‘Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ Special Ratings Top Feast of Holiday Eve Offerings

America seemed to be on a bit of a pre-holiday diet last night when it came to Thanksgiving Eve primetime. With CBS the only net to put originals up on Wednesday, encores and specials galore took a bit of dip from last year.

Once again, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1.7/7) was the top rated show among adults 18-49 on the night before the feast and a new Survivor (1.4/5) was the most watched with an audience of 7.4 million. However, the ABC special had 11% less demo meat on the bone compared to last year. CBS’ vet reality series dipped 4% in viewership from November 23, 2016.

Week to week, Survivor was unsurprisingly down 18% from its November 15 show. The rest of the night on the House of Moonves saw SEAL Team (1.1/4) and Criminal Minds (1.0/4) the same as last week.
Overall, it was a tie between CBS and ABC for the top demo spot with both nets scoring a 1.1/4. Showing an original The Wall (0.8/3), which was even with its last original from August, and, like in past years, a SNL Thanksgiving (1.0/4) special, NBC was in second place overall with a 1.0/4.

While last year’s SNL special came bursting off the heat of last year’s Presidential election, this year’s Not Ready For Primetime Players annual special lost 38% of that traction 11 months and two days into Donald Trump’s reign.

The CW plugged in with Night 1 of its iHeartRadio Music Festival (0.4/2) while Fox went with encores of Empire (0.5/2) and Star (0.4/2). ABC finished off its Wednesday with Modern Family (1.2/5) and American Housewife (0.8/3) repeats and a holiday themed 20/20 (0.8/3)

And with that, have a great Thanksgiving.


Chewbacca Punches a Porg in Latest Star Wars 8 Footage

Porgs are everywhere these days and they are either hated or loved by Star Wars fans. Even the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi can’t figure out if they love them or hate them. Finn actor John Boyega recently said that they get to be quite a handful when there’s a lot of them in one place and Daisy Ridley has revealed that Rey isn’t too into them while she’s on Ahch-To. But one of the bigger relationships that we’ve all been hearing so much about is how one particular Porg is being used as a therapy creature for Chewbacca after the devastating loss of his pal Han Solo. So why is the Wookie punching his little buddy in the newest Last Jedi TV spot?

In honor of the holiday, Lucasfilm has released yet another TV spot for The Last Jedi. In addition to Chewie punching his new Porg buddy, we also get to see Captain Phasma apparently welcoming Finn back and we even get to hear her voice this time around. Additionally, we see Luke Skywalker aboard the Millennium Falcon again as well as a new shot of an X-Wing deep in battle. But, the main focus has to be Chewbacca and his Porg.

The new scene in which Chewbacca smacks a screaming Porg does not look like the same scene that we’ve seen before where the little adorable Porg yells in unison with the Wookie. Instead, this looks like it might be a trend for the little fellas and something that Chewbacca is highly annoyed with, which means that we might get equally annoyed with them as well. This could be where all of the rumors of Chewie eating the Porgs has come from. Maybe he gets so fed up that he decides to go on a rampage, eating every last one of them.

Speaking of eating Porgs, it has been said that they are a delectable treat this holiday season and it’s rumored that they taste like chicken, but even better. There’s a good recipe floating around here somewhere that details how to cook the Porg up just right, but it mentions that they are pretty hard to catch. It appears that you have to play the long-game with the little Force sensitive creatures and befriend them first before you can even think about luring them into a trap. Even then, you’ll need two people to pluck the feathers and get rid of the teeth.

Alright, all jokes aside, The Last Jedi is almost here and Disney and Lucasfilm are bringing out the big guns in terms of promotion. It’s a special day when you receive new Star Wars footage and hopefully everybody out there has a better day thanks to the new gift from Lucasfilm. Make sure to check out the brand-new footage from The Last Jedi and ponder why Chewbacca is knocking out a Porg with a smack to the face below, courtesy of the official Star Wars Twitter account.

Return to a galaxy far, far away…. Get tickets to Star Wars: #TheLastJedi.

— Star Wars (@starwars) November 23, 2017


Justice League VFX Video Reveals Batman and Cyborg’s Superhero Secrets

A new VFX reel for Justice League has just been released online and it gives us a sneak peek into the digital special effects that went into making the little details of DCEU movie look as great as it does. The movie finally hit theaters last week after months of controversy and speculation and while the movie is divisive, one thing that almost everybody can agree upon is that the villainous Steppenwolf looks like he has on way too much CGI makeup and really doesn’t look scary or evil at all. The new VFX reel focuses on the heroes of the Justice League and their user interfaces that do a lot of the heavy lifting, not the overall CGI used in the movie.

The Justice League VFX reel shows off some of the lesser-seen elements of the movie, but they are integral pieces to the movie that deserve some spotlight. One of the biggest pieces of the video shows off Batman’s Batcave computers as well as the onboard technology for his vehicles. Also shown off in the video are Barry Allen’s PCs as well as various pieces of tech for Cyborg. Blind Ltd. paid an amazing amount of detail to these pieces and Justice League is better for it. In addition, the scenes that they are featured in are not over the top like the rest of the CGI effects swirling around the movie at any given moment.

Technology definitely plays a huge part in Justice League, especially with most of Cyborg’s CGI body and onboard user interface for his half man/half machine body. Perhaps the coolest part of the video is a look into the S.T.A.R. Labs, which is where Victor Stone, aka, Cyborg was saved and created. The labs feature a huge amount of computer screens and Blind Ltd. really gave the sense that the S.T.A.R. Labs are a real and functioning place.

In addition to Justice League, Blind Ltd. has also worked on the user interfaces for Disney and Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Force Awakens and their work looks incredible in both of those movies as well. It isn’t clear if they did work on The Last Jedi, but they have worked with Batman before. Blind Ltd. also did the user interfaces for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy for all three movies and now they have worked on a completely new version of the Caped Crusader with a slew of newly designed toys.

So, while many are complaining about the over use of CGI in the movie and the bizarre red skies, the user interfaces truly look awesome, thanks to Blind Ltd. It’s a shame that the kind of care and eye for detail that Blind used wasn’t applied to the whole movie. Regardless of how you feel about Justice League, all of their toys and gadgets were on point. So on point that even Ben Affleck stole some of it. You can check out the VFX reel below, courtesy of Blind Ltd.’s Vimeo account.

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10 Things About Pulp Fiction You Never Knew

It’s a certified cinema classic and one of the most quotable movies ever. Two years after Reservoir Dogs, video store clerk turned auteur Quentin Tarantino turned out another masterpiece in Pulp Fiction, the 1994 movie that rescued John Travolta from the pop culture waste bin via a now iconic performance, matched in creative and artistic firepower by Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Amanda Plummer, Ving Rhames, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson as the soul searching hit man Jules. Pulp Fiction still regularly plays in midnight showings at the writer/director’s own New Beverly Cinema. Today we look at 10 things you never knew about Pulp Fiction.

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Matt Dillon was almost Butch.

Matt Dillon <strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong>

Originally Quentin Tarantino conceived of the “palooka” pugilist played by Bruce Willis as a younger up and coming boxer. He envisioned Matt Dillon in the role. But after the actor reportedly took too long to decide, Tarantino reworked the character and cast Willis, who had initially hoped to play hit man Vincent Vega instead.

Michael Madsen was almost Vincent.

Michael Madsen <strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong>

Tarantino wrote parts specifically for many of the actors in Pulp Fiction, including Samuel L. Jackson. But his hit man partner was supposed to be played by Michael Madsen, which would have made Vincent Vega the twin brother of Mr. Blonde, aka Vic Vega, from Reservoir Dogs. Madsen dropped out to make Wyatt Earp instead. In 2007, Tarantino revealed his title for a proposed Vega brothers prequel: Double V Vega, explaining in the same interview that both actors had aged out of the parts.

The many Mias.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus <strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong>

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was offered the role of Mia Wallace, according to her agent, but she was too busy with Seinfeld. Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Isabella Rossellini, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack, and Michelle Pfeiffer are all said to have auditioned for the part. As the story goes, Tarantino wanted Uma Thurman so much that he read her the entire script by phone. The pair of course worked together many more times.

Vincent and Mia stole that dance trophy.

<strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong> Dance

Speaking of Vincent and Mia, super fans, repeat viewers, and sharp-eared first timers were rewarded with a little bit of cool trivia. Remember how Mia and Vince return home with the trophy from Jack Rabbit Slims? A radio report heard elsewhere in the movie reveals that the trophy was actually stolen. Which means Vincent and Mia didn’t win the competition at all. They just stole the trophy.

Grand Theft Tarantino.

Grand Theft Tarantino

And speaking of stealing, remember that cool 1964 Chevy Malibu Vincent Vega drives? Eventually, the director solved one of the movie’s mysteries: it was Butch who keyed Vincent’s car. That Malibu belonged to Tarantino in real life and it was stolen after filming. Police actually recovered the vehicle nearly 20 years later. The wallet Jules carried also belonged to the filmmaker. As far as know, that’s still safe.

There’s an uncredited director.

Robert Rodriguez <strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong>

Would you believe that Quentin Tarantino isn’t the only director who worked on Pulp Fiction? Robert Rodriguez stepped in to direct the scenes where his pal QT acts in the film. Tarantino reportedly considered playing Lance, but chose not to, as he wanted to make sure he was behind the camera for Mia’s now famous overdose.

The needle and the damage done.

Needle scene <strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong>

The most famous moment in that overdose scene is when Vincent Vega shoves that adrenaline spike into Mia Wallace’s chest. It’s a very convincing stunt, which was executed with some old fashioned non-CGI ingenuity. In real life, Travolta actually pulled the needle out of Thurman’s chest, then the footage played in reverse. Cool.

The new Old Testament.

<strong><em>Pulp Fiction</em></strong> Old Testament

Samuel L. Jackson’s hit man Jules loved to quote the Old Testament just before he whacked somebody. After a potentially supernatural incident spares his life, he finds himself reflecting on that bit of scripture he’d memorized, concluding that he’s going to give up his life of crime in order to be a drifter and “walk the earth like Caine.” But only the last two lines appear in the Bible. The rest of Ezekiel 25:17 was just some stuff Jackson and Tarantino cooked up together. By the way, that character, Caine? Caine was the protagonist of television’s Kung Fu, played by David Carradine. The late actor would of course star as the title character in Tarantino’s Kill Bill. There are Reddit threads devoted to the idea that Jackson’s Kill Bill character is actually Jules.

The True Romance connection.

True Romance

The year before Pulp Fiction arrived in theaters saw the release of True Romance, directed by the late Tony Scott. The movie starred Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, from a script written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery. Tarantino’s movies are filled with connections to each other, linking seemingly disparate films like Inglorious Basterds to Reservoir Dogs in a myriad of magnificent ways. There’s one piece of dialog that helps connect True Romance to Pulp Fiction. Butch’s girlfriend, Fabienne, says, “Any time of day is a good time for pie.” This exact same line is spoken in True Romance by Alabama. Incidentally, Patricia Arquette played Alabama and her sister, Roseanna, was in Pulp Fiction. OK, we should stop here…

The Die Hard connection

Die Hard

Ok, fine, we’ll do one more! In Pulp Fiction, Bruce Willis sings along to The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers on the Wall,” crooning the line, “smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.” Samuel Jackson joined the Die Hard franchise the following year. During one scene in Die Hard with a Vengeance, John McLane tells his character that he spent his suspension, “Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.”


‘The Four: Battle For Stardom’: Fox Promos Disruptive Singing Competition

Here’s a first-look promo for Fox’s The Four: Battle For Stardom, a new singing reality series that panelist Sean “Diddy” Combs has promised will “disrupt the world of competition television” and “revolutionize the format.” Above, he wants to know “who will be able to save their seat?”

Created by Armoza Formats and produced by ITV Entertainment in association with Armoza, The Four also features expert panelists DJ Khaled, singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor and record label exec Charlie Walk. It premieres January 4 and will air Thursdays at 8 PM.

The format works backwards from typical competition shows: Four finalists, chosen from their auditions, will try to defend their coveted spots on the stage, as they are challenged by new singers determined to replace them. Each week, if any of the four are outperformed as determined by a panel of judges, they’ll go home and their challengers will take their place.

The singer who is the last standing at the end of the competition will see the panel of industry experts become key players on their team. The elite group will then guide the winner’s career to help make him or her a breakout star.

The Four will beat to air ABC’s reboot of former Fox mega hit American Idol, which will launch in March and air on Sundays. Fox’s response to Idol 2.0 also will air while NBC’s rival singing competition The Voice is on hiatus, on one of the nights the original aired on Fox toward the end of its run.

The Four is exec produced by David George, Adam Sher, David Eilenberg, Becca Walker, David Friedman, Avi Armoza, Moshiko Cohen and Elwin Viztelly de Groot. Combs will also serve as a producer.


Dead Cross’ Church Music Video Is the Best Horror Short of 2017

Hardcore super group Dead Cross, featuring ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, have just released a new video for their song “Church of the Motherf—ers” and it’s the best horror short of the year. This is the band’s second video off of their debut album and it is an intense look at religion with some harsh undertones of what has been happening in the entertainment industry’s sexual misconduct scandals. When a band sounds as brutal as Dead Cross, it’s hard to find imagery that heightens that feeling instead of parodying it, and director Michael Panduro has done a perfect job of capturing the pure essence of this type of music.

The Fight Club-themed video for “Church of the Motherf–ers” opens with a quote from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who states, “The influence of a man has never yet grown great without his blind pupils.” The video then shows two priests in a basement beating each other senseless while children cheer them on. Another storyline in the video features a pregnant boy going into labor in what appears to be immaculate conception. This extends to a nun doing some questionable things with communion wafers. The black and white video is as haunting as the brutal song, and it ends with the priests ceasing to fight and looking upwards into the sky, mouths agape, while the pregnant boy gives a violent birth to something evil.

The idea behind the video has heavy religious undertones. Bassist Justin Pearson, also of Retox and the Locust, says the band’s “Church of the Motherf–ers” video is a view of the band’s stance on organized religion, which is a horror staple. Pearson says, “We are not capable of understanding aspects of molecular genetics, let alone the universe. I’d rather not fill in the blanks with outlandish oppressive morals, offensive social politics and patriarchal garbage. In the year 2017 A.D., some humans still think there is a god.” While the creepy religious motif is going on, it’s hard not to draw parallels into the Hollywood sexual misconduct scandals that are popping up every day.

While the lyrics are clearly about organized religion and taking advantage of one’s power, they definitely apply to the post-Harvey Weinstein era of Hollywood. Lines like, “Can’t hide Cardinal cartel Pockets are full Corrupt intel Face down in the pool Power absolute An orgy institute” can easily be applied to the corrupt underbelly of the entertainment industry and people protecting men of power. The song goes further into so-called “child lovers,” which also shows a direct line into the Hollywood pedophile ring that Corey Feldman is trying to bring public.

The incredibly NSFW video for Dead Cross’ “Church of the Motherf–ers” is the perfect hardcore song for these times, whether it was intended or not. With anything Mike Patton does, there’s also room for the humorous and the absurd, which lends itself beautifully into the horror genre and director Michael Panduro has done an excellent job peeling back the layers of Patton’s imagery into one hell of a horrifying video. You can check out the NSFW video for “Church of the Motherf—ers” below, courtesy of Ipecac Recordings’ YouTube channel.

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‘Suburbicon’ Production Designer On Cobbling Together Idyllic ’50s Suburb Out Of Disparate SoCal Locations

Tackling a period project that feels true to life, rather than an imitation of the past, is no easy feat for any production designer—but it doesn’t hurt to have lived through the period being depicted. Such was the case for Oscar-nominated production designer Jim Bissell, who has spent much of his career depicting different epochs of the American experience. Breaking out with Steven Spielberg’s E.T., Bissell sees an irony in the fact that at 66 years of age, he’s found himself working on George Clooney’s Suburbicon—ironic in the sense that they are more the same than they are different, when it came to his approach.

Below, Bissell describes his working relationship with Clooney—this being their fifth endeavor together—discussing the film’s depiction of a ’50s suburban nightmare.

Your collaborative relationship with George Clooney notwithstanding, what personally resonated with you about Suburbicon?

I really enjoy working with George. This is our fifth project together. The second thing would probably be that it’s not unlike the neighborhood I grew up in. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in North Carolina. Obviously, I’m a little bit older than George—I’ve got 10 years on him, so I lived during that era—and I shared some of George’s feeling, which was that in the ‘50s and ‘60s, there was an awful lot of white privilege and hypocrisy.

A lot of the social and cultural issues that are dealt with in the film were part of my youth. It was going to be interesting to try to delineate that in a non-romantic, non-stylized way. I watch a lot of ’50s movies, and very often they’re not done particularly well, but that’s only from the perspective of someone who lived through the period.

Paramount Pictures

The overall approach to the film evolved. We were looking initially at actually using Levittown in Pennsylvania, and then when Matt came on board and wanted to stay in town, that required a certain course correction, where we were going to go for that East Coast, early suburb look, and try to make it look like it wasn’t necessarily in California.

You’ve frequently explored different epochs of Americana in your work. Having lived through the ‘50s, did you consider this time period in your immediate wheelhouse, or something you were able to discover more about?

Oh, probably both. Certainly, having come from a suburban background, I bring certain experiences and insights into it, and it wasn’t lost on me that there was a little bit of an interesting, ironic bookend—that my breakthrough film was E.T., and now at 66, I’m doing this show. And in some ways, I was trying to bring the same sensibility.

E.T. is a film about Elliott’s transition from the magical thinking of youth to rational thinking, and in the course of that transition he has to embrace the adult world, which is difficult. These are the kind of things you want to set against both a little bit of a magical background, as well as a realistic background, and this was the dark underbelly of that. It was also trying to provide a fairly realistic, non-romanticized background of the 50’s—to show it as a place where evil could exist, hidden by the anonymity of the suburban environment.

Paramount Pictures

How did you cobble together the sense of a community out of so many disparate California locations, and what other visual ideas were essential to this portrait of dark Americana?

There were quite a few staging mandates. One of them was that by introducing the [Lodge’s] kid, and showing how he slowly understands what he’s in the middle of, we needed a platform for him to start looking at the adult world—not being able to see at all, and then eventually being able to have an open enough floor plan where he did start to really be a part of it, begin to understand his parents and his aunt for who they actually were, rather than what the kid assumes.

So, the Lodge house had to be a two-story house. The Mayers house wanted to be a single-story house because it’s their modest beginning in the American dream of getting a house in suburbia, then making the upward progression to a larger house.

That all started with a lot of interesting research about where those neighborhoods were in Southern California, and starting to explore with our location scout, Ken Haber, who did some really good work. We spent a lot of time in a car, obviously.

One of the great ironies was that we found the single-story street, which is supposed to be parallel to the double-story street, in Fullerton. Ken had done some research, and I’d done a really interesting survey of the architectural value of ‘50s [Caltrans] tracks.

Paramount Pictures

We found where some of these locations were, and of course, most of these neighborhoods were completely shaded by fully mature trees. So we looked and looked, and our hope was to find at least a three-house stretch—that was, three houses on both sides of a street—where we could stage the action, and have a fairly realistic foreground, and then be able to do some extensions through visual effects beyond that.

We used Google Maps extensively, trying to identify places we should go, and Ken had gone down to Fullerton to talk to the police chief, to let him know what we were up to, and to look at what kind of cooperation we could get. He was early for the appointment, and he started driving around, and went to the street, which I believe was Ash street. And lo and behold, he came there four days after they had cut all the trees down. It was an astonishing bit of serendipity. The neighbors had complained because the Ficus trees were upending all of the sidewalks, so the city had come in and cut them all down.

We couldn’t have seen this one on Google Maps at all—it just happened. It was perfect. That’s how we stumbled across the house for the Mayers. That was a full block, much more than we’d ever anticipated being able to find.

Paramount Pictures

Then, the two-story house, we found in Carson. Of course, the two houses are supposed to butt up against each other, so that’s when I put together the strategy where everything that was shot on the front of the Mayers house shot in that neighborhood; everything shot in front of the Lodge house was shot in Carson; then, the backyard was a constructed set that did in fact give us a house on either side. It was two, three houses and these open backyard,s which were very much a part of some of the East Coast suburban neighborhoods. That backyard set was built with limited see-throughs between the houses, which is where we put green screen, and we would get the background placed from the actual locations. It worked really effectively—I think it was pretty seamless.

It was interesting to read that George Clooney is someone who meticulously draws out his shots.

Yeah, it’s a very iterative process, and a very satisfying one for a designer, primarily because he does draw. Any director that can put a pencil to paper—whether they do it well or not, it really doesn’t make too much difference. The hardest part is starting that process of taking something out of your head and sticking it onto paper.

So many directors will give you the line, “I don’t quite know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.” That makes it really difficult because the translation of ideas is a very complex one, so you can either wind up dealing with somebody who knows the process very well, and knows when you’re going in a good direction, or you’re dealing with somebody who just wants to wander through a visual supermarket and make choices. That’s an extremely inefficient process.

Paramount Pictures

But with someone like George, it’s not inefficient at all. I’ll give him a crude model in 3D and say, “Here’s where the entrance is, this is the kind of visual we would have at the entrance, and this happens, and this happens.” And he’ll instantly see it. It could be the crudest suggestion of what I’m implying, but I get instant feedback, and I continue to refine the models.

By the time we finished that collaborative process and built the set, nothing on the set changed. He was so familiar with the space through the computer models and the physical model that I built. He just felt very comfortable with the space and he was free to work with the actors.

How did you conceptualize the look for the interior of the Lodge house?

The interior is very much a theatrical set. Anybody that looks at it closely will know that it’s really a space that cannot exist, designed primarily for the series of images that help to tell the story.

There was a noirish quality to it, so there had to be walls that we could project shadows against. There had to be the drama of going up and down the stairs—I suggested to George very early on that we would probably want an open staircase, because the open staircase also gave us really interesting shadows.

Paramount Pictures

The other thing was that I wanted to reflect that kind of optimism that he wanted. You had to use the same palette, and it had to feel part of the same universe. As the show itself got darker and darker, the colors in the palette had to be unsettling, and really disturbing. So, there was almost a character arc to the interior of that space. All the while, you’re juxtaposing that against the images of the riot and the chaos going on in front of the Mayers house.

Was it challenging to match the visual quality of the documentary footage integrated into the film?

That was fairly close, and the quality was so degraded that it wasn’t really difficult to match it. Levittown, just north of Philadelphia, had about the same spacing between the houses, and the same kind of boxy design that was a little less sophisticated than the neighborhood that we had in Fullerton. But I didn’t really have to work too hard, in terms of integrating that.

Paramount Pictures

Can you discuss the minutiae you get into, when you get to sets like the grocery store, which was completely recreated in period detail?

My perameters as a production designer are making sure that we have the correct stage to create a grocery store. We have to constantly work within the limitations of our budget. But the other area that’s always an issue is clearances. You have a really good graphic designer that understands the essence of the period design, can capture that, but not have any identifiable products that can’t be cleared. That’s a real tight rope.

Which space in Suburbicon was the most challenging to work with?

There was a lot of stuff going on in the Lodge house. It really is almost psychological imagery, definitely dramatic, going from the invasion, to all of the stuff where the kid has begin to slowly realize what’s going on, and then the final confrontation between him and Matt.


Is Infinity War Bringing Back Hela and the Ancient One?

It looks like a couple of major characters may be returning for Avengers: Infinity War. The massive Marvel event movie looks to be the culmination of everything that has happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to this point. That being the case, pretty much every major character is going to show up, if only briefly. And, if Mark Ruffalo is to be believed, that may even extend to quite recent and presumably dead characters.

During a recent interview on Michael Rapaport’s I am Rapaport podcast, the man responsible for bringing Hulk to life was asked which actors left “the best impression” on him after having worked with them. He then proceeded to name drop both Cate Blanchett, whom he worked with on Thor: Ragnarok and, more surprisingly, Tilda Swinton, who portrayed The Ancient One in Doctor Strange. That’s of particular note because, as far as we can tell, there’s no project outside of the MCU that the two have worked together on. And since Ruffalo recently worked on Avengers: Infinity War, it seems perfectly plausible that he worked with her on that movie.

This relies on connecting a few dots, but it does make sense. For one, Marvel likely wouldn’t want to make Tilda Swinton’s involvement in Avengers: Infinity War known because The Ancient One died a very meaningful death in Doctor Strange. That said, this also doesn’t mean she’s going to come back to life. The Sorcerer Supreme, aka Benedict Cumberbatch at this point, has access to different planes of existence. That being the case, he could somehow bring The Avengers into contact with The Ancient One to help them in their fight against Thanos.

As for Cate Blanchett’s Hela? It’s entirely possible Mark Ruffalo just meant he was working with her on Thor: Ragnarok. However, those familiar with the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from Marvel Comics will likely note why a character named Hela the Goddess of Death has a good reason to show up in Avengers: Infinity War. One of the driving forces for Thanos is his obsession and love for Lady Death. He’s trying to impress her with a wave of death. Given Hela’s fate in Thor: Ragnarok, it’s entirely possible she’s going to come back as the MCU version of Lady Death and become that motivation for Thanos in the movie.

Again, a lot of this is speculative, but there are enough breadcrumbs that make it seem like Hela and The Ancient One are both going to be in Avengers: Infinity War. Besides, Marvel wouldn’t go out and get actors on the level of Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton and just use them once if there’s opportunity for more. If you want to hear more with Mark Ruffalo, you can check out the full interview on the I am Rappaport Podcast. Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters on May 4, 2018.

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