The Week in Spandex – The Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Man of Steel, Arrow, Powers and more

Our weekly round up of all the latest news stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers 2, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Black Panther, The Inhumans, S.H.I.E.L.D., The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Man of Steel, Heaven Sent, Arrow, Powers and more…

…Disney may have been a little preoccupied this week with its shock purchase of Lucasfilm and the subsequent announcement of Star Wars Episode VII, but that didn’t mean that the studio’s other billion-dollar property was left completely in the cold, with Marvel Studios releasing a new image of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) from Iron Man 3, as well as confirming that Frank Grillo (Gangster Squad, Zero Dark Thirty) has officially joined the cast of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the villain Crossbones. Grillo subsequently appeared on The Matthew Aaron Show to discuss his casting, revealing that Crossbones is set to appear in three movies in total, with the host suggesting this would include The Avengers 2 and Captain America 3. If true, it seems that Marvel could be eying the an adaptation of ‘The Death of Captain America’ story arc somewhere down the line…

…Along with news of Grillo’s casting, it’s also been confirmed that Cobie Smulders will join The Avengers reunion on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, reprising her role as Agent Maria Hill alongside Chris Evans’ Cap, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Sebastian Stan will also return as Bucky Barnes (a.k.a. The Winter Soldier) from Captain America: The First Avenger, with Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) joining the cast as Cap’s new sidekick Sam Wilson / Falcon. Meanwhile The Daily Express claims that Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) has emerged as the favourite ahead of Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four), Imogen Poots (Fright Night) and Alison Brie (Mad Men) to secure the film’s female lead, which is thought to be that of Sharon Carter / Agent 13…

…While Disney and Marvel Studios seem to have plenty on their hands at the moment with ‘Phase Two’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Stan Lee has took a moment to touch upon further expansions to the MCU, revealing during a recent interview (via ComicBookMovie) that: “I can tell you there will definitely be a Doctor Strange movie! They are working on Ant-Man, which requires really small cameras! Black Panther is being developed, one of my favourites… The Inhumans… All the heroes will eventually be made into movies.” With thousands of characters at Disney’s disposal, that’s going to be a hell of a lot of movies…

…According to a casting notice on TV Show Auditions, filming will get underway on Marvel Television and ABC’s upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot this coming January, with Joss Whedon directing a cast that so far includes Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson and Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe) as Agent Melinda May. Furthermore, it states that S.H.I.E.L.D. “will be independent from The Avengers film, and people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies can jump right in and understand the storylines. There will generally be new characters and agents who are not superheroes, and even though they are a large organization, they will be underdogs since they still exist in that superhero universe.” Of course, there’s every chance the casting notice could be wrong, given that it describes Whedon as an Academy Award-winner, and the director of Thor

…Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold took a break from filming on The Wolverine to take part in a live chat with fans about Fox’s next X-Men offering, with Jackman promising that the upcoming sequel will adopt a much different approach to his previous outings, exploring Wolverine’s immortality and inner rage as opposed to the character’s mysterious past. Following the live chat (which you can watch here), Fox also released the first official poster, while a few new set photos have emerged featuring Jackman and a bunch of ninjas hanging about on a snow-covered set; check them out here

…Sticking with Fox’s X-Men franchise and the studio has moved fast to replace X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn on the forthcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Bryan Singer officially signing on to return to the franchise he launched with 2000′s X-Men and its acclaimed 2003 sequel X2: X-Men United. So far, only James McAvoy (Professor Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) have been confirmed as appearing in Days of Future Past, but Singer’s appointment has of course ramped up speculation that the First Class sequel will incorporate cast members from the original X-Men trilogy, with Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier) and Famke Janssen (Jean Grey) having already hinted at potential roles and the likes of Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) and Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) also expressing their interest in returning to the franchise…

…It’s been rumoured for a while now that Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawler would come up against Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and now director Marc Webb has confirmed that the villain will make his big screen debut in the forthcoming sequel, with Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) entering talks with Sony and Columbia to portray the classic Spidey bad guy. Meanwhile, Webb has also spoken briefly about his plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, stating that the sequel will continue to explore Peter’s story with his parents, as well as confirming that Oscorp will continue to play a crucial role in the rebooted Spider-Man universe…

…Moving on to Warner Bros.’ upcoming superhero slate and an animated logo for Man of Steel arrived online this past week, which was said to be taken either from the opening credits or an upcoming trailer from the Zack Snyder-directed Superman reboot. There is of course the possibility that the animated could be fan made, but considering the original video has now been removed, maybe it’s genuine after all. Judge for yourself here. Meanwhile, director Zack Snyder has refused to be drawn into talk about potential sequels to Man of Steel, telling E!Online that “we like to take it one step at a time and not curse anything. It’s that kind of thing so we’ll see what happens…”

…It’s no secret that Warner Bros. is looking to capitalise on the success of Marvel’s The Avengers by bringing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and company together for its very own superhero team-up Justice League, but a new rumour this week has suggested that Justice League isn’t only DC Comics ensemble on the studio’s radar, with Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy) said to be keen to bring together all the magical beings from the DC universe for an ‘epic adventure’ entitled Heaven Sent. According to Latino Review, the Pacific Rim director is looking at a line-up that includes the likes of Deadman, Etrigan the Demon, Hellblazer, Phantom Stranger, Sargon the Sorcerer, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Zatanna and Zatara, but with several projects already on his slate (including Pinocchio and the long-rumoured Hellboy 3), it’s unlikely that Heaven Sent will hit screens any time soon…

…Over the next few weeks a number of familiar faces from the pages of DC Comics will make their first appearance in The CW’s hit new superhero series Arrow, with Deathstroke (Jeffrey Robinson) making his debut in Wednesday’s episode ‘Damaged’ [watch a short promo here], followed by the arrival of another costumed crime-fighter, The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw), on November 28th [along with debuting the first-look image of the character to the right - which seems to have taken some inspiration from The Dark Knight Rises' Catwoman - EW also caught up with executive producer Andrew Kreisberg to discuss the character]. Meanwhile, it’s also been announced that Andrew Dunbar (Battlestar Galactica: Razor, SGU Stargate Universe) has secured the role of Firefly, and will be heating things up for Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen in the series’ tenth episode, ‘Burned’…

…And finally, Latino Review posted a report this week claiming that FX had shot a second pilot episode for its proposed adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers (which centres on a team of law enforcers in a world where superheroes and supervillains are commonplace), only for it to be met with disapproval from the powers that be at the network. However, Bendis subsequently took to Twitter to shoot down the claims, stating that: “Reports in Latino Review about the Powers pilot are 100% false. Every name and fact are incorrect… We’ve a ways to go to get Powers on the air but as I tweeted last week, good news JUST happened. Stay tuned. FX will announce stuff when ready.”

Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen – Available now via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Gary Collinson


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