Merch, madness and Marvel in your weekly wrap of pop-culture news.
Greetings, folks! For those who didn’t know, today is not just any day. It’s not just even any Friday… and no, this isn’t some allusion to it being the first day of spring and how you’re all going to have to go outside soon. Outside is over-rated and all the controls are broken so you have to watch whatever is on. No, no. Today is special because it is Force Friday. Or, more accurately, Force Friday II. A day, one glorious day, on which a whole bunch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandise is revealed and goes on sale to the public. There’s LEGO on a scale never seen before! There are smart robots! There are action figures and Funko pops and Hot Wheels cars and… porgs? Get your wallets out, but be thoughtful — this is only just the beginning of a long, long Last Jedi merchandise game.
Of course, merch is never just merch. March can also give us big insights into what we should expect from the movie. Today’s biggest talking point (so far) seems to be BB-9E, BB-8’s evil counterpart. Spoiler-phobes would do well to tread through the merch-marshes carefully. Non-spoiler-phobes might also want to check out this latest image, showing off Luke Skywalker’s new look. Three-and-a-half months to go!
Moving on, we all know it’s been a weird couple of weeks in the DC universe, but this piece precisely nails down why we should all be grateful to and excited for all the news coming out of DC at the moment… sort of. Mostly it’s just a good laugh, and who couldn’t use that on a Friday afternoon?
In other big-screen news, Bladerunner 2049 is now only a little over a month away, and this week we got offical word on the expected run time. In short (and it won’t be), make sure you duck to the loo and don’t drink too much water. Go in well rested. Take snacks. All the usual things for Big Serious Movie Blockbusters these days. Does anyone else remember 100-minute movies? Those were the days.
The new Hellboy re-boot has been in the news too, for a kind of unexpected reason. News dropped earlier this week that British actor Ed Skerin has dropped out of the project after realising that the character he was playing was originally of mixed Asian heritage. This obviously comes on the back of a lot of criticism for much bigger names like Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johannsen and Rooney Mara cast in roles that were not white in the source material. I like to think it’s a move that will be seen as a positive, which it has been so far, and that maybe Hollywood will think a little harder about these casting decisions in future (but, you know, it’s Hollywood, so I don’t expect that future to be anytime soon).
On the small screen, this week saw the drop of trailers for a whole bunch of returning shows, including the third season of Mr Robot, which I’m hoping rebounds to it’s Season One goodness after a confusing and messy second outing, and the fourth season of Black Mirror — which promises to be just as much of a mindfuck as all the season preceding it.
The CW has taken efficiency to a whole new level and release the one trailer for it’s whole stable of Arrowverse DC superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow). I guess they figure that if you’re watching any of them at this point, you’re probably watching all of them, but in this clicks-are-king world where everyone else is making as many teasers and trailers and posters and stills as they can, it’s an interesting move.
Other returning shows in the news include Luke Cage — which has just dropped a SUPER-SPOILERY first image for it’s second season. I’m telling you: if you are going to watch The Defenders or you ARE watching The Defenders and don’t want to know how it ends, do not click on this link because it is A SPOILER (and no, it’s not a spoiler because it reveals that Luke survives. Of course he does. He’s Luke Cage. He’s bulletproof.) In fact, don’t even hover over the link to see where it goes. Just… move right along. Everyone else, have at it.
Stranger Things has also released a new poster for its second season, paying homage to Stephen King’s Firestarter. And as well as that, The Duffer Brothers would like to have a word with you about your television. Apparently you might be watching their show all wrong.
(Upside down. Turn your TV upside down.)
New shows! This week we got another trailer for Star Trek: Discovery, focusing on the tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. It’s mostly footage we’ve already seen, but it features a couple of new lines that might be of interest. The embedded version is region-locked, so you might not be able to watch it, but you can access the original Instagram post by CBS here.
ABC’s Marvel’s Inhumans also got another teaser this week. Those of us (okay, maybe just me) who have mainly been thinking this show is going to be pretty terrible but are watching the trailers to see if they can possibly fix Medusa’s hair in time might find the end of this teaser… interesting. If confusing. Inhumans hits IMAX any minute now so expect early reviews in the next little while. In the meantime, early reviews of the first couple of episodes of Hulu’s teen-pitched production of Marvel’s Runaways (the one being made by the creators of The OC and Gossip Girl) are starting to trickle out and they are… good? I, for one, am not surprised, but I also kind of am. I’m conflicted. And excited.
… And I’m going to go and take that confliction and excitement outside to get a good lungful of this fancy spring air (not really). Have a good weekend, folks!