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WIRE Buzz: Lilo & Stitch taps director; Chris Pratt boards Thor 4; WandaVision hits every decade

By Josh Weiss & Vanessa Armstrong
John M Chu Lilo & Stitch

Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu is headed to Hawaii for his next movie: Disney's live-action remake of Lilo & Stitch. Not much else is known about the project beyond this update, which comes to us from Variety. Still, it's the first news we've heard about the remake since it was first announced last September. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich Rideback (a financial backer of Guy Ritchie's Aladdin) will produce the reimagining, which already has a screenplay draft from Mike Van Waes. That said, Disney is looking for a new scribe, per The Hollywood Reporter.

While his filmmaking career dates back to the early 2000s, Chu really became a hot Hollywood commodity in 2018 with the release of Warner Bros.' Crazy Rich Asians adaptation, which brought in nearly $240 million against a budget of $30 million. Its massive success prompted the studio to put two sequels in development. Chu's cinematic follow-up was supposed to be a big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights, which is ready to roll, but delayed to summer 2021 as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The director is no stranger to the world of genre, having directed G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) and Now You See Me 2 (2016).

John M Chu Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch won't be Chu's only involvement with the Mouse House. Last month, it was confirmed that the filmmaker would executive-produce and direct a Willow sequel series for Disney+.

Directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the original Lilo & Stitch first hit theaters in the summer of 2002. The family-friendly movie, about a young girl who befriends a chaotic alien science experiment, was a big hit, spawning several sequels and a Disney Channel series. In the run-up to the first film's release, the studio released a number of promos in which Stitch (voiced by Sanders) crashed a number of famous Disney moments.

The cast for Thor: Love and Thunder just keeps getting better and better.

The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision newsletter brings word that Chris Pratt will reprise the role of Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the upcoming MCU project. Honestly, it was a no-brainer to bring the Guardians of the Galaxy (or at least their leader) into the "fourthquel" after Thor (Chris Hemsworth) decided to join them at the end of Avengers: Endgame.

Quill wasn't too happy about having another alpha male aboard the Milano, but that little scene of them butting egos hinted at a treasure trove of comedy gold. Fortunately, the Thor series is in good hands with Taika Waititi returning as writer and director. Production on the film is currently ramping up in Sydney, Australia.

It's unclear whether any of the other Guardians are going to appear.

Thor & Star-Lord Avengers Endgame

Plot details are thin right now, but the film has already lined up an impressive cast. For one thing, Natalie Portman is returning to the MCU as Jane Foster, who will be transforming into The Mighty Thor like the character does in the comics. Tessa Thompson is also back to play Valkyrie; at end of Endgame, she was named queen of Asgard by the portly God of Thunder. After playing Batman for three DC-inspired movies, Christian Bale is moving over to the Marvel Universe for a mystery role that many have hoped is Beta Ray Bill — an alien worthy of wielding Mjolnir.

Co-written by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Thor: Love and Thunder is currently eyeing a release date of Feb. 11, 2021.

We’ll have to wait until the new year to see WandaVision on Disney+, but in the meantime, the show’s stars have given us what tidbits they can without breaking their NDAs.

Paul Bettany (Vision) is the latest actor to give his perspective on what the Marvel series will be like for fans. In an interview with Collider, Bettany expands on what WandaVision will entail:

“I think it’s going to make you think about the MCU in a whole brand new way but I do think that it’s absolutely a part of that universe,” Bettany explained. “As each episode unfolds, the audience will be able to peel back layer upon layer until this rather beautiful puzzle box written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman and shot by [cinematographer] Jess Hall will be revealed to everybody and it will make sense. All of the bonkers stuff will be about something.”

This puzzle box, it seems, will span across decades, and also have at least some scenes in present-day. “It’s ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and all of it,” Bettany said. “We end up in the MCU, in the real world.”

What Bettany did not clarify, however, is whether Vision, who was dead at the end of Avengers: Endgame, will be one of the characters who makes it to the regular world of the MCU. To get that answer, we’ll likely have to wait until 2021 to find out.   

WandaVision premieres on Disney+ Jan. 15, 2021.