Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE WALKING DEAD Was Almost an NBC Procedural without Zombies

If you needed more proof that NBC has no clue about comic book TV shows, this might be the smoking gun.

Variety revealed yesterday that AMC's hit series The Walking Dead was almost an NBC series, and would've been far removed from the zombie drama we know and love.

Speaking at a masterclass at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in Scotland, Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd remarked that before the show was picked up by AMC for domestic and Fox for international, show creator Frank Darabont originally presented the first version of the script to NBC, with whom he had an overall deal.

According to Gale, NBC asked "Do there have to be zombies [in it]" and then asked Darabont if the series could be a crime procedural, where the two main protagonists would "solve a zombie crime of the week."

The Walking Dead: Special Victims Unit, anyone?

NBC, of course, is the same network that buried the DC Comics/VERTIGO-based series Constantine in a Friday Night Death Slot at 10 p.m. EST, where the show was eventually cancelled after just 13 episodes, even with a passionate fan following.  In addition, the DC Comics-based sitcom Powerless was picked up by NBC for the upcoming fall season, but has yet to be scheduled on the network and also recently lost showrunner Ben Queen.

Thankfully, however, The Walking Dead continues to thrive on AMC, having ended it's sixth season.  Hurd also remarked during the masterclass that the humans are at the center of the drama, with people new to the show surprised that "it’s not about the zombies, it’s about the humans."

In addition, Hurd said the drama's focus is on the evolution of the characters.  "What attracted me to [Robert Kirkman’s] comic-book series is that it is a story about characters on a journey into this new world, and constantly trying to figure out not only how to survive but what’s important to them, and some characters give up, some characters commit suicide, and they are constantly evolving, they are constantly meeting new characters. They have to determine friend or foe, and very quickly we realize that it is not the zombies you have to be afraid of, it’s the other humans."

The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its seventh season on Sunday, October 23rd at 9 p.m. EST.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

NEW MUTANTS Reveals Team Roster & New Screenwriters

Self is excited to see Warlock on the big screen!

The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that the upcoming X-Men spinoff film New Mutants has brought in Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the writing team behind YA adaptations The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular Now.  In May 2015, director Josh Boone was said to be co-writing the film with Knate Gwaltney, but that appears to have changed.

Neustadter and Weber have also written such films 500 Days of Summer, The Pink Panther 2, Paper Towns, Me Before You, and The Masterpiece.

According to the article, the movie "will focus on the angst-driven adventures of a diverse group of teens that include Native American Danielle Moonstar, Scots girl Wolfsbane, Brazilian ladies man Sunspot, a Kentuckian code-named Cannonball, and Russian teen Magik.  Also in the mix will be an alien named Warlock."

For those not familiar with the Marvel Comics characters, here's a brief rundown of the team:
  • Cannonball (Samuel Guthrie), a mild-mannered Kentuckian and eventual co-leader, who becomes nigh-invulnerable when rocketing through the air.
  • Mirage (Danielle Moonstar, originally codenamed Psyche), a Cheyenne and eventual co-leader, who can create visual empathic three-dimensional illusions.
  • Sunspot (Roberto da Costa), a Brazilian who gained superhuman strength fueled by sunlight and can store solar energy in his body to use his super strength during the night.
  • Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), a Scot who can transform into a wolf-like creature.
  • Magik (Illyana Rasputin), sister of the Russian X-Man Colossus, an accomplished mystic who can open "teleportation discs" allowing travel to Limbo and from there, any point on Earth.
  • Warlock, an extraterrestrial of the techno-organic race known as the Technarchy.

Created in 1982 by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the New Mutants first appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 as another team of young mutants brought together until the supervision of Professor X while the X-Men were off in space fighting the Brood. After the group received their own monthly series from Claremont and McLeod, the book shifted to a darker tone with the arrival of artist Bill Sienkiewicz.  In addition to very serious depictions of teenage angst and growing pains, the series featured themes of mysticism and psychic boundaries.  The stories also relied on wilder, more far-fetched premises than were typical of X-Men at the time. Locales included demonic dimensions, alternate futures, and an ancient Roman civilization hidden within the Amazon rainforest.  The New Mutants also encountered a secret society called the Hellfire Club, and began a rivalry with their young apprentices, the Hellions.

Sunspot has already appeared in live-action, played by Adan Canto in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past.

New Mutants will most likely arrive in theaters sometime in late 2017.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

THE FANDOM ZONE 073: "Close to Home" is Up!

"It's not every day you get to punch the devil in the face."
– Reverend Anderson to Sheriff Giles, Outcast: "Close to Home"

You guessed it, Karen and I are back with a new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Outcast 1x09 -- "Close to Home"
Wynonna Earp 1x09 -- "Bury Me with My Guns On"

This time, we talk about things like wacky morning radio DJ voices, a slight correction on the first of the original Star Wars cast to die, not making the finalists for the Parsec Award, Megan's downward spiral, Megan's Twin Peaks season finale moment, the lives of everyone around Kyle going right down the crapper, Allison checking into a psychiatric hospital, Archer getting caught in a rope trap, wondering why Reverend Anderson keeps doing really dumb things, getting some demon action while being surrounded by Auton mannequins, the Revmobile, the Stone Witch's resurrection fail, Wynonna being hotter than Waverly, Doc Holliday's tingling Stone Witch Sense, salt being Witch Kryptonite, Canadian snow supposedly looking like the Salt Flats, Waverly finally making a move on Officer Haught, some feedback from the mysterious Xub Xerox, Karen's book-reading progress, some comics on TV news, bonus stuff at the end of the episode, and more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone using...

Google Play Music
 -- HERE 
iTunes -- HERE
Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Facebook -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Twitter -- @FandomZoneCast

And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!  Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back next week, as we review the midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, the Season 1 finale of Outcast, and Episode 10 of Wynonna Earpright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

THE FLASH Casts Todd Lasance as The Rival

Savitar?  Nope, try again...

TVLine reported late yesterday that The CW series The Flash has cast Todd Lasance as DC Comics supervillain The Rival.  Several news sites originally reported that Lasance was playing a different villain, Savitar, until this was debunked by Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti on his official Twitter account.

The Rival will be a recurring character who first appears in the Season 3 premiere, "Flashpoint."

Lasance, 31, is an Australian actor probably best known as Julius Caesar on Spartacus: War of the Damned and as Julian on The Vampire Diaries.  In addition, he's appeared on episodes of Home and Away, McLeod's Daughters, Rescue: Special Ops, and ANZAC Girls.

Created in 1949 by John Broome and Joe Kubert, The Rival first appeared in Flash Comics #104 as Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, who recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, which he called "Velocity 9".  Clariss had heard the Flash's girlfriend, Joan Williams, talking about how the Flash gave his speed to another student, which helped him develop the formula.  Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss became a criminal.  He wore a darker version of Flash's outfit and gave it to several other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula proved to be temporary, however, and he was defeated and jailed.

Through unexplained methods, Clariss regained the power of super speed.  During a second battle with the Flash, Clariss reached light speed and vanished into the Speed Force.  Following the reformation of the Justice Society of America fifty years later, Johnny Sorrow retrieved Clariss from the Speed Force and invited him to join the new Injustice Society in 2000's JSA #16. The Rival, driven insane by his time in the Speed Force, raced across the country on a super-speed killing spree.  The Flash realized that the Rival's path across the country spelled out Clariss' name, and that the final murder would be Jay's wife, Joan Garrick.  The Flash later absorbed the Rival's speed before he could kill Joan.

The Rival eventually returned, posing as Joan's doctor.  Now pure speed energy, he possessed Jay's fellow Golden Age speedster Max Mercury.  After battling Jay and Impulse, the Rival escaped via time travel to an unknown destination, still in possession of Mercury's body.  In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max Mercury escaped from the Speed Force and was rejuvenated by Wally West's energy, allowing him to return to Earth in a new corporeal body. Following the events of Flashpoint that altered the timeline, it's unclear what happened to the Rival and Max Mercury's original body.

The Flash Season 3 premieres October 4th on The CW at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Friday, August 19, 2016

THE FLASH Casts Joey King as Magenta

This latest Rogue has one hell of a magnetic personality. has revealed that the CW series The Flash has cast Joey King as Frances "Frankie" Kane, better known to DC Comics fans as the superhero-turned-supervillain Magenta.

According to the article, Magenta will appear in the third episode of Season 3 and is "a metahuman with the ability to control metal...but her powers come with a dangerous side-effect, causing her villainous alter ego known as Magenta to emerge."

King, 17, is best known as Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus and as the young Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises.  She's also appeared in the films Independence Day: Resurgence, Stonewall, The Sound and the Fury, White House Down, Oz the Great and Powerful, Battle: Los Angeles, and Quarantine.  In addition, she's appeared on episodes of Fargo, American Dad!, New Girl, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Entourage, Jericho, and Malcolm in the Middle.

Created in 1982 by Marv Wolfman and George PĂ©rez, Frances Kane was the only survivor of a car crash that killed her father and brother.  Her mother blamed her for their deaths, believing her to be possessed by the devil.  It didn’t help that things had started to fly around in the house with Frances as the focal point.  She sought help from longtime friend Wally West, whom she had already guessed was Kid Flash, and Wally brought the Teen Titans in on the case.  Her mother never forgave her, even though it turned out Doctor Polaris was using her latent magnetic abilities to escape from imprisonment.

Frances dated Wally for some time, but was never comfortable with her powers.  She finally left Wally, feeling too pressured to be part of his life as a superhero, and went to S.T.A.R. Labs to deal with her powers.  There, she was treated by an unscrupulous doctor who created a second, lethal personality called Magenta, who could be triggered with a code word.

An evil form of former Titan Raven kidnapped Frances and implanted a portion of her demon father Trigon’s soul into Frances, bringing her into the world of genuine evil. Trigon was eventually defeated separately by the Titans, but his influence left Frances still unstable, and still blaming Wally (now known as The Flash) for not letting her be normal. She later fell in with the Cicada cult, a group that believed that the Flash was saving lives fated to die so that they could take them. She helped the cult capture the Flash, then later joined the New Rogues Gallery.  Her two personalities fought for dominance, and she finally turned on the Rogues—particularly on Girder, who wouldn’t stop harassing her.

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 3 on October 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Casts Zendaya as Mary Jane Watson

Is Peter Parker about to hit the jackpot?

TheWrap is reporting that the upcoming Jon Watts film Spider-Man: Homecoming has cast Zendaya as Spider-Man's best friend, love interest and occasional wife Mary Jane Watson.  Zendaya's involvement with the film was first revealed in March, although she was originally reported to be playing a new character named Michelle.

TheWrap cited "two individuals with knowledge of the project" as sources confirming Zendaya's actual character, with "At least one recent draft of the script has Zendaya’s character dropping several clues to her identity as Mary Jane."

Zendaya joins Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Zendaya (full name Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman), 19, is an actress, singer and dancer best known as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up.  She also appeared in the TV movies Zapped and Frenemies, Dancing with the Stars, and episodes of A.N.T. Farm and PrankStars.

Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., Mary Jane Watson was first mentioned in 1964's The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #15 but didn't fully appear until #42 two years later.  The character was introduced as a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her.  Peter finally met her, and was stunned by her beauty as she spoke the now-famous line: "Face it, just hit the jackpot!"

Following the death of Peter's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane and Peter become very close friends.  Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decided to take their relationship to the next level.  Their relationship had a few initial hurdles, such as M.J.'s hot temper and Peter's activities as Spider-Man.  Despite loving Peter, Mary Jane didn't want to be tied down, and when she allowed the relationship to progress too far, she was left with a difficult decision when Peter proposed to her.  After taking a short time to consider, she turned him down.  After a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, an emotionally drained Mary Jane left New York for several months.

In the days following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, Mary Jane returned to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprised her with a second proposal of marriage, which Mary Jane again turned down.  She returned to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her.  After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and helping Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane had an epiphany on their relationship and agreed to become Peter's wife.  The two were married in 1987's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21.

In 2007, the marriage was negated, per the directive of Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, in the controversial "One More Day" storyline.  Peter was forced to decide whether he would accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and Mary Jane's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality.  This would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.  Mary Jane accepted Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promised to restore Spider-Man's secret identity that was revealed during the events of Civil War.  She also asked to put his life back as it was, for a chance at happiness.  Mephisto accepted these terms, and in the revised timeline, which began at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and was further explained in the following issues, Mary Jane and Peter were never married, but instead "dated seriously for years."

Zendaya will be the third actress to portray Mary Jane Watson in live-action, after Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, and Shailene Woodley in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, although Woodley's scenes were cut from the film.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including 1967's Spider-Man (voiced by Peg Dixon), Spider-Man: The Animated Series (voiced by Sara Ballantine), Spider-Man Unlimited (voiced by Jennifer Hale), Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (voiced by Lisa Loeb), The Spectacular Spider-Man (voiced by Vanessa Marshall), and Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Tara Strong).

Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently scheduled to be released in theaters on July 7, 2017.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARROW Casts Wil Traval as The Human Target

The Human Target is getting a third Chance on the small screen.

KSiteTV has revealed that the CW series Arrow has cast Wil Traval as Christopher Chance, better known to DC Comics fans as The Human Target.  The article states that the character will appear in "Human Target," the fifth episode of the show's fifth season.

The official description for The Human Target states the character will be "a professional bodyguard and master of disguise who assumes the identities of those targeted by assassins. His latest client: Mayor Oliver Queen."

Traval, 36, is an Australian actor probably best known as Will Simpson/Nuke on the Netflix series Jessica Jones.  He's also appeared on episodes of Once Upon a Time, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Rizzoli and Isles, The Inbetweeners, Dexter, Leverage, and All Saints.

Created in 1972 by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino, The Human Target first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #419 as Christopher Chance, a private detective and bodyguard for hire.  Master of disguise and all manners of combat training, he was nearly unmatched in skill. Chance would assume the identity of his clients and personally handle any danger when they believed their life was being threatened.

Chance's father Philip was murdered by a professional killer after he owed money to Amos Sharkey, a local loan shark, and was unable to pay.  To make an example of him, a hitman named Dancer was sent to murder the man late one night.  Although Chris tried to defend his father, he was brushed aside and the gunman fired.  After the assailant was scared off by police sirens, his dad told him to make something of himself like he had never been able to, before passing away.  That day onward, Christopher Chance found himself unable to feel any fear.  He made a personal vow to never again let anyone else suffer the indignity and fear that his father had if he could do something about it.  He spent years obsessively studying martial arts techniques and weaponry, training to become a top athlete.  Then he began his own private business where people could hire him to impersonate them, and put his own life into danger in place of theirs. 

Traval will be the third actor to portray the character in live action, after Rick Springfield in the 1992 Human Target TV series that aired on ABC and Mark Valley in the 2010-11 Human Target TV series that aired on Fox.  

Arrow returns to The CW for Season 5 on October 5th at 8:00 p.m. EST.