The Week in Spandex – Man of Steel, Justice League, X-Men, Iron Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and more

Our weekly round up of the latest news stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Man of Steel, Justice League, The Dark Knight Rises, The Wolverine, Deadpool, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Arrow, Wonder Woman, DC Nation and more…

Over the past week the Hollywood studios have been giving us a look at some of 2013’s biggest blockbusters including Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, After Earth, The Lone Ranger, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Pacific Rim, but for comic book movie fans the big talking point was of course the release of the new theatrical trailer for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel. Running at just under two-and-a-half minutes, the trailer delivered our first look at Amy Adams (The Fighter) as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as Martha Kent, Russell Crowe (Les Miserables) as Jor-El, Ayelet Zurer (Angels and Demons) as Lara Lor-Van and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) as Perry White. On top of that, the trailer also featured the reveal of Michael Shannon’s (Boardwalk Empire) villain General Zod, courtesy of a brief close-up, in addition to a shot of Zod and Henry Cavill’s (Immortals) Superman flying head-on towards each other at break-neck speed. Judging by the trailer, it certainly looks like director Zack Snyder (Watchmen) is set to deliver some epic action set pieces, but – as Martin Deer stated in his reaction to the trailer – it would seem that Man of Steel is also going to offer a much deeper story as we explore how a young farm boy from Kansas goes on to become the greatest hero the world has ever known…

…During an interview with The Playlist, Superman: The Movie and Superman II star Terence Stamp reminisced about his time as the Kryptonian supervillain, as well as offering a few words of advice for his successor in Man of Steel, while Amy Adams spoke to Deadline about her approach to Lois Lane in the upcoming reboot: “I grew up with Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, so I didn’t want to try and be that version. Zack [Snyder] said that he wanted to play for more realism. There’s definitely still banter [with Superman]. She’s tough, modern, and more contemporary. There’s also a lot more action than I’ve seen in my career…”

..A while ago it was reported that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was being lined up to reprise the role of John Blake from The Dark Knight Rises to don the cape and cowl as Batman in Justice League, which would be set up by a surprise appearance in Man of Steel. JGL’s reps immediately denied the story but TDKR director Christopher Nolan refused to put an end to the speculation this past week by offering an inconclusive answer to Movieline when asked if there was any truth in the reports: “I can’t talk about that. You know that…” Meanwhile, younger brother Jonathan Nolan took part in an interview with Empire, during which he discussed his thoughts on all things Dark Knight, including John Blake, Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle), along with his thoughts on the Justice League movie and Marvel’s The Avengers

…After declaring that Darkseid has been selected as the villain for WB’s superhero ensemble (a report that remains as-yet-unconfirmed), the folks at Latino Review were back with another Justice League rumour this week, claiming that the plot for Will Beall’s (Gangster Squad) script has taken inspiration from Gerry Conway’s work on Justice League of America – specifically issues 183-185, which saw the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America teaming up to prevent Darkseid from destroying Earth and moving Apokolips into its place. Of course, even if the report is accurate, with Justice League yet to find itself a director there’s every chance the story could change between now and the film’s proposed 2015 release date…

…Somewhat conspicuous by its absence amid the recent overload of trailers for next year’s summer offerings was 20th Century Fox’s next X-Men offering, the solo sequel The Wolverine., which is due to arrive in cinemas in July 2013. According to director James Mangold (Knight and Day), we’ll likely have to wait until February to get our first look at Hugh Jackman’s latest outing, which sees Logan venturing to Japan for an adaptation of the classic 1982 comic book arc by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with a new motion poster, which you can also convert into your very own customised Facebook timeline cover photo here

…If you’re lucky you may have managed to repress any memories of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and in particular director Gavin Hood’s treatment of Deadpool, who was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds before being transformed in Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) as Weapon XI [and if that's the case, sincere apologies for reminding you of the horrors with that image to the right]. Anyway, if you’ve got the stomach for it, you might want to check out a newly-released video from VFX company Amalgamated Dynamics consisting of 82 alternative designs for the Merc With The Mouth – but be warned, they’re all atrocious…

…Elsewhere in the X-Men universe, Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United) has become the latest name to express an interest in returning for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, the actor told Coming Soon that he’d heard Nightcrawler doesn’t appear in the script for the forthcoming sequel, which has been written by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand) and the X-Men: First Class pairing of Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman and is based on the 1981 comic book arc by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Meanwhile concept artist Matthew Savage (Doctor Who) released some images of his design work for X-Men: First Class via Film Sketcher, which includes alternative costumes for Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Havok (Lucas Till), along with some interior designs for Sebastian Shaw’s (Kevin Bacon) submarine…

…Moving on to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Chinese actor Wang Xueqi (Bodyguards and Assassins) has finally been confirmed as joining the cast of Shane Black’s (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) Iron Man 3, where he will play the role of Dr. Wu (who is thought to be Chen Lu, a.k.a. Radioactive Man). With a little over four months to go until the film hits cinemas, cameras are still rolling on Iron Man 3 as the production shifted to Beijing for a week of filming; in addition to two official images featuring Dr. Wu, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), ComicBookMovie also got its hands on some set photos from the Beijing shoot, which you can check out here and here

…In other bits and pieces from the MCU, Zachary Levi (Chuck) spoke to E! Online about replacing Thor star Josh Dallas as Fandral in director Alan Taylor’s (Game of Thrones) sequel, while Idris Elba answered a few questions about returning to the role of Heimdall for the currently-in-production Thor: The Dark World while attending the British Independent Film Awards last weekend; it seems that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers is going to enjoy plenty of female company in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Scarlett Johansson already confirmed as reprising the role of Black Widow and the London Evening Standard suggesting that Captain America: The First Avenger’s Hayley Attwell will also return as Peggy Carter. Meanwhile, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (A Good Day to Die Hard) denied reports that she’s the front-runner for the new female lead (thought to be that of Sharon Carter / Agent 13) during a chat with HeyUGuys, although she admitted that she’s open to appearing in a superhero movie “if it was the right part”; and finally CBM interviewed Joss Whedon regular Damion Poitier (Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse), who discussed his ultra-secretive mid-credits appearance in The Avengers as the Mad Titan, Thanos…

…Now that the cast of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has pretty much fallen into place, Sony is gearing up to begin production on the Marc Webb-directed sequel this February, and a new casting call has arrived online seeking extras for a funeral sequence, which of course suggests that we might get to see the demise of a beloved character. Elsewhere, Jamie Foxx spoke briefly to Access Hollywood about his casting as Electro during the Django Unchained premiere, while original Spider-Man trilogy actress Kirsten Dunst gave the seal of approval to Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) as her successor as Mary Jane Watson and a claim from stuntman/actor Asim Ahmad (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) that he was set to appear in the follow-up as Professor Michael Morbius (a.k.a Morbius the Living Vampire) was shot down by SuperHeroHype

…The CW’s latest superhero series Arrow is currently on a break after the midseason finale aired this past Wednesday, and it seems that Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen will find himself getting a new sidekick when the show resumes early next year, with TV Guide revealing that Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf) has been cast as Roy Harper, better know as Speedy / Arsenal / Red Arrow. The character will be introduced as a love interest to Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland), and is described as “a handsome, street-savvy, teenager from ‘the Glades,’ the harsh, poverty-stricken portion of Starling City…”

…Warner Bros. released the 1974 TV movie Wonder Woman on DVD this past week, which featured former professional tennis player Cathy Lee Crosby as the first live-action incarnation of the Amazon Princess, and Crosby took a moment to reflect on the role during an interview with CBM: “I would have thought they would have gone with a brunette, but then I realized that the original movie was actually jointly owned by Warner Bros. and ABC. From what I understand, Warner Bros. wanted to do it more James Bond and ABC wanted to do it more comic book. So I guess it went halfway down the middle, because in a lot of ways this Wonder Woman was more like a female James Bond. For me, it was an interesting opportunity and an amazing character. I think she was capable and she had all of these great tools. she kind of had fun with the whole thing; she could do whatever she needed to do and was completely what you would think of as a superhero. She tried to right wrongs, and who wouldn’t love to be able to do that? And then when you’re in trouble, you call upon your bracelets or your lasso to pull you through. I loved that concept, and the fact that her enemies would try to stop her in every way that she could and he was able to meet the challenge. I think that’s a great image to represent…”

…And finally, following its abrupt pulling of DC Nation from its schedule a couple of months back, Cartoon Network has announced that new episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice: Invasion will resume on January 5th, along with all-new animated shorts featuring characters from the DC Comics universe. DC Nation will also receive two new additions later next year, with Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go! set to replace Green Lantern and Young Justice following the conclusion of their respective seasons.

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

Gary Collinson


Around the Internet…