LATEST SCIENCE FICTION NEWS:
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014
She’s been a stalwart of the Marvel Universe for decades, and now Spider-Woman is finally getting a brand new look. It only took 'em 37 years to do it.
Jessica Drew’s trademark duds have looked like a throwback to the classic spandex era for a while now, but all that changes when Spider-Woman #5 hits shelves in March 2015. The book will put a new spin on Spider-Woman’s story and try to take the character back to her more “street-level” roots of the 1970s, along with introducing a new look designed by artist Kris Anka.
As USA Today notes, the character will trade in her spandex, for black leather pants, two-toned gloves and a jacket that can double as street-wear (and be tweaked for superhero-ing) at a moments notice. Despite the tonal shift, the look still has some nice nods to the original costume, giving it a good balance. It’s similar to what DC did a while back with Batgirl, but a bit more casual. Note: We dig the glasses.
Series editor Nick Lowe noted the new look is also a move toward practicality, since strolling around in spandex doesn’t really fit the vibe of turning Jessica Drew back into a detective-style character who isn’t dealing with world-ending stakes on a daily basis:
“Spider-Man isn't really a detective — he swings around looking for trouble, whereas Jess needs to go and figure stuff out and dig things up, and you can't really do that head to toe in spandex very well. To operate on the level she wants to, she needs something that can pass for semi-normal and she can turn it on to crazy if she needs to.”
If you can’t wait to check out Spider-Woman #5 in a few months, the new-look Jessica Drew is being added as a playable character in the Spider-Verse mobile game this week.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
A group of actors will gather in Los Angeles on Dec. 18 to do a live reading of The Empire Strikes Back, and at least one member of the cast may surprise you.
The reading is part of a series of similar events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) that have been orchestrated by filmmaker Jason Reitman (Juno), who is also directing tonight. What makes this event different from others in the past are two things: First, Reitman usually picks dramas or comedies -- movies heavy on dialogue -- so reading the script for a movie filled with visual effects is a striking departure. Second, the cast he's assembled for the read also contains one thought-provoking choice:
Luke Skywalker - Aaron Paul
Han Solo - Ellen Page
Princess Leia - Jessica Alba
Darth Vader - JK Simmons
C-3P0 - Stephen Merchant
Lando Calrissian - Dennis Haysbert
Yoda - Kevin Pollak
Yes, that's Ellen Page -- also of Juno fame, but known to genre fans for Inception and as Kitty Pryde in the X-Men movies -- playing Han Solo. Reitman told EW about his choice, "In casting Han, the most important thing is: who has the most interesting, ironic approach to life? And when I think of that, I think of Ellen Page. She’s a small human being who has the energy to fill Madison Square Garden."
Sure. she's not the first person to spring to mind to play everyone's favorite Corellian smuggler, but Page is a terrific actor and will undoubtedly bring a slant to Han that we're not likely to see or hear again.
As for the rest of the cast -- JK Simmons as Darth Vader? Aaron Paul as Luke? Kevin Pollak as Yoda? Sold.
Tickets to this thing are long sold out -- it was actually moved from LACMA to a bigger theater downtown to accomodate the audience -- but we're sure we'll hear about the evening's performance from those lucky enough to attend (they're intended as special events and are not recorded or filmed in any way).
As for the rest of us, we can take comfort from the fact that exactly one year from today -- December 18, 2015 -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters everywhere.
They’ve pretty much wrapped shooting on Marvel’s first Netflix series Daredevil, though we’re still waiting on so much as some test footage to get a peek at the small-screen version of Hell’s Kitchen. Well, we’re at least one step closer.
The latest print issue of Entertainment Weekly has debuted two new official photos from the series, including one of Charlie Cox’s Daredevil in costume and kicking some butt. The other shot shows Daredevil’s alter ego, Matt Murdock, strolling the streets of New York.
But, the costume shot — we’re digging it. As we’d previously heard, the series will trace a much more gritty path toward the classic Daredevil costume, with the vigilante starting out in what is essentially a basic black outfit with a mask inspired by the John Romita Jr. look from Man Without Fear. Simple, yes, but it does look good. It also seems a good fit for the aesthetic they’ve hit in the shot, more Arrow than Avengers.
This series will be the first big test for Marvel to see if they can move outside the so-so debut of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was supposed to be the flagship series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) on television. Instead, S.H.I.E.L.D. barely pulled a second season due to middling ratings. But now Marvel can prove they can do television right with Daredevil. Fingers crossed, at least.
The 13-episode series is set to launch in 2015 on Netflix, followed by a slew of additional Marvel shows building up to The Defenders.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
Fans are rushing back to Middle-earth one last time. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opened to a very strong $24.5 million Wednesday.
The film, the final installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, will top the domestic box office with a $70 million to $75 million five-day debut. Opening in 3,875 locations this weekend, the New Line and MGM project's big Wednesday number includes the $11.2 million from Tuesday's late-night showings.
Box-office comparisons to the previous Hobbit films won't be exactly parallel as the first two came out on Fridays. But the previous film, The Desolation of Smaug, earned $73.6 million in its debut weekend, and hit a final tally of $958.4 million worldwide. The first installment, An Unexpected Journey, opened in December 2012 to $84.6 million on its way to a grand total of $1 billion.
Internationally, Five Armies has also been doing brisk business, opening in 37 markets last weekend to a strong $122.2 million.
There is still the possibility that Five Armies will earn higher than the expected range for the weekend as fans could turn out in droves to say goodbye to the Tolkien franchise. But the film faces tougher competition than its predecessors during a crowded holiday season, which includes Sony's family film Annie and Fox's Night at the Museum sequel, both opening Friday, and musical Into the Woods, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Paramount’s The Gambler next weekend.
Family musical Annie is expected to earn in the $15 million range while Fox's Night at the Museum should gross $25 million or slightly higher.
WGN America has released an all-new promo for the second season of their original series “Salem,” which you can check out in the player below! In the spot, Mercy, the Reverend Lewis’ increasingly powerful daughter, transforms the symbol of her torment at the hands of the town’s witches into a signal of the Witch War to come.
“Salem” is a bold re-imagination of the infamous 17th century witch trials in colonial Massachusetts. The series stars Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, Shane Westas John Alden, Seth Gabel as Cotton Mather, Ashley Madekwe as Tituba, Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale, Elise Eberle as Mercy Lewis and Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton. Created and written by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, “Salem” is executive-produced by Braga, Simon, and Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry.
Season 2 of “Salem” will premiere in April 2015.
THE ZOCALO TODAY
Be sure to check out The Zocalo Today on Facebook as well as at ISN News: The Zocalo Today on Yahoo Groups.
Did you miss the news from yesterday -- or earlier in the week. Catch up by going to the
December News Archive. I have broken up the huge file into months to make it easier to scan through. It will bring you up to date for all that has been going on in the world of science fiction. Go to:
ON THE TUBE TONIGHT
8:00pm on The CW
Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
Mr. Magoo is featured as a man who doesn't believe in Christmas in this animated adaptation of "A Christmas Carol.".
8:00pm on ABC Family
Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn't fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.
8:00pm on AMC
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel) is just an average guy, but the wizard Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) sees in him a hidden talent for sorcery. He becomes Balthazar's reluctant protege, getting a crash course in the art of magic. As Dave prepares to help his mentor defend Manhattan from a powerful adversary (Alfred Molina), he wonders if he can survive the training, save the city and find his true love.
8:00pm on BBC America
The Christmas Invasion
Earth's population falls under the shadow of the sinister alien Sycorax.
8:00pm on FX
On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na'vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet's environment is poisonous, human/Na'vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na'vi woman (Zoe Saldana). As a bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle for the survival of her world.
8:00pm on TNT
Christmas in Washington 2014
Aloe Blacc, Hunter Hayes, Rita Ora and Christina Perri perform in the holiday concert.
9:00pm on BBC America
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Now 25, Connor (Nick Stahl) lives with no record of his existence -- no way he can be traced by Skynet. Out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X (Kristanna Loken), Skynet's most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Now Connor's only hope for survival is the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his mysterious former assassin. Together, they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day.
10:00pm on CBS
Season 4, Episode 17: Knockout Game
Danny and Baez search for teenagers who randomly punch unsuspecting people in the head.
10:00pm on Syfy
Survivors seek refuge on an island when zombies take over the world.
KEEPING UP WITH CAST AND CREW
#FREE BABYLON 5 CAMPAIGN
Another #FreeBabylon5 campaign will begin in 7 days!
With thanks to Gabriela Kioupakis for this idea:
B5 Fans! It's a new day and and new month and the start of a new campaign!
We've had some marvelous success so far - the show is currently rerunning on the UK’s Watch Channel and a few other European countries— it's time to get loud again and repeat that success here, in the USA!
Q - What do I have to do?
A - Head over to MeTV’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/metvnetwork ), like it, and leave your location… For example:
“Hello, MeTV. Boulder, Colorado likes you. Please add Babylon 5 to your lineup. http://freebabylon5.com/ ! #freebabylon5
Q - What if I’m not on Facebook?
A - No problem. Head over to metvnetwork.com (when I go, it seems to know what area I am) and take a look around. Once you’re comfortable, use the ‘contact’ tab to share your thoughts and information… Like this (use your own words):
“Hello, MeTV. He-man and the Masters of the Universe was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Finding it again on KTVD, Denver has been a joy; the power of Greyskull, Get Smart, Night Gallery, The Twilight Zone, and many others, legends I now share with my children via MeTV’s stellar programing. Please consider adding Babylon 5 to your line-up. http://freebabylon5.com/ #freebabylon5”
Their list of shows can be found here:
Q - I've heard that real, stamped letters help most. What about that?
A - Yes, indeed! send your letter to:
26 N Halsted
Chicago, IL 60661
Q - Ok, when should I do these things?
A - December 21st, 2014. As soon as you get up. Sunday, First day of winter. Shortest day of the year. Remember that, December 21.
Q - Anything else?
A - Yes, spread the word, far and wide. Tell *everyone* you know, even if you don’t like them all that much. We need to flood MeTV’s website with valuable information and increase its Facebook ‘likes’ in a big, big way in order to get the kind of attention we’re after. Our strength is in our numbers. Collectively, we represent an untapped demographic, one capable of increasing MeTV’s viewership across all markets, nationally and around the globe. All we need to do is prove it.
Q - Does that mean I should forward this missive to my friends in Dubai?
A - Yes, absolutely. MeTV has a number of streaming partnerships and is looking for an excuse to expand its catalog. All are welcome to participate.
Q - What about Twitter? Tumblr? Pinterest? Google+? Instagram?
A - Yes, of course! December 21st is the day we Free Babylon5!
Let's get organized and loud (but polite, of course) and show MeTV that we're an audience that they really want!
Here is a quote from J. Michael Straczynski about emotions.
I had this theory that the more important and intimate the emotion, the
fewer words are required to express it.
First it's in dating: "Will you go out with me?" Six words.
"Honey, I care for you." Five words.
"You matter to me." Four words.
"I love you." Three words.
"Marry me." Two words.
But what's left? What's the one most important and intimate word you can ever
say to somebody? It's "goodbye."
While Michael O'Hare (Sinclair), Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar), Rick Biggs (Dr. Franklin), Tim Choate (Zathras) and Jeff Conoway (Zach Allen) are no longer with us, we will not forget their wonderful personalities and talent -- as well as their significant contributions to the BABYLON 5 universe. Be sure to visit In Memory Of for more information about memorial efforts.
Until we met again, in a place where no shadows fall.
BABYLON 5 BIRTHDAYS
Tony Todd - December 4. He played Captain Leonard Anderson in the TV movie "A Call to Arms."
Mary Woronov (Kka'Dath) - December 8
Sarah Douglas (Jha'Dur) - December 12
Kim Holly - December 25
Dark Hoffman - December 28
John C. Flinn III - December 2
Have I missed anyone? If you know the birthday of someone connected with Babylon 5, pass the information along. We want to include everyone in our Happy Birthday Wishes.