Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan Kenobi
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Credit: Lucasfilm

WIRE Buzz: Obi-Wan series lands new writer; SXSW 2020 lives on at Amazon; Magic the Godzilla-ing

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Apr 2, 2020

Hello there! Production on the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ show may have seen its production delayed after writer Hossein Amini departed the series earlier this year—yes, the show faced delays even before the coronavirus pushed every other production in the world back—but now it’s back in business with a new writer.

While nothing can film (and nothing is really filming anywhere, anyway), the Jedi can at least have his Ewan McGregor-starring adventures reimagined and/or polished up on the scripting side of things while it’s still in pre-production. Variety reports that Joby Harold is taking over the series’ writing in his small-screen debut.

Harold wrote King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Zack Snyder’s upcoming Army of the Dead, while executive producing favorites like Edge of Tomorrow and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. He’ll also be tackling a new version of Transformers. There’s not much sci-fi on his resume, but there is plenty of swordfighting—which might be just the thing for the show that allegedly had samurai influences like the original trilogy.

The Obi-Wan series, which will still be helmed by The Mandalorian director Deborah Chow, has delayed its production start until Jan. 2021.


Next, shortly after news broke that the short films supposed to debut at Austin’s canceled South by Southwest festival had found a new home thanks to Mailchimp, there’s more good news from the coronavirus-waylaid entertainment expo. The feature films that had planned their premieres at the indie showcase are coming to fans through Amazon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Prime Video is collaborating with SXSW to form a “film festival collection” which filmmakers set to debut their creations at the fest were able to opt into. If they are distribution-less, the idea is somewhat appealing: a platform for release, press, and word-of-mouth is far more valuable than no platform. Others have already sold their projects to competitors, so they’re set. Those in the former group will see their film play exclusively on Amazon for the duration of the 10-day fest — for free.

Yes, U.S. moviegoers won’t have to pay anything for the films, which will reportedly be in front of the Prime paywall. This isn’t an acquisition deal, but the filmmakers will still receive a streaming fee for opting in.

“We’re honored to be able to provide a space for the SXSW filmmakers to share their hard work and passion with audiences for the first time," said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. "It’s been a privilege collaborating with Janet Pierson and the SXSW team to bring these diverse and inspiring films to viewers around the country. We are supporters of SXSW and other independent film festivals, and hope this online film festival can help give back some of that experience, and showcase artists and films that audiences might otherwise not have had the chance to see."

“Ever since SXSW was cancelled by the City of Austin, we’ve been focused on how we could help the incredible films and filmmakers in the SXSW 2020 Film Festival lineup,” said SXSW director of film Pierson. “We were delighted when Amazon Prime Video offered to host an online film festival and jumped at the opportunity to connect their audiences to our filmmakers.”

Amazon x SXSW looks to launch in late April...and it might not be the last time the streamer will tackle a similar situation.


Finally, does anyone else hear that? It’s like a stomping, crashing, screeching noise...translated through cardboard. Ringing any bells? If not yet, it might after fans take a look at the newest cards coming to Magic: the Gathering, which is adding a slew of giant critters in its latest expansion, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. One of them is Godzilla. No, really. Actual Godzilla.

According to io9, this is the result of a collaboration between Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast, and Toho, which turned Titanoth Rex into Godzilla, Primeval Titan. And it’s not alone:

It’s alternative art — not outlandish in the world of MtG, even coming to computer game Magic: the Gathering Arena — but playable and tournament legal. That’s a surprise.

“We have created promotional crossover cards a few times before but those have always been silver-bordered, which means they’re for casual play only and not legal in most Magic formats,” Magic: The Gathering product architect Mark Heggen said. “Given the themes of this set and how naturally Godzilla and his friends fit in, after a lot of conversation and consideration we decided that it was finally time to welcome new faces into tournament-legal Magic cards.”

But when will Mothra become a white/green card with flying? This surely won’t be the last team-up from the companies — and it might even have opened the door for similar collabs in the future, if Heggen is to be believed.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths drops digitally in Arena on April 16, before finally getting its delayed physical card release on May 15.

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