Hailing frequencies open, folks! The mystery of “Will William Shatner appear in the next Star Trek movie or not?” takes an intriguing turn in today’s Movie Morsels. While the reboot of another beloved franchise — National Lampoon’s Vacation — gets a firm release date. Meanwhile, Dredd kind of/sort of gets a sequel, The Purge 3 is made official, Stephen King updates us on The Stand movie (or is it movies?, hmmm), and Bilbo gets bloody in the first character poster for the final installment of The Hobbit, a.k.a. The Battle of the Five Armies.
Star Trek 3
In the tweet heard round the blogosphere, William Shatner declared yesterday that “I’m baaaaccckk!!!” — applying the same vigor with which he once screamed Khan’s name. But after hordes of eager Trekkers retweeted the former James Tiberius Kirk, declaring he was indeed returning for the Roberto Orci-helmed follow-up to last year’s J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness, the Shat deleted his tweet and stated that he was not confirming anything; and that bloggers shouldn’t be so quick to assume he’ll join stars Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in the rebooted Trek universe. Did Bad Robot step in in an effort to maintain some secrecy about Shatner’s possible appearance in the film? Or was it a simple case of miscommunication and Shatner was merely telling his many fans that he’d returned home from the local Krispy Kreme after procuring its last box of Ghostbusters donuts? In any case, the mystery continues. [HitFix]
Get ready, America — it’s time for a family reunion with the Griswolds. New Line has announced the release date for its long-in-development reboot/sequel of the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, titled simply Vacation. On October 9, 2015, fans will finally witness the now fully grown Rusty Griswold (originally played by Anthony Michael Hall, now Ed Helms, who’s no stranger to bad screen vacations) taking his family on disastrous trip much like the ones he endured as a child. Joining him will be his wife (played by Christina Applegate), sister Audrey (originally Dana Barron, now Leslie Mann), Audrey’s husband, the awesomely named up-and-coming anchorman Stone Crandall (played by Chris Hemsworth, the only man alive capable of doing that name justice), and Charlie Day as a presumably manic river-rafting guide. Cameos from original Vacation stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are expected. [The Hollywood Reporter]
If you’re as big of a Judge Dredd fan as I am, then your heart burst with joy upon watching the fantastic 2012 Karl Urban-starring film based on the UK’s most famous comic-book hero. Then you found your heart crushed like a slow-moving squirrel on the interstate upon seeing Dredd bomb at the box office, destroying all hope for a sequel. Or so we thought. An online campaign was launched, rumors abounded, and Urban himself suggested as recently as last month that a prequel film was still possible. Well, we’ve got some good news for you. Whether or not a feature-length follow-up film actually happens, producer Adi Shankar has just announced he’s preparing a seven-part online series about Judge Dredd’s antagonists, the Dark Judges: Death, Fire, Fear and Mortis (parallel universe Judges led by Death, who believe life itself is a criminal offense). Shankar expects the first part of the series (the total running time of which will equal a feature film) to bow in November. The producer performed a similar role for his online shorts devoted to the Punisher and Venom. Though the Dark Judges project appears much more ambitious since he apparently began working on it shortly after Dredd‘s completion. [Slashfilm]
The Purge 3
Writer-director James DeMonaco caught lightning in a bottle with this summer’s The Purge: Anarchy, again turning a low-budget fright flick into a global box-office phenomenon, one that, like its predecessor, has grossed more than ten times its cost. So it’s no surprise that horror mogul Jason Blum has resigned DeMonaco to deliver a third Purge film, this time for a 2015 release date. In June of this year, Blumhouse announced it would release a film on September 25, 2015. Whether that turns out to be the next installment in its Paranormal Activity franchise or The Purge 3 remains to be seen. [Movieweb]
Horror god Stephen King says that Josh Boone’s (The Fault in Our Stars) planned three-hour R-rated adaptation of King’s magnum opus The Stand could wind up as two movies. While promoting the new film he scripted based on his novella A Good Marriage, King remarked of Boone’s film, “I think his take is terrific – and don’t count on it being one film, because there’s talk about doing it in an entirely different and innovative way, and I don’t want to go into that because that’s Josh’s baby. Let me just say that – I work[ed] with Josh on a film called ‘The Writer’ and it became [his feature directorial debut] ‘Stuck in Love’… Then he made ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, which is Class A filmmaking as far as I’m concerned. He’s hugely ambitious and hugely energetic, so we’ll see what happens.” [Screenrant]
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Last month we directed your attention to a tapestry poster for the final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies. And today, we have the film’s first character poster, featuring, appropriately enough, the trilogy’s titular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, his sword coming at ya (in 3D, natch), as a battlefield blazes behind him. Jackson’s Hobbit films certainly have their share of critics, but even the most hardened among them must admit the Oscar-winning auteur still has a way of getting people excited about his work via marketing. The Battle of the Five Armies will be waged on December 17th. [JoBlo]
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