Not content with merely continuing stories, Marvel has announced another reboot of a movie they made not that long ago. Josh Trank, director of Chronicle, will bring Fantastic Four back to the screen March 6, 2015. The 2005 version, which spawned a 2007 sequel, featured the current Captain America/Steve Rogers Chris Evans as the Human Torch, and I say he should just pull a "Marvel Universe Patty Duke Show" and reprise his role at one more time for the sheer heck of it. Even if he's going to be making The Avengers 2 the same year. Keep shooting for the title of Greatest Cinematic Uroboros, Marvel. You can do it! (via The Daily Blam)
Normally, I would never post about a nebulous movie rumor, but the potential for discussion and mystery is so cool that I couldn't resist. It concerns the possible cinematic introduction of one of the actual, original founding members of the Avengers from the Marvel comics: Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp. Rumors concerning the Wasp in the first Avengers movie definitely existed before they were squashed, but lately, we've been treated to a bunch of hints that might actually make this a credible subject for speculation.
So, why bother doing an entire post about speculation? The stakes are high, if you've been hoping for more Marvel heroines on the big screen, especially one with superpowers who could also be in The Avengers 2. It's also just so irresistibly old-school Marvel. Let's look at some of the evidence that might just point to the Wasp.
(Video link) Above is the official trailer for Iron Man 3, in which we will catch up with Tony Stark after the events of this year's The Avengers. And it looks like he's, well, going through some stuff and having to deal with things related to Tony Stark and not just Iron Man. And then also the Iron Man stuff, like his new foe the Mandarin (played by Sir Ben Kingsley). This is what I like the most about superhero movies -- when they remember they're people, too. (via MarvelUK on YouTube)
Ever since Marvel announced that one of its next film ventures was The Guardians of the Galaxy, not much discussion has taken place about who might join the cast. But now, Michael Rooker (who is returning to The Walking Dead next season) is throwing his hat in the ring -- to play Rocket Raccoon! A friend of Guardians director James Gunn, Rooker might just be interested in providing his perfect, grisly voice for the (most likely) CG-animated character. Why? He told MovieWeb:
I love raccoons. Raccoons are my friends!
I would be very honored and pleased to work with James Gunn again... Whether it will happen or not, I don’t know... Write this up. Tweet the fuck out of it. If the fans want me as Rocket Raccoon, Marvel will listen to you guys, I think, sometimes... Perhaps I will be lucky and blessed enough to go in there, and go at it with Mr. Gunn again, who knows?
Okay! So, he's more eager to work with Gunn than he is to be Rocket Raccoon (he says he hasn't "done much research on it at all yet"). But he's totally committed to taking the Betty White-social media route, and that makes him one thing for sure: an efficient campaigner.
Now that New York Comic Con is approaching, let's talk about San Diego Comic Con! Remember when Edgar Wright showed attendees some test footage for the Ant-Man movie he's officially making for Marvel Studios? We might just get to see it, too! In fact, we might even get to see something even better, since that video was a mere "work in progress" according to Victoria Alonso, Marvel’s executive vice president of visual effects. Though Alonso isn't sure which medium will showcase the reel (released online, frustratingly released on a DVD we'll have to buy, etc.), it does look like the studio will be making it available to a much wider audience of people who are dying to see it, present company included. I recommend watching this space for future developments. (via Spinoff Online) — Jamie
Yesterday brought the exciting, but not at all unexpected news that Joss Whedon will return to write and direct the sequel to this year's superhero success The Avengers. While that's basically the gist of it, there is a little bit more information coming out about his involvement in not just Avengers 2, but also a live-action Marvel TV series for ABC and further contributions to other Marvel movies. I think this is what happens when you make a bunch of cult shows that get canceled before they should, and then karma repays you generously. Or shawarma. One of those things.
Just coming through the wire: Disney has announced that Joss Whedon has officially signed on to write and direct Avengers 2 for Marvel Studios. Not only that, but he has also signed on to develop a Marvel TV series for ABC. Stay tuned for more details, because this is what we Marvel geeks like to call "Holy crap, emphasis on the holy." (via Variety's Marc Graser on Twitter) — Jamie
This is bigger than Zachary Quinto playing Spock, and even bigger than David Tennant showing up in a Harry Potter movie. Christopher Eccleston, best known in Nerdville for playing the ninth incarnation of the Doctor on Doctor Who, has snagged the lead villain role in Thor 2: The Dark World. How will those of us who are both Marvel and Doctor Who geeks even handle this news? I mean, can you just picture Eccleston and Tom Hiddleston joining forces and bringing all that 'Ston-cold badness in one movie? (Sorry, that was lame.) (Just kidding, not sorry at all.)
This casting news comes a couple of weeks after Mads Mikkelson backed out of the then-unnamed villain role, citing scheduling conflicts with his work on NBC's Hannibal series. When he was cast, and even when he'd left, we still didn't know which Thor foe he was supposed to be playing. But now, with news of Eccleston's casting, we finally have a name: Malekith! Malekith the Accursed! Malekith, ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim! And according to io9, "he dresses like a Mardi Gras float crashing into a Scandinavian black metal music video." And that? That is fantastic.
Eccleston, a seasoned British actor whose career includes a twisted role in Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave, has played his fair share of villains, such as Major Henry West in 28 Days Later and Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. And when he played the Doctor in the first series of the new Doctor Who, he was happy-go-lucky while also war-torn and scarred. So my prediction is that his Malekith will be an evil combination of badass and impish. Oh, the slumber parties he and Loki will have!
For some reason, and despite the test footage Edgar Wright presented at Comic Con, it still feels (to me, at least) like Ant-Man is still only rumored to be happening. But that feeling is finally shifting now that it's possible that the movie might start shooting as soon as Thor 2: The Dark World is done. Production on that begins next month, which is but a day away, so it's actually true! Ant-Man is coming! I'm finally convinced! No idea why it took so long!
The news comes from Latino Review, which has been so accurate about its Marvel news that Marvel actually threatens them. According to the site, Wright is apparently rushing to get the third movie of his "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy, The World's End, into production in London so he can transition right into Ant-Man as soon as Thor 2 is finished shooting next spring or summer. This means that 2014 will be what the kids call a "bigass year" for Marvel, giving us Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy in addition to Ant-Man, all in the same year.
All that awesome news, and still nothing about who will be playing Ant-Man himself, Dr. Henry Pym, or if Janet van Dyne (aka the Wasp) will be part of this story. But more importantly: How will Ant-Man, a founding member of the Avengers along with the Wasp, figure into the sequel to The Avengers? So much Marvel goodness, so many questions!
If you've ever had to watch television while also supervising a kid, Disney XD's Phineas and Ferb might already be on your radar. If it isn't, then here's the good news: this is a kids' show that is actually pretty fun to watch! Even without kids around! And if you're a Marvel fan, there is even better news: For the first time, Disney and Marvel characters will join forces in a Phineas and Ferb special set to air in 2013 (unclear whether it's going to be a regular episode or a longer special, like a movie). And it's not just Spidey -- who has his own show on Disney XD -- who is showing up in Danville.
The plot begins when Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk drop by the hometown of Phineas and Ferb to track down the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who took away all their superpowers. While they're trying to regain all their lost powers, they'll have some familiar bad guys to worry about -- Venom, the Red Skull, M.O.D.O.K., and Whiplash, all of whom are working with Doofenshmirtz.
And if you're wondering if any of this crossovery goodness has anything to do with all the live-action Marvel sequels coming out with all those superheroes, then give yourself a pat on the back for keeping up with current events! This is a very fun and not-at-all-secret way to remind everyone that 1. Disney owns Marvel, and 2. all those young Phineas and Ferb fans might also like to see the sequels to Iron Man and Thor (both 2013), and Captain America and The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) with all those cool Marvel characters in them. Because when you've got a humble little creative upstart like Disney, you need to do something to create awareness.
On July 14, during the Marvel panel at Comic Con, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that the studio's second big movie for 2014 (following Iron Man 3) was going to be Guardians of the Galaxy, and that one of the characters would be Rocket Raccoon. A couple of weeks before that, in late June, Latino Review caught wind of this information and started reporting on it.
Now, Marvel is purportedly saying that this leak was unauthorized and they want to know who did it and no one gets hurt. Latino Review reports receiving a very passive-aggressive email on the matter, and replying with a challenge: "Maybe send us a more realistically written form letter and we'll start to care."
Send from an "independent security consultant" who claims to have worked for Marvel since 1982, it accuses the editors of Latino Review of disseminating "confidential, non-public information concerning Iron Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy." Judge for yourself.
While the DC filmmaking universe languishes and prepares to go into hibernation after Man of Steel is released next year, Marvel is doubling down on every movie it's made already. Can you really blame them? I mean, they're kind of on a roll here. Marvel execs -- such as Kevin Feige -- might also might be convincing themselves that S.H.I.E.L.D. is real and they are S.H.I.E.L.D., what with their official announcement at Comic-Con of "Phase Two." No, really, Marvel's slate of sequels is being referred to as "Phase Two," as if it was a second wave of Chitauri arriving on Earth. I just hope that Phase Two includes a certain cellist-dating S.H.I.E.L.D. agent...
According to The New York Post, Scarlett Johansson will become Hollywood's highest-paid woman, snagging a cool $20 million paycheck for assembling for the sequel to this spring's humble, low-budget sleeper hit The Avengers. This will mean that for her supporting role -- because there was no official lead in the ensemble superhero flick -- she will receive one million more dollars than Angelina Jolie made for her lead role in The Tourist, which was a colossal flop and a running joke at the Golden Globes in 2011. Does this mean more screen time for the Black Widow? Does it mean shawarma every night of the week? Is she making anywhere near what Robert Downey Jr. will make? (Answer to that: No, but no one is, really.)
This much is certain: Gary Friedrich created the Marvel comics character Ghost Rider. Freidrich sued Marvel (and its new owners, Disney) because he claims that he never signed away the rights to his character, and thus the feature film based on the comic was illegal. Freidrich also apparently launched his own, rival line of authorized Ghost Rider merchandise.
Disney/Marvel has countersued Freidrich, claiming that the boilerplate legalese on the back of his paychecks were all the assignment they needed to assert ownership of his character. What's more, Misney has broken with the industry-standard practice of turning a blind eye to creators doing sketches of their own characters for money at conventions, and singled out Freidrich for punitive, retaliatory legal claims for doing what every artist in the field does.
Finally, Misney has sought to prohibit Freidrich from publicly identifying or marketing himself as the creator of Ghost Rider, on the basis of the ancient legal principle of fuck you I said so and I can afford more lawyers than you so shut up.
As payback, not only can Friedrich no longer sell his own Ghost Rider merchandise, he can’t even represent himself as its co-creator, thereby robbing him of any potential financial gain he might accrue from convention appearances and the like. (He will, however, still be able to sign officially licensed Marvel merchandise, either with ink or bitter tear stains.) In addition, Marvel is also demanding $17,000 from the unemployed, financially destitute 68-year-old, which Comic Book Resources surmises will serve as a warning to all others who currently enjoy the privilege of selling their own unlicensed merchandise, and should maybe just keep their mouths shut then.