VultureHound’s Weekly News Round-Up (10/03/2019)

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:
– Say hello to Hello Kitty
– Idris Elba headlines the (mostly) new Suicide Squad
– Mark Hamill reignites The Last Jedi debate

Read on to find out more!

Hello, Hello Kitty

As we’ve all come to understand, the current movie-making model means that eventually, everything under the sun will most likely get some form of Hollywood adaptation. The most recent of Hollywood’s acquisitions? Hello Kitty.

For the first time ever, Sanrio, the Japanese company behind Hello Kitty, has granted movie-making rights to the west to make the character’s first English language film. This is the first and only time that Sanrio have offered up its rights to a major film studio (other properties owned by Sanrio include Gudetama, My Melody and Little Twin Stars) and prior to now, the character of Hello Kitty had been contained to Japanese animations, comic books, TV series, video games and 50000 branded products (maybe ‘contained’ isn’t the right word there – that’s a lot of stuff).

Following the reveal on Tuesday, the Sanrio founder, Shintaro Tsuji, had this to say:

“I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut. Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world”.

At this time, it is unknown if the film will be live-action or animated, but the search for writers is currently underway.

Until the film’s release, Hello Kitty can be found pretty much everywhere things are branded.

 

Who will be the new Suicide Squad?

DC’s cinematic universe is currently in a state of flux. Aquaman has become their highest grossing superhero movie of all time, and those in charge have decided the best way to proceed is to deemphasise the shared universe connection and just focus on making great films that stand on their own. As such, while Wonder Woman and Aquaman will be getting sequels to their hit films, other characters like Batman will be seeing their own series rebooted, while other characters, like the Joker, will be operating in their own little world.

And then there’s the Suicide Squad, which, from the sounds of things is kind of a sequel, kind of a reboot. A ‘relaunch’. For all intents and purposes, it seems to be starting the franchise over, but it may drag on or two elements from the previous film along for the ride.

This week it was announced that, after the confirmation that Will Smith, who played Deadshot, will not be returning, that Idris Elba will step in to take his place and continue the story of that character. Alongside Elba as Deadshot, the film will also feature Margot Robbie as the fan-favourite Harley Quinn. And now we also have a list of B-list supervillains who will help fill out the Squad’s new roster.

The four new characters joining the series will be King Shark, a humanoid shark creature who has previously made appearances in the Arrowverse TV shows; Ratcatcher, a genderswapped version of the Batman villain who controls rats; Polka-Dot Man, a criminal with a suit covered in spots, who can remove said spots and transform them into weapons; and Peacemaker (potentially to be played by Dave Bautista), a man so devoted to peace, he’ll use excessive violence to achieve it (also, interestingly, Peacemaker was the basis for the character ‘The Comedian’ in Watchmen).

The Suicide Squad shoots into cinemas on August 6th 2021.

 

Mark Hamill opens up about Star Wars woes

The fiery debate over the quality of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has once again been reignited after Den of Geek posted a new interview with Mark Hamill.

Promoting his new show, Knightfall, Hamill was inevitably asked about Star Wars and his outspoken nature when it comes to the Sequel Trilogy of the Skywalker Saga. First, he commented on the nature of social media and the way his opinion can circulate so quickly (just like it is currently):

‘The thing is, Luke changed so much between the first trilogy and the last trilogy. I got myself into trouble. I made a vow – I said that I’m not going to talk about the movies anymore, because I think it’s important for the audience to see them. My problem was, I wasn’t dealing with social media back then, where you say something and it goes around the world in 24 hours! If I were to answer your questions on paper, I’d think: oh, that sounds a little strong, or, I shouldn’t say this. But I have a tendency just to talk and talk and talk, and you can cherrypick. You know, I’ll be reading something, and say, “What moron said this?”, and then realise, “Oh, it’s me.” They can take selective comments you’ve made out of context and use it to support their argument: “See, Mark hated Star Wars!” “Did I?”

He followed up by explaining why he’s as passionate as he is:

‘I was once describing Star Wars fans, and I said, they’re passionate, they’re opinionated, and they feel a sense of ownership, because they’ve invested so much time in these characters and these stories, and I realised I was describing myself. It can get you into trouble, because I don’t control the storylines. I’m sort of like a musician. I read the music, and I try to play it to the best of my ability. That doesn’t necessarily mean I like the tune, but that’s not my job.’ 

Finally, after claiming that he thought the film schedule was too densely packed, he narrowed in on the problem with The Last Jedi that is currently at the forefront of his mind:

‘I just thought, Luke’s never going to see his best friend again. You look at it in a self-centred way. I said that it was a big mistake that those three people would never reunite in any way. I guess I was wrong, because nobody seems to care! I have to stipulate that I care, but it didn’t really seem to affect the larger audience. Luke, Han and Leia will never be together again, and I’ll probably never get to work with Harrison again. Then the second thing was that they killed me off. I thought: oh, okay, you should push my death off to the last one. That’s what I was hoping when I came back: no cameos and a run-of-the-trilogy contract. Did I get any of those things? Because as far as I’m concerned, the end of VII is really the beginning of VIII. I got one movie! They totally hornswoggled (tricked) me.
Listen, I never expected to come back. We had a beginning, a middle, and an end. That’s what I said: why mess with it? It’s not something that worries me, because it’s all about the new generation, as it should be.’ 

He even spoke to some of the changes Hamill insisted on on set:

‘They had me walking by 3PO, not even acknowledging him. I said: “I can’t do that! [Rian Johnson] said, “Okay, go over and do whatever.” So I went over, and I did whatever. They say it in the script: “Forget the past, kill it if you have to”, and they’re doing a pretty good job!’ 

We all knew this already, but it’s clear that Hamill isn’t happy with the way things have turned out for Star Wars, and it’s a real shame to see someone so integral to the franchise feel so burnt by its new direction. It’s just another reason why all eyes are on J.J. Abrams, as he has the unenviable task of not only rounding out a nine-film long saga, but also reuniting the fanbase when…

Hamill will return as Luke Skywalker in the untitled Star Wars: Episode IX on December 20th 2019.

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