When Marvel Studios released Black Panther last February as part of the MCU they score a jackpot at the box office. With African-American and African-descent cast members, director and production team, the film resonated with the African-American community and Africa as well, the way Wonder Woman from rival Warner Bros.-DC did for women in 2017.
With Phase 3 of the MCU about to end, the matter of what new Marvel characters to be given movies in Phase 4 has been brought up. One of them feels like kin to the recently-cancelled Marvel-Netflix series Iron Fist. The hero in question is Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, a 1970s creation inspired easily from real-life actor Bruce Lee.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is looking at the possibility of a future Shang-Chi film being the Asian equivalent of Black Panther, in casting, director and production. Fan discussion has begun on which Asian-descent actor might be approached by Marvel for the part. Possibilities include:
Daniel Wu (New Police Story, Warcraft) – from Hong Kong
Eddie Peng (The Great Wall) – from Taiwan
Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior) – from China
Zhang Jin (stunt double of Zhang Ziyi on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) – from China
Already Marvel Studios is in talks with Chinese-American Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984 co-writer) for the screenplay of Shang-Chi. They also hope to cut down on the stereotypes present with the Shang-Chi character and his background. No further details have been shared about the film, including whether it might really be part of the MCU Phase 4 or not.
If anybody told somebody from videogame developer Square Enix that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the greatest crossover franchise ever, they might politely ask the speaker to hold whatever beverage they had on hand. That’s because Disney and Square Enix have been working on the Kingdom Hearts game series, crossing characters from the House of Mouse and S-E’s Final Fantasy games, for many years now.
And the long-arching saga of King Mickey Mouse and the Keyblade wielders is set to continue in Kingdom Hearts III arriving January 2019. To whet gamers’ appetites however, Disney and Square Enix will be opening a limited-time attraction and exhibit at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World: the Kingdom Hearts Experience.
Said Kingdom Hearts Experience will be centered around one thing fans of the RPG franchise have been clamoring for: a playable demo of the game featuring Sora, Donald and Goofy on their cross-dimensional adventures in the worlds of Frozen, Big Hero 6, Toy Story and more, as promised in the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter page.
But that’s not all. We’re making a list of what the whole Experience can offer.
Kingdom Hearts IIIdemo
Keyblade replica exhibit
Game artwork gallery
Preorder digital kiosks
Kingdom Heartsmerchandise booth
The Kingdom Hearts Experience will run from December 14 to January 31, making the holidays the perfect time to visit Disney World if you’re a console RP-gamer. The Kingdom Hearts III game from Square Enix will be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 25.
While many of Disney’s live-action versions of their Animated Canon are faithful adaptations to the original plotlines with certain embellishments, others are more imaginative retellings like Alice in Wonderland (with Johnny Depp) and Maleficent (with Angelina Jolie), a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty in the point of view of the antagonist.
It looks like Disney may be investing in another adaptation in that vein, as they’re set to tell the story of sinister dognapping fur diva Cruella De Vil, villainess of 101 Dalmatians. The thing is, they’re developing it as a prequel; and being live-action, it will apparently go off the interpretation of the first 1996 film adaptation where Cruella was portrayed by actress Glenn Close.
The movie’s still being negotiated but a number of names have been tentatively attached to the project. They are:
Emma Stone (Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man films) cast as (young) Cruella De Vil
Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) as director (replacing original choice Alex Timbers
Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) as writer
Marc Platt and…
Kristin Burr as producers
The live-action Cruella prequel is said to be set in the 1980s and driven by a “punk” vibe. No further details have been shared.
Disney and Marvel Studios must have hammered it hard and often enough to its movie-going audience that the current “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise will end with Avengers 4 next year. The phase-based storytelling of the superhero franchise had helped to manage its overall plotline quite nicely.
The epic ending of Avengers 4 has been marked as the conclusion of MCU Phase 3, the longest phase in the saga with the most films. Afterwards, the still-being planned Phase 4 outline will serve as a soft reboot of the franchise with increased focus on heroes outside the Avengers.
While only one MCU film has been confirmed to be in production for release after Phase 3, there’s been several other titles either in development prior to full filming, or merely announced. Here’s a rough list of what to expect after the Avengers deal with Thanos on Avengers 4 (2019):
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – uncertain status following director James Gunn’s departure
Next year, Disney and Pixar are going to blend the latter’s recognizable franchises with the sport of golf, and it’s going to happen Down Under. You read right; a Disney-Pixar mini-golf course will be opened for a month in Melbourne, inviting families for a putting good time on the green.
The so-called “Pixar Putt” will have guests take on a whimsical golfing experience with a course and holes inspired by various Disney-Pixar properties and characters. The fun is for all ages and the challenges can be adjusted accordingly. Here’s a list of what to expect from Pixar Putt in Melbourne:
Pixar Putt will run one month, from January 4 to February 3, 2019.
The Pixar Putt course will be set up at River Terrace, Federation Square, close to Princes Walk and the Yarra River.
There are two course options available: a shorter 30-40-minute 9-hole course or the full 18 holes taking from 1 to 1.5 hours; each run is for groups of 4.
Pixar Putt will provide all the golfing equipment needed; just bring yourself in suitable golfing gear.
Tickets can be booked at Pixar Putt’s ticket booth from 10 AM to 5 PM, or online at pixarputt.com.au
Tickets are needed for guests of at least 3 years old; child ticket rates are for until age 14, with the rest being priced as adult tickets.
Family ticket packages for Pixar Putt are in groups of 4, either 2 adults-2 children or 1 adult-3 children.
Aside from the golf course itself, Pixar Putt will also be offering Disney-Pixar merchandise on site with some exclusive items not to be found anywhere else.
Since Pixar Putt is outdoors, they will extend validity of paid tickets in case the session is rained out, up to the following seven days.
For more information on Pixar Putt, Australians and tourists to Melbourne can check out the limited event’s official website. Tickets can also be booked there.
By now, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet is close to being two week into its cinematic premiere, where it’s breaking some current box office records. It’s no surprise, knowing all the geeky stuff included in it whether as shout-outs or integral plot elements. The Disney Princesses fall on the latter.
Trailers hype the fact that they befriend Ralph’s (John C. Reilly) friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), and she in turn introduces the Princesses to modern casual clothes. Not to spoil by giving in-depth details, but the Princesses help Vanellope with her own internal issues, and save the day after the climax.
Do not read further to avoid SPOILERS: After Ralph and Vanellope defeat what’s close to being the movie’s major antagonist, Ralph falls down the virtual internet city, despite efforts to catch him. Fortunately the Disney Princesses see him and swing into action to rescue the “Big Strong Man” this time around:
Moana uses her “friend of the ocean” blessing to animate water from a fountain, causing it to fly in the air.
Ariel dives into the animated water and uses her mermaid swimming technique to shape it into a corkscrew spiral before “diving out”.
Jasmine pilots the flying carpet with Elsa as passenger. They catch Ariel from her dive while Elsa freezes the watery screw into an ice slide. Ralph slides into the ice, the spiral shape serving as a “holding pattern” while…
Rapunzel gives some of her hair to Aurora, who uses a spinning wheel to spin the hair into strings. Cinderella’s birds thread the strings through Snow White’s gown, with the ends tied to two arrows notched in a bow held by…
Merida. She shoots the arrows – carrying Cinderella’s mice Jaq and Gus – across a gap in buildings underneath Ralph. The arrows strike the opposite wall where…
Anna and Cinderella lay two more Princess gowns on the suspended hair-strings, which Jaq and Gus sew into place. Merida has also positioned another pair of gowns on the ends of the hair-strings on her side of the gap, with Snow White’s gown now suspended in the middle.
Snow White pitches her poison apple to Belle, who bats it into the air with a frying pan.
Mulan jumps after the apple and cuts it into four pieces. The pieces fall on the arrows and wooden supports that hold the gown-hair-string parachute in place (yes it’s getting complicated), causing them to dissolve. Ralph finally gets past the ice slide and falls into Snow White’s dress. The motion jerks the other gowns free from their anchors and balloon into parachutes. (Ariel vocalizes during this part.)
Pocahontas uses her affinity with the wind to blow Ralph in his improvised parachute up onto another rooftop, landing on a bed.
Tiana approaches the unconscious Ralph, moves as if to kiss him…then has Naveen (as a frog) do it instead, waking Ralph up.
Ralph Breaks the Intenet is still showing in theaters.
As we mentioned last week, the animated short series Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures premiered last Friday, November 30 as part of the Star Wars Kids channel on YouTube. As expected, it interprets scenes depicted or hinted at from the original live-action movies in a new vibrant and animated style.
Variably introduced or not by a short narration, each episode from the first release wave of Galaxy of Adventures follows a key character from the franchise, on one pivotal scene or more, to better showcase his personality to younger audiences, especially those still fairly new to the Star Wars saga.
While the episodes of Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel are region-locked to North America only, they can also be viewed on certain YT channels of regional Disney XD such as the UK version. Here’s an initial list of episodes found there thus far:
When Disney premiered Sofia the First back in 2012, they pioneered a blueprint on the production of similar 3D-animated series in fantastic settings and starring young female characters that help others and solve problems. The formula was revisited in Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina and now one new show.
Disney Junior has begun work on Mira, Royal Detective – an animated series following in the convention footsteps of Sofia the First. Set in the magical kingdom of Jalpur, which takes inspiration from India, it follows Mira, a young girl who becomes Royal Detective of Jalpur after rescuing the kingdom’s prince.
To fit right into the setting, Disney also cast quite the number of actors and actresses with some Indian heritage in order to provide voice talent, in support of fresh voice Leela Ladnier, 15, who will portray Royal Detective Mira. Here’s the initial cast list:
Leela Ladnier as Mira, Royal Detective
Jameela Jamil as Pushpa, Mira’s Aunt
Freida Pinto as Queen Shanti of Jalpur
Hannah Simone as Pinky, a commoner girl
Kal Penn and…
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Mira’s animal companions, a pair of mongooses
Mira, Royal Detective will premiere on Disney Junior sometime in 2020.
If anybody’s thinking that there’s a lot of Star Wars content being prepped by Disney and Lucasfilm already – animated series, live-action series, and Episode IX among others – then they have underestimated just how many forms of media they can churn out of the world’s greatest space opera franchise at once.
Already word is out that there will be a new web-series coming out called Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures. While earlier series Forces of Destiny focused on female Star Wars characters in action, this appears to be an adaptation of the films themselves, cut down into mini-episodes depicting significant scenes from the eight (plus two) movies that are already released.
Galaxy of Adventures will apparently use authentic film audio while reimagining the visuals with some slick animation that (amusingly) looks more anime than the promised anime style on Star Wars Resistance. Here’s an enumeration of the sequences referred to in the first web series trailer:
Millennium Falcon escaping from the Hoth blockade (The Empire Strikes Back)
Battle of Yavin IV (A New Hope)
Capture of Tantive IV (New Hope)
Search for R2-D2 on Dune Sea (New Hope)
Luke receiving his father’s lightsaber (New Hope)
Yoda vs. Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus (Attack of the Clones)
Luke vs. Vader in Cloud City (Empire Strikes Back)
Luke vs. Vader before Palpatine (Return of the Jedi)
Only a year following the “Colors of the Wind” volume for Disney Sing Along Songs, the long-running home video cartoon karaoke series returned with another collection of songs. Like its immediate predecessor this is primarily tied to another major Disney Classic release during year 1996, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Again, there are significant alterations between the original US version of this Sing Along Songs volume, and those released elsewhere. In fact, the UK and other international versions use the title of the movie this ties to, and some of the songs had lyrics that either got changed or cut.
Without further ado, here’s what to see in the Disney Sing Along Songs: “Topsy Turvy”:
Topsy Turvy (from 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – lines with religious references altered; stanza referencing Esmeralda and her pole-dancing scene cut
You’ve Got a Friend in Me (from 1995’s Toy Story)
Stand By Me (Timon and Pumbaa music video produced and directed by Steve Moore)
Streets of Gold (from 1988’s Oliver and Company)
The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song (from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Out There (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – Frollo part (also called “Stay in Here”) cut
Family (from 1996’s James and the Giant Peach)
The Unbirthday Song (from 1951’s Alice in Wonderland)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Variant Songs (replacing “Stand by Me”, “The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song”, “Family” and “The Unbirthday Song”)
Father and Son (from 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves)
On the Open Road (from 1995’s A Goofy Movie)
Mine, Mine, Mine (from 1995’s Pocahontas)
Sing a New Song (from “Ariel’s Undersea Adventures” VHS Collection)
Forget About Love (from 1994’s The Return of Jafar)
What’s This? (from 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas)