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The cast and director of “Thor: Ragnarok” at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA; Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney(SAN DIEGO) -- The Marvel panel was one of the highlights of San Diego’s Comic-Con over the weekend, and Chris Hemsworth and Thor were one of the main attractions. Hemsworth debuted new footage from the upcoming sequel, Thor: Ragnarok, opening in November.

Backstage, Hemsworth talked about reaction to Thor’s new short haircut, which he said has been pretty good so far, and explained why it was important in advancing the character.

“Part of the journey [was] to take it to a different place," he said. "To change the hair, change the look, change the costume, change the, the music, change the effects, the world. You know, the whole thing."

Thor also battles fellow Avenger, The Hulk -- played by Mark Ruffalo. Hemsworth says each lays a beating on the other, but “Thor wins” hands down.

Fans also saw the first footage from next year's Avengers film, Infinity War.The movie unites almost every Marvel screen superhero, but backstage, co-director Joe Russo said it’s really about Thanos -- the villain played by Josh Brolin -- who Russo called “Darth Vader for a new generation.”

"He's a very colorful character, he's sociopathic [and] he's also very spiritual," added Russo.

Another highlight was footage from 2018's Black Panther, which drew a standing ovation. Fans also appreciated the panel -- featuring nine black faces and one white guy -- the opposite of many Comic-Con panels. Director Ryan Coogler, an African American, spoke about what the comic meant to him growing up.

“I wanted to find a comic book character who looked like I did. And I remember going into the comic book shop and asking if they had any [with a character that looked like me] and the first one that [he] took me over to see was Black Panther.”

Marvel and ABC News are both owned by Disney.

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HBO/Helen Sloane(LOS ANGELES) -- (SPOILERS AHEAD) On episode two of Game of Thrones' seventh season, Daenerys, Cersei and Jon Snow meet with their respective allies, Samwell Tarly tries to help Jorah Mormont out of a scaly situation, Arya is reunited with a couple of long-lost friends, and Yara and Theon Greyjoy have a not-so-friendly reunion with their Uncle Euron. We begin on a dark and stormy night on Dragonstone…

Dragonstone
Daenerys Targaryen meets with her advisers, Tyrion and Varys, on a very rainy evening to discuss plans for the conquest of Westeros. She thanks Varys for helping secure Dorne and House Tyrell as allies, but suddenly turns on him, questioning his trustworthiness since he previously served as an adviser to numerous other kings, including her enemy Robert Baratheon. Varys explains that his main concern is what's best for the people of Westeros, assuring her that he believes she'll serve them better than any other ruler he knows. Daenerys has Varys swear he'll never conspire behind her back, while she swears to him that if he ever betrays her she'll burn him alive.

Melisandre then shows up at Dragonstone. The Red Priestess tells Daenerys about "the prince who was promised" -- that is, the hero who will bring an end to "the Long Night." Melisandre says she believes Daenerys has a role to play in bringing about the prophecy, as does Jon Snow, whom she suggests Dany summon to Dragonstone to tell her about the ominous happenings north of the Wall. Tyrion tells Daenerys that he trusts Jon and thinks he'd be an important ally against Cersei. Daenerys asks Tyrion to send a raven inviting Jon to come to Dragonstone and to "bend the knee."

Daenerys then meets with Ellaria Sand of Dorne and Olenna Tyrell to discuss strategy for the invasion of King's Landing. It's decided that the forces of Dorne and House Tyrell will lay siege to King's Landing, while Greyworm's Unsullied attack House Lannister's seat, Casterly Rock.

After the meeting, Daenerys chats privately with Olenna Tyrell, who tells Khaleesi that the lords of Westeros are sheep and she is a dragon, so she should act like one.

As Greyworm prepares to leave for Casterly Rock, Missandei visits him in his room to say goodbye. Greyworm tells her that it's hard for him to say goodbye to her because she is his "weakness." Soon the two begin to kiss and then Missandei strips and begins to undress Greyworm, although he initially stops her because he's apprehensive about her seeing him naked, since he's a eunuch. They then proceed to make love.

Winterfell
Jon Snow receives Tyrion's invitation to Dragonstone and he, Sansa and Davos discuss whether it's wise for Jon to travel to meet with Daenerys. Sansa says it's too dangerous, while Davos points out that Daenerys's dragons would be powerful weapons against the undead army north of the Wall.

Jon then receives a message sent via raven from Samwell Tarly, informing him about the mountain of dragonglass buried beneath Dragonstone. He assembles the lords in the North to inform them about both Sam's and Tyrion's messages, and tells them he's decided to go to Dragonstone to meet with Daenerys. Although his allies, including Sansa, protest, Jon insists he must go, and tells Sansa that she will rule Winterfell in his absence.

Jon then visits the Stark's crypt beneath Winterfell, where he's approached by Littlefinger. Littlefinger points out that Jon never thanked him for his important role defeating the Boltons. He also tells Jon that he loves Sansa. Jon attacks Littlefinger, grabbing his throat and screaming, "Touch my sister and I'll kill you myself."

King's Landing
Queen Cersei tries rallying the lords of Westeros to ally with her against Daenerys. She depicts Daenerys' army as brutal savages, and reminds the lords how horrible Dany's father, the Mad King, was. Jaime Lannister, meanwhile, tries to secure the support of Lord Randyll Tarly -- Sam's dad and a bannerman of House Tyrell -- by asking him to serve as his ranking general and promising him the position of Warden of the South after the war ends.

Cersei visits catacombs beneath the Red Keep with Qyburn, who shows her a weapon he says can kill Daenerys' dragons -- a giant crossbow. Qyburn has Cersei shoot one of the weapon's arrows at a the skull of the huge dragon Balerion. The arrow pierces deep into the giant skull.

The Citadel
Jorah Mormont, whose greyscale now covers most of his upper body, is being examined by Archmaester Ebrose, while Samwell looks on. Ebrose tells Jorah that he may live another 10 or 20 years with the disease, but it will start affecting his mind within six months. Ebrose says Jorah will have to be shipped off to Valyria the next day to live out his life with others with the affliction. Sam discovers that Jorah is the son of the late Commander of the Night's Watch -- Jeor Mormont.

Sam discovers a treatment for greyscale but Ebrose tells him it's too dangerous and has been banned. Ignoring him, Sam secretly visits Jorah in his room and begins attempting the painful procedure, which involves cutting away the affected skin.

In the Woods
Arya is sitting in a pub, where she's been reunited with her old friend from King's Landing, Hot Pie. He then asks her where she's heading -- she says Kings Landing, to get Cersei. Hot Pie says he thought she'd be heading home to Winterfell, but Arya responds by asking why would she want to go there when the Boltons were ruling it. Hot Pie then informs her that the Boltons were defeated by Jon Snow, who is now King in the North. Arya quickly says goodbye to her friend, gets on her horse and heads to Winterfell.

While in the woods, Arya is surrounded by a pack of wolves, including a huge dire wolf. She recognizes the massive wolf as her old pet, Nymeria, which she drove off into to woods in season one to save it from being killed by Lannisters. She asks the dire wolf to come home with her to Winterfell, but the animal turns away and walks back into the woods with her pack.

On the Narrow Sea
Yara Greyjoy and her Iron Fleet are bringing Ellaria Sand and her late husband Oberyn's daughters -- Obara, Tyene and Nymeria -- back to Dorne. On the ship, the sisters, a.k.a. the Sand Snakes, discuss whom they will kill when they attack King's Landing. Meanwhile, Ellaria flirts with Yara and her brother, Theon. Yara tells Ellaria to leave Theon alone -- Theon having lost his manhood when he was Ramsey Bolton's prisoner. The two women then start to get intimate.

Suddenly, the ship is under attack. It's Yara and Theon's Uncle Euron, King of the Iron Islands, and his powerful Iron Fleet. A vicious battle ensues aboard Yara's ship, during which Obara and Nymeria are killed by Euron. Also during the fray, Ellaria and Tyene are taken captive by Euron's men. Eventually, Euron and Yara square off while Theon fights other enemies nearby. Theon hears Euron call out to him, and he sees that his uncle is holding an ax to Yara's throat. Euron challenges Theon to try to save his sister, but instead, Theon drops his sword and jumps overboard to save himself. 

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(L-R) JAMES D'ARCY as Colonel Winnant and KENNETH BRANAGH as Commander Bolton -- Warner Bros. Pictures 2017(NEW YORK) -- Dunkirk marched to the top of the weekend box office with an estimated $50.5 million debut. Overseas, the film -- starring Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and One Direction's Harry Styles in his acting debut -- racked up an additional $55.4 million.

Girls Trip -- the R-rated comedy starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish -- finished in second place with an estimated $30.37 haul.

Spider-Man: Homecoming bowed in third place, earning an estimated $22 million. Internationally, it took in $33.2 million, bringing its worldwide total to $570 million. War for the Planet of the Apes took fourth place with $20.4 million.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, rounded out the top five with an estimated $17 million haul.

Wonder Woman tacked on another $4.6 million to its domestic total, surpassing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as the top-grossing film of the summer here in the states.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated weekend gross ticket sales:

1. Dunkirk, $50.5 million
2. Girls Trip, $30.37 million
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming, $22 million
4. War for the Planet of the Apes, $20.4
5. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, $17 million
6. Despicable Me 3, $12.7 million
7. Baby Driver, $6 million
8. The Big Sick, $5 million
9. Wonder Woman, $4.6 million
10. Wish Upon, $2.47 million

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Ben Affleck surprised the comic world's biggest fans at Saturday's Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The actor, who debuted as Batman in last March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, appeared alongside his Justice League co-stars, including Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman; Henry Cavill, Superman; Ezra Miller, The Flash; Jason Momoa, Aquaman; and Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg.

Affleck used the appearance at Comic-Con to dispute rumors that he's stepped away from playing the caped crusader in the planned new film, The Batman.

"I'm so thrilled to do it," Affleck told the cheering crowd.  "I know this is a misconception because I didn't direct it that maybe I wasn't enthusiastic about it -- it's f****** amazing."

"Certainly, if the Bat phone rings, I will answer,” Affleck told Entertainment Weekly

Affleck has signed on to make the third solo film, The Batman. Back in January, the actor stepped down from the film's directorial responsibilities.

After Affleck stepped down from directing The Batman, Warner Brothers tapped Matt Reeves -- writer and director of War for the Planet of the Apes. "I would be a f****** ape on the ground for Matt Reeves, never mind being Batman. It's incredible," Affleck told the Comic-Con crowd.

During the panel, a new trailer for Justice League also was revealed much to fans delight, and Gadot confirmed that a stand-alone Wonder Woman sequel is in the works.  No official word yet on whether or not Patty Jenkins will return as director.

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Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor John Heard [herd], perhaps best known as the dad in the first two Home Alone movies, and for an Emmy-nominated role in TV’s The Sopranos, died Friday.  California’s Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office confirmed his death to ABC News. Heard was 71, according to the medical examiner, though other sources give his age as 72.

Heard's rep did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment, and the details of his death remain unknown.

Born John Matthew Heard in Washington, D.C., Heard’s more than four-decade career included hundreds of film, television and stage appearances -- making him one of those actors whose face was instantly recognizable, even if you couldn’t quite recall his name. 

He launched his career with a role in a 1974 off-Broadway production of The Wager, followed by a series of Broadway roles, including his Obie Award-winning performance in Shakespeare’s Othello in 1979.

The role that gave Heard his greatest exposure came when he portrayed dad Peter McCallister in the 1990 family comedy Home Alone and its 1992 sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He also earned an Emmy nomination in 1999 for his guest role on The Sopranos, where he portrayed crooked police Detective Vin Makazian.

Heard's film career also included roles in 1980s and 1990s classics like Big, Beaches, and The Pelican Brief.  Recent TV appearances includes guest roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Elementary, MacGyver and APB.

Heard, who lived in Studio City, California at the time of his death, is survived by three children.

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(L-R) David Benioff and D. B. Weiss -- Getty Images/Steve Granitz(LOS ANGELES) -- When HBO announced it would be producing a new series, Confederate, involving an alternate timeline in which the south has seceded and slavery still exists, backlash was pretty severe.

Supergirl actor David Harewood tweeted, "Good luck finding black actors for this project." And writer Roxane Gay tweeted, "It is exhausting to think of how many people at @HBO said yes to letting two white men envision modern day slavery. And offensive."

But the show's creators, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss -- and their partners in Confederate, the African-American husband and wife writers and producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman -- are defending the show and its premise. 

Speaking with Vulture, the team said they expected to take fire.  "We all knew it was coming in one form or another," Benioff said.  And Malcolm Spellman recalled reacting to the premise by saying, "You're dealing with weapons-grade material here."

"It goes without saying slavery is the worst thing that ever happened in American history," Weiss said.  "It's our original sin as a nation. And history doesn't disappear.  That sin is still with us in many ways."

But Confederate, he said is a "science-fiction show," and as such  "...can show us how this history is still with us in a way that strictly realistic drama ever could...."

Nichelle Spellman, who worked on The Good Wife, recalled the team's original meeting, saying, "I just remember being so excited -- and absolutely terrified at the same time."

"In this futuristic world, you could have this conversation in a straightforward manner without it being steeped in history," she said.

Nichelle understands people's concerns but adds, "I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere..." after they'd seen the program, none of which, the team adds, has even been written yet.

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HBO/Anne Marie Fox

(LOS ANGELES) -- With the second season of Insecure set to premiere on Sunday, the cast of the hit HBO series is weighing in on their connection to their characters. In addition to sharing how the show takes a page out of their everyday lives, Issa Rae is also offering her thoughts on how her character Issa Dee will now deal with being single.

"We're just going to see her kind of filter it a bit more and realize who she doesn't want to be," Rae tells ABC Radio. "Given her new single status she's feeling kind of vulnerable-- so we'll see how she adjusts to her vulnerability."

Jay Ellis, who plays Issa's now former boyfriend Lawrence on the show, says even though he and his character have different ideas when it comes to relationships, Lawrence's character traits are very familiar.

"When I look back at how Lawrence started out, there are a lot of things," Ellis says of the similarities. "There are the the discourage traits, the down on yourself -- those moments when your constantly getting told 'no' -- where things aren't going the way you want them to and...you're not really sure which way to go."

But, like his character, Ellis says he's learned how to "bounce back" and "how you get off the ground and go fight the next day."

Yvonne Orji goes further saying her character Molly's narrative is taken straight from her experiences.

"We..talked to the writers and we just thought we were having a casual conversation with friends and I think some of the things we shared openly...made its way into the season," she says.

The actress adds, "Before you know it, your life is in episode four!"  

Insecure returns Sunday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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(L-R) "Valerian" director Luc Besson, Rihanna -- Credit: Eric Charbonneau

(LOS ANGELES) -- Rihanna Navy, get hyped: your girl is landing at your local multiplex this weekend.

The singer stars in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a sci-fi epic from director Luc Besson, based on a popular comic book series.  Rihanna plays Bubble, a shape-shifting alien.  She says when Besson described the part to her, she was hooked.

"Sci-fi movies are always really fun and this one has such a modern twist," Rihanna says. "There’s a lot of reality in this world that’s not real, and that’s why I think I was [attracted] to it."

Rihanna also liked working with Besson, the director of The Fifth ElementThe Professional and Lucy, because she says he gave her a lot of help on set.

"He is very patient when it comes to working and directing me because I’m very new to the movie world and he’s very considerate of that," she explains.  "He knows exactly how to get what he wants out of you and that’s what a director is."

As for Bubble, when we first meet her, she's being forced to perform for patrons in a space cabaret called Glam Club.

"She’s in this place and she has to perform and the thing that makes her feel free is her performing, her being an artist, her becoming whatever and making people happy in that way," says Rihanna of Bubble. "She’s an entertainer...She’s very sensitive about her art, as all artists are."

Rihanna's previous films include 2012's ill-received Battleship, and the animated movie Home, in which she voiced the main character.  She also had cameos in Annie and This Is the End.

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Getty Images/Taylor Hill(LOS ANGELES) -- Kerry Washington is set to be honored for her significant contributions in film and television.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Washington is one of three recipients of the sixth annual Woman Making History awards, an honor given by the National Women's History Museum to women who have made noticeable contributions in their fields.

In addition to Washington, Instagram COO Marne Levine, and SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell will be honored for their work and their "philanthropic endeavors that support young women."

The three women will be honored on September 16 during a special brunch event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“We are extremely proud to honor three women with such innovative and extensive bodies of work,” said NWHM board chair Susan Whiting in a statement. “Kerry Washington broke barriers by becoming the first African-American woman to headline a network TV drama since 1974,” she said of the actress’ role as Olivia Pope on Scandal.

Past honorees include Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sophia Bush, Rachel Zoe and Rita Moreno.

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Disney Channel - 2017(LOS ANGELES) -- Sometimes it’s good to be bad. The Villain Kids -- aka VKs -- are back for more wicked fun in Descendants 2, the sequel to Disney Channel’s popular 2015 film following the sons and daughters of infamous Disney villains.

The story centers around Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, teens who left their lives on the Isle of the Lost in favor of a better life on the magical land of Auradon. This time around, Mal -- Maleficent's daughter, played by Dove Cameron -- finds herself facing off against her nemesis Uma, the daughter of Ursula.

China Anna McClain joins the cast in this film as the scene-stealing Uma.

“Uma is very angry that the four VKs were taken off of the Isle and now get to live in Auradon and have all of this promise and all of this opportunity and she still doesn’t have that,” McClain says. “So, now she’s coming for blood in this movie. She’s getting her revenge.”

Meanwhile, Evie -- The Evil Queen's daughter, played by Sofia Carson -- realizes she doesn't need a prince to give her a happy ending.

"This time around I think she learns a lot about her herself and faces her fear of going back to the Isle and realizing that she can never be ashamed to be who she is,” Carson says.

Director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, who also helmed the popular High School Musical franchise, promises more action, adventure, music and dancing.

“It’s the biggest Disney Channel movie I think we’ve ever made!” Ortega says. 

The film, which also stars Cameron Boyce as Carlos the son of Cruella de Vil and Boo Boo Stewart as Jay the son of Jafar, airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on multiple networks and platforms including Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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Universal - 2017(NEW YORK) --  Kofi Siriboe can confidentially say that one of the highlights of his young life is playing Jada Pinkett Smith's love interest in the new romantic movie comedy, Girls Trip.

Girls Trip stars Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish as four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for an exclusive getaway to reignite their wild sides.  Kofi plays Malik, a twenty-one year college kid who becomes Pinkett Smith's boy toy. He still can't get over the experience of working with his childhood "crush."

"It's been such an experience to work with her so intimately... I've watched her since I was a kid," Siriboe tells ABC Radio. "I have the hugest crush on...Jada Pinkett...Like, that was an amazing experience."

Siriboe says scoring the role was a much needed "change up" from the "social issues" in Queen Sugar and the serious characters he's played in the past.

"You know I gave it everything. Because it's a simple role and it's a lot lighter than like Ralph Angel [from Queen Sugar] or Kicks -- anything that I've really done," he explains. "It's just like it's fun. It's really fun-felt -- more than anything my role in the film."

How does Siriboe sum up his Girls Trip role?  "I play twenty-one years old, like, this college frat dude, who's trying to get him some cougar love!"

Girls Night, which also stars Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh and Mike Colter, is in theaters now.

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Getty Images/Albert L. Ortega(SAN DIEGO) -- At Comic-Con, everyone's a fan, even multimillionaire celebrity superstar actors like Will Smith.  Smith was on hand at the annual event in San Diego to promote his new project, Bright -- Netflix's first big foray into splashy action movie territory.  But he couldn't help geeking out about Star Wars like any other Comic-Con attendee.

Smith said his world changed when he saw Star Wars when he was about 10, and he'd never seen anything like it.

“For this generation, you've already seen magnificent things in movies and the special effects and what people can do, but when Star Wars came out it was impossible,” the star said. “Like, there weren't special effects -- you couldn't do that. So, it's like, we were just completely blown away and for my entire life I've been chasing and trying to give that feeling to, to fans.”

He added, emphatically, “I have never been smashed like that in a movie theater. It was like my mind was boggled.”

Smith said he's built his career on trying to give fans the same experience he had when he first saw Star Wars.

“There was nothing that I had ever experienced in my life that, that matched that point of ecstasy. And, I had sex a few years later, and that was pretty... it was close, I mean close, but no Star Wars, you know, so...”

Smith’s Suicide Squad director David Ayer debuted the full trailer for Bright, which he also directed. Ayer said he loved working with Netflix, while seemingly slamming Suicide Squad, which underwent extensive retooling from Warner Bros. before it was released.

"This isn't like some b******* PG-13 standard-issue studio movie, I mean, this is like, I was able to do my s*** here, right?" he said.  "I was able to really tell a f****** story, OK? I was able to, like, do my thing."

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(L-R) HARRY STYLES as Alex, ANEURIN BARNARD as Gibson and FIONN WHITEHEAD as Tommy in the Warner Bros. Pictures action thriller "DUNKIRK," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.(LOS ANGELES) -- Opening nationwide on Friday:

Dunkirk -- Christopher Nolan's latest thriller tells the true story of Operation Dynamo, which in 1940 evacuated British, Belgian, Canadian and French soldiers from Dunkirk, France, where they were surrounded by the German army. Starring Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and One Direction's Harry Styles in his acting debut. Rated PG-13.

Girls Trip -- Four lifelong friends -- played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish -- rediscover their wild side during a trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Rated R. (TRAILER CONTAINS MILD PROFANITY AND SEXUAL CONTENT)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets -- This sci-fi adventure, based on the popular comic book series, centers on an unknown force that threatens Alpha, home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline -- played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, respectively -- must find the threat and eliminate it. Also starring Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna. Rated PG-13.

 

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Lucasfilm - 2017

(LOS ANGELES) -- Star Wars actor John Boyega is calling out fantasy shows like Game of Thrones for what he describes as their lack of diversity.

"There are no black people on Game of Thrones," he said in a new cover story for GQ magazine.

To be fair, HBO's hit fantasy drama has featured at least two black actors: Jacob Anderson and Nonso Anozie. The series has also cast other actors of color, including Nathalie Emmanuel and Jessica Henwick.

And although Boyega’s hit film fantasy franchise, Star Wars, has featured African-American actors such as Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson, he said it's important for such franchises to think about representation on the big and small screens, especially in completely made-up universes.

"I ain't paying money to always see one type of person on-screen," the 25-year-old British actor, who was born to Nigerian parents, said. "Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you're a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers."

Author George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy novels where adapted into the Game of Thrones series, has previously addressed the issue in connection to his written stories.

“Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course,” he wrote about the fictional Game of Thrones world on his blog in 2014 , “but with that being said, I do have some 'characters of color' who will have somewhat larger roles in [his forthcoming novel] WINDS OF WINTER. Admittedly, these are secondary and tertiary characters, though not without importance.”

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Getty Images(NEVADA) -- O.J. Simpson, who's been behind bars for the past eight years in Nevada, has been granted parole.  The earliest the former football star could leave prison is October 1.

Simpson, 70, was sentenced in 2008 to a minimum of nine years without parole for the botched 2007 robbery of Bruce Fromong, while trying to recover memorabilia Simpson claimed was his. Fromong said before the hearing that he supported Simpson's release. Simpson's record during his incarceration was also reportedly unblemished.

The parole hearing was streamed live and carried by multiple networks, and there were well over 150 reporters outside of the prison while the panel announced its decision.

Simpson has loomed large in our pop culture consciousness, even while behind bars. In February 2016, his murder trial was resurrected in the FX true crime anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The series, which starred Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, won nine Emmy awards, as well as two Golden Globes.

Also in 2016, ESPN Films released of the five-part docuseries O.J.: Made in America. Released in July of 2016, it followed O.J.'s life from his early football career through his murder trial, acquittal and subsequent conviction for armed robbery 13 years later.  It received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.

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