Just a few minutes ago, I stumbled upon an Instagram video from the official Saturday Night Live page. Timothée Chalamet and the band Boygenius were announcing they’d be hosting the upcoming show. In classic SNL style – all ironic and paradoxical – they did three different takes of the same lines. In one, Chalamet bursts in, repeating out of the blue, “Wonka, Wonka, Wonka, chocolate chocolate chocolate”, and then, in response to the bewildered looks from the co-hosts, he says, “The strike’s over, I can finally promote my movie”. Yep, the deal is done; the SAG strike is now part of the (very recent and still hot) past, and the movie industry can breathe the air of a renewed and hopefully improved normalcy.
In a nutshell, from July 14 to November 9 2023, what happened?
Writers of movies and TV shows decided to stop working as a form of protest. Basically, during this unfortunate period, screenwriters halted the creation of new scripts and engaged in various forms of protest (like what Timothée what mentioning about promoting projects) to assert their demands. The strike, organized by the Screen Actors Guild, had plenty of reasons to happen, including contractual disputes with studios or TV networks over issues like salaries, working conditions, benefits, and copyrights. The consequences? The SAG strike significantly impacted the film and TV industry, as the lack of new scripts led to the suspension or delay of various projects.
Looking back at it now, with the calm after the storm, these months haven’t been a walk in the park for anyone, especially for those in the industry who had to pause their careers (and stifle their creativity?). Also, for many cinephiles and enthusiasts who witnessed constant delays of the releases they were eagerly anticipating. For example…
The new tennis and seduction-themed romantic drama by Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me by Your Name,” “Suspiria”), featuring the sacred trio Zendaya-Mike Faist-Josh O’Connor, falls victim to protests. The film’s release, initially set for September 15, 2023, is now delayed until April 26, 2024. We’ll have to wait to find out what happens when tennis coach Tashi enlists her husband Art in a match against her ex-lover. Meanwhile, we’ll make do with the trailer.
“Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse”
The third installment of the animated saga with Miles Morales has been postponed with no set date. Highly anticipated due to the previous “Across the Spider-Verse” leaving many details about the Multiverse and Spider Society dynamics in suspense after Miles’ arrival. Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller recently stated the film will be released “when it’s ready.” Not the most satisfying information, but we’ll take it for now!
Pixar’s latest feature will tell the adventures of an 11-year-old boy abducted by aliens who believe he is the Earth’s ambassador. From teaser trailer it seems like another animation masterpiece! Initially expected in theaters in March 2024, unfortunately, it’s been postponed to June 13, 2025. Yes, two years from now.
The highly anticipated sequel to Tim Burton‘s 1988 cult classic was close to completing filming when production was halted by the strike. From the original release date of September 6, 2024, we are now in a sadly uncertain TBD. What’s certain, though, is the excitement of Burton directing Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, and Catherine O’Hara in their original roles, along with curiosity about new characters played by Jenna Ortega, Justin Theoroux, and Willem Dafoe. However, the new release date remains uncertain.
Filming for the possibly most anticipated sequel ever, Ridley Scott‘s second chapter with Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal, has been suspended and is now awaiting a new date. Twenty-three years after the first (30 in terms of the storyline), the story will follow Lucius (Mescal), the son of Lucilla and nephew of Commodus, saved by Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russel Crowe) at the end of the first film. Currently, we have no further details on the plot, just a lot of photos of Paul Mescal training for the part…
“The White Lotus”
The third season of the award-winning HBO series will be released at an undefined time in 2025. This time, the resort will be in Thailand, and the story will likely focus more on the spiritual side, unlike the second season centered on sex and lust, and the first dedicated to money and classism. Expect a grotesque satire on themes of death, Eastern religion, and widespread beliefs, delivered in Mike White’s signature style, along with a third new version of the now-viral opening credits.
“The Last of Us 2″
This second installment will probably be released in two years on an undisclosed date; episodes seem to still be in the writing phase. The new story will deviate slightly from the video game: if the first season remained fairly faithful to Naughty Dog’s game plot, involving a fight against the fungal epidemic and a journey in search of the Fireflies’ vaccine, Part II might have Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as the sole protagonist of the show, with Joel (Pedro Pascal) appearing only in flashbacks. We’ll have to wait until 2025 to see if it unfolds as anticipated.
Sam Levinson‘s award-winning series about Rue (Zendaya) and her schoolmates dealing with addiction, sexuality, mental health, bullying, secrets, and identity crises enters its third season with a heavy burden. Production slowdown, this time, was not solely due to SAG but also because of the death of one of the lead actors (Angus Cloud) from an overdose. In the upcoming 2025 third season, Fez won’t be present, but we’ll reconnect with all other characters in a more “film noir” version of their lives in the corrupted contemporary society, according to Levinson himself.
The production of the third season of this series was also interrupted amid the strike, and the release is postponed to an undecided date. Not much is known about this tale of resilience, told through a plot of psychological anguish and personal growth. The new episodes will delve deeper into the saga focused on the group of talented female soccer players, survivors of a tragic plane crash in the remote and wild lands of the north. Rumor has it that the new chapter might air in the second half of 2024.
The release of the sixth and final season of the sequel/spin-off series from the 1984 cult film “The Karate Kid” has also been postponed. The fifth season ends with the revelation of Terry Silver’s (played by Thomas Ian Griffith) intentions, including a plan to negatively influence the All-Valley karate tournament judge to compromise Tori’s (Peyton List) victory in the final match against her rival Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser). However, there’s still hope for fans: creator John Hurwitz emphasized that production has not been canceled, as many fear, but simply postponed. Stay tuned.
“Stranger Things 5”
According to some leaks, the fifth and final season of Netflix’s most beloved show will be among the first to resume production after the strike. Now, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief. The scripts are said to be ready, so it’s expected that shooting for the new episodes could restart by the end of 2024, ensuring a continuation of the supernatural adventures that left us breathless with the fourth season finale, reveling in the terror of what Hawkins and the Upsidedown will look like after the outcome of the war against Vecna. If shooting starts by the end of the year, the new episodes will hopefully be ours in 2025. Therefore, we still have two years to find the song that will save us from Vecna.