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. Once again, the biggest news to come from this week revolves around Marvel thanks to the studio getting back on track after a tumultuous 2020.

Let’s hop to it.

Spider-Man 3′ Is Going To Be A Holiday Movie

After Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s post-credits scenes left Spider-Man’s identity exposed as Peter Parker and him framed for Mysterio’s murder, fans have been wondering if the more lighthearted, John Hughes-ian tone of the MCU Spider-Man movies thus far would turn to something darker. While that’s still the case, thanks to new pictures from JustJared, we now know we can expect as least one heartwarming aspect as it appears Spider-Man 3 will be at least partly set during the holidays. The pictures show Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon shooting a scene together. MJ and Ned are working at a doughnut shop together with Peter walking in to ask for a coffee and nervously appearing to approach MJ about something before apparently changing his mind and walking away. Maybe trying to explain the accusations against him or explaining why he’s been MIA? In any case, the snowy scene shows the windows of the storefront are decorated with “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” messages, so we can expect the third Spider-Man movie will be a holiday movie. It’s fitting for the MCU’s younger, more optimistic version of Spidey. Could it end up becoming a holiday classic? It’s entirely possible.

Ethan Hawke Playing Villain Opposite Oscar Knight’s Hero In Marvel’s ‘Moon Knight’

After eschewing big-budget tentpoles and being in a superhero franchise for years, it would appear Marvel finally made Ethan Hawke an offer he couldn’t refuse. THR broke the news that the renowned actor is joining the cast of Marvel Disney+ series Moon Knight opposite Oscar Isaac, who was cast in the lead role a few months ago. Interestingly, Hawke will play the series’ main villain. In typical Marvel fashion, however, they are being tight-lipped about the big bad he’s playing, as they prefer to sit on top of character confirmations both for the surprise factor and because the reveal of the villain often reveals the plot or future plans for the studio. There has been speculation he could be playing Bushman, Marc Spector/Moon Knight’s archnemesis, though Hawke would be wildly different than the comic book version. Another possibility is Mephisto, Marvel’s version of the devil, who has strong ties to Moon Knight in the comics and also has been speculated to be factoring into a number of Marvel’s Disney+ series and upcoming movies. However, that would likely require Hawke to commit to multiple series or movies and it’s unclear he’d agree to that. Whoever he’s playing, he joins a cast that also includes May Calamawy (Ramy) in an also undisclosed role, though it’s been confirmed it will be a key role. Moon Knight is set to begin filming in March in Budapest for a planned 2022 release.

Matt Damon & Karen Gillan Joining ‘Thor: Love & Thunder’

With filming for Thor: Love & Thunder currently underway in Sydney, Australia, it’s inevitable we’ll start to get more casting reveals in the weeks ahead. With Thor hitching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it was certain a few of the Guardians would show up with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord having already been previously confirmed. Now, Karen Gillan has revealed on her Instagram that everyone’s favorite angriest cyborg, Nebula, will also be making an appearance. Speculation started when she shared on her Instagram that she’d touched down in Sydney, and she further confirmed it in an Instagram story fan Q&A (via Digital Spy) the other day, saying, “I cut [my hair] the other day in preparation for Nebula, so that we don’t have to get so much hair into the bald cap because I have so much hair, it’s unbelievable. It’s just so thick.”

In other fun news, Australia News reports that Matt Damon has also arrived in Sydney with his family and is quarantining ahead of shooting. Fans will remember Damon famously had a fantastic and hilarious cameo in Thor: Ragnarok playing Loki in the real Loki-masquerading-as-Odin’s stageplay of his death. It’s unclear if Damon will be playing a different character this time around, but considering his Ragnarok cameo was widely beloved and he’s a known A-lister, it’s more likely that he will be playing that same Asgardian, who apparently survived the destruction of Asgard and Thanos decimating their ship. Personally, I would love if he cameoed in every Thor movie from Taika Waititi with no explanation, like Bruce Campbell in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies.

A Willy Wonka Prequel Movie Is Happening

After being in development for four years, Warner Bros. has finally officially greenlit and dated its Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel, Wonka. The prequel will be hitting theaters on March 17, 2023, reports Deadline. As a prequel to Roald Dahl’s first book, it will be a new story that focuses on Willy Wonka as a younger man before he became the candy king ruling over a confectionary empire. Longtime WB producer David Heyman has been attached to produce from the star while Paddington director Paul King is set to direct. There is no word yet on whether or not Johnny Depp will be returning to reprise a younger version of Willy Wonka, who he played in 2005’s Tim Burton-directed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake. However, considering the studio recently parted ways with Depp as Gellert Grindelwald on Fantastic Beasts 3 (he was shortly replaced by Mads Mikkelsen), it seems likelier they will cast a new, younger actor for Wonka. There has been no casting for the movie yet and it’s unclear when it will start filming; the UK has recently shut down movie and TV productions again amidst the newest coronavirus surge.

Pixar Reveals Its First Look At Upcoming ‘Luca’

The ink is barely dry on reviews for its latest film, Soul, but already, Pixar is showing off its next project, Luca. Luca will be helmed by director Enrico Casarosa, who was previously nominated for an Oscar for his lovely animated short, La Luna. The Pixar film will be set in the Italian Rivera and is being described as a coming-of-age riff on The Little Mermaid. The story follows Luca and Alberto, two young friends who have a blast running around the Italian countryside on perfect summer. However, there’s a twist: They’re actually sea creatures who appear human on dry land but become mermaid-like creatures back underwater. According to Casarosa, the film is deeply personal to him, with the filmmaker explaining to Empire, “I was born in Genoa, and my summers were spent on beaches. I met my best friend when I was 11. I was really shy and I found this troublemaker of a kid who had a completely different life. I wanted to make a movie about those kinds of friendships that help you grow up.” Empire also debuted the first look image from the film and it seems absolutely delightful. Check it out:

The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Director’s Round Table

THR released their annual directors roundtable, which generally includes the filmmakers seen as the likely contenders for that year’s Best Director, if not Best Picture. This year, the roundtable includes George Clooney (Midnight Sky), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Regina King (One Night in Miami), Paul Greengrass (News of the World), Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) in an excellent spread. THR’s roundtables are always worth watching, full of fascinating insights and anecdotes from some of our most interesting filmmakers today. Have a look:

And Now For Some Quick Hits

Last but not least, a few quick updates:

  • Zack Snyder says the Snyder Cut will no longer be a miniseries
  • Jason Reitman said Ghostbusters: Afterlife gave him a great moment with his father, Ivan Reitman:

My father hasn’t been leaving the house much because of COVID. But he took a test, put on a mask and drove down to the Sony lot to watch the movie with the studio. And after, he cried, and he said, ‘I’m so proud to be your father.’ And it was one of the great moments of my life.

  • When speaking with Collider, Ian McShane said John Wick 4 should start shooting this year:

Keanu [Reeves] and I exchanged New Year’s greetings and said, ‘Hope to see you this year.’ I know the script is being written and they’re hoping to do it this year. I know they announced they were gonna do [John Wick 4] and [John Wick 5] together, but who knows. The studios announce all sorts of things. No doubt, at some point this year, we’re gonna do John Wick 4.

  • Director Doug Liman says Edge of Tomorrow 2 will be more intimate than the original:

I’ve always been interested in the idea of a sequel being more character-driven than the first film, because that’s not how things are normally done. That’s been my approach when developing the sequel and because Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are such phenomenal actors. I get sometimes the sequel just has to have more firepower or more explosions but no visual effect is going to top what you’re going to get from a great scene performed by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

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