Disney Finally Acquires 20th Century Fox, X-Men Reunited with Marvel A Reunion worthy of a Disney Movie

Disney Finally Acquires 20th Century Fox, X-Men Reunited with Marvel

With Comcast recently announcing that they have backed down from their interest in acquiring 20th Century Fox, it was only a matter of time before Disney would place their white gloves over the home of the X-Men. In a meeting held last Friday, shareholders over at Fox agreed to Disney’s bid of $71.3 billion to take ownership over the vast majority of Fox’s assets.

Read moreDisney Finally Acquires 20th Century Fox, X-Men Reunited with Marvel A Reunion worthy of a Disney Movie

Wolverine Podcast Officially in the Works

Wolverine Podcast Officially in the Works

The Marvel Empire is once again expanding into new territory with a ten-episode, scripted podcast titled Wolverine: The Long Night.

According to Mashable, the serialized story will run in 2018 on Sticher Premium, and will be released on other platforms come Fall.

The story will revolve around two agents who venture to a small town in Alaska to investigate a series of murders. Sally Pierce (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and Tad Marshall (Ato Essandoh) will work with a local deputy played Andrew Keenan-Bolger. Their main suspect? None other than Wolverine himself, played by Richard Armitage of The Hobbit and Hannibal fame.

“It’s very easy to turn up the volume on reality there. In addition to the crime investigation into the serial killer on the loose, there are also elements of the fantastic. And some of them have to do with Wolverine as his legend grows in this area, as people observe him bounding through the mists with packs of wolves; as they witness him save and end lives,” said Ben Percy, the writer for the series.

Percy said the podcast will carry a Serial vibe with hints of Unforgiven and True Detective. Director Brendan Baker, sound designer Chloe Prasinos, and producers Daniel Fink of Marvel and Jenny Radelet of Stitcher will join Scott Adsit of 30 Rock, Bob Balaban, Brian Stokes Mitchell and a cameo from Chris Gethard, who hosts the podcast Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People.

Marvel’s dominance in the film world has shown the strength of their characters and stories, and with the clout and money the company now has, expanding into one of the most modern forms of storytelling seems like a no-brainer.

“Being in this space where we can really touch and interact with our fans in a more 24/7 basis is one of our priorities. The beauty of this medium is you can listen to it as a show when it’s first released and voraciously consume it from a habitual standpoint, or, like I do and many people do with podcasts, you can listen to it very leisurely,” said Dan Silver, Head of Platforms & Content for Marvel New Media.

“We’re attempting to provide an audio experience that feels very much like if you just turned off your television screen, but left the sound on,” he says. “It’s very dynamic, it’s very real, it’s very raw, and it’s made for what people would expect from Marvel,” Silver added.

Wolverine: The Long Night will be available through the Stitcher Premium podcast platform in Spring 2018.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Brendan Quinn’s work such as his look at the relationship between comics and Hip-Hop, why the Witcher 3 was not as great as everyone thinks, and or which historical stories he thinks should be made into videogames!

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Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing

Yesterday the movie news cycle was hit by a juggernaut of a reveal. Apparently, behind closed doors, Disney has been negotiating to buy 21st Century Fox. The motivations why are obvious. In recent years the House of Mouse picked up those itty bitty Star Wars and Marvel franchises and the last remaining fragments of both movie universes are still lingering over at Fox (oh and they also added Avatar to Disney World and guess which studio owns that). Obviously, Fox isn’t too keen to give up their big fish properties, so the logical solution for a massive multibillion-dollar organization like Disney is to just buy Fox outright and keep the spoils. And before you think it, yes there has subsequently been word released that this deal is no longer in negotiations. But hey, the last time something like this happened was when the Sony email leaks revealed information about a deal for Spider-man. It was immediately announced in the fallout that the deal was no longer happening and then guess what happened? This seems similar. A deal so big neither company wants it to be scrutinized by the press before completion. It’s likely still happening and it’s also likely not a bad thing.

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing 4
Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, and James Marsden in X-Men (2000) – image via 21st Century Fox

It almost goes without saying that the lynchpin to this whole deal is the fact that Fox still owns the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes, huge Marvel properties that aren’t under Disney control. Obviously, Marvel would like to have that back. Folding the X-Men and Deadpool into their big ol’ MCU sure would open up additional franchise possibilities that are too good to ignore (not to mention the fact that the Kevin Feige would undoubtedly be able to finally make a decent Fantastic Four movie, which Fox simply can’t seem to pull off). However, it also comes with a big caveat. In recent years, Fox has been willing to embrace R-rated superhero stories and in Deadpool and Logan delivered two massive hits that pushed the limits of the genre in intriguing ways. Obviously, R-rated adult entertainments aren’t exactly Disney’s specialty and if anything, could sour the reputation of the company’s “all family all the time” approach to entertainment. It’s a worry, yet not one worth getting too concerned over.

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing 1
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (2016) – image via 21st Century Fox

Here’s the thing, Disney buying Fox wouldn’t just be for the properties. They want the logo too. Fox is an established brand, one obviously willing to do more mature entertainment than anything that could appear with a Disney logo. It’s a lucrative market and one that Disney could continue to profit from. They could still make Fox movies for Fox audiences (including the semi-indie Fox Searchlight offshoot) funded by Disney with that parent logo nowhere in sight. If that sounds insane, well it’s not exactly new. Touchstone was a company that Disney created in the 80s entirely for that purpose and one that did well producing and releasing movies that Disney never would have touched under their typical brand like Alive, The Ref, Ed Wood, The Rock, Rushmore, and Starship Troopers. Fox could be operated the same way. They could be a division where Deadpool keeps being filthy, yet can also pull in characters like the Hulk or Iron Man to indulge in his deeply filthy ways. A place where a more mature and R-rated Logan style movie could be made out of other Marvel characters as well. It would actually be a boon for the entire MCU, providing an offshoot filled with new possibilities.

Disney Buying Fox Might Not Be A Bad Thing 3
Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) – image via 21st Century Fox

There’s another rationale for all this of course. Disney has made it quite clear that they want in on this Netflix streaming business and has plans to launch their own streaming platform. Obviously there’s more than enough content in the Disney vaults to justify this. But toss in the Fox vaults and suddenly they’ve also got the Alien, Predator, Avatar, Die Hard, Home Alone, and Planet of the Apes franchises to flaunt along with the rest of the lucrative Fox catalogue. More importantly, Fox still owns the distribution rights to the original 1977 Star Wars which Disney essentially has to lease out for any Star Wars box sets or streaming packages. This deal would take care of that and god-willing might allow for a long awaited reconstruction of the original theatrical release of the Star Wars flicks that fans have been whinging about for decades. So, there’s a substantial return on this “screw it, let’s just buy Fox” investment that would work out well for the big company and lead to some good viewing for audiences—it’s actually kind of an intriguing idea.

There is one big concern though. One of the wrinkles in the deal states that Disney can’t buy any of Fox’s television properties as they already own ABC and that would lead to a monopoly. Well fair enough. That’s understandable and I can see why Disney would have no interest in owning Fox News as well, that just makes sense. However, it’s odd to think that would be considered a monopoly while Disney swallowing up yet another film studio wouldn’t be. The fact of the matter is that with Paramount a shadow of its former self and MGM long gone, the number of movie studios is shrinking rapidly and it wouldn’t exactly be an exciting prospect to think that Disney might just own the entire film industry eventually. Like any film studio, Fox makes its share of crap. Yet, they are also a distinct entity of their own willing to take relative risks every year. Perhaps Disney would keep that mandate and collect the money and perhaps they wouldn’t. It’s tough to say.

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John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) – image via Disney

Regardless, aside from the number of massive corporations that control all aspects of our daily lives shrinking down to an even more terrifyingly small number, this merger might not be a bad thing. There are opportunities here. It’s almost worth embracing the Big Brother aspect of it all just for the sweet rewards of getting the original Star Wars edits in HD or getting to hear Captain America drop an f-bomb. Then again, I suppose that’s the exact type of deal with the devil required to inch our way towards that sci-fi dystopia we all know is inevitable. Sigh…this is a tough nut to crack. Entertainment over evil empire? Hmmm…how’d this debate end with the Internet again? Has Google changed its name to Skynet yet?


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Phil’s take on Blade Runner 2049, Happy Death Day, and It! He also had a chance to sit down with Guillermo Del Toro. Check out his interview here!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Super Mario Odyssey,  The Evil Within 2, and Cuphead!

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Logan – A Farewell to Two X-Men

Logan - A Farewell to Two X-Men

Back in the 1990s, there was no superhero more beloved than Wolverine. Thanks to the cartoon series, Jim Lee’s insanely popular X-Men run, some video games, and endless action figures, everyone adored the growling clawed anti-hero. It was likely the characters obscene popularity at the time that helped get the first X-Men movie off the ground in an era when Blade was the only successful Marvel movie. The search for an actor to play Wolverine was long and arduous. In the end, fans cried out, “who?” when Australian Hugh Jackman was announced as the heir to the adamantium, and cried foul when they learned his most successful previous role was headlining a revival of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, when Patrick Stewart was announced in the role of chrome dome X leader Charles Xavier, nerds everywhere rejoiced. Both ended up being ideal choices for the X-Men’s live action cinematic endeavours and this week both actors bid farewell to their iconic roles in the suitably sombre farewell picture Logan.

Read moreLogan – A Farewell to Two X-Men

Logan Trailer Leaks Online

Logan Trailer Leaks Online

 

There’s been a slow, crawling build-up to Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine. Posters materializing, set photos leaking, and cast members teasing details. But now, perhaps the biggest leak of all has come out.

During the presidential debate, a shaky video surfaced on the internet. And while it initially looked to be one of the umpteen million fakes online, further inspection proved its validity. The full trailer for Logan has leaked online for the whole world to see, giving us a bit-sized chunk of what to expect from the upcoming superhero flick.

Logan will take place in 2024, and seemingly during a time when all other mutants are dead. Wolverine is a bedraggled drifter, and from the looks of it, is tracked down by Charles Xavier for a favor. That favor is to look after a young girl, who Xavier say is “very much like” Wolverine. As Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” plays, we see military forces hunting the three of them down, followed by Wolverine doing what he does best: slicing and dicing people.

There’s a lot to unpack from the trailer. For starters, the girl in question is undoubtedly X-23 herself, which has been confirmed by pre-release interviews with the cast and crew. Considering she’s Wolverine’s eventual successor in the current comics, her appearance makes sense. Quite honestly, I wonder if they’re going to adapt the Death of Wolverine story arc for this movie. With it being Jackman’s last, that’s a strong possibility.

Secondly, it definitely seems like this film will draw heavily from the Old Man Logan story arc. While that arc had its problems (hello, inbred child of Hulk and She-Hulk,) it was definitely a bold take on the character. Frankly, despite not being a fan of canon changes, the crashing of this arc into Death of Wolverine makes a whole lot of sense. Viewers would get to see an older, more cynical Logan in a dead world, and get to see his eventual death and the passing of his mantle onto X-23.

That’s purely speculation at this point, however. But from the looks of this incredible trailer, we’re in for something good. It gave me chills, and I’d wager money that I’m not alone. Watch it below, before Fox takes it down.

 

 

New Wolverine Movie Gets R-Rating

New Wolverine Movie Gets R-Rating

Amidst the chaos of the superhero genre with Captain America: Civil War, Batman Vs. Superman and the upcoming X-men: Apocalypse, rumours of a new Wolverine film surfaced. Now, those rumours are confirmed.

Wolverine 3 is currently in production, with James Mangold returning as the film’s director and producer Simon Kinberg.

The producer made a comment to Collider, telling the outlet “It’s a very radical, bold, different Wolverine than you’ve ever seen in any of these movies… it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone. It’s just a very cool, different film.”

The currently untitled Wolverine film stars the iconic Hugh Jackman as the titular character, as well as Boyd Holbrook as the main villain, and Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, and Eriq Lasalle, each of whom have unknown roles. The film is set to open in theatres on March 3, 2017.

 

From Pencil to Pixels: A History Of Superhero Games

From Pencil to Pixels: A History Of Superhero Games

Video games based on comic-book superheroes have been around for decades now. Though there were a handful released before the NES, they only gained prominence on Nintendo’s first-ever platform. But suffice it to say, for the most part, superhero games have been rather poor. Both developers and publishers have struggled to really capture the essence of Marvel’s and DC’s popular heroes, relegating their games to being little more than shovelware. However, there were moments where a studio really got it right, and when that happens, players have a fun and unforgettable game to play through.

The 1986 Batman game developed by Ocean Software was not only the first Batman game released, but it was also received well by the computer game press at the time. Most outlets gave the game at least a 9 out of 10. It was released on Amstrad PCW, and ZX Spectrum, and is a 3D isometric action-adventure game. But it wasn’t until developer Sunsoft’s 1989 Batman: The Video Game that superhero games started to gain prominence.

superhero game history insert 4Unlike the original 1986 title, Sunsoft’s take on the Dark Knight was a retro 2D side-scroller reminiscent of classic Mario and Metroid games where Batman could wall jump like Ryu Hyabusa from Ninja Gaiden. It was released on Nintendo’s NES and was based on Tim Burton’s 1989 film of the same name. Though it did not review as well as its 1986 counterpart, it enjoyed a healthy critical reception, and it holds an aggregate score of 78.75% on GamerRankings. Chunsoft followed it up with a sequel, titled Batman: Return of the Joker, roughly 2 years later, which was largely an identical experience.

Throughout the 90s, there was a plethora of retro superhero games being released, and most of them sported the same type of aesthetic and gameplay mechanics alongside the rest of the early polygonal PlayStation and Nintendo 64 titles. Unfortunately, a lot of them were forgettable and poorly received. This includes The Flash, developed by Probe Entertainment and released on the Sega Master System in 1993, which remains an obscure European release to this day. This is largely because by 1993, the Master System was no longer being supported in Japan and the United States.

1995’s The Death and Return of Superman—another project by Sunsoft—was highly similar to the studio’s previous Batman games, which was rather strange. Superman is a demigod, and to simply beat up some thugs in hand-to-hand combat does not feel empowering enough as the Man of Steel. And of course, who can forget one of the most infamous games ever released, 1999’s Superman 64? The hype for that game was immense, as people were led to believe that they would finally be able to truly feel like Superman in a video game.

He’s able to fly in it, after all, right? Sure, but you’re forced to manoeuvre through strange green rings for some reason while doing so. Also, it’s all timed. The draw distance is laughable as well, even for an N64 title. The game contains 14 distinct levels divided into 2 categories: maze levels and ride levels. In the latter, the gameplay is set outdoors in Metropolis and alternates between flying Superman through those awful coloured rings, and completing timed objectives such as saving a civilian. In the former, Superman has to save one of his friends from Luther’s outposts and defeat an end-level boss. Suffice it to say, the game was a total disaster and is still a source of disappointment to this day.

Another similar poor title is 1997’s Spawn: The Eternal. Based on Todd McFarlane’s and Image Comics’ comic book series, the game was released on the PlayStation and many outlets complained about its poor controls, a camera which moves far too slow to keep up with the player, and buggy graphics. In contrast, Spider-Man is a character that has enjoyed a deluge of good video games over the years, at least until recently. The first couple of games, released on Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, are really fun to play and actually do make the player feel like Spidey himself.

The movie tie-ins that were released in the 2000s, especially Spider-Man 2, are the cream of the crop. Spider-Man 2 is still considered to be one of the best superhero games ever released outside of Rocksteady’s excellent Batman: Arkham series, but more on that later. Spider-Man 1 and 2 allowed players to travel around New York using Spider-Man’s web slingers, and the experience felt liberating. The blueprint was established, and though most of Spider-Man’s future games struggled to capture that same magic, they still aren’t anywhere near as disappointing as Superman 64.

superhero game history insert 5Most of the 2000s contained a smorgasbord of licensed superhero games, as that was the first decade where Hollywood really bought into the comic book hype in earnest. There was Sega’s Iron Man game, EA’s Superman Returns, The Incredible Hulk, and so on. None of these games really delved into what makes these characters so beloved in the first place; what makes them so awesome. Instead you have experiences where playing as Iron Man himself feels like a total drag.

However, what resulted was other companies taking characters and thrusting them into their own existing worlds. For example, Capcom’s excellent Marvel vs. Capcom fighting games were built on the foundation of Street Fighter, and Capcom expanded on those fighting mechanics by introducing a plethora of cool moves that Marvel characters can pull off. From 1996’s X-Men vs. Street Fighter, to 2011’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3, players have always been able to dish out intricate and fantastical fighting moves whilst playing as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Magneto, etc. The same goes for the Lego titles featuring Marvel or DC heroes, which put a comedic twist on those properties.

Finally, to end things on a high note, Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy and WB Montreal’s prequel Arkham Origins are arguably the best Batman—and indeed superhero—games ever made. The first 2009 title, Arkham Asylum, was met with doubt and concern from fans when it was first announced. Rocksteady was still an unproven studio, and the numerous comic-to-videogame translations of years passed had left a foul taste in people’s mouths. Of course, that all changed when Arkham Asylum finally released. Not only was it a great Batman game, but it was one of the best games of the year.

From Pencil to Pixels: A History Of Superhero Games 1

Taking inspiration from the Metroidvania style, with regards to new gadgets being used to unlock new areas that Batman couldn’t previously access, the setting also had a character of its own in the form of The Riddler’s trophies and riddles spread throughout for players to discover. Batman’s impressive rogue gallery was also put to great use, as Rocksteady’s interpretation of The Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bane, and many more felt equally refreshing and true to the characters people had grown to love. It also didn’t hurt that Batman: The Animated Series veterans like Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy agreed to lend their talents to the franchise.

Arkham City, released in 2011, and the recently released Arkham Knight maintain that excellent quality that Asylum introduced. The only difference being the open-world settings that Rocksteady opted to build: Arkham City in, well, Arkham City and the larger Gotham City in Arkham Knight. WB Montreal’s Arkham Origins is also great, but of course, it isn’t quite up to snuff with Rocksteady’s impeccable trilogy.

Rumours have been swirling around that WB Montreal might be making a Superman game, and boy does it have its work cut out. Of course, Arkham Knight also contains a ton of easter eggs to not only Superman, but the rest of the Justice League, indicating that Rocksteady might just be building its own DC videogame empire. Certainly, it will continue to provide the blueprint for how to properly translate superheroes into videogames, and studios should take note, because frankly, players don’t need another Superman 64.

X-Men: Apocalypse Official Trailer

X-Men: Apocalypse Official Trailer

The latest series of X-Men live action movies have been pleasing fans far and wide, and garner high praise for retconning X-Men: The Last Stand.

Today, fans are treated to the official trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse. After retconning X-Men: The Last Stand, all the mutants fans know and love are alive and kicking and available to make an appearance in this series. Most notably, fans are able to reconnect with Jean Grey and Cyclops, two favourites who bit the dust in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Personally, I’m actually pretty excited for this movie, especially with the return of one of my favourite mutants, Nightcrawler.