Feb. 13, 2023

Gunn Goes Chapter One

Gunn Goes Chapter One

Tonight! James Gunn starts the DC TV and Movie Universe over again.  Marvel celebrates Nick Fury and Fantastic Four, The Mandalorian goes prime time, Meet the Titan-A crew and we remember comic creator Lee Moder, Actor George R Robertson, and actresses Cindy Williams and Melinda Dillon. All that and more on this edition of Multiverse Tonight!

Support the show

Thanks for listening! Come visit the podcast at https://www.multiversetonight.com/ and the Pop Goes The Culture podcast network at https://popgoestheculture.com/

 Multiverse Tonight is a production of Half-Baked Genre Productions. Copyright 2022  All Rights Reserved


Tonight! James Gun starts with Chapter One, Spider-man Noir, The Mandalorian stops by regular tv, Meet the crew of the Titan and we remember Cindy Williams, Melinda Dillon, and George R Robertson. All that and more on this edition of Multiverse Tonight!


James Gunn released his first slate of new DC Films and projects called Chapter One.

Creature Commandos: A seven-episode animated series, written by Gunn, that is already in production. Originally a team of classic monsters assembled to fight Nazis, this is a modern take on the concept. The voice actors have yet to be cast, but the executives are looking to find people who can voice the animated characters and also portray the live-action versions when the antiheroes show up in movies and series.

Waller: In a spinoff of Gunn’s own HBO Max hit series Peacemaker, Viola Davis will return as the ruthless and morally ambiguous head of a government task force. It is being written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver, the creator of the Doom Patrol TV series.

Superman: Legacy: The movie featuring the Man of Steel that Gunn is writing and may direct, although no commitments on that end have been made. While the two previous titles are meant to be “aperitifs,” in Safran’s words, Superman is the true kick-off for the duo’s DCU plans. “It’s not an origin story,” Safran said. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.” A release date of July 11, 2025, has been penciled in.

Lanterns: Greg Berlanti’s long-in-the-works Green Lanterns TV series has been scrapped (and Gunn and Safran have parted ways with the longtime DC series steward). In its place will be a new take on the space cops with power rings. “Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective,” Safran described. “It’s terrestrial-based.” It will feature prominent Lantern heroes Hal Jordan and John Stewart and is one of the most important shows they have in development. “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”

The Authority: A movie based on a team of superheroes with rather extreme methods of protecting the planet that first originated in the late 1990s under an influential imprint known as Wildstorm, run by artist and now head of DC publishing Jim Lee. “One of the things of the DCU is that it’s not just a story of heroes and villains,” said Gunn. “Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy versus bad guy, giant things from the sky come and good guy wins. There are white hats, black hats and gray hats.” Added Safran: “They are kinda like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. They know that you want them on the wall. Or at least they believe that.”

Paradise Lost: The duo describe this HBO Max series as a Game of Thrones-style drama set on the all-female island that is Wonder Woman’s birthplace, Themyscira, filled with political intrigue and scheming between power players. It takes place before the events of the Wonder Woman films.

The Brave and the Bold: “This is the introduction of the DCU Batman,” said Gunn, “of Bruce Wayne, and also introduces our favorite Robin, Damian Wayne, who is a little son of a bitch.” The movie will take inspiration from the now-classic Batman run written by Grant Morrison that introduced Batman to a son he never knew existed: a murderous tween raised by assassins. “It’s a very strange father-and-son story.”

And, importantly, it will feature a Batman not played by Robert Pattinson. However, there is also …

The Batman sequel: Pattinson will continue to portray the Dark Knight in at least one more crime saga movie directed by Matt Reeves. That movie, the executives revealed, will be released Oct. 3, 2025, and is being titled The Batman Part II.

Safran added “2025 is going to be a very big year for DC,”  “Superman and Batman within the same year.”

Booster Gold: An HBO Max series based on a unique, lesser-known hero created in 1986. Safran said of the series, “It’s about a loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero.” Gunn described it as “imposter syndrome as superhero.”

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow: Taking its cues from the recent Tom King-written miniseries, this movie promises a different take than what most think of when Superman’s cousin comes to mind. “We will see the difference between Superman, who was sent to Earth and raised by loving parents from the time he was an infant, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everyone around her die and be killed in terrible ways for the first 14 years of her life and then come to Earth. She is much more hard-core and not the Supergirl we’re used to.”

Swamp Thing: A horror film that promises to close out the first part of the first chapter.



Fantastic Four director Matt Shakman talked to The Wrap about the movie and why he stepped down from helming the fourth Star Trek movie. He told them quote "I had a great time working on 'Star Trek' for a little over a year, working closely with J.J. Abrams and everyone at Paramount, and I love that franchise, and I love that cast that J.J. put together, and it would have been an unbelievable pleasure to work with them on the fourth installment there," Shakman revealed. "But movies have different journeys and momentums and and schedules are a little bit mercurial, and so when the 'Fantastic Four' opportunity came up, it was just too hard to pass up, and to go back home to Marvel, a place that I worked on 'WandaVision' at, with those people who are wonderful collaborators. It's really a family there and to be able to go back and tackle something that I truly love, and they're very similar in some ways: they both were launched in the '60s at the same time, they're both about optimism and looking to the stars and technology can solve everything and they're about family too — the family you have, the family you make. So they're aligned in many ways and speak to my heart and equally, so I'm excited to be working on 'Fantastic Four.'" 

Marvel is kicking off a year-long celebration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes for the Avengers' 60th anniversary. Marvel Entertainment announced Beyond Earth's Mightiest, a campaign celebrating 60 years of the Avengers that includes new comics, collectibles, toys, apparel, accessories, home decor, party items, stationery, video series, live experiences, and more. Marvel HQ is getting things started with two new short-form series: Marvel's Avengers: Stunt Squad and Marvel Mech Strike: Mechasaurs. Of course, Marvel is making waves on the comics side with a new volume of Avengers by writer Jed MacKay and Marvel's Stormbreakers artist C.F. Villa.

Also turning 60 is Nick Fury….Sr. The character has dominated the pages of Marvel comics ever since his early adventures in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. The original Nick Fury Sr. has taken a backseat in recent years to his son, Nick Fury Jr., who just happens to look a lot like his Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Both father and son will reunite in Fury #1, a double-sized anniversary one-shot written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Scott Eaton, Tom Reilly, Adam Kubert, and Ramon Rosanas.

May's Fury #1 begins when Nick Fury Jr. is targeted by an enemy using the name S.C.O.R.P.I.O., a codename that has deep roots in Fury's past. A series of top-secret missions will be revealed, offering a key to unlocking the larger overarching mystery. Eaton, Reilly, Kubert, and Rosanas will each tackle a different time period from Fury's history, starting from the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby era to the present-day, where he is the "Man on the Wall." Fury #1 will also introduce a key turning point for the hero, giving father and son a renewed purpose.

Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television are developing a Spider-Man Noir live-action series that will be written by Oren Uziel, a big-screen writer who worked on the Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum action comedy The Lost City and 2021’s Mortal Kombat.

Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the producers of Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated movies which first brought the Spider-Man Noir character onto screens, helped develop the series with Uziel and will executive produce the series via their Lord Miller banner. Amy Pascal, who has a hand in all of Sony’s Spider-Man adaptations, is also executive producing, as will Uziel.

Spring will see Marvel celebrate 700 issues of Fantastic Four with a giant-sized issue featuring their longtime nemesis, Doctor Doom. Marvel recently relaunched Fantastic Four with the new creative team of writer Ryan North and artist Iban Coello. Each issue has focused on a member of Marvel's First Family, and a mystery that's caused a rift between the group. Answers are slowly being revealed, with February's Fantastic Four #4 spilling all of those secrets and bringing the Fantastic Four back together again. Unfortunately, Doctor Doom will also get involved, looking to correct Reed Richards' failure.

"I feel privileged to be writing the Fantastic Four at any time, honestly, but getting to have a big milestone issue happen on my watch is certainly lucky – and it's an opportunity I didn't want to waste," Ryan North said in a statement. "A big anniversary issue like this demands a similarly big story, something meaningful, impactful, and memorable.  And given that it's a supersized issue with more room to play, everything aligned to do a story with the Fantastic Four's most meaningful, impactful, memorable, and supersized villain: Doctor Doom. Doom demands nothing less than the biggest issue of the year being dedicated to him, and I dare not defy Doom. It's a big twisty story that brings the Fantastic Four to their new home and views what's happened to both families over the past year in a new light. The Fantastic Four are down, but not out, and Doom senses an opportunity..."

Star Wars

The Mandalorian will try to hook some new viewers for season 3 with a special showing on Disney’s traditional tv networks, ABC, Freeform, and FX. The series premiere of The Mandalorian will air on these networks on February 24th at 8 p.m. ET.

Just last year, Lucasfilm offered a similar opportunity to spread the word about Star Wars: Andor with network broadcasts. For that event, however, the three networks aired the first two episodes of the series on a different network each night, and this was done ahead of the first season finale. This strategy is likely an effort to draw in audiences who might think that the platform only offers kid-oriented programming, while both The Mandalorian and Andor skew towards more adult viewers.

Author EK Johnston announced on his Twitter that he is working on a  new novel that will follow Solo’s Qi’ra Called Star Wars Crimson Climb. He didn’t give a release date or plot for the book.

May the Fourth will see the premiere of Disney’s new children's Star Wars show, Young Jedi Adventures. The series will debut on both Disney Junior and Disney Plus. Jedi Master Yoda is joined by some special new characters. Younglings like Lys, Nubs, and Kai will learn lessons for kids centered around teamwork and compassion. Along for the ride are their companions Nash and RJ-83 as they take preschool-aged viewers through the High Republic era. 

Star Trek

Terry Matalas has introduced the crew of the Titan A via Twitter.

At the helm is Ensign Sidney La Forge. She's Geordi La Forge's daughter, although she didn't follow in her father's engineering footsteps."Starting with: Ensign Sidney LaForge – Helm," Matalas tweeted. "Unlike her sister, Alandra, she didn't want to build ships, she wanted to fly them."

Lt. Matthew Arliss Mura is a Bajoran and the Titan's tactical officer. He's been serving on the ship for a while."Meet Lt. Matthew Arliss Mura," Matalas tweeted. "Tactical -- has served on the new Titan for the last 3 years and is exactly who you want at that station when you hear "give 'em everything we got!"

The Titan has a Vulcan as its science officer. Lt. T'Veen was, apparently, highly sought after for the position.``Meet Lt. T'Veen, Science Officer. Vulcan," Metals tweeted. "Several Captains fought to have her on their bridge. The Titan won."

Ensign Kova Rin Esmar, a Halian, sits in the communications position. Their résumé speaks for them.

"Meet Ensign Kova Rin Esmar. Haliian. Communications," Metals tweeted. "They graduated at the top of their class and speak over 72 alien languages."

Captain on the bridge. Capt. Liam Shaw is in command of the USS Titan.

"All under the command of Captain Liam Shaw," Matalas tweeted. "A former engineer with a long history within Starfleet. More on him later…"

And finally, Seven of Nine is the ship's first officer. An "accelerated Starfleet program" explains how she rose in the ranks so quickly, likely justified by her experience in the field aboard Voyager and as a Fenris Ranger.

"And last but certainly not least: Meet the Titan's first officer who was placed into an accelerated Starfleet program against her own judgment," Matalas tweeted. "Well, more on her on February 16th!"


A new Nintendo Direct was shown last Wednesday. Not only was a new trailer for the upcoming Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom was shown but it was announced that the Switch will be getting GameBoy and GameBoy Advance games, Metroid Prime Remastered was released, Pikmin Four was announced with a release date of July 21, 2023. Advance Wars 1+2: Boot Camp will be released on Nintendo Switch on April 21, 2023. An expansion pass for Splatoon 3, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Fire Emblem Engage, Disney Illusion Island, a co-op platformer starring Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck. Each character has their own special abilities and the art style is being described as “just wonderfully adorable”. In this new Disney adventure, our heroes will have to find three magical books and save small furry creatures named Hokuns.

Disney Illusion Island will be released on July 28, 2023.

Also announced was a new Samba de Amigo game, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon and Octopath Traveler 2.

During The Walt Disney Company's quarterly earnings call. CEO Bob Iger. Bob Iger announced that new sequels to Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia are all in the works at the studios. While no details, much fewer release dates, for these films, have been revealed, Iger did tease that the new movies are part of an effort to "lean into" the company's existing franchises. This would be the fifth flagship film in the Toy Story franchise, the third Frozen film, and the second film for Zootopia. Many of these franchises have already branched out in recent years, including through the Toy Story spinoff film Lightyear and the Disney+ series Zootopia+.

Iger also said that he was open to selling Hulu, but keeping ESPN. He also announced the Avatar Experience attraction for Disneyland.

Tim Allen will be going back to the well for that fifth Toy Story movie. The actor tweeted quote See ya soon Woody, you are a sad strange little man and you have my pity. And off we go to a number 5! To infinity and beyond! Unquote Now what the film could be about is unknown, especially since the fourth one ended with Woody and Buzz going their separate ways. 

Armando Iannucci’s space comedy Avenue 5 has been officially canceled by HBO.

The Warner Bros. Discovery premium cable network has finally confirmed that the series will not return for a third season.

It comes eight months after Deadline revealed that the series was likely coming to an end and a few days after star Hugh Laurie emerged as the star of season three of Apple TV+’s Tehran.

“Going to space with Armando Iannucci has been an incredible journey.  While we will not be moving forward with a third season of Avenue 5, we look forward to many more adventures together,” said an HBO spokeswoman.

Lee Moder, the veteran comics artist who co-created the Courtney Whitmore version of Stargirl, has passed away, ComicBook.com has learned. He was 53 years old. According to a family friend, Moder died quietly, in his own home, sometime on or before January 15th. The exact cause of his death is not yet known. Moder, also credited as the co-creator of Shinku with Ron Marz and Dreamer with Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw, worked in the comics industry for nearly 30 years, drawing titles like Legion of Super-Heroes and Wonder Woman at DC, plus Dragon Prince at Image's Top Cow Comics imprint. 

Born in Pittsburgh, Lee began his comics career in his early 20s, when he took a job at Malibu Comics. Not long after, he transitioned to DC, where he would do much of his most notable work. Besides his DC and Image work, Moder provided art for issues of Highlander and Red Sonja for Dynamite, and worked on a few issues here and there of Marvel's X-Factor, CrossGen's Scion, and the Boom! Studios anthology Zombie Tales. 

Moder was most active in the 1990s and early 2000s, and it was during that time that he landed the job drawing Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., Geoff Johns's first mainstream comics work and the title that would introduce Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. to the world.

Before that, Moder was a regular artist on Legion of Super-Heroes for three years, including the landmark Legion of Super-Heroes #100. During that run, Moder (with Peyer and McCraw) created the Dreamer identity for the Legion's Dream Girl, that version was adapted to The CW's Supergirl TV series.

Moder had not been working in mainstream comics much in recent years, aside from some cover art, but had been called in to draw DC RetroActive: Wonder Woman – The 90s in 2011, due to his association with the character during that era.

Moder's Shinku and Dragon Prince collaborator Ron Marz told ComicBook.com."I'm just numb,"  "I tell stories for a living, and this is not how stories are supposed to end. Lee wasn't just someone I collaborated with, he was a friend, he was almost a part of my family. He stayed at my house, he drew at my kitchen table with my kids. His work had such life and joy to it. Every project we did together was a blessing, but they're only the tip of the iceberg. Lee had stacks of sketchbooks filled with original characters and concepts and designs, full story arcs. There are entire issues that he drew and then set aside because he wasn't quite satisfied, but I can absolutely tell you they're amazing. I hope the world gets to see all that stuff as part of Lee's legacy. It's too beautiful to remain hidden. Lee was an inexhaustible source of creation. My imagination is not capable of understanding that he's gone." Lee Moder was 53 years old.

George R Robertson, the Canadian actor who portrayed the police chief and later police commissioner Henry Hurst in the first six Police Academy films, has died. He was 89.

Robertson died Sunday at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, his family announced.

Robertson also showed up in small roles in three films that were nominated for the best picture Oscar — Airport (1970), Norma Rae (1979), and JFK (1991) — and portrayed vice president Dick Cheney in the 2006 ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11.

Robertson appeared as Hurst in 1994 in the first Police Academy movie, directed by Hugh Wilson, and stuck around through Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989). As the franchise moved along, his character grew more tolerant of the wacky recruits led by Commandant Lassard.

During his 60-year career, Robertson played lots of authority figures. He portrayed Adm. William Leahy in the 1995 Showtime telefilm Hiroshima, and in 2003 TV movies, he was Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in Showtime’s The Reagans, starring James Brolin and Judy Davis, and Arkansas Sen. William Fulbright in FX’s The Pentagon Papers, starring James Spader.

His big-screen résumé also included National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995), Murder at 1600 (1997) and Still Mine (2012).

His Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Adele (they met at Columbia); daughters Sarah (and her husband, Steve) and Ellen (Mitch); grandchildren Julia and William; and step-grandchildren Ariel, Gabe, Maddie and Josh.

Actress Cindy Williams passed away on January 25th, 2023, in Los Angeles, after a brief illness. 

: Williams’ children, Zak and Emily Hudson released a statement “The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed. Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous, and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”

Cindy Williams’ career in entertainment began at Birmingham High School and continued at Los Angeles City College where she studied theater. She landed small roles on various TV shows in the early 70s, but it wasn't until her role as Laurie Henderson in George Lucas' "American Graffiti" in 1973 that she really broke out. She then went on to star in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" in 1974, alongside Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Robert Duvall.

 Williams' big break came in 1975 when she was cast in ABC’s “Happy Days” as Shirley Feeney, alongside her best friend Laverne DeFazio, played by Penny Marshall. Their guest appearance was so popular that it led to the creation of their own spinoff, “Laverne & Shirley,” which followed the lives of the two friends as roommates and co-workers at Shotz Brewery. The show was a huge success, becoming the most-watched show on television by its third season and garnering six Golden Globes nominations and one Emmy nomination. Williams left the show in its final season after she became pregnant with her first child.

Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie in “Happy Days”, released a statement saying, “Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of “Happy Days” in 1975. Not once have I ever been in her presence when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful, and kind. Cindy’s talent was limitless. There was not a genre she could not conquer. I am so glad I knew her.”

 After the success of “Laverne & Shirley,” Williams went on to star in other TV shows, including “Normal Life” and “Getting By”. She also appeared in several films, including “Bingo,” “Meet Wally Sparks,” “The Biggest Fan,” “Strip Mall,” “For Your Love,” “7th Heaven,” “8 Simple Rules” and “Girlfriends.” In 2013, she and Penny Marshall reunited for an episode of Nickelodeon’s “Sam & Cat”.

Producer and friend Bruce Kimmel announced that Williams was working on a new show that was set to premiere this year. “Cindy was really looking forward to promoting her new project, the short-form musical series, “Sami,” which will premiere in April on Amazon Prime,” Kimmel said in a statement to Variety. “I’ve known her since we began LACC in 1965, have loved her from the moment I laid eyes on her and have had so many incredible adventures with her. We were as close as close can be, from then until now. And I’ve been watching her constantly as we’ve been editing the web series we just did and wrapped only two months ago. I’m so grateful to have had her be such an important part of my life for close to 60 years. I will miss her like crazy, but I’m just so happy we got to work together one final time and I can’t wait for the show to air — she was funny, charming and brilliant right up to the end. I’ve never known anyone like her.”

Cindy Williams was married to Bill Hudson of the Hudson Brothers from 1982 to 2000, when they divorced. She is survived by her two children, Zak and Emily.

We are saddened to report the passing of actress Melinda Dillon, who passed away on January 9th. With a career that spanned over five decades, Dillon made her mark in Hollywood with memorable performances in film and television.

Born on October 13th 1939 in Hope, Arkansas, Dillon got her start in theater and soon made her way to New York City, where she honed her craft on stage and in TV commercials. She quickly made her way to Hollywood, and her big break came with her role in the classic film, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." In this iconic sci-fi film, she played the character of Jillian Guiler, a mother who searches for her son after he is taken by aliens.

Dillon continued to deliver standout performances in a variety of film and television projects, including "A Christmas Story," “The Prince of Tides'',” THe Muppet Movie”,  "Harry and the Hendersons," and "Absence of Malice." She was also a regular on the stage, appearing in several Broadway productions throughout her career.

Throughout her career, Dillon was recognized for her talent and dedication to her craft. In 1979, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Absence of Malice." At the Oscars, Dillon lost out to Vanessa Redgrave of Julia in 1978 and to Maureen Stapleton of Reds in 1982.

Still, unlike those two, Dillon shows up every holiday season on TV rebroadcasts as the sweet mother of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) and Randy (Ian Petrella) and wife of Darren McGavin’s Old Man Parker in A Christmas Story (1983), directed by Bob Clark.

Aside from her impressive acting career, Dillon was known for her kind and generous spirit, always taking time to talk to her fans and support her fellow actors. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

She was married to late actor Richard Libertini from 1963 until their 1978 divorce, and they had a son.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Dillon's family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. She will be remembered as a true talent and a beautiful soul. Melinda Dillon was 83 years old.

And that brings us to the end of this edition. *Show Ender*

Now be sure to check us out on social media, we’re on Twitter @multiverseTom and also on Facebook and Instagram as well. 

*Ko-Fi button*

And if you found value in the show, feel free to contribute to the show,  check out the show notes, visit our Teepublic store, and much more over at the brand new MultiverseTonight dot com *Show Ender*


If you’re a subscriber, be sure to share with your friends and if you’re brand new to the show, please be sure to subscribe. And leave us some feedback and let us know how we’re doing.

Special thanks to Shane Ivers for our intro music and Lobo Loco for our outro music theme music.

Thanks for watching this edition of Multiverse Tonight. We will be back in two weeks with more sci-fi and comic book news. Now please exit the universe in an orderly fashion. Good Night!  


Multiverse Tonight is a production of Half-Baked Genre Productions. Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.

This podcast is part of the Pop Goes The Culture podcast network. Find out about our other podcasts at Pop Goes The Culture dot com.