Disney delays Mulan, Avatar sequels and Star Wars trilogy

Disney has announced further delays to the release of Mulan and the Avatar sequels.The live-action Mulan remake, starring Yifei Liu and directed by Niki Caro, was scheduled to premiere in North America on 21 August, after previously being pushed back f…

Disney has announced further delays to the release of Mulan and the Avatar sequels.

The live-action Mulan remake, starring Yifei Liu and directed by Niki Caro, was scheduled to premiere in North America on 21 August, after previously being pushed back from July. However, with many cinemas remaining closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to pull the movie from the release schedule indefinitely.

The upcoming four Avatar sequels will also be delayed by a year, beginning with Avatar 2, which will now hit cinemas in December 2022.

Director James Cameron, who recently arrived back on the Avatar set in New Zealand to resume filming, has taken to Instagram to voice his thoughts on the postponement.

“There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me,” he wrote on the official Avatar account. “But I am buoyed by the incredible performances of our cast and the extraordinary work that Weta Digital is doing bringing the world of Pandora and the characters of the film to life.

“Most of all, I am grateful to you, our fans, for your support over the years and I promise that what we bring to cinemas will deliver.”

Cameron then ended his message by writing “thank you” in Na’vi, the language spoken by the inhabitants of the fictional moon Pandora in the movie.

Avatar 3 was previously slated for a December 2023 release, but that has now been changed to 2024, while Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 have been pushed to December 2027 and 2028 respectively.

Taika Waititi’s untitled Star Wars trilogy has also been rescheduled, with the first film in the series now due to hit theatres on 22 December 2023 – a year later than previously planned. The second and third movies are now slated for a 2025 and 2027 release.

On Thursday, Disney executives also removed Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch from their release calendar. The comedy was originally planned to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, before it was cancelled, and most recently had a release date of October.

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Brie Larson unsuccessfully auditioned for Star Wars and The Hunger Games

Brie Larson confessed she lost out on big roles in film sagas such as Star Wars and The Hunger Games.The Oscar-winning actress made the revelations during her first video on her YouTube channel, as she recalled a friend suggesting she post her old audi…

Brie Larson confessed she lost out on big roles in film sagas such as Star Wars and The Hunger Games.

The Oscar-winning actress made the revelations during her first video on her YouTube channel, as she recalled a friend suggesting she post her old audition videos online.

“I auditioned for Star Wars too… I auditioned for Hunger Games, I auditioned for the Terminator reboot,” Brie explained. “I actually was thinking about the Terminator reboot today because I got a flat tyre and I was like, ‘Oh the last time I got a flat tyre was when I was driving into my audition for Terminator.

“Got a flat tyre at the audition, and then didn’t get the job.”

Brie would likely have been one of many young actresses in Hollywood who were considered for the role of Katniss Everdeen in the hugely successful adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ hit novels, with Jennifer Lawrence eventually landing the highly coveted part.

It was previously reported she was in contention for the role of Sarah Connor in 2015’s Terminator Genisys, but Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke pipped her to the post.

While she didn’t confirm which of the Star Wars movies she auditioned for, fans are speculating Brie was up for the part of Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which ended up going to Daisy Ridley, or Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a part that eventually went to another British actress, Felicity Jones.

Despite losing out on the big blockbuster franchises, the Room star did manage to land the titular superhero role in the hugely successful Captain Marvel, which raked in more than $1.1 billion (£880 million) at the worldwide box office when it was released last year.

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Tom Holland was told to watch original Star Wars movies after blunder

Tom Holland was jokingly scolded when he confessed he had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy.The British actor made his debut as Spider-Man in Joe and Anthony Russo’s blockbuster Captain America: Civil War back in 2016, and the filmmakers reveal…

Tom Holland was jokingly scolded when he confessed he had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy.

The British actor made his debut as Spider-Man in Joe and Anthony Russo’s blockbuster Captain America: Civil War back in 2016, and the filmmakers revealed they schooled the young star after discovering he was a Star Wars novice.

Holland admitted to the Russo Brothers that he hadn’t seen the iconic films, so he didn’t understand the Star Wars reference his character made during his breakout scene as the web-slinging superhero.

“We were stunned,” Joe laughed during an episode of their Instagram Live series Russo Bros. Pizza Film School. “We adore Tom, but I’ll tell you, getting to know Tom, Tom is a young man. He is a very young man. We’ve since gotten him to invest some of his time watching some older films, hence the Pizza Film School. Holland needed to go to Pizza Film School.”

In the scene, Peter Parker asks his fellow superheroes if they remember a scene in “that really old movie” The Empire Strikes Back as he brings down a giant Ant-Man with his web, similar to how Antilles brings down an AT-AT Walkers with a tow cable in the 1980 sci-fi film.

“I have to tell you, I actually got really excited when he said he hadn’t seen it because the idea was so novel to me and unexpected. I was like, ‘This is fantastic,'” Anthony recalled. “Tom is a guy whose sensibilities we really admire and value, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, we get to tap into his sensibilities and they’re unaffected by Star Wars.’ I was very excited by that.”

While they denied they forced Holland to watch the original sci-fi trilogy, they confessed they’d given him enough grief.

“I think we’ve since busted his chops enough that he’s seen it,” Joe quipped.

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Hollywood rallies round John Boyega following Black Lives Matter speech

J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill and Jordan Peele have pledged to support John Boyega after he feared he would never work again following his anti-racism speech at Black Lives Matter rally.The Star Wars actor attended the protest in London’s Hyde Park on Wedne…

J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill and Jordan Peele have pledged to support John Boyega after he feared he would never work again following his anti-racism speech at Black Lives Matter rally.

The Star Wars actor attended the protest in London’s Hyde Park on Wednesday and gave a speech to the crowd in which he condemned racial injustice and called for action.

“Look I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this but, f**k that,” Boyega told the crowd, as his voice broke with emotion. “Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting.”

After a video of Boyega’s speech went viral on Twitter, filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry urged other Hollywood creatives to make a pledge to work with the Attack the Block star in the future.

“I would work with John Boyega and I urge other Non-Black creators to affirm that they have his back as well,” he wrote.

Abrams, who directed the 28-year-old in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, wrote: “You KNOW that as long as I’m allowed to keep working, I’ll always be begging to work with you. Deep respect and love, my friend.”

“Have before and would again, in a heartbeat. So proud of John today,” wrote Edgar Wright, who was an executive producer on 2011’s Attack the Block.

“We got you, John,” Get Out director Peele replied, as well as Lin Manuel-Miranda, who tweeted: “Oh god I WISH, Ojalá! From Attack The Block to this day!”

Hamill, who has worked with Boyega on all three of the Star Wars sequels, penned an emotional note to the young actor.

“Never been more proud of you, John. @JohnBoyega (love), dad,” he posted.

The official Star Wars Twitter account also threw its support behind the British actor, and even shared a link where fans could watch his speech at the rally. “We stand with and support you, @JohnBoyega,” they wrote.

Protests have been taking place in the U.S., U.K. and around the world in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, who died at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis last week.

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Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four

Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four.In a new interview with gaming website Polygon, the director discussed working on the troubled 2015 comic book adaptation, which also starred Miles Teller …

Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four.

In a new interview with gaming website Polygon, the director discussed working on the troubled 2015 comic book adaptation, which also starred Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, and Jamie Bell as The Thing.

Noting that he fought with bosses at Fox to cast Jordan as Storm, who transforms into the Human Torch after being exposed to cosmic rays, Trank also revealed that he was left on edge at one point during the shoot after he read posts on IMDb message boards from disgruntled fans who threatened to shoot him over the news the Creed star had landed the coveted role.

“I was so f**king paranoid during that shoot,” he confessed, adding that he slept with a gun during production. “If someone came into my house, I would have ended their f**king life. When you’re in a headspace where people want to get you, you think, ‘I’m going to defend myself.'”

Trank also claimed he was left out of overseeing reshoots on the highly anticipated reboot and that the film’s ending was changed after studio bosses were unimpressed with the dark tone.

“It was like being castrated,” the 36-year-old commented of watching reshoots that were overseen by producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker.

Elsewhere in the interview, Trank explained it was his bad experience making Fantastic Four that led to him quitting the standalone Star Wars movie about Boba Fett that he was due to direct.

“I quit because I knew I was going to be fired if I didn’t quit,” he recalled, adding that he believed Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy was about to fire him anyway.

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Taika Waititi to direct new Star Wars movie

Taika Waititi has been named as the director of a new Star Wars movie.Executives announced that the New Zealand-born filmmaker would be heading to a galaxy far, far away on Monday, with Waititi to co-write the next instalment in the iconic sci-fi franc…

Taika Waititi has been named as the director of a new Star Wars movie.

Executives announced that the New Zealand-born filmmaker would be heading to a galaxy far, far away on Monday, with Waititi to co-write the next instalment in the iconic sci-fi franchise with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

It’s the first official feature film to be confirmed by Disney and Lucasfilm after Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss walked away from their deal to direct a Star Wars trilogy last October.

It was first reported back in January that the 44-year-old, who directed the season finale of the Disney+ Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian, had been tapped to helm one of the three as-yet-untitled movies, but Waititi was previously coy when he was quizzed about the speculation.

“I think people see me hanging out with people, especially with Star Wars, and think I’m having some big discussions about it. I would f**king love to… If it was right. I would want to do any kind of movie if it made sense, and if it felt not like career suicide,” he told Variety.

However, Waititi took to Instagram on Monday to confess he’d been lying all along.

“Guess it wasn’t a rumour after all. Psyyyych! #maythe4thbewithyou,” he wrote, alongside a report confirming his involvement in the much-loved saga.

And celebrities including James Gunn, Rebel Wilson, and Kate Beckinsale were quick to offer their congratulations to the Thor: Ragnarok moviemaker, with Michael B. Jordan jokingly commenting: “Yea yea look at me I’m a big successful talented man from New Zealand and I can’t stop making great movies I (me) love to watch!! Haha boo hoo I’m so happy for you (seriously).”

While Charlize Theron humorously added: “Whatever.”

Disney and Lucasfilm also confirmed that an untitled Star Wars TV series is in the works at their new streaming service Disney+, with Netflix’s Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland involved.

The three untitled Star Wars movies are due to be released in 2022, 2024, and 2026.

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Daisy Ridley in talks to star in thriller The Ice Beneath Her

Daisy Ridley is in talks to star in a movie adaptation of psychological crime thriller The Ice Beneath Her. The British actress, who is best known for playing Rey in the recent Star Wars trilogy, is in negotiations to play the lead character in the ad…

Daisy Ridley is in talks to star in a movie adaptation of psychological crime thriller The Ice Beneath Her.

The British actress, who is best known for playing Rey in the recent Star Wars trilogy, is in negotiations to play the lead character in the adaptation of Swedish author Camilla Grebe’s bestselling 2015 novel of the same name, according to Deadline.

The novel, which features an unreliable narrator, is similar in tone to previous book-to-movie adaptations Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. The story focuses on a detective and psychological profiler who work to solve the case after a young woman is found beheaded in the home of a prominent businessman. The investigation quickly evolves into a race against time.

The project was the subject of a bidding war among Hollywood financiers and bosses at STX won the film rights and will finance the movie, which will be directed and produced by filmmaking collective Radio Silence, which is made up of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella, who are best known for last year’s breakout horror-comedy Ready or Not.

Caitlin Parrish, a writer on TV shows such as Supergirl and The Red Line, has adapted the novel, while American Sniper’s Andrew Lazar is also producing.

Ridley is currently in post-production on sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking, which is due to be released early next year. She was most recently seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the concluding chapter of the trilogy.

However, the 28-year-old admitted she was taken aback by the polarising reaction to the movie following its release in December.

“January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like, ‘Where’s the love gone?'” she said on the DragCast podcast.

The Rise of Skywalker is being made available to stream two months early, with Disney bosses announcing on Monday that it would be released on Disney+ on 4 May, also known as Star Wars Day.

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Mark Hamill bids emotional farewell to Star Wars saga

Mark Hamill has bid an emotional farewell to the Star Wars saga after 40 years of playing Luke Skywalker.In a heartfelt letter accompanying the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, the actor recalled his audition for George Lucas’ original sci-fi tri…

Mark Hamill has bid an emotional farewell to the Star Wars saga after 40 years of playing Luke Skywalker.

In a heartfelt letter accompanying the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, the actor recalled his audition for George Lucas’ original sci-fi trilogy alongside Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as he reflected on his role as the Jedi hero.

“What an extraordinary journey it’s been,” Hamill wrote. “Back in 1976 when Carrie, Harrison, and I were testing for our roles in what was then called ‘The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars,’ there’s no way we could have known what an incredibly rich and imaginative set of adventures this obscure little space movie would launch inspiring eight more chapters to tell the entire Skywalker story.”

He continued: “I am deeply thankful for your continued enthusiasm and dedication to George’s faraway galaxy, which will continue to grow with new storytellers building an even bigger galaxy filled with heroes, villains, action, romance, and, of course, the Force. May the Force be with you… always.”

Hamill shared the letter on social media to mark the release of The Skywalker Saga box set, and wrote: “A few thoughts as one era ends and another begins…#StarWars.”

The 68-year-old first played Luke Skywalker in 1977’s A New Hope and the two follow-ups, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He then reprised the role for 2015’s The Force Awakens and made his final appearance in last year’s The Rise of Skywalker.

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John Boyega teams up with Netflix to create African films

John Boyega has teamed up with Netflix to create a series of feature films focused on African stories.The 27-year-old actor, who has British-Nigerian parents, has partnered with the streaming giant through his UpperRoom Productions company to develop n…

John Boyega has teamed up with Netflix to create a series of feature films focused on African stories.

The 27-year-old actor, who has British-Nigerian parents, has partnered with the streaming giant through his UpperRoom Productions company to develop non-English language films focusing on stories and characters in Africa.

Representatives for the independent production company announced the news on Tuesday, revealing that they will “develop film projects based on stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements in or around African countries.”

Boyega, who shot to stardom playing Stormtrooper Finn in the recent Star Wars trilogy, said he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to tell stories about his ancestry.

“I am thrilled to partner with Netflix to develop a slate of non-English language feature films focused on African stories, and my team and I are excited to develop original material,” he said in a statement. “We are proud to grow this arm of our business with a company that shares our vision.”

Back in December, Boyega proudly showcased his heritage at the London premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by walking the red carpet in traditional Nigerian attire, including a royal blue Agbada robe with gold accents and matching hat.

“Africa has a rich history in storytelling, and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world,” said David Kosse, vice president of international film at Netflix.

Boyega founded UpperRoom Productions in 2016, when he co-produced and starred in sci-fi blockbuster Pacific Rim: Uprising, and has since been developing a series of TV and film projects.

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J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens working on secret Star Wars project

Director J.D. Dillard and writer Matt Owens have made history by becoming the first African-American creative team to work on a Star Wars project.The duo has reportedly been tapped to work on an upcoming project set on the hidden Sith planet Exegol, wh…

Director J.D. Dillard and writer Matt Owens have made history by becoming the first African-American creative team to work on a Star Wars project.

The duo has reportedly been tapped to work on an upcoming project set on the hidden Sith planet Exegol, which was introduced in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

However, it’s unclear if they have been hired for a movie or limited series for streaming on Disney+, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dillard, who is best known for writing and directing the 2016 sci-fi thriller Sleight, is already affiliated with the franchise, with him working in production/technical support on Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and appearing as a First Order FN Corps Stormtrooper called FN-1226 in The Rise of Skywalker. Owens has worked on Marvel TV shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Luke Cage, and The Defenders.

The future of the iconic sci-fi saga was cast into doubt back in October when Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss walked away from their much-publicised deal with Lucasfilm to launch another Star Wars trilogy in 2022 in order to focus on their partnership with Netflix.

However, Marvel boss Kevin Feige and The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson are also working on separate Star Wars projects, believed to be unrelated to the Dillard one.

Disney is working on a number of Star Wars spin-offs for its new streaming service, which launched in the U.S. last year, following the success of The Mandalorian, which starred Pedro Pascal and launched the viral sensation, Baby Yoda.

Ewan McGregor is also reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for an upcoming Disney+ spin-off series, which was recently delayed due to production issues, while Diego Luna is playing his Rogue One character Cassian Andor once again in a new show.

Disney+ will launch in the U.K. on 24 March.

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