The Week in Spandex – Iron Man 3, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man, Kick-Ass 2 and more

Our weekly round up of the latest news stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2, Supercrooks, The Dark Knight Rises, Arrow and more…

…Disney and Marvel Studios launched Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week with the release of the first trailer for the upcoming ‘techno-thriller’ Iron Man 3, which sees Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark tackling his arch-nemesis The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley; Sexy Beast) after finding “his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands”. Judging by the trailer, that description seems accurate, it and appears that director Shane Black is set to take the series in a much darker direction than what we’ve seen so far from Marvel Studios. Iron Man 3 is set for release on April 26th, 2013 in the UK and May 3rd, 2013 in North America, with a cast that includes Guy Pearce (Prometheus) as Aldrich Killian, James Badge Dale (The Lone Ranger) as Eric Savin / Coldblood, Ashley Hamilton (Sunset Beach) as Jack Taggert / Firepower and Rebecca Hall (The Town) as Maya Hansen, alongside the returning Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Don Cheadle (James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes) and Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan). If for some strange reason you’re yet to see the trailer, you can watch it here, and be sure to check out the thoughts of Flickering Myth’s Luke Owen here

…Prior to the arrival of the trailer, Marvel released the first official image of Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin (along with a shot of War Machine in his Iron Patriot armor), while Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige later took a moment to discuss Kingsley’s portrayal of the infamous supervillain with USA Today: “On his last take of his first full day as the Mandarin, when they yelled ‘Cut!’ the entire crew burst into applause, spearheaded by Mr. Downey himself… That’s what you get when you hire Sir Ben Kingsley. He’s so excited about his part and so into this character, and frankly just scaring the heck out of everybody. They’re like, ‘You’ve broken us out of our skeptical malaise..!'”

…Now, if you want to stay away from any potential spoilers for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, you may want to skip the next couple of paragraphs, as stuntman Andrew Lawden discussed both films and dropped a host of potential plot points on the Bombad Radio Podcast (via /FILM). We’ll start things off with Iron Man 3: “Well, there’s going to be a big fight sequence with The Mandarin, who’s the main villain, which will involve none other than forty different Iron Man suits. There’s an amazing rescue where The Mandarin basically wants to bring down the American government and kill the President, and he launches an attack on Air Force One. All of them – the President and his men and staff – get sucked out of the plane, and Iron Man rescues them by forming this amazing human chain in the sky… There’s some pretty spectacular stuff that goes on. There’s an amazing sequence where he has this rooftop house that he builds to store all his Iron Man suits, and it gets attacked by The Mandarin and these gunships […] I was shocked to discover there are like forty Iron Man suits written into this feature in various ways…so that’s going to be pretty impressive. But apparently he needs this Iron Man army to go up against The Mandarin’s forces…”

…With much of Lawden’s comments about the Iron Man sequel supported by the trailer, it would seem there’s a good chance his Thor: The Dark World descriptions could be on the money too; if so, be warned – there’s a pretty big spoiler in there: “Thor [Chris Hemsworth] becomes reunited with Jane [Natalie Portman] who becomes possessed by a Dark Spirit, which is connected with the Dark Elves; a race the Asgardians have fallen out with many years beforehand […] The Dark Elves attack Asgard, and they take a huge hit. So Thor has to rebuild Asgard by putting together an army to go and take the battle to the Dark Elves and defeat them. But the only way he can do this is – he needs to cross over to the Dark World, and the only person who has access to the dark side of Asgard is his old brother Loki [Tom Hiddleston], who at the beginning of the film is locked up in prison. So what happens is Thor basically has to negotiate this truce with Loki, and he goes on this great trek with Jane, all three of them. They go to this far side of Asgard, which is being shot in Iceland, where they train and assemble an army to go and attack the Dark Elves’ world. But the exclusive twist…is that one of the things that happens during the Asgardian attack is that Thor’s mother [Rene Russo] gets killed. So it becomes like a vengeance thing. And they were keeping very tight-lipped about what actually happens with Loki, you don’t know whether he redeems himself or he’s still the bad egg…”

..In other news from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a casting notice for Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man has suggested that filming on the long-awaited adaptation will get underway in the UK this coming January ahead of the films release on November 6th, 2015; Frank Grillo (Gangster Squad, Zero Dark Forty) is reportedly being lined up by directors Anthony and Joe Russo to join Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie in the cast of 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where it’s said he could portray Crossbones – the villain best known for carrying out the assassination of Captain America in the aftermath of Marvel Comics’ ‘Civil War’ storyline; and turning to the small screen, Joss Whedon’s S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series has found its first new recruit, with Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe, Eureka) joining Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson in the role of Agent Melinda May, “an ace pilot, a weapons expert and a soldier who can – and has – gone beyond the call of duty…”

…In addition to the arrival of the Iron Man 3 trailer, the other big talking point this week was the news that X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn has decided to pass on helming Fox’s upcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past. Vaughn officially signed on to the sequel in January, but the British filmmaker is notoriously choosy over his projects, having pulled out of both Thor and X-Men: First Class (before returning to the latter, obviously) in the past; however, with Days of Future Past set for release on July 18th, 2014, the studio now face a rush to secure a replacement, much like they did earlier this year when Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt opted to pass on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Fox were quick to bring in Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) on the Apes sequel, and if reports are to be believed, the studio has already set its sights on convincing First Class and Days of Future Past producer Bryan Singer to return to the director’s chair for the latest instalment of the series he launched back in 2000 with the original X-Men movie (along with its 2003 sequel, X2: X-Men United)…

…Sticking with the X-Men universe and director James Mangold has spoken about next year’s solo offering The Wolverine, revealing that Hugh Jackman’s latest outing as Logan will take place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand: “Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all. Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him. hat’s something that for me was very important, that I land in a very specific place in his timeline. I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it. The ideas of immortality reign very heavily in this story and the burden of immortality weighs heavily on Logan. For me that’s such an interesting part of Logan’s character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie…”

…There’s also been rumours this past week that Famke Janssen had flown out to Australia to reprise her role as Jean Grey for a cameo in The Wolverine, which given Mangold’s comments about the filming being a sequel to the earlier X-Men movies, would naturally have to occur during a flashback or dream sequence. Elsewhere, Empire Magazine also debuted a new shot of Hugh Jackman as a pre-adamantium Wolverine (which you can see in the paragraph above), while Mangold and Jackman are set to take part in a live chat on YouTube this coming Monday (October 29th), during which they’ll answer questions from fans, as well as featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the forthcoming film…

…Moving on to Universal’s upcoming comic book adaptation Kick-Ass 2, and Kick-Ass co-creator Mark Millar had taken to the Millarworld forums to report from the set of the sequel, while director Jeff Wadlow tweeted the logo of The Toxic Mega-C*nts – a gang of vicious supervillains led by Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s The Mother F*cker (formerly Red Mist) and featuring the likes of Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), The Tumor (Andy Nyman) and Red Mist’s bodyguard, Javier (John Leguizamo)…

…Millar has also updated the status of another upcoming Millarworld adaptation, Supercrooks, confirming that the project is moving ahead, with Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) his number one choice for the character of Johnny Bolt: “We’ve got a great director, a great screenplay and as of Christmas we’ll have time to start prepping this sucker. Who we gonna call? Bradley Cooper. I am literally calling up his guys tomorrow and want to secure him as Johnny Bolt. It’s about TIME he did a super-movie and having him as a likeable super-villain in a super-heist flick sounds about perfect. He’s our ideal choice and we’re going to pursue this tomorrow…”

…After all the recent talk about Justice League, things have fallen pretty quiet on Warner Bros.’ upcoming superhero slate, although Collider did post an interview with David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel), during which the screenwriter flatly denied the rumours of there being a lot of deleted scenes from the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises

…Despite a slight drop in the ratings this past Wednesday, the DC Comics adaptation Arrow continues to perform well for The CW, leaving network executives impressed enough to pick up the series for a full 22-episode season run. Looking ahead to future episodes and some new images of The Royal Flush Gang have popped up online, while Jessica De Gouw has spoken about her upcoming debut as Helena Bertinelli, a.k.a. The Huntress during an interview with PerthNow

…And finally, the season finale of Marvel Animation’s Ultimate Spider-Man airs on Disney XD in the States tomorrow, with the episode introducing Spidey’s arch-nemesis, The Green Goblin. If you want to check out his new look (which is hideous, by the way), then take a look at this clip:

Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen – Available now via and

Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.

  • James O’Brien

    Here&#39;s my casting picks for Ant-Man:<br /> *Ant-Man / Henry Pym – Nathan Fillion<br /> *The Wasp – Keira Knightley<br /><br />