20th Century Fox Film
The Star Wars franchise has tons of fantastic moments, but none spike our adrenaline quite like the attack on the Death Star right at the climax of the original Star Wars. It was all so perfect: the perilous dogfights in the backdrop of a giant red planet Yavin, X-wings bursting into flames as the pilots thread their ships through the crowded ridges of the Death Star, looking for that tiny exhaust port to blow the Empire a new one. It's one clear example of why the original trilogy works where the prequel trilogy doesn't. The scenes felt weighty, both in a physical sense (those ships really did look like big metal chunks hurtling through space) and a dramatic one. The rebel squadron was fighting the battle of their lives, and this mission was a last ditch suicide run to take out the Empire's doomsday device. The space combat in the prequels never reached the same dizzying high points as the ones in the Original Trilogy did, since the franchise traded practical effects, character, and drama for a CGI light show. Nearly 40 years and five movies later, the Battle of Yavin and the other fights involving the Red Squadron remain some of the action highlights of the franchise. Now, It looks like the X-Wing team may fly once again.
According to Geek Tyrant, a German website named Star Wars Union attended a Hasbro event where the next six Star Wars films were mapped out to coincide with the company's toy releases. The schedule was reported as follows:
2014 - Star Wars: Rebels2015 - Star Wars: Episode VII2016 - Boba Fett2017 - Star Wars: Episode VIII2018 - Han Solo2019 - Star Wars: Episode IX2020 - Star Wars: Red Five
The schedule is mostly filled with the expected sequels and stand alone films — rumors about Boba Fett and Han Solo features have been rumbling around the web for ages at this point — but the one surprise on the list is the last project: Star Wars: Red Five. Since an annual deluge of Star Wars films has become an inevitable evil, one about the famous squadron of fighter pilots could be a nice way to break up the monotony once 2020 rolls around. We're already getting three proper "Episodes" in the mainline Star Wars series, plus two stand-alone films about roguish anti-heroes. A character-based film about rebel pilots using the classic call signs from the orginal movie could be an exciting move for the franchise. There are already a multitude of possibilities.
The call sign "Red Five" already has some famous forebears. Both Anakin and Luke Skywalker used it in previous instalments of the franchise. If this new story coincides with the upcoming J.J. Abrams trilogy, then we could be getting a new group of fighters with an all-new protagonist taking up the mantle of "Red Five," and what the Star Wars franchise desperately needs is new characters. If this new generation of movies really wants to flourish on its own merits, it needs to create its own stories within the universe. As fun as it will be to see prequel adventures for characters like Han and Boba Fett, it would be more fruitful for the series to create new characters and conflicts. Seeing a Star Wars feature that takes a step away from series standbys like The Force, the Jedi, midi-chlorians, and even, (gasp) lightsabers would be a refreshing change of pace. There's a wide and diverse galaxy out there, full of different planets, cultures, and outlooks on life. The old Star Wars canon should be used as a template; a foundation to expand and construct a richer universe in its wake. Creating a new class of pilots to take on the famous "Red" call signs would be a great way to do so. It would be recognizing and revering the franchise's roots while allowing it to leap into the future.
Also, when was the last time we were treated to a really good fighter pilot movie? Red Tails? Flyboys? Stealth? Pearl Harbor? No, those are all terrible, and it's a testament to how anemic the sub-genre of pilot movies is when the best offering in perhaps the last 25 years is Top Gun. Get to it, J.J., our culture's lasting image of fighter pilots can't be Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer playing shirtless volleyball. It just can't.
The recent dustup between Jennette McCurdy — star of the current Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat and former costar of the hit iCarly — and her employer brings up an on-going question: what, if any, responsibilities do actors in shows aimed at children have?
While there has yet to be clarification on why McCurdy, 21, has started to boycott Nickelodeon events — and there is a plausible explanation involves the discrepancy between the salaries of the actress and her costar Ariana Grande — there was plenty of speculation that one of the factors was the network's reaction to pictures that were posted online of McCurdy in her underwear.
Nickelodeon has had relatively few issues with its young stars, but the viral explosion over the leaked photos is something that rival Disney is well acquainted with. The media giant has worried over the public images of a series of young actresses — Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens — while they were working for Disney. (Lest they be accused of gender bias, the Mouse suits also fretted over Zac Efron's behavior as well.) While she was between movies in the High School Musical series, a nude photo of Hudgens emerged online and put Disney into spin control. While McCurdy's pictures were tame by comparison, the reaction to the seeming transgression was about the same: low-key generic support for the star mixed with an undercurrent of disapproval to appease the parents of young fans.
Trying to sell Hollywood products as "family friendly" is a tricky situation. Both Nickelodeon and Disney have to protect their respective brands and assure parents that their children can safely watch the content being put on the air. During her Hannah Montana days, it wouldn't have been acceptable for Cyrus to go on stage in Europe and light a joint the way that she did earlier this year. There are certain boundaries that are just part of the price of being involved in children's programming.
The problematic area, however, is two-fold. First, criticizing young performers for capitalizing on their sex appeal is hypocritical, especially when it comes from studios that continuously market the attractiveness of those same stars. Neither Nickelodeon nor Disney shies away from capitalizing on the fresh-faced good looks of the young actresses (and actors) that they employ. The companies have produced music videos for in-house stars like Victoria Justice and Bridgit Mendler that show them seductively singing to the camera and partying into the night. While it's all fairly chaste, in reality it's also not much of a ideological leap from doing a Maxim cover. If a studio can use someone's looks for their advantage, they can't then be concerned if that person uses it for their own.
The other part has more to do with the oftentimes unrealistic expectations of the public. Just because someone was on a show aimed at youngsters, that doesn’t mean that they have to continue to live up to some arbitrary standard of "purity." The outcry over Cyrus' more recent behavior — which has included showing far more skin than McCurdy — was ridiculous whenever it veered into concern over the impact it may have on the young people that used to watch her Disney show. Once they're no longer directly working on products being marketed to tweens, then the choices that actors make stop being tied to that. Hudgens and Gomez starring as bikini clad thrill seekers in Spring Breakers has no bearing on the TV shows and movies that they did as teenagers.
Both Nickelodeon and Disney have become launching pads for actors to break into the business, but it's hard to bemoan young adults from acting like… well, young adults.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
As a part of their ongoing quest to take over every aspect of media, Disney will be adapting original fairytale The Princess Bride into a Broadway musical. Now, before you say "Inconcievable!" think of the possibilities. Disney invented the mold for fantasy fairytales, then completely dismantled and reinvented it 50 years later. Besides, The Princess Bride is the rare cult film that's family friendly and has a happy ending without feeling cheesy... not to mention the fact that "kissing books" tend to make great musicals. So with all that said, here are our best ideas for the Princess Bride soundtrack you're sure to have on repeat:
"As You Wish"A love ballad, first sung by Young Westley to Young Buttercup in the show's opening. We see the stage transform from a sick boy's room to Florin, the setting for the magical adventure.
"More Than a Farmboy"Buttercup laments the loss of her love with this plaintative yearning song. (This is what girls will be singing in their auditions for years to come.)
"The Battle of Wits, Or, Never Go in Against a Sicilian When Death Is on the Line"A Gilbert and Sullivan style patter song as the braggart Vizzini tries to outwit The Man in Black's poisoned glasses scheme. The song is anchored by the rhymes provided by a helpful Fezzik.
"Six-Fingered Hand"As Inigo and The Man in Black duel, they also duel with their twin stories of revenge and woe in this "Confrontation" type confrontation.
"I'm Swamped"Prince Humperdinck's evil plan is revealed in this brassy song about just how much work he has to do before his wedding day.
"Max's House of Miracles/Mostly Dead"Westly is triumphantly raised from the dead in this comic romp, where he gets the opportunity to show off his physical comedy chops.
"Mawwiage!"A huge production number that features dancing wedding guests, an easily exciteable clergyman, an angry prince, and the addition of "The Brute Squad," a group of 6'5" male dancers that thrillingly leap and thrillingly sneak into the castle with our heroes.
"Prepare to Die"In this adaptation, Inigo dies onstage, but not before killing the six-fingered man and avenging his father, who appears in this dream sequence to usher his son into the afterlife.
"As You Wish (Reprise)"As Buttercup and Westley ride off into the sunset, they reprise this now-classic love song.
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Recently, Charlie Hunnam backed out of the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey and it seems like there are two camps about it: those who think it was a smart move on his part and those that think he shot himself in the foot.
Hunnam is riding a wave of some popularity - he was one of the main stars in this summer's high-tech movie Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy is back on the air for its sixth season. He's in the limelight and is considered one of the up-and-coming young actors. While he claimed it was the workload of his TV schedule that caused it, some speculate that he was worried about the amount of sexuality in the movie - including some possible full frontal. That's kind of odd, because he skirts that line nearly every episode of Anarchy with some very naughty scenes.
The British-born actor, while happy to be famous to some degree, might have been very wary about being put under the magnifying glass like Robert Pattinson was for his work on Twilight. He would possibly be typecast... though how he could go from being solely known as badass biker Jackson Teller to this would be a bit of a leap. Especially since there is a very good chance Pacific Rim 2 will be made. He would still have a lot more options that Pattinson did - and having to appear a lot less sparkly.
The other line of thought is that this movie could damage someone who has already an established amount of credibility and would be better for actors who are hungry and ready for exposure (literally). It's one thing to doff your clothes on the small screen, it's entirely another to be in your birthday clothes on a giant screen in a movie theater. Hunnam might have worried about living that one down.
This could be a truly enduring movie, though, since it is based on such a huge bestseller and Hunnam could have been one of the world's biggest names out there had he gone through with the movie. Then again, just by putting his name out there and being initially cast, that's a lot of recognition right there. His name made the tabloids not once but twice, and he can now ignore the people who signed Internet petitions for him to be jettisoned.
However this all turns out, I have a feeling that Hunnam is going to come out on top. So to speak.
Beady Eye rocker Gem Archer is preparing to return to the stage in November (13), three months after breaking his leg and suffering severe head trauma in separate accidents. The guitarist has been out of action since early August (13), when he reportedly fell down a flight of stairs and fractured his skull, forcing Liam Gallagher's band to cancel a string of shows.
His health took another knock last month (Sep13) after he was involved in a freak accident and underwent surgery to have a metal pin inserted in his leg, but Archer has reached out to fans online to assure them he is "on the mend".
A statement issued on Thursday (03Oct13) reads: "Hi all. Gem here saying a big thank you from the bottom of my being, to everyone for their kind words, wishes, messages and patience over the past weeks.
"I am on the mend, not gone round the bend and treading carefully whilst taking each day as a giant leap forward. I still consider myself lucky, who knows why things happen, but they do and it all could have been much worse but it wasn't. That was then and as of now, I can't wait to stand with a guitar in my hand alongside the rest of the boys, on a stage in front of some of you from November onwards.
"'You can't change the wind, but you can change how you walk into it' as an old friend said to me once. Here's to next time and knowing a little more of how to do the walk! Bring it on. Thanks again. Peace, love, luck and respect. Gem Archer."
Beady Eye are due to kick off a tour or Ireland and the U.K. from 7 November (13).
Jan Persson/Getty ImagesFollowing the 1991 tragic death of Freddie Mercury, undoubtedly one of the greatest showman of all time, it seemed unthinkable that the remaining members of Queen would even consider trying to find someone capable of filling his massive platform boots. And yet from one-off performances with Elton John and George Michael to a string of dates with American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert to a world tour and album with Paul Rodgers, Brian May and Roger Taylor have continued to showcase the band's iconic back catalogue with various different replacements. With fun.'s Nate Ruess the latest frontman to appear alongside the rock legends at last weekend's iHeartRadio Festival, here’s a look at five other potential candidates who embody the spirit of The Great Pretender.
Robbie WilliamsSay what you like about the former Take That star but he sure knows how to work a crowd. Williams has already been in the studio with Queen having recorded a cover of "We Are The Champions" for A Knight’s Tale and reportedly came close to fronting their 2005 reunion tour. But he's yet to make that giant leap and join them on stage.
MikaMika even referenced Mercury directly in his 2007 breakthrough hit, "Grace Kelly." And although his star has diminished considerably since, his natural flamboyance and piercing falsetto still makes him a credible contender.
Justin HawkinsAnother name who was touted in the press before Queen settled on Rodgers, Justin Hawkins channelled the bluster and pomp of the band's '70s era perfectly with The Darkness' debut album, Permission To Land. A virtuoso guitarist, the catsuit-clad rocker could also offer some neat interplay with May.
Russell BrandA leftfield choice which would no doubt enrage Queen's loyal fan base, the former Mr. Katy Perry may be best-known for his witty dictionary-swallowing way with words. But his roles in Get Me To The Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, not to mention his London Olympics Closing Ceremony performance, proved he's got what it takes to be a rock star.
Marc MartelThe least known but possibly most obvious choice to do their classic hits justice, Marc Martel was personally chosen by Taylor to front the officially-sanctioned covers band for the recent Queen Extravaganza Tour following a YouTube-uploaded audition which displayed a highly impressive uncanny vocal resemblance to his idol.
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Katy Perry welcomes us back into the world full of blue, cap-headed creatures with the release of the second trailer for The Smurfs 2. Yep, there's a second one alright!
In the second installment of the animated film franchise, the vindictive Gargamel (Hank Azaria) sends his malicious creation, the Naughties, to capture the beloved Smurfette (Katy Perry) with the evil plot to seize her power and steal her magic for his own use.
But even in the midst of Gargamel's nefarious plot, director Raja Gosnell's The Smurfs 2 is stocked with family fun. The 3D release of the comedy animation, which boasts an all-star cast of Neil Patrick Harris, Sofia Vergara, Jayma Mays, Jimmy Kimmel, and countless others, hits theaters on July 31.
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Forget whoever wins the Kentucky Derby — seems Universal Pictures is the speediest of all. Just hours after announcing that Al Pacino had parted ways with Despicable Me 2, the studio — which is producing the film with Illumination Entertainment — confirmed Benjamin Bratt has stepped in to replace the Scarface star as the film's villain, Eduardo.
On Friday night, Universal and Illumination Entertainment released news that Pacino had left the project over creative differences, just two months before Despicable Me 2's July 3 release. According to Deadline, Pacino had recorded most of his voice work before making the decision to leave Despicable Me 2, but the film's animated nature will allow for the easy swap. Since the film won't require reshoots, Despicable Me 2's release date will remain the same.
Though why exactly Pacino left the project remains unknown, the Jack and Jill star is known for his artistic integrity.
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I took a poll of every American citizen and I discovered a startling fact: 97 percent of all people with more than three functioning neurons hate Alexis Bellino. The three percent of people who said that they like her include her mother, her children, the lady at the dry cleaners she once gave a $100 tip to because she thought it was a $5 and didn't catch the mistake, and about 600,000 people who think that an "Alexis Bellino" is a fruity brunch cocktail that Teresa Giudice is marketing. Notice that Jim Bellino is not on this list. He secretly hates her too.
Yes, everyone hates Alexis Bellino because she is The Worst. Wait. She is the Second Worst. Real Playboy Posers of the OJ Simpson Trial has only been over for a couple of weeks and we've already forgotten Faye Resnick? No. We have not. Never forget.
The show started off with Alexis doing something that wasn't the worst. She went to Vicki and brought her a mirror as a "plastic surgery gift" so that Vicki can check her face at any time of day to see if the swelling has gone down. It was Bedazzled. That part was the worst. It's the rest that made a bit of sense. Vicki says, "I'm going to Tamra's Empty Gym Party. Will you be my date? Tamra said it's OK." Alexis replied, "Are you still high on pain medication, because this is a very bad idea?" Yes, it was a horrible idea and Vicki knew it and Alexis knew it and everyone knew it but the producers, who arranged this whole storyline and stood behind the camera rubbing their fingers together like the Purple Pie Man in the Strawberry Shortcake cartoons. It was diabolical. Vicki said, "Well, they made me really sad the last time I was with them, so I need you for back up." Alexis put on her best baby voice, like she was talking to a 4-year-old who just fell off his Razr Scooter and said, "Ohh. Vicki-wicky wants me to goey-woey with her to the party-farty? OK!"
Then the producers told Alexis she had to ask Vicki if she could bring new Housewife Lydia so that all the wax figures would be together in what is, essentially, an empty industrial garage. Alexis went over to Lydia's house to invite her to the party. Lydia is like, "I already know your friend Heather." And Alexis says, "Oh, what did she say about me?" And Lydia says, "That you have a fake ring." OK, Lydia is going to make an excellent Housewife just based on this alone. We all saw her visit with Heather and Alexis' fake ring came up in the context of their conversation and Lydia had already told Heather they knew each other, so it wasn't an illogical leap to ask if she had a fake ring like Alexis. But the way Lydia tells it, it sounds like she told Heather she knew Alexis and Heather just blurted out, "She's got a fake ring, you know!" That is some some really next level bullshit. I am impressed with this Lydia. I really am.
There are all these scenes where everyone is talking about Vicki coming to dinner and bringing Alexis and blah blah blah and the only one that really matters was the one where Heather and Terry had dinner with Lydia and her husband, Men's Health. Heather told them they wouldn't be in their magazine because they wouldn't be on the cover. Heather Paige Kent Dubrow, in some corners of the world, is still just as big a star as Helen Hunt or Kristen Chenoweth. But, really, who isn't? Who isn't? Then Lydia was like, "I'm going to Tamra's party with Alexis. See you there!" Heather opened her mouth and a half-chewed bit of Cobb Salad fell out and landed on the napkin in her lap and then fell to the floor with a silent sloppy thud. Heather tells Lydia in the nicest way possible that she will be judged by the company she keeps and, if she shows up at a party with Alexis, everyone will think that she has Jesus Cooties and won't want to be nice to you. It's true, I feel the same way. Lydia says, "I can't believe I'm involved in drama already." Ha. Do you even know what show you're on? This isn't The Be Nice Hour with Dr. Rainbow Sprinkles. What did you think you were signing up for?
Alright so the limos pick everyone up and of course they drop off Heather and Gretchen to Tamra's Empty Gym Party first so that Tamra can tell them all how she wishes Alexis wasn't coming now and she was very nervous about it. I don't blame her. Then Vicki and Alexis walk in and Alexis is like Kaleesi in the last episode of Game of Thrones, holding her pet dragon Lydia on a chain while she sneers and bucks in the air, making crazy wheezing rasps and spitting out sparks at anyone who comes near her.
But that's mean to Lydia, she was as nice as nice could be and when she sat down she really tried to make small talk with the rest of the ladies. She was trying really hard to be nice. But this is why it's so hard to get a new Housewife on the show. At this point, their differences are so intractable it's like trench warfare (I have used this metaphor more times than Vicki has had her face pulled). I mean, they were going back to s**t from two seasons ago when they brought up Alexis ganging up on Vicki in San Francisco. How do you expect Lydia to catch up or to say anything about that? She just becomes like a tennis referee watching the ball fling back and forth in an endless volley where it is always Ad In, Ad Out, Ad In, Ad Out over and over and the game is never won. And there is no Love (we're extending tennis metaphors today, right?).
Ugh, so this fight. OK, we gotta talk about it. (Oh please, Brian. You make it sound like you haven't been thinking about it all morning measuring the similes and metaphors you were going to use when you finally got to this point. You're not fooling anyone, you dumb tramp.) Here goes. First, when they were sitting around Vicki made some crack about how her grandson is "my baby." That is just stupid and for them to attack Vicki about it and Vicki to defend herself so vehemently, is well, it's stupid. All that should have been done with this strange verbal turn is that someone should have made a "Maybe a dingo ate your baby" joke and moved on.
Alright, then we move to the table and Tamra was lording over it like Al Pacino in Dick Tracy, banging her fist on the table and asking someone for walnuts. Things were actually pretty nice until Vicki, of all people, was like, "Thanks everyone for coming, including Alexis and let's all start over." Vicki, when there is a giant turd in the corner of the room that you're trying to hide, you don't say to a table full of people, "Hey, don't smell the turd over there, because we're all trying to enjoy our dinner." Just glance over it and hope for the best.
No, Vicki called attention to the turd and then everyone had to take a whiff and make a grimace as the shit stink singed their nose hairs. Tamra, very calmly and rationally said, "Well, Alexis. Why are you here?" That is a valid question. Why was she there? She could have answered it gracefully and said, "I know things were bad between us but maybe we can all meet and work out our problems and take this forward." No, she went with, "Well, you all made Vicki so sad last time you hung out, she needed me around." That started it. It was an attack to everyone else, they are bad people who make Vicki sad. The mood just tumbled down from there, like a sack of rancid meat falling off a cliff.
I'm not sure exactly how to parse this interaction, I never am, but it seems like the women did gang up on Alexis. Tamra says, rightly, that she was gracious to allow Alexis to come, but Alexis ruined it with her pure idiocy. The thing about this argument is that there is no argument. There are no issues to get over or misunderstandings to unwind. This is just unbridled animosity festering into various skin lesions and then bursting with puss all over a rented dinner table with fake flowers in an empty gym. They just can't stand each there. It's both so easy and so hard to put that into words.
As far as there is an issue, everyone hates that Alexis says they gang up on her. This is a ridiculous argument. What do you expect when you are in a group scenario? Setting the rules that only one person can talk to you about an issue at a time virtually makes any sort of conversation in a group completely impossible. Then Alexis shuts it down, not on a point of substance, but a point of order. She derails the whole discussion.
Also, if this is Alexis' big complaint, why would she sit at dinner with everyone without checking in first? She knew she was going to this party, why not call Tamra or Gretchen and have a phone call or a lunch and try to reach some sort of detente before the dinner? No. She showed up in front of three people who hate her and said, "I'll only talk to you one on one." That is ridiculous. That is utterly stupid.
Even stupider is telling Tamra to butt out of a conversation that was happening in front of her at her party. The party was small enough that everyone was having one discussion so there is nothing to butt out of. Now, I hate a nasty temper beast, but man when Tamra told Alexis, "Butt out? How about you get out. Get out of here!" and just threw her out, it felt so fulfilling. It was like that wonderful voided feelings your bowels have when you've been on an eight hour flight and you finally make it to the toilet to unleash the world's biggest shitlog. Then Tamra told Vicki that she could pick her side right now and either get out with Alexis or stay there. Of course, that is where the episode ends. Next week we'll have more senseless screaming. Oh joy, oh yay.
But that's not where it ended for Alexis. She still had to make that long walk back to her limo, across a desolate parking lot in an industrial park somewhere in Orange County. The lighting was all orange and low, not from street lamps, but from posts sticking out of the ground that are illuminated. No one needs a lot of light around here, everyone visits during the day and finishes their work and rides home in the crimson streaked twilight. But Alexis, she was here in the dark, her face taking on strange shadows from the uplighting as she clomped quickly to the limo. Forget waking up in a strange bed and having to put your party dress back on and head home, this is the real walk of shame, after being thrown out of a party that you weren't invited to for being awful. That is the saddest thing there is.
Alexis sat in the back of the limo and closed the door. "Take me home, please," she said to the driver. "I'm sorry miss," he said not turning around and looking at her in the rearview mirror. "I've been instructed to stay. You can't go home. Not yet at least."
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Asgard. The final frontier.
When we got word that a new Thor: The Dark World trailer would be hitting the waves, we laced our anticipation with all the fandom we've built up seeing Chris Hemsworth embody the Marvel demigod in Thor and The Avengers. Lo and behold, the new video does indeed call upon a fantastical blockbuster of recent years, but it's neither of these... the sequel seems, instead, to be strikingly similar to J.J. Abrams' Star Trek franchise.
Check out the trailer and see what we mean:
Not convinced? Take a closer look.
Check out the shot at the 25-second mark, which hearkens back to the interior of the Enterprise.
And how about just a few seconds later — the demonic pillars reigning down upon London recall both Star Trek's Los Angeles, victimized by a monstrous drill, and the terrorized England capital in the trailers for Star Trek into Darkness.
Then there's the mechanical beast at the 1-minute mark: none too far a leap from your Vulcan Bird of Prey, eh?
Finally, 1:20. That guy, the one with the pointy ears and the messed up face, just tell me he's not straight out of the mind of Gene Roddenberry. One part Vulcan, one part Borg, a little bit of Klingon in there. Bam. You've got yourself Star Trek into Dark World.
Catch Thor: The Dark World in theaters Nov. 8... and Star Trek into Darkness on May 17.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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