There were a number of blockbuster bombshells dropped on the movie world this week, as several big franchises showed their hand in terms of what they have to come. We got an idea of what one of the next Star Wars spin-off films will be, learned that Daniel Craig is officially set to reprise his most famous role one more time and also found out that Patty Jenkins will be back for the Wonder Woman sequel. It has very much been a week for big, but not at all surprising, revelations.
Elsewhere, an on-set calamity has plunged a major upcoming action movie into chaos and Leonardo DiCaprio has finally found a home for a project that has all of the chance in the world of leading to his second acting Oscar. He won’t be waiting as long for this one.
Here’s your round-up of movie news…
Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off film in the works
With a Star Wars movie on the way from now until, presumably, the time when we’re all dead and the world is populated by sentient emojis, Lucasfilm is mining every inch of the series’ back catalogue for material. So, this week, it was no surprise to learn from The Hollywood Reporter that the low-hanging fruit of a movie based on Obi-Wan Kenobi is in the pipeline. Brit filmmaker Stephen Daldry is in talks to helm a film based around the character, who has been played on screen by Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor. We don’t know whether this will be an “origin” tale for the famous Jedi or something different.
This makes all of the sense in the world for Lucasfilm. Like Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi is an incredibly memorable character and one who has stories surrounding him that can easily be told. He’s a character who appeals to the average cinemagoer, as well as the Star Wars superfan. Daldry is a filmmaker who very much comes from the “safe pair of hands” school of directorial choices that led Ron Howard to take the helm of the Han Solo film. This might not set the world on fire, but it will keep the franchise ticking along.
Daniel Craig (finally) confirms Bond return
The saga of Daniel Craig and James Bond has been the Ross and Rachel of the movie world ever since the release of Spectre at the tail end of 2015. Now, though, Craig has finally confirmed that he will be return for one more outing as 007 in the 25th Bond movie. During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Craig dropped the bombshell that he has signed on the dotted line. Craig implied in the interview that the next Bond film, which has been rumoured to be called Shatterhand, may well be his last in the role.
As soon as the rumour mill around Craig started swirling again, it became rather clear that the endgame was almost certainly going to be Craig’s return. It feels as if Craig has unfinished business in terms of story following the final moments of Spectre, so it’s good from that perspective to have him back in the tuxedo. There’s also the financial and studio side of things, from which position there’s no better outcome than having as consistent a box office performer as Craig back as Bond. At least this is one tumultuous movie story that now has a happy ending.
Stone tops list of highest-paid women
Thanks largely to the box office success of La La Land, there’s a new name on top of the Forbes list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood this year. Emma Stone has had a banner year and banked $26m, putting her ahead of second place finisher Jennifer Aniston with $25.5m. Last year‘s first place spot went to Jennifer Lawrence, who made $24m this year and is now in third place, thanks to her slate of smaller movies like mother! and Red Sparrow. Perhaps surprisingly, Emma Watson just missed out on a spot in the top five, despite the extraordinary success of Beauty and the Beast.
It’s great to see a different face at the top of the highest-paid list, particularly given the fact she’s there on the strength of a big prestige movie that did well based on audience love rather than being pegged to a blockbuster franchise. Stone is a great actress and this continues an impressive year for her, marrying financial success with rave reviews and an Oscar win. It will be interesting to see whether the dominant Dwayne Johnson has maintained his spot at the top of the male rankings when they are released next week.
Patty Jenkins on brink of Wonder Woman 2 deal
Given the enormous critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, few will be surprised to have read the news in Deadline this week that Patty Jenkins will likely return to helm the sequel. A studio source told the website they were “confident the deal will be reached soon”, with Jenkins in line for the sort of payday you’d expect for a director taking control of a follow-up to their own blockbuster success. Gal Gadot has already been confirmed to return to the role of Diana Prince.
It’s great news that Jenkins will return for the Wonder Woman sequel. She and Gadot proved to be a hell of a team in the first film, producing an incredibly successful, female-led movie that showed just how brilliant at arse-kicking women can be. It’s heartening to see that there will be a continuity of directorial voice to the franchise, assuming the inevitable chaos of Justice League does not do the character too much of a disservice.
Cruise breaks ankle on Mission: Impossible set
One of cinema’s biggest action franchises got a bit of a kicking this week, when Tom Cruise suffered a serious injury on the set of Mission: Impossible in London. Director Christopher McQuarrie told Empire that, while performing a stunt in which he jumped between two buildings, Cruise broke his ankle. McQuarrie said Cruise is in “great shape” despite his injury and added there will be a filming hiatus, but not one that will affect the planned release date of the movie.
This seems like the clear and inevitable outcome of a 55-year-old man trying to leap around like a stuntman in his twenties. Certainly, no one can doubt Cruise’s commitment and the shot will probably look fantastic if it ends up in the movie. Hopefully this does not affect the release of the film, which will have a tough task to complete in following Rogue Nation, which might be the best in the series. Mission: Impossible 6 is still due in cinemas in July 2018.
DiCaprio will be Da Vinci in Paramount biopic
Leonardo DiCaprio has lined up his next big project, and it’s one that could well win him another Oscar. According to Deadline this week, DiCaprio will play Leonardo Da Vinci for Paramount after the studio won a vicious bidding war with Universal for the rights. Paramount reportedly dished out a seven-figure officer to secure the rights to Walter Isaacson’s biography of the painter and scientist. Isaacson previously wrote the book that became the inspiration for the Boyle-Sorkin Steve Jobs movie.
This is a great project for DiCaprio and it has prestige awards season material written all over it. Now that DiCaprio has finally won his Oscar for The Revenant, his future works will have that extra layer of Academy-mandated gloss. Given the hefty price tag they have shelled out for the rights, Paramount clearly has similarly lofty ambitions. Expect to hear a lot more about this as it gets closer.
Taylor-Joy back with Witch director for Nosferatu
Robert Eggers and Anya Taylor-Joy broke out together in 2016 when The Witch became one of the most memorable horror movies of recent years. Variety revealed this week that the duo will work together again for the remake of Nosferatu. Eggers has been attached to this project ever since the release of The Witch, but Taylor-Joy’s involvement has only now been revealed. Presumably, Eggers has finally found a gap in her now hectic schedule, which includes Split sequel Glass and X-Men spin-off film New Mutants.
Taylor-Joy is a great talent and will be very beneficial to Eggers’s film. It will be interesting to see how his take on Nosferatu works, given the film has already been done twice, not to mention the dozens of Dracula adaptations in the interim. With Taylor-Joy on board, though, and his own unique horror sensibility, this stands a chance of being a truly memorable film.
What do you think about the prospect of an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie? Are you excited to see Daniel Craig back for one more Bond movie? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.