Which rising star will play the leader of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy? Plus a Star Wars writers update!

Jenna-Louise Coleman drops hints about her Doctor Who role. Joseph Gordon-Levitt apparently won't play Batman in the new Justice League film. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 might be webbing across the pond. James Cameron plans to finish the Avatar sequels scripts soon, while The Hobbit screenplay still isn't done. Plus Arrow spoilers galore!

Nothing but spoilers from here on out!

Top image from Doctor Who.

Star Wars

Because it would apparently just to be too damn straightforward for Disney to hire Lawrence Kasdan to write the middle chapter in their new Star Wars trilogy — you know, because that worked out pretty all right the last time someone tried it — the latest rumors suggest that Kasdan isn't working on Episode VIII, but rather a more general Star Wars film that could evolve either into an "official ["Episode"] in the main Skywalker storyline, or [it] could form the basis for spinoffs focusing on side characters." The same goes for X-Men writer Simon Kinberg's screenplay, which was originally reported as being Episode IX. So then, Kasdan is not writing Episode XIII, but then again, he's not not writing it either. While we ponder this Schrödinger's cat of Star Wars franchising, it's perhaps also worth pointing out that this report also seems to take it for granted that the main new trilogy will indeed be built around the Skywalkers. It's not official, of course, but it's interesting to see that that's where the rumor mill is currently going. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Separately, Collider dug up an old interview with Kasdan from 1983 where he says that Luke Skywalker's story wraps up in Return of the Jedi, implying that it's not true that the plan was always for Luke to play a major role in the next trilogy. [Collider]


Justice League

Hollywood.com caught up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's reps and asked about that rumor that he was going to play Batman in this film. And apparently, they "refuted the rumor entirely." [Hollywood.com]


Guardians of the Galaxy

The first casting rumors have surfaced for Slither and Super writer-director James Gunn's cosmic superhero team movie. There are reportedly eight candidates vying for the main role of Peter Quill, the half-human, half-alien leader of the Guardians otherwise known as Star Lord. The five main actors testing for the role are reportedly Warrior and Zero Dark Thirty's Joel Edgerton, Boardwalk Empire's Jack Huston, Cloud Atlas ensemble member Jim Sturgess, Pushing Daisies star Lee Pace, and Eddie Redmayne, who has a featured role in the upcoming Les Miserable. Three other names reportedly under some consideration are Tron Legacy star Garrett Hedlund, 30 Rock love interest (fine, that and Cyclops) James Marsden, and Animal Kingdom and Strike Back actor Sullivan Stapleton.

While there aren't really any bad choices here — well, all right, Garrett Hedlund doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence — the smart money seems like it should maybe be on Edgerton, as he's supposedly been on the verge of a Jeremy Renner-style breakout for a while now, and this seems like it would qualify. And while casting Lee Pace — the Piemaker! — sure sounds fun, I might give the edge to Jack Huston, since by all accounts he's the best part of Boardwalk Empire by some considerable distance. All that said, don't get too attached to any of these names until we hear something more substantial. And no, there's sadly no news yet on who will be playing Rocket Raccoon, although it clearly has Philip Seymour Hoffman written all over it. [Deadline]


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Samuel L. Jackson confirms he will be back for the Captain America sequel while effectively ruling out a cameo for Iron Man 3, reiterating the oft-heard line that this really is a solo movie for Tony Stark:

I think my next time as Nick Fury is in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Because I'm not in Iron Man 3. None of the Avengers are in Iron Man 3. It's a standalone Iron Man movie.

[Total Film via Comic Book Movie]


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The sequel reportedly will be filmed under the production title of London Calling. While these production titles don't typically have anything to do with the movies' actual plots, there are now some rumors that part of Marc Webb's sequel will be filmed in London, including some location work. In turn, there's some suggestion that this could be based on a comics story in which Gwen Stacy spent some time in the British capital while grieving the death of her father. Still, there's quite a few suppositions and leaps of logic in here, so best to take it all with a grain of salt until we hear more. [Bleeding Cool]


Avatar 2 and 3

Director James Cameron says he plans to have the scripts for the Avatar sequels done by February of next year, with an eye to beginning filming by the end of 2013:

"I want to get these scripts nailed down, I don't want to be writing the movie in post production. We kind of did that on the first picture, I ended up cutting out a lot of scenes and so on and I don't want to do that again."

He also says that he plans to shoot the sequels in 48 frames per second, pending the success of Peter Jackson's use of it in The Hobbit:

"If there is acceptance of 48, then that will pave the way for Avatar (sequels) to take advantage of it. We charged out ahead on 3D with Avatar, now Peter's doing it with the Hobbit. It takes that kind of bold move to make change."

[The West Australian]


The Hobbit

Co-writer Philippa Boyens says that, despite the fact that principal photography supposedly wrapped a while back, they're still working on the script, what with the whole "turning this into a trilogy" thing:

"We're still looking at the second and third films. We're dealing with the appendices and the other stuff Tolkien had written after The Hobbit. More of that stuff will appear in the second and third films. "When Warner Bros. said 'go' for turning it into a trilogy, we were so happy, as it allowed us to tell more of these characters' stories. Particularly Gandalf's story... Especially for characters like Radagast."

Anything that means more Sylvester McCoy can never be a bad thing. The same piece also quotes Andy Serkis as confirming that Gollum will only be in An Unexpected Journey and won't appear in the following two films, though he says that, with Peter Jackson, nothing can be definitely ruled out. [IGN]

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And here are some IMAX posters. [Coming Soon]


Doctor Who

The BBC has released a new trailer for its various Christmas specials, and this video condenses all the clips from Doctor Who's upcoming "The Snowmen" into one quick montage (hence the weirdly choppy audio). If you were wondering how long it would take before the Doctor kissed his new companion Clara for reasons that probably aren't what they would immediately appear to be, just like he's kissed every last one of his other new series companions (except maybe Adam and Mickey, I guess?), then the answer is: one episode. [Doctor Who TV]

Speaking of the new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman discusses the special and how her character here might relate to Oswin, her role in "Asylum of the Daleks":

It's interesting actually - I think I can tell you this - that that was never the initial plan either, to have me be Oswin. That was part of a genius plan that Steven came up with half way through the audition process. That was already written but not written for what was to be the new companion. I was auditioning for the companion and then I got all these sides and I was like, "Who's Oswin? They clearly don't know what they want, they obviously don't know what they're looking for. They just want people to show them different things and see." This is what I assumed when I was auditioning, not realizing that it's basically Steven's mad genius again.

So, you played an ultimately deceased Dalek on that show and now you are about to debut (again!) on the special Christmas show as the Doctor's assistant. All of which obviously raises about a thousand questions. Is this a subject that is going to be addressed in the Christmas episode?
Uh… mmm… no. We're going to have what has been referred to as a "soft mystery." For me, filming, I've been totally oblivious to Oswin and the "Asylum of the Daleks." I really have had to erase it from my memory. Yeah, Christmas is it's own episode.

Oswin was a Dalek. Can you tell us whether your companion is human? Not all of the Doctor's companions have been.
That's why it's so difficult [to talk about it]. Because of the way it started with Oswin, it's really difficult to say much: where she's from, what period she's from, what planet she's from, even.

I'm assuming "soft mystery" means that the resemblance between Clara and Oswin will be acknowledged in some way, at least obliquely, but it'll only be a throwaway thing in the Christmas special. Of course, the final episodes of the series are only now filming, so Steven Moffat has had plenty of time to adjust the end of this series to explain the mystery he apparently decided to create just for the fun of it. [EW]


The Walking Dead

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Here are some promo photos for the eighth episode, "Made to Suffer." [SpoilerTV]


True Blood

Here's a description of a new character for the upcoming season, courtesy of E! Online:

Creighton Burrell, the governor of Louisiana with a big chip on his shoulder when it comes to vampires. You see, his wife ran off with one, abandoning him and their daughter. Ambitious and savvy, this politician sometimes lets his personal aspirations take over his humanity.

I realize True Blood has pretty unashamedly been a soap opera for a while now, but that may just be the most soap opera-y thing I've read. The fact that his name is actually Creighton Burrell is a particularly nice touch. [E! Online]


Touch

The second season premiere of Keifer Sutherland's magical autism show (which isn't really a fair description, but after watching a few episodes, I don't feel like being fair) has reportedly been pushed back for a second time, with the premiere now set for February 8. This is supposedly so that the show can get a bigger marketing push, but I still choose to give Fox the benefit of the doubt and just assume they're too embarrassed to put the show out. [EW]


Arrow

Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg explains Arrow's continuing evolution into a superhero, as well as why this show will never be like Smallville, which can only be a good thing:

Slightly, I would say. We always talk about the idea of the overall arc of the series is Oliver going from being the Arrow to being the Green Arrow. That when he comes back from the island, he's got a very specific mission to cross the names off of this list, but with the addition of Diggle [as a partner], Laurel's influence and all the experiences in his life, he's going to start to become the "superhero" that the city needs, he's going to learn that there is more than one way to save the city. So moving forward, you're going to see snippets of that, of Oliver helping people in a more direct way than he had probably envisioned himself. Right now, he doesn't think of himself as a superhero; hopefully, by the end of the series, he'll begin to believe it.

But his becoming "the superhero that his city needs," is that something that this show will ever be about or is that the endgame, like Smallville turning the Blur into Superman?
No. I think that's what this show is about every week. The Arrow grows from being an urban legend to something that people count on and believe in and call out for. That's going to be playing out over the course of the entire series.

There's more at the link. [TV Line]

Elsewhere, Kreisberg looks ahead to the 2013 episodes and discusses how Thea fits into the machinations of the Count — known as Vertigo in the comics — as played by Fringe's Seth Gabel:

"She's going to use the Vertigo drug, in an upcoming episode, which is ultimately what's going to lead Oliver to his first confrontation with The Count. Oliver has had a very specific desire and clean up the city. In this instance, Oliver's going to have a very personal reason for wanting to take him down. Oliver tends to view his actions as positive. That confrontation with someone who is a relatively minor local drug dealer is going to elevate into something a lot more dangerous in the future. It's the first time that Oliver will have to look at the negative impact that his being the Arrow has had on the city."

There's more at the link, including Kresiberg's thoughts on just who Thea is as a character. [Zap2It]

And the Andrew Kreisberg interviews just keep on rolling. Here he discusses the introduction of the Huntress and how she fits in with Laurel, seeing as their comic book alter egos are well-known allies:

In Episode 8, Oliver and Helena and Tommy (Colin Donnell) and Laurel go on a double date and it was so exciting watching the footage from that because when Helena and Laurel shake hands and meet, the fan boy in me went, "Those are the Birds of Prey!" So that's kind of exciting. There's a couple of little nods to it, but this is just the beginning. The door's open for The Huntress character to return and maybe we can play with that some more.

Speaking of Black Canary, you've had some nods, but will we actually see her slip into those fishnets by the end of Season 1?
Yeah. We always say it's not going to be as soon as you want, but it's probably going to be a lot sooner than you think. That's been our mantra. You will definitely continue to see the nods to Dinah "Laurel" Lance's future persona, but I think it's going to play out in a surprising way for the audience. We're really excited about it.

Again, there's a bunch more at the link. [TV Guide]


The Vampire Diaries

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Here are some promo photos for episode nine, "O Come, All Ye Faithful." [SpoilerTV]

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And here are some set photos from Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas's guest appearance, courtesy of The CW.


Teen Wolf

Onetime Desperate Housewives supporting players and twins Max and Charlie Carver have reportedly been cast as "identical twin alpha werewolves Ethan and Aidan, dangerous charmers with brilliant minds" for the show's third season. Reportedly joining them are Australian actress Adelaide Kane as Cora, described as "a mysterious and beautiful young woman toughened by a life on her own who has secret ties to Beacon Hills", and Days of our Lives actress Felisha Terrell as Kali, "a ruthless and sexy alpha werewolf who invades Beacon Hills." [Deadline]


Beauty and the Beast

The title for episode twelve is reportedly "Trust No One." [SpoilerTV]


Additional reporting by Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders.