Is the writer of The Empire Strikes Back returning for the new Star Wars movies?

Could one of the most important Star Wars creators be writing the middle film of the new trilogy? Also, Thor star Chris Hemsworth explains why Jane Foster is probably annoyed with Thor. Zack Snyder talks Michael Shannon's work in Man of Steel. Another rumor claims David Tennant is returning to Doctor Who. Plus an anonymous World War Z update!

Spoilers from here on out!

Top image from Man of Steel.

Star Wars: Episodes VIII and IX

Yes, you read your Roman numerals correctly — why waste time on a passe subject like the seventh Star Wars movie when we can start wildly speculating about the eighth and ninth? While Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt is busy working on the first entry in the new trilogy, Disney has reportedly chosen its writers for the eighth and ninth installments, with reports varying from these names simply being Disney's top choices to them actually already being signed on as writers and producers. Anyway, Episode IX will reportedly be written by Simon Kinberg, whose recent work includes X-Men: First Class and Sherlock Holmes.

Much, much more excitingly is the news that Lawrence Kasdan, who was the primary writer for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is the choice to write Episode VIII. Assuming that's true, that's just about the most promising news yet that this new trilogy will be able to tap into what made the original trilogy so special — at least the most promising news that doesn't involve some form of zombie Irvin Kershner. And while I don't want to rule anything out when it comes to Disney's powers, I'm guessing the return of Kasdan to the franchise is about as good as it gets. [Deadline]


Thor: The Dark World

Star Chris Hemsworth offers an update on where the Thor sequel stands:

We have six weeks to go to shoot. This is the trickiest bit, because you can go, "Oh, yeah, we're past the halfway mark!" which isn't a good idea, because you're not finished yet. You sort of get that second wind about now or you hope to and push on through. But it's been great. The look of the film is a lot bigger than what we did even previously. The first one worked and people loved it, but this is with a different director and just has a totally different feel. There's a definite "Game of Thrones" vibe, thanks to [director] Alan [Taylor].

He also provides some insight into where the character relationships stand:

For Thor and Jane, there are some unanswered questions now, since obviously he didn't stop in and catch up with her in "Avengers." Thor might have some explaining to do in this one.

More at the link. [MTV]


Man of Steel

Director Zack Snyder discusses what the delightfully unnerving Michael Shannon brings to the role of General Zod:

"Shannon is great, he has such great enthusiasm and dedication constantly. You can imagine that you could get actors who go, 'Oh right, it's Zod, it's not 100 percent serious,' or [you can play it] slightly with a wink, there is none of that with him. His effort is to make it realized and to understand this character and what he has to go through, so you have that on one side and you have Henry, who basically is Superman, on the other side and that dynamic."

He also discusses how Shannon and star Henry Cavill approached the material:

"I was just incredibly fortunate to play with those guys who really were giving all they had to bring a level of commitment to the scenes they have together so that audiences will get an opportunity to really have their heroes taken seriously. As serious as I was taking it, and I don't mean that from a depressing kind of way but from a, 'This is important and fun and needs to be given the respect that it deserves,' from that perspective it was so exciting to watch them drink the Kool-Aid of that concept and go all the way."

[MTV]


Riddick

Is the writer of The Empire Strikes Back returning for the new Star Wars movies?S

Here's the first image of Star Trek's Karl Urban reprising his Chronicles of Riddick role of Vaako. [Collider]


Evil Dead

Is the writer of The Empire Strikes Back returning for the new Star Wars movies?S

Here's the first poster for Fede Alvarez's remake, which stars Suburgatory's Jane Levy. [Coming Soon]


Ninja Turtles

The Michael Bay-produced, Jonathan Liebesman-directed Ninja Turtles just kinda keeps drunkenly stumbling towards actually getting made, with co-creator Kevin Eastman dropping in every so often to offer hyperbolic encouragement. To wit:

"All the intentions are in the right place. I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. I think it's going to be a fantastic film. Jonathan Liebesman is going to make a great film. From what I've seen of the script, it's fantastic. Michael Bay has made some great and intense movies. We're talking about being inspired by movies like ‘The Avengers' for scope and roots origin and ‘The Raid: Redemption' for fight scenes and ‘Rise for the Apes' as far as computer-quality style."

It really says something when you compare a project to the third most successful movie of all time, and that still seems like at most the second most ridiculous comparison. And yet, here we are. [NBC Chicago]


World War Z

The most troubled production of 2012 still might eventually get released in 2013 or thereabouts, and a new interview with a purported inside source gives a sense of what the biggest issues were. Here's an excerpt, with any typos and spin left as is:

Honestly no large feature film with without issue, WWZ got put on the spotlight mostly because the media is obsessed with everything Brad Pitt does. Probably the most dramatic issue is that the entire end sequence that was shot in Budapest has been scrapped, and they're actually shooting a completely new ending now in England.

Can you elaborate as to why the ending in Budapest was scrapped and had to be refilmed in England?
In the weeks running up to Budapest the script getting hacked away, sequences dropped in an effort to save money, what we were left with was something that just didn't make much sense.. I don't think there was a single person on that set who didn't think there was going to be reshoots, although I do think everyone was surprised that they scrapped it entirely, I think we all figured that sequence needed more shots and that's what the reshoot needed, but I guess the powers that be saw that wouldn't work. I would imagine the new ending being set in England, shot as England was due to budget again.

And here's a good overview of how the movie connects back to Max Brooks' original book:

Not really, the book really focuses on how every country and level of society reacts to the zombie war, the movie is much more intent of Brad Pitt running around playing hero. That said there are aspects of certain countries involvement, but not really in the same detail as the book.

So is it more I am Legend than World War Z?
It's more like a prequel to World War Z. The book is interviews told by the U.N guy – in the movie Brad Pitt is the U.N guy and it chronicles *his* story and how he survives the zombie war, which is actually a pretty cool way to tell the story.

There's plenty more at the link — although it's worth pointing out that, since this is an anonymous source, it's worth reading this all with a certain amount of skepticism. [The Surly Nerd]


Doctor Who

While bringing in a bunch of old Doctors for an anniversary special — the 50th anniversary, no less — just kind of seems like an inviolate Doctor Who tradition at this point, it's still not at all clear which of the seven surviving former Doctors might actually show up. The one that does seem like a decently good bet is, unsurprisingly, Matt Smith's immediate predecessor, and so it is that the latest supposed inside source claims that David Tennant will indeed "be back in time for the Doctor Who anniversary" and that we should "prepared to be surprised." I wouldn't necessarily wager on any other Doctors just yet — well, other than the pretty much complete certainty that Christopher Eccleston won't be involved — but I'm guessing we'll be hearing a lot of these inside source reports about Tennant between now and November 23, 2013. [Bleeding Cool]


Fringe

View gallery »

Here are some new set photos. Check out the link for more. [YVR Shoots]


Person of Interest

The thirteenth episode of the season is reportedly called "Dead Reckoning." [SpoilerTV]


Once Upon a Time

The thirteenth episode will reportedly introduce the new guest character Arlo, described as "about 40 years old, tall and fat, and also wise, spiritual, and fatherly." [SpoilerTV]


American Horror Story: Asylum

The ninth episode is called "The Coat Hanger", it airs December 12, and here's a short synopsis:

The Monsignor takes an unlikely convert under his wing. Lana secures a new piece of evidence that can exonerate Kit. Dr. Arden witnesses a miraculous return.

[SpoilerTV]


Alphas

The show's renewal prospects are still uncertain, although at least costar Ryan Cartwright has been nice enough to tweet out a timeline:


Additional reporting by Rob H. Dawson and Charlie Jane Anders.