ahsoka is pretty awesome). The show doesn’t even have a production date just yet, and all we know is that it is slated to begin at some point next year. We likely have a whole lot of time to speculate about what’s in store. Could Krennic appear as well? Ben Mendelsohn has thoughts.

For now, you can look forward to more Ahsoka whenever the new batch of Clone Wars episodes releases. Those will debut on Disney+, so we have a wait on our hands for more Ahsoka in that format, but my money is on more Clone Wars before the Rogue One prequel. We’ll have to wait and see. For a current fix of Star Wars TV action, you can check out new episodes of Star Wars Resistance on Disney Channel.

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Sony Has Given Two New Spider-Man Spinoffs Release Dates

Although Marvel and Sony are in cahoots when it comes to featuring Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the latter studio is also running its own side franchise of Spider-characters unconnected to what’s happening with Tom Holland’s version of the Web-Slinger. Venom opened on October 5 and is still killing at the box office, and having seen how financially successful the symbiote-powered anti-hero’s movie has been, Sony has gone ahead and dated two more of this Spider-verse films for 2020.

According to Variety, an “untitled Sony-Marvel project” will be released on July 10, 2020, and an “untitled Sony-Marvel sequel” will follow on October 2 of the same year. Although neither of these two movies are named, it’s easy to guess what they probably are. The first date is probably reserved for Morbius, the next Spider-Man spinoff on the docket, while the sequel is practically guaranteed to be Venom 2. However, until Sony discloses more information, we can’t say with absolute certainty that these are the two movies on the way.

Morbius was announced around this time last year, and just like his comic book counterpart, the eponymous protagonist, played by Jared Leto, will be a scientist who, while looking for a cure for his rare blood disease, accidentally becomes a “living vampire,” which includes gaining a thirst for blood. Morbius is a particularly tragic character and, like Venom, has been depicted as more of an anti-hero rather than an outright super villain.

No specific plot details about the Morbius movie have been revealed yet, but last month, producer Avi Arad stated that it will begin filming as early as February 2019. Assuming that’s still the plan, then that would leave plenty of time for Morbius to be ready by July 2020. With Morbius being the second major protagonist to be introduced to Sony’s Spider-Man-less franchise, there’s a lot riding on his movie to both make him appealing to folks who don’t follow the comics and strengthen this new cinematic universe.

As for Venom 2, it’s hardly surprising that Sony has decided to move ahead with this sequel. While Venom has earned a lot of negative reviews from critic, that has dented its commercial performance in the slightest. Not only has it performed well during its domestic run, it’s been a gigantic hit internationally, particularly in China, where it scored a 10-day total of $187 million. Currently Venom stands at over $780 million worldwide, and with numbers like that, a sequel is inevitable.

Venom also took the liberty of laying groundwork for Venom in its mid-credits scene, as superhero movies often do now. Eddie Brock, having beaten Riot and established a good rapport with the Venom symbiote, traveled to San Quentin Prison to interview serial killer Cletus Kasady, better known as Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson. Declaring that when he escapes, “there will be carnage,” Harrelson’s Cletus essentially assured fans that when we next see him in Venom 2, he’ll have a symbiote of his own and take the fight to Eddie.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning Sony’s Spider-Man spinoffs. In the meantime, you can learn what movies are coming out next year by scanning through our 2019 release schedule.

Ralph Breaks The Internet End Credits Scenes: What Happens, And Why They’re Great

Warning: SPOILERS for Ralph Breaks The Internet are in play. If you’re not caught up with the movie, please bookmark this page, and come back once you’re current.

On top of all of the adventures and comedic commentary that Ralph Breaks The Internet offered to its audience, perhaps the two most meta gags that were presented in the film are the ones that came during the film’s ending credits. Yes, in case you were wondering, there’s two scenes snuck into the film’s ending crawl, and both have some interesting implications.

This is the last chance to turn around before being spoiled, as we’re about to jump into the mid and post-credits sequences from Ralph Breaks The Internet, and go over what specifically happens in their gags. More importantly, we’ll also be going over just what makes them so funny in the first place. Now let’s leave the arcade and plunge into the funny bone of the internet!

The Adventures Of Pancake And Milkshake

What happened: The mid-credits sequence to Ralph Breaks The Internet is a gag we’ve actually seen in the trailers, with a slight, but crucial alteration. During the film’s credits, we cut to little Mo (who looks oddly similar to the baby version of Moana’s protagonist) as she’s driving home with her mother. As it turns out, the two are returning from the movies, having seen Ralph Breaks The Internet themselves.

The mother asks her child what she thought of the movie, and as she’s playing on her tablet, she responds how she thought the film was OK. But she does voice one criticism before going back to the game on her tablet: there was a gag in the film’s trailer that she didn’t see in the movie, and she’s kinda sad about it. Who among us wouldn’t be disappointed by losing out on some cute rabbit and cat video game action?

Right on cue, Mo continues to play “Pancake and Milkshake” on her tablet, and seconds later Ralph invades her game. As it turns out, that very sequence that was shown in the trailer (and can be seen below) plays as we’ve seen it, leaving Mo traumatized as Fun Bun explodes off screen from eating too many pancakes.

Why this joke’s great: In a movie that laser focuses on the beast that’s known as the internet, Ralph Breaks The Internet plays into a lot of the common jokes about internet fandom. With the scene that was described not taking place during the film’s narrative proper, the audience is left to ask themselves just where that scene went in the shuffle.

The fact that it then kicks in during the mid-credits slot it’s placed into not only delivers on the scene that was promised in Ralph Breaks The Internet, it also adds that little twist of laughing at such discussions during any film’s closing credits.

Seeing as this is a movie that dissects its audience and the media that they use to voice their approval and disapproval of their various fandoms, this joke is one of two that hits home with the savvy moviegoer. Though that’s nothing compared to the final gag that closes out the film.

A Special Look At Frozen 2

What happened: While it might not seem too early for a look at next year’s Frozen 2, the very last gag at the end of Ralph Breaks The Internet makes a promise of such a clip – only to treat the audience to one of the oldest gags on the internet.

As the closing credits come to an end, a title card with voice over comes up, promising the audience the first footage from Elsa and Anna’s big sequel. Surely this couldn’t be a prank, could it? Both princesses were in the film and Disney is known for teasing new projects in their Marvel Cinematic Universe all the time.

Just as the viewer is about to catch wise as to what Ralph Breaks The Internet is about to do, a mouse cursor clicks the link that’s supposed to help audiences let go of their anticipation for Frozen 2, only to unveil a music video. One where Ralph, Fix-it Felix, and some of the Slaugher Race gang dance and sing to Rick Astley’s big hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” complete with a reenactment of said song’s music video.

You can actually see this gag for yourself as well, as Astley himself shared his own sort of Rick Roll on his Facebook page:

Disney’s #RalphBreaksTheInternet

Here’s some amazing news! I’m going to be a part of Wreck-It Ralph #RalphBreaksTheInternet. I’m really excited… I think… – Rick x

Posted by Rick Astley on Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Why this joke’s great:__Known to internet archaeologists as one of the earliest pranks that has confounded users of the information superhighway, the Rick Roll is a joke that plays directly to the older portion of the audience.

While the kids or young adults in the audience may not know or remember how prevalent this setup of a false promise for sought-after information, followed by a formerly obscure ’80s hit in its place, those of us who remember dial-up modems, Netscape browsers and AOL’s great and bountiful empire are bound to laugh the hardest.

The bonus layer of meta-humor comes from the fact that as early as this morning, Rick Astley himself posted most of this gag as a Rick Roll of his own. Just when you think you may have missed him somehow appearing in the film you saw last night and/or needed to keep an eye out for him at the theater in the next couple of days, up comes a rendition of Astley’s big chart-topper. And as an added cherry on top, it’s John C. Reilly’s musical pipes delivering that sweet sweet nostalgia to your ears.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of easter eggs, sight gags, inside jokes, and sly references we’ve probably missed in Ralph Breaks The Internet, and we’ll cover them in due time. But for now, just going over those two parting shots that Disney used to close their film out strong is enough incentive for folks to go see the film a first or second time.

Ralph Breaks The Internet is in theaters now, and it’ll never run around or desert you.

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How Much Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Could Make Opening Weekend

In a year chock full of superhero films from all the major players, the one that looks the most unique is arriving almost last in the form of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The animated film from producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller promises to show audiences the Web-Head as we’ve never seen him before. Early tracking is in on the movie, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could make between $28 million to $35 million opening weekend.

An opening weekend of $28 million to $35 million would likely swing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse into the top spot at the box office over its opening frame December 14-16. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony is a little more reserved with its estimates than the top end of the tracking services, and the studio is expecting about $30 million for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opening weekend.

The mid-December frame isn’t necessarily known to be the most fertile ground for big openings, but Into the Spider-Verse is still looking at first place. With a few weeks to go and a final marketing push, projections could go higher. And with a huge opening less likely, there is the hope that the PG-rated film can keep bringing in audiences throughout the holiday season once people have already seen the even bigger titles.

Speaking of other titles, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not the only film opening over the December 14-16 weekend. Also opening is the Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines and Clint Eastwood’s The Mule.

Mortal Engines is not looking like it will have the horsepower to catch Spidey at the box office. The post-apocalyptic film, based on the novel by Philip Reeve and from director Christian Rivers, is a big-budget blockbuster with a built-in audience, but is only tracking to open in the range of $12 million to $18 million.

The Mule is tracking to open with around $12 million to $15 million. The film stars director Clint Eastwood as a down on his luck old man who winds up becoming a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel. All of these films will probably have to hope for some serious legs and great word of mouth as they face an onslaught the following week with Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman and Bumblebee all entering the Christmas fray.

A first place win and a long and successful run in the weeks after release for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse would be just another feather in the cap for Sony’s 2018, as well as open up the possibility for more animated Spidey down the line. Venom delivered for the studio in a massive way and portends a bright future for the studio’s shared cinematic universe. Venom gave Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a leg up in its post-credits scene, so we’ll see how much that helped in a few short weeks.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters on December 14. Check out our Holiday Movie Guide for the other Christmas presents waiting for you at the theater this season and take a look at next year’s release schedule to see all the movies coming in 2019, including more Spider-Man!

Fantastic Beasts Has A Newt Scamander Problem

Warning! The following contains SPOILERS for the film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Read at your own risk!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is shaping up to be the worst commercial showing the Harry Potter franchise has released. The sequel made headlines as the first of the lot to be labeled “rotten,” and its current box office numbers rank it amongst the lowest of all films. While many fingers could be pointed at the missteps this franchise has taken that led to this, I think it’s time audiences collectively admit that Fantastic Beasts has a Newt Scamander problem.

To clarify, this isn’t a knock against Eddie Redmayne’s performance in the slightest. The actor has brought nothing but his A-game to the character of Newt Scamander, which makes it a shame that his role often gets in the way of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald more than it aides it.

To make that point, let’s put Newt Scamander’s role in the sequel into context. Newt is offered a job at his brother’s recommendation by the Ministry of Magic in which he’ll be tasked with finding Credence. Newt declines because he’s “neutral” and doesn’t choose sides. Newt ends up in Paris anyway, but only because he wants to reunite with Tina and inform her a magazine article she read is incorrect, and that he isn’t engaged to Leta Lestrange.

This is the first major problem with Newt Scamander. This franchise is built around a guy who can’t take a stance on wizarding superiority over Muggles, but is willing to risk time in Azkaban to clear up a factual error for a crush? Beyond the fact it’s something that could’ve been explained with a simple letter or the various other magical methods of communication the Wizarding World has, this is what he’s putting it all on the line for?

Main characters in the Harry Potter franchise have made immature and questionable choices in the past, but let’s remember that Newt isn’t a child. Fantastic Beasts has seemingly treated him as such though in the sequel, as the beast handler was relegated to a side adventure/quasi-love story. It was a weird and somewhat meaningless side journey that felt awkward next to scenes where babies are being killed and grand speeches about Wizarding superiority are underway.

Make no mistake, things are going to get worse in the Wizarding World before they get better. This is a very serious time in the universe’s timeline, which makes it all the more frustrating that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was split between Grindelwald’s movement gaining traction and a grown man fumbling to tell a woman he has romantic feelings for her. It’s especially bothersome when the latter event of the two is supposed to be the main character’s storyline.

Put simply, Newt Scamander is too fragile and immature of a character for all the grim stuff that’s about to happen in the Wizarding World. It seems some decision makers of Fantastic Beasts seem to recognize this, which may be why the initial remarks that Newt would be at the heart of the franchise by David Yates were walked back by producer David Heyman.

Those comments ultimately led up to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which felt like a movie where Newt had a bulk of screen time, but played no substantial role in the major events dedicated Harry Potter fans care about. He does manage to choose a side at the end, but as we’ve mentioned, his character experiences little growth that shows he’s capable of confronting the dark wizards and mature themes that surely lay ahead in future films.

This isn’t Newt’s fault, it’s the franchise’s for deciding to use a novel about magical creatures as a backdrop to the much-anticipated tale of young Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Newt’s role as the hero in the first adventure as fine, but now that the film has established Jude Law’s young Dumbledore, it feels like passing the torch to his character to shoulder the rest of the tale would be ideal.

Otherwise, the franchise is in for a handful of other films that struggle to find a story for Newt’s character, and random scenes of magical creatures to further justify the title Fantastic Beasts. Seriously, was there any other beasts scenes outside of Nagini’s character that weren’t put in simply to remind folks why Newt’s important? Again, it’s just another thing getting in the way of a story fans are dying to see.

While reducing or downsizing Newt’s role in Fantastic Beasts would be a option that potentially improves the franchise, it’s not the only option. Newt could still keep his quirks, but by the next film, it would help if the events that unfold between The Crimes of Grindelwald and the next adventure that allows him to realize what’s at stake. Newt doesn’t have to change completely, but he does have to mature a bit and not be so childlike and naive.

As previously mentioned, Eddie Redmayne is a tremendous actor, and forcing his character out of the central role would be a huge shame. Having said that, it’s also keeping the Harry Potter fans away from the stories they’ve wanted to see for a long time, so Fantastic Beasts has to find a way to better incorporate him in the Grindelwald and Dumbledore feud.

In all fairness, that plan might already be in the works. There has to be some reason someone decided Newt was to have a role in this vital part of Harry Potter history. Perhaps if that part was made more evident in the next feature, his interruptions and character development would be more forgivable. Until then though, he’s still the guy standing in the way of my long-standing dream to see the rise and fall of a man who eventually influenced Voldemort.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is currently in theaters. For more on the film, check out these 6 things you should know about the Dumbledore family that may come in handy for those developing theories behind that crazy twist ending.

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Vikings Creator Talks Big Changes For Ivar And Lagertha In Season 5

The second half of Vikings‘ fifth season is about to get interesting for Ivar and Lagertha. As fans have already seen from the promo for Vikings Season 5B, Ivar’s reign will be a brazen one. Besides power, there will also be another force in Ivar’s life — a romantic one. Vikings‘ creator Michael Hirst teased Ivar’s budding romance and its dynamics, saying:

Ivar in love? Or at least under the influence of infatuation? It would seem so. What is interesting about what Michael Hirst told TV Guide is how Ivar’s newfound romance will impact him. Traditionally, you think of a relationship helping soften a person. Not Ivar. The person he is attracted to sounds like she will only emphasize Ivar’s more menacing impulses. It is hard to imagine him being any more diabolical.

One of the most unsettling aspects of what Vikings‘ creator teases is what Ivar’s love interest will bring on Kattegat. As she helps influence great cruelty to abound in the town. It sounds as though Ivar will have a lot in common with his girlfriend, which is bad news for Kattegat.

As for Ivar’s enemies, a season of introspection lies ahead. Following her defeat to Ivar, Lagertha is reassessing things. We already knew she would be engaging in a pretty heavy romance with Heahmund in Season 5’s back half. So, what else is in store for the ousted Queen of Kattegat? Michael Hirst revealed:

This is a particularly promising tease. Lagertha has been in need of some self-evaluation for a while. Now that she is in the midst of great adversity — again — it is time to take a closer look. Also interesting is what exactly Lagertha will be doing a double take on in her life.

Vikings‘ creator also teased that Lagertha will have to face “hard truths” regarding Rollo and her ambition. The potential truth surrounding her former brother-in-law, and one-time flame, is highly intriguing. There are a lot of possibilities for what could go down between Rollo and Lagertha considering their past. If Rollo wanted to get on Lagertha’s good side, he should not have sent troops to help Ivar against her.

Whether the mystery of Bjorn’s paternity will in some way come into play will be interesting to learn, as well as seeing what the result of Lagertha’s reinvention will be. It will be one of many reboots for her. The Lagertha from Season 1 is an entirely different person than the one when Season 5B begins. Ever since the show started, she has undergone many trials and tribulations.

It is hard to believe it is the same character. Lagertha has become what she was destined to be. The question is what that fully-realized destiny will entail. Ivar hates Lagertha for killing his mother, and he never lets any grudge go.

Vikings will return for Season 5B, a.k.a. the second half of Season 5, Wednesday, November 28 at 9 p.m. ET on History. The historical drama is among many shows returning with new seasons this fall and the midseason.

Could Clubber Lang Return To The Rocky Franchise? Here’s What The Creed II Director Says

Creed II unites the past and present of the Rocky franchise by bringing back the franchise’s most iconic villain, Rocky IV‘s Ivan Drago. This naturally raises the question that, if Creed III gets made, could we see the return of Mr. T’s James “Clubber” Lang from Rocky III? Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. isn’t sure if we’ll see Clubber Lang again, but he did muse on how interesting it would be to bring the character back, saying:

There is no reason yet to think that we’ll be seeing the return of Clubber Lang in Creed III, but Steven Caple Jr. brings up an interesting point about the challenge in bringing back the character in the modern era. We expect our modern antagonists to be menacing and fierce, but also complex and human. Mr. T’s Clubber Lang was a bit of an outlandish character and we don’t really get to know him or see much of his humanity in the film. As Steven Caple Jr. tells Uproxx, that provides a fun challenge.

Clubber Lang would have to be a bit more grounded this time around. Sure, there are outlandish figures in the modern fight world. Conor McGregor in MMA and Tyson Fury in boxing come to mind, but it’s all about how Clubber is depicted onscreen. He would have to be made believable and not quite as over the top as he was in that ’80s era film.

Steven Caple Jr. has already accomplished that goal by making Ivan Drago more human in Creed II. He takes the Russian, who was something of a cartoon villain in Rocky IV, and gives him depth and a story that feels like an organic development for the character, while tapping in to the nostalgia for the old Rocky films by bringing him back in the first place. That is the same process that would have to happen for Clubber Lang.

The nostalgia factor would be there for a Clubber Lang return, although I’d argue not half as much as it is for Ivan Drago. Still, I’m sure fans, like Steven Caple Jr., would like to know what happened to the bruiser after he was knocked out by Rocky. I have no doubt that in the capable hands of someone like Steven Caple Jr. or Ryan Coogler, Clubber Lang could be brought back in the right way. The question is, how can that be done?

The danger with bringing Clubber back is that the Creed franchise becomes too much about referencing Rocky‘s past than about forging a new future. Personally I wouldn’t want to see Adonis fighting Clubber’s son or anything like that. The ideal scenario for me would be something smaller, like maybe a substantial cameo, but nothing so large that Clubber becomes a huge part of the story.

Creed II is in theaters now. Check out our Holiday Movie Guide for all the rest of the blockbusters and awards contenders arriving in the coming months, and head on over to our 2019 Release Schedule to see all the biggest movies coming out in a jam-packed 2019.

LFO Singer Devin Lima Has Died At 41

Devin Lima, best known for his involvement in the pop band LFO, has passed away. He leaves this world a little over a year after being diagnosed with stage four adrenal cancer, although it has generally been a private battle for the musician upon having to deal with the fatal disease. He died at the age of 41. Lima’s cancer was made public by fellow LFO member Brad Fischetti in October 2017. Since then, Lima has fought the stage four cancer.

The news was confirmed by Us Weekly. Devin Lima is the second member of LFO to pass away, as lead singer Rich Cronin died at the age of 36 in 2010 after he battled leukemia for a long period of time. While the members of LFO were no longer together once Cronin passed away eight years ago, Lima and Brad Fischetti remained a duo until Lima passed away this week. LFO is best known for their 1999 single, “Summer Girls.”

When Brad Fischetti announced Devin Lima’s stage four cancer diagnosis in October 2017, he revealed that his bandmate was undergoing surgery in order to remove a tumor from his adrenal gland. According to CNN, Brad Fischetti said the following statement about his friend and fellow musician.

In addition to their hit single “Summer Girls,” LFO — which stands for “Lyte Funky Ones” — are also well-known for their follow-up track, “Girls on TV.” The music video is noteworthy for featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt. That single peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Summer Girls,” meanwhile, made its way to the number three spot on the Hot 100. Additionally, the band’s self-titled album went platinum when it debuted in the U.S. Their success was limited, as they broke up in 2002, but the boy band seems to have found some peace among themselves in their later years.

While LFO never found the same success that they held during their earlier years, they were celebrated during their moment in the spotlight and it is a sad day for fans of LFO, as they have now lost two of the three original members of the band. While the news about the stage four cancer hasn’t been a secret since it was diagnosed almost a year ago, it is always hard to hear that another life has been taken by the terrible and fatal disease. Our thoughts go out to the friends, family and loved ones of Devin Lima. We’ll keep you posted on the latest pop culture news here at CinemaBlend.