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Rian Johnson Explains Why He Took So Many Risks In The Last Jedi

Of the myriad major film franchises, Star Wars is one of the most popular. George Lucas’ colorful space opera has entranced moviegoers for decades, with generations of film fans growing up watching each new episode. Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm helped to expand the galaxy far, far away, with filmmakers able to craft new stories within the beloved property. Rian Johnson did just that with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, making liberal changes to the canon and storytelling risks that didn’t always jive well with the fandom.

The Last Jedi picked up shortly after the events of The Force Awakens, and Rian Johnson’s plot twists subverted fan expectations for the highly anticipated blockbuster. Rey’s parentage, Snoke’s fate, and Leia’s Force abilities threw the collective fandom for a loop, and now the Knives Out director has explained why he took so many risks with his addition to the Star Wars franchise. He said:

The man’s got a point. Filmmaking is all about artistic expression, even when its in major franchises. Rather than doing a color by numbers version of a Star Wars movie, he took risks that will forever change the overall canon. And by doing so, he provided countless surprising moments for cinephiles in theaters.

Rian Johnson’ comments from Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt help to illuminate his thought process when approaching Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The collective fandom was shocked by the choices he made for the film’s characters, especially when it came to franchise favorites like Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.

The Last Jedi shocked fans when it arrived in December of 2017. And while the blockbuster originally was the subject of fan backlash, it’s clear that Lucasfilm and Disney were happy with Rian Johnson’s work. After all, he’s developing his own trilogy of movies, so his perspective on the galaxy isn’t going anywhere.

It should be interesting to see how Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker moves on from the events of The Last Jedi. It was revealed that Leia has Force Abilities, and Rey’s parentage was seemingly revealed by Kylo Ren in the last film’s third act. Fans are also eager to see if Snoke is further explored, following his unceremonious death in Episode VIII.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20th. CinemaBlend will also keep you updated on Rian Johnson’s upcoming trilogy as details are revealed. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

IT Chapter Two Director Open To Director’s Cut That Combines Both Movies

Stephen King’s novel IT is a massive tome weighing in at over 1,000 pages, so when it came time to adapt the epic for the big screen, the story was split into two parts that would play out over two films. Though one day we could see those two parts put back together into one massive film. That’s because IT Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti is open to a director’s cut that combines both movies, as he explained:

So many possibilities! As Andy Muschietti told SFX magazine, there’s the possibility for a version of the film that combines IT and IT Chapter Two into one director’s cut. This supercut, akin to Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, would put the two films together into one massive movie that would give us the whole story of the Loser’s Club and Pennywise. What’s unclear is if such a director’s cut would just be the two films basically running one after the other or if it would all be re-edited.

The first film only featured the Loser’s Club as kids, whereas IT Chapter Two will show the adult Loser’s Club as well as have flashbacks to their younger years. So I wonder if all the flashbacks would be integrated into the first half of the film, or if this supercut would alternate between the two timelines as the novel does. Regardless, it would surely be long and have a runtime that lives up to the book’s page count.

The first film from 2017 is 2 hours and 15 minutes and the upcoming IT Chapter Two is a bladder-busting 2 hours and 45 minutes, a runtime Andy Muschietti has defended as necessary. If you add those up, you get a whopping 5-hour movie. That’s substantially longer than the 3 hour and 12 minute mini-series starring Tim Curry from 1990. And those are just the theatrical cuts!

Andy Muschietti also mentioned the possibility of special director’s cuts of IT and IT Chapter Two, which would presumably be longer than the theatrical cuts. His original cut of IT Chapter Two alone was four hours and he has plans to use that as a starting point to edit his extended, director’s cut of that film, a cut that he encouragingly says is “definitely going to happen.”

It’s not entirely clear from his statement if the supercut that combines Chapter One and Chapter Two would just use the theatrical material or if it would also draw from the special director’s cuts, but I tend to think the latter. Once you’re over 4 hours, you might as well put in everything you want. Frankly, it sounds like IT could get the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition type treatment and while longer isn’t necessarily better, I’d love for us to get the chance to judge for ourselves.

Andy Muschietti seems excited and bullish on these alternate versions of the film and given how much the first movie made and how much the second movie is tracking at, it would be smart to put out as many versions of this film as possible. We’ll have to wait a while to see what happens, but with any luck, when IT Chapter Two arrives on home video we’ll get a director’s cut of the two movies as well as a box set with a supercut of the entire story.

First it has to hit theaters though and IT Chapter Two opens on September 6. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the big movies floating to the big screen the rest of this year.

Joaquin Phoenix Was Originally Fearful Of Playing The Joker

The Joker comes from one of the most intriguing and twisted corners of the superhero genre. Perhaps this is why the Clown Prince of Crime has inspired unforgettable performances from the likes of Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill and Jack Nicholson. The iconic role has a riches of oddity to explore, so it’s no wonder Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix has stepped into the role for Todd Phillips’ Joker. However, the actor does admit he was originally hesitant. In Phoenix’s words:

It should excite fans to hear Joaquin Phoenix has no regrets about taking on the Joker for the upcoming drama, but at first he was fearful to sign on to the role. As he explained to Gamesradar:

There’s more to playing the Joker than the typical fare Joaquin Phoenix has taken on in the past. He’s a universally recognizable character, so there will inherently be more eyes on the project and it follows years upon years of comic book history and other adaptations fans will be comparing him against. However, writer/director Todd Phillips said Joker doesn’t follow any of the source material and since being a part of the project Phoenix has said he doesn’t care about what people will think about it.

Joker is a psychological drama shot in just a couple months on a $55 million budget. It’s said to be in the vein of Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy and Taxi Driver and described as a character study of Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, a man “disregarded by society”. There does seem to be a sprinkle here and there to the character’s roots in the DC universe, but it’s no typical “superhero genre” film.

Joaquin Phoenix has steered away from high-profile blockbuster flicks throughout his career, often signing on to dramas helmed by critically-acclaimed directors. The actor is best known for embodying Johnny Cash in James Mangold’s Walk the Line, along with lead roles in Spike Jonze’s Her, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Inherent Vice. But he found an exciting challenge in the Joker that drew him to new territory. In his words about his Joker character:

The R-rated flick follows further unique exploration for the comic book genre, that Mangold’s Logan and the Deadpool movies has surprised fans prior. Joker will be premiering at the Venice Film Festival next week and screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before reaching theaters on October 4.

The 12 Best Seth Rogen Movies And The 3 Worst

Seth Rogen - Knocked Up

In the past couple decades, Seth Rogen has transformed into one of the most dependably funny filmmakers working in Hollywood today. The smart and consistently funny actor/writer/director has built his brand off of sophomoric comedies and a lot of jokes based on weed and genitalia. That said, it’s clear that through his surprisingly eclectic resume, he has continued to push himself as a performer and storyteller. That’s allowed his signature brand of comedy to be found in a variety of different genres and allowed himself to find lively, exciting ways to explore his acute worldview in fresh, funny ways.

With the recent release of Good Boys, the latest R-rated comedy produced by the comedian and his working partner, Evan Goldberg, it felt like a good time to look back on Seth Rogen’s filmography and celebrate the actor/writer/director’s greatest triumphs, while also noting his few scattered misfires. Nobody has a perfect track record, after all. But looking at his resume, it’s clear that Seth Rogen has had a hand in some of the most noteworthy and entertaining comedies of the past two decades. Comedy is always subjective, but it’s hard to think of many other comedians who go out of their way to make movies that are as enjoyable, heartfelt and hilarious at a consistent clip. But Seth Rogen has continued to prove himself time and time again.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at Seth Rogen’s best movies, while also taking some time to comment on his, well, less-than-stellar films as well.

The Best Seth Rogen Movies

Seth Rogen, Dave Franco - The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist (2017)

In James Franco’s surprisingly touching biopic dramedy, based on cult filmmaker Tommy Wiseau and the making of his so-bad-it’s-great melodrama disasterpiece, The Room, Franco honored the mysterious filmmaker by taking on both acting and directing duties simultaneously, allowing himself to become the oddball guy as both a performer and filmmaker. Thankfully, however, the movie made by James Franco is notably better than what we got from Tommy Wiseau (if not quite as quotable). One big reason why this film worked where so many other films directed by Franco fell apart is knowing that Rogen played a heavy hand as a producer, both on-screen in the role of real-life script supervisor Sandy Schklair, and behind-the-scenes as well.

This is an emotional and tender, but also often funny and entertaining look at the creative process, and how one’s desire to prove themselves and make something big and bold in the art-making process is ultimately more important and meaningful than making something that actually stands up to greatness. The Disaster Artist is a familial effort, allowing Franco to work with his brother, Dave Franco, and his friends, like Seth Rogen and many more. It provides a satirical, yet sympathetic look at what makes the moviemaking process so rewarding — even if the reception isn’t exactly what you’d hope it would be.

Seth Rogen, Zac Efron - Neighbors

Neighbors (2014)

A fun and inspired twist on the frat house comedy, Neighbors finally gives us something we didn’t often see from those ’80s comedies: the perspective of the cranky older neighbors trying to mind their own business without being disturbed by their party-loving lawn-sharers. It’s a cheeky reversal that Seth Rogen and director Nicholas Stoller got sufficient mileage from, allowing the perspective of both the recent father (Rogen) and the head of the frat (Zac Efron) to get nearly equal screen-time, allowing neither party (hardy har har) to be either completely antagonistic or totally justified in their stance.

The result is not exactly the best comedy we have gotten from Seth Rogen and his crew, but it’s an often enjoyable and consistently amusing R-rated comedy, one that finds the actor both indulging in the juvenile humor that made his brand while also maturing and recognizing that he is getting older, and that he’s closer to being a functional adult than the party-loving college students living next door. It’s a good transition point for the actor/writer, and it turned into one of his most profitable films to boot. The sequel, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, while solid, didn’t earn the same high attendance.

Seth Rogen - Observe And Report

Observe And Report (2009)

One of the more controversial and divisive titles in Seth Rogen’s filmography, and among the darker and more disturbing of Rogen’s comedies, Jody Hill’s sophomore film, Observe and Report, might not be an easy sell — even for some of Rogen’s diehard enthusiasts. Yet, if you like your comedy to be a little more on the twisted side of the equation, this unhinged, mean-spirited studio comedy is certainly among the bolder movies Rogen has done. And, in my view, it’s one of his strongest and most unflinching performances, proving what the actor could do when he pushes past his likable image.

A film that was inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver more than anything starring Seth Rogen, prior to its release, Observe and Report had the ugly misfortune of being compared — under rather shallow terms — to Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the Kevin James comedy which came out only a few months before, and it never quite got its due. As I said before, it’s one of the few studio dark comedies that is not afraid to really get into some nasty territory, making it an intentionally uncomfortable sit for many views. I don’t begrudge anyone who has trouble stomaching some of its character turns. But it’s still a stand-out for Seth Rogen, allowing the actor to challenge himself and push himself beyond his usual comfort zone and prove what he can do. It won’t win everyone over, but it’s one that is definitely worth considering and ultimately one of Seth Rogen’s most surprising and underrated titles.

Seth Rogen - The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

While The 40-Year-Old Virgin is more of a vehicle for Steve Carrell’s budding film career than a full showcase for Seth Rogen’s comedy prowess, it was one of the actor’s first noteworthy movie appearances. And because he was in quite a few scenes, the rising comedy star arguably stole the show. While certainly the crudest and most foul-mouthed of Carrell’s on-screen companions, Seth Rogen’s Cal is often showing his rather twisted, yet sweet side —doing what he can to tell his office mate get laid for the first time. Among the most outspokenly sexual members of the bunch, Cal does what he can to make sure Carrell’s Andy isn’t holding his V-card for long, and his frank and perverted dialogue provides some of the most raunchy and risqué jokes in the movie.

Ultimately, while it’s the title that launched Judd Apatow’s directorial career and helped Steve Carrell become a marquee name when The Office was starting to become regular viewing for TV viewers around the country, The 40-Year-Old Virgin isn’t necessarily celebrated for Seth Rogen’s involvement. But his contributions to the laugh department shouldn’t be ignored, and his involvement — notably sans shirt — in the “Aquarius” music number towards the very end of the movie alone makes it easy to put this movie on the list of Seth Rogen favorites. He wouldn’t be who he is today without it.

James Franco, Seth Rogen - Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express (2008)

Easily among the most celebrated of Seth Rogen’s comedies, David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express played a huge part in making the actor a regular at the multiplex. The stoner action-comedy, which was also one of the big movies that helped to crystalize the big screen dynamic between Rogen and his scene-stealing co-star, James Franco, is a light-hearted romp that’s not light on laughs, action, drug consumption or violence.

But the R-rated action-comedy also has a big, beating heart, amid the smoking and shooting, for his scrappy low-life characters who become unlikely action superstars in the midst of the movie’s fast-moving turn-of-events. That fine mix of raunchiness and sweetness became more consistent than ever in Seth Rogen’s resume through this heartfelt, fun-loving comedy, providing Rogen and Franco with another starring vehicle worth cruising at high speeds.

Seth Rogen - Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs (2015)

While Danny Boyle’s unconventional biopic Steve Jobs is often celebrated for Michael Fassbender’s exceptional lead performance in the role of the troubled title genius, one would be remiss to overlook the tremendous supporting work of his co-star Seth Rogen, playing Jobs’ disgruntled right wing, Steve Wozniak. It’s an exceptional dramatic performance from the typically-comedic actor, once again showcasing Rogen’s undervalued acting range.

Given the task of playing one of the more subdued yet pivotal roles in the dramatic film, Seth Rogen provides one of the strongest performances in Steve Jobs, which is no easy task considering the high volume of talent attached to this project. His performance often feels raw and reserved, allowing us to see the frustration and also the acceptance that must come from working with some as egotistical yet undeniably brilliant as Steve Jobs — even if, as Steve Wozniak knows, he is the one who is behind some of the greatest inventions in Apple’s history, and even if Steve Jobs will take the credit for his hard work. In the end, then, it’s only fitting that Michael Fassbender got most of the praise while Rogen got overlooked, which is why we wish to celebrate it here.

Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler - Funny People

Funny People (2009)

In some respects, Funny People can either be seen as Judd Apatow’s misunderstood masterpiece or his most indulgent, overlong movie to date. I’m not quite on either side of the extremes, but I am certainly closer to the former than the latter. Judd Apatow’s third film is, once again, a personal and heartfelt examination at lonely, joke-friendly people trying to make it through the tribulations of life as best as they possibly can. With the story focused on a once-respected comedic actor (Adam Sandler) suffering from cancer and potentially months away from his death, however, it’s considerably more heavy than the usual light-hearted films we expect from the prominent writer/director/producer. And while it’s Sandler’s film, Rogen is also quite good.

While Seth Rogen’s Ira Wright is a little more mild-mannered and gentle than some of the other Seth Rogen characters we got before then, it’s still very much a role from Rogen’s enjoyable blend of jokey-but-warm. He is caring and sweet, but he is also believably affable, and it’s one of the roles that is best able to channel the everyman charm that has played a big role in the actor’s appeal in the comedy scene. Paired well with Adam Sandler giving one of his best performances to date, Funny People provides both actors with a highly respectable and likably sincere look at comedy, living in the entertainment industry and what it means to make people laugh, even when you’re crying inside. It lives up to its title, but Funny People is simultaneously a nice comedy and a respectable drama for these typically chuckle-friendly entertainers, and it’s a shame that it didn’t get a warmer reception upon release.

James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride - This is the End

This Is The End (2013)

Having proven themselves as both writers and producers through a variety of hit-making comedies in the past five-to-seven years, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg finally decided to jump into the director’s chairs with the apocalyptic ensemble comedy This Is The End. A horror-comedy with amble room for its talented team of actors to play around with the possibility of being holed up together during the literal apocalypse, This Is The End is both a very fun take on the hangout comedy, one that is given some serious stakes with the world literally ending outside their door, and a nice chance for all the stars to reflect upon their careers — and the highs-and-lows found therein — as they played heightened variations of their celebrity personas.

Benefitted nicely by allowing the talented actors to stay (mostly) restrained to their surroundings, allowing the talented actors to bounce off each other frequently and letting the improvisation comedy come naturally, while never entirely overdoing it in the process, This Is The End was a fine step forward for Seth Rogen as a screenwriter and newly-minted director, as well as another fine showcase of his buddy acting charms working off Jay Baruchel. Even as people are dying left-and-right and dangers lurk outside, there is a softness to the emotional core of the movie, and it was firm proof that Seth Rogen could take his well-proven style of comedy into new genres, expanding himself and his talents in a major way for future projects.

Seth Rogen - The Night Before

The Night Before (2015)

One of the most underrated movies from Seth Rogen to date, The Night Before was unjustly overlooked upon its release, with its holiday-themed festivities being glazed over in the busy winter holiday movie season. That’s a shame, because at its best, The Night Before represents what can be so jolly and bright about a really solid Seth Rogen vehicle. Particularly when it comes to his warm and tidy buddy dynamic with Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which makes for a delightful reunion with the actor’s solid 50/50 collaborators, including director Jonathan Levine.

A fast-paced, richly-inspired romp that keeps the laughs moving and the warm holiday feelings in mind, The Night Before is a wonderfully well-realized movie about what the importance of the holiday season can be, not merely for what it means to bring people together, but how the holidays are very important reminders of what is lost when we get too caught up in our lives and don’t spend time with the people we love. It’s a familiar message, but it’s one that’s told with a bundle of laughs and a lot of heart to boot. If you’re looking for a fine holiday classic to add to your collection, I’d make a point to check out The Night Before, just in case you get a little tired of watching A Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation later this season.

Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50

50/50 (2011)

One of the actor/producer’s richest efforts in the dramedy category, 50/50 (much like Funny People, funny enough) tackles one of the toughest topics —cancer —and turns it into a rich, poignant look at life, friendship, humanity and what it means to be alive, even when you are potentially on the verge of death. It’s a powerful, gently touching movie, and the irreverent-yet-sympathetic comedic styles of Rogen’s well-established brand of comedy prove to be a great combination for this movie, one that is almost effortlessly able to blend laughs and tears into a complete and satisfying package. The result is one tremendously tender triumph, and it’s another showcase for how the movies that allow Rogen to stretch himself warmly become his best.

Benefitting nicely from the firm buddy friendship of Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, while also being paired with screenwriter Will Reiser’s autobiographical screenplay and commendably nuanced direction from Jonathan Levine, 50/50 takes what could’ve easily been too sentimental and saccharine, and turns it into a richly affecting look at life and laughter, resulting — in my opinion — in one of the best films from Seth Rogen to date.

Seth Rogen, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader - Superbad

Superbad (2007)

Just a couple short months after Seth Rogen became the new leading man in comedy with his heartfelt and immensely charming lead performance in Knocked Up, Rogen proved that his talents extended behind-the-scenes in addition to in front of it with his screenwriting debut (alongside his regular collaborator Evan Goldberg) in Superbad. The R-rated coming-of-age comedy, which is quite easily among the most personal of his projects to date, focuses on the hardships of learning to say goodbye to your best buddy, and recognizing that sometimes life will take you away from the people you love the most, even if the emotions felt between you are still palpable and strong. It became one of the most sincere, winsome bromances of the ’00s.

That said, the comedy is still as crude as the day is long. And this comedy, which focuses on a day-in-the-life of these socially-awkward high school teenagers trying to find the night of their lives before they find themselves in college several miles away, is both relatable and bombastic, finding a nice mix of realistic and over-the-top while never going too far in either direction. It’s benefitted nicely from the influence of indie director Greg Mottola, who gives the movie its nice blend of heartfelt character beats while staying true to the raunch and silliness you expect from a juvenile comedy in this vein. It remains one of Seth Rogen’s finest accomplishments, and it’s the film that firmly solidified his status as one of Hollywood’s major new comedy makers.

Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl - Knocked Up

Knocked Up (2007)

When deciding which of Seth Rogen’s movies are the best, there are clearly several different options to choose from. The actor has provided an abundance of riches to the comedy world, and it’s apparent that he is only continuing to find his stride as an actor, writer, director and producer. But if you must pick the best, it’s hard to overlook Knocked Up, the comedy that firmly proved to moviegoers that writer/director Judd Apatow is the real deal and the movie that richly put Seth Rogen into leading man territory. It’s easily one of the smartest, most delightful, most human and heartfelt comedies of the 21st century.

Based on what happened between Judd Apatow and his wife, Leslie Mann, when it came to the birth of their first daughter and the formation of their relationship, Knocked Up finds Seth Rogen in an unlikely one night stand with Katherine Heigl’s Allison Scott, a woman who is ultimately very much out of his league. And together, when they are thrust into a pregnancy that neither of them anticipated, they begin to form a cuddly and likable bond, one that grows stronger as the audience warms up to their dynamic more and more. It’s a romantic comedy that even those who aren’t fans of the genre can appreciate immensely, and that’s benefitted enormously from the wonderful performance from Seth Rogen, which is filled with life, care and an abundance of sympathy and sincerity, even during the most outlandish comedy beats. It’s a highly likable film, and it’s arguably still Rogen’s best.

The Worst Seth Rogen Movies

Seth Rogen - Monsters Vs. Aliens

Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009)

While Seth Rogen has one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood today, there haven’t been too many movies that have taken advantage of those vocal talents. To be clear, there are several animated movies featuring Seth Rogen, but many of them either have Rogen in a very minor role (Kung Fu Panda, for instance) or they don’t find the actor living up to his full potential (like Sausage Party). Alas, Monsters Vs. Aliens is one of the most underwhelming animated movies in recent years, neither allowing its goofy and promising premise to flourish or let Rogen excel in his voice talents.

As the voice of B.O.B., a one-eyed slimeball who can twist and contort himself in a number of ways, Rogen is at least one of the standouts of the film, getting some of the biggest laughs and providing his likably goofy charm to the animated role. Alas, it’s ultimately just a middling movie with very little living up to its potential. While it gave Seth Rogen a chance to expand himself into both animation and family-friendly entertainment, it is sadly a dud.

Seth Rogen, Jay Chou - The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet (2011)

As this worst list would suggest, Seth Rogen tends to strike out more than he succeeds whenever he moves outside his R-rated comfort zone. While the actor/writer likes to experiment with genre and tone in a variety of projects, it’s often the ones that land either PG or PG-13 ratings that tend to misfire. It is clear, then, that The Green Hornet was an ambitious, but underwhelming effort for the actor/writer/producer, hoping to expand himself into a blockbuster for his outsized persona, but not cracking the formula right, despite his best efforts. Sony’s superhero project wasn’t very super after all.

Taking on writing in addition to acting duties for this reimagining of the masked crime fighter, Seth Rogen tried to translate his lighthearted charm into this silly, good-natured take on the material. But it felt half-hearted in a way that most Seth Rogen films, whether good or not, often feel entirely whole-hearted. With a confused blend of tones and comedic stylings, the result was the rare lackluster miscalculation from Seth Rogen that’s not so much bad, but entirely mediocre, which in some respects makes it worse. But The Green Hornet‘s failure was one that taught Rogen and Evan Goldberg a very valuable lesson that they continued to apply later: it’s better to make lower budget risks than to try to conform into any big-budget expectations.

Seth Rogen, Barbara Streisand - The Guilt Trip

The Guilt Trip (2012)

A mother-son road trip dramedy with Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand: what could go wrong? Alas, The Guilt Trip, while almost entirely gentle and good-natured, was a disappointing misfire. Meant to be something in the vein of a James L. Brooks heart-tugger, with a liberal dose of love and laughs, The Guilt Trip isn’t too far removed from some of Rogen’s better movies. Only, this time, it would be more wholesome than dirty comedy. But The Guilt Trip is overly sentimental and saccharine in a way that most Rogen movies tend to avoid being, resulting in a comedy that’s disposable and forgettable in a way that Rogen movies tend not to be, even when they aren’t entirely successful. The result is something you don’t usually get from a Seth Rogen movie: a boring, bland and ultimately middling effort, with nothing in the way of character of personality to make it stand out or succeed.

While it’s nice to have the rare Seth Rogen movie that you can’t take your grandma to see and not feel awkward about it, The Guilt Trip is hopelessly underwhelming, lacking anything resembling distinction or visual flair, even though the movie does have a nice heart in the right moments. While both Rogen and Barbara Streisand have a nice on-screen dynamic, which helps to make some of the listless comedy have a bit of a kick, it’s not enough to make it something worthwhile, resulting in a disappointing and unsuccessful comedy that does go down smooth, but it leaves very little to reflect upon. And worse of all, it’s light in the laughs department, making something that would live out its legacy in Wal-Mart bargain bins, then hopefully forgotten.

There are a few other Seth Rogen movies that didn’t get mentioned here. For instance, Drillbit Taylor, which became another PG-13 misfire from screenwriter Seth Rogen, is best left forgotten. Additionally, Paul, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Like Father, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and The Interview, are likable enough, but they are neither the best nor worst we’ve seen from Seth Rogen. (Though, that said, there’s something to be noted about The Interview almost starting a war, which isn’t something you can say about a lot comedies out today — good or bad.)

I also liked Take This Waltz, but it does not quite make its way into the top ten for Seth Rogen. And its not exactly a “Seth Rogen movie,” though it is definitely one that I appreciated. I’m also not a fan of The Lion King (2019), but I’m not here to pick fights. And there are a lot of folks here who liked it.

Do you agree or disagree with these selections? Let us know in the comment sections how you feel about this ranking.

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When Halloween Kills Will Begin Filming, According To Co-Writer Danny McBride

As it turns out, Michael Myers is extremely hard to kill. So despite Laurie Strode’s best-laid plans, the Shape will return to do battle with her once again in not one, but two sequel films to last year’s Halloween. The first of those sequels is next year’s Halloween Kills and although that film was just announced last month, it is set to start filming very soon, as co-writer Danny McBride explained:

They’re really not wasting any time are they? The sequel to last year’s Halloween will go before cameras not long after it was officially announced. In less than a month, Halloween Kills will begin filming and while it seemed like it took a while to get confirmation that Halloween was getting a sequel in the first place, once that confirmation came, things were ‘off to the races,’ just as Danny McBride said.

Clearly a lot of the pieces for Halloween Kills must have already been in place prior to the official announcement. That includes the script for the sequel, written by Danny McBride, director David Gordon Green and Scott Teems, which was obviously good to go. We’ve heard from director David Gordon Green that there was always a plan to do more Halloween movies, so that makes sense.

That was one of the cool things about the announcement to begin with. We heard rumors that Halloween was getting a sequel or sequels, but we didn’t know for sure and as soon as we found out, the movies already had titles, directors, writers and release dates and in a few short weeks the first one will be filming.

So if Halloween Kills begins principal photography sometime in September, the filmmakers will have about a year’s time to work on it before next Halloween. And although Universal Pictures announced both Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends at the same time, these two sequels will not be shooting back to back.

As Danny McBride told Polygon, the script for Halloween Ends, which he is writing alongside David Gordon Green, Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier, is almost finished and the plan is to shoot that film in that same late summer/early fall time period next year.

This is highly encouraging for horror fans and fans of the Halloween franchise because it really seems like the creatives and the companies behind these films and this property have a plan in place and know what they are doing with this franchise. Sure there could be rewrites or reshoots, but at the current moment, the way Danny McBride portrays it, things are moving along swimmingly.

The plot to Halloween Kills is still a mystery but we know that it will continue the saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. The film will once again star Jamie Lee Curtis and it is possible that Charles Cypher could also reprise his role as Sheriff Leigh Brackett from the original 1978 film.

Halloween Kills slashes into theaters on October 16, 2020. If you’re interested in seeing Danny McBride onscreen, you can check out his new series The Righteous Gemstones on HBO. For movies still to come this year, keep an eye on our premiere guide.

Godzilla Vs Kong Director Isn’t Concerned About The Film’s Rating

Godzilla: King of the Monsters might not have made the biggest splash in theaters, but we won’t have to wait too long to see how the next MonsterVerse entry does (assuming there’s no delay). Right now, Godzilla vs. Kong is seven months away from release, and by the end of the year, we may know what rating it will receive from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

Director Adam Wingard isn’t particularly concerned on the rating front, but given that the previous three MonsterVerse movies have been rated PG-13, he doesn’t expect Godzilla vs. Kong will be any different. In his words:

While certain franchises have made the leap from PG-13 to R, like the X-Men film series did with Deadpool and Logan, it makes sense why the MonsterVerse probably won’t follow suit. While their critical and commercial performances range, these movies are still relatively heavy hitters in the Hollywood sphere, so why mess with that equation?

Still, the prospect of Godzilla and King Kong duking it out with all the gore on full display is an exciting prospect for adult fans of these kinds of monster movies too. That said, as Adam Wingard also mentioned his interview with Gormaru Island, these kinds of action blockbusters need to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, though Wingard also noted the irony of this considering his two favorite movies as a kid were both R-rated. Wingard said:

I have no doubt that if Godzilla vs. Kong were rated R, plenty of kids would find ways to watch it, some from sneaking into the theater and others by just getting ahold of a home media copy. But as far as ticket sales are concerned, Godzilla vs. Kong is more likely to draw a bigger audience by staying in PG-13 territory rather than taking a risk and making it R, especially at this critical juncture for the MonsterVerse.

As it stands now, Godzilla vs. Kong is the last MonsterVerse installment on the calendar. There have been discussions about future movies and characters that could be introduced, but given how Godzilla: King of the Monsters critically and commercially underperformed, I imagine Warner Bros is waiting to see how Godzilla vs. Kong performs before deciding to move forward, press pause to implement changes or just end things there.

However things turn out, at least fans are finally getting a showdown between Godzilla vs Kong in a Hollywood production. Godzilla vs. Kong’s cast includes Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Jessica Henwick, Julian Dennison and Demián Bichir. Terry Rossio wrote the screenplay.

Godzilla vs. Kong rampages into theaters on March 13, 2020, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage, and don’t forget to keep track of everything coming out for the rest of the year with our 2019 release schedule.

One Concern We Already Have With Cruella

Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians

One of the biggest stories surrounding Disney’s dominant 2019 has been the powerhouse studio’s continued success with the live-action remakes of its own animated classics. With over $7 billion from remakes in less than a decade and two $1 billion titles just this year, Disney won’t be abandoning this strategy anytime soon (until it runs out of classics to remake, of course).

Next on the docket though is 2020’s Mulan, which looks fantastic, but is courting its own various controversies that Disney will have to contend with. Then in December 2020… scratch that, May 2021, comes Cruella, and while we have yet to see anything from that film, there is one concern we already have.

Cruella stars Emma Stone as Cruella de Vil, the villain from Disney’s 1961 animated classic 101 Dalmatians. Unlike most of Disney’s live-action remakes, which are direct adaptations of the animated films, Cruella will be a prequel and act as an origin story of sorts for the Disney villain, presumably similar to what was done with Maleficent.

The problem with that approach, or at least the concern we have from our current vantage, is that Cruella will ask us to follow, empathize with and root for a character who will go on to try and murder puppies, and nothing that could possibly happen in this film will redeem her, justify her future actions or even make them understandable.

Let’s take Maleficent as a template for what Cruella could be, since that’s Disney’s only live-action reimagining so far that has focused on the villain as the main character. Maleficent put a new spin on the story by telling us “the truth” behind the tale of Sleeping Beauty, following Angelina Jolie’s powerful fairy as she is betrayed and violated by her love Stefan.

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

Seeing things from her perspective makes her actions understandable. Cursing the infant Aurora is a horrible act, but it is an act of revenge, born out of pain by someone who has been hurt very badly and no longer believes in love. I wasn’t personally a fan of Disney taking, in my opinion, its most iconic villain and making her more misunderstood than villainous, but it works in the context of the story Maleficent tells.

Now contrast this with the Cruella de Vil we know from 101 Dalmatians. In the original film, Cruella de Vil is a wealthy heiress and former schoolmate of Perdita’s owner Anita. She is obsessed with fur and wants to make fur coats out of the Dalmatians, going so far as to hire a pair of henchmen to steal the dogs.

Cruella is a despicable and cruel character (it’s right there in the name), whose vanity, selfishness and lack of empathy for other living creatures drives her to heinous acts.

The live-action film has been described as having a “punk vibe,” and while some reports said it would be set in the ’80s, according to Collider, it will take place in 1970s London in the high fashion world. Emma Stone’s character will be a lowly department store worker who sees a rich woman called the Baroness wearing her deceased mother’s locket, which was lost at the Baroness’ estate the night she died. The film will follow Cruella’s attempt to get it back in what sounds like an Ocean’s Eight meets The Devil Wears Prada story.

Regardless of whether that premise is correct or not, Cruella will presumably explain why the dalmatians are so important to the character’s backstory and what events precipitated and possibly spurred her actions in 101 Dalmatians. Maybe the Baroness had dalmatians or other dogs that bit Cruella or something like that, an event that cemented her hatred for dogs and love of fur.

Sorry, but I don’t care what happened to Cruella or what struggles she went through. If a dog bit her, too bad. Neither the tragic death of her mother, nor the struggle at a dead end job, nor a feud with a rich and powerful enemy. Nothing makes stealing and murdering puppies to make fur coats a relatable or understandable act. That makes a film where Cruella is the protagonist a tough sell.

Cruella driving in a fit of rage

Maleficent was taking revenge on a person who had wronged her, but Cruella enacted her evils on innocent animals, which, by their very nature, didn’t bear any responsibility for her ills. And I don’t think we can undersell that audiences allowed for some moral flexibility with Maleficent’s actions because they take place in a fantasy world. Cruella will take place in a world that quite similar to our own, where many of us have dogs as pets.

Cruella is different from a lot of other Disney villains in her evils. Ursula wanted power rule the seas, Jafar the power to rule Agrabah, Scar wanted to be king and Gaston wanted Belle, but Cruella wants to spill blood to make herself a fancy coat. If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will. There’s a difference there.

This isn’t a case of a villain like Magneto, who has an ideology and does the wrong things for the right reason. You can understand his actions even if you don’t agree with them. There is no nuance in puppy murder. Killing pets like that is something serial killers do, and I don’t know how you have a protagonist like Cruella whose destiny will lead her to that. It’s a big ask to invest in a character whose future actions are that unjustifiable.

This is a major concern in my mind for Cruella, and in many ways makes such an origin story untenable. However, despite these reservations, I expect Disney could and probably has found a way to make it work and there are some possibilities on that front.

On the one hand, this film could embrace Cruella’s villainy and instead of making her a misunderstood, sympathetic character, let her become the full on evil, detestable harpy she always has been. Watching the making of a villain is a pretty cool thing as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the book), the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Breaking Bad proved.

Cruella director Craig Gillespie previously directed I, Tonya, which followed figure skater Tonya Harding. While not excusing Harding’s actions, that film takes a comedic look at her life and audiences could see how her struggles informed the deeply flawed person she became. You never root for Tonya Harding though. But Cruella is a Disney movie and it is not Disney’s way to do that kind of thing or to have an unlikable protagonist.

Emma Stone in The Favourite

Emma Stone is brilliant casting as Cruella, and as she proved in The Favourite, she can play a truly nasty, selfish character. Yet it seems unlikely the studio would make a Cruella-centric movie where she really gets to be the bad guy and becomes the villain we all know by film’s end. Maleficent is testament to that. As is the fact that Emma Thompson is in talks to join the cast, possibly as the Baroness. Some reports on her casting have pegged her as the villain. That would make Emma Stone’s Cruella de Vil, future dead animal wearer, you guessed it, the hero.

Another approach would take a cue from Maleficent, which pitched itself as the truth behind the Sleeping Beauty tale. In that way, Cruella could basically retcon the story of Cruella de Vil and 101 Dalmatians, similar to the way the Fast & Furious franchise is constantly retconning the actions of its villains so they can join the team.

Maleficent changed Maleficent’s history and motivations, but she still cursed Aurora. Cruella would have to make it so that Cruella wasn’t really stealing the dalmatians to turn them into coats in 101 Dalmatians. Instead, she had some other motivation, like trying to save them or something like that. Making this not a prequel, but essentially an alternate reality story with a different Cruella. That seems like the most likely approach and perhaps the only way this film could work for such a despicable character.

This would fundamentally alter the entire story and completely defang the character, but Cruella is a reimagining. While that wouldn’t be my preference, we all lament when Disney’s live-action remakes don’t take any risks or make changes to the originals.

I expect Disney and director Craig Gillespie have cracked how to tackle the story of Cruella de Vil, and Cruella will come out and be a financial success just like most of Disney’s live-action remakes have been. But for the moment, the abhorrent actions and loathsome nature of the character are a major concern for her origin film.

Cruella now opens in theaters on May 28, 2021. Check out our guide to keep track of all of Disney’s upcoming live-action remakes.

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How Far Would The Brittany Runs A Marathon Cast Get In An Actual Marathon

Acting means that you can pretend to do anything, with filmmaking supporting the actor’s aspirations by making it look possible. When it comes to writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s indie dramedy Brittany Runs A Marathon, the big feat is telling the extremely realistic story of Jillian Bell’s Britney Forgler taking on that 26.2 mile monster.

Outside of the practical movie magic that made it look like Bell ran the entire race, the question of how she and her fellow castmates would do in the event itself was one I had to ask when sitting down with them on behalf of CinemaBlend. And during the film’s press day, ambitions ran the gamut as the cast answered this question, which you can watch in their responses below:

The more sensible spectrum of answers came from Jillian Bell and Utkarsh Ambudkar, who put themselves in the range of three-to-four miles run. It’s a perfectly human goal that speaks volumes of their individual attitudes, as they gave those responses without any knowledge of the other’s.

Meanwhile, it all came down to a simple pass/fail equation with co-stars Michaela Watkins and Micah Stock, as Watkins said she’d totally finish if she paid her way in, and Stock said he’d probably not make it. His doubt came from equating running a marathon to walking out of a movie, so maybe he could do better under the right circumstances.

Perhaps the funniest answers, though, were from the room with writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo, who was ready to playfully spite Ambudkar’s goal by saying he’d go one mile more just to win. But that was right before Lil Rel Howery, who’s also getting ready to return to the screen in the prank comedy Bad Trip, swore that he not only was serious about training for a marathon after working on Brittany Runs A Marathon, but that he could also do 10 miles easy.

Questioning the exact conditions was a fun move, as everything from food choice to amount of training and race fees came up when I posed this hypothetical scenario. But the reason this query was given to the entire cast was because of something I’d learned from Jillian Bell while I attended this film’s junket.

As it turns out, the star of such oddball comedies as Rough Night said that Brittany Runs A Marathon is the first actual film to be given access to the actual New York Marathon. Meaning that when you see her running the marathon during various points in the film, that’s the real deal there. So when she says she’d go three miles, it’s totally believable; much like her ability to pretend to love Channing Tatum or to help hide the body of an accidentally murdered male stripper. It’s all about versatility in this business, folks.

In the end though, the same lessons that Brittany Runs A Marathon teaches its audience were the one that I walked away with after asking these questions to its cast. It doesn’t matter how or where you finish, but that you did it in the first place; and everyone has their own pace to victory.

That being said, if anyone’s interested in seeing Lil Rel Howery and Michaela Watkins square off in a race to see who’s the toughest runner, you should throw your vote of support behind Brittany Runs A Marathon when it opens in limited release this Friday. Though if the film isn’t in your market by then, don’t worry; the wide release roll out is scheduled for September 13.

5 Big Things We’re Hoping To See From Star Wars At D23 Expo 2019

Chewie BB8 C-3PO Rey and Poe in Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker

This upcoming weekend is a big one for Star Wars fans around the globe. The Walt Disney Company will be hosting their biannual D23 Expo down in Anaheim, California, and in addition to being a major venue for news about Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, Marvel, and more, it’s also a major happening for the franchise set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Big announcements are going to be made, and expectations are very high.

Between both the Disney+ and live-action movie presentations, there will be ample opportunity for Star Wars awesomeness during the D23 Expo festivities, and we couldn’t be more hyped. And having been on the ground the last four times the event was held, here are the happenings that we are most hoping to see from the franchise at the convention:

The Mandalorian raising his gun

A Wide-Released Mandalorian Trailer

In this particular case, it’s not so much about a thing we’re “hoping” to see, but instead a thing that we know we’re going to see. But even if it weren’t revealed early that we will be seeing a trailer for The Mandalorian at D23 Expo 2019, we still would have predicted it. The first ever live-action Star Wars series is set to debut with the launch of Disney+, and considering that’s happening in early November, now is really the perfect time to give fans a glimpse of what to expect.

The first ever footage from The Mandalorian was shown earlier this year during Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, but that material was exclusively for that audience. This time around that won’t be the case. While fans physically at the D23 Expo may also get treated to a complete scene or extended sequence (stay tuned to CinemaBlend on Friday for more on that front), there will definitely be a trailer that audiences around the globe will be able to see for themselves.

Rey in rise of skywalker

A New Preview Of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Of course, The Mandalorian preview wasn’t the only massively anticipated material that was shown at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago. It was during the April event that Lucasfilm revealed the first ever trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. That’s important, because it was also the last time that we got to see anything from the actual movie. No other trailer has been launched for the blockbuster since then, and while we may still have to wait until after D23 Expo 2019, the event may not leave fans totally empty handed.

When it comes to the sequel trilogy, which has been coming out biannually just like D23 Expo, there is a certain pattern that is followed. Specifically, while there may be some new poster art revealed, it usually isn’t the place where trailers are released. With Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker not due out until December, Lucasfilm has a bit of time before they put the hype machine into full gear, so we probably won’t see Trailer #2 just yet. At the very least, though, the new artwork should come paired with get a cool behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the blockbuster that may feature a hint or two about the plot and how the beloved characters factor in.

Obi wan kenobi in Revenge of the sith

The Obi-wan Kenobi Disney+ Series Confirmed

Earlier this month the news broke that Disney+ is developing a series about Obi-wan Kenobi – and the timing of that story with the forthcoming events at D23 Expo 2019 is surely no coincidence. When it comes to big conventions, it’s common for certain details about big announcements to break prematurely, and this seems to be one of those cases. Just think about the reports regarding Taika Waititi signing a deal to director Thor 4 right before San Diego Comic-Con back in July.

Of course, the news about Waititi’s involvement with Thor 4 was ultimately only the tip of the iceberg, with the project also revealing a title, and announcing the return of Natalie Portman to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Don’t be surprised if the situation with the Obi-wan Kenobi Disney+ series winds up being similar. Right now we might know that the show is in the works, but it’s very possible that the streaming service presentation at D23 Expo 2019 will reveal a lot more details (though not too much – this is still Star Wars after all).

X-wings in a new hope

First Details About The David Benioff/D.B. Weiss Trilogy

While Star Wars has been a constant presence in Hollywood since the “relaunch” of the bramd with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, things will be slowing down a bit after 2019. Not only will there not be any in-continuity titles released in 2020, but we won’t be seeing any in 2021 either. In modern franchise filmmaking, that’s a pretty long spell, but one way that Lucasfilm could stoke the coals is by revealing the first details from the next trilogy of films – specifically those being developed by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

We don’t expect that they will give the entire game away, but this happens to be a franchise where even the most minor details means a ridiculous amount to the fans. This includes material like confirming where the stories will take place in the timeline, or what kind of business the protagonist is in. Telling fans any of this kind of information at D23 Expo would be tremendously exciting, particularly because the trilogy wasn’t brought up a single time at Star Wars Celebration, and it could launch speculation that will keep us talking until the next D23 Expo in 2021.

Death Star Docking Bay

A Star Announced For The David Benioff/D.B. Weiss Trilogy

For this last hope, we’re just taking a big swing. It’s true we’ll be lucky if we learn anything at all about the David Benioff/D.B. Weiss Star Wars trilogy at D23 Expo 2019, but we’re going to keep our fingers tightly crossed that it also winds up being the venue where Lucasfilm announces the lead actors that will be at the center of the new series. It’s not uncommon at all in Hollywood for franchise projects to be built around exciting and charismatic new stars, and it’s not entirely unbelievable that the developing movies have been doing some incredibly quiet casting work.

The chances of this happening are tremendously slim, but the D23 Expo would be a great place for the reveal given the incredible star power that has graced the stage at the Anaheim Convention Center in past years. And if it does happen, you’ll probably be able to hear the audience reaction all the way in London.

CinemaBlend will be on the ground at D23 Expo 2019 this weekend attending the presentations, reporting breaking news, covering the press lines, and filming reaction videos, so be sure to stay tuned on the site Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for all of the best action that comes out of the convention.

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Why Marvel Studios’ Plans For Disney+ Have Us Concerned

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Infinity War

With the Infinity Saga now over, a new chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is unfolding that looks quite different from this franchise’s previous three Phases. For at least Phase 4 and possibly even Phase 5, it doesn’t look like there will be an overarching storyline tying together the MCU movies as was frequently the case over the past 11 years. That said, there will be a different kind of MCU connectivity come Phase 4, one that stretches across the big and small screens.

It was announced at San Diego Comic-Con that Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will appear in 2021’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but furthermore, the events of her Disney+ series, WandaVision, will lead into the Master of the Mystic Arts’ sequel. It was also recently rumored that the alternate timeline Loki we met in Avengers: Endgame will appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, and he’s bringing his timeline’s version of Mjolnir with him, which he somehow obtains during the course of his own Disney+ series.

Having Marvel movies and TV shows being closely connected to each other is an appealing prospect to a lot of Marvel fans, myself included. However, another part of me is concerned that this plan could backfire because it will alienate the more causal moviegoers who aren’t devoted MCU mythology and aren’t willing to invest so much more time just to stay caught up.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Avengers: Endgame

To be fair, these Disney+ shows are hardly the first ones to be set within MCU continuity, as there plenty of others that have aired or are still airing across ABC, Netflix, Hulu and Freeform. The difference here is that the Disney+ shows are being made by Marvel Studios, whereas the previous ones and many others coming up, like Ghost Rider and Helstrom, fall under Marvel Television, a separate division that doesn’t coordinate with Kevin Feige and his gang.

As a result, the previous Marvel series have been largely disconnected from the Marvel movies outside of the occasional reference or namedrop, to the point that I would not be surprised if rebooted versions of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher are introduced later down the line firmly set within MCU continuity and their Netflix shows are declared non-canon. Even with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, the shows arguably most connected to the movies, it was a one-sided street, with the movies not acknowledging those two programs outside of James D’Arcy’s Edwin Jarvis cameoing in Avengers: Endgame.

Now that Marvel Studios gets to make its own shows on Disney+, there’s the opportunity to finally deliver that closer connectivity between MCU movies and television (streaming, to be technical) that so many fans have wanted. Even though Marvel is churning out more movies than ever, there’s only so much big screen time that can be allotted, but now characters like Falcon, Winter Soldier and Hawkeye can shine on their own platform rather than keep being supporting characters in movies.

That’s cool enough on its own, but for Marvel to go one step further and have the plot lines of some of these Disney+ shows lead into upcoming movies is great… for longtime MCU fans. Let’s be real, most of the people who are devoted to this franchise will subscribe to Disney+ and check out these shows at some point. But what about the people who are just casual MCU viewers?

Each of these Marvel Disney+ shows are going to be between six-to-eight episodes, and since these series won’t have commercial breaks, let’s assume they’ll actually be a full hour as opposed to the usual 42-44 minutes we expect from network television. That’s six-to-eight extra hours of content per show, and it’d be one thing if this was optional viewing. But in the case of WandaVision and possibly Thor: Love and Thunder, we go from optional to what sounds like mandatory.

WandaVision Logo

Let’s look at WandaVision first. No plot details have been revealed yet other than, as the title indicates, Scarlet Witch will be reunited with The Vision, who was killed by Thanos at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. How the android will return remains shrouded in secrecy, but because we know that Scarlet Witch will also factor into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, perhaps it has to do with Wanda altering reality with her amazing powers and creating an ideal world where Vision was never taken from her.

If that’s the case, then it makes sense why WandaVision is tied to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but just how tight are those ties? If someone missed out on WandaVision, will they still be able to follow along with Doctor Strange 2, or will the story not make much sense if they didn’t watch the Disney+ series?

Maybe WandaVision is simply being used to tease a larger threat that’ll fully present itself in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and those who didn’t catch the show would still be able to follow along with the story easily and get a basic understanding for how Scarlet Witch is different compared to how she was in Avengers: Endgame. But if Marvel has closely interwoven the two projects, I suspect that’ll turn off a lot of people who thought they’d be caught up having just seen Doctor Strange and the last two Avengers movies.

Loki Logo

And then there’s Loki, who will spend his Disney+ series traveling through time and messing around with important moments in human history. According to the rumor circulating, that series will end with the Asgardian trickster crossing over into the main MCU timeline with his timeline’s Mjolnir in tow, which would explain how Jane Foster is able to become The Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Assuming this information is true, that’s a harder plot point to just explain away with a few lines of exposition in Thor: Love and Thunder. Sure Avengers: Endgame set up alternate timeline Loki, but it’s a far jump to go from that to having the character pop back up in Thor: Love and Thunder, meaning that unless you caught the Loki series beforehand, that portion of Thor 4 might make you feel lost.

There’s only so much time to go around, and while it’s one thing to watch a few movies to ensure that you’re caught up in time for the latest movie, tacking on an extra six-to-eight hours is a lot to ask of someone who isn’t terribly invested in this franchise. That could potentially lead to these same people skipping out on future Marvel movies if they feel it’s not worth the effort of having to keep track of these extra shows.

Admittedly, at this stage of the game, Marvel is so successful that the amount of people who drop off due to this development would be negligible in the brass’ eyes. And who knows, if these shows stay limited series as opposed to continuing for many seasons, that makes this less of an issue.

Still, Marvel is taking a risk by tying some of these Disney+ shows closely to its movies, and this could just be the start. Who knows what other Disney+ shows could get the green light, and we still don’t officially know what will comprise the Phase 5 slate.

But hey, the company took a risk when it launched its cinematic universe over a decade ago, and look how that turned out. With the kind footing it has now, perhaps alienating the more causal MCU fans won’t be as a big a concern as I’m currently imagining. We shall see.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest updates about the MCU on both the big and small screens, but for now, keep track of the rest of this year’s release with our handy 2019 schedule.

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