TV Talk

Cobra Kai Star Xolo Maridueña in Talks to Star in DC Comics Movie Blue Beetle at HBO Max

Plus, giant $900-million deal for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Taika Waititi on Reservation Dogs' humor, Hulu's top fall programming, Stranger Things teaser trailer, and more top news in TV and streaming.

by | August 6, 2021 | Comments

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In the biggest news in TV and streaming this week, a DC Comics project courts a lead, Taika Waititi cultivates Indigenous humor in Reservation Dogs, Hulu presents fall programming including Michael Keaton–starring drug drama Dopesick and season 2 of The Great, a new Stranger Things 4 teaser reveals the new season’s release, and much more.

Cobra Kai Breakout Xolo Maridueña in Talk to Play Jaime Reyes in HBO Max Movie Adaptation of DC Comics Hero Blue Beetle

Blue Beetle; Xolo Mariduena

(Photo by DC Comics; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Cobra Kai teen star Xolo Maridueña is in talks to star in Blue Beetle, playing the lead role of Jaime Reyes in the HBO Max DC Comics movie, The Wrap reports. The project would be the first DC Films superhero movie starring a Latino character.

Scarface remake writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer wrote the screenplay for the movie and Charm City Kings director Angel Manuel Soto will direct the movie about Reyes/Blue Beetle, a Mexican-American teenager who found the Blue Beetle scarab on the way home from school, per the Wiki. The scarab came to life that night and fused to Jaime’s spine, giving him alien armor that can enhance his speed and strength and create wings and shields.

Maridueña currently stars as Miguel Diaz, teen heartthrob and protégé of Billy Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence in the Netflix hit series Cobra Kai, which just released a trailer for its upcoming fourth season, which premieres in December.

TCA 2021: Taika Waititi Says Reservation Dogs Plays for Indigenous Humor; Hulu Announces Fall Premieres

The Television Critics Association’s summer sessions kicked off this week, and FX’s first panel featured Reservation Dogs creators Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo talking about their passion project, the dramedy inspired by their own childhood experiences. The series revolves around a group of four Indigenous teens in rural Oklahoma who commit crimes in pursuit of raising enough cash to move to California, which they believe to be some sort of utopia.

The show is sincere and funny, with indigenous people in the cast, in the writers room, and directing and producing. It was conceived by longtime friends Waititi and Harjo, an Oklahoma native, one night in Waititi’s kitchen, during a deep conversation aided by lots of tea … “hard tea,” Waititi said. “Tequila-flavored tea,” Harjo added.

The friends also were committed to a different tone for the show, one that wouldn’t rely on old, and even more recent, cliches about depressing life on Native American reservations.

“We don’t want to depress people,” Waititi said during the TCA discussion. “There’s so much humor in our communities. There’s so many jokers, and it’s not … I always say that I thought some of my early films would get negative feedback about them because they were, like, ‘Well, there’s not enough culture specificity, and it sort of paints a depressing picture of …’ or, like, ‘You are also making fun.’ They didn’t quite know how to take it.

“And I was, like, ‘I get what’s happening’ … All they want is to see us, like, riding whales, talking to trees, you know, playing flutes on mountaintops and talking to ghosts and learning something from our grandmother. And that’s it. That’s all that they expect.  And to twist those expectations is a powerful thing.”

Reservation Dogs premieres on FX August 9.

Also during TCA, Hulu announced premiere dates and released trailers for some of its top fall programming.

Limited series Dopesick examines how Purdue Pharma triggered the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. The drama is executive produced by Danny Strong (Empire) and star Michael Keaton (Spotlight) and also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, with Kaitlyn Dever and Rosario Dawson. Guest stars include Phillipa Soo and Jake McDorman. The series premieres on Wednesday, October 13.

Season 2 of The Great finds Catherine (Elle Fanning) taking the Russian throne from her husband Tsar Peter (Nicholas Holt), but finding that the country she’s liberated doesn’t want to be. Gillian Anderson guest stars as the empress’ mother. Season 2 premieres on Friday, November 19.

More news from Hulu:

Animaniacs season 2 trailer revealed and a November 5 release date announced.

True-crime documentary Dead Asleep asks, “Did a remorseful Randy Herman Jr. really commit a brutal murder in his sleep, or was it a convenient cover story?” and docuseries Captive Audience reviews the 1972 disappearance of 7-year-old Steven Stayner, his return, a TV miniseries, and what followed.

Hulu announced a  series order for comedy This Fool, inspired by the life of up-and-coming comedian Chris Estrada, in which he will also write, star and executive produce.

Fall foodie lineup of unscripted series debuts on Thursdays, including Baker’s Dozen (premiering Oct. 7), The Next Thing You Eat (premiering Oct. 21), and a special holiday edition of the award-winning Taste The Nation (premiering Nov. 4).

Check back later on Friday for highlights from the panels for Hulu’s first day of TCA presentations, including Nine Perfect Strangers and Only Murders in the Building.

NEW TRAILERS: Stranger Things 4 Teaser Announces 2022 Release

A new teaser for season 4 of Stranger Things reveals a 2022 release for the highly-anticipated new season of the Netflix horror series. Who’s returning? Expect to see David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Priah Ferguson, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Cara Buono, and Brett Gelman. Earlier teasers have revealed that Harbour’s Hopper is imprisoned in a Russian gulag at the start of the new season.

Related: Everything We Know About Stranger Things Season 4 

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Y: The Last Man is the series adaptation of the classic post-apocalyptic graphic novel from Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra about Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer), who discovers he is the last man on the planet. Also stars Diane Lane, Olivia Thirlby, Marin Ireland, and Amber Tamblyn. Premieres Sept. 13. (FX)
• The opening sequence for Blade Runner: Black Lotus hints at what we’ll see in the animated series about a young woman who wakes up, in 2032 Los Angeles, with no memories, and only a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus as clues to her past. Stars Jessica Henwick, Samira Wiley, Brian Cox, Josh Duhamel, Wes Bentley, Stephen Root, and Gregg Henry. Premieres November. (Adult Swim)
• Truth Be Told, season 2, stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Kate Hudson, with Spencer playing an investigative reporter whose true crime podcast case involves her childhood friend (Hudson). The anthology series also stars Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Ron Cephas Jones, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood, Tami Roman, and Katherine LaNasa. Premieres Aug. 20. (Apple TV+)
• Yellowjackets is a psychological thriller about a group of high school soccer stars who survive a plane crash, but then have to survive in the wilderness waiting to be rescued. Stars Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, and Melanie Lynskey. Premieres this fall. (Showtime)
• Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James is a documentary movie about the wild and crazy career and personal life of the late R&B superstar. Premieres Sept. 3. (Showtime)
• Queen Sugar season 6 finds the Bordelon family dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. Stars Rutina Wesley. Premieres Sept. 7. (OWN)
• He’s All That is the remake of teen classic She’s All That, in which TikTok star Addison Rae makes over her supposedly uncool classmate, played by Cobra Kai star Tanner Buchanan. Premieres Aug. 27. (Netflix)
• Pretty Hard Cases is a buddy cop about two radically different female detectives in their early 40s. Starring Orange Is the New Black alum Adrienne C. Moore and Baroness von Sketch Show’s Meredith MacNeill. Premieres Sept. 6. (IMDB TV)
• Cinderella is Prime Video’s remake of the classic fairy tale, with pop star Camila Cabello as the modern version of the girl looking for her Prince Charming (who, turns out, isn’t Shawn Mendes). Also stars Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, and James Corden. Premieres Sept. 3. (Amazon Video)
• Impeachment: American Crime Story is the latest installment of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, this one focusing on the impeachment of Bill Clinton and his scandalous affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Stars Beanie Feldstein, Clive Owen, Edie Falco, Sarah Paulson, and Cobie Smulders. Premieres Sept. 7. (FX)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.

CASTING: Yellowstone Prequel Series 1883 Will Star Sam Elliott and Country Music Supercouple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum)

Oscar nominee Sam Elliott and superstar country music stars – and real-life marrieds – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will lead the cast of Paramount+’s Yellowstone prequel series 1883. Created by Oscar-nominated Taylor Sheridan, who also created Yellowstone, 1883 follows the Dutton family as they leave Texas and head west to Montana, in “a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land.” Elliott will play Shea Brennan, a tough cowboy who guides a group to Montana, while McGraw and Hill will play James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family.

Neil Patrick Harris is returning to sitcom land in the Netflix comedy Uncoupled, about a middle-aged New York City man who finds himself suddenly single when his husband leaves after 17 years together. Darren Star created the series with Modern Family producer Jeffrey Richman. (Deadline)

NPH’s How I Met Your Mother co-star Cobie Smulders will play conservative political pundit Ann Coulter in Impeachment: American Crime Story, replacing Betty Gilpin, who had to drop out of the FX project about Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal and his affair with Monica Lewinsky because of a scheduling conflict. (Variety)

Leslie Jones and Nat Faxon will be recurring guest stars on Taika Waititi’s HBO Max pirate comedy Our Flag Means Death. Details on the characters they’ll play remain under wraps.

Disney+ has announced the cast for its animated Halloween special, Star Wars Lego Terrifying Tales: Jake Green as Poe Dameron, Raphael Alejandro as Dean, Dana Snyder as Graballa the Hutt, Tony Hale as Vaneé, Christian Slater as Ren, Trevor Devall as Emperor Palpatine, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as NI-L8, and Matt Sloan as Darth Vader. The special premieres Oct. 1.

Ron Cephas Jones and Vinnie Jones will have recurring roles as a congressman and a gangster on season 2 of NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime (Deadline), and Ellen Burstyn will reunite with Chris Meloni as Stabler’s mom, a role that earned her an Emmy on Law & Order: SVU. (TVLine)

In a move that’s a huge buzzkill for those of us who are #TeamLevarBurton in the search for a new Jeopardy! host, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is in “advanced negotiations” to get the job. Richards previously hosted Divided and The Pyramid on GSN, and has also been a producer on The Price Is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, and the celebrity Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. (Variety)

Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why), Alan Ruck, and Mary Lynn Rajskub have joined the cast of Hulu’s The Dropout, the limited series about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, with Amanda Seyfried playing Holmes. Minnette will play Tyler Schultz, a new hire who quickly learns Theranos is manipulating their data; Ruck is a Walgreens exec who thinks his company has hit the jackpot with Theranos; and Rajskub plays Lorraine Fuisz, the wife of William H. Macy’s Richard Fuisz, the doctor and inventor who helped expose that blood testing company Theranos was a fraud. Other recurring cast members, including Sam Waterson as former Secretary of State George Schultz, a Theranos board member and grandfather of Tyler Schultz; Anne Archer as George Schultz’s wife Charlotte; and Kurtwood Smith as powerful attorney David Boies, who represented Theranos. (Deadline)

There’s a mini Xena: Warrior Princess happening on Acorn, where Renee O’Connor is guest starring with her Xena pal Lucy Lawless in Season 2 of Lawless’ hit drama My Life Is Murder. O’Connor will play the wife of a self-help guru, whose murder Lawless’ Alexa is investigating. Season 2, which also includes guest appearances by William Shatner and Martin Henderson, premieres Aug. 30.

Keegan-Michael Key and Johnny Knoxville are playing unspecified roles in Hulu’s comedy Reboot, about the cast of an old family sitcom that is rebooted, with the cast now forced to deal with old tensions from their original co-working days. The comedy is created by Modern Family co-creator Steven Levitan, John Enborn (Party Down), and Danielle Stokdyk (Veronica Mars).

HBO Max’s limited series Love and Death, about murderous Texas housewife Candy Montgomery, has added cast members, including Atypical star Keir Gilchrist as Pastor Ron Adams, Homeland alum Elizabeth Marvel as Pastor Jackie Ponder, and Ozark star Tom Pelphrey as Don Crowder, Candy’s (Elizabeth Olsen) defense attorney after she was charged with killing friend and fellow churchgoer Betty Gore (Lily Rabe), whose husband (Jesse Plemons) was having an affair with Montgomery. Patrick Fugit appears as Montgomery’s husband. (Deadline)

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: South Park Creators, Reese Witherspoon Sign Near Billion-Dollar Deals to Continue Making Hit TV Series and Movies

Matt Stone and Trey Parker

(Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage)

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed a new deal with MTV Entertainment Studios that will see the duo continue to make new episodes of their classic animated comedy through Season 30, and make 14 new made-for-streaming South Park movies that will premiere on Paramount+. The deal will mean South Park, which launches its 25th season in 2022, will air on Comedy Central through at least 2027. Meanwhile, two of the 14 movies will premiere on Paramount+ this year. And for this continuing time with Cartman and his pals,  Parker and Stone will earn a reported $900 million.

But the South Park fellas aren’t the only TV producers landing a near billion-dollar deal. Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine multimedia company is being sold also for a reported $900 billion. The company, a media and lifestyle brand that includes Witherspoon as an executive producer (and star) on hit series Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, and Little Fires Everywhere. The company is being sold to a new media company backed by private equity firm Blackstone, but Witherspoon and her senior management execs are staying on to run the company.

Alex Kurtzman, Paramount+’s leader of the current and ever-expanding Star Trek universe on the streaming network, has signed a nine-figure deal that will extend his relationship with the company through at least 2026. In addition to Trek, Kurtzman’s many other projects for Viacom properties includes Scarface and The Untouchables updates, The Man Who Fell to Earth starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, and an adaptation of Kavalier and Clay with the bestseller’s author Michael Chabon, all for Showtime.

In even more Paramount news, Justin Simien (Dear White People), has signed a three-year overall deal with Paramount Television Studios. Though his Culture Machine production company, he will develop premium television series.

HBO Max is releasing a new Batman series … a Caped Crusader podcast series. Batman: The Audio Adventures stars Jeffrey Wright in the title role, with Rosario Dawson as Batwoman, John Leguizamo as the Riddler, and other roles played by Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meters, Bobby Moynihan, Fred Armisen, and Heidi Gardner. The Batman is part of HBO Max’s plans to beef up its podcast slate, including a look back at the series Band of Brothers for its 20th anniversary, HBO Max Movie Club that will spotlight flicks in the streamer’s library, and The O.C. podcast Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! (THR)

Amazon announced the release date for it’s the Lord of the Rings original series: September 2, 2022. To celebrate the series wrapping filming in New Zealand, Amazon also released a first look photo of the series, which will debut on Prime Video in more than 240 territories and countries. The series is set a thousand years before the events in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, and follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.

Hulu has ordered to series an adaptation of author Carola Lovering’s novel Tell Me Lies, with Emma Roberts as executive producer and The Meyerowitz Stories star Grace Van Patten starring. Tell Me Lies is a drama following eight years in the complicated relationship between a pair who meet as college students, but are both dealing with major secrets and childhood traumas.

Oscar winner Marlee Matlin will star in and executive produce a workplace comedy NBC is developing. The untitled series would revolve around DJ (Matlin), the manager of a Los Angeles sign language interpreter agency. (Deadline)

Netflix and the producers of The Last Dance are teaming up for a five-part series – Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space – that will document the first completely civilian mission to orbit the Earth in a SpaceX capsule. Inspiration4, which will raise money and awareness for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, is scheduled to launch on Sept. 15 and orbit the Earth for three days, significantly longer than the recent trips to space by entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. The series premieres Sept. 6 with previews of the project, and a movie-length finale will air at the end of September and feature footage from the trip.

Laurence Fishburne is adapting Sag Harbor, the 2009 novel from two-time Pulitzer winner Colson Whitehead, for HBO Max. Fishburne and Whitehead will be executive producers on the series, which revolves around Benji, one of the few Black students at his elite Manhattan prep school, who spends his summer in Sag Harbor, where a small group of Black professionals have created their own community. (Deadline)

Amazon has greenlit the comedy movie Ex-Husbands, a gay divorce comedy starring Billy Eichner, based on his original story about the first gay couple in New York City to get legally married. Daniel and Conner were deeply in love, but their dream wedding is now being followed by a nightmare divorce, “War of the Roses” style. Eichner is producing the movie, along with Greg Berlanti.

On September 10, Apple TV+ will premiere the filmed version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical Come From Away, which tells the story of 7,000 people stranded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland after all flights into the United States are grounded on September 11, 2001. As the people of Newfoundland graciously welcome the “come from aways” into their community in the aftermath, the passengers and locals alike process what’s happened while finding love, laughter, and new hope in the bonds they forge. The production was filmed in May in New York, for an audience that included 9/11 survivors and front-line workers.

IMDB TV has picked up Season 1 of the scripted drama Troppo, starring Thomas Jane as Ted Conkaffey, an ex-cop falsely accused of committing a disturbing crime, who has escaped to hide in the tropics of Australia. As he tries to avoid discovery, he’s drawn into investigating a wild murder and a missing person, alongside a complicated woman with dark. The series is based on the novel Crimson Lake,  written by bestselling author Candice Fox.


(Photo by 20th Television)

For every Simpsons fan who’s ever wanted to indulge in a Krusty Burger, a Squishee, Chief Wiggum’s chili, and Homer’s “Mmmm”-inspiring donuts, Simon & Schuster has released The Unofficial Simpsons Cookbook, a colorful, photo-packed collection of recipes for the best eats featured in more than 700 episodes.

FandangoNOW Merges Into Vudu


And, heads up for FandangoNOW customers: starting this week, FandangoNOW customers can transfer their accounts and movie and TV collections to Vudu, with access to your content provided through Vudu thereafter. The Movie Store and TV Store on Roku devices will automatically update from FandangoNOW to the new Vudu. (Note: Rotten Tomatoes is a division of Fandango.)

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