This Week in Sci-Fi — January 24-31, 2015: Super Bowl trailer time!

"What's Coming?" "The news roundup. Duh."

“What’s coming?”
“The news roundup. Duh.”

Lots of news this week, which we can mostly thank the Super Bowl for. Tons of summer movies will release their first trailers and begin their marketing pushes during one of the few remaining events to draw massive audiences on mainstream TV. Is that a good reason to finally care about this sporting event? We’re also starting to hear about upcoming sci-fi projects and networks are beginning to send out feelers for fall shows. What more can you really ask for in your sci-fi news?

  • Starting off with Marvel:
    • Agents of SHIELD has released a short trailer for their inevitable return on March 3, teasing what’s happened to Skye. To say any more would get into spoiler territory, but I assure you: it’s looking good.
    • Agent Carter, meanwhile, continues with “The Iron Ceiling” next week, which also has a preview out. Two words: Howling Commandos!
    • Over in Netflix-land, more casting for AKA Jessica Jones has been announced: Rachel Taylor will be playing Trish Walker, best known to comic fans as “Hellcat,” and Tenth Doctor David Tennant will be playing Zebediah Killgrave, “The Purple Man.” Given that The Purple Man is actually purple-skinned in the comics I have no idea if that’ll translate to the screen; I hope not. For those familiar with Jessica Jones’ backstory, the appearance of that villain is likely to raise eyebrows. It’s an EXTREMELY dark story arc and I’m not sure how well it would fit with the rest of the MCU. Casting Tennant in that role is a stroke of perverse genius, and I’m honestly a little terrified of the possibility of Doctor Who/Defenders crossover fanart already.
  • On Fox’s side of big screen Marvel, there have been rumblings of an X-Men live action TV series. Normally that wouldn’t interest me very much, but the rumors going around state that Manny Coto, who was the showrunner for season 4 of Star Trek Enterprise, aka the best (and sadly last) season, will be taking charge of the project. That’s enough to inspire a little confidence.
  • It’s been known for a while that HBO is developing a series based on the 1973 sci-fi movie Westworld, but it’s only now that we’ve started to hear some details. Jonathan Nolan, screenwriter and frequent collaborator of his brother Christopher Nolan, is behind it, and the casting has managed to land some big names like Anthony Hopkins. I’ll let you read the interview yourself, as it’s quite interesting.
  • Another rumor that’s cropped up is the report that the British anthology series Black Mirror may be up for an American remake. Ordinarily, American remakes of British series are really irritating, but Black Mirror is something I’d make an exception for. It’s all about social commentary, and tailoring that social commentary to deal with American issues would be a great way to deal with the utter redundancy that American remakes tend to create. Of course, it’s little more than idle speculation at this point.
  • Steven Moffat has given a few more details about Doctor Who series 9: episodes 3 and 4 are going to be a two-parter, and he implied that there will be another (as he specifically says “first two-parter”). The article says it was written by Toby Whithouse, who previously wrote “School Reunion,” “The God Complex,” and “A Town Called Mercy,” which are all pretty great episodes. “Vampires of Venice,” not so much. Still, that’s a great track record and giving him a two parter could be very promising.
  • Defiance season 3 has a premiere date of June 12, according to Twitter. Also, they’ve begun filming.
  • Two bits of Star Wars news as well: the first spinoff, set to be directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), has a new writer. It’s also been confirmed that Episodes 8 and 9 will indeed be 2017 and 2019, respectively, which means that we likely have a Star Wars movie ahead of us each year for the next 5 years at minimum. It won’t take long to build up another cinematic shared universe at that rate.
  • Lastly, we have all our trailers:
    • Fantastic Four “Trailer”. I put it in quotes because the first twenty seconds of the damn trailer are generic shots of empty landscapes that have nothing to do with anything, while a vacuous voiceover drones on with faux-philosophy. Between that and the obnoxious rendering of the film’s title as “Fant4stic” I think the movie has already lost me. The director, Josh Trank, is set to direct the second Star Wars spinoff film, so I hope for that franchise’s sake that this movie doesn’t suck as bad as it seems determined to.
    • Disney also released a teaser for Tomorrowland. I’ll update the link to the full trailer when it’s been posted online (presumably Sunday after the Super Bowl ad). Tomorrowland is mostly interesting because it’s not another damn reboot or remake.
    • And, just after my visit to that franchise earlier this week, the Terminator Genisys spot is out. My main worry with this movie, aside from the fact that its title is only slightly dumber than Fant4stic, is that by trying to emulate so many moments from the earlier films it will ultimately come across as a pale imitation. This is kind of the same problem that Star Trek Into Darkness had; by trying to reuse famous moments and scenes and characters from the original, the resulting mish-mash ended up looking like an incompetent ripoff. Will the same be true of Genisys?

That’s all for this week. Is this helpful to you? Learn anything you hadn’t seen elsewhere this week? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @RetroPhaseShift.

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