The Week in Geek: Red Dwarf XI, TellTale Marvel and Age of Ultron

This week in geek culture, a sitcom was announced, a game was announced and a film I saw more than a week ago finally came out elsewhere.

week in geek culture news 

Red Dwarf XI and XII confirmed for Dave TV

There’ll be two new series of the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, to air on Dave in 2016 and 2017.

The announcement was made by co-creator and showrunner Doug Naylor, who is a surprise guest at this weekend’s Dimension Jump XVIII, a Red Dwarf fan convention.

The two series will be filmed back-to-back this autumn, and feature the core crew of four – Chris Barrie as Rimmer, Craig Charles as Lister, Danny John-Jules as Cat and Robert Llewellyn as Kryten.

reddwarfcorrie

As a cult TV favourite of nearly 30 years, naturally Twitter is abuzz at the news – some welcoming another shot of the universe’s most hapless crew, others unsure that the quality of years past will still be there considering a shaky second half of their BBC tenure and a deeply unpopular one-off special for digital channel Dave in 2009.

The debut of Red Dwarf X in 2012 actually won back some of that wavering fan base, stripping back the fluff which it had acquired during the late 90s, with simple stories and pretty decent gags.

It’s taken all this time to get the boys back together for a new series – and Craig Charles has left his regular role on soap Coronation Street in order to sign on – but hopefully the new series will be an even bigger improvement on series X.

Marvel and TellTale Games team up

As per Mashable, the storytelling masters at TellTale games are turning their attentions to the Marvel universe for future games.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe extending beyond cinemas and onto the small screen – with Daredevil on Netflix and Agents of SHIELD still performing well – it’s been theorised that a new game from the team which brought us Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead episodic adventures would somehow fit in with ongoing major story developments.

Reviews are generally excellent for the TellTale games, and I’m pretty sure that a steer from the Marvel creative team could make their new games an even bigger deal. But we’ll have to wait until 2017 to find out – we’ll be even deeper into the MCU by then so this would have to be a pretty ambitious story!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron released in the US

Bless your cotton socks, you Americans – you’re only now able to experience the new Avengers movie. This isn’t really news, just a bit of a ‘nyeh nyeh’ as I saw it well over a week ago!

I did really enjoy the new effort, and having since read the reviews made a personal decision never to let reviews affect my own enjoyment of something ever again – sure, it’s more set-up than execution but it’s beautifully done, very well written and features some amazing fight scenes, but what else was I supposed to expect?

Spider-Man comes home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man to appear in MCU film and Marvel co-produced solo film in 2017.

My spider sense is tingling – and by that, I mean I actually give a toss about the character for once.

The way the Marvel announcement reads is a bit strangely phrased – Sony are bringing Marvel Studios into the amazing world of Spider-Man.

Marvel comics news

By that, they mean that head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, will co-produce the next attempt at a Spider-Man film, (which had better not be another bloody origin story).

July 2017 will see the release of a new Spider-Man film from Sony Pictures Entertainment – but more interestingly before then, the terms of the deal also dictate that your friendly neighbourhood arachnid boy will first appear in an entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

More than yet another standalone stab at a character which isn’t actually very high up on my personal preferences, I’m actually excited to see how he’ll fit into the unfolding MCU saga.

My money’s on the next instalment of Captain America; the previously announced Civil War title, in whose original comic form Spidey was one of the key players.

Given the previously confirmed date for Thor 3 also being July 2017, the Spider-Man feature’s new release date means a knock-on effect for Ragnarok and the next three films in line behind it – with Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans each getting knocked back by six months or so.

I think we can assume it’s the end of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, though I must admit I haven’t actually watched either of his efforts under the mask so am not sure whether he’ll be missed at this point.

My main questions lie in the motives behind the new deal. While Fox is doing a decent enough job of rebuilding their wavering X-Men empire – with Days of Future Past being by far my favourite entry so far – and the ability to throw a solo Wolverine out there to plug the holes in between, Sony can’t claim the same strong foundation and roster depth to build anything around Spider-Man; was anyone really that psyched for a Sinister Six spin-off?

On the other hand, I think Marvel really needed Spider-Man back in order to meet the full potential of Civil War, so this deal ought to benefit both parties.

I guess we’ll find out.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer reaction

Thoughts on the first, second and third viewings of the new Marvel Studios film trailer, coming May 2015.

You’ve watched the trailer already. Of course you have. I’ve watched it three times now (but to be fair I was taking notes for this article the last two times.)

So what did we make of the Age of Ultron trailer?

avengers age of ultron poster

Well first off, it looks brilliant; of course it does, it’s a) a Marvel Studios movie, and b) a film directed by Joss “Is Boss” Whedon. Naturally, May 2015 can’t come soon enough for a lot of us.

Because while it looks as outstanding as ever, it’s also laying down some very intriguing hints about the future of the MCU. Here are a few things that got me thinking.

 

“I’ve got no strings”

It’s a simple enough phrase popularised by a puppet some 70-odd years ago (in a nod to new parent company Disney) but the performance of the song heard throughout the trailer – eerie as all hell – might apply not only to Ultron’s becoming sentient but also to his serving no master. The Avengers are sworn to protect Earth at all costs, but Ultron has no such bounds.

Quick note here: I’m not a big James Spader fan – the most I’ve seen of him is his run as Bobby in The Office ­– but somewhere along his career he took an extremely sinister edge that’s made him perfect for the role of a very dangerous Marvel villain. I’m really looking forward to seeing what sort of “batshit crazy” he’ll bring to the table.

Civil War

It’s annoying, but even before we’ve seen AoU in its full-length format, we’re getting tasty morsels of information about more upcoming instalments of the MCU; namely that Captain America 3 could be the start of the Marvel Civil War which saw Tony Stark and Steve Rogers on opposing sides in the comics.

To get from Age of Ultron into a Civil War we’ll need definitive proof that what The Avengers have going for them isn’t working. The team barely survived the Battle of New York, and what with HYDRA making its presence known in The Winter Soldier and the first season of Agents of SHIELD, there could be further disruption ahead.

In the trailer, Stark appears to tell Fury and Black Widow that “it’s the end of the path I started us on”. And what with us also seeing Cap’s shield laying broken in half, perhaps it literally is the end for someone.

And then there’s Bucky, another Cap in the comics, who did a post-credits pop-up in The Winter Soldier…

Two new recruits

In the mid-credits scene of The Winter Soldier (it’s a scientific fact that cinema cleaners are now 10% less productive because people stay until the end), we saw Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch being held by a higher-up at HYDRA. Assuming even that they’re not keen on being caged up like that, we still don’t know where these new characters’ loyalties lie. While we assume they won’t be quick to join The Avengers, perhaps they play a big part in Ultron’s plans.

(We can also assume that their father Magneto won’t be joining in the fun.)

 

What did you make of the trailer? Give me a score of 1 to PSYCHED.