Did You Hear? is a weekly examination of headlines in the entertainment industry and a take on what they could mean for the future of the industry and (often), the little geeky bubble that we occupy!

**this post has been edited since originally published & additional stories/materials added

New Zealand Opens Film Production

Hey, Spoilerites! It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to share the type of exciting entertainment news with you that we built Did You Hear? for. Beginning this week it’s looking like the wheels of film, television, and more are turning again – in some locations.

Variety broke the news that the country of New Zealand is back open for active production! Rumours have been flying around Hollywood for several weeks that New Zealand had tacitly opened to production so long as international cast/crew quarantine in a monitored location for two full weeks pre-and-post entering or exiting the country …

… and this appears to be the case!

Variety’s article begins with confirming in their opening paragraph:

The crew members of Amazon Prime Video’s television adaptation “The Lord of the Rings” and Netflix’s upcoming take on Japanese animated series “Cowboy Bepop,” have both been granted permission to enter New Zealand to begin or resume production, along with five other projects.

Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings series (set in the Second Age of Middle-Earth), had been shooting when the country shut down due to Covid-19 related concerns. As someone who loves The Lord of the Rings more than any other fictional thing in the whole wide world, I could not be more thrilled to learn the hobbits and elves and humans are getting back to it!

Stuff (the New Zealand-based website), confirms the additional productions poised to begin active production:

  • Avatar sequel
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Power Rangers Beast Morphers
  • The Greatest Beer Run Ever
  • Sweet Tooth (based on the Vertigo Comic Book series by Jeff Lemire)

Phil Twyford, Economic Development Minister told Stuff:

Our success at managing COVID-19 gives our country an opportunity to become one of the few countries still able to safely produce screen content … The inquiries and interest we are getting from international production houses tells me that the international film community sees New Zealand as something of a global safe haven.“This is an opportunity friends that we must grab. Despite the turmoil that the world is facing, this is an exciting time for New Zealand’s screen sector.

In many way, this is an experiment – a step toward the new normal. Experiments end either in success of failure. My hope is this will end in success. Not only would this assure some of the content I am most excited about coming to my eyeballs in 2021, but it has the potential to set the standard for the rest of the world to follow to ensure the entire entertainment industry are continuing to work as safely as possible until a Covid-19 vaccine is widely available.

To follow up-to-the-minute developments from individuals involved I recommend peeping out the #SaveTheArts hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

Javicia Leslie cast as ‘Batwoman’

OMG!! This is amazing!! I am so glad Batwoman will be played by an amazing Black woman. ❤️ I want to congratulate Javicia Leslie on taking over the bat cape. You are walking into an amazing cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch season 2 you are going to be amazing !! ❤️

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Former series lead Ruby Rose was the first to break this new casting news on her personal Instagram. I happen to think this is a lovely way to pass on the mantle.

We all remember earlier this year when Batwoman series star Ruby Rose left the role of Kate Kane after its very first season finished airing. It has been announced that actor Javicia Leslie would replace her. Leslie previously starred in God Friended Me – another Berlanti production, the same EP of Batwoman.

For her part, Leslie is thrilled to take on the mantle:

I am extremely proud to be the first Black actress to play the iconic role of Batwoman on television, and as a bisexual woman, I am honored to join this groundbreaking show which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community

Now it should be noted Leslie is taking over the superhero mantle, but she will not be portraying Kate Kane. Per Variety,

Leslie will portray a new character on the show named Ryan Wilder. She is described as likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane (previously played by Ruby Rose), the woman who wore the Batsuit before her. With no one in her life to keep her on track, Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. Today Ryan lives in her van with her plant. A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat and could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly undisciplined. She is an out lesbian, athletic, raw, passionate, fallible, and very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.

Leslie’s folding into the Arrowverse brings some much needed diversity to their superhero landscape. Counting Stargirl the six shows had five Caucasian leads (Black Lightning being the obvious outlier). The introduction of Ryan also leaves the door open for the shows to affect the comic books! Arrow‘s original character John Diggle (portrayed by David Ramsey), is not a mainstay of the Green Arrow comic book continuity. If you are like me and double dip in the shows and the funny books the possibilities are even more exciting than breathing life into the Batwoman show itself! I am definitely excited to read everyone’s reactions down in the comics.

‘Stargirl’ Renewed for a Second Season

On Monday of this week the CW sent out a press release about the future of their latest superhero show, Stargirl:

The CW Network today announced it has renewed the hit new series DC’S STARGIRL for a second season.  The CW will become the exclusive in-season home to the breakout superhero hit next season, airing on The CW Television Network and streaming the next day on The CW’s free, ad-supported streaming platforms.  The first season of DC’S STARGIRL is currently airing Tuesdays (8:00-9:00pm ET/PT).

No word yet on how this will affect potential cast or crew changes. Stargirl and Batwoman will undergo some significant shifts between the writing of this article and when they begin production again. Like Supergirl there’s a chance shooting locations could change. Like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow there’s a chance of new characters and a new actors joining the show while others leave.

This is certainly exciting news, but realistically, we’re not going to know much about the continuing adventures of Courtney Whitmore until either Canada or the United States manages to pull of what New Zealand has in the previous section of this article!

Netflix Cancels ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ at Season 4

Many fans of the series, myself included, learned about this announcement on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s cancelation via the show’s official Twitter account:

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In the announcement on Variety we learned the fourth and final installation in the series would be hitting Netflix “later” in 2020.

Showrunner and Archie Comics writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa made the official statement on Wednesday stating the following:

Working on ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ has been an incredible honor from day one. The cast, beginning with Kiernan as everyone’s favorite teen witch, has been an absolute joy. I am beyond thankful to the crew, writers, editors, assistants, and everyone for pouring so much love into this dark dream of a show. I’m also grateful to our partners at Netflix, Warner Bros., Berlanti Television and Archie Comics for letting us tell the story we wanted to tell, the way we wanted to tell it. We can’t wait for everyone to see Part Four.

Last we saw of Sabrina Spellman she was the Queen of Hell with an earthbound doppelganger. There’s a lot for the show to wrap up in the final season!  Who is going to miss CAOS? Let’s chat about it down in the comments!

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About Author

Ashley Victoria Robinson is a Canadian girl by day and Robin by night. She lives in Los Angeles now and stars as Ensign Williams in THE RED SHIRT DIARIES, co-hosts the GEEK HISTORY LESSON podcast and writes for Top Cow.

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