What's Popping: 'Star Wars: Episode VII,' 'Dragon Blade,' 'Smurfs,' 'Fantastic Four,' Van Damme

Star Wars

With Star Wars: Episode VII going into production this May, names are emerging for the lead characters in the movie. Lupita Nyong'o, Ed Speleers, John Boyega, Jesse Plemons, Matthew James Thomas, and Ray Fisher are the latest to be rumored for a role or another.

Mel Gibson and Jackie Chan are reportedly teaming up for a movie called Dragon Blade. Gibson will play a Roman soldier who has to team up with Chan's character to save the world.

Having seen the box office for the second Smurfs movie drop sharply from the first, Sony Animation is rebooting the franchise as a standalone animated movie, which will arrive in theaters on August 2015.

The Fantastic Four reboot is closing in on its Dr. Doom, and the actors being eyed for the role are Domhnall Gleeson, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Redmayne and Sam Riley. As for the rumor that Fox is jettisoning director Josh Trank and recasting the lead roles, it has been debunked.

Despite the fact that his character, Jean Vilain, met his end in The Expendables 2, Jean Claude Van Damme wants a role in The Expendables 4 as Vilain's twin brother, Claude!

Other News & Notes:

Asia News Round-Up: Donnie Yen's Iceman 3D & Kung Fu Killer; Chen Kaige's The Monk.

Review: Veronica Mars is back on the case.

Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-Fat not committed to The Monkey King 2.

Review: The Unknown Known unravels post-Vietnam politics.

The Lego Movie 2 has a director.

Review: Soap Life takes a clean look at a troubled medium.

Early reviews for Captain America: The Winter Soldier appear Twitter.

Review: A Birder's Guide to Everything sings sweet.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 won't suffer from a wealth of villains, and Rhino only gets 4 minutes.

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