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WIRE Buzz: Kung Fu reboot still kicking; Avengers: Endgame launching with Disney+; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Avengers: Endgame

Something’s kicking over at The CW, with news that development on the long-brewing series reboot of 1970s martial arts classic Kung Fu has gotten underway at last.

Variety reports that the new hour-long series will feature a female protagonist sliding into the lead role first made famous by David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine — the iconic martial arts master and Shaolin priest whose weekly heroics cemented “Caine” as one of those characters pop culture will probably always remember.

While the reboot hasn’t yet been cast, the new protagonist — a Chinese-American woman in her 20s — reportedly will set out for adventure after a quarter-life crisis compels her to “drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China.” When she comes back to the U.S. to find her hometown “overrun with crime and corruption,” her training kicks in and she starts taking on the local corruption — even as she embarks on a bigger hunt for the assassin who murdered her mentor.

Based on the original series created by Ed Spielman, the rebooted Kung Fu will be executive-produced by Sarah Schechter and Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti, with Christina M. Kim (Lost) reportedly set as the new writer. Kim and Martin Gero (Stargate Atlantis, Blindspot) also will get a credit as executive producers. Berlanti Productions and Gero’s Quinn House will produce the reboot in partnership with Warner Bros. Television.

There’s no early word on when Kung Fu will sweep back to the small screen, so stay tuned for more updates as The CW starts rounding out the cast.

Excelsior! Not that Disney+ was exactly lacking for more big names to lure day-one subscribers in the first place, but the soon-to-debut streaming platform now has history’s biggest box-office success lined up as a launch-day title.

Disney revealed via Twitter that Avengers: Endgame, the movie that puts a bittersweet bow on the MCU’s first decade, will indeed be among the Marvel movies we’ll be getting just as soon as the new service goes live Nov. 12, rather than on Dec. 11 — as Disney CEO Bob Iger had originally told investors back in May (via The Verge) around the film's release. 

Since Disney+ is pretty much the new streaming home for all things Disney-owned and Marvel, it’s no surprise that Endgame and other Marvel movies are lining up to fill out its library. But the platform’s launch-day offerings don’t include the entire MCU just yet, with notable recent movies like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War still tied up over at Netflix.

The addition of Endgame as a launch title can be viewed as a nice early stocking stuffer, though, slotting into an already-robust list of previously announced launch-day MCU movies like Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World.

With two seasons in the books at AMC, Lodge 49 has won over tons of critics while earning a niche but enthusiastic fan following. That may be why, in the wake of the network’s decision not to renew Lodge 49 for a third season, executive producer Paul Giamatti is taking a decidedly aggressive approach to finding the show’s low-key mix of magical realism and secret-society escapism a new home on another platform.

Speaking recently with IndieWire, Giamatti said he’s going all in on pursuing a new suitor so that Lodge 49’s story can play out according to creator Jim Gavin’s original vision. “We can tell a complete story, the last two volumes of the novel. If we’re going to move, why not now?” said Giamatti, adding that he’s super-encouraged by all the online support that fans have shown.

“I did a sort of dive into Reddit, which I’ve never done,” he explained. “I encountered a group of people thinking so creatively and imaginatively about it and sharing a lot. They’re all doing all kinds of things of their own to keep the energy going. It’s infectious in a lot ways.”

With the success that other canceled shows have had in riding a wave of fan support to new network digs (think Lucifer and The Expanse), here’s hoping that Lodge 49’s story isn’t yet over. Starring Wyatt Russell, Brent Jennings, and Sonya Cassidy, Lodge 49 still lives on with repeat episodes at AMC, and with the entire first season available to stream anytime at Hulu.