Gosford Park and Game of Thrones actor Richard E. Grant recently found himself added to the cast of director JJ Abrams’ currently-filming closing chapter of Star Wars‘ Skywalker Saga, the presently-untitled Episode IX, but despite rumours to the contrary he’s denied that he’s set to portray the blue-skinned fan-favourite Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Thrawn, a cold, calculating tactician from the Chiss Ascendancy, seems a perfect fit for the sinister character actor, and Grant even recently ‘liked’ a tweet suggesting he was playing the villain. However, when the Radio Times asked him how he was preparing for the role, Grant replied: “I’m not playing the Star Wars character you just mentioned.”
“I’m not allowed to tell you anything. Otherwise I would be fired. It’s a complete lockdown on any information whatsoever.”
Now, whilst it’s possible Grant is merely covering up his previous mistake, it’s more likely that he’ll be portraying a new character – and one without so much prior continuity.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, real name Mitth’raw’nuruodo (try spelling that without googling it), was a supreme commander of the Imperial fleet from the days of the Galactic Civil War; a genius, Sherlock Holmes-esque leader who even commanded the respect of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Originally created by writer Timothy Zahn for his novel Heir to the Empire, the character was thought lost to the annals of time upon Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012, with their subsequent discarding of all previous ‘canon’ novels and comic books. However, he was reintroduced via animated series Star Wars: Rebels in 2016 where he was voiced by Lars Mikkelson, and he has since been the protagonist of two novels.
Star Wars: Episode IX will also star Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Keri Russell, and the late Carrie Fisher. It is due for UK release on the 18th of December, 2019, and will mark the conclusion of the episodic Star Wars films.
‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ New Trailer
Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) brings his highly anticipated next feature to the screen, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s stunning novel, If Beale Street Could Talk. We are delighted to share with you the new trailer and first poster for the film which comes to cinemas January 2019
In early 1970’s Harlem, Tish, a nineteen-year old girl, is in love with a young sculptor, Fonny, the father of her unborn child. When Fonny is falsely accused of rape and imprisoned, Tish and their families race to clear his name before the baby is born. A story about love persisting in the face of racial oppression and injustice, Jenkins brings together a talented young cast which includes Stephan James (Selma, Race) as Fonny and newcomer Kiki Layne as Tish.
‘The Walking Dead’ Movie in the Works
The Walking Dead will never die. Not if AMC has anything to say about it, at least. The network has a 10-year plan to pump out several Walking Dead movies that would then be spun-off into new TV shows. In short, not even a headshot can put down this zombie franchise.
As it enters its 9th season, The Walking Dead shows no signs of slowing down. AMC knows a good thing when they see one, and they’re prepared to keep The Walking Dead alive and kicking for as long as possible. A new story at Bloomberg lays out AMC’s ambitious, possibly crazy, plan to continue The Walking Dead in some shape or form for the next 10 years, and possibly longer. While specifics haven’t been ironed out yet, AMC is likely planning “several movies for a TV network or streaming service that could spin off into different series.” They also want to take the show international, setting at least one potential spin-off series in another country.
Scott Gimple, who produced several seasons of The Walking Dead, is leading the development of different shows. As of now, AMC is weighing a choice between producing every Walking Dead-related property themselves, or possibly bringing in an outside party – like a streaming service – “that can provide money and global exposure.” The plan is to air all new shows on AMC while also bolstering their own streaming service, AMC Premiere.
“Ownership of that content – call it Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead – allows us to determine the fate of that content, so we can navigate as we choose,” said Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan. All of this news comes on the heels of the fact that viewership for The Walking Dead is declining. As the Bloomberg piece points out, “After peaking at 19 million nightly viewers in 2015, the audience for The Walking Dead declined to an average of 11 million in the most recent season.”
Some might take this as a sign that interest in The Walking Dead is dwindling, and planning a slew of movies and spin-offs might be a bad idea. But AMC is committed to making this work. The way they see it, interest in the main show – The Walking Dead – may be declining, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be renewed interest for new shows. AMC wants Walking Dead to be their Star Wars or Star Trek – a property that will seemingly never end.
Disney CEO Bob Iger: “I Take The Blame” For Too Many Star Wars Films, Too Soon
With Solo: A Star Wars Story cruising towards its home release next week, Disney CEO Bob Iger has finally opened up about the film’s less-than-stellar box office performance, which saw the feature garner just $392 million worldwide.
Now, those aren’t poor numbers by any stretch of the imagination – most indies would kill for just 1% of that – but they’re not even mid-tier Marvel takings (Ant-Man grossed over $500 million, and I defy you to find one person to whom Ant-Man is their favourite film). Furthermore, compared to other recent efforts from the galaxy far, far away (The Force Awakens – $2bn; Rogue One – $1.05bn; The Last Jedi – $1.3bn), well, they’re not quite in the same league.
When Solo hit to a meek audience reception it seemed that every critic, pundit and even rival studio head had a theory as to why – was it too soon after The Last Jedi (which had released just five months prior)? Was it down to the recasting of one of the most iconic roles in cinema? Was it due to the negative fan backlash from a small vocal minority of Star Wars fans following Rian Johnson’s creative decisions? Was it the one-two punch of Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War financially-draining audiences in the weeks running up to Solo’s release? Or was it simply bad luck?
Well, despite not mentioning Solo by name, Bob Iger seems to think it was simply a case of Star Wars fatigue – overloading audiences with too many adventures too soon. Considering the usual 3-year gap between instalments, the one-a-year schedule Disney has been adhering to since 2015 does seem a tad much. But here’s what Iger said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made – I take the blame – was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films.”
As it stands, the only other Star Wars movie officially slated for release is 2019’s Episode IX, which will reportedly close out the so-called Skywalker Saga that began all the way back in 1977. As for what comes next? According to Bob: “We are just at the point where we’re gonna start making decisions about what comes next … But I think we’re gonna be a little more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.”
There’s an 18-month gap between the theatrical releases of Solo and Episode IX, and Bob Iger (with Disney) is clearly hoping that will be enough of a breather to allow audience anticipation to build back up for director JJ Abrams’ closing chapter.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is due for release on DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K this Monday the 24th of September, rated 12A.
‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ New Trailer
Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) brings his highly anticipated next feature to the screen, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s stunning...
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