Welcome back Studio Coffee Folks! In the post-Oscars week, Disney nabs the spotlight once again with an Aladdin sequel greenlight and updates on two upcoming reboots. Then on the Marvel side, Taika Waititi recruits a co-writer for Thor: Love and Thunder and chats a bit about his hopes for the sequel. We’ve got a few casting pieces for you including one for Loki, then a few updates on Amazon’s most recent acquisition, a new Ava DuVernay doc and a Zachary Levi/Cole Sprouse musical flick! Finally, we’ve got a pair of top tier trailers, both with release dates for this summer.
Let’s get started!
Disney trudges forward with an Aladdin sequel, reboots for Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Mighty Ducks
Nothing is sacred this week as Disney reveals a Gatsby-esque greenlight for a sequel to the live-action Aladdin and reboots for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids as well as Mighty Ducks. Writers John Gatin (Real Steel) and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) are headed to Agrabah along with Guy Ritchie back as director, Will Smith as Genie, and Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott returning to their roles as Aladdin and Jasmine.
Rick Moranis, meanwhile, boomerangs back to Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Disney also brings back the film’s original director, Joe Johnston, but this time around, Josh Gad plays the well-meaning dad/scientist committing the titular goof. Though, it’s almost less forgivable given that Gad’s character is one of the kids who was shrunk all those years ago.
Last up, The Mighty Ducks. Unlike the others here, this TV series is set to be a Disney+ exclusive and the Mouse also revealed that Lauren Graham (who you probably remember from Gilmore Girls and Curb Your Enthusiasm but I remember from The Pacifier) is cast in the lead role. She’s joined by Emilio Estevez who’s reprising his role as Coach Gordon Bombay. Following in the Mighty Ducks continuity, the once-underdog hockey team is now “an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey team.” When Graham’s son is cut from the team, she opts instead to build her own team of elite oddballs. The ten episode first season begins production this month.
Rumblings with Thor: Love and Thunder reveal a new co-writer, along with tangential Taika tidbits
Someone Great writer and director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is joining Taika Waititi to help script the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, per Variety. This is all ahead of the vague announcement that the movie will begin production sometime this year, likely pending a final script from Robinson and Waititi.
Announced at last year’s SDCC, Thor: Love and Thunder brings back not only Chris Hemsworth but also Natalie Portman as Thor. Christian Bale is attached too, though Marvel is staying tight lipped on his role. The movie itself is still a way off, with its November 2021 release date.
Tangentially, Waititi made a few reveals of his own regarding character details for Thor: Love and Thunder, including that it’s still up in the air whether or not Jane Foster will have cancer (as she did in her first comics appearance as Thor) and that he hopes (emphasis on hopes) that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie can be “explicitly queer.” And, if you’re holding your breath on the director’s Akira take – well, you may want to exhale.
A few casting notes:
Loki adds Gugu Mbatha-Raw to the cast
The Loki hype continues with the announcement that Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be joining the cast. Variety confirmed the news with its own sources, though both Marvel and Disney declined a comment. The actress is making the streaming rounds with her most recent roles, including Apple’s The Morning Show, Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, as well as the Emmy-Winning episode of Black Mirror, “San Junipero.” For the Disney+ series, she joins Tom Hiddleston in the titular role, along with Sophia Di Martino and Owen Wilson in unannounced roles.
Doom Patrol casts Karen Obilom in a new (but familiar) role
- DC Universe expands its Doom Patrol cast once again with Karen Obilom (Games People Play). She’ll take on the role of military veteran Roni Evers, who Cyborg meets at a PTSD support group. Deadline reports that she’s got a mysterious past – but DC fans might know about her future. Her name is a clear reference to the comics character, Ronald Evans: military veteran and eventual cyborg. We’ll see how things shake out when Obilom joins the cast in season 2 of Doom Patrol on DC Universe and HBO Max.
And some projects in the works:
Amazon finalizes rights to a BBC Western
- The English, a BBC western starring Emily Blunt is officially making its way to Amazon. Nothing at this point as far as plot goes, but the multi-part series features writing and directing from Hugo Blick (Honorale Woman) and is produced by Drama Republic. This move follows a recent trend in Amazon’s British acquisitions, preceded by A Very English Scandal and Herself.
Ava DuVernay takes a Nipsey Hussle doc to Netflix
- THR reports that the Wrinkle in Time director is working on further developing a tribute/documentary for the late rapper, Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in March 2019. DuVernay, acclaimed documentarian of 13th, will work with Hussle’s family on the project which will likely highlight not only his music, but his activism.
Undercover gives Zachary Levi and Cole Sprouse a duet
- Zachary Levi and Cole Sprouse are teaming up for the musical family film, Undercover. Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink steps in behind the scenes, with Lionsgate and Mandeville Films teaming up for the production as well. The story, written by Amy Talkington, follows Jack (Levi), who joins a wedding coves band to help pay the bills. He hangs out with the teen musicians and band leader Ben (Sprouse), mentoring them and gasp even learning some things about himself along the way. Of course, they’ll both be performing their own iterations on classic hits. Keep an ear out – production on Undercover begins in April.
A24 adapts a dusty poem and Wes Anderson is Wes Anderson as hell in this week’s trailers
David Lowery and A24 dropped the first look at The Green Knight; the upcoming adaptation of the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Dev Patel takes the starring role in what looks like a delightful combination of fantasy meets trippy mythology meets tense drama. He’s joined by Sean Harris as King Arthur, Ralph Ineson as the Green Knight and Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander in unannounced roles. It’s not out until this summer – but in the meantime, you can check an excellent comics adaptation of the same work.
The French Dispatch boasts two things: A) the most Wes Anderson a film has ever been and B) one of the most star studded casts of recent memory which I will not even attempt to list in full. The upcoming Searchlight Pictures film pulls together three different storylines all anchored by the titular paper lead by Bill Murray‘s character. You may want to plan a double feature for The Green Knight and this flick, given that it also drops this summer on July 24. d
That’s a wrap for this week! I’ve got to go plan an exorbitant amount of things to do over the three-day weekend and then only do one of those things. See ya next time!