In TV and streaming’s biggest news this week, Viola Davis will reprise her Amanda Waller role for a Peacemaker spinoff series. Disney+ revealed a new Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer and more to celebrate Star Wars Day. Plus, Netflix’s That ’90s Show will feature nearly the whole cast of That ’70s Show; Cobra Kai creators’ action series Obliterated moves to Netflix; trailers for Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird Al Yankovic biopic, and more.
(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros.)
Viola Davis is set to bring Amanda Waller back to the small screen in a Peacemaker and Suicide Squad spinoff series for HBO Max. Davis is in talks to star in the DC series and will executive produce alongside James Gunn, Peter Safran, and Watchmen writer Christal Henry, who will write the series.
Gunn previously teased a second Suicide Squad spinoff earlier this year and that it would be “connected to this universe” but would mostly ditch Peacemaker‘s raunchy comedic flair.
Amanda Waller, who appeared in Gunn’s Suicide Squad and its predecessor, is the director of A.R.G.U.S. and assembled the Suicide Squad, a ragtag team of dispensable supervillains, who are assigned covert missions to battle all types of world-ending threats. Her small part in Peacemaker revealed her agenda to frame Peacemaker for a crime he didn’t commit, and she used her daughter Leota Adebayo to get it done.
The Oscar-winner has made quite an impact on television in the past decade. Recently, she portrayed Michelle Obama on Showtime’s The First Lady, and she previously won an Emmy for her work on Shonda Rhimes’ ABC law drama, How To Get Away With Murder.
Davis’ return to Waller will, no doubt, up the anticipation for HBO Max’s original slate.
On May 4, better known as Star Wars Day, Disney+ unveiled a collection of new series set to hit the platform (listed below) as well as the brand new trailer for the highly-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series, featuring the return of Ewan McGregor in the titular Jedi role.
The series takes place 10 years after the events of 2005’s Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith forced every surviving Jedi into hiding. We may not yet be at the portion of the timeline when Obi-Wan trains Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force, but we’re getting there. The trailer shows the Jedi Master on Tatooine, keeping an eye on the young boy, from afar. He may be in hiding, and the Inquisitors may be out to eradicate him, but Obi-Wan has not lost sight of his overall goal of defeating the Galactic Empire.
Other familiar faces in the trailer include Joel Edgerton, who reprises the role of Luke’s Uncle Owen, and Obi-Wan urges him to allow young Luke to be trained, but Uncle Owen isn’t shying away from the last time he took a Skywalker under his wing – and we all know how that turned out.
Yes, Hayden Christensen returns to the franchise. The trailer gives a glimpse at his Anakin, finally being assembled into Sith Lord Darth Vader (insert heavy breathing here).
Joining McGregor, Christensen, and Edgerton in the ensemble cast are Rupert Friend (Hitman: Agent 47), Moses Ingram (The Tragedy Of MacBeth), Sung Kang (Fast & Furious 6), Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Kumail Nanjiani (Eternals), Bonnie Piesse (Star Wars: Episode II—Attack Of The Clones), Simone Kessell (Outlaws), and Maya Erskine (Pen15).
Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres on May 27 on Disney+.
Continuing the Star Wars Day news, Disney+ revealed two new original series: Disney Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett, premiering on May 4, and docuseries, Light & Magic, set to hit the streamer on July 27.
Disney Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett, as the official press release reads, “explores the behind-the-scenes story of the legendary bounty hunter’s return to the sands of Tatooine with mercenary Fennec Shand, who together seek to claim the territory and crime syndicate once run by the late Jabba the Hutt. In this insightful new special, filmmakers, cast and crew reveal never-before-seen footage, groundbreaking technology, and the practical effects that brought it all to life.”
Light & Magic is Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan’s behind-the-scenes exploration of the world of George Lucas’s visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic. The series will reveal the inspirations behind some of the most legendary filmmakers in Hollywood history. The six-part documentary series hails from Imagine Documentaries and Lucasfilm and is executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.
HBO has revealed a new look at its highly-anticipated Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, and, by all accounts, it looks like the dragons will definitely be in attendance when the program hits the network this summer.
Set 200 years before the events of HBO’s landmark series, House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood,” and stars Paddy Considine (Peaky Blinders) as King Viserys Targaryen, Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) as Alicent Hightower, Emma D’Arcy (Wanderlust) as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Prince Daemon Targaryen. The prequel hails from co-creators and showrunner Ryan Condal (Colony) and Miguel Sapochnik (Finch).
The release of the program – which is the first of multiple spinoffs in the works – signals a grand move by HBO to reclaim some of that sweet Game of Thrones glory (and revenue) it has lost since the groundbreaking fantasy series ended its run in 2019. This could be the beginning of a new genre franchise for the network, which would offer some sturdy competition against other genre players in the television space. And considering the growing popularity of Netflix’s The Witcher, Amazon’s Wheel of Time, and the upcoming Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series, which premieres just 12 days after House of the Dragon, HBO’s return to Westeros couldn’t happen at a better time. Premieres August 21. (HBO)
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• George Carlin’s American Dream is an upcoming two-part documentary film directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio that explores the life, career, and enduring legacy of the iconic stand-up comedian. Premieres May 20. (HBO Max)
• The G Word with Adam Conover finds comedian, producer, and writer Adam Conover putting his signature investigative chops to work in this hybrid comedy-documentary series that explores how the US government impacts Americans’ everyday lives. Premieres May 19. (Netflix)
• Pistol is a six-episode limited series about the birth of legendary punk outfit The Sex Pistols. Directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and inspired by Steve Jones’ memoir “Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol,” the program takes viewers back to 1970s London, and the groundbreaking music movement that changed the world. Premieres May 31. (FX)
• The Chi season 5 brings viewers back to the South Side. The Lena Waithe-created coming-of-age story follows a group of Chicago residents who become linked by an unfortunate coincidence and bonded by their need for connection and redemption. Stars Jacob Latimore, Alex Hibbert, Yolonda Ross, Shamon Brown Jr., Michael V. Epps, Birgundi Baker, Luke James, and Curtiss Cook are back, as are returning guest stars Kandi Burruss, La La Anthony, Jason Weaver, and Iman Shumpert. Premieres June 26. (Showtime)
• Uncoupled is an eight-episode series created by Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman that stars Neil Patrick Harris as Michael, a man who thought his life was perfect until his husband leaves him after 17 years together. Michael is forced to confront two nightmares — losing who he thought was his soulmate and suddenly finding himself a single gay man in his mid-forties in New York. Premieres July 29. (Netflix)
• Weird: The Al Yankovic Story finds Daniel Radcliffe donning the accordion-playing comedian’s iconic mop of curly hair and mustache to tell the Grammy-winning singer’s “untold true story.” Co-written by Yankovic and Eric Appel, who also directs, the biopic also stars Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, Rainn Wilson as radio personality Dr. Demento, and Toby Huss and Julianne Nicholson as his parents. Premieres fall. (The Roku Channel)
• Breeders returns for season 3 and continues exploring the darkly comedic experience of parenthood. Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard are Paul and Ally (the put-upon parents in question), and the new episodes will finally thrust them into a new phase of child-rearing: the dreaded teenage wasteland. Premieres May 9. (FX)
• Tehran is back for a second season with more espionage thriller goodness. The Israeli/US co-production will continue its riveting storyline, following Mossad agent and hacker Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan) who, after going deep undercover to destroy the Iranian capital’s nuclear reactor, gets trapped in the city and forced to live out her new undercover life. With Glenn Close joining the cast for season 2, this series is a definite must-watch. Premieres May 6. (Apple TV+)
• Ricky Gervais: SuperNature is the latest comedy special from Gervais, and it’s taken nearly two years to get it done. The famed comedian was halfway through his Supernature live tour before the pandemic shut things down. Now, four years after his previous comedy special Humanity hit the streamer, he’s back with fresh material about everything from the rules of comedy to debunking the supernatural. Premieres May 24. (Netflix)
• Yo! MTV Raps is returning to television after 25 years away. The series reboot will have a fresh look, new hosts (DJ Diamond Kuts and Conceited), and will highlight the biggest names, and upcoming artists, in the Hip Hop world, feature music videos, live performances and pay tribute to MTV’s original groundbreaking series. Premieres May 24 (Paramount+)
• Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend will reunite host Alton Brown and Mark Dacascos’s Chairman in Kitchen Stadium for this exciting reboot of the iconic food competition series. Premieres June 15. (Netflix)
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Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Wilmer Valderrama are all slated to make guest appearances in the streamer’s upcoming That ’70s Show spinoff series, That ’90s Show, which is set to star Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp as Red and Kitty Forman. Danny Masterson, who played Hyde in the original series and who has multiple sexual assault allegations against him, will not appear. As for the program’s plot, the spinoff will take place in the year 1995 and follow Leia Forman (played by newcomer Callie Haverda), the daughter of Eric (Grace) and Donna (Prepon), as she visits her grandparents over the summer. There, she forges friendships with a new generation of Point Place kids. Rounding out the cast are newcomers Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Reyn Doi, and Sam Morelos. Netflix previously ordered the multi-camera sitcom for 10 episodes. Original series creators Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner, along with their daughter Lindsey Turner, serve as writers and executive producers. That 70’s Show alum Gregg Mettler will also write the series, and take on executive producer, and showrunner duties.
Disney+’s live-action Percy Jackson and the Olympians series has added Leah Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri to its cast. Jeffries will play Annabeth Chase, who is described as “a true daughter of Athena with a gift for strategy and a curious mind. Having spent the last five years at Camp Half-Blood, a demigod training facility, she has little memory of the human world. She trains Percy to survive the mythological world, while he becomes her guide to connect with humanity.” Simhadri is Grover Underwood – “a satyr (half human, half goat) disguised as a 12-year-old boy. He cares deeply about others and will put their needs before his own, sometimes at his peril. He and Percy are best friends, and though he’s naturally cautious, Grover will always join in a fight to protect his friends.” Based on author Rick Riordan’s book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians follows Percy Jackson (played by Walker Scobell), a 12-year-old demigod who, while coming to terms with his newfound powers, is accused by sky god, Zeus, of stealing his master lightning bolt. Percy embarks on an epic adventure to find the lightning bolt and return it to Olympus.
Josh Radnor and Christian Slater are joining the cast of the upcoming limited series, Fleishman Is in Trouble. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Toby Fleishman opposite Lizzy Caplan, who plays Libby, the narrator of the nine-episode series and Toby’s friend. Radnor will step into the major role of Adam, Libby’s husband. Slater will appear in three episodes as Archer Sylvan, a Tom Wolfe–esque figure and journalist. The series is an adaptation of the Taffy Brodesser-Akner novel of the same name which follows Toby Fleishman, a 40-something divorcé who enjoys using dating apps until his ex-wife Rachel goes missing. To find her, he will need to go back and re-examine why their marriage didn’t work out in the first place. (Variety)
Jeff Daniels is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming drama series A Man in Full. Daniels will play Atlanta real estate mogul Charlie Croker who faces sudden bankruptcy and must defend his empire from those looking to capitalize on his fall from grace. The series hails from David E. Kelley, with Regina King slated to direct and executive produce. (Variety)
(Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
Game of Thrones alum Nikolaj Coster-Waldau will star opposite Jennifer Garner in Apple TV+’s limited series The Last Thing He Told Me, based on Laura Dave’s bestselling novel. The series follows Hannah (Garner), a woman who develops an unexpected relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter (Angourie Rice) while investigating her husband Owen’s (Coster-Waldau) mysterious disappearance. (Deadline)
Bruce Greenwood is replacing Frank Langella as Roderick Usher in Mike Flanagan’s Fall of the House of Usher on Netflix. Langella exited the project in April after an investigation into reported misconduct confirmed the actor made an inappropriate joke to a female co-star. Greenwood will portray the head of the Usher family in Flanagan’s modern re-telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic tale. (Variety)
Allison Janney will play Evelyn in Apple TV+’s upcoming comedy series Mrs. American Pie opposite Kristen Wiig, who stars as Maxine. Set in the early ’70s, Janney’s Evelyn is a quintessential full-time member of Palm Beach’s high society. Evelyn has what Maxine wants, and the series will focus on the conflict of who gets a seat at the table and the lengths people will go to to achieve such status. (Variety)
Victoria Pedretti is out and Alycia Debnam-Cary is in as the lead of Hulu’s psychological drama, Saint X. The program is adapted from the Alexis Schaitkin novel of the same name and explores how a young woman’s mysterious death while vacationing in the Caribbean, sets her sister on a dangerous pursuit of the truth. Debnam-Carey takes over the role of Emily in the series, who is described as “a sharp and ambitious woman whose carefully constructed, seemingly perfect life begins to crumble.” (Variety)
Outlander has cast Canadian actor Charles Vandervaart (Lost in Space) in the role of William Ransom, the secret son of Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan, for the Starz series’ seventh season. “Raised by his stepfather, Lord John Grey (David Berry), William, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere … arrives in Wilmington full of patriotic zeal and enthusiasm to join the British Army and help put an end to the escalating tensions in the American Colonies,” according to a Starz release. “William is actually the biological son of Jamie Fraser, though he does not know the truth of his parentage. On the surface, William Ransom is a courteous aristocrat but simmering under the surface is a Highlander’s fire.” Production on season 7 began in Scotland in April with Vandervaart joining returning cast members Heughan, Caitríona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin and John Bell.
Kate Walsh has joined the cast of Sprung, Amazon Freevee’s upcoming comedy series from Emmy-winning writer Greg Garcia. The program follows a group of ex-convicts who decide to use their criminal know-how for good. Walsh is Congresswoman Paula Tackleberry, a woman targeted by the group for using insider trading secrets to sell millions of dollars worth of stocks, all while assuring the public that the Covid-19 pandemic is nothing to worry about. (Variety)
William Fichtner will star opposite Milo Ventimiglia and Catherine Haena Kim in the ABC’s drama pilot The Company You Keep. The series will follow con man Charlie (Ventimiglia) and undercover CIA officer Emma (Kim). Who, after becoming romantically linked, are unknowingly on a collision course professionally. Fichtner is Leo, a former steelworker turned grifter who learned the fine art of the misdirect a long time ago. Leo’s also struggling with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and is determined to pull off one last big score before he loses his faculties for good. (Deadline)
Mark-Paul Gosselaar has been cast opposite Shanola Hampton in the NBC pilot Found. The drama series reminds us that, in any given year, more than 600,000 people are reported missing in America. More than half are people of color who end up being forgotten about. Hampton plays Gabi Mosley, who, along with her crisis-management team, works to help the missing and forgotten. She has a secret, though. Gosselaar will play Sir, a controversial figure in Gabi’s past. (Deadline)
Joey King will star in Hulu’s limited series adaptation of Georgia Hunter’s novel We Were the Lucky Ones. The eight-episode series is inspired by the true story of one Jewish family’s determination to survive and reunite during World War II. Thomas Khail is set to direct and executive produce. (Variety)
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
The Cobra Kai creative team that is Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald have locked in their next action-comedy series at Netflix. Obliterated tells the story of an elite special forces squad that stops a deadly threat in Las Vegas. After their celebration, which included mass amounts of alcohol, drugs, and sex, the team learns the bomb they deactivated was fake. Now, the intoxicated soldiers must fight through their impairments, and overcome their personal issues, to find the real weapon and save the world. The move to Netflix comes almost three years after the group sold the project to TBS. After the Warner Bros-Discovery merger, it was announced that TBS and TNT would be moving away from original scripted series programming. It is said the show’s move began some time ago, but now Obliterated’s new home has been made official. (Variety)
A new Jackass TV series is in the works at Paramount+. Based on the success of the latest movie installment of the franchise, Jackass Forever, which drew $23.5 million at the box office after appearing in just 3,604 theaters, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish revealed the streamer’s decision to move forward with more pranks and stunts led by Johnny Knoxville. (Hollywood Reporter)
Bel-Air is Peacock’s most-streamed original series, having reached 8 million accounts to date, and has broken the streamer’s records for new subscribers, usage, and upgrades. The retelling of the Will Smith-starring sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is slated to return for season 2 in 2023 with former Queen Sugar showrunner Anthony Sparks joining as an executive producer, working alongside executive producers/co-showrunners TJ Brady and Rasheed Newson.
Dead To Me creator Liz Feldman has set up her next dark comedy, No Good Deed, at Netflix. The series “follows three very different families vying to buy the very same 1920s Spanish-style villa that they think will solve all their problems,” the press release says. “But as the sellers have already discovered, sometimes the home of your dreams can be a total nightmare.” (Deadline)
Lifetime has greenlit the movie The Gabby Petito Story, with Emmy-nominated actress Thora Birch on board to co-star as Gabby’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, while also making her directorial debut. The movie, which is a part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women public affairs initiative, will delve into the disappearance and murder of Gabby Petito. The disappearance of Petito set off a nationwide search for the 22-year-old travel blogger in September 2021. Gabby and her fiancé Brian Laundrie’s complicated relationship, and their cross-country trip that resulted in her death, will be the focus of the movie, which will premiere on Lifetime later this year.
The Vampire Diaries alum Paul Wesley and co-creator Julie Plec are reuniting for Netflix drama, Confessions. Wesley will star and executive produce alongside Plec, who will write and executive produce alongside Better Call Saul writer, Bradley Paul. The program is based on Jason Smith’s non-fiction 2015 article The Confessions of a Drug-Addicted High School Teacher, which recounts his two years as a public high school teacher, while under the influence of prescription narcotics. Jason’s brokenness from addiction attracts broken students, and in a town obsessed with high school football, he’s not alone in his obsession to escape from himself. (Deadline)
The Warded Man is getting the TV adaptation treatment. Peter V. Brett’s international bestselling sci-fi horror fantasy book – which is a part of a five-novel series – is set in a distant future where humanity is plagued by demons that emerge at night with otherworldly powers and a deep-seated hatred of people. The locals resort to warding to keep them at bay, painting mysterious symbols on houses and posts. But it’s not enough. One man takes it further and tattoos his body with the wards to teach humanity how to fight back from the verge of extinction. The project is being developed by Rush Hour and The Hustle producers Roger Birnbaum and Mark Kimsey with the goal of creating a long-term franchise. (Deadline)