The Mandalorian comes roaring back with the first episode of season 2. Chapter 9: The Marshal serves up loving shots of The Child ( Baby Yoda ), a monster of a challenge for Din Djarin/The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), an engaging new character played by Hollywood s favorite lawman and gunslinger Timothy Olyphant, and plenty of shoot- em-up action.Here’s what critics are saying about episode 1 of The Mandalorian season 2:Is The Child Still Adorable?(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)“Even with Mando kicking serious ass for most of the episode, the best part of the premiere was, naturally, Baby Yoda.” Amanda Mullen, Culturess“This episode of The Mandalorian is pretty much Jaws. It s Jaws plus Baby Yoda reaction shots. What more could you want?” Ben Allen, GQ Magazine [UK]“This week s adventure is as simple as they come, and, as expected, Baby Yoda s as cute as ever.” Jack Shepherd, SFX Magazine“The Mandalorian has returned to save 2020 with a stellar opening episode helmed by Jon Favreau, a wonderful performance from an unexpected co-star, and plenty of Baby Yoda cuteness.” Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com How Does The Marshal Hold Up Next to the High Bar Set by Season 1?(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)“Hopefully, Favreau and Co. continue to experiment and open up this universe. The Marshal celebrates what you love about Star Wars and makes you love it more. It provides more understanding of what we ve seen and who we thought we knew.” Preston Barta, Fresh Fiction“[The Mandalorian] proves with one of its best episodes yet that it still has a lot of flair, inspiration, and jetpack fuel to go around.” Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com“It s such a simple premise and it s been done more times than we can count, but in this age of convoluted storytelling and It s really a 10-hour movie seasons of television, it feels fresh and, in its own way, kind of revolutionary.” Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez, Tom Lorenzo“ The Marshal doesn t feel long. There are probably some spots that could have been tightened up, but on the whole it was very much of a piece with how the show worked so well a year ago.” Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone“The first episode, Chapter 9: The Marshal, was full of highlights, marking a strong start to the show s sophomore run.” Amanda Mullen, Culturess“You can relax The Mandalorian Season 2 isn t about to skimp on the action, and it s of the same quality as it was in the previous outing.” Jonathon Wilson, Ready Steady CutHow Are the New Characters?(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)“We don t need gimmicky cameos by movie characters to tie in with the saga as a whole, and The Marshal offers something arguably much richer.” Richard Trenholm, CNET“As the episode’s title, ‘The Marshal’, might suggest, a marshal with whom to contend, played winningly by Timothy Olyphant, who has form in the lawman department. Throwing Mando in with someone as laconic and charming as Olyphant even brings something out of the taciturn hero. At one point he comes dangerously close to making what could be considered to be, after much scrutiny, a joke.” Chris Hewitt, Empire Magazine“[Olyphant] does a terrific job alongside Pedro Pascal s formidable bounty hunter and is someone we definitely hope to see more of in this series (or others). The actor in question is one of the most talented working in Hollywood today, though not someone we see anywhere near as often as we should on screen. With The Mandalorian, however, they re bound to now have a whole new legion of fans. ” Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.comGood Easter Eggs? (Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)“Despite my love of all the fun Easter Eggs, we should hope that The Mandalorian doesn t get too overwhelmed by bringing in wider Star Wars lore and forget what makes it work so well the simple story of a gruff mercenary and a super-powered alien muppet.” Huw Fullerton, Radio Times“Even with so many nods to Star Wars past, The Mandalorian’s not overstuffed.” Jack Shepherd, SFX Magazine
What Can We Expect from Marvel s Phase 4?A Doctor Strange horror movie, Mahershala Ali as Blade and more there s so much to be excited about for the MCU s Phase 4.Posted by The Rotten Tomatoes Channel on Monday, July 22, 2019On Saturday, July 20, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took to Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con to present what would amount to a whopping TEN titles the studio has scheduled over the course of 2020 and 2021. This included both theatrical feature film releases and the new MCU series that have been announced for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Here s a rundown of everything we learned during the course of the densely packed hour-and-a-half presentation. [Editor s note: With the confirmation that the schedule Marvel revealed at its panel is the entirety of Phase 4, we have updated this article accordingly.]AVENGERS: ENDGAME OFFICIALLY TOPPLED AVATAR FOR #1 BOX OFFICE RECORDRyan FujitaniNow that Disney owns the various Fox film properties, the studio finds itself in a situation where it regularly competes against itself at the box office. Having said that, James Cameron s Avatar was very much an old school 20th Century Fox release (having been released 10 years ago), so its position as the #1 box office champion of all time might have been something Disney was okay with ending, even if the Avatar sequels are still a long-term high priority (Avatar 2 is scheduled for December 17, 2021). To that end, in late June, Marvel Studios did a special push on Avengers: Endgame, with an extra scene, in the hopes that it would top Avatar, but recent speculation was that it fell just short. Not so fast, Disney seemed to say at their Marvel Studios panel Saturday, as they announced that Avengers: Endgame will earn the 0,000 needed to beat Avatar on Sunday, July 21st, 2019. The next question: will Avatar 2 be able to beat .79 billion in early 2022?SCARLETT S JOHANSSON S BLACK WIDOW CONFIRMED FOR NEXT MAY(Photo by Marvel Studios)The downside of Marvel Studios holding back certain announcements until late July is that their fans read movie news columns, so many of them already knew that they had cast the solo Black Widow movie and started filming in late May of this year. Marvel has had an untitled movie scheduled for May 1, 2020 for well over a year, which seemed very obviously to be Black Widow since they have no other movie in the works in between Spider-Man: Far from Home and Black Widow. Having said that, there were things to show off for Black Widow, such as a first look at footage from the film (which isn t online yet), and at least one casting update. English actress Florence Pugh (Lady MacBeth; Midsommar; Amy March in Greta Gerwig s upcoming Little Women) will co-star as Yelena Belova, who in the comics is the second Black Widow after Scarlett Johansson s Natasha Romanoff. We also learned that Stranger Things David Harbour will be playing Alexei Shostakov, a.k.a. Red Guardian, and Marvel villain Taskmaster will appear in the film, though we don t yet know who is playing him.THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER TO BE FIRST MARVEL SHOW ON DISNEY+(Photo by Marvel Studios)Marvel Studios mixed things up a bit this year by giving as much time and attention to their various TV shows on the upcoming Disney+ app as they did for their feature films. Although the Disney+ app is still confirmed to launch on November 12, 2019, one surprise is that we will have to wait nearly a year before the first of the new Marvel shows appears on the service. That show will be The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with both Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their roles from various Captain America and Avengers movies. The big reveal for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier came in the form of German actor Daniel Brühl, who will not only return as Baron Zemo (from Captain America: Civil War), but in a brief video was shown sporting his character s iconic purple mask. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will debut on the Disney+ app sometime in the fall of 2020 (before November 6th). It s also worth noting that all of the Disney+ titles that were announced during the panel appeared in a timeline graphic labeled as PHASE FOUR, implying that the TV series will factor into the ongoing MCU narrative.THE ETERNALS CONFIRMED FOR 2020, WITH CAST REVEALED(Photo by Marvel Studios)Ever since Angelina Jolie was the first star cast in The Eternals, there has been an assumption that she would be playing long-time Avengers member Sersi. At the panel this weekend, however, it was revealed that Jolie is instead playing Thena, the inspriation for the Greek goddess Athena. (In the comics, Thena is also Thanos cousin, but it s possible Thanos connection to The Eternals may not remain the same in the movies.) Kumail Nanjiani is also not playing the character people suspected (the speedster Makkari), but will instead play Kingo, who is a samurai Eternal in the comics, but might be interpreted differently in the MCU. The Eternals will also have a few gender swaps, as both Ajak and Makkari, who are men in the comics, will be played by women instead (Salma Hayek and Lauren Ridloff, respectively). Although Sersi seems to be absent, another 1990s Avengers member will be in The Eternals instead, with Train to Busan star Don Lee (a.k.a. Ma Dong-seok) cast as Gilgamesh, a.k.a. The Forgotten One (best known for joining the Avengers when Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four did). Marvel Studios has scheduled The Eternals for November 6, 2020.THE REAL MANDARIN WILL DEBUT IN SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS(Photo by Marvel Studios)In the comics, one of Iron Man s most iconic villains since the 1960s has been the Mandarin, which is why he was teased in the first Iron Man, and ostensibly why The Mandarin was in Iron Man 3. Except, of course, he really wasn t. The decision to not include the Mandarin in his classic depiction may have been a fortuitous one for Marvel, however, as that means the villain was available for the Shang-Chi movie, now called Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. (Shang-Chi also needed a new villain, as his original arch-nemesis, Fu-Manchu, has not aged well at all.) Relatively unknown Canadian actor Simu Liu will star as Shang-Chi, with acclaimed Hong Kong actor Tony Leung playing the real Mandarin. Awkwafina was also announced in an unknown role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will leap into theaters on February 12, 2021.WANDAVISION TV SHOW WILL TIE INTO CAPTAIN MARVEL (AND POSSIBLY THE BIGGER MCU PICTURE)(Photo by Marvel Studios)Once you get past that title, the second Marvel Studios show on Disney+, WandaVision, has a lot of promise. In the comics, the relationship (and eventual marriage) between Scarlet Witch and the Vision has been one of the sweetest in Avengers history, but it s also had a dark side that, in the early 2000s, changed the entire Marvel Universe for a while. We re trying not to be too spoilery here, but the ways in which Scarlet Witch changed things tie directly into one of the ways in which the Marvel Cinematic Universe is expected to change later in Phase 4 (we ll just let that tease sit, and comics fans know what we re talking about, anyway). WandaVision will also directly tie into the next Doctor Strange movie (more below on that) and Captain Marvel, as Teyonah Parris will co-star as Monica Rambeau, who in Captain Marvel was the young daughter of Carol s friend Maria Rambeau. (In the comics, Monica Rambeau also becomes a superhero and Avengers member known first as Captain Marvel, and then later as Photon and Spectrum.) WandaVision will debut on Disney+ sometime between February and May of 2021.MARVEL S FIRST HORROR FILM WILL BE DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS(Photo by Marvel Studios)Doctor Strange is a character whose adventures often take place amidst dazzling color and lots of eye candy (something the first Doctor Strange movie depicted well), but there are also a lot of darker themes and concepts (one of his main villains is Nightmare, for example). With that in mind, it absolutely should not be surprising that his next film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, was revealed at SDCC as being the first scary MCU film. This movie might also be the best example of a film that Marvel Studios really had to wait to reveal until after people had seen Spider-Man: Far from Home, because otherwise, it might have ruined one of that film s biggest secrets. Benedict Cumberbatch will be joined in his sequel by Elizabeth Olsen, as a follow-up to her Disney+ show, WandaVision. In the comics, Scarlet Witch s powers are much more expansive than we ve seen so far in the MCU, but her involvement here suggests that ll change. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be released on May 7, 2021, and Scott Derrickson who appropriately has some serious horror films on his resume will return to direct.FAN FAVORITE TOM HIDDLESTON WILL RETURN AS LOKI ON DISNEY+ IN 2021(Photo by Marvel Studios)Time travel is so much fun. Since Avengers: Infinity War came out over a year ago, we re going to guess that it s no longer a spoiler that Loki met a very bad end at the beginning of that movie. That was, however, until Avengers: Endgame introduced time travel elements. (Is that a spoiler? Then in no way did Avengers: Endgame have time travel.) Having said that, it s also possible that Hiddleston s Loki show on the Disney+ app might come about in some unrelated way. Of all the Disney+ shows, Loki is probably the one we know the least about, but we ve got plenty of time to speculate away on it. Loki won t debut until 2021 (probably between May and July).WHAT IF JEFFREY WRIGHT VOICED THE WATCHER IN THE FIRST DISNEY+ MARVEL SHOW?(Photo by Marvel Studios)Arguably, one of the best things Marvel Comics ever had going for it over DC Comics when it came to defining its continuity was that DC Comics did not have the long-running series, What If?, in which stories could be told outside continuity, for a stronger sense overall. In the summer of 2021, Marvel Studios will be able to experiment with that sort of storytelling in the MCU when the animated series What If ? debuts on the Disney+ service. Right now, we only know the premise of the first episode ( What If Agent Peggy Carter Became Captain America Instead of Steve Rogers? ), but the massive voice cast revealed at the panel suggests What If ? will touch nearly every corner of the MCU. Several familiar faces or voices, as it were will be reprising their roles in the show, from Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Josh Brolin as Thanos to Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. As for Uatu the Watcher, the long-running narrator of the What If ? comics, he will be the narrator here as well, with Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, HBO s Westworld) supplying his voice.KATE BISHOP TO JOIN JEREMY RENNER IN DISNEY+ S HAWKEYE(Photo by Marvel Studios)You might notice that the general theme to these Disney+ shows (besides What If ?) is that they feature various Avengers members who aren t otherwise likely to get their own movies (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, specifically). Another example of that is Jeremy Renner s Hawkeye, who has been around the MCU since 2011 s Thor. Comic book history is littered with attempts at bringing in new blood to aging superhero premises, but comic book writer Matt Fraction was able to do just that in 2012 when he launched a new Hawkeye series about Clint Barton s friendship with Kate Bishop, a young archer who had appropriated the Hawkeye nom du heroic. We don t yet know who will be cast as Kate Bishop, but Hawkeye will indeed be about their generational exchange when it debuts on Disney+ in the fall of 2021.NATALIE PORTMAN WILL WIELD THE HAMMER IN THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER(Photo by Marvel Studios)Even if you re not a regular comic book reader, you may recall how much media attention Marvel attracted in 2014 when they introduced a new female Thor (who was eventually revealed to be his long-time human love interest, Jane Foster). Jane Foster was also the character that Natalie Portman played in the first two Thor movies, so when Portman seemed to step away from playing Foster, some fans thought that meant we d never see a female Thor in the movies. That s partly why one of the biggest surprises to come out of Marvel s SDCC panel was that Natalie Portman will be playing the title character in Thor: Love and Thunder when it s released on November 5, 2021. Chris Hemsworth will still be in the movie too, as will his Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson, who said of her character, I think first of all as king, she needs to find her new queen. Returning director Taika Waititi revealed that the new film was inspired by Jason Aaron s The Mighty Thor storyline from the comics, which might provide some clues as to where the story will go.THE FANTASTIC FOUR AND THE MUTANTS ARE IN THE MCU S FUTURE(Photo by TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Ever since Disney acquired the Fox film and TV properties, fans have been wondering when characters like Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and the various X-Men would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, some fans apparently not familiar with what a Mysterio is even thought that we might see them introduced in Spider-Man: Far from Home. As the panel neared its end, Kevin Feige alluded to the fact that, yes, finally, Fantastic Four and the mutants (however one wants to interpret that) are now in active development for inclusion at some point. Having said that, we now know which five films are scheduled for Phase 4 in 2020 and 2021, so the earliest we might see Fantastic Four, Deadpool 3, or X-Men would be in 2022.MARVEL S PHASE 4 WILL ALSO BLACK PANTHER 2, CAPTAIN MARVEL 2, AND GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3(Photo by Marvel Studios)At one point, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was considered to be in such active development that it would be filmed this year and then released in the same slot next year that is now going to Black Widow, but that was before James Gunn was temporarily fired (he s back in Disney s good graces again). With only five movies announced for Phase 4, one might wonder about some of the obvious sequels. Well, Marvel confirmed that three of them are indeed still in the works: Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. For both Black Panther 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, the delays until no sooner than 2022 might have to do with cast scheduling, as they re both ostensibly team movies with big stars who are in high demand for other projects.TWO-TIME OSCAR WINNER MAHERSHALA ALI WILL REPLACE WESLEY SNIPES AS BLADE(Photo by Marvel Studios)When Marvel Studios put their new calendar up on the big screen at their SDCC panel this year, the last date was in 2021, indicating that Phase 4 will conclude with Thor: Love and Thunder. One new film that we now know Marvel Studios is actively developing (possibly for 2022 or 2023) is their reboot of Blade. The argument can be made that the original 1998 Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, was the first Marvel Comics adaptation to have any sort of box office success, so a new Blade movie, probably close to 25 years later, might be long overdue. For their new daywalker vampire slayer, Marvel Studios has cast two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, who co-starred as both the villain Cottonmouth in season 1 of Netflix s Luke Cage and the villain The Prowler in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. As the panel came to a close, Kevin Feige coyly introduced Ali, who walked on stage and put on a baseball cap with BLADE emblazoned across the front before the hall went dark and the title treatment appeared on the big screen. Pretty dramatic way to end the panel, and fans went wild.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what s opening, expanding, and coming to the specialty box office. From promising releases from new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week in Fresh Indie Finds. This week at the specialty box office, we have a tragic tale of female perseverance in post-WWII Russia, a based-on-true-events mob flick, and a tense drama inspired by the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal. In our spotlight section, we highlight Jojo Rabbit s triumphant return to theaters, and in our indie trailer section, we have new clips from K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson, and writer-director Eliza Hittman.Opening This Weekend