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SYFY WIRE Despicable Me

WIRE Buzz: Despicable Me’s Gru + Minions coronavirus PSA; Picard filming delayed; more

By Jacob Oller
Star Trek Picard

Plenty of entertainers in the world of genre have either reprised famous roles or used their association with the darker side of fiction to remind fans to be safe during the coronavirus pandemic. We even got a warped version of Freddy’s song from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Animated characters cutting COVID-19 PSAs, however, are a much more rare commodity. So when Despicable Me’s Gru and the inescapable slapstick Minions released a video about pandemic safety, it made sense for fans to listen.

Featuring Gru’s film voice, Steve Carell, the team-up between The World Health Organization, United Nations Foundation, and Illumination is all about giving some tips to the younger segment of the genre fandom.

Take a look:

Physical distancing, home activity, Zoom calls, and kindness are all hit hard by the voiced-over supercut, which will eventually be dubbed in multiple languages. 

“At this challenging time, we must find all ways possible to provide hope to people while sharing advice that can protect our health,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom said in a statement. “WHO is excited to be working with Illumination and Steve Carell and the joys of the Minions and Gru to promote the importance of physical distancing, keeping active and connected, and being kind and compassionate to overcome COVID-19.”

Next, while some genre projects are helping combat the pandemic with PSAs, others are feeling its impact in less positive ways. Picard, for instance, has had its shooting schedule bumped a few months. The CBS All Access Star Trek show that gave Patrick Stewart fans a glimpse into Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s fate was set to shoot its sophomore effort in the middle of June. Now, it’ll be delayed.

During the Star Trek: Voyager 25th anniversary livestream, Seven of Nine’s Jeri Ryan explained that things weren’t going to go ahead as planned for the series’ second season. Kate Mulgrew asked about how Picard was faring under the coronavirus, leading Ryan (who also appears in the new show) to answer that the greenlit S2 was being pushed beyond the summer.

"They're hoping we can start shooting in the fall," Ryan explained.

No word on whether this will affect the premiere of the season’s 10 episodes, which are currently set for either a late 2020 or early 2021 premiere.

Finally, a YA series about a magical school (no, not the one you’re thinking of) is going to get the cinematic treatment.

According to Deadline, Universal has nabbed the rights to Nebula Award-winning author Naomi Novik’s Scholomance series and its first book — A Deadly Education — is already being developed into a movie.

A Deadly Education looks to be the first novel in a planned trilogy, called “a twisted, super dark, super modern, female-led Harry Potterby its publisher. That makes sense, because it’s a magic school filled with death, power, and monsters — no teachers allowed. It follows El Higgins, who will need to survive the dangers of education while trying not to blow her classmates apart with her arcane prowess.

The adaptation has yet to land a creative team, but the book will publish this fall.