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The Scifi Films and Television of 2019

Another year, another new set of films and TV! Here’s what we have so far–
Men in Black International
GODZILLA: King of the Monsters
Terminator 6
Star Wars: Episode IX
Ad Astra
Beyond White Space
Fast Color
High Life
Gemini Man
The Last Man
The Wandering Earth
Warriors of Future
Chimera Strain

Weird City Season 1
The Orville Season 2
Star Wars: Resistance Season 1
Roswell, New Mexico Season 1
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2
Stranger Things Season 3
The Expanse Season 4
Killjoys Season 5
The Twilight Zone Season 1
War of the Worlds Series 1
Lost in Space Season 2
The Mandalorian Season 1
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7
WestWorld Season 3
Snowpiercer Season 1

This is the second year where I’ve had to expand the categories from just film to television as well. What do you think about this explosion of Scifi on the small screen and what are you most looking forward to on either?

Last movie seen

Mortal Engines (2018)

Beautiful designs throughout. A really interesting world full of uninteresting people. The characters are never really given anytime to breath or endear themselves to the audience. Instead the film rushes at a breakneck speed seemingly trying to stuff every last plot point from the book into a two hour run time. The material feels like it would have lended itself more to a mini-series.

Last movie seen

AQUAMAN (2018)

This felt like what a modern Republic serial would be like. A real fun popcorn movie. I don’t think you could make a better movie about this character.

Bumblebee (2018)

The first Transformers movie with heart. Great little film, it’s a wonder what can be done when Michael Bay isn’t at the helm. Also shows how well the G1 designs would have looked in live action. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more from Travis Knight in the future.

Last movie seen

Once Upon a Deadpool (2018)

About what I expected. A PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 bookended by Fred Savage. It was about as funny as the original cut with different jokes and some alternate scenes. Real nice tribute to Stan Lee in the film and a surprisingly touching clip after the credits.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)

Wow. Best super hero film I’ve seen in a long time. Definitely the best Spider-man film. It’s getting award buzz, I hope it does well at the box office.

All Things Star Trek

Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman

Having started playing Star Trek Online recently and with the announcement of the new Picard series I suddenly found myself interested in what the novel canon for the Prime Timeline was like post-Nemesis. So I decided to dive in. This book is set just after the events of Nemesis and primarily takes place on a conquered world in Romulan space. I liked how it utilized little tidbits of information that were dropped in the television series and expanded on them to support the novel’s narrative. Especially since I had just heard that information while doing a rewatch of TNG before encountering it in the book. Overall a nice diversion but I think the meat and potatoes of this era will be in the Titan novels that follow Riker into his first command.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

DominicCobb said:

I don’t really see the need for a “narrative lead.”

The only reason the ST has a chance of feeling like its narratively cohesive is that Abrams is returning. Had Trevorrow headed IX as was originally intended, it would have ended in disaster.

The canon is already a mess thanks to giving everyone free reign to take things wherever they want.

The GCW ends just a year after ROTJ thanks to Wendig, 30 years of potential were thrown out when Gray cemented that it was a solid period of peace and complacency. TFA is the very start of the new war and TLJ leaves no gap at all for anything in-between.

It would have been incredibly simple to work in room for expansion without affecting the narratives of either film but no one was there to guide it. It’s all a lopsided patchwork that will only get worse over time.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

DominicCobb said:

I still fail to see what the difference is, if one even exists. I don’t know how you could look at, say, the three Thor movies and say there’s one clear vision guiding them.

Feige has been guiding the MCU in phases. Phase I had all of the films introducing and leading into the Avengers. Phase II began introducing the Infinity Stones, and Phase III has been leading into the final confrontation that will retire most of the original heroes and introduce the next generation. Throughout each step Feige was the one deciding on which hero to focus on next and where the story of the franchise as whole is heading.

Feige has a vision for the Marvel franchise, sure, but so does Kennedy with SW.

And that vision would be…?

The Sequel Trilogy was conceived by George on his way out and Kennedy has gone about executing it. The standalone films were an answer to Iger’s demand of having a minimum of one film a year. Rogue One was a random pitch from John Knoll, Solo was done as a favor to Lawrence Kasdan for agreeing to help with the re-write of The Force Awakens.

Feige is intimately familiar with the Marvel franchise and is actively shaping its cinematic universe. Kennedy on the other hand hasn’t displayed much familiarity with Star Wars and the decisions thus far have all seemed strictly reactionary. Should Kennedy leave? No not at all but it would probably be a good idea to appoint a Narrative Lead to figure out where Star Wars can go from here.

All Things Star Trek

Axanar is back in production!

Is Axanar still going? We hear that a lot from people just watching our new video updates on YouTube. So to get everyone up to speed, here is a round up! Some of you may know this, and for some it may be all new, but we want to make sure everyone knows what is happening as we move towards shooting in a few months!

As part of the settlement agreement with CBS & Paramount we are allowed to make two more 15 minute episodes, not the full movie we had planned. The question was what to make?

Now when we made Prelude to Axanar , we thought we should make it a part of a series, like The World at War, the famous BBC series narrated by Sir Lawrence Olivier and which a lot of us grew up on (You can read a good article on The World at War here, and its Wikipedia page is here).

The idea was to make Prelude LOOK like it was part of a series. But we had no intention of ever making episodes 4 & 5, let alone 1 & 2. Prelude was meant to be a proof of concept, followed up by the full length movie Axanar.

Fast forward three years and we settle the ridiculous lawsuit by CBS and Paramount. As part of the settlement, we are allowed to make two more 15 minute episodes, or 30 minutes total, and so I took the Axanar feature film script and trimmed it down and reformatted it to tell the story in 30 minutes.

Click here to read the full Production Update.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

DominicCobb said:

Not sure why people care so much about there being a plan, the vast majority of cinematic series never had a definite one either.

The difference is that even if its not planned out and something is being created as it goes along, there’s one person there guiding it along.

The OT while not all written strictly by George, was guided by George.

The MCU is being guided by Kevin Feige and they’ve had directors quit because they didn’t want to incorporate elements to setup and support future films.

The ST has no one, each director was left to do whatever they wanted with their entry. Kennedy is a brilliant producer but she doesn’t seem to have a vision for where to take the franchise.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

nl0428 said:

lpd said:

Just don’t know to be honest, its been shown since star wars 77 and especially over the last two movies that its really being changed and evolving on the move. ie:It really didn’t have an arc. Each movie is being written on the fly. I really think that’s why that scene was thrown on the end of Solo.
But what do I know?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that the sequel trilogy is being changed in between films. I believe that J.J. set up that Rey’s parents were nobody, and that is something that Rian Johnson carried over into The Last Jedi. I also think that J.J. intentionally also set up the romantic relationship being developed between Rey and Kylo Ren.

Let’s take a look at what Rian himself has had to say on the matter:


So what are the train tracks when you set out to write? Presumably, you can’t kill off half the cast, or have them all form a jazz ensemble and leave this life of adventuring behind.

RJ: Maybe not the jazz thing [laughs]. But you can kill off whoever you want. I don’t know. I’ll give the caveat that I was coming into it wanting to make something that felt like Star Wars. It’s not like I was approaching it like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we painted the Millennium Falcon purple?” That having been said, we do go places in this movie that felt like we were taking some risks. We were following the characters in the way that seemed natural to me, but it led us to some surprising places.

Again, there was never a feeling of us being policed back into a lane. If anything, the danger was in me self-policing out of fear of, Am I allowed to do this? When I would check in with the story group at Lucasfilm, really what I found is that they would be the ones encouraging me to go for it. They would say, “Oh that’s really weird; oh my god, you have to try that.” If anything, they were protecting me against self-editing or holding back out of fear.

Is there an overarching plot for where the trilogy goes? You obviously have The Force Awakens as a jumping off point, but is there a place you need to get to, in order to set up J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX?

RJ: Not really. That’s what’s been really cool about the storytelling process. There is definitely the idea that we know it is a three-movie arc. We know the first film is an introduction, then the middle act is training, meaning challenging the characters. The third is where they all come together and you have to resolve everything.

But I was truly able to write this script without bases to tag, and without a big outline on the wall. That meant I could react to what I felt from The Force Awakens, and what I wanted to see. I could make this movie personal. I could also just take these characters where it felt right and most interesting to take them. I think part of the reason the movie feels like it goes to some unexpected places with the characters is that we had that freedom. If it had all just been planned out and written down beforehand, it might have felt a little more calculated, I suppose.


I went through all the possibilities of who her parents could be. I made a list, with the upsides and downsides. There were two things about this option that made it feel right to me. Firstly. I like the idea that we’re breaking out from the notion that the force is this genetic thing that you have to be tied to somebody to have. It’s the ‘anybody can be president’ idea.


I don’t think he’s lying in that moment — I think he is like telling what he saw and I think that Rey seems like she believes it in that moment. So for me, I wrote it as an honest revelation and as an honest kind of reaction to it, as opposed to a move in a game of chess. Now as we know in these movies, you know the whole idea of a certain point of view comes into play and as you know I’m not involved in writing the next movie. JJ [Abrams] and Chris [Terrio] are writing it so, I want to make it clear I’m not sure how it’s going to get resolved.

I highly recommend anyone interested to give the full Empire Podcast interview a listen. He really gets into the weeds about his decisions writing the film.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

DominicCobb said:

No doubt for JJ and Rian and what not they’re more just like advisors

Which is what is relevant to the current discussion.

Jedit: as an addendum:

Kiri Hart Head of the Lucasfilm Story Group

It’s not about having control of it, I think it’s more about facilitating what storytellers want to do. And I think that our opportunity, that is really unique, is to create a lot of stories that connect to each other in unexpected and interesting ways. And there are a lot of really great creators who have come aboard to work with us and we’re all about facilitating the things that they want to do and the stories that they want to tell.


So I think I finally figured out the purpose of these. I’ve noticed this trend for a while now with my nieces and nephews, a lot of kids these days are given tablets and left to their own devices on Youtube. Youtube has a Kids setting that will play an endless number of videos from channels that are tagged as such. They’ve created a specific Star Wars Kids Youtube channel and created these short videos specifically to market to this generation of kids.

It’s actually pretty smart as the vast majority of the content out there now is pure garbage.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

You guys put far too much weight into the Story Group. They’re mainly there as advisors. The two that do the most heavy lifting are Pablo and Leland and they just ensure that whatever a project’s director/writer is doing is consistent with the established lore. And there they’re fairly powerless. See: the Starkiller’s carnage being seen from Takodana and Holdo’s last stand. There is no grand road map, they’re just doing things project to project.