The Week in Spandex – Iron Man 3, Marvel’s Phase Two and Phase Three, Justice League, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dark Universe, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D. and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, The Avengers 2, Doctor Strange, S.H.I.E.L.D., Justice League, Dark Universe, Man of Steel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fantastic Four, Kick-Ass 2, Arrow, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, Inhumans, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Teen Titans Go! and more….

Iron Man 3 poster

For those of us here in the UK, there’s less than three weeks to go now until Disney and Marvel Studios kick-off Phase Two of the Cinematic Universe with the release eagerly-anticipated Iron Man 3 on April 25th (our North American readers will have to wait a little longer, with the film opening on May 3rd), and so naturally the marketing machine has continued to roll on these past seven days as we count down to the Armored Avenger’s latest big screen adventure. In addition to a new international poster, we’ve also seen two TV spots featuring snippets of new footage, as well as the first clip from the Shane Black-directed solo sequel, which sees Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark delivering a little Holiday Greeting for his arch-nemesis, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). Meanwhile, the tracklisting and cover art for composer Brian Tyler’s (Fast Five, The Expendables 2) original score has also arrived online, offering up a few hints as to the film’s plot; if you’d like to run the risk of spoiling yourself (slightly, at least), then you can check it out via Amazon

…Of course, despite the fact that Iron Man 3 is imminent, the big news on the Marvel front this week was an early sneak peek at the studio’s Phase Two line-up, which came courtesy of a bonus feature from the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled‘ Blu-ray box-set. Among the goodies surfacing online was behind-the-scenes images from Thor: The Dark World featuring the likes of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman); a few pieces of concept art from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, including Cap (Chris Evans), The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in flight; even more concept art from the ‘big space epic’ Guardians of the Galaxy featuring space ships, alien landscapes, Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians hanging out in a Mos Eisley-esque public house; and some high-quality shots from Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man test footage. If you’re yet to see any of this, then feast your eyes here

…Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige also took a moment to briefly discuss the early plans for Phase Three of the MCU, telling Best Movie (via ComicBookMovie): “Currently the third phase is still developing. The 99.9% of our time is used for Phase Two, the development of The Avengers 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy keeps us very busy. Definitely we’re not leaving aside the old glories and we can also see familiar faces [in Phase Three] such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.” Feige also went on to explain which superhero he’s most excited to see arriving on the big screen: “Doctor Strange! I love the aura of mystery that surrounds this superhero and the magical world that surrounds him. We’ve never faced anything like this and there is a lot of material that we could exploit. I would love to also see a new superhero in the ranks of the Avengers. We shall see…”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

…Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there have also been a few Phase Two developments this past week, starting with the news that filming is now underway on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Community) directing a cast that sees the aforementioned Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie joined by Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola), Maximiliano Hernandez (Jasper Sitwell), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Frank Grillo (Crossbones), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Georges St-Pierre (Batroc the Leaper) and Robert Redford, the latter of whom will be portraying the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., at least according to Redford himself in a chat with Spinoff Online

…With Guardians of the Galaxy set to begin its shoot this summer, it seems that director James Gunn (Super) may have found the third member of his cosmic superhero team, with reports emerging this week that Marvel has entered negotiations with Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek Into Darkness) to portray the team’s sole female member Gamora, who also happens to be the adoptive daughter of Thanos. Should a deal be finalised, Saldana will become the third person to sign on to the film, with Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Zero Dark Thirty) set to portray the Guardians’ human leader Star-Lord, and former WWE star Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists, Riddick) having secured the role of Drax the Destroyer. Expect Groot and Rocket Raccoon to fall in place soon…

…In other news from the MCU, it’s been reported that Joss Whedon and company will follow in the footsteps of Captain America: The First Avenger and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man by heading to the UK to shoot The Avengers 2 at Shepperton Studios next year… Clark Gregg has spoken to Collider about Agent Phil Coulson returning from the dead in Joss Whedon’s small-screen pilot S.H.I.E.L.D., while TV Line revealed that Whedon alumnus J. August Richards (Angel) has been cast in a “super top-secret role”, which makes us think that ABC must have picked up the pilot to series, seeing as filming was completed back in February… And lastly, apologies if you fell for our April Fool’s joke this year, where we falsely claimed that Disney was pairing up Marvel and Lucasfilm to reboot Howard the Duck as part of Phase Three – a couple of websites fell for the gag, but seeing as they didn’t even have the common courtesy to link back to us as their “source”, we’ll not link to TeenInfoNet or SneakPeek.ca here either…

Justice League

…During a promotional interview with Cinema Blend about his latest film G.I. Joe: Retaliation, D.J. Cotrona became the latest former cast member of Justice League: Mortal to discuss the ultimately-aborted superhero team-up from director George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), which would have seen Cotrona taking to the skies as the Man of Steel: “The version of Superman that we were going to build was incredible. We were very much leaning towards alien, you know, not like down and out Clark Kent, but a fully realized alien, alien god. This guy was always flying and the design of the suit was, there was very, very cool subtle details that were really cool, but tonally it was like a god, like the ultimate powerful god and the relationship between Batman [Armie Hammer; The Lone Ranger] and Superman that we were going to make in this movie was the one that I always wanted to see. Still do, still do, man. It’s a damn shame we didn’t get to finish that one. Hopefully it will work out and Warners will be able to put it out eventually…”

…On the subject of Justice League, despite dropping a huge “scoop” a few weeks back suggesting that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale were being lined up to join the planned adaptation as producer and Dark Knight respectively, El Mayimbe of Latino Review has now updated his story – and turned a retraction into another “scoop” – by claiming that negotiations between Warner Bros. and Nolan have hit the rocks. So, while this one looked to be little more than random speculation, it’s pretty clear that WB is keeping its Justice League cards held firmly to its chest until Man of Steel arrives in the summer; however, there does appear to be movement on one incarnation of the Justice League, with Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro taking the time to update the status of his planned Justice League Dark adaptation Dark Universe during last weekend’s WonderCon. Revealing that the story is set to revolve around a (blond) John Constantine – last seen portrayed by Keanu Reeves in 2005’s Constantine – as he recruits the various supernatural superheroes:

“Constantine is the guy who leads us in and out of the plot,” states del Toro. “We have Swamp Thing, Etrigan, we have Zatanna, we have — I will spoil it — the Floronic Man. We have stuff that those who love the darker side of the DC Universe are going to appreciate, and we’re trying to be true to the origins of the characters… I’m literally playing with two of my oldest and most favorite characters in my life — Swamp Thing and Etrigan. These were the guys I was drawing with crayons when I was a kid. I cannot tell you how happy I am. I am finishing my bible, and then I deliver that bible, which is about 45 pages, to Warners. We have a screenwriter that we like and that we talk to, but he is writing his own movie right now and is thinking about it. But I am going to try to wait for him. I won’t say who it is. I’m not allowed. But we’re waiting, and when the right time comes, hopefully that writer will take over, and then we’ll see if it’s directed by me or someone else and I’ll just produce. I don’t know…”

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel

…It’s been a quiet week on the Man of Steel front, although composer Hans Zimmer had a few words about the Zack Snyder-directed reboot in an interview with CNN, drawing comparisons between the stories of Superman and Jesus, as well as discussing the challenges of following John Williams’ iconic Superman score. Elsewhere, a fancy dress costume for General Zod appeared to give us our first look at a battle mask set to be worn by Michael Shannon’s Kryptonian baddie (and boy is it hideous), while Laurence Fishburne Perry White has told Canoe.ca that he’s yet to sign on the dotted line to return as Perry White in Man of Steel 2

…Although Christopher Nolan has repeatedly stated that The Dark Knight Rises would be his final contribution to the Batman franchise, it seems that screenwriter David S. Goyer – who penned Batman Begins, as well as contributing to the story for The Dark Knight and TDKR – is a little more open to the possibility of a return, telling Collider that “I don’t know, honestly. I worked on Batman for 10 years, so that’s a lot of Batman. I’m not sure… I haven’t been asked that yet, so we’ll see.” Would you like to see Goyer working on the next incarnation of The Dark Knight, or is it time for some new blood..?

…While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb continues to drop a series of unrevealing behind-the-scenes images from the Spidey sequel via Twitter, Bryan Singer has offered a treat for X-Men fans by giving us our first look at Nicholas Hoult’s new-look Beast from X-Men: Days of Future Past, which has dropped the feline X-Men: First Class design in favour of a more traditional… well, Beast-like look [check it out here]. Filming on X-Men: Days of Future Past is set to get underway in Montreal next weekend, with a packed ensemble cast that includes X-Men veterans Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Halle Berry (Storm), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) and Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) alongside franchise newcomers Fan Bingbing (Iron Man 3), Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), Omar Sy (The Intouchables) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). While there’s still time for one or two more additions to the cast, we can now rule out the possibility of January Jones returning as the White Queen, with Jones joining Caleb Landry Jones (Banshee), Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler) and Jason Flemyng (Azazel) in confirming that she hasn’t been approached about coming back for the sequel…

Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in X-Men: The Last Stand

…Speaking to /Film, filmmaker Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Young Adult), revealed that Ellen Page could have returned to the role of Kitty Pryde before next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Reitman stating that 20th Century Fox had previously discussed the possibility of him reteaming with his Juno star and Page and screenwriter Diablo Cody on a standalone Kitty Pryde X-Men movie…

…According to a report on Twitter (via CBM), 20th Century Fox’s The Fantastic Four has arrived in Vancouver for pre-production work ahead, with filming set to begin in September. If accurate, we should expect some serious casting speculation (and the occasional confirmation) in the very near future; just last week we had our first real casting rumour for the Josh Trank-directed reboot, with Canadian actor Noel Fisher (Hatfields & McCoys, Ninja Turtles) linked to an unspecified role, and now it seems that former Doctor Who star David Tennant has thrown his name in the hat for the role of Mr. Fantastic, with Tennant name-dropping the FF leader when asked by Collider if he felt he would be suited to any superhero roles…

…On the subject of The Fantastic Four, British filmmaker Danny Boyle offered some praise for Josh Trank’s plans to reboot Marvel’s First Family in an interview with Collider (who’ve been really busy on the interview front this past week), although the Trainspotting and Trance director also admitted he has no aspirations to helm a superhero movie of his own: “I’m not a big fan [of comic books] actually. I was never a devotee of them. I kind of missed out on that really. I’m always amazed when I meet the people who love them. The superhero movie I loved was Chronicle. I met Josh Trank the other night and we did a Q&A together. He’s working on Fantastic Four and has great and wonderful plans for it. But they’re not my world at all. It doesn’t appeal to me at all…”

…The CW’s Arrow is on a two-week hiatus before returning to TV screens for the final batch of season one episodes beginning April 24th, and this past weekend executive producer Mark Guggenheim and stars Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen), Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Willa Holland (Thea Queen) were in attendance at WonderCon, during which they debuted a sizzle reel of footage from the remaining first season episodes, as well as offering some details about the second season – including the chances of Dick Grayson making a guest appearance when the season two opener heads to Bludhaven. You can check out the sizzle reel and interviews with the cast and crew here

Marvel Knights: Inhumans

…The Inhumans will become the latest Marvel characters to get the motion comics treatment this month, with Shout Factory releasing a trailer for Marvel Knights: Inhumans [see it here], which adapts the Eisner Award-winning series from 1998-99 by Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, The Spectacular Spider-Man) and Jae Lee (The Sentry, Before Watchmen: Ozymandias) and hits shelves in the States on April 23rd. Meanwhile, in other Inhumans news, it’s been suggested that Marvel Studios could be looking to the upcoming Marvel NOW! comic book series Matt Fraction (Fantastic Four) – which is set to channel HBO’s Game of Thrones by dividing the Inhumans into Houses – as inspiration for a possible live-action movie. An Inhumans film was first reported back in 2011, only for things to fall quiet as Marvel seemingly pushed on with its multitude of other projects…

…Before Robert Downey Jr. returns as Iron Man, the Armored Avenger will receive an anime makeover with the direct-to-video release of Iron Man: Rise of Technovore; produced by Madhouse (the animation studio behind the Marvel anime series Iron Man, X-Men, Wolverine and Blade), Rise of Technovore sees Iron Man (voiced by Matthew Mercer; Resident Evil: Damnation) teaming up with Black Widow (Clare Grant; Star Wars: The Clone Wars), The Punisher (Norman Reedus; The Walking Dead), Hawkeye and War Machine to take on the ruthless tech genius Ezekiel Stane. Check out a brand new trailer for the animated feature ahead of its U.S. release on April 16th…

…Despite the fact that Superman: Unbound is yet to hit shelves, Warner Bros. Animation is wasting little time in promoting its next direct-to-video feature, releasing the first image from Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the upcoming animated adaptation of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert’s ‘Flashpoint’ crossover. As well as announcing a July 30th release date on DVD, Blu-ray and On Demand, the studio also dropped an official synopsis for the animated film, which is directed by Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) and features a voice cast that includes Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Dena Delany (Superman: The Animated Series) as Lois Lane, Ron Perlman (New Teen Titans) as Deathstroke and Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice) as Wonder Woman: “When time travel allows a past wrong to be righted for The Flash and his family, the ripples of the event prove disastrous as a fractured, alternate reality now exists where a Justice League never formed, and even Superman is nowhere to be found. Teaming with a grittier, more violent Dark Knight and Cyborg, Flash races to restore the continuity of his original timeline while this new world is ravaged by a fierce war between Wonder Woman’s Amazons and Aquaman’s Atlanteans. With breath taking action and an all-star voice cast, it’s a bold, emotional vision that will forever change the landscape of the DC Universe…”

…Shifting to Warner’s small screen animated output and now that Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series have finished their runs on DC Nation, Cartoon Network is preparing for the next round of DC Comics offerings by releasing a brand new promotional poster for the comedy series Teen Titans Go!, which is set to premiere in the States on Tuesday April 23rd before settling in to its regular DC Nation slot beginning April 27th. The new show is set to be joined later in the year by the Caped Crusader’s latest series, the CG animated Beware the Batman

…And finally, with the Tom Cruise-headlined Oblivion and Iron Man 3 both set to arrive in UK cinemas this month, April is ‘Comic Book Movie Month’ here at Flickering Myth (I know, I know, when isn’t it Comic Book Movie Month…) and as such, we’re counting down our picks for The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time, as well as posting several feature articles looking at the CBM genre; be sure to check out Martin Deer’s Superman: The Movies – What They Did and Didn’t Get Right, which looks at the characterisation of the Man of Steel throughout the Superman movie franchise, as well as Jack Morris’ Superman III Scarred Me For Life. Oh, and we’ve also got a pretty cool competition coming up this weekend which you might not want to miss…

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

    H. Jon Benjamin for Rocket Raccoon, he's hilarious and he'd come cheap and he has a much bigger audience then Zoe Saldana and Batista and possibly Chris Pratt

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

    World's Finest then Justice League , and as much as I don't like Nolan's scripts and or Pacing they should literally give him whatever he wants or find somebody new

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mila-Dagreat/100000870992633 Mila Dagreat
  • http://twitter.com/HolyFranchise HolyFranchiseBatman!

    I think I'd like to see a World's Finest before Justice League. A Wonder Woman movie too.

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

    they'd have to reboot batman before and I honestly don't think a wonder woman , flash, or any other member of the justice league movie would work

  • http://twitter.com/pandadeer Martin Deer

    Why could a Wonder Woman and Flash movie not work, yet Thor, Iron Man and Captain America have been adapted so well? There's no logical reason that they can't, only some strange perception from people that they can't. A justice league movie would be very difficult to pull off, but that's primarily because there's a great big problem with Justice League: Batman. Batman works

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

    First of i'd argue that Thor works only as an adaption, and taking that away the story has many short comings, while as an adaption of the comic book it works fantastically. Second Superman is invincible in the movie mythos. Just like wolverine and hulk, so there's no tension in his movies because we know that he's unstoppable. A flash movie cld work as well as a Cyborg movie. Now

  • http://twitter.com/pandadeer Martin Deer

    That's just not true, frankly. It's a backwards way of thinking and completely ignores the depth the characters have – especially Superman – to say that he can't work because there's no tension as he's invulnerable. It's a simplistic argument. Superman Returns didnt do well because it wasn't very good, not because Superman is invulnerable. He has great depth as a

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

    Goofy as in silly or implausible. Marvel&#39;s approach to super hero movies is to make fun of the superheros as to laugh at the silliness. Now yes, you can tell a good story without having tension of death but not usually. Once again Incredible Hulk, Hulk, and Wolverine origins are considered the worst of superhero films.<br /><br /><br />And Nolan is only doing the story and producing. You&#

  • ss3walkman

    Incredible Hulk was a good movie. You&#39;ve lost all credibility

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

    No you&#39;re right Incredible hulk was a really good movie, but of the More recent marvel films it&#39;s considered the lower end, but Wolverine Origins and Hulk are two of the most panned superhero movies made

  • http://twitter.com/pandadeer Martin Deer

    Firstly, please don&#39;t call me biased when I am giving logical reasons why these films could work and why others have not, and your response has simply been &#39;cos they&#39;re goofy&#39;. Secondly, where do Marvel mock themselves in their films? Marvel EMBRACE their comic bookness, they certainly do not mock it, and that has been their success. I&#39;m sorry but there is no basis for

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

    I fully admit I&#39;m biased, lol I can&#39;t stress that enough. and you&#39;re telling me a guy that talks to fish wouldn&#39;t be hard to translate? I&#39;m probably more for a world&#39;s finest movie and even still that&#39;d be a little rough to pull off. <br />And uhh Captain America being used as propaganda , The Shield agents referring to thor&#39;s friends as Jackie Chan, Robin Hood,

  • LexCorp

    &quot;Superman invincible&quot;<br />Only a rookie who doesn&#39;t read enough comic books can say that.<br /><br />Superman was virtually killed by Doomsday; drained, pulped and whammered by Parasite or Metallo (using his kryptonite-powered core) beat up by Batman in his power suit in The Dark Knight Returns, neck-to-neck challenged by Bizzaro and impaled countless times with kryptonite shards

  • LexCorp

    Nolan in fact HAS returned to sci-fi with Interstellar being his next movie starring Mathew Mc Connaughey. It will feature black holes, wormholes and possibly time travel.

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

    Isn&#39;t Damon Lindeloff co writing that script. Personally still not looking forward to it, two of my least favorite screen writers on one movie. But I&#39;m Glad McConnaughey is in it that guy is on his way to an Oscar