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:
– : Episode IX casts first big name
reveals the troubles behind playing Jar Jar Binks
–  spin-off bags prospective Bond
– One of the new faces of  revealed!
(I’ll be honest, it’s mostly just casting news this week)

Read on to find out more!

steps on board the Millennium Falcon for Episode IX

Keri Russell / The Americans / Picture courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Now that Star Wars is under the control of Disney, with new movies being pumped out every year, it seems a week without that galaxy far, far away making the headlines is a rarity. Just as the conversation surrounding The Last Jedi started to die down, conversations about Solo began to heat up. Similarly, with Solo slowly slinking out of cinemas after a less than spectacular run (by Star Wars standards, anyway), of course now would be the time for news on the upcoming Episode IX to kick off – despite the fact it’s over a year away.

The next chapter in the Star Wars saga starts shooting later this month, so it makes sense that casting details are starting to drop. The first is that Keri Russell is in talks to appear in the film. Russell has previously worked with director J.J. Abrams on Mission: Impossible 3 and as the star of the TV series Felicity. The actress can currently be seen playing a Russian sleeper agent in 1980s period drama The Americans.

Her role in the movie, at this time, is unknown, but previous rumours stated that the film was looking to cast a female lead in her 40s or 50s, named Mara, which many assumed would be the fan-favourite character from the former Expanded Universe, Mara Jade – a force-wielding special agent and love interest to Luke Skywalker.

Star Wars: Episode IX flies into cinemas on December 20th 2019.


Ahmed Best reveals the impact of playing Jar Jar Binks

Ahmed Best & Jake Lloyd / Picture courtesy of Lucasfilm

More Star Wars news, as more revelations about the impact of working on a Star Wars film come to light. Recently, Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in The Last Jedi, was forced off social media after fan backlash to the movie reached new heights. This increasing negativity has been a big subject of debate in the Star Wars community as of late, as although many of the films have been seen as divisive (the prequels), the growth of social media in recent years has allowed some of the more aggresive members of the fanbase to take their complaints to the people who worked on the film. Stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega have already felt the effects, and director Rian Johnson sees hatred spewed at him in response to nearly every tweet he posts, regardless of whether or not it’s Star Wars related.

But even before social media, working on a Star Wars film proved to be something that could have dangerous ramifications on someone’s life. This week, actor Ahmed Best, best known for bringing Jar Jar Binks to life in The Phantom Menace and subsequent Star Wars media, shared that the backlash towards his character – a mix of overly critical responses and unchecked fan aggression (including death threats) – was so intense that he debated taking his own life.

Fortunately, this sad tale prompted some of the more positive members of the fanbase to speak out in support of Best, who is now considering making these events the focus of his solo theatre performance next year.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download.


takes aim at the Fast & Furious

Picture courtesy of Harald Krichel

The film that’s been popping up throughout the lifetime of this Weekly News Round-Up segment is finally getting some more substantial news than ‘Oh s#!t, look what *insert Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson or Vin Diesel* did now!’, as a big bit of casting news starts to shape up the Fast and Furious spin-off film.

Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, the film has been the source of a lot of controversy for the cast of the Fast and Furious franchise, as its inclusion into the series pushes back the next mainstream entry by a year (something Tyrese Gibson in particular isn’t happy about – he needs that money – his words, not mine). But after a lot of that aforementioned ‘news’ on who’s arguing with who, Idris Elba has been revealed to have been cast in the upcoming film.

Elba will feature as the villain of the film, starring alongside Johnson, Statham and The Crown‘s Vanessa Kirby, under the direction of Deadpool 2‘s David Leitch in a story written by veteran Fast and Furious franchise scribe Chris Morgan.

races into cinemas on July 26th 2019.


takes the highway to the Danger Zone

Miles Teller / Thank You For Your Service / Picture courtesy of Universal Pictures

It’s been unclear what ground (or rather, airspace) the highly-anticipated sequel to Top Gun would cover when it hits cinema screens next year. For a while, all we knew that Tom Cruise would be returning, and the film would be titled after his character, Maverick. We later learned that Val Kilmer would be returning as Maverick’s rival, Iceman, and that the film would be directed by Joseph Kosinski, who previously worked with Cruise on the science-fiction film Oblivion.

More recently, it was revealed that the film was looking for a younger actor to star opposite Cruise, and after a bunch of big names threw their names into the ring, the part – now revealed to be that of the son of Maverick’s sorely missed wingman Goose (uh, spoilers for Top Gun, I guess?) – would be going to Miles Teller.

Seeing Goose’s son in the mix will no doubt make for an emotional viewing, what with Cruise’s character having blamed himself for his wingman’s death. However what the rest of the story will be about is unknown at this time, but most importantly, a variant of Kenny Loggins ‘Danger Zone’ will be involved. Topless volleyball game, anyone?

Top Gun: Maverick shoots into cinemas on July 12th 2019.