Over the last weekend, 20th Century Fox made a big splash and, after several delays, set release dates for the next four Avatar films. Avatar 2 will come out December 18, 2020, followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. After a three-year gap, Avatar 4 will open on December 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 is set for December 19, 2025.
Alongside, Fox also provided new release dates for its upcoming superhero films, and adjusted the schedule for previously known ones. X-Men: The New Mutants will start the year on April 13, 2018; Deadpool 2 is moving from its February slot to June 1, 2018; and X-Men: Dark Phoenix lands November 2, 2018.
On Monday, we got a proper trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, after the stunt it pulled last week. The main characters from the first film return this time around, and there are new cast members, thanks to the new setting in the US. Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens on September 22, 2017.
The following day, Disney announced that it would be moving up Star Wars: Episode IX to May 24, 2019 from its traditional December slot, which is a surprising move considering the late month has worked for both The Force Awakens, and Rogue One. Could Episode IX be split into two parts, like studios have done with the last chapter in recent years? Think Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games.
Later that day, Disney adjusted its wider release schedule, and provided dates for the live-action remake of The Lion King, sequel to Frozen, and many more. Don't forget to check out the full list.
On the same day, The Wrap reported that The Lion King's singing duo, Timon and Pumbaa, had been cast. Comedian Billy Eichner and actor producer Seth Rogen will play the two parts, with Donald Glover voicing Simba, and James Earl Jones reprising the role of his father Mufasa. Jon Favreau, who handled the live-action Jungle Book, is in the director's chair.
That's all the entertainment news for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, your one-stop destination for what to watch, play, or listen to this weekend. Here are the best picks:
The Handmaid's Tale
Hulu's new original – from creator, showrunner, and executive producer Bruce Miller – is based on Canadian author Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel of the same name. It's set in near-future New England where a totalitarian military dictatorship has overthrown the United States government, and established a rigid system that subjugates women in the name of declining fertility rates.
The show follows a handmaid named Offred (Elisabeth Moss), who is enslaved to produce a child for Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), while protecting herself from the ills of the society around her. Handmaids are supposed to not speak up, or read in Gilead, and Offred follows the rules without a meep so she can one day find the daughter taken from her.
The Handmaid's Tale began its first season earlier this week with a triple-header, and it's easily one of the best shows to come out this year. Moss is terrific in her role, and it helps that acclaimed cinematographer Reed Morano is at the helm for the series opening.
How to access: Hulu
Time commitment: 3 hours first week, 1 hour weekly thereafter
Dear White People
In 2014, Justin Simien delivered an indie hit at the Sundance Film Festival with Dear White People, a deep-cutting satire that explored racial tensions at a prestigious Ivy League college through the perspective of several African-American students. Now, Simien takes the concept to Netflix, which will allow him to explore the subject matter in a broader fashion.
The story follows biracial film major Samantha White (Logan Browning), who creates controversy with a radio show at the fictional college she attends, while Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), the son of the dean of students, attempts to become the first black student president. As is the case with Netflix shows, the full season – of ten episodes – is now available on the service, starting Friday.
Critics have praised the show from what they've seen, for how Simien handles two different things – complex identity issues on one hand, and sharp witty comedy on the other, that carries thought-provoking views of race.
How to access: Netflix
Time commitment: 5 hours
La La Land
Damien Chazelle's follow-up to triple Oscar-winner Whiplash won six Oscars for itself back in February, but it'll be remembered for being involved in a historic mix-up at the awards ceremony, that saw it crowned as Best Picture for about, 45 seconds. It's still one of the best movies from last year, nonetheless.
La La Land – starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – tells the story of barista and aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Stone) and struggling jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder (Gosling) who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. Chazelle explores the fantasy and charm of Los Angeles through the two characters, while they try to find the balance between their personal and professional lives.
The film shines thanks to Gosling and Stone's on-screen chemistry – the latter's work won her the Oscar for Best Actress – Chazelle's smart direction, and its many musical numbers. Yes, the film is a musical – and both Gosling and Stone learnt tap dancing amongst other skills for the movie.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
On the face of it, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not a new game. It landed on the Wii U almost three years ago, and has sold eight million copies since to become the console's best-selling title. That's why Nintendo is marketing it as “the definitive version of Mario Kart 8”, which improves upon the original in a few ways.
Firstly, all the downloadable content (DLC) made for the Wii U version is available at launch, and every track is unlocked from the start. The Battle Mode has been revamped to make it like previous Mario Kart titles, which means you'll have an enclosed arena to drive around. You'll also get many new courses, like Urchin Underpass and Battle Stadium, along with new characters in the Inklings, from Splatoon 2.
The game supports 4-player local multiplayer in full-HD when docked, and up to 8 players in local wireless. There's even a Smart Steering feature to make driving easy for beginners and children. If you've got a Nintendo Switch, it's a must-buy.
How to access: Nintendo Switch
Time commitment: As much as you want, really
What Remains of Edith Finch
Made by studio Giant Sparrow – who won a BAFTA for their debut title, The Unfinished Swan – What Remains of Edith Finch is a first-person narrative adventure game, set in the state of Washington, surrounding the Finch family. The game is described as a collection of short stories, with each of them focusing on the death of a different family member.
Since no two people are alike, each short story has its own look and feel, all explored through the eyes of 17-year-old Edith Finch. It makes for an enchanting and upsetting journey, as we slowly learn more about the tragedies that befell the Finches. What Remains of Edith Finch will break your heart, and (possibly) even make you cry, but it's ultimately sanguine.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Since 2006, Canadian studio Relic Entertainment – previously known as THQ Canada – have worked on just two properties: the WWII-focused Company of Heroes, and military sci-fi Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. The former is easily one of the best real-time strategy (RTS) games, and the latter stand as an equally strong outing in its category.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, which released Thursday, is the third instalment in the long-running franchise, but it does a decent job of appealing to newcomers. The campaign explains the series' lore properly, and a tutorial introduces you to gameplay mechanics, so you know what you're supposed to be doing.
We loved the game, as you can read in our review, as it shows a surprising amount of depth, and good gameplay balance, along with a bit of flair in the form of super attacks, and hero units. The only thing that disappointed us was the lack of more multiplayer modes.
How to access: Steam for Windows PCs
Time commitment: As much as you want, really