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Coming out of the spectacular Rogue One, my excitement for all things Star Wars is riding high.  Coming to fan the flames is this awesome new teaser for the remaining episodes of Season Three of Star Wars: Rebels:

Obviously the huge bombshell is the first animated appearance of Alec Guinness-era Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the tease of a long-awaited rematch with Darth Maul.  But there’s a lot more than just that to get excited by.  There’s Saw Gerrera from Rogue One, with Forest Whitaker returning to voice the character, a super-cool crossover.  We see hints of what looks like an enormous space battle between the Rebel Alliance and a group of Imperial Star Destroyers.  There’s Mon Mothma and Bail Organa and General Dodonna, and I think we get a glimpse of Wedge Antilles, too!  I’m excited by the idea that these upcoming episodes will start to show us the assembly of the Rebel Alliance that we know from the Original Trilogy, and now also from Rogue One.  It’s also cool to see more of Admiral Thrawn.  (Is the show going to allow Thrawn to be defeated to easily?  That’d be a letdown. But, on the other hand, I wonder… the opening crawl of the original Star Wars describes what we just saw in Rogue One as the Battle of Scariff as the Rebels’ “first victory” against the Empire.  Is it possible that Rebels is going to show the Rebels LOSING this fight, and Thrawn coming out on top?  That would be very interesting, and very cool…)

I am super-excited by this first full trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming:

Holy cow that is a spectacular trailer.  The reinvention of Spider-Man seen in Captain America: Civil War was phenomenal, and this strong trailer only makes me even more excited for Tom Holland to star in the role in his own film.  I love how gently this trailer reminds you that Spidey is now firmly in the Marvel cinematic universe — doesn’t it just feel so perfect?  I love the Avengers bank-robbers and WOW that show of Spidey and Iron Man together at the end was incredible.  I loved the way the Civil War writers crafted the relationship between Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Tom Holland’s young peter Parker, and I am so excited that this upcoming Spidey film will explore that dynamic further.  It is super-cool that they got Mr. Downey Jr. to appear in this film.  Also — is that Ganke as Peter’s best friend??  Ganke is a character created by Brian Michael Bendis as the best-friend of Mr. Bendis’ “ultimate” Spider-Man, Miles Morales.  Have they co-opted the Ganke character to be Peter Parker’s best friend for this movie?  I’m beyond excited to see Ganke on-screen but feel weird about him being pulled away from Miles.  (UPDATE since I wrote this: looks like this character is Ned Leeds.  Ned was a major character in the Spider-Man comics in the eighties.  I’m happy to see the character on-screen but feel weird that the role as seen in this trailer looks and acts not at all like Ned, but like Ganke…)

I am also very, very excited for the next Planet of the Apes movie:

That opening shot of them riding horses along the beach is wonderfully nostalgic for the famous ending of the original Planet of the Apes!  Love that!  Apes on horseback make me very happy.  I am eager to see the continuation of this story.  These last two Apes movies have been far better than I had dared dream.  I liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes quite a bit, and I think Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a gorram masterpiece.

Click here for a fascinating rundown of that trailer with Dawn and War director Matt Reeves!

What do you all think of this first teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049?

I still think a Blade Runner sequel is a terrible idea, but I have to admit that teaser trailer is terrific.  It looks gorgeous, the music and sound effects are great, and there’s Harrison Ford looking awesome.  The trailer is very evocative of the look, sound, and feel of the original Blade Runner.  OK, they have my attention now…

Here’s another trailer to a sequel to a groundbreaking Ridley Scott film from many decades ago, only this one is from the hands of Sir Ridleyhimself:

As with the Blade Runner sequel, I’m not sure yet what to make of this new film.  I love the original Alien (and also James Cameron’s incredible sequel Aliens), though all the subsequent sequels over the years have been disappointing.  That includes Prometheus Jon Spaits’ original draft was a direct prequel to Alien and sounds like it could have been amazing, but the rewrite by Damon Lindeloff moved the film away from being a direct prequel and instead made it a muddled and confusing mess (albeit one that was gorgeous to look at).  I’m excited for Sir Ridley to take another crack at this universe, and good lord would I love to see another great Alien film someday.  Is this it?  Can this new sequel/prequel redeem Prometheus and weave these films together into a coherent story?  Here’s hoping…

I can’t believe that Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is 25 years old!!  Holy cow.  Star Trek VI is probably my very favorite Star Trek anything, movie or TV show.  Yes, I even think it’s a little better than The Wrath of Khan, which I also adore.  And, wow, both of those films were written and directed by the great Nicholas Meyer!!  Here is a lovely interview with Mr. Meyer, one of the key creative voices from all of Star Trek history, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of The Undiscovered Country.

This is a wonderful interview with Rogue One’s director Gareth Edwards.  I adored the movie and enjoyed reading Mr. Edwards’ thoughts in this interview.  Also: the point from this interview that has set the internet aflame is the suggestion that Lucasfilm is sitting on a 4K restoration of the original Star Wars!  When will this see the light of day?  Dare we hope that this is a restoration of the ORIGINAL version of the film (which George Lucas has been refusing to allow to be released to blu-ray)?  I am daring to dream…

Mike Schur played Dwight’s cousin Mose on The Office, and he is also a phenomenally talented comedy writer and show-runner who ran Parks and Recreation and, with Mike Goor, Brooklyn 99.  He’s now working on The Good Place, which I really need to watch soon.  Alan Sepinwall from Hitfix (now Uproxx, sigh), who is one of my favorite TV critics, recently interviewed Mr. Schur about the art of a spectacular comedic cold open.  Click here for the interview and some great youtube video examples of great comedic cold opens!!

This is a fascinating spotlight on Seth Meyers and how he has come into his own by turning his Late Night show towards more political topics.

Why is this the first I am hearing about Edgar Wright’s new film, Baby Driver?  This looks amazing.  I love Mr. Wright.  (I think Scott Pilgrim vs The World is an unappreciated masterpiece.)  Can’t wait for this one.

Finally, I still find myself so saddened by the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher.  At age sixty, she was far too young.  Ms. Fisher was a giant talent, and as much as, of course, I adored her (along with the rest of the world) for her iconic work as Princess Leia in the three original Star Wars films, I also loved her later comedic work.  She’s marvelous in When Harry Met Sally (one of my very favorite films), and she was such a delight in her appearance on 30 Rock.  I’m glad to read that her work filming Star Wars: Episode VIII had been completed, though saddened at the thought that she won’t be in Episode IX, which I of course assume had been the plan.  The idea that her character of Leia won’t be able to have her story concluded as planned is devastatingly disappointing to me.  I don’t envy the men and women on the Star Wars team who have to determine what to do now.  I hope that somehow they are able to reshape their planned stories to give this beloved character the sendoff she deserves.  In the meanwhile, one silver lining from that deadline story linked above is that Ms. Fisher had also completed her filming of Catastrophe season 3.  I adored that profane, hilarious British TV show (find it on Netflix and watch it immediately!!), and Ms. Fisher’s supporting role was a true highlight.  I am so glad that we still have this work of Ms. Fisher’s to discover in the year ahead.  Her loss is deeply felt.

I’ll be starting to post my series of “Best of 2016” lists on Wednesday so I hope you’ll come back then!  See you soon!

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