STAR WARS Last week, rumors began circulating that J.J. Abrams might be revisiting some of the classic environments of the original Star Wars trilogy in Star Wars: Episode VII, namely the ice planet Hoth and the desert planet Tatooine. Now, THR is adding some weight to at least half of that rumor by reporting that a "source" inside the production has revealed that Abrams is building a "re-creation of Tatooine." Abrams is a self-avowed devotee of the original movies and the entire Skywalker storyline revolves around the desert planet so this seems like one slam-dunk of a rumor.
Far less certain is the recent rumor that a virtual unknown has landed a major role in the new trilogy. Again, THR is out in front of this rumor, placing Oxford-educated actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers "in line to nab" a key role, possibly as the Jedi daughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. So far, the only cast members that have been confirmed are Adam Driver (Inside Llewyn Davis) as a Darth Vader-esque character, and English actor Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, the role he played in the original trilogy, as well as in one movie in the prequel trilogy. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are all expected to be returning, as well, though there has never been any official confirmation.
HE-MAN It's been seven years since we heard that Warner Bros. and Joel Silver were negotiating with toy manufacturer Mattell to bring Masters of the Universe back to the big screen for the first time since Dolph Lundgren donned He-Man's furry britches in the 1987 cheese-fest. Those negotiations eventually broke down and other studios made a play for the property but Sony Pictures and Escape Pictures eventually gained control of the rights. Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) was initially attached to direct, but he dropped out to pursue other projects. Various names have surfaced in recent months as possible replacements for Chu, from Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) to Mike Cahill (Another Earth), but SchmoesKnow scooper "Phantom" claims that it's a "done deal" that Kick-Ass 2 writer/director Jeff Wadlow will direct the movie from a script by Terry Rossio (The Lone Ranger). Unlike the 1987 movie, which took place on Earth, Sony's Masters of the Universe will more closely follow the mythology established in the animated series, with the action taking place on Eternia, where the warrior Prince Adam discovers a magic sword that transforms him into He-Man. Classic cartoon villain Skeletor will be the major antagonist.
AGE OF ULTRON After filming in South Africa, Italy and South Korea, Joss Whedon's globe-trotting sequel to The Avengers has moved to Jolly Ol' England, where local residents of Hampshire captured photos of futuristic tanks roaring through Hawley Woods. The area is supposedly doubling for a faux Eastern European city called "Sokovia," a name that also popped up during the Italian leg of the Avengers: Age of Ultron shoot. No principal actors were captured on film, though multiple local sources have reported that the practical Hulk head-and-shoulders bust that has been used at other locations was seen in Hampshire.
REBOOT Jean Claude Van Damme's highest-grossing movie, Timecop, about an officer of the Time Enforcement Commission who attempts to stop a crooked politician from abusing time travel, is getting dusted off for a new generation. According to THR, Universal has hired Journey 2: The Mysterious Island screenwriters Mark and Brian Gunn to pen the script for a reboot. The new movie will apparently be a "more gritty and grounded police story" than the original, "with the sci-fi in the background," a la Looper. Marc Shmuger will produce through his Universal-based Global Produce production company. Mike Richardson, who wrote the Dark Horse comic that inspired the movie and co-wrote the original movie (with Mark Verheiden) will executive produce.
DREDD2 With the bitter taste of Sylvester Stallone's hokey 1995 Judge Dredd adaptation still in their mouths, moviegoers took a pass on Pete Travis' 2012 reboot, despite Dredd proving to be a gritty, explosive and thoroughly satisfying action movie that remained true to the original comic book character that inspired it. Fans were devastated when Dredd only brought in a fraction of its budget at the box office because it meant that they would never get a chance to see Karl Urban grimace his way through a sequel. But, all is not yet lost. The movie quickly developed a cult following once it hit the home video market and fans have been so vocal about the need for a sequel that 2000 AD, publisher of Judge Dredd comics, started an official petition to get the ball rolling on a sequel. The petition has so far received such overwhelming support — 100,000 e-signatures and counting — that Urban felt compelled to send a message to the fans, thanking them and assuring them that everyone involved is "working very, very hard" to get a sequel made.#AlwaysTrending
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