A few days ago, Deadpool and Wolverine actors Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman (respectively) posted an image of themselves with Pierce Brosnan. This has prompted wild speculation that Brosnan has been cast as Cable, the character that is to be in Deadpool 2 but with no actor officially cast. While fans can sometimes connect dots that they’ve only imagined, it’s not too far fetched to associate Brosnan with at least some role in the X-Men film series, due to the way cast ensemble images are often used to make announcements. Not to mention that Reynolds and Jackman are actively encouraging rumours by providing no context and, more importantly, laughing about it. Of course, it could be that the three of them are working on another project together, but there are currently no upcoming films with Jackman or Reynolds attached. It’s previously been reported that Kyle Chandler would be cast as the character Cable, real name Nathan Summers, but it’s also been noted that the character as illustrated more accurately resembles Brosnan. Reynolds and Jackman have gone on record as being interested in a film which puts Deadpool (Wade Wilson) and Wolverine (James Howlett) together, but have also confirmed that it won’t be Logan – Wolverine’s upcoming spin-off – leaving Deadpool 2 as the next nearest possibility. By proxy, this means that both Reynolds and Jackman would need to be included in whatever film is being teased; if one of them isn’t, there’s no substantial reason to believe that Brosnan would be. There are also the possibilities that they’re teasing the Internet, because they know they can, or that Brosnan has been cast, but as another character, such as Nathan “Mister Sinister” Essex. Essex is due to make his debut in Logan, which could be setting-up a three-way crossover for the trio.
Lucasfilm have announced that, contrary to popular rumours, there will be no digital recreation of Carrie Fisher, who died between production of VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX. It’s rare for Lucasfilm to directly address Internet speculation, but this makes sense. These rumours only began because a younger version of Fisher herself had been digitally used in Rogue One, along with Peter Cushing. I found it mostly convincing, but I also can’t deny that the majority have found it to be just creepy. Of particular note is the way that the digital renderings of Fisher and Cushing rarely moved due to the complexities of tracking a computer-generated face onto someone else. If a computer-generated Fisher were to be used for Star Wars: Episode IX, all Leia would be able to do would be to stand around and talk, in which case, why bother at all? That’s why the technology hasn’t developed enough to become a norm within big-budget film-making. But because there’s still some ambiguity about it, so it was right that Lucasfilm should acknowledge their intentions in order for Fisher’s family to be reassured. Plus, Lucasfilm need to maintain their status; rumours, while unofficial, can still be widely believed, and no respectable company would allow them to potentially damage their reputation. Of course, that also means that Lucasfilm mustn’t go back on this – they’ve communicated with their audience, and to do the opposite of what they said would be a breach of the unwritten contract between artist and consumer. Which also means that the ways to control the problems caused by Fisher’s unavailability have now become smaller: with no digital recreation happening, Leia must be either recast, or VIII should somehow retire the character, despite having already wrapped principle photography. While there’s no way of currently knowing what’s going to happen, Lucasfilm’s decision to state their intentions does show that they’re on top of their situation. Not only that, but the gossip surrounding this did need to be put to rest. The reason most rumours are officially ignored is because they’re extra, free marketing. But the debate about how Fisher’s death is to be handled is only partially a story issue, and is still a matter of public relations regarding a real person. Of course, Lucasfilm made that debate possible in the first place by showing in Rogue One that an actor’s status of living or dead isn’t a problem to them, thus making the possibility of a digital recreation realistic to begin with. But Lucasfilm also controlled the consequences of that anyway, so it hardly matters. And it was important to be clear about this situation, because of how much of an emotional issue it is to many people. Does that make it likely that Lucasfilm won’t recast Leia? Part of Lucasfilm’s press release was to acknowledge how much they care for Fisher’s legacy, so they probably won’t recast. And anyway, to debate whether or not that will happen is to assume that Leia’s story won’t be concluded in VIII. We won’t know where we stand with Star Wars: Episode IX until we’ve seen VIII, and only then will there be any way of substantially considering Leia’s future. The story must be respected, and one of the points that reviews for Star Wars: Episode IX are likely to focus on will be whether Leia’s absence distorts the story as originally-planned. The use of virtual likenesses are inevitably going to become a major legal issue once the technology becomes mainstream, at which point, actors’ contracts will probably begin including clauses that allow them to be used.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was released to the highest-grossing opening weekend ever. There is no further proof needed than that of a film being the most anticipated in history. And yet, Avatar is still the top-grossing film of all time, which a lot of people expected to be dethroned by Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. And when that didn’t happen, the Star Wars franchise became fallible. Despite the box office results being amongst the best, it wasn’t the best ever. Which means that there is a margin, however small, that Star Wars can under-perform at the box office, even if only slightly. And that makes 2017’s cinematic landscape very interesting for the way VIII could be beaten on the year-end chart. If any film is to beat Star Wars at the box office, it would need to be critic proof, and highly-anticipated as part of a franchise. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the go-to for that criteria, there is another franchise that is even more iconic, and possesses all the potential needed to be even bigger than this year’s Star Wars Episode: the DC Extended Universe. So far, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have been perhaps the most divisive films ever, and have all performed below expectations, which has been attributed to consistently negative reviews for all three. In 2017, the DC Extended Universe is to release Wonder Woman, which will tell the origin story of the character to be featured later this year in Justice League – and that is all that is needed. DC’s films’ weaknesses are also their strengths: they’re experimental. It could be the case that Warner Bros. haven’t yet found a strategy that works, but after three films, it’s not unreasonable to consider that maybe their fourth will be the one that finds a happy medium between critics and audiences. That would combine positive reviews with enthusiastic word-of-mouth, giving DC its first modern film that is received well for the most part. If this is the case, Wonder Woman isn’t the film that will beat VIII – Wonder Woman is one character, and Star Wars is an ensemble of many iconic characters. But DC’s biannual release schedule could be their best decision, because if Wonder Woman nails it, the effect should not be underestimated. All of a sudden, faith is restored in the DC Extended Universe, on both sides, and Warner Bros. could establish the kind of fan-base for those films that isn’t present so far. This means that Justice League would become more hyped than currently, because DC will have proven their ability to make a film that pleases audiences and critics equally. Plus, if this version of Wonder Woman is popular with audiences as a character, those approving audiences would be brought over to Justice League on account of Gal Gadot’s inclusion. That, combined with DC’s preexisting fan-base, and the similarity in premise between Justice League and Marvel’s The Avengers [UK title: Marvel Avengers Assemble] would attract different kind of viewers, and combine them. Not to mention that Batman is arguably more iconic as a character than all the best Star Wars characters combined. The first film to feature the Avengers together was 2012’s highest-grossing film. Those kind of numbers could be repeated for Justice League. But all of it depends on Wonder Woman; if Wonder Woman crushes, Justice League is suddenly given the boost that could propel DC into the small space that stands between Star Wars and stardom. That space is there, but nobody has yet filled it (Rogue One doesn’t count, because that’s an Anthology). Beating Star Wars at the box office is like firing a proton torpedo into the Death Star’s exhaust chute: it’s only been done successfully once, but it can be done. Justice League stands the best chance – but it needs Wonder Woman to vouch for it.
A short story written on a ten-minute limit from a prompt
By Alexander Sigsworth
“Write a scene from the point of view of a character as they reflect on their life-long dream.
What does this character want? What have they sacrificed to come this far? Who have they left behind?
The catch? Just hours prior, this character was about to achieve their dream… but decided against it. Why?”
* * *
I was wrong. I was wrong all along.
I thought it would be better than this. I thought I’d be the incorruptible one. These past four years, this world’s been turned upside-down. War, disease, terror. Of course they’d vote for me. They had no choice. This was always the way it was going to be. I just couldn’t see it. America, Britain… whatever country you can think of. They’ve all had their best times and worst times. Unfortunately, this nation has had less balance. To lead them? It seemed impossible. I’d always turned-away from politics. Cynicism, corruption, and war-mongering. That’s all I thought it was about. I was right, of course. You do not get into office without becoming the worst possible version of yourself you can be. And in the course of doing so, you lose friends, your family privately disowns you, and even your own team within your party think you go too far. It’s their fault, really. They made me party leader. I was the sacrificial lamb, whose soul would be given-up in order to get them all into the money. Or was it my fault for putting myself in that position in the first place? I don’t even care anymore. Because more importantly, I gave-up my very integrity. I didn’t win this election. Someone else did. The person I’ve become. The despot I need to be. The higher-up you go, you further-down you sink. It’s always been that way, I was wrong to change it. I should have listened when my old college friends – too, students of politics – told me that I was going too far. That I was perpetuating what I had criticised in the past. I always wanted to be elected. I really believed I could do some good, I really did. Please, believe that. And I still do. I just had to do terrible things to prove that. What’s the point in being a good leader if your campaign was one of smearing, bribery and lying. Of course, it gave them all a shock when the 07:00 news announced that I’d officially stepped-down from the inauguration. Luckily, there was protocol in place, and the man below me took-up the position, gladly. I’d rather surrender to a terrible leader than be one myself. He’s a real demagogue, and the one that I refuse to be. I’ll disappear now. I’ll be surprised if I’m the subject of the news again.
Avatar, the highest-grossing film, opened in December. It makes sense that Avatar 2 is to open in December if it’s to repeat Avatar‘s success. Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to open in 2018 – the same year that Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is also scheduled to open in May. However, a report from Making Star Wars claims that Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is likely to move to December, which would be consistent with the previous Star Wars films under the Disney regime. If this is true, and Avatar 2 does stick to its release date, the Avatar and Star Wars universes will face-off in the same month’s box office. In the event that the same weekend should be used as the battleground, Star Wars would definitely open at #1 regardless. If 20th Century Fox have any sense, they’d then move Avatar 2 to a few weeks out. Make no mistake, Avatar 2 will happen eventually, but every year, the release date is pushed back by yet another year. Avatar 2 was supposed to open in 2014, and has been pushed back by a year in every year since. But Avatar 2 is coming – becoming the highest-grossing film of all is all the justification that’s needed for making a sequel. While Cameron keeps insisting that Avatar 2‘s constant delays are due to advancing technology, Avatar 2 should’ve been released sooner, while Avatar‘s cultural relevance was still at its height, unlike today. Avatar 2, when released, will be a success, but could’ve already been an even greater success if already released. Expect Avatar 2 to do well, whenever the release turns out to be. But just don’t expect Avatar kind of numbers. Especially if opening in the same weekend as Star Wars.
In an interview with Collider, Deadpool 2 writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick revealed that supporting characters Negasonic and Colossus will be featured in at least some capacity.
What worked about the characters is that they were only supporting roles in Deadpool, which meant that they weren’t overexposed in the story. Plus, their conflicting senses of humour created an ironic clash: Negasonic was Hollywood’s idea of what emos are, while Colossus’ boy-scout personality juxtaposed his tough appearance. Plus, Deadpool didn’t feature any other supporting characters from the X-Men film series, which meant it felt small and unique, which really gave Deadpool a sense of self-identity. If Deadpool 2 is going to be just as good as the first one, Deadpool needs to remain the focus, which means that Negasonic and Colossus need to remain as supports. This means that there’s probably going to be only limited scenes at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, as per before. What works so well about Negasonic, Colossus and Deadpool as a trio is their setup as a comedy troupe: Negasonic and Colossus are Deadpool’s “straight men”, which make Deadpool only funnier. And it’s the moral differences that are at the centre of their relationship: Colossus and Deadpool are totally opposed when it comes to empathy. Perhaps that’s something that Deadpool 2 could explore.
This is a tad late.