Comic-Con News Roundup: Stranger Things, The Defenders, Justice League, Westworld, Blade Runner, and More
Another July, another San Diego Comic-Con. The biggest pop-culture convention in the world has reliably churned out juicy film and tv news/footage/tidbits annually for a few decades now.
Of course, some lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) journalists have to brave gargantuan crowds that reek of sweat and god knows what else, lines that go from here to eternity and bad food, probably, in order to document said news/footage/tidbit and toss it into fandom's gaping maw.
But because the information that circulates around the world can now contract or expand at the flick of a thumb (thank you, Twitter), I don't have to shell out my savings and sanity to get the news firsthand.
Anyway! In no particular order, here are the most interesting bits of film and tv news/footage/tidbits from this year's Comic-Con.
That Avengers: Infinity War Footage
The climax that Marvel Studios has been building to for nigh on a decade will come to fruition in Avengers: Infinity War, where every Marvel hero ever (except the ones in TV land, natch) will have to do battle with the purple Mad Titan himself, Thanos.
If you're strictly going by his brief appearances in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, he hasn't done a whole heck of a lot. That'll change with his first movie as the out-and-out villain.
As of now, there's been no footage released (in good time, I assume). But the footage description is enough to set spines a-tinglin'.
It begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy traversing the galaxy, as they do. Out of nowhere, an unconscious Thor slams up against their windshield. “Wipe it! Wipe it! Get it off!” shouts Rocket Raccoon.
From there it's a rapidly cut montage. Peter Parker is in a school bus and the hairs on his arm are literally standing up (spider sense!), the usually clean-cut Captain America sporting a grizzled beard (he's really embraced fugitive chic, eh?), and Loki offering Thanos the Tesseract infinity gem, that devious sexy bastard.
And then we're on another planet with Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange all striking poses. Thanos materialises before them. With the cosmic power of his Infinity Gauntlet, he draws the moon or a planet-sized something or other into the atmosphere. The great chunks reign down like hell fire on the small group of outclassed Avengers. Yikes. Good god, how will Robert Downey Jr. snark his way out of this one?
Avengers: Infinity War will be released 25 April, 2018.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
Hey, DC is Bringing the Goods Too!
Because Wonder Woman was just so damn good, my excite-o metre for Justice League has gone from “Probably not” to “Well, shit, I gotta”.
Despite evidence to the contrary, it seems that the DCEU does know a good thing when it has it, because Diana features quite prominently in this new 4 minute long Justice League trailer. Just how good is Gal Gadot in this role, guys?
As for the rest, it doesn't look too shabby. Director Zack Snyder seems to be edging away from the austere aesthetic that defined Man of Steel and BvS and leaning harder into deliberately bonkers, painterly Heavy Metal Magazine kind of dark fantasy.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman or Aquabro (really, he comes off as a Metallica roady. I dig it.) and Ben Affleck's Batman as a smirking swashbuckler helps reinforce this shift away from Sturm und Drang and into...well, I don't even know what. But I think I'm into it. But it's Ezra Miller's Barry Allen/The Flash who handily speeds away with this trailer, with this brilliant one-liner: “It seems really cool that you guys are ready to do battle. But I've never done battle; I've just pushed some people and run away.”
Check it out:
And speaking of the Flash, his solo movie, which has been through some turbulence, has now found solid footing. It's called Flashpoint. Comic book fans will recognise this name, as it was the storyline in which the Flash time-travels to an alternate dimension where the Justice League are blood-thirsty war-mongers and murderers and everything is super depressing. So how different could this possibly be from the DCEU as is, exactly? I guess we'll find out!
And, last thing, over the weekend there were some reputably sourced rumblings that Ben Affleck was thinking of hanging up the cape and the cowl for good following Justice League's release. But Affleck had this to say: “Let me be clear: Batman is the coolest fucking part in any universe. I'm not going anywhere.”
Well, I guess that settles that. Until you hear otherwise. Which I guess would be sometime around a few weeks after Justice League's release. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Flashpoint could give his iteration of Batman a plausible out. All I'm saying.
Justice League will be released November 16.
But Wait, Marvel is Not Done With the Bringing of Goods!
At the hallowed Hall H, Marvel unveiled the second trailer for their upcoming fantasy epic Thor: Ragnarok. And some Black Panther footage which apparently brought the house down and earned a standing ovation.
Thor: Ragnarok looks just as assured and delightful as it did when that manic Led Zeppelin trailer ravished our senses back in April. But this ups the ante and then some. Just plug it into my eyeballs right now.
Watch, and then watch again:
I think the highlight here is getting to see Hulk talk for the first time. Could this be the Hulk and Thor space buddy comedy I never knew I needed? Ragnarok might mean apocalypse, but this third Thor movie looks to be the most self-consciously fun one yet. During the footage exclusive to the Hall H crowd, Thor explained to Hulk that he doesn't hang around the Avengers anymore because “it got too corporate”. Ah, meta humour.
On the television side of things, the Marvel Netflix 'verse stunned with a screening of the pilot episode of The Defenders, which will see underdog superheroes Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist crawl out of their respective neighbourhoods and come together to save New York City from the threat of the Hand.
Word is that the first episode begins with a bang: Jessica Jones and Dany Rand helping out the Punisher, who's badly injured thanks to the Hand. I guess that's some revenge for picking some ninjas off with a rifle during Daredevil's season 2 finale. There's a drop-in with each Defender (Luke Cage lustily re-uniting with Claire, Matt Murdock working pro-bono cases and has appeared to have given up on the Daredevil identity, Jessica Jones, drunk as ever, dealing with a new missing persons case, and Danny Rand is doing boring stuff.). They're brought together at the end of the episode via a cataclysmic earthquake. Which seems to be not a natural disaster but a part of the bad guys' plan. Sigourney Weaver's villainous business woman re-assures a dazed, newly resurrected Elektra: “It's just a city.”
Here, have yourselves a fresh new Defenders trailer.
Source: Deadline, Birth.Movies.Death
[inhales deeply] But wait, there's more!
Michelle Pfeiffer has been cast as Janet Van Dyne for the upcoming Ant-Man sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp. We caught a quick glimpse of Janet in Ant-Man via a flashback scene in which her as the Wasp and Hank Pym as the Ant-Man disabled a nuke mid-air. Catwoman is now the Wasp. What a fucking crazy world, huh?
Thor: Ragnarok will be released October 25
Black Panther will be released February 9, 2018
The Defenders will be available for streaming August 18
The Punisher will be available for streaming November
Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released July 6, 2018
Blade Runner 2049 Details an Intriguing Set-Up
The Blade Runner crew dropped by as part of Warner Bros. Hall H blitz.
The sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 will takes place a few decades later. Ryan Gosling's Blade Runner, Officer K, goes on a mission that puts him on a collision course with ex-Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Expect this futuristic Los Angeles to reflect contemporary global fears. It's an LA that has fallen into utter disrepair, ravaged by rising sea levels, poverty, and disease. The inhabitants who're too sick to make the trip to the off-world colonies are left in this hellhole to survive on genetically tampered food sold in vending machines. If you thought the garish neon, constant rain, and overcrowding in the original was ghastly enough, then Blade Runner 2049 seems determined to out-ghastly that.
Here's a rough chronology of events between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 that was laid out.
2019: Blade Runner Rick Deckard flees Los Angeles with a replicant named Rachel.
2020: The Tyrell Corporation introduces a new replicant model with extended lifespans
2022: An EMP of unknown origin is detonated in a major West Coast city. It has massive, destructive implications across the globe, including a major food shortage crisis, financial crashes, and the corruption of electronic data. Replicants are blamed.
2023: Replicant prohibition is put into effect.
2025: A new company, Wallace Corp (headed by Jared Leto's mysterious character) solves the global food shortage crisis and becomes a massive superpower.
2030: Replicant prohibition is repealed.
2049: Life on Earth has reached its limit. Society divides itself between Replicant and human. The few replicants left on Earth are hunted down by a bolstered Blade Runner force.
Blade Runner 2049 will be released October 5
Sources: Collider, Gizmodo
Westworld Season 2 Will Unleash Chaos
The end of Westworld season one saw the robot rebellion finally beginning.
Westworld introduced us to a not-too-distant future in which robots, capable of human consciousness, were a plaything for the rich in a barbaric simulation of the Wild West. As the season went on, the line between man and machine became increasingly irrelevant when compared to the simmering rage and existential woes that often tortured the skin-wearing machines. The season ended with a blood-bath that was decidedly not a simulation.
The trailer for season 2 indicates that the carnage is not letting up anytime soon.
Not much to go on. But hey, they've only been filming for about a week. I was a bit hot-and-cold on Westworld's first season, what with it feeling like a 10 hour prequel and all – not to mention its penchant for putting philosophical musings over compelling dramatisation – but I'm interested enough to see where it'll go from here.
Westworld will air sometime in 2018
And Finally...Stranger Things Season 2 Looks To Be A Thrilla And A Killa
It's fair to say that Stranger Things caught everyone off guard. The 80s nostalgia stuff was some nice window-dressing, but what everyone really responded to was the well-realised characters and the perfect fusion of horror and adventure. Its cosmic horror played out in the confines of Small Town, US. A conceit which also calls to mind other cult hit television shows such as Twin Peaks and The X-Files. So, yes, Stranger Things is in good company there.
A follow-up season was a given, so here's a trailer.
Vincent Price, Michael Jackson, arcades, and Lovecraftian horror, all in one trailer. It's a delightful feast, but I'm digging the even darker undertones. This actually looks to be genuinely creepier and scarier than the first season. And when will this poor Will kid catch a break? I have no opinion one way or the other on Barb. My apologies.
Stranger Things will drop all nine of its episodes on October 27.