All posts by James Henshaw

The Star Wars: Dark Horse brings George Lucas’ Original Script To Life

Since Star Wars: Episode VII was announced a few months ago, their has been a number of new Star Wars projects announced, such as the Star Wars: Rebels animated TV series. None of these have been quite as left field as the announcement back in April that Dark Horse will be releasing an 8-issue comic series titled The Star Wars‘, based on George Lucas’ original draft scripts written back in 1974.

The original screenplay had many differences from the final draft that eventually became Star Wars. ‘The Star Warstells the story of Jedi General Luke Skywalker, who seems to be the only person concerned that The Empire is poised for an attack on the peaceful world of Aquilae. When King Kayos is killed, Jedi in training Annikin Starkiller is ordered to find Princess Leia, while Skywalker sends his only squadron against the Empire’s powerful new battle station! O,h and Han Solo is a massive green alien who artist Mike Mayhew described to the USA Today as a “worldly” and exotic gunslinger who is already a rebel agent and “a very mysterious pirate that lurks in the shadows”. Also, gone are the legendary Lightsabers, instead the Jedi wield lazer-swords which are not too different to the swords that we are used to.

Artwork to 'The Star Wars #1' Doug Wheatley Ultravariant cover
Artwork to ‘The Star Wars #1’ Doug Wheatley Ultravariant cover

You may be forgiven for thinking that Dark Horse is cashing in on the renewed interest in the series, however this project really excites me. Marvel and DC have been producing parallel world storylines for years with their ‘What if…?and ‘Elseworldscomics respectively, and for the most part they give us a great alternative vision of classic characters. I don’t see this as being any different. At the very least it will give Star Wars fans an insight into what George Lucas originally intended. Dark Horse also doesn’t tend to churn out any old stuff just for the sake of cashing in. For the most part their continuation of the Buffy, Firefly, and Angel series’ have been nothing less than superb.

The comics creators are also of high pedigree. The 8 issue series will be written by J. W. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucas books with Lucas’ full blessing on the project.

Writer J.W.Rinzler says on the Dark Horse website:

[box_dark]“While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I’ve found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George’s rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing,” “While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse’s invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay.”[/box_dark]

Artwork will be provided by Mike Mayhew, who has drawn for plenty of well known properties such as Green Arrow, Bionic Man, The Avengers and X-Men.

The first issue will be published on the 4th of September. Dark Horse will have a number of variant covers including one by legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.

Artwork to 'The Star Wars #2' Ralph McQuarrie variant cover
Artwork to ‘The Star Wars #2’ Ralph McQuarrie variant cover

Batman vs Superman: Casting Rumors, TDKR, and Connections to the Nolanverse?

Since Batman vs Superman(one of the the rumored titles) was announced at San Diego Comic Con last month, the internet has been awash with rumors and speculation about the Caped Crusader. Who will play Batman? Are Warner and DC going for someone young or someone more established? When in Batman’s career will the story be set? Could it be set after Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises after all, despite all claims to a reboot? Based on certain recent rumors, it certainly is a possibility, which we will take a look at below.

batman vs superman movie logo

Zack Snyder was keen to point out that the quote taken from Frank Millers ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ (which was read by Harry Lennix at the SDCC announcement) was more to establish tone rather than it being a sign of Superman vs. Batman being a direct adaptation of Millers TDKR. Seeing as they have recently touched on that source material already with the awesome DC Animated Feature Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it makes sense they wouldn’t be looking to dive into that territory again so soon.

Batman vs superman movie

[box_dark]”I want you to remember, Clark. In all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”[/box_dark]

However, the Independent recently reported that Snyder will be meeting up with Frank Miller to discuss Batman vs Superman, so it remains to be seen what kind of connection the film will have to the hit graphic novel.

Personally, I feel the tone of ‘TDKR’ would fit neatly into the world that Snyder and writer David Goyer created for Man of Steel. It might also slip in seamlessly into the Nolan verse, despite Christian Bale no longer being onboard as the Dark Knight.We already know that this isn’t going to be another Batman origin story, which we don’t really need to see again. One of the failings of The Amazing Spider-Man in my opinion is that it tried to spin a new origin story out of one we had already seen recently.

Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises

With Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy so embedded in people minds, we certainly don’t need to see another Year One style project.  Heck, if  Goyer and Snyder wanted to, the sudden appearance of Superman could be what initially brings Batman out of his early retirement we saw at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. That would also neatly fit this movie into the world that Nolan created with his Dark Knight trilogy. Now that would be interesting.

If Snyder and Goyer do go with a completely new universe as they have said before, than they will of course need to establish a new character. Within the comics Batman is perpetually in his 30’s, which has allowed for the character to be played by a revolving door of actors over the years, like in the Burton and Schumacher days. This generally negates the need to ever revisit the origin story, and would open many doors for more Batman adaptations in the future if that same mold is followed.

Public Enemies Superman Batman

What initially bothered me about the announcement was the possibility that Batman would just be a glorified cameo. Hopefully this won’t be the case, as I feel there is plenty of fertile ground from the comic book history for Snyder and Goyer to really explore the relationship between Batman and Superman. They need to look no further than Jeph Loeb’s brilliant ‘Public Enemies’ storyline for inspiration.

Man of Steel sets up a great opportunity to put Batman and Superman at odds, while setting up the potentially great friendship they have. Having seen the destruction that is happening in Metropolis caused by these extra terrestrial beings, it seems only natural that Batman would want to investigate the events that occurred, which must have caused hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths. Initially it would be interesting to see Batman and Luthor working together, or at least sharing a vested interest as they rebuilt Metropolis into the futuristic city it’s known as in the comics.

This could lead to a fantastic mid film showdown between Batman and Superman, referring back to the quote read by Lennix and the rumored ‘vs.’ of the title. Once convinced of Superman’s good intentions, Batman could be put at ease. Here is where Luthor’s malevolence could really take over, as he is driven mad with the idea of defeating Superman and Batman, who has seen through Luthor’s veneer. It would make an amazing final act to see Batman and Superman team up against Luthor decked out in his battle suit.

It’s unlikely that Warner and DC will cast Batman too old, as they will want to churn out a few more Batman themed films. Not to mention the ever promised Justice League film that was recently confirmed. Even if it does continue with the continuity established within Nolan’s world, Batman is only roughly mid 40’s. Of course, age isn’t really an issue if they pick the right person, much like Marvel did when they cast Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man. So who would make a great Batman?

Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Joe Manganiello, and Jon Hamm as Batman

The rumors we have spoken about state that DC may be searching for an older Batman, with Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, and Joe Manganiello all rumored (along with a few others) to wear the cowl. However, Warner and DC have denied all the rumors, with a source telling HollywoodReporter.com that the casting process hasn’t even started.

If they were to establish a completely new Batman then my choice of these would be Ryan Gosling (which was also Grizzly Bomb’s choice when we cast the Justice League movie). At 32 he seems the perfect age to carry the mantle of the Bat for a little while, and he has the acting chops, gravitas, and physique to make an imposing Batman. Brolin and Hamm however, would be perfect  for a Batman around the age and point in his life that we find Bruce Wayne in during Miller’sTDKR. So we will have to wait and see a bit more from the film’s development before we can further speculate.

What are your thoughts on the casting rumors for Batman? Excited to see Batman in the Man of Steel sequel or do you want to wait until he appears in a Justice League film? Sound off in the comments section below!

Fanmade photo courtesy of poumap on deviantart
Fanmade photo courtesy of poumap on deviantart

Jason Edmiston Interview: Mondo’s A Rogues Gallery

The powers that be over at Mondo certainly have a knack for picking great artists to feature in their gallery shows, and this next one is certainly no exception. From August 23rd until September 14th, The Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas will host Jason Edmiston’s first ever solo exhibit; A Rogues Gallery.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past – First Look at Full Size Sentinel!

On Friday Bryan Singer gave us another peek behind the curtain for his upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past movie, this time revealing a full size Sentinel, and stood beside it for scale! As we reported last week, the X-Men: Days of Future Past marketing strategy seems to be really kicking into top gear now that The Wolverine and the other main summer super-hero movies are out of the way.

Sentinel

The Sentinels were first introduced in The X-Men (Vol. 1) issue #14 (Nov 1965) and were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. According to Marvel canon, Sentinels are programmed to locate mutants, then capture or kill them. The Sentinel in Singer’s picture looks to be around 13 to 14 foot tall, which certainly gives it an imposing stature, but isn’t as nearly as tall as what we are used to in the comics were they are usually depicted as being around 3 stories tall.

Sentinel

As for the design itself? It differs significantly from the Sentinels we are used to in the comics and is even different in design from the Sentinel you may have spotted during the ‘Danger Room’ sequence in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the new design. I don’t think it evokes the terror that a Sentinel should. I do appreciate that things have to be redesigned with the times though. I also assume that within the context of the film they will also need to look a little cuddlier, being that they are initially introduced to the public as a policing force against the mutant threat.

Sentinel

Now, it is important to note that on the thigh of the Sentinel it does refer to them as SNTL2, what I expect is a mark-2 design. Bryan Singer did also caption the photo on Twitter with “Here’s to the next 50 years”. I suspect then that these may not be the only Sentinels featured in X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The recent viral posters also hint that they may get a little nastier.

Sentinel

X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters in the U.S.A on May 23, 2014. Let us know your thoughts on the new-look Sentinels below.

Kevin Smith Announces Tusk, Formerly The Walrus and the Carpenter

Last year Kevin Smith announced his retirement from writing and directing movies following the completion of Clerks III, bringing his career full circle. However, this no longer seems to be the case with Smith recently announcing via his Facebook page that Tusk, a film based on a Gumtree listing. Tusk will go into production in September in LA through Blumhouse Productions, with the intention of having it ready for Sundance 2014.

 

So what is Tusk?

Continue reading Kevin Smith Announces Tusk, Formerly The Walrus and the Carpenter