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James Gunn confirms he's directing 'Superman: Legacy' — and Dwayne Johnson compares 'Black Adam' to winning championships?
No surprise that Gunn will direct 'Superman: Legacy.' PLUS: Steven Yeun and Ali Wong have a 'Beef' trailer, my thoughts on 'Last of Us' and 'Mandalorian,' and 'Indiana Jones' returns to Lego.
James Gunn has finally found a director for his Superman reboot.
The co-head of DC Studios made the announcement on his Twitter on Wednesday, ending weeks — months? — of speciation whether Gunn would direct Superman: Legacy, the first Superman film in the rebooted DCU.
It’s refreshing how open and honest Gunn is when it comes to rumors involving his projects, not just with the DCU but also during his time writing and directing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies for Marvel Studios. It’s long been suspected that Gunn would direct this Superman movie, but based on his tweets on Wednesday, he really struggled with taking on the project.
It’s been my hope that Gunn would take on this project. He understands how to write and direct stories that have an emotional heart. Superman needs someone who can bring that emotional heart to his story. While Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel showed that potential, the additional movies that featured Henry Cavill as Superman didn’t capitalize on that potential.
Phew, I’m so glad this news broke on Wednesday afternoon. I was getting ready to lead this edition of Popculturology with Dwayne Johnson’s continued defense of Black Adam.
“All that I can do, and all that we could do when we were making Black Adam, was to put our best foot forward and surround ourselves with the best people and deliver the best movie we could,” Johnson told Variety. “Our audience score was in the 90s. Critics took a couple shots, but that’s just the business of it.”
Sure. Yeah. It was the critics that killed Black Adam. Not the fact that the movie was awful and spent too much time trying to prove how edgy it was and how it was shaking up the hierarchy of power in a dying cinematic universe.
Johnson had more to say to Variety, though, and he made things even more confusing with his follow-up statement.
“It’s almost like when you have a pro football team and your quarterback wins championships and your head coach wins championships and then a new owner comes in and says, ‘Not my coach, not my quarterback. I’m going to go with somebody new.’”
Who is the championship team in this scenario? Who is the head coach winning those championships? Does Johnson see himself, Black Adam and his production company’s involvement in the DCEU as a championship-winning combo?
There’s no world where that even begins to make sense.
Everything and anything involved with Black Adam turned out to be a negative for Warner Bros., the DCEU and the actors who had a role in the movie. Black Adam was a box office failure. Poor Cavill was duped into believing the people he was working with on that credits scene had the power to bring him back as Superman.
It’s dumb that we’re even still talking about Black Adam. It’s even dumber than anyone is still pretending that it was a success.
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‘I don’t know if it was explicitly on my bucket list’: Steven Yeun discusses joining the MCU
I didn’t realize that Jake Schreier was one of the directors on the upcoming Netflix series Beef, but that knowledge makes Steven Yeun signing up for Schreier’s Thunderbolts make a lot more sense.
“I don’t know if it was explicitly on my bucket list,” Yeun told Empire about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It was more the story, getting to work with Jake Schreier again, who directed Beef, and what his intentions were. The intentions of the particular character that they wanted me to play were very clear, and that’s what drew me to the film.”
We still don’t know who Yeun is playing in Thunderbolts. There’s been some speculation Sentry, but there hasn’t been any real sourcing on that one.
Disney+ cancels Willow after one season
No word why Willow was canceled. It was a pretty big project from Disney, but its ties to Lucasfilm may have possibly been the issue. “The news comes as Lucasfilm has been reassessing its film slate, taking time to identify the next movie in the Star Wars franchise,” Deadline notes.
Vanessa Hudgens returning for next Bad Boys movie
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence revealed in February that another Bad Boys movie was in the works. It would be the fourth movie in the Bad Boys franchise — not to be confused with Bad Boys for Life — and would be one of Smith’s biggest projects since his infamous Oscar slap that we’ve all apparently moved past now.
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Speaking of Beef and Yeun, Netflix dropped the first trailer for the upcoming series on Wednesday. In addition to Yeun, Beef stars comedian Ali Wong.
Beef is set to run for ten episodes, with all episodes dropping at the same time — because, um, Netflix. Lee Isaac Chung, who directed Minari and this week’s episode of The Mandalorian, directed the first episode of the series.
Beef premieres on April 6.
The Last of Us
“Look for the Light”
The first season of The Last of Us wrapped up on Sunday. I jumped over to watch the episode during the Oscars since I was worried about Twitter spoiling the episode, especially if I was going to be online all night.
With the finale on the books, is Joel the bad guy?
Sure, he was protecting Ellie, but that was quite the body count that he racked up in the process. To borrow from another prestige drama, no more half-measures. It didn’t matter if it was an armed soldier or a surgeon, Joel was taking them out.
Where does The Last of Us go from here? (Don’t send me The Last of Us Part II spoilers.) Joel and Ellie now live with a lie.
Whoops. Bo-Katan joined a cult.
The latest episode of The Mandalorian presented viewers with two very different storylines. Bookending the episode was the continuation of Bo-Katan and Din Djarin’s journey from Mandalore. With both characters bathing in the Living Waters of the Mines of Mandalore — and not removing their helmets since! — they were welcomed into the coven of Mandalorians that had spent episodes trying to reject Din.
I loved so many elements of this storyline. In 2023, we have live-action Bo-Katan flying a live-cation version of her ship from The Clone Wars alongside an N-1 Starfighter from Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace? That’s wild. There’s even a baby version of Yoda riding along with R5-D4 in her ship!
One of the best things we’ve gotten during the Disney era is how they’ve presented TIE fighters and Star Destroyers, especially when these Imperial ships are in planetary atmosphere. Watching a pack of TIE Interceptors and TIE Bombers attack Bo-Katan’s castle was fantastic.
The meat of this episode took place on Coruscant. I love the revival of Coruscant, both in live action through Andor and bits of Obi-Wan Kenobi. One of the sequel trilogy’s biggest mistakes was doing everything it could to avoid returning to the capital planet.
I tweeted about this on Wednesday, but there are now two Star Wars shows — The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch — carrying the weight of fully explaining the whole “somehow, Palpatine returned” bit from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
“The Convert” reintroduced Dr. Pershing, the cloning scientist who sought out Grogu during the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, along with Elia Kane, a former Gideon officer.
This episode set up a few things. The New Republic isn’t much better than the Empire, with its wealthy citizens not even being affected by the regime change. And there are imperial remnant moles within the New Republic.
I’m curious to see how far The Mandalorian takes this storyline. Is it something the show will continue to explore? Or was this just a setup for another Star Wars Disney+ series?
A Coup at the WestView News (Zach Helfand, The New Yorker)
Eric André Took a Whole Lot of Whippets During This Interview (Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone)
Say goodbye to the old cap on McCormick spice bottles (Jordan Valinsky, CNN)
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New Indiana Jones Lego sets on the way
When Lego last released sets based on the Indiana Jones movies, I was in the middle of my Lego dark ages. I’d still look at them in stores, but I was playing by the “these are for kids and you can buy them again when you someday have kids” rule. It’s a dumb rule and one that I stopped following twelve years ago.
My chance to finally add some Indiana Jones sets to my Lego collection has arrived. With Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hitting theaters this summer, Disney and Lego have partnered up for at least three new sets based on the iconic Harrison Ford character. (There was supposed to be a fourth, but something happened to the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom set …)
The largest set of the bunch if the 1,545-piece Temple of the Golden Idol, a display set based on the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m definitely going to pick this one up, and the smaller sets based on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are on my wishlist too.
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