The Week in Spandex – Marvel’s Phase Two and Beyond, The X-Men Universe, Man of Steel, Arrow, Batman and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Black Panther, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Heroes for Hire, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Man of Steel, Arrow, Amazon, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, DC Nation, Ultimate Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and more…

Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow Iron Man 3Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets underway in just a few short months with the release of Iron Man 3 and a new image has arrived online showing a suited up Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), while Don Cheadle (War Machine) told Collider that the cast and crew are heading to Los Angeles for what must surely be the last round of filming on the Shane Black-directed solo sequel. Cheadle also offered up the following ‘spoiler': “I’m not supposed to say that he kills Robert Downey Jr.’s character. Is that a spoiler? That would be a spoiler. You knew that was coming. You read the comic books. No. I will just say that the buddy relationship that these guys have gets tighter. The third act set piece for the big finale is bigger and badder. It’s just a lot more…”

…Sticking with War Machine for a moment and it seems that Marvel may have intended for the character to kill Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer at the end of Iron Man 2, with ComicBookMovie posting a series of storyboards from artist John Mann showing Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) taking control of Rhodey’s armor and gunning down Hammer at the Stark Expo…

…Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder is going to have his hands full this November as he squares off against Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) and Algrim the Strong / Kurse (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) in Thor: The Dark World, and AAA has been speaking about his dual role this week, revealing quite a lot about what we can expect from his character in the Alan Taylor-directed sequel: “I got a massive opportunity to play two characters in the movie: Algrim and Kurse… It’s going to be such an epic. And both of the characters; I have blonde hair, blue eyes, pointed ears, fangs, horns; everything you could want as boy in an action hero movie. It’s amazing. The fighting was really demanding. For instance, Kurse is the one that does all the fighting. It’s forty pounds of extra weight and the good thing about it is that it’s very flexible and elastic. I have a routine before I put it on: I stretch and do all my pilates. You see this big creature doing pilates, it’s great. And then we’d have to go fight. Me and Chris [Hemsworth] go toe-to-toe… [Thor and Kurse] fight differently. Chris has his hammer while Kurse is very animalistic, he’s got horns. So I tried to go with that flow. My movements are [basically] like an animal: twisting my body, turning my head, all kinds of things. Kurse is meant to be extremely powerful, nothing can stop him. It’s a great ride. There’s fights everything in the movie. Loki gets his fair share of fights; [one of which] is between him and I as well. The great thing about Kurse is he is having it with everybody. But yes, Loki has some amazing fights. [Fans] are really gonna be happy with this movie. Everybody gets their little shine. I won’t tell you what really happens, but there’s some great surprises…” Akinnuoye-Agbaje also went on to reveal that he’s been talking to Marvel about another upcoming role (presumably relating Guardians of the Galaxy), as well as expressing his desire to play Black Panther; read more here

Thanos The Avengers

…Marvel has officially announced that Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy will both receive 3D releases when they hit cinemas next year, while a Disney press release included two brief synopses: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER will pick up where Marvel’s The Avengers leaves off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world” and “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, based on the Marvel comic books of the same name, features an unlikely cast of characters who must team up in order to defeat a cosmic force of epic proportions.” So, that’s Thanos then, surely..?

…You’d think that between Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2 that Disney and Marvel Studios have enough on their hands with Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that hasn’t stop them from drawing up plans for their third round of movies; already confirmed to arrive after The Avengers 2 is Edgar Wright’s long-in-development Ant-Man adaptation, and while Marvel have plenty of properties to choose from for Phase Three (see Black Panther, Blade, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, The Inhumans, The Punisher and Runaways, to name but a few), Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb has now teased the possibility of another superhero team making their debut in the MCU: “Just like we just announced Guardians of the Galaxy, we are certainly looking at the Heroes for Hire franchise which is Luke Cage and Iron Fist…”

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine…With Disney and Marvel Studios pushing full steam ahead on the MCU, it’s easy to forget that another shared Marvel universe is about to step up a gear over at 20th Century Fox as the studio attempts to replicate the success of The Avengers with its X-Men franchise. First up comes the latest solo outing for Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, and while we’re still waiting on that first trailer, Fox may have paved the way for its arrival with the release of a new still featuring Logan in his new Japanese surroundings…

…Having only recently wrapped The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman is set to don the claws once more this spring as filming gets underway on X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Bryan Singer bringing together members of the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men: First Class casts for an adaptation of the classic 1982 comic book arc. So far confirmed alongside the Les Miserables star are Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as Professor Xavier, Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Beast, while Jackman tells The Daily Mail to expect plenty more additions to the ensemble cast: “You wouldn’t have enough room on the page after you’ve listed them all. Every other actor who’s ever put on a superhero uniform will be in it. There’s an element of time travel and, naturally, it will be action-packed…”

…During an interview with SciFi Now, Fox’s Marvel creative consultant Mark Millar offered up a few thoughts on how Wolverine should be utilised in the studio’s X-Men universe: “You don’t want to have him out there all the time, because I think if you’ve got him in X-Men and Wolverine movies and they’re all running at the same time, it’s a little bit too much but as long as you’re smart with it and there’s a lot of other characters to explore as well. The X-Men universe is about the same size as the Marvel universe in terms of the number of titles it sustains at any one time, so there’s a ton of stuff to play with there and a lot of characters I’d like to explore there too…”

Green Goblin Gwen Stacy

…According to a report over at HitFlix, Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawler could find himself going up against his arch-enemy the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, although instead of Norman Osborn under the mask it will be his son Harry, portrayed by Chronicle star Dane DeHaan, with director John Krokidas apparently introducing DeHaan as the Goblin during a Q&A at the premiere of Kill Your Darlings; Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) is also set tangle with Spidey as Electro, while Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) will play Mary Jane Watson and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben) and Sally Field (Aunt May) will all reprise their roles from last year’s reboot when filming gets underway next month…

…While Marvel seem to be dominating the superhero movie headlines with a tonne of upcoming projects, Warner Bros. does have one DC Comics adaptation set to hit the screen this year in Man of Steel, and Russell Crowe had a few words about the Zack Snyder-directed Superman reboot earlier this week: “It’s very complicated, it’s really complex. I don’t think anybody has really tried to get into the psychology of what it must be like to be Superman and what people would really respond like in a modern society if somebody like that just popped up. I think Zack Snyder was given a great deal of responsibilty because when it comes to comic book heroes and superhero films the top of the food chain is Superman. I think the biggest indicator for me of how it’s looking is that the financier of the film has sent me gushing emails, he just loves it. “I’m really looking foward to seeing it, it’s a massive undertaking. It takes you on the ground to Krypton, it takes you to a planet where the sun is four times larger than ours and you get to experience that stuff and if you’ve seen the trailers you realize that this Superman is not just floating through the air held up by a wire, this Superman is super sonic. I’m really looking forward to the way that people will respond to it…”

Seth Gabel Count Vertigo Arrow

…The CW’s Arrow returned from its midseason break on Wednesday as Firely arrived in Starling City, and now we have our first look at another familiar DC face set to guest star in an upcoming episode, with TV Guide releasing the first images of Seth Gabel (Fringe) as The Count (a.k.a. Count Vertigo). The Huffington Post also caught up with executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti for a lengthy chat about what’s in store for Stephen Amell’s Emerald Archer during remainder of the season, including comments on Slade Wilson / Deathstroke (Manu Bennett), The Dodger (James Callis) and Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), the return of Deadshot (Michael Rowe) and The Huntress (Jessica De Gouw), and the future of the Dark Archer (John Barrowman), Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Thea Queen (Willa Hollan) and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy)…

…With the success of Arrow, The CW is looking to increase its superhero output and network president Mark Pedowitz took the chance to update the status of the currently-in-development Wonder Woman pilot Amazon during the Television Critics Assocation’s winter press tour: “We haven’t thought about her in terms of Wonder Woman. We’re waiting to see the script and are busy casting Diana. I have not seen [David E. Kelley's pilot] but this is an origination story Smallville.” Meanwhile, if STV is to be believed, Scottish actress Amy Manson (Torchwood, Being Human) is in the running for the role of the Amazon Princess and has already made it through two stages of auditions…

…Pedowitz also discussed the possibility of The CW exploring other DC characters on the small screen, although Batman fans hoping to see the Caped Crusader returning to television following the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises will be disappointed to hear that the character remains off limits: “At this time, no [we can't create a Batman show]. And regarding your next question, regarding is Batman going to make a trip to Starling City, they’re not in the same state…”

The Joker in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2…With just over a week go to until the North American Blu-ray and DVD release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2, Warner Bros. has released a new clip from the animated movie featuring the Dark Knight on horseback as he rallies the Sons of Batman [see here], in addition to new images of Batman (Peter Weller), The Joker (Michael Emerson) and Superman (Mark Valley) and video interviews with their respective voice actors [see here]…

…Head over to The World’s Finest for a selection of images and clips from this weekend’s DC Nation offerings Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, the latter of which sees Sinestro making his long-awaited debut, voiced by DC animation regular (and Hellboy) Ron Perlman…

…Shifting over to Marvel’s animated output and Ultimate Spider-Man returns for its second season this coming Monday with a special one-hour primetime premiere on Disney XD and this past week saw the release of a new season two trailer [see here] along with a clip featuring a meeting between Spidey and Dr. Curt Connors [see here]…

…Marvel has a couple of feature-length offerings set for release in 2013 in Iron Man: Rise of Technovore and Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, and it looks like we’ll be seeing plenty more over the next few years, with Jeph Loeb telling Word Balloon that fifteen animated movies are currently in various stages of development. Be sure to listen to the full podcast for more on Marvel’s upcoming animated projects, including the new series Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., both of which will join Disney XD’s Marvel Universe programming block later this year…

…And finally, here’s another for the ‘what might have been’ drawer, with Roman Coppola (A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III) revealing that he’d held discussions with Marvel about directing a Doctor Strange movie back in the 90s: “You know, I did [have the desire to make a superhero movie], but I could again. I was a huge comic book fan comic book fan growing up, within reason. I was a fan of Spider-Man and all that stuff. Actually, I met Stan Lee 15 or 20 years ago when Marvel had the worst reputation for their adaptations. They had made a really terrible Fantastic Four movie and some other things. I met him with my dad and we said, ‘Oh, wow, I wish we could be involved. How great would it be to make a really accurate version of one of these films?’ I had the aspirations to make a Doctor Strange movie, which I worked on quite a bit. I ended up coming out on the other side, since I told someone I was working on a comic book movie and they said, ‘Do you really want to work for a studio to get pushed around for three years and not make something that’s personal?’ To make a movie like that where I could really use my sensibility would be fantastic. That type of work now is a product, and there’s a manner in which it’s made. Now I think it’d be better to spend those three years to do something better.” And his ideal casting choice for the role of Dr. Stephen Strange? Why his cousin Nicolas Cage, of course… 

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

Gary Collinson


Around the Internet…

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

    I have no interest in Man Of Steel, Zack Snyder is a mediocre director and the more super hero moments of TDK trilogy where the worst so Nolan's script will probably be corny as shit

  • c minato

    Man of steel already looks better than the rest of Superman's cheesy ass 80's movies put together and with Nolan's script it is already a forgone conclusion this movie will set the stage for a second fantastic trilogy.

  • kryptonite27

    We don't give a shit about what u think

  • DS Makhano

    Man Of Steel will be awesome! I know it!

  • TheMightyWarMachine

    Hugh Laurie for Dr. Strange please Marvel!

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

    I don't give a shit that you don't give a shit go troll somewhere else

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

    fucking brilliant choice man, my ideal choice would be RDJ or Hugh Jackman but…..