RUMORED: New Vader Series Starring Hayden Christensen & James Earl Jones

Rumored Vader Series
(Getty/Handout)

In case you didn’t have quite enough Star Wars content getting Clockwork Oranged into your brain holes these days, a new rumor has surfaced that could make some Star Wars fans very happy. And other Star Wars fans very unhappy. And then a bunch more people who don’t care that much about Star Wars chime in just to make sure everyone knows that they don’t care that much. And on and on we will dance until the heat death of the universe.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. According to a report by We Got This Covered, there are very very very very early talks about a possible series centering around the galaxy’s greatest dad, Darth Vader.  The idea would reportedly feature James Earl Jones voicing the Dark Lord of the Sith, with Hayden Christensen returning to the role of Anakin Skywalker in flashback sequences. The story would take place between Revenge of the Sith and New Hope, and fill audiences in on how Vader went from broken-ass robot assistant to the most feared agent of the Empire.

If you’re not an obsessive fan of the franchise like certain staff writers for The Dad *ahem*, you might be a bit confused because the general consensus from the movie-going public was that the prequels were bad, and that Hayden Christensen was bad, and that all of this seems not good at all. However, in recent years thanks to The Clone Wars & Rebels TV show, Marvel’s Vader comic series, and the fact that kids from the prequel era are now grown-ups, there’s been a bit of a resurgence of love for the Star Wars galaxy pre-New Hope. 

Even most people can agree that Christensen himself isn’t a bad actor, he just didn’t have Harrison Ford’s Big Grump Energy for telling George Lucas when dialogue didn’t make any damn sense.

So look, we all got excited when Vader showed up in Rogue One, but in just three short years the amount of Star Wars we’ve been through has left some fans a little fatigued. What more could a whole series about arguably the most famous character in the history of pop culture bring to the table?

Well, for one thing, it could give Christensen and Vader a chance at redemption with a story that the actor and character deserve. While some folks have come around on the prequels, it’s safe to say that we’ve gotten a more complex look at the Skywalker patriarch through the comic series and TV shows that have come out since. Bringing those elements into a live-action interpretation of Vader could be amazing.  Other than a little show called The Mandalorian, Disney+ is focusing their TV efforts on the span between episodes III and IV. A Vader show could be a chance for some crossover potential with the already greenlit Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi focused series’. Disney surely wants to capture some of that Avengers energy with their other major franchise.

There is a good nest egg of stories during this timeline. Throughout the comics and cartoons, we’ve learned that Vader built his castle on Mustafar in order to harness enough bad guy power to bring his wife Padme back to life. When that failed he devoted himself fully to hunting down and exterminating the remaining Jedi with the Fallen Order‘s villains, the Sith Inquisitors. There was even a story where he hunts down the old lady librarian Jedi while she tries to save a bunch of old books, and honestly, it’s pretty badass.

Vader Hunts Jocosta
(Wookiepedia)

She does a pretty good number on him, too (at first). Support your local libraries.

Anyway whether or not this will even happen is nowhere near certain, but the unidentified source who brought this info to We Got This Covered is the same one who first broke that Ewan McGregor was returning as Obi-Wan and that Robert Patterson had been cast as Batman; so it’s safe to say it’s somewhat feasible. Hayden Christensen himself has also been making more and more appearances at Star Wars events lately, including the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. Could this be evidence that he and the Lucasfilm execs are gussying up to each other?

Rumored Vader Series
(Gagloop/pbs.twimg.com)

So what do you think? In my opinion, if this lets us see a live-action Doctor Aphra or Asoka Tano, I’m in. Sure, James Earl Jones’ voice sounded a little…wobbly in Rogue One, but look if we’re gonna run all our favorite things into the ground, we might as well go full throttle.

Father Figures: No Parent Should Ever

“I’m in a category of dads that no dad should ever have to be a part of.

I have been a dad for 5 years to 3 children a little girl (4) a little boy (3) and a baby girl (6 mos). Each time one of my children were born I had the same thoughts most dads have: excited, but scared as hell, am I gonna be the man they look up to, are they gonna say daddy first, etc. Each kid brought the same feelings but one thing I was sure of is that I loved them and was gonna do my absolute best.

On October 26, 2018, my baby girl was born and having been through two previous kids, I had it figured out. Or so I thought. Her name was Parker, and she was perfect, but on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, something happened that no dad or parent should ever have to deal with: our baby girl passed and went home to be with the Lord. At just 6 months old, she was gone. No more hugs, no more laughing, crying, dirty diapers, waking up in the middle of the night; it was all gone in the blink of an eye.

It was hard on us it was hard on our other kids they didn’t understand why there sister went to be with Jesus and we didn’t know what to say. Still to this day I wake up constantly to check on my kids every night. My wife and I hold it together for the kids but I can see the pain in her eyes and there’s nothing that can fix it other than time.

I just want my story to be inspiration to other parents to just remind them to enjoy the times they have with their children. They want to fight about eating a snack before supper? So what, let them have it.

I’m not saying just completely stop parenting and setting rules, but the little things that don’t really matter? Just let them go, because you never know what could happen and how quickly your life can change; in just seconds our little girl was gone, and no parent should ever have to go through it.”

– JT Ward

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Artist is Turning Infant Medical Helmets Into Works of Art

(Facebook/Lazardo Art)

A Washington State woman has been using her artistic talents to brighten the lives of thousands of babies and their families.

Back in 1996, a friend approached Paula Lazardo with a unique request. Their child would need to wear a medial helmet due to plagiocephaly — a common disorder causing a baby’s head to have a flattened appearance. The helmet would need to be worn for several months, so Lazardo knew it needed to be something special.

Once completed, a doctor saw her first creation and knew Lazardo’s talents could help so many more. The condition impacts around 10% of newborns in America, so while this was her first encounter with the medical helmets, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Since 1996, Lazardo has hand-painted over 3,000 of the typically mundane medical devices, all thanks to that initial interest by the treating physician. “He saw value in having the helmet painted for his clients,” Lazardo told HeartThreads. “It was just one of those snowball things… and now it’s virtually 99 percent of what I do is paint for babies! Which is the best job ever.”

Beyond brightening the lives of the children and likely everyone they encounter, her creations are unique to the owner. From motorcycle helmets to Captain America gear, the artist has created some truly incredible works, often in just 48 hours due to the nature of the equipment and its immediate need. But for Lazardo, it’s all worth it. “That’s what I love about the art that I’ve been able to do in my life: It’s always been for other people. It’s been able to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve got the best job!”

She has even created smaller helmets so that a child’s doll can have a matching cap.

Custom painted baby helmets
(Facebook)

With so many satisfied little customers, it’s easy to see why so many parents have turned to her over the years.

To learn more about her incredible work, visit Lazardo’s Facebook page.

Harrison Ford Says Indiana Jones 5 Starts Shooting in Two Months

Indiana Jones Starts Filming in Two Months
(Walt Disney)

Sometimes I wish this were all a dream. I wish I could wake up and live in a world where things are mostly the same but there are some small differences that would just make life a little more pleasant.

In this fantasy world, George Lucas got the prequel trilogy right. There was no Phantom Menace, no talk about taxes and blockades, Attack of the Clones was just… better, and Revenge of the Sith was split into two movies to make Anakin’s turn more a slow burn, to give more time to the systematic elimination of the Jedi, and to get rid of the ham-handed Frankenstein walk and jazz hands in the final scene. And then Lucas and Spielberg decided to never make Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and just let the series end with the fun-as-hell Last Crusade.

But no, we don’t live in a dream, we live in a nightmare, which is why the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still exists, and they’re also making ANOTHER Indiana Jones movie.

Another sequel has been rumored for a while, but Harrison Ford recently said it would begin filming soon, and while doing press for his new movie Call of the Wild, he divulged a little bit about it.

“Well, I’m not going to share the story with you because that doesn’t seem like a good idea,” the 77-year-old (!) Ford said. “But we’ll see new developments in his life, his relationship. We’ll see part of his history resolved.”

The script is being written by Jonathan Kasdan, writer of Solo, (gulp) and son of Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Raiders and several other big deal movies, and Ford seems pleased with it. “It’s a very good script. I’m looking forward to it.”

Shia LaBeouf is hopefully not looking forward to it, because no one ever needs to see his character “Mutt” again. As to whether we’ll see Karen Allen as Marion, whom Indy married in the last movie, we don’t yet know, nor do we know what it will be about.

Nor do we really care. Right? The last thing was an abomination. Let sleeping characters named after their family dogs lie!

New Marvel Comic Spans Space and Time, Includes Nearly Every Marvel Hero

The Marvels Comic
(Marvel)

As Marvel continues its assault on movie theaters and moves into television, and DC continues to attempt to catch up, and superheroes, in general, remain the dominant pop cultural force, it’s easy to forget their roots. There are going to be entire generations of kids who don’t realize that all their favorite superheroes started on the page, in something called “comic books.”

Many of the movies we love are obviously based on characters that first originated in comics, and what’s more, many of the plots of those movies not only come from those same comics but actually come from recent developments. Into the Spider-Verse features Miles Morales, a recent addition to the Spider-Man canon. The next Thor movie, Love and Thunder, is based on a plot from a 2016 comic.

Yes, comic books still exist! And Marvel keeps coming up with new stuff. Like the newly announced “The Marvels,” which is a brand new ongoing series being written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Yildiray Cinar.

The Marvels will incorporate characters and locations from nearly every Marvel comic property. The idea is for it to span space and time and go anywhere and everywhere to tell its story. In an interview with Marvel.com, Busiek explained his approach.

“The whole idea of THE MARVELS is to be able to use the whole Marvel Universe—not just all the characters in it, but all the history of it. The sweeping scope of the whole thing…Big stuff can happen in the Marvel Universe, but we usually see it confined largely to the Avengers in AVENGERS, to the FF in FANTASTIC FOUR, and so on. THE MARVELS is intended as a freewheeling book that can go anywhere, do anything, use anyone. It’s a smorgasbord of Marvel heroes and history.”

The first issue hints at the scope of the series, as it opens in 1947 and spans space and time, and features a huge collection of well-known heroes, including Reed Richards, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Punisher, the Human Torch, Storm, the Black Cat, the Golden Age Vision, Aero, Iron Man, Thor, and introduces two new characters.

Says Busiek: “Well, the first issue starts out in Southeast Asia in 1947, shortly after World War II, when trouble was brewing there, and we also get to see Reed Richards before the FF’s flight, Flash Thompson in the Army, classic 1970s Thor and Iron Man fighting monsters, and more. We see the near future, we see an unusual tour of Manhattan, we see the Punisher, we see the return of possibly the least-expected Peter David character ever…”

Sounds like this series will have something for just about everyone, and will include just about everyone! And if recent history is any indication, it probably won’t be long until The Marvels makes its way to a screen near you, big or small. So you might want to get in on the ground floor and start with the actual comic books themselves.

Pomeranian Puppy Has Epic Sneeze

104-Yr-Old WWII Veteran Gets More Than 70,000 Valentines

William White Gets 70k Valentine's Cards
(Fox61)

A World War Two veteran named William White is having the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever, one that’s been 104 years in the making. A fellow resident at his assisted living facility put together a social media campaign called, ‘Operation Valentine’ that quickly became a massive success. Even before the official holiday, he’d already received more than 70,000 Valentine’s Day cards.

Back in January, the 104-year-old Marine Corps veteran said he’d keep any Valentine’s Day card someone sent him. In fact, he said it would go on his keepsake shelf, alongside other markers of a life well-lived such as the Purple Heart he earned in the Battle of Iwo Jima. He’s a big scrapbooker, so he was interested in adding more things to his collection.

“I’ll save every one of them like I’ve been saving little things that have come up until right now and they’ll be a personal part of my history,” he told a local news outlet last month.

At least, that was the plan when he expected a couple of people to answer the call. Now that he has tens of thousands, he’ll have to reconsider.

White has received cards from every single U.S. state and from a number of countries around the world.

“It’s just too fantastic,” White said to Reuters, while surrounded by bricks of postal boxes filled with cards.

Many sent White cards as a way to honor their own relatives, now passed, who fought in World War Two. But overall, it’s been a cross-generational effort. White’s great-granddaughter even helped deliver a bundle, as her fourth-grade class all made Valentines for the elderly veteran.

While Operation Valentine has been a massive success, he’s going to have a pretty hard time topping it at 105.

Former NFLer Wins Oscar for Short About Dads, Daughters, and Hair

Hair Love
(Twitter/MatthewACherry)

Former NFL receiver Matthew Cherry scored a huge honor for his second career when his animated short, “Hair Love”, won an Oscar. Cherry, a journeyman receiver who went undrafted out of Akron and bounced around several NFL rosters before retiring a decade ago, started his project with a robust Kickstarter campaign. And it ended with him holding an Academy Award.

“Hair Love” is a touching short film about an African American dad trying to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. A little over six minutes, the animated short has been viewed almost 20 million times. And it’s very much worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

Cherry is not the first professional athlete to find success in film, as NBA legend Kobe Bryant won one in 2018 in the same category (for his short “Dear Basketball”). Cherry called this out during his acceptance speech and dedicated his win to the late basketball great.

Cherry was confident in the idea from the start, as he put out a call for help on Twitter several years back, in which he confidently declared the idea worthy of an Oscar. And history bore out his prediction, so huge props to him for that.

The short has since been translated into other languages and even features a book component.

Cherry said his motivation was to bring some positivity and representation into the animated short realm and to channel the joy that dads had in helping do their daughter’s hair.

“Black fathers get one of the worst raps in terms of stereotypes—we’re deadbeats, we’re not around,” he told the NYTimes. “The people I know are extremely involved in their kids’ lives.”

The NFL player turned filmmaker is just getting started, and he’s always been confident in his vision.

Rick Moranis Left Acting Behind to Be a Single Dad, Has No Regrets

Rick Moranis Returns
(Getty/Theo Wargo)

Hollywood is a fickle beast. One-time stars often fade into obscurity through no fault, and no choice, of their own. Sometimes those stars get lucky and get another shot at the spotlight – often thanks to Quentin Tarantino – but sometimes they don’t. Once you’re gone, you can be easily forgotten.

Rick Moranis was never forgotten. The beloved comic actor, who appeared in both Ghostbusters movies and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids franchise, disappeared from our screens 24 years ago, and many fans wondered if and when he’d be back. It turns out he’ll be back this year, having just announced his return to acting, reprising his role as the mistake-prone inventor in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids legacyquel. It’s impressive to see someone bounce back after more than two decades out of the business.

Even more impressive is why he left in the first place.

Moranis wasn’t a victim of Hollywood’s conveyor belt or fans’ shifting tastes. His departure from the limelight was a personal choice, and the actor has no regrets.

In 1991, Moranis’s wife, costume designer Ann Belsky, died from cancer, and the actor left his career, which was still on the ascent, to stay home and raise his two children. Now 66, the actor is on the verge of a comeback, and he’s explaining where he went.

“I took a break, which turned into a longer break,” he told the Hollywood Reporter . “But I’m interested in anything that I would find interesting. I still get the occasional query about a film or television role and as soon as one comes along that piques my interest.”

He left to be a single dad, and he stands by it. “I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. My life is wonderful.”

He says he never retired from the industry, he was just picky. And he remains picky, as he explained about opting not to participate in 2016’s female Ghostbusters movies.

“I wish them well,” he said. “I hope it’s terrific. But it just makes no sense to me. Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?”

Presumably, that holds true for the next Ghostbusters movie as well, in which he does not have a part. He seems perfectly at peace with leaving his career to focus on family.

“I was working with really interesting people, wonderful people,” he said. “I went from that to being at home with a couple of little kids, which is a very different lifestyle. But it was important to me.”

Good for him. But we’re glad to have him back. For 80s kids, he was important to us too.

Chief Hopper Is Alive (But not Well) in Stranger Things Teaser

Hopper Lives
(Twitter/Netflix)

Surprise! Although your mileage may vary on this one.

If you’re a pop culture cynic like me, you never believed the hype in the first place. If you’re not, if you’re a pure-hearted romantic, then this should make your heart skip a few beats. Either way, it’s still a fun Valentine’s Day treat.

Netflix released a new teaser for season 4, and there’s one heck of a spoiler in it. Unless you already sort of figured this would be the deal, in which case, it’s a little ho-hum.

That’s right, in a reveal that I suppose probably shocked some people but seemed like a foregone conclusion to the rest of us, it turns out that the beloved Chief Hopper didn’t actually die at the end of season 3 after all!

The teaser is wordless aside from some foreboding Russian music and showcases a snow-drenched prison situation, wherein prisoners are working outside in the cold, building railroad tracks? The camera shows us the guards, the guard dogs, and a bunch of faceless prisoners until it closes in on one prisoner who turns to the camera and takes off his cap to reveal… Jim Hopper! With a shaved head! But otherwise no worse for the wear.

Yes, it seems that skeptical viewers who posited that Hopper was the American referenced in the season 3 finale’s post-credits scene were right all along. He didn’t martyr himself to save Hawkins and Joyce and Eleven and the rest of the gang, he instead survived and somehow ended up in Siberia or its equivalent.

The show has already teased locations outside of Indiana and the United States, with some speculation centering on the U.K., but we now have confirmation that at least some of season 4 will take place in Russia. And will feature David Harbour as his fan-favorite character.

This definitely takes some of the oomph from the heartrending scene at the end of last season when Eleven read Hopper’s note to her, but Netflix is clearly banking on the fact that viewers will be so happy to have Hopper back they won’t care that the dramatic stakes have been lowered.

He’s certainly a welcome sight. Hopefully, he won’t spend the entire season isolated from the rest of the cast.

What do you think of this reveal?