Punxsutawney Phil may soon have more in common with old-school Chuck E. Cheese characters than living, breathing organisms.
That's because PETA is rallying to replace the famous Groundhog Day mascot with an animatronic robot that would utilize A.I. to actually predict the upcoming weather. A letter containing this very pitch was written by PETA president Ingrid Newkirk and sent to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club earlier this morning.
"Today's young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn't even worthy of a text message," wrote Newkirk. "This is a generation whose members book rides on their smart phones and will never walk into a bank to deposit a check. Ignoring the nation's fast-changing demographics might well prove the end of Groundhog Day."
The groundhog-based tradition in Pennsylvania goes back over a hundred years. As the legend has it, winter will linger for six more weeks if the critter sees his shadow and retreats back into his den. If Phil doesn't see his own shadow, however, spring will arrive early.
"Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement obtained by SYFY WIRE. "PETA is offering the club a win-win situation: Breathe life into a tired tradition and finally do right by a long-suffering animal."
This year's Groundhog Day occurs this Sunday (Feb. 2) — the same day as the Super Bowl, which will probably feature a Jeep ad that pays homage to Harold Ramis' iconic Groundhog Day movie.
In a pretty stunning upset, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Ellen Mirojnick) beat out Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Captain Marvel, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in the category of Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film. Of course, Disney would have won no matter what.
Written and executive-produced by Adam Glass (The Chi), the espionage series follows a single mother Jenny (Levieva) on vacation with her daughter in Europe. She also happens to be a former Russian spy with special (and deadly) abilities from a KGB experiment. When a string of murders seems to indicate that Jenny is once again active, she is forced to come out of retirement and find the real killer before the CIA locks her up for life.
Levieva is perfect casting since she was born in St. Petersburg and speaks fluent Russian. She also played Russian agent Natalie O'Connor in NBC's Allegiance.
The phrase "to come in from the cold" is famous in the world of spycraft, referring to when a secret agent returns to active duty after a period of "hibernation." It's unclear whether or not he actually coined this particular string of words, but writer John le Carré is well known for using it as the title for his 1963 novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Production on In From the Cold is expected to kick off in Madrid, Spain this March.