When a “Star Wars” film comes out, aside from exotic planetary locations, sweet space vehicles and pitched battles and action sequences that are to be expected, another element of the franchise to watch out for is the latest alien creatures. From humanoids to little winged or four-legged critters, seeing non-human entities in “Star Wars” best sells what it’s like in a galaxy far, far away.
Even in the polarizing Sequel Trilogy entry “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi,” unsettled franchise fans may have had a decent enough reception for Porgs, the constantly-screeching flightless birds from Luke Skywalker’s hideaway planet of Acht-to.
These annoying yet adorable things are the focus of a new virtual-reality experience to be made available on the Magic Leap One VR headset. Developed by the ILMxLAB branch of Lucasfilm, this VR experience applies the “virtual pet-raising” genre onto the “Star Wars” universe, with a Porg as the pet.
Titled “Project Porg,” the experience puts the VR player in the role of impromptu caretaker, having been entrusted by Chewbacca with a Porg and a care device, along with a C-3PO message serving as instruction guide. Good care for the Porg will allow it to grow and eventually hatch offspring.
According to ILMxLAB chief executive Vicki Dobbs Beck, the virtual actions required to care for the Porg has similarities to procedures in caring for any household pet. In addition, the “Project Porg” experience is connected online, allowing players to “take” their Porg to public locations with Magic Leap access. One possible venue might be the “Star Wars” area Galaxy’s Edge, close to opening in both Disneyland Park and Disney World.
“Project Porg” on Magic Leap is not the only VR project that the “Star Wars” creative company is working on. They also have the episodic VR series “Vader Immortal” which runs on the Oculus Rift.
A great deal can be said about Disney’s film series “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which was based on one of their theme park rides. The very first movie in 2003 can be argued to have revitalized the pirate movie genre, and in over a decade and a half the film franchise achieved a $4.5 billion global box office gross.
Recent entries haven’t been as lucrative in earnings, doubled with problems trying to keep on actor Jonny Depp who plays the “Pirates” face character Captain Jack Sparrow. Disney has bounced ideas of a reboot without Depp/Jack, even tapping some writers for it. But things have stalled.
Fortune tells us that Disney has fallen back into a rut regarding the production of a new installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which would also serve as a reboot to the film franchise. That is because assigned screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, best known recently from 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster “Deadpool” movies, are announced to no longer be attached to the “Pirates” project.
With the departure of the writing team, and with now update on anyone else picking up where they left off, it appears any production for more “Pirates of the Caribbean” may no longer be on.
The genesis of the “Pirates” franchise had been a very unusual story of unlikely success in itself. As already stated, it was originally a theme park ride. And when the initial movie “Curse of the Black Pearl” came out, it was under the shadow of prevailing moviemaking wisdom that pirate films don’t sell at all.
To this, “Black Pearl” had answered with an astonishing $300 box office blitz in the US for 2003. It also netted a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp, crystalizing his characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow as the new-age archetype of a romanticized Caribbean pirate.
Disney had been frantic to revitalize the “Pirates” film series as a possible alternative should its current reigning subsidiary franchises “Star Wars” and the MCU begin to falter. But with the loss of their writers for a sixth film, and the feasibility of making such a movie without the iconic Jack Sparrow character, it may be time for the studio to figuratively bury the franchise.
When Disney’s 2013 animated film “Frozen” became an avalanche of an international blockbuster and fountain of memes, talk immediately turned to making a sequel for it; and not just any home-video follow-up like of old but a true theatrical-release continuation. True, there have been two shorts during the interim, but fans are really looking forward to “Frozen 2” which Disney pegged for 2019.
After a disappointingly hilarious “teaser” after the end credits of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” last year, “Frozen” followers can finally bask in the glory of the first official preview for the second film, released Wednesday, February 13.
In just about a minute and a half, the “Frozen II” sticker may have just cured some fans who may still have franchise fatigue from the original film and its subsequent shorts, plus intrigued bandwagon detractors by its more action-packed sequences and foreboding visuals. Let’s list the trailer’s important scene points and talk about them.
Elsa’s new getup – from the prim and restrained royal gown to her ice dress with thigh-high slit, Elsa in “Frozen” evolved from a paranoid fidgety lady to a sassy woman reveling in freedom; her reconciliation with her sister Anna aside, Elsa maintained her snowflake-pattern dress fashion with only minimum seasonal modifications; for the sequel the Queen of Arendelle finally goes significantly different with what appears to be an ice pantsuit with leggings, for greater mobility
Elsa’s sea run training – the escape across from the coronation was one of the many stunning visual sequences from the first film, done by a scared witless Elsa across a relatively calm fjord; having already worked past her issues Elsa looks more confident in testing the potential of her ice powers further by trying to navigate a stormy sea; but why her intense physical exercise?
The strange ice diamonds – as Anna is witness, Arendelle palace seems to have been suddenly surrounded by numerous snowflake-like diamonds; perhaps they have something to do with her sister; but where did they come from?
Kristoff’s reindeer army – yes, Kristoff is never too far from his trusty reindeer mount Sven; but now it seems they have to answer a situation that needs lots of hoofed reinforcements; what do you think?
Anna’s “Cliffhanger” act – famously remembered for initially failing at rock climbing in “Frozen,” Anna certain seems to match Elsa for picking up some action girl physical skills; is there a motivation for their peak form?
The unquenchable fire – there has never been a physical flame that Elsa’s ice cannot quench, until now; and if she can’t put out these strangely-colored fires, Olaf might pay the price
The girl and the figure – we see a new brown-haired girl walking along an autumnal forest until she’s startled by a figure bursting through the leaves, as if yanked up; could the first one be the “girlfriend” desired by LGBT Elsa-fans for their queen?
Where are they going? – Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven seem to be taking leave of Arendelle in order to go into a new land that is in autumn; what could be waiting for them ahead?
The ambush – great danger instincts, reflexes and swordplay on Anna’s part; but who or what was that which tried to ambush their adventuring party at the end of the teaser?
It has already been stated before that the upcoming Episode IX of the third “Star Wars” trilogy, set to premiere this December, will be the final end as it were of the saga of the Skywalker family, whose several family members have been among some of the strongest users of the Force in the Galaxy. As a part of the Disney brand however, Lucasfilm has been exploring various avenues to produce more stories in film for the eternal struggle between Light and Dark in the “Star Wars” setting.
The “Star Wars Story” anthology had been such an option. Several movie and TV producers have been approached and some ideas have been pitched. Now a new movie project buzz has come out involving the show-runner tandem of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”.
Cinema Blend has it that Dave Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who adapted George R.R. Martin’s fantasy book series into the award-winning HBO program, will now be working on their own film trilogy in the “Star Wars” vein.
This is a specification of an earlier report from the previous year, where they have been offered by Lucasfilm a chance to work on a spinoff movie or two. Now they appear to be taking up the same trilogy project that had once been given to “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson. The 2017 movie’s polarized reception hushed up any talk about a Johnson “Star Wars” trilogy.
If this report is actually substantial, then it might explain why, with “Game of Thrones” finale season 8 coming to HBO in April, Benioff and Weiss haven’t seemed to start work on their other big TV project, the alternate-history drama series “Confederate.” HBO programming president Casey Bloys did tell TV Linethat the “Thrones” show-runners have been roped to work on the offered “Star Wars” films next, putting “Confederate” on hold.
Aside from movies, the overall “Star Wars” media experience has been going strong, with the current main animated series “Star Wars Resistance” already green-lit for a second season, plus the live-action series “The Mandalorian” that will premiere on Disney+ streaming.
We are well aware of the recent shifts in the general media landscape where TV series connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe are concerned. Where once there was a thriving multi-show MCU presence on Netflix, only two of them remain while everything else has been canceled.
Under the polite excuses one can only surmise that the streaming giant wants no part in indirectly promoting new MCU series that will launch with Disney’s own exclusive streaming platform this year or next. But if observers are concerned that Disney will be hoarding all TV productions of its Marvel subsidiary then they can rest assured with this development.
Polygon reports that there’s a new media partnership that Marvel Television has inked with over-the-top media streaming company Hulu. This will lead to the production of four new series featuring more Marvel characters from its massive library.
Granted, the fact that these shows are going to potentially be on a media platform that Disney has a stake in (and one that might grow once the acquisition of Fox and its own Hulu share is completed) is a different fish compared to the Netflix situation. But still, it does point out that Disney will not be a proprietary media hog with their incoming Disney+ streaming service.
Here we have a list of the four planned Marvel series planned for Hulu. There is no word yet if they will also be set in the MCU as the Netflix series were. Let’s see:
Howard the Duck – one of Marvel’s more off-the-wall creations; Disney almost got into a rights dispute over it against Marvel, now moot with the latter joining the former; Kevin Smith and Dave Willis (“Aqua Teen Hunger Force”) will write and executively produce
MODOK – a series with a villain protagonist, a baddie that normally tangled with tech-themed Marvel heroes in comics; recognizable as a giant head with a tiny vestigial body, supported by a bio-tech flying platform; show-runners will be Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum (“American Dad”)
Hit-Monkey – a supporting character for X-Men supporting character Deadpool, he is an intelligent Japanese snow monkey that learned ninja skills from an assassin; his TV story will also be handled by another tandem, Will Speck (“Blades of Glory”) and Josh Gordon
Tigra and Dazzler – with Chelsea Handler and Erica Rivinoja as show-runners, this show brings together two females superheroes, one from the Avengers camp and the other from the X-Men; Tigra (Greer Nelson) is a magically-enhanced superhuman famous for being a sexy tiger-woman in a bikini, with fur, tail and claws, plus cat-like strength and reflexes; Dazzler (Allison Blaire) is a pop star and mutant that can convert sound waves around her into solid light with various special effects
The presence of X-Men related characters in the titles seems to indicate that the Disney-Fox deal, which will regain the film/TV use of X-Men characters, seems all but done now. No release date was given as to when the shows will appear on Hulu. For now, the ball’s in the Disney+ Marvel shows as well as the MCU in general.
Towards the end of January, Disney and Square-Enix finally released a game that has kept fans waiting for a decade and a half: “Kingdom Hearts III”. So long had been the gap between this and “Kingdom Hearts II” (despite the latter getting remixed several times until 2014) that some gamers who got this last month actually mourned online the fans who passed away before its time.
And indeed, what transpired in this epic action RPG title was something of a grand enough conclusion to the saga that began with the first installment from 2002, even if it left room for continuing the story even afterwards.
“Kingdom Hearts III” sees the final struggle between the righteous wielders of the Keyblades against the sinister Organization XIII and its leader Master Xehanort (voiced by Rutger Hauer following the death of Leonard Nimoy), over who shall control the power of the titular Kingdom Hearts.
Over the preceding games, a number of characters possessing Keyblades stood out to confront the plans of Xehanort and Organization XIII to prevent Kingdom Hearts from falling into Darkness in “Kingdom Hearts III.” They are:
Sora – franchise main hero since the first game, his quest becomes the driving narrative of the “Kingdom Hearts” series
Riku – franchise secondary hero; antagonist during much of the first game and supporting character for most of the rest; his nature would prove the interdependence of Light and Darkness on one another; he was the original wielder of the Kingdom Key Keyblade until his emerging darkness made it seek Sora instead
Kairi – franchise main heroine since the first game; a damsel in distress for most of the games she appears in, until receiving a Keyblade from Riku due to having “inherited” worthiness to wield from Aqua
King Mickey Mouse – King of Disney Castle; originally fighting as a Keyblade Master to eliminate Darkness and preserve Light, he learned from Riku that neither cannot exist without the other and thus decides to fight for their balance
Terra – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus; became host to his mentor’s heart and was also briefly possessed by Xehanort; Riku passed on the ability to wield Keyblades to Riku before the events of the first game
Aqua – Keyblade Master and former apprentice to Eraqus
Ventus – Keyblade apprentice under both Eraqus and Xehanort prior to the latter’s evil turn; left comatose after his darkness was separated from him to create Vanitas
Roxas – the Nobody of Sora that came to be when Sora opened his heart with a Keyblade to free Kairi’s heart; having come from a Keyblade wielder, he retains the same ability; originally part of Organization XIII, he became fed up with the constant manipulation and reunited himself with Sora, only to gain his own complete being via the Organization’s Replica ability
Xion – the 14th member of Organization XIII and a Replica of Roxas; this enabled her to wield Keyblades as well; her close bonds with Roxas and Axel eventually proves her salvation
Axel/Lea – a member of Organization XIII and their designated hit-man; became close with Roxas and Xion, eventually becoming a whole being and gaining the ability to wield Keyblades himself
“Kingdom Hearts III” is available on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
As everybody who follows the Disney hype train knows, there are a series of films coming out in this year alone that are all live-action remakes of their celebrated Animated Canon. Taking after the frenetic production and release pace of its sister film franchise the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no less than three of these “conversions” will hit theaters before 2019 is out.
First the wonder of the flying elephant “Dumbo” in March, Disney will follow up in July with “The Lion King”. And between them is the magical remake of the 1993 classic “Aladdin”; at least that’s how Disney wants the movie to come across.
So far, many fans are unconvinced. The major sticking point of course has been the casting of Will Smith as the Genie of the lamp – a role many insist can only be performed by the original 1993 voice actor, the late Robin Williams. Disney must have hoped that finally showing Smith in CGI as the live-action Genie will quell discontent. But as BBC goes, opinion may have only gotten worse.
A new teaser from Disney was put up by Will Smith himself on Instagram, re-spinning visuals already shown in its predecessor and adding new sequences: Aladdin in the collapsing Cave of Wonders, the “Prince Ali” entrance number, and finally Aladdin rubbing the lamp to release Will Smith as the Genie.
“I told y’all I was gon’ be Blue!!” Will wrote on his Instagram page. “Y’all need to trust me more often!” His Genie self says on his first scene in the trailer, “You really don’t know who I am? Genie? Wishes? Lamp? None of that ring a bell?” While some of his comments there are somewhat supportive, the rest of social media is just up at arms with the depiction.
It turns out that Will Smith’s #Aladdin Genie will haunt my nightmares
Several of the Twitter rants on Genie Smith paint his CGI look as the stuff of nightmares. Others on the other hand are willing to be patient until the “Aladdin” remake release this May, in the hope that Disney will clean up the special effects. Until then, it looks like this blue guy has also become the stuff of memes.
Visuals look good and I'm glad they made Genie blue. Of course Will Smith has some big shoes to fill but I'll wait to see the film before casting any judgements! #filmtwitterhttps://t.co/aSRlLXNA2u
Certain Starbucks locations often have on offer a variety of “You Are Here” souvenir mugs for tourist customers, the better to commemorate having a Starbucks coffee when travelling. As Starbucks also has branches in Disney theme parks, it’s only natural that they have “You Are Here” mugs to sell there.
But! Now Disney fans who can’t make a trip to any park soon (and have a serving of Starbucks while they’re at it) can now order a Starbucks Disney mug online, at shopDisney no less. They now carry mugs for all Starbucks locations on both Disneyland and Disney World. Here’s what they have in store:
Disney California Adventure
Walt Disney World
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In addition to the actual drinking mugs, shopDisney also has Starbucks “You Are Here” mug ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree. And while smaller, they can still be used for drinking if you want to. All the above have ornament variants except for Magic Kingdom. The mugs cost $16.99 on shopDisney while the ornaments are $12.99, so visit their website for details and online purchases.
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.
Even in theme park complexes like Walt Disney World there are companies doing business performing necessary services for the endless number of guests coming every day. That includes banks, shops, and even some rental services that provide strollers for parents with young children. And Fantasy Stroller Company has a way to stand out from others.
Though not affiliated to Disney itself, Fantasy Stroller has created two Disney-inspired designs for their children’s strollers that will tickle the fantastical or sci-fi fancies of very young fans. Here’s a list of themed strollers they have to offer guests going to Walt Disney World
Cinderella Carriage – for the little Princesses ($132)
Millennium Falcon – for the young heroes of the Rebel Alliance ($130)
The prices quoted above will make the strollers available to guests for 8 hours, to be delivered by Fantasy Strollers to Disney World upon request. For more details, visit their official Facebook page and official website now.