POP CULTURE NEWS ROUND-UP
Movies, series and games coming soon to a screen near you
On the back of San Diego Comic-Con, vampires, the lord of dreams, an uncanny impersonation of a Hollywood icon, women baseball players and a whole lot of superheroes made the news.
With an in-person edition of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) held from 21 to 24 July, for the first time since 2019, it’s been a busy week for announcements, updates and trailer reveals from the worlds of pop culture.
This year’s Comic-Con may have had a lot of news and trailers, but the most impactful has to be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Judging by the music alone, director Ryan Coogler is going to make the audience cry when we go back to Wakanda, where the leaders of the kingdom are fighting to protect their nation from invading forces in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. Wakanda Forever is notable for being the last film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it will introduce aquatic anti-hero Namor (Tenoch Huerta) – Marvel Comics’ first superhero – to the MCU.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in cinemas on 11 November 2022. Rest in power, Chadwick Boseman.
If you need a pick-me-up after that – although this will probably play on your heartstrings too – Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson’s stop-motion reinvention of Pinocchio, where a wooden marionette is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver, follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world. The all-star voice cast includes Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett and John Turturro.
Pinocchio releases on Netflix in December 2022, probably as the streamer’s big holiday season movie.
If Elvis can get yet another biopic in 2022, then why not fellow mid-20th century icon Marilyn Monroe? Coming to Netflix on 28 September, after debuting at the Venice Film Festival, is Blonde, starring Ana de Armas as Norma Jeane Mortensen/Marilyn Monroe, an aspiring actress and trauma-carrying woman who unravels under the weight of her sexpot image. Adrien Brody plays Monroe’s third husband, playwright Arthur Miller.
Blonde is based on Joyce Carol Oates’s biographical fiction novel, which was a finalist for both the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. It’s directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly) and comes with a surprisingly high NC-17 age restriction. In addition to the first trailer below, a fresh set of images from the film also was revealed.
Arthouse studio A24 (Moonlight, Hereditary, Ex Machina) has announced a surprise prequel – Pearl – the origin story of the geriatric villain from Seventies slasher tribute, X, which was released in March. Filmmaker Ti West and actress Mia Goth return for the film (shot back-to-back with X), with the synopsis from A24 as follows: “Trapped on her family’s isolated farm in 1918, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl’s ambitions, temptations and repressions all collide in the stunning, technicolour-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain.” Pearl hacks her way into cinemas, looking for adoration, from September.
Announced by Nickelodeon at SDCC, the new animated Avatar: The Last Airbender film will follow the adventures of Avatar Aang and his friends as young adults. This is separate from the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender show, currently in development for Netflix.
Speaking of, the Avatar world is expanding even more. Also announced during the Nickelodeon panel, Dark Horse will be publishing two new Airbender sequel comics, graphic novel Azula in the Spirit Temple, out in the middle of 2023, and a new Korra trilogy.
Despite middling reviews, Netflix’s The Gray Man has generated enough love from audiences to warrant not only a sequel, but a spin-off as well. According to Deadline, directors Joe and Anthony Russo and star Ryan Gosling are already on board for the untitled sequel, while the mysterious spin-off has snagged screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool, Zombieland).
Speaking of the Russo brothers, the duo won’t be helming the next Avengers movie. That responsibility falls to Destin Daniel Cretton, a fellow MCU alumnus, who made Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings. Cretton will direct Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, out in May 2025, but not its follow-up, Avengers: Secret Wars, which will be released a few months later, in November 2025.
With just a week to go before it hits the small screen, Netflix has released a new trailer for The Sandman, the highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s iconic graphic novels. The Sandman is a rich, character-driven blend of myth and dark fantasy woven together over the course of 10 epic chapters, following Dream of the Endless. Developed and executive produced by Gaiman himself, with showrunner Allan Heinberg, and David S Goyer, The Sandman releases on Netflix on 5 August 2022.
Still in adaptation news, network AMC is coming out with a “modern” retelling of Anne Rice’s bestselling novel, Interview with the Vampire. Still set in New Orleans, but this time in 1910, Rice’s classic dark fantasy continues on the small screen in what showrunner Rolin Jones promises will be “even more reverential” to the book than the 1994 film starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm in Game of Thrones) is Louis, while Australian actor Sam Reid (Prime Suspect 1973) is centuries-old vampire Lestat. The series premieres on 2 October.
Comic-Con revealed a very extensive plan for the Marvel Cinematic Universe through 2025, including seven upcoming television series (the first of which is She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, premiering on Disney+ this August). Included among the shows, although perhaps not that big a surprise, is Daredevil: Born Again.
Reprising their roles from the Netflix Daredevil series are Charlie Cox (as the title character, a Hell’s Kitchen vigilante who is blind attorney Matt Murdock by day) and Vincent D’Onofrio as crime lord Wilson Fisk, AKA The Kingpin. Both have already made appearances in the MCU, in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye, respectively. No word yet on whether other cast members and characters from the Netflix show will be part of the reboot. Daredevil: Born Again arrives in Q2 2024 on Disney+.
Marvel’s showcase at Comic-Con revealed more details about X-Men ‘97, a direct follow-up to the beloved X-Men animated series that ran from 1992 to 1997. The cartoon will even feature the same art style, and most of the surviving voice cast of the original series are reprising their roles. X-Men ‘97 will debut on Disney+ in Q3 2003, and has already been granted a second season.
If you enjoyed Hidden Figures, if you are fascinated by historical events that promoted gender equality, and if you remember the 1992 film starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Tom Hanks, you should probably take note of A League of Their Own. This true story and period sports drama centres on the women’s professional baseball teams that sprung up in the US during World War 2 – while the male leagues were short of players. Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson stars in and co-created the eight-episode series, which comes to Amazon Prime Video on 12 August.
Despite publicising both projects quite hard over the past two years, Ubisoft has stopped development on Ghost Recon Frontline, a free-to-play battle royale shooter set in the Ghost Recon universe, and Splinter Cell VR, a virtual reality stealth game for Meta’s Oculus headset.
Two other unannounced titles have been scrapped, while movie tie-in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, an open-world adventure, has been pushed back past March 2023. There are also rumours that Ubisoft’s 3v3 sports game Roller Champions, which just launched at the end of May, is on the chopping block too. However, Ubisoft denies this.
Meanwhile, the remake of 2003 RPG Knights of the Old Republic, arguably the best Star Wars game made to date, is in deep trouble, and may never be completed. Announced in September 2021, and in progress for three years already, developers Aspyr Media recently fired two senior creatives guiding the project. Now all work on the game is paused.
The second Annapurna Interactive Showcase highlighted the award-winning indie game publisher’s upcoming releases. That short but sweet spotlight on known and new games deserves to be unpacked in a dedicated post, but in the meantime, you can watch the 30-minute Showcase here. DM/ML
This story was first published in on Pfangirl.com