Hello, everyone! Its One Of Us’ weekly article series, “The Weekly Wrap-Up.” Covering everything from film announcements to comic books, “The Weekly Wrap-Up” ensures that the biggest stories of the week are analyzed and discussed by our team of writers. This week, we have news about rich ducks, fan films featuring intergalactic teenage monster fighters and even a trailer for a video game about a certain man with a proclivity for nocturnal cave dwellers. Want more juicy details? Then read on!
The Lego Movie Sequel Gets A New Director
Everyone’s favorite toy-commercial-turned-imaginative-indictment-on-consumer-culture The Lego Movie was so mega-successful that of course it’s getting a sequel, though original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller will only be co-writing and producing the follow up to their major hit. Originally, the plan was to have Chris McKay, animation director on the first film and director of several episodes of Robot Chicken & Moral Orel was to take the main director’s seat. However, McKay decided to change tracks and instead direct the film’s upcoming spin off about the Will Arnett voiced Lego Batman character, allowing writer/director Rob Schrab to take the reigns. Schrab is mostly known for his television comedy work, which includes directing episodes of Community, The Sarah Silverman Program (which he co-created) and Childrens’ Hospital.
While I’m sure most reacted to the news with a confused “Who?”, I was quite excited to hear Schrab was taking over the project. His work with Dan Harmon has been the source of so much laughter for me, particularly with Community and The Sarah Silverman Program. Schrab has just the right creative spirit, pop culture appreciation and comedic sensibilities to replace Lord & Miller, as the Schrab directed episode of Community ‘G.I. Jeff’ can atest to. This is honestly a large vote of confidence for me, as the news of a sequel to The Lego Movie without Lord & Miller at the helm just seemed so unlikely to work, even when McKay was originally on board. The only real request I have for Schrab is to keep the sincere joy of the first film intact… oh and maybe throw in a few jokes at the expense of Bionicles as well.
Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer-“Gotham Is Mine”
Batman: Arkham Knight, the third and supposed last entry in Rocksteady’s critically acclaimed video game series, has just received a new trailer that perfectly captures the game’s violent and chaotic tone. Aptly titled, “Gotham is Mine” puts the focus squarely on Batman’s rogues gallery, most notably Scarecrow, the villain seemingly behind the most recent wave of insanity that has plunged Gotham into absolute turmoil.
The events of Arkham Knight are said to be the result of The Joker’s death at the end of Arkham City. With the Clown Prince of Crime’s demise creating a massive power vacuum within the crime-ridden metropolis, Gotham is literally crumbling at the hands of Batman’s most notorious adversaries. Two-Face, Penguin, Harley Quinn, The Riddler and countless others are vying for power and control, hoping to assert themselves as Gotham’s premiere crime lord. However, Scarecrow, returning after being viciously mauled by Killer Croc in Arkham Asylum, has other plans. Convincing his fellow villains to work together, he, along with the mysterious Arkham Knight, plans to unleash an entire city’s fear upon the Dark Knight Detective and anyone else who gets in their way.
According to Rocksteady, Arkham Knight is said to offer an open world that is five times the size of Arkham City’s, and will allow more options for players to explore Batman’s hometown. In case the series’ gliding and grappling mechanic have stated to run stale with some players (certainly not me), Rocksteady has included a drivable Batmobile that can be summoned and driven across Gotham’s rain-swept streets. Batman himself has also received a few upgrades, most notably improved combat abilities and takedowns.
Batman: Arkham Knight will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on June 2, 2015.
New Ducktales Show Coming in 2017
Yes, the “D-D-D-Danger” and adventure seeking mallards are returning to television! Ducktales, the beloved animated show based on Carl Barks’ comics about Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey finding treasures from all across the globe that ran from 1987-1990 on the Disney Afternoon syndication block, will be reborn in a brand new incarnation for Disney XD. The series is set to premiere in 2017 on the Disney cable station and will reportedly feature a host of familiar favorites from the older series, such as Launchpad McQuack, Duckworth, The Beagle Boys and several others.
Now, before you “Woo Ooh!” with excitement, let’s remember; this a relaunch of an existing property. Things could easily go south, given the track record of such projects. We still don’t know if any of the writers behind the original show (including Jymn Magon who helped Barks develop the concept for television), the original voice cast or even the show’s trademark traditional animation style will return. Also, Ducktales wouldn’t be my first choice to return to TV screens. Mind you, I loved Ducktales as a child, but the show had more than it’s fair shake back in it’s heyday, particularly with a theatrically released film and one of the most beloved licensed games ever created. If any show from that entertainment block were to be revived, my personal vote would go to Darkwing Duck, the far more underrated comedic superhero show that would work perfectly in our modern superhero culture. Still, I’m sure there are plenty more tales to be told from these characters. Not pony tales or cotton tales, but tales of derring do… alright that might have been a bit much.
Power/Rangers Fan Film Controversy
When it first premiered, the Adi Shankar produced and Joseph Khan directed fan-film, Power/Rangers, immediately started garnering attention online. A hyper-violent take on the 1990s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Power/Rangers shows a distant future where the original team is all grown-up and using all sorts of nasty language and illegal substances. Starring Katte Sackhoff as the original Pink Ranger and James Van Der Beek as the second (and significantly less popular) second Red Ranger, Power/Rangers and its creative team have recently come under threat of legal action from Power Rangers owner Haim Saban, who demanded the fan-film be taken down. Both YouTube and Vimeo have capitulated to Saban’s demands, removing the video from their respective sites.
Shankar has since released a statement, detailing his frustrations with Saban Brands.
Today, I was deeply disappointed to learn that Saban Brands decided to attack my Power/Rangers “Bootleg Universe One-Shot” film. To all the viewers that enjoyed this film, I consider this an outright infringement on freedom of expression and individualism. I set out to make this film because I am a childhood fan of the Power Rangers. As children our retinas are burned with iconic images and as we grow older these images come to represent crucial moments within the trajectories of our own lives. This film is a homage to the original creators of the Power Rangers, and a parody of a television series we all grew up loving. Films like my Power/Rangers “Bootleg” are vital expressions of creativity in our troubled world. If we suppress this creativity and become passive participants in the consumption of the culture we live in, we implicitly allow a dangerous precedent to be set for the future of the internet.
P.S. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg for hosting Power/Rangers and taking a stand https://www.facebook.com/theadishankarbrand
In all honesty, it’s pretty disappointing that Saban Brands has gone after Shankar’s fan-film so vehemently. With hundreds of Power Ranger fan-films readily available to be viewed online, why is this one suddenly deemed to be infringing on Saban’s copyright? When it comes right down to it, Saban obviously does not want any version of Power Rangers that does not match his vision. His company is already in the process of developing a film reboot for the series and they clearly feel threatened by the idea of an alternative piece of media that portrays the kid-friendly brand as violent and gritty.
Creed Synopsis Hints at Rocky Balboa’s Possible Fate
Nearly a decade after he last graced the screen, Rocky Balboa will return in Creed, the upcoming spin off to the Rocky franchise set to be released November 25th of this year. For the longest time, the only knowledge we had of Creed was that it would follow the son of Balboa’s first rival Apollo Creed being trained by Balboa and that the character would be played by Michael B. Jordan. Well, now an official synopsis has been released that gives more details on the project, particularly with Rocky’s story and his potential fate. Here is the synopsis in full;
Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa.
Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer. Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring. With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title…but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?
When word first came about of a spin off revolving around the youngest son of Apollo Creed, I was very skeptical. 2006’s Rocky Balboa, I’d argue, was the perfect capper to that series and gave a beautiful send off to the beloved character. Plus, in the nine years since, Stallone has undone much of the goodwill Balboa as well as 2008’s Rambo gave him with forgettable attempt after forgettable attempt at reclaiming his action film glory. Yet, despite all that, Creed has gained my interest.
The Powerpuff Girls Returning in 2016
Cartoon Network has amassed a number of incredibly successful properties over the years. With recent successes like Adventure Time and Regular Show under their belts, Cartoon Network sees no reason why they can’t reboot older programs for a newer audience. That’s why in 2016, Powerpuff Girls will be returning to Cartoon Network under the same name. Originally making their debut in 1998, the Emmy award winning series had an impressive 78-episode run and even got a theatrically released film. The series follows Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, three young superheroes who protect the citizens of Townsville. When not fighting supervillains like the evil Mojo Jojo, the girls are either attending school or spending time with their science-loving dad, The Professor.
As reported by comingsoon.net, Spongebob Squarepants and Adventure Time writer Nick Jennings will serve as the show’s executive producer. In addition to Spongebob and Pendelton Ward’s Adventure Time, Jennings has served as a writer for Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life.
Whenever a beloved property is being rebooted, there’s always a sense of excitement and intense skepticism. Powerpuff Girls was a very popular show, and it seems to be one of many animated programs that networks are looking to rehash to appeal to new viewers. While little is still known about the reboot, the fact that Cartoon Network is looking to such talent as Jennings to be one of the show’s caretakers is certainly a positive sign. For now, let’s all rest easy knowing that one of Adventure Time’s writers is working on the series.