Hollywood was on temporary pause but productions are gearing back up, release dates continue to be tweaked in preparation for theaters reopening, and things are slowly starting to return to normal – or at least, our temporary new normal. Movie news is once again starting to flow, with us bringing you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like.

Let’s hop to it.

Antonio Banderas Joins ‘Indiana Jones 5’

The cast of Indiana Jones 5 has just added one big piece in the form of Antonio Banderas in a currently undisclosed role. He joins a talented cast that already includes, of course, Harrison Ford in the titular role, as well as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Renée Wilson and Thomas Kretschmann. It’s not clear who Banderas might be playing; with him, Mikkelsen, and Kretschmann in the cast, any one of them could be playing a villain, if not all three. Logan and Ford v. Ferarri director James Mangold has taken over directing duties for Indiana Jones 5, the first movie in the franchise not directed by Steven Spielberg, as well as co-wrote the script with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. Filming started at Pinewood Studios in the UK last month. Despite a recent production delay due to Ford injuring his shoulder, the film is still expected to hit theaters on July 29, 2022.

‘Black Panther 2’ Casts ‘I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel

The cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has also grown by one. Variety reports that Michaela Coel has been added to the cast of the upcoming Marvel sequel. As usual, her character details are being kept under wraps and Marvel has declined to comment, but Coel joined the production which is underway at the Pinewood Studios in Atlanta. Despite the lack of details, it hasn’t stopped fans from speculating she could be playing Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. Storm, introducing the X-Men and mutants into the MCU. Coel has such accomplished credits as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Black Mirror on her resume, but she really exploded in popularity with her raw and honest HBO series I May Destroy You, which followed Coel’s character as she attempted to get her life together in the wake of being raped. Coel earned four Emmy nominations for the series, which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. It’s not known who else has returned to the cast, but it’s likely that Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Florence Kasumba and Angela Bassett will all be reprising their roles from the first movie. Martin Freeman has been confirmed to be returning, and newcomer Tenoch Huerta was added in an undisclosed role a few months ago, with the going speculation being that he’s playing Marvel antihero Namor the Sub-Mariner. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is expected in theaters on July 8, 2022.

DC Finds Its Batgirl In ‘In The Heights’ Star Leslie Grace

After years of no movement, Warner Bros.’ Batgirl movie is suddenly full steam ahead. A few months ago, it was announced that Bad Boys for Life directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah had been tapped to direct the DCEU movie based on the latest script from Christina Hodson (Bumblebee, Birds of Prey). Now, the next major piece of the puzzle has been added: Deadline reports that Leslie Grace, who recently enjoyed a breakout role in this summer’s In the Heights, has landed the role of Batgirl. Reportedly, the studio already had Leslie Grace in their sights after her work in In the Heights and she faced stiff competition from other frontrunners Zoey Deutch, Haley Lu Richardson, and Isabella Merced, but Grace’s formal audition for the Batgirl role bowled them over. Nothing is known about the plot at this time, but it’s expected that Grace will be playing the Barbara Gordon version of the character, the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon who goes on to become a member of the Bat-Family and a formidable crime fighter in her own right.

Bassam Tariq in Talks to Direct Marvel’s ‘Blade’

Speaking of movies that hadn’t moved for a while and are now suddenly full steam ahead, Marvel’s Blade reboot is getting closer to landing a director. Marvel has quietly been meeting with a number of directors since last fall, even before Watchmen‘s Stacy Osei-Kuffour was tapped to pen the script back in February. Deadline reports they’ve finally found their person: Bassam Tariq, best known for directing Riz Ahmed in 2020 drama Mogul Mowgli. It will be interesting to learn what it was about Tariq’s pitch that got Marvel to hire him, particularly as star Mahershala Ali has also been intimately involved in the search for a director. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has been determined to expand the roster of Marvel talent with a more diverse and inclusive set of directors. With the hiring of Tariq, Marvel is continuing that push for diversity not just in front of the camera, but also behind it, as well as its tradition for tapping rising stars in filmmaking and signing genre filmmakers to their blockbusters. The lineup of MCU Phase 4 directors is an exciting one, with Cate Shortland’s Black Widow just hitting theaters, and directors of upcoming movies being MCU newcomers Destin Daniel Cretton, Chloé Zhao, Nia DaCosta, as well as returning directors Taika Waititi, James Gunn, Jon Watts, Ryan Coogler, and Peyton Reed, as well as Sam Raimi, the only director to previously direct a Marvel movie but not an MCU one.

 Dwayne Johnson Confirms ‘Jungle Cruise 2’ Discussions Already Happening

Even though Jungle Cruise is still a few weeks away, Dwayne Johnson has already confirmed that talks for a sequel are already underway. He dropped that tidbit in a lengthy THR interview with co-star Emily Blunt, with the same interview revealing that Johnson has adopted Blunt into his tight-knit circle of frequent and trusted creative collaborators, of which Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart are also members. Along with the Jungle Cruise sequel, Johnson has also apparently talked Blunt into starring in a yet-to-be-announced project he’s producing, saying, “Not only is she a huge movie star but, more importantly, really the most empathetic human being I’ve ever met.” Between their star power and test audience reactions to the movie, Disney must be high up on what they’ve seen from Jungle Cruise so far. It hits theaters next week on Friday, June 30.

Trailers & Clips Of The Week

And now it’s time for our video roundup…

Snake Eyes – Final Trailer

You can read our Snake Eyes review here.

Vacation Friends – Red Band Trailer

Cena just keeps getting better and better.

Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making Of Loki Trailer

Is it season 2 already?

Demonic – Official Trailer

Neill Blomkamp is back and this time he’s sticking his toes into the water of horror.

Malignant – Official Trailer

And another big horror movie, this one from James Wan.

The Last Duel – Official Trailer

Ridley Scott is a master of his craft, but nothing can make Damon’s mullet or Affleck’s bleached blonde hair work. Nope.

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