J.J. Abrams Takes Audience Suggestions For Star Wars: Episode VII

Now that Star Trek Into Darkness is out in the world, director J.J. Abrams will be moving into his role on Star Wars: Episode VII. It will be the first new Star Wars movie in more than 10 years, after the 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith. Needless to say, there is some serious anticipation surrounding Episode VII. With a 2015 release slated, Abrams and his team at Bad Robot are taking their time with this one because they want to get it right for fans and general audiences alike.

While promoting Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about what fans will see in Star Wars: Episode VII. In the video above, Abrams takes audience suggestions for what we should see in the next Star Wars film. Hopefully, most of their suggestions don’t make it into the final film. Do Star Wars fans really want to watch Princess Leia doing it with Chewbacca? The video also reveals that J.J. Abrams is a terrible actor!


Star Trek: The Middle School Musical

There’s nothing cuter than watching a middle school musical version of Star Trek. Rhett & Link created a new YouTube video called “Star Trek: The Middle School Musical” that features middle school students “boldly going where no one has gone before”…with musical numbers. It’s very reminiscent of the type of stage plays the Max Fischer Players would put on in Wes Anderson’s 1998 film Rushmore.

This Star Trek parody is hilarious and charming. It’s great to see kids get into the original Star Trek. The video’s production value is sharp, even though it tries to look cheap and DIY. They even figured out a clever way to “beam” onto planets during the musical.


Neil Gaiman And Alan Moore Kickstart A Collection Of Henry Kuttner’s Stories

If you’re one of GFR’s younger readers, you can be forgiven for not knowing the works of Henry Kuttner. After all, the writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror passed away in 1958, aged only 42. He might not be as well known as Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, or Robert Heinlein, but his legacy traces through the works of Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and Roger Zelazny. In fact, writers Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore are such fans of Kuttner’s work that they’re lending their names to a Kickstarter project that will collect five of Kuttner’s stories.


Paypal Co-Founder Says Movies Like James Cameron’s Avatar Hurt The Tech Industry

NeytiriCinema can often be a reflection of society. It can inform audiences of the troubles, pitfalls, and social issues in contemporary history in an entertaining and thoughtful way. Cinema can also be a vision of the future. Well-made science fiction movies can offer audiences both conceits. Films like The Matrix and Avatar can serve as warnings to humanity that we may become too dependent on technology, whereas movies like Star Trek can expand the role of technology in society.

Co-founder of PayPal, Facebook early investor, and billionaire Peter Thiel has denounced Hollywood for making movies that subscribe to the idea of technology as evil and dangerous. As reported in THR, Thiel told a sold-out audience at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills that sci-fi movies like The Matrix and Avatar contribute to the high-tech industry’s “deceleration” and make technological innovation seem “destructive and dysfunctional.” He added that it will be a “very good sign” when Hollywood stops making movies about horrifying and alarming new technologies.

Thiel praised Star Trek for the role of technology in its vision of the future, stating that “communicators and tablets used by the characters in that old show about the distant future are already a reality.” But The Matrix didn’t hamper technological innovation, but rather embodies it. The filmmaking technology the Wachowskis used in 1999 to make The Matrix was used in countless films thereafter. Ten years later, James Cameron revolutionized science fiction again with Avatar in 2009. In fact, most of Cameron’s films have pushed technological boundaries forward, especially his films in the last two decades or so.

Where movies like The Matrix or Avatar portray the dangers of unchecked technological innovation, it’s because those issues are complex and do have a negative potential as well as a positive one. Thiel’s comments just seem like a cheap shot.


The World’s End U.S. Trailer Kicks Blue-Eyed Robot Ass

Fuck. Yes.

I don’t even know where to start. We finally have the first U.S. trailer for Edgar Wright’s finale to the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End, and it looks fantastic. How many trilogies are there out in cinemaland that fail to cohere and work as a unit? Not counting his other work, Wright has put together three films that are disparate in every way but actors and survival sensibilities.

Watching this trailer makes me ponder what life would have been like if Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost were 1980s film powerhouses. I’m guessing for The World’s End everything would be the same except for the pop culture references. These guys just have whatever “it” is when it comes to timeless chemistry. Then you add in Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Mark Heap, and Eddie Marsan, and you’ve got a line-up that rivals any ensemble film coming out this year. I hope.


Seth MacFarlane’s Resurrection Of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos Airing In 2014

CarlWe live in fascinating but troubling times when it comes to science. Each new month seems to bring more fantastical ways in which the science fiction of yesteryear is becoming the science reality of today. Unfortunately, those hopeful stories are constantly interspersed with tales of yahoos treating science, at best, like an elective they don’t want to participate in, and at worst, like a conspiracy designed solely to undermine their personal religious beliefs. Perhaps more than ever before, we need people like Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. We need passionate defenders of science, people who can make the younger generation excited for and enthusiastic about science. We need…well, Cosmos.

The late Carl Sagan’s iconic 1980 series Cosmos did wonders instilling enthusiasm and wonder about space in a generation too young to have lived through the most productive years of the space race. Now Cosmos is finding new life, courtesy of two well-known figures, one you’d expect to be involved with a project like this (Neil DeGrasse Tyson) and one likely to make you do a double-take (Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane). Now Fox has announced that a new, 13-episode run of Cosmos will indeed hit the air sometime in 2014.

Word that MacFarlane was spearheading a new incarnation of Cosmos first broke in 2011, and there haven’t been any major updates in the time since. MacFarlane is serving as the program’s producer, along with astrophysicist Steven Soter and writer/producer Ann Druyan (who wrote the big-screen adaptation of Sagan’s Contact in the mid ‘90s). Tyson will serve as the show’s host, following in the footsteps of the late Sagan himself. Hopefully, if the series is a hit, we might get more episodes after the first 13 are aired.