First Look At HBO’s Catherine The Great Reveals Helen Mirren As Empress

Now, Catherine the Great isn’t the kind of leader Helen Mirren has played in the past. The 18th-century ruler was strong-minded, brilliant, sexually liberated, and independent. Catherine’s court is sexually charged and teeming with political complications, and it’s not easy for her to stay in power long enough to become Russia’s longest-ruling female leader. (In an interesting historical note, the real Catherine wasn’t actually Russian, but rather born in an area of the Kingdom of Prussia that is now Poland.) Mirren is on board Catherine the Great as executive producer as well as star. The limited series is still shooting in Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania, taking advantage of palaces to create an atmosphere fitting for the series.

LEGO Tracer Is As Adorable As You Think

If you’ve been playing Blizzard’s Overwatch and thought to yourself one day “Boy, wouldn’t it be cool to have a LEGO version of Tracer?” then you haven’t been the only one thinking that, because both Blizzard Entertainment and the LEGO Group have also been thinking the exact same thing. In fact, the two companies have teamed up to tease gamers with the cross-branded collaboration, which will feature popular Overwatch characters as LEGOs. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan gave gamers a small taste of what’s to come by showing off the new LEGO Tracer figurine, featuring the speedster zipping around the screen in a short promotional video advertising the upcoming line of LEGO toys.

The news was revealed through the official Overwatch Twitter account. The video is only 27 seconds long but it captures the spirit of the collaboration quite well. We see Kaplan at a desk after having recently put together the LEGO version of Tracer, which then promptly begins to zip around the screen.

After Tracer makes her debut as a LEGO piece and then flies out of the screen, we then see the crossover logo between LEGO and Overwatch.

We don’t know exactly when this crossover will make its way onto a retail shelf near you, but it’s obviously coming soon. This news comes shortly after fans noticed the crossover logo that popped up recently, which featured a quote from the character Winston, saying “Imagination is the essence of discovery.” The image featured several bananas in a pile under the quote. Most people were hoping to see Winston as a LEGO character but so far we’ve only seen Tracer in LEGO format.

The character has detachable hair, head, body, and legs. So, I imagine that when the rest of the characters are made you’ll be able to mix and match their parts to create a real Frankenstein of the characters, which might go well with Overwatch’s Halloween event.

Some gamers were excited about this crossover because they assumed that it meant that maybe we could end up getting a LEGO Overwatch game at some point in the near future. Given that we’ve had LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Batman, I honestly don’t see why we couldn’t see Blizzard’s game turned into a separate LEGO game. I don’t know how well Activision would like that idea, given that if a game was made based on Blizzard’s IP then Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment would likely pick up the publishing rights, but that’s neither here nor there.

For now, gamers can rest assured knowing that some new LEGO toys are on the way and some of their favorite Overwatch characters will be getting the physical toy treatment… soon. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an official release date of when the LEGO figurines become available.

Why Mystique Is Likely To Die In Dark Phoenix

Whether or not Dark Phoenix does indeed end up being the last of the main, Fox-era X-Men movies before the mutant property is absorbed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one thing is certain: there will be a lot of devastation. That’s hardly surprising, as typically whenever Jean Grey starts glowing with orange energy, whether on the printed page or on screen, it inevitably results in a massacre. 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the first go at adapting the Dark Phoenix Saga resulted in several main characters being killed off, and Dark Phoenix aims to do the same. Nearly a year ago, it was rumored that one of the “First Class” era characters, i.e. someone who’s been around since 2011’s X-Men: First Class, will die, and a few months later, one of the first official Dark Phoenix photos showed Professor X, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler together at a funeral. Now that the first Dark Phoenix trailer has been released and the footage has been studied, I suspect that Mystique is the likes candidate to bite the dust.

In sharp contrast with Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique in the original X-Men trilogy, who existed primarily just carried out Magneto’s bidding, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in the “First Class” era has been a much more developed character. Granted, that’s come at the expense of her not having much in common with her comic book counterpart, but at least it’s still been interesting to follow along with her evolution. While Romijn’s Mystique remained in villain territory until she was hit with that pesky mutant cure, Lawrence’s iteration of the shapeshifter has been on a more complicated journey that’s ultimately steered her to becoming a heroic figure, and the end of X-Men: Apocalypse saw her officially returning to the X-Men to be the new team’s field commander. That’s where we’ll find her when we pick up with these characters nearly a decade later in Dark Phoenix, and by no means does it look like she won’t have that much screen time. That being said, given her familial connection to Professor X (remember, they’re foster siblings) and her complicated history with Magneto, her being killed by Jean Grey during her Phoenix freakout would certainly serve as the catalyst that drives a bigger wedge between the two men. And then there’s the Beast of it all.

Unlike Mystique, who embarked on her own journey after X-Men: First Class, Beast, a.k.a. Hank McCoy, has been by Professor X’s side the whole time since they first met. He’s arguably been the biggest supporter for Charles Xavier’s dream of mutants and humans coexisting peacefully. But as we saw in the Dark Phoenix trailer, Hank blames Charles for something goes down, and judging by the two of them wearing black suits and the shots of that funeral, I suspect this takes place after the X-Men have said goodbye to whoever it was that died. It’s bad enough that we later see Beast joining up with Magneto and his allies. Let’s also not forget that Mystique and Beast were once romantically involved, and while that was a long time ago (unless they picked things up again between X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix), Beast still cares deeply about Mystique, which makes the below shot even more interesting.

Are Beast and Mystique simply having a tender moment, or is he holding her lifeless head close to his head in anguish after she’s perished? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Working off all this, I’m guessing that sometime during the first half of the movie, Mystique will meet a grim end when the X-Men attempt to neutralize Jean Grey in her Phoenix form. She fits the “First Class” criteria of that rumor, and after watching her grow across four movies, her death would qualify as an emotional gut-punch. Once Mystique is dead, that kicks off the second half of Dark Phoenix, which sees Beast allying himself with Magneto to take a more aggressive approach with subduing Jean, whereas Professor X, Cyclops and their allies believe there’s still the possibility they can reason with her. Which faction will be successful? That remains to be seen.

Following X-Men: Apocalypse‘s release, it was unclear if Jennifer Lawrence would reprise Mystique again. After all, in the years since X-Men: First Class, she’s become one of Hollywood’s A-list actors and won one Academy Award and three Golden Globes. It’s not like she needs the X-Men franchise to further her career, and once her contract was up after Apocalypse, she could have just bid adieu. But last year, Lawrence stated that she returned for Dark Phoenix because she felt she “owed it to the fans to follow [Mystique’s] journey,” but I wonder if once she read the Dark Phoenix script and saw that Mystique would be killed off, that was what really pushed her to return. Dark Phoenix would give her character a proper conclusion, so if it meant putting on the blue makeup again, so be it.

Let me be clear, I don’t know with 100% certainty that Mystique will die in Dark Phoenix, and even if she does meet her maker, that doesn’t mean any of the other main characters won’t be killed off as well later. But with Dark Phoenix looking to be more emotional than its predecessors and possibly having to wrap up this corner of the franchise, the movie needs to do a lot to stand out. Killing Mystique would certainly be shocking, but if handled correctly, it would also be meaningful and becomes one of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history. In the aftermath of X-Men: Days of Future Past, these characters were put on new life courses, so while Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique made it to the 21st century, there’s a good chance that Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique won’t be so lucky.

Dark Phoenix opens in theaters on June 7, 2019, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. Don’t forget to also browse through our X-Men movies guide to find out what other mutant-centric projects are in development.

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Why The Eternals Movie Could Be Important For Marvel After Avengers 4

Fans and critics spent years discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s “villain problem,” and when the situation was broken down it was pretty logical. After all, we’re talking about a franchise built on the backs of its heroes, and, with some exceptions, it left the one-shot adversaries feeling temporary, disposable, and sometimes straight-up uninteresting. Fortunately, that is an issue that has fell by the wayside recently thanks to strong, compelling, and dynamic baddies, and it was this past summer that we saw the brand’s best antagonist yet, Josh Brolin’s Thanos, get his moment in the sun after six years of build-up.

Wait, Did Rebel Wilson Hint At Pitch Perfect 4?

If you saw Pitch Perfect 3 sometime after it hit theaters last spring, you probably already know the third movie in what is currently a trilogy really wraps things up for the movie’s major characters. Each of the ladies in the a cappella troupe has plans for the future that give them goals beyond singing competitions. Still, the franchise actresses love spending time together and some of the leading ladies have already stated they would be happy to see Pitch Perfect 4 happens. Therefore, when Rebel Wilson took to social media to share this fun reunion photo, I got super pumped. But take a look yourself.

In the image, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow and Chrissie Fit are hanging out and throwing up the number four as part of Anna and Skylar’s birthday celebration, which of course led to Wilson’s fanbase speculating that Pitch Perfect 4 might be on the way. Unfortunately, Wilson’s post doesn’t explicitly state another movie could all be happening. In fact, for all we know the four could simply imply the four women who posed for the Pitch Perfect-oriented picture.

Still, Rebel Wilson had to have known exactly what she was doing when she posted a picture with some of the Pitch Perfect 3 ladies and the number four. When Pitch Perfect 3 came out, there was some question as to whether or not there would be enough interest for a third film to pull a major profit. While the third movie did gross fewer dollars than the second movie, it brought in over $184 million worldwide on a $45 million dollar budget–more than the $115 million the first movie made worldwide. So, there could definitely be an appetite for another movie and we already know The Bellas love working together.

In fact, Pitch Perfect 3 director Trish Sie has already spoken out about why the franchise deserves another movie, noting a few months ago that the franchise doesn’t suck and should continue until the movies start dropping in quality. Anna Kendrick has also been happy to speak out about wanting another movie, as well, and from the looks of these images some of the other actresses are into the idea too.

The real question would be where a fourth movie could go, given we’ve seen The Barden Bellas compete in college multiple times and then on a USO tour. It’s difficult for me to come up with a plot that would enable the women to reunite on the big screen once more, but that may just be why I’m not a comedy screenwriter. In real life, the Pitch Perfect leads do reunite on the regular, and in general the franchise has always been about the chemistry the women in the group have on the big screen (and clearly in real life.) Because they dynamic is what draws people in, a lot of fans would probably be happy to see a Pitch Perfect 4. (Especially if the next movie brings Bumper back, amiright?) Now, we just need to wait for Universal to announce it. Stay tuned, and see what’s hitting theaters coming up with our full schedule.

The Walking Dead Characters Most Likely To Get Killed Off In Season 9

Spoilers below for The Walking Dead comics that coincide with this and future timelines for the TV series, so be warned.

For a character to meet a gruesome death on The Walking Dead, it’s as natural as a moth being drawn to a flame or a Savior being drawn to a leather-wearing sadist. Even though the AMC hit has a new showrunner leading the narrative charge, The Walking Dead won’t be shying away from major deaths in Season 9. And on top of all the new characters coming in, we can probably expect to see quite a few currently familiar faces being wiped out of existence.

From the news that has already surfaced (such as Andrew Lincoln’s big farewell) to the comics that we can use to draw our conclusions, all possibilities are on the table now. So let’s take a look at the Walking Dead characters that are most likely to die in horrific situations. Naturally, we’ll start with the most surefire pick of the bunch.

Rick

Chances of Dying: 99% probability and counting

Why Is It So Likely?: Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes has long been considered one of the only unkillable characters on The Walking Dead, but those assumptions were proven wrong when it was revealed the actor himself chose to exit the show to spend more time with his family. His death wouldn’t seem quite as guaranteed had the actor merely been dealing with a scheduling issue, as is the case with Lauren Cohan. And to be fair, Rick might get spared and allowed to live out in the wilderness, never to be found again. But he won’t be, because that would be the cheapest move imaginable.

Did It Happen In The Comics?: Rick is still alive and mostly well in the comics, although he has suffered quite a few more permanent injuries than his television counterpart. Perhaps TV Rick could lose a hand before losing his life entirely.

Why Is It So Likely?: Gregory is about as useful to all the other Walking Dead characters as a dry bowl of cereal is to a cow, and that analogy makes as much sense as keeping Gregory on the show for 17 more episodes. To his credit, Xander Berkeley is excellent in the role, and is capable of being as irksome and petty as the role constantly calls for, but I don’t see how he even made it through the time jump without Maggie turning him into horse feed.

Did It Happen In The Comics?: That it did, once Gregory finally went too far with his petulance. It’s unclear if the TV show will play things out in the same manner, given how ghastly the entire situation was on the page, but I’m pretty sure we’ll get some version of it.

Why Is It So Likely?: Now that Oceanside is one of the go-to communities in the post-Negan world, we’re going to see a handful of those characters more in Season 9. Which almost necessarily means that one of them is going to die before much longer. And, honestly, Beatrice’s quasi-victimization here is more process of elimination than anything else. Cyndie probably won’t bite it, since her grandmother Natania died last season, and Kathy has even less of a visual presence, so Beatrice it must be.

Did It Happen In The Comics?: Nope, since Beatrice and the rest of the Oceanside women were not part of Robert Kirkman’s original Walking Dead narrative. It is possible that her death, should it happen, will be a remixed version of someone else’s death from the comics.

Will The New Mutants Be R-Rated? Here’s What The Producer Says

Before cinematic universes and comic book movies became common, there was 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. The property is still going strong, although there have been a series of delays for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Gambit, and The New Mutants. The latter is directed by Josh Boone, and is teased to be the first horror-inspired comic book movie ever. As such, fans of both horror and superheroes are left wondering what The New Mutants might be rated, especially now that Fox has had success with R-rated projects like Logan and Deadpool. Longstanding X-Men producer Simon Kinberg recently spoke to the upcoming movie’s rating, saying:

While The New Mutants is far from being officially rated by the MPAA, it seems that Josh Boone, Simon Kinberg, and everyone involved is open to the highly anticipated project getting an R-rating. We’ll just have to see how hard the project ultimately goes in its moments of horror and jump scares.

Simon Kinberg’s comments to Collider are sure to excite the hardcore X-Men fans out there, who have enjoyed seeing R-rated projects on the silver screen. While the superhero genre is almost exclusively PG-13, that all changed with the insane box office performance of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. While the MCU is keeping things a little more family friendly, it’s fun to see the OG superhero franchise taking big risks. Especially when it includes a horror movie set within the X-Men universe.

Aside from the concept itself, The New Mutants has a ton of excitement surrounding the film’s cast. Game of Thrones fan favorite Maisie Williams, Stranger Things‘ Charlie Heaton, and Split actress Anya Taylor-Joy all play young mutants, who may have the potential for future crossovers. Plenty of Williams’ fans would love to see her Wolfsbane interact with Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey. And technically, Taylor-Joy’s Magik is Colossus’ sister. So the possibilities seem endless. As long as Fox doesn’t push The New Mutants back again. That trailer is just too good to wait on.

The New Mutants is currently set to arrive on August 2, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

First Vice Trailer Shows Christian Bale’s Full Dick Cheney

For several decades, Dick Cheney was an architect of policy and bureaucracy, through various administrations, and in Washington D.C.’s political culture. This eventually culminated in his ascension to the post of vice president under George W. Bush’s administration, a moment that saw the office being granted the greatest level of power and involvement it ever saw. And now that story’s about to be told through the lens of filmmaker Adam McKay, as you’ll see in the first trailer for his film, Vice, which you can see below.

While we had already our first look at the footage of Christian Bale’s insane transformation into Vice’s Cheney yesterday, actually watching him play the role is a totally different experience. In particular, hearing his take on Dick Cheney’s voice is as spot on, despite how recognizable Bale has become in the last decade. This fact is only exacerbated by the fact that director Adam McKay’s got a hell of a supporting cast backing Christian Bale’s clearly killer performance.

Co-starring in Vice alongside Bale are Amy Adams as Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne, Steve Carell as former colleague Donald Rumsfeld, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush himself. Each member of the cast gets their moment in the trailer, and giving cinephiles their first full look at what’s sure to be an awards contender this year. All three co-stars have positions to challenge Bale’s work as Cheney, and as we saw with Adam McKay’s last film, The Big Short, he knows how to keep everyone’s plate full and spinning, while telling a singularly threaded narrative. And for those of you playing at home, Carell’s casting in particular feels like a sweet reference to the eventual fate of his Anchorman character, Brick Tamland.

Adam McKay is certainly no stranger to this type of film, especially when The Big Short saw him nominated for tons of awards–with a big win coming for his work as a co-writer on the film’s script. Given the director’s history and Vice‘s concept, the movie seems destined to take on a reputation as one of the political firebrands that’ll be making the rounds this winter. McKay’s views on politics are certainly not private, and if Vice is half as political as The Big Short, we’re in for an equally interesting film that could start out as a comedy, before sliding into something much more dark and disturbing.

When he first entered the political dramedy circuit, Adam McKay might have been a surprise contender that needed some selling to the general public. But watching the trailer for Vice, and keeping his recent history in mind, this looks like a confident progression of genres for McKay. The end result will be released to the public starting this Christmas, but if you’re wondering about any other politically charged biopics headed your way throughout the rest of this year, we’ve got you covered with our 2018 release schedule.

Longtime Criminal Minds DP Accused Of Groping Crew Members And Making Threats

Once again, troublesome reports have surfaced surrounding a hit CBS drama, as Criminal Minds‘ director of photography Greg St. Johns is facing an abundance of accusations from current and former crew members who say that St. Johns had a bad habit of groping people’s private parts, that he was overtly rude and confrontative on set, and that many people who put in official complaints were later fired. What’s more, the accusers claim that Criminal Minds‘ producers have dismissed or ignored the issues, even when saying that something would be done about it.

19 different former or current Criminal Minds crew members spoke with Variety about Greg St. Johns, and their claims painted a picture of a highly contentious workspace. While complaints against St. Johns go back to the show’s early years, it was in January that crew members from the show received an anonymous email stating that show producers had been contact the previous month about St. Johns’ alleged workplace behavior, and the email called out “inappropriate touching of genitalia, rear ends, verbal abuse.” It’s reported that employees from the different departments were terminated from their jobs. Not to mention other crew members who verbally expressed they wouldn’t be returning to the show due to St. Johns’ actions.

While it’s not known what came of it, an investigation was held in February by ABC Studios’ HR department, after which Greg St. Johns kept his job on Criminal Minds. Things got heated once again in April, when the show’s former digital imaging technician Tony Matulic filed an official complaint against both ABC Studios and the show’s payroll company Entertainment Partners, alleging that he was fired from the show over complaints made against St. Johns for allegedly grabbing Matulic’s buttocks. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing then started up its own investigation into the matter.

Tony Matulic in particular claims that during his eight seasons on Criminal Minds, Greg St. Johns grabbed his butt once every couple of weeks, and that he also “frequently” grabbled Matulic’s inner thigh and flicked his nipples. Matulic claims St. Johns grabbed his genitalia once, and that he witnessed several other male crew members being touched in similar ways. He also said that the alleged sexual harassment behavior was actually a sign that St. Johns was in a good mood, pointing out that the DP’s bad moods made him verbally abusive and he would humiliate others as a way of bossing them around.

When Tony Matulic brought his discomfort up with Greg St. Johns during Season 12’s production, the director of photography was allegedly not pleased. By the end of the season, Matulic claims he was told he wasn’t being asked back for Season 13 that fall because St. Johns was said to have eliminated the job of digital imaging technician, even though the position is a regular one on many TV shows.

While Tony Matulic’s complaints against Greg St. Johns were the ones that sparked the most recent investigation, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the crew members interviewed alleged that they were touched below the belt by the employer, and that they witnessed others being pawed in the same way. One staffer said that during Season 11, he was standing near the crafts service table when St. Johns came up behind him and pulled his gym shorts down, revealing his backside and genitals to the crew members standing around. The staffer claims he complained about the incident later, and was subsequently fired, allegedly for not getting along with St. Johns.

CBS only recently fired former NCIS: New Orleans showrunner Brad Kern following an additional investigation into his allegedly volatile workplace behavior on that set and others. That, after CBS ousted former CEO Les Moonves was removed for his own set of allegations. Plus, CBS News recently fired longtime 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager for telling one employee to “be careful” about how she covered the network’s ongoing scandals, saying that others before her had lost their jobs in trying to harm his reputation.

Blumhouse’s Halloween Really Thought Out Its Violence

The horror genre has been on a serious roll for the past few years, as new and challenging properties have hit theaters, and become both critical and box offices successes. Many of these hits come from Blumhouse Productions, including Get Out, Split, and The Conjuring franchise. Now, Blumhouse is turning its focus to the classics, with a new Halloween movie arriving in theaters in a matter of weeks. The upcoming slasher will be a canon-defying new sequel, with Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter both returning in various capacities. One question fans seem especially curious about is how violent the R-rated project will be. While the original had almost no gore, the Rob Zombie movies relied heavily on it. Producer Jason Blum recently spoke to the violence in Halloween, and how carefully it was crafted, saying: