Luke Skywalker’s Mandalorian Cameo Guided by Star Wars Memories


Mark Hamill dressed all in black as Luke Skywalker, pre-VFX, while shooting The Mandalorian season two finale.

You’ve probably watched Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian by now (or read our post about the coolest things we learned from it), but there’s always more story to tell. Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker cameo in the finale of The Mandalorian season two wasn’t just a surprise, it was a triumph after a whole lot of work.

The latest Disney+ behind-the-scenes episode explained a lot but Industrial Light & Magic VFX supervisor, Richard Bluff, spoke to IndieWire about a few more details that went into the process. Though the team was aiming for Luke to look like he did around the time of the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, Bluff said showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni wanted Hamill there to use him in every way possible — not only to help advise on the performance, but also to use his physicality and his actual face whenever possible.”

But because Hamill is older now, they also used Max Lloyd-Jones as a body double, and to make both performances come to life as one, they hired Lola Visual Effects (already in use by Marvel Studios). While the company used deepfake technology, Bluff said they didn’t rely too heavily on it because the resolution wasn’t high enough. (You may recall Lucasfilm recently hired a deepfake creator to work for Industrial Light and Magic after he “improved” the Luke scene they’d worked so hard on.)

Speaking of resolution: “People’s memory of Luke Skywalker isn’t in 4K sharp resolution,” Bluff said. “[The softness] was a choice to match some of the imagery that we’ve seen in the past.” He added, “It was all based upon steering the audience toward an image they remember seeing rather than putting the character in a completely new situation.”

The Disney Gallery episode is currently streaming on Disney+ and we’re waiting to hear exactly when The Mandalorian season three will grace us with its presence. In the meantime, we’ve got The Book of Boba Fett to look forward to and, I suppose, Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett.

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Superman Almost Appeared in The Suicide Squad Movie


The Suicide Squad crew

The Suicide Squad crew
Image: Warners Bros.

Who would have thought that Kal-El might have appeared in The Suicide Squad? Well, James Gunn wanted to make this a reality. Gunn reveals Superman was the initial big bad for the film instead of Starro the Conqueror in a new interview.

On the latest episode of the Script Apart, a podcast that talks to writers about the evolution of their scripts, The Suicide Squad director James Gunn mentions, “There was a time when I thought The Suicide Squad should fight Superman,” he says. He continues explaining why Starro was a much better choice.

“I thought that was a very interesting story. Then I came up with Starro. He’s a character I love from the comics. I think he’s a perfect comic book character because he’s absolutely ludicrous but also very scary in his own way. What he does is scary. He used to scare the crap out of me when I was a child, putting those facehuggers on Superman and Batman. So I thought he was one of the major, major DC villains that was probably never going to be put into another movie. And if they did, it’d have been a ‘black cloud’ version of Starro. Not a giant walking starfish, a kaiju that’s bright pink and cerulean blue, this ridiculously big, bright bad guy.”

Not only did Gunn think Starro was a better fit, but he talks about how the character of Superman is still feeling its way around the DCEU. “At the time, there were a lot of questions like, ‘Who is Superman in the DCEU? Is this movie outside the DCEU?’, and I just didn’t want to deal with it all that much,” Gunn said. “I just wanted to tell a good story.”

What kind of movie would The Suicide Squad have been with Superman as an antagonist? Let us know in the comments!

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Suicide Squad Director David Ayer is Upset With Warner Bros.


Will Smith and David Ayer on set for Suicide Squad 2016

Will Smith and David Ayer on set for Suicide Squad 2016
Image: Warner Brothers

David Ayer, director of the 2016 Suicide Squad, has taken to Twitter to discuss his experience shooting the film.

The upcoming release of James Gunn’s Suicide Squad film has drummed up old feelings that Ayer needs to get off his chest officially. From his three-page letter posted to his Twitter last Thursday, fans now know a bit more about his experience working on the movie.

Ayer’s letter comes in response to a Tweet from film critic Tim Grierson at Screen Daily who said, “Well, here’s something I didn’t expect to write: I really loved The SuicideSquad,” wrote Grierson. “Many times while watching the new movie, I thought, ‘Yeah, David Ayer should just abandon the idea of that director’s cut.’”

As a writer/director David Ayer is hit (End of Watch, Training Day) or miss (Sabotage, Bright). However, all his films have a signature tone and style that I can admit is missing from his version of the Suicide Squad. The 2016 movie looks and feels it was created in an executive boardroom, so it’s understandable why Ayer has disowned it.

“The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again,” he wrote. “And my cut is not the 10-week director’s cut – It’s a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredibly [sic] work by John Gilroy. It’s all Steven Price’s brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing. It has traditional character arcs, amazing performances, and solid 3rd Act resolution.”

Ayer noted that he isn’t a hater. In fact, he praises Gunn’s version and all involved. “I’m so proud of James and excited for the success that’s coming. I support WB and am thrilled the franchise is getting the legs it needs,” he wrote. “I’m rooting for everyone, the cast, the crew. Every movie is a miracle. And Jame’s [sic] brilliant work will be the miracle of miracles.”

Warner Bros. isn’t going to shell out the same amount of money they gave to Zack Snyder to complete his cut of the Justice League, so let’s hope Ayer’s Suicide Squad doesn’t require any reshoots or additional footage. Can the director garner enough hype around #releasetheayercut to get HBO to acquiesce?

The Suicide Squad is set for release in theaters in the U.S. and on the HBO Max streaming platform on August 6.



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Do Rhett and Link Fight?! Talking GMM, Spending $$$, Important Therapy, Religion & Movie Goals Ep 52

Special thanks to BROOKLINEN – Use Code ‘DEFRANCO’ , DOORDASH – Download App Use Code ‘DEFRANCO2021’, & UPSTART – for sponsoring!
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00:14 – Rhett’s Hair
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05:55 – Is my therapist as good as your therapist?
08:28 – Link feels all the emotions for me…
12:01 – How does Rhett want to be perceived?
19:19 – Want to tell Deconstruction Story in a different Medium
27:48 – Putting our all into something and it failing…
40:01 – Being too accommodating in a position of authority
49:55 – Last Time Rhett & Link Handled Conflict
54:58 – Rhett’s relationship to money
1:07:10 – Will your kids follow in your footsteps?
1:19:53 – First Scripted Podcast “Ronstadt”
1:32:48 – If you could only choose one of us to be friends with, who would it be?
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Visions Headed to Disney+ in September


Star Wars: Visions Logo

Star Wars: Visions Logo
Image: Disney/Lucasfilm

Anime Expo Lite offered fans a special look at the new Disney+ project Star Wars: Visions.

Visions is a collection of animated shorts from various Japanese anime studios, including Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru, and Production IG. Each studio will use its signature animation and storytelling styles to add to the Star Wars universe. Here are the studios and the titles of their anime projects.

Kamikaze Douga – The Duel
Geno Studio (Twin Engine) – Lop and Ochō
Studio Colorido (Twin Engine) – Tatooine Rhapsody
Trigger – The Twins
Trigger – The Elder
Kinema Citrus – The Village Bride
Science Saru – Akakiri
Science Saru – T0-B1
Production IG – The Ninth Jedi

 Star Wars: Visions producers Jacqui Lopez, James Waugh, Josh Rimes, and Qubic Pictures’ Justin Leach and Kanako Shirasaki were at the event to celebrate the reveal.

As you know, the entire Star Wars franchise is inspired by Japanese cinema. Specifically, Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. It’s long overdue that Lucasfilm gives the spotlight to Japanese animators and allows them to lend their unique styles and perspective to the galaxy far away.

All episodes of Star Wars: Visions will be released on Disney+ on September 22, 2021. Watch this video to get a better sense of the project!

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Netflix, Jennifer Lopez Making Killer AI Sci-Fi Movie Atlas


Jennifer Lopez wearing dramatic hair and make-up in a scene from her previous sci-fi film The Cell.

Twenty years after The Cell, Jennifer Lopez is going back to sci-fi.
Photo: New Line Cinema

A person doesn’t get to be as famous as Jennifer Lopez without having a wide-ranging career. Music, movies, television—she’s basically done it all, with a few small exceptions. One of those is science fiction. Oh sure, she was in The Cell and Anaconda, but those came out decades ago. Now, Lopez getting back into sci-fi in a big, big way with the biggest streamer there is.

Deadline reports she’s set to star and produce a new film called Atlas, which is being made for Netflix. Brad Peyton (Rampage, San Andreas) is attached to direct from an original script by Leo Sardarian (Crackle’s StartUp), which is being polished by Aron Eli Coleite (Heroes, Star Trek Discovery, Locke & Key).

The premise is intriguing but oddly familiar. Apparently Lopez plays “a woman fighting for humanity in a future where an AI soldier has determined the only way to end war is to end humanity. To outthink this rogue AI, [she] must work with the one thing she fears most—another AI.” Wait. Is AtlasTerminator 2? It sure sounds similar, what with the whole two artificially intelligent beings, one of which is teaming up with a powerful woman to save the world” thing and all.

“I’m so honored to be working with Jennifer, Elaine [Goldsmith-Thomas], and the rest of the team at Nuyorican Productions along with our partners Joby [Harold] and Tory [Tunnell] at Safehouse,” Peyton said in a statement. “Having the chance to direct Jennifer in the title role of this movie is a dream come true, as I know she’ll bring the incredible strength, depth, and authenticity we’ve all come to admire from her work. Furthermore, Jeff [Fierson] and I are so excited to be back working with… the entire team at Netflix. They have been nothing short of amazing to work with and we are blessed to have the opportunity to make another movie on the service.” That last movie Peyton is referring to is an action thriller called Sweet Girl, which he produced; it stars Jason Momoa and comes to Netflix later this summer.

Really, though, the main event here is Jennifer Lopez and an AI battling another AI to save humanity. And you can sign us the hell up for that.

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Disney Rides Doc Series Coming From Dwayne The Rock Johnson


Popular Disney ride Star Tours comes alive in concept art; it'll be one of the attractions spotlighted in a new Disney+ series on the company's most popular rides and attractions.

Star Tours is one of the subjects of a new Disney+ documentary series.
Image: Disney+

The Walt Disney Company is famously secretive about the creation of many of its most popular rides, but if anyone can get to the bottom of it, it’s the Rock. Dwayne Johnson’s production company, Seven Bucks, is teaming up with Disney for a new documentary series called Behind the Attraction, which hits Disney+ on July 16. The 10-part series will drop all its episodes at once and feature exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access that will illuminate some of the most famous rides and attractions in Disney history.

The 10 episodes are on Jungle Cruise (obviously, since Johnson produced and has the movie coming out), Haunted Mansion, Star Tours (which will include Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (the episode will delve into its transformation into a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed ride), the Castles, Disneyland Hotel, Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, the Hall of Presidents, and Trains, Trams, and Monorails.

Brian Volk-Weiss (The Toys That Made Us) directed the episodes and Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) narrates. And, if you love this kind of behind the scenes Disney stuff, while you wait for this show, go check out The Imagineering Story on Disney+. It tackles many of these rides as stops along the way to tell the story of the people behind Disney’s theme park innovations.

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Bridgerton’s Freddie Stroma Stars in James Gunn’s Peacemaker


Freddie Stroma in Bridgerton

Freddie Stroma in Bridgerton
Screenshot: Netflix

Freddie Stroma (Bridgerton) is cast in a recurring role as Adrian Chase, aka Vigilante, in James Gunn’s HBO Max series Peacemaker.

According to Deadline, Stroma is replacing Chris Conrad, who originally played the role but left the show due to creative differences.

Peacemaker went straight-to-series order with eight episodes. James Gunn will write and direct and act as executive producer along with Peter Safran, Matt Miller. Star John Cena will act as Co-executive producer.

The show is an action-comedy that explores the origins of John Cena’s character in The Suicide Squad. Based on the DC Comics character, the series follows a man who believes in total peace at any cost. Vigilante is a former New York City district attorney who adopts the alter ego when mobsters killed his wife and child. He was a skilled marksman, a hand-to-hand combat fighter, and has healing powers.

Stroma rounds out a stellar cast, including Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), Nhut Le (Kroll Show), with Suicide Squad, film characters Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland returning for the series.

Peacemaker is projected to debut in spring 2022, while James Gunn’s Suicide Squad is scheduled for theatrical release on August 6, 2021.

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