Star Wars: Episode IX’s Billy Dee Williams Shows Force Is Still Strong With Lando

It’s going to be so great to see Billy Dee Williams back on the big screen as Lando Calrissian. He originated the role back in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and continued for Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in 1983. It was revealed last year that Williams would return as Lando for Star Wars: Episode IX, which is still filming, although it should be wrapping up fairly soon ahead of its December 2019 release.

Billy Dee Williams is now 81, but he’s still got that fighting Force, as he showed off in a recent Twitter photo:

The Force will be with him, always! Billy Dee Williams previously returned to character of Lando in voice roles like in The Lego Movie, The Cleveland Show, Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, Star Wars Rebels, Lego Star Wars, and half a dozen video games.

But this is the first time he’ll bring his Lando back into the original Star Wars Skywalker saga. Donald Glover recently played young Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story, revealing how Lando met Han Solo. Glover said Billy Dee Williams shared simple but perfect advice for how to play Lando.

It’s such a shame that Lando will be returning to Star Wars after Han Solo’s death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Carrie Fisher’s real-life death in 2016. It would’ve been a joy to see Harrison Ford’s Han, Carrie Fisher’s Leia, and Billy Dee Williams’ Lando all together again. At least we still have Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, plus Chewie, this time played by Joonas Suotamo.

Billy Dee Williams previously shared a photo several months ago, showing himself boxing to get fit or the job — also with his sunglasses on. His future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades!

Star Wars: Episode IX started principal photography back in August 2018 and it was expected to wrap in February 2019, but we’ll have to see if that’s still the case.

Mark Hamill and John Boyega (Finn) have been doing their parts to share Star Wars intel on social media. Both gents recently posted fun Instagram tidbits about Daisy Ridley (Rey), who is no longer on social media. They seem to have a good time on set, at the very least. Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) did say the filming vibe was looser this time, as compared to The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

John Boyega recently said the whole team pushed themselves to “achieve something visually crazy” and he couldn’t wait for fans to see what he meant. Star Wars: Episode IX is officially opening this year, although we still have a long wait ahead. It’s coming December 20, as one of the many films to look forward to in 2019.

Looks Like Avengers: Endgame Reshoots Also Include Hulk And War Machine

Without a doubt, one of the most highly anticipated films of the year is Avengers: Endgame, the finale of this iteration of the MCU. Details on the blockbuster are still being kept under wraps, but we do know that the movie is currently undergoing reshoots. Various cast members have been spotted in Atlanta and one fan managed to snatch a photo with Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle, hinting that they are in town for reshoots.

While “reshoots” can tend to be seen as a negative word by film fans, it’s a fairly standard practice for blockbuster films. Lots of studios will schedule reshoots or additional photography ahead of time in order to make sure that actors are available, and Marvel is no different. Marvel does reshoots for pretty much all of its films and that applies to Avengers: Endgame.

That said, we’re only three months away from seeing the final product. Last we heard, the Russo Brothers wanted to be done by March. How much new material could they really be adding during this late post-production phase? We have no idea. This could be for something else entirely, to be honest, but it’s something that got actors into their Marvel characters.

We’ve already seen some MCU actors report to Atlanta for Endgame reshoots — including Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan, and apparently Jeremy Renner. Now it looks like we can add Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle to the growing list. One happy fan was able to take a selfie with the two actors at Inman Park in Atlanta. Atlanta is where Marvel Studios films the majority of their movies, so it’s probably not a coincidence to see two prominent MCU actors in the city together.

As fans well know by this point, Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle star as The Hulk and War Machine, respectively. Funny enough, the duo are two of the only actors to every be recast in the MCU. The Hulk was originally played by Edward Norton while Terrence Howard was War Machine. That’s not super important, but it’s a thing I like to point out whenever the two of them are paired together.

Of course, this duo also happens to be the one that spoiled the ending of Avengers: Infinity War months before the movie released. Loose Lips Ruffalo let it slip on Good Morning America that “everybody dies” in Infinity War and Don Cheadle was left to play defense. Luckily, everyone kind of forgot about that or didn’t take it seriously and the two actors have joked about it since.

As to what the two of them could be filming for Endgame, I couldn’t even begin to guess. Both characters are alive at the end of Infinity War but almost no plot details are known about Endgame. We’ll all just have to wait until the next bit of footage arrives and hope that we can start piecing some clues together.

Thankfully, we won’t have to wait that much longer for more details. Avengers: Endgame is all set to arrive in theaters on April 26, 2019. To learn as much as you can until then, here’s what we know so far about the highly-anticipated blockbuster.

Aquaman Tops The Dark Knight Rises As DC’s Highest-Grossing Movie Ever

Imagine being James Wan. Waking up today to realize your Aquaman movie is now officially DC Comics’ highest-grossing movie to date. Over the weekend, the DCEU movie passed The Dark Knight Rises at the worldwide box office. That was the final hurdle. Aquaman is now not only the king of the DC Extended Universe, he even defeated Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Trilogy.

According to Box Office Mojo figures from Sunday, January 27, Aquaman has made $1,090,754,074 and counting worldwide, from a combined $316,554,074 at the domestic box office and $774,200,000 and the foreign box office.

That edges it past 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, although not adjusted for inflation. The worldwide total for the final film in the Dark Knight trilogy is $1,084,939,099. That’s from $448,139,099 domestic and $636,800,000 foreign.

The Dark Knight Rises had the highest worldwide gross of that trilogy, over The Dark Knight at $1,004,934,033 in 2008, and Batman Begins at $374,218,673 in 2005. (That is exactly the kind of $$$ growth you want to see in a trilogy — each film making more than the previous one.) Aquaman already broke Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s record for highest overall gross of the DCEU movies to date. So now Aquaman is the top DC/Warner Bros. movie overall.

You can see some similarities in the breakdown of domestic (U.S./Canada) and foreign audiences for Aquaman and Dark Knight Rises, although the difference is more pronounced for Aquaman. The Dark Knight Rises got more money around the world, but it was pretty close to the North American tally. You can see fewer fans over here bought tickets for Aquaman than Dark Knight Rises, but boy did they make up for that at the foreign markets.

For comparison’s sake, because I’m both curious and nerdy, I used an inflation calculator to determine how The Dark Knight Rises would do in today’s numbers. The online calculator I used referenced the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, which said prices in 2018 were 9.37% higher than prices in 2012. That’s not an exact measure, since it’s talking about overall prices rather than specifically ticket prices — which vary theater by theater.

However, using that calculator for comparison, the $1,084,939,099 The Dark Knight Rises made in 2012 would translate to $1,186,598,091.99 in 2018. We are now in early 2019, but January is still basically on 2018 metrics. So, based on that, The Dark Knight Rises is still ahead in ticket traffic and overall revenue. But if you adjust one movie for inflation, you have to do them all, and that’s too much for one day.

Ticket prices may have gone up, but people are still spending the money to see movies in theaters. So Aquaman currently has the highest overall worldwide tally of the DC Comics film world, and that’s that. Period.

James Wan had tweeted one word — “Crazy” — when it was noted on Friday that Aquaman would be taking the DC crown from The Dark Knight Rises. When Aquaman became the first DCEU film to pass $1 billion, he shared some heartfelt posts thanking everyone who helped make it happen — including the fans.

What’s next? Aquaman 2 is reportedly in the works, although currently without James Wan attached. Everyone wants him on board, but he is said to be 1) taking a well-deserved break right now, and 2) waiting for Aquaman 2 to have a worthy script. That sounds smart on every level. Also, hold out for $$$$, man. You can. You should.

Aquaman is still chugging along in theaters, and it’s a great way for the DCEU to segue into Shazam! which is ramping up promotion for its April 5 release in theaters. Keep up with all things DCEU in our handy guide. There’s also Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie, which is separate from the DCEU and doing its own interesting things. Keep an eye on our 2019 movie calendar so you don’t miss any of the major (and minor, love you too) releases.

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The Lego Movie 2 Has Screened, Here Are The Early Reactions

The first big animated movie of the year is just a few weeks away. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is the long-awaited follow-up to the hit The LEGO Movie. There have been plenty of spinoffs since 2014 but now fans are finally reunited with Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman, and the rest of the gang. So, was it worth the wait? Yes, for the most part, according to critics who took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the sequel.

The LEGO Movie 2 continues the adventures of Emmet (Chris Pratt), who’s still his same old cheery self even as the world has descending into a post-apocalyptic wasteland because of a war with the Duplo aliens. The sequel always had a lot to live up to because of how much people love the original movie. According to CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell, the sequel is still funny, but doesn’t quite match up to that first film.

While the first LEGO Movie was initially seen as a branded cash grab, it quickly surprised people with how funny, unique, and heartwarming it was. Audiences loved it and it went on to become a box office smash.

The general vibe from critics seems to be that while the sequel is still very enjoyable, it never really surpasses the original. One critic praised the animation, but felt that the movie went on for a bit too long.

It was always going to be tough for The LEGO Movie 2 to feel better than the original. There is the argument that it doesn’t have to be “better” to be good, so it may be up to each individual person to determine how much they measure the sequel against the first movie.

Of course, there are those who have nothing but praise for the animated sequel. One critic gushed about the movie. He even went as far as to say that it was the first movie of 2019 that he really loved…which isn’t that amazing considering it’s still January.

So, The LEGO Movie 2 is still a very funny and heartwarming experience that may feel a little bit like we’ve seen this already. All things considered that’s not too shabby, and I’m still excited to get a chance to see this thing for myself.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is directed by Mike Mitchell with Chris Miller and Phil Lord (the directors of the first film) returning as producers and writers. The cast of the film is still just as stacked as the last one with Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, and Nick Offerman returning. New additions to the cast include Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz and Maya Rudolph.

The LEGO Movie 2 arrives in theaters on February 8, 2019. To learn more about the sequel, here’s what we know so far.

Zac Efron Debuts Wild Blonde Hairdo In Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Vile And Evil Interview

Zac Efron has frequently proven willing to change his hair for roles, whether that be to emulate Ted Bundy, or put wild stripes into his facial hair to play a beach bum. Now, during an interview for the upcoming Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Zac Efron has debuted a wild new blonde ‘do. You can take a look below.

In a candid interview with Kevin Smith (who has lately also been a bit of a chameleon due to weight loss) at the Sundance Film Festival, the Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile star spoke out about how he signed on for the gig and more. It’s hard to focus on what he’s saying because of his new look, however. The paparazzi has known about the blonde hairdo for a few weeks now, but this is the first time Zac Efron was out and boldly sporting his new look. It’s not quite the frosted tips of the early 2000s, but it’s certainly not a usual look these days, either.

Following Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and The Beach Bum—both movies we know what Zac Efron will look like in — the actor has a flick called Blood Moon coming up. It’s hard to tell if Zac Efron went for the new look for a role or just for funsies, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated either way.

Despite having a memorable face and physique, Zac Efron often does a lot for different roles. Sometimes that means totally working out to an insane level in order to achieve the fitness level he reached for Baywatch. Sometimes, it’s a period hairdo. In The Beach Bum, the stripes he has in his beard detract a little from his general handsomeness, presumably so he can play more of an oddball or outside-the-box character.

If you’d like to take a look at Zac Efron’s latest hair style antics, you can hop over to IMDB and hear what he has to say about the upcoming movie. While we wait to find out more about what the new look is about, both Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and The Beach Bum will both be out in 2019. Take a look at our full movies premiere schedule.

And of course, we have to ask: Thumbs up or thumbs down on the new hairdo?

Do You Think Zac Efron’s New Hairdo Is A Good Look?

Watch Bradley Cooper Surprise A Star Is Born Fans At Lady Gaga Show

In a way, A Star Is Born fans finally got the happy ending they wanted for Ally and Jackson. Fans at Lady Gaga‘s Saturday night Enigma show in Las Vegas got a pleasant surprise when Bradley Cooper joined his movie co-star for a duet of their Oscar-nominated song “Shallow.” Pretty much every phone in the theater was raised to capture the moment, but you can watch it play out here:

Talk about a lucky crowd! “Shallow” is the closing number of the Enigma show, Variety reports, and it was a surprise to not only have Lady Gaga bring Bradley Cooper to the stage, but to also have him perform with her. Seeing her sit at his feet as he sang, and his arm around her in the end — it brought Jackson and Ally back for many fans. You can hear the screams from the live concert. Several commenters on various posts said they want to remember the pair this way.

A Star Is Born was a huge hit in 2018, earning nearly $410 million at this point off a reported production budget of $36 million (per Box Office Mojo). The movie was just nominated for eight Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Best Actress for Lady Gaga, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Elliott, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Song for “Shallow.”

Even though both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were just nominated for multiple Oscars, many fans were disappointed that Cooper wasn’t also given a directing nomination.

A Star Is Born had an impressive and unlikely path to success. It’s the fourth remake of the original 1937 film. Original pairings for the remake came and went, and at one point Clint Eastwood was going to direct Beyoncé in the film. Bradley Cooper talked to Eastwood, his American Sniper director, about making the movie, and some ideas for what to do with it came to Cooper in a dream.

The fact that A Star Is Born was Bradley Cooper’s debut as a feature film director is particularly impressive. It certainly suggests a strong career for him behind the camera, as well as in front of one, if he chooses to continue on that path.

Both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will perform “Shallow” at the Oscars. Before they were nominated, Cooper said they had a “cool, unorthodox” idea for what they could do on the show, if they were fortunate enough to have that chance. Now we will be fortunate enough to watch — although from home, not there in the theater like these lucky concert-goers in Vegas.

Many A Star Is Born fans were disappointed with the 2019 Golden Globes for “snubbing” the movie in so many categories. We’ll have to see if the Oscars are kinder. The 2019 Oscars will air Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, as hosted by no one.

Joker’s Entire Script Was Rewritten During Filming, Zazie Beetz Says

It sounds like Todd Phillips’ Joker movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix, was put together on the fly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes us more curious than ever about the result, due in theaters this October. It sounds like Zazie Beetz is also curious to see how the film turns out. She plays cynical single mom Sophie Dumond in Joker, but when asked for details on the movie she seemed genuinely stumped on what to say:

Wow, there’s a lot to think about there. Zazie Beetz shared her intel during an MTV News interview that also included Armie Hammer. When she mentioned going into the trailer to rewrite scenes, Hammer quipped that the screenwriter of the film was going to be so pissed to hear that. Beetz added that he was in there with them, helping shape the script, presumably referring to co-writer Scott Silver, who is credited on the script with Todd Phillips.

At least it sounds like Joker won’t be going back for reshoots, at least not for Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck/Joker, unless they can find a way around the weight loss issue. Phoenix is certainly known for getting deep into character, and it sounds like a real transformation is coming.

Fans already noticed Joaquin Phoenix’s weight loss this past fall when he was spotted looking much thinner on the streets of New York City. Fans don’t always connect weight loss with filmmaking complications, but it’s true that you have to get very creative if you feel like rewriting a scene that took place when your main character was, say, 20 pounds lighter or heavier.

Zazie Beetz did credit Todd Phillips with being “quick at getting stuff done” so they had extra time to do everything after rewriting scenes. So it wasn’t a rushed set in that way, but it has to be … what? … confusing, frustrating, or just exciting and electric to be live in the moment figuring out what will happen next?

I’d want a set script, but I’m also not an actor or filmmaker. However, I am a film watcher, and if this movie ends up feeling like it was made on the fly, then it’s a problem.

This Warner Bros./DC film is separate from the DCEU of Justice League and Shazam! According to the official synopsis, Joker follows the iconic arch-nemesis through an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The tale of Arthur Fleck shows a man disregarded by society. It’s meant to not only be a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

Joker is also said to star Robert De Niro as a talk show host. Martin Scorsese was attached to the movie at one point as a producer. Together with the Joker’s story, that got some fans thinking of the great film The King of Comedy as a potential touchstone for this movie. But if they rewrote the script as they went along, it’s hard to know how much inspiration they drew from anything. Plans may have changed during the September to December filming schedule.

Joker also stars Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, and Shea Whigham. It’s scheduled to open in theaters on October 4. Here’s what else you can look forward to watching on the big screen in 2019.

Matthew McConaughey’s Serenity Character Was Inspired By A Very Strange Individual

Matthew McConaughey plays a complicated individual in the new film Serenity. He lives in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, dedicating his life to his real passion, but he’s also an intensely emotional person with some rage-fueled instincts. Needless to say, Baker Dill is a peculiar creation from the mind of writer/director Steven Knight – but what makes the character even more interesting is that he’s apparently inspired by a real person, as the filmmaker recently told me:

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Steven Knight to talk about his work on Serenity, and it was at the very start of our conversation that we got into his inspiration for making the film. It apparently all started with a vacation and a fishing expedition, led by a genial man prone to extreme intensity.

Knowing this, the actions of this inspirational figure are very clear from the very beginning of Serenity. The movie opens with a genial Baker Dill out on the ocean with a couple of clients whose line gets snagged by a gigantic tuna – one that the captain has been hunting for years. While the tourists have paid Dill to let them catch fish after being led to the proper spots in the water, that doesn’t stop our protagonist from taking extreme control of the situation, going as far as to threaten one of the men with a knife, should he try to get between him and his catch. Needless to say, you immediately get a very clear picture of who this man is, and it’s because Steven Knight knew exactly the kind of character he wanted at the center of his story.

Armed with a very clear image of his lead, what came next was crafting an appropriate narrative for him to chart, and within that the writer/director took it upon himself to make the creative process as complicated as he could in pursuit of a greater challenge. The movie is Knight’s directorial follow-up to 2013’s Locke – a film set in real time entirely within the confines of a car being driven by Tom Hardy – so one can see this pattern emerging in his work. He explained,

To go any further into the complexity of that approach would be diving way too far into spoilers – and Serenity’s hook is definitely one that deserves to be experienced within the film. If you’ve seen the movie already, however, and want to get into a discussion about all of its twists and turns you can check out our Ending Explained piece.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen Serenity, the film – starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, and Diane Lane in addition to Matthew McConaughey – is now out in theaters nationwide. Be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with writer/director Steven Knight, and to see what else is coming soon to your local cineplex check out our 2019 Release Calendar.

The Superpower Dogs Trailer, Narrated By Chris Evans, May Save Your Soul

Captain America star Chris Evans narrated a movie about superhero dogs. The movie is called Superpower Dogs and it’s opening in IMAX theaters starting March 15. The trailer is here, and it instantly cleared my skin, canceled my debt, and saved my soul. Embrace it as your new savior:

Those of you who follow Chris Evans on social media know his dog Dodger is the true star of his life. The combination of Evans as a real-life dog parent and his status as Marvel’s Captain America must’ve made him the obvious choice to narrate this true story.

The actor retweeted IMAX’s post on the trailer, saying he was honored to be part of this project:

Here’s the official synopsis for Superpower Dogs:

Wonderful. There are so many movies coming out this year with animals as lead characters, but these are real-life canine superheroes — and it’s great to see them get their day in the spotlight.

Chris Evans plays one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. There’s a lot of speculation about Captain America’s future after Avengers: Endgame. Steve Rogers was one of the lucky 50% to make it through Thanos’ snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. However, there’s conflicting information about whether this film will mark the end of Evans’ run as Cap.

He appeared to say goodbye to the MCU after wrapping Avengers 4, but then the Russos made it seem like he wasn’t quite done playing Captain America. Endgame seems to be in reshoots/additional photography right now, so maybe Evans will end up joining the returning actors.

Superpower Dogs opens in IMAX theaters March 15. Avengers: Endgame opens April 26. Keep an eye on everything coming to theaters this year in our handy 2019 movie schedule.

Jason Bateman And John Cena Are Teaming Up For A Netflix Movie That Already Sounds Awesome

Netflix is continuing its new streak of high quality original films with A-list talent. The streaming service wants to make a seriously large amount of films before year-end and its latest project has acquired the attention of John Cena. Netflix will pair John Cena with Jason Bateman for an action comedy that already sounds like it will be a blast. The new film will feature Cena trapped in a movie studio where the sets come to life.

A WWE superstar turned actor, John Cena has been trying his hand at more and more comedies. And he’s really funny in them! Cena’s last comedy was Blockers, a movie about three parents who try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night. While that sounds terrible on paper, it’s actually a very sweet and mindful comedy, and Cena does some great comedy. He also butt-chugs beer.

Let’s hope that John Cena’s comedy hot streak continues with Netflix. While the project is untitled, it will follow a family that gets stuck in an old abandoned movie studio where the sets come to life, trapping the family in various movies. Cena will star while Jason Bateman will direct. According to the Hollywood Reporter, sources say Bateman will also appear in the film.

The screenplay was written by Mark Perez, who also wrote Jason Bateman’s sleeper hit Game Night. That was another surprisingly good comedy of 2018, and I’m excited to see how this new untitled project develops. Perez is also writing a live-action Carmen Sandiego movie for Netflix that will star Gina Rodriguez.

Jason Bateman is no stranger to Netflix. In addition to the streaming giant serving as the home to new episodes of Arrested Development, Netflix also airs Bateman’s crime drama Ozark. In addition to starring, Bateman also directs several episodes of the show. The new action comedy will be Bateman’s second feature film. His directorial debut was the 2013 comedy Bad Words.

John Cena’s last movie was Bumblebee, which didn’t quite make that large of a splash because of Aquaman. Still, the movie got positive reviews and was seen as a major step up for the Transformers franchise. It also made enough money oversees to justify a sequel, now reportedly in development. He’ll next appear in the action movie Project X-Traction, which co-stars Jackie Chan. Cena is also gearing up for a family comedy called Playing with Fire.

This new project sounds like it’s assembled the right three guys to bring it to life. It seems like its cut from the same cloth as Game Night, where an outrageous experience evolves from a standard situation…not that getting locked in a movie studio is standard.

There’s no release date for this project just yet, but stick with CinemaBlend and we’ll keep you updated as soon as new information becomes available. In the meantime, keep track of all those Netflix releases with our handy guide.