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When it comes to Lucasfilm news, I am well aware that the only thing our readership values is scoop on Willow. Be assured, I hear you loud and clear.

And on that front, Ron Howard's got some updates. Speaking to radio host Andy Cohen, the director of the 1988 "classic" confirms that development on the potential Disney Plus series continues, with Jonathan Kasdan as the creative mastermind and presumed showrunner. Though quick to reiterate that the show is still yet to be greenlit, Howard makes it clear that the prospects have never been better:

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Kasdan is acting as head of a writers room that is in the process of breaking a first season for the proposed show, implying that Disney wants all the scripts written upfront before deciding whether to move forward. Still, while an active writers room is hardly full-on production in terms of a financial commitment from the studio, it isn't nothing, either. In a separate interview, Howard even indicated that "tentative" scouting in Wales has already occurred. Fans will note that Wales, along with New Zealand, was a primary filming location for the original film, and both countries are probably in a better position to safely accommodate film production than a few others I could name and/or find myself occupying.

Godspeed to the Daikinis trying to prove the potential of one of Lucasfilm's more neglected properties (aka Our Thing). And let's do DRAGONSLAYER next!

We're a bit late on this and I didn't set out to make this Bummer Saturday, but acknowledgment is owed to the passing of actor Malcolm Dixon.

Cast at the beginning of his career as an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Dixon was one of a number of dwarf actors who would find work in the 80s as creatures in fantasy/sci-fi films, appearing under thick costumes in the likes of The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi (as an Ewok) and Labyrinth.

Dixon's performances weren't exclusively buried beneath rubber and foam - he also had more visible roles in Time Bandits as "Strutter" and Willow as a musician in the village festival scene. A picture of Dixon from the latter can be seen below.

It has been reported that American actor Dimitri Diatchenko, who was often cast as Russian characters, passed away on April 21st.

Diatchenko played one of Irina Spalko's nameless Soviet henchmen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a role which became expanded after he made an impression on the director. The actor was originally booked only for the campus chase sequence in New Haven, and beefed himself up to 250 pounds for the ten-day shoot.

But when Harrison Ford accidentally clipped Diatchenko on the chin during a take, Spielberg saw something in the actor's reaction that he loved and decided then and there to extend Diatchenko's commitment to three months, with the character brought back as a member of Spalko's permanent entourage for the second half of the film.

It was good news for Diatchenko but a rough break for his character, whose participation in the South America mission meant he lived long enough to get sucked up into an alien portal at the climax of the movie. That's cinematic immortality from where I'm standing. RIP.

Comments: 1 / Source: Deadline

Although it's had an indiscernible impact on the frequency of Mixnmojo news posts, the ongoing pandemic has naturally caused a number of film productions to be delayed, and Disney has announced revised release dates for a number of its upcoming tentpoles, among them Indiana Jones 5. The long awaited cursed sequel is now slated for July 29th, 2022.

While COVID-19 is as legitimate as reasons get, the fact is that the delays to this project are so reliable as to achieve drinking game status. For those counting at home (and we do recommend you do your counting there, per government guidelines), this is the third year-long postponement that the film has seen since its original announcement back in 2016, timing the movie's release to be an 80th birthday present for its star.

That is, if you believe Ford is still the star of this. After all, the film's been undergoing serious behind-the-scenes havoc even before viral outbreaks started getting in on the act, with Spielberg demoting himself to a producing role and Logan director James Mangold reportedly being pursued as his replacement.

So we'll see! But at this point, Vegas is saying that Zaarin's estimates are more trustworthy than anything Disney would have you believe about this movie.

Comments: 21 / Source: Variety

Well, so much for a proper finale from the original team.

Variety reports that Spielberg has stepped down as director for the first time in this series' history. He is relinquishing Indiana Jones 5 of his own volition "in a desire to pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story."  He will remain as a "hands-on producer," while James Mangold of Ford v Ferrari "fame" is said to be in talks as his replacement in the director's chair.  Ford is reported to still be starring, but I wasn't born yesterday.

And just like that, the official ending of the Spielberg era of Indiana Jones becomes Shia LaBeouf shuffling out of a chapel.

Comments: 11 / Source: Variety

To capitalize on both the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the allegedly upcoming fifth movie, Paramount is reportedly planning a 4K Blu-ray box set of all four Indiana Jones movies in 2021.  The Digital Fix has the scoop.

As you may know, while Disney owns the Indiana Jones IP these days, they only hold distribution rights to future films; the first four films remain in Paramount's control, which complicates the possibility of a five-film box set down the road.  However, the companies both stand to benefit from the renewed relevance of the brand, and the article states that Lucasfilm has given Paramount access to the archives in order to produce new bonus material for this release -- including, it is hinted, deleted scenes, which fans know have never been made available before.  Will we get to see the periscope ride, the singing on elephants, the death of Chatter Lal, Pat Roach's role in Last Crusade, the explosion in the Canyon of the Crescent moon, and the original tarantula version of the Name of God trial, among others?  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I need to save money for a 4K TV.

At least, that's the impression Harrison Ford is under. Listen for yourself in this except from an interview with CBS Sunday Morning that will air in full this Sunday:

Stay tuned as we desperately follow every angstrom of the production's progress this summer.

The fifth Indiana Jones installment currently has a release date of July 9th, 2021. Assuming the Earth’s orbital period remains stubbornly faithful to a billion year precedent, any film of scale hoping to make that deadline would surely have to be in front of the cameras no later than this summer.

You’d expect, then, that Indy 5 would be as we speak in the passionate throes of pre-production, possibly even reverberating with widely circulated rumors about locations, castings, storyline -- y’know, all the usual buzz that comes with a high profile movie genuinely heading toward production.

And given the advanced age of the creative team, and given the ample time they’ve had to get the material ready, any delays at this point, you might assume, would be considered intolerable.

But you’d be a total idiot, apparently. BBC News asked Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for a brief comment on the state of Indy 5 while she was on the red carpet at the BAFTA Awards yesterday. Her response would seem to confirm that old adage: no news is no news.

“We’re working away getting the script where we want it to be and we’ll be ready to go,” Kathleen Kennedy told BBC Newd after accepting the BAFTA Fellowship award. And when asked if it would be a reboot, she said, “Oh, Harrison Ford will be involved. It’s not a reboot, it’s a continuation. [Harrison Ford] can’t wait. He absolutely is [involved].”

In a joint statement sent exclusively to Mojo for release, authors George R.R. Martin and Robert Caro have referred to the writing pace of this screenplay as “a trifle undisciplined.”

Comments: 6 / Source: BBC News

The folks at Collider were able to talk to Ron Howard at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and they knew what project the world most wanted an update on:

“We are developing Willow for Disney Plus,” Howard said. “And I don’t know about directing or not, but Jon Kasdan is writing, he’s very passionate about it, great job. We don’t have a green light yet, but if it goes, I’ll certainly want to roll up my sleeves and be a part of that, because that would be great, to revisit that world.”

Knowing that the project isn’t officially a go yet does clarify the matter a bit, but at least Disney approved the idea of having somebody map out the series, which is better than nothing. And it’s nice to know that Howard would be interested in an active role. Who better to direct the pilot? Mixnmojo in 2020 is Willow news central, after all, so we’ll let you know how things develop. Imagine if Cronkite had the courage to cover truly controversial subjects instead of Vietnam, and you’ll have a decent idea of what we’re all about here.

Indiana Jones news is so scanty that rumor is often all we have to go on. Well, today’s rumor, courtesy of the rumor-mongers at We Got This Covered, is that Disney is developing a television series starring the daughter of one Professor Henry Jones, Jr. The idea is that the character would be introduced in Indiana Jones 5, because back-channeling a reboot via Harrison Ford’s final film isn’t cynical at all.

Still, giving Indiana Jones a daughter (which the Young Indiana Jones wraparounds in fact do) has always been an idea with potential. Apparently it was considered for the fourth film, but Spielberg rejected it. (Not sure why Indy needed offspring at all, but whatever.) The idea of Indy passing the baton to a successor character in the fifth film has been speculated on quite a bit, and a daughter role would be as good as any for such a transition. I don’t know how old a daughter of Indy could be if she’s meant to be the legitimate child of the newly married Jones’s, but it’s hardly implausible that Indy would have fathered a few other bastards besides Mutt over the years.

What leaves me scratching my head, however, is why you’d want Indy’s successor trapped in the 1960s-70s. Unlike, say, Bond, which is flexible enough a sandbox to update with the times, Indiana Jones has always been tied to a particular era – the golden age of pulp – and it seems to me that departing from it was really only to accommodate Harrison Ford’s age. If there had been some way to freeze the actor at his Raiders age, we’d still be getting adventures set in the 30s and 40s. So, it’s hard for me to imagine what the future this rumor suggests would even look like. Once you’ve retired Ford and have some other adventurer running around during the Nixon presidency, are we really even resembling the original IP enough to bother connecting to it?

The main reason this rumor excites me is that it means by implication that there’s life left in Indiana Jones 5. Things have remained alarmingly silent on a project that pretty much has to be in front of the cameras in a matter of months if it is to make its release date. Either I’m unequal to the challenge of second grade arithmetic, or an announcement has to be arriving imminently. Rest assured that when the news breaks, Mojo will be the sixth to let you know.

If you would have told me fifteen years ago that the primarily thing keeping Mixnmojo alive was Willow news, I would have said, “That sounds about right.”

A month after it was reported that screenwriter’s son extraordinaire Jonathan Kasdan had turned in a pilot script for a potential Willow series, the writer (and, I presume, showrunner?) has tweeted a photo of a Willow Ufgood baseball cap pinned to a bullet board with the caption “The office is open.” The implication is heavy that a writers room is being convened, which puts this potential Disney+ series yet another step closer to reality. Hopefully Bob Dolman gets invited to the party.

Oh, and happy belated new year from The International House of Mojo!

To spite Temple-shading elitists like Remi and Thunderpeel, I decided to follow in the footsteps of Shiva by consecrating the 35th anniversary of the second – and, according to the sexual endowed, best – Indiana Jones installment with a three-page valentine as feverishly out-of-control as its endlessly rewatchable recipient.

Read my truth, then respond with yours in the comments.

Six months back it was reported that screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan and narrator Ron Howard got together to scheme about giving Willow a sequel in the form of a series on Disney+.  Now, Bleeding Cool reports that Kasdan has completed a pilot script for the potential project.  While that is far from a green light, it is material progress.  The existence of a script is more than you can say about, for example, Indiana Jones 5, which some have called the In the Valley of Gods of franchise film sequels.

Anywho, we at Mojo are pulling for this Willow show to become a thing, because when you consider what we have left to report on in 2020 aside from Psychonauts 2, things start to feel a little dour.  What are we supposed to do, start covering Star Wars?  I'll see the site become a Leisure Suit Larry hub first.

As pointed out earlier, we may be getting a Willow television series for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.  Though it sounds far from a lock, Ron Howard says that his Solo cohort Jon Kasdan, freshly deposed from Indiana Jones 5, has a pitch for the series and that the talks with Disney have gotten "serious".  Here's the full quote from Opie:

There are some really serious discussions going on with Jon Kasdan, who was one of the writers of Solo, who kept hounding me about Willow the whole time we were shooting and also hounding Kathy Kennedy. We’re in discussions about developing a Willow  television show for the Disney+. And I think it’d be a great way to go. In fact, George always talked about the possibility of a Willow series, and it’d be great and more intimate, and built around that character and some of the others. And Jon Kasdan has, I think, an inspired take on it and it could be really, really cool.

A Willow series makes a degree of sense, and apparently Lucas was toying with the idea of an animated show fifteen years back, getting as far along as some concept art. There's also just the "Why not?" factor, given that everything else is getting revived. If Star Wars can justify eight more spinoff trilogies, don't tell me you can't throw Warwick Davis a bone and greenlight some new Willow content after thirty years.

Kasdan is as good a choice for adapter as any, for all I know, but I hope SCTV vet Bob Dolman is invited back to the universe. While there isn't a consensus that Willow's strengths outweigh its weaknesses, the endearing quirkiness it offered in moments surely occupies the former category, and I have a hunch about where it came from.

And so Mojo finds another project to desperately cleave to after Psychonauts 2 comes out.

Mojo never really did much to cover the new cinematic Star Wars trilogy or its assorted spinoffs, because who gives a damn, it’s not Willow there are countless better online destinations that offer exhaustive and up-to-the-minute coverage of that juvenile nonsense, which to our refined tastes lacks the understated dignity of Kevin Pollack in front of a green screen.

”Teh Mooj” is about the underdogs, and bizarre though it might sound, the Indiana Jones franchise kinda qualifies. Indy has always taken a backseat to Star Wars in both the cinematic and interactive mediums, and with a final installment of the “original recipe” series (meaning, movies that star Harrison Ford and are directed by Steven Spielberg) possibly in the cards, we’re going to try to follow the production as closely as other sites will track the pulse-pounding progress of Episode XIXVV, or whatever installment of that shabby Princess of Mars knockoff we’re on.

Having made that declaration, let’s play catch-up on Indy 5’s sluggish development. In the first eight years after Crystal Skull was released to glowing reviews by Gabez and The Tingler, Lucas and Spielberg made about as much progress on a fifth film as LucasArts did with not dying. In 2016, the film was formally announced with David Koepp as screenwriter and a release date of July 19th, 2019. During the two years Koepp was on the project, the release date was pushed back (to July 10th, 2020), but he indicated that progress was going well. This seemed to be supported by Spielberg who, while promoting Ready Player One in the spring of last year, indicated that he would commence shooting on Indy 5 in the UK in April 2019.

Alas, they were all just pulling our leg the whole time. In June 2018, it was reported that Koepp was out and Jonathan Kasdan (son of Lawrence Kasdan and the screenwriter for Solo: A Star Wars Story) was in for what amounted to a total reset, and with that the release date was kicked further down the road to July 9th, 2021. Spielberg consequently swapped out Indy 5 for his long-gestating remake of West Side Story as his next project, and he is currently prepping it for a shoot that begins next month. Indy 5, if they ever get a script written (and why should we expect eleven years to be long enough for that?) will directly follow.

Too bad they don’t appear to be any closer to delivering that screenplay. The latest rumor is that Kasdan has been shown the door, and scriptwriting duties have been transferred yet again, this time to Disney favorite Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled, and the television series This Is Us), for whom the stakes are pretty high when you consider Harrison Ford’s penchant for flying his private plane underwater without a seatbelt.

But the best part is what Kasdan is now working on instead of Indy 5. You guessed it: he and Ron Howard are pitching a Willow television series for the upcoming Disney+ service. It may sound like I’m making this up, but it’s all quite true, completely vindicating my controversial but retrospectively prescient tilt of Mojo toward all things Willow. I knew which way the wind was blowing, fans.

And so, this news post has come full circle. *kisses fingers*

After being available on Amazon Prime for a while, it seems that the four Indiana Jones movies will be switching to Netflix as their exclusive streaming home beginning in January. We report this because we’re all about Lucasfilm. With the obvious exception of anything Lucasfilm has been doing since 1989.

So if you don’t own this classic film series on eight different home video formats already, perhaps this will serve as a handy excuse for some of you to enjoy Indy’s cinematic adventures for the umpteenth time while you await Indiana Jones 5, due out July 9, 2021. Upon hearing that release date, 86-year-old composer John Williams was overheard to declare: “lol”.

Comments: 2 / Source: Collider

In honor of Willow’s 30th anniversary, I sportingly elected to use it as a cudgel to beat on other movies with. Check out my new rant that decries the way movies look nowadays, using Willow as a tortuously coerced polestar in a desperate attempt to be able to market the piece as Mojo-relevant.

Thanks to Remi for the header

Way back in 2013, the Lucasfilm classic Willow finally debuted on Blu-ray to sales that dwarfed every Star Wars release combined. About eleven seconds later, it fell out of print, having vanished as surely as a pig beneath an apprentice sorcerer's cloth.

The reasons why remain murky. The release roughly coincided with the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, so perhaps there were prosaic legal complications. At any rate, the title became a favorite of eBay scalpers, commonly selling for over a hundred smackers on the second hand marketplace only a year after it came out. The situation was sad, bleak, hopeless. We measure the lives lost by the cemetery.

Now, for the movie's 30th anniversary, it looks like this grievance is getting addressed. Pre-order listings for a reissue have begun to spring up on various online retailers. The implication is that you will be able to obtain Willow by disc or by stream for a reasonable price on January 29th, 2019.

And that, handsome gentlemen, is the kind of news we at Mojo proudly risk our lives to bring you.

Continuing today's accidental theme of Sam's voice actors, Gameranx has an interview with Bill Farmer. Farmer is of course best known as the voice of Goofy for Disney, but Sam & Max gets a mention as well:

Gameranx: You voiced Sam in Sam & Max Hit the Road, whose voice sounds like a more toned-down version of Goofy. Phonetically, how did you make them different?

Bill Farmer: Well Steve Purcell had brilliant dialogue for the game, and I wanted to bring something deadpan but still comedic to the role. So it was a bit of Johnny Carson and more Humphrey Bogart.

Farmer also explains why he did not reprise the role for the television show, which was new to me:

You never know why you don’t get something. They just don’t call. Maybe they forgot I was in the first one, maybe they found somebody they liked better, who knows. That’s part of the business. Like with Sam & Max, they did a cartoon show which was not union. I’m a union actor. They took that to Canada to cast which is why I didn’t do that. And so maybe they got on that non-union bandwagon, and you never know with all the politics. A lot of it’s politics, too. So you just stay grateful for the ones you get, and say, hey I’m available if you need me!

Visit Gamerax to listen to the audio recording of the full interview.

Comments: 4 / Source: Gameranx

Harvey Atkin, who voiced Sam in the Sam & Max animated series, passed away on July 18th. Atkin was the second of three voice actors who have so far taken on the role of Purcell's character, though he is more widely known for his roles on TV shows such as Cagney and Lacey and Law and Order, as well as the Ivan Reitman comedy Meatballs, which he co-starred in opposite Bill Murray.

Thanks to "Threepwood4life" for bringing this to our attention in the comments.
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