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Why Star Wars Episode IX’s Title Really Doesn’t Matter

As Star Wars: Episode IX looms in the distance, fan speculation regarding the feature has slowly been ramping up in intensity. Passionate folks pour over leaked toy designs, propose theories or give random information they inherently know about the film with no verifiable sources. I’m fine with all of this and love to participate in it because it’s part of the fun, save for one recent activity in particular. It’s time to stop worrying about Episode IX‘s official title; it doesn’t really matter.

To begin, let’s just take a minute to examine the purpose of a film’s title. It’s a descriptor mainly, and a way for an interested consumer to properly identify the film they wish to see, search for or purchase. With very few exceptions, a film title isn’t a spoiler, especially in the world of Star Wars. Why would Disney go to such lengths to maintain secrecy, only to drop a massive reveal in the title?

Has Star Wars ever revealed the plot points of its films in titles? Absolutely, but very few of them make sense to the person who knows nothing beyond the title of the film. Someone who’s not familiar with Star Wars couldn’t look at a title and explain how the Empire struck back or who the Phantom Menace was. Without context or the actual film to watch, these titles meant absolutely nothing to the public at large.

This notion is especially true in the modern sequel trilogy, where titles are more loose references to the story than hard and fast names and events. How can the Force “awaken” when Kylo Ren’s inherent use of it in the film’s opening moments show that it never slept? Here’s a lower hanging fruit to grasp: Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s title actually ends with the implication that there will be more Jedi!

Now, of course, I’m taking things a bit far here. Dollars to donuts most people invested in Star Wars at this stage of the game have at least seen the last two films, if not every single release from the original trilogy on. For that reason, titles like Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back work because they tease the next installment and make more sense considering the events of the previous film.

The point I’m trying to make here though is that Star Wars: Episode IX‘s title probably won’t do that. When the prior two films in the trilogy have been named The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, an on the nose title like Son Of Darkness feels oddly specific and out of place in comparison. If that’s the title, the franchise might as well throw all mystery out the door and call it Ben Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Another proposed title,Star Wars: The New Order is better. While not in line with the vagueness of the other new trilogy titles, it does follow the logic of playing on the actions of the past movie. Kylo Ren has ideas that differed from Snoke, and he’s seemingly in charge of the First Order. Plus, this would make for the first time each Star Wars title in a new trilogy begins with “the,” which would be really satisfying.

Here’s the thing, though: what would that title tell anyone they don’t already know? Nothing is gained from a title like that, and as stated previously, it’s very likely nothing will be gained from learning the title of Star Wars: Episode IX. We’ll know the title, and that’s about it. It won’t tell us about a time jump, who may make a surprise appearance or any other wild rumor that has surfaced for the feature thus far.

I say this now because we’re at the perfect time to say it. Folks are desperate enough for details that a title would be enough to start a frenzy, and it will probably lead to a lot of speculation and analysis that may be far off-base. Just take a look back at all the things people fretted over during The Last Jedi title reveal to the point Rian Johnson had to confirm it was just a reference to Luke.

I’m not saying folks need to stop speculating by any means, but I am saying fanbases in general need to put the actual importance of knowing a film’s title in perspective. It’s certainly cool to know the title of a movie before its release, but it’s not so cool and ground-breaking that knowing it is suddenly more important than the latest toy leak or an actor tripping up and revealing something during a casual interview.

Again, there are justified exceptions to this, and if Star Wars breaks with tradition and titles Episode IX Star Wars: Watto Back In Action, that’s certainly worth speculating on. Characters or specific references to alien races in the franchise being mentioned in the title would change the game, but standard references to the Rebellion or The First Order are really just “meh” reveals when the hype wears off.

I’m not certain, but I would wager that most people acknowledge titles don’t mean much which makes the phenomena that many (myself included) crave a reveal the way we do. Is it the thrill of the start of an information rollout? Is it because it’s coupled with a trailer that contains the first footage? Is it because we’re so hungry for details at this stage in the process we’ll pounce upon any and all information that is official?

Perhaps it’s a combination or a mixture of those things depending on the person. I can’t say for sure, but I can say that we as a society have put too high of a value on title reveals, and maybe openly acknowledging it is what it takes to enact change. We can certainly still be excited about it, but everyone can just quietly remind themselves that while the studios were gracious enough to give us something, it’s really almost nothing.

Star Wars: Episode IX is headed to theaters on December 20, which means fans have most of the year to discuss what may or may not happen in the end of the new trilogy. For some talking points, head on over to this wild theory involving a familiar face fans know and love.

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Surviving R. Kelly, the Danger of Complicit Silence, and What Must Happen Next

By Ernest Owens

This past weekend, as millions watched and weighed in on executive producer Dream Hampton’s six-part docuseries on Lifetime, boldly titled Surviving R. Kelly, you could feel, across social conversations, there hung a collective sense of guilt. The three-night special covered the over 25-year history of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B superstar who has continuously denied claims and avoided justice, despite the still-increasing evidence and testimony of his crimes against black women. It featured countless activists, musicians, legal experts, licensed psychologists, and accusers who bravely shared their perspectives on Kelly’s ability to abuse his victims while the world around him was complicit. In its wake, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in Georgia has launched an investigation into the allegations made against Kelly.

For three nights, the Lifetime series documented the rise and fall of R. Kelly’s career through candid interviews with nearly 50 people. We heard from women like Lizzette Martinez, who says she dated Kelly at age 17, eventually miscarried, and was paid $1,000 for her silence after allegedly contracting mononucleosis from him. Another survivor, Jerhonda Pace, alleged that she was recruited to join Kelly’s sex cult after first meeting him during his 2002 child pornography trial. Kelly’s accusers — which included his ex-wife, previous collaborators, and several fans who shared stories of their sexual relationships with Kelly, most while underage — were labeled survivors on-screen as they gave devastating accounts of the trauma they endured from a musician many of them initially described as a “genius.”

The docuseries also featured never-before-seen testimonies from the men in Kelly’s life — his brothers, collaborators, employees, and industry peers — who often enabled his obscene behavior. Bruce Kelly, R. Kelly’s older brother, attempted to defend his sibling’s alleged pedophilia as simply being “a preference,” and later expressed joy when he was acquitted on child pornograpy charges back in 2002. Kelly’s former assistant, Demetrius Smith, also admitted to having coordinated the forgery of the late R&B singer Aaliyah’s marriage license during her wedding to Kelly when she was only 14-years-old. We were told by Kelly’s producer Craig Williams that “everyone knew” of the singer’s penchant for propositioning underage girls in high schools.

Despite all of that documentation, R. Kelly continues to deny all allegations launched against him. Since the docuseries’ close, Kelly’s team has been adamantly discrediting his accusers and denying any of the revelations unmasked during those televised six hours. It should also be noted that Kelly threatened to sue Lifetime prior to the series airing and has plans to create a website called Surviving Lies to contest his accusers.

I don’t believe or support R. Kelly, and neither should anyone else.

Black women have been leading the rallying cry against Kelly, whose alleged actions are really just one manifestation of the general mistreatment of black women in culture. For decades, they have simultaneously been open about their lack of support. The growing chorus of men speaking in solidarity is slowly growing, but even more crucial to progress is the need for us as men to start holding ourselves accountable for the biases we personally hold. There must be a reckoning with the misogynoir that we allow to run rampant in our own lives. It’s time for more men to finally speak out against sexual abuse and violence. Where have we been? What were we doing? Why were we silent?

These were the questions I asked myself as I watched each episode. Though I personally stopped supporting R. Kelly years ago, I began to ponder why men weren’t as vocal during the rise of the #MuteRKelly movement, myself included. No other excuse could come to my mind other than the fact that I presumed it was just a women’s issue and I should simply fall back. As women’s voices have continued to be amplified during the #MeToo movement, I often struggled to figure out my role. I didn’t want to center myself as a man or take up too much space when other women could be given the spotlight. Unfortunately, as a result, I instead chose inaction rather than exploring proactive ways to get involved. But several Black women activists and voices on social media — individuals such as like Tarana Burke, Feminista Jones, Jamilah Lemieux, Leslie Mac, and countless others — have underlined an important point: Falling back is a disservice to Black women. Especially when CDC data reports that more than four in ten Black women experience physical violence from an intimate partner during their lifetimes.

To simply put the responsibility on Black women to fight against the misogyny they face alone — even though they also fight for civil rights for everyone else across the aisle — is selfish and unfair. Misogynoir, the term coined by Black queer feminist Moya Bailey, expresses how misogyny directed towards Black women is often more severe because the intersections of both their race and gender is being targeted. According to a 2018 crowdsourced study from Amnesty International, statistics show that Black women were 84 percent more likely than white women to be disproportionately targeted online with one in ten tweets mentioning Black women was “abusive or problematic,” compared to one in 15 for white women. What we are doing by turning to a blind eye towards the trauma Black women face is only furthering the problem afflicted. In this regard, silence becomes violence.

While the media often covers these issues impacting white women, Black women are usually given less attention. It took years before #MeToo founder Tarana Burke was finally acknowledged on a national level for her important work in raising awareness around sexual harassment and abuse. It’s time for all men to work towards resolving these disparities.

Contributing meaningfully to the cause will require men to make the sincere decisions to shut down toxic masculinity in public settings, call out and cut off misogynistic friends and family, report known abusers in your workplaces, support Black women who are telling their stories through film, music, and other media, and take R. Kelly off their playlists. It will call for us to financially contribute to nonprofits and institutions, such as Burke’s #MeToo movement, that are more equipped to help women survivors in ways that are outside of our scope. We must adapt to a lifestyle that works to end misogynoir in pop culture and society at large — which calls for us to divest from systems working to further such abuse. We must support Black women around us with full conviction and accountability.

Black women and girls are still surviving R. Kelly. Now it’s time for men to step up and support them.

It’s on all of us to stand up against sexual assault. Find out more at metoo.mtv.com.

Ernest Owens is an award-winning journalist and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. His work has been featured on CNN, BET, USA Today, NBC, NPR, and Philadelphia magazine.

Chester Bennington’s Voice Returns On Heavy Posthumous Collab ‘Cross Off’

In the time since Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington’s death in July 2017, his band has remained quiet. This has likely been in part out of respect to Bennington, but also out of necessity. “We have a lot of rebuilding to do, and questions to answer, so it’ll take time,” band co-leader Mike Shinoda said about a year ago.

Shinoda has continued making music, releasing an EP and an album both called Post Traumatic in 2018. Bennington’s voice, too, has endured, and not just on the band’s recordings; on Tuesday (January 8), a new song called “Cross Off” that he worked on with Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton popped up ahead of Morton’s new album. It’s heavy, and on it, Bennington brings exactly what made him an utter maelstrom of a vocalist.

As Morton revealed to Zane Lowe, Bennington recorded his “Cross Off” vocals in April 2017 and co-wrote with track along with a team of collaborators. “We both really loved the song from its inception and everyone that worked on it put a lot of energy and emotion into it,” he said. “I feel like you can really hear that in the track, and absolutely in Chester’s performance.”

What long defined Bennington’s impact was his masterful ability to balance light and dark, withdrawn angst and red-lining rage, clean melodic moments and blustery raggedness — often all in the span of just a few minutes in a single song. On “Cross Off,” he naturally does both, leaning more heavily into his throaty depths to complement the song’s relentless percussion and crunching guitars.

It’s a far cry from the lighter, more sun-kissed electronic the band revealed on what ended up its final album with Bennington, One More Light. But its muscular energy just might transport you back to when you first heard him wail, on “Crawling,” maybe, or “Somewhere I Belong,” or even “Bleed It Out.”

Hear the powerful song above and watch Morton break it down in the interview clip below.

Why Black Manta Isn’t A Villain In Aquaman, According To Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS for Aquaman.

As it nears the $1 billion mark, Aquaman is effortlessly riding the high tide at the box office as the DCEU’s biggest hit. There are a lot of things the underwater superhero action flick did right that contributed to its success. For fans of the comics, the addition of supervillain Black Manta was certainly a highlight. That said, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who took on the role for Aquaman, believes you can scratch ‘villain’ from the character’s title. Here’s what he said:

If you’ve seen Aquaman, you might know what Yahya means. While Black Manta, a.k.a. David Kane, is introduced as a badass pirate who hijacks a Russian submarine and uses Atlantean technology to build that iconic suit and go after Aquaman, he has sympathetic motivations.

Arthur Curry left David Kane’s father, Jesse Kane, to die when he could have easily saved him, so he is understandably on Black Manta’s bad side. Did David have to decide to let revenge consume him? No, but his motivations are clear and makes a bit of sense. He’s also not the main villain of Aquaman, since Arthur’s half-brother Orm is set on world domination.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen’s words to The IMDb Show shows a sympathic understanding of the character that is sometimes necessary for the actor filling the role to take. He has a good point and there have certainly been movie heroes who’ve had their origin story start with revenge on the mind (Spider-Man and Black Panther being excellent examples).

One of Aquaman‘s strengths was certainly the inclusion of Black Manta and his origin story. Too often villains are introduced without a clear motivation or specific purpose for their wrongdoings, especially when it’s the need for power or just because they are “evil.”

While speaking with IMDb, Yahya Abdul-Mateen also jokingly said his goal was to steal away as many fans he could away from Jason Momoa to his side, and perhaps the approach to his character did just that. Black Manta is reminiscent of Black Panther‘s Killmonger, who had a similar back story and certainly made his case as to why he was against T’Challa.

While Black Manta wasn’t the main antagonist of Aquaman, since he survived the film, an Aquaman sequel could see him continue his mission of revenge. Considering how much of a fan favorite Black Manta is, I wouldn’t doubt that we haven’t seen the last of him.

Having a more complicated and atypical villain certainly can help a superhero film steer away from the white and black, good vs evil premise comic books are often rooted in, which leads to challenging audiences and inspiring discussion.

Will Captain Marvel Tie Back To Nick Fury’s Infinity War Pager?

Captain Marvel won’t be making her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until her solo movie premieres in a few months, but we got an epic tease of her arrival last year in the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War. Featured in the post-credits, while there was incredible devastation happening all around on Earth, Nick Fury was able to send off a timely page to a potential savior, Carol Danvers, moments before his death.

We will get to see how the consequences of that scene will play out later this year when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, but should fans expect to learn anything more about it in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel? It’s still a big hanging question, but producer Jonathan Schwartz had this to say when asked about it on set:

Last summer I joined a small group of journalists to visit the set of Captain Marvel when it was still filming in Los Angeles, and it was at the very start of the day that we got to sit down with Jonathan Schwartz and get the basics of what to expect during the day. Naturally, one subject that came up was Nick Fury’s pager (Avengers: Infinity War had been released about one month prior), and while the filmmaker didn’t provide an entirely straight answer, he did offer one suggesting some interesting possibilities.

There has been a lot of speculation about Nick Fury’s special 90s-era messaging device, and the assumption at large is that Fury set it up as a line of communication between himself and Captain Marvel just in case of a world-ending emergency that required her assistance (and it’s specially outfitted with technology that gives it some extreme range). This in mind, one would think that a scene involving a discussion about the pager would be included in Captain Marvel, but that hasn’t been entirely confirmed yet. At the very least Jonathan Schwartz’s comments make it sound like it’s something we could get to see.

It is worth noting that we do know there will be at least one pager featured in Marvel Studios’ first female-led blockbuster. Nick Fury is briefly shown using and then holstering one of the devices in the first trailer for the movie, which debuted back in the fall. And for what it’s worth, if you compare the below screenshot with the one above, you’ll probably notice that they seem to be the same make and model.

All of this is a bit vague right now, but Marvel fans can breathe easy knowing that 2019 will be the year that all pressing Captain Marvel questions will be addressed. First we have the solo feature arriving in theaters on March 8th, and then Avengers: Endgame will be dropping into cinemas nationwide on April 26th. Needless to say, we’ll have plenty more coverage of both titles coming your way in the next few months here on CinemaBlend.

Vice Originally Had A ‘Breathtaking’ Musical Number, Here’s Why It Was Cut

In both form and content, Adam McKay’s Vice is nothing like your standard biopic. The story of Dick Cheney breaks the fourth wall, has a fake ending and includes a scene where Christian Bale and Amy Adams’ characters discuss their plans in Shakespearean verse. Vice could have went even more over the top, though, because it originally included a musical number that had to be cut, as Adam McKay explained:

It sounds like despite the best efforts of Adam McKay and company, they simply could not make the musical number work in the film. The piece was too long in what is already an over two-hour movie, and even shortening it didn’t work. Perhaps the director could have justified it if it was critical to the story he was telling, but while Adam McKay called the number ‘breathtaking,’ it was also unnecessary.

Adam McKay loved it so much that he endeavored to find a way to keep it in the film, and it sounds like he tried a lot of different things, moving things around and molding it. But, like trying to make a puzzle piece fit where it doesn’t belong, he was ultimately unable to do so.

There is a quote attributed to William Faulkner that writers must kill their darlings, and the same is true of filmmakers. The musical number was Adam McKay’s baby and he had to kill it by removing it from Vice. At least, as he told Variety, he isn’t pained by the loss of the musical number because he knows he did everything he could to save it.

While the musical number got the axe and the divisive film works without it, it does sound like it would have been a ton of fun. Adam McKay also told Variety that the musical number would have occurred when Steve Carell’s Donald Rumsfeld is teaching Christian Bale‘s Dick Cheney about how to succeed in politics. The song had the theme of how to get ahead and not caring about anything.

The song for the musical number was written by Moonlight‘s Oscar-nominated composer Nicholas Britell and featured the vocal talents of Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard. On top of that, Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler was chosen to choreograph the scene.

It’s hard not to want to see this scene now, but if you’ve seen Vice, you can kind of understand why it was cut. The content of the musical number as Adam McKay describes it is in some ways all encompassed in the scene in the film where Dick Cheney asks Donald Rumsfeld, “What do we believe in?” and Rumsfeld breaks into uncontrollable laughter.

That being said, the scene still sounds like a blast that fits with the humorous and satirical tone of the film, and those who liked Vice would certainly be curious to see it. Fortunately, Adam McKay said that he wants to put the deleted scene on Vice‘s eventual home video release.

Vice is now playing. Check out our premiere guide for all of the biggest movies to look forward to this year.

Bryan Cranston Really Wasn’t Sure About Kevin Hart As His Co-Star For The Upside

While Kevin Hart reigns as one of the most popular comedians in the world, his dramatic skills haven’t really been pushed to any really extreme level. It’s part of what makes Neil Burger’s The Upside a big change for him — but not everyone involved with the project was initially convinced that he was up for the task. One significant early naysayer was his would-be co-star Bryan Cranston, who told me about his initial reservations during an interview:

I had the opportunity to sit down with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart this past fall during the Los Angeles press day for The Upside, and during that conversation the former was very open and frank about his early impression of his co-star. While Cranston was fully aware of Hart’s gifts as a comedian, he wasn’t positive that he had what it took when it came to dramatic skills. Fortunately, that hesitance was proven foolish once the two had the opportunity to sit down and talk about their visions for the project.

Bryan Cranston related the second half of the story through a conversation that he had with his wife after he had after the meeting. To hear him tell it, he was convinced Kevin Hart was right for The Upside not because they ran lines from a script, but instead because of the way that they related to one another. Said Cranston,

The subject came up because the relationship between Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart’s characters is absolutely crucial to The Upside. A remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables, the movie is based on a true story and tells the story of Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), a struggling former criminal and father who winds up with a strange new job when he is hired to help take care of Phillip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), a wealthy quadriplegic writer. Both of them have their own separate issues, and it initially leads to some conflict, but as they continue to work together they begin to understand each other’s perspectives and significantly change.

You can watch the full discussion with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart by clicking on the video below — which also features some funny back-and-forth between the two actors in the run-up to the truth.

Following its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, The Upside is now getting a wide release — set to arrive in theaters nationwide this Friday. Be sure to also stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart.

Lupita Nyong’o Reveals The Changes She Made To Her Black Panther Character

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for over a decade, with Phase Three serving as its most successful batch of films yet. Plenty of new heroes were brought into the franchise, as the MCU became a more diverse and inclusive place, featuring women and people of color in the process.

This change in the property is perhaps best seen with Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. The acclaimed blockbuster has already become a modern classic, breaking box office records, earning positive reviews, and even award attention. The project is notable for featuring an almost entirely black cast, while also featuring plenty of complex women like Shuri, Ramonda, Okoye, and Nakia. The latter is played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, who recently revealed the way she contributed to the character’s development, saying:

I remember talking to Ryan extensively about her. We were both very keen for her to be more than just the love interest, and we wanted her to have her own agency, to occupy her own space, as well as, of course, to support T’Challa. One of the things we worked on was making her part and parcel of the main argument of the story, about whether to keep the borders open. At the heart of it, she’s an activist, which is a spirit I relate to.

In addition to playing Nakia with her typical strong acting abilities, it looks like Lupita Nyong’o was also very involved in the character’s adaptation from the comics to the silver screen. What resulted was a complicated and nuanced character who functioned both within and outside of the confines of Wakanda’s hidden safety.

Lupita Nyong’o’s comments to THR will make a great deal of sense for hardcore comic book fans who are familiar with Black Panther and Shuri’s roots on the page. Nakia was indeed a romantic interest for T’Challa, but it’s a story that has sometimes gone decidedly dark. Her obsession for her King has caused her to become the villainous Malice, which would certainly be an interesting plot twist for a future installment of the Black Panther franchise.

Ultimately this side of Nakia came out by making the Wakandan heroine a fierce spy, and having her love for T’Challa only part of her characterization. Furthermore, she ended up having a role in the fate of her country as a whole. In addition to fighting with Black Panther against Killmonger, she was part of T’Challa’s council regarding whether or not Wakanda should come out to the rest of the world.

The decision for T’Challa to share the power and wonder of Wakanda’s vibranium-infused society would ultimately factor into the film’s credits scene. Furthermore, it directly influenced the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The film’s biggest battle was set in the country, with Black Panther characters like Okoye, Shuri, and M’Baku popping back up to fight against Josh Brolin’s Mad Titan Thanos. As such, Nakia’s role in Ryan Coogler’s movie extends far beyond her screentime.

Speaking of screen time, Black Panther fans were disappointed and confused when Nakia was absent from the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Wakanda was a major setting for the film, but there were a handful of Black Panther characters that simply never factored into the narrative. For instance, Angela Bassett’s Ramonda was noticeably absent, as well as Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi.

While the Russo Brothers previously stated they knew the exact location of Nakia, that’s information that the directors haven’t shared with the public. As such, hardcore Marvel fans are left to speculate and theorize regarding her whereabouts, and whether or not she and the other absent Wakandans were able to survive Thanos’ finger snap of death (now known as The Decimation).

Wakanda is likely going to be in a precarious place when the timeline picks up in Avengers: Endgame. T’Challa’s reign on the Throne proved depressingly short, as the Black Panther was one of the many characters to faded to dust once Thanos was able to accrue the Infinity Stones. As such, the country is in dire need of a new ruler. And as far as the audience knows, the heart-shaped herb that contains the power of the Panther was destroyed by Killmonger.

Shuri seems like the most obvious choice to take the Throne in Wakanda, given her family’s bloodline. However, it’s unclear if Letitia Wright’s character survived The Decimation, as she was last seen battling Corvus Glaive and trying to protect Vision. The first trailer for Avengers: Endgame heavily implied Shuri got dusted, so could Nakia factor into the succession? Of course, the trailer could be throwing the fans off, with Shuri actually surviving Thanos’ snap. We’ll just have to wait and see.

It should be fascinating to see what comes next from the Black Panther franchise, given the first film’s massive success. Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster has become a staple of pop culture, making Marvel Studios a small fortune at the box office, while also being an important cultural moment. Marvel championing a black superhero broke new ground, and the film’s insane success seemingly proves that audiences respond to inclusion onscreen.

Before T’Challa is given a second solo movie, Chadwick Boseman’s signature Marvel character must somehow be revived from his fate at the end of Infinity War. While The Decimation was arguably the most devastating plot twist to come out of the MCU, it seems inevitable that Thanos’ apocalyptic attack would eventually be reversed. Characters like Black Panther, Spider-Man, and The Wasp are still early in their tenures in the shard universe, so it stands to reason that they would be saved, allowing things to go back to normal. But how?

Ryan Coogler is set to return for Black Panther 2, which is good news for fans of the young franchise. As such, Lupita Nyong’o will once again be able to collaborate with the director, and decide the direction Nakia will go in future appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Nakia’s fate will hopefully be revealed when Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters April 26th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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Kris Jenner Changed Her Hair, and It’s Scary How Much She Looks Like Kim

Kris Jenner‘s signature pixie cut has a life of its own, really. Her ‘do is basically responsible for a billion-dollar entertainment empire. In love with your Kylie Lip Kit? Thank Kris Jenner’s short brown locks. Jazzed about the latest KKW Beauty fragrance? Kris’ pixie is accepting checks. Simply put, her hair is iconic, and pop-culture wouldn’t be the same without it.

So when the momager changes up her look, people tend to flip. There was the time last year when she went platinum blond and spawned a million memes. And now, she’s at it again with a brand new style. Kris uploaded a photo of herself to Instagram this weekend with a top bun and loose, piece-y bangs, and she looks like a completely different person. More specifically, she looks like her daughter, Kim Kardashian.

I know what you’re thinking: They’re a mother-daughter duo, so of course they look alike—but this is legit. Sure, Kim and Kris have similar features, but I’m sure you’ve never mistaken one for the other. You’ve always known Kim is the one with a song called “Jam” and Kris loves wine. But just look at this photo of Kris, below. You’ll think—at least for a split second—that it’s Kim. I certainly did.

I’m not alone in this, either. “Kim looks just like you here,” one person commented on Kris’ post. “I thought this was lil kim,” wrote another.

Interestingly, Kris also bears a striking resemblance to her other daughter, Kendall, in this photo:

2015 American Music Awards - Arrivals

PHOTO: Getty Images

If all three of them stood in a line with this exact haircut, there’s no way I could tell them apart. Whoever can deserves a Pulitzer Prize. The power of bangs, people.

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Looks Like Star Trek 4 Might Not Be Happening Anymore

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Star Trek, the movie that explored the formation of the original U.S.S. Enterprise crew in an alternate timeline. The reboot was followed by 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, and for years there have been efforts to get a fourth movie off the ground. However, despite some significant progress being made last year to make that happen, it seems that Star Trek 4 might not see the light of day after all.

Last April, S.J. Clarkson was hired to direct Star Trek 4, which would have made her the first woman to helm a Star Trek movie. Fast-forward to today, it’s been announced that Clarkson will direct and executive produce the pilot for the Game of Thrones prequel series, and according to Deadline, she obtained the job after recently becoming available. It was then noted that Star Trek 4 “has since been shelved.” While this doesn’t constitute official confirmation that Star Trek 4 is no more, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the project.

Star Trek 4 was officially announced shortly before Star Trek Beyond‘s release in summer 2016, and the plan was for James T. Kirk to meet his father, George Kirk, who died shortly James was born in this continuity. But a couple months after S.J. Clarkson was hired to direct Star Trek 4, the production hit a major development snag. Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth exited talks with Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media over Star Trek 4 due to pay disputes. The two actors wanted to stick with their existing deals, but Paramount and Skydance wanted them to take pay cuts in order for the budget to work, with it being noted how Star Trek Beyond underperformed commercially.

Since then, there’s been no movement on Star Trek 4, and now if this latest report is to be believed, it’s apparently dead in space. It remains to be seen if Paramount will officially confirm or deny this claim, but for those of you who enjoyed the adventures of the Kelvin timeline’s U.S.S. Enterprise crew, you might have to make due with Beyond being their last cinematic tale and check out some of their comic book adventures from IDW to see what other strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations they came across.

Assuming Star Trek 4 is indeed dead, where does that leave the Star Trek franchise on film? Well, during that period where there was barely any news about Star Trek 4‘s development, it was reported that Quentin Tarantino pitched his own Star Trek idea, and The Revenant‘s Mark L. Smith was hired to write a screenplay based on said idea. It was later clarified that both Star Trek 4 and Tarantino’s Star Trek project were simultaneously in development, so perhaps with Star Trek 4 out of the picture, more time and effort will be poured into making the Tarantino project happen.

For now though, the Star Trek franchise is still chugging along on the small screen. The CBS All Access streaming site, to be specific. Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 premieres next week, and both Picard and Lower Decks are on the way. For any major updates about the future of the Star Trek film series, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.