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Christian Bale Might Be Joining Thor: Love and Thunder

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s culture news roundup. Now that the holiday season is officially behind us, the Hollywood studios are back in action, making deals and making content. And for some extra help with that, it looks like Warner Bros. will start using machine learning and predictive data. Crazy, right? Let's get you caught up.

Batman Might Join Thor: Love and Thunder (Sorta)

As if the ascendance of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster as the new Thor and the return of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie weren’t enough reason to be excited for Thor: Love and Thunder, now there’s word a new actor may join the fray: Christian Bale. According to Collider, the one-time Dark Knight is in talks to join the next film, which will be directed by Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi. No word yet on who Bale might play—although folks already have theories—but if he’s the Big Bad that could be pretty cool, no?

Warner Bros. to Start Using AI to Pick Movies

Have you ever watched a Warner Bros. picture and thought, "Man, a robot could've greenlit a better movie than that."? Well, Warner Bros. is about to find out if you're right. Kinda. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio is going to start using artificial intelligence to make decisions on which movies to greenlight. Under a new deal with a company called Cinelytic, Warners will use that company's predictive analytics and data to aid in decisions about which movies to make and which movies to take a pass on. "The system can calculate in seconds what used to take days to assess by a human when it comes to general film package evaluation or a star’s worth," Cinelytic's founder Tobias Queisser told THR, adding that that doesn't mean machine learning will be taking over for studio execs any time soon. “Artificial intelligence sounds scary. But right now, an AI cannot make any creative decisions. What it is good at is crunching numbers and breaking down huge data sets and showing patterns that would not be visible to humans. But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct.” OK, so maybe robots aren't totally taking over Hollywood.

Want Some Images From Avatar 2? Here You Go!

It has been :checks watch: over a decade since the original Avatar came out—that’s a long time! For those who loved James Cameron’s fantasy epic, the wait for a sequel has been arduous. Well, we have some good news! The film’s official Twitter account has released some new concept art for the movie, and it shows new parts of Pandora that the original Avatar never revealed. Soak it up now; Avatar 2 doesn’t hit theaters until December 2021, and it’ll likely be a while before anyone sees a trailer.

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