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Episode 26 - Bungie's Destiny

OTF looks at one of the most-anticipated games of next year!

Sean Sorensen and Dwight Tejano are joined by guest Evan Nikolich, a World Designer at Bungie Studios.  Dwight and Sean ask about the path that eventually brought him to Bungie, and Evan talks about his responsibilities and what he's looking forward to the most when gamers get their chance to play.

Listen now:


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Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4

Star Wars: Rebel Heist wraps up this week with issue #4, and its conclusion brings us one month closer to Star Wars’ departure from Dark Horse Comics. The series has been a roller coaster of action, intrigue, failure, and success as the core heroes of the Rebellion, alongside some green recruits, have endured every imaginable challenge as they pull off an elaborate robbery spanning multiple worlds.

As the Rebel Heist series unfolded, we followed Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca as they played their respective roles in the caper, so it was only natural that the fourth and final installment would bring Luke Skywalker, slayer of Death Stars, into the mix. One would think that the last issue would merely wrap up the story, but instead, it steps outside of the continuity to recount everything that has already transpired, tying the three seemingly unrelated exploits together, and ultimately uniting the participants. We learn that Luke was, in fact, there the whole time, orchestrating the ordeal like a head coach on the sidelines, and had every intention of swooping in at the last minute to save the team’s collective hide.

Writer Matt Kindt clearly took a cue from Return of the Jedi as he put Han, Leia, and Chewie into a situation not unlike the one in which they found themselves after conspiring to infiltrate Jabba’s palace. The situation looked bleak, but we quickly realized that everyone was meticulously placed and patiently waiting for Luke to arrive and tip the balance. After reading Rebel Heist, one could draw the conclusion that this plan was the inspiration for the one pulled off in the film. Kindt also maintains the theme of telling the story through the eyes of a newcomer, but takes a very different approach for issue #4. Whereas the first three accounts were given by those working alongside the Rebels, this tale is told by someone lurking in the shadows, charged with a far more sinister task.

The artist team of Marco Castiello and Dan Parsons once again produces some very memorable visuals, which include Chewbacca standing victorious over a rancor corpse, Han’s amusing encounter with a Stormtrooper, and Luke stealthily dispatching a rooftop sniper. What impresses me the most about the art is the consistent ability to capture such striking emotion on the faces of the characters. From panic to surprise to pure smugness, Castiello and Parsons make good use of a single panel, despite how limiting it may be.

Even though it is simply a 4-issue mini-series, Star Wars: Rebel Heist definitely captures the familiar heart of Star Wars while at the same time exploring some very different aspects of the beloved characters. We've known them for working as a team for years, but to see how each of them operates as an individual, especially through the eyes of a stranger, paints a whole new picture of Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie.   

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!


Connecticon 2014: Rob Paulsen & Maurice LaMarche

If you’re a fan of Open the Fridge, you know that we have a special place in our heart for voice actors. One in particular, Rob Paulsen, has made several OTF appearances, and our coverage from ConnectiCon is no exception. However, in this case, the only thing better than one genetically altered lab mouse is two! Rob was joined in Hartford by fellow actor and long-time friend, Maurice LaMarche, to greet fans, sign autographs, and pack the Main Events hall for a Pinky & The Brain Q&A. If there were ever voice acting rocks stars, these two would be headliners.

In our final piece from ConnectiCon 2014, I sit down with Rob and Maurice to talk about everything from the Emmys to live shows to upcoming projects. Click below for the conversation!

Be sure to head to ustream tonight at 8pm PT (11pm ET) to catch this week’s star-studded Talkin’ Toons episode featuring the cast of The 7D, and follow @yakkopinky and @MAURICELAMARCHE for all things Rob and Maurice.

That's it for our coverage of ConnectiCon 2014! We look forward to returning next year! This week, Open the Fridge is off to San Diego Comic-Con, so check back soon for our coverge from the west coast!


"Guardians of the Galaxy" Q&A Live Stream!

Yahoo is giving Marvel fans the chance to chat with the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy in a live Q&A taking place tonight!

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Dave Bautista, along with director James Gunn and Marvel Cinematic Universe architect Kevin Feige will all be on hand answering Tumblr-submitted fan questions tonight at 7PM EDT, and you can watch that live stream right here at Open the Fridge.

Have a burning question you need answered?  Submit your queries by:

  • Uploading a video post to your Tumblr, tagging @yahooentertainment and using the hastag #GOTGask in the caption
  • Sending text questions via the Yahoo Tumblr page.

When the clock hits 7PM EDT, you can watch our favorite Marvel space rogues answer selected questions right here live!

And, of course, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy hits the theaters on August 1, 2014.  I had a chance to check out the preview screening earlier this month, and let me tell you -- Groot is freaking awesome.


ConnectiCon 2014: Richard Horvitz

"WHO IS IT?" "It's Rich..." "WHO IS IT?!" "It's Richard..." "WHO IS IT?!?!" ... "It's Richard Horvitz!"

With one of the most unique voices in the business, Richard Horvitz has had no problem creating iconic characters and leaving quite the impression on television, animation, and video games over the last three decades. Fans of the Skylanders franchise know him as Kaos, countless members of my generation will recognize him as the manic robot Alpha 5 (and 7) on the many iterations of Power Rangers, and any fan of the twisted humor of Invader Zim can appreciate the sacrifice Richard made for that show. I am, of course, referring to his vocal cords.

Richard also lends his talents to those looking to make a career out of voice acting. As a teacher, he is a firm believer in the “art of playing pretend”, and when he’s not behind the mic, he holds 6-week workshops several times a year for up-and-coming actors.

In the penultimate entry in our series of interviews from ConnectiCon 2014, Richard shares his thoughts about his characters, his philosophy toward acting, and some amusing stories from his career.

Check out the conversation below!

Many thanks to Richard for the generosity with his time. Like many of the guests at ConnectiCon, he was quite popular and was kind enough to chat with me between panels and signings. Check out Richard's homepage to find out more about his classes, and follow him on Twitter at @RichardHorvitz to keep up with his latest projects.

Check back tomorrow for the final interview from ConnectiCon! You won’t want to miss it!


ConnectiCon 2014: Alan Oppenheimer

Continuing our coverage from ConnectiCon 2014, today's spotlight in on actor Alan Oppenheimer, a veteran of film and television.

With a plethora of screen credits ranging from Westworld and Freaky Friday to The Six Million Dollar Man and multiple Star Trek series, Alan has also lent his voice to several popular films and television shows.

Known best for his roles as Skeletor and Man-At-Arms on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Alan has contributed to Smurfs, Transformers, BraveStarr, and The Legend of Prince Valiant, to name a few. He also provided the voice of Falkor the Luck Dragon in The Neverending Story.

I had the chance to speak with Alan about his prolific career, and he had no problem slipping back into a few of his classic characters. 

Click below to listen!

Check back soon for more interviews from ConnectiCon 2014!


ConnectiCon 2014: Jennifer Hale

Did you ever watch Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, Iron Man, or The Tick? How about Totally Spies, The Powerpuff Girls, or Codename: Kids Next Door? Or even spend a few hours playing the Metal Gear Solid, Metroid: Prime, or Mass Effect series? If you said yes to any of these, you've had the pleasure of listening to magnificent vocal skills of voice actress Jennifer Hale.

With nearly 300 on-camera, animation, and video game credits to her name, Jen is quite possibly the most prolific voice actress in the business. She was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule at ConnectiCon 2014 to speak with me about voice acting, travel, and how she spends the time between recording sessions. Check out the video below!

Many thanks to Jen for giving me a few moments between her panels and signings at ConnectiCon. With only a few convention appearances under her belt, you can imagine how popular she was.

Be sure to follow Jen's outdoor adventures on Twitter @jhaletweets and look for of her upcoming projects, including BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Batman: Assault on Arkham, in which she reprises her role as DC villainess Killer Frost.

More to come from ConnectiCon 2014!


The CW Fleshes Out the DCU

Is it October yet?

Every piece of news that comes out of the CW’s two superhero series, Arrow and The Flash, gets us more excited for this fall, and the recent round of casting is no exception. 

Arrow kicked off production of its third season this week, and has recently revealed several of the actors who will be bringing some beloved DC characters to life on the small screen. To flesh out this season’s flashback sequences, which, according to the season 2 finale, will take place in China, actors Devon Aoki (Sin City) and Karl Yune (Real Steel) have been cast as Tatsu and Maseo Yamashiro, respectively. DC fans will know Tatsu Yamashiro better by her moniker, Katana, a samurai warrior who wields a sword that captures the souls of everyone it has killed, including her own husband. Sadly, this piece of DC lore doesn’t bode well for Maseo.

As Arrow’s present day storyline plays out this season, expect to see veteran character actor Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) appear on the scene as the new Count Vertigo, filling the void left by Seth Gabel last season. Stormare will play Werner Zytle, an alias of Count Vertigo from the comics, and will likely take over the trafficking of the Vertigo drug in Starling City. Maybe we’ll eventually graduate to the Count using his equilibrium-disrupting eyepiece sometime in the future. Maybe…

The most recent bit of casting is, by far, my favorite of the lot. Actor Brandon Routh is no stranger to the DC Universe, having portrayed The Man of Steel himself in 2006’s rather lackluster Superman Returns. This time around, Routh will join Arrow’s cast in the role of Ray Palmer, aka The Atom. Previously thought to be Ted Kord (aka Blue Beetle) based on an early character description of a “tech-powered superhero”, Palmer will become a love interest for Felicity Smoak, and take the reins of Queen Consolidated now that Summer Glau’s Isabel Rochev has been dethroned. The race is now on to see which micro-hero rides an arrow first. Will it be the Atom on one of Ollie’s shots, or will Ant-Man get launched by Hawkeye?

Meanwhile, over in Central City, The Flash has added another character to its freshman year roster. Ronnie Raymond, better known as one half of the nuclear superhero Firestorm, will be featured this season, and he will be played by none other than Robbie Amell, cousin to Arrow’s Stephen Amell, and former star of last season’s The Tomorrow People. Raymond will serve as a S.T.A.R. Labs maintenance worker who is engaged to Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow, but it is unclear if Firestorm will appear. If Professor Stein shows up, well, I think we’ll have our answer then.

So, to reiterate a popular opinion, DC/Warner Brothers should stick to TV. They seem to have a good handle on things to come.

The Flash premieres on Tuesday October 7th, and Arrow season 3 debuts the following night on Wednesday October 8th on The CW!


Review: Star Wars #19

I like to think it’s good to be Brian Wood. Not only do you get to mess around in the Star Wars Universe, but with limited time to play in that particular sandbox, you’re able to go for broke, not worry about filler, and tell some pretty great stories.

Star Wars #19 kicks off what is likely to be the final arc of this series, so what better way to go out than to bring together the four main heroes that we followed from the desert of Tatooine to the forest of Endor in the original trilogy. When deep cover Rebel operative Seren Song finds herself on the run from one of the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunters (it’s not Fett, calm down), she reaches out to childhood friend, Princess Leia, and the Alliance for help. After the debacle that was the Arrochar incident in the last arc, it is agreed upon by the Alliance top brass that resources cannot be devoted to recovering one soldier. Instead, Han, Luke, and Chewie get recruited. After all, when it comes to rescue missions, these guys are old pros. As it turns out, Song is pretty resourceful, staying one step ahead of her pursuer, which also means she’s one step ahead of her rescuers as well, making things a little difficult for Leia and the boys. With no leads and a bounty hunter on their tail, our intrepid Rebel heroes have their work cut out for them next month.

It’s a slow start, but you can’t have all the fun right out of the gate. Wood looks to be pacing this particular story out, and with a more focused arc, he can afford to do so. So far, much of what Wood has written for this series (with the exception of the two-issue Vader mini-arc) has taken place across multiple storylines, following characters in different locations as they gradually converge. This time around, we have only two major plotlines to follow: Seren and the Rebel quartet. There is no cutting away after three or four pages, so the more relaxed pace is more evident. However, that is not to say you won’t find the action you’ve come to expect. The centerpiece spectacle involves a fast-paced skirmish between the Millennium Falcon and the IG-2000 high above Lotho Minor, so don’t think you’re left hanging. Speaking of which, having the droid bounty hunter IG-88 show up on Lotho Minor, a junkyard planet, to many Star Wars fans, may evoke memories of Dash Rendar’s encounter with him in Shadows of the Empire. Now the music’s in your head…

Issue #19 also sees the return of original series artist Carlos D’Anda, following a six-month absence. His sharp, yet gritty style always maintains the “lived-in” look that gives the Star Wars Universe its character. Combined with Gabe Eltaeb’s color, moments like a Y-Wing blasting off through a pile of trash into a twilight sky is a feast for the eyes, and since this issue is rife with character moments, D’Anda gives our beloved Rebel heroes plenty of beautifully expressive face time. As a bonus, D’Anda even includes the famous four-shot in the Falcon cockpit from A New Hope, swapping out Ben Kenobi for Leia. It’s a brilliant throwback that solidifies the idea that the band is back together.

Star Wars’ time at Dark Horse continues to count down, and the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back gets filled in a little bit more each month, but will Brian Wood manage to get us to Hoth in the little time he has left? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Star Wars #19 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!


Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3

Three down, one to go. The caper begins to take shape in the penultimate issue of Star Wars: Rebel Heist as another familiar Rebel hero gets down and dirty in the galactic trenches.

Directly following the action of issue #2, this month’s installment features the unnamed Stormtrooper who was extracted from Feddasyr by Princess Leia and Sarin as he meets up with an uncharacteristically independent Chewbacca. The consummate co-pilot is tasked with protecting the asset, key to the success of the titular heist, as they cut a swath of violence across an unspecified, backwater planet. From bars to sewers to highly fortified Imperial facilities, the pair faces off against some of the galaxy’s ugliest enforcers with the express purpose of using the trooper’s DNA key to transmit the latest in a long line of Imperial codes to the Rebel Alliance. Much like their predecessors, Chewie and the Trooper (potential buddy cop series?) find themselves captured, but they get the added bonus of staring down one of the Star Wars universe’s nastiest creatures. With Han, Leia, and now Chewbacca all locked away on different worlds, I think it’s safe to assume who will be coming for them in the final issue next month.

Scribe Matt Kindt has managed to tell three different and exciting tales thus far while still keeping the true nature of the story hidden. In doing so, he has played to the strengths of the main characters, letting each issue’s story play out accordingly. Han Solo talks his way through with his trademark snark, Princess Leia uses her grace and well-hidden skills, and Chewbacca fights and intimidates, choosing to speak with his fists and his bowcaster rather than with his “words.” Since the Wookiee warrior is restricted when it comes to his expressiveness, Kindt chooses to tell the majority of issue #3 through the eyes and words of the Trooper, which turns into the character’s own journey of discovery about who this Rebel soldier really is.

With an action heavy issue such as this one, artists Marco Castiello and Dan Parsons were sure to maintain a high standard, kicking off the issue with the Trooper’s crash landing and Chewbacca’s dramatic two-page entrance as he dispatches a squad of reptilian aliens. Everything that followed could have easily been done without any dialogue or narration, which, as mentioned earlier, was primarily from one character anyway. A messy brawl with Gamorreans gave way to a frantic encounter with a dianoga, which led to a spectacular firefight as the pair of Rebels completed their mission. It all ends with a splash page that will definitely make the reader ask, “How the hell are they getting out of this one?”

Four issues isn’t much to work with, but Matt Kindt keeps it well-paced and engaging, leaving the reader guessing about what will come next. With no filler to worry about, each independent tale flows into the next, whether there is a direct connection or not. Blasters, feminine wiles, and furry fists have done their jobs, so let’s see what a lightsaber accomplishes next month.

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!


Wizard World Philadelphia 2014: Rob Paulsen Talks Toons!

Voice actor Rob Paulsen is no stranger to Open the Fridge, and if you've seen a piece of animation from 1981 to the present, chances are you're no stranger to his work. I recently caught up with him at Wizard World Philadelphia to talk about the upcoming seasons of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, future episodes of Rob's podcast, Talkin' Toons, and his busy convention schedule.

It's always a pleasure to talk with Rob and with an appearance in my native Connecticut scheduled for next month alongside his long-time cohort, Maurice "The Brain" LaMarche, I'm sure we'll be hearing from him again soon!