Science-Fiction Weekly – Rogue One, Avatar, Star Trek Discovery, Guardians Of The Galaxy

by Andrew Reiner on Dec 13, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Two days. That's all I have to wait until I return to my favorite universe. Two days until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters. A few of my friends attended the world premiere last weekend, and immediately texted me with praise for the film, going as far to say "you should be really REALLY excited." Film critics are not so bullish on it, delivering mixed reviews equating to an early 79 rating on Rotten Tomatoes. My friends, however, say that it will make me appreciate Star Wars: A New Hope more, and that I should pay close attention to the quieter moments for a couple of clever cameos and ties to other Star Wars stories. They say it's  a love letter to fans of the original trilogy. In previous columns and podcasts, I've voiced my concern over Disney turning Star Wars into an annual franchise. I know George Lucas dragged it through the mud with the prequels, but there's a chance Star Wars can be something special again. Yearly releases may be overkill. Then again, every Marvel film turns to gold, and I could see the same thing happening with Star Wars.

Rogue One is obviously the big talker this week. I would tread on the Internet cautiously, as spoilers will be everywhere. Yes, it sounds like there are some huge unexpected moments in this film, and it's more than just a story about how the rebels obtained the Death Star plans. If you want to know a little more about what to expect, but don't want anything big ruined for you, check out the two "making of" videos below, which give us a look at a location, the tone, as well as a new character I couldn't be more excited about.

In terms of video game news, there isn't anything notable to report this week, other than Star Wars Battlefront's Rogue One: VR Mission, which you can play for free if you already own Battlefront and PlayStation VR. If you want to watch me live out a dream (and make a damn fool of myself), I play through the entire mission with Kyle Hilliard, who provides insight into the game, and perfectly timed nervous laughs as I geek out far too much. The mission is quite cool, and I hope it ends up being the proof of concept needed to get a full game off of the ground. We desperately need a new X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter game, and I think this experience could be it (both for VR and standard gaming).

Star Trek, the other big science-fiction universe that isn't nearly as cool as Star Wars, is picking up steam. The forthcoming Star Trek Discovery television series is casting up a storm, including three actors signing on to play Klingons. Chris Obi will play a character named T'Kuvma, the Klingon leader. Mary Chieffo is going to be L'Rell, a battle deck commander for a Klingon vessel. Shazad Latif rounds out the casting as Kol, the commanding officer. These actors join Doug Jones, who plays a science officer named Saru, who is said to be a new alien in the Star Trek universe, and fellow science officer Staments, played by Anthony Rapp. Stamets is the first Star Trek character to be announced as gay. The lead actor in this show has not yet been announced, but we do know it will be the lientenant commander aboard the Discovery. That's right, the main perspective will not be from a captain. The first episode of Star Trek Discovery will air on CBS on May 17. The first season consists of 13 episodes.

James Cameron has said he wants to make a billion more Avatar movies, and although production on the first sequel has been underway for a while, we still haven't seen anything from it. That isn't stopping the world from wanting more, however. Disney's Animal Kingdom park will soon be getting a Pandora: The World of Avatar section, and Taipei, Taiwan just opened a new Avatar: Discover Pandora exhibit. You can watch the exhibit come to life in the video below, which even suggest that it will change the way you look at your own world. Oh boy. I enjoyed Avatar for what it was, but come on. It's not a life-changing thing. Not even close.

Guardians of the Galaxy fans have plenty of reasos to rejoice. Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 on the way next year, Vin Diesel teased a potential third film. In an interview with Screen Junkies News, he mentioned the idea of a post-Infinity War film that focuses on Groot (his character) and Rocket. "if it’s up to James Gunn, you are going to see a Groot and Rocket movie after Infinity War," he said. "I think that’s highly possible." He also teased a Groot versus Hulk battle in a future movie.

If you already saw the War of the Planet of the Apes trailer, be sure to check out the first international trailer below for new footage. It's a shorter look, but the focus is much different.

That's it for this week, folks. Here's hoping we have more science-fiction game news in the days ahead. It's been quiet. Too quiet. I know the video game industry is closing down for the holidays, but we still need to know what's coming next.