Friday Round Up: AIDS!

Hey, this is cool. You can help fight AIDS and also get a chance to voice an alien overlord on Rick and Morty! The video above by creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland explains it and you can donate/enter to win at omaze.com/rickandmorty. Win-win! Read on to see the best news of the week – Hasbro’s interconnected movie universe of MASK, Rom, G.I. Joe and more, the history of how the Star Wars Expanded Universe came to be, J.J. Abrams’ regrets on Star Trek Into Darkness, a close look at the new Ghostbusters and more!

MOVIES

Hasbro Movie Universe

I don’t know how they plan to do this, but Paramount and Hasbro issued a press release this week announcing their intention to build an interconnected universe (think the Marvel films) with their toy brands from the 80s. They’ve had massive success with Transformers and modest success with G.I. Joe (but Jem and Battleship were flops) so it makes sense that they’d want to try. They said the brands they’d be adding would include M.A.S.K., Micronauts, Visionaries and Rom: Space Knight. I gotta say, I have no idea how those franchises can all exist in the same world. I can buy into G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. since they’re both about soldiers versus terrorists. But Visionaires takes place in the far future when mysticism rules the land, Micronauts takes place in another realm that’s microscopic and Rom is about a robot from space. Rom would work fine with Transformers, I suppose. Anyway, the problem I see movie studios having (Universal wants to do the same idea with its movie monsters) is that they all want to jump to the Avengers point as fast as possible. But Marvel had to prove that Iron Man could work first. They had very light continuity nods in the first several movies. And if Captain America or Thor weren’t any good, it probably all would have flopped. But they hired writers and directors with a unique take on the material and adapted proven story arcs without any fear of embracing the trappings of the genre. So yeah, if Hasbro and Paramount want to make Visionaries, go for it. But they absolutely have to have hologram powers, as compared to a dark and gritty Game of Thrones type of story.

Official photos of the new Ghostbusters came out through several different media sources yesterday. Entertainment Weekly debuted the Kristen Wiig one – she’s Erin Gilbert, a “particle physicist, academic firebrand, spectral warrior” who enjoys fighting the supernatural. Kate McKinnon’s poster came out on Time’s site. She is Jillian Holtzmann, a “nuclear engineer, munitions expert, proton wrangler.” People Magazine had the Melissa McCarthy one. She’s Abby Yates and she co-authored a book on the supernatural with Erin. Finally, InStyle had the poster for Leslie Jones’ character, Patty Tolan. She’s described as a “ghost tracker, municipal historian, metaphysical commando.” She’s also a former subway worker who stumbles upon the film’s supernatural threat before joining the team.

star trek into darkness khan

Buzzfeed has a fascinating interview and profile of J.J. Abrams and each of the films he’s directed. Perhaps the most interesting part of it is where he admits Star Trek Into Darkness does not work as well as it should have. He doesn’t throw anyone else under the bus but identifies the problems with the movie and takes responsibility for them. Pretty good read!

BOOKS

star wars thrawn trilogy

Andrew Liptak is writing a fascinating series of articles on the history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (the catch-all for the novels and some games and toys that came out starting in the early 90s). It seems ubiquitous now but at the time, licensed properties were not considered big business. You might get a paperback that didn’t really change the status quo. Various entrepreneurs pitched and convinced Lucasfilm to let them treat the books like events, with hardback releases and big promotion as well as changing major characters over time. Without the Expanded Universe, who knows whether Star Wars would have had its resurgence of popularity? Recommended reading!

dc comics fcbd 2016 top secret

Free Comic Book Day takes place on May 7th, 2016 and will be the 15th year the event takes place. The organization just announced the 50 free books that will be published for the event. It’s a ways off, but it’s a pretty fantastic event and exciting to see which publishers were selected to participate.

GAMES

metal gear quiet

Just this week, Hideo Kojima, the creator and overseer of the hugely successful Metal Gear series of video games announced he was leaving Konami. Just days later, Sony announced Kojima and his studio had been hired to create an exclusive game for the PC and PS4. They also said they’re interested in exploring animation and movie ideas from the studio.