Welcome back, Studio Coffee Folks! Nerd-news reigns supremes this weekend as we kick off with rumors on yet another Star Wars project (supposedly on Exegol) in development by J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens. Then, some sad news coming out of Riverdale as Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols announce their departures to pursue other ventures. Meanwhile, comic publisher Skybound is working on a TV show focusing on White House-related spooky stories and a friendly Game of Thrones face is cast for season two of The Witcher. Finally, we’ll wrap with two robot-centric trailers and send you on your way.
Let’s get started!
Star Wars returns to Exegol as it sends J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens behind Sith lines
The latest Star Wars rumors point to the franchise’s potentially first ever Black directing and writing team with J.D. Dillard (Sleight) and Matt Owens (Luke Cage). The news was confirmed in a Hollywood Reporter exclusive this weekend that the movie is in the development stages now (of course Disney/Lucasfilm declined to comment), although some details are still up in the air.
Star Wars introduced Exegol in The Rise of Skywalker and it seems to be the primary location for the production (so perhaps we’ll finally see how Palpatine scrounged all those big toys together). However, if you’re wondering about the real location you might watch this movie – well, it might be microwave popcorn instead of the theatre stuff.
Yes, there’s a future in which Disney forces Star Wars fans to subscribe to Disney+ if they want to see the franchise’s latest addition. It falls in line a bit with the Disney/Marvel approach, which explicitly states that shows like WandaVision and Loki will send reverberations into the larger MCU. Given that most of the streamer’s hot releases are, thus far, all Star Wars-related (see the recent Clone Wars reboot and The Mandalorian), it isn’t too much of a surprise.
The Dillard and Owens lead Star Wars trip to Exegol is yet to be greenlit at this point, but there are literally handfuls of other potential far far away projects to get excited about, too. Ewan McGregor is still working on his return to the cloth, Diego Luna is resurrecting his role as Cassian Andor and the next season of The Mandalorian is coming back from paternity leave as soon as this year.
Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones left parentless as Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols announce their Riverdale departure
Riverdale is about to leave some big shoes to fill. Skeet Ulrich, Jughead’s dad, F.P. Jones and biker gang elder, as well as Marisol Nichols, Veronica’s mom and money loving mayor, both made statements that they would be leaving the show after season 4. I’m still waiting for this season to wrap so I can binge it in a weekend like a sleeve of Oreos, but based on previous seasons it comes as quite the shock that two characters with some major influences will both be bowing out.
Ulrich made the statement to TVLine Monday morning, saying “I’m proud to have been part of such a talented group of people, in front of the camera and behind. But I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on to explore other creative opportunities.” His was followed shortly thereafter by Nichols, who added “We had so many wonderful times together during the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We really do have the best fans ever. I am looking forward to the next chapter and am excited about the future.”
No word yet on how either of these powerhouses will be written out of Riverdale, although showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa made his own statement, confirming the severance and making it clear that both actors are “always welcome back.” Riverdale airs on Wednesdays on the CW and you can check out our recaps, too!
Skybound explores the executive branch’s exorcisms in a new series
Before it even hits shelves, Skybound is already planning a TV adaptation of its upcoming novel, The Residence, by Andrew Pyper. The September release dives deep into the accounts of President Franklin Pierce and First Lady Jane Pierce whose child was lost to an accident prior to inauguration. In the time that followed, the couple continued to observe all things supernatural, including visions, auditory hallucinations and more – all in the White House.
The Walking Dead publisher collabs with RadicalMedia on the TV development with a structure that combines scripted elements with interviews. Although this inaugural season will stick to The Residence’s singular account of the Pierce family, the show will extend into other paranormal presidential phenomenon with further seasons. Pyper sits as the shows EP.
Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju takes another swing at sword and sorcery with The Witcher casting
Following his return to Westeros’ true north, it seems Kristofer Hivju has instead found the Continent; the setting of Netflix’s The Witcher. Hivju, who played the beloved drinker of giant’s milk, Tormund, was announced as part of the show’s season two cast this weekend. He’s set to play Nivellan, a character cursed to appear as a monster. In the same breath, The Witcher also brought on Yasen Atour (Young Wallender) as Coen, Agnes Bjorn as Vereena, Paul Bullion (Peaky Blinders) as Lambert, Thue Ersted Rasmussen (F9) as Eskel, Aisha Fabienne Ross (The Danish Girl) as Lydia and Mecia Simson as Francesca. The show is set to return in 2021 and you can check out our thoughts on the first season here.
It was a good weekend for robot trailers!
This year’s toy fair saw the first trailer for Transformers: War for Cybertron. It’s being called an original anime series (in spite of being produced with Rooster Teeth Animation, based in Austin, Texas), but aside from that weirdness, this first look is intriguing. This first of three parts pits the Autobots against the Decepticons once again over six 22 minute episodes. The ‘Flix says it’s coming soon with no cement date yet.
Westworld is back beginning on March 15. But, as previous trailers have shown, we’re far from the cowboy fantasy theme park. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is out of her cage and she’s doing just fine with Caleb (Aaron Paul). For now at least. Maeve (Thandie Newton) is being sent to kill her for reasons I don’t know, having dipped just one episode into season two. Gotta say, though, I’m a sucker for this trailer’s Guns N’ Roses cover.
That’s a wrap for this week! I’ve gotta go check out that whacky 100th episode of Supergirl, but we’ll catch you back here next time.