Science-Fiction Weekly – Star Wars Battlefront II, Solo, Justice League, Superman

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller apparently hold no grudges against Disney and Lucasfilm for being jettisoned as directors of Solo: A Star Wars Story. According to Vulture, Miller and Lord discussed leaving the Star Wars universe behind during a panel for their Clone High animated series. They seem completely comfortable with what happened.

“The experience of shooting the movie was wonderful,” Lord said. “We had the most incredible cast and crew and collaborators. I think in terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big. Sometimes people break up, and it’s really sad, and it’s really disappointing, but it happens and we learned a lot from our collaborators and we’re better filmmakers for it. We’re really proud of the work we did on the movie and we wish everybody the best.”

You’ll see Lando Calrissian in Solo, but don’t expect a cameo by this beloved smuggler in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The film’s director Rian Johnson said that fans won’t see him in any capacity. “No, and I don’t want fans to get their hopes up,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s not in the film and it was never really something that came up. I mean, I loved that character. It would have been fun to see him, but it’s just not something that ever really had a place in the story.”

For those of you that want the new films to focus on the new characters more, this is good news. Now we just need to see how closely the story follows the flow of The Empire Strikes Back. I still have a bad feeling about this trilogy being created as an homage to the classics.

I saw Justice League last weekend, and had a good time with it. The heroes rightfully stole the show, and I walked out of the theater wanting to see more from each of them. Wonder Woman and Aquaman were continually entertaining, but I thought Cyborg’s character showed the most promise. The film didn’t fulfill a tease (of him potentially being an untrustworthy hero), but that potential is still there. I just wish Justice League had a better threat to combat. Steppenwolf was certainly powerful – and I loved the crazy dynamics of the first battle we saw him in – but his story went nowhere. The threat went nowhere. We were there for the heroes, and that’s okay for a first go. The film is far better than Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but doesn’t come close to being in the same league as Wonder Woman.

Side note: All of the fuss about Superman’s weird GC upper lip are real. Since actor Henry Cavill needed his mustache for another film he was shooting, he couldn’t shave it off. They thought a little post-production trickery would remove it easily. They were wrong. He looks like an alien at times, which I guess works, given he’s from Krypton. My advice for you: Sit as far back from the screen as you can. That might help.

DC hasn’t revealed future plans for Superman yet, but Cavill hopes another standalone film is in the cards. “There’s a wonderful opportunity to tell the Superman story,” he told the LA Times during an interview.
“Now there is a fantastic chance to show Superman in his full colors and
tell a very complex, character-driven movie that is based on story and
have that wonderful sensation of hope and happiness. A feel-good movie
with lessons laced in there as well.” Cavill’s contract is for one more film. Will it be a Justice League sequel or something else? Here’s hoping he signs on for anything calling for Superman to return. He plays the character well. I’d hate to see someone else dawn the shield at this point.

The big science-fiction news for games is still Star Wars Battlefront II, which continues to turn its destructive Death Star laser upon itself. Even after removing the insidious microtransaction model from the mix, progression in the game is flawed, and players are now learning in-game currency dries up significantly after logging roughly 20 hours into multiplayer. The class-specific challenges don’t have many tiers, and many can be completed quickly, leaving players with few ways to earn credit, outside of playing matches (which don’t offer much). Just picture how frustrating this would be if the heroes still cost 60,000 credits, and if the microtransactions were still there. Players would go ballistic, and for good reason. DICE’s general manager, Oskar Gabrielson, says the studio didn’t foresee microtransactions or Star Cards as problems. “This was never out intention,” he wrote in an official Battlefront II blog post. Yeah, right. We can now see exactly how EA was trying to drive people to spend real money to buy loot crates. They weren’t subtle about it.

The good news that came out of this, if you want to call it that, is your voice carrying significant weight. EA heard you. They made changes. More are needed, but they are definitely looking at what the community is saying, and are trying to make the game better. I hope Battlefront II is the turning point for evil microtransaction practices in games. The industry is watching, and as EA continues to step in the bantha droppings, things should get better for gamers. The latest mistake: EA saying the removal of microtransactions “is not expected to have a material impact on EA’s fiscal year 2018 financial guidance” in an earnings report.

We’ve heard time and time again from various developers that microtransactions help pay for game development, as costs have gone up. This is probably true for most games, but EA saying that it won’t impact earnings doesn’t make it look like they matter. This is ammo gamers will undoubtedly use for future games, and not just those developed by EA. What a mess. The worst part of all of this: Battlefront II could be great without all of that junk messing up the experience.

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