How Much Jumanji: The Next Level Could Make In Its Opening Weekend

How much money could Jumanji: The Next Level make in its domestic opening weekend? Early tracking is in, pointing to a very strong opening — maybe even twice the opening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I’d actually guess even more than that, but we’ll see.

Jumanji: The Next Level has a lot to live up to. Expectations weren’t exactly sky-high for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and it was a HUGE hit, going toe-to-toe with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The sequel is going for a similar trick, with The Next Level opening on December 13, a week before Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. This time, though, fans will be walking into The Next Level with high expectations (and some Star Wars fans will be walking into Rise of Skywalker still grumbling about The Last Jedi.)

If you recall, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opened the week after Star Wars: The Last Jedi and put up a strong showing. Welcome to the Jungle opened in 2nd place, after The Last Jedi, with $36.1 million. The Jumanji follow-up went on to have several #1 weekends on its way to a worldwide gross of $962,126,927. That’s off a reported production budget of $90 million.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle benefited from strong word-of-mouth — good reviews, (76% from 227 RT critics), an even better audience score (87% from 38,462 users), and an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers polled on opening night.

So, yeah, Jumanji: The Next Level — or Jumanji 3, if you want to call it that — has big shoes to fill. Box Office Pro just posted a long-range forecast for the 2019 movie. They gave The Next Level an estimated domestic opening weekend range of $66-76 million. Their ultimate guess was $70 million for the three-day opening with a domestic total of $265 million.

Sometimes these early forecasts are pretty close and other times they are way off, since factors change as we get closer to the release date. I think that domestic total of $265M is waaaaaay too low, especially when you consider Welcome to the Jungle had a domestic total of $404.5 million. A $70 million opening, though, would be almost twice as much as the $36 million Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle got from 2017-2018. I still think $70 million is too low.

There isn’t too much direct competition for The Next Level‘s opening weekend — it opens December 13 along with the slasher film Black Christmas and Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell. I think The Next Level will take the lion’s share of the money, and then it just has to worry about staying alive opposite The Rise of Skywalker the next weekend.

Jumanji: The Next Level had a fantastic opening trailer showing off the new story and new characters and avatars. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson are already cracking up fans in their “new” roles, and it looks like the vibe of Welcome to the Jungle is still strong in this movie. There are more locations in The Next Level, and new cast members including Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, and Awkwafina. Jack Black, Nick Jonas, and Karen Gillan are all back as well.

Kevin Hart is still recovering from his major car accident injuries, but that hasn’t affected his promotion for Jumanji: The Next Level. Filming finished back in May, and The Rock shared a sweet tribute, including a photo of the team walking off into a desert sunset. We’ll have to wait for the end of The Next Level (and box office receipts) to know if we should expect the team to return for Jumanji 4. Here’s more of what we know so far about Jumanji 3: The Next Level.

Will you be seeing Jumanji: The Next Level during its December 13-15 opening weekend? How much do YOU think it will make at the U.S./Canada box office? Do you agree with the long-range forecast of $66-$76 million, recalling that the first movie opened to $36 million?

How Much Do You Think Jumanji: The Next Level Will Make In Its Domestic Opening Weekend?

Former Catwoman Stars Share Advice For The Batman’s Zoe Kravitz

When Warner Bros. announced that Zoe Kravitz had been cast as Catwoman in The Batman, it caused a bit of a commotion. Fans all over the world instantly began to speculate about how she would portray the legendary Selina Kyle. There were varying opinions as to whether she was the right woman for the job. But a few of Kravitz’s most famous predecessors had nothing but advice and support to share.

Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Catwoman in Batman Returns, was the first to weigh in on the news. During an October 15 appearance on Good Morning America, she commented on Zoe Kravitz’s casting, saying that she was “so excited.” And when host Michael Strahan asked if she had any advice for the young actress, Pfeiffer didn’t hesitate:

On October 17, Catwoman’s Halle Berry continued her trend of lifting up her Hollywood counterparts when she tweeted out her own warm congratulations. “Special shout-out to your new #Catwoman,” the Oscar winner wrote, before calling Zoe Kravitz “eternally graceful & extremely bad ass.” She wrapped up her message with some extra words of support: “Keep shining Queen & welcome to the family!”

Meanwhile, the woman who played cinema’s most recent Catwoman incarnation proved to be equally supportive. On October 17, Anne Hathaway shared a photo of Zoe Kravitz on her Instagram with a lovely (and quippy) congratulatory message to the actress on landing “the role of a lifetime… Well, one life anyway.” The Dark Knight Rises star finished her post with some extra words of solidarity, telling Zoe Kravitz, “Enjoy the ride, Selina.”

The newest Catwoman hasn’t responded to the messages she received. But the unified support is a symbol of how far she’s come in her career. In 2015, Zoe Kravitz told Nylon that she tried to audition for a “small” part in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 epic. But she said she was turned away because the filmmakers weren’t “going urban.” (Yikes.) However, Kravitz had the last laugh, in more ways than one. The Batman will actually be the second time she’s tackled her new villainous role. In 2017, she voiced Catwoman in The LEGO Batman Movie.

Zoe Kravitz may be joining an impressive pantheon of previous Catwomen, but she’s sure to make the role her own. And she’ll be in good company among The Batman’s impressive ensemble, which includes Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, and Robert Pattinson. And if nothing else, she can rest easy knowing that she has at least three superfans rooting for her. The Batman hits theaters on June 25, 2021.

6 New Netflix Christmas Movies That Are Just In Time For The Holidays

Netflix holiday logo 2019

While we’re still in the middle of the spooky season that is Halloween, something much colder lurks around the corner. That’s right: brace yourselves, Christmas movies are coming! And we’re not just talking a couple of flicks either, as content providers like Hallmark have plans for a record number of yuletide cinematic offerings to be unleashed in the year 2019. To compete with that sort of intense competition, one has to act pretty early… which is probably why Netflix has unveiled its holiday movies this very week.

Not content with letting Hallmark do all the heavy ho-ho-holiday lifting, the streaming giant is looking to get into the game with a lot of movies, shows, and specials that’ll warm your heart, as well as your cocoa. In the middle of that burgeoning lineup are six original Netflix films that plan to win over one and all as the weather outside grows ever so frightful. Everything from sequels to holiday favorites, a long-awaited adaptation, and a couple of other surprises are in store for you lucky viewers.

Put on your hat and gloves, as this list is going to get real frosty real quick. Now let’s see what’s sledding into the Netflix queue throughout November and December’s holiday season.

Holiday In The Wild Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis smiling in safari clothes

Holiday In The Wild

While you may love Christmas movies like no other genre in the world, you might be sick and tired of watching them all take place in the snow. Well, should you have this very specific demand, Netflix has you covered with our first film, Holiday In The Wild. Starring Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis as Kate, the film shows us a wife who tries to take the edge off of her son’s departure for college with a romantic trip with her husband.

Strangely enough, that’s right about the time he decides to dump her, leaving Kate to embark on an African safari all by herself. Luckily, Holiday In The Wild has a couple of things to take her mind off of her recent pains. Thanks to some animal rescue scenarios, and a handsome pilot played by Rob Lowe, Kristin Davis’ recently single woman will have a lot to keep her busy in this unconventionally warm holiday movie.

Available 11/1/19

Let It Snow a circle of teens laying in the snow, cheerfully

Let It Snow

Believe it or not, the film adaptation of the YA Christmas triptych Let it Snow has been in development for almost a decade. Authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle put together an impressive trio of stories that see a cast of teenage characters finding love, friendship, and happiness in one really snowy night in Richmond, Virginia.

Just as impressive as the list of authors involved in Let It Snow’s literary incarnation, the movie version has quite a cast of heavy hitters itself. With an ensemble that includes Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka, Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Jacob Batalon, and fellow Spider-Person Shameik Moore, he of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse fame, that’s just the surface of the spectacular roster of talent that will bring this story to life.

Available 11/8/19

Klaus Jesper speaks to Klaus in front of a sled

Klaus

The legend of Santa Claus is about to get another fresh coat of paint, as Klaus reimagines the story of the beloved holiday figure in an animated comedy with a big heart. In this version of the story, Klaus (J.K. Simmons) is a lonely carpenter who teams up with a less-than-passing postal cadet named Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) to bring holiday magic to a village that’s not in a holly jolly mood.

Co-starring Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack, and Will Sasso, Klaus is a Christmas movie that looks to give both kids and adults a new angle on a very classic tale. Not only does this look like a gorgeously animated film, but did we mention J.K. Simmons is playing this story’s version of Santa? That feels like something people might be just a little interested in knowing.

Available 11/15/19

The Knight Before Christmas Vanessa Hudgens on horseback, with a knight, in town

The Knight Before Christmas

If the Christmas movies on Netflix had a royal court, you could bet that actor Vanessa Hudgens would be sitting right on that hallowed lineup of talent. After scoring a pretty big win with The Christmas Switch, Hudgens has gone back to playing one version of herself with this year’s The Knight Before Christmas. Don’t think this is going to be some standard, business-as-usual holiday movie rom-com though, as there’s a pretty big catch when it comes to the object of Vanessa Hudgens’ affection this time out.

As luck, or misfortune, would have it, Hudgens’ character of Brooke is a science teacher who’s about to meet a guy from out of town. And by out of town, we totally mean that he’s a time traveling knight from the medieval era. Naturally she’ll try to send him back to his own time, but if you know anything about holiday movies like The Knight Before Christmas, you can kind of see where this Christmas movie is going in the most charming way possible.

Available 11/21/19

Holiday Rush Soniqua Martin-Green tries to convince Romany Malco of her vision in the studio

Holiday Rush

Christmas is probably the worst time to lose your job, especially in the world of holiday movies like Holiday Rush. Starring A Million Little Things’ Romany Malco as a popular New York City radio DJ, and Star Trek Discovery’s Soniqua Martin-Green as his producer, this Christmas movie comedy has Malco almost going off the air for good and his kids looking to get everything on their Christmas list.

As a deal to get him back into the broadcasting game is in the works, one big catch presents itself to Malco and his on-screen family: they have to live much simpler lives. With a story of family togetherness, and the help of the legendary Darlene Love in the role of the protagonist’s aunt, Holiday Rush is going to be a race against time to save the day, and get a little bit closer to the ones we love.

Available 11/28/19

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby the prince and princess marvel over baby shoes by the fire

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby

If you’re one of those fans of Christmas movies who watched A Christmas Prince religiously back when it premiered in 2017, and if you’re someone who really enjoyed seeing A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding continue the story of Rose McIver’s Queen Amber and Ben Lamb’s King Richard, then oh baby are you in for a fun time this year! You totally saw what I did there, as there’s nothing better than throwing in a quick joke to announce that A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby is on the way for this December.

For you folks out there who need a little more than a little prince or princess to spice up the sequel plot, how’s this for a story? Not only will the king and queen have to restore peace with a foreign country, but if Amber and Richard fail, a curse will fall upon the kingdom of Aldovia. It all comes down to a missing 600-year-old treaty, and a midnight deadline, which only makes A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby that much more of a fairytale for fans of Netflix’s holiday movies to enjoy.

Available 12/5/19

Now before you start decking the halls out of excitement, keep in mind that these titles are subject to change. So you will have to check your Netflix queue twice before you settle in for your long winter’s binge! Other than that, our only advice is that you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes out for the monthly rundowns we’ll have in the future, as November and December promise to have more content on the movie and TV sides of the house.

Until that day comes, please enjoy this list of Christmas movies, and don’t forget to binge responsibly! Cold feet during a movie marathon are no joke, folks.

Which Netflix Christmas Movie Are You Most Excited For?

Blended From Around The Web

 

Quentin Tarantino Will Not Re-Cut Once Upon A Time In Hollywood For China

Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy. And his latest big screen endeavor has already weathered its fair share of detractors. But despite an apparent boycott from Chinese cinemas, the director is standing firm, and will not re-cut Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood brings several cinematic idols to life, including the legendary Chinese star. However, the film portrays Bruce Lee as an arrogant egomaniac who talks shit about Muhammad Ali and can’t win in a series of fights against Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth. This narrative decision did not sit well with many, including Shannon Lee, who feels the film’s interpretation of her father is both unflattering and unfair. Tarantino doubled down on his decision to show Lee in that light.

Thus far, China has not clarified its rationale for blocking the film from distribution. But THR’s sources reported that Bruce Lee’s daughter went to the National Film Administration in China and personally requested that they demand Quentin Tarantino change his portrayal in the film. However, another source for the magazine claims that China’s censors object to the violence in the film, which portrays the infamous Manson family murders. Either way, Bona Film Group, which co-produced the film, was asked to intervene and help edit the film so that it could be approved for release.

Regardless of the reason, or lack thereof, Quentin Tarantino has no plans to make any edits to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The director has famously been protective of his films’ final cuts. But he was willing to edit Django Unchained when Chinese censors blocked it from release at the last minute in 2012. To date, Once is his second-most successful film, after Django, at least by box office standards. Releasing the film in China would almost certainly push it to the number one spot. As of yet, it’s unclear if the country will reconsider its decision — but without Tarantino’s cooperation this time around, it seems unlikely.

Even if Once Upon a Time in Hollywood never makes it to Chinese cinemas, the film remains an Oscar frontrunner, and one of the most talked about films of the year. And Quentin Tarantino will have another shot at global box office domination if his Star Trek adaptation gets off the ground.

Did Jared Leto Really Try To Stop Warner Bros. From Making Joker?

There’s been no shortage of drama surrounding Joker. Todd Phillips’ dark origin story for one of Batman’s biggest archenemies has inspired more than one controversy and broken box office records. And if rumors are to be believed, even the film’s origins were contentious, because Jared Leto had a bone to pick with Warner Bros. before Joker was even made.

Anyone who’s followed the DCEU knows that Jared Leto’s commitment to bringing the Joker to life was extreme. And while he did his best to embody the role in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. was ready to go in another direction. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Suicide Squad actor allegedly felt blindsided when he learned that the studio had green lit a standalone Joker story.

After realizing that he was losing the role to Joaquin Phoenix, he was allegedly so upset that he appealed to the powers that be to have Warner Bros. put the kibosh on Joker. THR’s sources claim that the actor asked his music manager, Irving Azoff, to complain about the studio’s decision to one of Warner Bros.’ parent companies. If Leto did, in fact, make that request, these sources make it clear that Azoff never followed through. The two have since ended their professional relationship.

THR said that Jared Leto’s alleged frustration stemmed from his belief that Warner Bros. had misled him. Leto believed he would continue to play the Joker after Suicide Squad as late as 2017. Shortly after Phillips’ project was announced, the actor did publicly speak to his confusion about where he stood with regard to the role. To make matters more complicated, at one point it seems that he was going to get a chance to reprise his role — Variety reported a Leto-led standalone Joker film was in the works in June of 2018. However, that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere — and James Gunn recently suggested the actor won’t be playing the Joker in his upcoming The Suicide Squad.

This is just the latest in a string of rumors surrounding his portrayal of the notorious villain. Jared Leto was reportedly not happy with how much of his performance was cut from Suicide Squad — though some of those comments, too, were only hearsay.

A source close to Jared Leto has denied THR’s claims that the actor attempted to prevent Joker from being made.

Joker is still continuing its unprecedented success, having raked in more than $600 million in ticket sales worldwide. And despite any controversy, Joaquin Phoenix has earned unending praise for his performance. So regardless of how everything went down between Jared Leto and Warner Bros., it may be safe to say his days playing the Joker are in the past.

Paul Rudd Is Still Bummed About Avengers: Endgame’s Thanus Theory

Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man got to coin the phrase “America’s Ass” in Avengers: Endgame, but he never got to go up Thanos’ ass to save the world per that ridiculous “Thanus” theory. The theory that Ant-Man could shrink down, crawl up Thanos’ butt, and then grow to large size to blow up the villain — yeah, it was always bonkers. But that’s why it went viral as a nutso talking point just before the release of Avengers 4.

Now that several months have passed since Avengers: Endgame took the world by storm as the highest-grossing movie of all time, Rudd shared his disappointment that the Thanus theory didn’t pan out.

Paul Rudd was recently on First We Feast’s Hot Ones promoting his new Netflix series Living With Yourself. At one point he was asked what he made of the Ant-Man kills Thanos by crawling up his butt meme. Rudd paused to deep sigh with mock solemnity, then gave this response:

He then smiled and gave a little chuckle, to show he was proooobably kidding, although the way Thanos was really taken out in Avengers: Endgame was also kind of a bonkers surprise. Who expected Thanos to be killed off twice — decapitated by Thor, and then snapped away by Iron Man?

I don’t think anyone really expected the Thanus theory to happen, it was just something fun for Josh Brolin to joke about while in the bathroom. But Paul Rudd did at least pretend to give the theory serious consideration before Avengers: Endgame came out, wondering why Ant-Man would have to go up Thanos’ butt for it to work. Couldn’t he fly into Thanos’ ear or go up his nose? Obviously that wouldn’t be as funny, but sure.

So Thanus will have to join the pile of Avengers: Endgame theories that did not pan out, although there are plenty of theories that did turn out to be true. And it’s not like the movie didn’t have some crazy twists, so something equally strange could’ve happened. I mean, a rat was responsible for Ant-Man even being in the movie. Plus, the Endgame team is still trying to explain Captain America’s timeline after Steve went back to live with Peggy, so even things that did happen aren’t exactly making sense to everyone.

Watch Paul Rudd answer the Thanos butt question around the 8:10 mark of the video, which is a great watch from start to finish:

The Batman Now Has A Composer: Watch Matt Reeves’ ‘Awkward’ Music Proposal

The past week has seen a flurry of casting announcements for The Batman. News about a growing cadre of villains (and a villainess) has helped bring buzz for the film to an all-time high. And director Matt Reeves has just revealed, via a very public proposal, that he’s added another exciting member to his crew: an Oscar-winning composer.

Matt Reeves found a unique way of letting the world know that he’d enlisted the help of an old friend. Both the director and composer Michael Giacchino were at an event at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 18. As part of the show, Giacchino was on stage trading good-natured barbs with fellow composer David Arnold when Reeves joined them. He then dropped to one knee and formally asked Giacchino to score The Batman — and the composer enthusiastically accepted. The moment was captured by a handful of audience members who, naturally, excitedly shared footage of the successful (if a little “awkward,” per the director) proposal on Twitter.

This won’t be the first time Matt Reeves and Michael Giacchino have worked together. The composer, a longtime collaborator of J.J. Abrams, wrote the music for Reeve’s 2008 film Cloverfield. He’s also known for numerous beloved contributions to Disney and Pixar, including the scores for films like Ratatouille, Zootopia, and Up, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Score.

At first, fans weren’t sure about Matt Reeves’ vision for The Batman, due to his controversial casting of Robert Pattinson. But whether you love The Lighthouse star or can’t stand him, you can’t argue that Reeves isn’t taking every aspect of the film seriously. In addition to assembling an ensemble of highly respected actors, he’s enlisted some of the best of the best in Hollywood to help him bring his vision to life. Most recently, we learned that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Grieg Frasier will act as the film’s cinematographer. In other words, Giacchino will be in good company behind the scenes.

The Incredibles’ composer also has plenty of practice setting the musical mood for superheroes: he’s lent his talents to Doctor Strange and, most recently, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Even though he cut his comic book teeth in the MCU, the composer seems pretty stoked to be spending some time in Gotham City. Giacchino started dropping hints weeks ago that he’d eventually join The Batman team. On October 19, he tweeted out a very clear signal that he’s excited to be on board.

With the cast and crew rapidly being finalized, all of the pieces of The Batman are falling into place. But we’ll have to wait a while to see how they all fit together. The film is set to premiere on June 25, 2021.

Ghostbusters 2020 Wrapped Filming, Here’s How Director Jason Reitman Celebrated

The Ghostbusters 2020 cast is all smiles after busting ghosts for 68 days. Filming just wrapped on the family oriented sequel to the first two Ghostbusters movies. Jason Reitman is directing from a script he co-wrote, with his father Ivan Reitman — who directed Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II — as producer.

Ghostbusters 2020 filming began in July under the working title “Rust City” and you can see that it just finished this week in October 2019:

As Jason Reitman says, 68 days and still smiling. Bustin’ makes ’em feel GOOD. You can see Ivan Reitman to the far left in the photo, and clockwise from there we have newcomer Logan Kim at the bottom, back up to Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard, then my eternal The Leftovers queen Carrie Coon, an almost unrecognizable Mckenna Grace, and director Jason Reitman himself at the far right.

As far as we know, Ghostbusters 2020 will focus on two sets of teens — one set older, and one younger. Carrie Coon is meant to play a single mother, with Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard as her kids. It’s possible Logan Kim and another announced cast member, Celeste O’Connor, are playing the other young and older teens.

Captain Marvel‘s Mckenna Grace reportedly has a lead role, and when we saw the first photos of her new look for Ghostbusters 2020, it immediately got fans thinking her character might be related to Egon Spengler. As you probably know, we lost Ghostbusters‘ Egon actor Harold Ramis in 2014.

Dan Aykroyd confirmed Ghostbusters 2020 follows “the actual descendants of the original Ghostbusters.” So even though no characters have been confirmed, I have a hard time believing Mckenna Grace isn’t going to star in this as an adorable mini Spengler. If Finn Wolfhard is her brother, then maybe they are Egon’s kids or grandkids?

Don’t forget that Paul Rudd will also be in Ghostbusters 2020, and Variety said he’ll be playing a teacher. Fargo Season 2 — aka the best season — standout Bokeem Woodbine is also on board as Sheriff Domingo.

Ghostbusters 2020 has plenty of time to add supernatural goodness in VFX since the movie isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until this coming summer, July 10, 2020. We’re still on standby for more confirmed information about the movie, and of course the first trailer.

Rise Of Skywalker Will Give Star Wars Saga A ‘Cohesive’ Ending, J.J. Abrams Says

With the plot still largely under wraps, at least until we see the final trailer, we don’t really know quite what to expect from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Here’s what we do know though: Episode IX will be the end, not just of the Sequel Trilogy, but of the entire nine-film Skywalker Saga that began with George Lucas’ Star Wars over four decades ago in 1977. And The Rise of Skywalker will give the this Saga a “cohesive” ending, that’s according to director J.J. Abrams who said:

For Star Wars fans, this is about the best thing that you could hope to hear from J.J. Abrams coming off the most controversial installment in the entire franchise and heading in to the Skywalker Saga’s climactic final chapter. He wants The Rise of Skywalker to close out the Saga in a way that results in the most cohesive story possible over the nine films.

J.J. Abrams wants The Rise of Skywalker to end the Saga in a way that is emotional and meaningful, but he is not losing sight of the fact that this movie needs to meet more than just those emotional and thematic requirements. Episode IX must also answer the Saga’s lingering questions in order to be truly satisfying as a movie and to work as the end of the Saga as a whole.

Many will likely note that J.J. Abrams is far better known for raising interesting questions than he is for answering them, but the director understands the responsibility he has to try and answer questions in The Rise of Skywalker. He knows that’s a key component of ending the Skywalker Saga in a satisfying way and what’s especially noteworthy is that he says that he wants to answer as many questions as possible.

The idea in J.J. Abrams’ mind is that, as he told Entertainment Weekly, the nine-film Skywalker Saga will operate as a story that is as cohesive as possible. He wants audiences years from now to be able to watch the Skywalker Saga as a nine-film story, with an arc that feels cohesive from start to finish. The ending is a crucial and probably the most crucial part of making that happen.

That is no easy task and the amount of pressure J.J. Abrams has to pull it off is unimaginable. It would have been different if this was just pitched as Episode IX and the door was left open for Disney to do Episode X, XI and XII or to retroactively make IX the end, but when the cast list was officially announced for Star Wars: Episode IX, it included the reveal that this would be the final film in the Skywalker Saga.

That means no take-backs and no do-overs, this is it and it has to count. That’s a tremendous burden. J.J. Abrams also told Entertainment Weekly “We’re not screwing around,” referring to his understanding that The Rise of Skywalker is the end of a trilogy and it has to be a satisfying ending. So he gets it.

As to what J.J. Abrams’ desire to make a cohesive Skywalker Saga with The Rise of Skywalker means for the film itself, we can only guess. We know that the big question about who Rey is will be answered in the film. The return of Emperor Palpatine also makes sense from J.J.’s perspective as he’s viewing the nine films as one story and one overarching villain makes sense.

Those rumors about Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker showing up also would make sense given that the Prequels are part of this Saga and to make things cohesive, they should be referenced in some way. When I wrote about what Episode 9 had to do to bring closure to the Skywalker Saga, two of the things I said were tie back to the Prequels and answer lingering questions, so if his words are anything to go by, J.J. Abrams may very well pull it off.

Fantastic Beasts 3’s Dan Fogler Lost A Ton Of Weight But Knows How Movie Can Explain It

Fantastic Beasts 3 already had a lot of questions to answer and now it has to explain why No-Maj Jacob Kowalski is half the man he used to be. Thankfully, actor Dan Fogler has an idea that might fit naturally with the storytelling of the third movie.

Not that he’s seen a script for Fantastic Beasts 3. No, Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling is STILL working on a new script for the third movie, which will start filming in February 2020.

Dan Fogler recently shared his hopes for Jacob and Queenie in Fantastic Beasts 3. As you’ll recall, things did not end well for the couple in the second movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald. Queenie made the shocking choice to join Team Grindelwald at his base in Nurmengard. Jacob is still Team Newt on the other side.

Here’s what Dan Fogler told fans at LeakyCon 2019 Boston (via Comicbook), noting how his own weight loss could help with Jacob’s Fantastic Beasts 3 story:

Yeah, they could cover it any number of ways. That’s the benefit of magic, but also of depression and the early 20th Century capital D Depression. That said, is J.K. Rowling currently writing any of that into the Fantastic Beasts 3 script? Did Dan Fogler warn The Powers That Be that he was going to lose all this weight, and they’d have to explain why baker Jacob is now wafer thin?

Weight loss does make sense for the zombie apocalypse, and maybe it also makes sense for Jacob if his depression manifests in not eating. (I tend to binge eat when I’m upset, but I wouldn’t mind having the opposite problem.)

Here’s Dan Fogler’s Fantastic Beasts 3 filming update from the recent fan convention:

That’s where they are at. It sounds similar to what Eddie Redmayne recently said, about the script still not being finished. Redmayne, aka Newt Scamander, was excited about the story ahead, so even if they haven’t seen the script, I think the actors at least have a basic idea of what’s ahead. Dan Fogler previously said Fantastic Beasts 3 production had to be delayed several months because the movie is “gigantic” and bigger than the first two films combined.

But we also know the second movie disappointed with fans and at the box office, and Warner Bros.’s former boss even weighed in to say J.K. Rowling was heading back to work on the script to make sure they would get it just right. That was back in February and the script is still being polished here in October. At least we know they are taking this VERY seriously.