How Much Hellboy Made On Opening Night

The newly rebooted Hellboy made his debut to audiences last night and while things are looking good for the big red guy to be the top performer of this weekend’s new releases, the early screenings totals certainly didn’t blow anybody away, as the film apparently earned about $1.4 million last night.

While making over $1 million over just a couple showings per screen last night is certainly nothing to sneeze at, it’s a far cry from the numbers that comic book movies tend to put up. For comparison, last weekend, Shazam! ended up doing a better than expected $5.9 million, or more than four times what Hellboy did last night.

To be fair, Hellboy was never projected to do as well as Shazam! the expectations has been that the movie will likely do about $17 million domestically this weekend and the Thursday night numbers would still put it on track to do about that much. Variety points out that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did about $1 million on its opening night on the way to a $13.6 million opening weekend, so Hellboy is on track to improve on that. Still, if Shazam! sees a second weekend drop of 50% or less, or even slightly more, it will still win the weekend box office.

Of course, if the numbers do shake out as expected, it will put the new Hellboy movie behind the two previous films in terms of box office. Guillermo del Toro‘s Hellboy saw an opening weekend of gross of $23 million when it hit in 2004. The follow up, 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, improved on that with $34.5 million.

Clearly, expectations had to have been higher for the reboot. Unless the brand new Hellboy was incredibly inexpensive to produce, it’s going to have a hard time making its money back unless the film is a massive hit overseas. Guillermo del Toro tried and failed multiple times to find a studio willing to finance the third film he always wanted to make. The fact that a studio was willing to produce a reboot means somebody thought it was a safer bet than making another film in the existing series.

Hellboy’s box office concerns match the film’s critical problems. Hellboy currently has a 12% positive rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Critics pretty much universally loathe the movie. While I don’t think Rotten Tomatoes has quite the power to sway audiences that some give it credit for, it’s certainly true that numbers like that don’t help the situation any.

Baring surprises, it seems that Hellboy will continue his struggle at the box office. The character may not be as popular as your average marvel or DC hero, but he certainly has big fans that would love to see him succeed. Those fans may need to continue waiting.

J.J. Abrams Reflects On Surreal Challenge Of Figuring Out How To Use Real Footage Of Carrie Fisher

If you keep tabs on the highly secretive making of original Star Wars movies, you may already know that when Star Wars Episode IX – now illustriously titled Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – hits theaters it will come with Carrie Fisher intact. It won’t be CGI the new film is using either.

Previously, Disney made the fanbase aware that the studio had enough unused footage from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to bring Carrie Fisher back to the big screen in a very real and completely unfaked capacity. At Star Wars Celebration, director J.J. Abrams reflected on the surreal challenge of figuring out how to use the real footage. He said:

So, he went back to the drawing board. At the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in the Windy City, J.J. Abrams was on hand to explain how the conversations got started about Carrie Fisher and about how there was one singular moment when he and the creative team realized the “real” footage from the cutting room floor would and could work. He also said:

Still, when you look at the challenge of using footage that was for all intents and purposes recycled, it couldn’t have been easy. J.J. Abrams also told the audience attending the Star Wars Episode IX panel at Celebration there was never any thought of bringing Carrie Fisher back with CGI, however.

The final result was an experience that was “sureal” for the producer, writer and director. After seeing stills and footage today, it’s a little bit surreal for me too. We actually got a first good look at Carrie Fisher in the upcoming film during the panel, as well.

We’ve known for some time now there would be real footage of Carrie Fisher used in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams mentions footage from The Force Awakens. Previously, word on the street was the flick will also use some footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi to flesh out additional scenes.

J.J. Abrams did mention that Carrie Fisher will get some scenes with her real-life daughter Billie Lourd, in the upcoming movie, calling the way that Princess Leia lives on “mind-blowing.” Even Mark Hamill has given his stamp of approval for Leia’s return, also noting she’d “get a real kick” out of the idea. He said:

Hopefully, her appearances will pan out in ways that will resonate with fans and fit suitably into the puzzle of this final movie that was 40+ years in the making. If you haven’t taken a look at the first teaser trailer for the movie, you can do so below.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20, 2019. Take a look at what we know about the upcoming project or check out what else is heading into theaters this year.

Tomb Raider 2 Just Took A Major Step Forward

Last year, the iconic video game character Lara Croft returned to the big screen with the Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander as this new iteration. Although that film didn’t exactly usher in the long hoped-for, perpetually delayed golden age of video game movies, it looks like this new Lara Croft will get another opportunity to make that happen. That’s because Tomb Raider 2 just took a major step forward by hiring a writer.

Writers Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons handled the script duties for Tomb Raider, but MGM and Warner Bros. have brought in some new talent, hiring Amy Jump to pen the sequel, according to Deadline. Most of Amy Jump’s big screen work has come in collaboration with director and her partner, Ben Wheatley. Together they co-wrote 2016’s Free Fire and the upcoming Freak Shift. Amy Jump also wrote the screenplays for Wheatley’s High-Rise and A Field in England.

Amy Jump has experience writing action in Free Fire and apparently Tomb Raider star and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander liked what the writer brought to the table for Tomb Raider 2. We don’t yet know what the story will be for Tomb Raider 2, but the first film ended on something of a cliffhanger, so I would expect Lara Croft to go on another globe-trotting, tomb-raiding adventure where she continues to fight the shadowy Trinity organization that has infiltrated Croft Holdings.

It is still early, and in addition to the story, we don’t know who the cast will consist of beyond Alicia Vikander or who will direct the sequel, be it Tomb Raider director Roar Uthaug or someone new. Nevertheless, this is a major step and indicates that Tomb Raider 2 is moving towards becoming a reality, and that Vikander’s Lara Croft will get at least two films just like her predecessor Angelina Jolie, who first brought the heroine to life on the big screen.

This news may come as a bit of a surprise to some considering that Tomb Raider didn’t exactly blow the doors off the box office. Domestically, the film never hit number 1 and ended its run with less than $60 million. Lara Croft had much better luck finding treasure overseas though and Tomb Raider finished with a worldwide total of $274.6 million. That’s nearly triple its $94 million production budget.

With this news, it is clear that MGM and WB see value in keeping this rebooted Tomb Raider going with the hopes that it develops into a successful franchise, and it has the potential to do just that. The first film seemed to have a lot going for it going in, but ultimately didn’t click together for a lot of people and critics. Tomb Raider has a 52% Rotten Tomatoes score, and yet, given the competition, some would still argue that it was the best video game movie to date.

Hopefully the sequel can capitalize on the elements that worked in the first movie while shoring up those that didn’t. Alicia Vikander is incredibly talented and her lead performance was one of the highlights of the movie, so a sequel with her in it immediately has serious potential. That it seems that she approved of Amy Jump writing the sequel is also encouraging. Maybe we can even get an Angelina Jolie cameo this time around.

Tomb Raider 2 does not yet have a release date, but we will keep you updated as this sequel moves forward. In the meantime check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see all the movies headed your way this year.

First Look At Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’s New Droid And Aliens

The Star Wars Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration did not disappoint when it came to reveals. While we certainly are still missing many pieces of the puzzle, we did finally get the film’s title and our first look at some of the action. However, the panel also teased us with a collection of new Star Wars aliens and other creatures, and as usual, they look amazing. One of the creatures even appeared on the Star Wars Celebration stage, he, or she, or it, is a brand new droid named D/O. Check him out.

D/O, Star Wars Episode IX droid

While we didn’t get a lot of details about the droid, who looks like a cone has been welded to the side of a tuna fish can. His “head” such as it is, moves independently of the wheel below him that gives him mobility. J.J. Abrams did speak about the character a bit, saying that he’s a friend of BB-8. According to Abrams…

In this movie BB-8 has a new friend… This is D/O. This is yet another incredible collaboration and creation of Neal Scanlan and the creature robotics team on the movie.

We see the new droid in one shot of the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He’s standing alongside BB-8 and the pair both look to be reacting in the same way to something we can’t see. Clearly, these two really are friends. We also see the little guy alongside BB-8 in the group shot at the end of the trailer, so wherever this story is going, this droid is going along for the ride.

We do know that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will take place after some significant amount of time has passed following the events of The Last Jedi. In that movie it appeared that the entire Resistance fit inside the Millennium Falcon, but one assumes the Resistance has been able to build up its ranks in the intervening period. They’ve picked up some additional allies, and some of them probably brought droids with them. It’s also possible one of our heroes has taken possession of the little guy in the time that has passed.

Interestingly, J.J. Abrams revealed that the way that D/O was introduced to us at Star Wars Celebration was not the way that the droid actually appeared on the set. While he was clearly being remote controlled from off stage here, the droid was created by puppeteers when filming was being done.

I will say that when we did the film we never had D/O exist quite this way. There was a rig and puppeteers and like with Celebration last time, there were different designs we went through working on. Like in Celebration last time [for me] in Episode VII when BB-8 rolled out we never had a BB-8 to be able to roll out [on set]. It’s amazing what Celebration will do

However, the new droid wasn’t the only new Star Wars creature that we met today. Another new creature is much larger than the tiny droid. His name is Klaud, and he’s apparently a brand new member of the Resistance. Check him out below.

Klaud and Snap Wexley played by Greg Grunberg

We see Klaud standing alongside Snap Wexley, played by Greg Grunberg. Snap was a pilot alongside Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but he was nowhere to be found in The Last Jedi. As a longtime friend of J.J. Abrams its little surprise he’s back for the new film.

The fact that J.J. Abrams made a point to show us Klaud and tell us his name, the fact that he has a name at all, likely means we’ll see a bit more of this guy than we might some of the other aliens, but seriously, what do we know? We didn’t see any new creatures or characters in the teaser except for the new droid, so everything is still a question regarding all of these designs.

Beyond these couple of new creatures that were given names we didn’t get any information about any other new aliens or droids that we’ll be meeting in the film. However, the Star Wars Celebration crowd was given a look at a few more creatures out of context, and we have a look at them as well.

Star Wars Episode IX alien

Whether any of these are important creatures or simply background aliens designed to make the world of the galaxy, far, far away, feel more real, we don’t really know. Of course, that doesn’t really matter when it comes to creating them. J.J. Abrams talked about the hard work that went into both creating the design of the creatures, as well the hard work that the actors put forth in bringing them to life.

The vast majority of these aliens are not created via CGI but are actually makeup and practical effects, which means real people were needed to create these alien landscapes. That meant that in some cases hundreds of people were made to look like aliens, sometimes under less than perfect conditions. According to Abrams…

We had hundreds of people in unbelievable costumes and designs. Creatures that Neal Scanlan and his team designed. So, to be there with so many people in the heat [of the desert] and having to take food breaks, bathroom breaks. It was a whole thing. But we got through it and actually finished a day ahead of schedule.

One can imagine how difficult it was for all of the people in the image below to get into their make up and film a scene for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Star Wars Episode IX creatures

The vast majority of these characters are almost certainly just ancillary background aliens. The only new cast member on the stage for the Episode IX panel was Naomi Ackie, who we know isn’t playing an alien. Still, that just goes to show how much work went into creating all these characters, many of whom might only be on screen for a few moments. There were probably entire creatures who ended up on the cutting room floor, possibly never to be seen again. Since editing on the new film is not complete, it’s even possible these creatures we were shown won’t actually be in the movie.

Star Wars Episode IX alien

Regardless of how much we actually see all these new creatures in Star Wars; The Rise of Skywalker, they all look absolutely amazing. Even if you somehow weren’t hyped up for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga before, you almost have to be now.

While we’ve probably heard all the really important stuff about Episode IX that we’re going to get for a while, a lot more Star Wars news will be coming over the next couple of days. CinemaBlend is in Chicago, so keep checking back for all the news this weekend.

Blended From Around The Web


Theater Offers Showers And Yoga During Marvel Marathon Ahead Of Endgame

Ever since it was revealed Avengers: Endgame would be three hours long, fans have been planning ahead to skip hydrating that day… especially since Marvel chief Kevin Feige said there will not be a single lull in the movie to head to the bathroom. Some fans may be going the extra mile by buying tickets for 22-movie MCU marathon to witness the entire “Infinity Saga” from beginning to end which adds up to just about two full days of Marvel goodness.

For a feat such as this, breaks are pretty much required for survival, and one Massachusetts theater is going the extra mile to provide the best experience for MCU marathoners. At the Showcase Cinema de Lux Revere, fans can catch every single film in the cinematic universe between Tuesday April 23 to Thursday April 25, ending with an early screening of Avengers: Endgame for $90 and a few other sweet perks. The theater will be provided meal breaks, access to shower stations, phone charging stations, 22% off concessions, and the option to drop into a yoga practice and stretch their muscles in between all the movie-watching.

It seems like the ultimate fan event for those interesting in reliving over a decade of superhero origin stories, team-ups, epic battles and one-liners in one cohesive sitting. To be among stoked fans for a couple days and have the opportunity to prep yourself for the main event with these amenities is a clever idea on the Revere theaters part.

Shower stations are especially a nice touch to keep out an uncomfortable stench marinating as a theater full of fans lives there for a few days. It’s unclear just how the theater will provide them, but I’d guess you’d be able to say you’ve showered at a movie theater after the fact. Providing a form of exercise such as yoga is also a great option for the fans to move their legs and keep their energy up amidst all the MCU anticipation!

An event like this is certainly a good way to refresh one’s memory on all that’s happened throughout the 22-film journey. Since Endgame is set to be the culmination of them all, viewing the other movies right before would certainly give fans some additional insight or understanding into the upcoming wrap up. On the flip side, some fans might be so overwhelmed with all the story and battles found in the movies that by the time they get to Endgame they’re exhausted!

No matter how you choose to celebrate the MCU and check out Endgame, it’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most massive moviegoing events in cinematic history. The movie sold five times more presale tickets than the record-breaking Infinity War and is tracking to make $250 million opening weekend or higher when it hits theaters on April 26.

The Battle For SPECTRE – The Rights War That Complicated James Bond For Decades

Time and time again, we’ve seen issues surrounding intellectual property rights complicate everything from a film’s production to its theatrical release. But some cases are so complicated that they don’t simply go away after the cameras are packed and the posters are removed. And in the case of most other areas of his expertise, nobody does complicated rights better than James Bond.

What started as an idea for a film became a flashpoint of massive legal proportions that, until recently, left the 007 franchise without the usage of one of its most iconic bodies of villainy for quite some time. With the resolution of this conflict still pretty fresh in recent history, and Bond 25 currently in production, the battle for SPECTRE’s very place in the series’ canon is a vital piece of history to revisit.

Spectre glass cracked into the octopus symbol


In the history of the film adaptations to Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, the most formidable threat to the world was the SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. Known as SPECTRE for short, it was the one stop shop for villainous personalities like Dr. Joseph No, Auric Goldfinger, and most notably Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader and “Number One” in charge of SPECTRE’s operations.

SPECTRE and its personnel were used in the films intermittently, starting with 1962’s series starter Dr. No, with 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever marking the supposed end of the organization and the one true death of Ernst Stavro Blofeld. It wasn’t until 2015’s Spectre that the James Bond series would reintroduce both that character (through the casting of Christoph Waltz), as the rights issues surrounding the creation and implementation the man and his legacy were subject to legal challenges that weren’t easily circumvented.

Thunderball Domino and James Bond on the beach

The Movie That (Almost) Started It All

When author Ian Fleming looked towards turning his literary franchise into a box office hit, Thunderball was originally considered to be the first film to do so. The eighth novel in his series, his 1961 book was a creation that drew on a rather controversial source: an original screenplay that was written between himself and screenwriters Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham in the late 1950s. While Fleming eventually decided to distance himself from the writing process, McClory and Whittingham would finish the screenplay, which eventually got its title from Ian Fleming himself.

After reading the finished novel before publication, McClory felt that Ian Fleming had plagiarized the screenplay of Thunderball for his novel. Even with some differences separating the two projects, one such difference being the alleged creation of SPECTRE to stand as the villains, Kevin McClory tried to stop the book from being published. While that tactic failed, McClory eventually pursued further legal action that granted him the literary and film rights to Thunderball, leaving Ian Fleming with the rights to the novel he wrote from its screenplay.

Diamonds Are Forever Blofeld stands in front of his plastic surgery model


With Kevin McClory owning the rights to Thunderball, this kind of threw the question of who created SPECTRE into the air, with McClory and Ian Fleming being the two parties the issue landed in-between. In the end, while the matter wasn’t officially resolved, Ernst Stavro Blofeld would make his final appearance in Diamonds Are Forever, with SPECTRE not even being named in the film at all. While there were intentions to use Blofeld and his criminal enterprise in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, McClory was ready with another injunction to prevent this from happening.

Instead of fighting another court battle to continue, the film was altered to omit the organization and its leader, opting instead for an original character, shipping magnate Karl Stromberg, as its villain. Though turnabout was fair play at that same point in Bond history, as Kevin McClory and Sean Connery had worked on a story entitled Warhead, which would be the first of several attempts to revive Thunderball in his own image. With the rights firmly in his hands, it was only a matter of time before he tried again.

Never Say Never Again Blofeld holds his cat close as he monologues

The Remakes That Stoked The Fires

Sure enough, Kevin McClory would go on to two more attempts at remaking Thunderball in his own way image. The first was 1983’s Never Say Never Again, in which James Bond and Ernst Stavro Blofeld fought for custody of two nuclear warheads yet again. And oddly enough, Sean Connery was convinced to play the character of 007 yet again, after famously saying he’d never return after Diamonds Are Forever. With this film being released in the same year as the official Bond series’ Octopussy, there was obviously a competition between the two films. Ian Fleming’s estate attempted to prevent such a race, but lost their bid to stop the film’s release. In the end, the two films only saw a $27.5 million difference in their grosses, with Roger Moore’s official James Bond movie winning out.

The second, and final, time that Kevin McClory would try to remake his intellectual property was with the film known as Warhead 2000 A.D. With Sony spurring him on in hopes it could create further competition with its own James Bond franchise. But, much as McClory prevented MGM from using SPECTRE and Blofeld for The Spy Who Loved Me, the studio was able to successfully prevent Kevin McClory from achieving his goal, through a deal with Sony. If the film had progressed, there would have been a chance that either Timothy Dalton or Liam Neeson would have played the role of Bond. But alas, it was never meant to be.

Spectre a scarred Blofeld confronts James in the ruins of MI6

Reuniting Bond and SPECTRE

It seemed that the true James Bond series would never see SPECTRE again in its lifetime. Even Albert Broccoli and EON Productions, the parties that practically ran the show with MGM, thought it to be so. Nowhere was that clearer than in the bold statement they made in the prologue to For Your Eyes Only. With a huge action sequence that saw Bond tormented by and dispatching of a bald man sitting in a wheelchair with a white cat in a smokestack, the message was clear: that contractually complex character is dead, and they didn’t need him anymore.

While the series would eventually move on for decades without official use of SPECTRE or its main villain, circumstances eventually saw those rights landing with MGM and EON Productions once more. After Kevin McClory passed away in 2006, his family would move on to the point where they sold the rights to the intellectual property he held onto through the rest of his life back to the studio. So it came to pass that in 2013, SPECTRE became a part of the official 007 playground once again, just in time to tie the organization in with its modern counterpart, Quantum, in the 2015 film named for this shadowy group of newly restored evil.

At this point, the only way that Ernst Stavro Blofeld won’t return would be due to Christoph Waltz not wanting to portray the character again. Though if the history of Blofeld has taught us anything, it’s that he can always be rewritten for a new actor through cosmetic surgery. It’s worked for him in the past, though if the casting of Rami Malek goes through, it seems unlikely that this route is going to be taken. But at the very least, SPECTRE will be around for any future villain to take their place in, ready to use its apparatus to make James Bond’s life a living hell.

James Bond will return in Bond 25, when it hits theaters on April 8, 2020.

Blended From Around The Web


Shazam! Director Reveals Behind The Scenes Look At His Cameo

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Shazam!

Big movies will often have fun cameos from their directors and DC’s Shazam! is no different. Director David F. Sandberg did show up in his delightful first foray into superhero moviemaking, but you could be forgiven for not spotting him. While many of Shazam!’s cameos are front and center for the audience to see, David F. Sandberg’s is very well hidden. The director recently revealed his cameo though and the process that went in to making it happen. Check it out:

The way David F. Sandberg presents this behind the scenes is funny, because when you first see him with his head covered in some kind of mold, you start wracking your brain trying to remember the movie and figure out what this cameo could possibly be. Or at least I did. The director was clearly getting fitted for some sort of molded costume and as you scroll through his Instagram pictures, you discover what that costume was.

David F. Sandberg cameoed as one of the Crocodile Men towards the end of the film, and it was clearly quite the involved process to make this cameo happen. Once the molds were made, we see that David F. Sandberg got to wear and test out a remote controlled crocodile head helmet that he could move with and snap its jaws. The prosthetic croc head even had the ability to electronically control the movement of the eyes and the eyelids.

The whole thing honestly looks ridiculous and kind of fun, if not a little stuffy. This also makes it plainly obvious why you could watch Shazam! a thousand times and not spot David F. Sandberg’s cameo without his reveal here. Quite a bit of work went in to making this practical effect and cameo happen, which is admirable considering that it could have just been done with CGI (without the cameo) for what was ultimately a very quick shot.

The cameo occurs towards the end of the movie, when Shazam and his foster siblings are trying to escape from the Rock of Eternity and Doctor Sivana and they come to a cavern filled with many doors to the Seven Realms. They begin opening doors to find a way out and one of those doors had the strange sight of three crocodile men in suits playing cards in it.

As David F. Sandberg shows in his Instagram, this isn’t an invention for the film but an Easter egg that has a basis in the comics. The Crocodile Men of the planet Punkus are villains of Shazam and members of the Monster Society of Evil.

This is quite a cool cameo that doubles as an Easter egg, and also shows how much fun David F. Sandberg wanted to have in this. He could have just shown up in the crowd during the bus scene or at the Christmas carnival at the end of the film but he went all out to do something different. There’s nothing wrong with more traditional cameos but its fitting that the horror director wanted to get a monster costume for his cameo.

David F. Sandberg’s heavily concealed appearance was far from the only cameo in Shazam! The film also featured a host of cameos from actors like Adam Brody as members of the adult Shazam Family, the appearance of which was a well-guarded secret prior to the film’s release. There was also something of a half-cameo by Superman at the end of the film, although it was not Henry Cavill.

Shazam! is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

Star Wars Episode IX’s Title Has Been Revealed, And It’s Epic

There is arguably no film franchise quite as beloved as Star Wars. George Lucas’ colorful galaxy has delighted moviegoers for decades, resulting in generations of hardcore fans. And with Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, the past few years have come with new releases, expanding the space opera through spinoffs and main installments. The latter have considerably higher stakes, and J.J. Abrams will end the current trilogy and overall Skywalker Saga with his mysterious Episode IX.

The movie might be coming this December, but Star Wars has been keeping its cards close to the chest regarding the film’s contents. Furthermore, we haven’t even been privy to its title or any footage. But that changed with this week’s annual Star Wars Celebration, which debuted the Episode IX‘s official title (and first teaser). It is called The Rise Of Skywalker.

The Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Trailer Is Here, And It Just Revealed A Major Character Return

The end of an era is almost upon us. The Star Wars saga is wrapping up the Skywalker Saga later with year with the release of Episode IX. Well, after all this time waiting, we finally have our first trailer for Episode IX, or as it’s officially known, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. As if that wasn’t a big enough deal, it revealed that Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, is back. Check it out!

There’s a lot to absorb from our first look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but let’s fast forward to the end, right before the title card. Visually, there’s just a black screen, but that’s accompanied by a very familiar noise: Emperor Palpatine’s laugh. That’s right, nearly 40 years after we watched Palpatine die in Return of the Jedi and over a decade after Ian McDiarmid last played the Sith Lord on the big screen in Revenge of the Sith, he’s back!

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. In the meantime, look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are coming out this year.

JJ Abrams Confirms Star Wars: Episode IX Will Have A Time Jump

Star Wars Celebration is finally under way and that means we’re getting our first real details about Star Wars Episode IX. Stephen Colbert gosted the Episode IX panel and, while there is so much that he can’t ask, he did ask director J.J. Abrams about how the movie will start off based on how The Last Jedi ended. Abrams confirmed that the new film will pick up some amount of time after The Last Jedi, and also that all of our heroes will be working together throughout the film. According to Abrams…

The movie doesn’t pick up immediately after the last film. Some time has gone by and what I’ll say is that in this movie, and you can tell by that picture is the very beginning of it, but this is an adventure that the group goes on together.

The picture in question is the one up above, that was shown during the Episode IX panel. It shows all of our heroes, Rey, Finn, Poe, and C-3PO and BB-8, all together outside the Millennium Falcon. This will be where the story begins. Wherever it goes from here, these characters will apparently all go together.

All of the Star Wars saga films saw significant time jumps between episodes. The one exception being Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That movie picked up immediate following the previous entry. Now we know the last film in the arc will be a return to the previous form.

The other thing that has been interesting about the current saga has been the way main characters have been separated. Rey, Finn, and Poe, spent pretty much all of The Last Jedi doing their own thing, but even beyond that, Rey and Poe had never so much as met until the end of that movie. For fans who liked the dynamic between Rey and Finn, or Poe and Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens will get to see them all together again. But now we’ll get to see how Rey and Poe work together.

More than that, all three of these characters will apparently have already spent some time together when Episode IX begins, so we’ll see these relationships after they’ve already begun to form. 

More to come…