Rian Johnson Doesn’t Mind If Star Wars: Episode IX Retcons The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Wherever you fall on Star Wars: The Last Jedi reception scale, there’s no question that it’s one of the most divisive films in the Star Wars franchises, if not at the top of the list. Building off what J.J. Abrams established in The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson was brought in to write and direct The Last Jedi, and many of his creative choices were met by controversy by portions of the Star Wars fanbase. With Abrams now overseeing Star Wars: Episode IX, Johnson is okay if this next movie ends up retconning portions of The Last Jedi, specifically Rey’s parentage.

One of the big questions regarding Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was who her parents were. Upon touching Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber at Maz Kanata’s cantina, Rey was bombarded by a flurry of Force visions, one of which showed her being left on Jakku as a child, and her family was never shown. For the next two years, fans wondered about the secrets of Rey’s past, like if she was related to the Skywalker family. Then came Star Wars: The Last Jedi, during which Kylo Ren told Rey to admit what she knew along: that her parents were “nobody,” with Ren saying that they were “filthy junk traders” who sold her for drinking money and were long dead in a pauper’s grave on Jakku.

Well, this plot twist was among the many aspects of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that was met with mixed reactions, and some fans have questioned if J.J. Abrams will retcon this reveal in Star Wars: Episode IX and make Rey’s parents significant people. That remains to be seen, and Rian Johnson has largely remained out of the loop on Episode IX’s development, only having a couple of conversations with Abrams. However, when asked by MTV News if he’d be okay with Abrams retconning the lineage of Rey’s parents in Episode IX, Johnson responded:

I want to let go of all my expectations. I want to sit back. I want to be entertained. I want to be surprised. I want to be thrilled. I want [J.J. Abrams] to do stuff I wasn’t expecting him to do and just go along for the ride. For me, that’s why I go to the movies, you know?

Rey’s parents being turned from nobodies to important individuals would certainly qualify as a surprise. Shortly after Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out, Rian Johnson revealed that the reason he went that direction with Rey’s family was because every other idea he came up with her parents’ identities just didn’t work for him. This creative choice was also a sharp contrast from what we’ve seen from the Skywalker family over the years, with Rey’s impressive Force powers existing for some reason other than having a notable genealogy. That’s assuming, of course, that this sticks for Episode IX. After all, this is a franchise known for its surprises, and it wouldn’t be the first time someone learned that what they’d been told about their family was false.

No doubt changing Rey’s parents would please a portion of the Star Wars fanbase, although I do hope that Star Wars: Episode IX doesn’t go all out on retconning every element of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that was deemed controversial. At the very least, if Rey’s parents were actually identified and even declared to still be alive, she would at least have the opportunity to reunite with them, something she was desperate to do in The Force Awakens. On the other hand, The Last Jedi was about Rey proving her self-worth and skill, and how she didn’t need a notable family line to become a Jedi/Resistance hero, so reversing all that undercuts the message.

In any case, Rian Johnson’s time with this era of Star Wars movies is done, but once he’s finished making Knives Out, he’ll shift to his own Star Wars trilogy, which will focus on new characters and explore other corners of the galaxy far, far away. As far as Episode IX is concerned, he’ll watch it just as a normal fan would (though I suspect he’ll get to attend one of the earliest screenings), and if J.J. Abrams has retconned anything that Johnson set up in The Last Jedi, Johnson will be okay with it so long as he’s entertained and thrilled.

In addition to being the final installment of the current Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars: Episode IX will also be the final chapter of the entire Skywalker Saga, so there’s a lot of plates this movie has to spin. The only official plot detail revealed so far is that it will take place one year after The Last Jedi, which ended with The Resistance nearly being wiped out by The First Order, but the few survivors, including Rey, managing to escape to fight another day. Along with a swarm of familiar faces returning for Episode IX, including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill and, for his first Star Wars movie appearance in nearly 40 years, Billy Dee Williams, the cast also includes newcomers like Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant and Dominic Monaghan.

While there’s always the chance that Daisy Ridley and the other stars of the current Star Wars trilogy could perhaps return to this franchise several decades down the line, just like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford did, since Episode IX is wrapping up the Skywalker saga, that means fans should go in assuming this will be the last time we see all these characters. Here’s hoping then that each of their stories concludes in a satisfactory manner, and that if Rey’s background is indeed altered, it at least blends nicely with her overall narrative arc and doesn’t come off as a haphazard switch meant to please folks who were angered by the reveal in The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be released in theaters on December 20. As for what else is hitting the silver screen in the near future, look through our 2019 release schedule for that information, and Star Wars fans shouldn’t forget that The Mandalorian will also premiere on Disney+ in the near future, maybe even by the end of the year.

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How If Beale Street Could Talk Reminds Regina King Of A Classic TV Show

If you’ve seen If Beale Street Could Talk then you know that it’s one of the most original love stories ever put on the big screen. The film focuses on Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne), a 19-year-old pregnant woman whose life long friend and now fiancé, Fonny (Stephan James) has been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. As we follow Tish and Fonny’s love story, we also see the efforts of Tish and her family to prove Fonny’s innocence as the young couple struggles to keep their love alive through near impossible circumstances.

While the movie is far from a comedy, it turns out that Oscar-winning star Regina King, who plays Tish’s mom Sharon, actually feels that the strong family bonds exemplified by the Rivers family (which is also comprised of Colman Domingo as dad Joseph and Teyonah Parris and sister Ernestine) remind her of those of a popular sitcom family from a classic show. Here’s what King had to say:

I have to say, as I was watching the special features on the Blu-Ray for If Beale Street Could Talk (which is out now), I was very surprised to find that Regina King could make any comparison between the Rivers family in this sad, yet hopeful and lyrical love story and the Evans family from Good Times, which ran from 1974 through 1980 on CBS. But, after seeing how King manages to make the connection I can certainly understand how she came to such a conclusion.

As King mentioned, the Rivers and Evans families both share an easy closeness and are capable of having lots of fun with each other. Both families also deal with poverty and the dire circumstances that can cause, especially when things go wrong, but each group is also completely dedicated to supporting its members and showering them with as much love as possible to help them get through all the trials that life throws at them.

As you might imagine, getting a cast together that feels like a real family can be difficult, and director Barry Jenkins, who spoke about If Beale Street Could Talk during the same featurette, explained how the cast became like a real family during shooting.

No wonder the positive feelings of love and never-ending support for one another, no matter the situation, came through so well in If Beale Street Could Talk. If you want to check the movie out for the first time, or give it another watch, it’s available right now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Kumail Nanjiani May Be Joining Marvel’s The Eternals

The upcoming culmination of the MCU thus far, Avengers: Endgame, is coming in quick, and while release dates following Spider-Man: Far From Home have yet to be announced, Marvel is quietly setting up Phase 4. After it was reported last week that Angelina Jolie was in talks with the studio to star in The Eternals, another actor is now attached – Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor is in negotiations to star in the adventure project based on the Marvel comic book series about near-immortal beings with superpowers ahead of filming, which will start this year. The Eternals is said to be a romance spanning thousands of years and centering on the titular cosmic beings and their monstrous counterparts, the Deviants. It will be directed by Chloe Zhao.

Neither Angelina Jolie or Kumail Nanjiani’s roles have been disclosed yet, but perhaps they will play Sersi and Ikaris, who have been reported to be a part of the film’s main plot. Ikaris is the leader of the Eternals and Sersi is one who isn’t shy about living among humans.

The 41-year-old comedian has already made quite a splash in Hollywood in the past few years after holding multiple supporting roles in comedy films and breaking out as a lead in the Golden Globe-nominated HBO tech company comedy in 2014. He scored Oscar recognition for his 2017 indie rom-com The Big Sick, which he co-wrote with his wife Emily Gordon, based off their own love story.

Kumail Nanjiani most recently starred in the pilot episode of Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone, titled “The Comedian.” He will have a voice role in Men in Black: International and in the upcoming buddy action-comedy Stuber with Guardian of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista this summer. The actor also has a voice role in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, which stars Robert Downey Jr., and he has another rom-com on the way alongside Issa Rae.

If Kumail Nanjiani ends up striking this deal on The Eternals, this will certainly be his highest-profile role yet, not to mention he’d be working with one of the biggest female action stars there is. Marvel has a knack for taking comedy actors such as Nanjiani for their projects. Take how Chris Pratt was propelled into stardom following his lead role in Guardians of the Galaxy – before then he was primarily known for his role as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation.

If the actor is the film’s lead, he’d also be the first Pakistani-American actor to star in a Marvel film and in this scale of an action film ever. Marvel has made it clear that going forward, its focus is on diversity. This can be affirmed by the prominence of Black Panther, Captain Marvel’s new key role in the Avengers, the Shang-Chi movie in the works and recent comments of an openly gay character in a Marvel film, which the studio has been reportedly been seeking for The Eternals.

To see what else Marvel Studios has in store for the next upcoming chapter of the MCU, take a look at our guide to What We Know About Phase 4.

Director Jon M. Chu Credits Movie Theaters For Crazy Rich Asians’ Success

We’ve been busy celebrating all things movies but also all things related to movie theaters at CinemaCon this week, and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu went onstage in Las Vegas and talked about the history of making his movie Crazy Rich Asians and the choice to bring it to the big screen, crediting movie theaters for the film’s success.

The general story behind Crazy Rich Asians’ big release is one that was told by the author of the book the film is based on, Kevin Kwan, previously. Kwan said before that multiple companies were bidding on the movie while it was coming together.

Both Netflix and Warner Bros. really wanted the movie to be theirs; at the time the author even noted Netflix was offering a lot of money for the project. But money wasn’t necessarily the end goal. Both companies have very different release policies. Warner Bros. releases titles theatrically and there’s a distribution window before titles go out onto other platforms. Netflix typically releases movies on Netflix and Netflix only. Per Chu:

While there are pros and cons and filmmakers are choosing both streaming and theatrical distribution these days, John M. Chu notes his entire team was in agreement with Warner Bros. being the right fit, and there was a big reason why they felt theatrical was the only way to go:

Ultimately, when watching a movie on streaming, a lot of us will also have our phone out or be watching while doing some other task, whether that be cooking, doing a crossword puzzle, knitting or myriad other activities. The theater is one of the only places that asks us to turn our phones off and sit in rapt attention while a piece of art is presented in front of us.

Crazy Rich Asians went on to be a global phenomenon. It made $238.5 million at the worldwide box office on a reported $30 million budget. It has also made movie stars out of its two leads, particularly Henry Golding, who was a travel show host prior to Crazy Rich Asians and went on to appear in A Simple Favor and now the upcoming Last Christmas opposite Emilia Clarke and Emma Thompson and The Gentlemen opposite Charlie Hunnam. Constance Wu will also be in Jennifer Lopez’s new stripper movie, Hustlers.

Before that, when opening weekend happened, Jon M. Chu says he went to the theater to watch people watch his movie. He noted that something happened at the theater that was unexpected and touching — people actually stayed in the lobby to talk about the movie for a long time after it let out.

It’s not often that full asian ensemble casts have been brought together on the big screen for a U.S. audience. In particular, during his comments at CinemaCon, Jon M. Chu talked about remembering seeing The Joy Luck Club when he was a young man and spending hours afterwards dissecting the movie as a family. It was the first time he’d experienced seeing his culture shown on a big screen at a movie theater. So, seeing the same thing happen in the lobby after screening Crazy Rich Asians sort of takes that story full circle.

None of that would likely have been possible without the big screen experience. Sure, Netflix offers a worldwide platform similar to theaters. It also has a large number of subscribers and is good at marketing its new products to the people most likely to be interested. The company is even big on choosing diverse projects for its streaming service. But the shared moviegoing experience is something completely different and it was that experience that was deemed to be the most important by the people who worked tirelessly to make Crazy Rich Asians a reality.

One major thing theatrical releases still have going over streaming releases is their ability to produce event weekends and a lot of buzz. Occasionally a Netflix product like Stranger Things has a similar trajectory, but there’s nothing like opening weekend for a new movie. If you are a big release, you’re guaranteed to be the center of attention, and even if you land second or third on a busy box office week, a movie is still an event flick that is being talked about on blogs, in social media and at the dinner table. Don’t get me wrong, people talk about Netflix shows and movies plenty, but it’s often more of a slow burn thanks to people not binge-ing Netflix content at a consistent rate.

It could have been chancy if Crazy Rich Asians hadn’t dominated at the box office. But the movie did make money in most countries, leading to Crazy Rich Asians 2 getting greenlighted and more. Jon M. Chu has another project in the works right now, In The Heights based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, but China Rich Girlfriend and the third movie in the franchise are expected to shoot back-to-back in 2020. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Crazy Rich Asians leads in their upcoming new projects.

So, The New Pet Sematary Ending Makes A Major Change To The Book

Warning: SPOILERS for Pet Sematary are in play. If you haven’t seen the new adaptation of the same-named Stephen King novel, come back later once you’ve caught up.

Pet Sematary is one of those stories that has such a built-in fanbase, they practically know the basic beats by heart. The big scares, the great heartbreaks and the chilling final moments are all etched in to the minds of those who read the 1983 novel, and that sort of knowledge sits in a book fan’s mind pretty tightly. So obviously, whenever there’s a change to the source material, be it the Creed family being from Boston instead of Chicago or Ellie dying instead of Gage, it’s going to stick out in the mind of those who really liked the source material.

Except in the case of Pet Sematary, there’s a change so great that it alters the outcome of the book to a major degree. And much like with Frank Darabont’s adaptation of The Mist, it all results in an ending that’s absolutely chilling. If you’re still reading, and you haven’t seen the new film currently in theaters, now’s a good time to leave. Otherwise, let’s exhume the film’s ending and do an autopsy of what changed and why it works.

Pet Sematary The Creed family sitting at the dinner table, Louis looking distracted

The Ending

Much like both the novel and the previous film adaptation of Pet Sematary, all of the trouble comes down to Louis Creed resurrecting the family cat and a departed child. Only this time, Ellie Creed is the child who dies at the hand of an Orinco oil tanker, and with this switch comes an entirely different set of problems. After burying Ellie in the sour earth that brings the dead back to life, she comes back to her father, but she’s not quite the same. Much like Church the cat, something evil’s come back with her, and it’s not long before it unleashes itself upon the Creed family.

After racing home with little Gage, who saw the spirit of dead patient/portent of doom, Victor Pasgow, Rachel and the young one are surprised that Ellie is back in the house. Louis tells his wife tearfully that he needed more time to say goodbye to her, and urges Rachel to accept her and hug her tight. But his wife cannot accept her, to which Ellie merely replies that it’s ok, she doesn’t want her mother here either. And she’s does something about that rather quickly.

While Louis leaves the house to search for Ellie, his daughter is really at home, terrorizing her mother with a vision that preys on the guilt of her ill sister’s death. After snapping out of that vision, Rachel is attacked by Ellie and eventually stabbed with a kitchen knife. Running from her daughter, with Gage in her arms, she breaks a window when she sees Louis returning to the house. Dangling Gage out of the window, she pleads that he catch the baby and drops Gage as she’s stabbed in the back by Ellie. After locking Gage in the car, Louis rushes up to the room where his wife was attacked, and before she dies, she begs not to be buried in “pet sematary.”

The final moments of the film run totally against Rachel’s wishes, as not only does Ellie knock Louis out in order to bury her mom, Rachel then kills Louis before he murders Ellie’s undead form and buries him in the soil. At the very end of the film, we see little Gage waking up in the car, with his now resurrected family coming to see him. As we cut to Gage, Louis clicks the car unlocked, and we fade to black.

Pet Sematary Louis looks disturbed in the basement

How It’s Different

A huge chunk of the original third act of Pet Sematary is changed from the initial intent of the novel, as well as the first adaptation. While Rachel did die, and Gage was the child terrorizing the family, Ellie was nowhere near the conflict as she was still with her grandparents in Chicago. So originally, the final act of the story was Louis squaring off with the resurrected Gage and Church, the eventual result being that Louis kills both of them in a combination of a morphine overdose and a housefire. Which leaves the classic final hook that Stephen King’s novel and the eventual screenplay for director Mary Lambert’s adaptation would play to end the film.

Louis, no wiser than he was when he buried Gage, thinks that since he’s burying Rachel quicker than he did any of his other loved ones, it’ll work this time. So he puts his wife in the ground, only for her to return just as screwed up as the rest of the family did, and as she approaches him with a kitchen knife, we cut to black and hear a screaming Louis reaping what he’s sewn. Now while that ending is a classic, and pretty chilling in both classic versions of Pet Sematary, this new ending works quite a bit better, and if Stephen King’s reaction to the film is any indication, he probably agrees.

Pet Sematary Church hissing in the bedroom

Why The New Ending Works Better

Pet Sematary is ultimately a meditation on death and how grief clouds our minds. Of course, this being a Stephen King story, that grief happens to go hand in hand with a supernatural entity. In this case, the Wendigo is what haunts the woods of Ludlow, Maine, and just as the textbook definition of this creature says, it possesses anything buried in that sour earth and turns them into an unnatural killing machine. But it lures people into dying, as we saw with Church luring Ellie into the middle of the road, as well as baiting them into burying their loved ones.

In this new ending, the call of the Wendigo isn’t merely something that people hear and heed out of grief; it’s downright psychotic. We see it in Louis’s behavior, right up to Rachel’s death, following a pattern of delusion that all started with his resurrection of Church. Part of it is, indeed, the Wendigo, but Louis’ belief that there’s nowhere to go to in death shakes him to his core. So instead of just grieving for a dead child, he’s dealing with his own feelings on the subject of mortality, and this change digs into deeper, scarier waters. Ellie gets to put the final nail in the coffin when she tells her mother that she technically wins in the argument of if there’s an afterlife or not, but it’s not the type of place you’d want to go.

The best part about Pet Sematary’s new ending though is that it’s a subversive gut punch to audiences old and new, and the proper steps taken to set it up. Every move seems to counter the standard expectations from an adaptation of Pet Sematary. The audience expecting Gage to die gets a shock when they see Ellie get taken out by the tanker truck, provided they haven’t seen the film’s later marketing materials. But even if you’ve had that spoiled for you, when Rachel tells Louis not to bury her in order to trigger a resurrection, seeing Ellie knock him out and do it anyway is a pretty big jaw dropper. From that point on, we’re really in new territory, leaving the big turn where the undead Creed family comes to claim Gage as a cold, haunting finale for all to digest mentally.

It’s a new ending to Pet Sematary, with new quirks thrown in to modernize and update the story for current audiences. But the end, the message is the same: if we’re not careful while grieving, we’re likely to make mistakes that might take everything away from us, especially if there’s a Wendigo involved. In the world of Ludlow, Maine, if you aren’t done with grieving before long, you just might find out that what you grieve isn’t done with you. The Creed family learned this the hard way, as being consumed by grief eventually turned them into literal monsters, and their youngest member is as doomed as he was in that original ending.

Pet Sematary is in theaters now, ready to live its life again as a new haunt for the old crowd.

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Why Disney Has Become So Successful With Live Action Reimaginings, According To One Head Honcho

Disney is going hard on live action reimaginings of previous animated movies this year. Dumbo has already been released into theaters and Aladdin, The Lion King and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will all hit theaters before 2019 ends. Why so many? Well, they’ve been pretty successful at the box office. This week at CinemaCon, Disney executive Sean Bailey explained why this type of movie has been so successful, noting the answer lies in the fact the story is not simply being retold in the same way. Per Bailey:

If you look at the recently released tale of Dumbo that retelling is far different from the original. There are human characters that help Dumbo fully realize his ability to fly; there’s a whole separate theme park premise and a different antagonist who is basically a nod to a bad Walt Disney. Similarly, Maleficent took a tale fans know and love and told it from the perspective of the villain from the original film. So, that was a big twist to the narrative as well.

Other classics, including Beauty and The Beast, are closer to the traditional animated narrative, but even then Disney does try to throw in new original songs, new jokes and more to differentiate from what audiences got with the animated tale. Similarly, Aladdin will feature a brand new song sung by Princess Jasmine.

According to Bailey, the process starts with a simple question.

In general, the way these live action reimaginings are coming together seems to be working. Beauty and the Beast, in particular, made over a billion dollars worldwide when it hit theaters in 2017, but most other live action products from the company have been successes financially even if they didn’t hit the billion mark.

Of the live action reimaginings, the recent Dumbo did fall a little short of box office expectations on opening weekend, although it still managed to be the #1 movie the weekend of its release, bringing in $45 million during its first outting. It’s too early to tell if one movie falling a little short of expectations is the start of a trend, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted regarding how the other live action properties fare in 2019.

Are You Still Interested In Disney’s Live Action Reimaginings?

James Marsden Would Totally Play Cyclops For The MCU

Fox’s X-Men franchise has certainly seen a lot of highs and lows, switch-ups and time jumps on the big screen. James Marsden played Cyclops in the first trilogy and made an appearance in Days of Future Past before Tye Sheridan took over as a younger iteration of the role for 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Marsden has now told ComicBook.com that he would don those red-tinted sunglasses all over again if given the opportunity. Here’s what he said:

The actor doesn’t seem to need much convincing to join the massive MCU, and we don’t blame him – there’s some seriously amazing things coming up for the Marvel franchise. It would be interesting to see Disney carve out a place for the actor in the future as his iconic role of Cyclops, as long as we don’t have to witness anything close to The Last Stand, which left a bad taste in the mouths of many for some odd years.

However, it does look like Disney’s take on the X-Men may try to differentiate themselves from what’s been established in the past 20 years, and reboot these characters in a new and refreshing way. So bringing back an original character from Fox’s X-Men movies just doesn’t sound like it’d likely be on the table. James Marsden could certainly be a great fit for another comic book character out there in the X-Men universe, and if he’s chosen for it, this would allow the actor to bring something new to the franchise– while his presence would also be a nice nod to its roots.

Not every member of the X-Men family has shown the adamant interest James Marsden recently has about joining the MCU. Alexandra Shipp, who will soon reprise the role of Storm in Dark Phoenix said she was against it because her character already doesn’t have many lines already. James McAvoy also recently admitted the strength in numbers with the Avengers, plus the mutants just may not well work together.

James Marsden’s schedule does look quite stacked between Westworld, his upcoming Netflix series Dead To Me and the Enchanted sequel in the works, but we know he’s down! Would you like to see James Marsden reprise his Cyclops role or perhaps take on another comic book role in the MCU? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Idris Elba Won’t Be Playing Deadshot In The Suicide Squad After All

Last month, it was reported that due to scheduling issues, Will Smith wouldn’t be reprising Floyd Lawton, a.k.a. Deadshot, in The Suicide Squad. Days later, word came in that Idris Elba had been tapped to replace Smith as the assassin, but apparently now plans have changed. Elba is still attached to the sequel, but he won’t be playing Deadshot.

According to Variety, Deadshot has been removed from The Suicide Squad by director/writer James Gunn and the rest of the creative team, and Idris Elba will instead play a brand new character. It wasn’t revealed who Elba will now be portraying, but evidently it was decided in recent weeks that it was the “right move” for him to vacate the Deadshot role, as those involved didn’t want it to feel as if they were “disrespecting” Will Smith, who first brought the character to life on the big screen in 2016’s Suicide Squad. While it remains to be seen if Smith will ever play Deadshot again, the door is at least now open for him to return at some point rather than being prevented from doing so because Elba took on the Deadshot reins.

How Shazam! Set The Stage For Black Adam

Black Adam Alex Ross comics

Warning: SPOILERS for Shazam! are ahead!

Shazam might not have a rogues gallery as big as Batman’s, but he does had a solid collection of color villains he’s repeatedly battled over the decades. The most popular of the bunch are Black Adam and Doctor Thaddeus Sivana. The former was originally supposed to face off against the hero previously known as Captain Marvel in the Shazam! movie, but plans changed and the latter was selected to take his place. However, Shazam! nonetheless alluded to Black Adam and set the stage for his eventual DC Extended Universe debut by giving audiences a snippet of his past.

Just like in the comics, Billy Batson was brought to the Rock of Eternity in Shazam! by the wizard Shazam to become his new champion. But before giving Billy his powers, the wizard tells Billy about the last champion he chose, who isn’t named, but it’s clearly Black Adam, originally known as Teth-Adam. Thousands of years earlier, Black Adam turned to the dark side and used his powers for evil, resulting in the Seven Deadly Sins being unleashed. Once they started running rampant, numerous civilizations fell and millions died, including Shazam’s comrades on the Council of Wizards, although it was left ambiguous whether the Sins were responsible for the Council’s destruction or Black Adam.

Either way, somehow the wizard Shazam managed to contain the spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins within mystical statues, and while it wasn’t explained why happened to Black Adam, evidently his reign of terror also ended since he’s not wreaking havoc in the present day. Because everything went so horribly with Black Adam, the wizard vowed to select only someone pure of heart to be his next champion. It took several millennia for him to finally find a worthy successor, with the adolescent Thaddeus Sivana failing to impress in 1974 and Billy Batson ultimately inheriting the mantle in 2019.

That was the extent to which Black Adam factored into Shazam!, which makes sense given that Doctor Sivana was the main threat in the movie. It was important not to overshadow Sivana’s retrieval of the Seven Deadly Sins and his quest to take the wizard Shazam’s power for himself. It doesn’t matter, though, because that Black Adam seed has been planted nicely, and the character has a bright future ahead of him on the silver screen.

Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper

In late 2014, around the time that Warner Bros announced its initial slate of DCEU films, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was finally confirmed to be playing Black Adam in the franchise, having previously agreed to play the antagonist in a previous live action Shazam! movie that was scrapped in 2009. Then at the beginning of 2017, it was announced that Black Adam would get his own solo movie. While the DCEU has a lot of movies in development, not all of which will never move forward, given Shazam!’s positive critical reception and the likelihood that it will do well at the box office, it stands to reason that Black Adam stands a better chance of being made. After all, if Warner Bros is willing to move forward with a Trench spinoff following Aquaman’s gargantuan success, then a Black Adam movie with Johnson, arguably the world’s biggest movie star, playing the lead, is an enticing prospect.

Although he was initially depicted as a straightforward supervillain, in the modern era Black Adam has morphed into an anti-hero, with comic book readers learning about his tragic past in ancient Kahndaq and his goals switching from generic world domination to doing whatever it takes to protect his people, usually resulting in him taking the Kahndaqian throne and still getting on a lot of DC heroes’ bad sides. Undateable’s Adam Sztykiel is writing the Black Adam movie and Hiram Garcia is producing, but no plot details have been officially revealed yet. It would be easy enough for Black Adam to be a prequel showing how he met the wizard Shazam and his fall from grace, but a rumor from That Hashtag Show claims that Sztykiel’s latest is a present day set story, with Hawkman, Stargirl and Atom Smasher appearing.

Regardless, assuming all goes according to plan, Black Adam will get the spotlight for himself, and considering how he’s been developed over the years, he’s definitely a compelling enough character to lead his own movie, not to mention that DC has already played around with villain/anti-hero-led movies with 2016’s Suicide Squad (which is finally getting a sequel in 2021). Still, at his core, Black Adam is a Shazam adversary, and it’s be foolish to think that these two won’t eventually fight in the DCEU. That said, those of you looking forward to seeing Shazam and Black Adam clash on the big screen might have to wait longer for that rumble.

Shazam vs Black Adam

In the Shazam! mid-credits scene, Dr. Sivana, who is now depowered after Billy Batson seized the Eye of Envy from him and trapped the Seven Deadly Sins back within it, was shown in prison obsessively scrawling runes on the walls in a desperate attempt to get back to the Rock of Eternity. He then hears a voice telling him that there are other ways to obtain powers, and that by teaming up together, the two of them could rule the “seven realms.” This voice belongs to the diminutive, yet sinister Mister Mind, the super intelligent worm who was seen in 1974 being held in a glass case at the Rock of Eternity, but had escaped his confinement by the time Billy Batson showing up there, breaking free after Sivana became possessed by the Seven Deadly Sins, which led to quite the kerfuffle in the wizard’s lair.

Just like how Aquaman’s mid-credits scene set up that Aquaman 2 will follow Black Manta helping Stephen Shin find Atlantis in exchange for the marine biologist assisting the mercenary in exacting revenge on Arthur Curry, Shazam! seems to be teasing that Shazam! 2 will follow Dr. Sivana and Mister Mind working together to defeat the Shazam family and conquer these mysterious seven realms. If that’s the case, then there’s a good chance that Black Adam won’t appear in the sequel either, or if he does, it will only be for a cameo.

Although Black Adam has been part of Mister Mind’s Monster Society of Evil in the comics, given how much more prominent he’s become in the DC universe, as well as the already-announced plans for him on film, it’s reasonable to assume he wouldn’t be a side player in Shazam! 2. Given how much trouble Dr. Sivana gave Billy Batson in his origin story, him returning with Mister Mind and whatever monstrous allies they’ve recruited to their cause is more than enough to cause trouble Billy and the rest of the Shazam family. That said, maybe Shazam! 2 could tease Black Adam finally preparing to face off against Billy in its own mid/post-credits scene.

As things stand now, and assuming the Shazam! corner of the DCEU will go on for a long time, I predict that Black Adam will show up in Shazam! 3, which will arrive after the Black Adam movie does. Depending on how Black Adam is received, maybe there’s even a chance that a sequel could come out before Shazam! 3, but I suspect that the Shazam vs. Black Adam brawl is being saved for the big ‘finale,’ much like how the Avengers didn’t fight Thanos in his forces until Avengers: Infinity War, with the rematch occurring later this month in Avengers: Endgame. Shazam and Black Adam is an event that’s definitely an event that’s worth spending as much time on as necessary to ensure it looks excellent. Make no mistake, though, barring some last-minute, unforeseen, radical turn of events, Black Adam is coming to the DCEU and he’ll make a lot of noise.

Be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of Shazam! and what other members of our staff thought of the movie. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on all things Shazam and Black Adam-related as more details come in. For now, look through our DC movies guide to learn what else is in development for the DCEU.

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Pet Sematary’s Director Says The Cats Were A ‘Pack Of Divas’

There’s an old adage in Hollywood that you should never work with kids or animals. However, sometimes that’s simply unavoidable. If you’re making a movie called Pet Sematary, you’re going to have an awfully hard time making it work without including a few pets. In the story, a cat called Church has a major role, and in the new remake of the Stephen King story, it turns out that, shockingly, the eight cats that were needed to fill the role were something of a pain to work with. Different cats were needed depending on exactly what director Dennis Widmyer needed the cat to do, and every time, the cat needed to go through its “process” before performing like it was some kind of diva. According to Widmyer…

Cats are not exactly known for their ability to be trained, and if you’ve ever owned one, you probably know exactly what that’s like. It turns out that it is possible to train a cat, though apparently you can’t train them to do more than one thing. Pet Sematary had to find eight identical cats in order to get Church to do everything he needed to do in the movie.

However, just because these cats were trained, doesn’t mean they weren’t normal cats. Put a cat in a new environment and they’re going to explore, sniff, and rub up against anything it can get near. This is especially true if it’s a place where other cats have been. One can imagine the crew bringing in one cat for a scene, waiting for it to rub up against every piece of furniture, filming the shot, then switching cats because another ability is needed, and the entire process repeats itself.

Of course, while it can be incredibly frustrating to put up with “diva” behavior from people, for some reason most of us are perfectly ok with it coming from our pets. As Dennis Widmyer describes this behavior to EW, none of this was beyond what all of us who have cats deal with on a daily basis. Most of us get to just ignore them. When you need them to stop marking the sofa and get on their mark, I suppose that can be a lot more annoying.