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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Beauty and the Beast Cancelled

Image Source: Celebeat
Even tales as old as time have to come to a close eventually...
Just days after its Autumn slate kicked off with the return of The Flash, iZombie, Arrow and other hit series, The CW confirmed yesterday that their popular fantasy drama Beauty and the Beast will not return for any further runs after its fourth season airs in the United States.

The show, which stars Smallville's Kristen Kreuk in the eponymous role of Catherine Chandler (don't ask why the name 'Belle' wouldn't have worked just as well) along with Neighbours' Jay Ryan as her at times psychologically unhinged wooer Vincent Keller, depicts the aforementioned fairytale characters in a modern-day setting as Chandler haphazardly attempts to balance her work in the New York Police Department (NYPD) with her ongoing efforts to protect Keller's bestial secrets from being discovered.

No doubt the above premise reeks too much of Twilight for some, yet in fairness, based on the 1.78 and 1.24 million viewers amassed by its first and second seasons respectively, Beauty definitely appears to have worked its magic over on The CW regardless, hence why its axing just eight months after the US network commissioned a fourth string of 13 episodes for broadcast in 2016 will most likely have come as quite the shock to those who have stepped aboard the series' bandwagon since its 2013 première. On the other hand, when pitted against The Flash Season One's 3.84 million average, these figures admittedly don't seem quite so remarkable, so perhaps like Firefly and In the Flesh, the show's production team will have to rest safe in the knowledge that their creation acquired quite the cult following in its short-lived lifespan, even if said fandom wasn't enough to indefinitely prolong its inevitable demise.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and in this case it's that the soon-to-be deceased drama's writing team have at least been afforded the necessary time to concoct a satisfying series finale in learning of Beauty's cancellation well ahead of its final season's broadcast. Too often these kinds of announcements are made so late in the day that execs and head writers have to hurriedly huddle together to concoct a rushed denouement for their abruptly terminated pet projects, so at the very least, it's a welcome departure from the norm to see The CW make such a wholehearted effort to offer the cast and crew alike the best opportunity at providing both themselves and their hardly insubstantial audience with some form of closure as opposed to a half-hearted conclusion which forever leaves a bitter taste on the tongue. The end may well be approaching, then, but to quote Tom Baker's incarnation of Doctor Who, the moment has (thankfully) been prepared for.

Better yet, the moment's a way off yet; before taking its final bow, Beauty and the Beast will return to The CW (as well as on Freeview channel Watch here in the UK, unless they suddenly lose the rights at the last moment) for its climactic fourth season in Summer 2016.

The LEGO Movie Theme Park Attraction Announced

Image Source: Seaford Cinema
Emmett's next cinematic outing may still be under construction, but that won't stop him embarking on new adventures elsewhere!
In a turn of events that, to be honest, we all really should have seen coming, The LEGO Group have this week revealed plans to début a new theme park attraction based on the events of their 2014 animated motion picture The LEGO Movie over the course of the New Year.

Currently going by the name of The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure, this family-orientated experience will take the form of an interactive show - to be played at LEGOLAND parks across the world, no less - along the lines of Madame Tussauds' Marvel Super Heroes 4D and Disneyland's Star Tours, incorporating simulator elements (albeit nothing too high-octane, we'd wager) as well as weather and 3-D effects so as to draw its onlookers into its on-screen action.

Not that the audience will want to take their eyes off of the sure-to-be sizeable cinema screen placed at the centre of their auditoriums, of course - here, the likes of Wyldstyle (played once more by Elizabeth Banks), Benny the Astronaut (Charlie Day) and even Emmett himself (who'll unfortunately be voiced by someone other than Chris Pratt, no doubt owing to the Jurassic World star's presently hectic schedule) as the merry band of Master Builders who comprised The LEGO Movie's central ensemble face off against the nefarious "Risky Business" - voiced by none other than Patton Oswalt of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fame - in a fictional theme park dedicated to their efforts last year to bring down the so-called Kraggle.

If the idea of a potentially non-canonical follow-up to one of the most accomplished additions to the animated genre in recent memory has any of our readers worrying that a minimal amount of effort will be invested on account of the attraction's youthful target audience, then allow us to put the situation into perspective. It's worth noting first and foremost that Rob Schrab - better known as the man tasked with helming The LEGO Movie Sequel, due in cinemas May 18th, 2018 - has agreed to serve as the project's principle director, indicating that unless he has plans to scale back on the layered storytelling, the gloriously meta-textual references and frankly hilarious characterisation which made Phil Lord and Chris Miller's original big-screen effort such a hit last February, chances are he'll endeavour to transfer all of those elements across to A New Adventure too.

Indeed, given the beloved first film's remarkable commercial takings, the likelihood of The LEGO Group allowing anyone involved to slack on the job seems incredibly low at best, if not downright out of the question. That said, if recent lacklustre 4-D efforts such as Thorpe Park's wholly underwhelming Angry Birds adaptation have proven anything, it's that adrenaline junkies and LEGO fanatics alike would be completely justified in keeping an eye on TripAdvisor in the days succeeding the attraction's launch in case of adverse reviews, not least since gaining entry to just about any theme park tends to cost one an arm and / or a leg these days. In the event that all of that seems like too much effort, though, simply stick with On-Screen as 2016 progresses, as we'll do our utmost to keep atop of the show's development and to subsequently provide an overall verdict on whether it's enough to warrant a trip down memory lane for those who claim to have outgrown the world's most iconic construction toy.

Provided that Lord Business doesn't glue its creators' feet to the ground in the meantime, The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure will première at LEGOLAND California next February 6th before moving onto the park's Windsor, Billund, Malaysia and Deutschland counterparts as well as the eleven LEGOLAND Discovery Centres situated across the globe in mid-late 2016.

Monday, 12 October 2015

First Mad Max: Fury Road Follow-Up Character Details Teased

Image Source: CNET
Will 2015's most beloved femme fatale by a long stretch join Tom Hardy's Max for more dystopian odysseys?
Director George Miller has today elaborated on his recent array of comments surrounding what the narrative of a potential follow-up to his post-apocalyptic thriller Mad Max: Fury Road would entail, revealing once and for all whether we should expect another appearance from fan favourite character Furiosa next time around.

Portrayed by Prometheus' Charlize Theron, this sexual slave-turned-fearless warrior made quite the entrance in this July's Fury Road as she broke away from the deranged warlords holding her and the only other female survivors in the Wasteland hostage, only to cross paths with Tom Hardy's similarly courageous titular protagonist in a turn of events which led both she and Max into a ferocious, explosion-laden battle for the freedom of the former's entire civilisation.

Five months from its release, and suffice to say that despite its somewhat underwhelming domestic and international box office takings, the third instalment in the Mad Max franchise certainly found from a critical perspective in no small part thanks to Theron's memorable turn. Little wonder, then, that there's already been a feverish amount of interest regarding whether or not she'll reprise her role if studio Warner Brothers Pictures eventually gives the green light to Miller for the near-inevitable sequel. Indeed, fans haven't been the only ones kept in the dark on this front - when USA Today quizzed Theron herself on the subject in August, the American thespian said any updates were "news to [her]", suggesting only the aforementioned director could confirm what lay ahead for the character.

In hindsight, however, perhaps Furiosa's adorers would have been better off not knowing either way, since the closure which Miller has brought his fandom today might well seem completely contrary to what many had been expecting (or at least hoping for). Developing upon his recent revelation that multiple scripts had been drafted for Fury Road's successor - which he's tentatively calling Mad Max: Wasteland, though that mightn't be set in stone - he confirmed in an interview with Digital Spy this morning that the character's presence (or lack thereof) will be extremely dependent on which screenplay the sequel's production team opts to film: "I'm not sure, is the answer. She's not in [Wasteland]'s story, but in one of the stories there's an interaction between [her and Max]. I can't really say more [...] because [the writing process is] still in progress."

Compared to Hardy, then, whose return surely represents a given provided that the project goes ahead, Theron - for better or for worse - may well not want to turn down other offers of cinematic employment for the foreseeable future, since in a rather creatively admirable move, despite the well-evidenced mass appeal of her character, her behind-the-scenes commander-in-chief looks to be more focused on providing a top-notch narrative experience (no doubt fuelled by the same ilk of visual storytelling which made Fury Road such a hit with countless critics) than resurrecting beloved players for no reason other than pure nostalgia. Will Furiosa be the only member of her chapter's ensemble of supporting constructs not to make an appearance going forward, though? We'd strongly suspect not, but to know for sure what's occurring, our readers will just have to keep checking back at On-Screen in the coming weeks, months and possibly years (goodness knows how long Warner will take to make a decision on Wasteland's overall viability!) as more updates surface from official and third-party sources alike.

There's one almost sure-fire way for fans to boost the chances of easily this year's most critically acclaimed quasi-fantastical adrenaline ride earning itself a follow-up in the meantime, however: look out for Mad Max: Fury Road as the near-masterful work of cinema in question races into UK DVD and Blu-Ray retailers nationwide on Monday, October 19th.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

EXCLUSIVE - New LEGO Marvel's Avengers Gameplay Details Revealed

Image Source: YouTube
Only right here and now will you find full details of how Iron Man 3 and more MCU greats will factor in!
Much as entertainment journalists such as this writer might hate to admit it, the art of obtaining wholly original scoops is fast becoming an increasingly tough one to crack these days, particularly given the density of specialist online and print publications alike vying endlessly for new, industry-shaking stories which they can claim for themselves.

Today, though, we here at On-Screen have, through nought but discussion with game director Arthur Parsons on social media, managed to uncover a fresh update regarding the recently-revealed Marvel Cinematic Universe content set to feature in Travellers' Tales' soon-to-be released action-adventure platforming video game LEGO Marvel's Avengers.

Just to bring our readers up to speed, TT Games' development team - Parsons included - took to the stage at this year's New York Comic-Con yesterday to confirm that not only would the characters, locales and events depicted in Marvel Studios' hit films Avengers Assemble and Avengers: Age of Ultron appear in the long-awaited spiritual successor to 2013's LEGO Marvel Superheroes, but moreover that past MCU instalments including Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier would contribute to the variety of story-driven missions on offer in the final product come the New Year.

What wasn't dwelt upon for long, however, was the precise manner in which these solo motion pictures' narratives would be presented inside or outside of the title's main campaign - would Iron Man 3 et al receive a full set of missions like their two Avengers counterparts, or would they instead be featured in some condensed form? Well, On-Screen can exclusively begin to draw back the shroud on this front thanks to an insightful comment as to the nature of this bonus material from Parsons delivered over on the ever-invaluable Twittersphere, the textual content of which can be read in its entirety below:
Admittedly one could make the argument that most licensed LEGO products like LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones effectively put forward a highlights reel rather than adapting their source material in its entirety, so there is always the chance that Parsons means Marvel's Avengers will adopt a similar strategy. That said, the developer's wording seems to strongly indicate that The Dark World, The Winter Soldier and the like won't receive quite the same 6-mission level of treatment offered to both Avengers ensemble films, instead being represented by a "Best of..."-style level or two which collates the relevant motion picture's most high-octane moments into one thrill-laden montage so as to succinctly set up how many of the individual members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes came to arrive on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s iconic helicarrier shortly before the Battle of New York (and Sokovia, of course).

Surprisingly enough, though, Parsons and company had even more announcements to make at their NYCC showcase 12 hours or so ago, and whilst we've prioritised our unmissable scoop above for obvious reasons, it's well worth taking a look at the vast array of characters from Marvel's illustrious history who've now been confirmed to début in LEGO form next January. Thanks to Brickipedia, we've been kept abreast of those revelations in the last few hours and can therefore unveil the full list of constructs who'll very soon be transforming into mini-figures (along with their most recent MCU appearances, just for clarity's sake):

  • Agent Carter (Young and Retired Versions, Agent Carter and Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Agent Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
  • Agent Sitwell (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Alridch Killian (Iron Man 3)
  • Alien General (Avengers Assemble)
  • Alien Foot Soldier (Avengers Assemble)
  • Amadeus Cho (Comic-Books)
  • America Chavez (Comic-Books)
  • Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Baron Zemo (Comic-Books)
  • Bruce Banner (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Black Widow (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Butterball (Comic-Books)
  • Captain America (Steve Rogers, Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Captain America (Sam Wilson, Comic-Books)
  • Captain Marvel (Comic-Books)
  • Crossbones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Daredevil (Daredevil)
  • Detroit Steel (Comic-Books)
  • Devil Dinosaur (Comic-Books)
  • Erik Selvig (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Falcon (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Fandral (Thor: The Dark World)
  • Fin Fang Foom (Comic-Books)
  • Harley Keener (Comic-Books)
  • Hawkeye (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Helen Cho (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Hulk (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Hulkling (Comic-Books)
  • Iron Fist (Iron Fist)
  • Iron Man (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Iron Monger (Iron Man)
  • Jack of Hearts (Comic-Books)
  • Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones)
  • Ulysses Klaw (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Kurse (Comic-Books)
  • Loki (Thor: The Dark World)
  • Luke Cage (Jessica Jones)
  • Malekith (Thor: The Dark World)
  • Mandarin (Iron Man 3)
  • Maria Hill (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Moon Boy (Comic-Books)
  • Ms. Marvel (Comic-Books)
  • Nick Fury (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Red Skull (Captain America: The First Avenger)
  • The Other (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Quicksilver (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Scarlet Witch (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Sif (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
  • Sentry (Comic-Books)
  • Speed (Comic-Books)
  • Squirrel Girl (Comic-Books)
  • Thanos (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • The Collector (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Thor (Thor Odinson, Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Thor (Jane Foster, Comic-Books)
  • Stan Lee (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Vision (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Volstagg (Thor: The Dark World)
  • War Machine (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
  • Wiccan (Comic-Books)
  • Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Still with us after that monumental round-up of heroes and villains past? Wonderful - in that case, you'll doubtless want to know that LEGO Marvel's Avengers (the NYCC gameplay trail for which appears below, incidentally) will assemble in UK video game retailers nationwide ready for release on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 3DS and PC on January 29th, 2016.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Ant Man and the Wasp & More New Marvel Studios Projects Announced

Image Source: MovieWeb
And you thought that Phase Three couldn't possibly grow any larger in size or ambition...
Fresh from their home video release of this Summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron on DVD and Blu-Ray last month, Marvel Studios have this week unveiled a revised version of their slate of upcoming superhero motion pictures, one which now features both new additions along with a few shifted release dates here and there.

Details of the Walt Disney Pictures-powered team's notably revised work-log broke over at Marvel.com just yesterday, with the bulk of the official press release focusing on the introduction of a follow-up to the July-just-gone's Ant-Man into the mixture of the third full 'phase' of the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going by the name Ant-Man and the Wasp, this sophomore effort will seemingly bring Evangeline Lily's much-loved quasi-protagonist Hope Van Dyne into the foreground as she and Paul Rudd's titular miniaturised rogue duel with the forces of injustice and corruption sometime after the events of April 2016's impending Captain America: Civil War.

Better yet, moving beyond Ant-Man and the Wasp and even further beyond the two-part Avengers: Infinity War crossover event coming to auditoriums worldwide in 2018 and 2019, the MCU doesn't appear to be showing any signs of conforming to Steven Spielberg's recent comments about the superhero genre's potential oncoming demise; just ask the production teams behind the three new untitled projects the studio yesterday confirmed would arrive in cinemas on May 1st, 2020, July 10th, 2020 and November 6th, 2020 (in the States, anyway). Whilst discussing such revelations is all well and good, though, there's no substitute to an accessible, comprehensive guide relating the full structure of Phase Three in its present edited state, so with that in mind, we've included precisely that (along with synopses for each of the projects lucky enough to have been named already) below, with delayed entries marked in red, entries set to be released earlier than planned marked in green and new members of the roster marked in yellow:

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (April 29th, 2016) - After a catastrophic watershed event prompts the U.S. government to pass a Superhero Registration Act, Captain America and Iron Man take up arms against one another in a turbulent conflict involving the likes of Tom Hollander's Spider-Man as well as Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther (more on both of whom later...).
  • DOCTOR STRANGE (October 28th, 2016) - Benedict Cumberbatch makes his magical début as the Sorcerer Supreme himself, though before he can gain his iconic mystical powers, Dr. Stephen Strange must use the lose of his hands through an act of hubris; only then will Strange embark on a dangerous journey into the path of the Ancient One (played by none other than Tilda Swinton) and into a whole new dimension of space and time featuring a host of - almost undoubtedly - villainous entities intent on his destruction.
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (April 28th, 2017) - Is anyone else still singing "Hooked on a Feeling"? Glad we're not alone in that respect, then. Expect more of the same wit, ludicrous set-pieces and space opera-esque story arcs that made James Gunn's original Guardians such a bonafida hit, albeit with an enhanced emphasis on how the supporting characters like Nebula, the Collector and more still to be revealed factor into the ongoing escapades of the MCU's other team of unlikely galactic saviours.
  • TBC SPIDER-MAN FILM (July 2017) - Rumoured in some quarters to be dubbed Spider-Man: The New Avenger, this one will of course only be produced by Marvel Studios, since distribution rights for all future blockbusters starring Peter Parker's web-slinging alter-ego currently remain in the hands of Sony Pictures despite the two companies' much-applauded agreement regarding the character's integration into the world of the Avengers. Nevertheless, if the reported title sticks, then chances are that we'll receive a Spidey instalment which pays just as attention to enhancing its rich universal connections as to furthering the character's previously unexplored high-school days.
  • THOR: RAGNAROK (October 27th, 2017) - As with Guardians Vol. 2, there's almost nought we know about Chris Hemsworth's third solo outing in the role of the God of Thunder (and Tom Hiddleston's fourth return as his nebulous half-brother Loki) save for its title. Reading between the lines, however, given that the Asgardian term "Ragnarok" translates to an apocalyptic event all but guaranteed to wipe Thor's kingdom off the face of the cosmos, could Thanos have come to the realization that the Infinity Gauntlet he swiped in Avengers: Age of Ultron's post-credits scene was in fact a fake, leading him to lay siege to the planet in which another Gauntlet lies waiting (in Odin's place, no less)? Certainly, if the Mad Titan fails to menace Peter Quill and company come April 2017, then we'll absolutely start taking bets on the matter - watch this space, in other words.
  • BLACK PANTHER (Moved Forward - February 2018) - Just two years after Chadwick Boseman shows off Black Panther's capabilities in Civil War, he'll return for more in a solo chapter of his own, presumably to showcase the character's origins as an African prince whose ties to his community never cease to transcend his loyalty to Avengers, international governments and other allies alike. On the antagonist side of things, don't be surprised if Andy Serkis reprises his role as age-old Panther foe Ulysses Klaw from Age of Ultron either, nor if at least one of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes makes an Ant-Man-style cameo in some form.
  • AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR - PART 1 (April 27th, 2018) - "It's the end - the end of the path I started us on." Tony Stark's words in Age of Ultron might well come to have no shortage of thematic resonance in the first half of Marvel's much-hyped Infinity War event, not least as Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Hemsworth's contracts are all purportedly scheduled to reach their conclusions by the two-part tale's denouement. There's every chance that one or more of those stars could agree to sign on for more MCU appearances, of course, yet in some cases at least, the chance that it's time to bid farewell at this point will be just as strong. That being the case, many are speculating the likes of Cap and Thor mightn't even appear until Part 2, though rest assured that those of the Earth's defenders who do feature in proceedings from the outset as Thanos' plans for his all-conquering Infinity Gauntlet finally become clear.
  • ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (July 2018) - New territory ahoy! Whether Scott Lang's next standalone heist will take place before or after Avengers: Infinity War's narrative kicks into gear hasn't been officially established as of yet, yet whatever its temporal placement, it's reasonable to assume that the somewhat boringly titled Ant-Man and the Wasp will not only star Rudd and Lily in its lead roles but moreover Michael Douglas as the ever-protective Hank Pym, Michael Pena as the ever-endearing Luis and perhaps even Thomas the Tank Engine as himself once more...or not.
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL (Delayed - March 2019) - At least one of Marvel's future offerings always seemed doomed to suffer from the introduction of yet another Phase Three storyline, and sure enough, it's Captain Marvel which has taken the brunt of this sudden change of plans, for better or for worse. More time until its release means more time for the behind-the-scenes minds involved to plan accomplished pilot Carol Danvers' leap into the cosmic realms of the MCU, although anyone hoping she'll encounter the likes of Peter Quill or Thor as a result might need to adjust their expectations in light of the studio's repeated implicit reiteration of their desire to flesh out the titular heroine's personality first and foremost here (hence her officially-confirmed absence from Guardians Vol. 2).
  • AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR - PART 2 (April 26th, 2019) - Funnily enough, we never expected perhaps the most significant instalment in this multi-million dollar franchise's decade-spanning history to shift its release date so as to accommodate Ant-Man's return to the silver-screen. Not only will Part 2 finally tie up the loose ends on the Infinity Gauntlet plot arc first established with Captain America: The First Avenger's inclusion of the ominous artefact known as the Tesseract, it'll simultaneously herald a new era for its titular myriad protagonists and, if we're lucky, potentially see the Guardians of the Galaxy join the fight to take down Thanos before his thirst for power (not to mention his crush on the Mistress of Death herself) consumes the universe in its entirety.
  • INHUMANS (July 12th, 2019) - Now, according to the entertainment news site Bleeding Cool, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's twentieth motion picture instalment might have run into trouble of late, to the point that cancellation isn't completely out of the question, That said, given how much time the head honchos of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are investing in bringing the Inhumans into the fold for the first time, the notion of its big-screen counterparts passing up the opportunity to build on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s foundations come the Summer of 2019 seems downright ridiculous, if not wholly implausible. Assuming that the project does indeed go ahead, then, we'd anticipate cameo appearances at the very least from the likes of Chloe Bennett's earthquake-producing Daisy Johnson as well as possibly Clark Gregg's increasingly admired S.H.I.E.L.D. commander-in-chief Phil Coulson if we're particularly lucky (though by all means feel free to cross those fingers in the meantime so as to better our chances).
  • TBC MARVEL STUDIOS PROJECTS (May 2020, July 2020 and November 2020) - Unless Marvel surprise us with another public event along the lines of last October's Phase Three launch anytime soon, look for these productions' official titles to be revealed either early in 2016 or around the time of San Diego Comic-Con next July. If we were feeling confident, then we'd likely select Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and maybe even Captain America: Civil War as the most likely candidates for sequels (albeit with the latter probably featuring a new thespian in the guise of the All-American Avenger) given that 3-4 years will have passed since their respective premières by 2020, but that's not to say Kevin Feige won't opt to bring more esteemed - or even lesser known, as was the case with the Guardians and Ant-Man prior to their cinematic débuts - comic-book characters into the limelight instead. As ever, only time - and leaks, of course - will tell...
Be sure to keep it On-Screen as the months leading up to each of these much-anticipated releases' global launches progress for all of the key details on their production, casting, directorial mishaps and potential critical reception, but for now, don't hesitate to scroll beyond this paragraph for another look at the gripping Infinity War teaser trail which caused fans' collective jaws to violently collide with the floor upon its unveiling just twelve months prior to this one.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Sherlock Christmas Special TV Trailer Unveiled

Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter
"Sherlock Holmes, wear the damn hat." Ah, Doctor Watson, we couldn't have put it better ourselves...
The BBC and Masterpiece Films have just this minute premièred the first full TV trailer for the Christmas Special of their critically acclaimed detective drama Sherlock over on BBC One (as well as across the interwebs, thankfully!).

Scheduled for broadcast in both the UK and United States later this year, this one-off festive edition will as always feature Hamlet's Benedict Cumberbatch and The Hobbit's Martin Freeman as the Great Detective and Doctor John Watson, both of whom will seemingly have their hands full come December with alleged ghouls, all but certainly fanatical religious cults and other sinister forces purportedly prowling the back-alleys of Baker Street.

There's a catch, however - as Sherlock fans everywhere will surely already have heard, and as the rest of the general public discovered just a few short moments ago with the trail (below) in question's release, the show's taking its beloved protagonists out of modern-day London and into the 18th Century incarnation of Britannia's capital for 90 minutes of period detective work. True to form, screenwriters Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who, between drafting their new batch of Doctor Who scripts and this motion picture-esque production, must have contemplated tearing their hair out on regular occasions throughout 2015's first half) don't seem to have passed up the opportunity to take advantage of this temporary relocation, or at least that's what sprung to this writer's mind upon experiencing the plethora of Conan Doyle-riffing quips, recurring visual gags - such as the infamous deerstalker's maligned return - and various other comedic moments featured in perhaps the three season-strong series' most light-hearted preview yet.

No doubt some readers are wondering at this point what's become of the tricky situation that Holmes and Watson as we've come to know them in the present-day were left with in 2014's "His Last Vow", wherein those best of friends discovered the supposed resurrection of their arch-nemesis James Moriarty just as the credits rolled on Season Three. Much as we'd love to offer closure on the matter using nought but our sage wisdom, the Moff is keeping schtum for now, though in truth, we'd advise against anyone holding their breath for too long, since his confirmation in last year's hardback reference book Sherlock: Chronicles that the theme of this particularly special instalment would be "ghosts" might have been aimed more at the style of case our newfound Victorian saviours will have to solve rather than the resurrection of the world's foremost consultant criminal. Indeed, series devotees may well need to hold out a little longer to discover true nature of old Jim's survival (or lack thereof); lucky, then, that there's no fandom more accustomed to the waiting game than this one.

In the meantime, Sherlock will return to our screens via BBC One (in the UK) and PBS Masterpiece (Stateside) for its haunting Christmas Special this Winter, after which Season Four will commence shooting in early 2016 ahead of its much-rumoured Spring 2017 broadcast.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Far Cry Primal Announced

Far Cry Primal
Image Source: UbiBlog
Everyone's favourite psychologically unhinged saga trades guns and narcotics for spears and face-paint.
In what must rank as the year's most rapid response to an unplanned leak so far, Ubisoft today confirmed the development of Far Cry Primal after IGN Turkey's recent premature report on the subject.

Developed by Ubisoft Montpieller, this open-world first-person-shooter will depict a new tale based in the same narrative universe as last year's Far Cry 4, tasking players with adopting the mantle of Takkar, a Stone Age hunter whose mission to restore his divided tribe unfortunately brings him into contact with the vast array of predators, mammoth elephants included, that longed to add homo-sapiens to their diets during this notably ferocious era of human history.

That's not the only challenge awaiting the franchise's latest unlikely hero, though. As evidenced by Primal's tense reveal trailer (below), from adapting invaluable tools like fire to suit his goals, to navigating forests filled with adversarial wildlife, this dedicated warrior's odyssey will pack in no shortage of danger-fraught objectives, each of which should hopefully take up enough of fans' time in order for them to gain their money's worth despite the rather surprising absence of any online multi-player component in this case. Make no mistake, this omission will surely spark controversy amongst the series' fan-base, particularly given how much of an emphasis was placed on the aforementioned 2014 outing's co-operative campaign, yet given that the product in question met with something of a lukewarm reception in light of its limited innovation upon that which had come before, perhaps a change of historical setting as well as a renewed emphasis on the core single-player experience may be for the best, just as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag reinvigorated its own franchise by shaking up tried and tested elements of its long-running infrastructure such as the central locale.

Yet in spite of all of the promotional bombast surrounding Primal's unveiling, the old saying "life imitates art" couldn't seem more apt in the case of publisher Ubisoft these days, what with Assassin's Creed: Syndicate having been leaked last Autumn, months ahead of its official reveal, and now IGN's Turkish site presumably having débuted Far Cry's fifth main chapter either days or weeks in advance of its planned première too. Whom the blame lies with for these inconvenient leaks remains up for debate at this stage, but one would have to assume that those members of the publisher involved with marketing their seemingly endless array of (largely) critically acclaimed releases will - or already have - commence a thorough investigation into this increasingly troublesome issue as they prepare to announce further sequels, spin-off titles, stand-alone IPs and the like over the next few months, if only to ensure that their followers don't start relying on third-party sources over their official feeds for future development updates. Rest assured, though, that whether such revelations come to the surface over at UbiBlog or elsewhere, the On-Screen team will continually endeavour to bring you every key news-byte as soon as possible...provided that we're not being chased by temporally displaced sabre-tooth tigers at the time, of course.

Provided that no-one leaks the entire product online in the meantime, Far Cry Primal will leap from its hiding spot to emerge on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles come February 23rd, 2016, then follow suit on PC in March 2016.

The Good Dinosaur Theatrical Trailer Released

Image Source: IGN
Even Minions can't claim to have meddled with history as much as Pixar's latest work!
Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios have today launched the first full theatrical trail for their (much-delayed but no less eagerly awaited) animated comedy motion picture The Good Dinosaur.

As its relatively unassuming title implies to some extent, the premise powering the studio who gave us Toy Story and Cars' next full-blown narrative can be summarised in but a few succinct words: the meteor destined to bring the reign of dinosaurs to an end misses its target, with the result being that a young Apatosaurus, Arlo, takes a savage human child as his pet during his doubtless touching quest to reunite himself with his father and to find some much-needed courage along the way.

If that initial plot set-up sounds unnervingly similar to any Pixar followers in the house, then cast those fears aside right now and simply watch the aforementioned new trail, since for all his reservations regarding the studio's recent sub-par efforts including Cars 2 and Monsters' University, this writer came away astonished by the extent to which the seemingly rich world, characters, simplistic yet undeniably multi-faceted gags (no doubt Arlo's inadvertently acting as a bridge for his domesticated partner-in-crime will have resonance in terms of the latter construct's likely voyage from brutality to rationality down the line) and events featured here simultaneously captured his imagination and set his emotional chords to work, the latter feat in particular marking a welcome deviation from the norm given how predictable many of Inside Out's more touching beats came off earlier this year.

Indeed, it's not difficult to foresee the audience becoming invested in the already stirring dynamic forged between Arlo and his new-found companion, and whilst the screen-writing team will have needed to avoid Up and Wall-E's glaring third act pitfalls in order to guarantee critical success, that Dinosaur's final pre-release trails are showing so much promise in terms of characterisation - as well as in the other areas mentioned above - suggests that for the first time in forever (cross-franchise pun fully intended, by the way) we may well be looking at an animated masterpiece from someone other than the team behind Frozen. Of course, with Spectre and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 both set to launch in close proximity to its now-finalised release date, the greatest challenge here could be Pixar's acquisition of success on a commercial level rather than from a critical perspective, but after seeing the studio triumph over daunting odds on countless occasions in the past, we'd have to brand ourselves as hypocrites going forward were we to even begin to represent the situation as a losing battle. Perhaps, in reality, it's MGM and Lionsgate respectively who should truly worry about their chances in the coming festive blockbuster season...

Try as we might to predict its box office takings, though, for now all we can say for certain is that The Good Dinosaur will hatch in UK cinemas nationwide on November 27th, just two days after its US première on November 25th.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Halo 5: Guardians Launch Trailer Revealed

Image Source: Polygon
Has the Master Chief ever faced a more dangerous mission than this? Possibly not.
Microsoft Game Studios and 343 Industries have today débuted the official launch trailer for their upcoming science-fiction first-person-shooter video game Halo 5: Guardians.

Like many of the much-discussed sequel to 2012's Halo 4's other promotional videos, this final CGI preview puts the Master Chief and Agent Locke, the Spartan soldier tasked with bringing Earth's ex-saviour to justice, front and centre, no doubt owing to the fact that players will switch between control of these two warring protagonists as Guardians' franchise-altering campaign develops, a neat homage to Halo 2's multiple lead characters if ever we spotted one.

The element which easily distinguishes the latest (and, might we say, most encouragingly dramatic) TV spot from its predecessors, however, is its emphasis on the lengths to which Locke will go so as to ensure that the Chief's abandonment of the United Nations Space Command (or UNSC for short, as if fans of the series didn't already know as much) doesn't go unpunished; whereas past trails have hinted at the aforementioned ruthless hunter's "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to potential combat situations, with just a few weeks to go until their second full Halo narrative enters its followers' hands and minds, 343 aren't shying away from broaching the possibility that the long-running saga's stalwart hero mightn't make it to the credits intact. Who knows? Perhaps this time around, the only fight that Sierra-117 will manage to finish will be none other than his own!

He's not the only one with a formidable challenge on his hands, either - we'll gladly admit that awarding 343's freshman voyage into Bungie's rich universe, Halo 4, with a 10/10 score three years back on account of its gripping storyline mightn't have been our finest hour in hindsight, especially given its repetitive level design, uninspired set-piece moments and above all its dreadfully mediocre enemy AI, but rest assured when we confirm that it's not a mistake we here at On-Screen intend to repeat in this case. Yes, Guardians might well have knocked every ball cast in its direction out of the park to date from a marketing perspective, yet that won't stop us or the numerous fans across the Earth who had bones to pick with 343 post-release in 2012 from scrutinising this much-anticipated sophomore effort in as intricate - albeit balanced - a manner as possible, meaning those series veterans expecting us to award full marks without question might be best served by taking a seat and not holding their collective breath between now and the fast-approaching day of our full review.

Halo 5: Guardians will plunge into orbit and exclusively onto Xbox One consoles - via high-street and digital video game retailers alike, naturally - on Tuesday, October 27th.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Final Spectre Theatrical Trailer Released

Image Source: Cinema Blend
Could Bond's 24th mission rank as his strongest to date? Well, it's all an matter of perspective...
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures have this week débuted the last of their theatrical trails for their thriller motion picture Spectre just a few short weeks ahead of its launch at the British box office.

The fourth instalment in the (currently) Daniel Craig-spearheaded film franchise, which stars the likes of Django Unchained's Christoph Waltz and Sherlock's Andrew Scott alongside returning cast members such as Skyfall's Naoime Harris, will centre on protagonist James Bond's globe-trotting mission to uncover the treacherous titular organisation's scheme as well as their haunting connections to his own mysterious past.

That said, short of a major overhaul of its promotional campaign taking place between now and release day, the long-awaited follow-up's marketing team look set to focus far more on the most thrilling, action-packed moments in Agent 007's latest adventure than anything else, not least a seemingly destructive encounter between Bond and his latest adversary on the slopes of a deserted island. In an age where production teams appear intent on unveiling far too much of their latest works' respective storylines, it's a refreshing omen indeed to see this level of secrecy being upheld with regards to the piece's inevitable third act revelations so close to the twenty-fourth in MGM's saga of Ian Fleming adaptations' worldwide première.

Our only main hope now is that, as was the case with Skyfall two years back, Spectre's screenwriters have hidden away a decent few rug-pulling moments to catch us off guard as its 140-minute running time nears its conclusion. 2008's Quantum of Solace springs to mind as a defining example of a work of Bond-featuring cinema which places far too much emphasis on its set-pieces both in its trailers and in the final product, leading to a hollow viewing experience with next to no major shocks to speak of. The odds certainly appear to lie in director Sam Mendes' favour in this instance, especially with Waltz having agreed to take on the mantle of Hans Oberhauser, an antagonist who's almost guaranteed to subvert expectations at every opportunity, but complacency's a deadly thing, and we'd hate to see Craig's tenure as Britain's most suave secret agent come to a turbulent halt by losing sight of the layered, well-structured storytelling which made its third instalment such a universal success.

Sure to cast a haunting shadow over auditoriums across the world, Spectre will blast its way onto the big-screen here in the UK on Monday, October 26th before placing US audiences in its cross-hairs too on November 6th.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Marvel's Damage Control Production Plans Revealed

Image Source: Superhero Hype
As if it wasn't enough to bear witness to the Agents of SHIELD clearing wreckage, ABC are dedicating a whole series to the subject...
The entertainment news site Variety has this week unveiled the first official production details surrounding a new Marvel Cinematic Universe project which ABC hope to air on their US network sometime in the not too distant future.

Marvel's Damage Control, as the in-development series in question is currently being referred to by its execs, will purportedly adopt the guise of a 30-minute sitcom, with its narrative's focus being on an intrepid team of administration experts whose efforts revolve around clearing and covering up the plentiful debris left by the Avengers in the wake of their explosive battles with the forces of evil.

If the semi-apocalyptic final acts of recent MCU blockbusters such as 2011's Thor, the following year's Avengers Assemble and most notably this Spring's Avengers: Age of Ultron have proven anything, it's that the Earth's Mightiest Heroes certainly don't tend to leave any of their geographical battlegrounds unscathed. At the same time, though, in spite of the comic potential contained within Damage Control's somewhat enticing premise and despite the fact that the team derives from a comic-book of the same name which has endured throughout Marvel's history, the first dilemma creators Marvel Television and ABC will need to navigate is just whether there's enough mileage here for a full-blown, The Big Bang Theory-rivalling laugh-fest, or whether one-off specials such as the planned pilot episode (which the latter studio will have to pay for in the event that it's not filmed, making its broadcast seem that much more likely, for better or for worse) might represent a superior course of action in the long run, especially with so many other small-screen superhero projects like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter and Daredevil - to name but a select few - already taking up space in the airwaves.

There's little point in anyone passing judgement just yet, mind - who's to say that with Kevin Feige now fully at the helm of Marvel Studios, he won't offer up at least one or two Avengers to spice some life into the all-important opening episode, or that Agents' beloved Clark Gregg won't reprise his role as Coulson to set up the titular band of under-appreciated disaster recovery experts? Nothing's out of the question in that regard and in fact, Feige stated only last week (whilst talking with IGN) that the chances of future crossovers between his much-adored multi-medium franchise's film and TV sectors now seems "inevitable", citing production schedules as being the only main difficulty which has prevented the two branches from crossing paths in a substantial manner to date. Whilst fans shouldn't hold out too much hope of full-scale convergence between Marvel's impending array of Phase Three movies and this latest small-screen effort, then, particularly given that Agents has gone three entire seasons without featuring any Avenger (and no, Nick Fury sadly doesn't count), the possibility of such a crossover alone as well as the potential for ABC to recruit some talented lead stars as they have with both Agents and Carter should prove more than comforting enough for those with initial reservations about this hefty titbit of leaked news.

Whatever the outcome, the process of witnessing Marvel's Damage Control's conception will doubtless be an experience to remember in and of itself, so with that in mind, feel free to stick around at On-Screen so as to discover every piece of breaking news surrounding its scripting stages, production and planned broadcast windows. No specific airdate has been set as of yet, but rather than waiting for updates on this front, Stateside MCU aficionados can catch "Purpose in the Machine", the sophomore episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s third string of high-octane missions, next Tuesday, October 6th on ABC, while their British counterparts will gain access to Season Three's première instalment, "Laws of Nature", in early 2016 on Channel 4.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Third Doctor Who Spin-Off Series Commissioned

 photo An_Unearthly_Child_2.jpg
Image Source: Photobucket
It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junk-yard and soon enough, the spirit of adventure will return to its roots.
The BBC have today announced the commissioning of a new eight-part TV series set in the world of their long-running science-fiction drama Doctor Who for broadcast on BBC Three and BBC One next year.

Just as was the case with its spiritual predecessors, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, this third companion programme will chronicle the exploits of a range of never-before-seen characters - some of whom may well even have connections to the eccentric Time Lord at the Whoniverse's heart - as they encounter extraterrestrial adversaries from the very depths of time and space whilst living out their days as students of Coal Hill School (better known as the initial setting for Who's very first serial, "An Unearthly Child", as well as its memorable 50th Anniversary Special, "The Day of the Doctor").

Oh, and its name? Class. Granted, as show titles go, that's not exactly up with the best of them, but it's most certainly indicative of the young adult audience towards which Season One will purportedly be geared, as is the Beeb's emphasis on its inspirations (Buffy and The Hunger Games, to be specific) and on how the series' presumably youthful band of protagonists will have to navigate just as many educational obstacles as unearthly ones (if only the rest of us were so lucky during our secondary school years) in their bid to protect the city of London from harm. One truth has become equally apparent in the past twenty-four hours, though - everyone involved will most likely have to deal moreover with the similarly unenviable challenge of appeasing a hefty portion of Who's already-sceptical fandom in scripting, filming and marketing their pet project, since despite the success of both of the mother show's first two spin-offs, plenty of social media-endowed Whovians have already voiced numerous doubts regarding the potential tonal limitations of an Earth-bound saga which, its executive producer has confirmed via Twitter, won't feature Jenna Coleman's Clara Oswald in any capacity despite her status as a member of Coal Hill's ever-fluctuating staff team.

Yet in mentioning the man taking Class' seemingly unwieldy reins, we've reached the singular, pivotal reason why fans needn't lose all hope by any means. Taking control of proceedings in the role of showrunner will be none other than Patrick Ness, a ludicrously talented American novelist who recently brought us a Who-themed short story in the form of May 2013's understated yet brilliant Fifth Doctor tale "Tip of the Tongue", but who's rightly better known for his near-perfect Chaos Walking trilogy, each instalment of which managed to demonstrate with paramount ease its scribe's unparalleled flair for dynamic structuring, layered characterisation and subversive storytelling, and the first outing of which - The Knife of Never Letting Go - has even earned itself a (still planned, we hope!) film adaptation from The Hunger Games studio Lionsgate Films.

Enough about Ness' remarkable literary backlog, though - let's just say that there couldn't be a writer more perfectly suited to transforming a lacklustre premise such as Class' into an unforgettable televisual experience, as confirmed in recent years by his masterful reworking of the late Siobhan Dowd's A Monster Calls conceit into one of the most emotionally fulfilling Carnegie Medal victors in years, and if our unrelenting enthusiasm for his work isn't sufficient evidence of how ideal a selection Who helmsman Steven Moffat has made here, then hopefully the following official comments from Ness, BBC Three's commander-in-chief and the Moff himself will finish the job:
  • PATRICK NESS (HEAD WRITER & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) ON HIS INITIAL REACTION - "I'm astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. [...] I can't wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels."
  • DAMIAN KAVANAGH (BBC THREE CONTROLLER) ON NESS' APPOINTMENT - "Patrick understands young audiences and I'm delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three."
  • STEVEN MOFFAT (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER) ON CLASS' TONE - "No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we're bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!"
Class will give its first action-packed lecture to the world at large in Autumn 2016, although the precise medium through which the show will make its momentous début has yet to be nailed down; apparently, each of its eight episodes will première online via iPlayer's BBC3 section before airing on BBC One and ultimately BBC Three - in the event that the TV channel's still up and running, anyway - by that point, as was outlined by Ness in a (refreshingly clear-cut) tweet that we've included below. Stay tuned to On-Screen for production updates aplenty as we move towards the series' projected Spring '16 filming start-date.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Two New LEGO TV Series Commissioned

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Image Source: Twitter (@netflix)
Everything is still awesome as Earth's most successful block-buster franchise hits Earth's most successful video-on-demand service!
Only a few days might have passed since LEGO Dimensions crashed onto video games consoles everywhere earlier this week, but that hasn't stopped Netflix from revealing that for fans of that most famous Dutch construction toy, the best may well be yet to come.

That was our immediate response to the hit video-on-demand provider's announcement that they'll be collaborating with The LEGO Group on not one but two completely new small-screen projects for broadcast exclusively on the aforementioned paid TV and film service in the next year or so. If - as was the case here at On-Screen - any of our readers need a moment to digest these rather seismic revelations, then by all means feel free to do so whilst taking a read of the official tweet with which the pair of industry behemoths broke the news this afternoon:
As ever, the studio admittedly appear intent on remaining as elusive as possible with regards to which - if any - of their partner's vast array of licensed ranges such as The Lord of the Rings and Jurassic World might come into play in either of these productions or indeed whether the onus will be on the writing team to invent completely new characters, locales and the like with no connections to either Travellers' Tales' beloved series of video game adaptations or indeed Warner's best-selling The LEGO Movie. Indeed, Netflix in particular have an irksome habit of holding back on concrete information of this ilk until near the time of their various original shows' respective débuts, although given the near-universal applause with which the likes of Daredevil and Orange is the New Black have been met in months gone by despite their bare-bones marketing campaigns, perhaps this approach'll turn out to be for the best.

Besides, although we're not exactly drowning in plot details at this moment, that's not to say that the above social media post has left the world and its wife completely in the dark; the use of the phrase "from the world of @Lego_Group", for instance, goes some way to suggest that the audience at which the two so-called "Netflix originals" will be aimed will most likely associate with the constructs and events displayed before their eyes in a few months' time, while the explicit reference to the shows being "for kids" will surely shape the tone of both programmes as well as their pre-launch advertising. What'll most likely decide how many of the LEGO brand's more seasoned followers tag along for the ride, of course, is whether the studio opts for a more recent product series such as Ninjago or an old favourite like Star Wars (well, one can always hope, can't they?), but if nothing else, the experience of discovering what lies ahead for the two series as production on both progresses in the months ahead should prove irresistible in and of itself.

Keep a watchful eye on the horizon - or, better yet, on this very blog - over the coming weeks for more details on the casting, development and broadcast window of these two sure-to-be hotly anticipated projects, both of which will première on Netflix in 2016.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Back to the Future: The Game - 30th Anniversary Edition Announced

Image Source: YouTube
"Where we're going, we don't need roads...a sizeable helping of nostalgia couldn't hurt, though."
Telltale Games have this week announced the development of a remastered compilation of Back to the Future: The Game for release on both next-generation and current-generation hardware next month.

The not-so-creatively titled Back to the Future: The Game - 30th Anniversary Edition will package together all six instalments of the Tales from the Borderlands developer's 2010 puzzle-platforming saga, thereby enabling anyone with even the slightest affinity for time-travelling Deloreans and / or the phrase "Great Scott" to experience not only the original trilogy of films - which, surprisingly enough, will receive its own re-release on DVD and Blu-Ray too come October 5th - but moreover what's since been regarded as their spiritual successor.

Yes, in case the news had passed some of our readers by, this critically divisive but no less commercially successful saga went the extra mile, going so far as to progress the story arcs of Marty McFly, Doc Brown and company well beyond the points each character reached in 1990's Western homage-turned-franchise swansong Back to the Future Part III. As was the case with recent efforts from the studio such as Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park, many series veterans might well dispute whether or not The Game deserves its place as the Delorean crew's fourth official odyssey, although in fairness, we wouldn't be surprised if the inclusion of high-definition graphics, video interviews with the cast and crew and newly-recorded voice material from Tom Wilson as the nefarious Biff Tannen himself convinces a fair proportion of fanboys and fangirls alike to hop off the fence and into their nearest video games retailer. Regardless of how the naysayers perceive the latest fruits of Telltale's labour, though, for those like this writer who only recently discovered Future in all of its glory, the opportunity to discover the results of the Doc's next hilariously disastrous project will surely be one they relish more anything else.

Propelled as always by a well-timed bolt of lightning, Back to the Future: The Game - 30th Anniversary Edition will decelerate from 88mph to zero just in time to career onto Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 consoles this October 16th. If, on the other hand, the thought of waiting a further fortnight for further mad-cap exploits seems too depressing to contemplate, then the original six episodes are available now for purchase on PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and PC.

Failing that approach, there's one other alternative - scroll down just a little further to get a full first look at the 30th Anniversary Edition box-set in action in the form of its electrifying teaser trail:

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Alternative The Jungle Book Teaser Trailer Unveiled

Image Source: Movies in Focus
If the footage released so far is any indication, director Jon Favreau has quite the bestial treat in store for cinema-goers!
Walt Disney Pictures have today launched an international variant of their recent teaser trailer for Jon Favreau's impending action-adventure blockbuster The Jungle Book.

Following hot on the heels of the domestic preview which the studio débuted over in the States earlier this month, this alternative cut doesn't so much rewrite the book in terms of its structural approach as throw in heaps of exclusive glimpses at the menagerie of ferocious, welcoming and downright terrifying creatures set to plague protagonist Mowgli as he explores the treetops of by far Rupyard Kipling's most iconic literary setting.

What can't be fathomed just yet based on the promo material we've witnessed so far, however, is just whether Favreau (best known for his work at the helm of Iron Man)'s interpretation of one of the most frequently adapted tales in children's literature has the potential to eclipse its predecessors. No doubt the production team will continue to try to distance this latest live-action version from everything that's come before, especially since Disney's own animated take on the original novel famously came to be known as the definitive on-screen version upon its release in 1967, but from our oh-so-modest perspective, it's certainly going to take a lot more than dazzling computer-generated visuals (which, we must admit, are fairly commonplace in live-action fantasy romps of this ilk anyway nowadays) and a deliciously sinister voice-over from Lucy's Scarlet Johannson in order for everyone involved to stand any chance of coming close to matching their forebears, let alone besting them completely.

The Jungle Book will swing into cinemas worldwide (carrying nought but the Bare Necessities of life, one would presume) on April 15th, 2016.

Monday, 28 September 2015

More Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens Books Revealed

Image Source: IB Times
At this rate, booksellers soon won't have room for tomes based anywhere other than a galaxy far, far away...
Dorling Kindersley, Disney Lucasfilm Press and various other publishers have this week announced the release of several new works of Star Wars literature, each falling under the collective umbrella of Journey to the Force Awakens.

Currently scheduled to launch on precisely the same date as J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, these tonally diverse texts will seemingly aim to cater for a variety of age demographics and sectors of the franchise's immense fandom. More importantly, though, they'll follow the lead of Chuck Wendig's prequel novel Aftermath and Marvel Comics' Shattered Empire series in delving into the events preceding the narrative of Abrams' oncoming cinematic juggernaut.

Official cover images for the tie-in products in question can be found over at StarWars.com at this very moment, but as one would expect from literary announcements of this ilk, with one or two exceptions (take a look at The Visual Dictionary's front-page spread for a particularly tantalising glimpse at a mysterious artefact known only as "Skywalker's Lightsabre"), it's the plot précises which Lucasfilm have seen fit to include alongside each text's front-page artwork that reveal the most thought-provoking details regarding The Force Awakens' sure-to-be complex storyline, all of which we've compiled below for your viewing delight. From the apparently turbulent nature of life on the desert planet Jakku to the circumstances behind the sudden union of ex-Stormtrooper Finn, enigmatic scavenger Rey and their newly-acquired, doubtless quirky astromech droid BB-8, there's no shortage of speculation-inducing information on offer here, although anyone hoping for concrete spoilers might have to remind themselves of Abrams' reputation for keeping schtum in this regard:

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Visual Dictionary - "The complete guide to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this Visual Dictionary reveals all of the characters, creatures, droids, locations, and technology."
  • Star Wars: Before the Awakening "[...] An anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe [Dameron, aka the renowned X-Wing pilot recently glimpsed yelling out in triumph towards the end of Awakens' second full theatrical trail] before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
  • Star Wars: Rey Meets BB-8 (For Level 1 Readers) - "Rey's life is turned upside down when she meets a little droid named BB-8."
  • 5-Minute Star Wars Stories - "Blast off into hyperspace with these 11 action-packed Star Wars tales! Jedi Master Yoda has a lighsaber showdown with the dreaded Count Dooku; Luke Skywalker and the Rebels [or the Resistance, as they'll henceforth become known in each of the series' cinematic instalments starting with Awakens this Christmas] race against time to destroy the Death Star; and the brave but lonely Rey makes a new friend when she meets [...] BB-8. Each of these stories is the ideal length for reading aloud in five minutes - perfect for galactic adventures at lightspeed."
  • Star Wars: Han & Chewie Return! - "Everyone's favourite smugglers are back! Han Solo and Chewbacca return in a heroic new adventure [...]."
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Rey's Survival Guide - "[...] Discover what you need to survive the hostile planet, Jakku. What secrets lurk inside the ship graveyard? What do you want to salvage? [...] Include gatefolds with exclusive artifacts including starship schematics and more!"
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Mix & Match - "Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, Poe, Rey and Finn are featured in this book that blends spectacular action with three-panel pages to create confounding combinations! [There are] more than 200 different ways to create crazy mash-ups between the Resistance and the First Order!"
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Flashlight Adventure Book - "[...] This box set features a board book with pop-ups on every spread, and a real working flashlight that plays five different sounds from Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
  • Star Wars: Finn & Rey Escape! - "When Finn and Rey find themselves on the run, they must work together to escape from the evil First Order."
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Ultimate Sticker Collection - "Join the heroes of the galaxy on their amazing adventure. Explore incredible worlds, meet bizarre aliens, and face sinister new villains."
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Lightsaber Rescue - "The galaxy is in trouble again! Activate your lightsaber and join the fight! The [...] storybook features a non-removable lightsaber a non-removable lightsaber module with six sounds to bring the story of [the film] to life."
Each and every one of these Journey to the Force Awakens instalments will arrive on British and American book retailers' shelves just in time for Awakens' Stateside première this December 18th, and better yet, there's still the remaining chapters of Marvel's Shattered Empire saga (due to launch in fortnightly instalments between now and November) as well as DICE's much-anticipated video game tie-in Battlefront (out November 27th) to look forward to. It's a great time to call oneself a Star Wars devotee, in other words, and with more cinematic forays into George Lucas' seemingly limitless universe already pencilled in for the coming years, odds are that this franchise-wide renaissance of sorts won't come to a halt any time soon.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Humans Second Season Commissioned

Image Source: Unreality TV
Lo and behold, we have definitive proof that British TV is finally making strides forward once more from a creative perspective (and about time, too)...
Channel 4 have today announced the renewal of their hit new science-fiction drama Humans for a second season of eight forty-five minute (provided that the aforementioned broadcaster doesn't increase the weekly running time, of course) instalments to be broadcast in the not too distant future.

For those who've yet to step aboard the series' already crowded bandwagon, the show - the début season of which will reach its eventful denouement this Sunday, August 2nd at 9pm - depicts a far from unimaginable near-future period during which synthetic life-forms have been created by ourselves for the sole purpose of servitude, only for a handful of these apparently emotionless individuals to begin developing feelings of their own which, if allowed, could result in a drastically different dynamic between man and its vast array of supposedly docile machines.

Such a premise mightn't on the surface sound particularly inspired to those viewers who've encountered literary works such as Brave New World or cinematic counterparts such as i, Robot that have chosen to dwell upon our ever-expanding relationship with scientific technology as well as the not inconceivable likelihood of our experiments (or in the case of Huxley, rogue members of our own potentially pacified society) taking on an unprecedented life of their own. On the contrary, however, by incorporating hugely promising up-and-coming Brit thespians including Merlin's Colin Morgan and Sherlock's Jonathan Aris into the fold, as well as by regularly defying our expectations through the use of carefully-timed twists (to those who've yet to give Season One a watch: beware of forming rigid preconceptions of even the most rudimentary of supporting players here, since virtually every construct involved has a fascinating secret to tell at some stage), Humans has fast become one of the most accomplished non-Stateside dramas in recent memory over the course of just seven episodes, and short of a major decline in quality occurring come Sunday's already much-discussed finale, there's little reason to suspect any less from the programme once its production team returns for more.

Whilst our knowledge regarding Season Two's broadcast window boils down to Channel 4's confirmation that its cast and crew will reunite to start filming in 2016, rest assured that as and when we learn more on air-dates, returning cast members (or lack thereof) and the like, all of those details will be compiled right here at On-Screen as rapidly as Human-ly (see what we did there? No, don't worry, we'll find the door for ourselves) possible.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Clarkson, Hammond & May Amazon Prime TV Series Commissioned

Image Source: BBC
Let the Top Gear comparisons inevitably commence, in other words...
Amazon have today announced the commissioning of a new online TV show headed by the presenters of the original incarnation of the BBC's recently-rebooted driving programme Top Gear.

That's right, folks and folkettes - Jeremy Clarkson (the man perhaps now best known for finding himself booted off the aforementioned BBC One series after assaulting one of its producers earlier this year), Richard Hammond and James May (both of whom famously followed suit not long after) - alongside their ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman - will take the reins on another (semi-)televised vehicular project later this year  the title and specific broadcast window of which will most likely surface closer to its still-to-be announced filming start-date.

As the majority of readers may already have guessed, beyond the identities of its charismatic trio of hosts, our knowledge surrounding precisely what's to come with regards to the show as a whole remains at this point fairly minimal (and even that's something of an understatement, honestly). Over on their official website, Amazon have confirmed that we're looking at an "all-new car show", while Clarkson responded on that same page by likening the experience to "climb[ing] out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship", yet neither the former description nor the latter sentiments offer much in the way of clarity as to how the series will attempt to differentiate itself from the Beeb's impending Chris Evans-spearheaded Top Gear revival. That'll likely change as soon as the Corporation ramp up their marketing campaign for the latter, though, since if Clarkson and the gang are to stand any chance of matching their previous successes, then the studio backing them in this instance won't want to waste any time confirming to the masses that remaining loyal to Gear mightn't represent the wisest of ideas.

Stay tuned to On-Screen in the months to come to all of the latest updates on what the Beeb's ex-Dream Team have in store next for their ever-devoted fan-base, but until then, simply keep in mind that the new series in question will launch only on Amazon Prime sometime in 2016.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 (& Beyond) Trailer Round-Up

Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Sherlock, The Hunger Games and Suicide Squad, oh my! There's only one place to catch the latest trails for all of those releases and more, and you're already here...
If a God of Entertainment existed (and who's to say that he, she or it doesn't, eh?), then earlier this month, they would no doubt have proclaimed the following command: "Let there be Comic-Con". Indeed, this year's San Diego Comic-Con made an impact not unlike that of a biblical deity as soon as its plethora of diverse teaser trailers hit the interwebs - either with the blessings of their respective studios or in some cases via the camera-phones of skilled leakers - with many of the aforementioned preview videos racking up millions upon millions of views over on YouTube.

Odds are that the most eagle-eyed members of our readership will already have experienced most of the motion content that SDCC 2015 had to offer, but even so, there's nothing wrong with indulging in repeat viewings from time to time, nor is the idea that our readers might have missed one or two of the key clips outside of the realms of possibility either. Regardless of what brought you here to our humble abode, dear reader, we're more than happy to oblige the masses' unspoken requests for a single, bumper-length article in which one can find all of the Con's finest reveals (as well as a few other much-discussed clips which launched in its aftermath with little in the way of subtlety but plenty of gripping new footage) with supreme ease.
  • SHERLOCK 2015 SPECIAL PREVIEW CLIP - Answers on just how Moriarty seemingly cheated death in Sherlock Season Three's captivating finale, "His Last Vow", won't be forthcoming until Season Four airs in 2017 (its currently-rumoured broadcast window), it would seem. On the bright side, though, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have penned a new standalone special for the hit BBC detective drama set entirely in the Victorian era in which Arthur Conan Doyle originally brought his iconic Great Detective to life before the eyes of Britons across the nation. Whilst plot details will apparently have to wait for now, at least this oft-humorous first teaser clip confirms that we're in for another light-hearted romp in the vein of "The Sign of Three" rather than a somewhat morbid jaunt along the lines of "The Empty Hearse" later this year.
  • THE FLASH SEASON ONE HIGHLIGHT REEL (& SEASON TWO TEASER) - Featuring a recap of the events of the frankly sensational opening run of The CW's already beloved Arrow spin-off, this intense five-minute montage caps itself off with a similarly engaging hint of what's to come by establishing the threat of a similarly esteemed Detective Comics antagonist going by the name of Professor Zoom, a character who'll apparently make his presence known in Central City known sooner rather than later once the series returns for twenty-two further instalments starting October 6th on The CW (and not too long after on Sky1 either, with any luck).

  • BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE THEATRICAL TRAILER - Without a doubt, this bumper-length taster of next year's long awaited DC crossover blockbuster was by far the most anticipated release of Comic-Con, and what's more, for the most part the video in question hardly disappointed. Quite to the contrary, although the jury's still out on whether Snyder can produce something more nuanced than the mindless, overly action-driven fare of Man of Steel, ditto with regards to whether Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luthor will break his oh-so-tough Social Network mould, yet those quibbles aside, the notion of witnessing Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck's near-omnipotent protagonists wage war on the big-screen come March 25th, 2016 has just been made that much more of an appealing conceit.

  • SUICIDE SQUAD FIRST LOOK - In a peculiar turn of fate, had the infamous Comic-Con leakers not returned in full force for this year's event, then the world's first look at David Ayer's take on the little-known DC comic-book saga Suicide Squad might not have surfaced for a fair few months yet. Instead, Warner Bros. Pictures were forced - for better or for worse, though we certainly weren't complaining given our inability to attend the relevant panel over in San Diego on the day itself - to release their previously closely-guarded SDCC preview reel for the so-called DC Extended Universe's second outing online just a few short days after the convention reached its timely denouement. Suffice to say that regardless of the turbulent road taken by Warner in order to reach this moment, the wait for official footage definitely seems worthwhile in hindsight, especially thanks to the reel affording us our first insights into Margot Robbie's quite possibly career-defining turn as Harley Quinn, a cameo or two from comic-book legends like Harley's relatively sane original alter-ego as well as the Dark Knight himself, not to mention an incredibly haunting coda featuring none other than Jared Leto's purportedly terrifying incarnation of everyone's favourite Clown Prince of Crime, all of whom will make their début on August 5th, 2016.
  • SPECTRE THEATRICAL TRAIL - The name's Boring. Just...Boring. Try as we might to muster the same unparalleled levels of enthusiasm for Agent 007's twenty-fourth big-screen mission as we did in the case of his spectacular 50th Anniversary instalment - better known to the world at large as 2013's Skyfall, of course - neither Spectre's teaser trail nor the just-released second full preview have warranted any such elation from our perspective. With any luck Sam Mendes will once again have saved the best for the final product by keeping a tight hold over the precise plot titbits revealed by the marketing campaign just as he did last time around, yet if the disconcertingly familiar nature of the overblown action sequences teased so far via snow-capped mountains, predictably packed Latin American favellas and the like turns out to be in any way indicative of the overall narrative inspiration (or lack thereof) present in the screenplay, then November 6th might represent a date to remember for all of the wrong reasons just as Quantum of Solace went down in (completely disheartening) infamy back in 2008.
  • THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 "WE MARCH TOGETHER" TRAIl - We'll gladly admit that the lack of pure thrills on offer within The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 last Winter came as a shock to our team even despite us already having read the source material upon which the piece was loosely based. That said, like Spectre's underwhelming sophomore effort at wooing back its franchise's sizeable fan-base, Mockingjay - Part 2 similarly appears intent on resting on its laurels from a marketing perspective, simply electing to clarify the ambiguous statement Gale made regarding a third Hunger Games competition taking place here in the Spring teaser trail before descending into the type of grand, undeniably explosive yet ultimately dramatically weightless fanfare most mainstream film fans will doubtless already have come to expect of big-screen series finales of this ilk (not least since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 effectively set such a rigid template as early as in 2011) rather than the more contemplative, personal sequences that those hoping for a 5* masterpiece might have rightly anticipated. One way or the other, the truth will be revealed for all of the planet Earth's countless factual districts to witness (and no doubt debate endlessly) this November 20th.
  • DOCTOR WHO SEASON NINE FIRST LOOK - In a move that'll surely stun loyal followers of this blog, we here at On-Screen have every intention of skipping the Twelfth Doctor's second run of time-travelling exploits as a result of our severe disillusionment with last year's uneventful eighth season, but those Whovians who do opt to stick around should at least have a lot to look forward to based on the clips that BBC America unveiled during their dedicated Who Comic-Con panel. Daleks (modern and classic alike), Zygons, Missy (whose presence may well indicate that a refreshingly Gallifrey-centric plot arc's on its way), underwater bases (feel free to count the minutes until they're met with a siege, of course), Whispermen-esque advancing adversaries and Game of Thrones' very own Maisie Williams all represent but a handful of those constructs who'll be gracing the screens of BBC One viewers come September 19th, suggesting that even if the series has lost a few devotees such as ourselves of late, the remaining masses should certainly be kept engaged come the course of the science-fiction drama's impending return.
  • LEGO DIMENSIONS "WORLDS COLLIDE" STORY TRAILER - Only TT Games could possibly forge a crossover narrative which melds together plot elements from cult classics like Back to the Future, Scooby Doo, The Simpsons, The Lord of the Rings and even Portal without buckling under the considerable weight of their respective fandoms' colossal (to say the very least) colossal expectations. Indeed, LEGO Dimensions' central campaign looks to pack one of the most visually, mechanically and tonally outrageous play experiences in recent memory as a result of its dabbling with franchises aplenty, as evidenced by this trail's manipulation of fan-favourite moments from both Rings and The LEGO Movie (not to mention multiple quarrelling incarnations of everyone's favourite Caped Crusader), although if nothing else, that TT's now-trademark style of game-play appears to simultaneously be fully intact should bode well given the consistently remarkable quality of the development team's recent licensed works like LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Whilst the real question regarding Dimensions is whether a 'new' IP of this ilk can possibly hope to match Skylanders and Disney Infinity so late on in the game (no industry pun intended - honest!), then, and whilst there's every chance its core narrative could sport no shortage of plot holes, odds are that from a mechanical standpoint, we're still in for another slightly unoriginal but nonetheless satisfyingly unhinged ride this September 29th. Bring it on, we say!
Our overriding aim here at On-Screen over the relatively news-lite Summer months will be to provide slightly less posts so as to enable us to collate many of the season's major reveals along with our definitive sentiments on each rather than simply tackling each from a (at times detrimentally) detached perspective. All being well, we're hoping to move onto even bigger and bolder pastures new as the Autumn months near and with them comes an almighty flurry of unmissable releases, but until then, why not let us know either on our Facebook page or over on our Twitter feed what you'd like to see from On-Screen in the future, or alternatively whether any of the SDCC (and indeed post-SDCC) trails presented above succeeded in peaking your interest to the extent that the studio(s) behind them had clearly intended?