The Week in Spandex – The Expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Man of Steel, Arrow and more

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

Once again, Marvel’s The Avengers continues to shatter records at the global box office as audiences remain enthralled by the adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In North America, the Joss Whedon-directed superhero team-up became the fastest film to cross the $400m mark, achieving the feat in just fourteen days (four fewer than it took The Dark Knight back in 2008, albeit with the benefit of higher ticket prices), and it has also overtaken the world-wide haul of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Bat-sequel, making it the highest grossing comic book movie of all time…

…As if that’s not enough to earn bragging rights for Marvel, the film is now also officially Disney’s biggest ever hit, having surpassed Toy Story 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest to sit at #6 in the all-time global chart. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 are all in its sights, but breaking into the top two – occupied by James Cameron’s Titanic ($2.78b) and Avatar ($2.18b) may just prove a step too far…

The Avengers may still be raking it in across cinemas, but details and cover art for the DVD and Blu-ray release has already crept online, including confirmation of a new Marvel One-Shot entitled Item 47 – Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) flashy gun, perhaps? – along with eight deleted / extended scenes including an alternate beginning and ending featuring Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and a Captain America (Chris Evans) scene entitled ‘Steve Rogers – Man Out of Time’. Sadly, Disney has pulled the details from the majority of sites, but I’m sure you can still find them with a bit of digging…

…We already know that plans are now being put in place for the obligatory Avengers sequel, but it seems that Joss Whedon remains undecided about whether he’ll be back at the helm for The Avengers 2, with the director telling Hero Complex: “You know, I’m very torn. It’s an enormous amount of work telling what is ultimately somebody else’s story, even though I feel like I did get to put myself into it. But at the same time, I have a bunch of ideas, and they all seem really cool…”

…Before we get to the next Avengers movie, Marvel Studios have another wave of solo outings, with Iron Man 3 first on the agenda, and the Shane Black-directed sequel has picked up another villain this past week in James Badge Dale (The Pacific, The Lone Ranger), who is set for a supporting role as Eric Savin, the cyborg mercenary better known as Coldblood. Meanwhile Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily confirmed the rumours that Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs) has joined the cast, along with Chinese actresses Fan Bingbing (Shaolin) and Yang Mi (Mysterious Island), as well as describing Ben Kingsley’s (Sexy Beast) role as that of the Mandarin. Iron Man 3 is due to start filming this month, with returning players Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also joined in the ever-expanding cast by Guy Pearce (Prometheus) and Rebecca Hall (The Town)…

…In other bits and pieces from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Idris Elba ( have spoken briefly returning to Asgard for Thor 2, while Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) stated in a podcast with Empire that Ant-Man is moving forward, and he hopes to shoot the film some time this year (if rumours in Cannes are correct, Ant-Man may have already been given the green light). So, I guess with Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, The Avengers 2 and Ant-Man, we can hazard a pretty good guess at the five movies mentioned by Kevin Feige as being in development…

…A new four-minute ‘super preview’ of Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man was broadcast in the States during the season premiere of America’s Got Talent [see it here], with its online arrival accompanied by the release of another two international posters and a behind-the-scenes featurette with comments from director Marc Webb. With just over six weeks to go until the release of the Spidey reboot, expect to see plenty more of Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawler as Sony embarks on the final stage of its publicity campaign…

…After last week’s selection of new images, it’s been another fairly quiet seven days from The Dark Knight Rises camp, although the arrival of the first TV spot (designed to promote the NBA Playoffs) may signal the beginning of what is sure to be a heavy marketing blitz as the July release date draws ever closer. Also popping up online were two merchandising promo posters feature Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), while director Christopher Nolan also had a few words for Rolling Stone magazine (via CBM) about Tom Hardy’s Bane, during which he briefly discussed the character’s look and his background (confirming that the mask dispenses anaesthetic that allows Bane to function), as well as describing the brutish villain as “the man who physically breaks Batman…”

…Former WWE superstar The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) has teased his potential involvement with a DC movie via Twitter, responding to a fan who stated that they “could see Rock playing in DC movies. Gravedigger or John Stewart” with the reply “funny u say that.” Johnson does have a habit of popping up mid-franchise (see The Mummy Returns, Fast Five, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation) so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see him replacing Ryan Reynolds should Green Lantern 2 ever get off the ground, while Journey 2 director Brad Peyton is also busy working on an adaptation of Lobo… of course, there’s also the chance that Johnson is just toying with his followers, so we probably shouldn’t read too much into this at the moment…

…One DC movie that is definitely on the horizon is Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and some scene descriptions have been doing the rounds this past week, which stemmed from a poster over on the IMDb message boards involved with the VFX on next year’s Superman reboot. Given that Warner Bros. quickly demanded removal of said scene descriptions (see here), we can assume they were in fact accurate, and included a shot of Superman (Henry Cavill) flying through a tornado and a scene between Supes and General Zod (Michael Shannon) that culminates with the Man of Steel catching an exploding missile (at the time of writing, the descriptions are still online here). Elsewhere, there’s also been talk that Man of Steel is set to incorporate plot elements from the aborted Superman: Flyby, specifically that Kal-El’s origins will be altered to that of a Kryptonian prince prophesied to save the Earth, but given that it originates from a site which has proven time and again how unreliable its ‘exclusives’ are, we’ll not waste your time by linking to it here…

…The CW network has confirmed that it’s getting back in the superhero business post Smallville, picking up the DC Comics live-action adaptation Arrow for a full season to begin airing later in the year. The series is created by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim (Green Lantern) and Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe) and sees Stephen Amell in the lead role of Oliver Queen – a.k.a. the Green Arrow – along supporting players such as Katie Cassidy (Supernatural) as Dinah Laurel Lance, Colin Donnell (Pan Am) as Tommy Merlyn, Willa Holland (The O.C.) as Thea Queen and David Ramsey (Dexter) as John Diggle. Watch the first clip and trailer from Arrow here, and check out a short video interview with Stephen Amell at MTV Splash Page

Arrow will soon be making it to the small screen, but the same can’t be said for several Marvel Television projects, with ABC entertainment president Paul Lee stating that development has ceased on the pilot episodes for AKA Jessica Jones and The Punisher. However, work is continuing on Guillermo del Toro’s (Hellboy) live-action Hulk series (hardly surprising given the success of the character in The Avengers), although Lee wasn’t willing to offer up any firm promises about when we might expect to see the Green Goliath back on our TV sets…

…Shifting to Marvel’s animated output and this weekend sees two big cameos in the Marvel Universe programming block, with Beta Ray Bill popping up in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (images here) and Ultimate Spider-Man playing host to a guest appearance from Thor (images here). The Thor episode has been brought forward from later in the season (the intended broadcast order called for a Wolverine-centred episode this weekend), with Disney XD no doubt hoping that an appearance from the God of Thunder will help to boost the popularity of the fan-divisive series…

…On the DC animation front, you can take a look at clips from the latest episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice and DC Nation Shorts here, while a new promotional poster and clip have also been released for the upcoming ‘DC Comics Premiere Movie’ (formerly the ‘DC Universe Animated Original Movies’ line) direct-to-video feature Superman vs. The Elite, which sees George Newbern (Justice League) once again lending his voice to the Man of Steel…

…And finally, to coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the found footage super powers flick Chronicle in the States this past week, MTV Movies caught up with director Josh Trank (who is currently working on a reboot of Fantastic Four for Fox) and also got their hands on some early test footage that was shot prior to casting.

Gary Collinson

Holy Franchise, Batman! – Now available for pre-order.

  • Luke_Graham

    I'm really excited about Man of Steel. I like Zack Snyder a lot, and Michael Shannon is brilliant and would be a great villain

  • http://twitter.com/HolyFranchise HolyFranchiseBatman!

    I like Zack Snyder too, even though Sucker Punch was abysmal. Looking forward to Man of Steel though, the scene descriptions sounded great. Just hoping he doesn't overdo the slow motion and soundtrack too much.

  • Devon Bishop

    &quot;… with Disney XD no doubt hoping that the God of Thunder can help put an end to the show&#39;s recent ratings decline…&quot;<br /><br />Was that decline something that was made public ?

  • http://twitter.com/HolyFranchise HolyFranchiseBatman!

    Devon, it would seem I have confused speculation with fact and so I have corrected the article. I can only find Nielsen data for one episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, May 5th, a 0.4 – let&#39;s hope this speculation doesn&#39;t turn into fact, because that&#39;s pretty low to start with.

  • Jainsworth2700

    ENOUGH ALREADY! ENOUGH!<br /><br />Okay – catwoman is good. Black widow is good. But I am NOT satisfied. When are we going to see a Good woman superhero in a Solo Title. It is past time. I am sick of these off shoot male characters getting there own movies and shows while our hardest hitting gals have yet to be used.<br /><br />Gimme my Ms. Marvel Movie! Gimme my Wonder Woman! For the love of

  • http://twitter.com/HolyFranchise HolyFranchiseBatman!

    Probably has something to do with how awful Catwoman and Elektra were, although I imagine the long-gestating Wonder Woman film will become a reality eventually.