Disney+ show ‘Ahsoka’ will also reportedly star Hayden Christensen

Hayden Christensen isn't done playing Darth Vader. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's reprising his role as the Sith Lord in the upcoming Disney+ series Ahsoka. Rosario Dawson will star as Ahsoka Tano, whom she also played in the second season of The Mandalorian. That's the first time Ahsoka's character appeared in a live-action Star Wars show — prior to that, Ahsoka was only seen in the franchise's animated entries.

Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to reveal the story for the live-action series. The Hollywood Reporter says, though, that it's set five years after the events in Return of the Jedi, similar to The Mandalorian. That Vader will be featured in a show about Ahsoka doesn't entirely come as a surprise, seeing she was Anakin Skywalker's padawan. But since Vader died in Return of the Jedi, it's unclear how his character will fit into Ahsoka's story, and whether he'll be shown in flashbacks or as a Force ghost.

Dave Filoni, who was involved in several previous Star Wars projects, will write the story and also serve as executive producer with Jon Favreau. The series will start production in 2022, though fans will get the chance to see Christensen play Vader before that in Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi that's set to debut early next year.

Disney+ show ‘Ahsoka’ will also reportedly star Hayden Christensen

Hayden Christensen isn't done playing Darth Vader. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's reprising his role as the Sith Lord in the upcoming Disney+ series Ahsoka. Rosario Dawson will star as Ahsoka Tano, whom she also played in the second season of The Mandalorian. That's the first time Ahsoka's character appeared in a live-action Star Wars show — prior to that, Ahsoka was only seen in the franchise's animated entries.

Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to reveal the story for the live-action series. The Hollywood Reporter says, though, that it's set five years after the events in Return of the Jedi, similar to The Mandalorian. That Vader will be featured in a show about Ahsoka doesn't entirely come as a surprise, seeing she was Anakin Skywalker's padawan. But since Vader died in Return of the Jedi, it's unclear how his character will fit into Ahsoka's story, and whether he'll be shown in flashbacks or as a Force ghost.

Dave Filoni, who was involved in several previous Star Wars projects, will write the story and also serve as executive producer with Jon Favreau. The series will start production in 2022, though fans will get the chance to see Christensen play Vader before that in Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi that's set to debut early next year.

Apple TV+ renews ‘Mythic Quest’ for seasons three and four

Fans of Mythic Quest have much more of the show to look forward to. Apple TV+ has renewed the series for seasons three and four. The second season of the workplace sitcom aired this spring, and season three will arrive in 2022.

Co-creator Rob McElhenney (who plays Ian Grimm in the show) made the announcement with the help of a couple of familiar faces: Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-winning face of fellow Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso, and Anthony Hopkins, who received an Emmy nomination for narrating Mythic Quest's standalone "Everlight" episode. The series picked up another Emmy nomination this year for its sound editing.

Mythic Quest, which is from some of the folks behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, focuses on the developers of a hugely successful fictional MMORPG. Ubisoft co-produces Mythic Quest, so there's certainly a degree of authenticity to the show and how a game studio might actually operate.

Apple TV+ renews ‘Mythic Quest’ for seasons three and four

Fans of Mythic Quest have much more of the show to look forward to. Apple TV+ has renewed the series for seasons three and four. The second season of the workplace sitcom aired this spring, and season three will arrive in 2022.

Co-creator Rob McElhenney (who plays Ian Grimm in the show) made the announcement with the help of a couple of familiar faces: Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-winning face of fellow Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso, and Anthony Hopkins, who received an Emmy nomination for narrating Mythic Quest's standalone "Everlight" episode. The series picked up another Emmy nomination this year for its sound editing.

Mythic Quest, which is from some of the folks behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, focuses on the developers of a hugely successful fictional MMORPG. Ubisoft co-produces Mythic Quest, so there's certainly a degree of authenticity to the show and how a game studio might actually operate.

The Morning After: Will Facebook change its name?

So, will Facebook pull the trigger and change its name? Maybe it's an attempt to dominate the conversation around the, ugh, metaverse, which has been around for years, perhaps to follow Google’s own reorganization around Alphabet or to simply create some distance from all the negative publicity, sentiment and impressions that Facebook is now associated with.

If the change is metaverse related, it could be very important to the company’s unreleased social virtual reality world called Horizon Worlds.

The funniest take I’ve seen, from Time’s Alex Fitzpatrick, is that Facebook is doing it just to meddle with people that write about the company, like how we remind readers that Google is now just a facet of the bigger Alphabet entity, a bullet point that we sometimes have to mention.

— Mat Smith

Is Apple’s M1 Max really the fastest laptop chip ever?

Apple is making some big promises with its new Macbook Pro chips

The Morning After
Apple

This week’s Upscaled show is all about Apple’s promises with its newest chips. The new M1 Pro and M1 Max bump the core count to eight high-performance and two low-power cores and add 16, 24 or 32 GPU cores. With twice the high-performance CPUs and up to four times the GPU cores as the original M1, these chips should be incredibly fast. Could Apple offer a compelling laptop option for gamers?

Continue reading.

Netflix CEO says he 'screwed up' on Dave Chappelle as employees stage walk out

But Ed Sarandos continues to stand by the Chappelle special.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he "screwed up" communication with employees following backlash over Dave Chappelle's The Closer, according to a report from Variety.

He also stood by the show, saying the company heavily values "artistic expression." His comments come just ahead of a planned walkout today organized by LGBTQ+ staffers, creatives and allies.

As part of the walkout, employees will reportedly have a list of demands for Netflix, and Sarandos has been meeting them to hear their views. He said that while the company is "deeply committed to inclusion," it's equally committed to "supporting artistic freedom with the creators who work at Netflix."

Continue reading.

Some Windows 11 users can start testing Android apps

Only a handful of apps will be available at first.

The Morning After
Engadget

Microsoft has released an Insider Preview beta that enables the Amazon Appstore and support for running Android apps within Windows. Only 50 apps are available as part of the initial test (such as the Kindle app, Lords Mobile and Lego Duplo World), but Microsoft is promising more in the "coming months."

The aim, as before, is to make Android apps feel like they belong in Windows 11. You can multitask, check notifications and use Windows accessibility features. Mouse and keyboard input is available, but many apps will predictably benefit from a touchscreen.

Continue reading.

DJI's new cinema camera has a built-in gimbal and LiDAR focus system

The LiDAR should offer 'sharper, faster and more reliable focusing.'

DJI
DJI

DJI has revealed the Ronin 4D, a new cinema camera system with a built-in 4-axis gimbal, 8K resolution and LiDAR rangefinder that promises "sharper, faster and more reliable focusing." With a price starting at $7,199, it's clearly aimed at the professionals, but we can all dream, right?

The Zenmuse X9 camera is exclusively for the Ronin 4D. It's available either in a 6K model that can handle 6K at 60 fps and 4K at 120 fps, and there’s the 8K 75 fps version. It can capture files in RAW, ProRes or H.264, allowing maximum flexibility in production. DJI claims 14 stops of dynamic range, and it should be good in low-light thanks to the dual-native 800/5000 ISO.

Continue reading.

‘Cyberpunk 2077' PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades delayed until 2022

CDPR also postponed its upgraded version of 'The Witcher 3.'

Despite CD Projekt Red insisting at the beginning of September it was still on track to release the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Cyberpunk 2077 by the end of the year, that's no longer the case. The developer now plans to ship the console and PC upgrades for the same game in the first quarter of 2022 (i.e. by the end of March).

In its financial report for the first half of 2021, CDPR included a chart suggesting that around a third of its development staff was working on Cyberpunk 2077 support and the current-gen version as of June 30th.

Continue reading.

The biggest news stories you might have missed

Netflix says 142 million households watched Korean series 'Squid Game'

'God of War' heads to PC on January 14th

Razer reveals new mics for pro and casual streamers

PayPal might buy Pinterest

The Talli Baby tracker is a one-touch system for logging kids’ activities

Engadget Deals: The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $200 off at Amazon right now

Amazon adds 60 more stations to its Fire TV local news app

The Morning After: Will Facebook change its name?

So, will Facebook pull the trigger and change its name? Maybe it's an attempt to dominate the conversation around the, ugh, metaverse, which has been around for years, perhaps to follow Google’s own reorganization around Alphabet or to simply create some distance from all the negative publicity, sentiment and impressions that Facebook is now associated with.

If the change is metaverse related, it could be very important to the company’s unreleased social virtual reality world called Horizon Worlds.

The funniest take I’ve seen, from Time’s Alex Fitzpatrick, is that Facebook is doing it just to meddle with people that write about the company, like how we remind readers that Google is now just a facet of the bigger Alphabet entity, a bullet point that we sometimes have to mention.

— Mat Smith

Is Apple’s M1 Max really the fastest laptop chip ever?

Apple is making some big promises with its new Macbook Pro chips

The Morning After
Apple

This week’s Upscaled show is all about Apple’s promises with its newest chips. The new M1 Pro and M1 Max bump the core count to eight high-performance and two low-power cores and add 16, 24 or 32 GPU cores. With twice the high-performance CPUs and up to four times the GPU cores as the original M1, these chips should be incredibly fast. Could Apple offer a compelling laptop option for gamers?

Continue reading.

Netflix CEO says he 'screwed up' on Dave Chappelle as employees stage walk out

But Ted Sarandos continues to stand by the Chappelle special.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he "screwed up" communication with employees following backlash over Dave Chappelle's The Closer, according to a report from Variety.

He also stood by the show, saying the company heavily values "artistic expression." His comments come just ahead of a planned walkout today organized by LGBTQ+ staffers, creatives and allies.

As part of the walkout, employees will reportedly have a list of demands for Netflix, and Sarandos has been meeting them to hear their views. He said that while the company is "deeply committed to inclusion," it's equally committed to "supporting artistic freedom with the creators who work at Netflix."

Continue reading.

Some Windows 11 users can start testing Android apps

Only a handful of apps will be available at first.

The Morning After
Engadget

Microsoft has released an Insider Preview beta that enables the Amazon Appstore and support for running Android apps within Windows. Only 50 apps are available as part of the initial test (such as the Kindle app, Lords Mobile and Lego Duplo World), but Microsoft is promising more in the "coming months."

The aim, as before, is to make Android apps feel like they belong in Windows 11. You can multitask, check notifications and use Windows accessibility features. Mouse and keyboard input is available, but many apps will predictably benefit from a touchscreen.

Continue reading.

DJI's new cinema camera has a built-in gimbal and LiDAR focus system

The LiDAR should offer 'sharper, faster and more reliable focusing.'

DJI
DJI

DJI has revealed the Ronin 4D, a new cinema camera system with a built-in 4-axis gimbal, 8K resolution and LiDAR rangefinder that promises "sharper, faster and more reliable focusing." With a price starting at $7,199, it's clearly aimed at the professionals, but we can all dream, right?

The Zenmuse X9 camera is exclusively for the Ronin 4D. It's available either in a 6K model that can handle 6K at 60 fps and 4K at 120 fps, and there’s the 8K 75 fps version. It can capture files in RAW, ProRes or H.264, allowing maximum flexibility in production. DJI claims 14 stops of dynamic range, and it should be good in low-light thanks to the dual-native 800/5000 ISO.

Continue reading.

‘Cyberpunk 2077' PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades delayed until 2022

CDPR also postponed its upgraded version of 'The Witcher 3.'

Despite CD Projekt Red insisting at the beginning of September it was still on track to release the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Cyberpunk 2077 by the end of the year, that's no longer the case. The developer now plans to ship the console and PC upgrades for the same game in the first quarter of 2022 (i.e. by the end of March).

In its financial report for the first half of 2021, CDPR included a chart suggesting that around a third of its development staff was working on Cyberpunk 2077 support and the current-gen version as of June 30th.

Continue reading.

The biggest news stories you might have missed

Netflix says 142 million households watched Korean series 'Squid Game'

'God of War' heads to PC on January 14th

Razer reveals new mics for pro and casual streamers

PayPal might buy Pinterest

The Talli Baby tracker is a one-touch system for logging kids’ activities

Engadget Deals: The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $200 off at Amazon right now

Amazon adds 60 more stations to its Fire TV local news app

Netflix CEO says he ‘screwed up’ on Dave Chappelle as employees walk out

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has said he "screwed up" communication with employees following a backlash over Dave Chappelle's The Closer, according to Variety. At the same time, he stood by the show, saying the company heavily values "artistic expression." His comments come just ahead of a planned walkout organized by LGBTQ+ staffers, creatives and allies. 

After debuting earlier this month, The Closer was met by a storm of criticism from the LGBTQ+ community, who called it transphobic. At the time, he told employees that Netflix would never allow titles "that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line." 

Now, Sarandos has said he regrets the way he handled the situation with employees. "Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication," he said in an interview with Variety. "First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything."

Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything.

At the same time, Sarandos said in a separate interview that "my stance hasn't changed" regarding to the decision to stream the special. "We do tell our employees upfront that we are trying to entertain our members, and that some of the content on Netflix you’re not going to like," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "The inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering [and is]… one of those times when there’s something on Netflix that you’re not going to like."

As part of the walkout, employees will reportedly have a list of demands for Netflix, and Sarandos has been meeting them to hear their views. He said that while the company is "deeply committed to inclusion," it's equally committed to "supporting artistic freedom with the creators who work at Netflix." He added that Netflix would not add a disclaimer in front of the special as employees requested, reasoning that Chappelle himself gives a warning at the beginning. 

Sarandos also addressed the issue of transparency in the company after an employee was fired for leaking internal company documents showing viewer figures for Netflix shows, including Chappelle's previous special. "We’re deeply committed to the culture of transparency," he told THR. "And it also depends upon a great deal of trust with our employees that we continue to secure, but we don’t plan on changing any of our internal operations around that."

Disney delays all of Marvel’s 2022 films

Disney has shaken up its movie release calendar, with several Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks being delayed. The revamped schedule, which Variety reports is due to a production-related snowball effect, affects the slate for 2022 and beyond, and it will have a knock-on effect on Disney+.

All of the MCU films Disney had on the docket for 2022 have been pushed to a later slot. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was penciled in for March 25th, but now it's taking Thor: Love and Thunder's old date of May 6th. The next Thor movie will arrive on July 8th, in turn pushing back Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to November 11th.

The schedule shifts mean there will only be three Marvel movies next year instead of the planned four, as Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels now has a release date of February 17th, 2023. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has moved from that date to July 28th, 2023. On the flip side, Disney brought one mystery Marvel movie (hopefully Guardians of the Galaxy 3) forward by a week from November 10th, 2023.

Elsewhere, the next Indiana Jones movie has been delayed by 11 months. You'll need to wait until June 30th, 2023 for Harrison Ford's fifth stint as the iconic archeologist. Ford sustained an injury while filming this summer, though he's now back in action. A live-action Disney movie, a 20th Century film and two Marvel flicks (all untitled) have been removed from the 2023 schedule. 

Remarkably, given how many times the film has been delayed over the years, Disney hasn't shifted Avatar 2's release date. It's still on the schedule for December 16th, 2022.

It remains to be seen what impact these changes will have on Disney+. For the rest of 2021, Disney has committed to an exclusive theatrical window for its films before they're available to stream, but it hasn't divulged how things will work in 2022 and beyond.

The company adopted a simultaneous release strategy for some of its movies over the last year or so amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella and Black Widow requiring a $30 Premier Access pass for early access on Disney+. Disney's decision to let viewers stream Black Widow at home on the same day it hit theaters prompted a now-settled lawsuit from star Scarlett Johansson. Pixar movies Soul and Luca went straight to streaming as part of regular Disney+ subscriptions in some countries.

Elsewhere, some MCU shows on Disney+, such as Loki and Hawkeye, tie into the theatrical movies. As such, the scheduling of future series might be impacted by the overhauled theatrical slate.

Disney delays all of Marvel’s 2022 films

Disney has shaken up its movie release calendar, with several Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks being delayed. The revamped schedule, which Variety reports is due to a production-related snowball effect, affects the slate for 2022 and beyond, and it will have a knock-on effect on Disney+.

All of the MCU films Disney had on the docket for 2022 have been pushed to a later slot. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was penciled in for March 25th, but now it's taking Thor: Love and Thunder's old date of May 6th. The next Thor movie will arrive on July 8th, in turn pushing back Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to November 11th.

The schedule shifts mean there will only be three Marvel movies next year instead of the planned four, as Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels now has a release date of February 17th, 2023. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has moved from that date to July 28th, 2023. On the flip side, Disney brought one mystery Marvel movie (hopefully Guardians of the Galaxy 3) forward by a week from November 10th, 2023.

Elsewhere, the next Indiana Jones movie has been delayed by 11 months. You'll need to wait until June 30th, 2023 for Harrison Ford's fifth stint as the iconic archeologist. Ford sustained an injury while filming this summer, though he's now back in action. A live-action Disney movie, a 20th Century film and two Marvel flicks (all untitled) have been removed from the 2023 schedule. 

Remarkably, given how many times the film has been delayed over the years, Disney hasn't shifted Avatar 2's release date. It's still on the schedule for December 16th, 2022.

It remains to be seen what impact these changes will have on Disney+. For the rest of 2021, Disney has committed to an exclusive theatrical window for its films before they're available to stream, but it hasn't divulged how things will work in 2022 and beyond.

The company adopted a simultaneous release strategy for some of its movies over the last year or so amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella and Black Widow requiring a $30 Premier Access pass for early access on Disney+. Disney's decision to let viewers stream Black Widow at home on the same day it hit theaters prompted a now-settled lawsuit from star Scarlett Johansson. Pixar movies Soul and Luca went straight to streaming as part of regular Disney+ subscriptions in some countries.

Elsewhere, some MCU shows on Disney+, such as Loki and Hawkeye, tie into the theatrical movies. As such, the scheduling of future series might be impacted by the overhauled theatrical slate.

‘Squid Game’ documents may show how Netflix rates the success of its content

Netflix has always closely guarded the exact streaming metrics that may reveal why programs are considered a success... or cancelled. That black box cracked open a bit with documents obtained by Bloomberg detailing the company's scores for "impact value" and "efficiency." An example of that is Squid Game, which generated $891.1 million in impact value on a budget of just $21.4 million for an efficiency of 41.7X, according to Bloomberg's latest report. 

The documents first came to light with Dave Chappelle's controversial special after the company fired an employee for supposedly leaking confidential information about the show's viewing data. (That employee reportedly spoke out against leaks to colleagues, according to The Verge.) Those metrics revealed that Chapelle's previous special, Sticks & Stones, generated slightly less impact value than it cost to make, according to Bloomberg.

Other figures showed that around 132 million people watched at least two minutes of Squid Game in the first 23 days, beating a record set by Bridgerton. Netflix occasionally releases similar information for certain shows, but it doesn't disclose how many people stuck with or finished shows — which can often inflate figures compared to typical TV ratings. 

According to Bloomberg, however, Netflix estimated that 89 percent of people who started Squid Game watched at least 75 minutes, or more than one episode, and 87 million people finished it in the first 23 days (66 percent). Viewers watched 1.4 billion hours of the show in total. 

An attorney representing Netflix told Bloomberg that it would not be appropriate to disclose confidential data contained in documents it reviewed. "Netflix does not discuss these metrics outside the company and takes significant steps to protect them from disclosure," the attorney said.