The Week in Spandex – The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel Phase Two, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Hellboy 3, Lobo, The Punisher and more

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

Just over seven years after the journey began, the curtain fell on Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy yesterday with release of The Dark Knight Rises, although sadly the arrival of the much-anticipated blockbuster has been marred by the awful tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Originally the majority of this week’s column was planned as a celebration of the closing chapter of The Dark Knight Rises, but after yesterday’s appalling events the film is now in the headlines due to the senseless actions of a sick and twisted individual. Certain sections of the press already appear intent on demonising Batman at a time when our thoughts should be with the victims and their families, so we will be keeping The Dark Knight Rises coverage brief this week. If you’re interested in my take on the film – which I found to be a solid ★★★★★ movie and a fitting end to one of the finest movie trilogies of all-time – you can read my review here, and be sure to check out the thoughts of Flickering Myth co-editor Oli Davis

…The Dark Knight’s big screen adventure may have come to an end (until the reboot, anyway), but the Caped Crusader will be returning to our TV sets next year with a new animated series entitled Beware the Batman, which featured heavily in Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network’s DC Nation panel at Comic-Con last Saturday. Among the highlights were the unveiling of some concept art, as well as details of the voice cast, which includes Anthony Ruivivar (Tropic Thunder) as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Sumalee Montano (Transformers Prime) as Katana, JB Blanc (The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) as Alfred Pennyworth and Kurtwood Smith (RoboCop) as Lt. James Gordon…

Beware the Batman was also joined in the DC Nation presentation by several of Cartoon Network’s other superhero-themed shows, and you can watch a season two preview of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, a sizzle reel for Young Justice, and a preview of the latest batch of DC Nation Shorts here

…Switching back to Warner Bros.’ live-action DC adaptations and Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel was also unveiled at Comic-Con last Saturday; as well as a teaser poster featuring Henry Cavill’s Superman, fans in attendance were also treated to the first footage from the film (check out a recap here), while a shorter teaser trailer was released to cinemas yesterday alongside The Dark Knight Rises (watch here it here)…

…Warner Bros. may have had Man of Steel, but Marvel Studios stole a march on their superhero rivals with their presence at Comic-Con, using the Iron Man 3 panel to officially announced ‘Phase Two’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Check out our Marvel Comic-Con round-up here, which includes official logos for the Phase Two line-up, concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy, and a look at Tony Stark’s latest Iron Man armor…

…In other recent bits and pieces from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sebastian Stan has been confirmed as reprising his role as Bucky Barnes (and presumably The Winter Soldier) in Captain America 2, while Anthony Mackie is also said to be in negotiations to join Chris Evans’ Cap as his new side-kick, Falcon. Elsewhere some spy photos from the Iron Man 3 production showed the filming of an impressive aerial rescue stunt, while comments from British stuntman James Grogan has led to speculation that Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder will find himself up against Dark Elves in next year’s Thor sequel…

…Marvel also hosted a television panel at Comic-Con, which included footage from the upcoming animated shows Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Avengers Assemble, in addition to the announcement of several ‘Marvel Knights’ motion comics – Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, Wolverine: Origins by Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert, Eternals by Neil Gaiman and John Romita, Jr., Wolverine: Weapon X by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, and Ron Garney, and Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu; check out a trailer for the latest batch of motion comics here. Meanwhile, MTV SplashPage caught up with Guillermo del Toro, who updated the status of his planned live-action Hulk series: “I have had a couple of minutes with Marvel since The Avengers, and they have the screenplay… We’re waiting for a particular writer to do a rewrite on the pilot. That’s where we are right now. But we’re still on…”

…It seems that Guillermo del Toro has also set his sights on a third instalment in the Hellboy franchise, having been impressed by Ron Perlman’s recent charity efforts where he donned the red Ted Danson make-up again to visit two young Hellboy fans on behalf of the Make A Wish Foundation. “I can say publicly that now we are together in trying [to do Hellboy 3]” del Toro told EW. “We’re going to make an effort to do it. I hope it happens…”

…The Punisher may be facing an uncertain future following the recent collapse of Marvel’s planned TV series, but Thomas Jane has given fans something to help tide them over by reprising the role of Frank Castle for the unofficial short Dirty Laundry. It’s brutal, it’s bloody, and it’s also got Ron Perlman in it. Take a look here

…Earlier in the week Jessica Biel (Blade: Trinity) was in talks with Fox to join the cast of The Wolverine as Viper, but of course nothing’s ever simple where The Wolverine is concerned and with negotiations breaking down, the studio has now offered the role to Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Providing the deal goes through, it will be down to Hugh Jackman to provide the star power in a cast that includes Will Yun Lee (Total Recall), Brian Tee (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai) and Hal Yamanouchi (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), and newcomers Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto…

…In other X-Men news, screenwriter Simon Kinberg spoke briefly about Fox’s X-Men: First Class sequel in an interview with SuperHeroHype: “The things that we thought worked well in First Class were the characters, especially the four or five lead characters. The Charles – Erik relationship was obviously incredibly resonant and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did such an amazing job as those characters. Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, that’s a really interesting relationship between Raven and Hank, so we’re really going to be focusing on character and personally I really liked the period aspect of First Class so we may well do that…”

…It seems that Fox also hold the key to any potential return for director Marc Webb on the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man, with Columbia Pictures chief Doug Belgrad telling THR that: “We’d really like [Webb], but there are obstacles. He has an obligation to Fox [for a post-(500) Days of Summer film]…”

…A couple of months back there was talk that The Rock Dwayne Johnson was being lined up as a candidate for the lead in Warner Bros.’ proposed Lobo movie, and Johnson took to Twitter to confirm that “rumours of [him] possibly playing Lobo are true… Joel Silver and Brad Peyton working on it now. That could be fun…”

…And finally, with Christopher Nolan moving onto pastures new, one filmmaker who certainly won’t be picking up the reigns on the Batman franchise – nor any other comic book property for that matter – is Peter Jackson, who took a few moments during the SDCC Q&A for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to reveal that he has absolutely no interest in jumping on the superhero bandwagon: “I’ve never actually read a comic in my life… That’s a lie. I did read The Walking Dead in the last year or two, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I’ve never read a superhero comic. I’ve literally never turned a single page of a single superhero comic.”

Holy Franchise, Batman! – Available now via Amazon.

Hands down this is by far the most comprehensive guide to Batman on screen available” – Mark Cassidy,

Holy Franchise, Batman! makes the bold claim of being ‘the Caped Crusader fan’s bible’, and lives up to its assertion” – Rob Smedley,

Gary Collinson

  • Flapship

    What will happen in Marvel Phase Two? Find out here! <br />

  • TimothyMarkin

    Peter Jackson has obviously read comics besides Walking Dead, as everyone knows he still has his childhood Tintin comic books!