What classic Star Wars role is Simon Pegg playing? Plus what's next for Fringe and The Walking Dead!

Director Andrew Stanton talks more about creating the world of John Carter. Simon Pegg joins The Clone Wars. Sam Raimi finds a writer for his Day of the Triffids movie. Plus Matt Smith addresses the latest big Doctor Who rumor!

Spoilers from here on out!

Top image from John Carter.

John Carter

Director Andrew Stanton explains how he approached the design of the various Martian civilizations:

Because I wanted the film to be historical-feeling, I wanted you to feel like the movie is all in the past, both Mars and Earth, and I wanted it to have a sense of history, so I kept saying, "So what if we never knew Egypt existed? What if we never knew Machupichu in South America existed? What if we suddenly discovered that land?" There would be this hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of history we didn't know about, so we'd be trying to catch up and going "Whoa, what's happened here? What's all this stuff?" And we know what that would feel like in our world, so I said, "Well, can we make it feel like that on that world?"

So it's like, Screw the Martian part of it, screw the space part of it… 'cause that's how the books felt. It felt like they just found a new land, and make it as historically accurate as it can feel even though it's all fiction, and so we had to look at why things seem old and layered in another culture, in another civilization in our world and pull from that. And then we had the added problem of "Can we make it feel like it had evolved off of rules that weren't necessarily set the same way as we were?" We came up with the wheel at a certain time in history, we came up with writing in a certain time in history, so it was small things that my production designer Nathan Crowley and I would go off forever on this. We would say, "There shouldn't be doorknobs - that would just show that it's us. There shouldn't be wheels on carts." In other words, could they have found out certain things in science that we haven't found out yet but there's things they haven't found out yet that we know."

The flying ships are the main thing because he's not going into the future but they've already discovered flight.
Yeah, the flying ships, and also, I don't explain it in there but the things that power anything, their spark plug, isn't coal, it's radium, and we used to explain a little too much and then we cut it out 'cause there's only so much information you want to take in.

There's more at the link. [Coming Soon]


The Day of the Triffids

Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi has reportedly found a writer for his planned movie update of the iconic alien invasion story that has seen multiple incarnations over the years. Luther creator Neil Cross will reportedly handle the script. [ShockTillYouDrop]


The Colony

Aliens and Apollo 13's Bill Paxton (as opposed to Independence Day and Torchwood's Bill Pullman) has reportedly been cast alongside Laurence Fishburne and Kevin Zegers in this movie where the last survivors of humanity hide out from an Ice Age in a bunker and defend themselves from feral cannibals. [ShockTillYouDrop]


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The Percy Jackson sequel has reportedly cast the Three Fates. There's Mary Birdsong, who appeared in this year's Best Picture nominee The Descendants, Missi Pyle, who appeared in this year's Best Picture winner The Artist, and Yvette Nicole Brown, who is easily the most important because she's Shirley on Community. That is, to pick a word completely at random, nice. [The Hollywood Reporter]


Touchback

Here's a trailer and plot description for a time-travel football movie starring Kurt Russell. Sadly, it doesn't look nearly as promising as the phrase "time-travel football movie starring Kurt Russell" might suggest. [MovieWeb]

Former high school football star turned farmer and family man, Scott Murphy (Brian Presley) finds himself with a unique opportunity to revisit his glory days during the Ohio State championship game where he permanently injured his knee in a game-winning play. Given a second shot at his destiny, Scott seeks counsel from Coach Hand (Kurt Russell), Scott's longtime mentor on and off the field, to help him decide whether to let his fate unfold, or follow a path that will change his future.


Frankenweenie

What classic Star Wars role is Simon Pegg playing? Plus what's next for Fringe and The Walking Dead!

Here's a new promo image from Tim Burton's latest. The first trailer is due later today. [First Showing]


Cowboy Ninja Viking

Universal and Quantum of Solace and World War Z director Marc Forster have acquired the rights to this script from Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese based on the Image Comics graphic novel by AJ Lieberman and Riley Rossmo. The script was originally developed for Disney before it was deemed too edgy for the family-friendly studio. The plan reportedly is for Forster to direct this script once he's finished with World War Z, which presumably means that film's mooted follow-ups will be put on hold for a bit. Here's a synopsis:

The title character comes from a secret government program to turn schizophrenics into assassins. The protagonist comes through the program with the skill sets of a cowboy, ninja and a viking. While most of the patients involved in the program are sent back to an insane asylum after the program went awry in Iraq, he escapes and uses his skills to track down the billionaire who masterminded the program.

[Deadline]


Men in Black III

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Here are some promo images, plus a poster. [IGN]


Doctor Who

Matt Smith addresses the recent rumors that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch might play the Master as part of next year's fiftieth anniversary celebrations. He doesn't exactly rule it out, but it's hardly a ringing endorsement of the rumor's chances:

"I know Ben and I've not heard anything about it. But he's a wonderful actor and a mate. I think he's a bit busy being a Star Trek villain, and he's Sherlock Holmes of course, so he's a busy man."

Also, in case you'd like another carefully worded but not terribly informative update from Smith regarding his future on the show that pretty much rehashes what we already know, then today is your lucky day:

"It's a thrill playing the part. I don't want to give it up anytime soon. We have a whole season to make and a Christmas special as well, so I won't be leaving anytime soon. We'll get this season out the way and see where I'm at. I take it season by season and I take the job day by day because there's no other way you can do it."

[Doctor Who TV]

Here's another interview with Smith in which he talks up season seven and his future on the show. [Blogtor Who]


Fringe

Executive producer Joel Wyman discusses what the first episode after its current month-long hiatus, "A Short Story About Love" — which also marks his directorial debut on the show — might mean for Peter and Olivia's relationship:

"It has a great terrifying element to it which is very Fringe-y [plus] an incredible love story aspect and things that people are going to be really, really excited for, we believe, as far as the relationships in the show."

[E! Online]

The sixteenth episode, and the second one to air once the show returns from hiatus, will reportedly be titled "Nothing As It Seems." [SpoilerTV]

View gallery »

Here's a new batch of set photos, including some shots of recently cast Lost alum Henry Ian Cusick. [SpoilerTV]


Game of Thrones

What classic Star Wars role is Simon Pegg playing? Plus what's next for Fringe and The Walking Dead!

Here's another promo poster for season two. [SpoilerTV]


The Walking Dead

Here's a lengthy sneak peek for this Sunday's episode, "Judge, Jury, Executioner."


The River

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Here are some promo photos from episode seven, "The Experiment." [SpoilerTV]

Star Leslie Hope suggests that the season finale — which might well be a de facto series finale, judging by the show's ratings — will resolve a lot of this season's big questions while setting the stage for even bigger ones in a hypothetical second season:

s. "It appears that a lot of the issues are resolved at the end of the eight [episodes],. I hope that we should be so lucky if we go back for a season two, but I would said that just as you think thing are all figured out, it opens up again into a whole other world of mystery and again, nothing is ever as it appears to be."

[E! Online]


Alcatraz

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Here are some set photos. [SpoilerTV]


Once Upon a Time

Star Jennifer Morrison tweeted this praise for episode twenty, which is currently being filmed:

Headed into the woods to film scenes for ep 20! So much crazy info being revealed in this one!! Eddy kitsis and Adam Horowitz are geniuses!

[@jenmorrisonlive]

Executive producer Edward Kitsis explains why Sheriff Graham's death was essential to where the show is headed:

"The character was designed for this arc. We knew that when we were picked up, the air schedule was that we would do seven [episodes], and then go off for Christmas break. We were like, ‘let's kill someone.' Because, you know, when Henry said in the beginning ‘the final battle begins,' we as writers felt like ‘well, if there weren't stakes to this battle - if there weren't casualties, people would start to think that maybe it's not that strong of a curse.' Jamie knew when he took the role that it was only going to be for seven. The reaction that he had was great for us, because the other worry you have is ‘no one cares.' It's the old ‘well who cares? They killed someone we don't like!' It's like when there's ‘a shocking death this week' and it's ‘Waiter #4,' and everyone cries foul. You're like, ‘well that's BS. That's not a real death.' So we wanted to give a real death. No one's more upset than us, because we loved him. Writing the Huntsman was awesome."

Fellow executive producer Adam Horowitz also promised more interplay between the show's two realities:

"The bleed between worlds is something that we've played with and continue to play with, and the levels to which we're going to go, we don't want to give away right now, but it's certainly a part of the series going forward."

[KSiteTV]


Awake

Star Jason Isaacs's two partners on the police force offer some thoughts on the reality-hopping drama before tonight's premiere. First up, Steve Harris discusses his role as Isaiah "Bird" Freeman, the more senior of Detective Britten's partners:

"I'm still his best friend and I am still his confidant. I am very leery of him and his situation and why they pushed me out. At the same time we let it ride because this is what happens with the bureaucracy of the police force.

"There is a bigger picture surrounding the accident you see in the pilot episode. It's like an onion, as you peel it back you're going to see more layers to it, you're going to see whats going on: things that have happened, things that maybe not be quite how they seem. I think that with Kyle [Killen, executive producer] and Howard [Gordon, executive producer] are cognizant of making that dual world as real for you as possible so that you don't get tipped off as to 'Oh okay, I know this world is this and that world is that' which will take you to another place. They are very good at riding that fine line."

That's 70s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama, who plays rookie partner Efram Vega in the other reality, adds:

"One of the main purposes of me being [Britten's] partner is to report his behavior but later find myself walking this fine line where how much am I being part of this assignment but at the same time being his true, loyal partner while we are out in the field... or am i part of a bigger picture? Is there something else that spawned from this accident that he is a key player in the journey of it all."

You can also go here for a lengthy interview with executive producers Kyle Killen and Howard Gordon. [Buddy TV]


Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Simon Pegg will lend his voice to this Friday's episode as the bounty hunter Dengar, one of the mercenaries brought in by Darth Vader to track down Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. This also means he's now been involved with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I'm not sure he's the first actor to do that, but I can't think of any others offhand. A shiny io9 non-prize (which are totally legally distinguishable from Marvel no-prizes, maybe) to anyone who can think of another example. [EW]


The Selection

Sean Patrick Thomas, whom I'm sure all of you remember from his starring role in Save the Last Dance, has reportedly been cast in this CW pilot that totally isn't The Hunger Games, the CW swears, even if the plot is " an epic romance set 300 years in the future in which a poor young woman is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads." Thomas's character is Sylvan Santos, described as "a close adviser to the current queen and an expert in royal etiquette who advises the participants in the competition." [Live Feed]


Additional reporting by Ben Vrignon and Charlie Jane Anders.