Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NEWS: Hannibal Cancelled, Ava DuVernay to Direct Black Panther

Well, you win some, you lose some. At least that was the case with big pop culture announcements yesterday. 

On the side of sadness, it seems that NBC will not be renewing Hannibal for a fourth season, so unless someone else picks it up, it will end at the end of this current season run.

That having been said, Bryan Fuller and the DeLaurentis Company (who produce the show) are actively looking for a buyer to pick up the show. Fuller has stated before that he envisions the show as a full five seasons, so it would really suck for it to be cut down before its time. And since Fuller is one of the few creators we can count on to actually stick to his word* about the season count, I feel like we should be getting some traction on this pickup. 

Personally, my money is on Netflix. They've picked up shows like this before, and as our wonderful Hannibal recapper, Kyla Furey pointed out on twitter...

#SaveHannibal @netflix 'cause, let's be honest here, you funded Hemlock Grove, which is basically the diet soda to #Hannibal's fine red wine

Word. So while it's a crying shame that Hannibal won't be as easily accessible after this season, and will no longer grace our screens on NBC (thus removing a large portion of NBC's current creative cache), don't count this show out yet. It still may pull a Will Graham and survive being gutted. Also, according to Fuller, they will still be at San Diego Comicon this year, so at least there's that.

In happier news, Ava DuVernay has been officially announced as the director for Black Panther,** the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to feature a black lead and kind of super exciting movie all around. This is wonderful for a number of reasons, and we are going to go right through them all.

First, this makes DuVernay not the first female director of a Marvel film, but hopefully the first one to actually make it through to the filming without being fired. You may recall that Patty Jenkins was contracted to direct Thor 2, but then was fired from the project only two months later. Other than that, the only female directed superhero movie is Punisher: War Zone (2008), which no one really likes, despite most people agreeing that director Lexi Alexander did the best she could with a really awful movie.

Second, this also makes DuVernay the first African American director of a Marvel movie, which is both completely unsurprising and super sad. I mean, obviously you want a director like DuVernay tackling Black Panther, since this could so easily go so wrong in bad racist hands, but it was still a pleasant jolt to find that Marvel was actually going to put their money where their mouth is. They do love talking a good game about diversity, so let's hope they're willing to actually put up.

And the third big thing is that Marvel right now has a reputation of being too invested in the monetary value of their franchises, to the point of stifling creative control of the directors, so hopefully having a star like Ava DuVernay there will force them to back off and let her actually make a good movie. Joss Whedon just left the Marvel-verse over frustrations with the level of micromanaging he got from the studio, and Edgar Wright did quite AntMan for the same reason, so let's hope they play it smart and get DuVernay to stick around.

The final big reason why this is spectacular news is kind of cynical but totally true: now that Black Panther has both a star (Chadwick Boseman) and a director, it's almost certainly going to actually happen. Hooray! Not to be super cynical, but like with the Wonder Woman movie and many before it, I've been a little hesitant about getting excited here, on the off chance that Marvel would decide the "time wasn't right" or some other crap like that and pull the rug out from under us all. That is much less likely to happen now, and that makes me happy.

So, all in all, a mixed day. Sad that Hannibal has been cancelled, though I am hopeful for its future, and thrilled that Ava DuVernay will be taking the helm on Black Panther. It could be worse.

*I'm looking at you, Supernatural. "Stop after five seasons no matter what" my ass.
**Probably. Everyone is still hedging their bets at this point, but, come on.

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