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Transformers 4 Will Shoot In China

Transformers

A few weeks ago, Paramount Pictures announced that the production of Transformers 4 would head to Michigan to shoot in the Great Lakes State and the city of Detroit. It also appears that Transformers 4 will head to China to secure distribution in the world’s second-biggest — but also closed off — box office market.

Paramount Pictures announced a new partnership with Chinese movie production companies China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises. This means that some of Transformers 4 will be made in China and will feature a number of prominent Chinese actors. China is a large player in worldwide movie distribution, so it’s important for Hollywood movie studios to tap into this lucrative market. By law, only a small number of foreign movies, including ol’ fashioned American movies, can be distributed throughout China, but if a film was co-financed or was a Chinese co-production then that would guarantee distribution in the country.

Teaming up with Chinese producers and financiers has become a trend in Hollywood, and movies like Iron Man 3 and Rian Johnson’s Looper reaped the benefits of a bigger worldwide box office. Transformers 4 will most likely follow suit.

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Iain Banks, Acclaimed Science Fiction Author, Has Terminal Cancer

Iain Banks

And now the kind of story I wish I never had to write up. Hugo-winning science fiction writer Iain Banks, perhaps best known for his The Culture series, has revealed that he has terminal cancer, and likely won’t survive the year.

Banks, currently aged 59, took to his website to share the sad news, revealing that the cancer originated in his gall bladder, but has now spread to his liver and possibly his pancreas and lymph nodes. That’s a dire and daunting reality to face, but I hope Banks can take some comfort in the knowledge that his writing has touched a great many people over the years, and will live on even in his passing.

You can read Banks’ full statement below, as well as some more about his long career.

I am officially Very Poorly. After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, but that – it turns out – is the least of my problems.

I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day. When it hadn’t gone away by mid February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March.

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Oblivion Featurette Focuses On The Film’s IMAX Presentation

Opening in a few short weeks, Oblivion could be the first blockbuster of 2013. Joseph Kosinski’s follow-up to Tron: Legacy looks like a beautiful movie, but does it have the narrative to keep audiences across the country engaged and entertained? One of the selling points for Oblivion, depicted in the video above, is its epic scale, delivered in the cinematic IMAX format.

Over the past few weeks, Universal has been releasing featurettes about Oblivion’s production and design. Joseph Kosinski called the film a “beautiful desolation,” with the dazzling backgrounds of its Sky Tower sequences and physics-defying Bubble Ship. Kosinski says he wants to bring science fiction back to the daytime after movies like Ridley Scott’s Alien trapped the genre in darkness. All of those amazing images will look even better on a giant 76 x 97 foot movie screen.

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Misfits Canceled After Five Seasons

misfits

One of the best TV shows out of the United Kingdom in recent years, Misfits has been canceled, and SciFiNow reports that the upcoming fifth season will be its last. While the show is based out of England on the U.K.’s Channel 4, viewers in the United States can enjoy the misadventures of a group of young community service workers who were given superpowers after a freak lightning storm on Hulu Plus.

The TV series started in 2009 and featured a very promising storyline with equally promising young British actors. Unfortunately, after three more than solid seasons, Misfits declined in quality after its star, Robert Sheehan (who played the character Nathan), left the series after season two.

The series recovered somewhat in season three with the rest of the original cast, but when Lauren Socha (Kelly) left the show due to a police charge of racially aggravated assault, Antonia Thomas (Alisha) left to pursue a movie career in the U.K., and Iwan Rheon (Simon) left the show as well. Misfits couldn’t recover after losing so many actors. The only cast member who stayed on the TV series was Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Curtis), who will not be featured in the upcoming season five.

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Defiance Game Launch Trailer Brings The Action

Defiance is one of the more ambitious science fiction projects to come along in a while. The Syfy TV series launches on April 15th, with Farscape’s Rockne S. O’Bannon as an executive producer and a cast that includes Dexter/Angel’s Julie Benz and Warehouse 13’s Jaime Murray. But Defiance is also an MMO, with the game existing in the same universe as the series, each feeding into the other. You don’t have to play Defiance the game to enjoy Defiance the show, but if you do get involved in both, the interplay between the two could be a lot of fun. And based on the action-packed launch trailer up above, Defiance the game looks like it might be worth checking out.

A third-person shooter MMO, the Defiance game casts players as an “Ark Hunter,” a mercenary sort who is always on the look for alien technology that occasionally crash to the Earth’s surface. See, Defiance is set in the aftermath of a long war between humanity and an invading species who had come to our homeworld to colonize after fleeing their own system. Between the war and some runaway terraforming tech, Earth is a very different place than it once was, with humans and aliens now forced to live and work with each other. Or, in the case of Ark Hunters, occasionally shoot each other in the face so they can’t steal your haul.

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Zoe Saldana Will Play Gamora In Guardians Of The Galaxy

Saldana

Marvel’s super-hero space opera Guardians of the Galaxy continues to come together, with THR confirming that Star Trek’s Zoe Saldana is in talks to play the female lead role of Gamora. Assuming they hammer out a deal, she’ll join Zero Dark Thirty/Parks & Recreation’s Chris Pratt as Star-Lord and Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer.

Not to be confused with the giant Japanese turtle monster, Gamora is a green-skinned alien created by Jim Starlin in 1975. The last of her race, Gamora is has incredible strength and a Wolverine-style healing factor. If the rumors that the film’s villain will be Thanos prove true, Gamora will definitely have a personal stake in the story: in the comics she was Thanos’ adopted daughter. It’s unclear if/how that element of her backstory will be used in the movie. It certainly has narrative potential, and I could very easily see her begin the movie as a villain, only to switch sides and join the Guardians later. You can see Gamora in the concept art below, standing at the far right.

Guardians will add yet another notch to Saldana’s +1 Belt of Geek Cred. She’s perhaps best known for playing Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films, but she also appeared (via motion capture) as Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar. Guardians won’t be her first comic book role either: she played Aisha in 2010’s The Losers, based on the Vertigo comic series created by Andy Diggle.