I love a good movie trailer. I love showing movie trailers to my wife, often when all she wants to do is watch normal TV after putting our daughter to bed. Thanks to Popculturology, I can now share movie trailers with all of you.
Disney unveiled two highly anticipated trailers last week during its Comic Con Experience 2022 panel: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
(I almost sent these out as a special edition newsletter last week, but that seemed like overkill. Let me know if this is the kind of pop culture news you’d want right away, though.)
‘We’ll all fly away together … one last time’
James Gunn is going to break us with this one, huh?
The Guardians of the Galaxy films have always had a weight to them — Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill dealing with the loss of his mother or the reveal of his father, Zoe Saldaña’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula fighting the legacy of their adoptive father. The entirety of the trailer for the third Guardians of the Galaxy film drips with a sense of finality that we haven’t before seen in a Guardians movie. We’ve come a long way from the lightness of dance-offs to save the world.
At least one character is going to die in Vol. 3, right? Dave Bautista has long talked about how he’s done playing Drax after Gunn steps away from the franchise, but those shots of Rocket as a baby raccoon definitely have me worried about his fate. (I mean, look at the main photo on this edition.)
The Guardians movies (and Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame) don’t get enough credit for the level of voiceover work Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel have done on Rocket and Groot. Groot’s “we are Groot” line in the original Guardians film was a tearjerker, and Diesel somehow conveys another level of emotion in his single line in this Vol. 3 trailer.
This trailer also gives us our first looks at two characters that are new to the MCU. Will Poulter brings Adam Warlock to the big screen after the character was teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Gunn’s Peacemaker actor Chukwudi Iwuji plays the High Evolutionary.
Gunn knows how to score a trailer (and movies and TV shows, obviously). Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” sets the mood for the beginning of the Guardians’ end.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens on May 5, 2023.
‘I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe, it’s how hard you believe it’
We’ve been calling the fifth Indiana Jones movie things like Indiana Jones 5 or Indy 5 for so long I really thought Lucasfilm was going to go with Indiana Jones or Indy as its title. (Like Rocky or Jason Bourne. Let’s not forget that the first film in this franchise didn’t even have “Indiana Jones” in the title, so making his name the title of its final film would’ve been appropriate.)
The film finally has a title — and a trailer. Harrison Ford’s final time playing the adventurer will be called Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Not quite sure what a Dial of Destiny is, but it carries on the legacy of George Lucas giving films pulpy titles. Attack of the Clones. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Dial of Destiny. (Logan director James Mangold takes the helm of this Indiana Jones film, with Lucas and Stephen Spielberg serving as executive producers.)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten different bits of news about Dial of Destiny. We learned that Ford would be de-aged, that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was playing Indy’s goddaughter and that the film would focus on Indy questioning just how former the former Nazis working on the American side of the space race actually were.
This trailer has me 100 percent on board with whatever adventure Indy is taking us on. (Especially since he’s back to punching Nazis. Indy should always be punching Nazis.) I’m still curious to see what the MacGuffin will be for Dial of Destiny. What follows the Ark of the Covenant, the Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail and a Crystal Skull?
The de-aging tech used to return Ford to his Raiders of the Lost Ark days looks really good. It’s come so far since Disney used it to create a young Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. (Disney not only needs to give Tron: Legacy a proper sequel, they need to give the film the Special Edition treatment and update the de-aged Bridges.)
A room full of people pulling their guns on Indy in response to his whip is a fun twist on Indy shooting the swordsman in Raiders.
It’s also great to see John Rhys-Davies back as Sallah. One of the many weird parts about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was how that film was positioned to be Indy’s final adventure and killed of previous partners like Sean Connery’s Henry Jones Sr. and Denholm Elliott’s Marcus Brody. (Elliott had passed away, so that bit did make sense.) Having Sallah back rethreads some of that connective tissue back through the franchise.
I love that we get Indy giving his version of Han Solo’s “it’s all true” speech from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The guy has seen face-melting ghosts, hearts ripped out of bodies, magical cups and intersdimensional beings (they weren’t aliens!), but he’s still like, I guess there’s magic.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens on June 30, 2023.
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I Think You Should Leave renewed for Season 3
I don’t know how I Think You Should Leave morphed into an endless stream of memes that have become a kind of shorthand for people on social media, but Tim Robinson’s gem has become one of pop culture’s most important shows.
I’m not kidding here. I’m not being hyperbolic. I don’t even have to put Robinson’s dialogue over that picture of a man in a hot dog suit and you know exactly what he’s saying. In an age of hypocrisy (and billionaires wondering why no one wants to advertise on the social media platform they tanked), is there a better retort than “we're all trying to find the guy who did this”?
No word yet on when I Think You Should Leave will return to Netflix, so you’ll have to make do with whatever’s on Corn Cob TV for now — providing Spectrum didn’t drop the channel.
The Mandalorian returns on March 1
Disney had a big day during its Comic Con Experience 2022 panel own Thursday. Not only did the studio introduce two very big trailers — keep scrolling for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny trailers! — but the studio revealed that Season 3 of The Mandalorian will premiere on Disney+ on March 1, 2023.
Huh, it’s kind of weird thinking about going back to the Mandalorian world, isn’t it? Andor was such a departure from this corner of Star Wars storytelling. I’m excited to get back to these characters, though. The Mando-centric episodes of The Book of Boba Fett were the best part of that show, and I can’t wait to see how Mandalore translates from Clone Wars to live action.
New Spider-Verse trailer on the way
A new trailer for the much-anticipated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will debut on Dec. 13. Executive producer/screenwriter Christopher Miller confirmed the news on Twitter over the weekend.
Daniel Pemberton, who’s composing the score for the sequel (and who should’ve been nominated for Oscar for his work on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) also jokingly confirmed that the trailer will “NOT feature any more SO SO BORING AND PREDICTABLE MIDI PIANO PLAYING A ONE FINGER VERSION OF THE THEME TUNE WITH A BIG REVERB ON.”
Seems like someone isn’t a fan of that trend.
Rings of Power recasts Adar, adds Season 2 actors
There are going to be some new faces when we finally return to Middle-earth. Amazon Studios announced a bunch of cast additions for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, including the recasting of a main character from Season 1.
Adar, the corrupted elf, will now be played by Sam Hazeldine. The character was played by Joseph Mawle in the show’s first season. Joining Hazeldine are Gabriel Akuwudike, Yasen “Zates” Atour, Ben Daniels, Amelia Kenworthy, Nia Towle and Nicholas Woodeson.
Annapurna launches animation studio
Annapurna Pictures, the indie studio behind films like Zero Dark Thirty, The Master and American Hustle, is getting into the animation game. The studio announced on Thursday that Walt Disney Animation/Blue Sky Animation vets Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein will lead the division.
Annapurna will partner with Netflix to release its first feature, an adaption of the graphic novel Nimona. The adaption began when Blue Sky Studios was under 20th Century Animation, only to be delayed several times before being canceled after Disney bought 20th Century Fox. Netflix announced that it had picked up Nimona in April.
“Robert and I have had an inspiring experience collaborating with [Megan Ellison], [Nathan Gary] and Annapurna. We’re excited to bring incredible animated stories to Annapurna’s portfolio of talent-led projects,” Millstein said in a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Baird’s work includes a writing credit on Big Hero 6. Millstein was president of Walt Disney Animation Studios before being named co-president of Blue Sky Studios.
Nimona is expected to be released in 2023. Riz Ahmed, Chloë Grace Moretz and Eugene Lee Yang will voice the film’s main characters.
Orange Is the New Black actor Brad William Henke dies
Brad William Henke died on Tuesday at 56. No cause of death was disclosed.
The actor was best known for his role as Desi Piscatella in Orange Is the New Black. His long list of acting credits also included Coover Bennett on Justified and Bram on Lost. Before going into acting, Henke was a professional football player, appearing in Super Bowl XXIV with the Denver Broncos.
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Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
I forgot we were still doing Transformers movies. I’m also confused where the storyline has taken us at this point. Travis Knight’s wonderful Bumblebee gave the franchise a soft reset — does Transformers: Rise of the Beasts follow that movie?
The answer appears to be that Rise of the Beasts is a direct sequel to Bumblebee, but it’s a movie about alien robots that can transform into cars and totally believable-looking gorillas too. I shouldn’t think too hard about the nuances of the franchise’s canon.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens on June 9, 2023.
The Last of Us
I’ve never played The Last of Us, so I basically know zero about this show. Pedro Pascal playing a surrogate father to a younger companion during troubling times seems like a good concept for a story, though …
The Last of Us premieres on Jan. 15, 2023.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Who would’ve expected the Ant-Man films to become some of the most important elements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
The first Ant-Man was in limbo for years and swapped directors. Since Peyton Reed took the helm, though, Ant-Man has introduced the Quantum Realm, brought time travel to the Avengers and saved the world.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Ant-Man may accidentally doom the world. Will his encounter with Kang unleash the villain?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opens on Feb. 17, 2023.
Look, I enjoy Love Actually, but this is a weird movie. Andrew Lincoln’s stalker character, fat jokes at the core of the Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon’s romance — Laura Linney wearing a hat during a wedding?
Every time I watch Love Actually, I’m shocked by the cast this movie managed to pull together. It’s sucks that Alan Rickman’s character is so despicable. It’d be nice to be able to honor his memory at Christmas in a happier way.
“This is a weak movie enhanced by a great score,” my wife said while watching this one.
One of my favorite Love Actually tangents is Happy Endings’ Alex having a gingerbread display dedicated to the film — when Elisha Cuthbert plays both an American girl in Love Actually and Alex in Happy Endings.
“This movie’s not weak. I take it back,” my wife says as Emma Thompson cries in her bedroom.
I can’t remember where I saw it (sorry to the person who deserves credit for this one) but Abbott Elementary very quickly learned the same lesson with Ava Coleman that The Office did when it came to Michael Scott: You can’t have a character be an irredeemable doofus all the time.
In the early episodes of Abbott Elementary, it was impossible to root for Janelle James’ Ava. She had blackmailed her way into the principal job and showed zero interest in helping the teachers or kids at the school. (Similar to how Michael Scott was a jerk in the brief first season of The Office.) She still finds time to hit on Tyler James Williams’ Gregory or insult Quinta Brunson’s Janine, but there’s now a bit of heart behind those characteristics.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
You know what’s wild? A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired four years before Apollo 11. Human beings drew this before mankind landed on the moon.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about A Charlie Brown Christmas that hasn’t already been said over the past 57 years, so here’s the Saturday Night Live classic “You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown.”
It feels like everyone in this sketch left SNL a long time ago, but then there’s Cecily Strong. Like Kenan Thompson, she’s a castmember from a different era of the show.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
This was the only version of A Christmas Carol that I knew for probably at least the first twenty years of my life. I was late to the Muppets’ version and didn’t see the Patrick Stewart version until I started spending the holidays with my wife’s family.
This version skips the weird Ignorance and Want kids, but I had forgotten how well Pete is used as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
- Six lessons Lucasfilm can learn from the success of Andor (Miles Surrey, The Ringer)
- Why don't animated movies and sci-fi seem to mix? (Justin Carter, Gizmodo)
- “No one is going to kill Twitter except Elon”: As Musk’s blue bird reels, the arms race for an alternative is on (Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair)
- Do or do not, but there is also try (James Whitbrook, Gizmodo)
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A FEW SNL SKETCHES
This might’ve been the best SNL of the season. Keke Palmer was a fantastic host — fully into the sketches, not obviously reading the cue cards. She even confirmed her pregnancy during her monologue.
“I’m 29. I’m grown. OK, I have sex. I own a home. I stormed the Capitol on January 6. You know, things adults do,” Palmer noted in response to the idea that a former child star having a baby was weird.
Here are a few of my favorite sketches from this weekend’s SNL.
Herschel Walker Cold Open
It’s fun seeing Thompson get to play a political role, especially one that’s rooted in non sequiturs.
“Let’s lay low and focus on the message.”
“Exactly. Just like Kanye.”
It’s so great to have Strong back. I know I mentioned it while talking about the “You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown” sketch, but she really does represent an era of the show that’s gone now. (No fault of the majority of the current cast. It wasn’t their idea to spend the past few years letting guest stars take all the cushy roles instead of developing the castmembers.)
“So the girl is a person but the one in the suit and tie is a cat?”
Hello Kitty has never made sense to me. I’m glad Palmer and Bowen Yang called out this nonsense. She’s a little girl and not a cat? OK …
Kenan & Kelly
Devon Walker does a great Kel impression, but it’s hard to compete with the real Kel Mitchell.
The writing in this episode of SNL was very sharp, probably at its sharpest when Kelly tells Kenan that Kel is her baby’s father because she “slept with him just to hurt you.”
I honestly didn’t know if I needed to fast forward through this sketch when it started. Too realistic of an Arby’s commercial to immediately know whether it was a sketch or not.
When Strong and Yang started questioning how Abry’s five-sandwiches-for-ten-dollars deal was possible, though, the joke clicked.
Those two are so good together.
Weekend Update: Peppa Pig Fan Club President on the Show’s Gay Characters
“I don’t have kids. Anymore.”
Pretty much sums up every person looking to ban a show or books in the year 2022.
Sarah Sherman might be one of my favorite additions to SNL’s cast over the past few years.
BOX OFFICE REPORT
Weekend of Dec. 2-4, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (1)
Weekend gross: $17.6M / Total domestic gross: $393.7M / Percent drop: -61
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ticks up to No. 11 on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s all-time domestic box office list, passing Spider-Man: Far From Home’s $390.5 million and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s $389.8 million.
Violent Night (N)
Weekend gross: $13.3M / Total domestic gross: $13.3M / Percent drop: -NA
When David Harbour’s Hellboy reboot opened in 2019, its $12 million debut was considered a failure. Three years and a pandemic later, Violent Night’s $13.3 million opening weekend looks like a pretty great start for the R-rated take on Santa Claus. (Even if he did a bad job, they still would’ve had to give him that other two mil, right?)
- Strange World (2)
Weekend gross: $4.9M / Total domestic gross: $25.5M / Percent drop: -60
- The Menu (5)
Weekend gross: $3.6M / Total domestic gross: $24.7M / Percent drop: -35
- Devotion (4)
Weekend gross: $2.8M / Total domestic gross: $13.8M / Percent drop: -53
ODDS AND ENDS
Brett Goldstein and the Muppets discuss The Muppet Christmas Carol
Look, I like The Muppet Christmas Carol. As Muppet movies go, it’s a good one. I’m a Muppet Family Christmas guy, though. (Hopefully more on than in an upcoming edition of Popculturology …)
Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein? The self-proclaimed No. 1 Muppets fan revealed he watches The Muppet Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve during a chat for Entertainment Weekly with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Robin to celebrate The Muppet Christmas Carol turning 30 this year.
The cast of Happy Endings talks happy endings
Happy Endings stars Cuthbert, Adam Pally, Casey Wilson and Zachary Knighton were recently interviewed during Vulture Festival (not sure where Damon Wayans Jr. and Eliza Coupe were …). Nothing big came out of the interview, but it’s always great to see these actors together. For all the shows that have been saved or revived, it’s crazy that no one came to rescue Happy Endings after ABC dumped it.
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