The Week in Spandex – The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor 2, The Wolverine, Marvel TV, Deadpool, Young Justice, Arrow and more…

Our weekly round-up of the big news stories from the world of movie superheroes…

The big story this past week is the complete non-story about the running time for Christopher Nolan’s rough cut of The Dark Knight Rises clocking in at four-hours, which stemmed from a blatantly obvious throwaway joke over at MTV that was immediately picked up as gospel by virtually every media outlet under the sun. The fact that the ‘story’ spread like wildfire just goes to highlight the recent drought in all things Batman, although a few interesting bits and pieces have popped up lately, including a short synopsis taken from the packaging of a tie-in product and rumours [now sadly debunked] that Nolan and company may descend on Comic Con to promote the release of the hugely anticipated sequel. Meanwhile ComicBookMovie also unearthed some new promo images of Batman (Christian Bale), Bane (Tom Hardy) and a gun-toting Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), which you can check out here

…Sticking with Batman for a moment, Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek, Fringe) spoke to Coming Soon about his audition for the role of the Dark Knight (he was one of eight actors to try out for Batman Begins, the others being Eion Bailey, Henry Cavill, Billy Cudrup, Hugh Dancy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cillian Murphy and of course, Christian Bale). During the chat, Jackson stated that he’d be interested in auditioning once more when Bale hangs up the cowl this summer: “I’m not going to turn down an audition for Batman if they ask me. As much as nobody in their right mind would turn down that job, I don’t know if you really want to be the guy after Chris Nolan and Christian Bale. Those movies are pretty fantastic… It would have been a different movie if I had been cast. You never want to admit you think somebody else made the right decision when they didn’t hire you, but Christian Bale was pretty amazing. The marriage of Chris Nolan and Christian Bale for those Batman movies was spectacular. I would be intimidated to step into those shoes, but if they asked me to audition, I would…”

…Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man had a big presence at WonderCon last weekend, with director Marc Webb, producer Matt Tolmach and actress Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) taking part in a panel to discuss the Andrew Garfield-headlined reboot. HitFix put together a pretty good overview of the proceedings, and you can also watch a video of the entire panel here. Webb also confirmed to FirstShowing that The Amazing Spider-Man will include hints to Norman Osborn – a.k.a. the Green Goblin – while a new promotional poster has emerged that gives us our best look yet at Rhys Ifans’ fully-transformed Lizard…

…After dominating the superhero headlines for the past couple of months, Marvel’s The Avengers took a bit of a back seat this week, although there was still time for Disney’s marketing machine to release some high resolution banners featuring Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), along with a short IMAX TV spot comprised on previously seen footage..

…Elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some cast and crew announcements have emerged for next year’s sequel, Thor 2. Confirmed as returning alongside Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) are Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Tadanobu Asano (Hogun), Jaimie Alexander (Sif) and Joshua Dallas (Fandral), Rene Russo (Frigga) and Anthony Hopkins (Odin), while Thor director Kenneth Branagh will produce alongside Kevin Fiege and Stan Lee, having handed over the reins to the sequel to Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones)…

…While we’re on the subject of Marvel’s various upcoming live-action features, comic book legend Stan Lee spoke to Collider about his cameos in The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as his preparations for Iron Man 3: “The Avengers cameo that you will see, when that movie opens up, is possibly one of my best. And you know how good mine have been, but it is so funny. I can’t tell you what it is ‘cause they’d kill me, but it is funny. So is the Spider-Man one, by the way. They’re deciding to make my cameos a little funnier. They know that’s what brings the audiences in, of course, so they’ve gotta play them up…”

…An alleged teaser poster for Hugh Jackman’s next superhero outing in The Wolverine has hit the web courtesy of Screen Rant, who posted an image that was apparently taken in the offices of director James Mangold. Depicting the Japanese flag shredded by Wolverine’s adamantium claws – and the tag line “rising soon” – the legitimacy of the poster remains in question, with speculation seemingly pointing towards it being a fan-made design. The fact that Fox are yet to respond in any way, shape or form also seems to confirm that the poster is indeed a fake…

…It had been thought that director Josh Trank would follow up his debut feature, the found footage super powers flick Chronicle, with another superhero-themed outing in Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off Venom. However, it now looks as if that – and the proposed Fantastic Four reboot – will have to wait, following the news earlier this week that Trank has instead opted to sign on for an adaptation of the graphic novel The Red Star

…Moving on to Marvel’s various small screen ventures and ComicBookResources posted a summary of the ‘Talk to the Hat’ panel from WonderCon, which included the following brief update from Marvel Head of Television Jeph Loeb: “We’re working very hard towards bringing The Hulk back to television. We have in development another show which is The Punisher and the first show we put into development, AKA Jessica Jones, which you guys know as Alias.” Loeb also responded to a fan question about the possibility of an animated Deadpool series, stating that: “I can’t tell you but there are certainly plans out there to see what that would look like…”

…While any potential Deadpool animated series looks to be some time away (if at all), talk of the live-action movie continues, with comic book writer Joe Kelly telling MTV Splash Page: “I’ve actually met with some of those guys [at Fox] and talked to them about the movie. From what I can tell, they’re aware of the fan reaction to how he was played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and are working very hard to make sure that he’s given his props. There’s definitely elements of stuff from my run that’s involved in the film. From what I’ve been told, I think it’ll be awesome. Deadpool is a fantastic character, and if Ryan Reynolds still does him, that’d be really great.”

…Marvel Animation are bringing back some of their earlier animated offerings in the form of eight light-hearted ‘mash-up’ episodes, as revealed by Marvel VP Cort Lane on their official site: “We were inspired by things that fans had done on the internet with our old footage, and so we thought, ‘Well, what if we did some of that ourselves, but with a distinctive Marvel sense of humor’. We decided Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is such an iconic, classic cartoon that that’s the first one we’re using. We will also be using The Incredible Hulk series from 1982, and later on we’ll be using the Fantastic Four series from 1978…”

…The new / old ‘mash-up’ series will eventually join Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD’s Marvel Universe programming block, which premieres on April 1s in the United States. You can check out a trailer for season two of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes over at Marvel Animation Age, while head writer Chris Yost revealed some details about the upcoming episodes on the latest Mighty Marvel Podcast (via ComicBookMovie), including the Secret Invasion-inspired storyline and cameos from the X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Howling Commandos…

…Of course, DC’s animation arm have already launched their own programming block, DC Nation, on Cartoon Network, and a few videos have popped up online this week, including a 3-minute sneak peek of the Young Justice season two ‘Invasion’ storyline – which sees the team working side by side with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the rest of the Justice League – along with a selection of clips from Bruce Timm’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series

…Meanwhile, with filming now underway on the pilot episode of the CW network’s live-action Green Arrow adaptation, TV Line delivered our first look at Stephen Amell (Hung) in costume for the lead role of Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Arrow. Amell is joined in the cast of the pilot by Katie Cassidy (Taken) as Dinah ‘Laurel’ Lance, Jamey Sheridan (Homeland) as Robert Queen, Susanna Thompson (Kings) as Moira Queen, Willa Holland (Straw Dogs) as Thea Queen, Paul Blackthorne (Justice League: Doom) as Detective Quentin Lance, Colin Salmon (Punisher: War Zone) as Walter Steele, David Ramsey (Dexter) as John Diggle, Darren Shahlavi (Ip Man 2) as Constantine Drakon and Brian Markinson (Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome) as Adam Hunt…

Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar spoke to Ask Men, where he provided some details about his plans for Kick-Ass 2. Comparing it to A Clockwork Orange, Miller said that the sequel would focus on ordinary criminals who decide to dress as supervillains: “Kick-Ass felt like what a real superhero would be like and Kick-Ass 2 is about what a supervillain would be like, and how would the superhero stop them. There are two major new characters in the next movie. One’s called Mother Russia, who’s pumped up on steroids – she’s the ultimate killing machine. Then there’s an older superhero, a retired guy who’s fed up with the little shits in the neighbourhood and forms a team of superheroes. I had Johnny Depp in mind when I was writing, but I said that in an interview, then the next day it went on like 500 websites.” According to Millar, Kick-Ass 2 will film this year, although there’s no word yet on whether any of the original cast will return…

…And finally, Millar’s latest comic book title Supercrooks may have just hit the stands this past week, but Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) – who directed a short viral video to promote the title – is already discussing his plans for the feature film adaptation. Vigalondo, who will pen the script for Supercrooks with Millar, told ComicBookResources that: “Heist films are one of my favorite genres because they are based equally in character chemistry and plot complexity. I love this challenging story where the heist is followed in almost real time, inside a contained space, but twists and surprises keep coming all the time… At this moment, I’m about to start the shooting of Windows, my third film, and my first English one. I’ll jump quickly into Supercrooks. I’m ready to forget about holidays for the next three years.” According to Millar, Supercrooks is expected to go into production in 2014.

Gary Collinson

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