Your weekly round-up of pop-culture news, now 75% more baseless speculation.
Greetings, folks! Another Friday afternoon, another digestible digest of pop-culture news. And this week we can’t start anywhere but with the announcement this week that Star Wars: Episode IX is currently without a director, after a “mutual decision” *cough* by Lucasfilm and former director Colin Trevorrow to “part ways” *cough*. This is the culmination of a couple of months of speculation about problems with the script, including last month’s announcement that a new writer had been brought on to “bring a fresh set of eyes” *cough* to the project. My own personal theory on all of this: someone actually managed to get through all of The Book of Henry.
Now, of course, this means that we’re in the middle of an intense cycle of speculation about who’s going to take over the project. This is a pretty neat summary of the contenders (and we-wish-were-contenders), and comes to the came conclusion that most outlets seem to be coming to (right now, as I write this, keeping in mind that this is an evolving news story), that Rian Johnson is the frontrunner. And one red-hot director — but admitted very-long-shot — has taken himself out of consideration on Twitter. Watch this space.
In other Star Wars news, Rian Johnson has this week answered — in that way that doesn’t actually answer anything — the question everyone’s been asking since Episode VIII got it’s name. We’ve also been treated to a new image from the movie, featuring Finn and Rose facing off. And over in the UK, the Royal Mail have released a limited edition range of Star Wars stamps. The set features Star Wars characters old and new, beloved and despised, and are sure to become collectors items, so if you know anyone in Old Blighty, make sure you get them to send you a postcard.
Star Wars is not the only franchise with director news this week — in fact, it feels like ‘director news’ is to September what ‘teaser trailers’ were to April. We’re absolutely swimming in the stuff. Next set of socks in the drawer: Suicide Squad 2, which was at one point being tipped to go to Mell Gibson, of all people, will be directed by The Accountant’s Gavin O’Connor. The Accountant divided critics (as evidenced by a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but did relatively well at the box office, which is probably a step up from the original Suicide Squad film, which fared poorly with critics but did relatively well at the box office. It did win an Oscar though, so… your move, Gav.
Also getting a director this week: X-Force. This is the next X-men-adjacent project after Deadpool 2, also featuring Ryan Reynolds masked guttermouth as part of a rag-tag team of… oh, you know the drill… and it looks like it’s going to be helmed by Drew Goddard. Goddard’s got quite the resume, including writing (with Joss Whedon) and directing cult hit Cabin In The Woods, writing the screenplay for The Martian and episodes of Angel and, yes, Buffy, and producing everything from The Defenders to Lost to Alias — but this is definitely a step up when it comes to directing.
Speaking of Joss Whedon, he’s been installed as the director of Justice League for a couple of months now, since Zac Snyder stepped back, and this week we’re getting some news about what his directorship has meant for the movie, which he’s also been credited as a writer on. It looks like he’s made a whole lot of changes, including cutting characters and scenes and a couple of dozen pages of new script — which is a big deal, given he took over the project less than six months out from it’s release date. We’ll get a look at what this all means in November.
In more DC news, it looks like sometimes-Joker Jared Leto is as confused as the rest of us about what’s happening with all these new Joker movies. I, personally, am confused about the facial expressions in this still from that link…
…but maybe that’s just me. Also Leto’s beard. Of course, with the news that there was Joker vacancy to fill, the rumour mill has been in overdrive, with a lot of talk over the past little while focussing on one man: the one, the only, Leonardo DiCaprio, potential saviour of the DC Universe. But now it’s looking like this is almost certainly not going to be the case. This is Hollywood, so never say never until someone else has signed on the dotted line (and even then…) but I’m calling this one wishful thinking and moving on with my life. Prove me wrong, world!
And if you’re a fan of Jokers’ past, you might be excited to know that Jack Nicholson’s iconic 1989 purple Joker suit is currently up for auction. You might have to sell all your belongings and take out a loan to buy it, but I’ve heard of crazier things to spend your money on.
There’s not a lot of TV news out this week — just a whole lot of networks hunkering down in preparation for the fall premiere season — but one thing that will catch the eye of fans of hard-boiled crime fiction is a report that US Network CBS is adapting James Ellroy’s LA Confidential for television. Coming just days before the latest announcement from Rockstar, it feels like everything’s coming up noir… hurrah!
Finally this week, the 2017 Dragon Award winners were announced this week. It’s only the second year these awards, supposed to be a “true reflection” of the sci-fi and fantasy fans are enjoying, have been given out, and not without controversy. Some of the better-known winners include Netflix’s Stranger Things, Wonder Woman and the latest Expanse novel from James SA Corey. And Pokemon Go. Because of course.
And that’s me done. Have a truly excellent weekend, folks!