SciFi Weekend: Star Trek Into Darkness; J.J. Abrams on the Mystery Box; Iron Man 3; X-Men: Days of Futures Past; Robots Trailer

A behind the scenes look at Star Trek: Into Darkness

Update: Star Trek Into Darkness Super Bowl Ad

In this TED Talks clip from 2007, J.J. Abrams explains that it is all about the Mystery Box.

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ComicBookMovie.com on Rebecca Hall’s role as Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3:

‘Maya Hansen’ was created by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov. and she plays a pivotal role in the creation of “Extremis”. “I’m now slightly converted,” laughed Rebecca Hall in a recent interview with Empire Magazine when asked about her newfound love of comic books. “Some of the artwork is astonishing. I’m kind of into it.” The actress is perhaps best known for starring in the likes of The Awakening and The Town, so love of comics notwithstanding, why now make a transition to the movie? “I’ve never had a huge desire to be a massive Hollywood actor. Yet this is the third instalment of a series I’ve really enjoyed, I really like Downey as an actor, and it looked like it would be fun. And it was. It was a very smart set, Iron Man. There’s a whole game of wits going on all the time between Downey and Shane.”

The “Shane” she refers to is of course writer and director Shane Black. This is what he had to say about the role of ‘Maya Hansen’ in the highly anticipated threequel. “It’s one thing we loved about the comic book, which was that it’s someone Tony meets in one capacity at one point in his life, and he proves to be touched by that encounter. We needed a snappy and exciting actor to play the part, and not make it this ‘female scientist who takes off her glasses and suddenly she’s beautiful!’ There’s a certain element about her being the female Robert Downey Jr in a way.” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige adds, “Maya is a scientist who makes a pretty astounding discovery that leads her to places – and some are healthier than others. It’s not dissimilar to what Tony’s been through, and it’s a great parallel.”

It looks like X-Men: Days of Future Past takes place in 1973, ten years after X-Men First Class. That would explain why January Jones isn’t around any longer. Based upon what we see in Mad Men, she is probably quite obese by 1973.

Want to start your own superheroes franchise? Get a good lawyer first. It appears that D.C. and Marvel jointly hold a patent on the word superhero.

I’m working on getting through as many Academy Award nominated movies as possible before the Awards show. I was a bit disappointed in Lincoln–he didn’t kill a single vampire. I saw Silver Lining Playbook last night. While I did enjoy it, for some reason I expected the dance contest which Jennifer Lawrence entered to be a battle to the death.

I haven’t had time to watch yet, but there are two new shows of interest I plan to check out: The Americans and the new series on Netflix, House of Cards. Or, how about this show:

This is the trailer for Robots, about twenty-something robots living in New York City (actually a parody of Girls).

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SciFi Weekend: Star Wars; Batman; Battlestar Galactica; Who Killed JR?; Mad Men and Other Returning Shows; S.H.I.E.L.D.; Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

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The big science fiction news of the week is that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie. I think it is a good idea for J.J. Abrams to direct the Star Wars movie. His tendency to destroy entire planets (Romulus, Vulcan) fits in better with Star Wars and Death Star than Star Trek.

There are reports that they might wait until 2017 to reboot Batman. There is also speculation that the cast of Justice League of America, scheduled for a 2015 release, will be cut down to five, leaving out Batman until he is rebooted in his own movie. Other rumors say that plans continue to reintroduce Batman in Justice League but possibly leave out Aquaman. Incidentally, if anyone is interested in getting the Michael Keaton Batman movies on Blu-Ray, I found they were much less expensive when purchased as part of a Michael Keaton Collection (recently discounted even further on Amazon) than as stand-alone Batman movies.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was turned into a web series after SyFy decided against picking it up as a weekly series. They will be televising this as a movie on February 10.

Dallas returns tomorrow night, starting with the final episodes filmed before the death of Larry Hagman. Considering all the publicity the show obtained in its original run with the mystery of Who Shot JR?, it only makes sense that JR Ewing will leave the series by being murdered as opposed to dying of natural causes. They should be able to keep this mystery, and other references to JR Ewing, part of the show for quite a long time.

Colin Morgan won the award for Best Drama Performance at the National Television Awards for his portrayal of Merlin.

Doctor Who returns on March 30 with Game of Thrones returning the following night.

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Mad Men returns on April 7 with a two hour season premier. More pictures like above here. The upcoming season will include more of Betty Draper but January Jones will not be returning as Emma Frost to X-Men Days of Futures Past . Elisabeth Moss was surprised her character left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce last season and cannot say what Peggy will be doing in the upcoming season.

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While January Jones won’t be returning to X-Men, Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pride) will be returning in these roles.

I was initially concerned that Person of Interest would be about independent stories every week, but over time an increasingly convoluted back story has developed. If you are having as much trouble as I am keeping track of everything, the chart here will either help or confuse matters further.

Filming is starting on S.H.I.E.L.D. Cobie Smulders will be reprising her role as Maria Hill despite continuing on How I Met Your Mother for another season.

Downton Abbey is casting for a new suitor for a character in Season 4. If you saw Season 3, or heard how it end, you will know who. If you do not know, don’t follow this link.

Office Documentary Crew

After nine years the documentary crew is being introduced into the cast of The Office. Will they have a plausible explanation as to why they have been covering this office for nine years?

Emma Stone Nearly Naked.

Doctor Who meets Inspector Spacetime:

Doctor Who Meets Inspector Spacetime

 

 

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SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who Convention News; Jenna-mania; Sherlock; Emma Stone on Spider-Man; Star Trek Secrecy; Fringe; Awake; Mad Men; Leonard Nimoy on Big Bang Theory

The first ever official Doctor Who convention took place this weekend, and Steven Moffat discussed the event in the video above. More videos can be found here, here, and here.

The biggest news out of the convention is that the fifth episode next season, which has the final encounter with the Weeping Angels (and final appearance of Amy and Rory) will take place and be filmed in New York City. While in New York, the cast might feel at  home in this TARDIS-themed bar which Karen Gillan mentioned in an interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HEPZRZ5P6po

Low-quality versions of trailer for the new season, taken while shown at the convention, have also been posted on many sites, as above. Hopefully we will have an official release early next week. Steven Moffat’s promotion of the season: “Amy and Rory leaving, tragedy, heartbreak and a Western, what more do you want out of Television. Come on Downton take that on!”

The biggest Doctor Who news of the week came on Wednesday before the convention with the naming of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the next assistant, beginning with the Christmas 2012 episode. The initial announcement, along with news on the upcoming season, were first posted here. In a follow-up post later in the day I had interviews with Jenna and Steven Moffat. A post on Thursday concentrated on her roles in Captain American and Titanic, along with advice from Matt Smith. On Friday we had the first official BBC picture of Jenna in front of the TARDIS, information on another series she is appearing in, Dancing on the Edge, and a report of links to an alleged sex tape with Jenna-Louise Coleman which actually lead to a malicious site. There’s also a brief video of what Matt Smith might say to people searching for sex tapes of Jenna.

Steven Moffat spoke to Radio Times about Doctor Who and Sherlock. He dismissed internet rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the Master and reports that he has not started writing season three of Sherlock yet:

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has dismissed reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is to play the villainous Master on the sci-fi series.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Royal Television Society awards, Moffat said: “People really do sit in rooms and make that stuff up. Look at the filming schedules for Doctor Who and Sherlock – those two shows tend to shoot at the same time. We’d have a problem and there’s only so much I can arrange.”

But he then added, as a quick afterthought: “But who knows what could happen in the future…”

Moffat also told RadioTimes.com about plans for the forthcoming series of Doctor Who. Asked whether there would be a large story arc running through the episodes, or if we could expect self-contained adventures, he said: “As ever, there’s a bit of both. But this time we’re moving closer to stand-alone stories. At this point, we’re not planning any two-parters. So, every week is going to be like a different mad movie.”

He added: “We went quite ‘arc’ last time and we’re going stand-alone this time around. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those things creeping in. You’ve got to find a way to make the last episode special, and by God that worked ratings-wise last year. We don’t want to abandon that idea.”

Asked for any teasers he could offer, the ever-evasive Moffat replied: “Watch out for the title of episode two. I think that’s a belter. It’s one of my favourite titles ever.”

As for his other hit BBC1 series, the detective drama Sherlock, Moffat had this to say about series three: “Mark [Gatiss] and I have planned it out. We haven’t started writing it yet because I’ve got God knows how many episodes of Doctor Who to get sorted first. But the way it works with Sherlock is that we starve you and then we give you a short burst and then we starve you again. It’s worked so far, we’re not going to change it.”

On the scheduling of future episodes, Moffat said: “I don’t actually know. Given that this is a show that I haven’t started writing yet, it’s a bit early to suggest scheduling. Once we hand them over, they’ll be on television quite quickly.”

Moffat remains unhappy about the planned CBS version of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes:

CBS announced earlier this year they would be filming a pilot called Elementary.

The US programme will feature Sherlock in New York and Watson will be played by 43-year-old Lucy Liu.

Steven Moffat says he hopes it will be good or it may degrade the Sherlock brand.

“It isn’t a version of our show,” he said. “They’ve just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version.

“So how do you think I feel about it? Annoyed is in there.”

‘Rogue version’

The US Sherlock will be played by British actor Jonny Lee Miller.

If the pilot is successful, it will be turned into a TV series which will air on US television in the autumn.

“The bigger problem for us with Elementary is, what if it’s terrible? What if it’s awful? Then it degrades the brand,” he said.

“I remember there was a legitimate American version made of Coupling, actually adapted from our version.

“It was terrible and it was a disaster and it did sort of diminish the original.

“So if there’s this completely unrelated rogue version of Sherlock going around and it’s bad, it can be bad for us.”

So far CBS hasn’t revealed which Arthur Conan Doyle stories will be made.

Talking at the Royal Television Society Awards, Moffat dismissed the idea that legal action had been taken over copyright.

“We don’t own Sherlock Holmes,” he said. “We don’t even own the idea of updating it. It’s been done before.

“I hope they know their Sherlock Holmes very, very well indeed because we know what’s in our show and wasn’t in the original.

“So if we did discover our material had made it into somebody else’s show we would have a problem with that. If there is no such incidence of that, then there’s nothing we can object to.”

When asked about a possible fourth series, Moffat revealed that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was keen to continue playing the lead role.

A new internet meme–Otters who like like Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch also spoke about his fan base to Now.

Emma Stone talked about her initial reluctance to appear in Spider-Man:

“I heard about Spider-Man and I didn’t think it was something I would want to be a part of. I just thought that probably isn’t right for me. Then I [auditioned with Andrew Garfield] and realized that this was a really interesting, fantastic relationship between two people and that I was being really closed-minded,” she said.

The actress, who wore her naturally blonde hair for the part, went on to discuss how her character finally changed her mind about the film: “[I] started learning more about Gwen Stacy and her history and just fell in love with the character and with the fans, too. I started reading forums and getting involved more in the comic book universe and it just became something I really wanted to be a part of, just because of all those elements.”

Emma Stone discussed Spider-Man further in this interview. Here is a brief excerpt:

You went from playing a literary character in The Help who was in a much beloved book with its own kind of following, to a comic book character who’s iconic and has this rabid following. Was there a big difference for you between those characters and how they’re treated by their fans?Well of course the characters themselves are incredible different and there seems to be a different fan base between Spider-Man fans and fans of The Help. There are conventions for Spider-Man fans and there aren’t for The Help fans, although I would love to see a convention of The Help fans. It could be like the big Lebowski Fest. But they’re two tonally different worlds to me even though they both had such a rabid following. There’s a difference just in terms of bringing the material to life. There are different incarnations of Gwen Stacy and of Peter Parker throughout comic book history, all these different storylines to pull from depending on what kind of script you’re going to patch together. With The Help, it was such a distinct story that kind of needed to be matched line for line in a way. It felt different just in terms of becoming part of it and the way the material was adapted. But I’m so excited to be part of a movie with a built-in fan base in that way. You go to Comic-Con and there’s so much passion in one room. Everybody’s so passionate about these characters and how they’ve affected their own loves. It’s a really cool thing as an actor to know that you’re part of something that’s so much bigger than you. You’re not creating it from the ground up, you’re trying to fill the shoes of someone that’s been around a lot longer than you. It’s really exciting. I love that aspect of it.>

Why do you think the producers and writers went with Gwen instead of Mary Jane?Well, Gwen’s story happened before Mary Jane’s, and I think that coming back to their roots, it was interesting to explore the woman who came before Mary Jane. I think she’s such a definitive part of Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane ultimately, who is literally the polar opposite in personality of Gwen Stacy. I think just building that into Peter’s life and seeing that story from the very beginning was really interesting. And of course Gwen’s story is so beautiful and important to that story of Spider-Man that I think they wanted to come from that angle at this time.

There might be less to report about the upcoming Star Trek movie as J.J. Abrams has built a wall around the set for secrecy.

I remain shocked that JJ Abrams destroy Vulcan in his Star Trek movies. That would be like eliminating Gallifrey and most of the Time Lords on Doctor Who.Oh, never mind.

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This week’s episode of Fringe, A Short Story About Love, cleared up Peter’s confusion about the meaning of a changed time-line. When Peter began searching for a way to get home, and rejected the Olivia in this time line even when she gained memories of “his” Olivia, I questioned this. Peter was treating the changed time line as if it was another form of alternative universe, but a changed time line would imply that it is the same universe in which things have changed. Olivia would be the same Olivia, but with different experiences due to the changes in the time line. Although I was thinking these things while watching, I also considered the possibility maybe Peter could be right as we really don’t have established rules for dealing with different time lines. Last night we found out that the interpretation I first had was actually correct, and Peter had been wrong. Peter also realized that reuniting with the Olivia in this time line was fine–not like sleeping with the hotter Olivia from the alternative universe (especially as we found out in the previous episode that having a baby with Altlivia led to bad consequences).

Awake didn’t address the show’s mythology this week, but once again showed a character whose life was different in each world even before the accident. Again this rules out the possibility of the universe splitting into two different paths at the time of the accident (unless we really get complex and have time move in both directions, which would be way too confusing).

Mad Men returns tonight. Here are some stories about the show:

Matthew Weiner spoke about Betty Draper’s reduced role and things which fans might hate in an interview with Huffington Post.

Stephanie Newman looked at what Mad Men might look like if it took place today. (Wouldn’t that defeat the whole idea of the show?)

All Things Considered looked at the influence of Mad Men.

ABC compared Betty with Don’s fiance, Megan.

January Jones discussed her absence from the premier with The Hollywood Reporter.

Today wonders whether Don Draper can finally be happy.

USA Today has a Mad Men quiz and reviewed where the characters left off last season.

Leonard Nimoy appears on The Big Bang Theory. Hopefully he does more than lend his voice to the toy version of himself (which might be the case considering how he only appeared in cartoon form in his last appearance on Fringe.) Following is an ad for the episode:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YbDraRwVTU&feature=player_embedded

And, on the topic of toys based upon science fiction shows:

Karen Gillan playing with herself.

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SciFi Weekend: A Timelord Wedding; Torchwood: Miracle Day; Dollhouse Stars on Torchwood & Community; Caprica; Mad Men to Return; January Jones as Emma Frost

David Tennant and Georgia Moffet are engaged with plans to get married next New Year’s Day. This sounds like a Timelord Wedding. Not only did Tennant play the tenth doctor, but Moffet has two ties to Doctor Who. She played The Doctor’s Daughter in a 2008 episode and Moffet is also the real life daughter of Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984. (For those missing the old episodes, the BBC has announced the opening of a Classic Doctor Who channel on YouTube.)

David Tennant is also going to be working with another character from his days at Doctor Who. Tennant and Catherine Tate will be appearing together in a production of  Shakespeare’s Much A Do About Nothing.

The upcoming season of Torchwood has a tentative starting date of July 1 and a new title: Miracle Day.

As Davies explained, “The premise is a miracle that happens to the world. That one day, on Earth, no one dies. Not a single person on Earth dies. The next day, no one dies. The next day, no one dies. And on and on and on. Now, the sick stay sick, the old keep getting older, the dying keep dying, but no one quite dies.”

And at first, this seems a wonderful thing, “But globally, it’s an instant overnight population boom. The Earth relies on people dying.”

Davies understandably didn’t want to offer too many details on how and why “Torchwood” hero Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, who couldn’t appear at the press tour session because he was acting in a play in England) comes back to our planet after running away at the end of the “Torchwood: Children of Earth” miniseries. But he did say that the notion of a world where no one can die would prove very intriguing to a man who suffers from immortality.

There is more information on the show and cast here. Dichen Lachman, who played Sierra on Dollhouse, who will play an FBI agent. Another cast member from Dollhouse will have a role on Community:

Enver Gjokaj, who played Victor during Dollhouse‘s brief life, will guest star on Community in episode 17, “Custody Law and Foreign Entanglements,” as Lukka, a love interest for Gillian Jacobs‘ Britta.

The character of Lukka is an “attractive, accent-y, oily Eastern European” fella who uses his finer points to seduce our girl Britta, but Lukka obviously is not exactly as delightful as he appears to be on first meeting.

The episode will most likely air sometime in March.

Miss the final episodes of Caprica last week? SyFy is streaming them online for free. As I’ve mentioned before, the concluding episodes were excellent, while the series as a whole was of mixed quality. Den of Geek! interviewed Eric Stoltz about some of the problems with the series.

Do you think that the show fell on the wrong side of a double-edged sword, following Battlestar?

I don’t think it was what the majority of Battlestar fans wanted, for the most part. It probably would’ve served us all better to have not even been connected to it.

It’s rare to find characters so instantly complex as we got in Caprica. How do you balance the many levels of Daniel Graystone? How do you set about giving the audience a way into a character like that?

That’s a very thick question, one which really requires a three page answer, which I won’t bore you with. The levels of the character were largely in the scripts, and usually left to the directors’ control: a little bit more malice here, a little more loving there.

That being said, there were certain relationships, like Greystone and his wife, that seemed to take on a life of their own, even beyond Paula Malcomson and myself. And that was wonderful to be a part of.

It was always a fascinating show to watch, and clearly the narrative had many, many threads to it. In hindsight, though, do you think the show was slightly off balance? Or wouldn’t you change a thing about it?

It’s rare for a show to find itself in the first season. There are exceptions, of course, but a lot of shows take two or three years to find the right ingredients. I’m sure we were off balance at times, and I’m sure I would change a few things if I had that power, but I’ve moved on.

It comes as little surprise, but it has been officially announced that Mad Men will return for a fifth season. No date for the season has been announced yet. January Jones will also be appearing in X Men: First Class, which will be a prequel story which, like Mad Men, takes place in the 1960′s. Jones will play the scantily mutant telepath Emma Frost. It would take an actress with the looks of January Jones to pull off the role.

”The costumes are insane,” Jones said.

“It’s a lot of very body-conscious stuff. If you look at the comic book, she’s barely dressed. She’s got quite the bod, which is very intimidating.”

I do think January Jones can handle the costumes.

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January in Rome

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January in Rome–January Jones that is.  She has always had that Grace Kelly look. Oprah’s magazine even took advantage of this for a photo spread on how to get the Grace Kelly look (example above).

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This was even more apparent than usual in this week’s episode of Mad Men in which Don and Betty Draper went off to Rome. Who would have guessed that Betty Draper speaks Italian?

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There was a notable contrast in the episode between Betty Draper traveling in Rome and her usual life as a housewife–but she still looks far more like Grace Kelly than Donna Reed even at home.

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I think January Jones was fortunate to get the role of Betty Draper in the 1960′s. While there’s no question that she looks remarkable in real life as above, Hollywood has a tremendous number of  beautiful aspiring actresses. There is the possibility she might have been lost among them normally, but few, if any, could pull off the Grace Kelly look like she does.

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Conservatives and Liberals Agree on Significance of Sarah Palin

Last week I noted that the conservative publication Human Events named Sarah Palin the conservative of the year. Today Crooks & Liars announces that Palin has been chosen as Wingnut of the Year. While one obviously sees the award as going to someone they have a favorable view of, and the other is awarding it based upon an unfavorable opinion, they do agree on Palin’s significance. Like her or dislike her, Sarah Palin deserves both awards.

Palin was the conservative who received by far the most publicity this year. This is an unfortunate fact for the conservative movement. If conservatives in general are separated based upon rationality versus being a wingnut, Palin also deserves this more than any other conservative this year.

While there are vastly different types of views lumped together under the conservative label, Palin represents conservatism of the worst type. She lacks any understanding of civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution, as well as any respect for individual liberty. Instead her views are heavily influenced by the religious right on social issues and by the neoconservatives on foreign policy.

Consistent with the social conservative roots of her political views, Palin promotes the anti-intellectualism which is now dominating the conservative movement, including a denial of evolution. Palin’s views are totally inconsistent with the libertarian ideas, as well as respect for intellectualism, which has often been seen in conservative thought in the past. Unfortunately some libertarians, clearly thinking with an organ other than their brains, ignore the authoritarianism of Palin’s views and consider her one of their own. If all it takes is a hot woman with a gun to get their support, they’d be better off drooling over January Jones (Betty Draper of Mad Men )after the first season episode entitled Shoot. Here are the choices:

Sarah Palin clearly deserves to be named Wingnut of the Year. The tragedy is that, while some conservatives do see through her, so many other conservatives see her as their new leader. Republican voters see Sarah Palin and fellow social conservative Mike Huckabee as their two preferred choices for 2012. Red State has announced a war against Republicans who have not supported Palin. This will make it much harder for the Republican Party and the conservative movement to move beyond the fringes.

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