Hello and welcome to VultureHound‘s weekly news round-up, where we bring you the biggest and best news to come out of the film industry every Sunday.
This week, we’ve had a lot of somewhat depressing news. News that makes us disappointed in someone we respected. News that makes us realise we’ll never see a character we love again. News that Hollywood producers don’t always know what they’re doing with those billions of dollars at their command.
Okay, so that last one isn’t really news, but you get the gist of things.
Fortunately, we do have two rather positive bits of news. So I’ve assembled a Positive/Miserable/Positive sandwich of stories for you to chow down on. I’d describe the flavour as both exciting, and paradoxically, disappointing.
Rian Johnson is returning to a galaxy far, far away for a whole new trilogy
We covered this earlier in the week, but Disney and Lucasfilm have revealed that they’re so happy with director Rian Johnson’s work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, that they’re giving him a whole trilogy of films to work on, presumably following the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga in 2019’s Episode IX.
The news was delivered along with statements from both Lucasfilm and Johnson and his producer partner, Ram Bergman:
Lucasfilm – “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”
Rian and Ram – “We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi, Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”
This new trilogy will feature ‘new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored’, taking the franchise in a bold new direction, less focused on the Skywalker saga and the anthology films that bulk up it’s cannon.
So Star Wars fans, get excited, because this is just another bit of confirmation that STAR WARS IS NEVER GOING TO END NOW THAT DISNEY OWNS IT. NEVER. WE’LL GET FILM AFTER FILM AFTER FILM UNTIL WE’RE ALL DEAD.
Also: only 32 days, 3 hours and 5 minutes left until The Last Jedi (at the time of writing).
Star Wars: The Last Jedi flies into cinemas on December 15th 2017.
Kevin Spacey ousted from everything after outing himself
You probably heard, but Kevin Spacey came out as gay this week. Usually, a news story like that would be celebrated, but everyone (and I mean everyone) quickly turned on him, when he came out in a statement that seemed to deflect from the fact he had just been accused of making untoward advances at a teenager way back in the day.
Since then, pretty much everyone and everything seems to be distancing themselves from the formerly beloved actor. House of Cards, for instance, which was Netflix’s first original series, is coming to an end after the next series. But perhaps the most radical attempt to distance Spacey from a project comes from Ridley Scott’s new film, All The Money In The World.
The film was due to hit cinemas next month, but now the production plans to completely remove Spacey from the film and reshoot his scenes with a different actor. The radical part about that, however, is that they plan to reshoot all his scenes and still put the film out next month. They are determined to hit that release date, and they’ll be damned if a little thing like booting Kevin Spacey’s going to stop them.
It has been reported that the actor replacing Spacey, Christopher Plummer, was actually Scott’s first choice for the role, but Scott was persuaded by his producer to cast a bigger name.
A similar story (the first half, anyway, not the re-shooting a film that’s due to be released in a month) is also happening to Louis C.K.
C.K. is the latest in a long line of Hollywood professionals to be slammed with sexual abuse accusations. And like Spacey, C.K. is now being collectively shunned by the industry, with companies cutting ties with him, and his new film, I Love You, Daddy being pulled from the release schedule.
All The Money In The World hits cinemas on December 22nd 2017.
The Dark Universe takes a stake to the heart/silver bullet to the head/*insert your own monster killing method here*
Everyone called this some time ago, but now it’s all but official. Universal’s Dark Universe project, which would see various horror movie monsters like the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man and the creature from the Black Lagoon revamped in a shared universe, is pretty much dead.
The shared universe was officially announced back in May, but only five months later, the second film in the franchise, Bride of Frankenstein, was put on hold, leaving many to speculate that the entire franchise would follow suite.
Now, a report from The Hollywood Reporter reveals the sorry state that the franchise is in. Two of the lead architects of the franchise, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have moved on to better things, namely producing Star Trek: Discovery and writing the Rock’s Fast and Furious spin-off, respectively.
The most sorry part of this woeful tale is this particular extract from their article, which pretty much sums up the status of the franchise as a whole:
“Emblematic of Dark Universe’s problems is the tony office building on the Universal lot that was revamped at considerable expense for the new venture. After being decked out in monster regalia, it now sits mostly empty.”
Jeez. If people in Hollywood didn’t have so much money that could actually be an issue (for them), instead, it’s just a reminder of how badly The Mummy fucked up.
The Mummy is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download now.
The Xenomorph may be the newest victim of the Alien franchise
Continuing the trend of franchises scaling back on their actors, movies and concepts, Ridley Scott has revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he believes it’s time to put the Xenomorph to one side and continue Prometheus‘ trend of exploring new concepts. You can listen to what the esteemed director said in this excerpt; with the point in question starting around the 2.40 mark (before that he gives his definitive answer on whether or not Blade Runner‘s Deckard is a Replicant, so that’s more incentive to watch):
After saying that he thinks “the beast has almost run out”, Scott goes on to say that “You’ve got to come in with something else. You’ve got to replace that. And so, I was right. I was ahead of the game”, suggesting that he believes he was on the right track when he took a new direction with Prometheus, as returning to focus on the Xenomorph in Covenant led to a release that received less-than-stellar reviews
(I mean, that’s really the reason for the bad reviews, but hey, it’s his franchise).
Alien: Covenant is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download now.
Critics are ‘All In’ as the embargo on Justice League lifts
We’re now just five days off the release of Justice League, and so, to drum up anticipation for the film, the embargo on reviews has been lifted. If you head over to Twitter and search #JusticeLeague, you’ll find a wealth of tweets detailing the thoughts of those lucky enough to have seen the film already. But to save you the hassle, we’ve gathered a few together:
They did it😊 Justice League is wonderful. Heartfelt, funny, but with high stakes and consequences. They address and fix many peoples issues with BvS, but in ways it helps the story and characters. So many surprises you all have no idea about. #justiceleague
— Mike Kalinowski (@MikeKalinowski) November 10, 2017
— Chris Sylvia (@sylvioso) November 10, 2017
I think if you are going to a #JusticeLeague movie to see all your favorite DC heroes rocking their skills & being the badasses you love, then you will get plenty of that. Lots of action. Lots of superheroes being superheroes.
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) November 10, 2017
#JusticeLeague is good!
(And I can finally talk about it!)
Wonder Woman is wonderful, Aquaman is surprisingly cool, Flash is hilarious, Batman is drunk, the story is coherent, and it's all surprisingly funny. It's not perfect, but really enjoyable!
Full review to come! pic.twitter.com/YzgSL4FBOP
— Mike Rougeau (@RogueCheddar) November 10, 2017
A lot of positivity so far. Not all critics were so blown away by the film, but even the less positive reactions were peppered with praise:
#JusticeLeague was entertaining for a good portion of the time though thin on storytelling and character development. There's more fun, humor and heart than BvS but it also feels very rushed with some scenes given zero time to develop.
— Dennis Tzeng (@ThinkHero) November 10, 2017
#JusticeLeague is a fun, bumpy ride that succeeds in character, but fails in narrative. It’s a mixed bag of execution that’s saved by the actors, who rise above the shortcomings to deliver an engaging, funny and hopeful, yet flawed, entry to the DCEU. @joblocom
— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) November 10, 2017
Here it goes … #JusticeLeague is super thin and has some very weak CG but it’s got heart and a positive vibe that works. Overall, I had a pretty good time and am looking forward to seeing more of these characters.
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) November 10, 2017
Except for this guy, he wasn’t a fan:
Nothing could save JUSTICE LEAGUE from its loud, ugly, tacky self. Not Wonder Woman, not wide-eyed Ezra Miller, not Joss Whedon's quippy teardown & rebuild. And Henry Cavill's mustache is an actual issue; they gave him Uncanny Valley Face. Oof, guys. It's a rough ride
— Josh L. Dickey (@JLDlite) November 10, 2017
So ignoring that one guy, from the sounds of things, Justice League is a pretty enjoyable superhero film. It has heart, well-defined characters and awesome action. Sure, a few have commented on the thin plot and villain, but let’s be honest – that could also describe half of Marvel’s movies, and people love those.
Here’s one more for the road:
— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) November 10, 2017