‘John Wick’ spinoff ‘The Ballerina’ to be released in 2024
As ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ continues to dominate the box office, Lionsgate executive Joe Drake revealed the studio’s target release window for the upcoming spinoff, ‘The Ballerina’. He confirmed that the studio is currently planning to release the Ana de Armas-led action thriller in either the spring or summer of 2024. Production for the first ‘John Wick’ spinoff movie took place in Prague and began last November 2022.
‘The Ballerina’ is directed by Len Wiseman, who previously helmed 2012’s ‘Total Reboot’ and five ‘Underworld’ films. Written by Oscar winner Emerald Fennell, the story is expected to follow a young female assassin as she goes on a mission to seek revenge against the people responsible for the murder of her family. Franchise star Keanu Reeves previously confirmed that the spinoff will be set between the events of ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’ and its latest 2023 instalment.
The film is inspired by a scene from 2019’s ‘Parabellum’, where fans were introduced to the Ruska Roma syndicate, the organization that trained young boys and girls into becoming lethal assassins. Leading the spinoff is Oscar nominee De Armas who has signed for the role of Rooney. Like former Ruska Roma member John Wick, Rooney went through grueling and rigorous training at an early age, under the supervision of Angelica Huston’s The Director. In addition to Reeves and Huston, Ian McShane and the late Lance Reddick will also appear once again in their respective roles as Winston and Charon.
Besides ‘The Ballerina’, Lionsgate is also currently working on the impending Peacock premiere of its John Wick prequel series, titled ‘The Continental’. The 3-part limited drama will revolve around the origins of The Continental New York’s manager Winston, and loyal concierge Charon, who are respectively portrayed by Colin Woodell and Ayomide Adegun. The series is expected to chronicle how a young Winston Scott manages to establish a safe haven for assassins. In addition to Woodell and Adegun, it will also feature the introduction of Mel Gibson as Cormac and Katie McGrath as The Adjudicator.
As for the future of the main series, director Chad Stahelski recently revealed that he and Reeves are planning to take a hiatus from the blockbuster franchise following the theatrical release of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’. ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ is now showing worldwide.
Attorney says Jonathan Majors isn’t the villain, video will prove he’s innocent
Jonathan Majors says he is the victim of domestic violence allegations that led to his arrest in New York. The actor’s attorney Priya Chaudhry released a statement on Sunday that the “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” star “is completely innocent and is provably the victim of an altercation with a woman he knows” and expects charges will be dropped.
The New York Police Department confirmed in a statement on Saturday that Majors, 33, was taken into custody after officers received a 911 call from a Manhattan apartment where a 30-year-old woman said she had been assaulted. The woman was taken to the hospital, the statement says.
On Sunday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Majors had been arraigned on multiple charges, including assault and aggravated harassment. In the complaint, the woman claimed she was struck with an open hand, causing a laceration behind her ear, and suffered bruising and pain when “the defendant put his hand on her neck.”
Majors’ attorney says she is submitting evidence to the district attorney “with the expectation that all charges will be dropped imminently.”
“This evidence includes video footage from the vehicle where this episode took place, witness testimony from the driver and others who both saw and heard the episode, and most importantly, two written statements from the woman recanting these allegations,” Chaudhry said. “All the evidence proves that Mr. Majors is entirely innocent and did not assault her whatsoever.”
On Saturday, a judge granted a limited order of protection and released Majors on his own recognizance. The next court date is May 8.
Majors’ attorney claims the dispute occurred because the woman “was having an emotional crisis, for which she was taken to a hospital yesterday.”
“The NYPD is required to make an arrest in these situations, and this is the only reason Mr. Majors was arrested,” she said. “We expect these charges to be dropped soon. We look forward to clearing his name and clearing this up,” the statement said.
What led to Jonathan Majors’ arrest, according to police? Officers responded to a call within the 10 Precinct at approximately 11:14 a.m. ET Saturday. “A preliminary investigation determined that a 33-year-old male was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old female. The victim informed police she was assaulted. Officers placed the 33-year-old male into custody without incident. The victim sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition,” the police statement said.
Majors is a rising star in Hollywood, seen two weeks ago on the Oscars stage, presenting best cinematography with Michael B. Jordan. The Yale-educated actor, an Emmy nominee for HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” recently joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kang the Conqueror and is slated to headline “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” in 2025. The actor stepped into the ring with Jordan as Damian Anderson in the boxing drama “Creed III,” and starred as real-life Navy aviator Jesse Brown in the Korean War drama “Devotion.”
Next up, he stars as an amateur bodybuilder in “Magazine Dreams” (set for release in December) and plays mercurial basketball icon Dennis Rodman in “48 Hours in Vegas.”
Disney absorbs Marvel Entertainment, sacks Chairman Ike Perlmutter
Per a report on Variety, Disney’s cost-cutting measures have reached to the top echelons of the company: Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment, has been laid off, as his division — which is separate from Marvel Studios — is absorbed into other units of Disney.
Along with Perlmutter, Marvel Entertainment’s co-president, Rob Steffens, and chief counsel, John Turitzin, were also dismissed. A Disney spokesperson confirmed the departures.
The 80-year-old Perlmutter was at the center of activist investor Nelson Peltz’s months-long fight to join the Disney board. Variety reported in February that Perlmutter’s backing of Peltz was due at least in part to CEO Bob Iger’s decision to sever Perlmutter’s control of Marvel Studios in 2015, which reduced Marvel Entertainment to not much more than consumer products.
Peltz ended his proxy battle in February after Iger announced his plan to reduce costs by $5.5 billion, which included reducing the workforce by 7,000 employees, as well as the expected return of the dividend payment for shareholders by the end of 2023.
#SeunSays: The fresh surprise that is ‘Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham’
Our columnist expresses shock and joy (though mostly shock) at what he found within DC’s latest Batman animated offering.
By Seun Odukoya
As much as I love The Caped Crusader (if you do not know who that is, maybe you shouldn’t go any further), I do not consider myself his #1 fan. If an actual ‘top fans list’ was created, I don’t think I would be in the first hundred, or even two hundred. Honestly. I say this because the only Batman merch I own are comics and maybe a t-shirt/hoodie or two. I do not own a single action figure (a friend gave me one once, but it vanished from my house) I do own a miniature Batmobile and a grapnel, but that’s about it. But I digress.
While I may not own any other Batman stuff, I own quite a bit of his books. And I have read quite a bit more. I said all that to say this: rarely have I consumed Batman material in recent times that surprised me. Impressed me? Oh, for sure. Engaged and inspired me? Definitely. Surprised me? Not so much. ‘Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham’ animated movie surprised me.
I said all that to say this: rarely have I consumed Batman material in recent times that surprised me.
The title is a reference to ‘The Doom That Came To Sarnath’, a story by HP Lovecraft, the creator of the Cthulhu mythos (do not bite your tongue trying to pronounce that). Now, I read the comics years ago. I had a bit of Mike Mignola fever at the time, brought on by Hellboy. I consumed all the Mignola material I could find. I didn’t enjoy ‘The Doom’ much, however. Possibly because I am not a fan of Cthulhu mythos and the particular story’s ending was depressing. I’d hoped that would be changed in the animated film.
No such luck. Still, I did enjoy the cartoon a lot more than I expect to, so much that I watched it twice in as many days. It’s a simple premise: Scientist Oswald Cobblepot (mind blown) disappears while exploring the Antarctic, and Bruce Wayne is somehow tracking him despite having not been in Gotham for twenty years. Bruce is not alone: Dick Grayson, Sanjay Tawde, and Kai Lin Cain, his adopted kids – and of course, the ever-present Alfred, are all with him. They find Cobblepot shipwrecked and his crew dead. A naked figure surrounded by some birds appears over the horizon and Bruce follows. What he finds is the last of Cobblepot’s crew, a man named Grendon, digging at a huge mound, with some beast behind it. After a skirmish with some mutated birds, Bruce destroys the mound with dynamite and carries an apparently dead Grendon back to Gotham.
‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things about Batman is how malleable the character’s mythos is. I can write a Batman story in 3AD Yorubaland, and it would just be business as usual for the Dark Knight.
While reading through Cobblepot’s journal, he finds clues that allude to a cult he was already investigating, a society with ancient ties to Gotham. They get to Gotham and are welcomed into Wayne Manor by Kirk Langstrom’s corpse and surprise guest Jason Blood, coming to deliver three cryptic prophesies. And then, all hell breaks loose. The doom does come to Gotham.
‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ is a lot of fun. One of my favorite things about Batman is how malleable the character’s mythos is. I can write a Batman story in 3AD Yorubaland and it would just be business as usual for the Dark Knight. Not a lot of characters are that fluid. I mean, Cobblepot a scientist? Take my money now!
A good chunk of Batman’s rogue’s gallery gets reimagined: Killer Croc is a mindless monster in the thrall of Talia al Ghul who is eviller, more bloodthirsty, and more loyal to her father than her pre-New 52 version. Ra’s al Ghul is a mystical guru/Rasputin lookalike who seeks to restore the ancient Snake civilization to their former glory. Oliver Queen is a hard-drinking, spoilt playboy who is Bruce’s best friend but is hiding some deep, dark secret from said best friend. Gordon is Gordon, and Barbara Gordon is a hard-drinking Oracle – literally. Harvey Dent is Harvey…as in, somehow, he is always Two-Faced.
Of course, the voice cast is excellent as always. Batfans know; no one can replace the legendary Kevin Conroy when it comes to that voice. However, David Giuntoli’s performance is not bad at all, considering he had already voiced Batman once before in Soul of the Dragon. Tati Gabrielle is Kati Li Cain, Brian George is Alfred, Christopher Gorham is Oliver Queen, Emily O’Brien plays Talia al Ghul, Navid Negahban is Ra’s, William Salyers is Cobblepot, Gideon Adlon plays Oracle, John DiMaggio is James Gordon, and Patrick Fabian is Harvey Dent.
Selina Kyle is conspicuously missing – but it’s a good thing. There’s still quite a lot to explore in Batman’s world without a love interest. The Joker is also missing, but his absence I applauded. That is a character I’m tired of, with every Batman live-action director eager to put their own spin on the character. But again, I digress. ‘The Doom That Came To Gotham’ closes out at 126 minutes (plus credits), and is worth every minute of that viewing time. Batman hardly fails to deliver, and this is another solid entry into that catalogue.
Odukoya lives and writes in Lagos.