Big-picture news and big-screen trailers head up this week’s pop-culture round-up.
Happy Friday, folks! And Happy Last Jedi week to all of you who celebrate — which I assume is all of you. Luckily for me (and you), Star Wars is not the only pop-culture circus in town, so let’s find out what else has been happening in the pop-culture universe while we’ve all been distracted by the [redacted for spoilers] and the [redcated for spoilers] doing [redacted for spoilers] and [redacted for spoilers].
First off, the biggest pop-culture story of the week has to be that Disney has just sealed a deal giving it ownership of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV properties. Which is — like many of the strange and terrible things that have happened this years — something The Simpsons predicted back in 1998. What does this mean? Well, it’s not really clear yet but a whole bunch of people have a whole bunch of thoughts — basically, if you thought the 68 characters in Avengers: Infinity War (owned by Marvel Studios, a Disney subsidiary) was a lot, get ready for Avengers 4 to also feature the X-Men (owned by Fox). It also means that Deadpool is now kind of like a Disney prince. And this is what he thinks of that.
Moving on, this week we also ran head-first into awards season and… it kind of hurt, to be honest. Despite lots of buzz, none of the years big genre film releases really gained any traction at either the Golden Globes or the SAG awards. On the small screen, Stranger Things, Mr Robot and Game of Thrones did a little better, but overall it seems to be a case of same (white) old, same (male) old. Sigh.
Trailer time! First up, this week we got a new trailer for Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One and let me tell you, if you like pop-culture references, you’re in for a treat, because this is just one big mash-up of every geeky pop-culture reference you could possibly think of, and then some. The movie also got a new poster this week, which the internet has been enjoying, in that way only the internet can enjoy something (by mercilessly mocking it, whether warranted or not).
Getting much better buzz and nowhere near as much teasing is the trailer for Alex Garland’s Annihilation, which is a sci-fi thriller starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. There are a lot of pretty standard beats in this trailer, but it definitely looks like one to check out come February.
A little further off, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Sony’s upcoming animated Spidey-flick, is slated for release around a year from now. It introduces the character of Miles Morales and the idea that Peter Parker is not the only kid out there who’s been bitten by a radioactive spider, which opens up a whole, huge world for the franchise(s). The first trailer dropped this week and thus far, it’s looking like it might just be worth that wait.
Not that the spidey-verse (or the various spidey-verses) need expansion. Sony’s non-MCU Venom movie has been in production for a while and this week we’re getting rumours that Woody Harrelson might be joining the Tom-Hardy-led cast. It’s just a rumour at this point, but we’re keeping our eyes peeled.
I’ve also been keeping our eyes peeled for movement on the story that dropped last week, that Quentin Tarantino and JJ Abrams were assembling a writers room for a new Star Trek movie. It’s gone from vague rumour to much more sure thing quite quickly, but this week it got another boost, with the news that this could be just the thing to get one Sir Patrick Stewart back into the captain’s seat. Which even non-tekkies have to admit would be very cool, if it were to happen.
And that’s not the only director-franchise romance that’s had the internet abuzz over the past couple of weeks. Last week Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said she’d love Taika Waititi to direct a Star Wars film, and all of our hearts jumped into our collective throats, hopefully and unashamedly excited about the prospect. It’s… an unlikely proposition, and probably wouldn’t lead to some sort of Thor: Ragnarok-type romp, but honestly, it would still be so, so, so very excellent. Let’s all cross everything!
On the small screen, it’s good news for Mr Robot, which has been renewed for a fourth season of mind-bending strangeness. The third season has just finished screening and was a bit of a return to form for the show, so I’m a little keen to see what season four brings.
Also renewed this week: Netflix’s The Punisher, for a second season, probably coming some time late next year. This isn’t really unexpected, as Netflix is continuing to show a lot of devotion to it’s Marvel properties, despite the buzz dying down somewhat, but it’s still good to get a nice, formal announcement. And right before Christmas, too!
Speaking of Marvel and Netflix, I have to say I am personally a little more (read: very) excited by the drop this week of a release date and trailer for the second season of Jessica Jones. The first season was my pick of all the Defenders individual seasons, but I did wonder how they were going to follow it up, and especially how they were going to convincingly and non-gimmicky make David Tennent a part of it. This trailer doesn’t really answer either question, but it’s still got me jumping up and down in my seat and wondering how many days I have to get through until March 8.
And because sometimes it’s nice to save your favourite thing for last, that’s me done for this week. Have a most excellent weekend and please — try to get some sun in between all those repeated Last Jedi viewings. Vitamin D is very important, kids!