Is Cumberbatch Star Wars: Episode VIII's villain, not Episode VII's?S

Plus another rising star may have read for a Star Wars role. Iron Man 3 director Shane Black discusses his Doc Savage plans. Game of Thrones casting news hints at a storyline in the coming season. Plus Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci go deep inside the madness that is Sleepy Hollow. Spoilers right now!

Top image from Thor: The Dark World.

Star Wars: Episode VII

Confirming that Saoirse Ronan is going to be rumored for every blockbuster for the foreseeable future, the Hanna and The Host star—who has previously been linked to roles in The Hobbit and The Avengers, just off the top of my head—has reportedly read for a part in the film. The same supposed inside source that related the Ronan rumor also claimed that the new film includes a female villain, although there’s no reason to think these facts are related (or, you know, actual facts).

The same report also says that, despite denials from all involved, Benedict Cumberbatch will indeed reteam with his Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams to play a main villain. However, this latest version of the rumor says that Cumberbatch would only have a minor role in Episode VII, before taking on the main villain role in Episode VIII and Episode IX. Finally, Latino Review says that some filming will take place in Las Cruces, New Mexico, although this will represent only a very tiny percentage of filming compared to the bulk of filming to be done in studios in London. As always, we recommend treating all these reports with a healthy degree of skepticism, particularly when we’re still so early on in the overall filmmaking process. [Latino Review]

Meanwhile, Ewan McGregor confirms he’s hoping to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi – although he didn’t directly comment on the rumors that he might star in a Kenobi spin-off movie – although he says any ghostly appearances might require the casting of someone who resembles the older, Sir Alec Guiness version of the character:

“The problem is that I played the young Obi Wan and they are going to be looking for an old Obi Wan and that’s Alec Guinness’s territory. I’m waiting for that call but I think they’re more likely to want an Alec lookalike than me.”

[The Express]


Avatar 2

And, as though to remind everyone just why it’s a good idea to treat these insider reports with skepticism, representatives of 20th Century Fox have denied the Arnold Schwarzenegger rumor to just about any publication that would listen. Indeed, one rep went so far as to state fairly categorically that Schwarzenegger “will not be in the sci-fi sequel, nor is the actor being considered for any role.” Now, it’s worth saying that studios aren’t necessarily any more believable than the news sites, but such complete denials are rare enough that I’d say there’s a reasonably good chance that there really is nothing to the original story. But hey, I’ve been wrong before. [Heat Vision]


Thor: The Dark World

Here’s an extended trailer.


Doc Savage

Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black discusses the appeal of his next project, a big screen adaptation of the adventures of 1930s pulp fiction adventurer Doc Savage:

"Obviously in the books, there's an element of goodie-goodie that we like. Doc Savage was the basis essentially for Superman because his name is Clark and he has a Fortress of Solitude, and oh, Superman has the same thing...that's odd! But that kind of perfect hero who never makes mistakes is great to a point, and the type of adventure and pulp it represents is so imitated; Raiders of the Lost Ark is essentially a child of Doc Savage.

We needed something more cerebral. We've kept it in the 30s. We've beefed up the rationale behind what it would take to be the perfect person and to be trained as such from childhood and how that would scar someone and what it would take to be a parent who is capable of inflicting that on a kid. But beyond that, we're also trying to be true to the series. Give him the helper, while also reinvigorating it and introducing a whole new brand of people to this is a challenge because it's been around for 75 years. I've read all of them. I love them. I read my first one 45 years ago. I love Doc Savage and hope everyone comes to see it.

He also discusses the particular challenges of casting the title role:

Here's the problem. They kind of gotta be tall. He's the perfect physical specimen and when people look at him, they're overawed by the sort of symmetry and perfection he exudes. I don't know that you could use like a James McAvoy as Doc Savage. You couldn't do it. He's a fine actor, but we need someone big. Back in the day Schwarzenegger was talked about to play Doc Savage. I don't know yet; who do you think? [Chris Hemsworth?] That's not a bad idea! You need someone magnetic and someone a little but off because that's the fun of the character. He's been secluded from people and kept from any social niceties for so long that he's become a savant."

[IGN via Comic Book Movie]


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Longtime Harry Potter producer David Heyman offers this take on the planned Harry Potter spin-off film, the first draft for which will be written by J.K. Rowling herself:

"I can't talk really about it yet. All I can say is that it's great. Jo had no need to go back to this universe or world. It's not Harry Potter per se, but the world of Harry. She's chosen to do so because she felt a need to tell a story. That she's doing it means that it's going to be very, very special."

[Coming Soon]


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Costar Chloe Bennet discusses how much of a backstory she’s created for her character Skye, whose origins have been kept top-secret:

You know, I have. They've given me a bit more information from what the public knows. But, yeah. I definitely have. I don't want to do too much, because I don't want to be wrong to what they play on screen in the future. But, yeah... she definitely, in my mind, has a certain history. She's very funny, she's very charismatic, but it comes from maybe a lonelier place, and a bit of a darker place, but she always keeps things light, which is great. She's definitely looking for something, I feel.

What is it like to work with Clark Gregg?
You know, sometimes we'll be on set, and I'll just kind of look over and do a double take, and be like "Agent Coulson! Look at him in his suit, walking towards me..." It's very weird. But it's great. He's fantastic. He's the on-screen leader and the off-screen leader.

[KSiteTV]


Game of Thrones

Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Paola Dionisotti has, according to her CV, joined the cast of season four as Lady Anya Waynwood. The head of a house loyal to House Arryn of the Vale, Lady Anya’s presence suggests the show will return to the Vale for the coming season, which in turn indicates the show will at least begin adapting the story of Littlefinger and Sansa Stark going to live with Lysa Arryn. [Winter Is Coming]


True Blood

Bailey Noble, who recurred as the half-faerie character Adilyn Bellefleur in season six, has reportedly been promoted to series regular status for the seventh and final season. [Live Feed]


Sleepy Hollow

Co-creator Alex Kurtzman explains just how the Headless Horseman ties in with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

The minute you have a headless horseman, that seems like a rather ominous, powerful, and in our minds, became a biblical thing. When we were imagining what the next chapter of Sleepy Hollow could be, ... this idea that came to us of him waking up in the future, we thought of, what if the Headless Horseman got a little more connected than you ever imagined.

Actually, he is only one of four horseman, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it was through the connection of the antagonist of the original short story that we thought maybe that's the larger mythology that the original short story could have been embedded in and we kind of ran with it from there.

And that allows the show not to be every week, the horseman is chasing Ichabod Crane. It enters you into the world's myths and the world's religions, and the cast of characters that populate these myths as being on one side of good and evil, and sort of saying that all world's religions are potentially a loving shadow of the truth of a one world religion, that kind of thing. It just led us to just a lot of rich, we are going to be able to explore lots of different cultural myths through this and not have it just be the horseman of the apocalypse every week.

He and fellow creator Roberto Orci also discuss the makeup of the town and/or city of Sleepy Hollow:

Kurtzman: We wanted to make the town slightly bigger than the actual Sleepy Hollow, in terms of really kind of looking at it from a place of treasure hunting, that there are many, many secrets hidden beneath the surface of this perfect, quiet New England town. We didn't want to go too small because we would've been limited in our options and we didn't want to go too big because it would've felt ultimately really false. So, I think, Bob, what would you say our population is?

Orci: Actually, a biblical number of 144,000, which has some relevance biblically, but the idea is the pilot and the series, you are watching a small town with small town problems become a small town with big city problems. So it had to be just the right size to have a familiarity [of] the inhabitants with each other, but not everyone knows each other by name. So, it's between a city and a town.

[BuddyTV]


Revolution

Here’s a preview of the upcoming second season.

Here’s a pair of interviews with costars Giancarlo Esposito and J.D. Pardo. There are useful summaries of the videos at the link. [BuddyTV]


Supernatural

Here’s the latest promo for season nine. [TV Guide]


The Vampire Diaries

The seventh episode will reportedly be called “Death and the Maiden.” [SpoilerTV]


Falling Skies

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video all about the first day of production on the fourth season, the premiere of which is called “Ghost in the Machine.” [TV Guide]


Additional reporting by Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders.