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S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Series Gets New Title, Adds Cast Member

Marvel's upcoming expansion of their movieverse into the realm of TV with organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. has just been given an official title and logo. Previously referred to simply as "S.H.I.E.L.D.," network, ABC just made official on its media website that the show will be titled: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- On top of that, there is news of the addition of another cast member who may be familiar to longtime fans of The Avengers mastermind and director of the pilot episode, Joss Whedon.

The amended title is clearly an attempt to differentiate itself from the 2002-2008 police drama, The Shield starring Michael Chiklis. While the kind of viewers who would actually be confused by such a thing would probably not be tuning in, it does serve to put the distinguished Marvel stamp on the series. However, the move is hardly unprecedented and even the show's setup film in last year's superhero dream team extravaganza, The Avengers actually carries the official (though rarely acknowledged) title of Marvel's The Avengers, so as to avoid confusing people who might mistake a blockbuster film about superheroes fighting off a rogue Norse God and armies of aliens with a British spy show from the 1960's and its 1998 remake movie. Thus, in all likelihood, you, me, and everyone else will probably just end up referring to the show as "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." sans the Marvel marking.

While it doesn't look like we'll be getting substantive details anytime soon, ABC did release a new synopsis for the show. Check it out below, as well as news about another addition to the cast!

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past: First Look At Nicholas Hoult As Beast

X-Men: Days of Future Past's tweet-happy taskmaster, Bryan Singer has unveiled the very first image of a character in the upcoming prequel-sequel by way of...you guessed it, Twitter. We now have our first look at actor, Nicholas Hoult as he will appear when he reprises his role as scientist and acrobatic one-man wrecking crew, Hank McCoy, aka Beast.

Besides the film's time-traveling and surreal array of returning cast members including Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, it will also carry the distinction of being centered in a timeline that takes place 10 years after the events of its 1962-set predecessor in 2011's rousing reboot, X-Men: First Class. As a result, the appearance of Beast, who mutated into his furry blue form in the last film, does come across far more aged and grizzled, even sporting some grays in his beard this time around.

For Hoult, the prospect of returning to the X-Men fold is probably music to the ears after the embarrassing run his starring vehicle, Jack the Giant Killer recently suffered. However, the young blue-chipper (heh-heh) still has some aces up his sleeve with this return as Beast and with a promising role in next year's Mad Max: Fury Road. Plus, he can take solace that February's Warm Bodies was anything but cold at the box-office.

X-Men: Days of Future Past decides how to best accessorize full-bodied blue fur when it hits theaters on July 18, 2014. Check out the full Beast reveal below!

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Iron Man 3 will blast into theaters exactly four weeks from today. For fans that keep getting bombarded by the blitz of promotional pizazz, it may still be a tough wait. However, fret not, fanboys and fangirls, the movie has officially hit online...well, 47 seconds of it, anyway.

Some of this new clip may seem familiar since elements of it have been featured throughout the recent trailers and TV spots. However, it makes a debut in full, uninterrupted glory with this clip, exclusive to Yahoo. After we've been exposed to the colossal crucible to which Tony will be subjected in this threequel, it's clear that he's had enough and he's drawn a line in the proverbial sand. Translation: "Don't just hide in the shadows like a bitch, Mandarin! Come get some!"

Indeed, that reporter's wrecked cell phone could serve as a violent metaphor for Tony Stark's plans for the repugnant ring enthusiast. There's no more "negotiations," no more "I don't want to stoop to his level" crap. Tony's out to jump in his armor and squash himself some Mandarin jam before spreading it on the burnt toast of terror itself.

Iron Man 3 draws inspiration from wrestling promos when it hits theaters on May 3.

The Black Hole Remake Lands Prometheus Writer

Disney's upcoming remake of its 1979 classic, The Black Hole now has a writer. Scribe, Jon Spaihts, author of the original draft of last year's Alien tie-in, Prometheus (before Damon Lindelof stepped in), also currently set to co-write next year's reboot of The Mummy, has been tapped to pen this robot-ridden space odyssey.

At the moment, the remake has Oblivion and Tron: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski attached to occupy the helm with producer, Justin Springer, a collaborator on Legacy also on board. While the project has been in development since 2009, it does seem odd that it's getting made since Disney has bigger, more significant space-related projects (purchased for $4.05 billion) on the menu. However, it may be possible that The Black Hole remake is simply destined to whet appetites of moviegoers with a space epic before Disney's new baby, the Star Wars franchise returns to theaters in 2015 with Episode VII.

Indeed, The Black Hole's parallels with the Star Wars franchise are hardly coincidental. The original 1979 film was released in the wake of the 1977 post-Star Wars space-surge in films. Disney's answer to that trend was to throw-down $20 million (big money for a production at the time) for something that matched the genre. What they got was a fairly successful film grossing $35.8 million domestically, featuring a solid cast, while ubiquitously promoting the images of friendly helper robots, B.O.B. and V.I.N.C.E.N.T. and the sinister towering red robot named Maximilian.

The original film set in the year 2130 focused on a crew of space explorers in the USS Palomino who come across a ship thought to be long lost in the USS Cygnus which is seemingly teetering on the border of a black hole. Upon boarding the lost ship, the Palomino crew led by Captain Holland (Robert Forster) and Dr. Durant (Anthony Perkins) meet the Cygnus' lone human survivor, Dr. Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell). While at first Reinhardt seemed to be just a normal scientist-type guy living in space amongst a population of robots (minus the task of "watching cheesy movies"), things start to look fishy; especially when it comes to the mystery of what happened to the rest of the Cygnus crew, their connection to the ship's robotic denizens, and Reinhardt's true agenda towards the bordering black hole.

The Black Hole will do its best to "suck" in a good way when it hits theaters at a date not yet revealed.

[Source]

Crimson Peak: Benedict Cumberbatch Boards Del Toro Film

Crimson Peak, one of several projects cooking on the stovetop of director/producer, Guillermo del Toro has procured a cast member whose stock is currently soaring in Benedict Cumberbatch.

While details on the film's plot are still vague, it has been described as being Del Toro's love letter to old school set-oriented haunted house films, specifically the 1963 Robert Wise classic, The Haunting, mixed with The Omen, The Exorcist, and The Shining. Such a cocktail seems to indicate a more insular, psychological type of film where the various threats are not only represented by the obligatory ghosts, but the very setting itself. What little bit of information the report had to provide on the plot states:

"The gothic horror story centers on a woman who discovers that her husband might not be whom he appears to be."

Cumberbatch joins confirmed cast members, Charlie Hunnam and Emma Stone (who are likely the couple in question) and should bring some considerable weight to the project. At this point, no details have been revealed about Cumberbatch's role, although a supernatural antagonist of some kind seems a likely choice.

The actor, known for starring in the BBC's acclaimed Sherlock, is a little over a month away from the release of what looks to be an impressive career-altering effort as villain, "John Harrison" in Star Trek Into Darkness. (Although, renewed rumors still persist that the character may actually be someone else we already know.) Having even nabbed a critical voice role in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as the titular the fire-breathing dragon (he will also voice The Necromancer in the series), his arrival for Del Toro's extra-corporeal epic could prove to be an even bigger acquisition by the time production commences in February.

Crimson Peak tries its best to remove the stain left by The Haunted Mansion from the ghost genre when it hits theaters on a date yet to be determined.

UPDATE: You can now add recent Oscar nominee, Jessica Chastain to the cast.

[Source]

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Iron Man 3: New TV Spot Reveals Extremis Soldiers

Iron Man 3 will be hitting theaters in just under a month. That fact, however, is still not stopping the hype train from dropping the occasional surprise on fans who fancy themselves informed. In this case, that surprise comes from yet another new TV spot which may go through the usual routines, but then quickly manages to give us our first look at some of the virus-plagued Extremis Soldiers that will terrifyingly tangle with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark.

Previous trailers showed us the "before" picture of some hapless guinea pigs as they underwent a procedure set up by villain, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) to become infected with the Extremis Virus. Developed by scientists, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), the experiment was designed to produce "super-soldier" elements like Captain America's, while endowing instant healing abilities. (In the comics, its nanite-based nature allowed Tony to modify it and upgrade his tech significantly.) Indeed, it does provide some cool physical benefits. -- Unfortunately, it also turns the subjects into silvery-skinned-psychos with red glowing eyes and pulsating neon lesions that would give zombies on The Walking Dead a run for their money in the department of unaesthetic excellence. (...Okay, maybe not.)

Clearly, Tony has enough problems with The Mandarin plotting him an exotic and intricate death, guys in choppers wrecking his pad, getting himself stranded in the snow, and his armors seemingly coming to life to creep over him in bed. Things spiral to a point where even poor Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) has to put on his proverbial pants, getting into an Iron Man armor to "Rescue" him. Adding "ashy glowing-eyed zombies" into the mix is certainly not helping.

Iron Man 3 takes up major slack for the CDC when it hits theaters on May 3. Check out the new spot below!

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LucasArts Shut Down By Disney: End Of An Era?

LucasArts, the video game arm of the empire which formerly called George Lucas its Emperor has just been put to rest. Current property owners, Disney have announced that staff have been let go and all projects currently in development, including the ambitious new shooter, Star Wars 1313 have momentarily ceased production.

According to the issued statement:

"After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."

There's been no shortage of major news centered around the Star Wars franchise since Disney laid down $4.05 billion dollars to absorb it last fall. (A sequel trilogy, one-shot movies, the cancellation of The Clone Wars, etc.) However, this move, perhaps more than anything, may actually reflect how the old, tightly-controlled, self-sustaining business model created by Lucas has truly been disassembled. Indeed, the news represents how the old ways of a grand business microcosm, centralized towards one man in his giant ranch has ended. In fact, Lucas' iconic effects company, Industrial Lights & Magic will also see layoffs, which may not bode well for its potential posterity, as well.

Is it time to panic? Is it time to celebrate? Well, at this point, what Disney announced is pretty much merely an official codification of what has been happening for the last decade or so, since most of their recent significant titles were developed by outside companies. LucasArts, at least the LucasArts that gained its reputation through groundbreaking video game titles (which actually used to publish games that did NOT contain either "Star" nor "Wars") has certainly not been around in any form familiar to those old enough to remember its creative apex.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy: Zoe Saldana In Talks To Play Gamora

Guardians of the Galaxy may soon have its resident emerald assassin locked in. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Star Trek and Avatar actress, Zoe Saldana is in talks to portray the team's comely cosmic killer, Gamora.

With most of the casting speculation for this Marvel Phase Two project focusing on team leader, Star-Lord, which ultimately went to Chris Pratt and Drax the Destroyer, which recently went to former WWE wrestler and burgeoning actor, Dave Bautista, it seems that the cycle of casting rumors for our big screen Gamora quickly escalated to a virtual lock with this report.

In the comics, the character, Gamora is the last of her species called the Zen Whoberis, who were exterminated by the cult-controlling villain, Magus. (An evil version of cosmic hero, Adam Warlock from an alternate future.) Seeking revenge, she fell into the apprenticeship of the Mad Titan, Thanos (the film's likely villain) where she was endowed with not just powers and deadly combat skills, but brainwashed with a purpose: To destroy anything that opposes her master. However, his gorgeous green-skinned guerrilla ultimately went off the reservation and became a mortal enemy of her former master manipulator. Solidifying her status as a hero, she eventually joins the Guardians of the Galaxy team with, among others, Drax the Destroyer, who, also sporting a green exterior, nurtures an anger-driven origin tale that left him with a personal bone to pick with Thanos.

If the report proves true, then Saldana, a fairly big name, will have nabbed a key role in a third potentially-lucrative film franchise, further-solidifying her status as one of Hollywood's most sought-after actresses. With the necessary sinner-slaying experience in the bloody 2011 movie, Columbiana, she would certainly be in familiar elements as Gamora. (And seeing as she had a green-skinned roommate in Star Trek, her well of acting inspiration will certainly be full.)

Guardians of the Galaxy trades in Na'vi blue for Gamora green when it hits theaters on August 1, 2014.

[Source]

Interstellar: Matthew McConaughey Cast In Nolan's Next Film

Interstellar, the next film from director, Christopher Nolan will apparently feature a bit of redneck stoner surfer vibe. It is being reported that Matthew McConaughey has been cast in The Dark Knight Trilogy visionary's experimental space epic. -- Alright-alright!

At this point, next to nothing has been revealed about the plot of the film itself, much less what McConaughey's role will entail. (Although a preliminary report by Deadline last week speculated that he would play a character named "Cooper.") What is known, is that the space-scifi departure from the superhero genre for Christopher Nolan will be based off the research of renown physics professor, Kip Thorne which theorizes on the utilization of wormholes for the use of time-travel. With a script on hand by the director's brother, Jonathan Nolan (which Christopher may have tweaked), expectations towards this ambitious, likely experimental project from the Nolans are already measured in light years, considering it was the center of a rare co-production/co-distribution deal between major studios, Warner Bros. and Paramount.

For McConaughey, the role could be an important step in the evolution of his acting career. While no stranger to the occasional dramatic role (like the memorable A Time to Kill), the actor is more commonly associated with irreverent parts and is probably still best remembered (besides for his prejudice against shirts,) from his role in 1993's Dazed and Confused as David Wooderson, an aimless, capricious partier who is a bit too old to be socially-familiar with high school students. However, after recent roles in Magic Mike, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Killer Joe, it seems that not only has his status as a bankable star been renewed, but more faith is being taken by studios towards his ability to tackle projects outside the box, genre-wise. This role in Interstellar definitely reflects that.

Interstellar proves that McConaughey gets older, but those red giants in space stay the same age when it hits theaters on November 7, 2014.

[Source]

Marvel Phase Two Preview Pic Extravaganza

Some light was shed on Marvel's Phase Two set of epic comic book films, which launches on May 3 with Iron Man 3. It seems that the release of the Blu-ray box-set, Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One - Avengers Assembled would unleash a plethora of production art and preview footage for the Marvel Movieverse's upcoming entries.

People who did break out the big bucks to buy that magnificent box were treated to clues leading to a site called BattleofNewYork.net, for which they were provided a code to enter, uncovering an extended version of the Phase Two preview video we saw yesterday with Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige.

The video in question is chock full of sneak peaks at all the current in-production Marvel film projects from next month's Iron Man 3, this fall's Thor: The Dark World, next year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the 2015-set Phase Two grand finale, The Avengers 2. -- Not only that, but we even get a minuscule (pun intended) look at the Phase Three kick-off with fall 2015's Ant-Man, as some of the mythical test footage shot last year by director, Edgar Wright is shown in official capacity for the first time.

While the code-accessible preview video has not been officially released online (I stress, "officially"), a plethora of screen-grabs have bombarded the Internet, providing a much-needed sneak peek for fans who either can't afford the box-set or already own the films and can't justify re-buying them, even with the awesome packaging. Check out the array of pics below!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot Gets Will Arnett

The upcoming live action reboot revival of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a new cast member. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the half-shelled heroes' big screen return has cast comedic star, Will Arnett.

While the identity of Arnett's character is momentarily being kept a secret, the report shoots down the obvious choice for prominent male characters by indicating that he will NOT play the sporting-goods-swinging vigilante of the TMNT mythos, Casey Jones. Regardless, Arnett joins a cast of motion-captured Turtles who will accompany Megan Fox, who presumably takes the lead role as signature damsel, April O'Neil.

At this point, Arnett's role is anyone's guess. With all four Turtles already cast in Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard), the other notable vacancies for known male characters (human or mutant) are for the foursome's sensei and mentor in the human rat, Splinter, the villain who fancies razor-sharp fashion, The Shredder, and sinister scientist, Baxter Stockman. None of those seem to be a realistic fit for the Up All Night and Arrested Development star, Arnett, which might indicate that the role is completely original to this film's storyline. (Which will apparently depict the Turtles as aliens of some kind.)

The role will nevertheless put Arnett in the midst of what may possibly be his biggest film, yet with this major $125 million project produced by the auteur of explosions, Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

Ninja Turtles (as the reboot project is currently known) attempts grandiose sleight-of-hand tricks while playing Europe's "The Final Countdown" when it hits theaters on June 6, 2014.

[Source]

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Transformers 4 Partners With Chinese Company

Next year's return of the Transformers film franchise may be the next film to make content adjustments to court production partnerships in China. It is being reported that Transformers 4 (title not yet confirmed) will work with China-based movie channel, Jiaflix Enterprises in an agreement that will open access to the quickly-expanding film market in the population-brimming nation. -- Not only that, but the robot rampage romp will consequently also do some filming in the red nation, as well.

The news comes just days after the announcement that Iron Man 3, in partnering with Chinese company DMG Entertainment, will actually go so far as to release a different cut of the film for Chinese audiences approved by the notoriously political-censorship-happy State containing new scenes and actors exclusive to their release. While no details have been revealed on what, if anything, will be altered for Transformers 4, it does seem that similar concessions would be made for the Chinese release, considering that Jiaflix Enterprises is an arm of the Administration of Radio Film and Television, controlled by the Chinese government.

At the moment, all that is known is that director, Michael Bay will be aided by the company towards pursuits like:

"Selection of filming sites within China, theatrical promotion, and possible post-production activities in China as well as casting of Chinese actors and actresses in the film."

With Mark Wahlberg stepping in as the main protagonist, along with a set of younger supporting cast members in Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz, it will not only be interesting to see how the the film adjusts to the post-Shia LaBeouf era, but how the franchise known just as much for its unadulterated product placement as it is for giant robots will manifest with its new Chinese mandate.

Transformers 4 introduces a giant robot Chairman Mao that transforms into...a chair when it hits theaters (here in 'Murica, dammit!) on June 27, 2014.

[Source]

The Avengers 2 Begins Shooting In 2014, Marvel Talks Phase Two

The Avengers 2 may still be over two years away, but the rabidly-anticipated sequel to the $1.5 billion grossing mega-movie now has its reservation set for Pinewood-Shepperton in the UK to begin shooting in just under a year in early 2014.

While the first film did most of its shooting throughout various locations in the U.S. from New Mexico, New York, and Pennsylvania, that tradition will not continue with the sequel. According to a report from ScreenDaily, it seems that this sequel will have our returning assembled Avengers doing a good portion of their shoot at Shepperton Studios. (Where recent productions like Jack Ryan, Maleficent, and The Muppets have shot.) With the shoot of one of the biggest sequels of all time laying down roots in their area, the production's impending arrival will no doubt be seen as an economic boon for locals on so many levels.

So, could we possibly glean any bit of information from this news? At this point, nothing even close to a hint has been revealed about the film's plot. However, the first film's exterior-heavy shooting throughout the U.S. was certainly reflective plot-wise of the film we ultimately got. Thus, if The Avengers 2 is looking to confine most of its shoot to a studio in England (presumably in front of a series of green screens), one might be able to conjecture that much of the film's events will take Marvel's dream team to more exotic...I daresay "unearthly" locations.

While Marvel Studios' "Phase Two" series of connected films kicks-off with Iron Man 3 next month, we know that events will ultimately go "cosmic," based on the Thanos cameo at the end of The Avengers, coupled with next year's big-screen debut of The Guardians of the Galaxy. With The Avengers 2 being the planed denouement of the Phase Two era, one would think that it would also be the culmination of this continued evolution in Marvel's Movieverse, rather than just being a sequel. (Yeah, I read into all of that from "they're shooting in a studio in England.")

The Avengers 2 will have you telling it to shut-up and take your money when it hits theaters on May 1, 2015. In the meantime, check below for a new video of Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige talking about the direction of Phase Two. (Even if it's just to promote a box-set of the Phase One movies.)

[Source]

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug may still be over 8 months away. However, after the release of the recent (Gandalf-focused) teaser footage only accessible to those who purchased the first film, director, Peter Jackson has posted a brief Q&A session about the upcoming second part of his Middle Earth prequel trilogy and even unveils some behind-the-scenes goodness and cool concept art.

Besides answering questions from The Lord of the Rings alum, Billy Boyd (Pippin), fielding nerdy/creepy queries from Stephen Colbert (who will cameo in one of the films) before boldly exposing the comedy host's cost-cutting measures, Jackson actually reveals quite a bit concerning how he will approach this middle chapter. While treating us to footage of yet-to-be seen characters, Bard (Luke Evans), Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), and a returning Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Jackson drops hints about the way the narrative will greatly expand from the somewhat linear (and lengthy) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Indeed, just as the middle chapter of his renown Rings trilogy, The Two Towers made a radical change in tone and introduced a handful of primary, point-of-view characters, Jackson's words seem to imply that we should expect a similar move with this follow-up.

While An Unexpected Journey impressed many, it also managed to divide audiences over a number of issues. Notably among them, was its bloated nature and the slow-paced way in which things unfolded. However, some may recall that the first entry into the (generally beloved) Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring also had its moments of sloppy, sometimes drawn-out exposition. It was not until we got to the sequels, did the primary characters really shine. That may very well be case again with The Hobbit films.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug stages a violent group intervention with a gold-hoarding dragon at theaters on December 13.

Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters: Debut Trailer

Sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has unveiled its debut trailer. -- Or, perhaps a more effective opening sentence might have read: "Guess what? There's going to be a Percy Jackson sequel...and here's the trailer."

Indeed, with genre biggies like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Wolverine looming in the coming summer, this follow-up to the 2010 Greek mythology-inspired coming-of-age adventure, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (yeah, that whole thing was the title) may have sneaked-up on the majority of otherwise closely-following moviegoers. However, despite a somewhat modest performance at the box-office, the $226.5 million worldwide return on a $95 million investment must have been enough to compel 21st Century Fox studio to consider this sequel project (that no one anticipated) as a somewhat safe bet.

The trailer depicts exciting and immediately-accessible family-friendly adventure. However, based on what we're seeing, this film doesn't seem to hearken back too much to the first entry. In fact, I would venture to guess that this sequel is made in such a way where seeing the first film will not be necessary. Such a thing would be telling of Lightning Thief's somewhat forgettable status. (Even if it was a rare film featuring Sean Bean where the actor's character did NOT die. -- Of course, he had to play Zeus to pull that off.)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters picks catchier titles to tackle Titans at theaters on August 16. Check out the trailer below!

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