Friday, December 8, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 124: "Crisis on Earth-X" is Up!

"My entire life has been marked by two things.  The first one is change.  From when I was a kid to when I was an adult, things were always changing.  But no matter how different things became or what new challenges I had to face, I always had the other thing in my life was marked by, and that's you.  You've always been there. As a friend, as a partner. As the love of my life. You're my home, Iris.  And that's one thing that will never change."

"That was really nice.  When I was nine years old, I wanted to be a ballerina, remember? Even though I was not a very good dancer.  And the day of the recital, I froze.  I couldn't move, and I wanted to die.  Then I looked in the audience and I saw you.  And you got up and you climbed on the stage and you did that whole routine with me.  We killed it.  I mean, we bought the house...down.  And from that moment, I knew that, with you by my side, anything was possible.  The Flash may be the city's hero, but you, Barry Allen...you're my hero.  And I am happy, excited, and honored to be your wife."
 – Barry Allen and Iris West, Legends of Tomorrow: "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4"

Karen returns to join me for another HUGE new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  So huge, in fact, we're splitting it up in two parts!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:
Supergirl 3x08: "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1"
Arrow 6x08: "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2"
The Flash 4x08: "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3"
Legends of Tomorrow 3x08: "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4"
The Walking Dead 8x06: "The King, The Widow, and Rick"
Gotham 4x10: "Things That Go Boom"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5x01: "Orientation (Part 1)"  (Season Premiere)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5x02: "Orientation (Part 2)"
In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like the Funko figure of Henry Cavill's Superman having his receding hairline, "Crisis on Earth-X" feeling like one big movie, our Earth-Prime desperately needing superheroes right now, Earth-X now being Earth-10 in DC Comics, William Katt from The Greatest American Hero, Jax as the amazing Sticky-Man, Sara and Alex's one-night stand, Heat Wave crashing at Professor Stein's house, the mystery of Barry Allen's daughter Dawn Allen or his granddaughter XS from the Legion of Super-Heroes, the return of Tommy Merlyn as Prometheus-X, Heat Wave flirting with Killer Frost, wanting to trade Earth-38 Winn for Earth-X Winn, the debut of Russell Tovey as The Ray, Wentworth Miller as Citizen Cold, Reverse-Flash coming so close to killing Felicity, Harry Wells trolling Cisco, Felicity stepping all over Barry and Iris' big "I do" moment to make it all about Olicity, wondering if Oliver killing his alternate self is homicide or suicide, The Flash letting the Reverse-Flash just leave instead of imprisoning him or killing him, Professor Stein's funeral, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Doomsday Clock, Rick trying to get Jadis and the Scavengers to flip on Negan, why Maggie put Gregory in with the captured Saviors, Siddiq's really specific walker kill count, Daryl swiping left, Lee as the leader of the Narrows, distinguishing between the Latin and German versions of "Ave Maria", Gordon playing mind games with Professor Pyg, wanting to see TV shows based on Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol and The Invisibles, Sofia's complicated plan worthy of John Crichton from Farscape, the disappointment of not getting S.W.O.R.D., Deke as a Han Solo wannabe, really obscure Marvel aliens the Vrellnexians, that awkward moment when you learn the Earth got blowed up real good, FitzSimmons being separated and messed with yet again, some new feedback from Justinaand more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone using...

Google Play Music
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And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!  Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back next week as Karen and I review the midseason finales of Fox's Gotham, and The CW's The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, along with new episodes of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., AMC's The Walking Dead, and Fox's Lucifer and The Gifted, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

JUSTICE LEAGUE Fallout Results in DC Films Overhaul

Another year, another restructuring of DC Films.

Variety is reporting that Warner Bros. is planning to shake up and restructure its DC Films division following the box office disappointment of Zack Snyder's Justice League.  The overhaul is expected to happen by January.

Back in May 2016, Warner Bros. made similar changes following the box office disappointment of Snyder's previous DC Extended Universe film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  In an attempt to replicate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films under the supervision of Kevin Feige, Warner Bros. decided to team executive vice president Jon Berg with Geoff Johns, DC's chief creative officer, to co-run the newly created DC Films and oversee the DCEU.

But now, the article claims that Berg will be "leaving his current job running the comic book’s film production division, according to several sources with knowledge of the studio’s plans.  A search is underway for his replacement.  Berg will instead become a production partner with Roy Lee, the producer of The Lego Movie and It, who has a deal on the lot."  Warner Bros. is expected to name someone else to oversee DC Films.

As for Johns, the article states he's "expected to continue serving as DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer.  Johns, who reports to DC president Diane Nelson, works in areas such as television (and has written various episodes for DC-inspired shows), publishing, and consumer products, in addition to his contributions to the films.  Going forward, his work on the films may evolve, and could be more advisory in nature."

In addition, Variety's sources claim that Warner Bros. Picture Group President Toby Emmerich is reportedly considering integrating DC’s film operations into the studio’s main movie purview, which would mean putting the divisions under the same roof rather than having DC remain in a separate building on the lot.

Variety claims that Warner Bros.' overlords at Time Warner support the moves and are not happy with how Justice League has performed.  The film reportedly had a production budget of around $300 million, but after three and a half weeks, has only made over $201 million domestically and over $573 million worldwide.  This pales in comparison to Marvel's The Avengers, which made over $623 million domestically and over $1.5 billion worldwide.

Thankfully, there aren't any plans for Snyder to direct another DCEU movie, although he's producing or executive producing Wonder Woman 2 and Aquaman.  The article mentions that Warner Bros. still has a production deal with Snyder, so it’s possible he could direct additional films for the studio.  Variety states that Time Warner is "frustrated that Warner Bros. leaders continue to bring the director back, especially after Batman v Superman was excoriated by critics even though it made money.  They are also upset that each new DC film seems to be making less money than its predecessor.  Only Wonder Woman, with its optimistic heroine, managed to be both a critical and commercial success."

The current DCEU slate has James Wan's Aquaman up next on December 21, 2018, followed by David F. Sandberg's Shazam! from Warner Bros' New Line Cinema on April 5, 2019, and Wonder Woman 2 on November 1, 2019.   Other unscheduled films include Matt Reeves' The Batman, which will now star someone other than Ben Affleck as Batman, and Flashpoint, which is currently expected to have Ezra Miller reprise his Justice League role as The Flash.

SHAZAM! Casts Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman

Billy Batson just got a best friend.

Deadline has revealed that the upcoming New Line Cinema film Shazam! has cast Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, better known to DC Comics fans as the superhero Captain Marvel, Jr.  Grazer joins Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as Shazam's secret identity Billy Batson.

According to the article, Freddy is described as "Batson’s best friend and the only person who knows the truth about Shazam."

The DC Extended Universe film centers on a boy named Billy Batson, who can transform into an adult superhero by uttering the magic word "Shazam!"  The name is an acronym of the ancient world gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, from which the adult Batson obtains his heroic abilities.

David F. Sandberg will direct Shazam! from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke.  Annabelle: Creation producer Peter Safran is reuniting with Sandberg for the film, and is also producing DC's Aquaman for Warner Bros.  The film is currently looking at a February 2018 start date in Toronto.

Grazer, 14, is best known as Eddie Kaspbrak in the film adaptation of Stephen King's It.  He also appeared in the movie Tales of Halloween and on episodes of the TV series Me, Myself & I and Comedy Bang! Bang!

Created in 1941 by France Herron and Mac Raboy, Freddy Freeman first appeared in Whiz Comics #25.  During a battle with the supervillain Captain Nazi, one of Captain Marvel’s punches sent the villain careening into a lake.  An elderly man and his teenage grandson happened to be fishing in the lake nearby and, not knowing who he is, lifted the unconscious man into their boat to prevent him from drowning.  Captain Nazi immediately came to, tossed the old man into the lake, and knocked the boy out of the boat with an oar.  The old man immediately died, but Captain Marvel was able to save the unconscious boy, Freddy Freeman, and brought him to a hospital.

In his alter ego as young Billy Batson, Captain Marvel learned from a nurse that Freddy was not expected to last the night.  Billy toook Freddy to the underground throne room of the wizard Shazam, who originally granted Captain Marvel his powers.  Billy asked the wizard to heal Freddy and save his life, but Shazam said he was unable to, and instead told Billy that he, as Captain Marvel, could pass along some of his powers so that Freddy could walk again.  Shazam disappeared and Billy transformed back into Captain Marvel, just as Freddy awakened.  Looking up, he exclaimed, "Why...it’s Captain Marvel," and was instantly transformed into a super-powered version of himself.  Freddy, now called Captain Marvel Jr., resembled a younger Captain Marvel, though with a yellow-on-blue costume with a red cape, rather than Captain Marvel's yellow-on-red with a white cape.  Captain Marvel informed Junior that he couldn't remain in his superpowered form at all times, and that he needed to allow his human form to heal as best as it could.  With that, Freddy once again said his mentor's name and returned to his hospital bed.  Freddy remained permanently lame in his left leg and was forced to walk with a crutch, although Captain Marvel Jr. had no such impediment.  As a result, Junior sought revenge against Captain Nazi, and the two repeatedly battled in a number of World War II-era comic stories.

In the current DC Comics continuity known as The New 52, Freddy was reimagined in Justice League (vol.2) #8 as part of Billy's new foster family of Mr. and Mrs. Vasquez, Mary Bromfield, Pedro Pena, Eugene Choi, and Darla Dudley.  This version of Freddy, now depicted with blond hair instead of black, took Billy's coat and stole his wallet.  In the finale of the series of Shazam! origin story in Justice League (vol.2) #21, Billy shared his powers with his foster siblings, and Freddy received the traditional "Captain Marvel, Jr." color of blue for his costume.  He also remarked that he wanted to be called "King Shazam", a nod to Elvis Presley's known fondness for the character.

This will be the first time Freddy Freeman will appear in live-action, although Captain Marvel, Jr. has appeared in the animated projects The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! (voiced by Barry Gordon), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voiced by John DeVito), Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (voiced by Bruce Timm), and Justice League: War (voiced by Georgie Kidder).

Shazam! is currently expected to arrive in theaters on April 5, 2019.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 100: "An Adventure in Space and Time" is Up!

"Not blessed?  What the hell are you talking about?  Of course you're blessed!  You're gonna be Doctor Who, aren't ya?"
-- Sydney Newman to William Hartnell, An Adventure in Space and Time

Celebrating the big 100th Episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast, J
esse and I
review An Adventure in Space and Time, the 2013 biographical TV film about the creation of Doctor Who, starring David Bradley as William Hartnell, Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, Sacha Dhawan as Waris Hussein, Lesley Manville as Heather Hartnell, and Brian Cox as Sydney Newman!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like the past three years of Next Stop Everywhere, previous attempts at telling Doctor Who's creation, various Doctor Who connections in the cast and cameos from Hartnell era companion actors, Doctor Who showing William Hartnell how to connect with his granddaughter and other children, Sydney Newman being convinced that "bug-eyed monsters" like the Daleks were worthwhile, the Daleks getting hold of everyone's imagination, Verity Lambert's passionate belief that the BBC had something with Doctor Who, the recreation of actual Doctor Who scenes, Hartnell's trouble remembering his lines and failing health, Sydney telling Hartnell that Doctor Who was continuing but he wasn't, Hartnell passing the torch to Patrick Troughton, the great Matt Smith cameo appearance, my Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segment, Doctor Who being referenced on The Orville, new feedback from Holly from Wisconsin and Paul from Australia, beginning our next 100 episodes, Jesse returning to The Fandom Zone Podcast, and more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

Google Play Music -- RIGHT HERE
iTunes -- RIGHT HERE
Stitcher -- RIGHT HERE
Direct MP3 downloads/Libsyn --  RIGHT HERE
Next Stop Everywhere's Facebook page
Next Stop Everywhere's Twitter account

And hey, if you'd like to pick up the officially official Next Stop Everywhere t-shirt, you can find it on TeePublic right HERE!  Help support the show and feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back in two weeks as Jesse and I review "The Tenth Planet", the classic 1966 story from the original series of Doctor Who, featuring the final story of William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson, Anneke Wills as Polly Wright, and the first appearance of the Cybermen!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

THE FANDOM ZONE 123: "Wake Up" is Up!

"This, uh, brown water is a popular beverage on Earth?"
"In the mornings, mostly."
"Mmm...Yes. I understand the appeal of cuh-ahhf-eee."
"It's pronounced coffee."
– M'yrnn J'onnz and J'onn J'onnz, Supergirl: "Wake Up"

With Karen dealing with packing her stuff for her upcoming move, I'm joined once again by my Next Stop Everywhere partner in time Jesse Jackson for another new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Supergirl 3x07: "Wake Up"
The Flash 4x07: "Therefore I Am"
Legends of Tomorrow 3x07: "Welcome to the Jungle"
Arrow 6x07: "Thanksgiving"

In this episode, Jesse and I talk about things like Superboy putting Mon-El in the Phantom Zone, trying to pretend that we haven't already watched "Crisis on Earth-X", planning for a Dragon Con meetup, Jesse's thoughts on The Walking Dead Season 8, Rob & Chad Lowe being Bruce Springsteen fans, explaining Reign to Jesse, the debut of the Fortress of Sanctuary, why Tom Welling needs to appear on Supergirl, wondering why Mon-El is married to Saturn Girl instead of Shadow Lass, wondering if XS was teased in "Crisis on Earth-X", the addition of Carl Lumbly as M'yrnn J'onnz, trying to justify why Barry was so obsessed with proving that Clifford Devoe is the Thinker, the Mechanic's devotion to the Thinker, more of Kid Flash being overlooked, developing Heat Wave as a character, the return of Grodd, Professor Stein recruiting history's greatest minds to help him figure out how to separate from the Firestorm matrix, reminding everyone that Heat Wave is a pyromaniac, the awkward moment of Oliver getting arrested by the FBI in front of his kid, more of supposed teammates not being honest with one another, Billy Joel's concert in Star City, Jesse's theory that Diggle is being killed off at the end of Arrow Season 6, Jesse's dad going off to Vietnam, the late David Cassidy (father of Katie Cassidy) being the Mirror Master on the original 1990-91 The Flash TV seriesand more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone using...

Google Play Music
 -- HERE 
iTunes -- HERE
Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Facebook -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Twitter -- @FandomZoneCast

And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!  Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back next week as Karen and I review "Crisis on Earth-X", the big CW crossover of The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, the Season 5 premiere of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and new episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead and Fox's Gotham, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Quentin Tarantino Pitched a STAR TREK Movie to J.J. Abrams & May Direct It

Just imagine Samuel L. Jackson saying "Klingon, motherf#
@%er! Do you speak it?!"
Deadline revealed late yesterday that director Quentin Tarantino has pitched an idea for a new Star Trek movie at Paramount to producer J.J. Abrams and may even direct it.

According to the article, Tarantino shared his idea with Abrams, who is busy preparing to direct Star Wars Episode IX. Abrams is reportedly assembling a writers room of screenwriters, who will hear Tarantino’s take and begin to put the movie together. If everything works out, Tarantino could direct the film, with Abrams producing.

Tarantino has shown a fondness for Star Trek, using the quotation "Revenge is a dish best served cold" in his movie
Kill Bill Vol. 1. The quote is attributed to an "old Klingon proverb" that Khan Noonien Singh recites in the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Later in Kill Bill Vol. 1, The Bride (Uma Thurman) describes Sofie Fatale (Julie Dreyfus) as "dressed like a villain from Star Trek".

Tarantino, 54, has also directed the notable films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill BIll Vol. 2, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight. He is currently preparing to direct a movie based on the Manson family for release in 2019.

It's possible that Paramount may be open to a fresh approach with Star Trek, after last year's disappointing
Star Trek Beyond, which only had a domestic gross of over $158 million with a reported production budget of $185 million. A fourth Star Trek reboot universe film was announced back in January, but there's been little news regarding the project since then.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

TITANS Releases First Look at Brenton Thwaits as Robin

Look out, criminals!  Here comes Robin...the Man Wonder.

Deadline revealed the first image from the upcoming DC digital service series Titans, giving us our first look at Brenton Thwaits as Dick Grayson, better known as the DC Comics superhero Robin.

According to the article, the Robin costume was designed by renowned costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, whose credits include Black Lightning, Iron Man and The Jungle Book, among others.  It appears influenced by the current New 52 continuity of Dick Grayson's Robin costume as shown below, with a staff favored by the third Robin, Tim Drake.

Written by Akiva Goldsman, DC Entertainment’s Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti, Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be superheroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe.  In the action-adventure series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes that includes Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, Hawk, and Dove.

Thwaites, 28, is an Australian actor probably best known as Henry Turner in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and he has appeared in the films Gods of Egypt, Oculus, and Maleficent.  His television appearances include episodes of Home and Away, Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, and Slide.

Created in 1940 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Robin first appeared in Detective Comics (vol.1) #38 as Richard "Dick" Grayson, a 12-year-old circus acrobat who performed with his parents as one of the "Flying Graysons". While preparing for a performance, Dick overheard two gangsters attempting to extort protection money from the circus owner.  The owner refused, so the gangsters sabotage the trapeze wires with acid.  During the next performance, the trapeze from which Dick's parents are swinging snapped, sending them to their deaths.  Before Dick could go to the police, Batman appears to him and warned him that the two gangsters worked for Tony Zucco, a very powerful crime boss, and that revealing his knowledge could lead to his death.  When Batman recounted the murder of his own parents, Dick asked to become his partner.  After extensive training, Dick became Robin, and together, Batman and Robin started disrupting Zucco's gambling and extortion rackets. They soon successfully baited the riled Zucco into visiting a construction site, where they captured him.  Becoming Dick's legal guardian as Bruce Wayne, Batman made Dick his ward and adopted him as a son.

As Robin, Dick worked with Batman for some time and eventually helped form the Teen Titans, a group of teenage superheroes who assisted their partners in the Justice League of America.  Due to the tactical skills learned from Batman, Robin was swiftly recognized as leader before the Titans disbanded some years later.  The group later reformed with new members Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Changeling (the former Beast Boy), with Robin once again becoming the team's leader.  When the supervillains Deathstroke and Terra kidnapped his fellow Titans, Grayson adopted his new identity of Nightwing after being inspired by Superman telling him the legend of Kryptonian heroes Nightwing and Flamebird.

In the current New 52 continuity, Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne at 16 years old, not 12, and used the updated version of the Robin costume shown above before becoming Nightwing.

Thwaits is the fifth actor to portray Robin in live-action, after Douglas Croft in the 1943 serial Batman, Johnny Duncan in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin, Burt Ward on the television series Batman and Legends of the Superheroes, and Chris O'Donnell in the films Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.

Titans is expected to debut on DC Comics' digital service sometime in 2018.