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SYFY WIRE War of the Worlds

WIRE Buzz: Mr. Peanut Super Bowl campaign paused; Epix's War of the Worlds invades in first trailer; more

By Josh Weiss
Mr. Peanut Super Bowl

After killing off its famous mascot and igniting one of the biggest pop culture conversations of the new year, Planters has decided to pause its Mr. Peanut Super Bowl ad campaign as a sign of respect to Kobe Bryant and his family. The NBA All-Star and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, passed away this past weekend in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven others.

"We are saddened by this weekend’s news and Planters has paused all campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy,” the brand said in a statement to AdAge earlier today.

Mr. Peanut met his fictional demise in a comedic, 30-second spot (above), where he sacrifices himself to save the lives of his fellow Nutmobile companions: Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. Hanging from a branch, Peanut lets go and falls onto the wreck of the vehicle, which then explodes around him.

Right now, it is unclear whether Planters will air its Big Game spot or pull it entirely. According to AdAge, the commercial deals with the character's funeral.

The BBC isn't the only network to try its hand at adapting H.G. Wells' classic alien invasion story, The War of the Worlds. Epix has its own small screen version coming down the pipeline with a cast led by Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects) and Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey).

Howard Overman, Julian Murphy, and Johnny Capps serve as executive producers. Léa Drucker, Natasha Little, Daisy Edgar Jones, Stéphane Caillard, Adel Bencherif, and Guillaume Gouix co-star.

You can take a look at the first trailer for the series, which drops the "The" from its title, below. In a wise move, the E.T.s and their tripods (if that's what they're using to kill off humanity this time around) are kept out of sight, keeping our imaginations guessing until the project actually premieres in mid-February.

Set in the modern day, this take on Wells' novel has more in common with Steven Spielberg's 2005 film adaptation, which was meant to reflect our post-9/11 fears of terrorism. Epix's War of the Worlds, on the other hand, appears to be meant more as an allegory for modern day political fears of immigrants and illegal aliens.

Here's the official description: 

Set-in present-day Europe, War of the Worlds is a multi-faceted series, based on the story by H.G. Wells. When astronomers detect a transmission from another galaxy, it is definitive proof of intelligent extra-terrestrial life. The world’s population waits for further contact with baited breath.

The BBC's interpretation of the iconic sci-fi tale takes place in early 1900s England and adheres closer to the source material. The three-part miniseries, which stars Rafe Spall and Eleanor Tomlinson, aired on television back in December.

War of the Worlds will begin to decimate the populace on Epix Sunday, Feb. 16.

At D23 Expo over the summer, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced Short Circuit, a program of experimental animated shorts that would premiere on the company's subscription streaming service: Disney+.

You can now check out the teaser trailer (embedded below) for all 14 films, which adopt a number of different art styles and modes of storytelling. From grounded love stories to wild adventures, the projects cover a sizable variety of topics with a number of engaging characters like space aliens, a baby elephant, and even the Grim Reaper.

This Short Circuit is, of course, different from the 1986 robot-based comedy of the same name.

All 14 short films are now streaming on Disney+.