The superhero genre is in a fascinating place right now, especially when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and X-Men franchises. The MCU is just weeks away from the release of Avengers: Endgame, while X-Men will continue their tenure on screen this June with Dark Phoenix. But with Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox official, the future of the mutant-centric property and its spinoffs seem unclear.
The Deadpool franchise may be safe, but the myriad other developing X-Men projects have been put on hold for the time being. There’s still the question of Josh Boone’ The New Mutants, which will be a horror inspired mutant movie. The film’s fate has been a major question surrounding the merger, as its already been delayed a number of times and still hasn’t commenced reshoots. But there was some good news for New Mutants at this week’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Yesterday at CinemaCon, Disney presented its plans for the future, including some releases that were originally under Fox’s control before the merger. The New Mutants was one of the movies presented, revealed to have a release date of August 2nd. This is surprising and hopeful news, as the awesome first trailer arrived back in 2017, before the film’s delays started kicking in. And now it looks like Josh Boone’s ambitious project is finally arriving in theaters.
After New Mutants was delayed and Disney acquired Fox, it was unclear if/when the project would ever be brought to audiences. Some fans theorized it might end up on Disney+ as the House of Mouse rolls out its upcoming streaming service. What’s more, the cast seemed totally clueless regarding the film’s future and their X-Men debut. Maisie Williams recently dropped the mic about the prospect saying:
Well, the answer is apparently August 2nd. While the release date is an exciting update, The New Mutants still has to get reshoots in the can. Reshoots are pretty standard for superhero movies, and will give Josh Boone the chance to finish crafting his story, and allow for the editor’s bay to do their magic. But August isn’t that far all things considered, so the cast and crew is going to have to hustle to get the new footage in the can and included in the theatrical cut.
Despite its delays, The New Mutant has some good things going for it. The superhero genre doesn’t typically tap into the horror world, especially X-Men. Josh Boone assembled a very talented young cast, including Glass‘ Anya Taylor-Joy, Game of Thrones favorite Maisie Williams, and Stranger Things standout Charlie Heaton. And with a release date ahead, its a relief to know that Disney is still intending on giving the flick a full theatrical release.
The New Mutants will arrive in theaters on August 2nd, following Dark Phoenix on June 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
While there were many surprising decisions at the end of Avengers: Infinity War as far as which heroes we lost and which ones survived, there was one very clear pattern that emerged. All five of the characters who made up the original Avengers survived. While the exact fate of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye was unknown at the time, this pattern (and the fact we knew Renner had filmed scenes for something for the two Avengers movies) led many to believe Hawkeye had lived, something which has since been confirmed. In the lead up to Avengers: Endgame, Renner appears quite focused on his original co-stars, as he has continued to share pictures to Instagram focusing on these six heroes.
A few days ago Jeremy Renner shared the six character posters of the original Avengers team that were released as part of the ‘Avenge the Fallen” series. He also gave a shout out to his “A6” on Instagram. While there are several other characters who will certainly play important parts in Avengers: Endgame, one certainly believes these six characters will still be the ones at the center of it all. The Marvel Cinematic Universe really took off with the original Avengers film, and Endgame is expected to be something of a conclusion.
And of course, Jeremy Renner knows some things that we don’t. While we expect that Endgame will likely be the final MCU movie for Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, and possibly others, Renner would, one assumes, know for sure if that’s the case. He not only knows if they’re leaving, but assuming they are, he knows how it will happen in the film. It could be part of the reason he’s celebrating his old friends, because this is his last chance to do so in this context.
It’s not all super serious, however. Before sharing the picture of all six Avengers looking focused and committed, he shared a very different picture, showing the six Avengers actors being silly and ridiculous. Check it out.
Of course, while most of the focus is on the big names of Downey and Evans, we don’t really know what the future holds for the other four actors either. We know a movie based on Black Widow is on the way, but that one is expected to be a prequel, so that doesn’t mean that character is any safer. The Avengers will likely move forward, but they will almost certainly look very different when they do. Just which of these six characters will we see again, and which will we be saying goodbye to for a final time?
Is Renner being nostalgic because he’s one of the people going away? Who knows. I certainly won’t be happy to see any of these six characters go.
Spoilers, obviously from CinemaCon 2019 where Disney played the first 17 minutes of the upcoming animated sequel.
I saw the first 17 minutes of Toy Story 4 and at first it felt like time had stopped, looped and rewound to a simpler time when Woody and Buzz were Andy’s toys. In fact, the movie kicks off with a flashback that hits on a lot of nostalgic notes, but also finally reveals a major secret: What happened to Bo Peep and why wasn’t she in Toy Story 3?
Early on, we flashback to Andy’s childhood home, where his sister Molly is getting rid of some of her early toys, including Bo Peep. Woody is making a daring rescue of another toy when Bo Peep is boxed up with her sheep, but he makes it to the car in time to say goodbye. He tries to save her from the box, but she gently reminds him that she’s been made to be played with. Perhaps it’s her time to go.
The clincher, however, is that she asks Woody to go with her, reminding him that toys “get lost” or “left outside.” But he can’t go. He still has Andy to think about. They part ways.
It’s not exactly a tearjerker moment, but wow does the opener hit all the feels.
But we’re off to the races afterward. The movie then cuts to the present day featuring the characters who have all mingled together since Toy Story 3. It’s Bonnie’s orientation day at Kindergarten, but she’s really sad to leave her favorite toys behind. (She’s less sad about Woody, who recently seems to have fallen out of favor.) The rest is the start of an adventure, an adventure that also features new character Forky’s origin story and more.
In the trailer, we’ve seen Woody and Forky get separated from the group thanks to Forky’s penchant for wanting to be trash and not a toy. Woody ends up reuniting with Bo Peep in the first trailer at a shop near a park of some sort, complete with a Ferris Wheel and lots to do! Bo Peep, for her part, has moved on from wanting to please children and Woody seems enamored by this new place and way of thinking.
From Pixar’s point of view, we don’t know exactly why Bo Peep was written out of Toy Story 3 or why she only popped up briefly in Toy Story 2. She just wasn’t really a major component in the Toy Story narrative for the last couple of movies, but this first look capably presents a good reason behind why Bo Peep disappeared and the trailer reintroduces her as a stronger and wiser character.
But now she’s back in a big way in Toy Story 4.
Of course, while it’s nice to know why Bo Peep and Woody were separated and when exactly in the timeline it happened, the really notable moment may simply be seeing Woody back in Andy’s world.
I’m not always fond of flashbacks, but in this case, it seems to have worked. Seeing Andy again – even though I knew it was going to happen – capably tied the movie to its roots. Andy’s been a part of every movie and he’s woven into Woody’s fibers of being, even if Woody now has Bonnie written on his shoe.
Ultimately, we know Toy Story 4 is going to get emotional. The other movies in the franchise leave me blubbering every. single. time. Plus Tom Hanks has already said he had an emotional last day filming this sucker, and even didn’t want to face the creative team as he finished up his recording.
Toy Story 4 opens on June 21, 2019. Stay tuned for more coverage from CinemaCon 2019 and be sure to keep an eye on what we know about the upcoming animated Pixar flick.
We’re going to get into a spoilery-ish scene we screened fromAvengers: Endgametoday in this piece. If you want to go into the upcoming Marvel movie fresh – and I totally don’t blame you – please hop out now and check out one of our other lovely articles. If you love reading everything you can about the movie, forage on!
We’re so close to Avengers: Endgame I can taste it. In fact I got a taste of it today at CinemaCon 2019 when Disney shared a lot of brand new footage and other content from its upcoming 2019 slate of films. (No Star Wars Episode IX though, sorry.) Among these moments was an extended scene from Avengers: Endgame that captured more of Captain Marvel interacting with some of the other Avengers as well as revealed a little bit about the heroes’ plan to take on Thanos.
First and foremost, the scene opens with some footage we’ve seen snippets of in the trailers so far. Cap, Rhodey and some of the other Avengers are strategizing about when and how to take down Thanos. Captain Marvel really feels like it’s her fight, but the other Avengers assert “it’s our fight too.”
As it turns out, it’s also Nebula’s fight. We’ve known for a while now that Nebula would play a key role in Avengers: Endgame. In fact, actress Karen Gillan previously revealed she believes Nebula will sway the audience in a different way this time around noting:
In the new clip, Nebula reveals that while she was busy attempting to earn Thanos’ approval and please him, he always talked about wanting to go to The Garden. (Hilariously, Rhodey quips that’s it’s just peachy Thanos “has a retirement plan.”) The Avengers use some fancy technology to track an energy signature that seems to be a second use of the stones. Assumedly that’s a tie-in to Thanos terraforming the planet.
The team then spends the next few minutes deciding they’ll need to go into space, find the planet, take on Thanos, and then use the stones to undo what happened prior, during Avengers: Infinity War.
There’s a little bit of a debate about what will be different this time around. Captain Marvel, quietly and effectively says, “Me,” but it seems there may still be some skeptics among the other heroes. I’m assuming they don’t know the whole breadth of what the character could do or they wouldn’t rib her so much, but it’s hard to tell given the context.
You’ve seen part of this clip in a recent trailer for Marvel‘s Avengers: Endgame, in which Thor quietly stands up, retrieves Stormbreaker and quietly declares about Carol Danvers, “I like her.”
This whole scene fits in line with recent footage we’ve seen. In the last trailer, Thanos noted:
That seemingly implied at the time the Avengers were the ones tracking down Thanos in order to restore balance to the universe. This clip confirms that’s the plan. It ends with a shot of plenty of Avengers in a space ship: Captain Marvel, Bruce Banner, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Nebula, Rhodey and Rocket. That’s footage, too, that was confirmed in a recent trailer.
Still, seeing an extended moment confirmed a little bit more of the plan, it got me even more pumped to get into the nitty gritty of what happens and it reminds me that although a lot of the marketing for Avengers: Endgame has been serious, this movie is going to have some new team-ups among the heroes. In addition, the clip confirmed it’s going to be fun to have Captain Marvel be “the new kid” in the gang, and the convos she has with the other heroes are pretty amusing.
We won’t have much longer to wait to see how this whole story plays out. Avengers: Endgame is finally out on April 26 and if you don’t have tickets yet for opening weekend, they seem to be selling quickly.
The world has gotten its first trailer showcasing DC’s upcoming Joker, and it’s safe to say this will be quite an interesting story about the Clown Prince Of Crime. While the trailer has teased some bits that are clearly inspired by other Batman works, there’s one major part of this trailer that teases one big way this project will differ from most other Joker origins. I’m talking, of course, of his mother, and the seemingly delightful relationship that they have.
The trailer kicks off with Arthur Fleck talking about how his mother (played by American Horror Story‘s Frances Conroy) always tells him to smile and put on a happy face. The two are later seen dancing in the living room, and there’s even a scene in which he is giving her a bath. It’s closer than a lot of folks would be with their parents, and especially a lot closer than Joker typically is with his own.
While his origin has varied over the years, it’s more than fair to say Joker’s complicated relationship with his parents has more or less remained the same. The villain’s motives aren’t necessarily tied to them like with Batman, and most anecdotes the Joker gives on them in the comics are fleeting and violent. Take the film The Dark Knight, for example, when the villain recalled his father savagely attacking his mother with a knife before carving his face.
Other tales have detailed both parents being abusive to him, and some as well-to-do parents with a trouble-making child. Their fates often end up the same, however, with the villain being a part of their demise. This typically happens in his younger years, however, and Arthur is a fully grown man on good terms with his mom. Is this a case where he has a loving and supportive mother?
Possibly, although the appearance of one character may tease Arthur’s past was as rough as other Jokers. Arthur is seen talking to a woman named Debra Kane, who may be the same Debra Kane that exists in the Batman universe. Debra is a social worker in Batman: The Ultimate Evil. In that story, she takes Bruce around Gotham and shows him various cases of child abuse. If this is the same character, how does she know Arthur?
This leads to the question of Joker’s father, who doesn’t appear to be a part of this drama. Perhaps he was around with Arthur and his mother decades ago, but is now gone in the present. Joker has killed his father before and spared his mother, but rarely does it result in a relationship that makes things between them stronger than ever. This is beginning to feel like a Wilson Fisk situation ala Netflix’s adaptation of Daredevil.
Defending his mother is noble, but there’s also something a bit unsettling about this dynamic. Obviously, we only have a few clips to go on, but it feels like Arthur has a Norman Bates level of appreciation for his own mother. As previously stated, the villain’s motives are never explicitly inspired by his parents, but here it almost feels as though she is the inspiration for him entering the world of comedy.
It’s really hard to understand the dynamic between the two here. Is she a sickly elderly woman that he’s caring for in her older years, or is this just some weird thing? No offense, but if my mother was well enough to dance around the house with me in front of a television, I would leave her time in the bath as a solo deal. Perhaps those scenes are from different times in the movie, and something happens to her down the stretch.
There’s also a solid amount of Arthur romping around the house in his underwear, which, again, would be a bit strange for a fully grown man to do when he’s living with his mother. Especially when he’s shaking his butt and doing light gyrations, it’s just not the type of thing someone does in front of a parent. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’m going to put myself out on a limb and say this is not typical.
Here’s an out-there theory to chew on: what if the mother isn’t actually there? The whole trailer leans pretty heavy on the mom thing to start, and Arthur switches from referring to her in the present tense to the past tense. There’s something there that makes me think that Arthur’s mother isn’t actually still around, but is in the sense that he’s still thinking about her often and those are flashbacks, or he’s hallucinating she’s alive.
This brings us to another bit in the trailer in which we see Arthur writing some jokes presumably for a stand-up comedy routine. The notes begin with some harmless and corny jokes, but get less funny and more upsetting the further down. Right below his hand (which is next to a bottle of medication) we see an unfinished joke that reads “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
Clearly those are the words of a man struggling, which is in line with Todd Phillips’ description of the film. Arthur is a man who has been disregarded by society, and from the looks of that trailer, beaten up a few times as well. Perhaps it’s not he who is the caretaker for his mother, but she’s looking after him while he works to get his footing as the world gets crazier.
Whatever the case may be, it seems as though Arthur’s mother will play a significant and supportive role in this story, which makes it one of the biggest departures this film will have from other Joker origin stories. Given what we’ve seen in the trailer, it’s sure to be one of many things that will differ from the traditional origin story and give us yet another unique take on the villain’s life.
Joker is in theaters Friday, October 4, and CinemaBlend will be covering all news that comes out in regards to it in the meantime. As an example, check out what Todd Phillips has had to say about people’s thoughts on the movie, and how their perceptions on it may not be as accurate as they think.
If you caught the latest Shazam! trailer, you saw a cool sequence where the eponymous hero prevents a bus from crashing into the ground. It’s one of Billy Batson’s many heroic moments within his DC Extended Universe movie, but as is the case with when making a blockbuster, pulling off this scene was a difficult endeavor, one which required the occupants inside the bus to actually fall. As director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran explained:
The bus scene was among the many Shazam!-related topics discussed when David F. Sandberg and Peter Safran’s stopped by the ReelBlend podcast. As Safran noted, while it certainly would have been easy for the Shazam! VFX team to put together this sequence digitally, it’s admirable that the crew went the practical route using multiple buses and that special rig, thus making it feel more realistic. Props to the performers inside for also being good sports about being thrown from one end of the bus to another.
As the bus scene appears to unfold in the Shazam! trailer (it’s possible that the way it’s cut in the preview doesn’t exactly reflect how it happens in the actual movie), the Shazam-ified Billy Batson is shooting lighting bolts out of his hand to impress a crowd when one of his bolts hits one of the bus’ tires as it’s driving on an overpass nearby. The driver loses control and drives off the edge, but luckily Billy swoops in and catches the bus before impact. It just goes to show that if you play with lightning, you’re going to cause pandemonium on the road.
You can listen to David F. Sandberg and Peter Safran’s full interview about Shazam! on ReelBlend below!
Inspired by numerous eras of Shazam’s comic book history, Shazam! sees Billy Batson meeting the mysterious Wizard shortly after joining a new foster family and gaining the ability to become an adult superhero. With the help of Freddy Freeman, Billy will slowly get the hang of using powers like super strength, flight, hyper speed and electricity manipulation, but he’ll also have to put these powers to good use going up against the sinister Dr. Sivana, a brilliant scientist who has somehow obtained his own magical powers.
You can see Shazam! in theaters starting tomorrow evening, but don’t forget to read our review of the latest DCEU installment. You can also find out what else this superhero franchise has in the works by looking with our handy guide.
Believe it or not, Paul Rudd is turning 50 this Saturday, April 6. And Robert Downey Jr. is turning 54 on Thursday, April 4. Fifty used to be considered the start of the golden years — aka getting “old” — but now it’s the start of a golden age for action heroes. Marvel and DC stars are the biggest superheroes in our universe, and many of the lead stars are still saving the world into their 50s and well beyond. Rudd may still look the same age he was when he made Clueless but Marvel’s Ant-Man now part of that exclusive 50-plus club.
In 2019, it doesn’t get much cooler than Robert Downey Jr., giving hope to everyone who has yet to reach their mid-50s. RDJ is considered the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which started with the 2008 film Iron Man. That was more than 10 years ago, when RDJ was a young lad in his early 40s. Now that he’s 54 (well, 53 until tomorrow, 4/4/19), he’s still the lead voice of the MCU heading into Avengers: Endgame (open April 26). Tony Stark is one of the heroes who will do “whatever it takes” to change Thanos’ Decimation from Avengers: Infinity War. RDJ pulled a career 180 thanks to Marvel, and now he’s a very well paid superhero and a fan favorite around the world. Ask the mid-1990s if they ever saw THAT coming.
Halle Berry, 52, Marvel’s X-Men, DC’s Catwoman
Halle Berry joined Marvel’s X-Men in 2000 and she hasn’t really aged a day, unless it’s to look better now. She returned as Storm in X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Back in 2004, she also ventured into the DC world as Catwoman, which was not a huge success anywhere but the Razzie Awards, but that’s OK. Along the way she also picked up an Oscar for Monster’s Ball, played Jinx in 007’s Die Another Day, and recently joined the Kingsman franchise for The Golden Circle. She is now gearing up for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (open May 17) after cold calling director Chad Stahelski and saying she wanted to be in the movie. Gimme a role. So they did, and she not only plays a badass assassin, she has her own two dogs who kick ass as her sidekicks. She showed off her amazing fight training for the role, including training the dogs. As she wrote after wrapping John Wick 3, “This film reinforces that AGE is nothing but an insignificant number!” The main star of that franchise would probably agree (see below).
Josh Brolin, 51, Marvel’s Thanos, Marvel’s Cable
Josh Brolin was 2018’s unexpected sex symbol as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. I can’t say I get the whole “daddy” thing, but good for Josh Brolin for still getting it into his 50s, even as a giant purple villain. Brolin has two active Marvel roles, and both are muscled-up beasts. He had an intense diet and exercise routine to play Cable in Deadpool 2, which came out last year when he was freshly 50. Thanos is the man to beat in Avengers: Endgame, which is already the biggest movie of 2019. And Brolin is currently filming a different kind of action movie in Dune, posting a shirtless photo to reveal his work as a weapons master. The guy looks like he’d kick your ass with a glance, and it’s especially impressive knowing he’s also the same guy from The Goonies. He wasn’t even 20 when he made that movie — his first — in 1985 and he’s at least twice that man today.
Robin Wright, 52, DC’s Antiope
A lot of us first got to know Robin Wright as the beautiful object of someone else’s affections — as Buttercup in The Princess Bride in 1987 and as the ill-fated Jenny of 1994’s Forrest Gump. Now she’s best known for playing ruthless leaders, including Amazon Army General Antiope, Diana Prince’s aunt, in DC’s Wonder Woman. She’ll also be back for the sequel Wonder Woman 1984, which comes out in 2020. Antiope trained Wonder Woman and showed herself to be a tough mentor in the 2017 movie. Wright also led the House of Cards cast and crew through the debacle of Kevin Spacey’s exit, and the final season was all about her character, Claire Underwood. It’s great to see Robin Wright getting strong leadership roles as she enters her 50s — proving herself not only still beautiful, but also more powerful than ever in the second half of her century.
Will Smith, 50, DC’s Deadshot
Will Smith is one of the many action heroes, like Tom Cruise, who have just kept on doing their usual action roles into their 50s. Why not? If it ain’t broke (too badly)… Unlike Cruise, though, Smith has embraced the superhero experience. He joined the DCEU as Deadshot for 2016’s Suicide Squad, but before that he played vigilante superhero John Hancock in an original story with Hancock. Smith first shot to fame with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but he got his action credentials going with Bad Boys in 1995, followed by Independence Day and Men in Black. Now it’s 2019 and he’s currently filming Bad Boys for Life, the third film in the franchise, for release in 2020 when he’ll be 51 and co-star Martin Lawrence will be 54. Sadly, he won’t be returning as Deadshot for The Suicide Squad. Instead, Idris Elba (46) is taking on the role for James Gunn’s movie. But Smith has plenty of other films in the works, including Ang Lee’s sci-fi film Gemini Man, and of course we’ll see him soon as the new Genie in Aladdin.
Samuel L. Jackson, 70, Marvel’s Nick Fury
If 50 is the new 25, Sam Jackson is basically 45 at this point. Scratch that, he’s 35 — half his current age. The guy is everywhere! We would all be so lucky to have his stamina at 30, never mind 70. The man never stops. He’s currently Nick Fury, de-aged for Captain Marvel, but back to his modern one-eyed self for the end of Avengers: Infinity War and whatever he does in Avengers: Endgame, not to mention his return for Spider-Man: Far From Home. That just for Marvel, he also had Glass earlier this year, as the title supervillain Mr. Glass, plus John Shaft II in Shaft. He’ll also be back for the sequel to The Hitman’s Bodyguard. He’s a hoot on the press tours of his movies, and while you can never quite trust everything he tells you, he always makes it interesting. He is living his best life, and if there’s such a thing as #70Goals, it’s this badass motherf*cker.
Keanu Reeves, 54, DC’s Constantine
Granted, it’s been several years since Keanu Reeves played DC’s John Constantine in the 2005 film Constantine, but now that he’s 54, Keanu is an even more popular action hero than ever. He’s had multiple iconic action roles over the years — from Speed to The Matrix — and he’s still kicking ass as John Wick. His first John Wick film came out in 2014 and Chapter 2 arrived in 2017. John Wick 3 is coming out this May, and it’s meant to be the biggest one yet. Keanu even shoots guns while on horseback on the streets of New York City. And, yeah, that’s really him on that horse. Keanu is still so youthful in appearance and action, it’s a running joke that he might be immortal. He’s even reuniting with his Bill & Ted co-star Alex Winter for Bill & Ted 3, like no time has passed since the ’80s.
Hugh Jackman, 50, Marvel’s Wolverine
Hugh Jackman actually aged himself up to play Wolverine in Logan. He shot to fame as the character in 2000’s X-Men, getting and staying famously ripped through X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Wolverine wasn’t big on aging and neither is Hugh Jackman, it seems. Ryan Reynolds is desperate to re-team with Wolverine in a future Deadpool movie, and while that may not pan out, I could definitely see the two starring in another action film together. Jackman seems to just be getting started as an action hero — while also singing/dancing in The Greatest Showman and earning acclaim as a dramatic lead. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see him still kicking ass on screen 10 years from now, not looking very different from today.
Nicole Kidman, 51, DC’s Atlanna
Nicole Kidman played Arthur Curry’s mother in Aquaman, and while Moms don’t always get to have badass action scenes, not all moms are this queen. Atlanna got to save the day in one epic scene that was shot in one take. That wasn’t her first DC role — she played Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever, but her job in that one was mostly to fall in love with the hero and be saved. This time, at age 51, she got to be the superhero who saves. She’s another star, like Samuel L. Jackson, who appears to have a dozen projects going at any time. She was in The Upside, Destroyer, Boy Erased, and Aquaman last year, with The Godfinch and the Fox News film Fair and Balanced this year — plus Big Little Lies Season 2 on HBO. From Emmy-award winning roles to billion dollar superhero films, Kidman makes it look pretty easy.
Patrick Stewart, 78, Marvel’s Professor X
Patrick Stewart was already 60 by the time he joined Marvel’s X-Men in 2000. He was a thespian with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but later in life he found himself the lead of two major franchises — Star Trek as Jean-Luc Picard, and X-Men as Charles Xavier. He finished his run as Professor X with Logan, but instead of slowing down, he signed on to return as Picard for his own TV show on CBS All Access. William Shatner recently said he couldn’t believe Stewart was doing that, saying a TV series is debilitating enough for a 25-year-old — since you’re working 14-18 hours a day — but to do it in your late 70s? Stewart himself called it “an unexpected but delightful surprise” to find himself “excited and invigorated” to return to the role. He’s ready to engage all over again.
The list of action stars still kicking butt well past 50 goes on and on — from Vin Diesel to Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo, the Marvel list alone could fill books. It’s inspiring to think that you can have a rough patch in your 30s but be a superhero in your 50s like Robert Downey Jr., or start as a high school girl’s rom-com crush in your 20s and then possibly leap up Thanos’ butt in your 50s like Paul Rudd. #LifeGoals
Here’s to all of these stars and more still saving the day into their 90s, like Marvel’s biggest hero, Stan Lee. Excelsior!
Back in 2013, the release of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street was the smash hit that not only made a cultural impact on pop culture, it also made a huge splash with critics as well. But the financing that went into the film came into question not too long after, as investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad, 1MDB for short, became the focus of an investigation that alleged the funds granted to make the film were ill gotten goods. Now, almost six years after the film’s release, a key figure in the scandal is about to go on trial in connection with these charges of malfeasance.
Former Prime Minster of Malaysia Najib Razak, who was recently arrested in connection to the 1MDB scandal, is the man going on trial, as he created the sovereign wealth fund, which by intent is supposed to invest in “real and financial” assets globally. 1MDB was kind of like a 401(k) plan for the country of Malaysia. The intent, overall, is to enrich the country whose money is being entered into this sort of financial arrangement.
Only, as the charges mentioned by The Hollywood Reporter allege, Najib Razak abused those funds by funneling them into his own high living lifestyle, which included helping fund The Wolf of Wall Street. In addition to funding the film, the money went into celebrating it in a fashion that sounds similar to the events depicted within the film. Now, years of investigation and litigation surrounding are about to kick into high gear, as this trial is the latest step in the overall case against 1MDB and its actions.
Previously, we’d learned that the U.S. Department of Justice cut a deal with Razak’s stepson, and Red Granite producer, Riz Aziz, in which a $60 million settlement was paid to close off a lawsuit from the state of California. Though that settlement was legally announced as no admission of wrongdoing or guilt on the part of Red Granite Productions, so that was somewhat of a temporary reprieve in the overall matter.
Making this story all the more unbelievable is the fact that Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street himself, had a deep seated feeling that some familiar tricks were being played behind the scenes on the film depicting his own financial crimes. But, sometimes, the truth needs to be discovered bit by bit, eventually creating a provable pattern of behavior. A pattern that now stands as proof that Najib Razak could have been the head of the most ambitious scheme in political, financial and filmmaking history.
This will definitely be a case to watch, as it’s a pretty large and unique incident that the world will want to avoid allowing to happen in the future. Even more interesting will be the potential fallout and reaction of producer/star Leonardo DiCaprio to this further movement of this Wolf of Wall Street scandal. At the very least, it’d probably be a good idea to pay back the money that he earned for playing his part in the film’s production, as a gesture of good faith.
This weekend, moviegoers will find themselves uttering the true magic word: Shazam! Part of the DC’s upcoming film slate will be the story of youngster Billy Batson, who with one simple word can turn into the superhero Shazam!, formerly referred to as Captain Marvel, an adult hero with powers ranging from super strength and flight to various forms of magic. For kids who pretend to be superheroes on the playground and around their house, being able to turn into one instantly is the ultimate wish fulfillment! Okay, let’s be real, a lot of us who are adults would love this opportunity as well.
Captain Marvel/Shazam! has been fighting crime on the comic book pages for over eight decades (though he was put on ice for 20 years), and has been one of DC Comics’ most popular characters since the 1970s. Aside from a film serial released in the early 1940s, this project will mark Shazam!’s full-length theatrical debut after years of appearances in cartoons, video games and even a live-action TV series. The film is now only a couple of days away, but there is still enough to chew on, both about what’s already been announced, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing Black Adam, and what we may end up seeing. Here’s everything we know so far about Shazam!
When Is The Shazam! Release Date?
Shazam! was originally expected to hit theaters on April 5, 2019. At the time, that was placing it right after the unnamed DC film being released on October 5, 2018, but before Justice League 2 was scheduled to come out on June 14, 2019. Even though the DCEU has gone through numerous scheduling (and content) changes since late 2014, we can say for sure that Shazam! has kept that spot. April is an unusual time for a big blockbuster movie to come out, but as Captain America: The Winter Soldier proved in 2014, that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful in that release slot.
That may not be as applicable to Shazam!, considering that Winter Soldier was a sequel and most people aren’t familiar with Shazam! the character (the word, much more so). Originally, the release date was seen as being beneficial to Shazam!, as there wasn’t much box office competition set, giving it plenty of room to stretch its legs. But, as we near the movie’s debut, that has changed quite a bit. Captain Marvel opened less than a month ago, and with that movie recently crossing the $1 billion mark, there may still be folks who head out this weekend to take it in. Plus, Jordan Peele’s Us has been stronger than expected, and in the next few weeks we’ll see the Hellboyreboot and Avengers: Endgame open, meaning that Shazam! will have to find its audience quickly and/or stick around for a while to really make its money back.
What Is The Shazam! Rating?
Shazam! didn’t get its official for a long time, as is customary, but we now know that the film will be rated PG-13. In mid-February 2019, the MPAA made its decision on the rating of the film due to “intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material.” Past DC movies, and for that matter, most modern superhero movies, get the same rating. With Shazam! being one of the lighter entries from DC, it was pretty much guaranteed to hit the PG-13 target. Another thing we can safely count on is that Shazam! won’t come out with an R-rated extended cut for home media…I hope.
It was quite a while before Shazam! confirmed who would be directing the superhero flick, but in July 2017, it was announced that David F. Sandberg had officially obtained the job. Sandberg’s moviemaking experience primarily rests in the horror realm with movies like Lights Out and Annabelle 2. Having him helm a movie about a boy who becomes a fully-grown superhero upon exclaiming a word sounds like a weird pairing, but it wouldn’t be the first unorthodox pick for a superhero director. Remember, Aquaman director James Wan also has a horror background. And, Sandberg himself has said that he thinks he’s the best person for the job since he didn’t grow up knowing a lot about the hero.
Shazam!, Previously Known As Captain Marvel (Zachary Levi)
Billy Batson, a.k.a Captain Marvel, was created by Fawcett Comics in 1940, and at one point was considered the most popular superhero of the 1940s. Like most comic book characters, Billy’s origins have been retconned several times, but the basic premise remains the same. Orphaned at a young age, young Billy was led by a mysterious stranger through a subway tunnel. Brought before the ancient wizard Shazam! in the Rock of Eternity, he is chosen to receive the powers of Captain Marvel because of the goodness in his heart. Whenever Billy says the word “Shazam!”, a magical lightning bolt strikes him, and he becomes the adult Captain Marvel, though he still has Billy’s intellect and personality. To transform back into Billy Batson, Captain Marvel just has to say the same word. Each letter in “Shazam!” corresponds with one of the magical abilities Billy inherited from various Greek and Roman characters: S for the Wisdom of Solomon; H for the Strength of Hercules; A for the Stamina of Atlas; Z for the Power of Zeus; A for the Courage of Achilles and M for the Speed of Mercury.
The recent name change for the superhero goes back to legal troubles the character faced in the early 1950s. Due to a copyright infringement lawsuit from DC Comics over Captain Marvel’s similarity to Superman, Fawcett Comics agreed to stop publishing stories featuring him and the other members of the Marvel Family, and they weren’t seen again for nearly 20 years. During this interim period, Marvel created their own Captain Marvel and trademarked the name. So when DC got ahold of Captain Marvel and his supporting cast in the early 1970s, although they could still call him Captain Marvel within their published stories, they couldn’t publish a comic book called “Captain Marvel.” As a result, the various series over the years starring him have had titles circling around the word “Shazam!”
When the character was rebooted in 2012 as part of the New 52, writer Geoff Johns decided to rename him Shazam! since many already associated that word with the superhero. Now Billy shares the same name as the being who gave him his powers, and now it’s been retconned so that Billy has to say “Shazam!” with good intentions to become the superhero rather than simply say it. This eliminates the pesky problem of him accidentally transforming back into his child self when introducing himself in his superpowered form.
Though Armie Hammer had expressed interest in playing Shazam! following a social media post from The Rock, who is set to portray villain/anti-hero Black Adam, though not in this film (more on that later), we finally found out who would step in to play the odd hero for his first solo film in October 2017: Chuck star Zachary Levi. This isn’t his first foray into the world of superhero movies, either. Levi also played Fandral in the last two Thor films, but this will be his first time leading a superhero movie.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel)
As we discussed in the previous section, you can’t have Shazam! without Billy Batson, the teen who the Wizard entrusts with superpowers that allow him to become an adult hero. In early November 2017, the film finally cast the role of young Billy, and it found him in Disney Channel star Asher Angel. As for how Billy will be portrayed in the film, director David F. Sandberg has confirmed that the version of Billy most recently used in the comics during the New 52 era won’t be in the movie. So, instead of “huge dickhead” Billy Batson, we’ll be treated to a more traditional take on the character, with him being fun and happy-go-lucky this time around.
Shazam! – The Wizard (Djimon Hounsou)
The origins of the entity who gave Shazam! and Black Adam their powers are steeped in mystery. In a story from the 1980s, it was explained that 5,000 years ago, he was a shepherd who was chosen to be the ancient superhero the Champion. Centuries later, now going by the name Shazam!, the wizard passed along his power to Teth-Adam, but when Adam abused his powers, it wasn’t until millennia later that he decided to trust another with his power. That person was Billy Batson, but soon after he transformed the boy into Captain Marvel, he was killed by a falling granite block. Though dead, his spirit remained connected to his lair the Rock of Eternity (where he safeguarded the Seven Deadly Sins and other captured mystical threats), and he served as a mentor to Billy and the rest of the Marvel Family.
In the New 52, the wizard is one of seven beings who controlled magic in ancient times. In the present day, he is the only member of the council who hadn’t been killed by Black Adam, and knowing he was near death, he attempted to find a person with purity of heart to inherit his power. After going through several candidates, he finally chose Billy, who helped him realize that no one’s heart is truly pure, but knew that the boy has potential to be good. After transforming Billy into Shazam!, the wizard passed away.
Now that Captain Marvel has been renamed in the New 52, he shares the same name as the wizard, so it’s important whenever discussing these characters to clarify which Shazam! you’re talking about. As for his role in the 2019 film, it will most likely be the same as in the comics, i.e., giving Billy and Black Adam their powers, as well as possibly serving as a mentor. Expect him to be a major (if not the most important) supporting character.
While casting for the wizard wasn’t confirmed for a long time, January 2018 brought the news that Ron Cephas Jones, of This Is Us fame, was in talks to play him on the big screen. When this guide was originally written, the movie had been filming for a few weeks, making it seem likely that Jones was, indeed, cast in the part. To our surprise, though, we were wrong, as official word came down around mid-July of the same year that Djimon Hounsou, who was already set to reprise his MCU role as Korath in Captain Marvel, and was also playing one of the leaders of the seven undersea kingdoms in Aquaman, would actually take on the part of the ancient magic man who gives Billy’s his powers.
Millenia before Billy Batson became Captain Marvel/Shazam!, the ancient wizard Shazam! chose another to be his champion. That person was Kahndaqian (previously Egyptian) Teth-Adam. Adam also shouts “Shazam!” to turn into his superpowered form, but the letters in the word represent the Egyptian gods: S for the Stamina of Shu; H for the Swiftness of Heru; A for the Strength of Amon; Z for the Wisdom of Zehuti; A for the Power of Anon and M for the Courage of Mehen. After he becomes corrupted by his power (in the New 52, Adam actually steals the power from its intended recipient, his nephew Aman), he is banished for thousands of years until he is freed from his confinement in the present. Originally, in the pre-New 52 universe, Adam’s descendant Theo Adam said, “Shazam!” to transform into Black Adam, but it was then retconned so that Teth-Adam/Black Adam are their own individuals, though Black Adam rarely transforms back into his human form.
Although Black Adam was originally written as a stereotypical supervillain bent on world domination and all that jazz, over the years he has evolved into an anti-hero who wants to do what’s best for his people, but his methods are more brutal than what most superheroes are comfortable doing. This is the characterization we will see in the DCEU. Dwayne Johnson has stated that like the New 52 version, the DCEU Black Adam will be a former slave, which has made him very angry. So while he will be a “bad guy” in the sense that he will battling the protagonist at some point, he can’t be classified as evil.
Now, here’s where some confusion comes in. It was originally thought that Black Adam would serve as the primary antagonist for Shazam! in this film, with the character also being spun off into his own film, which would see him transition from an antagonist to someone who is keen on doing the right thing, but who just happens to get in a lot of fights in the process. It was later decided, however, that Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam would actually not make his debut in Shazam!, but in his own proposed solo movie. That will leave some unknown future film to finally give audiences the battle of wills and superpowers that will result when the two beefy heroes meet.
It took around four years, but plot details have been revealed about Shazam!. With principal photography beginning at the end of January 2018, we were finally given an idea of what the overall storyline for the movie would be, and we’re pleased to say that the story is a classic origin tale that features many aspects of the comics. Take a look at the synopsis released by Warner Bros.:
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam!, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.
So, we’ll see Billy playing around with his newfound superpowers to figure out just how crazy powerful he is, and then, hopefully, getting used to what he can do enough to take down Dr. Sivana and whatever minions (supervillains always have minions) he has causing trouble all over the place. Since the Wizard will play a definite part in this story, maybe audiences will also get some details regarding his background, and magic as a whole in the DCEU. After Wonder Woman, Shazam! is the next best film to go down this path.
Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong)
With Black Adam no longer a part of Shazam!, the superhero movie has moved on to the next logical character to pit against the World’s Mightiest Mortal: Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, who first appeared in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2, the same book in which Captain Marvel debuted. While Black Adam has the brawn to go toe-to-toe with Captain Marvel/Shazam!, Sivana usually relies on his scientific mind, sending his unusual experiments and creations to cause trouble for the hero. In the comics he rarely did physical battle because of how weak he was typically portrayed, but it was made very clear by Shazam!‘s second trailer that this version of Sivana will be a physical force for the Big Red Cheese to deal with his first time out.
Mark Strong, who played Sinestro in the ill-fatedGreen Lantern film and Merlin in the Kingsman series, has signed on to portray Sivana in Shazam!. According to what Strong had to say about his training for the part in January 2018, it sounds like they’re planning to adapt Sivana’s New 52 reintroduction. There, Sivana was responsible for accidentally awakening Black Adam during his search to find a magical solution to save his family from unknown circumstances (perfectly setting up Black Adam for Shazam! 2), and he also gained some meta-human abilities after getting struck in the face with some magical lightning.
DC Extended Universe Connection
Shortly before Shazam!‘s release date was officially announced, New Line Cinema president Toby Emmerich mentioned that the movie would have a “tone unto itself.” This led some to wonder if Shazam! would exist separately from the other DC films. DC Comics eventually clarified the situation in December 2014 by confirming that Shazam! will exist in the DCEU, so we can expect to see the World’s Mightiest Mortal flying in the same world as the other heroes. Given the character’s history, though, we can also expect the film to be more lighthearted than most of DC’s cinematic fare, and star Zachary Levi has likened the movie to the Tom Hanks classic Big.
Despite his connection to many DC superheroes, Shazam! did not appear in Justice League, even though he’s a member of the team in the comics. And, since there’s been no word on other DCEU heroes appearing in Shazam!, fans are wondering how this movie will connect to the other DC films that have come before it. The answer, it seems, lies mainly with an action sequence set in a toy store. According to news from a set report, this scene will feature stuffed toy versions of other DC characters like Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. In addition, Billy’s new foster brother Freddie will be obsessed with the world’s heroes in the movie, giving us lots of references there.
Like most of DC’s biggest heroes, Shazam!/Captain Marvel has a diverse group of supporting characters by his side, several of whom are superheroes in their own right. The two primary members of the Marvel/Shazam! family are Mary Bromfield and Freddy Freeman. Mary, originally Billy’s long-lost twin sister, was also given her powers by the wizard Shazam!, meaning that she utters the same word as Billy to turn into Mary Marvel. The film will see Mary played by Annabelle: Creation actress Grace Fulton. In Freddy’s case, he was given his powers directly from Captain Marvel after being critically injured by a supervillain, and as a result has to say “Captain Marvel” to become Captain Marvel Jr. IT actor Jack Dylan Grazer will play Freddie in the film; the character is Billy’s best friend and (for a time, anyway) the only one who knows the truth about Shazam!.
The movie will also be including the rest of Billy’s foster family from the New 52, which consists of Mary and Freddy, as well as new additions Eugene, Darla and Pedro. Ian Chen, of ABC’s comedy Fresh Off the Boat, will play Eugene, while Jovan Armand from The Middle portrays Pedro. This Is Us actress Faithe Herman has also been confirmed for Shazam!, and although her character wasn’t given, it’s a safe assumption that she’ll be playing Darla, the youngest member of Billy’s siblings.
In the comics, each of Billy’s foster siblings were briefly given powers during Shazam!’s fight with Black Adam (as seen above), but these were temporary. If Mary, Freddy and the others do become superheroes in the DCEU, that will probably be saved for future films, especially since Shazam! won’t feature any tussles with Black Adam.
If you’re wondering who’s going to be in charge of all these foster kids, well, Shazam! isn’t going to let them fend for themselves on the big screen. Cooper Andrews, from The Walking Dead, has been cast in the role of their guardian, Victor Vasquez, who will care for the large family along with his wife Rosa, who’ll be played by Spanish actress Marta Milans. The film cast almost 80 roles, so it’s good to know that Billy will have a solid foster family behind him to help him deal with his new, double life.
We can see how all of these intriguing pieces fit together when Shazam! opens in just a few days, on April 5, 2019!
This week at CinemaCon Universal Pictures threw all of its energy into celebrity performances from the likes of Octavia Spencer, Kevin Hart (holding a rabbit meant to represent his Secret Life of Pets 2 character), Tiffany Haddish, Danny Boyle—I could go on and on. But the particular highlight was a new Hobbs & Shaw trailer, which really amped the energy in the room.
Ahead of that happening though, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and David Leitch were in attendance to talk about why the Hobbs & Shaw Fast and Furious spinoff movie is going to deliver the goods. The three men talked about how the Fast and Furious spinoff movie combines the cultures that Johnson and Statham are familiar with and grew up in, and there’s a specific moment shown in the trailer that is very near and dear to Dwayne Johnson’s heart.
Obviously, there are some minor spoilers talking about a specific scene in the trailer to follow. Here’s what he revealed:
There’s been a push to incorporate more from a diverse variety of cultures in movies lately. In fact, the Haka that Dwayne Johnson mentions was put to use at the Aquaman premiere by Jason Momoa and that culture was brought into that movie as well.
Dwayne Johnson is both black and Samoan and he has been open about his family’s history and his pride related to that history. He recently tweeted about how he was able to “transcend race in wrestling” so that he wouldn’t just “get booked that way,” but he’s ready to share his heritage in a big way in Hobbs & Shaw.
Johnson went on to state at CinemaCon 2019:
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham went on to talk about the hugging – and joke about too close hugging—as well as talk about the camaraderie on the set of Hobbs & Shaw. So even though Deckard Shaw and Luke Hobbs have a bit of a competitive relationship, it’s clear the idea of “family” that’s such a big deal to the Fast and Furious franchise is going to translate into this new offshoot as well.
In terms of the Siva Tau, the Samoan war dance, we’ve already seen a preview of this sort of chanting thanks to an official photo shared by Dwayne Johnson himself.
If that image doesn’t already give you an idea of the vibe of Hobbs & Shaw I’m not sure what would before the new trailer officially hits. Now that we’ve seen a the sneak preview at the scene, I’m very hopeful that you’ll get to see the special moment that was a big deal for Dwayne Johnson soon. After all Hobbs & Shaw is officially released on Friday August 2, which is not so very far away. More footage is coming and it will definitely be an explosive day when it does.
To check out what all Universal and the other studios have hitting theaters this year, take a look at our full 2019 movie schedule or take a look at what all is coming in Hobbs & Shaw with CinemaBlend’s full cast list.