‘Captain Marvel’ Star Brie Larson: “Who is Jude Even Playing?”

We’re only a few months away from finally seeing Captain Marvel on the big screen and there’s one mystery fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are dying to know… who is Jude Law playing?

The question has plagued us for a while and the film’s star, Brie Larson, is loving the tease. The actress shared a photo her and Law to Instagram yesterday, making fans even more eager to find out the truth behind Law’s character.

“Special handshake? Mid-air arm wrestle? Who is Jude even playing?!! So many questions we will forever refuse to answer because it’s fun to keep you antsy just a little bit longer,” Larson wrote.

For a long time, it was generally assumed that Law was playing Walter Lawson AKA Mar-Vell. In fact, he’s still listed as such on IMDB. In the comics, Mar-Vell is a Kree hero who dons the Captain Marvel suit. However, various toy leaks have indicated that Law would be playing Captain Marvel’s archnemesis, Yon-Rogg.

Last month, a look into Funko’s line of Captain Marvel POP! figurines named Law’s character Yon-Rogg. However, once the toys went live, the figure was renamed as “Star Commander”. The same happened again this week when Hasbro’s Captain Marvel wave of Marvel Legends figures also named him as the villain.

Things got even more confusing when the official Captain Marvel website declared Law was playing Mar-Vell, but then quickly removed it. Many theorize that since the film is expected to feature Skrulls, a race of (typically) villainous extraterrestrial shapeshifters, that there’s a chance Law could be playing multiple characters in the film.

While we love a good mystery, we definitely cannot wait to get some answers!

Who do you think Jude Law is playing in Captain Marvel? Tell us in the comments!

Captain Marvel stars Academy Award winner Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Lee Pace (Ronan), Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva), Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, McKenna Grace, Kenneth Mitchell (Joseph Danvers), with Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson), and Jude Law (???).

Captain Marvel is being released on March 8, 2019. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Avengers: Endgame on April 26, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.

Read more here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/captain-marvel-star-brie-larson-who-is-jude-even-playing/

Marvel Fan Points Out Tony Stark’s Love for Peter Parker

All Marvel Cinematic Universe fans know that Spider-Man is Iron Man’s protege, but one fan on Reddit just realized exactly how much Tony Stark has done to improve Peter Parker’s life.

Redditor Arpanonfire noted in a post that Peter Parker’s room in Captain America: Civil War is pretty bare. He’s even dumpster diving for parts for his computer because he and his aunt are living on such a tight budget.

Things seem to have changed in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter’s room is full of stuff, including a new bunk bed to replace the old twin and a top of the line computer. It’s a teen boy’s dream.

“There’s no way in a period of what is only a few months that his family would be able to have enough money to pay for even half of this,” the post explains. “I had always thought this was a continuity error, but then I had a revelation. Who has enough money to pay for this? What man would buy a whole new room for a kid that he learns has been dumpster diving to get a decent computer? Tony. Freaking. Stark.”

The post goes on to note that Tony Stark isn’t the most openly emotional person and that he didn’t have much a father figure to learn from. But he does have money, and he would likely see Peter trying to work on an Apple II from the 1970s as wasted potential. It makes sense then that Tony would provide significant pay for Peter’s “internship.”

Tony also paid to have Peter’s Spider-Man costume upgraded. He designed and built the Iron Spider costume. Peter passed on using the new suit at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but he was lucky to have it when he ended up leaving Earth in Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, even the Iron Spider suit couldn’t save Peter from the effects of Thanos’ snap, resulting in one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire film.

What do you think of Tony’s love for Peter Parker? Did you notice this detail when you watched Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War are all available now on home media.

Spider-Man returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, opening in theaters on July 5, 2019.

Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019; and Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019.

Read more here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/marvel-tony-stark-love-peter-parker/

‘The Punisher’ Season 2 Is About Frank Castle Embracing His Vigilante Identity

The first season of The Punisher was less about Frank Castle living up to his name, and more about exploring the circumstances that made him willing to kill criminals.

Though he does wear a kevlar vest with a skull painted on, Frank doesn’t really embrace his role as the Punisher in the first season. Expect that to happen in Season 2, says The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot.

“If you ask, ‘What is the theme of Season 2?’,” Lightfoot told Collider, “It’s about Frank really adopting the mantle of The Punisher.”

The series will be the first Marvel Netflix series that does not begin in New York City, and will instead will start with a tour of the United States before Frank returns home to wrap up some loose ends. The first few episodes will show the title character “getting a look at the country he fought for but has never really seen,” according to Lightfoot.

In the new episodes, Frank will start off in casual clothes before upgrading to his signature comic book appearance — and the change will be significant to the story, a symbolic gesture, according to actor Jon Bernthal.

“This year, when he puts it on, we figured out a very intelligent, very tactical reason, a very psychologically tactical reason to wear it. It makes a lot of sense,” said Bernthal.

Bernthal addressed the costume in Season 1 and revealed that they almost included an introduction of the vest that he wasn’t very proud of, so he fought against it.

“There was going to be a whole scene with Micro where they’re at the computer figuring [the suit] out,” Bernthal said. “That was going to be the first time with him in the vest. [Micro] was just gonna’ sort of be drinking tea and I’m like, ‘You can’t do that. It’s gonna’ look so friggin’ stupid.'”

The Punisher Season 2 will not address the snap from Avengers: Infinity War, continuing the separation of Marvel Television and Marvel Studios, but it will include some returning villains.

Ben Barnes is going to return as Billy Russo, though he won’t be going by his comic book super villain name Jigsaw.

The second season will also include a new villain in John Pilgrim, described as an alt-right Christian Fundamentalist.

We’ll see how fans react to the second season of The Punisher when it premieres on Netflix sometime in January 2019.

More details here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/the-punisher-season-2-embraces-vigilante-identity/

Minecraft, AirPods, YKTV top Snapchat’s 2019 trends

If businesses and marketers want to know what’s on Gen Xers’ minds in 2019, they need look no further than Snapchat.

Snap Inc. has identified the top games, tech, beauty, slang, memes and celebs that are trending upward on its flagship app as a way for its business partners to “get inspired for your upcoming products, creative and messaging.”

“Minecraft” is expected to remain popular next year, as are Apple’s wireless AirPods. Meanwhile, marketers might want to familiarize themselves with such slang as “YKTV” (“you know the vibes”), “on a date, kinda nervous” and “born day,” as well as the “you had one job” and “my last brain cell” memes.

Click here to read more.

Here’s what else Snap (NYSE: SNAP) has been up to recently:

Snap’s to-do list for 2019: Add more users before it runs out of money
CEO Evan Spiegel [has] quite a long to-do list for 2019, to say the least. He’s said in earnings calls that he still thinks Snap can turn a profit in 2019 — but it will be a serious stretch goal. Here’s what will need to be at the top of Snap’s to-do list in order to make that happen. (VentureBeat)

Snap reportedly turned down Facebook a second time
Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel famously turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook to buy the then two-year-old Snapchat in 2013. If ever he regretted that decision, he reportedly had a second chance three years later to sell his hot ephemeral messaging app to the social media giant. (L.A. Biz)

China’s WeChat is the latest to get Snap-like ‘Stories’
WeChat, the Chinese messaging giant with more than 1 billion monthly active users around the world, just added a Snap-like ephemeral video feature as part of its biggest overhaul since 2014. (TechCrunch)

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel was at the heart of a Wall Street Journal company profile this week.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel was at the heart of a Wall Street Journal company profile this week.

Snap reportedly turned down Facebook a second time
If Snap CEO Evan Spiegel ever regretted turning down Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition offer, he reportedly got a second chance in 2016.
Median tech worker pay at Facebook, Google, Netflix, Microsoft, more

Bizwomen Mentoring Monday
Feb. 25

Evan Spiegel’s imperious style made Snapchat a success — until users fled
Snap, once seen as a viable competitor to Facebook, is struggling after the CEO ignored warnings about a redesign that proved unpopular.” (The Wall Street Journal) Subscriber content

Snapchat changes specs to look past the iPhone generation
As [Snap] looks back on 2018, where it recorded losses of more than $1 billion on revenues of just $791 million in the first three quarters, the clear target is to improve revenues and head towards profitability. It aims to do that in two ways: by getting more users who own smartphones running Google’s Android software; and by delivering more adverts to all its users through “programmatic” advertising bought automatically by ad agencies. (The Guardian)

Juul’s $12.8B deal is the biggest U.S. funding ever. Here’s the rest of the Top 11
Last week’s funding deal in which Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc. bought a 35 percent stake in San Francisco vape startup Juul Labs Inc. is by far the biggest investment ever in a U.S. venture-backed company. Two of the Top 11, including Snap Inc., involve Los Angeles-area companies and five of the top deals all came in 2018. (Silicon Valley Business Journal)

These were Snapchat’s most popular lenses and Bitmojis of 2018
Lenses led the pack in 2018 when it came to one of the most used features in the Snapchat app, with [a] Snap spokesperson saying, “augmented reality and our Lenses continued to take one of the most central roles in the Snapchat experience.” (Fast Company)

Snap employees won’t get bonuses again this year
With Snap Inc. shares closing at an all-time low, it probably should come as no surprise that the social media company won’t be giving its employees cash bonuses this year. The Snapchat maker didn’t give out bonuses last year, either. (L.A. Biz)

More details here: https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2018/12/27/minecraft-airpods-yktv-top-snapchat-s-2019-trends.html

GTA VI – Top Five Most Exciting Rumors and Speculations

It’s been five years since GTA V launched and despite this, GTA V is still one of the most popular games in the world. To make things even better, Rockstar Games has kept the GTA franchise alive by constantly releasing updates for the Online version of GTA V and therefore, no one should be shocked to find out that GTA VI is the most anticipated game of 2019. On the downside of things, Rockstar Games has yet to make any announcement regarding the game’s official launch date and features.

The World’s Most Anticipated Game

GTA V has generated billions in revenue for Rockstar Games and everyone’s jaw dropped when the game developer announced that GTA VI is not going to be developed anytime soon. This didn’t make sense at first, but it’s all clear now that Red Dead Redemption 2 is out. Rockstar Games wanted to focus all its attention on Red Dead Redemption 2 and it was all worth it because this game was the runner-up for the GOTY (game of the year) award in 2018. Nonetheless, where does this leave GTA VI?

Now that we made it clear why Rockstar Games had to switch its attention from the GTA franchise over to Red Dead Redemption, we will go over the top five GTA VI rumors so that everyone can get an idea of what to expect from the next game that Rockstar Games is going to launch.

Top Five GTA VI Rumors

Before we get into it, we need to mention that all the rumors that we are going to present should be taken with the necessary grain of salt. We have no way of knowing if they will be proven to be true, but they are the most reliable ones on the web. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

#1 2021 Launch Date

Game analysts believe that GTA VI is going to hit the markets somewhere in 2021. The reason behind this is because Rockstar Games usually leaves an eight years gap between its biggest titles. Take Red Dead Redemption 1 and its successor for example. Therefore, we might have to wait until 2020 until Rockstar Games announces GTA VI.

#2 Next-Generation Console

The other reason why Rockstar Games wants to wait until 2021 is because the game developer wants to give Microsoft and Sony enough time for them to release their next-gen consoles. This makes sense because GTA VI is surely going to ship with amazing graphics and a higher FPS cap that current-gen consoles can’t run without overheating and crashing.

#3 Multiple Countries

The action in all GTA titles until now has taken place in a city from the US. Well, it looks this might not be the case for GTA VI. The most reoccurring rumor about GTA VI on forums and subreddits is that the game is going to feature multiple countries and that players will get missions such as smuggling drugs overseas via airplanes. This is surely an interesting idea that gives room to the scriptwriters to create lots of exciting missions.

#4 VR Technology

The VR market is booming and there is no doubt about that. Therefore, we believe that Rockstar Games might want a “piece of the cake” and that it will introduce VR support in GTA VI. Considering that GTA V can be played both in first-person and third-person mode, we think that the idea of VR support in GTA VI is not for that crazy.

#5 Customizable Characters

The last rumor that we want to present in our list is about the main characters. Rumor has it that Rockstar Games wants to make the upcoming GTA VI the first ever GTA title where players can customize the protagonist. Now, this would be really awesome!

More details here: https://miamimorningstar.com/2018/12/28/gta-vi-top-five-most-exciting-rumors-and-speculations/

Minecraft Update Available – See What Version 1.84 Brings For PS4

Minecraft is one of the games that started small and managed to grow in time. Its constant updates are one of the reasons why it evolved so much. Each update brings something new, or, at the very least, it fixes some of the existing issues. Recently a new update has been released for PS4.

As you can already remember, the Minecraft holiday update was released last week, for PS4 as well as other platforms. It appears that there were some minor problems, so a new update was released for PS4 and it is now available for download.

Minecraft is available on various platforms including PC, smartphones, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch. The game has millions of fans all over the world.

Minecraft version 1.84
If you are not sure whether you should download this update, we will let you know what the new version brings. The change log for patch 1.84 is available online, and the update was released on December 21st 2018.

First of all, this new version solves a crash that occurred whenever players attempted to explore an existing world or load a world. There is also a fix “for Salmon, Pufferfish or Tropical Fish dropping Cod when killed”.

As you can see, this update doesn’t bring numerous new additions. However, as always, it is recommended that you download a patch as soon as it appears. This way you can make sure that your game will run smoothly and you won’t encounter any crashes or other issues.

We remind you that systems such as Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita won’t receive future updates. Meanwhile, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 will continue to receive Minecraft support.

For more details: https://miamimorningstar.com/2018/12/30/minecraft-update-available-see-what-version-1-84-brings-for-ps4/

The kids’ Christmas gift guide: Minecraft, unicorns, slime and space cats

Full-sized joy for pint-sized people: here’s a happy mix of parent-pleasing, hygge-style presents, ‘cool aunt’-worthy clobber and the glittery, slimy, noisy stuff that children really want

Dinosaur excavation kit

Hearing the pitter-patter of tiny palaeontologists? Feed their passion with this delightfully dusty dinosaur excavation kit, complete with hammer, spade and brush. Kids can build the skeleton once they’ve unveiled it. Small Dinosaur Excavation Kit, £3.95, rexlondon.com

Circus play tent

Djeco Multicoloured Tent Hut, £49, alexandalexa.com
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A million times better than bedsheets for building the den of dreams, Djeco’s charming circus tent achieves the nigh-on impossible by being both brilliant kids’ plaything and pleasing home accent. Spot on for story time. Djeco Multicoloured Tent Hut, £49, alexandalexa.com

Minecraft water bottle

Kids minecraft water bottle
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Combining two of 2018’s biggest things: Minecraft and reusable water bottles. Bet your bottle isn’t called a FUNtainer though, is it? Being an adult sucks. Minecraft Thermos FUNtainer Water Bottle, £15.59, minecraftshop.com

Unicorn dress

Upcycling unicorn dress, £59, minirodini.com
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Super-stylish Scandi kit for kids, Mini Rodini’s party line is playful, printed and planet-friendly – like this upcycled organic cotton dress, featuring the mythical beast du jour. Upcycling unicorn dress, £59, minirodini.com


i-Top Electronic Spinning Top Game
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Before you say it, not a spinning top. This year’s best-selling, spectacularly addictive, light-up game – in three play modes. Does kind of act like a spinning top … i-Top Electronic Spinning Top Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com

Little people, big dreams

Little People, BIG DREAMS board books,
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Introducing children to inspirational women from Rosa Parks to Georgia O’Keefe through inspiring, accessible illustrations, the beloved Little People, Big Dreams books have long been bestsellers. These stories have now been opened up to younger readers, published as board books in simple sentences to read aloud to babies and toddlers. Start them early on Angelou, Earhart, Kahlo and Curie. Little People, BIG DREAMS board books, £5.99, amazon.co.uk


DIY snow globe

The Snowman make your own snow globe, £12.99, gosh.org
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Kids can create their own Snowman snow globe in this very merry tribute to Raymond Brigg’s classic Christmas story – with all profits going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The Snowman make your own snow globe, £12.99, gosh.org

Cra-z slime studio

Cra-z Super Slime Studio, £29.99, argos.co.uk
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A serious slime station that lets kids create gunk in a miscellany of glittery and high-glow shades. Cra-z Super Slime Studio, £29.99, selfridges.com

Leo loungewear

LeonDré lounge wear set, £20.99, pandalondononline.co.uk
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Leopard-cub-print loungewear from the coolest kidswear company in the playground. Hear them roar. LeonDré lounge wear set, £20.99, pandalondononline.co.uk

Lego creative box

Kids lego
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Lego might come kitted out for every Potter, Avengers or Star Wars story, but nothing beats the magic of making up your own. Get them going with the classic creative box: almost 800 bricks in 33 colours, primed for wizards, distant galaxies, and parochial shop scenes. Whatever they’re into. Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box, £39.99, shop.lego.com

Lush rainbow fun

Kids rainbow
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Multi-purpose, mouldable bath putty in enough shades to sing a rainbow – each with their own so-good-you-could-eat-it (they are non-toxic, but not advisable) scent. Shape it into any magical bath monster you like, then use it as bubble bath, body wash and shampoo. Infinite fun. Rainbow Fun, £8.50, lush.com

Monopoly: Fortnite Edition

Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Board Game, £21.99, Smyths Toys
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They’re obsessing over Fortnite; you’re worrying about Fortnite addiction clinics? Take it offline with the Monopoly: Fortnite Edition. Recognisably Fortnite, reassuringly analogue. Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Board Game, £21.99, game.co.uk

The Week Junior

Kids TheWeekJunior
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A clever current affairs weekly that encourages curiosity and critical thinking, covering the news clearly and compellingly, without ever condescending. The Week Junior, from £21.50, theweekjunior.co.uk

Football pencil case

Kids PencilCase1
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Just when you thought double maths couldn’t get anymore exciting, bag-makers to the young and fun, Smiggle, only went and put fake grass and a football table on a pencil case. Totally appropriate for adult meetings too. Football Grass Hardtop Pencil Case, £15.99, smiggle.co.uk

Fox hat

British Heart Foundation’s girls’ knitted fox hat, £4.99, available at 530 BHF shops nationwide
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Cute, cosy and all for a good cause. Knitted fox hat, £4.99, available at 530 British Heart Foundation shops nationwide

Colour-in cape

Selfie Clothing Co Colour-In Cape, £25, kidly.co.uk
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Of course a self-made, modern-day superhero would colour in their own cape. Super-cool super-hero-wear in three fun cartoon designs. Selfie Clothing Co Colour-In Cape, £25, kidly.co.uk

Wooden workbench

Kids wooden workbench
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Smart interior design meets DIY with Le Toy Van’s workbench, packing in 12 top tools, a chalkboard and a workbench, all in stylish muted colours with a high-end wooden finish. Le Toy Van’s Alex’s Work Bench, £114.95, cottagetoys.co.uk


Poopsie unicorn slime surprise

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise, £49.99, argos.co.uk
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A half slightly grotesque, half totally genius gift for anyone who likes any of the following: slime, glitter, unicorns or toilet humour. In other words, all children, and most adults. Unashamedly bringing together all four, this is one of this Christmas’s biggest buys. It comes with a handy keyring, so you can carry your high-sparkle-unicorn-slime-poo with you wherever you go, if you are a child with keys. Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise, £49.99, argos.co.uk

Basketball laundry hoop

Basketball Laundry Bag, £16.95, rexlondon.com
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Since a Mary Poppins-style spoonful of sugar is frowned upon these days, we’ve had to up our game. Try this smart basketball laundry hoop to keep them entertained and orderly. Basketball Laundry Bag, £16.95, rexlondon.com


Thomas bear

Jellycat Thomas Bear soother
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A cuddly bear cub comfort blanket with velvety bits, fluffy bits, gingham bits and chewable bits. 100% hugs. Jellycat Thomas Bear soother, £13, jellycat.com

Dark points sweater

Starstyling red glow points sweater, £48.99
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By day, a jazzy spotty sweatshirt from Berlin brand Starstyling. By night, its polka dots glow in the dark like stars. Also comes in adult. Result. Starstyling red glow points sweater, £48.99, trouva.com

Robot Tobbie

Robot Tobbie, £30, sciencemuseum.org.uk
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Tobbie is an interactive, bug-eyed, six-legged robot – kids start by building it, then programme to either trail their movements (will also follow other Tobbies, annoying siblings etc) or “explore”, using infrared sensors to avoid obstacles. Stem-informed and surprisingly sweet for a hexapod. Robot Tobbie, £30, sciencemuseum.org.uk

Dancing kangaroo

Kids kangaroo
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Every parent’s pre-plastic paradise, design store Skandium sells architectural wooden toys from everyone from Eames to Georg Jensen. Plan Toys’ sustainable kangaroo stroller is perfect for artsy new walkers. Dancing kangaroo, £21.99, skandium.com

Sweet tooth pencils

Sweet Tooth Pencil 4 Pack
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Sweet treat stocking filling pencil pack. Inedible, sadly. Sweet Tooth Pencil 4 Pack, £5, neon-sheep.com

Make your own matryoshka

Create your own matryoshka, £16, tate.org.uk
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Kids can draw their own designs on this full family of DIY nesting dolls – with wipe-clean coloured markers, so they can create their Russian masterpieces again and again. Create your own matryoshka, £16, tate.org.uk

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey by Ben Newman & Dr Dominic Walliman, £14.07,
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This cool cat navigates the marvels of the human body in an engaging, educational (and medically approved) illustrated adventure. What does yours do? Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey by Ben Newman & Dr Dominic Walliman, £14.07, guardianbookshop.com


Miffy backpack

Kids 0000s 0010 Miffy-Bag,-£15,-miffyshop.co.uk
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Chic striped school bag from everyone’s favourite Dutch bunny. Cute as a button-nose. Miffy Eva Backpack, £15, miffyshop.co.uk

L.O.L. Surprise doll

L.O.L Surprise Pass The Surprise Electronic Mystery Passing Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com
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If you thought playing with the doll of the year was a little bit like pass the parcel without the passing, you’ll be pleased to see the L.O.L Doll becoming sharable. This hot-potato-style game is still joyously pink, plastic and full of surprises. L.O.L Surprise Pass The Surprise Electronic Mystery Passing Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com


Furry pram suit

Faux fur pram suit,
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Because if you think babies are adorable, you should see a baby dressed up like a bear. Faux fur pram suit, £39, mamasandpapas.com

Adventures of extraordinary women

good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £22, guardianbookshop.com
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Revolutionary bestselling bedtime book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is back, with another 100 inspiring, exciting stories of extraordinary women, from Nefertiti to Beyoncé, Rosalind Franklin to JK Rowling. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £22, guardianbookshop.com


Bamboo bowls

Liewood bamboo bowls, £17 for two, kidly.co.uk
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Bamboo pussycat bowls for pretty pink breakfasts. Purrrfect. Liewood bamboo bowls, £17 for two, kidly.co.uk

Electronic piano mat

Giant Electronic Piano Mat
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Have your own Tom Hanks moment at home with this fun floor piano mat. Cough. We mean help them have their Tom Hanks moment, obviously. Giant Electronic Piano Mat, £24, johnlewis.com

Star music mobile

Star music mobile
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A cotton star with culture – Fern Living’s handsome mobile plays Brahms’s Lullaby. Star music mobile, £17, alexandalexa.com

Balance bike

Balance bike
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Smarter than stabilisers, the lightweight balance bike goes from tricycle to two-wheeler, helping kids hone balance, steering and Wiggins-worthy swagger. Balance bike, £109.95, micro-scooters.co.uk

Cloud night light

Cloud Night Light, £5.95, rexlondon.com
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LEGO Minecraft series expands in 2019 with BigFigs [News]

From humble beginnings as a single microscale set, the LEGO Minecraft series has grown into a cornerstone of the LEGO product line. In addition to two new minifigure-scale sets, the January 2019 wave includes a new concept — buildable “BigFigs” of Minecraft characters.

The initial series of BigFigs includes playable characters Steve and Alex as well as a Skeleton enemy character (or “hostile mob” in Minecraft parlance). Each BigFig set also comes with a smaller secondary character — Alex comes with a chicken, Steve comes with a parrot, and the Skeleton comes with a Magma Cube. We’ll be bringing you hands-on reviews of these sets very soon, but for now you can take a look at the official images below.

21148 — Steve with Parrot
159 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019
Steve with Parrot

Each BigFig includes a play feature. Alex and Steve each have a lever on their back that raises and lowers an arm. This play feature is perfect for mining or fighting or punching trees.

21149 — Alex with Chicken
160 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

Each BigFig includes a pixelated accessory built out of large new pieces adorned with tiles. Steve has a stone pickaxe, Alex has a diamond sword, and the Skeleton has a bow.

21150 — Skeleton with Magma Cube
142 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The Skelton BigFig features a removable iron helmet which can also be worn by Alex or Steve.

21152 — The Pirate Ship Adventure
386 pieces | $39.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The Pirate Ship Adventure is the first LEGO Minecraft set to include the Dolphin, Turtle, and Parrot mobs. The Pirate minifigure is also a new addition to the selection of player “skins” for LEGO Minecraft. This set also includes a brand new pixelated flame piece for the hapless Zombie who stayed out past dawn.

21151 — The End Battle
222 pieces | $19.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The End Battle brings a very welcome redesign of the Ender Dragon boss mob. The original Ender Dragon from 2014 was a little oversized and its use of curvy wings stood out in an otherwise blocky series. The new version is slimmed down, has brick-built wings, and can now shoot purple firebolts. This set is also a fraction of the cost of The Ender Dragon set from 2014, so I suspect it will be a very popular one.

The set also contains a new Dragon Slayer minifigure and a code to unlock this skin in the Bedrock Edition of the game.

Top ‘Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Leaker Has a Shocking Update on 3rd-Party DLC

When it comes to leaks and speculation over new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters, Minecraft is usually near the top of the list. That’s because prolific fighting game leaker Vergeben (an anonymous tipster who correctly predicted other Ultimate additions like Ridley, Isabelle, Incineroar, and Simon Richter) continues to state that the sandbox game will feature in the latest Smash. Except, maybe not the way you thought it would.

In a recent post on the GameFAQs forum, Vergeben backpedaled a bit on previous reports that Smash Bros. Ultimate would be getting a playable character from Minecraft, instead suggesting the crossover might take another form entirely.

“Minecraft is in Smash but represented with a boss,” they wrote. “I am curious if Minecraft representation about being a fighter or AT [Assist Trophy] was an intentional misdirect now. But there you have it.”

Beyond the news that a Minecraft character won’t be in the game, the inclusion of a new boss likely has even bigger implications. Since all the bosses included in the game at launch have already been datamined, that means this one would have to come via downloadable content — assuming Vergeben is right that is.

As for the specific boss, our best guess is that it would be the Ender Dragon, the first boss to appear in Minecraft. Then again, Vergeben doesn’t seem as confident as usual on this one, so we wouldn’t count on fighting a blocky, pixelated dragon in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate just yet.

“I’m not entirely sure what all it means,” they wrote. “But I was told earlier that exact quote that I shared from my most accurate of all sources. I’m as confused & curious as you are what the implications of that mean.”

So there you have it. When it comes to Minecraft and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate even the top leaker isn’t sure what to think, but for now, it definitely seems like something big could be in the works.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches December 7 for Nintendo Switch.*

LEGO Minecraft Big Figs Series 1: 21148 Steve with Parrot, 21149 Alex with Chicken, and 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube [Review]

Minecraft keeps getting bigger — and I’m not just talking about the game’s record-breaking sales. The original LEGO Minecraft set I helped design back in 2011 as part of LEGO’s early Ideas platform was microscale, mostly due to the steep constraints of hitting a roughly $30 MSRP target. Later, that first wildly successful set was followed by more microscale sets, and finally in 2014 the theme got upgraded to our original vision by introducing minifigure-scale sets. Recently, LEGO bumped up the scale a bit with 41612 Steve and Creeper BrickHeadz. Now LEGO Minecraft is upping its game once more with a new line called Big Figs, and we’ve got the first series comprising three sets to review: 21148 Steve with Parrot, 21149 Alex with Chicken, and 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube. Each of the sets contains a large figure paired with a small animal from the game, and will be available January 1 for $14.99 USD.

The box and contents
With each set hovering around 150 pieces (159 for Steve, 160 for Alex, and 142 for the Skeleton), it’s no surprise that the small bags in each box aren’t numbered.

The last page of the instructions notes that these three sets comprise Series 1 of the Minecraft Big Figs, though the box exteriors don’t indicate any series markings. It’s a safe bet that more characters are already in the pipeline.

For being such small sets, there’s a large diversity of colors, though Alex takes the cake for best parts, in my opinion, with an interesting smattering of orange and sand green along with six teal 1×1 tiles. Each set also includes unique printed tiles for the characters’ faces, and both the Chicken and Magma Cube feature printed tiles for faces also.

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on a few of the new bracket elements we first encountered in the latest Modular, 10264 Corner Garage, then you’ll like these sets, which each come with several. You’ll get 2x in dark grey and 1x in tan from Steve, 2x in dark grey and 1x in yellow from Alex, and 2x in white and 1x in black from the Skeleton.

The sets also feature new unique elements for the weapons, which are likely to always be exclusive to the Minecraft Big Figs due to their highly specialized nature. Steve is equipped with a pickaxe, while Alex and the Skeleton wield the sword and bow, respectively. The weapons are a single plate thick and have solid studs on one side and hollow studs on the other. They’re not quite symmetrical, with the hollow-stud side also have a few anti-studs.

The build
Both Steven and Alex feature blocky bodies that are identical except in color. The torso hides a small lever that activates their main play feature of a moving arm.

The legs and head are attached with Mixel-ball joints, and each of the feet employs the 2×2 brackets I mentioned previously to give the feet a nice set of anti-studs to grip LEGO plates when standing.

Lacking a body, the skeleton’s interior is also its exterior, so there’s not much to cover in terms of hidden techniques. Likewise, the Chicken and Parrot are quite simple builds from the perspective of techniques. The Magma Cube is also rudimentary, but it does feature a little mechanism to let it stretch for a jump.

The finished models
If you’ve played Minecraft at all, you’ll immediately note how remarkable the resemblance and proportions of these characters are to their in-game counterparts. LEGO Minecraft minifigures may look odd with cubic heads, but these larger brick-built figures look right at home in brick form. Each character comes with a 6×6 plate to stand on, though Steve and Alex balance fairly well without them (the Skeleton is a bit more precarious).

The range of motions achievable by the characters is very, very close to that of the game, making you feel as though you’re seeing a part of the game actually brought to life.

The finger-activated lever on Steve and Alex’s back works well, with the weight of the arm naturally returning it to a resting position. The tools are molded in the color of their lowest level material: wood for the pickaxe and stone for the sword (bows are always wood). They rely on tiles to indicate their upgraded source material, with Steve carrying a stone pickaxe and Alex a diamond sword. It’s a cool feature that allows kids to swap out the source material by simply adding tiles from their own collections, but I do wish the base weapons also had upgraded colors. I’d bet that’s something we’ll see in the future as the line continues.

The accessories can be swapped between hands, requiring a 2×2 tile on the arm to be removed and replaced. One minor criticism is that LEGO didn’t bother molding the 1×2 brackets for the hands in tan, opting to use the existing dark tan element.

The skeleton is wearing an iron helmet and — somewhat surprisingly — it’s not only removable, but it fits all the characters, portending a nifty system of interchangeable armor. His bow also features a spring-loaded dart shooter with a solid brown dart (plus an extra). The dart shooter just stuck on the side of the bow and not integrated at all, so it looks a bit tacky but is also easy to remove.

The three companion animals are all excellent renditions, rivaling the larger characters for accuracy.The chicken is easily my favorite, however, with an uncanny resemblance to the squawking model in the game. These will make perfect desk companions.

The baby Magma Cube may be tiny, but he can still hurt! The little “jumping” mechanism simply splits the body by about a brick when the cube is lifted by the top half. For such a simple mechanism, it conveys the creature’s motion quite well.

Conclusion and recommendation
Let’s be honest, adult fans of LEGO don’t always love Minecraft or the LEGO Minecraft theme. And that’s OK. Not every theme needs to cater to the adults in the crowd along with its core audience of 6-12-year-olds. But we here at The Brothers Brick always advocate excellence in building, regardless of the theme. And the LEGO Minecraft Big Figs are excellent. They’re amazingly accurate models, they’re sturdy enough to withstand kid play, and they don’t rely on any specialized elements apart from the accessories. This scale fits LEGO Minecraft perfectly. Now there’s just one thing we’re missing: some scale blocks to accompany them.

21148 Steve with Parrot includes 159 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

21149 Alex with Chicken includes 160 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

21159 Skeleton with Magma Cube includes 142 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick early copies of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.