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Lord of the Rings’ Dominic Monaghan Joins Star Wars: Episode IX

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Lord of the Ring’s beloved hobbit Merry, Dominic Monaghan, will reunite with director JJ Abrams for the forthcoming finale to the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: Episode IX.

The actor previously starred as Charlie Pace in Abrams’ ABC television series Lost. Monaghan has been vocal about his desire to appear in a Star Wars film, and even pleaded with the director to appear in 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, but was rebuked as Abrams wished to cast mostly unknowns. Now, however, as Abrams is set to complete the sequel trilogy, Monaghan has joined the cast in a presently-unknown capacity.

Monaghan, who also starred in director Duncan Jones’ Mute for Netflix earlier this year, joins a cast which includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourde, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, and the late Carrie Fisher (who will make an appearance via unused footage from previous films).

Shooting began earlier this month on the conclusion to the episodic Star Wars films, which is still awaiting an official announcement regarding its subtitle (heavily rumoured to be Star Wars: Episode IX – The New Order). The flick is expected to debut on the 18th of December, 2019.

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Newcomer Ella Jay Basco Cast As Cassandra Cain In Birds of Prey

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Child actor and relative-newcomer Ella Jay Basco is seemingly in final negotiations to join the cast of director Cathy Yan’s DCEU feature Birds of Prey, as Cassandra Cain.

In the comic books, Cassandra Cain is the daughter of master assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. Raised mute and devoid of social contact, she is imprinted by a harsh conditioning program in order to create the deadliest killer in the world. Cain later shakes off her conditioning, befriends Bruce Wayne, and takes on the mantle of Batgirl. It’s unlikely this will play into Warner Bros’ slated Batgirl feature, however, which is expected to use the Barbara Gordon version of the character.

In the Birds of Prey film, Cassandra Cain will be the catalyst for the feature’s narrative, as Gotham kingpin Roman Sionis (aka Black Mask, Ewan McGregor) hunts her down following her escape from the League of Assassins, and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) team up to protect her.

Birds of Prey is due for release on the 7th of February, 2020. The next flick in the DC Extended Universe will be December’s Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, and Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe.

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Pedro Pascal Confirmed To Be Under The Helmet Of The Mandalorian

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Game of Thrones and Kingsman: The Golden Circle actor Pedro Pascal has been officially named as the man under the helmet of the titular bounty hunter of Star Wars: The Mandalorian.

Little is known of the steaming-first live-action series, which will air on Disney+, save for a brief synopsis: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic...”

Helmed by showrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book), the series recently announced its first crop of directors. Of note to Star Wars die-hards was the news that Dave Filoni, showrunner of fan favourite animated shows Clone Wars and Rebels, would be directing the series’ premiere episode. Meanwhile, Thor: Ragnarok’s beloved eccentric director Taika Waititi will helm an episode, along with Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard), Rick Famuyiwa (Hope), and Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones).

In Star Wars canon, the Mandalorians are a fierce race of armoured warriors that exist in tribal ‘families’, and who – until the dawn of the Clone Wars – largely kept out of the way of the rest of the galaxy. Following the devastation of their kind in the galactic civil war their numbers dwindled, until few remain by the time of the new show (roughly seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and twenty-three years before The Force Awakens). The race are an integral part of the Star Wars mythos, and even once warred with the Jedi Knights.

Pascal’s involvement had been heavily rumoured for the past month. The Mandalorian is currently awaiting a release date.

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Japanese Actor Shun Oguri To Make His Western Debut With Godzilla Vs. Kong

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Shun Oguri, the Japanese actor best known for Takashi Miike’s Crows Zero and Gintama, is set to join the cast of director Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong.

The movie will mark Oguri’s first Hollywood production. He joins Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2), Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3), Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist), and Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta). Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown (who will also star in next year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters) is also signed on to star. The film marks the fourth entry in Legendary Pictures’ Monster-Verse, which began with 2014’s Godzilla (directed by Gareth Edwards), and continued with last year’s Kong: Skull Island (from Jordan Vogt-Roberts).

Plot details are sparse, presently, and filming is expected to begin shortly. Godzilla vs. Kong will punch its way into UK cinemas on the 22nd May, 2020.

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