Darth Vader confirmed for Rogue One

The latest cover story of Entertainment Weekly confirms that Darth Vader will make an appearance in the upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  The latest edition of EW promises more information including a “run-down of the Sith lord’s first day on set, and what his return means for the larger Star Wars storytelling universe.”

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Bryan Cranston joins Power Rangers cast

Emmy Award winning actor Bryan Cranston has announced on Twitter that he will be playing Zordon in the Power Rangers film reboot.  Cranston, who is now perhaps best known for his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad, has a history with the Power Rangers franchise, having provided voices to various monsters throughout the series’ run before moving on to some of his bigger roles.  Cranston adds some strong starring power to the cast of the film which, aside from Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, is composed of relatively unknown actors.  Power Rangers is currently scheduled for a March 24, 2017 release.

Writers needed!

It’s becoming more and more challenging to post regularly as I continuously work on other projects.  PowerUp is still something that I love doing, but I don’t have the time to commit to it that it really deserves… so I need your help.  Entertainment writers, game and film enthusiasts, people with strong opinions… I need you!  If you have any passion for the entertainment industry and are vocal about your passions and opinions, I’d love to hear from you.  Simply send an email with the subject line “Write For PowerUp” to “poweruponline AT outlook DOT com” and I’ll get in touch with you.  I’d like to hear your area of expertise; tell me your favorite movie, game, and band; and provide a brief writing sample in the body of the email.  ABSOLUTELY NO ATTACHMENTS!  Word documents, .pdf files, pictures… none of it.  If there is an attachment, you will not be considered in any capacity.

Please note this is not a paid position.  PowerUp does not have a revenue flow and is entirely for sharing your passions in entertainment.  What I’d really like to see is some more views that differ from my own (I’m primarily an Xbox gamer, I have a Windows Phone, and I’ve got Windows 8.1 running on all of my computers… so, anybody who is outside of that Microsoft loop would be a breath of fresh air for my readers, I’m sure).  I’d like to see PowerUp feature more mobile entries focusing on Apps as well as indie games.  Film and music are also areas of opportunity.

Thanks for your interest, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Andrew T.S. Bedgood

Netflix gets The Clone Wars

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Netflix has announced that the animated Star Wars series that originally found life on Cartoon Network (before getting a worthy finale) will be coming to their streaming service.  Additionally, The Clone Wars will also be getting a sixth season on Netflix.  The sixth season was already well into production when the show was canceled after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm.

The Clone Wars is expected to hit Netflix on March 7.

Amazon purchases Killer Instinct developer

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No, not Rare – Microsoft is likely to never give them up after the massive investment that purchased the studio back in 2002.  The developer of the new Killer Instinct title released on Microsoft’s Xbox One Double Helix has been acquired by Amazon and is a part of their push to “build innovative games for customers.”

The acquisition, unsurprisingly, does not affect Microsoft’s Killer Instinct property which remains theirs; the software giant has also announced that their internal KI team is unaffected and remains dedicated to supporting the game.  Microsoft will be working with a new partner going forward to support the Xbox One launch title and any additional entries in the franchise.  As a dedicated KI fan, this is the good news.  While I was thoroughly pleased with the latest entry in the franchise and commended Double Helix for resurrecting it, I have faith that Microsoft will do well by the fans in curating this fan favorite franchise.

Amazon’s move to acquire a game developer is not terribly surprising given rumors that the online retailer is working on a game console of their own.  At this point, it’s unclear if Double Helix will work on more major releases or “full” games or will be restructured to focus on casual games for Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets.

Lex Luthor and Alfred cast in Batman Vs. Superman

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I was having a pretty solid day until the news broke that Jesse Eisenberg will be donning the role of Lex Luthor in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel.  The Zack Snyder directed superhero flick of 2013 was easily one of my favorite films from last year and I was looking forward to more from within that universe.  The news that the actor well known for filling awkward teenager roles will be playing one of the most iconic villains in comic book history is something that, well, disappoints me.

Additionally, well known villain actor Jeremy Irons will be filling the shoes of lovable butler Alfred.  Yep.  So, we’re off to a solid start on this 2016 film.

I could be wrong in all of this.  Maybe I’m just overly concerned and this fear of miscasting is unfounded.  I was fine with, in fact excited for, seeing Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne… but Jesse Eisenberg as Lex and Jeremy Irons as Alfred worries me.  I’m sure you can all understand why.  Fingers crossed and a few prayers that I’m wrong.

Neill Blomkamp may direct the Halo pilot

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Neill Blomkamp has a history with Halo:  he was attached as the director of the Peter Jackson produced Halo film that fell apart some years back and he directed the live action Halo 3 promotional film.  He knows the universe and his style is a perfect fit for the Haloverse.  That said, it’s very exciting that Blomkamp may be directing the première episode of the Halo television series that was announced for Xbox One.  While this has yet to be officially confirmed, the thought of a Blomkamp directed episode of the Halo TV series is exciting.

San Andreas is now available on Windows Phone

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Rockstar Games has finally brought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to Windows Phone 8 devices.  Currently, the game is only supported on the following Nokia Lumia devices: 1520, 1320, 822, 820, 810 and HTC’s 8XT.  Consumer reviews on the game indicate that it is running fine on the Lumia 920 and 928 devices.  The game is available on the Windows Store for $6.99.

While it’s great that Rockstar is supporting Windows Phone, it is a bit disappointing to note that this release of San Andreas doesn’t take advantage of Windows Phone’s Xbox support.  Yep, no Achievement support for GTA on your Windows Phone.

Microsoft now wholly owns Gears of War

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Gears of War is a big franchise – one that’s managed to stay exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox platforms for 8 years due to a close partnership with Epic Games.  Each game in the franchise was published by Microsoft, but the intellectual property still remained in the possession of Epic – meaning that Epic, after fulfilling their agreement with Microsoft, could have potentially brought the franchise to Sony’s platforms.  This has now changed as Microsoft is now the IP owner of the Gears of War franchise – a win for Microsoft who, since the release of the Kinect, has been struggling to boost their library of exclusive titles.

As an avid gamer, I would like to see Microsoft pursue more new franchises, but a Gears game on my Xbox one is mighty tempting.  On the other side, while I have yet to play Judgment, I felt that the third game was a solid conclusion to the franchise.  As much as I love playing Gears of War, I do feel like sometimes it’s okay to let a franchise end – especially when the end pretty well concludes the story.

No plans for Project Spark on Windows RT

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After (finally) getting an invite to Microsoft’s game creation application Project Spark, I was excited to dive in and start creating worlds with my Surface 2 (as it’s the only computer I own with a touch screen).  After encountering an error when trying to download the game from the Windows store, I contacted Microsoft support regarding the error and was informed that Project Spark has only been announced for Windows 8.1, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.  While this is something I’ve known, I assumed that the “Windows 8.1” part of that would include their tablet OS Windows RT – this is not the case.

In response to my query, Microsoft responded with:  “Project Spark beta is currently available only in Windows 8.1.  Eventually, Project Spark will also be on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  We have not announced any plans for Project Spark on Windows 7 or RT.”  So, there you have it, Surface RT and Surface 2 owners, there are currently no plans for Project Spark on your tablet.

That said, if you’ve received a beta invite for Project Spark, you can still access the game on a Windows 8.1 PC and will be automatically granted access to the Xbox One beta when that rolls out in February.  Microsoft has assured beta participants that a new set of codes will also be sent out to beta participants for the Xbox One beta release in the event that they gave their beta access to another user.