Stan Lee: Always a Step Ahead

 

Among Stan Lee’s most exceptional talents was his nearly prescient
ability to gauge where the collective culture/world at large was heading, be it
socially, politically, or technologically. He’d tap into that to create
fascinating, parallel universes that entertained us while also cleverly commenting
on, and at times cautioning us, to take note of the impending realities awaiting
us back home.

That Stan “superpower” never faded in his later years; in fact, it’s on full, brilliant display later this month when one of his final and most technologically innovative works, Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light, releases on Audible only, June 27th. Created by Stan and collaborators Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert as an audio-first experience, the story introduces a new set of superheroes and confronts the ever-blurring lines between human and tech, organic and digital. As Stan so succinctly put it in his wonderful audio intro to the title: “What is more real? A world we are born into or one we create for ourselves?” Even in his 90s, Stan was tackling one of the key conundrums of our time head-on. As smart tech, biotech, wearables, and AR/VR capabilities continue to develop and envelop every aspect of our lives, we’re all compelled to confront a central question Stan posed so concisely: “Just because we have the ability to recreate ourselves, should we?”

Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light was years in the making. Filled with amazing action and a fresh batch of superheroes for us all to escape with, it’s still grounded in what makes Stan’s work singular and timeless—tales of ordinary people wrestling with the issues of our day, just on an epic scale. And like always, Stan Lee is leading us somewhere new that feels strangely familiar and profoundly fitting.

Pre-order the Audible Original Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light today and set off into a new universe June 27th. For more info head over to Audible.

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Mutants Celebrated at the ‘Dark Phoenix’ World Premiere in Hollywood

Over the
past 19 years, one of Stan Lee’s greatest comicbook franchises has been brought
to life in the form of various X-Men films. This was a group of characters that
Stan always held dear, so it was an honor for #TeamStan to be able to attend the
Los Angeles premiere of X-Men: Dark
Phoenix
and help celebrate the movie.

The final film in the concurrent X-Men timeline had its world premiere last week, and it’s safe to say that Dark Phoenix and the rest of the mutants took over Hollywood for the affair. Instead of the traditional red carpet, press and fans gathered on a giant X in the courtyard of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre to meet the cast of Dark Phoenix as well as some of the veteran X-Men cast members and writers. The entrance to the theater was transformed into a giant Cerebro, complete with circular metal doors and an elevated walkway which the stars posed on.

In addition to the cast of Dark Phoenix, consisting of Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ty Sheridan, and Jessica Chastain, some other familiar faces walked down the grey carpet as well. The original Jean Grey herself, Famke Janssen, came to show her support for the new class of mutants, as well as Shawn Ashmore, who played Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, in several of the previous films.

Before the
cast filed into the theater to watch the movie, legendary Marvel writer Chris
Claremont, co-creator of the original Dark Phoenix comicbook arc, said a few
words, starting with a tribute to the team that started it all: Stan Lee and
Jack Kirby.

“I want to
give a special thanks to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. And I bet they’re watching
and… I hope they like it,” Claremont said over thunderous applause.

Director Simon Kinberg then introduced the star-studded cast as he announced that June 5, the day of the premiere, had been officially declared “Dark Phoenix Day” by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The cast cheered as they posed for one last group shot before everyone went inside to watch their final film together.

Kinberg was
quick to acknowledge how greatly Stan influenced him over the years, saying:
“He had such an impact on my life and career. Even before I met him, he
meant so much to me, and I am so grateful to have worked with him. Such a
positive, creative force.”

Michael
Fassbender also spoke about Stan’s visits to the X-Men sets over the past nine
years. “It was always such a treat when he came to the set,” Fassbender said. “He
was such a sweet man; we all loved seeing him so much.”

Inside the
theater, as the film ended and the credits rolled, one of the first names to
appear was Stan’s Executive Producer credit, and cheers were heard throughout
the Chinese Theater when his name flashed upon the screen.

The Dark Phoenix after party continued the celebration of the entire X-Men franchise, complete with costumes and props from the last three films, including various helmets worn by Magneto, Charles Xavier’s wheelchair, Mystique’s X-Men suit, and more. The doors to the Roosevelt Hotel were transformed into giant, circular Cerebro doors as well, so everyone could be a class four psychic mutant for the night like Charles Xavier. Not to mention, a custom gif-photobooth allowed guests to practice their mutant fighting poses after seeing the movie.

It’s a new
era in the Marvel film universe without Stan, but it is a testament to his
legacy and impact on pop culture as millions of fans continue to devote
themselves to these characters that were created so long ago. Things may be
changing for the X-Men film franchise going forward with Disney/Marvel Studios
taking these “merry mutants” under their wing, but the resonance the characters
have for their audience will always remain strong, as it did during the world
premiere of Dark Phoenix.

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New Details About ‘The Falcon and Winter Soldier’ Series: Start Date, Casting, and More

If it seemed like some of your favorite Avengers didn’t get enough screen time in Avengers: Endgame, it’s understandable; after all, there were so many of them! However, Marvel might also be reserving some characters for TV series lined up to debut on Disney+ in the coming years.

Phase three of the MCU may be ending in July with Spider-Man: Far from Home, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be missing out on more content featuring the Avengers. It’s been about a month since Endgame was released, so we must now look to the future. If you don’t already know, there will be several series premiering on Disney+ that will explore MCU characters including Loki, Hawkeye, Vision and Scarlet Witch, and Falcon and Winter Soldier.

Over the past week or so, several details have been revealed regarding the first of the three projects to begin production.

The Disney+ streaming platform will be available worldwide on November 12, 2019. With that, The Falcon and Winter Soldier miniseries, in which Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie will reprise their roles, has been given a tentative release date: August 2020. So far, no other original series set to premiere on the platform have release dates.

The six-episode Falcon and Winter Solider series will be directed by Kari Skogland and, according to Sebastian Stan, will begin filming this fall in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to Stan and Mackie, two other characters that played big roles in previous MCU adventures will also be coming back: Both Emily Van Camp and Daniel Bruhl are reportedly returning as Sharon Carter and Helmut Zemo, respectively, for the first time since 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Exact plot details are still under wraps, but Kevin Feige hopes to explore the unconventional relationship between the two unlikely allies. On that subject, Feige said the following:

“They have great chemistry. You will see much more of that chemistry and learn much more about both of them.”

Sebastian Stan also spoke about what he expects the show to delve into. He said:

“I think it’s time for Bucky to go out there and have an identity outside of the circumstances that we’ve met him through, so, I don’t know, he might do all kinds of things. He might even go on a date. I don’t know. Scary world out there, you know? Apps, things like that. I don’t know what he’s gonna do. I can’t see him on an iPhone….”

And now that Falcon bears Captain America’s shield, the
consequences of having a new Avenger in town will need to be addressed, as
well. Once the show begins filming, more details about this team’s upcoming
adventures will surely come out.

The Falcon and Winter
Soldier
will be available next summer, only on the Disney+ streaming
platform.

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Jessica Jones Faces a Mysterious New Villain in Season Three Teaser

We are nearing the end of an era for the Marvel television
Defenders. Since 2015, Netflix has brought several Marvel heroes and villains
to life in the form of critically-acclaimed TV series, but with the
announcement of Disney’s own streaming platform Disney+, it has always been
assumed that the partnership between Marvel and Netflix would end.

Come June, the last of the Marvel-on-Netflix shows will air, completing the saga of the four Defenders. Season three of Jessica Jones has long been awaited, despite the knowledge of imminent cancellation, and we finally have some clues as to what the final 13 episodes will be about.

A recent teaser trailer for Jessica Jones reveals a new, unnamed villain approaching Alias Investigations, who, according to the synopsis, is only referred to as a “psychopath.” Although it seems that Kilgrave has finally been put to rest as Jones’ nemesis, this new villain may be just as game-changing as his predecessors.

The official synopsis for season three of Jessica Jones is as follows:

When Jessica crosses paths with a highly intelligent psychopath, she and Trish must repair their fractured relationship and team up to take him down. But a devastating loss reveals their conflicting ideas of heroism and sets them on a collision course that will forever change them both.

Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor will, of course, be reprising their roles as Jessica and Trish, along with several other returning cast members including Carrie-Ann Moss as Jeri Hogarth, Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, and Rebecca De Mornay as Dorothy Walker.

The new villain will be played by Jeremy Bobb, but any details beyond that are still secret for now! There will be other new cast members entering the mix for season three including Benjamin Walker, Sarita Choudhury, Tiffany Mack, Jessica Frances Dukes, and Aneesh Sheth. We don’t know if these actors will be playing friends or foes of Jessica and Trish, but we will find out soon enough.

Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage will all
be missed, but perhaps they will return someday in new iterations or
adaptations once Disney+ gets rolling at the end of this year. In the meantime,
check out the first teaser trailer for the final season of Jessica Jones below:

Jessica
Jones
season
three comes to Netflix on June 14, 2019.

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The Russo Brothers Explain What Happened to Loki in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

While not every question brought up by Avengers: Endgame is likely to be answered soon, there’s one response
that will ease the worry of many MCU fans, courtesy of the Russo Brothers.  When Iron Man, Cap, and Ant-Man went back in
time to New York during the events of the first Avengers film, we all saw what
happened with Loki. As sly as ever, when he found the Tesseract unguarded in
front of him, he quickly grabbed it and teleported right out of there.

While some fans were expecting a little explanation about this later in the movie, Loki was never seen or mentioned in Endgame again. So, what happened to him? Did he avoid his death at the hand of Thanos at the beginning of Infinity War? The fact that he was not in the epic battle at the end of the movie made his fate unclear, and the accessibility to time-travel that Endgame introduced made his destiny even more open-ended.

Although Loki didn’t appear in the rest of Endgame,
the Russo Brothers went on record to clear up what many of Loki’s fans are
hoping to learn: whether or not Loki is, in fact, alive.

“Interestingly, Loki has a show,” Joe Russo told Entertainment
Weekly
. The Loki series set to premiere on Disney+ gave the
filmmakers a lot of room to establish his escape from the main MCU timeline and
into his own, which will hopefully be explored in the show.

In the meantime, Joe Russo explained exactly what Loki’s getaway in Endgame means for the future (and past) of the MCU:

“Loki, when he teleports away with the Time Stone, would create his own timeline. It gets very complicated, but it would be impossible for [Cap] to rectify the timeline unless he found Loki. The minute that Loki does something as dramatic as take the Space Stone, he creates a branched reality.”

So, just because Loki didn’t appear in the final battle against Thanos, it
doesn’t mean he isn’t alive somewhere in a different reality. The question now is
whether or not Loki will make an appearance in the original MCU timeline at
some point. Since he’s left, the chain of events in Thor: The Dark World,
Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War would be virtually
unknown to him.

“We’re dealing with this idea of multiverses and branched realities, so
there are many realities,” Anthony Russo explained.

The “present” that Loki is now assumed to be in will branch off from the rest of the MCU films, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t make an appearance in the main timeline once again.

For example, the final scene with Captain America in Endgame showed
a much older Steve Rogers appear in the main timeline in order to give Sam
Wilson his shield. According to the rules of time travel as dictated in the
MCU, this means that Rogers would have had to use some kind of technology or
maneuver in order to come back to that timeline, as opposed to his own branched
reality that he created by going to live with Peggy Carter and growing old with
her.

“There’s a question of, how did this separate timeline Cap come to reappear in this timeline and why?” Anthony continued.

If Cap can find a way between the different realities, surely Loki can
too, especially with the help of the Tesseract, right? Of course, this is
something that won’t be confirmed or denied by the Russo Brothers, or anyone
else, until the Loki series appears on Disney+.

There you have it, Loki fans! The God of Mischief has managed to cheat
death once again, even if it was off-screen this time.

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