All of the biggest pop-culture news from all over the planet, and beyond!
Happy Friday, friends. Put your goggles on and hold your nose because we’re jumping straight into it this week. ‘It’, of course, not just being a record-breaking adaptation of a super-creepy story about clowns and the loss of childhood, but a whole mess of pop-culture news to lead you, gently, kindly, into the weekend.
And we really can’t start anywhere than with developments in the Star Wars universe. After last week’s surprise (not really) mutually-agreed (probably not really) spilt between Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow, this week’s biggest story has to be that JJ Abrams is the new director and co-writer of Star Wars: Episode IX. Most commentators were tipping Rian Johnson, but there’s no denying that Abrams is a pretty obvious choice, after his work on The Force Awakens. So far, the internet seems mostly okay with the decision: some would say he was the only choice, others that he was the necessary choice. Others still have already started discussing what he needs to do to make Episode IX work. And, of course, there’s the question of whether he’s going to keep an old promise — to which we can hope the answer is yes. As it should be.
Coming with the Abrams announcement was news that the film was being pushed back nearly seven months, from May to December 2019. This isn’t all that surprising, and hopefully means Abrams has the time he needs to deliver the very best possible conclusion to the most important film franchise in all our lives (hush, Potter fans).
Speaking of important franchises (again, hush), we are very, very, very close now to the release of Star Trek: Discovery. And this week we’ve been treated to a sneak preview of the series’ theme music. Get excited, folks. This is really happening — only ten of the longest days of your lives to go.
And if you’re hoping for some early reviews, well… prepare to be disappointed. CBS has put a big old embargo on any reviews of the series until after the first episode has aired. Now, this usually means one of two things: either it’s terrible, or it’s twisty. Given everything else we know about this show, I’m going to take a deep breath and go with twisty. Here’s hoping.
Hey, remember when Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the Han Solo movie? Look, honestly, neither do I. It was months ago. So many directors have come and gone from so many projects between then and now, it’s hard to keep track. Well, anyway, it looks like they have landed on their feet, returning to another well-loved franchise, and planning to take it an a direction that sounds very interesting. Buckle up, kids; I see many, many thinkpieces in our futures.
Still on the big screen, we’re a little under a month out from the release of the very hotly anticipated (for better or worse) Bladerunner 2049. A few weeks ago, we got the first of three prequel shorts that are supposed to bridge the timespan between 1982 classic and the coming sequel. This week, we get the second, taking place about a year before the events of the sequel. Keep an eye out for a third short in the next couple of weeks.
The new Hellboy re-boot is a fair way further off, but we’ve just been gifted a first look at David Harbour as the big red guy with the horn-nubs to whet our appetites. Overall, Harbour’s Helloby looks a lot less cartoony than Ron Perlman’s version, and I don’t want to say that it’s because they’ve ditched the prosthetic abs, but… it’s at least *partly* because they’ve ditched the prosthetic abs.
Moving on to TV news, this week outgoing show runner Steven Moffat shared some intel on the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, which will mark the exit of Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi and the debut of Jodie Whittaker. Obviously, the above link is a wee bit spoilery so if you like to go into these things cold, skip that link and stay here where everything is nice and vague and happy.
George RR Martin is currently super-busy working to (finally) finish The Winds of Winter, but in the meantime SyFy look set to turn another of his works into a series. Nightflyers is based on Martin’s 1988 spacey spec-fic novella — and in case you’re wondering what a novella looks like when it’s written by George RR Martin, it looks like 300-odd pages (or, you know, kinda similar to a full-length novel from just about anyone else) — and Martin isn’t going to be involved. Which, I don’t know, might be a good thing… at least for those patient Game of Thrones fans.
And if you are waiting for The Winds of Winter, like a sad puppy tied to a lamppost for your pizza-delivery-guy owner to return from accidentally being sent into the future, or, even if you’re not, here’s some completely unrelated but very lovely listening to make your Friday Afternoon go a little faster. That’s right, four years after the show was cancelled, the cast of Futurama have re-united for a one-off radio-play (or podcast, as we call them in the present), and it feels… very much like Futurama. Aw.
And finally this week, things to buy! Board games based on pop-culture franchises are always a crap-shot, and we usually wouldn’t recommend them willy-nilly, but word on the street (also, on the internet) is that The Expanse board game is a rare example of things done right. Which isn’t exactly surprising, given… The Expanse and all that, but is, because I’m a cynic who expects everything to be disappointing. If you need an activity to fulfil your weekly quota of non-screen-related fun and are looking for a way to be social without actually having to talk or interact in any meaningful way (my personal favourite way to be social, to be honest), you could do worse.
And that’s a wrap! Have an adventure-packed weekend and don’t forget to stumble back here next Friday for more pop-culture newsy news.