J.J. Abrams Reveals Why He is Excited To Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE IX

I was initially surprised to hear the news that J.J. Abrams signed on to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. After he was done with The Force Awakens, it seemed like he wasn't interested in directing anymore Star Wars films. He previously explained:

“It was a wonderful way to visit a place that meant so much to me and obviously so many. I knew that if it worked, it was the perfect time to step down – and if it didn’t, no one would want me to do it anyway.”

Then shortly after Colin Trevorrow was fired, Abrams agreed to take on it. I've heard from a source that Rian Johnson was initially going to do it, but then Abrams supposedly called up Kathleen Kennedy and asked to direct it, so he jumped at the opportunity and Lucasfilm was like "Hell, yeah!" 

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams opened up on why he ultimately decided to direct the final chapter of this latest trilogy, saying:

“I had no intention to return. But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in Seven.”

I personally loved what Abrams did with The Force Awakens, so I'm excited to see how the filmmaker closes on the trilogy. Not everyone was as thrilled as most fans, but Abrams is looking to do give us an ending that he hopes fans will love. He goes on to say:

“I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”

At this point, it's hard to even speculate what might happen in Episode IX because we haven't even seen The Last Jedi yet. One thing we do know is that Abrams is excited to tell the story and he's looking to do an even better job this time around.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15, 2017 and Star Wars: Episode IX opens December 20, 2019.

Bitcoin Is No Longer Supported In Steam

In a statement from Steam's blog, the company announced that they are no longer supporting Bitcoin as a method of payment in their store. This is due to the unpredictability of the currency and the high fees that come from using them. 

In terms of Bitcoin's high fees, Valve revealed that when they started accepting the currency, the transaction fee that was charged to the customer is only 20 cents. However, that fee rose rapidly and now charges $20 per transaction today. Valve is not happy with the situation the Bitcoin puts its users in and the fact that they cannot control this fee is what eventually led them to decide to shut down the payment method. 

Speaking of Bitcoin's unpredictability, Valve mentioned that the value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a short period of time. They said in a statement that: "So if the transaction doesn't complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different."

Gabe Newell, the cofounder and managing director of Valve, which owns Steam.

Gabe Newell, the cofounder and managing director of Valve, which owns Steam.

When situations where transactions don't complete in a short timeframe and the value changes, Steam is forced to either refund the payment or would charge more to cover the balance. What they don't like in this particular scenario is that it doesn't only affect the company, but also its users. In the end, Valve did not fully close its doors to Bitcoin as they promised that they may re-evaluate using the currency if it makes sense for them and the Steam community. 

Just recently, Bitcoin has surged to all-time record highs above $10,000. However, there have been times in the past when the digital currency's value would plummet significantly, that raised concerns regarding its viability as a currency. 

Do you think the Bitcoin bubble is about to burst as predicted by financial analysts?

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Five Tidbits Gleaned From The STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Press Conference

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Less than two weeks until the release of probably the most anticipated movie of 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I know I can’t shut up about it and I have to be even more careful about what articles I read (and write) for fear of spoiling something. That being said, I do enjoy reading some things that shouldn’t spoil plot points. For instance, the global press conference for The Last Jedi was on December 3, 2017, and there was a lot of secrecy happening. The film was not screened for the press and the cast and director were very secretive in their comments. We have a short list of five things that were learned at the press conference that our own Joey Paur was attending. I’m going to throw up a Spoiler Alert here, but you should read #3. It’s hilarious and 100% spoiler free. I will be summarizing most of the points here.

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1.    It follows the pattern of the other Star Wars trilogies by having a darker tone. I think most of us have already felt the darker tone this movie exudes in the trailers and I’m sure that’s not a red herring. Rian Johnson, the director, even admits that it’s, “a little darker” than The Force Awakens. This doesn’t mean it won’t be fun though.

2.    It is HUGE! John Boyega, Laura Dern, and Adam Driver all commented on how big of a spectacle this movie was. However, they also all commented on how the film is still intimate. Boyega states:

Every day was a new set. The practical effects like doubled. The sets were bigger. It was exciting and amazing. But you still felt an intimacy, like an independent film but with a big budget.

3.    This next one is the best thing ever. Basically, Mark Hamill is the BEST at keeping secrets. As you know Hamill is reprising the iconic role of Luke Skywalker. He apparently was dodging every question that was asked. And at one point someone asked what it was like for him to train Rey and he immediately responded with this amusing response:

"Well, you're assuming that I train Rey. Do I? I don't know. I have to be really careful. People ask me if it was difficult to pick up and wield a lightsaber and I go, 'Do I?'"

Regardless, he assured us that his screen time is at least twice what it was in The Force Awakens.

4.    The First Order is scary as ever. They are putting all of the pressure on the Resistance. The problem is that there are problems in the First Order. We already know that Kylo Ren and General Hux have a rivalry between them, so how is that going to help them? Domhnall Gellson who plays Hux even says, “I think it’s funny, the huge amount of drama going on in the First Order and the huge amount of bitchy infighting. A united front is difficult for them.”

5.    We will not be following the droids as much. A lot of the story in Star Wars: A New Hope was told through the “eyes” (optical sensors?) of R2-D2 and C-3P0. George Lucas purposefully did this. We have been told that The Last Jedi will not follow suit.

Which was your favorite of these tidbits? What are you looking forward to the most?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15, 2017.

New Poster For Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER Assembles All the Heroes and Villains

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We've got a couple new posters for Marvel's Black Panther for you to check out today! As you can see, the one above brings together all of the heroes and villains from the highly anticipated film. The one below is an international poster featuring Black Panther in the heat of action. 

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Andy SerkisDaniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett. It's set to open in theaters on February 16, 2017. 

The film is being directed by Ryan Coogler and it will be released in theaters on February 16, 2018.

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Quentin Tarantino’s STAR TREK Film Will Be Rated R; THE REVENANT Screenwriter May Write It

Early this week, the crazy news hit that Quentin Tarantino was developing the next Star Trek film with J.J. Abrams. Tarantino came up with a story and he may actually end up directing it. 

We’ve now learned from Deadline that this Star Trek Movie will be rated R, which is insane! I would have never thought in a million years that we would ever see an R rated Star Trek film, but according to the report:

Tarantino has required it to be R rated, and Paramount and Abrams agreed to that condition. Most mega budget tent poles restrict the film to a PG-13 rating in an effort to maximize the audience. 

The report adds:

That rating was crucially important to Tarantino, who hopes to direct this Star Trek and who has helmed R rated films his entire career. Imagine how this could open storytelling lanes, or even what the banter on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise might be, if you conjure up memories of the conversations between Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, or the banter at the diner between robbers before the heist gone wrong that triggered the action in Reservoir Dogs.

Damn! This news just gets crazier and more unbelievable! I guess with the success of Deadpool and Logan, Paramount Pictures was a lot more open to an R-rated Trek film. The franchise will definitely boldly fu**ing go where it has never gone before.

The report goes on to say that the studio is in talks with Mark L. Smith to write the movie. Smith is the same screenwriter who wrote The Revenant, so you can bet the script is going to be amazing if they end up hiring him. The studio is also looking at screenwriters Lindsey Beer and Drew Pearce.

This project seems to be moving forward at warp speed and it’s hard not to be excited about what I’m hearing about this movie! 

We are going to get a true hardcore R-rated Quentin Tarantino movie! What do you think of that!? Are you excited to see these classic characters represented in an R-rated manner?  

J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Issue Statements on Johnny Depp’s Casting in FANTASTIC BEASTS Sequel

There are a lot of Harry Potter fans who aren't happy that Johnny Depp is still attached to play Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The reasoning behind this goes back two years when Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard made domestic violence accusations against the actor. As you know, Hollywood is currently going through a cleansing process of anyone who has been accused of sexual harassment in any form. 

Director David Yates made his own statement about Depp and defending the fact that they kept him on board. Now Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. are coming to Johnny Depp's defense. They are obviously sticking by their decision to keep the actor in the role.

Here's what Rowling had to say on her website:

When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.
The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.  Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.
I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.

This is what Warner Bros. said in their statement:

We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage, and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved. This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.

There are still fans that aren't happy with the outcome of this and here are a few responses to the statements that have been made:

The fact of the matter is, the studio has a better understanding of the situation than the rest of us. Many of the women who Depp has had relationships over the years have come to his defense after these accusations were made. David Yates even said:

"I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”

What do you think of the statements made by Rowling and Warner Bros. regarding Johnny Depp?

Via: BuzzFeed

Thrilling Promo Spot For Netflix’s Sci-Fi Series ALTERED CARBON Offers Some Cool New Footage

I know we've already seen a great trailer for Netflix's upcoming cyberpunk sci-fi series Altered Carbon, but today we have a new promo spot that you've gotta see! It's a shorter promo but it packs quite a punch! It's filled with a lot of new thrilling and cool new footage that shows you just how crazy and big the scale of this series is going to be.

Altered Carbon is based on Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 novel, which is set 500 years in the future, and here's a description of the story that was released:

When human consciousness can be stored on digital implants (called “stacks”) which allow the mega-rich to continually upgrade their bodies (dubbed “sleeves”) and essentially live forever. The story follows an elite soldier named Takeshi Kovacs. This is him below during a flashback scene (where he’s initially played by Will Yun Lee) along with his sister Reileen Kawahara (Dichen Lachman). They were killers for hire who became revolutionaries.
Kovacs is imprisoned, his conscious stored away, and then awoken centuries later in a different body. He’s now played by Joel Kinnaman (The Killing). Kovacs’ freedom was arranged by a wealthy mogul, Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), who offers Kovacs a pardon for his crimes if he can solve a “murder” — Bancroft’s own, as somebody killed his previous sleeve.
Kovacs was trained by Quell (Hamilton star Renee Elise Goldsberry), the leader of the Envoys — elite interstellar warriors, trained in the ways of intuition, combat, and survival The release of Kovacs catches the interest of Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda), a detective with a complicated past.

The series comes from writer-producer Laeta Kalogridis (Alita: Battle AngelShutter Island) with a pilot shot by director Miguel Sapochnik, who helmed the “Battle of the Bastards” episode of Game of Thrones.

The series is said to be the biggest budgeted series for Netflix yet and it will be released on Friday, February 2nd.

Bryan Singer Was Replaced on BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY By Director Dexter Fletcher

Following the big fallout between director Bryan Singer and FOX, the studio has officially replaced Singer as the director of Bohemian Rhapsody. Singer was fired from the production earlier this week and now director Dexter Fletcher will finish the film. 

Fletcher is an interesting choice. He directed the wonderful film Eddie The Eagle and has also acted in a couple Matthew Vaughn films such as Kick-Ass and Stardust. Fletcher was also one of the original directors in the running to helm the Freddie Mercury biopic before Singer was involved. Maybe they should have gone with him in the first place. Deadline goes on to explain:

The studio began canvassing for replacement directors even before Singer went AWOL after Thanksgiving, sources said. Fox denies this, and the studio denies that anyone but Fletcher was offered the job once Singer was sacked. My sources said that the film didn’t appeal to everyone. The payday will be big, but it will be a lot of work, and it is entirely up to the DGA whether Fletcher will get directing credit on the film, considering that Singer was almost finished with principal photography when he was removed.

Production on Bohemian Rhapsody will resume next week. There are about two to three weeks left of shooting. It could take longer depending on if Fletcher ends up wanting to reshoot some scenes. This will be a good experience for Fletcher because he is also prepping to direct the Elton John biopic. 

The film "chronicles Queen from 1970, when Mercury teamed with Brian May and Roger Taylor, until the band’s performance at Live Aid in 1985, six years before the singer died of complications from AIDS. Malek channels Mer­cury’s look from that global-­concert event."

The movie stars Rami Malek in the lead role and studio still plans on keeping the film on track to be released on December 25, 2018.

Badass Image of Jason Momoa as AQUAMAN in Director James Wan’s Solo Film

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Thanks to Entertainment Weekly we have a badass first look at Jason Momoa as Aquaman. This image is from director James Wan's Aquaman solo film. Aquaman definitely looks like he's determined to kick some ass. I don't know if you can tell, but this image has a very different tone and vibe than what we saw of the character in Justice League. I dig it!

In an interview with the outlet, Momoa reveals what we can expect to see in the film regarding his character. It's a tale that details Arthur Curry’s traumatizing past and what shows us what led to him putting up walls and closing people out.

Justice League was only a weekend in Arthur Curry’s life. This is a totally different beast. In Aquaman, you see when his parents met and what happened to hem. Then the little boy being raised and finding his powers and going through that and never being accepted on either side. And then becoming this man who puts up all these walls. You just slowly see this man harden up and be completely reluctant wanting to be king and not knowing what to do with these powers he has. I think James Wan just killed it.”

James Wan goes on to talk about why he wanted to take on the challenge of making an Aquaman movie, saying: 

“Aquaman has been the joke of the comic book world, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought how cool that would be. Let’s take the character everybody makes fun of and do something really interesting with him.”

Wan is one of my favorite filmmakers working in Hollywood right now, so I'm extremely excited to see what he ends up doing with Aquaman. I was never really a fan of the character, but with Wan on board, I know he's going to give us something great! 

Petition To Revoke EA’s STAR WARS License Nears 150k Signatures

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This is a very real petition taking place on Change.org. The consumers that are so outraged over the recent situation with EA's recently launched title Star Wars Battlefront II that they have created a Petition to Lucasfilm in hopes of removing the Star Wars license from EA completely. Following one of the largest game industry controversy situations immediately after launch, EA did agree to lower the cost to unlock the characters we all know and love by 75%, but that isn't enough for some.

At the time I am writing this up, the petition is at exactly 143,203 signatures (a few hundred, if not a thousand, are likely duplicate emails of the same person signing over and over). That means there are almost 150,000 people that are still upset with the developer even though they are trying to work with the community!

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I think this is completely uncalled for and going out of proportion. If you don't like the purchase path, then simply don't buy the loot boxes. If you don't want to earn the characters through gameplay, then what do you want? Just everything unlocked and given to you for free? Want a piece of candy and cheat sheet so you can pretend to be the best star fighter and gunslinger in the game with no effort? Get over it already and realize that you aren't given everything you want right off the bat!

The fairest way to get characters is by earning it. Sure it will cost you hours of your time, but will you not be having an enjoyable time playing the game? I know for a fact that the entirety of the entertainment value is earning characters you want to play as and increasing your personal skill to being above the rest!

I implore you to not sign this petition and if you see anybody supporting it, shut that down immediately. Crybabies will cry louder and louder to get what they want as long as we keep showing them that if they cry just loud enough, we will give in. Enough! Just play the game or sell it, stop whining all day!

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