The Week in Spandex – Superman vs. Batman, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Spider-Man, Kick-Ass 2 and more

Our weekly round up of the latest stories from the world of screen superheroes, including Superman and Batman, Aquaman, Arrow, Wonder Woman, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Force, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Venom, Kick-Ass 2, Beware the Batman, Teen Titans Go!, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War, The Awesomes and more…

Last weekend saw California hosting the annual celebration of geek culture with the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, and boy what a year it was for fans of superheroes. We’ll start things off with Warner Bros., who made arguably the biggest announcement of the weekend – and one that would have been a HUGE surprise, had the news not broke online mere hours before – at the conclusion of its Saturday panel as director Zack Snyder and actor Harry Lennix (General Swanwick) took to the stage to reveal that DC Comics’ two biggest icons will be sharing the screen together in 2015 with a Man of Steel sequel featuring Henry Cavill’s Superman alongside a rebooted Batman. You can watch a video of the big announcement here, while Warner Bros. subsequently released an official statement confirming that Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent) will reprise their roles from this year’s Superman reboot, with Snyder directing, David S. Goyer handling screenwriting duties and Christopher Nolan this time serving as executive producer (so in other words, he’ll read the script, then turn up at the premiere?)…

…Following the big announcement, David S. Goyer took to the stage during the Superman 75th Anniversary panel and offered a few more details about the World’s Finest pairing, including a few possibilities for the title which hark back to the aborted Batman vs. Superman movie from Wolfgang Petersen (Troy) and Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en): “So over in Hall H at the Warner Bros. – I guess most people know now – at the end of the Warner Bros. panel, Zack came out and he brought Harry Lennix, who plays General Swanwick in Man of Steel and we – actually, Harry read a bit from [The Dark Knight Returns] and so the next film we’re making, we’re already in pre-production, comes out in summer of 2015 and it’s – we’re actually not sure whether the title is Superman vs. Batman or Batman vs. Superman but yes, it’s – that rematch, that combination, the two guys onscreen and that’s happening…”

…Naturally, this week has seen plenty of speculation about the Batman and Superman movie, with several sites claiming to have the “inside scoop” from “reliable sources” about possible plot-lines and actors under consideration to succeed Christian Bale as The Dark Knight. However, seeing as these “reliable sources” didn’t have a clue that a Batman and Superman movie was even in development until last Saturday, I think it’s pretty safe to assume said “reports” are utter gibberish…

Aquaman

…Heading into Comic-Con, DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns took a moment to let us know which DC character he’d like to see get their own movie: “I’d love to see an Aquaman movie. I think he’s a terrific character. People know him. The world is amazing. Working with Ivan Reis on [the Aquaman comic book] and later Paul Pelletier, the visuals are exciting. The characters are exciting. There are creatures. Ninety percent of the oceans have never been seen by human eyes. Most of our threats come from space, but I also think that having threats come from the deep sea would be great to see.” Now, if those Justice League rumours are true, we might see Aquaman making a splash in cinemas alongside the rest of the DC team in 2017…

…Warner Bros.’ small screen DC offering Arrow was also on hand at Comic-Con, with stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards and Colton Haynes and executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg on hand to preview the second season of The CW’s hit superhero series as well as announcing two new cast additions, with Kevin Alejandro (True Blood) set to portray Brother Blood and Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight) cast as Bronze Tiger [watch the full panel, along with the newly-released season two trailer]. Meanwhile, speaking to press later on in the weekend, Kreisberg and Guggenheim admitted that their chances of being able to introduce certain DC characters to the show will have taken a hit with the Superman and Batman movie announcement: “We’ve heard the fans and we’re very well aware that they would like to see Nightwing and various other Bat-characters on the show [but] that is a little bit out of our control. I think [that movie] announcement made it a lot more out of our control..!”

…In one other piece of DC-related Comic-Con news, it was also announced that The Avengers star Cobie Smulders is set to portray Wonder Woman for the Amazon Princess’ big screen debut – well, in animated brick form at least, with Smulders confirmed as voicing the character in next year’s The LEGO Movie, which will also see 21 Jump Street duo Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill lending their voices to Superman and Green Lantern respectively…

…In the wake of the Superman / Batman announcement, we’ve posted a few DC-themed articles here at Flickering Myth this week – be sure to check out Anthony Stokes’ How to Make a World’s Finest Movie Work, Martin Deer’s Batman vs Superman, or How Warner Bros. Gave Up on the Man of Steel, and Liam Trim’s How a Batman vs Superman Movie Can Work. Meanwhile, Trevor Hogg has also put together an in-depth article Fight & Flight: The Making of Man of Steel, which features contributions from visual effects supervisors John ‘DJ’ DesJardin, Guillaume Rocheron, Dan Lemmon, Chad Wiebe and Max Ivins about their work on the Zack Snyder-directed reboot…

X-Men: Days of Future Past cast photo…After Warner Bros.’ explosive announcement on Saturday, 20th Century Fox took to Hall H to showcase the newest instalment of the X-Men franchise, the Hugh Jackman-headlined solo sequel The Wolverine [read our ★★★★★ review here], following which Bryan Singer took to the stage to deliver another ‘suprise’ with next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Of course, this was expected – seeing as Fox had already debuted the official logo, a Trask Industries viral site and official character portraits for Wolverine (Jackman), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) and Bishop (Omar Sy), and were also showcasing a Sentinel head as part of a Comic-Con display [see here]. Nevertheless, Singer managed to whip the audience into a frenzy by bringing out the aforementioned Jackman, Stewart, McKellen and Sy joined on stage by Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), James McAvoy (Young Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Young Magneto), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Omar Sy (Bishop), Evan Peters (Quicksilver) and Peter Dinklage (who now confirmed as playing Bolivar Trask) for what was surely the biggest cast ever assembled at Comic-Con [see here]. In addition to confirming Dinklage’s role as Trask, it was also revealed that the movie will stray from its source material by having Wolverine as the character sent back in time to convince McAvoy’s Professor X to help prevent a bleak, apocalyptic future for mutantkind. Watch the full panels for The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past here (minus the footage, sadly), and be sure to check out the first two teaser posters for Days of Future Past featuring Professor X and Magneto…

…In the build up to the release of The Wolverine (which pulled in $4 million domestically with its Thursday midnight release, and is said to be tracking a $65 million opening weekend in North America), several TV spots, a new clip and international trailer all arrived online, while Flickering Myth’s Ozzy Armstrong spoke to cast members Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Tao Okamoto (Mariko) and Will Yun Lee (Harada) about their roles in the sequel, and we also caught up with production designer Francois Audouy. Meanwhile, you might also want to take a look at Anghus Houvouras’ latest opinion piece We Need a New Wolverine where he argues that it’s time for Hugh Jackman to pass on the claws to another actor…

…Despite rumours that Fox would take the opportunity to unveil its future plans for the X-Men franchise during Comic-Con the studio chose to keep the focus on The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past, although Kick-Ass 2 director Jeff Wadlow did offer a brief update on his progress with the script for the recently-announced spin-off X-Force: “I’m pretty deep into [the screenplay]. I have the whole story completely worked out. I’m about 20 pages into my draft. If I wasn’t promoting Kick-Ass, I would probably have a draft [already], but Kick-Ass is going to slow me down just a little.” When asked about the importance of Cable as group leader, Wadlow refused to be drawn into a discussion on the roster, possibly indicating that Fox could be looking to go in a different direction to the source material [or have Hugh Jackman front and centre once again?]: “Here’s the thing, I love the current run of Uncanny X-Force. I love the classic run. Part of my take was addressing this idea that X-Force can be many different things, and that’s what got the studio excited. I think the fans will be excited, too…”

…After all of the DC and X-Men excitement, Marvel Studios needed to deliver something big to end the evening with a bang and they did just that as Tom Hiddleston came out in full Loki regalia to introduce a panel that featured new footage from Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Naturally Marvel also had a surprise up their sleeve in Guardians of the Galaxy, with James Gunn and cast members Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Michael Rooker (Yondu), Benicio del Toro (The Collector), Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser), Djimon Hounsou (Korath the Pursuer) and a shaven headed Karen Gillan (Nebula) all flying in from London to showcase footage from next year’s big space epic. Click here to watch the entire panel, along with descriptions of the Phase Two footage and new concept art from Guardians of the Galaxy, or head here for a glimpse at Star-Lords mask and a Nova Corps officer from the Marvel stand, along with a first-look (in action figure form, at least) of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Thor: The Dark World villain Kurse…

…Of course, there was time for one last surprise from Marvel Studios, as Joss Whedon came out with a brief teaser for The Avengers 2, revealing that the eagerly-anticipated 2015 sequel is now going by the title of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Naturally this led to speculation that the likes of Hank Pym and The Vision could be set to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, although Whedon subsequently confirmed to the press that the sequel will be an original story, as opposed to an adaptation of the recent comic book event series: “Because there was a book called Age of Ultron quite recently, a lot of people have assumed that is what we’re doing, but that is not the case. We’re doing our own version of the origin story for Ultron. In the origin story, there was Hank Pym, so a lot of people assumed that he will be in the mix. He’s not. We’re basically taking the things from the comics for the movies that we need and can use. A lot of stuff has to fall by the wayside.” Meanwhile Whedon has subsequently offered a few more Age of Ultron details, stating that he plans to expand the roles for Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), as well as confirming that Scarlet Witch’s costume will be getting a makeover, which is likely to take its cue from the Ultimates universe…

…With Hank Pym confirmed as being absent from Avengers: Age of Ultron, there had been some speculation as to whether Edgar Wright’s long gestating Ant-Man adaptation would see either Scott Lang or Eric O’Grady taking on the mantle of the miniature hero. However, io9 caught up with the director during a promotional interview for The World’s End, and have confirmed that “[Wright] told us that we will, indeed, meet Hank Pym” when Ant-Man kicks off Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in November 2015…

Vin Diesel meets with Marvel Studios…Vin Diesel continued to talk up his meeting with Marvel Studios during last Friday’s Riddick panel, suggesting that “there is some very big news coming at the end of this month.” However, Marvel’s Kevin Feige has since indicated that Diesel could be jumping the gun, and that the reason there hasn’t been an announcement on his casting is that there’s simply nothing to announce (just yet, anyway): “Well, here’s what I will tell you about Vin. And I’ll be very honest with you. We did a press day on the Captain America set last week or something. The very first question was, ‘So how did the meeting with Vin Diesel go?’ I went, ‘Here’s the funny thing, it hasn’t happened yet. It happens at 3 p.m. today.’ And they went, ‘Oh, really?’ And it did and he came by and met. So, I’ll say two things: One, there’s nothing to announce with Vin. Vin is an amazing guy and an amazing personality [but] it’s so far ahead it may not even exist. So, there’s nothing to announce. But, I love Vin and he’s an amazing personality. Look how much attention he’s gotten for a meeting. He’s incredibly shrewd. He’s got a Riddick movie that I can’t wait to see. And the Fast & Furious franchise, in addition to Vin, is a franchise I admire a lot for turning the sixth and next year the seventh into the biggest and most popular one. As far as a piece of it? Could someday we do a Luke Cage: Hero for Hire in that kind of vein. Totally…”

…Marvel also took the opportunity to premiere two of its upcoming offerings at Comic-Con. In addition to a screening of the latest Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter, which is set to feature on the home-entertainment release of Iron Man 3 this September and sees Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) and Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) reprising their roles from Captain America: The First Avenger [watch a clip of Peggy in action here], Joss Whedon also screened the first episode of ABC’s upcoming TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which confirmed that the pilot sees Cobie Smulders making a guest appearance as Maria Hill. You can watch the full Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel featuring Whedon and stars Chloe Bennet (Skye), Iain De Caestecker (Agent Fitz), Brett Dalton (Agent Ward), Ming-Na Wen (Agent May) and fan favourite Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) here, and be sure to check out a new batch of images, along with the latest character introduction featurette, this time focussing on Agent Melinda May…

…Before Saturday’s big Comic-Con superhero panels, Spider-Man swung into Hall H on Friday, with Andrew Garfield appearing in full costume and in character as Sony showcased The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Garfield – sorry, Spider-Man – was joined by director Marc Webb, producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, and stars Jamie Foxx (Electro) and Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn) on the panel, during which a sizzle reel of footage was screened [read a description here], while Webb tackled the issue of multitude of villains in the follow-up, and Garfield once again reiterated his desire to see Spidey teaming up with The Avengers…

….Of course, seems highly doubtful (but not impossible) that we’ll see a team-up between Sony and Marvel Studios, but Marc Webb has also hinted at the possibility of the wall-crawler being joined on screen by some of his Amazing Friends when discussing Sony’s recently-announced Spidey sequels – or more specifically, 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 4: “Well, I think this was conceived of as a trilogy so there was a defined architecture to the story we were telling and we had sort of a rough outline of what was going to happen. I think [for] the fourth movie, what we’ve discovered is there are so many ancillary characters, that have enormous, cinematic potential that there may be other ways to exploit those characters, in a way that is exciting and fun and worthwhile. It might not just be a Spider-Man movie.” So, if it’s not just a Spider-Man movie, what could this possibly be? Assuming a crossover with Marvel Studios or Fox is off the cards, and seeing as Sony only have the rights to the Spider-Man franchise, whoever they throw in there it’ll still just be a Spider-Man movie, right..?

…One character who could potentially share the screen with Andrew Garfield’s web-slinger in the 2018 sequel is that of Venom; Sony has had designs on a franchise for the symbiote since his first appearance in Spider-Man 3 (which no doubt derailed their plans a little), and last we heard Chronicle director Josh Trank was attached to a solo movie before he headed back to Fox to reboot The Fantastic Four. However, it seems the project is still on the cards at the studio, although producer Matt Tolmach has indicated that it’s not really a priority at this point in time during an interview with Crave Online: “There’s nothing formal or official, but it’s always been a dream to make that movie. We’re just not there yet. Right now we’re sort of fixated on this. But is there a sense that down the road things are going to happen? Sure…”

…Last Friday also saw Universal hosting a Kick-Ass 2 panel featuring director Jeff Wadlow, stars Aaron-Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (The Mother F*cker), Lindy Booth (Night Bitch), Donald Faison (Doctor Gravity), and John Leguizamo (Javier) and comic book co-creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. [watch the full panel here]. Coinciding with this was the arrival of a brand new four-minute red band trailer for the upcoming superhero sequel [watch the trailer here], while Universal’s marketing department has since upped the promotion ahead of the film’s release next month, dropping a new TV spot [see here], two clips [see here and here] and a batch of ‘Heroes & Villains’ images featuring Kick-Ass, Night Bitch, Doctor Gravity, Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), Battle Guy (Clark Duke), Insect Man (Robert Emms), Ass Kicker (Augustus Prew), Remembering Tommy (Monica Dolan and Steven Mackintosh), Daniel Kaluuya (Black Deah), The Tumor (Andy Nyman), Genghis Carnage (Tom Wu), Goggles (James Cutler) and the fearsome Mother Russia (Olga Kukulina) [see here]…

…If you’re really desperate for more Kick-Ass 2, you might want to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly whether you’ve got the stomach to sit through the latest music video from X-Factor losers Union J, whose debut single Carry You is being used to promote the film for some entirely baffling reason…

…Shifting to the world of animation now and we have a selection of clips and images from this weekend’s Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go! as well as the latest Wonder Woman DC Nation short [see here], while Beware the Batman voice actors Anthony Ruivivar (Batman) and J.B. Blanc (Alfred) and producers Glen Murakami and Mitch Watson offered a few thoughts on their new take on The Dark Knight during Comic-Con, which you can read here

…Animated Batman fans rejoice! Having stepped down as supervising producer on Warner Bros. Animation’s DC offerings earlier this year, it’s been announced that the legendary Bruce Timm is returning to Gotham City for a new DC Nation short (as it happens, he also has a 75th Anniversary Superman short in the pipeline, which he’s producing alongside Zack Snyder). According to reports, the new Batman short will be black-and-white, with an old-school art style reminiscent of the Bob Kane era of the comic books…

…Having received its world premiere at Comic-Con, the next instalment of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Tuesday, July 30th; check out a new clip, and be sure to read Anghus Houvouras’ ★★★★ review review...

…The Justice League will be reunite again early next year for Warner Bros.’ first animated feature of 2014, Justice League: War, which is based upon the Justice League: Origin storyline from writer Geoff Johns and artists Jim Lee and Scott Williams. The movie will be the first to be adapted from DC’s New 52 continuity, and will see Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) directing a voice cast that includes Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars) as Batman, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) as Wonder Woman, Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash and Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg. You can watch an eight-minute first look featurette for Justice League: War here

…Along with Justice League: War, 2014 will see The Dark Knight headlining two features, with Warner Bros. announcing two new animated Batman movies this past week in Son of Batman, an adaptation of Grant Morrison’s 2006 comic book arc Batman & Son which reintroduced Damian Wayne into mainstream DC continuity, and Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is said to take place within the world of the Arkham video game franchise. There’s no word yet on official release dates, but based upon past form, expect them to arrive between April and July next year…

…During last Friday’s Marvel Television panel, it was confirmed that Ultimate Spider-Man will continue to feature as part of Disney XD’s Marvel Universe programming block alongside Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., with the show being renewed for a third season…

…SDCC also played host to the premiere of the first episode of Hulu’s new animated comedy series The Awesomes from Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live) and Mike Shoemaker (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), which centres on a group of misfits attempting to restore a legendary superhero team to its former glory after the retirement of the group’s leader. The show is set to premiere on the streaming service on August 1st, and you can check out an exclusive clip over at Deadline

…And finally, if you’re not completely sick of the words Comic-Con by now, you might want to take a look at Anghus Houvouras’ Score Card, where he rates the buzz around the forthcoming Marvel and DC superhero movies coming out of this year’s convention. 

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

Gary Collinson

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Around the Internet…

  • http://delusionallosers.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

    The only way to get me into an Aquaman movie is if it’s based of off the new 52 run