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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

WIRE Buzz: A Doctor Who farewell for Sarah Jane; Shang-Chi cast photo & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Doctor Who Sarah Jane Smith and cast

An epilogue years in the making for one of Doctor Who’s most beloved characters finally found its way home this week, thanks to the audio release of a proper sendoff for Sarah Jane Smith — the spinoff star whose actor, Elisabeth Sladen, passed away in 2011.

Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies penned the canonical “Farewell, Sarah Jane” goodbye story, which reveals that the intrepid time sleuth died, inside Doctor Who lore, with Sladen’s passing. Characters from The Sarah Jane Adventures, which Sladen starred in for five seasons, even show up to pay their respects — including Luke, her adopted son, alongside Clyde Langer and Rani Chandra.

Check it out below:

The audio homage to a Whovian adventure cut sadly short comes on the ninth anniversary of Sladen’s April 19, 2011 death, with Davies and the Who crew celebrating one of the series’ best-loved companions in the emotional vignette, which is narrated by Doctor Who audio drama star Jacob Dudman. Engaging with Twitter fans, Davies said the recording was brought together with the blessing of Sladen’s family, and went on to live tweet a watch party for the “Journey’s End” episode — among his last as head writer — that capped Doctor Who’s 4th season.

Davies tweeted that production on “Farewell, Sarah Jane” could have been even bigger, if he’d had the budget — but reuniting some of the early series’ stars to give Sladen’s character a fitting goodbye still makes for a touching tribute.

Like other MCU movies temporarily halted by coronavirus shutdown precautions, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had to send everyone home after production paused to give the pandemic a wide berth. But fortunately for fans, director Destin Daniel Cretton happened to capture the cast all together for an on-set photo before everyone went their separate ways for a while.

Taken on the very last day everyone was assembled before “Corona punched the world in the face,” as Cretton says, the shot shows Cretton flanked by stars Simu Liu (Shang-Chi), Tony Leung (Mandarin), and Awkwafina (whose role we still don’t know).

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is just one of several Marvel projects that’s had to shuffle its release schedule as a result of industry-wide production halts stemming from the pandemic. Black Widow has been bumped to Nov. 6 from its original May 1 premiere, while The Eternals is now set for Feb. 12, 2021. Shang-Chi, which is next in the MCU’s Phase 4 batting order, has been moved down the calendar for a May 7, 2021 premiere from its original Feb. 12, 2021 release date.

What’s scarier than a creepy kid in a horror movie? A creepy kid who may or may not be a figment of another creepy kid’s imagination. That’s the setup for Z, an independent fright film from director Brandon Christensen (Still/Born) that’s headed to Shudder next month.

“A couple is shaken to the core when their eight-year-old son begins hanging out with a creepy and ominous imaginary friend,” Shudder teases in the description, with young actor Jett Klyne — who already knows a thing or two about scary stuff as The Boy’s young Brahms Heelshire — bringing the chills:

“Z” is the only name the family gets to go with their child’s appalling apparition, and the specter’s namesake movie went over well with horror fans when it debuted at last year’s Overlook Film Festival. Directed by Christenden from a screenplay he wrote with Colin Minihan, Z stars Klyne along with Keegan Connor Tracy, Sean Rogerson, Sara Canning, and Stephen McHattie, and premieres on Shudder on May 7.