Welcome to a special birthday edition of Popculturology. Actually, there’s nothing special about it.1 It just happens to have been my birthday this week, an occasion that I celebrated with a visit to a new brewery, a cookie cake and a pair of sneakers. (Did you guys know that you can just keeping buying sneakers? Like, they’ll sell you new pairs even if you already have a closet full of them.)
If you want to celebrate my birthday, give Popculturology a follow if you aren’t doing so already. I’d also love it if you got a friend to become a free subscriber. (Or you can just enter their email without telling them. I won’t know.)
Let’s get to the news …
I love writing about pop culture, and if you enjoy reading Popculturology and aren’t already a subscriber, please subscribe to the newsletter.
NEWS, NOTES AND TRAILERS
Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, has been delayed
The eighth Mission: Impossible movie has been pushed back a year, now scheduled to hit theaters on May 23, 2025, instead of June 28, 2024. With the studios still unwilling to agree to a fair contract with SAG-AFTRA, shooting on Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two has been unable to resume. Kind of hard to hit a release date without actors.
- About that title: I should’ve called the next movie in Tom Cruise’s action franchise the Untitled Mission: Impossible Film since Paramount is scrapping the Dead Reckoning Part Two bit. I understand Cruise and the studio wanting a fresh start from Dead Reckoning Part One. The film was a step backwards for the franchise at the box office, standing at $566.5 million worldwide after Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol hit $694.7 million, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation hit $688.9 million and Mission: Impossible: Fallout hit a franchise high $786.6 million. Ditching the Part Two subtitle (sub-subtitle?) might give the next film a fresh start despite being a direct pickup of Dead Reckoning’s storyline. Expect to see the Part One title erased from digital versions of the film. (My 4K Blu-ray is untouchable. Dead Reckoning Part One forever!)
- IMAX to the max: Whatever its title, the next Mission: Impossible movie will enjoy a three-week IMAX run and the sweet, sweet premium ticket prices that come with it, something that Dead Reckoning was deprived of opening just over a week before Oppenheimer took over IMAX screens.
🎞️ “It all has been a bit mad recently”
Woo boy, the final season of The Crown is going to be heavy, isn’t it? Elizabeth Debicki continues to steal the show in this new trailer for the first part of The Crown’s final season.
“Haven’t even begun” working on the next version of Bond
No one can ever accuse the executive producers in charge of the James Bond franchise of moving too quickly. According to Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, they “haven’t even begun” working on the post-Daniel Craig version of the iconic character with there being “a big road ahead.”
According to a recent report, Christopher Nolan has been in talks to helm the Bond franchise, with the plan being to make the series period pieces and have Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Bond. It’s impossible to read what’s true when it comes to Bond rumors, but I’m guessing we’re going to beat the six-year gap between License to Kill and GoldenEye (when Brosnan was cast). (There was also a six-year gap between Spectre and No Time to Die, but that was for a million other reasons.)
A.D. Miles returns as The Tonight Show’s head writer
A.D. Miles. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. It’s hard to believe in 2023, but Jimmy Fallon was once a funny and creative force while hosting Late Night. His sketches were inventive. There was audience participation. The soulless version of his schtick that we see on The Tonight Show hadn’t yet permeated into his performances.
A big part of that former vibe could be attributed to Miles, who served as head writer during Fallon’s entire run as host of Late Night before launching Fallon’s version of The Tonight Show. We’ll have a chance to see if Miles can recapture that magic, as he’s returning to The Tonight Show to once again serve as its head writer. (Not sure this will fix all of Fallon’s issues …)
Paddington in Peru in America in January 2025
The third Paddington movie has been scheduled to open in American theaters on Jan. 17, 2025 — two months after it debuts in the United Kingdom on Nov. 8, 2024. Everything is going great over here in America (and I’m sure will continue to be smooth sailing during that November 2024-January 2025 time period), so I guess it’s only fair that we get a delayed release for Paddington in Peru.
Hasan Minhaj officially not hosting The Daily Show
A new report makes it official that Hasan Minhaj will not be the next host of The Daily Show. “Minhaj would have been announced as the new TDS host this summer had the strike not intervened,” Puck reports (via TVLine). “Instead, both sides sat on the announcement, and then … disaster.”
- “Is Hasan Minhaj secretly a psycho?” On Thursday, Minhaj released a video response to the New Yorker article that torpedoed his shot at replacing Trevor Noah. The video is over twenty minutes long, which seems like overkill, but you can check it out over at The Hollywood Reporter.
- Jon Stewart’s available: If Comedy Central can’t pick someone to replace Noah, they can always back the money truck up to Jon Stewart’s house and see if he’d like to return to The Daily Show. The Problem With Jon Stewart has met an early end over at Apple TV+ due to creative differences. According to The New York Times, “creative differences” might include Apple having concerns with “potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence.”
ALL THE KIDS ARE TALKING ABOUT SNL
Nate Bargatze goes Hollywood
Look, I think Nate Bargatze is going to be a good Saturday Night Live host. Comedians are built for this show. But Bargatze would not be hosting SNL in a year when there wasn’t an actors strike. (He even recognized how weird it was to be asked to host while talking with Seth Meyers earlier this week.) We’re going to see a lot of people who normally wouldn’t have had a shot at hosting SNL get a chance as long as the SAG-AFTRA strike continues.
“IT’S COMING. IT’S BEGINNING.”
While Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania flubbed its use of Kang, it’s been super interesting to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe unspool the big bad of the Multiverse Saga across several projects — and presumably with a plan on how to do it. The Infinity Saga stuck its landing with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but Kevin Feige and company lucked into Thanos working. He was introduced as a credits scene cameo in The Avengers and didn’t even have his final looked locked down until Infinity War.
As long as Jonathan Majors’ legal troubles don’t derail him playing He Who Remains/Kang/Victor Timely, we’re going to see the Multiverse Saga’s major villain grow from his introduction in the first season of Loki through Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
The third episode of Loki’s second season felt like a major moment in this journey. As they tracked Renslayer, Loki and Mobius (and Sylvie) discovered Victor Timely, a variant of He Who Remains in 1868 Chicago.
- The con man who would control time: We got our first glimpse at Victor Timely in 1868 as Renslayer and Miss Minutes dropped a copy of the TVA Official Handbook through his window. Is this push all that it would take to cause Victor to become He Who Remains? Would he too unleash a time war and create the TVA? Well, that’s a good question …
- Sylvie’s mercy: With Sylvia’s saber to his throat, Victor makes the argument that he’s his own person and not destined to follow He Who Remains’ path. A good argument to make to Sylvie, a variant who had her life destroyed just because her destiny didn’t sync up with what the TVA expected.
- “A little rogue cartoon clock that doesn’t want to be found”: Voiced by Tara Strong, Miss Minutes stole this episode. Things we learned about her: Created by He Who Remains, jealous of Renslayer … and wants a body so she can be He Who Remains’ girlfriend. Oh boy.
- Renslayer at the End of Time: Welp, things are not going well for Renslayer. Betrayed by Miss Minutes, defeated by Loki, Mobius and Sylvie, sent to the End of Time, and now waiting to hear a secret from Miss Minutes that’ll make her very mad.
- “This has to be a joke”: Loki wasn’t pleased with the wood carvings of Odin, Thor and Balder at the World’s fair. Had Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness gone a different way, we would’ve seen Daniel Craig as Balder the Brave.
- Michael Bolton Answers Every Question We Have About His Pirate Masterpiece ‘Jack Sparrow’ (Devon Ivie, Vulture)
- Son, You Will Not Binge-Watch LOST—You’ll Watch One Episode a Week and Be Frustrated Like Mom and I Did (Max Davison, McSweeney’s)
- Killers of the Flower Moon Is the Hat Movie of the Year (Gabriella Paiella, GQ)
- They Cracked the Code to a Locked USB Drive Worth $235 Million in Bitcoin. Then It Got Weird (Andy Greenberg, Wired)
- How to sell a haunted house (Rachel Kurzius, The Washington Post)
AND FINALLY …
These pieces are totally getting lost in the Arrakis sand
I didn’t have Dune on my list of pop culture franchises that would get the Lego treatment, but Denis Villeneuve’s adaption of the iconic book is making the jump to brick form.
Lego unveiled the Dune Atreides Royal Ornithopter set this week. You can preorder the $164.99 set now, and it’ll be available in February. The set includes eight minifigures. There’s some incredible detail on a few of these minifigs, but the ridiculously long robe Lego gave Baron Harkonnen is the funniest part of the set.
That’s the end of this issue of Popculturology. Thanks for reading. If you don’t already subscribe, please hit the “Subscribe now” button. Tapping the ♥️ at the bottom of each post also helps the newsletter.
That’s not true. Every edition of Popculturology is special in its own way. ↩