The Watchers

The Watchers

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Comic Book Movie Round-Up: March 2014

There has been a whole load of comic-book movie related news over the past few weeks, so here's a round-up of what's been going on.

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It was recently announced that DC's Batman Vs Superman movie had been postponed from 2015 to May 6 2016. This sets up a battle of the comic-book movies as it will now open on the same day as a Marvel film, expected to be Captain America 3 (although an official announcement has yet to be made). Marvel are 'certainly keeping the date', according to Kevin Feige, and aren't afraid of a clash. 

When asked by Access Hollywood to predict the winner of this clash of the titans, Sebastian Stan (who has a nine picture deal with Marvel) stated 'All you have to do to know the answer to that question is look at the track record of Marvel versus DC'. Meow!

We discussed the casting for Batman Vs Superman in Programme 36 where, it's safe to say, there were some strong opinions over the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jeremy Irons as Alfred. They will join Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman, with Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne reprising their roles from Man Of Steel. Irons has just revealed in an interview with Absolute Radio that "The script isn't entirely finished' although pre-production has begin in Michigan.

It's certainly an exciting piece of news and may cause a few headaches for comic book fans. See one? See them both? If you see them both, which order do you see them in? Either way, both studios will make a whole load of money off these movies.

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20th Century Fox have announced opening dates for two upcoming films.

In addition to the Bryan-Singer-directed X-Men: Apocalypse which is lined up for release on May 27 2016, there will be a sequel to The Wolverine which set to hit screens on March 3 2017. This will see Hugh Jackman reprise his role as Logan/Wolverine for the eighth time and will be directed by James Mangold (who also directed The Wolverine) and will be written by David James Kelly (according to Deadline).

They've also given a date for the second instalment of the Fantastic Four reboot - even though filming hasn't even started on the first! This film is due on July 14 2017, whilst the first film is scheduled for release on June 19 2015. If you want to know what we think about the (potential) casting for this film, have a listen to Programme 36 where we discuss our thoughts.

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This week saw the release of several pieces of concept art for Marvel's upcoming releases, including some for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Due in cinemas on May 1 2015 and directed by Joss Whedon, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson will all reprise their roles from The Avengers/Avengers Assemble.

Scarlet Witch concept art
Quicksilver concept art
Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson join the cast as the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver respectively. Due to a very unique and slightly complicated situation involving a quirk of publishing, they can appear in multiple (and rival) film franchises. They are the children of Magneto and can therefore appear in Fox's X-Men franchise (and will - Evan Peters is playing Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Future Past), but they are also linked to the Avengers franchise and can therefore appear in Marvel films as well. 

James Spader will play villain Ultron (despite Stan Lee admitting in an interview with Playboy 'I don't have any idea who the hell Ultron is'- Lee had finished working on The Avengers before Ultron was created) and Thomas Kreschmann will play the villainous Baron Von Strucker. Kretschmann also has a multi-film deal so expect to see the Baron popping up in other movies. 

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The recent documentary- Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe- showed test footage from Ant-Man. Directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World), the film will kick off Marvel Studios' Phase 3 of movies. 

Test footage from Ant-Man
Paul Rudd has been cast as Scott Lang, with Michael Douglas playing Hank Pym. Patrick Wilson has confirmed his casting- stating he is playing an 'important' role in the film- but hasn't given any more details. Michael Pena has confirmed he is in discussions for a role but nothing is confirmed yet, whilst Gravity composer Steven Price will provide the score. Ant-Man is currently slated for July 17 2015.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, directors Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, Sinister), Mark Andrews (Brave), and Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) are in the frame to direct Marvel's Doctor Strange project. However, Kevin Feige has dismissed rumours that Andrews and Levine were approached- stating 'we're meeting a lot of people now'- and has also quashed rumours that Johnny Depp is in line to take the title role.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo will return to direct Captain America 3, having just helmed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

Marvel Studios are developing ideas for a stand-alone Black Widow movie, to build on the exploration of her character shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Scarlett Johansson seems up for it, telling reporters at the premiere for Captain America: The Winter Soldier "If you want to see a Black Widow spin-off movie, then I want to see it. We'll see. We will put the request in to Marvel tomorrow."

Ant-Man, Captain America 3 and Doctor Strange are in line for Phase 3, with rumours of Thor 3 and a Black Panther movie also included, which would lead up to The Avengers 3 to finish the phase.

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With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 imminent, Sony are looking to expand their comic-book universe with spin-off movies based on some of Spidey's best known villains.

Variety quotes Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal as saying "We are expanding the Spider-Man universe into the Sinister Six and Venom, so that we have Spider-Man movies every year."

Venom will be written by Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci and Ed Solomon and may also be directed by Kurtzman. Venom has previously been seen on-screen in 2007's Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace.

The Sinister Six movie will be written by Drew Goddard, who may also direct. There are various iterations of the Sinister Six throughout the comic books so it will be interesting to see who they draw in. Doctor Octopus, Electro, Sandman, Vulture, Mysterio, Kraven The Hunter, the Hobgoblin, the Green Goblin, Venom and the Lizard have all- at one time or another- been members of the group, so Goddard's got plenty to play with. Considering the multiple villains in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, perhaps a few Marvel-style multi-picture deals have been signed?

There are currently no dates for the Venom or Sinister Six movies, but it might be a safe bet that we'll be looking at one in 2015 and the other in 2017.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is due for release on May 27 2016 in the UK and June 10 2016 in the US and will be Marc Webb's last time in the director's chair for a Spider-Man movie. The film will be written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner. It is unclear at the moment whether Shailene Woodley (who was due to play Mary Jane Watson and recorded scenes for The Amazing Spider-Man 2) will return due to her workload in the Divergent sequels.

There are also plans afoot for The Amazing Spider-Man 4, slated for May 4 2018. In an interview with Crave Online last year, Webb teased that: 'what we've discovered is there are so many ancillary characters, that have enormous, cinematic potential that there may be other ways to exploit those characters, in a way that is exciting and fun and worthwhile. It might not just be a Spider-Man movie."

Could we be looking at a Spider-Man vs... scenario? It will be interesting to see.

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