Sunday, April 22, 2018

Amazon Developing Image Comics' EAST OF WEST as TV Series

I would tell you to pray, but it wouldn't do any good.  You have earned what is coming to you.

Deadline is reporting that Amazon Studios has is developing Image Comics' science fiction Western series East of West as an hourlong genre drama series.  

According to the article, East of West will be created and executive produced by series creators Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, along with The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman, who will executive produce the series through his company Skybound Entertainment’s first-look deal at Amazon Studios.  Hickman will also serve as writer for the series, and J.M. Ringuet, Hickman's creative partner on the series Transhuman, will also serve as a producer.

"Nick, J.M. and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Skybound and Amazon," said Hickman.  "We feel very strongly about each project and couldn’t be more appreciative of how far both companies have gone to make us feel welcome.  We look forward to doing the work and hopefully doing it well."

Created in 2013 by Hickman and Dragotta, East of West is set in a dystopian future of the present-day United States. In this timeline, the Civil War never ended and there was almost eternal strife between the Union, the Confederacy, an African-American kingdom, a Native American technocracy, Chinese exiles, and Texan separatists.  This strife came to a sudden halt when a comet hit Kansas on November 9, 1908.  The six warring parties met at Armistice, the location of the comet's impact, and made a truce, thereby forming "the Seven Nations of America" comprised of Armistice, The Union, The Confederacy, the Kingdom, the Endless Nation, the Republic of Texas, and the People's Republic of America (PRA).

On the same day as the comet's impact and the signing of the treaty, there were two simultaneous, yet independent prophecies.  First, Elijah Longstreet was a soldier in the Confederate Army under Stonewall Jackson who wrote his part of the prophecy down and then collapsed and died.  Second, Red Cloud had become the chief of chiefs to the Endless Indian Nation by defeating the many Indian chiefs and uniting all of the Indian tribes under himself.  He transmitted his portion of the prophecy orally and then he also collapsed and died.  For fifty years, these prophecies, referred to by believers as "the Message", remained incomplete.  In 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong of the PRA wrote an addendum to his Little Red Book.  This addendum was the third piece of the prophecy and completed the Message.  It now became clear that The Message was a prophecy of the End of Times.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, War, Famine, and Conquest) sought to fulfill the prophecy by following the Message.  Believers in the Message make a pilgrimage to the site of the comet's impact, but are always killed by the Four Horsemen.  One year, Conquest sparef the infant child of one of the pilgrims and took him as her own.  She named him Ezra Orion and raised him to be the carrier of the Message.  The Horsemen built a structure over Armistice to prevent any further pilgrimages and they trained Ezra to become "what the Message demands."  Ezra was the first member of "the Chosen" and his job was to be the Keeper of the Message.  The Horsemen gathered six other members for the Chosen, each Chosen being a high-ranking member of one of the respective nations.  The Chosen were tasked with the goal of bringing about the Apocalypse.

With a path to the Apocalypse, the Horsemen's plan was derailed when Death fell in love with Xiaolian, one of the two daughters of Mao V.  She and Death had a son together and Death lost interest in the mission of the Horsemen.  Death and Xiaolian left their previous lives to go live together and raise their son.  However, this coupling was foretold by the prophecy and Ezra interpreted their offspring to be "the Beast" that will bring about the apocalypse.  Xiaolian's sister, Hu, was a believer in the Message and a member of the Chosen.  She betrayed her sister to the three remaining Horsemen, who took away Xiaolian's son.  Xia was taken prisoner by her own father, who agreed to cut a deal with the three Horsemen.  Mao would keep Xiaolian's continued existence a secret from Death, and in exchange, Mao could maintain control of the PRA, and Xiaolian could keep her life. Xiaolian was told that her son was killed, but Ezra began raising him to become the Beast.

After Xiaolian was imprisoned and her son was taken from her, something happened that killed the Horsemen, with the series still unclear about what exactly happened.  During this event, Death was also presumed to have been killed, but he survived due to two witches of the Endless Nation, Crow and Wolf.  Ten years later, War, Famine, and Conquest were resurrected at Armistice as 10-year-old children; but they realized that Death was not resurrected as a child because he was not killed when they were.  They felt abandoned by Death, and were determined to accomplish the mission without their fourth member.  Death, meanwhile, sought revenge for the presumed murders of his wife and son, leading into the events of the series' first issue.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Steven Spielberg to Produce & Possibly Direct DC Film BLACKHAWK

Start practicing your "Hawk-a-a-a!" battle cry.

Deadline is reporting that legendary director and producer Steven Spielberg is producing a film adaptation of the DC Comics series Blackhawk for Warner Bros. and may possibly direct as well.  

Spielberg has been interested in Blackhawk as a possible film project since 1982, which encouraged DC Comics to resume publication of the series.  Spielberg’s next two movies are the fifth installment of the Indiana Jones series and a remake of West Side Story.

According to the article, the screenplay is being written by David Koepp, who collaborated with Spielberg as a screenwriter on Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Spielberg will produce the film with Kristie Macosko Krieger, under Amblin Entertainment, while Sue Kroll will serve as executive producer.

Spielberg remarked, "It was wonderful working with the team at Warner Bros. to bring Ready Player One to the screen.  They bring a blend of passion and professionalism to everything they do and have a tremendous history in this genre.  I am excited to reunite with them on Blackhawk."

Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich, who made the announcement, said, "We are so proud to be the studio behind Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, and are thrilled to be working with him again on this new action adventure.  We can’t wait to see what new ground he will break in introducing Blackhawk to movie audiences worldwide."

Created in 1941 by Chuck Cuidera, Bob Powell, and Will Eisner, Blackhawk first appeared in Military Comics #1, published by Quality Comics until the company's acquisition in 1956 by DC Comics.  Led by a mysterious man known as Blackhawk, the Blackhawks (or more formally, the Blackhawk Squadron) are a small team of World War II-era ace pilots of varied nationalities, each typically known under a single name, either their given name or their surname.  Though the membership roster has undergone changes over the years, the team has been portrayed most consistently as having seven core members

In their most well-known incarnation, the Blackhawks operate from a hidden base known only as Blackhawk Island, fly Grumman XF5F Skyrocket planes, and shout their battle cry of "Hawk-a-a-a!" as they descend from the skies to fight tyranny and oppression.  Clad in matching blue and black uniforms (with Blackhawk himself boasting a hawk insignia on his chest), early stories pitted the team against the Axis powers, but they would also come to battle recurring foes such as King Condor and Killer Shark, as well as encounter an array of gorgeous and deadly femme fatales.  They also frequently squared off against fantastical war machines ranging from amphibious "shark planes" and flying tanks, to the aptly named War Wheel, a gigantic rolling behemoth adorned with spikes and machine guns.

In 1988, the Blackhawks were revamped with a new continuity, following the events of Crisis on Infinite EarthsThe members included:

  • Major Janos Prohaska (Blackhawk) – Reestablished as being born and raised in Poland, Prohaska is portrayed as the consummate leader, but also as a brash, hard-drinking womanizer.  He is also revealed to have been a member of the Communist Party, expelled by Joseph Stalin after opposing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 treaty of non-aggression between the Soviets and Nazi Germany.
  • Captain Stanislaus Drozdowski – Longtime friend of Blackhawk's who fights alongside him in the Polish Air Force before becoming one of the earliest members of the Blackhawks—and one of the team's first casualties.
  • Captain AndrĂ© Blanc-Dumont – An excellent but slightly reckless pilot, the Frenchman is second-in-command of the team, as well as Prohaska's closest confidant and frequent co-pilot.
  • Captain Olaf Friedriksen – Danish in this version, athletic Olaf is a savant with languages and skilled at radio operations.
  • Captain Ritter Hendricksen – The Dutch marksmen and demolitions expert, as well as the oldest member of the team.
  • Captain Carlo "Chuck" Sirianni – An Italian-American from New Jersey who served with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services before joining the team and becoming their chief navigation officer. Chuck is also a dabbler in electronics and aeronautic technology.
  • Lieutenant Weng Chan (Chop-Chop) – Chinese and said to be just 17 when he first joins the team, Weng is a skilled pilot, flight mechanic, and cook.
  • Captain Natalie Reed (Lady Blackhawk) – Brilliant Russian-American flight engineer who redesigns the Blackhawks' aircraft and fights alongside them. She gives birth to a son in 1945, the product of a brief affair with Hendricksen.

This will be the second live-action adaptation of the series, after the 1952 Blackhawk film serial that ran for 15 parts and starred Kirk Alyn as Blackhawk.  The team also appeared in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier, and the animated series Justice League (featuring Robert Picardo as Janos Prohaska) and Justice League Unlimited featuring Seymour Cassel as Chuck Sirianni).

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cathy Yan to Direct BIRDS OF PREY Film with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn

The Birds of Prey are facing off against Harley Quinn once again...This time, on the big screen.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have selected Cathy Yan to be the director of an untitled DC Comics "girl gang movie," based on DC's Birds of Prey series.  The film is expected to feature the return of Margot Robbie as her Suicide Squad movie character Harley Quinn, and was known to be in development back in May 2016.

According to the article, the deal isn't completed, but Yan is expected to become the second DC Extended Universe filmmaker after Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins, and the first female Asian director to direct a superhero film.  Yan reportedly got the job over numerous male directors, after an "exceptional" presentation for Birds of Prey.  Robbie also expressed her desire for the film to be directed by a woman.

The film is expected to start production by the end of 2018 or early next year, with a script by Christina Hodson, who was just brought in to write the Batgirl movie, and also wrote the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee.  Other Harley Quinn films are reportedly still in development, including the Suicide Squad sequel to be directed by Gavin O’Connor.  Two others, Harley Quinn vs The Joker and Gotham City Sirens with Suicide Squad director David Ayer, appeared to be less of a priority at the moment.

Yan was born in China, and raised in Hong Kong and Washington, D.C.  She has directed a number of short films and the movie Dead Pigs, starring Deadpool's Zazie Beetz.  In addition, she was write and co-executive producer of the TV series UnChartered.

Created in 1992 by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor," voiced by Arleen Sorkin.  Initially intended as a female sidekick for The Joker, Harley quickly became popular with fans and the character was developed further.  In the 1994 DC Comics graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, Quinn received her origin story, revealing her as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who fell in love with the Joker and turned to a life of crime in order to be with him.

The Birds of Prey were created in 1995 by Chuck Dixon, Jordan B. Gorfinkel, and Gary Frank, and first appeared in Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1 as a crimefighting partnership between Black Canary and Oracle, who previously was the superhero Batgirl until she was paralyzed by The Joker.  

The pairing soon expanded to include other DC heroes, primarily female, including The Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, Power Girl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Big Barda, Gypsy, Hawkgirl, Misfit, Hawk and Dove, Black Alice, Vixen, Katana, Manhunter (Kate Spencer), Judomaster (Sonia Sato), Starling, and Strix.

In 2002, The WB adapted Birds of Prey for television, starring Dina Meyer as Oracle, Ashley Scott as Huntress, and Rachel Skarsten as Dinah Redmond, the daughter of Black Canary.  Set in a Gotham City abandoned by Batman, the Birds of Prey faced off against Harley Quinn (Mia Sara) and other DC supervillains such as Lady Shiva and Clayface.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

THE FANDOM ZONE 135: "Chapter 9" is Up!

"So, I’m supposed to find the Shadow King from inside a daiquiri?"
-- David Haller to Cary Loudermilk, Legion: "Chapter 9" 

You guessed it, Karen and I are back with another episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Legends of Tomorrow 3x17: "Guest Starring John Noble"
Black Lightning 1x11: "Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion"
Legion 2x01: "Chapter 9"
Krypton 1x03: "The Rankless Initiative" 
Gotham 4x17: "Mandatory Brunch Meeting"

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like Legion needing better episode titles, the Legends meeting a young Barack Obama, more of Karen's issues with shrinking people, Damien Darhk's inevitable betrayal, Heat Wave being a Lord of the Rings fan, John Noble as Denethor, the shady and thirsty vice principal Kara Fowdy, Jefferson Pierce being framed and getting a body cavity search, Thunder running down main street with a Black Lightning hologram, Legion being weird just for the sake of being weird, the organizational structure of Division 3, the Catalyst chattering teeth virus, the tale of the philosopher Zhuangzi who dreamt he was a butterfly, the mustached women known as the Vermillion, David and the waffle boats, Adam Strange becoming a shoplifter, the debut of Brainiac, Star Trek: The Next Generation not clicking until the third season, Eddie Murphy as Gumby, the Riddler being unable to tell Lee Thompkins he's in love with her, Jerome Valeska's twin brother Jeremiahsome new feedback from Justina, Arrow finally frustrating diehard fan Justina, offering my services as a writer to Arrow, Karen dealing with noisy trains, and more!

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

Google Play Music
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Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
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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 Season 3 finale of The CW's Legends of Tomorrow, and new episodes of The CW's Black Lightning, FX's Legion, and Fox's Gotham, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 109: "The Sword of the Chevalier" is Up!

"She’s very nice, just a bit, you know..."
"Unable to talk about anyone but herself?  I swear she’s making half of it up – She can’t possibly have met all the people she claims to."
"Hmmm…People like that…Pain, aren’t they?"
"I know.  Name droppers...awful.  My old pal Oscar Wilde’s just the same."
-- Rose Tyler and The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who: "The Sword of the Chevalier"

You guessed it, my partner in time Jesse Jackson and I are back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  This time, we review "The Sword of the Chevalier", the second Tenth Doctor Adventures Vol. 2 audio adventure from Big Finish Productionsstarring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler!

In this episode, Jesse and I discuss things like Jesse enjoying going through Doctor Who's history in the off-season, liking the new Jodie Whittaker era Doctor Who logo, Jesse's story about the new generation of Doctor Who fans, the Tenth Doctor dragging Rose to see William Herschel's 40-foot telescope, the Doctor not knowing what the other person sees when he flashes them the Psychic Paper, the Doctor's fondness for harlequin costumes, the Doctor being more interesting and resourceful when he can't rely on the Sonic Screwdriver, learning about 
the androgynous and gender-fluid Chevalier D'Eon, Basil Rathbone teaching the Doctor how to swordfight, the tri-sentient being Joxer and Hempel, the Consortium of the Obsidian Asp, my Reverse the Polarity segment, some Facebook feedback from Stephanie Marie Freinynew feedback from Paul from Australiaand 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 just two weeks as Jesse and I review "Cold Vengeance", the third and final Tenth Doctor Adventures Vol. 2 audio adventure from Big Finish Productions, starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, and featuring the return of the Ice Warriors!  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 134: "The Thanatos Guild" is Up!

"But he's the Green Arrow."
"Yeah, before he was the Green Arrow, he actually used to be really afraid of the dark, and he needed a nightlight in his bedroom until he was...what, six, sixteen?"
"It was not a nightlight.  I was...It was not a nightlight.  I couldn't sleep with it being pitch black."
-- William Clayton, Thea Queen and Oliver Queen, Arrow: "The Thanatos Guild" 

Good news, everyone!  Karen's back for another episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Lucifer 3x19: "Orange is the New Maze"
Black Lightning 1x10: "Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption"
Krypton 1x02: "House of El" 
Arrow 6x16: "The Thanatos Guild"

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like the return of Karen, Karen's 50th birthday, Phil Perich being the Diggle of The Fandom Zone, Karen loving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lucifer being the cat and Pierce being willing to get rid of the cat, Mazikeen feeling betrayed by Dr. Linda, Amenadiel and Dr. Linda being bad poker players, Amenadiel and Lucifer letting Charlotte in on everything, Mazikeen burning all her bridges, Annisa being the Robin to her father's Batman, Jennifer freaking out about her new powers, Black Lightning being on Supergirl's Earth-38, the importance of not making Gambi totally evil, Lala's awkward hallucinations of his victims, raining microwave ovens, the awkwardness of having your potential newborn being named Bubba-El, Seg-El turning down Daron-Vex's offering of joining the House of Vex, my tweet getting some love from Nyssa-Vex herself, Lyta-Zod challenging her commanding officer Quex-Ul, wondering if Val-El is still alive, possibly saying goodbye to Karen's Thea impression, the creepiness of Willy Wonka, Thea jinxing her first attempt to leave Star City, the Fibonacci sequence, Diggle being pissy that Oliver won't give up being Green Arrow, some new feedback from Justina, learning more about Brainiac being the "Collector of Worlds," Thea and Bane's ship name, and 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 tomorrow as Karen and I review the Season 2 premiere of FX's Legion, and new episodes of Syfy's Krypton, The CW's Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning, and Fox's Gotham, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Monday, April 9, 2018

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Casts Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike

The Enterprise has a captain once again.

Deadline has revealed that the CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has cast Anson Mount as Starfleet legend Captain Christopher Pike for the show's second season.  

Pike will be captain of the USS Enterprise, which appeared at the very end of the show's first season.  In the Season One finale, after the USS Discovery warped to Vulcan to pick up its new captain, the crew received a distress call from the USS Enterprise.

Mount, 45, is best known as Black Bolt on the short-lived ABC series Inhumansand as Cullen Bohannon on the AMC series Hell on Wheels.  His film work includes the movies Visions, Supremacy, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, Straw Dogs, The Battle of Shaker Heights, Crossroads, and Urban Legends: Final Cut.  He has also appeared on episodes of LOST, Dollhouse, Smallville, Red Widow, Law & Order, Conviction, CSI: Miami, Sex and the City, and Ally McBeal.

Created in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry, Christopher Pike first appeared in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage."  Introduced as the captain of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 in the year 2254, Pike led a landing party to the planet Rigel VII.  On this mission, the group was attacked by Kalar warriors, in what seemed to be an abandoned fortress. Three crewmen, including Pike's own yeoman, were killed, while an additional seven, including Spock, were injured, some severely.  The loss weighed heavily on Pike, and with all the strain and work that followed, he began to question remaining as starship commander. The Enterprise then set out for Vega colony to hospitalize the sick and injured.

En route to the Vega colony, the Enterprise intercepted an old-style radio-interference distress call carrying the call letters of the SS Columbia, a survey expedition from the American Continent Institute which had been lost in the Talos star group in 2236.  At Pike's reluctant command, the Enterprise diverted and traced the signal to a crash site on Talos IV.  After an initial encounter with supposed survivors, including an out-of-place young beauty named Vina, it was revealed that the native Talosians had used telepathy to create the illusion of an encampment and all the survivors except Vina were dead.

Pike was overpowered and kidnapped, and placed in a Talosian menagerie.  There, the Talosians attempted to manipulate him into mating with Vina, to create a population of illusion-controlled Human servants.  Due to the Talosians' telepathy, Pike was forced to relive old memories and placed in illusory scenarios of lives he could have, if he abandoned his career as a starship captain.  The scenarios included reliving the fight on Rigel VII, a picnic in parkland near Mojave with his two horses, and an illusory day in the life of an Orion slave-trader dealing in green animal women.  Pike refused to mate with Vina, so the Talosians began to take steps to convince him to breed with other females of his crew.  As a result, Yeoman J.M. Colt and Pike's first officer, Number One, were captured.

Inside his cell, Pike managed to capture and hold captive The Keeper.  Pike then threatened to break the Talosian's neck if he resisted, and all the illusions ceased from that point forward.  Escaping with the others to the outside of the Talosian complex, Pike had Number One set a laser to overload, in an effort to make a statement to the Talosians about holding Humans captive.  The Talosians believed this violent reaction made humans unsuitable for breeding.  Vina's true appearance was then revealed, and Pike convinced the Talosians to restore her illusion of health and beauty while letting him and his crew members go free. Although the experience with the illusory worlds restored Pike's confidence in his command, it was recommended that all contact with the Talosians' powers be restricted.  General Order 7 was enacted, threatening the death penalty should anyone travel there, for fear of the Federation falling to illusory indulgence.

Mount will be the fourth actor to portray Christopher Pike, after Jeffrey Hunter in "The Cage," Sean Kenney in "The Menagerie," and Bruce Greenwood in the films Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Star Trek: Discovery is expected to return for Season 2 sometime in September 2018.