The Week in Spandex – Kick-Ass 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Man of Steel, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Aquaman and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Kick-Ass 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Man of Steel, Justice League, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, Aquaman, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Beware the Batman, Teen Titans Go! Super Clyde and more...

Kick-Ass 2 movie poster

2013 is set to see some of comics’ biggest names returning to the big screen, but while Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine and Superman battle it out for box office supremacy, underdog Kick-Ass will quietly go about his business in Universal Pictures’ crime-fighting sequel Kick-Ass 2, which received its first red-band trailer and official poster this past Wednesday. If the trailer is any indication, it seems that director Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down) has ramped up the action for the follow-up to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 cult hit as Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the superhero team Justice Forever go up against The Mother F*cker (Christoper Mintz-Plasse) and his band of supervillains, The Toxic Mega-C*nts, while Jim Carrey looks like he’s set to steal the movie as former gangster turned Justice Forever leader Colonel Stars and Stripes. Be sure to read the thoughts of our writing team in the latest Flickering Myth Reaction, along with six character posters featuring Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, The Mother F*cker, Night-Bitch (Lindy Booth), Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina) and Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya)…

…On the subject of Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey has briefly spoken about his role as Colonel Stars and Stripes during a promotional interview with Fandango for his latest film, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: “[Kick-Ass 2] is going to be fun. It’s different for me. They called me up and said we want you to play this ex-Mafia enforcer, Sam DeStefano-style. So I looked at myself in the mirror and went ‘okay, might have to do some work’. I got my own makeup guys together and we just started experimenting and it’s amazing how little you have to do to completely change your personality. We came up with a guy that no one is going to recognize as me. It’s so far away from anything that you’ve seen. It’s really fun…”

…As X-Men: Days of Future Past gears up to go into production next month, director Bryan Singer has posted an image featuring headshots of the impressive cast he’s assembled for the mutant epic [see here], which also happens to reveal three new additions – Daniel Cudmore (X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand), who is confirmed to return as Colossus, Fan Bingbing (Iron Man 3), who will portray the mutant Blink, and Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga), who joins the previously announced Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Omar Sy (The Intouchables) in as-yet-unrevealed roles. Also set to appear in the adaptation of the classic 1982 comic book story arc are Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Nicholas Hoult (Beast) and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique).

Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler in X2

…Earlier this week James McAvoy seemingly confirmed that Alan Cumming would be back as Nightcrawler, only for Cumming himself to subsequently cast doubts over the chances of the Fuzzy Elf joining Fox’s ‘inbetweequel’, telling Sirius XM (via X-Men Films): “They haven’t [asked me to return]. Someone asked me that the other day and I said no. I know the one that’s coming up shoots this Spring, but I wouldn’t be available anyways. I dont think they have. I was gonna meet my manager for dinner later, I was gonna ask him, but no, I’m sure they would’ve told me, had they approached….”

…In other X-Men: Days of Future Past news, Bleeding Cool interviewed Bryan Singer this past week, leading to speculation from the website that Apocalypse could be the main villain, as well as a few words from Singer about Fox’s Marvel consultant Mark Millar’s (lack of) contributions to the X-Men epic: “I’ve not spoken to Mark Millar at all. He’s not involved. I don’t know what his role is about. All I know is that I have my own specific beliefs about how to take this universe forward. I started with the first X-Men, then X-Men: First Class and now I am combining them and I think it could go further than that and I have some ideas about that, so perhaps he should chat to me at some point…”

…It would seem that the wait for the first trailer for July’s solo X-Men sequel The Wolverine is almost at an end, with Alberta Film Ratings classifying a trailer (known as ‘trailer C’ for some bizarre reason) running at 1.51 in length. Given the usual timeframe from classification to release, it looks like the rumours about The Wolverine trailer dropping alongside G.I. Joe: Retaliation could be on the money, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it arriving even sooner. To tide us over in the meantime, director James Mangold released a trio of cast portraits featuring Hugh Jackman’s Logan, Rila Fukushima’s Yukio and Tao Okamoto’s Marikoas well as a behind-the-scenes shot of filming on the Yashida Compound

Henry Cavill Amy Adams Superman Lois Lane Man of Steel…The latest issue hit of Total Film arrived this week, with its cover offering up a new image of Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel alongside Amy Adams’ Lois Lane [see left] in Warner Bros. hotly-anticipated Superman reboot. Inside the issue, director Zack Snyder explained a little about his approach to the film, stating that “we’ve tried to make a Superman movie where he does stuff and you go, ‘Yeah, if I was Superman, that’s what I’d do’. Even though he’s an alien, he’s more relatable, more human,” while Henry Cavill went into a little more depth about their take on the iconic superhero: “This is a Superman for a modern age. It’s not betraying anything that Superman is, but it is grounding everything in reality. It’s the story of this incredible being who can do incredible things, but whom we can associate with. Because he’s gone through troubling stuff and had to make tough choices… managed to piece together this character [from all of these previous incarnations], maintaining that bass-line and having all the differences and nuances that our script adds. This is our own thing. Stand-alone. It’s about Superman, but we’re not copying from any one comic in particular. And that’s a good thing, because it’s an original story…”

…A few years before Henry Cavill was announced as portraying Superman in Man of Steel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation star D.J. Cotrona was set to succeed Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh in director George Miller’s (Mad Max: Fury Road) ill-fated Justice League: Mortal, and the actor had a few words about the DC team-up that never was during a chat with Screen Rant: “[Justice League] was a long slog. We were playing with that for about a year. That was during the writer’s strike time and it started and it stopped. That was a big bummer. I was really, really excited to work with George Miller and the script was really, really good. The stuff that Weta was doing was amazing. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get to finish that because it was going to be really, really cool. I promise you that it would have been amazing. It would have been incredible. The scale of this was fantastical. It was a Lord of the Rings scale… I did the Justice League thing the wrong way. I read too much on the internet. You can’t do that. The internet is the devil. Or the internet is not the devil, the comment boards are the devil. Believe me, I’ve been on the opposite side on there, too saying, “You can’t let that guy be that character!” But really [in the case of Justice League] it was Weta, Weta, Weta, Weta, Weta. They are amazing and they can make anybody look like anything…”

…Filming on Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has barely begun, but according to MTV Shailene Woodley has already wrapped what’s been described as “a very small role” as Mary Jane Watson, but not before coming face to face with MJ’s main rival for the affections of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) as Woodley shot a scene alongside Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy on location in Brooklyn, New York [take a look at a selection of set photos here]. Elsewhere, Dane DeHann spoke a little about his role as Harry Osborn and his dynamics with Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn during The Place Beyond the Pines promotional interviews with MTV and ComingSoon, while Marc Webb continued his daily dose of behind-the-scenes tweets, which this week included a few Oscorp-related sets and a shifty-looking bloke in a black suit…

Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts Iron Man 3 character poster

…Shifting to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now and Marvel Studios’ chief Kevin Feige took part in an lengthy interview with About, during which he discussed raising the stakes for the upcoming Iron Man 3, its PG-13 rating, and the possibility of Pepper Potts suiting up alongside Robert Downey Jr.’s Armored Avenger: “In this movie we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?’ over the course of this movie. In terms of where we go with future movies, we’ll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2, where we did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here [in a clip] is something that we’re certainly interested in…”

…While we’re on the subject of Iron Man 3, it’s been rumoured for several months now that Stephanie Szostak (R.I.P.D.) is portraying Janet Van Dyne / Wasp in the solo sequel, but ComicBook.com is now suggesting she is in fact playing Ellen Brandt, a character whose comic background is that of a spy working for A.I.M., who also happens to be responsible for turning her husband Ted Sallis into the hideous swamp creature Man-Thing…

…Former WWE star Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists, Riddick) has joined the cast of next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, where he’ll be looking to deliver a Batista Bomb to Thanos as Drax the Destroyer. Bautista won the part ahead of competition from Jason Momoa (Bullet to the Head), Isaiah Mustafa (Madea’s Big Happy Family) and Brian Patrick Wade (Generation Kill), and he becomes the second actor to join the film after Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), who is set to portray the Guardians’ leader Star-Lord…

Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson

…In other bits and pieces from the Cinematic Universe, a Spanish promotional poster for Iron Man 3 has suggested that the film will include a preview (presumably the first teaser trailer) for November’s Thor: The Dark World when it opens around the globe late April / early May, while Tom Hiddleston had a few words for RedCarpetTV about Christopher Eccleston’s (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) villainous role as Malekith the Accursed in the Thor sequel, and The Avengers director Joss Whedon has put an end to speculation about Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson being a Life Model Decoy / Skrull / Apparition in Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, telling the crowd at SXSW that Phil will return from the dead “for realsies”. So, does that make S.H.I.E.L.D. the first TV show in history to jump the shark in its pilot episode, or are you fine with the MCU taking a leaf out of its comic book counterpart and trivialising characters’ deaths..?

…The first season of the hit superhero series Arrow resumes on The CW this coming Wednesday as The Huntress (Jessica de Gouw) returns to Starling City in, well, ‘The Huntress Returns’. Here’s the official episode synopsis: “With his nightclub set to open and a new romance brewing with McKenna (guest star Janina Gavankar), Oliver (Stephen Amell) is as happy as he’s been since returning to Starling City. But when Oliver’s ex, The Huntress, suddenly returns to town, she threatens to destroy everything and everyone he cares about. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and her father (Paul Blackthorne) struggle with the return of Dinah Lance (guest star Alex Kingston) who claims she has proof Sara is still alive. Thea (Willa Holland) gets Roy Harper (guest star Colton Haynes) a job at Oliver’s club, but he’s not too inclined to stop his life of crime. Oliver and Tommy (Colin Donnell) are thrilled they were able to get Steve Aoki to play at the opening of their new nightclub, Verdant…”

Arrow executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti and cast members Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey (John Diggle) and Susanna Thompson (Moira Queen) took part in a Q&A last weekend at PaleyFest 2013, which you can watch in full on Hulu if you’re based in the States. During the Q&A, it was revealed that Ollie will travel to the city of Bludhaven (although Dick Grayson / Nightwing “will be out of town that week”), while a sizzle reel offered up some new footage from the remaining episodes of season one, and has since made its way online [watch it here]. Meanwhile, it’s also been announced that Teen Wolf star Colton Haynes has been promoted to a series regular for the season two, while Kreisberg and Guggenheim spoke to ComicBookResources about expanding the roster of DC regulars when the next season gets underway in the Fall…

Aquaman pilot Mercy Reef

…During an interview with Voices From Krypton, director Greg Beeman (Heroes) offered up some thoughts on the 2006 Aquaman pilot Mercy Reef, which was developed by Smallville co-creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and starred Justin Hartley (who would later portray Oliver Queen on Smallville) as Arthur ‘A. C.’ Curry: “It was a very good experience shooting it. The three big action sequences were the most challenging, particularly in making it feel like it was a cousin to Smallville while at the same time coming up with a different look from that show. We did that with a Caribbean, warm, Miami look, which I thought was successful. I really like the cast that we came up with; they were very appealing. It was a very difficult shoot as you can imagine. Even though it was a pretty healthy budget for TV, it was difficult to accomplish all of that water work and all of that special effects work, but it was fun…”

…Marvel Entertainment has released a second trailer for the upcoming direct-to-video anime Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, which you can check out here. The film is produced by Madhouse – the animation studio behind the Marvel anime series Iron Man, X-Men, Wolverine and Blade – and features a voice cast that includes Matthew Mercer (Resident Evil: Damnation) as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as Frank Castle / The Punisher, and Clare Grant (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Natalia Romanova / Black Widow. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is set for a North American release on April 16th, with details of a possible UK release yet to be announced…

…Despite a valiant effort from fans petitioning Cartoon Network, the axe falls on DC Nation’s first two offerings today (Saturday) with the broadcast of the final episodes of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. The World’s Finest has clips, images and descriptions for both series finales, while ComicBookMovie caught up with Young Justice producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti to discuss the popular animated series and its premature demise after just two seasons. Meanwhile, Cartoon Network is wasting little time in looking to the future, releasing a first-look image and series description for Teen Titans Go!, which is set to premiere on Tuesday April 23rd before switching to a regular morning Saturday slot from April 27th, as well as a new promo poster for the forthcoming CG animated series Beware the Batman, which is expected to join the DC Nation programming block in the summer…

…And finally, Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) is set to appear in his first US TV pilot, having joined the cast of My Name is Earl creator Greg Garcia’s superhero comedy Super Clyde, where he will star alongside Ron Weasley’s Rupert Grint’s eponymous comic book geek-turned-costumed crime-fighter as Randolph the butler – Alfred to Super Clyde’s Bruce Wayne. The pilot sounds like a cross between My Name is Earl and Kick-Ass, with Grint’s character realising his dream to become a superhero after inheriting $100,000 a month from an eccentric uncle.
 

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

Gary Collinson