As we near the release of the highly anticipated Smash Bros title on the Switch, Nintendo has given us another new direct. This time showing off Simon and Richter from the Castlevania series. Alucard will be available as an assist trophy. Chrom also joins the roster this time around as well as Dark Samus in new categories known as "echo fighters," characters with similar move sets than previously existing characters in the franchise. Daisy, for example, is an "echo fighter" of Peach. The direct also showed off some new stages like Garden of Hope, Summit, and an Unova Pokemon league map. We will also see a large number of returning numbers from previous titles with a massive 103 levels with all levels usable in 8 player battles and able to turn into omega form. You can also turn off hazards for maps. There will be a new mode called "Sage Morph" which will allow you to pick two stages that the map will alternate between. You'll be able to play any songs from a series on any maps, for example all Legend of Zelda titles would be available on all Legend of Zelda series levels. New rules including a chargeable final smash or even custom movesets will be added as well. New battle modes like "Squad Strike," will allow gamers to play 3 on 3 or 5 on 5 in a battle as well as a tournament mode, smashdown which will eliminate characters that the players has previously won with and a classic mode, which marks a return to the original story mode. New items like the banana gun, the killing edge from Fire Emblem, a Bomber, Death's Scythe, a mushroom that will reverse your opponents controller and a rifle that increases in damage the more damage the user has taken. Plenty of new Pokemon were shown, including Alolan exclusives like Vulpix and Exugutor, as well as Mimikyu. Zero, Knucles, Kappn from Animal Crossing and more were shown off as Assist trophies as well as fan favorite Shovel Knight and the moon from Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask. Also, Rathalos from the Monster Hunter series appears as both an in game boss and an assist trophy. The trailer ended with a surprise reveal of King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong series as a new playable character. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is due out for the Switch December 7th, 2018.
A brand new trailer for Sony's Venom film debuted this morning and shows us more action and horror than the first two combined. The most interesting part of the trailer is we finally get a look at the other symbiote included in the film aside from Venom which is speculated as Riot. While many fans thought Carnage would be the villain to our anti-hero, there has yet to be any confirmation of that. This image shown in the trailer is reminiscent of this cover from Venom's Carnage Unleashed. Take a look at the trailer below and get ready for some r-rated comic horror when Venom releases 10/5/2018.
Posted above is a full statement from the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in support of fired director James Gunn.This statement follows the leak of his controversial tweets several weeks ago, but to understand how we got here, we need to look back to establish a time line of what just happened. It all began with indie director and popular HBO collaborator, Mark Duplass and Ben Shapiro sharing a conversation which resulted in a controversial tweet by Duplass himself, encouraging those who are interested in 'crossing the aisle' to follow Shapiro, an already controversial right wing commentator. After the initial apology from Duplass, following a swift backlash, director James Gunn stepped in to defend the difference between 'intent' and 'impact' (in so few words) in Duplass' statement. After another backlash, now aimed at the Marvel director, another right wing commentator and conspiracy theorist, Mike Cernovich, dug up the deleted James Gunn tweets as a move to discredit the popular director, resulting in quick action by Disney with the removal of Gunn from the director chair for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 [For reference, you can see some of the tweets in question at here. Warning, the content is disturbing.] After a fan circulated petition began to make the rounds of the internet, actor Dave Bautista stepped up to defend Gunn before the rest of the cast joined in this morning. This also took place during SDCC, normally one of Marvel's biggest events during the year but it might have worked in Disney's favor that they did not host a panel in Hall H this year due to the fact that they are keeping the final Avengers film under wraps. We also know that James Gunn was due to announce a new project with Sony, teasing this image (which resembles an image from Berserk, but could be a witches brand from Bloodborne) on his twitter but has yet to follow it up with any news and was absent from Comic Con.
Disney was most certainly put in a corner when the news broke. Either they had prior knowledge of the tweets and chose to ignore them, in which case they should have seen this coming or had no knowledge and would have to make a decision whether to keep the director behind one of their best received franchises or fire him (which they ultimately did). They were also guaranteed backlash either way due to the alarming content of the tweets in question and the time period of when they were placed online. Either way, it looks like the new Guardian's petition is quickly growing in signatures and it will be interesting to see what Disney decides to do and how the impact of Gunn's firing impact Hollywood moving forward.
Aquaman is not the most interesting superhero but DC is trying their hardest to make sure people enjoy this film. Picking former Game of Thrones star Jason Mamoa as well as James Wan, director of Saw, Insidious, and Furious 7, were both great moves by the studio that's struggled to keep up in the comic book game but DC might be in its best position ever. Moving towards several new films including the Wonder Woman sequel, Shazam starring Zacahry Levi, and the solo Joker film with Joaquin Pheonix, fresh faces might be exactly what audiences need to get excited about DC films again. Aquaman has also landed during the perfect holiday season due to the fact that there is hardly any competition from Marvel or Disney. Star Wars debuted the lackluster Solo at the beginning of the summer back in May, too close to Avengers 4, which definitely had an effect on it's box office run. That also means that this is the first year in the last three that we won't be seeing Star Wars at the holiday box office. Marvel is only releasing two films this year, Avengers: Infinity War as well as Ant-Man, both of which have already debuted, so we also won't have a Thanksgiving holiday Marvel film that generally trickles off into the new year. Aquaman, set to debut on December 21st, is releasing against the Bumblebee solo film, Mary Poppins, and just a week after Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse (Marvel animated Spider Man film) hits theaters on December 14th. While the month is packed, DC might survive this year on a positive not, having struggled significantly in the past few. Here's hoping Aquaman can live up to the hype! Take a look at the trailer below.
Shazam has been a long time coming and we finally have a look at the newest DC hero added to their expanding Universe. The story centers around Billy Batson, an orphan who acquires super powers that transform him into an adult with incredible gifts. Here's hoping DC can keep this film as comedic and campy as the premise to the character itself is. Check out the trailer below and get ready for Shazam when it debuts April 5th, 2019.
In recent years, Hollywood has been surrounded with casting controversies and Johansson has been no stranger to them. After the poorly received Ghost in the Shell, it was a surprise when the in demand actor revealed that she would take on the role of trans massage parlor manager in Rub and Tug. It was no surprise that the news would be received negatively, especially following the mulitple films in recent years which found themselves in hot water including Matt Damons Great wall, Tilda Swinton's Role in Doctor Strange, Netflix's adaptation of acclaimed horror manga Death Note, and even Johansson herself, being cast in Ghost in the Shell, that even went so far as to test technology to make her appear "more asian." News spread of the controversial casting, with trans actresses Trace Lysette and Jamie Clayton, speaking out against the decision. It is important to note that the person attached to directing this film, Rupert Sanders, also worked with Johansson on Ghost in the Shell. When the controversy became a major talking point, Johansson's tone deaf response of, “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment,” did not go over well, and was meant to allude to several actors who had played trans roles and received acclaim. While they did at the time, the political climate as well as the conversation around the trans community is continuing to change rapidly, and taking roles from an already small community is keeping them from having the opportunities cisgender actors, like Johansson, have always had. This is also a historic year for trans actors, with the first trans actor Daniela Vega, winning an award for her role in A Fantastic Woman. After several weeks of controversy, Johansson announced today that she will be withdrawing from the film, a rare move for any actor. The last high profile withdraw was Ed Serkin, known for his role as the villain in the first Deadpool film, leaving the new Hellboy reboot after finding out he was playing a role originally meant to be cast by a Japanese-American actor. We also saw a casting controversy with Natalie Portman's sci-fi film, Annihilation, as well as Cocaine Godmother with Catherine Zeta-Jones as recent as earlier this year. Scarlett Johansson is part of a long Hollywood trend of picking valuable actors to boost ticket sales, and while that isn't surprising, the power of social media and the backlash from these marginalized communities, most certainly had an effect on the box office revenue of all the films listed above. Hopefully, not only Johansson, but other actors and actress will be careful choosing their roles in the future.
It's no secret that the D.C. film universe is not charting the most straight and narrow path, so this story shouldn't be all that surprising to those who have been playing close attention. After months of speculation, it looks like D.C. is moving ahead with a solo film for their iconic Joker villain, played none other than by Jaoquin Pheonix. Jared Leto is set to reprise his role in Suicide Squad 2. What makes this all the more confusing is it looks like (as of now), Leto is still set to star in his own solo Joker film. Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover series, is set to direct the Pheonix led solo film, which will stand apart from the current Joker. As previously reported at the end of 2017, D.C. started the year with quite the shake up, with the exit of Jon Berg after a lackluster Justice League performance. His replacement, Walter Hamada, along with D.C., is looking to move in a different direction. With 2018' Aquaman as well as Shazam in 2019, a lot of the future depends on how successful some of these upcoming films will be. While it safe to say that fans will more than likely turn out, critics have had a massive impact on D.C.'s struggling expansion and its safe to say that that's the reason why Phillip's Joker film will have a reportedly low budget of around 55 million. All in all, I would not be shocked if some of the upcoming films D.C. has been talking about for years never see the light, like the Cyborg standalone film, a second Man of Steel, or anything involving the Dark Universe.
Ahead of this years San Diego Comic Con, DC has given us a look at its fall subscription service and there's some definite pros and cons. While the service is looking to launch a handful of new titles, including the live action Teen Titan series, it seems like it might be light in some other areas. Dc has promised to provide members with access to their extensive library, but it appears that certain fan favorite series including the animated Justice League as well as the DC series that live on the CW network might not appear on the service. It's also no secret that Netflix has acquired a deal with the CW to release these comic book series just 8 days after the airing of their final episodes. It also appears that the comic book feature included in the service will be limited to a "curated" selection, rotating out comics periodically and thus not allowing full access to the massive DC catalog. The other big concern is the price. With Disney looking to launch their own streaming service in the fall and DC having most, but not all, of their series and advertising a comic book feature (which would most likely make less sense to view on the television versus viewing on your phone), it wouldn't be surprising if the price was closer to HBOGo's tag of around $15 dollars or more. The other issue is that this is for dedicated fan boys of the comic giant. With new series like an animated cartoon for Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, as well as the return of Young Justice, you're less likely to pick up a subscription for something with a hefty price tag if you aren't solely looking for movies and content based on DC franchises. With that being said, there is a lot here to see, including many of the popular DC animated films, the Batman film series, and even the original Superman TV series. The other big issue is that if you are going to pick up a subscription because of one these new series you might want to hold out because the only one launching this year is the live action Teen Titans, while the Swamp Thing, Harley Queen, Young Justice, and Doom Patrol series won't debut until sometime in 2019. We will have to see if DC's can stand up against Disney's streaming service, which is said to be home to not just their films, but the Marvel and Star Wars catalog as well. If you're interested, the website is now live and you can sign up for the possibility to be part of the early access beta later this year here. Read a bit more about what's missing here.
During my second consecutive year at E3, one of the biggest announcements came from gaming studio Bethesda with their lately Fallout title. And while it drew immediate fan excitement, as more details came out during the week, a cloud of worry set in over the hardcore fanbase. Fallout 76 looks to depart from a number of the classic elements from the series and instead, head towards an always online/multiplayer experience, combining the settlement aspects from with the series fourth game with online play. While that doesn't sounds like a completely unenjoyable experience, the loss of progression is what has many fans, myself included, the most worried. Bethesda was pretty open about the possibility of some hostile players in the servers, also making note of the nuke feature, which would allow you to destroy someones base all together. Even still, Bethesda has a plan in order to prevent harassment in game, which is good but how far will that lean into the PvP aspect of the title itself? If you have a handful of players who happen to have more time to dedicate on the title, will it be a never ending upwards crawl to even stay alive in the server with them? Can you go about it solo or will the only worthwhile experience come from playing with a group? It also did not help that the title had no physical demo at E3 and as of now, our knowledge is still pretty limited. While I was a huge fan of the highly criticized Fallout 4, 76 is definitely the biggest departure from the series, and it will be interesting to see how the community will interact when this title launches November 14th, 2018.
After an intense bidding war it looks like we finally know where the Fox assets are heading and it gives the fans a lot to be excited about. After Comcast tried to outbid Disney's original 52.4 billion offer with their own 65 billion dollar offer, Disney struck back with a 71.3 billion offer that proved too lucrative for Fox to pass up. Disney fighting for this deal makes a lot of sense considering all of the Marvel characters Fox had under its belt including the massively successful Deadpool franchise and X men. This also makes a lot of sense as Marvel has been very quite about where they are heading past Avengers 4 with their expanding universe and this has given them a lot more to play with. On top of that, Disney now owns the cable channels FX, and FXX, as well as everything excluding local Fox channels, Fox sports, and Fox news. This landmark franchise deal adds to the already impressive power under Disney's belt but we will have to wait and see how that will effect their release schedule, which is the under-performing Solo in theaters. All in all, this is great news for comic book fans so hopefully we will see some Xmen characters as well as a possibly well done version of Fantastic Four in the future.