While promoting the new Bond film Skyfall, director Sam Mendes mentioned that he had a chance to direct Marvel’s The Avengers.

Apparently when Marvel/Disney were looking for a director for what would end up being the monster that is now The Avengers, Skyfall director Sam Mendes was sent a packet including material that directors were to use to give a pitch to receive the directing job.

You’d think he’d be somewhat bitter after turning down an offer that went to director Joss Whedon and would go on to be the third highest grossing film of all time, but apparently Mendes has no ill will towards the decision. From an interview with Moviefone, the Skyfall director explains the reason he passed on Avengers:

“With a lot of these movies, the date’s announced before anything exists, let alone a script. The funniest letter I got — they were sending [a packet for] ‘The Avengers,’ right? For directors to pitch — and I got a package, which was full of comic books, but no treatment; there was no script. But the cover letter said ‘Marvel’s ‘Avengers’ will be released on May 3, 2012′ or whatever it was. That was the first sentence of the cover letter. Not, ‘We have the pleasure of enclosing the materials…” or “Here is the script for…’ But the release date. That was the first sentence.”

Skyfall director Sam Mendes

It appears as though Mendes wasn’t very impressed with the packet that Marvel sent to him, mentioning the fact that instead of sending him a partial script, they sent him comic books and a release date for The Avengers instead. He goes on to say that he never even considered taking the job, although he says would go see it, but that he didn’t wish to direct.

No. I wasn’t interested. I mean, that’s not my world particularly. I’ll go see it, particularly with my kids, but I didn’t want to make it. But I was probably one of 50 that got sent it; they didn’t target me specifically.

It sounds as though he was simply one of the many directors that were being sent the packets and not exactly “targeted” by Marvel. Either way, it’s definitely interesting to hear what goes on behind-the-scenes when these huge films are in pre-production and how easily they could have been an entirely different film based on which director decided to bring Marvel their pitch.

We’re glad that Marvel ended up going with director Joss Whedon for Avengers, considering its success, but we’re happy to see both directors releasing great films. Sam Mendes’ next film Skyfall hits theaters this Friday, Nov. 9. The new Bond film has been getting rave reviews and we look forward to hearing from our readers after its weekend release. Check out the trailer for Skyfall.

Veronica Roth’s upcoming science fiction novel is titled Carve the Mark, and hits store shelves on January 17, 2017.

An official website (complete with a countdown clock!) launched Thursday morning. It reveals the cover (above) and synopsis for Carve the Mark, which will apparently appeal to “fans of Star Wars and Divergent.”

The cover is interesting, as it appears to show cuts made in stone, with something like gold seeping out of the openings. “Honor has no place in survival,” the book’s tagline reads.

Here’s the full synopsis:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Intriguing! I’m liking the sound of these currentgifts and their influence on this science fiction world.

Previous reports have described Carve the Mark as the first part in a duology, with part 2 getting a release in 2018.

This will be the first book published since Roth wrapped up the Divergent Series. Although Allegiant was released in 2013, a book with short stories about Four arrived the following summer.

You can pre-order Carve the Mark here. Do you think you’ll be reading it?

Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle may have only just crash-landed in a dumpster near you, but we’ve already got information on the second book!

According to his newly upgraded website (hey! us too!), the second book in Rick Riordan’s latest Greek mythology series will be released on May 2, 2017 and is titled The Dark Prophecy. That doesn’t sound ominous at all.

The synopsis reads, “Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered 16-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride.”

Riordan’s fancy new website has a cool feature where, as you scroll the page, the dotted yellow line is replaced by a solid red one, like you’re really seeing yourself exploring the world as you venture through his books. (Accurate.) The Hidden Oracle took place in New York City, but our map tells us Apollo will be venturing into the unknown for the second book. Or has that bit of information just not been set in stone yet? There was something about Indiana…and bananas.

The Trials of Apollo is already off to a fantastic start. Check back later for our review of The Hidden Oracle and other in-depth coverage.

What did you think of ‘The Hidden Oracle’?

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ originally opened with Luke Skywalker’s hand

The space ship giving the finger to the audience wasn't how The Force Awakens was meant to open at all.

8:53 am EDT, May 5, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens made us wait until the very end before they revealed Luke Skywalker. But that wasn’t always the plan, according to Mark Hamill.

The opening shot of The Force Awakens is pretty iconic, and (unintentionally?) hilarious: A giant space ship blocks out our view of a planet, and for a second, J.J. Abrams is almost definitely giving the audience the finger.

Star Wars opening

Perhaps that finger says, “Suck it nerdz, I’m gonna make you sit through this whole film before revealing Luke Skywalker!” Because, as it turns out, we almost saw a bit of him right at the very start of the film.

Mark Hamill, speaking to The Sun (via Collider), has revealed that the original opening shot was a teaser of sorts to the scene at Maz Kanata’s castle, in which Rey finds the lightsaber:

“I can tell you now that in the original opening shot of 7, the first thing that came into frame was a hand with a lightsaber, a severed hand that enters the atmosphere, and then the hand and bone burns away and goes sticking into the surface of Jakku, and this alien hand comes in, don’t know if it was Maz but it was an alien hand who takes the lightsaber way, and then the movie proceeds as you see it.”

So basically we were meant to believe that Luke’s hand fell from the Cloud City tower on Bespin in the Outer Rim Territories (where he battled Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back), into space, and somehow found its way to Jakku?

Gotta say, as cool of an image that would have been, it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.

It does help to fill in some of the gaps about just how Luke’s original lightsaber came into Maz’s possession, however. How do you think she got her hands (too soon?) on it?

Would you have preferred ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opening with Luke’s hand and the lightsaber?