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!
Star Trek Returns to the Kelvin-Verse
The biggest news of the week comes from Star Trek film boldly going back to the Kelvin timeline. After two failed fourth installments of the franchise from Quentin Tarantino and Noah Hawley, respectively, Paramount has announced the entire cast from Star Trek (2009), will be returning for yet another adventure.
However, Variety was quick to point out not all contracts have been signed:
Paramount is planning to enter negotiations for “Star Trek” stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho and Simon Pegg to return to the Enterprise for their fourth tour of duty in the venerable sci-fi franchise.
However, Kelvin Universe shepherd, J.J. Abrams shared the news earlier this week during the Paramount Investors Day presentation with gusto, stating:
We are thrilled to say that we are hard at work on a new ‘Star Trek’ film that will be shooting by the end of the year that will be featuring our original cast and some new characters that I think are going to be really fun and exciting and help take ‘Star Trek’ into areas that you’ve just never seen before. We’re thrilled about this film, we have a bunch of other stories that we’re talking about that we think will be really exciting, so can’t wait for you to see what we’re cooking up. But until then, live long and prosper.
He is currently slated to produce.
Who Owns Lord of the Rings? WB Wants to Let Us Know
Variety reported on Wednesday about the question of the Lord of the Rings film rights that have swirled in the ether. Heck, I, myself, even Tweeted earlier this week about buying the rights to Tolkien’s canon amidst rumours they were up for sale – and pretty cheap for such a powerful IP.
A Warner Bros spokesperson told Variety:
New Line Cinema has maintained the theatrical film rights, both live-action and animated, for over two decades now. We are currently in production on our anime film ‘The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’ and look forward to bringing audiences back to Middle-Earth.
Variety further revealed:
Representatives for Zaentz Co. have quietly held pitch meetings in recent weeks to sell the portfolio of Tolkien rights that producer Saul Zaentz acquired in the late 1960s and ‘70s. It’s no secret that Warner Bros. and Zaentz Co. have had acquisition discussions over the last decade or so but they’ve never gotten close to a deal.
The Zaentz Co. holdings encompass rights to exploit “LOTR” and “The Hobbit” properties in movies, video games, merchandising, live events and theme parks. It also includes limited matching rights should the Tolkien estate decide to make movies or other content based on two compilations of Tolkien writings that were published after his death in 1973: “The Silmarillion” and “The Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth.
A representative for the Zaentz Co. declined to comment.
Long time Major Spoilers readers will recall I wrote about The War of the Rohirrim for Did You Hear? last year when the project was first announced.
For those wondering exactly who “The Zaentz Co.” is, Per Variety:
The studio has publicly stated its control over film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy amid rumblings in the industry that a clutch of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” rights are being shopped by longtime owner, the Saul Zaentz Co.
It appears although Amazon Studios is producing The Rings of Power streaming show Warner Bros plans to hold as tight to their ownership of the material as possible. There will certainly be more coming on this front in the coming year – especially if the show takes off!
Stranger Things Strange End
Earlier this week that Netflix will be bringing their breakout show Stranger Things to an end after the next season. For a show that was always slated to be an anthology, the fact Eleven’s story has spanned five seasons is a monumental accomplishment.
Netflix heralded the announcement in a cryptic Tweet from their official account:
From a letter shared on Netflix’s blog:
Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for ‘Stranger Things. At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but — as you’ll soon see for yourselves — we are now hurtling toward our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; season 5 will be the last.
… wrote the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things’ showrunners. The brothers went on to write:
There are still many more exciting stories to tell within the world of ‘Stranger Things’; new mysteries, new adventures, new unexpected heroes. But first we hope that you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mom, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down. As always, we are grateful for your patience and support
In the tradition of premiere cable shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Stranger Things season four will be broken up into two parts to ensure Netflix can get the most from the fanbase. The first half of the season is set to debut on May 27th of this year with the final installment of Stranger Things to stream July 1st, 2022. The fifth and final season of Strange Things will debut thereafter.
BioShock is Coming to Netflix
Stranger Things may be coming to an end, but streaming giant Netflix is still picking up genre content. Variety asks:
Would you kindly watch Netflix’s ‘BioShock’ movie?
And fans who have been waiting for this video game adaptation for more than a decade screamed back “YES!” across social media.
Variety further reported:
The streamer is teaming up with 2K and Take-Two Interactive to adapt the popular video game series as a film, details of which were announced Tuesday. Vertigo Entertainment and Take-Two will produce the movie, which does not have a director or talent attached as of yet.
Set across multiple dystopian and visionary landscapes gone wrong, the “BioShock” series blends sci-fi and horror to pose unique existential and societal questions that reshaped how game stories could be told — all amidst pulse-pounding action gameplay that rewards sharp shooting, clever planning and lethal improvisation.
At a glance, it looks like a lot of power at the back of BioShock. It’s not quite equivalent to their co-development of Arcane alongside Blizzard, but in my opinion, this announcement feels very inspired by Arcane’s success as a series also based on a popular video game franchise.
Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive said:
Netflix is among the best and most forward-thinking storytellers in all of entertainment today. We are thrilled that they share our vision and commitment to the ‘BioShock’ franchise, which is beloved by millions of fans around the world. 2K’s Cloud Chamber studio is deep in active development on the next iteration of the series, and coupled with our partnership with Netflix, we remain highly confident that ‘BioShock’ will continue to captivate and engage audiences like never before.
Now I turn the question to you, Spoilerites: would you kindly watch Netflix’s BioShock movie?
Bloom County is Coming to Fox
On Tuesday the news came out that acclaimed comic book strip Bloom County will have characters adapted for the Fox Animation juggernaut: Bill the Cat and Opus will be heading up the cartoon line up.
The show will be headed up by Bento Box, Fox’s animation studio in partnership with Miramax, Spyglass Media Group, and Project X Entertainment.
According to the announcement:
Just like the strip, the TV version of “Bloom County” will center “on a collapsed lawyer, a lobotomized cat and a penguin in briefs and fruit headwear living in the world’s last boarding house in the world’s most forgotten place deep in the dandelion wilds of FlyWayWayOver country. To wit, today’s America at a glance.”
Bloom County is to be executively produced by strip creator, Berkeley Breathed.