Weekly Ketchup

Ridley Scott in Talks to Direct Disney's Merlin Saga, and More Movie News

by | January 5, 2018 | Comments

Today’s Ketchup brings you eleven headlines from the world of film development news, covering stories from the last few weeks (because of the holidays), such as G.I. Joe, Halloween, The Merlin Saga, and Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek.


This WEEK’S TOP STORY

DISNEY’S MERLIN SAGA MIGHT BE DIRECTED BY RIDLEY SCOTT

(Photo by Kerry Brown/20th Century Fox Film Corp., Walt Disney Pictures)

When Disney officially acquired the 20th Century Fox film and television assets for $52.4 billion late last year, much of the emphasis was on either the potential of X-Men joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Disney acquiring properties like The Simpsons, Avatar, Die Hard, etc. However, because of Fox’s longstanding relationships with various directors and producers, another implied result was that some of those filmmakers might start making films for Disney as well. Just weeks later, it appears that’s exactly what’s happening. Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner) is now in talks with Walt Disney Pictures to direct their adaptation of The Merlin Saga books by author T.A. Barron. Rather than focusing on future characters like King Arthur and Lancelot, The Merlin Saga (as the title suggests) tells the story of the sorcerer Merlin when he is a young adventurer. If Ridley Scott does sign on, it’s expected The Merlin Saga (or at least, the first film in the series) could be Ridley Scott’s next film as director. This is just one of two Merlin-related projects Disney is developing, along with their live action remake of Disney’s 1963 animated film The Sword in the Stone.


Fresh Developments

1. CUE THE SPACE BEARS: TARANTINO AIMS HIS STAR TREK PHASER AT THE REVENANT SCREENWRITER

(Photo by Derek Storm, Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

It was only a month ago that the spectacularly surprising news broke that Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) was considering a Star Trek movie for what might be his last film before retirement. Some stories like this disappear as quickly as they are reported, but this one seems to have traction. Tarantino met recently with a group of screenwriters to discuss his pitch (which reportedly involves time travel), and it appears that the frontrunner to land the job is Mark L. Smith. Smith’s previous credits include the bear attack epic The Revenant, Joe Dante’s The Hole, and the 2007 “torture porn” release Vacancy, all of which line up with Tarantino’s stated intention of delivering the first-ever R-rated Star Trek movie.


2. ORIGINAL MICHAEL MYERS TO RETURN FOR OCTOBER’S NEW HALLOWEEN

(Photo by Compass International Pictures)

The week after the surprising box office showing of the IT remake, we learned that Jamie Lee Curtis will be returning in this October’s new Halloween (which ignores the continuity of the sequels). This week, it was revealed that director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) is also bringing back actor Nick Castle, who originally played “The Shape” (AKA Michael Myers) in the original Halloween. Castle is now 70 years old (he directed The Last Starfighter), so he will be assisted by stuntman James Jude Courtney who had already previously been cast as Michael Myers.


3. GEORGE LUCAS’ PLANS FOR THE THIRD STAR WARS TRILOGY SURPRISINGLY SIMILAR TO THE LAST JEDI

(Photo by Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

Director Rian Johnson has been receiving staunch criticism from some Star Wars fans, but as it turns out, George Lucas had (somewhat) similar plans. We’re referring here to what Lucas might have done with Episodes VII (The Force Awakens), VIII (The Last Jedi), and the upcoming Episode IX if he hadn’t dropped out when Disney acquired Lucasfilm. In the new book Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s revealed that George Lucas planned for Episode VIII to depict “an older Luke Skywalker training a new disciple named Kira (who was later renamed Rey). The idea was that, 30 years after the fall of the Empire, Luke had gone to a dark place and secluded himself in a Jedi temple on a new planet.” And that, at least, is (partially) what Rian Johnson depicted in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Well, that and showing us where Aunt Beru’s blue milk might’ve come from.


4. CHRISTIAN BALE ALMOST STARRED IN SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures)

The Star Wars movies are usually promoted for months in advance of release, but the prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story releases in just over four months (5/25/18), and we haven’t seen much from it yet at all. That’s obviously going to change soon (the Super Bowl on 2/4/18 is a safe bet), but until now, we’re still just getting random bits and pieces. This week, super-serious actor Christian Bale confirmed that he had been in talks to co-star in Solo: A Star Wars Story, playing the character that went to Woody Harrelson instead. Bale not only stated that he has been a lifelong Star Wars fan (and previously worked with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy on Empire of the Sun), but that he “hope[s] there will be future discussions.” So, the chance is still out there that Christian Bale could yet co-star in a future Star Wars movie.


5. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES DIRECTOR LEAVING FOX FOR NETFLIX

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)

This story might seem a bit “inside baseball” (and/or too “corporate”), but the possible ramifications do connect to things fans care about. Matt Reeves, the director of the two most recent Planet of the Apes sequels (and still attached to direct The Batman for Warner Bros.), has moved his production company from 20th Century Fox to Netflix. What’s interesting here is that this might be an example of a director formerly associated with Fox who is now moving elsewhere because of the recent Disney/Fox deal (though it should be noted that’s pure speculation at this point). No new titles under Netflix have been revealed yet, and Reeves’ company will continue to develop the titles Mouse Guard and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole (for Fox Animation).


6. TOY MOVIES G.I. JOE, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, AND MICRONAUTS STORM INTO 2020 AND 2021

(Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/Paramount Pictures)

In the weeks leading up to the end of each year, most of the studios typically send out promotional materials for the incoming year, and sometimes we learn of new release dates for projects further out. There may be more yet to come (since we’re only 5 days into 2018), but thus far, the studio with the biggest announcements has been Paramount Pictures, which is looking to recover from a weak 2017 in which it came in at #7 in box office share. Paramount has announced dates for four movies in partnership with the Hasbro toy company: G.I. Joe (3/27/20), Micronauts (10/16/20), Dungeons & Dragons (7/23/21, recently acquired from Warner Bros), and an untitled Hasbro film (10/1/21). G.I. Joe is expected to be a fresh new reboot (possibly more directly based on the 1980s toy line), and is claiming the weekend before an untitled DC Comics movie and one of Disney’s live-action fairy tales (both on 4/3/20). Last week, Paramount also revealed our first glimpse of the 1980s-set Bumblebee prequel (12/21/18), showing the Transformer in his original VW “bug” form.


7. DWAYNE JOHNSON CONFIRMS JOURNEY 3 NO LONGER IN DEVELOPMENT

(Photo by Ron Phillips/Warner Bros.)

Dwayne Johnson’s reboot Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has proven itself at the box office since it opened. Add in Disney’s Jungle Cruise and the partially jungle-set video game adaptation Rampage, and Dwayne Johnson has clearly established himself as something of a king of the “jungle movie.” This all sort of started with 2003’s The Rundown and the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. These other successes seem to have been bad news for fans hoping for Journey 3, however, as Johnson confirmed this week that Journey 3 is no longer in development. Answering a fan’s question on Twitter, Johnson replied, “Unfortunately, I have no plans to make another Journey movie. My goal to make Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon became a real challenge to crack creatively.” We’re calling this a Fresh Development because of the Rotten 43% Tomatometer score for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.


ROTTEN IDEAS OF THE WEEK?

2. WILL FUTURE DC COMICS MOVIES BE SPOOKY LIKE THE CONJURING?

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Although Warner Bros.’ DC Comics films like Suicide Squad and Justice League did well at the box office, the perception is still out there that these films could have been better (26% and 40% on the Tomatometer, respectively). Ostensibly, the hope is that better films will also do even better box office (like the Certified Fresh Wonder Woman did with a 92%). With that in mind, Warner Bros. is shaking up the corporate leadership of its DC Films division, and the new boss is one Walter Hamada, who comes to DC from WB’s New Line Cinema subsidiary, where he was in charge of horror hits like IT and The Conjuring cinematic universe (Annabelle, etc). This has quickly led to speculation that some of the DC Comics projects that will receive greenlights will be on the spookier, “scary” side. That’s great for comics adaptations that make sense as horror films, but what about traditional superhero movies? Are they in trouble at Warner Bros.?


1. NETFLIX COMMITS TO SEQUEL FOR ORC COP DRAMA BRIGHT

(Photo by Netflix)

Although at least one source has proclaimed Bright to be the “worst movie of 2017,” Netflix appears to be quite content with the results (Rotten at 28% on the Tomatometer). Will Smith starred in the gritty fantasy/action movie as a cop living and working in a modern world where orcs, elves, and dragons coexist alongside humans. Netflix is moving forward with a Bright sequel to be written and directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Training Day), with the first film’s screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle) not returning. Despite the horrible reviews, Bright is estimated to have been watched by 11 million people its first weekend, which, if they had been box office tickets, may have been worth as much as a $98 million opening.

Tag Cloud

Comedy Central football women directors trailers razzies OWN ABC Signature Turner Classic Movies VOD biography FX Paramount Network Nominations Music DGA book adaptation BBC Rom-Com renewed TV shows dreamworks Heroines sequel discovery Marvel Studios 2021 sopranos The Academy Tarantino Star Trek First Reviews MSNBC worst streaming movies X-Men Warner Bros. cinemax WGN TCA Awards reboot suspense Apple Superheroes Pixar PaleyFest cops 21st Century Fox king kong serial killer Shondaland USA hist cancelled television series Tubi stop motion Lucasfilm films adventure zero dark thirty archives facebook ITV 45 Fox Searchlight Creative Arts Emmys The Purge Britbox MCU anime rt archives strong female leads popular Apple TV Plus CBS All Access japanese HBO Go Comic-Con@Home 2021 Pop Ghostbusters halloween tv crime thriller scene in color TV One Neflix AMC Plus docuseries posters New York Comic Con CBS Baby Yoda RT21 movie spanish language Netflix a nightmare on elm street Academy Awards biopic Wes Anderson Fantasy First Look GIFs nfl GoT Writers Guild of America TCA Winter 2020 chucky Sci-Fi Amazon Anna Paquin cartoon christmas movies DirecTV Image Comics FX on Hulu book spain Lifetime YouTube true crime Cartoon Network Family 2016 tv talk video superhero Tomatazos critics Interview latino Rock Masterpiece Epix Super Bowl spinoff jurassic park documentaries revenge FOX Animation Election natural history cancelled TV shows mutant harry potter Sony Pictures Tokyo Olympics know your critic screen actors guild Black History Month Photos remakes VH1 sag awards Alien streaming PlayStation BBC One Western San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Prime Video green book The Walt Disney Company mockumentary Marathons Arrowverse Paramount action-comedy The Walking Dead new zealand adaptation 2020 Crackle crossover Netflix Christmas movies new york Set visit rom-coms crime drama new star wars movies royal family comic book movies Emmys disaster Lionsgate CW Seed Legendary singing competition news romantic comedy nature halloween festivals Pet Sematary Disney Channel ViacomCBS Film Festival Video Games Columbia Pictures Dark Horse Comics Premiere Dates war Broadway kids cars Awards Reality cancelled aliens LGBTQ obituary History king arthur talk show Disney streaming service DC Universe sports comic book movie Pride Month ratings ghosts hollywood art house Paramount Plus best Amazon Prime spanish BET CMT anthology name the review cancelled TV series sequels documentary Rocketman BAFTA psycho slasher Best and Worst Food Network A&E Song of Ice and Fire boxing Emmy Nominations Trophy Talk docudrama 90s scary deadpool BET Awards elevated horror prank Trivia japan Stephen King fast and furious child's play golden globe awards social media 2019 free movies breaking bad Starz TBS golden globes Elton John APB TCA Biopics lord of the rings witnail science fiction Exclusive Video SDCC Oscars Superheroe spider-man travel kaiju live action WarnerMedia Film adenture Television Critics Association fresh international Amazon Studios Endgame Turner canceled Bravo 007 unscripted Winter TV teaser HBO romance hidden camera laika historical drama DC streaming service Discovery Channel kong basketball werewolf comic books richard e. Grant Classic Film Musical Ellie Kemper Red Carpet TruTV dc blockbusters ID hispanic El Rey Certified Fresh Comics on TV pirates of the caribbean Nickelodeon comics universal monsters Fargo indiana jones See It Skip It debate criterion australia Schedule Captain marvel The Arrangement what to watch Musicals Universal Pictures Marvel Television miniseries nbcuniversal satire Ovation Character Guide 93rd Oscars superman 71st Emmy Awards Marvel binge vs. Adult Swim medical drama Travel Channel Calendar NBA NBC diversity boxoffice Sundance Now critic resources BBC America mission: impossible TV aapi Hear Us Out supernatural 20th Century Fox venice screenings Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt genre PBS The Witch Opinion The CW dragons 72 Emmy Awards Mystery canceled TV shows TCM game show asian-american IMDb TV Holiday ABC TLC Binge Guide Peacock period drama Hallmark technology YouTube Red Quiz olympics HBO Max Women's History Month movies award winner National Geographic Fall TV Avengers E3 comic Instagram Live Acorn TV Kids & Family NYCC Polls and Games theme song ABC Family stoner wonder woman classics Spring TV Cannes composers vampires leaderboard TCA 2017 TV renewals rt labs critics edition Teen mob trophy feel good Pacific Islander high school rotten movies we love Sneak Peek Infographic italian Winners spy thriller IFC Films ESPN twilight festival DC Comics 2017 USA Network gangster finale transformers target politics Drama TV Land Esquire Showtime Awards Tour dramedy dark E! 2018 Box Office monster movies cults telelvision Disney Plus Sundance TV james bond emmy awards rotten 2015 Star Wars die hard Reality Competition scary movies Sundance Grammys hispanic heritage month Mary poppins batman sitcom SXSW cooking game of thrones 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Country crime stand-up comedy MTV Comedy Shudder OneApp Watching Series VICE Nat Geo Apple TV+ animated marvel cinematic universe casting joker Summer mcc independent Brie Larson versus Trailer Mindy Kaling Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 24 frames Spike Television Academy IFC Mary Poppins Returns comedies Horror toronto Extras Logo 1990s robots YA doctor who zombie Podcast french Thanksgiving Rocky Disney+ Disney Plus Holidays YouTube Premium saw dogs CNN Lifetime Christmas movies 4/20 concert live event AMC Comic Book Pop TV foreign young adult parents video on demand Mudbound toy story 99% blockbuster Spectrum Originals Freeform dexter spider-verse SundanceTV rt labs TNT Syfy black reviews zombies Chernobyl thriller scorecard FXX Hallmark Christmas movies south america Action Pirates based on movie LGBT godzilla RT History blaxploitation Tumblr worst movies A24 GLAAD dceu Toys American Society of Cinematographers Walt Disney Pictures quibi television Crunchyroll Year in Review space Universal all-time Vudu heist movie police drama TIFF marvel comics cats psychological thriller Disney jamie lee curtis children's TV Fox News Hulu indie Funimation justice league franchise Martial Arts Black Mirror Cosplay Mary Tyler Moore legend political drama President 73rd Emmy Awards Countdown comiccon slashers TV movies Valentine's Day black comedy Christmas