First Look At Billy Dee Williams Back As Lando Calrissian In Star Wars: Episode IX

Although we recently reunited with Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, that was with Donald Glover playing a younger version of the future Cloud City administrator. As far as Billy Dee Williams’ version is concerned, it’s been almost 40 years since we last saw him on the big screen in Return of the Jedi, but that finally changes later this year in Star Wars: Episode IX. Now we finally have our first look at Williams’ Lando back in action. Check it out!

As you can see, rather than wear the same kind of duds he wore in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian has pulled from his Solo: A Star Wars Story wardrobe, donning a yellow shirt like the one Donald Glover wore. However, if there’s one consistent thing we can expect from any iteration from Lando, it’s a cape, and Williams looks great wearing one of those again.

Bumblebee Director Has Plans For A Potential Sequel

Bumblebee was a very different sort of Transformers movie, and while it didn’t put up Michael Bay like numbers at the box office, it was much better received by critics and others who had been more critical of the more explosion-heavy entries in the series. While more Transformers movies are certainly coming, we have little idea what they will actually be. However, if anybody is looking for ideas, they should ask Bumblebee director Travis Knight, because he’s apparently already got several potential movies mapped out in his head.

The word on the street is that development has begin on a direct sequel to Bumblebee, and if that’s the case, and the studio wants to bring director Travis Knight back to make it, it sounds like he would love to return and he could also give that development some direction. According to Knight…

Bumblebee told the story of the popular Autobot’s arrival on Earth where he befriends a teenage girl named Charlie, played by Hailee Steinfeld. The movie ends with Charlie and Bumblebee parting ways, as Bumblebee reunites with Optimus Prime. However, it sounds like, based on what he tells, THR, if Travis Knight gets his way, all of these characters would come together for a sequel. Steinfeld had previously told me in an interview that she would be up for a sequel, as would John Cena if the option was there, so it sounds like all the necessary humans are ready and willing.

We were expecting a new proper sequel to the main Transformers franchise to hit this year but the film was pulled from the release schedule last year and we haven’t heard much about it since. Franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has previously stated that the next Transformers movie will aim to combine elements of the main series and Bumblebee, something that has the more emotional character story of Bumblebee while still having plenty of “Bayhem” for those who love the city-destroying action sequences the series is known for.

As one of those people who preferred Bumblebee to any other Transformers movie, and was also a big fan of Kubo and the Two Strings, I would love to see Travis Knight return to make another Bumblebee movie. Whether or not it will happen we’ll need to wait and see, but we can be sure that something new will happen with the Transformers movies before too long.

Sean Gunn Knew In Advance About James Gunn’s Reinstatement As Guardians 3 Director

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a fairly well-oiled machine at this point, with 21 movies and a decade of filmmaking under its belt. The studio has especially hit its stride with Phase Three, as every single release has been a box office and critical success. But there were a few bumps in the road, especially James Gunn’s firing and eventual reinstatement as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

James Gunn was fired in July after offensive tweets from a decade ago resurfaced, and Disney attempted to distance itself from that narrative. But considering how much of Gunn is infused with the Guardians franchise, it put the future of the threequel in jeopardy. James’ brother Sean Gunn plays Kraglin and stands in for Rocket during filming, and therefore discovered the news early. As he tells it:

The public was shocked by James Gunn’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it doesn’t look like Sean Gunn was. He saw the plan in the works for some time before it was official, although he found out about the final decision in the news just like everyone else. I guess it pays to be related to the subject of such a major story.

Sean Gunn’s comments to Comic Book show that the deal with James Gunn went back quite some time. It came out of nowhere for the public, but was likely a long process filled with red tape and legalese. It was certainly a bold choice for Marvel to do an about-face, and bring Gunn back into the fold. What’s more, the director recently signed on to helm The Suicide Squad for DC, so there was probably extra contracts and scheduling issues as part of the deal.

It stands to reason that Sean Gunn would be privy to more information than most, as its his sibling who is the mind behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. On top of hearing about it from his brother, Sean is also an important cast member of the property. While he’s not a bonafide member of the member, Kraglin has had a supporting role in the first two movies. What’s more, Sean also does the motion capture work for Rocket on set, with Bradley Cooper eventually stepping into the studio to record dialogue, and extensive visual affects bringing the character to life.

Sean Gunn also played Rocket during Avengers: Endgame filming, with the blockbuster arriving April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

The Star Wars Franchise Will Take A Hiatus After Episode IX, According To Bob Iger

While fans are speculating what Star Wars Episode IX will have in store for fans to end the trilogiy, the second biggest question of the galaxy, far, far away, is what happens next. We were always told that we should be expecting one Star Wars movie a year going forward, but nothing had been officially announced by Lucasfilm for 2020 or beyond. Now, Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed what many had been speculating, the Star Wars franchise will be taking a bit of a break from the big screen.

Following Disney’s big announcement regarding Disney+, Bob Iger sat down with Bloomberg and revealed that the plan is for Star Wars to take a break after Episode IX. While there certainly will be new Star Wars movies, they won’t be coming immediately. According to Iger…

We know that there are several Star Wars projects in development. There’s a trilogy by Rian Johnson as well as films being worked on by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. However, we have no idea when we’ll see any of these films. It sounds like Disney is in no hurry to make any of them happen.

Instead, it seems like the plan is for Star Wars to shift off the big screen, and take up the small screen instead. Disney confirmed that The Mandalorian will be a day one release when Disney+ launches in November, and so it sounds like the plan is for that series to be the next chapter of Star Wars.

Bob Iger had previously fallen on his sword and taken the blame for moving too quickly with Star Wars and had said the franchise would slow down in some way. Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story released within six months of each other and the latter film did not do traditional Star Wars numbers at the box office. Some wondered if Star Wars was moving too quickly and Iger seemed to agree that was the case. It seems this is that slow down that Iger was talking about. The brand as a whole isn’t going to disappear, but the big screen efforts will take a break.

Bob Iger didn’t give any indication of how long this hiatus would be, so we don’t know know if the franchise is just going to take 2020 off and be back in 2021, or if it will be even longer before we see another big screen Star Wars movie. With two Star Wars series coming to Disney+, and other potential series being rumored that could come after, it’s possible we could see the franchise out of theaters for a while as Disney tries to make sure Star Wars fans are on board the new streaming service.

If one were being cynical, one might think that the reason Star Wars will take a big screen break isn’t because it needs to rest and reset, but because Disney wants people looking for more Star Wars to subscribe to Disney+. If one were being cynical.

9 MCU Movies to Rewatch Before Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is almost upon us, and it’s highly likely that some fans are undergoing a rewatch of the MCU in preparation for what has been teased as the culmination of 11 years of storytelling. It’s a momentous occasion, but marathoning 21 films can be a little daunting. Even watching just one a day takes some commitment. Thankfully, you don’t really need to rewatch every single movie to get psyched and ready for Endgame.

If you aren’t up for a 60 hour marathon, there’s a much easier way to bone up on your MCU knowledge before watching Endgame later this month. There are only really nine films to watch to get up to speed. Nine is still a lot of movies, but these films are important to Endgame either because they introduce important characters, set up storylines and themes, or directly lead into Endgame. We don’t know what will happen in Endgame, but these are the films to watch before this pop culture phenomenon.

iron man movie 2008

Iron Man

What better place to start than at the very beginning? While Iron Man doesn’t tease anything about Mad Titans, Infinity Stones, or any sort of cosmic adventures, the film is an incredibly important step. It’s the foundation of the whole MCU and it introduces the franchise’s flagship character, Tony Stark. Stark’s journey throughout the MCU has been one of a man slowly learning to become a hero, and we’ll likely see the completion of that arc in Endgame as he works with the Avengers to stop Thanos once and for all. Plus, Iron Man teases the scope and ambition of a cinematic universe in a post-credits scene with something called the Avengers Initiative.

The Avengers

After years of buildup and introducing each of the core members in their own films, Marvel’s grand experiment finally paid off in The Avengers. The movie went on to break a ton of box office records and change the landscape of how studios create franchises. The film teams up Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye for the first time as they combat an alien invasion. It’s no coincidence that these six original members are all alive after Avengers: Infinity War, and they almost certainly have big roles to play in Endgame. However, The Avengers was also our introduction to Thanos and the overarching story that would guide the MCU for the next several years.

guardians of the galaxy 2014 movie

Guardians of the Galaxy

This was the film that truly proved Marvel could make almost any comic property a blockbuster sensation. Guardians of the Galaxy made household names out of D-list characters, in part thanks to the unique tone of director James Gunn and his catchy soundtracks. The movie is our first introduction to Rocket Raccoon and Nebula, two characters who are all over the marketing for Endgame. While the team dynamic is the core of the film, it does a lot of legwork for the MCU’s future. The movie introduces Nebula and Gamora’s complicated family history, explains the backstory of the Infinity Stones, and give the very first look at Josh Brolin as Thanos. The latter wasn’t earthshaking, but Marvel had a couple more years to get it right.

Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron didn’t quite live up to the hype, but any Avengers movie is important enough to rewatch. The film is an important step for Tony Stark as his guilt and fear pushes him to create Ultron, who nearly makes humankind extinct. Thanks to some visions from Scarlet Witch, we get brief teases into the future, perhaps the most important of which is the Avengers lying dead while an alien army advances toward Earth. We also get a big info dump on the Infinity Stones and the coming threat of Thanos courtesy of Thor’s hot tub visions. Additionally, Age of Ultron sets in motion events that would shatter the Avengers after the destruction of Sokovia.

Captain America civil war

Captain America: Civil War

The Russo Bros. themselves said that that this was one of the two most important movies to watch before Endgame and it’s easy to see why. Captain America: Civil War would have long-lasting consequences for Marvel’s superheroes as a feud between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers drives the Avengers apart. The disbandment of the Avengers is the crucial takeaway as it played a key factor in the heroes losing against Thanos. Endgame will almost certainly see Stark and Rogers finally settle their beef, making the moment that the Avengers unite once again all the sweeter. Civil War was also something of field test for how many characters could fit into one movie as it added Ant-Man to the ranks and introduced viewers to two important characters: Black Panther and Spider-Man.

Ant-man and the wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The big draw of the Ant-Man franchise is that it’s a light, low-stakes comedy, so it might be surprising to learn that it’s an essential piece to the Endgame puzzle. While nothing in the film’s actually plot will likely be important in Endgame, the sequel does further showcase the Quantum Realm, which is heavily rumored to be vital in the upcoming blockbuster. In fact, Ant-Man and the Wasp might have set up the first real tease of time travel in the MCU, which also has a million Endgame rumors. Additionally, Scott Lang is left trapped in the Quantum Realm after the movie, setting up his involvement in Endgame and how he escaped the Decimation.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is as stand alone as it gets. It takes place in the middle of space, far away from all that Earth drama, but it still ends up leading directly into Avengers: Infinity War. The comedic sequel finds Thor and the remaining Asgardians heading towards Earth, only to be confronted by the massive ship of Thanos. The immediate aftermath of that encounter kicks off Infinity War. Ragnarok is also crucial for both Thor and Bruce Banner, setting up their arcs for the next two movies. Thor loses his entire family and that grief and anger drives him, ultimately leading to his inability to kill Thanos. Meanwhile, this film was the beginning of Banner’s three part character arc dealing with the Hulk that will conclude in Endgame.

thanos

Avengers: Infinity War

This is a no-brainer. Endgame is a direct sequel to Infinity War, so of course it needs to be on the rewatch list. Pretty much everything in this film is important to Endgame. Infinity War sets up the major conflict of Endgame, which is the Avengers coming together to defeat Thanos and somehow undo the damage he’s done to the entire universe. The movie left Tony Stark and Nebula on an alien planet far from Earth, Thanos reveling in his victory, half of the cast annihilated in a fit of cosmic genocide, and the survivors grieving over their loss. Endgame can be considered Part II of the story that Infinity War began, and we’ll finally learn how it all concludes later this month.

Captain Marvel glowing

Captain Marvel

At the end of Infinity War, Nick Fury sent out a distress signal right before turning to dust. That signal went out to Captain Marvel, the MCU’s newest hero. Marvel has been hyping up the appearance of Captain Marvel for years, and she finally made her debut in her stand alone film in March. The film showed the origins of the hero, how she met Fury, and why exactly he turned to her as his last resort. Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the MCU, and she might be the only character who can defeat Thanos. Her solo movie certainly makes that argument as she plows through space ships like tissue paper. Captain Marvel officially joins the anti-Thanos team in Endgame, and we’ll learn how she stacks up against the Mad Titan.

It’s tough to say exactly what films will end up being crucial to Endgame because we know so little about the movie. Maybe The Incredible Hulk will end up being the most important piece of the puzzle after all! But these nine films are the best guess based on what we do know and it just goes to show the work that Marvel put in over this past decade to get us all the way to this epic finale. There’s still plenty of time to get that one last marathon done before April 26, so check out these nine films and have a walk down memory lane.

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What Marvel’s War Machine Movie Would Have Been About, According To Don Cheadle

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive franchise. Marvel Studios revolutionized serialized storytelling, and introduced a massive pool of iconic characters. Avengers: Endgame will mark the 22nd installment in the property, but there are a few movies that never came to fruition over the last decade of filmmaking. No, I’m not talking about the ill-fated Inhumans flick, but a War Machine movie starring Don Cheadle.

Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay for Black Panther, but was originally tasked with penning an Iron Man spinoff for War Machine. Ultimately it got scrapped, but now we’ve got an idea regarding what the movie could have been. Don Cheadle himself recently opened up about the possible blockbuster, saying:

Does anyone else have some serious FOMO right now? Because the War Machine movie sounds like an interesting an unique blockbuster for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Furthermore, it seems to tease the conflict that would eventually split the heroes in Captain America: Civil War. Do superheroes have the ability to work outside the law?

Don Cheadle’s comments to EW are sure to illicit a mix of emotions from fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On one hand, it’s exciting to get a glimpse into the development process of Marvel Studios, and see how things are constantly in motion. But considering how cool Cheadle’s description of the doomed project is, there are no doubt cinephiles who are bummed War Machine’s spinoff never happened.

War Machine has had an interesting tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as a recurring supporting character alongside others like Black Widow and Falcon. Rhodes actually debuted back in 2007 with Iron Man, played by Terrence Howard. Howard ultimately dropped out after having fiscal differences with the studio, and Cheadler replaced him in Iron Man 2, which was also the movie where Rhodey became War Machine for the very first time.

According to earlier reports, this was when a War Machine was tossed around at the studio. Joe Robert Cole explained this process over a year ago, stating Iron Man 3 as the reason why the movie never got the green lit. As he told it:

Talk about a bummer. While fans would no doubt have loved to see War Machine take the spotlight in his own solo movie, he never really got the chance. Instead, he’d reprise his role in Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War, as well as the Avengers movies.

You can catch him return to theaters when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters on April 26th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Vera Farmiga Says The Conjuring 3 Will Be ‘Massive

The Conjuring movies have been one of the most successful horror franchises of all time, creating what is probably the most popular and successful cinematic universe that doesn’t involve superheroes. While the various spin-off titles have done well at the box office, fans are really waiting for the next proper Conjuring movie, and co-star Vera Farmiga says it will be worth the wait, because the next film is simply huge.

Vera Farmiga will be reprising her role as Lorraine Warren in the next creepy doll movie, Annabelle Comes Home, and the actress says that doing so is like a form of practice, so that she’s ready when it’s time to take on the role in a much bigger way. According to Farmiga…

These words to EW are music to the ears of the fans of the Conjuring films. We know that David Leslie Johnson, who also wrote the script for The Conjuring 2 has been working on the screenplay for the third film and at least one of the actors involved seems to be quite excited for it.

While fans are certainly looking forward to another Conjuring film, the next movie will be different in one big way. James Wan won’t be directing the project. Those duties have shifted to Michael Chaves who will be giving the audience of taste of what he’s capable of doing when The Curse of La Llorona hits theaters next weekend.

The Conjuring wasn’t simply a successful horror movie that was able to generate sequels, but its various elements have been able to also generate spin-off stories, making for a widely successful cinematic universe. While a couple of the films have faltered with critics, all of them have been successful with fans and have brought in remarkable box office numbers. Even The Nun, which bombed with critics hard, is the second highest grossing film in the franchise.

The Annabelle movies have been so well received that we’re seeing a third movie in the creepy doll franchise before we even get to the third proper Conjuring movie. The first Annabelle film was one of those movies that didn’t hit with critics, and it’s at the bottom of the domestic box office chart when it comes to the larger franchise, but the sequel was a whole different animal.

The Conjuring 3 is set to arrive in the fall of 2020, so we can expect production on it to finally get underway later this year. Maybe then we’ll discover just how big the new film is going to be.

Zoe Saldana On The Process Behind Shaping Her Missing Link Character

Zoe Saldana, best known for playing iconic modern-day heroines such as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Uhura in the Star Trek films and Neytiri in Avatar, brought her strong will to Missing Link as Adelina Fortnight, a unapologetic “Gibson Girl” who ends up joining adventurer Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) and a Sasquatch named Susan (Zach Galifianakis) on their quest to find his long lost cousins, the Yeti, in the mysterious land of Shangri-La.

Saldana has ventured into the world of animation before for Book of Life in 2014 and My Little Pony: The Movie in 2017, but she’d never been part of the process behind crafting a character with the stop-motion studio, Laika. During the Missing Link press day I recently attended for CinemaBlend, the actress admitted it was a bit more of a lengthy job this time around. In her words:

The actress apparently worked on the character with Laika for over two years! Now this isn’t uncommon these days with all of the detailed work animated films go through. There was a primary focus on getting Adelina just right. Zoe Saldana continued by explaining what exactly changed about her character through the making of Missing Link:

Adelina is an immigrant and widow who is in possession of the map Lionel and Susan need to find the Yeti. She is nothing but a “damsel in distress” as she ends up going on the journey with them across half the world and serves as the voice of reason amongst the selfishness of Lionel and light and fluffy personality of Susan. Check out Zoe Saldana discussing her character:

Zoe Saldana’s character in Missing Link will certainly win tons of hearts when it opens in theaters this Friday but for a reason: her character went through a lot during the filmmaking process before arriving on screen. Tune in with CinemaBlend to see how Missing Link does this weekend alongside new titles Hellboy and Little.

Has Anyone Seen The Ending To Avengers: Endgame Yet? Here’s What The Russos Say

When Avengers: Endgame comes to an end, it will mark not just the ending of a 3-hour film, it will also complete the fight began in Avengers: Infinity War, close out Phase 3 and conclude the 11-year, 22-film Infinity Saga. Needless to say, this is a highly anticipated ending, and that hype is matched only by the secrecy surrounding it. However, some people have already seen the ending to Avengers: Endgame, as the Russo Brothers explained:

The Russo Brothers are trying to keep the film’s secrets as best as possible, and although they haven’t told anyone the ending to Avengers: Endgame, they are far from the only ones that have seen it. This is to be expected. The Russo Brothers are the directors, but there are a ton of people that need to work on a film, especially one of this magnitude, after the cameras stop rolling.

So while secrecy is paramount, those production realities, especially with the movie so close to its theatrical release, necessitate that other people see the ending to Avengers: Endgame. As Joe Russo told Digital Spy, there are a couple hundred people who have seen the ending to Endgame at this point; a couple hundred people that know how the dusted characters return and who sacrifices themselves to ensure that victory.

That might sound like a lot, but there is no way for this film to be complete and have an ending without some people working on that ending. Those lucky technicians putting the finishing touches on the ending also had the pleasure of seeing that much speculated and theorized-about conclusion before any of us. That early look seems like a fair trade off for their hard work and secrecy.

Nevertheless, as Anthony Russo added, the directors really want audiences to go in and enjoy Avengers: Endgame unspoiled. The Russo Brothers love sitting in a theater and being surprised like the rest of us and they want to preserve that pure experience for audiences as much as possible. It’s important to them that this movie, that they have worked so hard on for so long, is able to surprise and thrill audiences in the way it was meant to.

Therefore, I imagine Marvel and the Russos have kept the circle of trust as small as they could, which I expect means that Tom Holland and Mark Ruffalo have not yet had the privilege of seeing Avengers: Endgame. But even the secrets that the actors do know have been quite stressful to keep, as Scarlett Johansson recently lamented. It’s one thing to keep a secret between friends, it’s another entirely for a massive film with a budget in the hundreds of millions and people constantly asking and trying to trick you into revealing its mysteries.

You can find out for yourself how Avengers: Endgame ends when it opens on April 26. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see this and all the biggest movies headed your way this year.

All The Star Wars Movies Will Be Made Available On Disney+

Ever since the Lucasfilm purchase was finalized in 2012, the Star Wars franchise has been part of the Disney empire… I mean, family, with The Force Awakens being the first movie to kick off this new era. So when it was announced that Disney was launching its own streaming service, Disney+, it was expected that Star Wars would feature prominently. Now it’s been officially announced that along with all the original Star Wars programming already announced, all of the Star Wars movies will be made available on Disney+, including the pre-Disney ones.

In case you’re wondering why this is surprising, it’s because last summer, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that pre-2019 Star Wars movies would not be available on Disney+ at the beginning due to licensing rights. It was also reported around the same time that Turner Broadcasting System owning the TV rights to most of the Star Wars movies prevented Disney from folding them into Disney+, and since this deal didn’t expire until 2024, the Mouse House was working to buy those rights back.

Evidently the company succeeded, because all the Star Wars movies will be viewing options on Disney+. However, don’t expect all of them to be available right at launch. The first two Star Wars trilogies, The Force Awakens and Rogue One will be there on Day 1, with The Last Jedi, Solo and Episode IX coming within the first year.

Episode IX not being available at the get-go makes sense, as Disney+ will be launching before the movie even hits theaters. As for The Last Jedi and Solo, I suspect the delay getting them to Disney+ involves Disney letting its old deal with Netflix run out. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before these are added to the streaming service’s catalog.

Star Wars was always going to be one of the main Disney+ draws, so for those of you who had been hoping that you’d be able to watch all the movies set in a galaxy far, far away on the service, your wish has been granted. It’s also logical to assume that more upcoming Star Wars movies, like the Rian Johnson trilogy and the film series being worked on by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, will be thrown onto Disney+ after their theatrical runs have ended.

Of course, these movies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Disney+ Star Wars content. So far two live action original shows have been announced: The Mandalorian, which is set in the decades between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and will be available on Day 1, and the officially-untitled Cassian Andor and K-2SO series, which sees Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their respective Rogue One roles.

On the animation side of things, along with housing the previous seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney+ will also debut the show’s seventh season, which will be comprised of 12 episodes. One would imagine that Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance will also be thrown onto the service eventually, but so far there’s no official word on those two shows.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on the Star Wars franchise, which continues with the release of Episode IX on December 20. In the meantime, browse through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are opening later this year.