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WIRE Buzz: Ryan Reynolds’ Clue discovers Muppets director; Neopets series in the works; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Ryan Reynolds

It’s been two years since news of a movie based on the Clue board game started snooping around, with Ryan Reynolds set to play a leading role. Now there’s a little less mystery to the project, as today's update indicates that the movie may have discovered a new director.

THR reports that Muppets movie-directing veteran James Bobin is “in early talks” to helm the Reynolds-produced Clue film, marking a shift away from previously-attached director and all-around busy guy, Jason Bateman (The Outsider). The same report says Bateman, at one time slated to costar in the Clue movie, has exited that role as well. 

James Bobin

There are still no specifics on Reynolds’ character, but in a movie based on a murder whodunnit that strands its ensemble players inside a mansion, even the speculation is fun. Co-produced by Reynolds’ Maximum Effort and Hasbro’s Allspark Pictures, the Clue movie will be one of the early films made by Disney’s 20th Century Studio banner in the wake of the entertainment giant’s post-Fox merger.

Bobin, who honed his comedic chops at HBO with Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords, directed Walt Disney Studios’ rebooted The Muppets (2011) and its 2014 sequel, Muppets Most Wanted. He went on to direct Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) and last year’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold for Paramount. There’s no release date set yet for the Clue movie, so we’ll keep scanning the premises with our magnifying glasses for any additional signs.

If some part of your younger self is still stuck in the past, standing over your withering virtual Neopet, and wondering why you didn’t nurture it better so the two of you could get on with exploring Neopia, a new TV deal is about to revive that whole early-2000s experience — while putting the whole thing on rails.

Yep, the childhood obsession of many a millennial is reportedly getting its own TV show. Via a partnership between Beach House Pictures and California-based JumpStart Games, Canadian broadcaster Blue Ant Media has picked up exclusive development rights for a (no pun intended) new Neopets animated series, via its Beach House Pictures production company.

Neopets poster

Via a release posted to the company's website, the new deal could lead to a Neopets cartoon series featuring “new characters and stories” that “bring added dimension” to the 20-year-old franchise.

One part game and one part pet-care simulator, the original Neopets debuted as a virtual online experience back in 1999, and ensnared many a player in the addictive, lore-rich world of Neopia, where spending the in-game currency (Neopoints) to help your whimsically-styled creatures thrive was the name of the game (think Tamagotchi by way of Pokémon and you’ll be in the ballpark).

There’s no early word on whether a premiere date’s been set for the developing Neopets ‘toon, but we’ve gotta admit — we’re loving the idea of letting someone else take care of our pixelated pets for a change.

We’ve made it this far, so we might as well stick with the games-based theme we’ve got going for a wistful what-if tale. Famed Gears of War developer Cliff Bleszinski took to social media recently to reveal his former studio’s abandoned plans for a cool-sounding video game that he says would’ve been set in the Alien horror-verse.

Via Twitter, Bleszinski shared a handful of interesting details about what he described as a first-person space shooter; one aimed at returning Ripley as a key character, and designed to put the player in the role of a grown-up Newt from Aliens.

Bleszinski tweeted that his now-shuttered Boss Key Productions studio was in the early planning stages for the game when the Disney-Fox merger occurred, and that the idea simply didn’t survive the Alien franchise’s transition. “Before BKP shut down we were in talks to do a new game in the Aliens franchise with Fox. Then Disney bought them and that got lost in the shuffle, darnit,” he said. 

“Ripley would be alive and be your ‘Cortana/Anya,’” he added in a separate tweet. “You'd play as grown Newt. On Earth. Weyland-Yutani are weaponizing the aliens in a Black Mesa style facility and, of course, all hell breaks loose.”

Darnit indeed. Coupled with Bleszinski’s information that players would also have gotten some kind of in-game help from a Bishop-like robot named Casey (“after her doll in Aliens”), it sounds as though the plan was pretty ambitious indeed. As it stands, we’ll have to be content with waiting for fresh updates on the Alien-themed game that was announced after the Disney-Fox deal: a still-mysterious first-person shooter from developer Cold Iron Studios.