Star Wars Day on May the 4th (be with you!) held some excellent Mandalorian season 2 news for fans, Assassin’s Creed writer Michael Lesslie is tapped for a big sci-fi reboot, the Peabody Award nominations include Stranger Things and more of TV and streaming’s top titles, Nicolas Cage will play Joe Exotic in a scripted series, new trailers, and more in the week’s top TV and streaming news.
Robert Rodriguez Tweets a Photo of Himself on Set with The Child
Spy Kids filmmaker Robert Rodriguez had a special May the 4th surprise for fans of The Mandalorian: he made it official that he will be among the directors helming season 2 episodes of the Disney+ Star Wars series.
With a tweet of himself alongside “the biggest star in the universe,” a smiling Rodriguez shared how excited he is to be a part of The Mandalorian’s sophomore season, which is ready to go and will premiere on Disney+ in the fall.
— Robert Rodriguez (@Rodriguez) May 5, 2020
“I am truly humbled to say I now have had the very rare privilege of directing the biggest star in the universe,” Rodriguez tweeted.
Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed also confirmed he’s directing a season 2 episode, via a tweet of a director’s chair with his name on the back and the helmet of series star Pedro Pascal’s titular character on top of the seat.
— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) May 4, 2020
For a bonus dose of Baby Yoda fun:
Adama? Starbuck? Apollo? We don’t yet know which, if any, of those iconic characters will return, but now we do know who will lead the latest reboot of classic sci-fi adventure Battlestar Galactica for Peacock: The Little Drummer Girl showrunner Michael Lesslie.
Lesslie, also a writer for video-game film adaptation Assassin’s Creed and Riz Ahmed’s Hamlet remake for Netflix, will create, write, and executive produce the once again re-imagined BSG, the second time the series that originated in 1978 on ABC has been rebooted. The first Battlestar Galactica remake aired on Sci-fi (now Syfy) 2004-09 and boasts a 95% series-level Tomatometer score.
Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail’s Esmail Corp is producing the new series with NBCU’s Universal Content Productions as part of Esmail’s overall deal with UCP. Esmail will also serve as an executive producer on the series. (Deadline)
Dan Harmon and the Community cast will reunite for a Zoom call to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts, Variety reports. The actors will do a table read and Q&A on Monday, May 18, at 2 p.m. PT on Sony Pictures TV’s “Community” YouTube page.
Donald Glover will join his costars for the first time since he left the show. Stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong will also participate in the read of “Cooperative Polygraphy,” the fourth episode of season 5, which first aired January 16, 2014 on NBC.
The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors has announced the nominees for its annual awards to celebrate the best in broadcast and digital storytelling, and the 60 honorees for 2019 include 11 from PBS, seven from HBO, and five from Netflix.
Among the high-profile nominees: Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things and limited series When They See Us and Unbelievable; HBO’s Watchmen, Succession, and Chernobyl; and Amazon’s Good Omens and the final season (for now, anyway) of Fleabag. Dickinson (Apple), David Makes Man (OWN), Ramy (Hulu), and the documentaries Leaving Neverland (HBO), Surviving R. Kelly (Lifetime), and Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Showtime) are also among the contenders for the 30 winners that will be named later in the year.
A complete list of nominees is available at the Peabody Awards website.
HBO released a trailer for Lovecraft Country, season 1, a thriller-horror series based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name, from producers Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams, and starring Michael K. Williams, Courtney B. Vance, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (HBO)
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At last, a sign that maybe everything really is going to be OK: The national treasure that is Emmy winner Betty White has signed on to star in a Lifetime Christmas movie. In the still-untitled TV flick, the 98-year-old legend “helps whip would-be Santas into shape, spreading the true meaning of Christmas and leading everyone to wonder: is she secretly Mrs. Claus?”
Nicolas Cage is set to play the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic, in a scripted series based on a Texas Monthly article by writer Leif Reigstad. The eccentric Cage, who seems like a perfect actor to portray the eccentric character viewers got to know in Netflix’s huge hit, Tiger King, and Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer are among the EPs for the series, which is currently being shopped to networks. Dan Lagana, showrunner of the Emmy-nominated Netflix mockumentary American Vandal, will write the series, as well as serve as showrunner and EP. The Joe Exotic role will be the first regular TV role in the Oscar-winning actor’s career. (Variety)
The Chris Pratt–Antoine Fuqua series adaptation of The Terminal List, a bestselling thriller by author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr, has landed at Amazon. Pratt will star and executive produce and Fuqua will direct and executive produce the series, about James Reece, who returns home after his entire platoon of SEALs is ambushed during a mission. He soon learns there were dark forces working against him and his fellow SEALs, and those forces are now putting him and his loved ones in danger.
Saturday Night Live will wrap up its 45th season with its third SNL at Home episode on May 9.
Jean Smart will play a Las Vegas diva who forms an interesting mentorship with an entitled 25-year-old in a comedy series for HBO Max. Mike Schur (The Good Place) and Broad City writers Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello, and Jen Statsky created and will write the series, which Schur will executive produce.
Jim Gaffigan has signed on to play former Toronto mayor Rob Ford in a limited series at AMC. The Office alum Ed Helms will be an executive producer on the dark comedy, which will recount the story of Ford’s controversial political career, which included getting caught on video smoking crack during his reelection campaign. Ford died in 2016 after a battle with cancer. (Variety)
NBC’s The Blacklist crew came up with a clever way to finish their season finale when production was shut down halfway through the episode: they made the rest of it a graphic novel-style animation. In the May 15 finale, “The Kazanjian Brothers,” season 7 comes to a close with a mix of live-action and animation – with fresh dialogue recorded by the series cast – as The Task Force investigates an accountant who works for lucrative criminals in order to find the violent and thuggish brothers hired for his protection.
Joe Russo will write a sequel to Netflix’s hot Chris Hemsworth action movie Extraction. Russo write the first movie, which has been viewed by nearly 90 million households, according to Hemsworth, since it was released on April 24. (THR)
Sopranos creator David Chase created dialogue with the show’s characters revealing what they would be doing in quarantine, Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa shared during their Talking Sopranos rewatch podcast episode for “Pax Soprana.” Best part: whatever you believe happened in that series finale, Tony Soprano is alive in this version of Chase’s world.
Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and the Mr. Show gang, including Paul F. Tompkins, Brian Posehn, and Scott Aukerman, will reunite – virtually, of course – for a May 13 event called “The Mr. Show Kids With Beardz’ Presents: Come Join Our Zoomtacular Annual Business Call.” The event will benefit the LIFT nonprofit to combat poverty, and tickets can be purchased here.
Barack and Michelle Obama will be the headline speakers for Class of 2020, a YouTube special event that will serve as a stand-in commencement ceremony for the 2020 graduates who are missing out on the real thing because of the pandemic. Lady Gaga, BTS, former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will also deliver speeches for the grads during the event, which debuts on YouTube on June 6.
FX has greenlit a half-hour anthology series from The Office star B.J. Novak. The untitled series will have a different cast for each episode, and will “will use the boldest issues of our time as a jumping-off point to tell singular, character-driven stories about the world we live in today,” according to THR. The casts for the first two episodes includes Jon Bernthal, Beau Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Kaitlyn Dever, O’Shea Jackson Jr., George Wallace, Ed Asner, and Amy Landecker.
That National Geographic Channel series adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s bestseller The Right Stuff that was set to debut in the fall is moving to Disney+ instead. Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Aaron Staton, James Lafferty, and Danny Strong star in the series, which unfolds the true story of the Mercury 7 astronauts and the history of the NASA program.
The quarantine has sparked a TV show for pop star and actress Selena Gomez, who will star in a cooking series for streaming service HBO Max, which debuts May 27. In each of the 10 episodes, Gomez, who will also act as executive producer for the show, will be joined remotely by a different chef, who will help her prepare a new kind of cuisine, complete with cooking and equipment tips, and spotlighting food-related charities.
In what turned out to be a busy week for HBO Max, the streamer also picked up the Sundance award-winning movie Charm City Kings, about a teen (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) who joins a flashy dirt bike crew, and is tempted by its money and violence-filled lifestyle. Rapper Meek Mill also stars in the movie, which was inspired by the 2013 Certified Fresh documentary 12 O’Clock Boys.
Dickinson creator Alena Smith also signed a new multi-year deal, hers with Apple, to create new programming for Apple TV+.
ABC is relaunching The Wonderful World of Disney, in which it airs movies from the Disney film library, on May 20. First up: the animated 2016 Oscar nominee Moana, starring Dwayne Johnson, followed by Thor: The Dark World (May 27), Up on June 3, and Big Hero 6 on June 10.
Disney+ has greenlit an eight-episode adaptation of R.L. Stine’s horror-comedy graphic novel Just Beyond. The series is created by Seth Grahame-Smith, who wrote the script for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie, and wrote the bestselling books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.