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Wednesday Link-A-Mania

All the latest SF news, materialising before your astounded eyes...

New Star Wars news from the unlikeliest of sources: George Osborne’s Twitter feed ! The Chancellor has announced the first standalone Star Wars film will be shot at Pinewood Studios starting next year, once Episode VII is done filming. Gareth Edwards ( Godzilla , Monsters ) is set to direct, and After Earth screenwiter Gary Whitta is attached to write. It’s a spin-off from the main arc and while there’s no news yet about who it’s going to showcase, we’re hopeful George Osborne gets a cameo as deliciously awkward as his photo with R2D2.

There’s going to be a Doctor Who World Tour to promote upcoming Series 8. New Doctor Peter Capaldi, along with companion Jenna Coleman and head honcho Steven Moffat, are going to visit seven cities around the world in 12 days to publicise the Twelfth Doctor’s first adventures, set to begin airing in August. Details are still under wraps, but it looks like they’ll be attending “fan events and media interviews” everywhere from Cardiff to Seoul.

Vincent D’Onofrio ( Full Metal Jacket , Men in Black , Law and Order ) has been cast in Marvel’s new Netflix series, Daredevil . He’ll be playing the Kingpin, one of the most powerful crime lords in the Marvel universe. Created by Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr. in 1967, he originally clashed with Spider-Man before becoming Daredevil’s arch-enemy. The 13-episode season is set to air exclusively on Netflix in 2015, and will be followed by four other original Marvel series.

Day 2 of E3 has brought in a raft of new developments for some big franchises. Nintendo announced that Super Smash Bros is introducing Pacman and improving character customisation for its new 3DS and Wii U titles, while Captain Toad is going to get a new Wii U game to himself. Sony released a gritty new trailer for stealth gameplay in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain , but it is entirely in Japanese. Finally, Mortal Kombat X is set to bring the brutality to multiple platforms on its 2015 release: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and the PC.

NASA has revealed new concept art for a warp drive ship, and it's fantastic. Physicist Harold White first mentioned the idea in 2012, and the new ship design features a spacecraft nestled within two huge rings which would create the warp bubble. Artist Mark Rademaker’s inspiration is pretty obvious: there’s the trademark pizza-cutter nose to the ship, and it’s been dubbed IXS Enterprise in an affectionate shout-out. Apparently faster-than-light travel would be feasible by rapidly expanding the space behind the ship, providing forward momentum without having to accelerate – but we’re perfectly content to leave the practicalities to NASA and stick to looking at the pretty pictures .

Secret Cinema is releasing additional tickets for its showings of ‘ Secret Cinema Presents: Back to the Future ’ after the first batch of 42,000 sold out in 4 hours. The run has been extended from 10 August until 31 August and promises to be “the biggest live cinema event staged in the world”. The town of Hill Valley will be built in a secret London location, and every night will feature a live Battle of the Bands and ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ after-party as well as other undisclosed surprises. Tickets go on sale at 1pm today, if you’ve got £53.50 to spare.

It looks like Sonic the Hedgehog is hitting the big screen in a hybrid animated/live-action outing. What started life as a 1991 Sega game has spawned comic books and cartoons and has now been picked up by Sony and producer Neal Moritz. The blue hedgehog’s arch-enemy Doctor Eggman is apparently going to be involved, but it’s left us all wondering: when was the last time a video game movie was actually any good? (And Kylie Minogue touting a bazooka in Street Fighter doesn’t count.)

V S Wells