Geekwatch: Yoda, Hulk, Thunderbirds and more
Welcome to Geekwatch your weekly dunking into the chlorinated pool of nerd-orientated entertainment news. This week we ask whether Disney’s proposed Star Wars spinoffs are a good idea, look at what Marvel might be doing with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and find out why Thunderbirds are once again go for the first time in almost 50 years.
His own film, Yoda may have
Yoda, the much loved Master Jedi and purveyor of wonky syntax, looks set to get his own spin-off movie as part of Disney’s multi-billion dollar retooling of the Star Wars universe.
News of the diminutive green skinned star’s elevation from supporting character to main attraction comes via Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News who’s supposedly got the inside track on Lucasfilm’s plans. Of course we already knew that a new trilogy is in development with J.J. Abrams on board to direct the first instalment. But there have been persistent rumours about a series of possible spin-offs, including an intriguing sounding project from Zack Snyder, which would reimagine Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai with Jedi warriors. Now however it looks like Disney may be green-lighting a series of character focussed films, padding out the Star Wars universe in much the same way as they have with the spin-off superhero films of their other big money acquisition, Marvel.
It’s an idea that was all but confirmed by Disney CEO Bob Iger this week who said in a TV interview:
“I can confirm to you today that in fact we are working on a few standalone films, Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are both working on films derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga. We still plan to make Star Wars 7, 8, and 9 roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015. But there are going to be a few other films released in that period, too.”
From a business perspective it makes perfect sense, as there’s a rich universe of characters there to work from and of course a hefty price tag for the House of Mouse still to pay off. But it’s also great news for fans. After all who hasn’t at some point or other imagined how cool a Yoda movie might be? And why stop there. There’s feasibly an unlimited number of films that Disney could pluck from George Lucas’ galaxy far far away. What about a film where we get to see Han and Chewy do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? A Bobba Fett bounty hunter film? Or even the continuing adventures of Jar Jar Binks?
Okay so maybe we’re just getting a little bit crazy with that last one, but there are stories to be told and film fans who want to see them so it’s good news all round. The only contentious point I can think of is what this means for J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII. From what we’ve heard so far, the upcoming sequels will take place after the original trilogy, building from the events that climaxed with the Emperor’s demise in Return of the Jedi. But didn’t Yoda die at the end of Jedi? Joining Obi Wan and a redeemed Anakin Skywalker by becoming “one with the force” in Lucas’ cloying happy ending. That means that if Yoda were to appear in his own movie that someone would have to do some serious retconning to shoehorn him into the new Star Wars universe.
What do you think of the Yoda rumours and which characters would like to be given their own spin-off film? Let us know in the comments below.
Is Marvel planning on bringing World War Hulk to the big screen?
The Avengers was memorable for many reasons, but one of them was undoubtedly Mark Ruffalo’s take on The Hulk. The third actor to take on the role in the past decade, he did what Eric Bana and Ed Norton had tried and failed to do before him and transform the green goliath into a smash hit on the silver screen.
Understandably since then fans have been clamouring for the character to get his own spinoff movie, and Marvel it seems were listening with Kevin Feige suggesting last year that a standalone Hulk film was being developed; but not until after Avengers 2. Since then everything had gone quiet, until earlier this week Latino Review revealed some information they’d dug up on Marvel’s potential plans for The Hulk:
"We won't see the Hulk until 2015's The Avengers 2 but we can expect to see an appearance either in the final act of one of the planned movies or post credit scenes that would set up the next standalone Hulk movie.” The website revealed. “This is likely to take shape with the Hulk being deemed a serious threat by Marvel's Illuminati made up of Tony Stark and Doctor Strange amongst others which leads to Hulk being shipped off to space which would indicate that the basis for the Hulk movie would be Greg Pak's Planet Hulk which would see Hulk enslaved and forced into Gladiatorial combat until he leads a rebellion against the Red King."
It’s exciting news for anyone who’s ever read Greg Pak’s superb series, but also for the development of the wider Marvel universe with the potential to see the Illumanti introduced as a major movie force. The scoop doesn’t end there however with Latino Review suggesting that the standalone flick could lead into Marvel’s plans for The Avengers 3, which would take it’s lead from the hugely popular World War Hulk series in which the gamma-radiated giant return to exact his revenge on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Of course it’s all rumour and speculation right now, but with Ruffalo reportedly signed on to a six-picture deal it’s one that isn’t without substance.
Chris Pratt for Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s been a good year for Chris Pratt. Fresh of his continuing popularity on Parks and Recreation alongside an appearance in critically acclaimed Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty, it was announced this week that he’ll also front Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Pratt is something of a surprising choice beating off stiff competition that include the likes of Joel Edgerton, Jim Sturgess and Zachary Levy for the role of Peter Quill AKA Star Lord, a half alien half human astronaut who becomes leader of the titular superhero team. That’s not to say he’s the wrong choice however, far from it in fact as Pratt’s comic sensibility and recent all action appearances make him the perfect man for the movie which is set for release in summer 2014.
After a brief 50-year break from the screen it looks like Thunderbirds are go once again after New Zealand based special effects giant WETA confirmed they are planning a high-tech reboot of the iconic British sci-fi series. The brain child of Gerry Anderson, the much-loved adventures of International Rescue’s marionettes was a smash hit around the world inspiring a series of copycats, toy lines and even a disastrous film adaptation in 2004.
Now it looks like the series will return to the small screen after British broadcaster ITV commissioned a 26 episode series that’s set for screens in 2015. WETA, who’ve worked on movies like Lord of the Rings and Avatar, have been commissioned to reimagine the series using a mixture of CGI and live action techniques to bring the show to life for a new generation of fans.
Are you looking forward to the Star Wars spin-offs? What do you think of Marvel’s plans for Mark Ruffalo? And are you a Thunderbirds fan? Let us know in the comments section below.
-- Daniel Bettridge