Marvel Posts Beautiful Tribute To Stan Lee On First Anniversary Of His Death

It’s almost hard to believe, but it’s been a full calendar year since the world lost Stan Lee. The Marvel comics visionary has had a massive impact on pop culture for the past few decades, and affected generations of fans. His passing at the age of 95 was heartbreaking, especially as it was prior to the release of Avengers: Endgame. To honor Lee on the first anniversary of his death, Marvel Entertainment posted a beautiful tribute to the man behind so many stories.

Stan Lee is responsible for creating some of the most iconic characters to come out of Marvel Comics. That includes the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men. Lee also appeared in a ton of Marvel adaptations, with various studios giving Lee cameos throughout the years. You can see how Marvel Entertainment honored the late writer below.

Well, that’s gorgeous. Stan Lee is shown among his various creations, showing how limitless his imagination was. It’s a great way to honor Lee on the first anniversary of his death, and as Marvel Studios continues to dominate pop culture.

This new image comes to us from the official Twitter account for Marvel Entertainment. It shows Stan Lee’s likeness, surrounded by some of the most iconic characters from the comics. The Fantastic Four and X-Men are at the top of the image, alongside Spider-Man, She-Hulk, and The Wasp. As you go further down the art, those heroes are joined by more iconic Marvel heroes including Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, and Silver Surfer. Clearly Lee contributed to a ton of characters, each with their own unique backstory and abilities.

Stan Lee’s death last year rocked the world of entertainment and comic books, and there were countless tributes and honors to the late comic book writer. Many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest names took the time to thank Lee for his contributions, and for being so lovely to work with during his many onscreen cameos.

Avengers: Endgame marked Stan Lee’s final cameo, as Spider-Man: Far From Home and Dark Phoenix didn’t have any appearances by the late visionary. He ended up having appearing in a ton of Marvel adaptations throughout his life, on both the small and silver screen. His most memorable are the countless movie appearances, all of which made audiences chuckle. What’s more, his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 confirmed his MCU appearances were all the same person.

Since his death, quite a bit has changed for his characters. Avengers: Endgame became the highest grossing movie of all time, and Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox will allow the X-Men and Fantastic Four to eventually appear in the MCU. What’s more, a new deal for Spider-Man will allow Tom Holland’s character to occupy both that universe, and Sony’s Spider-Verse.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow (also created by Stan Lee) on May 1st, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. And our 2020 release list to look forward to the New Year.

All Your Last-Minute Disney+ Questions Answered

Disney+ logo

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After two years of waiting, the streaming service of all things Disney, Disney+ is almost here. The service launches on November 12 and it will have a massive library of content. It will have Disney classics, forgotten gems, random stuff you probably never heard of, and a host of brand new original content exclusive to the service.

We know a great deal about Disney+, like how to get started with a 7-day free trial, but there are some pretty significant things that we don’t know. With Disney+ set to launch in only a matter of hours, here are the questions we still have about the new service.

Disney+ app screenshot with Captain Marvel

Where’s the App?

While Disney+ has been set for a November launch since April, Sign-ups for the service began at Disney’s D23 Expo in August. Since then, everybody has been able to sign up for the service. Usernames and passwords have been set, money has been paid, and yet, we have yet to receive the app that we need to actually watch any of it.

While certainly the app isn’t supposed to do anything yet, you’d think it would have been released by now. People will need to download it to their various applicable devices and login. The more time we’re all given to do that, the less chance there is that servers will get bogged down with people just trying to sign in. In addition, if there are any problems with the download and login process, this would give everybody some time to fix it before things actually go live.

Update: The Disney+ app is now available on all applicable platforms

Lady and the Tramp remake

When Does Disney+ Go Live?

You’d think this would be a simple enough question to answer, but actually no. While we know that Disney+ is starting up November 12, there are 24 hours in that day, and we don’t know which one the service has picked. There are, after all, time zones to consider, so just believing that the service will go live at midnight doesn’t really work.

In fact, there’s a countdown clock on the Disney+ website that claims the service will go live at 3AM Pacific/6AM Eastern time. That would be great, except that there is a similar countdown clock on the Star Wars website which are set three hours earlier, implying that it the magic hour is Midnight Pacific/3AM Eastern. Even a couple of days ago the clock on the Marvel website was implying the service might not launch until as late as 9AM Eastern before the clock was adjusted, so it looks like there may be some confusion even within Disney.

Update: Disney+ went live at approximately midnight eastern time, allowing those on the west coast to actually enjoy things beginning the night of November 11.

Walt Disney with an Imagineer in The Imagineering Story

When Do The Original Shows Arrive?

Again, this feels like an obvious question with an obvious answer, but we simply don’t know that to be true. It’s easy enough to assume that all the original content planned for day one will be there when the service goes live, whenever that will be. But that might not be the case. Disney+ is going for the weekly release schedule rather than dropping everything at once, so if shows have a certain day they’ll arrive like they do on broadcast TV, will they also have a set time?

Even if the first episode of The Mandalorian is going to be there right when everything starts, how about the second episode coming on Friday? Will it arrive at midnight in every timezone? Midnight Eastern time. What if it won’t arrive until 8PM on Friday night? And if that’s the case, does that mean the first episode won’t arrive until 8PM on November 12? I’ll get up early if I need to see it (it’s actually my job) but I’d rather sleep in if I know I can.

Update: The first episodes of all the launch shows did land when the service went live. It’s still unclear what time the episodes hitting on Friday will land.

Spider-Man in Avengers: Infinity War

What Sort of Content Rotation Will We See?

With most streaming services we see a lot of content rotation. Deals for certain material ends while new deals begin, seeing a cycle of new content coming in while older stuff goes away. With Netflix or Amazon Prime this is normal, but will we see that sort of thing happening with Disney+?

Disney owns everything that is coming to the service so there shouldn’t be any worries about content expiring. Except, that we’ve been told that an existing deal with Netflix will force a few years worth of content back onto that service a few years from now. If there are other similar deals out there, then could we end up seeing significant amounts of content being dropped from Disney+ every month like we do with the other services? Could there be other reasons that Disney might want to pull things off the service now and then? Or, will removals be rare? Are there things I need to watch soon because they might be gone just as quick?

Anna Kendrick in Noelle

How Much “New” Content Will We Really Be Getting?

Disney’s list of day one releases is pretty significant. There are a few major omissions, like most of the MCU, and a lot of recent films that are still chained to Netflix, but for the most part, we’re getting a lot from day one. Which makes one wonder, similar to the question of how much we’ll be losing from the service now and then, is the question of how much we’ll actually be gaining on a regular basis.

We know that there’s a host of new original material being added to the service, and as those current deals with companies like Starz and Netflix end, the material will get added to Disney+, but in the grand scheme of Disney’s nearly 100 years of animation and live-action, that’s not that much stuff. for all the Disney Channel stuff that we’re getting on day one, there’s still a lot more out there that we’re not seeing at the beginning, and it’s unlikely that’s due to licensing problems. Is the rest of this stuff being held back simply so that Disney has something to add later, or does not seeing it on day one mean we may never see it?

Update: A few of these questions have been answered due to a cool little feature that Disney+ has. If you search for a given Disney movie, odds are it will pop up, even if the movie is not technically available on the service right now. If you select it, you’ll get a message telling you when the film will be available. This feature doesn’t cover every piece of Disney content, however. The first season of The Mickey Mouse Club is on the service, but there’s no indication if or when future seasons may come, for an example,

Tomorrowland DIsney+

Disney+’s launch can be counted in hours at this point. It’s so close we can all taste it, and yet, I won’t lie, I’m so excited for it that the fact that I don’t have these answers is sort of freaking me out. These are pretty basic things that we would expect to know about any streaming service, especially this close to launch.

Of course, those answers are certainly all coming, and some of them will be very soon. Hopefully very soon, as the more time we have to process them the better.

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Frozen II Producers Found A Magical Way To Hit Deadlines: Puppies

Whether it’s a live-action blockbuster, a small indie, or an animated family film, moviemaking is an arduous endeavor. It requires a lot of people working hard over long hours and with limited resources in order to hit deadlines and get the movie into theaters. For Disney’s eagerly anticipated animated sequel Frozen II, the producers found a magical way to hit those deadlines: puppies. That’s right, in an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg, Sterling K. Brown explained what it was like working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, saying:

Is it any wonder Disney is such a creative force? I think you’d expect there to be a sense of magic and wonder working at the hallowed Walt Disney Animation Studios just because of the films that have been made there. But as Sterling K. Brown makes clear, it’s not just about the building itself, it’s about the unique experience of working there and how they make it special. Part of that unique experience on Frozen II involved the petting of puppies.

Sterling K. Brown explains to Eric that, as Frozen II got closer to the end of production and the pressure was really on to finish it, the producers had dogs brought in for people to pet. While that might seem odd, it shows the sense of play working at Walt Disney Animation Studios that Sterling K. Brown talks about. Clearly Disney makes effort to maintain a light atmosphere– even when the stresses of moviemaking are at their worst.

As Frozen II moved towards the end of production and deadlines were looming, actors were spending a ton of time in the booth recording their voice work and animators were spending hours upon hours in front of the computer bringing the characters and the beautiful world of this film to life. So the puppies were brought in as a way to bring some joy to people who are essentially stuck at work and having rough, difficult days.

It sounds like it was really a nice way to give people a break and allow them to decompress a bit through the joy of petting a puppy. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a tough project you can feel drained and like you’re being crushed under the weight of it. But sometimes all it takes is a little boost to help you push through. As stress relief methods go, petting puppies is as good as any and better than most.

So on Frozen II, puppies helped those working on the film to stay upbeat and hit deadlines. You can hear Eric’s discussion with the cast, directors and songwriters of Frozen II in the video below.

Sterling K. Brown also draws parallels between Frozen II and the process of making the film and how each is about finding happiness even when times are hard. It’s a salient message and one we’re excited to see play out in the sequel film. The puppy approach seemingly worked well for Frozen II, which will arrive in theaters on time next weekend. The sequel took a long time, but it looks to have been worth it.

Frozen II arrives in theaters on November 22. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies coming out through the end of the year.

A Doctor Sleep Sequel Had Reportedly Been In The Works

39 years after Stanley Kubrick adapted Stephen King’s The Shining into what is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all-time, Mike Flanagan directed Doctor Sleep, the sequel that sees the character of Danny Torrance all grown up. While it may have taken a couple of generations to get a sequel on the big screen, it looks like Warner Bros. wasn’t planning on waiting that long to turn the franchise into a trilogy.

While The Shining and Doctor Sleep were both based on Stephen King novels, it seems that the studio behind the Doctor Sleep adaptation wasn’t going to wait fro the prolific author to write another book. Instead, THR reports that WB had commissioned Doctor Sleep writer and director Mike Flanagan to pen Halloran, a new movie following the character of Dick Halloran from both novels, even before Doctor Sleep was completed.

Of course, because the plan to make another movie was struck before the release of Doctor Sleep, any plan for another movie would seem to be up in the air at best, and left frozen to death in the snow at worst. Doctor Sleep opened to only $14 million at the box office when it was projected to make something close to twice that number.

With Doctor Sleep following Terminator: Dark Fate into the IP graveyard, it’s two data points in quick succession that show that simply because a film may be connected to a recognizable brand, it doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed. Dark Fate was another film that was at least considering future sequels that are highly unlikely to happen following the new movie’s box office struggles.

Why Doctor Sleep fared so badly at the box office is a topic of debate and conjecture. There are certainly numerous different reasons, but basically all of them would be potential roadblocks to any further film being successful. Clearly, there was simply no audience for the new movie so it seems likely that this Halloran movie won’t be happening anytime soon.

Beyond the fact that the new concept would have followed the character of Dick Halloran, nothing else is being reported about the movie. Dick is already an older gentleman when we meet him in The Shining, but he also has the same mental abilities as Danny Torrance, likely, the plan was to make a movie that would have followed him as a younger man, prior to the events of The Shining.

Doctor Sleep finished last weekend in second place at the domestic box office behind World War II action film Midway. If Doctor Sleep had performed as predicted it would have easily won the weekend.

Of course, even The Shining wasn’t a smash hit when it came out in 1980, and now it’s a revered film, so the same could always happen with Doctor Sleep. Maybe Halloran will get the green light somewhere around 2049.

The 10 Best Christmas Movies On Disney+

The Muppet Christmas Carol Gonzo, Robin, Kermit, and Piggy pose by a lamp post

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We’re getting ever closer to holidays, and much like any other streaming platform, Disney+ is going to have its fair share of Christmas movies to share with all of its subscribers. With the service having finally opened its doors, one would think there’s a relatively small selection of seasonal cheer to choose from. Not true, as this is Disney after all, and Christmas is one of those holidays the studio has always excelled at.

In particular, the 10 movies we’re about to mention are the best the library has to offer at this moment. With some obscure gems mixed in with holiday staples, this is a pretty surprising lineup for a streaming library as fresh as Disney+. Get ready, as this is the ultimate list of Disney+’s Day One Christmas movies you won’t want to miss. And if you haven’t already signed up for the service, the Mouse House is currently offering a 7-day free trial.

Miracle on 34th Street Susan and Kris Kringle hug

Miracle On 34th Street

With the acquisition of the 20th Century Fox library, a lot of legacy titles are now open for Disney+ to call its own. And sure enough, 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street is one of those films that Disney is proudly boosting as a streaming exclusive. Telling the timeless story of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) and the trial to prove whether or not he truly is the Santa Claus, this movie is as traditional as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade itself.

Which, strangely enough, is where the action for this particular film starts, and where your holiday marathon should probably begin as well. You can’t go wrong with choosing Miracle on 34th Street as your first post-Thanksgiving dinner movie to start the Christmas season right.

One Magic Christmas Santa points to the sky

One Magic Christmas

Another advantage to having the Disney+ streaming service is the fact that there are a lot of the older, more obscure entries in its cinematic vault. One example is the film One Magic Christmas, which sees legendary character actor Harry Dean Stanton playing an angel who’s sworn to help one family make it through their hardships during the holiday season to have a very merry Christmas.

It may feel a little unconventional at times, but this Disney Christmas movie is one of the best examples of the studio’s more experimental, but still family friendly eras of filmmaking. Plus, if there was anyone we’d believe to be a Christmas angel, Harry Dean Stanton would be pretty high on that list.

The Muppet Christmas Carol Michael Caine and the Muppets on an old London street

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol has been remade in so many forms, we could probably do a top 10 list of which Christmas movies adapting its story are the best. And assuredly in the upper echelon of such choices would be another Disney+ Day One title, The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Starring the legendary Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, and the iconic Gonzo the Great as Charles Dickens, this version of Dickens’ evergreen tale of changing one’s ways is told with an irreverent, yet noble spirit. It also includes some of Paul Williams’ most memorable songs with the Muppets, rounding out this timeless tale as not only a good for Muppet laughs, but also a beautiful classic that will warm and break your heart when it sees fit.

The Christmas Star Horace stares down the kids

The Christmas Star

Before Ed Asner memorably played the role of Santa in director Jon Favreau’s Elf, he got a little bit of earlier practice wearing the iconic red suit in the Christmas movie caper The Christmas Star. Playing a con-man who needs to recover the spoils from a recent score, Asner’s Horace McNickle finds himself crossing paths with two children who really think he’s Santa.

As this movie not only has the Disney brand attached to it, but is also going to be a Disney+ launch title, you can bet the trademark Ed Asner snark is going to eventually give way to a kinder, gentler version of the man you see on screen. If you want to make things extra interesting, make it a heartwarming Ed Asner double feature and watch Up right after The Christmas Star.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack, dressed as Santa, sees a kid with a present

The Nightmare Before Christmas

You probably know someone who’s watching The Nightmare Before Christmas already, as once Halloween ends, this baby usually comes out to play. So seeing as this title will probably be a Disney+ staple, you can bet that Jack Skellington’s attempt to be the king of Halloween and Christmas will be in a lot more living rooms than before; and that’s saying something.

A twisted tale of ambition, kidnapping and gambling the fate of the holiday, it’s a film lighthearted enough to work with Christmas, dark enough to serve as a continuation of Halloween, and an all-around crowdpleaser no matter which side you identify with.

Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas The Beast and Belle dance around the tree

Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

Sure, you know the story of Disney’s classic tale as old as time, Beauty and The Beast. But do you know the story of how their love was almost thwarted by an enchanted pipe organ, hell-bent on keeping the entire castle under the spell of the enchanted rose? It happened, and it’s canon, thanks to Beauty and The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.

One of the direct-to-video sequels that Disney experimented with in the late ’90s, Disney+ is now a platform for such films to find a second life. And believe it or not, this is one such movie that deserves to be revisited, not only as a Christmas movie, but also as a chapter of the Beauty and The Beast saga.

The Santa Clause Scott Calvin wearing the Santa coat

The Santa Clause

It’s hard to make a new holiday tradition, especially when it comes to a movie like The Santa Clause. A perfect storm of talent and comedy chops that definitely speak to the times this film was made, but bundled with a story that easily holds up almost three decades after its debut, Tim Allen’s Christmas movie comedy will see itself on Disney+ in time for this holiday season to take full advantage.

You loved it as a kid, and so did your parents, so why not bond over reliving Scott Calvin’s unlikely transformation from grumpy toy executive to Saint Nick himself? And yes, both sequels will also be available on Disney+, so the fun doesn’t have to stop after that first film ends.

Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas Mickey and friends go a'caroling

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas

Sometimes you’re not in the mood for a full Christmas movie, and would rather watch a collection of vignettes that show off your favorite Disney characters at the holidays. It’s a specific itch, but it’s one that can be scratched when you watch Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas.

Three vignettes tell stories that both entertain with their festive nature, but also touch upon what makes this time of year so special for one and all. And should you enjoy this compilation of animated merriment, you can enjoy the second volume, Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas, which is similarly inclined to entertain the entire family this Christmas.

I'll Be Home For Christmas Jonathan Taylor Thomas makes a pay phone call

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Much like how The Santa Clause took advantage of Disney’s success with Home Improvement by casting Tim Allen as its lead, I’ll Be Home For Christmas aimed for the same result by using Jonathan Taylor Thomas as its lead. With both his father’s vintage Porsche and his relationship with his girlfriend, played by Jessica Biel, on the line, Thomas’ protagonist Jake has to make his way coast-to-coast in order to get home by the Christmas Eve deadline set in front of him.

Another demonstration of just how deep Disney+’s roster runs, this teen comedy will be there for anyone who can use a good laugh. Though you might have some fun explaining yourself when you start talking about that time “JTT” was one of the reigning heartthrobs of pop culture.

The Sound of Music Julie Andrews dances among the flowers and mountains

The Sound Of Music

This final selection is a bit of a cheat, as Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical The Sound of Music isn’t a movie directly related to Christmas. However, it has been a long standing tradition that the ABC network, and also Freeform, would air this movie during the holidays, so the Julie Andrews/Christopher Plummer starring heartwarmer basically has become a Christmas movie by popular acclaim.

It’s hard to argue with the will of the public, and now with Disney+ offering another, easier way for folks to get their fix of fighting the Nazis through the power of song and family, it’s never a bad time to think of your favorite things.

Everyone has something to look forward to with these Christmas movies being offered on what’s probably going to be the hottest streaming services during the holiday season. So if you’re looking for something to keep yourself in the holiday spirit, or if there’s a family/friends gathering that could uses some seasonal excitement, you may want to make sure you have a Disney+ subscription handy when the time comes.

Keep in mind, all of these titles are subject to change. So if you’re looking for something specific, and it’s not in the Disney+ lineup, it may have pulled specific titles for various reasons. But other than that, enjoy your Christmas movie marathons on what’s sure to be the happiest streaming service on Earth, and don’t forget to binge responsibly!

Which Christmas movie are you going to watch on Disney+ first?

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Zack Snyder Shows The Flash Traveling Through Time In New Justice League Snyder Cut Photo

As we have previously reported, this is a busy week on the “Release The Snyder Cut” front. The Zack Snyder fans behind the movement to get the Director’s Cut of Justice League released are preparing for the two-year anniversary of the release of the theatrical cut – which occurs on Sunday, November 17. They have picked individual members of the League to celebrate each day this week, and today is The Flash. So, Zack Snyder played along by releasing this new photo of Ezra Miller in the role.

Zack Snyder dropped this photo of Ezra Miller as Flash on his social media page on Vero. The caption he included was, “Miller is the flash.” That was all, but it was more than enough to get the speculation running regarding what we are seeing in the shot.

What Disney+’s Cut Endgame Scene With Tony Stark And His Adult Daughter Reveals

Today was an exciting one for Marvel fans, as Disney+ was finally launches, with a slew of MCU favorites available to stream immediately. This includes Avengers: Endgame, which became the highest grossing movie of all time. Obviously moviegoers are eager to have Endgame available to stream anytime they want (Infinity War is still on Netflix), and they might be surprised upon learning that one deleted scene is available on the new service. And it shows Tony reuniting with his daughter Morgan, played by 13 Reasons Why Katherine Langford.

Katherine Langford’s casting in Avengers: Endgame inspired countless fan theories, with many Marvel fans believing she’d play Kate Bishop, Hawkeye’s daughter. But it turns out she was actually an older version of Morgan, which appeared to Tony after he snapped Thanos and his forces out of existence. The scene was just revealed for the first time; you can check it out below. Or, if you’d like to check it out for yourself on Disney+, you can use this link for a free 7-day trial.

Well, that was powerful. Titled “Tony At The Way Station”, this new clip finally reveals what Katherine Langford shot for Avengers: Endgame. Hey, it only took a whopping seven month after the film’s release.

The above sequence comes to us from Twitter, and mirrors what happened at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. After Thanos collects the Infinity Stones and snapped his fingers, he was transported to the same interdimensional setting. And while the Mad Titans spoke with a young Gamora, Katherine Langford’s Morgan Stark was all grown up. The two reunite, and discuss Tony’s action to sacrifice himself in order to end Thanos once and for all.

Iron Man’s heroic sacrifice saved the entire MCU, but it came at a great cost. No regular human was meant to wield the Infinity Stones, and the snap cost him his life. This new Avengers: Endgame scene cues us into Tony’s psyche at the time of his snap, and the doubt he had about going through with it. The main sense of guilt was for his daughter Morgan, who lost her father the day The Blip brought back half the population. Luckily, she was able to quell these concerns for him in the deleted scene, revealing she grew up to be strong. What’s more, she didn’t resent him for perishing.

Tony’s main concern with re-joining the Avengers in Endgame was related to Morgan. He didn’t want to do anything that would change the timeline, which saw him settle down and become a father. And the good guys won, although Tony sacrificed himself in the process of the final battle.

While I thought the above scene was emotional, it also might have ruined the impact of Tony’s death and proceeding funeral. The theatrical cut expertly honored and grieved the OG MCU hero, with every major character from the shared universe assembling to put him to rest. What’s more, Tony’s video message to Morgan was its own emotional gut punch. And that goodbye simply wouldn’t have read as well if he’d already talked to a grown up Katherine Langford’s Morgan.

Sonic The Hedgehog Movie: All The Changes Made For His Redesign

This morning we saw the new trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. While most second movie trailers are mostly focused on giving us a bit more detail on the characters and the plot, the purpose of this trailer is really to show off the new look of the main character.

Sonic has undergone a complete redesign following a pretty loud backlash to the character’s original look. This morning it appears people are liking the new look a lot more than the old one. So what exactly got changed? Let’s take a closer look at everything that different between the old and new Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic’s Face

Most of the differences in the new Sonic the Hedgehog that influence the rest of the redesign can be seen in Sonic’s face. The original concept for Sonic was to make him look, for lack of a better word, real. The hair on Sonic’s face, beyond being bright blue, looks like it could be on a real animal. The face is wide, giving Sonic a bit more of an aerodynamic head, which makes some sense, but just never sat right with fans.

The new Sonic has a bit more of an animated look. The head has been shrunk horizontally and enlarged a bit vertically. This has the effect of making the eyes rounder, which makes Sonic automatically more friendly looking. His nose is also smaller in the new look. In this particular image, the lighting has also been changed, to make Sonic brighter over all.

The Hands

If there was a single place where the old Sonic the Hedgehog design made people absolutely scream in uncanny valley terror, it was the hands. As seen in the image above, Sonic had strangely human hands. Five long fingers that were covered in white fur, but were still, without question,hands based on that of a person. It’s all sorts of wrong and creepy.

In the simplest imaginable fix, the new Sonic the Hedgehog has simply been given gloves. It’s the way the character has been seen in video games and animated series in the past, so it makes all the sense in this world. Perhaps Sonic still has weirdly human fingers, but as long as keeps his gloves on and we don’t have to see them, we’ll call it good.

The Teeth

Similar to Sonic’s oddly human hands, the original design gave Sonic oddly human teeth. They just didn’t seem to fit right in that mouth. They looked too big for his mouth and they only added to the strange mixture of human and animated character that made the whole thing difficult to look at.

The new Sonic fixes the teeth issue by basically removing them. Most of the time when Sonic opens his mouth in this trailer you can’t actually see any teeth. His mouth is just a black hole like most cartoon characters. Occasionally, we will catch a glimpse of Sonic’s teeth, so we know he has them, but it’s always just a slight view like the image above. This is much better.

General Proportions

Of all the things that weirded me out with the original Sonic design, the one that really bothered me was Sonic’s oddly lanky frame. He had these strangely long legs and skinny frame. Like most of these decisions made on the first go round, I’m sure it made sense at the time. Sonic is a runner, so giving him long legs makes sense, but, as is obvious here, it just don’t work in practice. He also appears to have human feet, as defined by the fact that he’s wearing normal sneakers.

With Sonic’s redesign his legs aren’t quite as long, and he looks just better proportioned all around. He’s also no longer wearing standard running shoes, which helps him look more like an animated character and less like a person.

Based on the reaction on social media, it seems nearly everybody is much happier with the design of Sonic the Hedgehog now than they were previously. As far as that goes, it looks like the delay in the release of the film was time well spent. Of course, the movie still looks pretty corny, and while Sonic looks a lot different, he still acts and sounds very much the same. Whether the visual change is enough to draw people to the theater is very much an open question.

Sonic the Hedgehog is set for release on February 14, 2020.

The Rise Of Skywalker Director J. Abrams Says Watching The Last Jedi Encouraged Him To Take Risks

The Star Wars franchise has been enthralling moviegoers for decades, and is showing no real signs of slowing down. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the property was kickstarted back up with J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens, and the introduction of standalone films. Abrams introduced a new set of characters to the franchise, alongside franchise favorites like Leia, Han, And Luke. Rian Johnson took over for The Last Jedi, and Abrams recently revealed how the subversive and surprising choices from that movie helped inspire him to take more risks for the highly anticipated Rise of Skywalker.

There is a ton of pressure on J.J. Abrams to deliver with The Rise of Skywalker, especially following the disappointing performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Additionally, Episode IX will wrap up the nine-film Skywalker Saga. Abrams recently spoke to the affect Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and his experience on The Force Awakens, had on his upcoming blockbuster, saying:

Well, that’s certainly interesting. It looks like J.J. Abrams might have been in his head too much when working on The Force Awakens. But now that he’s back for his sophomore run in the galaxy far, far away, he’s more confident and eager to take risks.

This makes a great deal of sense, as The Force Awakens was the first new Star Wars movie to hit theaters since the prequels. Episode VII made a ton of money at the box office, and was the biggest pop culture event of 2015. But the movie did get some criticism for too closely resembling A New Hope, with the young Jedi on a desert planet and a planet-destroying weapon that needed to be destroyed.

On the other side of the coin, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi received some backlash for being too subversive. He purposefully went against fan expectations, unceremoniously killing off Snoke and seemingly answering the question of Rey’s parentage. And while some fans took umbrage with his choices, Lucasfilm was happy enough with his efforts to give Johnson the opportunity to direct a future installment of the franchise. In his same conversation with Games Radar, J.J. Abrams explained how that influenced him, saying:

Well, this is exciting. It shows that J.J. Abrams could seemingly go anywhere with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, especially as he attempts to provide an adequate ending to the beloved space opera. The trailers already show that he’s pulling no punches, with the group of heroes assembled on a mission across the galaxy. What’s more, the inclusion of Emperor Palpatine shows that there will be plenty of major plot twists.

All will be revealed when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. Plus our 2020 release list to look forward to the New Year.

Would Chris Evans Ever Return As Captain America? The Former Steve Rogers Has Thoughts

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If there’s one thing that Avengers: Endgame did definitively and effectively, it was wrap up Chris Evans’ storyline as Captain America. Still, given that even Scarlett Johansson, whose character Black Widow actually died in Endgame, is making a return for a solo movie, there’s always the possibility there could be more Steve Rogers on the big or small screen in the future.

But would Chris Evans be up for it? In a recent chat with his fairly frequent co-star Scarlett Johansson, the actor spoke out about not being eager to revisit the role anytime soon, noting that Avengers: Endgame really stuck the landing for the character.

At this point, if you haven’t seen Marvel’s culmination to a decade of film, you really missed out on a key piece of cinema this year. (Although Disney+ drops with the movie today. Sign up for a free 7-day trial here.)

The film closes with a funeral for Tony Stark, after which Steve Rogers time travelled to return items the Avengers had borrowed from different past moments. At the end, he ultimately decides to return to the past and his big love Peggy Carter. We see him again as an old man who hands over the shield to Sam/Falcon.

Chris Evans’ comments in the interview over at Variety really do talk about completing a journey and I think most people are happy with the way Captain America’s storyline panned out and are fine with how the torch – er shield – was handed over. In fact, even the writers of the movie have said bringing Cap back would hurt the impact Avengers: Endgame had on audiences. Evans has also expressed interest in different types of roles recently, although he’s not immune to the lure of big franchises.

Although Chris Evans does mention the idea of returning to the MCU is “not a hard no,” it’s not looking as if he’s eager to jump back in at this point either.

Next up, Chris Evans will appear in the new Rian Johnson movie Knives Out, a murder mystery in which his character is dubbed “America’s asshole” and not “America’s ass.” You can see how totally different his character is in the new flick starting on November 27.