The Disney+ launch on November 12 won’t include any MCUTV series, but those should start arriving at rapid pace in Year Two, and one had better believe that these shows will be timed alongside Phase Four movies. Naturally, all of this interconnected storytelling will equate to nerd paradise while theme-park criticism will probably continue to little effect. One of the more intriguing-sounding series, Loki, will of course revolve around Tom Hiddleston’s gloriously-burdened trickster of the MCU.
Details haven’t been too forthcoming on the series, which is no surprise, hough it was revealed earlier this year through a first-look image that time travel is definitely a factor. Now, Kevin Feige has revealed to Bloomberg as part of their profile of the streaming service that Loki’s first season will specifically tie into a Phase Four sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Feige drops this tidbit while dodging budget-related questions:
He does drop one little morsel, though. If you want to understand everything in future Marvel movies, he says, you’ll probably need a Disney+ subscription, because events from the new shows will factor into forthcoming films such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Scarlet Witch will be a key character in that movie, and Feige points out that the Loki series will tie in, too. “I’m not sure we’ve actually acknowledged that before,” he says. “But it does.”
As Slashfilm points out, Loki’s appearance is definitely a newly known wrinkle in the equation in addition to the already-known detail of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch also lending her powers to the Doctor Strange followup. Scarlet Witch, of course, will also appear as one leading half of the WandaVision series that will also unfurl like a 1950s-style sitcom and include cast members from Thor, Ant-Man And The Wasp, and Captain Marvel. All of this interconnectedness is what flowcharts were made for, but if there’s anything that Marvel Studios has proven itself adept at doing, it’s the adept construction of a cinematic universe, which shall only grow more layered with each passing year.
Other detail that arrives in the Bloomberg piece: Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye character was originally headed toward his own movie, but Feige decided that a Disney+ series would work out better. Feige says that Renner was completely onboard with the switch, but Bloomberg couldn’t reach the Arctic Dogs star for comment. It’s been an overwhelmingly bad week for the Hurt Locker actor, so I think we’ll all be alright moving right along and hoping that a new round of Tesseract-Multiverse speculation will begin.
Just days before Disney+ launches with the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and more, the Walt Disney Co today finds itself again on the receiving end of a potential pay-equity class action lawsuit that could make digital dreams disappear in a fog of legal smoke.
“Well-supported claims must be investigated, not dismissed,” declares the opposition read it here to the House of Mouse’s desire to shatter the class action first filed on April 3 by long-term employees LaRonda Rasmussen and Karen Moorein seeking back pay, lost benefits and other compensation, “The goals of California's Equal Pay Act cannot be realized if women's voices are silenced and discovery is curtailed.”
Calling the potentially multimillion-dollar matter “an assortment of individual claims, based on highly individualized allegations,” Disney pushed back hard in October 18 paperwork of its own seeking to stop class action certification. Stating unequivocally that the company does not discriminate based on gender, Disney also cautioned that determining if it was in fact violating California’s Fair Pay Act would prove impossible due to the size and complexity of the organization.
“The parties do not need to litigate this case for three years to discover what is clear today — Plaintiffs' claims are not appropriate for class or representative treatment,” asserted Felicia Davis of Paul Hasting LLP on behalf of her clients at the Bob Iger-run entertainment giant against the allegations of now 10 female Disney employees.
Hold on there Bobby, says the plaintiff and their main lawyer Lori Andrus, at least let the process progress.
“Ten women have bravely come forward to demand that The Walt Disney Company and its affiliated companies pay women equally to men, as the law requires,” the 22-page opposition filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court adds. “Given the compelling nature of their stories —which Disney does not challenge in its Demurrer to Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, or in the Alternative, Motion to Strike Class and PAGA Representative Action Allegations —it is not surprising that Disney hopes to block their collective efforts to let women succeed at ‘The Place Where Dreams Come True.'”
“The allegations included in the Second Amended Complaint satisfactorily plead all the elements of a claim under the Equal Pay Act,” the opposition document notes. “As discussed herein, the Complaint contains plenty of ‘glue’ holding Plaintiffs' claims together with the other women they seek to represent. Nonetheless, Disney's Demurrer seeks to shortcut the discovery process and try Plaintiffs' entire case at the outset.”
“Disney is attempting to put the cart before the horse,” Andrus Anderson partner Lori Andrus added to Deadline today. “It wants to try the whole case before we've gotten access to their corporate records and compensation information.”
“Disney is firmly committed to equitable pay and is prepared to engage with any individual who believes they are not paid equally,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline on Wednesday. “To suit their own purposes, plaintiffs' counsel has wholly mischaracterized the company's motion. What Disney is challenging is plaintiffs' counsel's attempt to invoke a class action procedure that is unsuited to the resolution of claims that are, by their nature, inherently individualized. In fact, we are not aware of any court that has approved this class action approach in similar cases.”
The matter of Disney’s move to put the brakes on the class action before it receives certification will be heard in Judge Daniel Buckley’s Los Angeles Superior Court courtroom on December 11. Before then, and with the knowledge that Buckley has expressed some doubts about certification himself in the case, Disney plans on filing a response to the plaintiffs’ response.
In the meantime, it should be noted that Disney has not signed the Golden State’s Equal Pay Pledge for its more than 60,000 employees in California. Strongly supported by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the pledge has already attracted ink from several media behemoths like Apple and AT&T. The Tim Cook-run company has just launched its foray into the streaming war with AppleTV+; AT&T is set to follow with its HBO Max next March.
Early last year, a report came out revealing that Disney planned to turn its beloved 1990s franchise The Mighty Ducks into a TV series. Last November, word arrived that the show was being configured for the new streaming service Disney+, but things have been quiet since then. Now we finally have some news about the upcoming show, including a logline which lays out how this story will be slightly different than the movies that ’90s kids grew up watching.
/Film has received a pre-production breakdown of the half-hour series, which reveals that it will shoot in Vancouver from February 10, 2020 until June 1, 2020. Here’s the logline for the new series:
After getting kicked off the junior division Mighty Ducks team, a 13-year-old boy and his mom decide to start their own team, finding players, a coach, and a place to play.
That’s quite a diversion from the plot of the first movie, which features a hotshot lawyer being forced to coach a Pee-Wee team as punishment for a drunk driving incident. In the movie, coach Gordon Bombay Emilio Estevez gradually rediscovers his childhood love of the game of hockey and renames his ragtag team The Mighty Ducks, forming an underdog squad that eventually goes on to overcome the reigning champs of the league.
But it sounds like the Ducks are already an established team in the world of this show, and there’s no mention of Bombay specifically. In fact, no casting announcements have been made yet at all, so there’s still a chance Estevez could return to reprise his part, maybe stepping into the mentor role played by Hans Joss Ackland in the films. Joshua Jackson played the young Mighty Ducks player Charlie Conway in the movies and seemed to be following in Bombay’s footsteps, so I expected this show to take the Cobra Kai approach and have him slide into the new coach role. That could technically still happen – Jackson is currently filming a mini-series – but no word yet if that’s the direction they’re actually going to take here.
Interestingly, the earliest reports about this show suggested that original Mighty Ducks producer Jordan Kerner would be involved with this TV version, but his name is not on the official crew list. However, Steven Brill, who wrote all three Ducks films and produced both of the sequels, is still on board as an executive producer here. He’s joined by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, George Heller, and Brad Petrigala, who are all also executive producers.
Based on these shooting dates, the show could debut sometime in the second half of 2020, but Disney+ has yet to issue an official premiere date. Stay tuned for more Mighty Ducks news as we learn it.
Disney+'s original unscripted slate is expanding into game shows with The Big Fib, hosted by Community alumna Yvette Nicole Brown. The streamer has ordered 30 episodes of the half-hour game show for kids, based on the popular Gen-Z Media podcast Pants on Fire.
Brown, one of the stars of Lady and the Tramp, Disney+'s upcoming live-action adaptation of the1955 animated classic, which will be available at launch on Nov. 12, will be joined by co-host Rhys Darby Jumanji: Welcome To the Jungle.
In The Big Fib, two grown-ups claim to be experts on a topic and one of them is lying. It'll be up to our kid contestant to try and figure out which one is telling “the big fib”. Described as “big fun with a mission,” the series, from Haymaker Prods. Southern Charm, features fascinating facts, tricky fibs, a supportive host and a lovably goofy robot.
The Big Fib is executive produced by Aaron Rothman, Josh Halpert, and Irad Eyal of Haymaker Prods. along with Ben Strouse of Gen-Z Media.
Disney+'s inaugural non-scripted slate features mostly documentary and competition reality series, including Marvel's Hero Project, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Ink & Paint and Be Our Chef.
Gen-Z Media specializes in fun scripted podcasts featuring humor and heart. Gen-Z founders, Ben Strouse, David Kreizman, and Chris Tarry are co-creators of the Peabody award-winning podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel Disney/Anonymous Content.
The Big Fib was co-packaged by Verve, which reps Gen-Z Media, and CAA, which reps Haymaker Prods.
At Disney, Brown also voices a character on hit series Elena of Avalor. Darby next is set to reprise his role as in-game guide Nigel in Jumanji: The Next Level.
Even though the list of pretty much everything that will be available when Disney+ launches next week has already been revealed, The Walt Disney Company seems to have been holding back some heavy hitters. Last week, James Cameron’s Avatar was announced to officially be part of the launch day roster of movies in the Disney+ streaming library, and now we have word that Avengers: Endgame will be hitting the service earlier than the previously announced December window.
Here’s the announcement from the official Disney+ Twitter account with some hip lingo for the kids:
Oh snap! #AvengersEndgame is coming to #DisneyPlus. Start streaming the epic finale to @MarvelStudios’ Infinity Saga on November 12 in the US, Canada and Netherlands and on November 19 in Australia and New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/Bc2Ev83DuD
— Disney+ @disneyplus November 6, 2019
Originally slated to be part of the Disney+ streaming library in December, Avengers: Endgame will now be available to watch over and over again starting on launch day, November 12, in the United States, Canada and Netherlands. It will also be available when the service launches in Australia and New Zealand the following week on November 19. So get ready to assemble your Avengers and have a viewing party.
Since Avengers: Endgame is now the highest grossing movie of all-time, this could be something that convinces previous holdouts to at least give Disney+ a try. Though the movie has been out on digital, Blu-ray and DVD for a little while now, the price of a Disney+ subscription will not only give you access to that movie for far cheaper than the purchase price of Avengers: Endgame on home video, but it will give you access to hundreds of other movies and TV shows.
However, don’t forget that not all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that led up to Avengers: Endgame will be available on launch day. Since there were some licensing deals that couldn’t be worked out before the launch of Disney+, fans will have to wait to see some titles in that streaming library for a little while. But hopefully all of the movies in the MCU will be available there at the same time eventually.
If you’re still on the fence about Disney+, we just recently reviewed the first episodes of most of the new original shows that will be available on launch day next week. That includes High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, The Imagineering Story, Encore! and Marvel Hero Project. Unfortunately, The Mandalorian is being held back until November 12, but we’ll definitely have our first reactions to that show as soon as it’s available, so stay tuned.
Welcome to The Emperor Reborn, a three-part series examining the role of Sheev Palpatine and the long shadow he casts over the Skywalker Saga, including the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker .
In chapter two of The Emperor Reborn, we take a look at the Emperor’s role in the prequel trilogy and how he’s been expanded in the new, Disney-approved canon.
The Phantom Menace: The Prequel Trilogy
“Everybody believes it’s Darth Vader who’s the really ultimate bad guy, but the guy who’s truly evil is Palpatine. He has manipulated this whole saga.” – Rick McCallum
While it appears in Alan Dean Foster’s 1976 novelization, the name Palpatine would not be used in a Star Wars film until 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In the movie, which is set 32 years before A New Hope, Palpatine – played again by McDiarmid – is a Galactic Senator from the planet Naboo and Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith and master to apprentice Darth Maul. By manipulating Queen Padmé Amidala and the Trade Federation’s Nute Gunray, Sidious orchestrates the invasion of Naboo and uses the conflict to become Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.
In 2002’s Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set 10 years later, Palpatine manufactures a galactic civil war. His new apprentice, Darth Tyrannus aka Count Dooku, rallies thousands of star systems into declaring independence from the Republic, forming the Confederacy of Independent Systems, with Dooku as its leader.
Meanwhile, Palpatine plants the seeds of attachment and possession in Anakin Skywalker by arranging for the young Jedi to serve as bodyguard to Padmé Amidala on Naboo. Away from the Jedi and the Senate, they fall in love and marry, something that is forbidden by the Jedi Order.
When it’s revealed that the Separatists are amassing forces, Palpatine uses the crisis to seize more power from the Galactic Senate. He is granted emergency wartime powers by Representative Jar Jar Binks and vows to create a Grand Army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists. Begun the Clone War has.
“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be… unnatural.” – Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
In 2005’s Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, set three years later, Palpatine continues his campaign of corruption by ordering Anakin Skywalker to kill Count Dooku in cold blood. Suspicious of the Jedi, Palpatine appoints Anakin as his representative on the Jedi Council, who deny Anakin the rank of Jedi Master and order him to spy on the Chancellor.
Palpatine tells a conflicted Anakin “The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise,” a legend about a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. “He had such a knowledge of the dark side he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.” According to Palpatine, Plagueis taught his apprentice Sidious everything, only to be betrayed and murdered by him. Eventually, Palpatine reveals his true identity to Anakin; he knows that Anakin has been having visions of Padmé’s death, and offers to teach him dark side secrets to save her life.
Anakin pledges himself to the dark side as Palpatine’s Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. Palpatine issues Order 66, commanding the Republic’s clone army to turn on their Jedi generals while dispatching Vader to kill everyone inside the Jedi Temple and then deal with the Separatist leaders on the planet Mustafar. At last, Palpatine’s long con has paid off; the war is over, the Separatists are dead, and the treacherous Jedi are all but extinct.
In an address to the Galactic Senate, Palpatine announces that the Republic will be reorganized into a Galactic Empire, to ensure security and continuing stability with himself as Emperor.
Master of the Dark Arts: The New Canon
On April 25, 2014, after a year of ownership by the Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm confirmed that the Sequel Trilogy would not adhere to the post–Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe continuity. LucasBooks Senior Editor Jennifer Heddle stated that the EU as a whole would no longer be considered canon and that it would be rebranded as “Legends,” with related publications remaining in print under that banner.
Now, the Star Wars canon is comprised of the films and television series – Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance – as well as comics, books, and games published after April 25, 2014, as the Lucasfilm Story Group oversees continuity as a whole for the brand.
While Dark Empire is no longer canon, there are plenty of new stories that are Palpatine-centric. If you haven’t kept up with Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels, you might have been a little confused when Darth Maul popped up in Solo: A Star Wars Story. That’s because the character survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace and went on to appear in the animated series. Like his former apprentice, Palpatine has continued to develop as a character throughout the new canon.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine voiced by Ian Abercrombie from 2008-2012 and Tim Curry from 2012-2014 continues to serve as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic while his Sith identity manipulates both sides of the Clone Wars.
Sidious hires bounty hunter Cad Bane to infiltrate the Jedi Temple and steal a holocron containing a list of the galaxy’s Force-sensitive children – the very future of the Jedi Order. Sidious wants to bring the younglings to his secret facility on Mustafar and turn them into Sith spies, but his plan is foiled by Anakin Skywalker and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano.
Later, Sidious orders Dooku to eliminate Asajj Ventress, as he suspects that his apprentice is planning to have the dark side disciple assassinate him. Ventress survives, and her vendetta against Dooku sets off a chain of events including the return of Sidious’ former apprentice, Darth Maul, and his brother, Savage Opress.
In addition to learning more about Palpatine, The Clone Wars further explored the Force itself, as well as the prophecy of the Chosen One. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano visit Mortis, an ethereal realm within the Force that’s home to three Force wielders locked in an eternal struggle: the Son, who represents the dark side; the Daughter, who represents the light; and the Father, who maintains the balance of the Force between them.
In season six, Yoda enters the Valley of the Dark Lords on Moraband – the ancient homeworld of the Sith Order – where he encounters the spirit of Darth Bane, the founder of the Rule of Two. Sensing the Jedi Master’s presence, Sidious exploits the Force-bond between Dooku and Yoda and uses Sith sorcery to cast an illusion to deceive and corrupt the Jedi, but his plan ultimately fails.
The Emperor also appears in the comic book series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith by Kieron Gillen and Charles Soule, which suggests that Palpatine manipulated the Force to impregnate Vader’s mother, Shmi Skywalker, making him, in essence, Vader’s father. While left somewhat ambiguous, Palpatine does say in Revenge of the Sith that his master taught him everything he knew, so it’s entirely possible that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.
One of the first four novels published in the franchise after Lucasfilm reset Star Wars continuity, James Luceno’s Tarkin features Palpatine prominently. The book, which chronicles Wilhuff Tarkin’s rise through the ranks of the Empire and his relationships with the Emperor and Darth Vader, reveals Palpatine’s first name — Sheev. Prior to 2014, Palpatine was not given a first name in any canonical or “Star Wars Legends” sources.
In Paul S. Kemp‘s Lords of the Sith, set 14 years before A New Hope, Emperor Palpatine and Vader find themselves stranded on the planet Ryloth. There, they are hunted by an army Twi’lek freedom fighters led by Cham Syndulla, with only their lightsabers, the dark side, and each other to depend on.
The animated series Star Wars Rebels, set five years before A New Hope, shows the Emperor’s obsession with “unlocking” the Jedi Temple on Lothal which features a painting of the Mortis gods and entering “The World Between Worlds,” a mystical plane that exists between time and space, linking all moments in time together. Using Sith sorcery, the Emperor voiced by McDiarmid attempts to seize control of the plane and control the universe, but Ezra Bridger and Ahsoka Tano thwart his plans.
In the new canon, there is a precedent for the spirits of Sith to remain bound to the living world through an object or location, corrupting and even possessing those who come into contact with them. In Star Wars: Lando, the Marvel comic miniseries set before The Empire Strikes Back, Lando Calrissian and Lobot steal The Imperialis, the Emperor’s luxury pleasure yacht, in hopes of selling off the ship’s treasures.
Inside the vessel’s central chamber, the scoundrel discovers several Sith artifacts, including the Mask of Lord Momlin, a helmet created by the Sith Lord and sculptor, Lord Momin. Momlin, like Palpatine’s former master, believed in achieving power through creation, rather than destruction. His helmet could not only corrupt and control individuals but communicate with them as well. In the miniseries, Momlin’s mask possesses members of Calrissian’s crew, forcing the smuggler to abandon the ship and set it for self-destruct.
Set immediately after the events of Return of the Jedi, both the Star Wars: Aftermath series of books and the video game, Star Wars: Battlefront II, explore the Emperor’s contingency plan. Before his untimely demise, Palpatine creates the Contingency to dismantle the Galactic Empire in the event of his death. The Empire, he believes, does not deserve to survive without its Emperor.
Thirty years before the Battle of Yavin, while Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, Palpatine initiates the construction of an Observatory on the remote desert planet of Jakku. Built over a borehole that leads directly to the planet’s core, the facility houses a replica of the Imperialis and many Sith relics and artifacts.
The Jakku Observatory plays a vital role in the Emperor’s contingency plan. After the Battle of Endor, Palpatine’s protégé, Gallius Rax, assumes control of the Empire and concentrates its remaining forces on Jakku. There, the Empire makes its last stand against the New Republic.
During the Battle of Jakku, Rax and Yupe Tashu pour Sith relics down the borehole to detonate Jakku’s core and trigger a cataclysm. Tashu, a Sith historian and one of Palpatine’s closest advisers, is convinced that the Emperor isn’t dead and that they will find him in the Unknown Regions.
“Palpatine lives on. We will find him again out there in the dark. Everything has arranged itself as our master foretold. All things move toward the grand design.” – Yupe Tashu
In Chuck Wendig‘s Aftermath, Tashu mentions that some Sith Lords were able to siphon the Force from other lifeforms to extend their own lives for centuries beyond their natural expiration. Rax kills Tashu as part of the Contingency, pushing him into the borehole. His plan to destroy Jakku and the forces orbiting it is only partially successful, however. Before Rax can escape off-world with Brendol Hux, his young son Armitage, and their child soldiers aboard the Imperialis, he is killed by Grand Admiral Sloane with the help of Norra Wexley and Brentin Lore Wexley.
With Rax dead, Hux and a select number of “worthy” Imperial officers and personnel flee to the Unknown Regions to carry out the final part of the Contingency. There, among the black holes and gravity wells, the Galactic Empire will be reborn as the First Order, with Hux training a new generation of stormtroopers — child conscripts trained from birth and programmed for absolute loyalty.
In Palpatine’s absence, the First Order is led by Supreme Leader Snoke, a force-sensitive humanoid alien from the Unknown Regions. A master of the dark side of the Force, Snoke is not a member of the Sith but shares their disdain for the Jedi Order. Curiously, he wears a gold ring inscribed with glyphs from the Four Sages of Dwartii, encrusted with obsidian from the Sith cave beneath Fortress Vader on Mustafar. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine kept bronzium statues of the Four Sages in his office and chambers on Coruscant.
In his pursuit for galactic conquest, Snoke lures Vader’s grandson, Ben Solo, away from the Jedi path. As the newly anointed Kylo Ren, Solo all but destroys the Jedi Order, except for his uncle and mentor, Luke Skywalker, who flees into exile as the last Jedi of his time.
Return tomorrow for the third and final chapter of this series, where we explore Palpatine’s influence on the sequel trilogy and beyond.