The Week in Spandex – The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Man of Steel, Justice League, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, DC Nation, Arrow and more

Our weekly round up of the latest news stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Spider-Man, Man of Steel, Justice League, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, DC Nation, Arrow and more…

Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy

Welcome to the 100th edition of The Week in Spandex, and the first of 2013! We’ll get things underway with Marvel’s ‘big space epic’ Guardians of the Galaxy, which has been subject to intense casting speculation this past week. First up came talk that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could be set to swap the world of Gotham City for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with The Dark Knight Rises star said to be high on Marvel’s shortlist for the role of Star-Lord, the half-human half-alien leader of the intergalactic superhero team. JGL became the latest – and highest-profile – name to join the likes of Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), John Krasinski (The Office), Zachary Levi (Thor: The Dark World), James Marsden (X-Men), Lee Pace (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) and Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas) as a rumoured candidate, while Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) also revealed that he’s tested for the role, having previously worked with director James Gunn (Super) on the comedy series PG Porn. Meanwhile a subsequent report claimed that Marvel may have tested “a former Superman” – presumably, Rosenbaum’s Smallville co-star Tom Welling, or Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh…

…With so many names being bandied about for Star-Lord, it’s a wonder there’s anyone left in Hollywood to fill out the remaining slots on the Guardians’ roster, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from shifting its attention to Drax the Destroyer, with Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice guy), Brian Patrick Wade (The Big Bang Theory) and former WWE star Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists) all allegedly under consideration for the role of the cosmic hero. With Guardians of the Galaxy set for release on August 1st, 2014, expect to hear some official casting news in the very near future…

Hayley Atwell Peggy Carter Captain America

…In other Marvel casting news, Time Out has confirmed that Hayley Atwell will not be joining Chris Evans (Captain America), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) by reprising the role of Peggy Carter for the 2014 solo sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At this point, it’s unclear whether directors Anthony and Joe Russo will be seeking out an older actress to portray Peggy in the present day, or whether the Steve Rogers – Peggy Carter storyline will instead be fleshed out in The Avengers 2 or Captain America 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is scheduled to hit cinemas on April 4th, 2014, with a cast that also includes The Avengers stars Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and MCU newcomers Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) as Falcon and Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Crossbones…

…Elsewhere in the MCU and despite being less than four months away from arriving in cinemas, the Shane Black-directed Iron Man 3 has returned to Beijing for reshoots involving Chinese actors Wang Xueqi (Bodyguards and Assassins) and Fan Binbing (Shaolin). Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston has briefly spoken about Thor: The Dark World, stating that he believes Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor is bringing something new to the table with November’s solo sequel: “It’s fantastic, truly. We are making an amazing film, and we’re having a wonderful time. It’s so exciting to have established characters and an established setting in the world, and we are working so hard to cook up something new. That is what is exciting to me – taking what we know, taking what we love and deepening it and giving it an extra dimension. I think director Alan Taylor is really shaping up the world of Asgard and the world of these characters…”

…Disappointed by The Amazing Spider-Man last year? Thought Sam Raimi could have delivered a much better take on The Lizard than what Marc Webb and Rhys Ifans conjured up? Then feast your eyes on this concept art for Sam Raimi’s take on the reptilian bad guy, which was produced by artist Constantine Sekeris for Spider-Man 2, back when Raimi was considering having Dylan Baker’s Dr. Curt Connors lining up with Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and James Franco’s Harry Osborn to take Tobey Maguire’s wall-crawler. You can check out a second image here – although be warned, it’s not much better…

…Moving on to Warner Bros.’ DC properties now and the studio has released a new image from its sole superhero offering of the year – and indeed, the only superhero movie that Warner Bros. has officially announced as part of its upcoming slate – Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, which features Henry Cavill’s Superman flanked by military helicopters. Man of Steel is due to hit cinemas on June 14th, with a cast that includes Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) as General Zod, Amy Adams (The Fighter) as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe (Les Miserables) as Jor-El, Kevin Costner (Hatfields & McCoys) as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane (Secretariat) as Martha Kent, Laurence Fishburne (Contagion) as Perry White…

…Of course, there’s been a tonne of speculation that Warner Bros. plans to use Man of Steel to launch its own cohesive DC movie universe, building (or should that be jumping straight in) to Justice League in 2015, and some new rumours about the proposed ensemble have arrived online this past week, which may or may not give us an indication of which characters will be lining up alongside Cavill’s Superman. According to the (unverified report), the Justice League roster will see the Man of Steel joined by Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (as Ryan Reynolds’ character from the 2010 Green Lantern movie), The Flash, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, while both Alfred Pennyworth and Lois Lane will feature in brief cameo roles…

Batman The Dark Knight Returns…While Batman’s live-action crime-fighting career is on hold post-The Dark Knight Rises, the Caped Crusader will be back in animated form later this month with the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, and you can check out the first clip from the direct-to-video movie here, which sees Batman (voiced by Peter Weller of RoboCop fame) taking on a group of Gotham’s finest. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 is set for release on Blu-ray, DVD and Download in North America on January 29th…

…After being unceremoniously pulled from the schedules last fall, DC Nation returns to Cartoon Network in the States this weekend with new episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice; take a look at a couple of clips from the shows – plus the DC Nation Shorts Thunder & Lightning – ‘Clothes Make the Hero’ and Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld – ‘Level 1: Your Quest’ over at ComicBookMovie, while Young Justice producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti took part in a Q&A on the official DC Comics site, during which they gave fans an idea of what’s in store from the upcoming episodes…

…Another DC adaptation heads back to the small screen on Wednesday as The CW’s Arrow returns from its midseason break with its tenth episode ‘Burned’, which sees the introduction of Garfield Lynns, a.k.a. Firefly, who is portrayed by Andrew Dunbar (Battlestar Galactica: Razor, SGU Stargate Universe). If you’re keen to see how the producers of Arrow have reinterpreted the character, you can see a batch of stills featuring Firefly and Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen here

…And finally, David Cronenberg caused a bit of a stir last year when he argued that “people who are saying The Dark Knight Rises is supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the f**k they’re talking about” and now The Fly and A History of Violence director has moved to clarify his comments, stating that he wasn’t referring to The Dark Knight Rises, but rather the superhero genre as a whole: “I wasn’t talking specifically about [The Dark Knight Rises] and I wasn’t criticizing it directly. What I was saying was that a comic book movie is really a comic book movie. Comic books were — especially those comic books which I was raised on (I loved Captain Marvel) — created for adolescents and they have a core that is adolescent. To me, that limits the discourse of your movie if you’re basing it accurately on that, and you cannot rise to the highest level of cinematic art. That’s my take on it. I went on to say that, of course, technically they can be incredibly interesting, since there are very clever people making the movie and of course have a lot of money they are throwing at it. But creatively, artistically, they are incredibly limited. It got bent out of shape that I was dissing Christopher Nolan, which just wasn’t the case.” So… I guess that’s one name we can rule out for Justice League.

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

Gary Collinson


Around the Internet…

  • Kratos

    I thought the Raimi Spider-man films ranged from just "ok" to "garbage". None of them impressed me. Marc Webb's Spider-man was FAR superior in my opinion. I had no problem with the Lizard in Webb's movie.

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

    I was a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man, but not too keen on the Lizard. I didn't think he was terrible, but the weakest part of the film in my opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.d.stokes.3 Anthony Donovan Stokes

    Amazing Spiderman was meh on the level of green lantern while the originals are still 2 of the best superhero or action movies ever made. That said let's not forget this concept art is a few years old and is actually terrifying. The Amazing Spiderman had the worst better special effects i've seen in a reboot.

  • Mike C.

    Just watched DKRises for 1st time this weekend. I did not care for it. Now I'm worried about the story for MOSteel; hope Snyder has total freedom to change things if needed.

  • Spidey Fan

    Methinks Raimi's Spider-Man was your introduction to the character.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.d.stokes.3 Anthony Donovan Stokes

    Nope. I read the original run on the comics plus the ultimates. And I see you're leading into a whole "read the comic book" Nope I'm judging the movie based of the movie and how well it captures the spirit of the comic as opposed to how closely it resembles the comics story.