Marvel’s ‘What If?’ teaser gives a sneak peek into Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as Hawkeye

Imagination is running amok for MCU fans after Marvel dropped a teaser of its upcoming animated project, What If?. The teaser shows a glimpse of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker suited up as Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner in the Marvel films.

As reports suggest, What If? will feature alternate scenarios and storylines that are otherwise impossible in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For instance, one episode will look into the idea of Peggy Carter taking the serum created to make super-soldiers instead of Steve Rogers, becoming Captain Britain.

Still from ‘What If?’ teaser

Another scenario suggests Spider-Man suiting up as Hawkeye. That too the version of Peter Parker played by Tom Holland in the MCU films. The look was first spotted by

The teaser features Holland’s Parker wearing the Hawkeye outfit, with a quiver of arrows on his back. Marvel president Kevin Feige had announced at last year’s San Diego Comic Con that original MCU actors would return to voice their own characters in What If? 

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Samuel L Jackson, and Jeremy Renner are expected to reprise their roles in this animated series. And what we might call a Freudian slip, actor Jeff Goldblum revealed that Robert Downey Jr. aka Iron Man will return to the MCU as well.

The rights for Spider-Man are owned by Sony, who renegotiated an agreement to feature the character in Marvel films and series, after a brief spat saw the rights revert back to Sony last year. Officially, a third Spider-Man film has been spoken about under the new terms.

While production of all Disney+ MCU shows, including the Hawkeye series, has been stalled due to the pandemic, What If? is reportedly under production.

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Check Point

Politician and activist Magid Magid announced as the Children’s Media Conference keynote speaker

The Children’s Media Conference (CMC) has announced that former Lord Mayor of Sheffield and Green MEP Magid Magid will be the keynote speaker at this year’s virtual conference online between 6 to 10 July 2020.

Aged only 28, Magid became Lord Mayor of Sheffield, being the youngest-ever, the first ethnic-Somali, and the first Green Party councillor to hold that role. In May 2019, he was elected to the European Parliament as Green Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Magid Magid

In 2018 he won over the CMC audience with his enthusiastic welcome on opening night. Now Magid is back to address the revised conference theme of ‘Still Here Right Now’ on 6 July. He will deliver his thoughts on the future-focus of his environmental campaigning and offer a refugee’s perspective on life for young people in Britain today. As delegates can’t go to Sheffield for the annual gathering, Sheffield Lord Mayor will talk about challenges and inspiration in equal measures.

Speaking about new plans, CMC Editorial director Greg Childs said, “We want to welcome all delegates to the brand-new CMC 2020 Online. We are going to stream webinar sessions and online keynotes between 6 to 10 July to avoid overloading delegates on busy lockdown days. We’re making use of bespoke software to allow delegates to build their own conference schedule with strands of additional ‘on-demand’ content to view whenever they want.

We will also be running online social events in the week, to invoke the ‘Sheffield spirit’ for The Children’s Media Community – this time from the comfort of their own homes.

 In the last few weeks the CMC Advisory Committee has been nothing short of brilliant in pulling together a new way of looking at the conference. In July we will come together as a community to share learning, insights and inspiration, challenge, argue and discuss – just as we do in Sheffield. Delegates will still need to make their own tea – and maybe even the odd G&T.”

CMC has re-interpreted its 2020 theme from ‘Right Here Right Now’ to ‘STILL Here Right Now’. Presently, more than ever, kids and young people need the media-makers to come together to consider how they are being served, what the future holds, what works and what doesn’t, how to improve the diversity, commitment and engagement of kids’ media content and to have some fun exploring creative and business innovation.

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GOG hosting summer sale on DRM-free PC games till 15 June

GOG has kicked off its summer sale on DRM-free PC games, filled with deals on new and old titles. This sale lasts until 15June.

The two DRM-free releases discounted in the GOG Summer Sale are Metro Exodus (50 per cent off) and Prey (70 per cent off). Both games were recently added to the platform. Some other highlights from the sale include 50per cent off Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2, 75 per cent off Firewatch and XCOM 2and 25 per cent off on of Polygon’s 2018 Games of the Year, Return of the Obra Dinn.

GOG is also offering build-your-own publisher bundles as part of the Summer Sale. Get an extra 5per cent discount when you buy three games from a single participating publisher (Devolver, Paradox Interactive, or EA, to name a few) and an extra 10 per cent when you buy five or more games. And if you’ve already bought one of those publisher’s games through GOG, that title counts towards your bundle.

GOG is also using its summer sale celebration as an excuse to offer up a new demo of System Shock, the remake of the influential FPS game that’s currently in development. Also, Cyberpunk 2077 is not discounted, but if you wanted 100 percent of your purchase to support the developer, GOG is the place to buy it since it’s owned and operated by CD Projekt Group.

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Novel Entertainment hosts a virtual fancy dress parade

Novel Entertainment is hosting a virtual fancy dress parade on 29 May as part of its Horrid Henry half term activity. To join the parade, children are encouraged to take a photo dressed up as their favourite fictional character, or find their best dress-up photo from their photo library to share and also encourage their parents or carers to take part. The parade will be hosted on the Horrid Henry YouTube channel, where fans can tune in to see themselves featured alongside entries from across the globe, and submissions can be made via email or by tagging #FancyDressFriYAY on social media channels.

The #FancyDressFriYAY virtual parade rounds out Novel Entertainment’s Horrid Henry half term activity week which has included dressing up with the stars alongside interviews with Great British Chef contender Hrishikesh Desai, super teacher Zane Powels and Happy Hudson Sherbourne, as he completed his virtual run from Oxford to Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium.

Novel Entertainment creative director and co-founder Lucinda Whiteley said, “Half term is hopefully a time to regroup and relax, but it can also be a time to let your imagination and creativity run wild. During these times when we’re more physically apart than we’d like to be, our first ever virtual parade will offer kids from all over the world a chance to come together and express themselves. We’ve already had some fantastic fancy dress photos submitted and can’t wait to see all the entries during the parade.”

This activity is part of the newly created content output, produced under the banner of Horrid Henry Unlocked and designed to offer a familiar environment for fans to discover how the Horrid Henry family is responding to the current crisis. As well as the recently launched Horrid Henry podcast, new material includes daily online activities like projects, challenges, puzzles, and bespoke videos including newly created songs, short videos and behind the scenes content, with a different curricular theme each week.

Horrid Henry’s fifth season is currently on air in the UK and Novel is in production on new longer form content. The brand includes film, stage, radio and online extensions, as well as being at the heart of a successful licensing and merchandising programme. A total of 250 episodes are now available with recent sales including Amazon Prime Video (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka).

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Henry Cavill in talks to return as Superman

Superman actor Henry Cavill is reportedly in talks to return in future DC Extended Universe movies. According to Deadline, Cavill’s negotiations do not involve a sequel to Man of Steel. Warner Bros. reportedly plans to involve Cavill’s Superman in another one of its upcoming projects. At the time of writing, it is unclear which film could feature his return. Warner Bros. declined to comment.

In addition to Zack Snyder’s Superman origin story Man of Steel in 2013, Cavill played the iconic hero in 2016’s Batman v Superman and 2017’s Justice League.

In a cover story, Cavill revealed he had not given up the role. “The cape is still in the closet,” he said. “It’s still mine. I’m not going to sit quietly in the dark as all the stuff is going on. I’ve not given up the role. There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books. That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman. The status is: You’ll see.”

Actor’s most recent big-screen appearance came in 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout alongside Tom Cruise. He currently stars in Netflix’s The Witcher and plays the role of Geralt of Rivia.

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Is animation the next wind in the back of online gambling?

There is no question about animation booming in the modern world. Aside from the ever-developing studios for games and cartoons in Europe and the Americas, there is also a huge rise in Anime creations, originating in Japan but with big names rising in Korea and China. And, it seems that the world of online gambling is using this advantage to the fullest and trying to apply these advances to their own business model.

This change is important for several reasons, as it separates what was possible in the real world with mechanics and digital displays, and the virtually (no pun intended) limitless possibilities of cyberspace.

When switching to online, not only can these games become flashier and host intellectual property from video games, movies, comic books, and TV shows, but also can influence the mechanics. Some things that are simply impossible due to Newtonian physics and classical mechanics are completely okay for games online.

The future is now, or soon

Technology didn’t only allow for new gambling games to develop but has also improved on the traditional casino games where we can get a sense of sitting in a brick and mortar casino without ever moving our face from the screen.

Independent reviewers recently found out that most players in India prefer live casinos, and enjoy playing games like poker or blackjack. This is an important piece of information because India is one of the biggest global markets in the world and it can tell us where gaming developers will tend to go.

The biggest future unknown for online gambling is VR. Even though the current levels of immersion are slim, there are huge strides and you can now walk in VR through a virtual casino. If this becomes any better, brick and mortar establishments will be in more danger than they are today.

How animation helped gambling so far?

Simply analyzing the current offer when it comes to online gambling in general we can see how much animation techniques are used to improve the sensations.

For traditional games, it is used to increase immersion and animate either just the dealer or even other players, cards, dice, and everything else. Even though the result when casting dice was calculated in microseconds using an algorithm, it is fun to wait for them to drop and roll around.

Additionally, for spinners and similar iGaming options the animation is the base upon which they are built. The excitement with which the numbers, symbols, or objects spin are half of the fun, and explosions and animations usually inform us instinctively if we have done well or not.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

VR and AR will probably be the biggest advantages, not only for online gambling but possibly for IRL gambling as well. Augmented reality may allow us to blend the line between virtual and physical, letting us see things around us that are either thousands of miles away, or non-existent entirely.

It is plausible that in the future online gaming will mean having actual poker nights with your buddies from all over the world, everybody sitting at their own kitchen table but seeing everyone else, and the virtual dealer.

Is this dangerous?

There are some scars from both legislators and third-parties that the same tricks used to entice people to play video games will be used to draw in players for online gambling. Ironically, non-wager games were under more scrutiny from the public in the last few years than online gambling, probably due to the lack of restrictive legislation that is present with gambling.

But, as the numbers are showing right now, these claims are currently baseless, and would maybe only evolve into something more sinister in the far future. It seems that the rise of online gambling has made the opposite impact of addiction, with more people realizing that they should be playing for fun and not strictly profit.

Additionally, greater transparency online has allowed independent reviewers to see the same games, exposing any predatory practices and exploitive games. This wasn’t possible in traditional casinos and is a major boon for players around the world.

Finally, because of the low price of organizing the games and the sheer size of the market, operators do their best to stay away from any predatory practices in the player’s market. 

Time is unstoppable

If Cher wasn’t able to turn back time, there is no chance for us mere mortals. The best thing we can do is to adapt and use everything that is offered while staying aware of the risks. Too much of anything is not a good thing, including playing games.

But, if we combine the efforts of reviewers, legislators, and the online community, we can be sure that we are playing safely and with the best options provided to us. The only thing left is to have fun.

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Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ movies and WarnerBros.’ Nolan films get re-runs in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China

Marvel is going to re-release The Avengers and Iron Man 3 in Hong Kong theatres from today, 28 May till 10 June. This decision is taken by the industry to attract wary audiences after the COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted earlier this month.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has joined the re-release crusade besides WarnerBros. Though only two titles have been announced so far, reports suggest that the superhero media franchise is expected to re-release more films in the coming months.

Marvel has also announced that it will re-run all four of the Avengers movies in China besides blockbusters like AvatarThis move is followed in many countries that have controlled the virus to a certain extent and have reopened the cinemas.

Warner Bros. is also re-releasing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy in Hong Kong and Taiwan this summer, including IMAX theatres. The company is also going to release a 4K remastered version of The Matrix in Hong Kong. The company will re-run Nolan films like Inception and Interstellar on the big screens in China too.

Toho Cinemas, Japan’s largest multiplex chain, has decided to go for re-running the classics. The titles to be brought back are Ben-Hur, The Wizard of Oz, Blade Runner,’E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,The Shawshank Redemption and others.

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DNEG’s detailed VFX breakdown of ‘Godzilla’ is a treat to watch, features Ajanta and Ellora

The age-old story of the the rise and fall of economy is now being written by a virus. World is dealing with a deadly enemy that has brought the industry to its knees. In times like these, industry aspirants and experts are already finding ways to upskill in order to emerge stronger when the ecosystem regains resumption.

Go behind the scenes of the iconic sunken city in Godzilla: King of the Monsters :-


Our talented Environment team gives you an inside look at how they created the ancient city, the inspiration they drew from and more in our new ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Environment VFX Breakdown. 


We had a lot raining debris that was intricate and complicated from a visual effects standpoint. We did a lot of development work to make sure we had a system in place that could drive effects destruction based off of the creature movements.

VFX breakdowns are indeed making for a great source of education to the folks who are interested in learning the art and craft of the industry. DNEG’s recent breakdown of Godzilla is an elaborate and step-by-step explanation of the humongous task of building images as per the vision of the filmmaker.

DNEG produced vignettes where Secondary Titans, such as the massive mammoth known as Behemoth, make appearances.  DNEG did about 150 VFX shots over 13 sequences. DNEG’s VFX Supervisor Brian Connor (The MegWonder Woman) supervised the process which was mainly done in Vancouver, with some aid from their team in Mumbai.

DNEG did the vignettes of the titans awakening around the world, with the art department providing the basic designs for all the titans and DNEG then working on model, texture and rigging the characters. While DNEG has a clear idea of how the characters would be seen in their shots, they made sure the various titans worked from all angles as DNEG provided these back to MPC for use in the third act of the film.

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Indian animation industry amid the pandemic: The good, the bad and the unknown

The coronavirus pandemic is escalating, with many industries being shut for more a couple of months. Various media sectors are hampering badly and live-action production seems to be the most affected of them all. With the many challenges faced by all the industry sectors during the covid-19 lockdown, one that has managed to keep the lights on for the most part is animation!

The production is going on properly with many companies following various techniques to keep the work pipeline intact. Studios like Reliance Animation amongst others are managing to provide fresh episodes to broadcasters even during this lockdown with the help of a co-operative team and proper management.

Talking about the quality of the projects delivered, Reliance Animation COO Tejonidhi Bhandare mentioned, “ The artists are used to working in groups which helps them at various levels, may it be technical or creative, and breaking that work culture and working in isolation is a new system for which the artists may need some to adopt.”

Some platforms used by animators have pitched in the efforts to keep the industry going with software companies offering free or discounted licenses to artists for a month or so.

Amid a wave of Covid related layoffs, companies like 88 Pictures, philmCGI and others are actually hiring.

philmCGI MD Anand Bhanushali thinks that work from home is more productive and may think of following the same pattern even after lockdown. “We no longer need big infrastructure now. The WFX (Work Flow Extender) pipeline is working very well for us as we can work with anybody anywhere in the world,” added he.

There is too much scope for independent animators to pitch their content to digital platforms if not television, as digital media is the new normal. And with the growing viewership and hunger for fresh content, there is definitely a shining future for many.

Bhanushali also feels that this is the right time for all to work on their own IP and pitch it directly to the digital platforms. “The next few years are going to be great for producing homegrown content. Studios will go IP driven,” he mentioned.

“Our industry is blessed, we can still work. Every studio will find their own balance of working from home and delivering projects and we can grow. There are few challenges but those can be managed.”

This is the situation at considerably big studios. But is the case same with indie animators or a boutique studio? The answer is yes and no. Vaanarsena Studio founder Vivek Ram thinks that this is a good time for the animation industry in India, considering the difficulty faced during live shoots. “I’ve noticed more interest in animated shows than before by various investors.” Ram also finds the current situation cost effective as everyone is working from home, remotely.

But a few animators and small studio founders are not really fond of remote working. Few stated that though animation is currently the only production which is on, it will survive. But cannot say there will be a sudden boom. An indie animator stated that the lockdown has hampered his projects as remotely working doesn’t help. “Animation is a collaborative job. It cannot happen remotely for me. Being a small team, I can still maintain my staff, but cannot assure quality work.”

Bhandare had different views about the situation. “While there is some more time for our industry to move from unorganised sector to organised sector, I am sure people will love to work in isolation and be more accountable and responsible towards their own and company objectives,” added he. Work from home scenario is helping the team spend more time with family as travel time is saved, he felt.

Varied reactions, different approaches and very different way of thinking create different scenarios for different people. With a little bit of positivity, you can get the work done.

Assemblage Entertainment CEO and industry veteran AK Madhavan is brimming with positivity and thinks that this is the time to become a remarkable nation in the animation industry and make a mrk on this globe. “The magic word at our space is to ‘enjoy’ and we are following the same even now. So the work is going on amazingly at Assemblage.”

With a supportive team and a friendly and approachable management committee, the environment in Assemblage is very normal. There are no layoffs, no pay-cuts and no unnecessary furloughs. “India is bouncing back with work. I am very positive about the upcoming months and years. We are going way forward,” added Madhavan. Assemblage also managed to provide the work to their clients as promised.

Though the situation for many studios looks positive, it if hard to say anything certainly at this very moment, as we all are unsure when this difficult time will end and what further it will bring.

Survival is the only option for now. Be it as a human or a business! Looking forward, the animation industry may definitely see a bright future, with the local content being a priority. Let’s hope that there will be new homegrown content flowing, fresh IPs produced, productive working patterns and a well knitted animation society formed in India. That’s not just a dream but a reality that the indie and big studios can create together!

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