It’s OK That Zac Efron Is A Hot Ted Bundy, According To One Survivor

In Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile, former Disney star and heartthrob Zac Efron plays serial killer Ted Bundy. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, has drawn some criticism for emphasizing Zac Efron’s good looksm in a role where he plays such a villainous character. For Kathy Kleiner Rubin, a survivor of the serial killer, it’s okay that Zac Efron is a hot Ted Bundy, as long as audiences learn the right lesson:

Kathy Kleiner Rubin was 20-years-old when Ted Bundy snuck into her bedroom at Florida State University and beat her and her roommate with a club, so she has a different and more personal perspective on this film than most everyone else. As she told TMZ, she doesn’t see the film’s emphasis on the attractiveness of Zac Efron or his charm in the film as a problem, because it is showing Ted Bundy as he was.

Ted Bundy was handsome and charming, and that’s often how he got some of his victims to trust him. He appeared to be a nice guy and didn’t look dangerous. He used his attractiveness as a lure, and as Kathy Rubin said, he put out an image to the world of what he wanted people to see and that helped him commit his crimes and even convince some people of his innocence. That was in part possible because he was good looking.

Kathy Kleiner Rubin does admit that the movie glorifies Ted Bundy a bit more than it should, but it is still necessary viewing because it shows him for what he was and how someone like him could do what he did.

The survivor hopes that it makes women more cautious, with the lesson seemingly being that just because someone appears trustworthy doesn’t mean they are. Don’t judge a book by its cover works both ways and just because someone is hot, doesn’t guarantee that they are a good person.

The premiere of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile and the release of the trailer have coincided with the release of the Netflix documentary series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Zac Efron’s portrayal in the film and the Netflix series have prompted social media reactions talking about how hot Ted Bundy is. And some of the early reviews for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile have criticized the film for glorifying Ted Bundy through the washboard-abbed Zac Efron’s portrayal.

Netflix responded to the Ted Bundy was hot sentiment by issuing a statement on Twitter that there are plenty of hot men on the streaming service that aren’t serial killers. The reactions to both show how easy it is to focus on someone’s looks and fall under a spell, making Kathy Kleiner Rubin’s words even more necessary.

If anything when you hear Kathy Kleiner Rubin’s comments about the film, it makes even more sense that Zac Efron was cast. In so doing the film emphasizes Ted Bundy’s wholesome, attractive appearance and his charms, making the contrast with the vile person beneath the winning smile all the greater and the lesson all the clearer.

Zac Efron’s charm in the film also makes sense based on the nature of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile itself. The film is told from his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer’s point of view. She struggled to accept the truth about Ted Bundy for a long time. So it would make sense that the film would at least in part show him through her eyes, glorifying his positive traits and downplaying the evidence against him.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile has not yet set a release date. For movies that do have a release date, check out our 2019 premiere guide.

Milla Jovovich Is On Her Hellboy Character’s Side

A good reboot should have enough distinguishing features from its predecessors that it feels like a fresh take on the material rather than a copy of what came before. Hellboy is accomplishing this by featuring an almost entirely different cast of characters, which includes the main antagonist, Nimue the Blood Queen, played by Milla Jovovich. Although audiences are meant to root for Hellboy and his allies at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) to defeat Nimue, Jovovich can actually sympathize with her character. In her words:

Millar Jovovich (jokingly) defended her position while speaking with Kevin Smith in her IMDB interview by saying that Nimue the Blood Queen is just trying to bring the human world and monster world together, which apparently a lot of folks aren’t keen about. Maybe if we didn’t know going into Hellboy that Nimue is the primary villain, we might share that sentiment for a bit, but alas, in this story, she’s on the wrong side of things.

In theory, it’d be nice if the human world and monster world could be brought together so its inhabitants could coexist peacefully. There are just two problems with that idea. One, most monsters aren’t as fond of humans as Hellboy is. Many of them, in fact, want to wreak chaos and destruction on Earth, hence why the BPRD exists. Two, if she’s anything like her comic book counterpart, then Jovovich’s Nimue implementing her plans will result in a lot of people dying. So yeah, it’s a good thing that Big Red and the BPRD gang are interfering with her schemes.

Still, at least Hellboy is another opportunity for Milla Jovovich to jump back in the action realm. She’s arguably best known for playing Alice in the Resident Evil film series, which wrapped up in 2016. Her other prominent credits include The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc and Zoolander. She’s also starring in the upcoming Monster Hunter.

The Hellboy reboot is inspired by the comic book storylines Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, and The Storm and the Fury, with Nimue having appeared in the latter two. Along with Milla Jovovich, the reboot stars David Harbour as Hellboy, Ian McShane as Trevor Bruttenholm, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio. The Descent’s Neil Marshall directed and Andrew Cosby wrote the script.

Hellboy hits theaters on April 12, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. For now, browse through our 2019 release schedule to learn what else is coming out this year.

Patty Jenkins Calls Wonder Woman 1984 Mind-Blowing

Things are really heating up in the DC Universe, as Warner Bros. is currently riding the wave of Aquaman‘s success. James Wan’s underwater adventure has made a record breaking amount of money at the box office, while providing the first DC critical hit since Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. There are a ton of exciting new blockbusters coming down the pipeline, although Jenkins’ sequel Wonder Woman 1984 is arguably the most hotly anticipated.

Another period piece illuminating Diana’s past, Wonder Woman 1984 will reunite the likes of Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen– alongside newcomers like Kristin Wiig and Pedro Pascal. While it’s not set to arrive until 2020, Patty Jenkins recently teased a few aspects of the film, and recently revealed the visuals for the sequel are going to blow your mind. As she tells it,

She was so great in such a great era and we do get to capture that. The only thing I can tell you is that it went really well, we just finished shooting, and yeah, the actors are incredible. We did a ton of the stuff on wires and it looks mind-blowing.

Does anyone else have chills? Patty Jenkins brought some glorious visuals to the first Wonder Woman movie, so it’s exciting to hear that the upcoming sequel is perhaps even more impressive. While the first movie put Diana in the middle of World War I, Wonder Woman 1984 will jump up a few decades to the 80’s. Technology and mankind’s destructive power only continued to grow, so Wonder Woman should be facing off against new and exciting challenges in whatever action sequences Jenkins has crafted.

Patty Jenkins’ comments to Deadline are sure to excite the many DC fans out there, who can’t wait for Gal Gadot’s kind and fierce warrior to return to the silver screen. While she reprised her role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the movie was a box office and critical failure. This was no fault of Gadot’s, but the countless fans who saw Wonder Woman in theaters are no doubt hoping that the title character will get more room to grow and shine in Wonder Woman 1984 and the already developing threequel.

The action sequences in the first Wonder Woman also showed Diana truly coming into her own as a superpowered hero among men. Serving as an origin story, Wonder Woman was shown improvising in Man’s World, and becoming instrumental in a few conflict during WII. The No Man’s Land sequence was particularly thrilling, as the DC heroine faces off against enemy forces in Belgium. She faced a battalion largely on her own– getting a little help from Steve Trevor and the rest of the crew that were teased in Diana’s photo from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be yet another period piece for the titular hero, but the time jump should ensure that the sequel is wholly unique to the original. Diana will have been living in Man’s World for decades now, seeing how their technology has continued developing. Now the question is: how the hell is Steve Trevor being brought back?

While Wonder Woman 1984 went into production in June of 2018, very little is known about Patty Jenkins’ second installment in the DC Universe. While the time setting and principal cast has been announced, Jenkins and the crew have been keeping their cards close to the chest. And it makes sense, given the year and change still let to wait before the movie finally arrives in theaters.

Principal photography for Wonder Woman‘s sequel reportedly wrapped in December of 2018, after the project was shot for a whopping six months. But there’s likely going to be some reshoots involved– as there are with most blockbusters. Perhaps even more wire work and impressive visuals are on the way as well. What’s clear is that Patty Jenkins has a clear vision for her protagonist, and fans are just eager for any information ahead of the project’s delayed release.

Narratively, it seems like Patty Jenkins could go just about anywhere with Wonder Woman 1984. Diana will once again be put in center of a worldwide conflict, this time being the Cold War. While obviously a catalyst for mind-blowing action, the adventure will also no doubt resonate with Diana’s psyche, and illuminate her continued journey as a hero.

Perhaps the Cold War relates to Diana’s heart growing colder, after living among men for so long. Wonder Woman found a love interest with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor in the first film, but the American hero ultimately sacrificed himself. It’s an event that has stayed with her in her decades of life on Earth, as it was briefly addressed in Justice League. Of course, Steve Trevor is mysteriously returning for the sequel.

When the first images came from Wonder Woman 1984, fans were surprised to see Steve Trevor looking well, and apparently not having aged a day since we last saw him in Wonder Woman. Standing in what looks like an 80’s shopping mall, it’s a complete mystery as to how Steve will re-enter the narrative. Perhaps Diana is simply seeing vision of her former lover, and he’s not actually there. But Chris Pine is being billed as a major presence in the blockbuster, so the mystery continues.

Wonder Woman fans are also eager to meet one of her most iconic villains: Cheetah, played by Kristin Wiig. Arguably her biggest nemesis, Wiig will begin playing Barbara Ann Minerva, a British archaeologist who is accidentally given the powers of a Cheetah goddess. We’ll get to see her go toe to toe with Diana, likely giving a more traditional villain to Wonder Woman 1984 than its predecessor.

Game of Thrones and Narcos favorite Pedro Pascal also has a mysterious role, although there’s been no hint as to what it might be. Let’s just hope that Wonder Woman 1984 doesn’t take a hint from Captain Marvel and draw out revealing who exactly he’ll be playing. Because while that movie is set to arrive shortly, Jude Law’s character name still hasn’t been confirmed by the studio.

Wonder Woman 1984 is currently set to arrive in theaters on June 5, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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Leaving Neverland Director Says Film Is A Documentary, Despite Claims From Jackson Estate

After it recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary Leaving Neverland immediately became a source of controversy. The film follows two adults who claim that Michael Jackson sexually abused them as children. The pop star’s family and estate responded to the film by putting out a statement that denied the claims of the film and its principals ,as well as declared that Leaving Neverland is not a documentary, but a tabloid character assassination. Now the film’s director, Dan Reed, has responded to their statement, assuring that his film is a documentary. He said:

In his response to Michael Jackson’s estate, Dan Reed seems to take the most issue with the claim that his film is not a documentary. He defends Leaving Neverland’s documentary status and rebukes any notion that it is tabloid fodder with this matter-of-fact response.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Dan Reed laid out the various ways in which his film qualifies as a documentary, including his history as a documentary filmmaker, which is not a matter of opinion. Dan Reed has lots of documentary credits to his name, including for films that tackled complex subjects just like the one Leaving Neverland covers. So in defending the film, Dan Reed is also listing off the credentials that made him qualified to make it.

In addition to saying that his film is a documentary, Dan Reed also questioned whether or not Michael Jackson’s family, the ones criticizing his film, have even seen it. He said:

The way Dan Reed sees it, the Jackson family didn’t give his film its due consideration, condemning it without even seeing it because of the subjects in the film and the story being told. Of course, if the film even insinuates the Michael Jackson sexually abused the two subjects as children, I don’t imagine that seeing the film would change the Jackson family’s opinion of it.

Elsewhere in his discussion with THR, he asserts that he made no attempt to characterize Michael Jackson at all in the film, and that Leaving Neverland is a story about two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, their families and the impact that sexual abuse had on them, and that their relationship with Michael Jackson is just an element of the story.

Given the delicate nature of the story and the entrenched beliefs in Michael Jackson’s guilt or innocence, I wouldn’t expect this to be the last volley back and forth we hear about Leaving Neverland.

HBO is planning to premiere Leaving Neverland in March on the channel/platform. Because Leaving Neverland is a four-hour film, HBO is expected to split it into two separate chunks to air over two nights.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest movie news, and check out our 2019 release schedule to see the movies you can look forward to in this jam-packed year.

Watch Adam Driver’s Expertly Dodge Star Wars Episode IX Questions

With the highly-anticipated conclusion to the Skywalker Saga is coming this December, no Star Wars Episode IX actor is safe from the curiosity that is rampant with fans of the series. So naturally, during Adam Driver’s visit to Sundance over the weekend to promote his latest indie, The Report, his interviewer couldn’t help but ask about what’s next for Kylo Ren. Check out what happened:

Now, that’s how it’s done! In the minute clip from Variety, Adam Driver tactfully dodged talking about Episode IX, managed to look absolutely clueless about the details and turned the question back around to the movie he was there for. Are you taking notes, Tom Holland?

During the interview at Sundance Film Festival, Adam Driver played coy as the conversation went into Star Wars territory. The journalist started by stating that Episode IX recently wrapped and tried to go into a question about how it felt for the actor to close out this chapter as Kylo Ren. Driver wasn’t having it… he said he didn’t know if filming had wrapped and decided to answer the question about the man he’s portraying in The Report, Dan Jones.

The Star Wars question went south into improve territory as he slyly scrambled to make up some connection between Star Wars and The Report. The actor did recently nab an Oscar nomination for his role in Best Picture nominee BlackKklansman and has been working on these movies for over five years. So acting his way out of a question is just another day in the life.

Adam Driver was joined by his co-stars Annette Bening, Jon Hamm and director Scott Z. Burns at the film festival where their political thriller premiered. The Report centers Driver’s Dan Jones, who led the largest investigative review in U.S. Senate history, an extensive report on CIA torture tactics following the 9/11 attacks. Following the film’s premiere, Amazon Studios closed a $14 million deal for worldwide rights. The film based on true events will be released during 2019 awards season.

Sorry Adam, back to Star Wars: Episode IX! Considering how often blockbusters undergo routine reshoots before their release, the actor may have been right to question whether the cameras have officially stopped rolling for the holiday release. Anthony Daniels’ C3PO recently shared he wrapped shooting Episode IX, but with 11 months to go, there’s plenty of time for tweaking and reshoots if need be.

The official title of the film still hasn’t been announced, along with any other details. With the Super Bowl airing this Sunday, some theorize fans could get their first look at Star Wars: Episode IX during the commercials.

Just don’t count on Adam Driver to spill the tea. Episode IX comes to theaters on December 20, 2019.

Why Morbius Probably Won’t be Sony’s Next Venom

The first of Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off movies, Venom, was released last fall. Against several critics expectations — mine included — Venom ended up being a huge success for the studio. The movie made $855.8 million at the worldwide box office, seemingly proving that there was steam to Sony’s superhero movies. The next film in the series is Morbius, but while Sony likely feels emboldened by Venom’s home run, Morbius is probably unlikely to follow in Venom’s footsteps for the studio because it lacks what made Venom successful: notoriety.

For starters, nobody knows who the hell Morbius is, whereas even average moviegoers were at least a little familiar with Venom.

For those who may not know, Morbius, the Living Vampire is a Spider-Man villain/anti-hero. Michael Morbius was a brilliant scientist who accidentally turned himself into a vampire-like creature after trying to cure his blood disease. He often tries to find a cure for his condition while battling the insatiable hunger for human blood.

In many ways, Morbius is like Venom. Both started out as villains and then became brooding anti-heroes trying to balance their lust for violence with a desire to do good. In that way, it’s easier to see why Sony chose Morbius to lead a movie and why his story was tasked with following Venom.

The problem, though, is that as far as popularity goes, the two characters aren’t anywhere close to the same weight class. If Venom is the high school quarterback, then Morbius is the kid with his shirt tucked into his underwear.

While plenty of fans bemoaned the idea of a Venom movie without Spider-Man, he’s still at least a logical choice to receive a film. I could argue that Venom is an uninteresting character and a bad villain for hours, but there’s no denying that he has a huge fanbase. Venom found popularity in the late ’80s and ’90s when the most popular comics were the ones with anti-heroes, massive muscles, ammo pouches and a cool look. Characters like Deadpool, Lobo, Cable and Wolverine thrived, and Venom is definitely part of that bunch too.

That popularity has pretty much followed him ever since. Venom is one of the most well-known Spider-Man bad guys and has appeared in many different TV shows, video games, books and other media. He arguably got his biggest shot in Spider-Man 3 where he was played by Topher Grace. That didn’t turn out well for anyone involved, but by 2018, even the most casual of audiences could likely look at Venom and place him as “evil Spider-Man.”

Morbius does nor have that level of name recognition. He’s appeared in a few different Spider-Man cartoons, but he’s a character that you use after you’ve already gone through all the popular villains. At the end of the day, he’s a C-list character.

Venom already had that fanbase built-in, which helped boost its box office. Over $800 million is nothing to scoff at, and I think the character’s popularity had a big role to play in that because the movie on its own isn’t that impressive. It’s about as generic and uninspired a blockbuster as you can get, and it’s all impressively propped up by Tom Hardy’s gonzo performance.

I’m not trying to say that a movie needs have a pre-existing fanbase to be successful, but it helps! That’s why studios look for existing IPs to reboot or make into films; because it’s less of a risk than starting from scratch. Aquaman and Black Panther are two of the highest grossing movies of 2018, and both of the films’ respective lead characters were introduced ahead of time.

The fact that I felt that I had to explain who Morbius was earlier is an indicator of how little I think people know or care about him. It’s not so much that he’s a bad character, but he doesn’t stand with big dogs like Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus.

Of course, there could be various other factors that end up helping Morbius in the long run, but the deck is stacked against it. A lot of it depends on who the rest of the cast is and what the movie actually looks like. It could be that the first trailer really raises the hype, but we won’t find those things out for a long time still.

I will say, though, that if there’s any actor who can match Tom Hardy’s go-for-broke performance in Venom, it’s probably Jared Leto. The actor infamously went all in while playing The Joker in Suicide Squad, sending rats to his co-stars, amongst other things. The actor might be able to take this vampire and really push him to the limits.

However, even while I would say that Venom isn’t a particularly interesting character, he’s still better than Morbius. Venom at least has a Jekyll and Hyde thing between Eddie Brock and the symbiote that’s entertaining to watch. According to the small armies worth of Venom fanart, people agree with that.

Morbius is less likely to leave as strong of an impression on fans. Morbius is a reluctant vampire, which is something that’s already been done dozens of times. People have  seen this type of character before, so it’s up to Morbius finding a new spin on this trope that’s different from all the others. It might be fun to watch a guy like Spider-Man try to deal with a vampire, but without the Wall-Crawler, what is it that makes Morbius special?

It’s still too early to speak in any definitive terms whether Morbius will be Sony’s next Venom. It could be that the first trailer blows people out of the water and then people get really interested in seeing this movie. At this moment in time, I would say it’s an uphill battle. Morbius doesn’t have quite the popularity that helped Venom become a box office juggernaut and there are other challenges the movie has to face. Venom’s success completely took me by surprise, but it makes sense. Only time will tell if Morbius is able to exceed expectations to keep Sony’s hot streak alive.

Morbius hits theaters on July 31, 2020.

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Star Wars: Episode 9 Rumors – Will Darth Vader Return?

Warning: The following is mostly just rumor and speculation but if any of this bears out, it would constitute SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode IX**!**

When it comes to Star Wars: Episode IX, we currently have no solid ground upon which to base our speculation. We’ve seen no images, no trailer and have no title or synopsis. Absent firm facts, we are left to wade out into the realm of rumor to guess what this movie is about and what will happen in it. Fortunately, there is no shortage of rumors about the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. So ask the Mos Eisley Bartender Wuher to pass the salt as we dig in to a particularly exciting rumor.

This rumor is not really one but several that have cropped up during our wait for the film, and they all point towards the same conclusion: Darth Vader or Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker — or both — will appear in Star Wars: Episode IX.

Anakin or Darth Vader has seemingly been rumored for every film in the sequel trilogy, and with Star Wars: Episode IX declared to be the last film in the Skywalker Saga, it provides the last opportunity to deliver on this.

One rumor is that there was a set constructed for a scene to be shot at Mount Etna in Italy, an active volcano where footage was filmed for the battle on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith. This leads to the conclusion that we will see Vader’s Castle in this film.

There are also a variety of rumors that Kylo Ren will have a scene with Vader. One is that Kylo will see a vision of Darth Vader having his mechanical appendages upgraded to new ones. Another permutation has the constantly conflicted Ben Solo on his knees surrounded by the Force Ghost of Anakin Skywalker, constantly shifting between Anakin and Darth Vader.

In addition, there are rumors that Luke will share a scene with his father and that Anakin will speak to Rey as she tries to repair his lightsaber. And finally, most recently, Express reported the rumor that Disney is negotiating for Hayden Christensen to return to film a scene for Star Wars: Episode IX.

That’s a lot, and it all should be taken with huge grains of salt, but there is enough smoke here that it’s worth looking to see if there’s any fire, and considering how Darth Vader/Anakin could show up in this movie and what it would mean if he did.

The repercussions of Darth Vader’s existence and actions have been a small but not insignificant part of the sequel trilogy. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we saw that Ben Solo looked up to his grandfather, idolized him and sought to continue his work as Darth Vader. He practically worshipped him and kept his broken helmet as a totem.

That thread was far less prevalent in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with Kylo Ren instead espousing his desire to let the past die. With J.J. Abrams returning for Episode IX, it seems possible that he might want to pick back up with that storyline to close out Kylo Ren’s arc.

It certainly seemed like J.J. Abrams had bigger plans for Anakin in the sequel trilogy considering that based on some concept art, the character almost appeared in The Force Awakens as a Force Ghost amalgamation of Anakin and Vader similar to what was described in one of the aforementioned rumors.

Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm recently hinted that we could find clues about Episode IX in that early concept art from The Force Awakens. He shut down fans that thought that this was a reference to the Anakin concept art, but still, it is worth noting that J.J. Abrams and company may be looking to their original ideas for this trilogy for inspiration for Star Wars: Episode IX.

As to whether or not this rumor will actually pan out, it’s hard to say. Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm has indicated that Hayden Christensen will be returning to the franchise for Episode IX but it could just be another surprise like Yoda in The Last Jedi. This rumor also does sound a bit like wishful thinking from fans. That said, J.J. Abrams is a fan and if he really is trying to right the ship with this film, the goodwill a Darth Vader or Anakin appearance would bring definitely wouldn’t hurt.

The majority of the rumors point towards Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker showing up as a Force Ghost and that seems the most plausible way this could happen that wouldn’t break mythology or retcon things. It seems highly unlikely that Darth Vader or Anakin would be fully resurrected in this final film, and the Force Ghost route provides plenty of flexibility for him to show up in a way that would fit the story.

The easiest way that Anakin could show up as a Force Ghost would be a simple cameo. He could appear at the end of the film Return of the Jedi style alongside Yoda, Luke and perhaps Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or, if Rey is seeking guidance from the Jedi Masters that came before her, she could confer with Luke, Obi-Wan and Anakin ‘We do not grant you the rank of Master’ Skywalker.

It wouldn’t be too out there for Anakin to appear to Rey when she is repairing his lightsaber either. She had a vision when she touched the lightsaber the first time, so it could totally happen again, this time with a Hayden Christensen appearance. The actor has said in the past that he’d return to the franchise if asked, so that’s one reason to think Anakin showing up is possible.

Darth Vader proper appearing in this film is a little trickier, but still doable. The easiest way would be via a flashback or vision. If Kylo Ren is tracking down Sith artifacts or relics of Darth Vader, maybe one of them could be imprinted with Vader’s spirit in some way, producing a vision of the Sith Lord. Or maybe he will find a Sith Holocron on Mustafar.

In theory, Anakin Skywalker found redemption in the end and his Force Ghost should now be him as Anakin like we saw in Return of the Jedi. So he shouldn’t be showing up as Force Ghost Vader. That said, we don’t know the mechanics of how Force Ghosts work or if Sith have them so maybe there is some wiggle room there.

It would make total sense for Darth Vader or Anakin or an amalgamation of the two to appear to Kylo Ren. Although he seemed to turn the corner fully to the Dark Side in the last film, Ben Solo’s struggle with the light has been central to his character throughout this trilogy, much as Anakin struggled with the dark in the prequels. If Kylo Ren is to be redeemed, having Anakin/Vader show up in Kylo’s story might be one way to force him to see his grandfather’s mistakes and that he changed sides in the end.

Unlike some of the other rumors out there — like Mara Jade — I think that Anakin or Darth Vader returning for Star Wars: Episode IX is both possible, desirable and an organic continuation and culmination of this story. There are already established plot threads that set up a Darth Vader/Anakin return so it wouldn’t feel out of left field and having Hayden Christensen show up in Star Wars: Episode IX would also serve the purpose of uniting all three trilogies as many fans are hoping this film does.

And this is it, the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. Anakin Skywalker is the most central figure in that Saga, so it is only right that he shows up in some way, one last time to help bring closure to this story as it ends.

Star Wars: Episode IX blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our release guide for all of the year’s biggest movies and let us know in the poll below and the comments what you think about this rumor.

Will Darth Vader or Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker return in Star Wars: Episode IX?

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Edgar Wright And Chris Miller Still Want James Gunn For Guardians 3

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a fascinating place at the moment. Every single installment in Phase Three has been a critical and box office success, with Avengers: Endgame potentially ending the shared universe as we know it. But there has been one glaring controversy in the face of this success: the firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. Gunn was canned when controversial tweets from a decade resurfaced, with production for Guardians 3 on indefinite hold as a result.

Since Disney parted ways with James Gunn back in July, all eyes are on what/how the franchise will continue without his vision. Fans have been tossing around names for possible replacements, including Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waitti. But Ant-Man writer Edgar Wright and Spider-Verse writer Christopher Miller have only one name on their mind: James Gunn. And they made their intentions known on Twitter, check it out.

The thread began when one user asked the Twittersphere who should replace James Gunn as director of Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3. That prompted the two Marvel alums to put their two cents in, maintaining that Gunn should be welcomed back into the fold to complete the trilogy he began back with the first Guardians flick.

Christopher Miller and Edgar Wright aren’t the only individuals urging Disney to bring back James Gunn to direct Guardians 3. This is a sentiment that has been expressed in the months after James Gunn was fired from the MCU. The Guardians cast has put their support behind Jame Gunn, despite their contracts keeping them committed to the threequel. Drax actor Dave Bautista has been the most vocal critic, claiming he wouldn’t reprise his role if Gunn’s original draft for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is thrown out.

Despite both fans and filmmaking figures like Christopher Miller and Edgar Wright supporting James Gunn, it doesn’t looks like the House of Mouse is looking to do an about face. There have been a handful of celebrities fired for similar issues to Gunn’s, including Kevin Hart and Roseanne Barr. There would no doubt be some backlash to bringing the director back for Guardians 3, and Disney may not want to stir up the drama again.

James Gunn was fired in July of 2018, right before he was set to make an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con. Tweets from a decade ago resurfaced, revealing past jokes Gunn had made about subjects like sexual assault and pedophilia. Disney promptly removed him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 during the backlash, putting one of the MCU’s biggest franchises in jeopardy in the process.

The timing of James Gunn’s departure is particularly noteworthy, as Guardians 3 was set to be one of the first installments in Marvel’s Phase Three, following Spider-Man: Far From Home. And since the studio has been keeping its cards close to the chest ahead of Avengers: Endgame‘s release, there’s no telling what Marvel is planning for Guardians and beyond.

The Guardians of the Galaxy will return to the MCU with Avengers: Endgame on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

New Force Awakens Art Reveals How We Could Have Met Han For The First Time

The first time Star Wars fans met legendary smuggler Han Solo in George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, he was in a cantina, possibly thinking about shooting first (depending on who you believe). So there’s some emotional symmetry in this new concept art shared by Lucasfilm art director Christian Alzmann, showing a considered scene for Han’s entrance shot in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.

Christian Alzmann is a visual effects art director who has a long history with both Harrison Ford and Star Wars. One of his earliest gigs was as a visual effects conceptual artist on 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Since then, though, he has collaborated on Ford projects like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Cowboys & Aliens.

This art, shared on Alzmann’s Instagram account, shows one idea that the Force Awakens team reportedly had about how to bring Han Solo (Harrison Ford) into the story. Could they have waited all the way until Maz Kanata’s cantina? That would have been a little late in the story to bring Solo in. But J.J. Abrams knew that they needed an iconic entrance for Han and, by extension, his best friend Chewbacca. They came up with this:

Hard to argue against that.

One could actually make the point that, if J.J. Abrams had chosen the above route that is suggested in the concept art, that he’d be giving the trolls even more ammunition to rail that The Force Awakens is just a carbon copy of A New Hope, and that the director merely worked in service of a replica of a beloved movie. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that notion. The Force Awakens is its own roller-coaster ride of sci-fi fun, and Abrams knows how to pilot a ship through that sandbox. But if Han had been introduced in a cantina… yeah, I could see how critiques of “copying” might have been savage.

J.J. Abrams will get a second chance at delivering a wonderful Star Wars adventure when his still-untitled Episode IX hits theaters later this year. From what we understand, the story will shift focus to Leia (Carrie Fisher), as The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi turned their attentions to Han and Luke Skywalker, respectively.

You know what we could use on that one? A title. Footage, too. But really, a title would start to hint at what direction the finale of the Skywalker Saga might be heading.

Birds Of Prey Might Not Be Rated R After All

The past two days have been exciting for DC fans. Straight off the massive success of James Wan’s Aquaman, the time has come to look ahead to the myriad projects coming down the Warner Bros. pipeline. While Shazam! is next up, all eyes are on Cathy Yan’s upcoming Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). We just got our first look at the film’s leading characters, and now we’ve got an update regarding the blockbuster’s rating.

A few months ago, it was reported that Birds of Prey was aiming for an R-rating, as the ensemble project focused on the villainy and mob life in Gotham City. But now that the movie is actually in production, it looks like that rating might not be set in stone, as it could end up being PG-13.

This news comes to us from Jo Blo’s Paul Shirey, who reportedly heard it from Warner Bros. himself. The update doesn’t given an official rating for Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), simply revealing that the studio hasn’t settled on an official rating for Cathy Yan’s blockbuster. Perhaps the rating will become clear as filming continues, given that the movie won’t arrive in theaters until February 2020.

If Birds of Prey ends up going with a PG-13 rating, it would make sense. The superhero genre in general usually shoots for that rating from the MPAA, allowing a wide audience to experience the movie, and hopefully shell out lots of cash in the process. Indeed, there have only been a handful of R-rated comic book movies, coming from 20th Century Fox with the Deadpool franchise and 2017’s Logan.

Still, the potential R-rating was exciting, and possibly indicated that Warner Bros. was looking to take some creative risks with the DC Universe. After all, Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker is set outside of the shared universe, which is something that the MCU hasn’t attempted yet.

The possible R-rating for Birds Of Prey was also exciting for the hardcore comic book fandom, who may want to see the studio step it up in regards to language, violence, and the like. With Ewan McGregor playing mob boss Black Mask and Chris Messina as psychopathic self-mutilator Victor Zsasz, a more adult rating may service the characters better.

On the flip side, being PG-13 allows Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) to be more accessible to audiences, especially younger adults with a penchant for superheroes. The fandom is eager to see the return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, although an R-rating may exclude some young fans who fell in love with the femme fatale in Suicide Squad.

Overall, there are a ton of factors to consider before setting on a rating for Birds Of Prey— including how the MPAA will judge the flick. So for now, we’ll just have to sit and wait for more information.

Birds of Prey will arrive in theaters on February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.