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Jurassic World VelociCoaster Video Shows Muzzled Raptors in Action

A new video from Universal Studios Orlando’s upcoming Jurassic World VelociCoaster ride shows off realistic looking, animatronic muzzled raptors.

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New footage from the upcoming Jurassic World VelociCoaster attraction at Universal Studios Orlando shows muzzled raptors in action. The ride has been scheduled to officially open on June 10, and fans of the franchise – which, in recent years has gained a new degree of momentum from the Jurassic World films, still love raptors after all these years.

There’s been a significant amount of buzz in the lead up to the VelociCoaster, due primarily to the fact that the ride isn’t some half-hearted tie-in with the franchise. The release of the third and final film in the Jurassic World trilogy, Jurassic World: Dominationis still a year off, but based on what’s been seen of the VelociCoaster so far, the ride will thrill even those who have never seen any of the Jurassic films. Reaching speeds of up to 70mph and taking on a stunning 155-foot drop, the VelociCoaster allows guests to race through the jungle, alongside raptors – one of the most popular breeds of dinosaurs in the film series. In fact, upon arriving at the attraction in Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, guests will be able to keep an eye on the raptor paddock as they prepare to board the VelociCoaster.

RELATED:How Jurassic Park’s Future Can Fix Its Biggest Dinosaur Mistake

With the opening of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster now less than a month away, Universal Studios Orlando has posted a short but impressive video of a muzzled raptor via the official Universal Orlando Instagram account. The animatronic raptor – the likes of which are apparently visible throughout the attraction, can be seen struggling slightly with the muzzle, its eyes alive and blinking as its reptilian flesh rises and falls with each breath. It’s an impressive bit of animatronics for a rollercoaster, further hinting at a highly unique experience for guests and Jurassic fans alike. Check out the video below:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, theme parks have faced some pretty restrictive measures to their business model over the past year. This isn’t especially unique compared to other businesses that have suffered greatly throughout the pandemic, but while Universal Orlando’s sister park in Hollywood only recently reopened this past April, Universal Studios Orlando has managed to stay open in some capacity since last June. This is great news for those diehard fans who feared that the VelociCoaster’s opening date could end up being pushed back as a result of Covid’s unpredictability. As things currently stand, Universal Studios Orlando appears to be completely prepared for the ride’s June 10 opening, and that is great news for all.

Everything that has been seen so far of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster offers glimpses of a rollercoaster that not only works to incorporate the speed and thrills of the raptor with the recognizability of the famed film franchise, but also seems to take the very concept of a rollercoaster to all new heights. Fans of the Jurassic World films may feel slightly cheated that this won’t be the summer that Dominion hits theaters, but hopefully Universal’s VelociCoaster will be a suitable substitution for the time being.

Space Jam 2 Star Says Michael Jordan Will Appear In An Unexpected Way

Space Jam 2 star, Don Cheadle, confirms that Michael Jordan will make an appearance in the film, but not in the way fans may be expecting.

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Don Cheadle, one of the stars of Space Jam: A New Legacy, dropped some surprising news when he let slip that Michael Jordan will appear in the film, but in an unexpected way. Jordan starred in the original Space Jam film that hit theaters in 1996, where it went on to earn over $230 million worldwide. Space Jam was also hugely successful in the merchandising realm, with an estimated revenue of over $6 billion. In the film, Jordan played himself, and he was tasked with helping the Looney Tunes defeat aliens known as Monstars, who were intent on forcing the Tunes to work at their theme park.

In Space Jam: A New LegacyLeBron James will be playing himself, and just like Jordan before him, he gets the call to action from the Looney Tunes. James will share the screen with beloved characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Tasmanian Devil, and he’ll be joined by Cheadle, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Zendaya as Lola Bunny. The film is directed by Malcolm D. Lee, and it will release simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on July 16.

RELATED: Space Jam 2: How Every Looney Tunes Character Compares To The Original

In a recent interview with Access Hollywood, Cheadle was asked if Jordan will appear in the new film. Cheadle answered, “Michael Jordan is in the movie…but not in the way you’d expect it.” While that news is sure to excite many fans, Cheadle was quick to note that it won’t be a normal cameo. He didn’t elaborate any further, but he got fans’ minds racing with just a few words.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a long-awaited sequel for most fans as it comes 25 years after the original. Fans will be curious as to how Jordan pops up in the new film and how substantial the moment will be, given that Jordan was never interested in doing a sequel. It’s possible that the moment will be as simple as a photo in the background, which has happened in other long-delayed sequels. The treatment of Will Smith in Independence Day: Resurgence is a glaring example of this type of cameo. However, most fans are probably hoping for something a bit more grandiose for a legend of Jordan’s caliber. If Jordan were up for it, having him show up to help the Tune Squad for a single moment, much like Bill Murray did in the original film, could be a lot of fun. Given that James is animated at certain points in the trailer for the new film, the unexpected way Cheadle mentioned could also allude to Jordan appearing as an animated character.

As for how Jordan will show up in the film, though, is anyone’s guess. With the film releasing in theaters and streaming the same day, it may not see the same level of success at the box office as the first film. However, rabid fans who have been waiting years are still likely to turn up to theaters in their favorite Tune Squad jersey, and even a fleeting glimpse of Jordan could bring a smile to millions. With the vast array of Looney Tunes in the film and the Space Jam title alone, the movie is poised for success. When Space Jam: A New Legacy drops on July 16th, fans will finally get to see just what Cheadle meant when Jordan pops up on the screen.

Chance the Rapper Releases First Teaser for His Magnificent Coloring World Movie

Chance the Rapper releases the first teaser trailer for Magnificent Coloring World, a concert movie featuring footage from his recent tour.

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The first teaser trailer for Magnificant Coloring World, a concert documentary from Chance the Rapper, has been released. The film marks the rapper’s first foray into the film industry after the artist dipped his toes in with a prank show on Quibi. Chance will also star in a live-action Sesame Street moviein 2022.

RELATED: What Billie Eilish’s James Bond Theme Song Reveals About No Time To Die’s Story

Chance posted the Magnificant Coloring Worldteaser on his YouTube channel on Friday. The clip shows footage from the rapper’s 2016 “Magnificent Coloring World Tour” featuring the song “Blessings (Reprise)” from Coloring Book. The concert film comes from producers Park Pictures and House of Kicks and will be distributed exclusively by AMC theaters this summer. Chance will be the first individual musician to release a concert movie with AMC. Check out the teaser trailer below, as well as Chance’s personal message he posted on Twitter.

Chance the Rapper began his career by releasing music himself rather than signing with a major studio, so it’s only fitting that his first movie be independently produced as well. Over the past few months, Chance has alluded to an ambiguous artistic project called “House of Kicks” on social media. He recently clarified that the title refers to a “recording studio, a production office, a movie set and a project.” Park Pictures’ record of producing Sundance standouts and mission of “discovering and mentoring new filmmaking talent” align with the independent nature of the project.

Directed by Jake Schreier (Paper Towns), Magnificent Coloring World chronicles Chance’s 2016 tour through the US, Canada, and Europe. The film also commemorates the five-year anniversary of Coloring Book, the rapper’s third mixtape that accelerated his mainstream success following two critically acclaimed EPs. The tour preceded Chance’s 2017 Grammy sweep.

It Sounds Like The Suicide Squad Has Multiple Post-Credits Scenes

The Suicide Squad writer/director James Gunn is teasing fans with just how many post-credits scenes his DC Comics film will feature.

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The Suicide Squad writer/director James Gunn has hinted that his DC blockbuster could hold multiple post-credits scenes.

Gunn received a tweet from user @RaphsayFu about The Suicide Squad, asking him, “Is there’s a post credit scene?” His response was a simple but cryptic, “A”?

RELATED: James Gunn Reveals How Long It Was Between Marvel Firing And DC Hiring Him

Multiple post-credit sequences would be a departure from the original Suicide Squad movie, which featured a single mid-credit scene showing a meeting between Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller, in which Waller hands Wayne information on other major metahumans while hinting that she knows about his alter-ego of Batman.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW

However, The Suicide Squad having multiple credits sequences would be in keeping with Gunn’s last superhero movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That Marvel Cinematic Universe title featured a whopping five credits scenes, which depicted everything from a tease about Adam Warlock to a coda on the movie’s Stan Lee cameo.

This remark about credits sequences isn’t the first time Gunn has used social media to comment on the unique creative qualities of The Suicide Squad. Recently, Gunn commented that The Suicide Squad would be “no holds barred,” before clarifying that “No holds barred means I wasn’t constrained by the formulas of most tentpole films OR budget OR rating. YES sometimes those constraints can be a help, so I was committed to first [and] foremost telling a tight story about unlovable characters we could love.”

Written and directed by James Gunn, The Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, Joaquín Cosio, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Nathan Fillion, Steve Agee, Sean Gunn, Mayling Ng, Flula Borg, Jennifer Holland and Tinashe Kajese, with Sylvester Stallone and Viola Davis. The film arrives in theaters and on HBO Max Aug. 6, 2021.

Star Wars Photo Shows Steven Spielberg Dressed As Darth Vader

A fun throwback photo posted on Star Wars Day shows legendary director and friend of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, dressed up as Darth Vader.

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A Star Wars photo shows Steven Spielberg dressed up as Darth Vader. Both Spielberg and Vader are icons in cinema for very different reasons. Spielberg has won four Academy Awards and is famously known for his work as a movie director. Darth Vader never won any awards during his tenure as a feared Sith Lord, but his impact on the galaxy at large was legendary.

Darth Vader, of course, was a character created by Spielberg’s fellow iconic director and good friend, George Lucas. Lucas created Star Wars back in the ’70s and created iconic characters like Darth Vader in his screenplay for 1977’s A New Hope. Vader’s tragic downfall as the former heroic Jedi ,Anakin Skywalker and his redemption in Return of the Jedi has cemented Vader as one of the most iconic villains in movie history. Lucas intended for Anakin to bring balance to the Force, but he could only do so after embracing the light and dark side of his soul. Spielberg has given creative input on several crucial scenes in the Star Wars films over the years.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW

RELATED:Why Steven Spielberg Didn’t Direct A Star Wars Movie (Despite Lucas Asking) 

Amblin, the official film and television production company founded by Spielberg himself, posted a great throwback photo in honor of Star Wars Day. The image features Spielberg in full Darth Vader regalia, complete with a witty caption. Check out the throwback image below:

Although it’s unknown what year this photo was taken, it’s still great regardless. What makes the photo even better is the fact that Amblin actually tagged Mark Hamill in the post after including the hashtag, “Luke I could have been your father.” Would Darth Vader have followed a different path if he had a supportive friend and creative collaborator like Lucas does with Spielberg? Fans might argue that Obi-Wan was in fact that supportive friend, but Obi-Wan’s friendship/pseudo father-son and or brother-brother relationship with Anakin didn’t help either of them in the long run.

Spielberg did assist Lucas with some of the moments during Yoda’s duel with Palpatine in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Ten years later, Spielberg was the one to suggest that J.J. Abrams direct 2015’s The Force Awakens. Both Spielberg and Lucas have also utilized legendary composer John Williams for many of their films overall. Spielberg and Lucas also correctly predicted that streaming was the future of the film industry back in 2013.

Although Spielberg has never officially directed a Star Wars film, and Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, the two men have obviously made their everlasting mark on the entertainment world overall. There are a myriad of iconic movie moments and characters that exist thanks to Lucas and Spielberg. The force has always been strong with Lucas and Spielberg, and Darth Vader is just one mark in a legacy that will never burn out.

Samuel L. Jackson Dons Mace Windu Shirt In Honor Of Star Wars Day

Samuel L. Jackson donned a Mace Windu shirt on his Instagram page in honor of May the Fourth, which is also officially known as Star Wars Day.

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Samuel L. Jackson dons a Mace Windu shirt in honor of Star Wars day. Jackson played Jedi master, Mace Windu, in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Mace met his end during the tumultuous events of Revenge of the Sith, after finding himself discovering the evil Chancellor Palpatine’s true identity, Darth Sidious. Jackson has always been a big Star Wars fan, as evidenced by a behind-the-scenes video of the iconic actor asking George Lucas for a purple lightsaber during filming for the prequel trilogy.

Mace Windu remains a fan-favorite to this day, even though the prequels themselves continue to receive a mixed response from fans and critics alike from the initial premiere to the present day. Despite that, fans have continuously speculated on how he could return. Before Luke Skywalker made his cameo appearance in The Mandalorian,a popular fan theory was that Mace would act as Baby Yoda’s Jedi teacher. Of course Mace didn’t appear in The Mandalorian, but there’s another fan theory that he survived his apparent death in Revenge of the Sith. Samuel L. Jackson himself said that he believed Windu survived what appeared to be a fatal fall and that he must be hiding out somewhere like Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW

RELATED:Did Mace Windu Die In Revenge Of The Sith? How He Can Return

Jackson continued his tradition of being one of the coolest Star Wars fans in existence by sharing a Mace Windu shirt he was wearing on his Instagram page. The shirt had a hilarious quote, with Jackson noting his clothing choice was in honor of Star Wars day.  The question is, will Jackson’s Mace Windu shirt be available to purchase? Check out the cool Star Wars shirt below

Jackson’s love for Star Wars is contagious. He has said in the past that he wants to return as Mace Windu. It would definitely be epic for Mace to get his own Star Wars Disney Plus series like the highly anticipated Kenobi series that’s currently in production. Or it might make more sense in terms of story telling to have Windu make a surprise cameo in Kenobi. After all, Luke Skywalker’s top-secret appearance in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian was definitely one of the best parts of entertainment in 2020.

Imagine a Mace Windu cameo in Kenobi, with his famous purple lightsaber announcing his arrival. It’s always a risk bringing back a character that was supposedly killed off, but if there’s anyone that deserves a return in-universe for Star Wars,it’s Samuel L. Jackson. It would have to make sense plot-wise of course, and there is the question of how Mace would actually be killed off before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope,because the character doesn’t appear in the original trilogy.

That’s what is so fun about Star Wars. The franchise has endless opportunities for characters old and new, and it’s great that prominent actors like Jackson still love and celebrate Star Wars years after initially appearing in the films. May the Fourth be with the Star Wars fandom this year, and always.

Mortal Kombat: Scorpion’s Revenge Proves the Fighter Could’ve Carried the Reboot

Scorpion is a fan-favorite character in the reboot, and his successful animated film proves he could’ve carried 2021’s Mortal Kombat.

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Mortal Kombat’s latest big-screen adaptation has been a major hit with the audience but failed to reach similar acclaim with the critics. Compared to the ratings of the animated film Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, the audience score remained the same, but the critic’s score was considerably higher. One of the reasons for this jump in acclaim is Scorpion’s more powerful story as opposed to his ancestor’s, Cole Young (Lewis Tan), in the live-action film. The differing critic scores also serve as a foundation for the argument that Scorpion should’ve led the reboot.

Mortal Kombat started with Hanzo Hasashi’s (Hiroyuki Sanada) clan and family murdered by Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) and his clan, the Lin Kuei. Following Hasashi’s death, his body is taken to the Netherrealm, and his resurrection as Scorpion isn’t seen until the film’s climax. While his inclusion is still satisfying to see, it also left a feeling of longing to see more of the iconic ninja.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW

RELATED: Mortal Kombat: The Biggest Video Game Easter Eggs In The 2021 Movie

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge expertly displayed the classic rivalry between Sub-Zero and Scorpion, delivering a satisfying payoff set up the minute Hanzo entered the Netherrealm. The animated film established how he obtained his demon powers from Quan-Chi and was allowed to exact his revenge on Sub-Zero. Had the reboot followed a similar storyline, the larger plot focusing on Earthrealm’s other heroes could have continued.

Through Earthrealm’s heroes, the viewers would still understand how Mortal Kombat works, how each character earned their marks and accessed their inner power, aka arcana. One major difference that could have come from a larger focus on Scorpion is a more violent feud between him and Sub-Zero. As the cryomancer stalks the champions, Scorpion could occasionally appear and challenge his rival with each narrowly escaping defeat before the climax.

RELATED: Mortal Kombat Theory: [SPOILER]’S Death Sets Up Liu Kang’s Video Game Destiny

The film’s final battle could be similar to the battle in Mortal Kombat, but with the two characters having traded blows on more than one occasion beforehand, making the stakes much higher. With each showing exceptional skill in their styles, the winner is harder to decipher. However, once Scorpion lands the killing blow and uses his fatality, the audience and Hanzo feel a sense of justice before he disappears again, and the other heroes defeat their enemies.

Scorpion’s story could continue with a scene teasing Quan-Chi as the mastermind behind the death of Scorpion’s family and clan, just like in Scorpion‘s Revenge. This sets up Scorpion’s motivation to find his next target as the Mortal Kombat tournament begins. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is a classic revenge tale, and his passion for seeking justice for his family would have been enough to carry Mortal Kombat.

Directed by Simon McQuoid and produced by James Wan, Mortal Kombat stars Lewis Tan as Cole Young, Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson as Kano, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Mehcad Brooks as Jackson “Jax” Bridges, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero, Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion, Max Huang as Kung Lao, Sisi Stringer as Mileena, Matilda Kimber as Emily Young and Laura Brent as Allison Young. The film is now in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max.

Twilight’s Baseball Scene is Recreated in New Music Video with Peter Facinelli

Tessa Violet gets Peter Facinelli to appear in her Twilight-inspired music video for her song Games, which recreates the iconic baseball scene.

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Tessa Violet recruits Twilightstar Peter Facinelli to feature in her new music video, which recreates one of the most iconic scenes from the movie. Although the last Twilight film was released almost 10 years ago, the teen vampire-themed franchise has remained popular to this day. The movie has partly lived on thanks to TikTok, as users often recreate and parody scenes from the franchise.

The Twilight series, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, first hit theatres in 2008 and was determined to leave an impact on audiences. The story followed Bella Swan and Edward Cullen and their relationship for five films, ending with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 in 2012. Offering romance, mystery, and a large helping of cheese, the films were well-received by fans of the books. However, many others picked on the films for their overly cringy moments. One of the most infamous scenes from the first movie was the baseball scene, where the vampire and werewolf clans squared off.

RELATED: Why Eclipse Is The Most Underrated Twilight Movie

In the music video for her song Games with lovelythebandViolet recreates the baseball scene featuring Edward and his vampire pals. The video is impressively similar to the original scene as Violet states that they “intentionally tried to mimic all those shots, shot-by-shot” according to an interview with CinemaBlend. Facinelli’s appearance can be seen towards the end of the video, although it’s clear that he is portraying himself and not his character Carlisle Cullen as Violet addresses him as “Peter.” Check out the full video as well as a quote from Violet below:

We intentionally tried to mimic all those shots, shot-for-shot. The directors and they had previously recreated this scene in their kitchen one night just for kicks and put it on Twitter and it kind of went viral. So, they came into it with some expertise on how do we mimic this shot-for-shot. And then of course the music video has more because that scene is shorter than the song. It was super fun.

During his cameo, they hilariously acknowledge the fact that Facinelli was quite obviously CGI’d into the video as Violet states “I can’t believe you’re really here in this location with me,” to which Facinelli replies “I know, I really am here in this location with you”. Violet shares that she reached out to his team and, other than suspecting the video may be making a mockery of the series, Facinelli was all in. Violet explained, “We reached out to his team and asked ‘hey, would you want to do this?’ and at first he was like ‘you’re not making fun of Twilight right?’ And we’re like, ‘No! We stan Twilight!’”

Clearly, the resurgence of the franchise on social media has been significant, as it was down to Violet’s awareness of Twilight TikToks that made her want to pursue a Twilight theme for the video. And she doesn’t part from the theme there, as she has recently released new merchandise with “Team Tessa” written on it to commemorate the “Team Jacob”/”Team Edward” debate of the late 200os. This music video is not the first of recent years to pay homage to a classic 2000’s movie, as Ariana Grande released her “thank u, next” video in 2018 which featured concepts from four of her favorite movies including Bring It On13 Going On 30Legally Blonde, and Mean Girls. So hopefully the trend doesn’t end with Violet’s tribute to Twilightasit would be great to see some more adaptations of other iconic movies.

Vin Diesel Says Fast & Furious 9 Will Reveal Dom Toretto’s Origin Story

Vin Diesel says Fast & Furious 9 will dive into Dom Toretto’s origin story, revisiting important events that occurred before the original 2001 film.

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Vin Diesel said Fast & Furious 9 will dive into his character Dom Toretto’s origin story. The upcoming ninth entry in the blockbuster racing franchise will see Toretto and his family of international criminals reunite to take on Dom’s estranged younger brother Jakob (John Cena), a highly-skilled assassin working with Fast & Furious 8 villain Cypher (Charlize Theron). Originally scheduled for release in April 2019, Fast & Furious 9was delayed over a year due to the pandemic, with its current U.S. release slated for June 25. The franchise has become famous for upping the action, a move that’s clearly paid off with Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious handily clearing the $1 billion box-office mark.Continue Scrolling To Keep ReadingClick the button below to start this article in quick view.START NOW

That immense financial success has only raised the bar for F9, which promises to be the most rearview-mirror gazing entry yet as Jakob enters the frame to reveal skeletons from Dom’s past. Diesel already confirmed that his son Vincent Sinclair will appear as a younger version of Dom in the upcoming film, indicating there may be some flashbacks detailing exactly how Dom and Jakob’s relationship fell apart. The actor now appears to be doubling down on the nostalgia factor and says true longtime fans of the franchise will be particularly rewarded this time around.

RELATED: Every Tokyo Drift Character & Actor Returning In Fast & Furious 9

In an extended interview with EW, Diesel said Fast & Furious 9 will deeply explore Dom Toretto’s origin story, confirming it will feature several moments that occurred before and tie into The Fast and the Furious, the original 2001 film that launched the franchise. He noted how F9 will answer many questions about Dom’s past, including exactly how he became the infamous street criminal he is today. Check out Diesel’s comments on Dom’s origin story below, where he even makes a surprising Dungeons & Dragons comparison:

The whole world has this excitement about this movie coming out, but for those who have been with the franchise, it’s even more special. Because if you can remember the first movie, you are now going to go before the first movie and understand the first movie even more…that’s cool stuff. I’m a [Dungeons & Dragons] head, so that’s like origins stuff. To see family members you never thought you would have seen – it’s gonna kind of blow your mind. We’ve been wanting to know: where was Dom before he became Dom? Who were his influences? That’s going to be really rich with story, and a lot of fun to see.

Speaking more on the original film, Diesel also said F9 will specifically call back to the “I almost had you” scene in which Dom roasts Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) after narrowly beating him in a race. The actor explained how F9 will revisit that scene from a much different perspective, offering another tribute to the late Paul Walker while also potentially illuminating how Jakob ties into his brother’s early street-racing days.

With the movies having fully evolved into thrilling action spectacles, it will be interesting to see how Fast & Furious 9 revisits the niche street-racing roots that inadvertently launched one of Hollywood’s most bankable franchises. The fact that Diesel still feels so affectionately toward the franchise’s humble beginnings indicates that the new film could end up being the most sentimental entry since Paul Walker’s send-off in Furious 7. Regardless of what happens in Fast & Furious 9, the bank-breaking success of the last two installments proves fans are more than ready to see what Dom’s family has in store next.

Virginia public colleges can mandate COVID vaccines, Va. AG says

Students react to possible COVID vaccine requirement 


RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia colleges are beginning to announce mandatory fall COVID-19 vaccine policies following the state attorney general’s opinion that higher education institutes can require the vaccine.

Virginia public colleges and universities can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for faculty and students returning to campus this fall, Attorney General Mark Herring stated in late April.

“Virginia’s college and university students deserve the chance to go to classes in-person and take advantage of all that their schools have to offer, but over the past year we have seen numerous COVID outbreaks on school campuses, so we must make sure that they are doing so with the health and safety of their peers and communities in mind,” Herring stated.

School leaders questioned the legality of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine because the vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use. That means people must be given the choice to take it and be informed of the consequences if they don’t, Lisa Lee, professor of public health at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, told Capital News Service before Herring issued his statement.

Currently, Virginia colleges request documentation that a student was vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles and mumps.

At least three Virginia-based private universities will require the vaccine for students and employees returning to campus in the fall. HamptonMary Baldwin, and Virginia Wesleyan universities updated their policies mandating the vaccine. Hampton made its decision weeks before the attorney general issued the opinion.

Michael Porter, a spokesperson for Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University, stated in an email that VCU still does not require the COVID-19 vaccine for returning students. The university is “reviewing the Attorney General’s guidance” as it plans for the upcoming semester.

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville recently released a statement acknowledging Herring’s opinion but has not yet updated its policy.

Virginia Tech is still deliberating whether to require the COVID-19 vaccine, university spokesperson Mark Owczarski stated in an email. Once a decision is made, the university will communicate it to students and staff.

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg recently told students and staff to expect an update on mandatory vaccination in mid-May. The college encouraged students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated if possible.

George Mason University in Fairfax is considering whether to require the vaccine, the university said in a mid-April statement posted before Herring’s announcement. Mason encouraged students to get the vaccine and ask their health care provider if they had questions.

Bri Bittenbender, a criminal justice major at VCU, said Virginia schools need to enforce the COVID-19 vaccine if things are ever going to return to normal.

“I think it could provide a level of safety for students going back to in-person classes,” she said. “But if the schools don’t enforce it, then we’re stuck where we are now.”

Bittenbender is not alone, as many college students across Virginia feel the same way. Isabella Chalfant, a William & Mary student majoring in environmental law and art history, said that aversion to the vaccine from a political standpoint is “imbecilic.”

“The most important thing about the vaccine is being able to protect the people you love,” she said. “When I finally got the email to make my appointment, I cried because it meant that I didn’t have to be scared to live my life anymore.”

Chalfant said she prioritized the vaccine to protect her mother who is considered high risk.

“I can also protect my family, because my mom has underlying conditions,” she said. “It is extremely important for me and for my family to protect her.”

While there are many college students across Virginia who support requiring the vaccine, there are others who are uncertain. Kaitlyn Whitehead, a health sciences major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, said giving colleges leeway to make the vaccine mandatory is “not a positive thing.”

“I believe that, just like anything else, that there should be a choice,” she said.

Whitehead said that since the flu vaccine isn’t mandated at Virginia colleges, then the COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be either. She said the flu and COVID-19 both kill many people, but only the latter vaccine is being mandated.

It’s also too early to tell if the vaccine is effective, Whitehead said. Initial trials have found all COVID-19 vaccines are effective to varying degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emily Porter, a student majoring in media studies and Chinese at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said there is support for the vaccine among U.Va. students, but some students oppose it.

“The student population is largely liberal, though I would say there are contrarians and conservatives who might have an issue,” she said. “As a proportion of the student population, the latter is much less. I would also guess that the majority of the faculty and staff would also be in support of it.”

Emily Porter supports the vaccine and believes it to be a “wonderful feat of science.”

“There will definitely have to be some developments, especially with the new strains and everything like that,” she said. “But overall, I think it’s incredible, and I had no problem getting it.”

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