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Development: Hulu cancels The First; Unkrich leaves Pixar; Fantastic Beasts 3 pushes production

By Brian Silliman
Sean Penn The First Hulu

It looks like Hulu's space exploration drama The First — starring Sean Penn in his first major television role — has now seen its last.

Variety confirms that Hulu has pulled the plug on the Beau Willimon show after only one season. Natascha McElhone co-starred with Penn; LisaGay Hamilton, Keiko Agena, Rey Lucas, James Ransone, and Hannah Ware also appeared. The First depicted humanity's first mission to Mars, was given a "straight to series" order in May of 2017, and premiered in September of 2018.

Alas, viewers never really took off with the show, which got mixed reviews upon release. It had a 69% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with some critics unhappy with the show's pacing.

After 25 years with the company, Lee Unkrich is officially parting ways with Disney's Pixar Animation Studios.

Unkrich has been involved with countless Pixar classics, winning Oscars for his direction of both Coco in 2018 and Toy Story 3 in 2010. He also served as co-director on Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo.

In a statement (via Deadline), Unkrich wrote, "I’m not leaving to make films at another studio; instead, I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have long been back-burnered."

The current CCO of Pixar, Pete Docter, remarked on the exit, saying, “Lee arrived at Pixar as we were crafting Toy Story, and he’s had a profound effect on all Pixar films since. He literally taught us rookie filmmakers about staging, composition, and cutting. His artistry and expert craftsmanship as an editor and co-director became a major reason for the high quality of our filmmaking, and as Lee went on to direct, his ability to find the deep humor and emotion enabled him to create some of the strongest films we’ve made."

Aside from numerous fans tweeting Toy Story 3 gifs (So long partner), there was also a tweet from Brad Bird, the director of Pixar's The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Incredibles 2. He tweeted a simple message: "Thanks for all of it, Lee."

Pixar's next film will be Toy Story 4, coming to theaters on June 21.

Finally today, it looks like the witches and wizards behind the third entry in J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts series are pushing back production.

According to Deadline, the third (untitled) Harry Potter spin-off movie will begin production this autumn, instead of starting in July as had been planned. This means more "prep time" for the third film, as the second one, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, only came out this past November. Deadline states that the movie would need to be "in soft-prep by now to roll cameras in the summer. Actors are being alerted about the push in production in order to change their working schedules."

This push may change the planned release date for the film, which was rumored to be in 2020. Not much is known about the third film in the series, aside from hopes that it will answer some questions that were left open in the second movie. That's kind of an understatement — the second Fantastic Beasts film opened a skyscraper-sized can of wizard-worms and left every fan with questions.

The Fantastic Beasts movies have made a combined $1.46 billion worldwide at this point.