After Phase 3, What’s Next For The MCU?

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It’s well known that after the fourth Avengers movie, things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be different. Not just in universe but also in real life. Many of the stars of the movies will no longer be contractually obligated to appear in the franchise. Who knows what story will affect these characters we have come to know for almost a decade now. Just the one thing for certain is this: change. Change is coming whether we like it or not. President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige has said that he is not even sure if the Marvel Studios films will even be categorized in phases anymore.

Back to Basics

I love the MCU but even I’ll admit that things have become overblown. Almost every movie involves the world at stake. Now with the culmination of the Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet storyline, it would be the perfect time to scale things back. With the recent successes of Logan and Deadpool, it would be foolish for Marvel Studios not to take notice. Those films were done on relatively smaller budgets and told more intimate stories that yielded both critical and financial success. Showing that not all of these movies need to have climaxes with large explosions and full of computer graphics.

More Standalone Films

 The nature of interconnected movies is the biggest draw of the MCU. But you can also see how it can be a double edged sword. This basically makes it that every film more or less to service the films that came before it and after. Just like the comic books that inspired them, not every story is connected with one another. Sometimes these heroes just get into their own adventures without it having to effect a future story and especially another hero’s films.

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The biggest out of place moment in Ant-Man was the scene where he had to steal a certain object. Who did the object belong to? Howard Stark who is currently deceased so it now belongs to Tony Stark. Where did Tony happen to have it stored? In the Avengers’ headquarters. Who just happens to find him and fight him? The Falcon. The scene was fun but it really served no real purpose other than to set up Ant-Man’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. It has no real effect on the plot.

New Faces Take The Lead

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Robert Downey Jr. has been the face of the MCU since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. His appearances in the franchise make him one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood. His cohorts such as Chris Evans are not that far behind him. They have effectively become too expensive especially Downey. Actors also want to do other things with their careers other than appear in these superhero movies. So now the with contracts running out after the fourth Avengers movie, it is time to phase out these older heroes in favor of new ones.

It’s no real shock that Marvel Studios started introducing new heroes such as Ant-Man at the end of Phase Two and new heroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange at the beginning of Phase Three. There are still those upcoming such as Captain Marvel played by Brie Larson on the way. So as major and supporting heroes continually get introduced, you can see a cycle forming. Older heroes will be phased out in favor of the new ones who will eventually become the old heroes and so new ones will be introduced. This way giving the audiences something new and not exhausting them of the heroes who came before and building up anticipation.

The Future

One thing for certain about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is change. The change is coming in one way or another. Who knows what shape or form it will take? The MCU is much different now than when it sarted. Imagine how it will be in another five years. That may be scary for some but change is also necessary. I personally cannot wait to see how this film franchise/universe changes.

 

What Should Replace Star Wars Rebels?

Star Wars Rebels is coming to an end. A new series has already been anmounced to replace it. But no one knows anything about this series. The big question is just when the series is going to be set? Will it be set before Episode I? In between I and II? Once again between III and IV? There is enough room for all of this and more. But I’m hoping it’s between VI and VII. 

There is a thirty plus year gap between these two movies. Some of the expanded material such as comics and novels have barely touched this gap. This is probably due to the movies still yet to explain what was going on, particularly with Luke and just what he has been up to. But thirty years is a long time and you can mine this for decades.

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams are either deceased or much older than their characters would be in this time frame. There would be no way for them to reprise their roles in any sort of live action scenario. Animation would be a perfect way to capture the adventures of these characters during this time period. We could also see what characters such as a young Poe Dameron and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren were up to during their youth.

Either way I’m anticipating what this series will be about. More Star Wars, the better. 

One Week Until Star Wars Celebration

Sometime towards the end of last year, I decided that I needed to get out of town for a vacation. The problem is…where exactly do I go? That’s when I was reminded about a little thing called Star Wars Celebration. As everyone knows, I’m a huge Star Wars fan especially after Disney bought the franchise and things became more streamlined. I remember seeing things on various websites such as IGN and Collider about Star Wars Celebration. It is the multi day convention that is officiated by Lucasfilm. So that means you can expect to see people from the cast and crews of the various projects going on and news dropping. So I decided that I wanted to go to that especially since it will be the 40th anniversary.

So I got a second job so I would be able to buy a planet ticket, book a hotel, buy a ticket to the actual event and have enough cash on me to buy swag while there. That’s what I did too. I worked countless hours where it left me completely tired at best or completely drained at work. But it was something I wanted to go and experience so I was willing to make the sacrifice. After making all the necessary purchases, now I look at the calendar and the time has almost arrived.

I’m honestly not sure what to expect. There is a lot to see for sure but I have no idea what it is like on the floor of the event. Will I meet some cool people? Are there cool activities to do? I know for sure that I will be going to many of the various panels that will be going on especially ones where cast members from the movies are attending. It does make me wonder why Hayden Christensen, Anakin Skywalker from the prequel movies, will be attending. He has been somewhat hesitant about Star Wars and understandably so considering the movies he was in and the reputation.

All I can say is that I’m excited but the excitement hasn’t fully hit me just yet. I’m sure by the time I’m in the airport, it will be in full effect. Nothing like going to something where I’ll be surrounded by something I love with people who share the same passion as me. I will be sure to keep this updated with my experience…experiences there as well.

Beauty and The Beast Review

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Here we go again. The tale as old as time redone. Beauty and the Beast is a property that is in public domain so that means anyone can make anything they want based on these characters. But when people think about Beauty and The Beast, they think of the 1991 Disney animated classic. This movie was a seminal film in many respects. It was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. So there was a lot of buzz, positive and negative, about a live action remake of the movie. I’ve only seen the animated movie once in my lifetime so I came in with no expectations.

I highly enjoyed this movie. I’m not going to the say that it was revolutionary. It is about 85% a shot for shot remake of the animated movie with new content used to flesh out some of the characters. In the original, you never see The Prince before he becomes The Beast and the event that turned him and his staff into non humans. Here we see it in full context. The film also goes into explaining a common Disney trope as to why the main character only has one parent. This added content does much to flesh out the characters but it’s not really necessary or memorable.

This is the Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (The Beast) show and they do not disappoint. If they did not work, then this film would not have worked either. Ewan McGregor and Josh Gad are probably the two standouts from the supporting cast.The rest of the supporting cast is solid. If there was one dud, it would probably be Luke Evans as Gaston. Not that he is even a dud as he is serviceable in the role. But he is not as bombastic as the Gaston was from the animated version. So it is jarring to see a much more methodical Gaston.

The sets and scenery are beautiful and astonishing to see. It is clear that much work was put into the town that Belle resides in and the castle of the Beast. These are beautiful sets where it is a glorious mix of CGI and practical sets. The soundtrack is equally as important as there are reprisals of classic songs from the animated film. There are also a few additional songs, some from the stage production, added into the film and never feel out of place.

Bill Condon has done an admirable job of adapting a seminal film. It does not tarnish of the animated version while still making it somewhat of its own. Overall, it is probably one of the better live action remakes of a Disney animated classic.

SCORE: 8/10

Agent Kallus – One of My New Favorite Star Wars Characters 

SPOILERS FOR THE CURRENT SEASON OF STAR WARS REBELS

So Agent Kallus is Fulcrum. The once dedicated Imperial agent has defected and has been helping the Rebels throughout the entire season. This is a far cry from the same character that we met all the way in the beginning of the first season. But it is not one that is a total surprise if you have paid attention to his character development.
When we first met Kallus, he was the Inspector Javert to our titular Rebels. Hunting them relentlessly and being downright cruel about it at times. As the episodes continued and we learned more about him, his faults and sins were not forgotten but there was more to him. A dedicated man to his principles and comrades. Learning that he was an unwilling pawn in a massacre done by the Empire and subject to torture from Saw Gerrera and his extremist brand of Rebels. A chance encounter with Zeb formed an unspoken respect and trust within the two who were arch enemies before.

Through Kallus we also see that the Empire does not really inspire bonds. When Kallus tries to get chummy with his superiors such as Darth Vader or Pryce, he is always shut down and treated as an annoyance. This is despite the fact that Kallus has proven to be one of the most capable people in the Empire. So it was no real surprise to learn Kallus was the new Fulcrum.

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There were numerous hints about Kallus being a Fulcrum. Whenever Kallus would learn something, the next scene would show Fulcrum relaying information to the Rebels for example. But Kallus defecting to the Rebels probably came at the worst time as his new director superior is Grand Admiral Thrawn. Since Thrawn and Kallus are unfamiliar personally with one another, there is nothing to blind Thrawn to Kallus’ duplicitous nature.

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So now we have the cunning Kallus scrambling to stay one step ahead. In the most recent episode, “Through Imperial Eyes”, we see just how stressed out he is. It is an interesting episode as it is mostly from his perspective. The crack down on the mole within the Empire is growing and Kallus has to keep his composure as to not draw suspicion. Not only does he do that but he actively tries and kill Thrawn through his reprogramming of some droids. It was mostly played as a distraction but it goes without saying he was trying to take out his biggest threat.

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But now due to a mistake Ezra made, Kallus is now known to be Fulcrum to Thrawn. Of course Thrawn knows that not exposing this is more valuable than simply killing Kallus. Will Kallus die by the end of the season? I can see it going either way. It would make sense if he did but there’s nothing to say he doesn’t live and join the Rebellion fully possibly under a different identity.

Kallus provides that grey area that exists that frankly goes untouched in Star Wars mythos. It is easy to label everyone in the Empire as villains but when you think about it, it is a simple way of thinking. we have the knowledge to know that the Emperor is secretly a Sith Lord who has orchestrated events for decades to have the galaxy in his hand. All most of the population knows is that Palpatine was the knight in shining armor when the galaxy was at its most chaotic. So it is easy to see why people join up with the Empire and the fact that it is the government does help. Through Kallus we also learn that he has had run ins with the more extreme Rebels which has helped color his views on where he stands. But chance encounters with the cast of Rebels and seeing the more dirty side of the Empire has made him cross over to the other side.

When the show first started, I did not think much of Kallus. I probably should have considering he has a high profile actor (David Oyelowo) voicing him. There was no way that the character was going to be a bit character. But it has been nice to see the slow burn to Kallus’ turn from dedicated Imperial agent to double agent for the Rebels. I hope the character does not meet his end soon. But if he does, it will be an excellent new character introduced into the Star Wars canon that will hopefully be explored more through various other media.

What Does The Last Jedi Mean?

The title for Episode VIII aka the Skywalker Saga has been revealed. But who exactly is The Last Jedi? Obvious answer points to it being Luke Skywalker. He was referred as the moniker in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. He was also this in Return of the Jedi. But as we learned in The Force Awakens, that was not always the case.

Only a few years prior to that movie, his nephew Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren helped slaughtered his Jedi academy. This event pushed Luke into hiding where he was only recently discovered. Discovered at an ancient Jedi Temple. What was he doing there and just how long?

But now that Rey has found Luke, what does that mean? Logic would say that he is going to train her. Jedi is a word that is both singular and plural. Are Luke and Rey both the Last Jedi? Will the Jedi Order cease to exist altogether and become something new. We don’t know much about Snoke and Kylo but they are never referred to as Sith. Could Luke and Rey be following suit?

As the months continue we will certainly learn more about the plot. Until then there will be tons of speculation with every little tidbit of information. The Last Jedi will be released on December 15, 2017.

What Marvel Studios Can Learn From Lucasfilm Pt. 2

Disney owns two of the biggest franchise makers in Hollywood currently: Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios. I’ve already discussed what Marvel Studios can learn from Lucasfilm in integrating their various projects across mediums. It’s an open secret that there is a divide between the television and movie sides of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now with the release of Rogue One, it has become even more apparent that Marvel Studios is really not living up to its full potential of making a more cohesive universe.

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If you watched Rogue One, Forest Whitaker played Saw Gerrera who first appeared in The Clone Wars animated series and later Whitaker reprised the role in a guest spot on Star Wars Rebels. there was a cameo from Chopper, the resident droid from Star Wars Rebels. Along with that the Ghost, the ship used by the cast of the show was shown entering The Battle of Scarif. Finally, over the intercom, there was a mention of a General Syndulla who was later revealed to be Hera, one of the main characters on the show. Though these were all easter eggs, they did subtly confirm that the Star Wars universe was more than the movies.

When watching recent Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically Captain America: Civil War, you can see that there are many missed opportunities. During the briefing to the Avengers by Thunderbolt Ross, he specifically mentions the rise of vigilantism in the world. Though only showing the events of the Avengers and their actions. This was a missed opportunity as the filmmakers could have referenced events in Daredevil such as the main character being blamed for blowing up a few city blocks and Jessica Jones where she publicly executed someone with mind control abilities. You don’t even really need to show these characters but having characters acknowledge the events.
The one advantage that Lucasfilm seems to have over Marvel Studios to help keep things focused and integrated is the Star Wars Story Group led by Pablo Hidalgo. This group is supposed to help keep things tight and neat within the new canon established after Disney bought Lucasfilm. So that way there are no contradictions within its own canon as well as the added benefit of helping integrate all the various medias with one another. Marvel does not have this benefit and it is apparent from interviews from the showrunners and directors on the film, they hardly communicate with one another. It was frequently mentioned that Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni and Rogue One director Gareth Edward met with one another a number of times.

At this point, I doubt that the divide within the Marvel Cinematic Universe will ever close or at the very least become smaller. So while we may never get to see characters such as Daredevil and Captain America meeting one another, the movie and TV side are full of rich characters and storylines. But if the MCU ever gets a reboot, it would be the perfect opportunity to make things more cohesive. But until then, it is nice to see the people at Lucasfilm expand their universe with every possible tool available to them.

What Marvel Studios Can Learn From LucasFilm

Disney owns two of the most prolific studios in Hollywood, Marvel Studios and LucasFilm. Both studios have projects in film and television. Both claim that both mediums are connected to one another. But as time goes on, only LucasFilm is proving to hold true to that promise. When LucasFilm was bought by Disney, they claimed that a majority of all previous Star Wars related material was non canon and that everything going forward would be canon. When Marvel Studios first branched out into television, they also claimed that everything would be canon. But a few years later, Marvel Studios has proven that this is something of a fallacy while LucasFilm has done the opposite despite many worrying that it wouldn’t be.

When Agents of SHIELD first premiered, it was heavily advertised as being connected to the movies. This was solidified by appearances from movie characters such as Agent Maria Hill and Nick Fury with their film actors reprising their roles. This continued without fail as the first season went on heavily tying into the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But the cracks started to show with the start of the second season and with the Netflix shows such as Daredevil. It became especially glaring when the second season had a worldwide catastrophe that enabled people to become Inhumans. So when movies came out after the events and there were no references to the events. This especially became notable in Captain America: Civil War where a major plot point revolved around the growing incidents throughout the world that revolved around people with powers. There was nowhere a mention of anything that had gone on in the television series.

It became abundantly clear that continuity was a one way street. That things in the movies would be referenced in the shows but not vice versa. This may have something to do with internal politics more than anything. There was recently a split in Marvel Studios where Kevin Feige, who runs the film division, split from Marvel Studios proper. While they are all still one studio, Feige reports directly to the head of Disney and not the head of Marvel. Jeph Loeb who runs the television department still reports to the head of Marvel. So it’s clear that office politics has affected the brand more than anything. So while there have been no negative consequences in the brand, the whole “everything is connected” is turning out to be a flat out lie at this point.

Lucasfilm on the other hand has embraced its history. In the upcoming Rogue One, Forest Whitaker will be playing Sw Gerrera. Saw Gerrera was a character who originated in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Though the show was popular, it was certainly not one of those things that reached the mass audience as that of the movies. Saw Gerrera has played an important part in the growing new history of Star Wars. He is a character mentioned in the animated series Star Wars Rebels and mentioned in the novel, Bloodlines. He is an important character who has a history but a simple one where you can put a character such as his in a movie without expecting much from audiences who may not keep with the novels and animated series.

LucasFilm has the story group that includes people such as Pablo Hidalgo and Dave Filoni. Everything ranging from the comic books to video games to animated series go through the story group. That way they make sure that no creator is stepping on another creator’s toes when it comes too their projects. Also  a way of keeping a cohesive universe where they can lend ideas and help out creators as well. So far the story group has been praised with the tight ship that they run. Making sure to help branch out the Star Wars universe in a myriad of ways.

Marvel used to have something like this before the shakeup in the offices of Marvel Studios. So as of right now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a river that only goes one way. Will this change in the future? It’s hard to say. Whenever the question is brought up to creators, they give a diplomatic answer that is basically saying no without saying the word. Maybe one day it will change. With the growing popularity of the Netflix shows and more and more television projects being developed, it would seem that audiences will eventually force their hand in the matter. LucasFilm has done a great job in expanding the Star Wars universe through all media. Not only can Marvel Studios learn from their book but also other studios who are intent on making universes.

Top 10 Pixar Movies

  1. Toy Story 3 ToyStory32010Poster
  2. The Incredibles 
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  3. Toy Story 2 toy-story-2-1999.12787
  4. Up up-official-movie-poster
  5. Inside Out Disney-Pixar-Inside-Out-Movie-Poster
  6. Toy Story Toy_story_ver1_xlg.jpg
  7. Wall-E p174374_p_v8_ab
  8. Ratatouille p165058_d_v8_aa.jpg
  9. Finding Nemo Finding_nemo_ver2_xlg.jpg
  10. Finding Dory images (2).jpg