Category: Sci Fi and Fantasy in the news


Thanks to the highly anticipated debut of the “Looper” teaser trailer Thursday, there is almost two minutes of brand-new, action-packed footage to overanalyze and dissect. We’ve already highlighted five key scenes to watch out for in the teaser, and now, MTV News is proud to bring you exclusive expert commentary from the film’s writer/director, Rian Johnson.

Johnson was visibly excited for fans to see the teaser, particularly the first glimpses of the gritty future reality of the film’s setting and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt in action as a young Bruce Willis.

“The beginning here is just setting up the premise,” Johnson explained. “We take some time to get you into the world. You can kind of tell from the look of it that the world is a very grounded science-fiction world; it’s not a big CG world. We did lots of practical stuff and tried to keep it feeling very real and near-future.”

With regard to Gordon-Levitt’s makeup to look like Willis, Johnson said, although he looks impressive in the teaser, he can’t wait for fans to see the “Dark Knight Rises” actor’s physical performance in the finished film.

“I really can’t wait for people to actually see Joe’s performance in the movie with the makeup, because if you see a picture of him … obviously it’s not like he looks exactly like Bruce Willis, but once his performance plays out in the context of the film, it really works.”

Johnson also hinted that, despite the blink-and-you-miss-it appearance of co-star Emily Blunt, there is more to her role than you think.

“You see a quick clip of Emily Blunt, [but] there’s a whole sequence where she had to do some action work and she just kinda kicked ass. I’m excited for people to see it,” Johnson said. “Emily really held her own when it was time to get out the shotgun and do some blasting.”

The “Brick” director went on to say that he just had a plain old good time making the film, particularly the action sequences, for which veteran star Willis proved to be a very key component.

“It was fun for me. You see flashes of a lot of action in the movie, and this is the first time I’ve been able to do it on that scale, which is really fun, especially working with a veteran like Bruce,” Johnson said. “Joe had a lot of fun working with Bruce on the action scenes. Bruce kind of showed us the ropes. It was pretty awesome.”


Ender's Game (Ender Wiggin Series #1)Although this book was published almost 25 years ago, it is a fine time to pick it up before the release of the theatrical version in 2013.

Children’s Literature

This twenty-five-year-old science fiction classic has been repackaged for younger readers. Unlike many hard-core science fiction titles, this book is particularly appropriate for a younger audience, for its protagonist, Ender Wiggin, is just six years old at the novel’s beginning and still a pre-teen at its end. Ender’s parents have received a special dispensation to have a third child in spite of strict population control laws. His brilliant older siblings, Peter and Valentine, have each showed great promise, but each falls just short of having “the right stuff.” The International Fleet (I.F.) believes that Ender may be the commander they need to lead great armies against invasion by alien “buggers.” When Ender does exhibit the desired combination of compassion and cruelty, the I.F. takes him to the distant Battle School, where brilliant children are trained in military strategy and tactics. The centerpiece of their education is a simulated battle game at which Ender quickly excels, eventually becoming the youngest commander in history. Life at Battle School, especially these battle games, is richly described. Ender is portrayed as just a pawn in the larger game being played by the I.F., and readers will alternately sympathize with his exploitation and cheer when he is able to make friends in spite of the tremendous forces working to isolate and dehumanize him. The political and philosophical material at the novel’s end may get too heavy for some readers, but for the most part, this novel will deservedly reach a new generation through this new edition. —Norah Piehl


Ready Player OneLibrary Journal

Reportedly bought for something like $500,000 and already slated for filming, this novel from Fanboys screenwriter Cline features a geeky kid named Wade Watts who gets caught up in a worldwide virtual utopia called Oasis. There he finds himself on a virtual treasure hunt for a very real treasure. Described by as a blend of Avatar, The Matrix, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, this book promises to be really, really big. Get it, probably in multiples.

On a personal note, I listened to this book narrated by Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: Next Generation) and was quite impressed. It seems to have something for everyone who wants to relive the past from the 70’s and 80’s, not to mention some great action, a fun plot, and a good dose of nostalgia. I’m looking forward to see how this translates into a motion picture…. I’m READY! 🙂

With the monumental task of adapting Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series ahead of them, Deadline reports that Universal Pictures and director Ron Howard are bringing in another writer to help flesh out the story. The online trade confirmed that Mark Verheiden will join previously-set scribe Akiva Goldsman to co-write the script for the television series which is planned to bridge the gap between the first and second movie of the trilogy. 

Verheiden’s credits include a host of genre television series, some of which include: Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Heroes and Smallville. He’s currently producing the upcoming TNT show, Falling Skies.

Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment plan to produce three films and a television series based on Stephen King’s seven epic novels. With Ron Howard set to direct the first film and the first season of television (cast of the films included), casting is underway for the production. Javier Bardem is reportedly psychologically locked in for the role of lead gunslinger Roland Deschain but fans will still have to wait until the deal is done and confirmed.

The first installment, The Dark Tower, will arrive in theaters May 17, 2013.


The cast continues to grow for Tim Burton’s upcoming adaptation of Dark Shadows, based on the supernatural serial series which ran from 1966 to 1971. Deadline reports the latest to board the production is Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) with the young actress set to play Carolyn Stoddard, the daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer). The acting addition comes just a few days after newcomer Thomas McDonell was signed to play a younger version of Barnabas Collins with Johnny Depp having already been confirmed to play the older version of the patriarch.

Eva Green is in the role of Angelique Bouchard Collins while Helena Bonham Carter is going to play Dr. Julia Hoffman. Jackie Earle Haley rounds out the cast to play conman Willie Loomis. Burton will direct the production based on a screenplay by John August and Seth Grahame-Smith.

Plot Concept: Based on Dan Curtis’ cult ’60s supernatural TV show, “Dark Shadows” was a highly atmospheric, spooky soap-opera that featured gothic horror staples like vampires, monsters, witches, werewolves, ghosts and zombies. Johnny Depp will play Barnabas Collins, the vampire patriarch of the series which was once portrayed by Jonathan Frid.

Warner Bros. Pictures have a leading star and director finally attached to their Logan’s Run remake. They just need a screenwriter to flesh out the story in script form. Heat Vision believes that may be happening soon as writer Will Beall (“Castle”, upcoming Gangster Squad) has entered negotiations to pen a new adaptation of William F. Nolan’s 1967 novel. Beall has some recent “remake” history with Warner Bros. Pictures after being selected to write a remake of Lethal Weapon earlier this year.

Ryan Gosling has been set to star in this latest version while helmer Nicolas Winding Refn is attached to direct the sci-fi tale. Joel Silver and Akiva Goldsman are on board as producers.

Plot Concept: First brought to the silver screen in the 1976 feature starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter and Farrah Fawcett, the story centers on a future society where people are executed upon reaching a certain age and those that seek to avoid their fate are deemed “Runners.” The character of Logan is one of those executioners, known as the Sandmen, who ends up on the run after he becomes sympathetic with members of an underground railroad of Runners.


 Another twist on the tale of Arthur geared toward the young adult crowd. A quite impressive young movie level cast have signed up to new TV series Camelot for the US Starz channel and GK-TV. Joseph Fiennes, Eva Green, Jamie Campbell Bower and Tamsin Egerton will lead the show, based on the Arthur legend, and suddenly we’re paying attention to it.

Once-and-future vampire Campbell-Bower will take the role of Arthur himself, with Egerton as his unfaithful Queen Guinevere. Green will play Morgana le Fey, half-sister to Arthur, bad-ass sorceress and occasional incest fan, with Fiennes playing a less wrinkly than usual Merlin.

If you don’t know the King Arthur legend, well, you need to get a bit more into your culture, frankly. But Arthur was the once and future King of the Dark Ages who (according to legend) managed to fit a bit of protecting the country in between marrying a wife who cheated on him with his best mate, shagging his half-sister (accidentally, in fairness), pulling swords from stones and being a High King with a taste for circular furniture. And if that doesn’t say serial drama to you, we don’t know what does.


20th Century Fox’s upcoming Rise of the Apes has went from being a potential summer release to becoming a potential Thanksgiving release and now back to being slotted into the summer calender. While Fox never really revealed their reasoning behind pushing it back to the November slate a few months back, it seems they’ve changed their minds and now have it premiering into theaters August 5, 2011.

The new date means the Planet of the Apes origin tale will open up against 3D releases, The Smurfs and The Darkest Hour. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman also have a body-switching comedy called The Change-Up striking that weekend. Can “Apes” hope to pull in strong numbers against that 3D competition? Sound off with your theories below.

The film will star James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and David Oyelowo.  Helmer Rupert Wyatt led the direction based on a screenplay by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Plot Concept: Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

The FOX series has officially been renewed

Despite some sources suggesting the mighty cancellation axe was hanging over the genre series throughout this latest season, all is right in the world for Fringe fans. The network has ordered a fourth season of the show which is lead by executive producers J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

In mid-January, Fox moved Fringe from the ultra-competitive Thursday night time period to the otherwise-dead Friday slot, with Kitchen Nightmares as its lead-in. That seems to have been a wise move because since changing to Fridays, the series has averaged 4.1 million viewers.

Though ratings have slid since the first season, the show tacks on significant DVR numbers. Through Feb. 20, Fringe has seen a 44 percent increase in its key demo rating, rising to a 2.6 (vs. a 1.4) when live-plus-7 numbers are factored in.

Fox entertainment chief Kevin Reilly made his case for the series’ survival at the Television Critics Assn.’s semi-annual press tour earlier this year. “It’s a fantastic show,” he said, “and honestly I’d be heartbroken if it went away.”

Executive producer J.H. Wyman tweeted the news Friday evening, saying, “Fringe was picked up!!!! Thanks Fringedom!”


After Entertainment Weekly spilled the beans about Michael Rosenbaum not returning for the finale of Smallville, with an unnamed source saying he’s done with it, word has come out rather quickly that it’s not true and the actor is signed on for the series finale of Smallville to return to the role of Lex Luthor. Rosenbaum left the series back in 2008 to focus on his writing career but has been actively wooed for quite awhile now for a return of some sort in the final season and especially the finale if nothing else. According to Deadline Hollywood, everything got signed on the dotted line on Friday night, possibly spurred on a little more by all the reports that were out there dismaying the fans.

“It feels like the stars are aligning, literally. We couldn’t be more excited about having Michael back,” Smallville executive producers/showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson said. “And as far as the way he returns … there’ll be no doubt about how Lex becomes the great rival in Clark Kent’s life. He is the villain of the story.”

Rosenbaum himself commented on the deal by saying, “I’m simply doing it for all of the fans out there who made Smallville the great success it is,” he said. “I appreciate all of their passion, their relentlessness and even their threats. Ha ha. I can’t wait to hug the old crew back in Vancouver one last time and see all of my old friends once again….. Oh, and for Lex to become the badass he’s destined to be.”