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Thursday Link-A-Mania

First pic of Chris O'Dowd in Thor: The Dark World , Kit Harrington and Saoirse Ronan in the running for the Fantastic Four and much more in Thursday's news round-up

• It’s been spoken about for a while, but here’s pictorial proof that The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd is indeed in Thor: The Dark World. O’Dowd’s character Richard appears to be quite bemused/worried/strangely allured by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Darcy’s (Kat Dennings) appearance does have the air of someone butting in to steal butter, regardless of the private conversation going on in this swanky London restaurant. This pictures raises so many questions, but we think the one everyone will be asking is: where is that waiter with the wine?

• Now, from one teaser to another, as the original 1976 trailer for Star Wars surfaces from the depths of time. It’s remarkable if nothing else for showing how far the art of film promotion has come. You have to work fairly hard to make Star Wars boring, but this dull, underwhelming soundtrack and the looming voice-over seem to think they’re selling a sci-fi horror. All the movie’s most exciting characters are introduced as if this is film noir – Leia is frightened and interrogated by Vader; Han guns down half a dozen Stormtroopers; Obi-Wan cuts off a man’s hand; hell, even C-3PO emerges from his oil bath like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Perhaps John Williams’ iconic score wasn’t finished yet. Just goes to show – context is everything. As for that “One billion years in the making” sign-off – shouldn’t that have been The Phantom Menace ’s tagline?

• Say hello to John Steed; secret agent, ‘60s icon, and now, fully programmed marionette. Over 4 years in the making, Simon Jansen’s masterpiece of improvised electronics and puppetry is fully articulated, with circuitry in his head to control eye movement and even speech. At the touch of a remote control (a wristwatch modelled on a design spotted in marionette-themed episode How To Succeed At Murder ), Patrick Macnee’s velvety tones emanate from mini-Steed’s voice box. As if this object of desire wasn’t brilliant enough, Steed actually does a Wilhelm scream if you get too close to him. Read more about Steed’s features and construction on Jansen’s blog .

Simon Moore