DC comic movies are back and better than ever. Coming off of the recent success of the Snyder Cut of Justice League, Warner Bros. has brought more good news to follow the next slate of comic book films: new castings. After troubling news of the cancellation of a few promising DC adaptations, it’s relieving to hear some good news about the projects still in the works. However, the castings aren’t just for one upcoming film but rather three. Black Adam, The Flash, and Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods all have already had big names attached but now more fan-favorite characters join the pantheon of heroes and villains.
First, we have the casting of the villain in the sequel to 2019’s electrifying Shazam. Zachary Levi and Asher Angel will reprise their role as Billy Batson/Shazam only to face off against the mysterious Hespera now set to be played by Dame Helen Mirren. Not much is known about the character as she is a new addition to the DC Villain line up making the casting all the more intriguing. Being a goddess of the art of acting Mirren will very likely bring the charm and gusto to rival the fury of the gods.
The Upcoming Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson led Black Adam already teased the arrival of the JSA (that’s Justice Society of America to non-nerds) but now the final casting has arrived from the ashes. The JSA has received their magical powerhouse in Dr. Fate now being played by 007 alum Pierce Brosnan. A quick rundown of the gold helmeted sorcerer, Kent Nelson is an archeologist that discovers the helmet of Nabu, a magical lord of order. With the helmet, Kent transforms into Dr. Fate, a hero of insurmountable magical abilities who is a founding member of the JSA. Brosnan will now join the likes of Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, and Quintessa Swindell playing Hawkman, Atom Smasher, and Cyclone respectively in their efforts to thwart the tyrannical Black Adam.
Lastly, the much anticipated Andy Muschietti The Flash film recasts Henry Allen after a slew of rumors of the character being omitted from the movie. Ron Livingston of Office Space fame will now replace Billy Crudup as the father of the scarlet speedster. Crudup briefly appeared in both of Warner Bros. Justice League films but had to drop the role due to a scheduling conflict. With Livingston at the helm, Henry Allen can once again have the huge parental role in Ezra Miller’s timeline bending film which according to speculation should cover an alternate version of the fan-favorite Flashpoint arc. Henry Allen is framed for murder as his son Barry Allen/ The Flash seeks to become a forensic analyst to clear his name only to find that his superhero persona has much more to do with the alleged crime than he believed.
With comic book films returning to form since the start of the pandemic last year, it’s amazing to see that despite the dire circumstances creators take the time to cast brilliant performers in these pivotal roles. The inclusion of fan-favorite characters and new faces to the genre always fills the air with giddiness as comic fans and casuals alike can relish in the performances between the light and color shows. Black Adam is slated for an early June 2023 release with The Flash racing in November the same year. Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods is pegged for a summer 2023 release in June that year.
On Friday, Scholastic Publishing announced that it has stopped the distribution of The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future by Dav Pilkey for perpetuating “passive racism.”
The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future tells the story of Ook and Gluk, two cave dwellers from Caveland, Ohio, in the year 50,001 BC. When an evil corporation from the future attacks Caveland, Oook and Gluk (along with their dinosaur friend Lily) have to travel to the year 2222, where Master Wong teaches them the martial art of Kung Fu. Then they have to return to their own time to save the day. It is supposed to be written by Captain Underpants protagonists George and Harold.
The publishing company issued a statement explaining the reason behind the pull, saying: “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”
Author Dav Pilkey has expressed full support of this decision. Scholastic’s decision came off the heels of Pilkey’s own apology regarding the book, where he said the book contained harmful stereotypes and racist imagery, “I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.” He also explained that The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future was intended to show “diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.”
The Witcher Netflix series has become quite a phenomenon in recent memory. Fans of the game and book series as well as those who gush over medieval fantasy absolutely lauded the first season. The show perfectly captured the essence of the characters and world while satisfying the masses that just came off the absolute dud of a finale from Game of Thrones. With a promised seven seasons for the show comes news on castings for characters both unknown and very familiar to fans that toss coins to all Witcher content.
The second season, according to Redanian Intelligence, has cast relatively unknown actor Edward Rowe in the role of King Henselt, ruler of Kaedwen. Fans of The Witcher game series will recognize the name from a major player from CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. In the game, Henselt is a prideful king with a taste for watching duels, warmongering, and hedonism. The player assuming the role of Geralt of Rivia has the choice of ending the king while on his literal high horse or manipulate him until the events of the next game however the show has something more in store for this tyrannical monarch.
In the past, Laura S. Hissrich the showrunner has clarified that the entirety of the show takes place before the events of the first Witcher game. The series will then explore Henselt’s origin story relating to the heroic trio of Geralt, Yennifer, and Ciri before becoming the boisterous king many gamers chose to execute. Perhaps he earns kingship while interacting with Geralt or he’ll possibly arrange for Geralt to fight in a duel against a neighboring kingdom leading him down a path toward eventual tyranny. The possibilities for the directions of the show can go just about anywhere and it just seems to spell excitement every step of the way until release.
After a slew of production halts from Covid-19 outbreaks to on-set injuries, it’s nice to finally have some good news about everyone’s new favorite fantasy epic. As usual fans and newcomers can rejoice at the effort put forth to ensure the most enthralling and bloody tales from Nilfgaard. The best content from a sprawling franchise like The Witcher comes from creators who are just as big of fans as the readers or gamers of the series. The inclusion of fan-favorite characters should spark piquing interest in the other parts of media the franchise inhabits as well as clarity on the denizens that live in the witching world. Should any production halts cease at once you can toss a coin to your favorite witcher on August 17th, 2021.