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For quite some time, The New Mutants seems like it has been stuck in cinematic limbo. While it’s not the only movie to get delayed in the wake of the merger between Disney and Fox, the lack of updates surrounding its release have caused quite a bit of speculation. So fans of the Marvel Comics series should be excited to learn that something is actually happening with the movie -- and we can expect to see a new trailer in January.
After months of radio silence surrounding the project, New Mutants illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz gave an update during his appearance on the Fatman Beyond podcast:
" I don’t know if I’m even allowed to mention any of this, but I will say that the New Mutants film, if you’ve heard anything about it the last couple years… two days ago, I heard from Josh Boone, the director. And he sent me a new trailer. They’ve been working on it, and it is phenomenal. I got chills. It looks like, because of the whole Disney-Fox merger, takeover, whatever … it’s got the blessings of Marvel. And it feels more Marvel in terms of what they’re doing, but also the horror elements of the film are in place.".
And while that’s not an official confirmation, Josh Boone recently responded to a fan on Instagram asking about a new trailer for The New Mutants by telling them, “Soooooon. January.”
News about the New Mutants adaptation has certainly been a long time coming. The film has been in development since 2014, and production began way back in the summer of 2017. The first trailer for The New Mutants hit in the fall of 2017 and it was well received. But studio executives weren’t impressed, and allegedly had some back and forth with Josh Boone as to what the overall tone of the film should be. The original April 2018 release was delayed to accommodate reshoots (and Marvel’s Deadpool 2 release). A second delay, reportedly for more reshoots, pushed the film’s release date back into August 2019. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
The New Mutants is currently set for an April 3, 2020 release. But it’s still not a sure bet that will happen, either. Fans definitely noticed that The New Mutants was completely absent from this year’s D23, which didn’t seem to bode well for its immediate future.
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!
As the grand finale of the nine-episode Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker was expected to reach deep into the franchise canon to execute a conclusion, and that expectation was very much met. Some big questions are answered, some significant arcs are brought to a close, and many characters came back for some final goodbyes.
It’s that last bit that we’re here to talk about in this feature. Not only did director J.J. Abrams manage to bring in some franchise legends, but also big actors in surprising roles and a handful of fun appearances. So let’s dig into it, shall we? Here are all of the cameos we know about in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker so far.
Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz were notably brought in to help create the voice for BB-8 in the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the production didn’t go to outside consultation when it came to making D-O for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. The droid notably speaks English (much like C-3PO), and while its modulated, the voice you’re hearing belongs to director J.J. Abrams. It marks the first time that he has acted as a character instead of himself since a 2001 episode of Alias in which he had a voice role.
Those of you who are fans of the critically-acclaimed series Killing Eve probably got a bit of an extra thrill seeing Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker this weekend noticing that Villanelle herself, Jodie Comer, plays Rey’s unnamed mother (opposite actor Billy Howle as Rey’s father). It’s not clear if she is the daughter of Emperor Palpatine, or if that lineage is on her husband’s side, but either way it was fun seeing the Emmy winner in her first blockbuster (and actually only her second movie).
Warwick Davis has a long history playing multiple characters in the Star Wars universe (eight to be exact), but for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker he returned to the role that began his relationship with the legendary franchise. In 1983 Davis made his feature film debut playing the fuzzy Ewok named Wicket in Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, and in 2019 he reprised that same role for a quick appearance following Rey’s defeat of the Sith. It’s a quick moment, but a cute one, and gives us an interesting look into the biology of the species (much like Wookiees, it appears that they age very slowly).
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker may have rewritten a lot of what Star Wars: The Last Jedi implemented in the canon, but one fantastic detail that was maintained from Rian Johnson’s film was the idea that Kylo Ren was “haunted” by the spirit of his father, Han Solo, whom he killed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams brought this to life in the new blockbuster, getting Harrison Ford to perform one last scene as the world’s favorite intergalactic smuggler. Abrams even finds a way to reference Solo’s famous “I know” line from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – though this time the context refers to Kylo Ren a.k.a. Ben Solo reembracing the Light Side of the Force.
As we’ll get into more a bit later, not all of the cameos in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker were in-person, as the film finds a way to include a number of actors in voice-only roles. One perfect example is James Earl Jones, who has a single line toward the beginning of the film as Darth Vader speaking as an imitation performed by Emperor Palpatine. It’s a nice surprise, and Jones’ voice is always amazing to hear… though the much more substantial role he had in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did make this appearance a tad less exciting.
Star Wars fans spent the majority of the Sequel Trilogy wondering what exactly had become of Wedge Antilles. The skilled pilot was a key part of some of the most important battles between the Rebels and the Empire in the original trilogy, and yet the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi suggested that he had moved on from fighting tyranny when the Rebellion became the Resistance. Just in time for the whole saga to end, though, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker brought back actor Denis Lawson for a surprise appearance in the new film, featured as one of the heroes brought into battle by Lando Calrissian in the ultimate fight against the First/Final Order.
Audiences worldwide were shocked to see Supreme Leader Snoke sliced in half in Star Wars: The Last Jedi given that it seemed he was being set up as the big bad of the Sequel Trilogy – but J.J. Abrams did still find a way for the character to have a minor part in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Specifically, much like James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, you can hear Serkis’ voice spoken through the mouth of the Emperor early in the film when the master of the Dark Side is discussing possibilities for the future with Kylo Ren.
Did you know that Admiral Ackbar had a son? Did you know that he was a colonel in the Resistance? Well, those are piece of information brought to light in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, as Colonel Aftab Ackbar makes his first big screen appearance. On screen the character is played by Tom Wilton, who wears the prosthetics necessary to bring the squid-like alien to life, but his voice is provided by none other than Chris Terrio – who co-wrote the film’s script with J.J. Abrams, and like the director couldn’t resist taking a role in the Star Wars universe.
There are many reasons why Star Wars is a true icon of cinema, but the epic and unforgettable music composed by John Williams most certainly ranks high on the top of the list. As such, it’s only right that he have a small role to play in the actual universe, appearing on screen for the first time since a 1959 episode of the television series Johnny Staccato. He plays Oma Tres (an anagram of “Maestro”), and is hard to miss in the movie: he’s the bartender the camera lingers on when Poe, Rey, Finn and the other heroes visit the watering hole on Kijimi.
Most of the cameos discussed so far are spread throughout the runtime of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, but one particular sequence jams a bunch of them into the space of just a few seconds. I am, of course, referring to the moment when Rey reaches out with the Force to try and connect with all the dead Jedi of the past while doing battle with Emperor Palpatine. The chorus she hears in response includes the voices of just about every lightsaber-wielding hero we’ve ever seen on the big screen – and some we’ve only seen in animated features. The list includes:
There’s no denying that Frozen II has been a global smash hit - at least, from a financial standpoint. Whether or not the film is as good as its predecessor (or even good at all), however, is a topic that has definitely been up for debate. And Idina Menzel has a controversial opinion on that matter -- she believes Frozen sequel is actually better than the original.
The actress and singer, who voices Queen Elsa in both films, recently spoke to Billboard’s Pop Shop Podcast about a range of topics. And naturally, the conversation turned to the music in Frozen II. And she shared that for her, the sequel is superior, at least as far as the songs are concerned:
"I would just go on the record saying I think that this film is better than the first. I do, I love it, you know? … I just, I love it. I love 'Let It Go,' obviously; it's one of the great gifts of my life to have this song and this character in my life and what it represents and how it's allowed me to connect with audiences all over the world. It's changed my life. But I actually really enjoy -- except for the really high note that's going to give me problems on a day where I have a cold -- I've loved singing ['Into the Unknown']. It makes me wanna cry, it gives me goose bumps when I listen to the underscore of it, the rolling bass line and the rhythm and everything. I just love it."
Idina Menzel explained what drew her to the emotional power ballads in Frozen II, and credited the movie’s songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, with focusing on the right elements when it came time to creating the successor to “Let It Go.”
" I like the song even better, to be honest, and then there's another song at the end of Frozen [II] called 'Show Yourself' that I have that I think is beautiful. And I just, I really commend the Lopezes, because they come from story first. It wasn't about trying to write another big hooky melody. They wanted to make sure that this furthered the story properly and that they deepened and enriched these characters and helped them evolve into the young women that they are. So they always come from story first, which is why I think then that they are so successful."
Though some may argue that “Let It Go” is irreplaceable, her arguments in favor of both “Show Yourself” and “Into The Unknown” are persuasive. And at least on this point, most seem to agree with her. Despite some tepid reviews, critics and fans have noted that the soundtrack is one of Frozen II’s standout accomplishments.
Which leads me to ask. Did you enjoy 2013's Frozen with its big, bombastic "Let it Go" ballad, or do you prefer the music in Frozen II?
Over the course of a decade, Marvel has transformed the MCU into a force of nature in the realm of pop culture and at the box office. Now, we're on the verge of Phase Four, and neither Marvel or Disney has signaled there is any intention of slowing down. Can the MCU really maintain this rampant pace and speed of quality films through another phase or another decade?
Anything is possible, although it'd also be crazy to think the MCU will have as smooth of a run as it often had in the course of its first ten years. Especially when it has largely been immune to some of the problems that massive franchises can sometimes run into over a period of time. Take a look at some of the potential issues that may or may not have been problems for Marvel in Phases One, Two or Three, but could pop up over Phase 4 and beyond.
To Marvel's credit, audiences seem pretty high on superhero movies despite the increasingly rampant release of films over the past decade. Rest assured, however, the shoe is likely to drop at some point, and people will eventually tire of showing up for Marvel movies multiple times a year. Just think of how many Western movies used to be released, and how many we see now. History dictates audience fatigue will happen at some juncture.
Fortunately, Marvel has made some effort to shake things up in its movies narratively with entries like Thor: Ragnarok that are unlike its standard fare. With that said, these movies are still very uniform, and Marvel has parted ways with guys like Edgar Wright from projects for being too loose or creative when it comes to its storytelling. Formulaic storytelling may provide consistent results, but eventually audiences will recognize the beats, and the formula will be a harder sell.
As The MCU continues to grow and expand, so does the wealth of knowledge required to fully appreciate it. As the number of movies required to understand all those references and characters continues to climb, the number of new people willing to dive in who weren't around at the start will likely decline. Comic book companies know this, which is why heroes are often rebooted following major comic book events.
So, does Marvel have a full-scale reboot planned in the MCU's future? Probably not, considering many heroes introduced in its previous phases will likely have movies in Phase 4, which keeps some knowledge in play that will shut out newer fans looking to jump into the MCU. Of course, I guess someone who just likes one hero can watch that hero's catalog and ignore the rest. Provided they're OK with a few things going over their heads, what's the harm?
Marvel has been blessed to have limited talent controversy throughout the course of the MCU's tenure, but it hasn't been perfect. Many will remember the whole mess with James Gunn, and the amount of drama it caused that eventually put its wildly successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise on pause before things got sorted out. The franchise is back on track now, but will there ever be a day when Marvel has to cut ties with another big talent?
With the number of actors, actresses, directors, and writers tied up within the MCU, it would be crazy to assume controversy like that will not happen again in the next decade. Recastings and new hires can always happen, but any talent controversy may not end up working out in the same way James Gunn did.
As previously mentioned, Marvel will continue to make movies for certain heroes, and may even tie those adventures into incoming heroes planned for Phase Four. While Marvel has done a superb job of keeping its film universe largely connected to this point, it's not going to get any easier the more heroes that are added into the mix.
Of course, Marvel seems to have a plan in place for this problem already, and is already introducing the multiverse into Spider-Man: Far From Home. This should solve a lot of the issues in making sure everything is connected, as separate universes ensure certain franchises can canonically remain separate until Marvel decides otherwise. There's still plenty of opportunity for things to get messy, but the MCU has been pretty solid thus far, so perhaps there's no need to start doubting now.
The MCU has had some movies met with a polarizing response, but nothing so bad that it had to abandon plans for sequels or anything of that nature. Of course, there have been Marvel movies that failed in this era, and now that Disney has acquired Fox, it is now firmly in control of two franchises that have floundered in this age of superhero cinema.
So, was The Fantastic Four's reboot flop a fluke? Can Disney/Marvel create an X-Men franchise that's consistently solid with each installment? Will audiences respond well to the next actor who plays Wolverine? Will Disney even attempt to bring Wolverine into the MCU? Perhaps most importantly, what happens if one of these reboots fails? We're not sure how the MCU will handle that because we really haven't seen it happen.
Of course, just because these things can happen doesn't necessarily mean they will. For all we know, Disney and Marvel have a master plan that will keep the superhero genre relevant for the next three decades, and some of these franchises will be relevant long after we're dust in the wind. That feels more likely than the whole ride just ending anytime soon, honestly, despite what history has shown with popular movie trends.
Got a prediction or idea for a big problem the MCU may face in the next 10 years? Drop all suggestions down in the comments, and continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more info on superhero movies, as well as other news regarding film and television.
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