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WIRE Buzz: 'Evil Dead Now' finds director; 'Into the Spider-Verse 2' in production; more

By Josh Weiss & Josh Grossberg
Evil Dead 2

We've got a groovy update on the next Evil Dead film from Ash Williams himself.

Chatting with Empire Magazine, Bruce Campbell revealed that Sam Raimi (who alluded to this back in early January) "handpicked" The Hole in the Ground's Lee Cronin to write and direct the next entry in the horror-comedy franchise. Not only that, but the project also has a title: Evil Dead Now.

"We're going to get that sucker out as soon as practical," Campbell said, most likely alluding to the production shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Cronin confirmed his hiring on Twitter, writing:

"Guess the cat is outta the bag. Or, is Henrietta out of the fruit cellar? Touched by all the kind words and warm wishes. Thank you! Humbled to collaborate with the legends that are Sam Raimi, @robtapert, and @GroovyBruce on a new chapter in the Evil Dead universe. #EvilDead."

Like Fede Alvarez's 2013 remake of the 1981 original, Evil Dead Now won't feature the character Ash (who's pretty much retired, except for voiceover work). However, Campbell did heavily imply that Now will center on a female protagonist.

"From this point forward, they kind of have to stand on their own. Which is fine. And liberating," he continued. “You could have different heroes, different heroines in this case. This one's gonna be a little more dynamic. We just want to keep the series current. And the mantra, really, is that our heroes and heroines are just regular people. That's what we're going to continue."

The Into the Spider-Verse sequel seemingly swung into production today, according to a tweet from Nick Kondo, lead animator at Sony Imageworks.

"First day on the job!" Kondo wrote alongside a previously released video of Miles Morales' graffiti-inspired Spider-Man logo.

Joaquim Dos Santos (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Voltron: Legendary Defender) is directing the follow-up, with a script written by David Callaham (Zombieland: Double Tap, Wonder Woman 1984).

During an interview with SYFY WIRE earlier this year, composer Daniel Pemberton described the project's story as "really brilliant."

"I'm always thinking about what we can do to make [the sequel] even more exciting than the first one," he told us. "I think it's gonna be very exciting. That's all I'll say."

No official casting announcements have been made yet, but it's probably safe to assume that Shameik Moore (Miles), Jake Johnson (Peter Parker), Hailee Steinfeld (Spider-Gwen), Kimiko Glenn (Peni Parker), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), and Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man Noir) are all coming back.

Into the Spider-Verse 2 wall-crawls into theaters Oct. 7, 2022. It was supposed to open in April 2022, but was pushed as a result of Sony's pandemic shuffle.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan has a bone to pick with Hollywood's film adaptations of his popular YA fantasy series.

In a back-and-forth with fans on Twitter, the scribe panned 2010's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and its 2013 sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, calling them a "mess." But he expresed optimism that the recently announced Disney+ Percy Jackson live-action series will correct the flaws of the earlier films.

"Well, to you guys, it's a couple of hours of entertainment. To me, it's my life's work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it. So yeah, but it's fine. All fine, we're gonna fix it soon," he tweeted.

The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters did reasonably well at the box office, grossing a combined $428 million for now-defunct 20th Century Fox, but garnered mixed reviews from critics and readers. Riordan, who has refused to see the flicks, was quick to add in a follow-up tweet that the fault lay with the scripts, not with stars Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, and the rest of the cast.

The author and his wife Becky previously said when the show was announced last month that they'll be "involved in person in every aspect of the show."

Let's hope they get it right.