Category Archives: Anime & Animation


‘Bond 24′ confirmed; new voices for ‘Korra’; ‘Day’ to remade again and FOX wants ‘Gentlemen’


EON Productions, Sony Pictures and MGM have officially announced what was rumored all along, that Sam Mendes will return to helm James Bond 24, which will bow in the UK on October 23. 2015, with a US release set for November 6. Weeks ago, many entertainment websites were reporting that after much consideration of other directors -after Mendes said he could not meet the a November 2014 release date due to theater commitments- producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli agreed to delay the twenty-fourth Bond feature a year just so they could get Mendes back. While It might surprise some that they would even consider another director after the huge success of Skyfall, the folks at EON have been working a long time trying to return the Bond franchise to a two-year cycle. But seeing as the twenty-third film became the highest grossing film in the fifty year history of the series, one can guess that a year’s delay is worth it to get Sam Mendes and writer John Logan back. Nothing, however, was mentioned about a potential James Bond 25, which would most likely see the end of Daniel Craig’s reign as the British super-spy after five outings. One of the other rumors that precipitated the signing of Mendes again was that he’s most likely made a deal to helm that film as well, completing a sort-of loose trilogy. John Logan has already agreed to write Bond 25, which many assumed meant -and even somewhat confirmed by Logan himself- that Bond 24 and 25 will be a two-part film.

korra Parks and Recreation actress Aubrey Plaza, along with House alumni Lisa Edelstein and veteran character actor James Remar are among those added to the voice cast of Nickelodeon’s animated series The Legend of Korra: Book 2 (or as some would call it, the second half of season one). EW adds: “n addition, John Michael Higgins (Best in Show) has been cast as Varrick, an eccentric capitalist and self-proclaimed “Biz-Bender,” while Adrian LaTourelle (Sons of Anarchy) will tackle the role of Unalaq, Korra’s uncle and Chief of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, who seeks assistance from Korra. Book 2 picks up six months after Book 1 ended with Korra triumphing over Amon and the Equalists. Now she faces an even greater threat “as the physical and spirit worlds collide.” Consisting of 14 episodes, Book 2 will debut later this year.”

Hoping to put the final nail in the current trend of zombie films, the team behind the 2008 direct-to-video remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead, have announced they’ll make another remake of film, hoping to have it out by August of 2014 -just in time for no one to care. I mean, just because zombie films are popular does not mean you should go and remake the Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon (which clearly shows the people behind that film were reaching for the sky when it came to casting) 2008 version, which hit the video shelves with a louder thud than zombies munching on the Olsen twins. But producer Christa Campbell thinks she might know what might work this time: “We want to keep it as close to the Romero version as possible to make sure that his fans are happy.” Wonder who the casting choices will be this time, Jaden Smith and Bryce Dallas Howard?


FOX has put into development a TV series version The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on the always cuddly and agreeable Alan Moore and illustrator Kevin O’Neill’s popular graphic novel. Neither Moore or O’Neill will not be involved with the project -and Moore has tried to put considerable distance between his better take and the 2003 film attempt that bombed so well at the box-office, along with everything else when it comes to Hollywood adapting his works. I cannot wait for Moore to issue a pithy comment about this latest attempt.Green Lantern writer Michael Green -who will also be penning Blade Runner 2- is attached as showrunner.


Disney to launch new animated TV series in fall of 2014


Just after Cartoon Network aired the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars fifth season, it was announced that there would be no sixth for the award  winning and critically acclaimed animated series. For some, this was not a huge surprise. Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm last summer, many had speculated on what would be the future of anything Star Wars related that would not be airing on any Disney owned channel.

For others, it was horrible news. The Clone Wars series was the most adult of all the animated products that were spun off from the movie franchise, and under the helm of a great creative team, showed that Star Wars could be fun, dangerous and well-written despite the baggage left by George Lucas and his prequel movie series. The show ran for five seasons on CN, where it enjoyed good ratings and hundred plus episodes, which now made it available to aired daily. The storyline was set between episode II and III of the theatrical movies and detailed the life of the Jedi -including Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan- during the early rise of the Empire.

But for some, perhaps influenced by the prequel series, felt that the show needed to move further away from the origin movies. Now this may happen, as Disney and Lucasfilm have announced a new animated series set to begin airing in the fall of 2014 on Disney XD. Called Star Wars Rebels, it will be set in the 19 years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Much like Clone Wars, this new series will detail the rise of the Rebels, now that the Empire is full control of the galaxy. The series three executive producers are Dave Filoni, the point man on The Clone Wars, screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes), who wrote the pilot, and Greg Weisman, whose credits include well-regarded work on Young Justice and The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Beyond that, not much is known. I would speculate that Darth Vader and The Emperor should make appearances on the show, though I would assume they’ll not be the main focus of it (but not having them appear would be criminal). Neither should they detail early (and or teen) life of either Luke or Leia, as we saw the lives they lead -in a roundabout sort of way- in the first six movies. Neither should Han Solo for that matter, or Yoda or Obi Wan or Chewbacca. My guess is we’ll see more of the droids again -the one continuous thread through out the Star Wars tapestry.

Expanded Universe novels, I’m also guessing, will probably help influence some of the stories set in that time period, but that is just speculation.



RIP ‘Simpsons’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’ writer Don Payne

donpayneWriter Don Payne, who began his writing career on TV in the mid-nineties with episodes of Hope and Gloria, Can’t Hurry Love, Men Behaving Badly, Veronica’s Closet and The Brian Benben Show before becoming writer, producer, supervising producer, co-executive producer and consulting producer of The Simpsons, has passed at 48, losing his long battle with bone cancer. The Simpsons’ showrunner Al Jean stated: “Don was a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful man. He was beloved in the ‘Simpsons’ community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all.” Payne either wrote or co-wrote 18 episodes of the long-running FOX series beginning in 2000. He segued into screenwriting in 2006 with My Super Ex-Girlfriend, followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Maximum Ride and this fall’s Thor: The Dark World.  In 2006, he told the website Cinematical that “I’ve always wanted to write features. That’s why I moved to Los Angeles in the first place. I started writing with John Frink when I was in college at UCLA. He wanted to do TV, and that’s where we got our first break. But my goal was always to write movies. And I’ve been a comic book geek from way back. So this romantic comedy with a superhero twist was a fitting first feature for me.” During his run on The Simpsons, he shared four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program and won the Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America for writing the 2005 episode Fraudcast News.

He is survived by two sons and a daughter and his wife Julie.


Disney plans a live-action 'Beast'; NBC lands an Oscar nominated actor for 'Crossbones'

beautybeastFor the studios, the public domain is a vast resource of free stories to exploit into movies. Disney has been on the forefront for decades, as many of their animated classics are based on fairy tales from century’s past. And they’ve made tons of money off doing many versions of the same story, as well. Now after the box office success of the live-action Alice in Wonderland and Oz: The Great and Powerful, Disney’s prequel to The Wizard of Oz (and both with sequels in development), the studio is setting up an umpteenth version of Beauty and the Beast.  This new live-action film, now just called The Beast, might focus more on the man who became the beast before he meet’s Belle. Disney is in talks with UK based writer Joe Ahearne to script the film.


NBC landed a casting coup when they signed John Malkovich to star as Blackbeard in their new 10 part series Crossbones from Luther creator Neil Cross. The show is set in 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (Malkovich), reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other on Earth — and a mounting threat to international commerce. Hugh Laurie was top on the list to play Blackbeard, but the actor would not commit. The Oscar nominated Malkovich has a history of playing odd characters, and as method actor, known to stay in character when not on the set. Originally picked up for midseason this year, it will now be redeveloped for 2013-14 season.


No sixth season for ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’

star-wars-the-clone-wars-posterAfter George Lucas sold his Star Wars universe to Disney, many projects outside the movie franchise were left open-ended, awaiting the fate of the new masters at the House of Mouse.

One high profile animated series was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was produced for The Cartoon Network. The series was in production of its fifth season when the sale went through, and many fans have speculated what would happen to it after it ended its run this March.

Now we’ve got confirmation that the Clone Wars series will not return for a sixth season. Also, another animated series announced before the sale, a comedy created by Robot Chicken actor Seth Green called Star Wars: Detours, will never get off the ground.

Despite the end of the always creative Star Wars: Clone Wars series, some story arcs, however, are being developed and will be available elsewhere as bonus material. The official press release is below:




As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.

As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.


After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we’re continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.


At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we’ve decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date.

We are incredibly proud of the teams at Lucasfilm Animation for creating some of the most amazing animation ever produced for TV. Keep checking for new developments on these and future projects.