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.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now, going head to head with other big blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. Interestingly enough, each film features a surprise cameo from unexpected fan-favourite (kind of) characters. As such, we’ll be breaking down how Solo‘s cameo came about, and what it means for the Star Wars universe later on. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the film, it will be clearly spoiler-tagged.
Before we get into that though, here’s some news!
Jake Gyllenhaal heralds the arrival of the Sinister Six
While some may have believed that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was set to end after Avengers: Infinity War or it’s untitled sequel next year, the MCU is nowhere near finished.
Need some proof? Well, here you go:
Spider-Man was introduced to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War and delivered one of the film’s more memorable villains in Michael Keaton’s Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the upcoming sequel, the first Marvel movie of their upcoming ‘Phase Four’ looks to be continuing that trend.
Michael Keaton is said to be returning in the web-heads upcoming post-Avengers sequel, and he will be joined by, if negotiations work out, none other than Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal will apparently be playing the villain Mysterio, who, in the comics, is a former special effects wizard and stunt-man, who uses his mastery of illusions to become a costumed criminal.
The fact that the two Spider-Man movies feature lesser known villains such as Vulture and Mysterio could suggest that Marvel’s Spider-Man is headed towards a conflict with the villainous group known as the Sinister Six, whose classic line-up featured both of those villains alongside Doctor Octopus (previously seen in Spider-Man 2), Electro (seen in Amazing Spider-Man 2), Sandman (seen in Spider-Man 3) and Kraven the Hunter, the latter of which has yet to be featured in any of the mainstream cinematic adaptations. Potential villain for Spider-Man: Homecoming 3, anyone?
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 swings into cinemas on July 5th 2019.
Liam Neeson’s back with the Men in Black
Liam Neeson fans everywhere were thrown into a panic late last year when the actor said the following when asked about his future doing action movies:
“They’re still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I’m like: ‘Guy’s I’m sixty-fucking-five.’ Audiences are eventually going to go: ‘Come on.’”
Many took this as a sign that Neeson’s time chasing down kidnappers, terrorists and generally bad blokes was coming to an end, but, fortunately, Neeson later claimed that he would continue making these movies ‘until they bury [him]’. He seems to be following through on that latter statement, as he’s joined the cast of the upcoming Men in Black film (a soft reboot, a la Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle).
He’ll be joining Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, playing ‘High-T’, the head of the Men in Black’s London-based operations, where Chris Hemsworth’s character, Agent H, works.
Although one could imagine Hemsworth and Thompson will take the bulk of the action sequences, it’s unlikely director F. Gary Gray is going to bag Liam Neeson of all people and not give him some sort of kick-ass action sequence.
However, we won’t be able to say for sure until…
Men in Black shoots into cinemas on June 14th 2019.
Boba Fett to get the Logan treatment?
As I said up top, Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now. But as is now the Star Wars way, having a film in cinemas isn’t enough for Lucasfilm; they need to be dominating the news cycle with updates on their billions of future installments whenever they can.
Let’s recap quickly.
Since the Disney acquisition, we’ve had two main saga films in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and two anthology films in Rogue One and, of course, Solo. Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, is scheduled to write and direct his very own trilogy, separate from the Skywalker saga. Similarly, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the men behind Game of Thrones are also said to be doing their own series. An Obi-Wan movie from Stephen Daldry is heavily rumoured to be in its early stages. Lucasfilm is also said to be considering movies about characters such as Yoda and a Guillermo del Toro-pitched Jabba the Hutt film, while actor Alden Ehrenreich is signed on for two more movies beyond his initial outing as Han Solo, so no doubt we’ll be getting a few sequels to that. Similarly, Donald Glover’s reception as Lando has led to speculation (in part fueled by Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kenedy) that he will also be getting his own solo film.
That’s a lot of Star Wars. So really, what’s one more?
James Mangold, director of the acclaimed X-Men spin-off Logan, has been signed on to write and direct a movie about Boba Fett. It’s unknown if this film will be a prequel or a sequel to the Original Trilogy, who it will star, or what it’ll even be about. The film was originally on Lucasfilm’s list of anthology priorities, with Josh Trank originally tapped to direct, before he massively fucked up with that last Fantastic Four film, so it makes sense it’s still on their agenda.
Personally, my pitch is to bring back Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett from Attack of the Clones), write him out of his ridiculous fate from Return of the Jedi, have him retire, then do a Taken/John Wick-style return-to-action film, wherein he has to rebuild his reputation after going out like the punchline of an awful joke.
Considering Mangold’s latest hit in Logan, I think my pitch still works in light of this development.
Boba Fett will most likely fly onto screens at some point in 2020.
Alright, it’s spoiler time. If you haven’t seen Solo: A Star Wars Story, turn back now.
Seriously, only read on if you’ve seen the film or if you don’t really care about seeing the film.
Good, well, here we go:
Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s unexpected cameo shakes up Star Wars
The Marvel Cinematic Universe model is envied by a lot of film studios, but one thing they’ve yet to do successfully is tie their television-based stories back into the movies. Star Wars sort of did this in Rogue One, bringing the Clone Wars character Saw Gerrera to life with Forest Whitaker, although the characters was pretty different to his original cartoon counterpart (Forest’s iteration of Gerrera would then transition back to the animated series when he lent his voice to a few appearances in Star Wars Rebels).
It was all well and good, but nowhere near as cool as one of the big developments in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Namely that…
HOLY. SHIT. DARTH. MAUL. IS. BACK. IN. THE MOVIES.
But wait, some of you might say, I don’t spend my time watching cartoons, and last I remember, Darth Maul was cut in half way back in that slightly racist nineties flick, The Phantom Menace.
Well, you’re not wrong. But as shown in The Clone Wars and Rebels, Maul’s journey didn’t end there. Keeping himself alive through pure hatred, Maul’s bisected body was dumped on a trash planet, where he fashioned himself some robotic spider-like legs and went quite insane. Eventually, he was found by his long lost brother, who had been encouraged to follow in his Dark Side footsteps, who helped restore him to his once evil self. Gaining more practical mechanical limbs (as seen in the new movie), Maul went on to rally a power-base so he could confront his former master, Palpatine, working with various thugs and criminals. Eventually, Palpatine showed up to put him in his place, and he wasn’t seen again until later on in The Clone Wars‘s sort-of sequel series, Rebels.
In Rebels, he returned to manipulate one of the main characters, and used him to attempt to track down Obi-Wan Kenobi, hoping to get revenge for being cut in half. Understandable. This lead to a pretty cool rematch between the two (other rematches were also featured in The Clone Wars).
Anyway, Solo takes place between The Clone Wars/Revenge of the Sith and Rebels. With that portion of his history mostly unexplored, screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan took the chance to bring Maul in, explaining his thoughts on the cameo:
“I was really passionate about him all the way through, I sort of had planted the seeds early and I wanted it to be built that way. And I wanted to reference certain forms of martial arts that might lead to it. And the presence of someone who was so terrifying in this crime world that you just had to know he was the guy who could control someone like Dryden. So he was part of the DNA of the thing.”
This is exciting for numerous reasons. Firstly, it might encourage casual fans to go on watch the two spin-off shows, which feature some of the better Star Wars stories in canon (and some that are kind of shoddy, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad). And secondly, it shows that Lucasfilm, with these anthologies, is making some bold moves in regards to fan-service. They’re not stopping to explain things to those who aren’t in the know, instead writing full-on love letters of movies to their fanbase, and showing that their TV series DO count.
What this will lead to is unknown at the moment, but it will almost certainly be awesome.