Hello, everyone! It’s 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’ve got plenty of Star Wars news from the world of both video games & comic books, a recent casting announcement for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse and a big star entering the sequel to Blade Runner. All this and more follows below;
Star Wars: Battlefront III Reveal Trailer
For the first time in about a decade, the world is a buzz with news coming from Star Wars Celebration, the annual fan gathering that commemorates all things from a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Yesterday, the new teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dropped to great fan acclaim and now the reveal trailer for the highly anticipated third entry in the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise has hit the internet as well. DICE and EA also revealed at the event that the game would would not have a campaign mode, space battle sequences and any environments or characters from the prequel trilogy. So, if you wanted Jar Jar Binks in a Droid Starfighter around the moons of Mustafar, you’re out of luck. Still, we will be getting the traditional hero mode for original trilogy characters and a mission that takes place shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi on Jakku, the desert planet which will be introduced in The Force Awakens.
The original Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Battlefront II were two of my favorite games growing up. I still have fond memories of playing against my sisters as we blew each other up on opposing sides while battling on Kashyyyk and collaborating to stop the oncoming Empire forces on Hoth. So naturally, the announcement of a new entry made me giddy and this reveal trailer only served to give me more chills, even after seeing that Force Awakens teaser the previous day. The graphics are obviously even better than before, clearly aiming on immersing the player as much as possible in the worlds of the Star Wars universe. Plus, the hero/villain mode on this grand a scale has so much potential, particularly with the extremely impressive shots of Darth Vader on Endor in the trailer. Of course, this all clearly isn’t gameplay footage and the lack of space battles does disappoint, something EA as a company is rather infamous for.
Psylocke Cast in X-Men: Apocalypse
Psylocke will be yet another mutant to be featured alongside the ever expanding roster of X-Men in Bryan Singer’s highly anticipated film, X-Men: Apocalypse. Playing the role of the powerful telepath is Olivia Munn (Mordecai, Magic Mike). Though Munn has received some success for her performance on HBO’s The Newsroom, she has yet to have a breakout role in film.
Like many mutant and X-Men characters before her, Psylocke’s history is as complicated as they come. Originally created by Chris Claremont (Days of Future’s Past) and Herb Timpe in 1976, Psylocke’s first appearance was in the often forgotten Marvel series, Captain Britain. After years of being featured alongside her boring twin brother, Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock eventually placed her mind in the body of the Japanese assassin, Kwannon. Gaining the knowledge of martial arts and later perfecting her telepathic and telekinetic abilities, Betsy took the name Psylocke.
Those interested in the character should read Rick Remender’s award winning and critically acclaimed series, Uncanny X-Force, which is regarded as one of the best comic runs to feature the heroine.
Blade Runner 2 to Star Ryan Gosling?
After over 30 years of release, it seems odd to make a sequel to Blade Runner, a film infamous at the time of release for underperforming. Even with Harrison Ford returning to the role of Deckard, will modern audiences have the interest to come out in droves to see this influential cult film turn into a franchise? Well, they just might see it now that a modern star is attached. Variety reports that Gosling is in talks to star alongside Ford in a role that hasn’t been disclosed. The film will be produced by the original film’s director Ridley Scott and directed by Denis Villeneuve, the French-Canadian director behind Prisoners and Enemy.
Honestly, I’ve never been onboard with the idea of a sequel to Blade Runner, especially with one where Deckard returns. The originally intended ending (ie not whatever the hell the theatrical cut ended up being) leaves the story on such a perfect ambiguous note, leaving the audience wondering where Deckard will end up going next as he escapes with Rachael in tow to parts unknown. Having a follow up to that feels like an immediate set up for disappointment that not even the dreamy eyes of Gosling can fix, though that could easily depend on what his role in this new film is set to be and how much Deckard is a part of the plot. Probably the biggest mark for the film is Villeneuve’s involvement as director, who showed off his talent for grimly lit and performance driven drama with his previous two films. Plus, it’s better than having Ridley Scott behind the helm to personally ruin another great film from his early career… though his apparent producer credit means he could easily turn this into the Prometheus of this universe.
With Marvel’s recent successes with their Star Wars titles, most notably Kieron Gillen’s Star Wars: Darth Vader, it makes sense that the comic publisher would want to add even more popular characters to their lineup. Announced via Star Celebration 2015, Marvel has confirmed their next series in a galaxy far, far way will star the smooth-talking scoundrel and gambler, Lando Calrissian. Though said to be only a limited-series, Lando will have an impressive creative team consisting of Charles Soule (She-Hulk) and Alex Maleev (Daredevil, Moon Knight).
Soule expressed his enthusiasm on writing Lando, highlighting his love for the “galactic entrepreneur.”
“Is Lando Calrissian the coolest character in all of Star Wars? Depends on who you ask, probably. But if you ask me, the answer is yes, and I plan to prove it with this story.”
The book will follow Calrissian before the events of Empire Strikes Back when he wasn’t the Administrator of Cloud City. Along with Lobot, the first issue has Calrissian planning a heist to steal one of the galaxy’s most expensive ships.
NBC Gives Series Order to Emerald City
The stories of Oz are getting yet another reinvention, this time on NBC’s small screen… despite being cancelled. Yes, Emerald City was originally greenlit by NBC in January of 2014 before being abruptly cancelled due to disagreements between the network and executive producers Matthew Arnold (Siberia) & Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds) who created the idea originally. Now, the series has been resurrected for a 10 episode first season with new executive producer David Schulner at the helm. The series will be a modern adaptation where a 20 year old Dorothy and her K9 police dog are transported to Oz in what has been described as a more Game of Thrones-style take on L. Frank Baum’s original stories.
The adaptation history of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz stories has been rather lengthy, but ultimately underwhelming in terms of scope. In this modern age of attempted universe building, it’s a shame no one has attempted to develop the original stories of that universe into a grand scale fantasy adventure film series it has the potential to be. Instead, we’re seeing stuff like Emerald City, which seems to be this rather forced attempt at following up the success of fantasy TV shows like the earlier mentioned Thrones or Once Upon a Time. Plus, how is this modern adaptation going to crib from those successful shows? Is the Cowardly Lion going to assassinate the Wizard at The Emerald Wedding? Is the Scarecrow going to have straw explode from his head in a Trial By Combat? Is the Mayor of Munchkinland going to be decapitated under order of the Wicked Witch? Only time will tell.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters Trailer
Taking place in an alternate universe, Justice League: Gods and Monsters follows alternate versions of DC’s most iconic heroes, including Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. In this universe, Superman is the guilt-ridden son of General Zod, Wonder Woman is the daughter of the Ares, and Batman is a very hungry vampire. DC Animation fans will be happy to know that Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) returned to both write and produce Gods and Monsters. The film is actually an original creation of Timm’s, and make’s use of his iconic art style (look at those broad shoulders!)
Recently, DC’s newest animated projects have focused mostly on New 52 storylines and the Arkham Asylum game franchise. Though films like Assault on Arkham were fun, Justice League: War and Throne of Atlantis were extremely disappointing. Timm’s return can possibly be interpreted as a sign that DC/Warner Bros. want to achieve the same level of critical success that they did with earlier animated movies like Batman: Return of the Joker, Wonder Woman and Batman: Under the Red Hood. As a huge fan of Timm’s work and his numerous contributions to animation, I can’t wait to see what the mastermind of the DCAU has in store for us.