The Big Venom Lesson That The Producer Says Is Informing Venom 2

With any franchise, there are always lessons to be learned from the first film, about what worked and what didn’t that can be used to make an even better movie the second time around. According to the producer of Sony’s 2018 surprise smash hit Venom, there is one big lesson in particular that will be informing next year’s sequel Venom 2. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend, producer Matt Tolmach explained what they took from the reaction to the first film, saying:

Sometimes the biggest lesson about a film isn’t what didn’t work but what did, and for Venom what worked was the central relationship between Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and the symbiote Venom, also voiced by Tom Hardy. This is the thing that Venom producer Matt Tolmach has heard the most about the anti-hero’s solo film and the big lesson that will be informing Venom 2. Audiences want more of Eddie Brock and Venom interacting with one another.

Venom and Eddie bantering back and forth, insulting one another, fighting and ultimately learning that they are better together than they are apart was a true highlight of the first film. And that has been further reinforced by the feedback the filmmakers have received. In Matt Tolmach’s mind, the dynamic between the symbiote and his host that proved so appealing in Venom is all due to the performance of Tom Hardy.

The producer and the filmmakers behind Venom 2 recognize the strength of that performance and the Venom-Eddie relationship and how much audiences appreciated that element of Venom. That is a lesson they can and are taking into the creation of the sequel, which will presumably lean into that relationship.

The love for the Eddie/Venom dynamic is incredibly encouraging because as Matt Tolmach notes, it is testament to the strength of the characters. Eddie Brock and Venom are the central relationship at the heart of the Venom franchise and if those characters and that relationship don’t work you have nothing. But since the relationship does work and not only does it work, but people want more of it, you have a solid foundation on which to build and that will continue and grow in Venom 2.

As the big lesson Matt Tolmach took from Venom, it sounds like we can expect a lot more of fun interactions between Tom Hardy’s dual identities in Venom 2. The film should provide ample time to hit the ground running on that front too since Eddie and Venom will presumably still be together at the start of the film, so the insults and tater tots and lobster baths can start right away.

With the big lesson from Venom being the strength of the relationship between Eddie and Venom, you can understand one of the reasons why Andy Serkis might have been tapped to direct the sequel. Eddie and Venom have a real Gollum and Sméagol dynamic and you’ve got to imagine Andy Serkis can have some real fun with that and let Tom Hardy really cut loose and try some things out. We’ve already heard that the actor and director have great chemistry.

Venom 2 is currently filming and is set for an October 2, 2020 release date. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see all of the big movies headed to theaters next year.

Adam Driver Says Every Scene Of New Netflix Movie Marriage Story Was ‘Tough’ To Shoot

Talking about a movie as emotionally intense as writer/director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story almost always leads to the question of just which scene was the toughest to shoot. Be it a test of technical mastery, or a moment of peril, there’s always that one day on set that manages to be a squeaker. Only, in the case of actor Adam Driver’s time on Baumbach’s latest film, every day felt pretty tough to him.

At a recent roundtable interview, Driver laid out his thinking in these terms:

The tale of a couple going through a taxing divorce, Marriage Story sees Adam Driver and co-star Scarlett Johansson through various phases of their character’s ultimately doomed coupling. The concept of this film alone feels like it’s a rough one to get through, no matter if it’s merely reading its script or actually watching it. But to have to live through those moments on set, as opposed to similar but more blockbuster moments on a set like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, has to be the greatest challenge of all. And Driver is no stranger to that hypothesis.

This whole line of thought stemmed from a question from the moderator of THR’s Actor Roundtable, one where Adam Driver was asked about which scene was the toughest in the entirety of Marriage Story’s production to engage with. And just as you see above, plus in remarks made by Driver earlier in that conversation, the uniformly difficult nature of this very emotional story ran consistently through the entire production. Something that the actor attributes to the “good writing” that Noah Baumbach put into this very personal tale.

Reading that entire response from Adam Driver not only has me worried about watching Marriage Story this coming weekend, as it debuts on Netflix tomorrow, but it also has me more intrigued to do so. With our own Sean O’Connell giving the film a perfect 5 star review, labeling the film as a “broken relationship, but two of the year’s best performances,” it’s starting to feel like I might not have enough tissues to take this in one sitting.

It’s been an interesting year for Netflix, as they’ve landed several highly acclaimed films that have been released in 2019, and seem to be continuing that trend with Marriage Story. The public will now have their chance to weigh in on just how hard this emotional story hits, as it will be on Netflix’s streaming platform as of tomorrow, and is currently in limited theatrical release. And if you like your Adam Driver a little more upbeat and brooding, you’ll be able to check him out in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens in theaters on December 20th.

The 12 Best Christmas Holiday Movies Currently Streaming

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Most holiday traditions involve watching Christmas movies. Prior to streaming services, to view holiday classics, families needed a VHS or DVD player and others a cable subscription. The introduction of constantly-growing streaming platforms have made watching holiday films a lot easier.

We selected these Christmas movies because they are unique holiday films, or only available on their respective streaming service, or are Christmas classics. Additionally, these titles should appeal to a wide range of holiday movie viewers, such as younger viewers, romantic movie fans, and classic film lovers. We also selected these Christmas movies because they are available through a basic subscription package, no additional subscriptions necessary.

Amber and King Richard in A Christmas Prince 3: A Royal Baby

A Christmas Prince 3: A Royal Baby (Netflix)

Netflix returns to Aldovia for the third installment of the A Christmas Prince series. In A Christmas Prince 3: A Royal Baby, Queen Amber (Rose McIver) and King Richard (Ben Lamb) are expecting their first child, but before the baby arrives, the royal family wants to host some distant relatives. Things get out of hand and an ancient curse threatens peace in Aldovia.

Netflix wants these Christmas Prince movies to become required holiday viewing, and it’s kind of working. The films have major plot holes and ridiculous scenarios, but fans continue to watch and repeatedly view the Christmas Prince movies. Sometimes holiday films need to answer deeper questions about life and human kind, but other times they just need to warm your heart and involve a Cinderella-like story with a reporter. Netflix releases A Christmas Prince 3: A Royal Baby on December 5, and fans of the series can probably expect another one next Christmas. Stream it here.

Holly Hunt and Robert Downey Jr in Home for the Holidays

Home For The Holidays (Hulu)

Home for the Holidays stars Holly Hunter and an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes, Dylan McDermott, and Charles Durning. The 1995 film follows recently fired Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) as she returns home from Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with her dysfunctional family. Jodie Foster directs Home for the Holidays.

Technically, Home for the Holidays is not a Christmas movie, but it offers the same important lessons as any Christmas film, such as that every family is a mess in their own special way. Home for the Holidays reminds viewers that your family may drive you insane, but for better or worse, they’re always going to be important people in your life. Home for the Holidays blends just the right amount of holiday drama, comedy, and romance. Stream it here.

The Snowman 1982

The Snowman (Prime Video)

The Snowman is a short film that follows a young boy on Christmas Eve as he builds a snowman, and then they go on an adventure. This classic animated film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film, and it won a BAFTA TV Award.

Since its 1982 release, The Snowman has become a timeless classic that children and families often watch during the holidays. It’s a simple tale of adventure, loss, and imagination. It’s a beautifully drawn and animated movie that may not be as visually striking as more modern animated features, but the simple graphics are part of The Snowman’s charm. This tale about a snowman coming to life melts the heart of anyone, even a Grinch. Stream it here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney+)

Tim Burton brings Halloweentown to life in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) tries to steal Christmas from Santa Claus and the humans. Misguided by the idea of Christmas, Jack brings havoc to the human world, but soon realizes that Halloween is his true love, so he restores order to Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a tribute to both the love of Halloween and the love of Christmas. Therefore, it works as a multi-holiday movie. Everything about Tim Burton’s holiday classic makes it an unforgettable animated film. The Nightmare Before Christmas helped establish Burton as a master of creating riveting and distinct gothic worlds. Stream it here.

Netflix's Klaus

Klaus (Netflix)

Klaus follows underachieving, spoiled rich Jesper (Jason Schwartzman). Tired of Jesper’s laziness, and angry at the fact that he flunked out of the postman academy, Jesper’s father sends him to a small frozen town in the North called Smeerensburg. Jesper must create a successful functioning postal service in Smeerensburg or lose his inheritance. Quickly, Jesper learns that things won’t be as easy as he thinks. With the help of toymaker Klaus (J. K. Simmons), Jesper changes and inspires the town.

An exciting thing about Klaus’s take on the Santa Claus legend is that it gives the story a more human touch. It reinvents Santa Claus from a magical figure to a normal man who finds a mission bigger than himself. This Netflix original is all about the power of small acts of kindness, and the ways in which they inspire hope, change opinions, and bring some love into lonely and hurt people’s lives. Klaus is not only a heartwarming Christmas tale, but it’s a visually stunning animation. The world of Klaus and Smeerensburg feel fully developed because of the animators. Stream it here.

The Spirit of Christmas

The Spirit Of Christmas (Hulu)

Hulu brings viewers The Spirit of Christmas this month. To try to guarantee a promotion, lawyer Kate (Jen Lilley) agrees to go to an old inn to help appraise and sell it. Upon arrival, Kate learns that Daniel (Thomas Beaudo), a ghost that used to own it, doesn’t want it sold. Daniel has a curse that allows him to become human from December 13 to December 24 (the day he died).

Basically, The Spirit of Christmas is the type of romantic holiday film that viewers can find on Lifetime and Hallmark, especially since it features Hallmark movie regular Jen Lilley. However, The Spirit of Christmas at least tries something a little unusual by having her fall for a ghost, not an angel or recent widowed parent. The Spirit of Christmas also seems to understand that the premise doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t try to actually complicate things by explaining how any of this is possible, or offering answers at the end. The Spirit of Christmas delivers all the swoon-worthy moments that romantic holiday movie fans will love. Stream it here.

1979 Jack Frost

Jack Frost (Prime Video)

The 1979 stop motion TV special Jack Frost follows Jack Frost (voiced by Robert Morse), a god-like winter fairy who tries life as a human for the woman he loves. He must use his skills as a fairy and human to save her.

Jack Frost is one of the classic stop motion and animated features that many children grew up watching. This film along with The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town play a part in an animated block of TV specials that trigger Christmas nostalgia. Stream it here.

Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle On 34th Street (Disney+)

Miracle on 34th Street stars John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood. Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) hires Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) to take on the role of Santa Claus at Macy’s. Soon the jolly fellow starts to claim that he is the real Santa Claus. A series of events lead to Kris going on trial to prove that he’s not insane but actually Santa.

Miracle on 34th Street has four remakes, but Disney+ offers the original 1947 version. This version of the film is charming, endearing, sweet, and full of holiday spirit. Miracle on 34th Street gives viewers a wholesome Christmas movie for the entire family. Stream it here.

Santa's Apprentice

Santa’s Apprentice (Netflix)

In the French-Australian animated film Santa’s Apprentice, the Council of Retired Santas tell the current Santa Claus that it’s time for him to begin training an apprentice to take over when he retires. He must search for an orphan pure of heart to become the future Santa. He then meets Nicholas, and they begin his quest to become the next Mr. Claus.

Santa’s Apprentice offers another twist on the story of Santa Claus. This Christmas adventure tale teaches children (and some adults) that being kind and pure of heart can result in gigantic rewards, like getting the same job as your hero. Santa’s Apprentice is also a little more mature than many animated holiday movies as it deals with serious issues like poverty, bullying, and abandonment. Despite the serious subject matters, the film stays cheerful and positive, while giving viewers hope that anything is possible with a dream and a little Christmas magic. Stream it here.

A Very Brady Christmas

A Very Brady Christmas (Hulu)

A Very Brady Christmas is a 1988 TV special that reunites the Brady family for the holidays. A Very Brady Christmas features almost the entire original cast; Susan Olsen who plays Cindy Brady was missing because she was on her honeymoon at the time. The Christmas special aired on CBS on December 18, 1988, and it became the second highest rated TV event of that year.

A Very Brady Christmas aired 14 years after The Brady Brunch ended in 1974. It was a monumental event because it achieved the very difficult task of ensuring that most of the entire cast could appear, which sparked a surge of nostalgia for Brady Bunch fans. The success of A Very Brady Christmas led to a short-lived sitcom called The Bradys. This Brady Bunch special allows fans of the sitcom, or older sitcom fans in general, to return to a time of yesteryears when a lovely lady met a fellow named Brady. The rest is TV history. Stream it here.

It's a Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life (Prime Video)

It’s a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey (James Stewart), a man who after a series of misfortunes considers suicide. His guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) appears to show George how life would be without him.

It’s a Wonderful Life may be the most beloved Christmas/holiday movie of all-time. Luckily, for those who cut the cord, they no longer need to rely on basic cable to view this holiday classic. Prime Video offers It’s a Wonderful Life fans two ways to view it: in black and white or color. Stream it here.

Home Alone

Home Alone (Disney+)

John Hughes and Chris Columbus write and direct Home Alone. The film centers around Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), an eight-year old whose family accidentally leaves him home alone, while they go on a family vacation. Kevin must then fight off two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern).

At its heart, Home Alone is a movie about appreciating your family. Less sentimentally, it’s a fun comedy about a boy destroying his home and taking down a few criminals. Home Alone is the ultimate kid adventure story, and that makes it a terrific holiday movie. Stream it here.

Each platform offers a wide range of festive films, so start with these Christmas movies, and then let the holiday movie binging begin.

More From CinemaBlend


Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Reboot May Bring Back A Big Name From The Original

Director Joe Johnston has had an eclectic career in Hollywood – which each of his movies being significantly different than the last. His standout works include Jumanji, The Rocketeer, October Sky, and Captain America: The First Avenger, but where it all started was with 1989’s Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.

It was with that feature that Johnston made his directorial debut, and now it looks as though he will be returning to that franchise with the upcoming legacyquel, Shrunk.

News of the reboot first broke in May, with it being revealed that Josh Gad was developing the project at Disney and would be starring in the film as an adult Nick Szalinski, but at that time there wasn’t a director attached. That now seems to be changing, as The Hollywood Reporter says Joe Johnston is now in talks for that job.

The project is in the works at Disney, and the plan is to have it fit within the pre-existing Honey, I Shrunk The Kids canon – which expanded with the sequels Honey, I Blew Up The Kid and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (neither of which Joe Johnston directed). The story will follow Nick Szalinski as he follows in the footsteps of his scientist father and starts developing specialized shrinking technology.

As you would expect, things go wrong, and an adventure begins that sees certain characters become tiny – but what’s not clear at this point is exactly who is being shrunk (unlike the past films, the title Shrunk doesn’t provide any clues).

According to the new trade report, it’s believed by Disney that the feature has potential as a big screen project, which is a significant detail these days given the push that is being performed for Disney+. Just within the first few months of the streaming service’s launch there are some significant titles being made available, and it wasn’t unfathomable that the studio would put Shrunk in that particularly library to try and boosts its developing profile.

Joe Johnston is coming off of two very different projects in the crime thriller Not Safe For Work and the high-fantasy Nutcracker And The Four Realms, and it will be interesting to see what kind of magic he may employ in the making of the new Honey, I Shrunk The Kids movie. A big part of the sustaining magic of the original is the fact that it used practical effects – such as giant sets and massive ant puppets – and it will be interesting to see how Johnston may employ those tools while also taking advantage of all of the massive steps that have been taken in the realm of CGI since the late 1980s.

Right now Joe Johnston is only in talks to direct Shrunk, but the fact that the talks are happening suggests that Disney is turning gears on this project, and that we may hear a good deal more about its development in the coming months. The film doesn’t currently have a release date, but that news may be forthcoming.

We’ll continue to provide you with updates as they pop up, and to see what else is ahead in the near future, be sure to head over to our 2020 Release Schedule.

Why Maggie Smith Thinks Harry Potter And Downton Abbey Weren’t ‘Satisfying’

If there’s one thing you can count on Maggie Smith for, it’s her honesty. She’s honestly talked about how her Downton Abbey character should be long dead and gone by now, and now she’s being honest about both her Harry Potter role as Professor Minerva McGonagall and her Downton Abbey role as the Dowager Countess. Turns out, they weren’t ‘satisfying,’ according to the actress.

Well, dang Maggie Smith. What the heck does that mean? In a brand new interview, Maggie Smith openly called these particular movies out for not being “satisfying,” but on the bright side she did clarify her comments, noting,

For the record, Dame Maggie Smith is not trash-talking either of the major franchises she has been a part of in recent years. When one is a Dame, one does not trash talk. Regardless, she more mentioned she’s not really working hard to inhabit a character in either franchise.

She also told the Evening Standard that she and former Harry Potter co-star Alan Rickman used to joke about how their work together was all basically “reaction” shots. So why did she then take on a similar sort of role in the Downton Abbey universe? She also notes it is because the acting work she wanted to do in the theater wasn’t coming along.

It may be a little jarring to hear an acclaimed actress feel close to neutral on some of her most iconic roles in popular culture, but I guess if you think about it, Maggie Smith has had a full career, and she’s experienced the highs and lows of acting gigs. Now, she has enough clout to pick and choose her projects.  She’s no longer the new girl in the business and is not going to be the actress who’s just happy to be there.

I’d think the neat dialogue and period scenes in Downton Abbey could be tricky and fun on occasion, but the Dowager Countess isn’t one for the highs and lows of emotion or other acting facets that might come up in other acting jobs. In fact, she’s generally downright stoic. And in Harry Potter, a lot of the stuff Maggie Smith was tasked with doing did involve looking stern. At least Alan Rickman’s character got to do that and other things.

Ultimately, this quote from Maggie Smith is just the latest edition of “Bold Comments From Maggie Smith.” But I take her point and I appreciate it. She does say she’s “deeply grateful” for the roles after all.

Now, she’s doing the theater work her heart was pining for, in A German Life, which has landed her awards. Her last stage appearance prior to this was back in 2007 when the actress was in full Harry Potter swing.

Downton Abbey may be looking at a big screen sequel, but. – SPOILERSthe movie did give Maggie Smith an out should she want one. Producer Gareth Neame has joked about misdiagnoses, but the Dowager Countess may not be long for her fictional world. We’ll ultimately have to wait and see what happens, but this really seems like things could go either way.

Wonder Woman 1984 Merchandise Possibly Reveals Appearance Of Kristin Wiig’s Cheetah

If you thought 2019 was packed a punch for the superhero genre – just wait for 2020. The almost-new year is about to come in hot with new feature films prominently from both DC and Marvel. Along with Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally getting her own solo flick Black Widow at the start of summer, Gal Gadot will be returning for Wonder Woman 1984 and we now we have the first peek at her adversary: Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah.

Some early merchandise for the film has surfaced on Twitter and it looks to reveal one of the villain’s looks in the upcoming movie. Check it out:

Meow! The mug features Kristen Wiig’s character donning a leopard-print jacket and skirt, torn black shirt and loose blonde curls. It’s purr-fectly ‘80s! The character is posed with curled fingers, indicating the primal features of Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. What do you think?

As some fans noted, the character famously looks all cheetah from head to toe, and this reveal seems to only show Dr. Minerva dressed in character but not completely transformed. Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah likely has more than one look, just as Gal Gadot has an additional gold suit for the movie’s poster. Check out Cheetah’s complete look, via the source material:

It will be interesting to see how Wonder Woman 1984 tackles Cheetah’s complete look without her looking like a CGI character straight out of the live-action Cats musical. What we see so far from this mug design certainly fits the era the movie will be set in and we can’t wait to see how the former SNL comedian will bring the comic book villain to life.

The sequel will follow Diana Prince decades after fighting in WWI. She’ll face off against Cheetah and Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor will return, but we have no idea how considering he died in the first movie. Oh, and how come he hasn’t aged?

Now it should be noted that merchandising doesn’t always reflect what’s specifically coming from the movie and this mug hasn’t been officially been released or made available to the public. But, the art does closely resemble Wiig’s likeness and looks quite official. Only time will tell.

Wonder Woman 1984 is coming to theaters on June 5, 2020 following the release of Birds of Prey from DC on February 7, 2020. Read up on everything you need to know about Cheetah ahead of the upcoming sequel!

How Cats’ Director Felt About The Online Response To The Trailer

Cats, man. Talk about a movie that’s sparked such a coal fire of response, especially when it came to the film’s first look revealed earlier this summer. As if the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s rather eccentric collection of poems wasn’t weird enough, the art style of human and cat being fused together was something that most definitely turned heads. But to director Tom Hooper, this wasn’t a disappointment, or even a big shock. If anything, the man behind The King’s Speech and Les Miserables felt more curious about the hoopla than anything else.

Recently, Hooper revealed his thoughts on the internet field day that was had by all to be the following:

It’s certainly an interesting way to look at the moment that saw everyone both shocked and awed by just how Cats looked in its first glimpse shown to the masses. But considering that Tom Hooper has been living and breathing this project, and knew that those initial responses were to an earlier build of the film’s visual effects, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t all that huge of deal to him. Especially because those pointers given by the people were instrumental to Cats’ continued development.

Tom Hooper told Empire not only about how this reaction initially struck him, but ultimately how the more extreme reactions to the look of Cats helped his team to continue to carve out the final look of those infamous characters for the finished product. Though it’s not unclear if those changes were visible in the second trailer to the film which was released more recently. Should that be the case, the online response really hasn’t change all that much.

Which has to make us wonder: isn’t that the film’s biggest draw to begin with? Cats has always been, and always will be, regarded as an ultimately weird enterprise. You don’t make Broadway history by playing it safe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber certainly ran in the direction of that notion when first crafting the show in 1980. If there was a more “traditional” execution of this story, would have been as popular? Would Tom Hooper’s story of Cats as a trending topic have ever happened?

The fact is that what we’ve seen come out of Cats, no matter how weird it may seem, is par for the course. And you get to walk that course yourself when the film comes out on December 20th; provided of course you aren’t already otherwise booked in the realm of cinematic whimsy that very weekend. You may want to check the 2019 release schedule one last time, just to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

The Rise Of Skywalker Offers First Look At Maz Kanata

Ian McDiarmid’s Darth Sidious and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker aren’t the only two characters that have been conspicuously unseen in the trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata has also been largely MIA, but fear not, because she actually is in the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. You can check out the first look at Maz Kanata from the Rise of Skywalker below.

There she is, and in the orange flesh no less! These images courtesy of Star Wars News Net were snapped at the press conference for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as they played behind the assembled cast. The photos are seemingly images from the film, confirming that Maz will be back and she won’t only be seen via hologram this time around.

The first look at Maz Kanata from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a close-up, so it doesn’t offer much in the way of clues as to what her role will be in the film. We don’t see where she is or whom she is with. She is however still sporting her variable lens corrective goggles, which she used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to look at Finn and apparently see into his heart. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her give similar insight and judgment in Episode IX.

It is good to see Maz back after what some found to be a disappointing appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, where she only showed up in a hologram message amid a firefight to help Finn and Rose find a master codebreaker. That said, given her relative absence from the marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, she may have a relatively small role in this film as well.

However, her role is probably bigger than what amounted to a cameo in The Last Jedi. But even if it is small, it can still be important with her providing a place for the heroes to lay low or a bit of crucial information.

According to a rumor from last year, and just to be safe, potential spoilers ahead, Maz Kanata will have a more substantial role in The Rise of Skywalker than in The Last Jedi. The rumor stated that Maz Kanata will actually be traveling with Rey early in the film and as a part of that, she will finally reveal how she acquired Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber that she gave her in The Force Awakens.

This would tie back to Lando Calrissian and Cloud City and with Lando in this film, it certainly seems possible that Maz Kanata can bridge those elements from the Original Trilogy to the Sequel Trilogy. Prior to The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata seemed like she could be a Yoda-esque figure and while that may not ultimately happen, her interaction with Rey in the Takodana castle felt important and it would be nice to see that revisited.

Plus, Maz Kanata, although not a Jedi, is a Force user, and those abilities will certainly be needed in the climactic battle against the First Order and the Emperor.

As you can see, the images above also give us another look at Kylo Ren and Allegiant General Pryde. This shot of Kylo appears to be from the battle he has with Rey aboard a structure surrounded by the raging sea. It looks as though maybe Rey fled the battle with him and he is watching her go.

We also see Richard E. Grant’s General Pryde who looks like a perfect Imperial figure. The high-ranking member of the First Order looks cold, cruel and cut from the same cloth as predecessors like Director Orson Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin.

You can catch Maz Kanata and all the friends from a galaxy far, far away when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of what’s coming out next year.

No Time To Die’s Director Teases Blofeld’s New Role

In the most recent generation of the James Bond franchise, the character arc of Ernst Stavro Blofeld got off to a bit of a rocky start. Though the production certainly got an ace performer to play the role in two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, but his introduction in Spectre was fumbled with a mix of less-than-stellar plotting and unfortunate marketing.

The legendary villain will soon be getting his chance at redemption, however, as Christoph Waltz will be reprising the role in director Cary Fukunaga’s No Time To Die. Having been revealed as the head of the world’s most sinister organization, his role in the new movie will be very different this time around, and Fukunaga confirmed as much during a recent interview:

Cary Fukunaga sat down with Empire in coordination of the release of the first trailer for No Time To Die, and while the director was certainly a big cagey about the topic, the role of Blofeld in the new blockbuster was among those brought up in conversation. As noted by Fukunaga, the villain will be in prison at the start of the movie, but that doesn’t mean that he’s rendered harmless.

In Spectre, audiences learned that Ernst Stavro Blofeld is actually Franz Oberhauser, who was James Bond’s brother growing up following the death of 007’s parents. By the end of the 2015 film, Bond was able to unravel Blofeld’s plot and have him arrested, but given both his intelligence and connections, it’s really impossible to stop a man like him from doing what he is intent on doing.

Plus, it’s worth noting that imprisoning a terrifying villain isn’t really something that remains as a permanent status in these films. Those of you who saw Skyfall will remember that MI6 was able to capture Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva and put him behind bars, but that didn’t last very long at all (in fact, it lasted exactly as long as Silva wanted it to last).

It should be noted that while Blofeld will presumably have a key supporting role in No Time To Die, he won’t be the film’s central antagonist – as that particular honor this time out belongs to Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who is playing a new villain named Safin.

Daniel Craig as James Bond, Rami Malek, and Christoph Waltz together make for an impressive trio to star in a blockbuster, but the are really only a fraction of the awesome ensemble that has been brought together for the 2020 release. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, and Ralph Fiennes are all set to reprise their roles from the previous set of three James Bond movies in No Time To Die, while Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch will be introduced as original characters.

The story begins with James Bond being out of active service, but being called upon by Felix Leiter with a mission. A scientist on the CIA’s radar has gone missing, and Bond’s assisstance is needed to find out where he has gone. Like all of the franchise’s films in the past, it will lead to a globetrotting adventure that sees him squaring off against a maniacal new evil.

No Time To Die will be in theaters on April 8, 2020, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates about the film. To see what else is heading to theaters in the coming new year, be sure to check out our 2020 Release Calendar.

Tom Holland’s Drunken Phone Call With Bob Iger May Have Helped Spider-Man Return To The MCU

Remember when the news broke that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would no longer be part of the MCU, three months back? It shook Marvel fans to our very cores. The idea of Spidey no longer swinging through the established universe just didn’t feel right. Thankfully, Disney and Sony ultimately decided to share custody of the friendly neighborhood web slinger again. And with the help of drunken Tom Holland no less.

Reports had surfaced that the 23-year-old Spider-Man actor had something to do with the new deal before. But, now Tom Holland has spilled the whole story. Apparently, it all started at this summer’s D23 convention. The actor was in attendance to promote his upcoming Pixar movie Onward on the same day tons of Marvel actors were on site for reveals about the MCU’s future.

When Tom Holland took the D23 stage, he emotionally told fans “I love you 3000” as he admits he was “devastated” over the recent news Spidey was out of the MCU. He longingly watched as his former Marvel co-stars took part in group pictures without him. It inspired him to ask for Disney CEO Bob Iger’s email, just to send him a “thank you” for the past five years he’s been Spider-Man for the studio.

Tom Holland recalls Bob Iger swiftly responding to him, asking the actor if they could talk on the phone soon. But, he wasn’t going to give the studio head a particular time and day and after a few days, Iger got back to him while he was a few beers in at a pub trivia night with his family. As Holland tells it:

Maybe all Bob Iger needed to hear was Tom Holland’s wistful voice to strike another deal with Sony again? The actor isn’t giving himself all the credit here, after their phone call, he mentions that Iger and Sony chairman Tom Rothman had a few back-and-forths before shaking hands on working together on Spider-Man again.

Curiously enough, the two studio chairmen turned to Tom Holland for his opinion on the matter, which he definitely wasn’t expecting as an actor. Thankfully, Tom Holland decided to reach out to Bob Iger after the door was previously “closed”. The young actor admitted to crying on the phone with the Disney head. In his words:

Tom Holland explained the situation during an interview on Jimmy Fallon Live. Check out the full interview below: