August 25, 2014
Boardwalk Empire's breakout actor Jack Huston (American Hustle) is now rumored to be in consideration for the lead role in Doctor Strange, according to ThisIsInfamous. We keep hearing news like this on a regular basis, new names are claimed to be front-runners, until new ones are added. I have a feeling he's on a list, like many of the others previously mentioned in trade reports. Actors such as Johnny Depp, Jon Hamm (apparently denies involvement), Jared Leto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Joaquin Phoenix have all been linked to the next Marvel franchise.
The studio has a tendency to hedge-their-bets, by looking at multiple actors for their new lead roles (similar thing happened with auditions for Steve Rogers and Peter Quill). Jack was actually a candidate for the Star-Lord role in Guardians, before Chris Pratt was ultimately hired. I don't doubt that Marvel would want to keep that short-list in consideration for other roles down-the-line.
He has a young-Johnny Depp (originally wanted for the role, years back) look to him, and is a bit younger than most of the other names previously linked. might be willing to take-on a lengthly Marvel contract. Jack could also be another diamond-in-the-rough story for Marvel. Considering the actor isn't entirely well known for his film work and could become a breakout star. Similar to Thor's Chris Hemsworth or Guardians of The Galaxy's Chris Pratt. We were a bit shocked when Paul Rudd was named as playing Scott Lang in Ant-Man, so anything could happen with Strange's casting. Let's just remember that Marvel meets with a bunch of actors, and this could be just another name among many.
Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is directing with a script from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), production is expected to begin in the spring with a release date of July 8th, 2016.
British director Neil Marshall has made a career making fun B-movies, from Dog Soldiers to the more serious cult horror hit The Descent. He's also known for having strong female characters in his projects, his last two films having been more female-driven (Centurion and Doomsday) than his peers. Neil is responsible for two of the big event episodes of Game of Thrones as well, directing episodes Blackwater and The Watchers On The Wall. Easily, the two more action-heavy episodes of the series.
The director's next project will be a sequel to the classic tale of King Kong entitled Skull Island: Blood of The King, set 25 years after the original events. He recently directed the pilot episode of NBC's Constantine, which is based on the DC comic series Hellblazer. That might be the only comic book property the director is willing to dip-his-toes-in with, as he tells VanityFair that he'd take a shot at making a Black Widow film. Explaining why he believes the super-spy would work as a feature film.
I would love to do a Black Widow movie. That’s perfect, I would love to do that. That character is really interesting, she doesn’t have any superpowers, she just has extraordinary skills, and the world that she comes from, being this ex-K.G.B. assassin, I find that really fascinating, yeah.
As it stands, Marvel has quieted their talk of a Widow spin-off. So much so, that Kevin Feige has basically stated Natasha is more valuable as a supporting character. This does make sense, considering she has helped-out three Marvel franchises (Iron Man, Avengers, Captain America). We know that screenwriter Nicole Perlman (Guardians of The Galaxy) confirmed herself, that she did work on a new script treatment back in 2010/2011. Resurrecting the previous incarnation that was setup at Lionsgate back in 2008 by writer-director David Hayter (Watchmen, X2, X-Men). New development on the project is currently unknown, and is considered in limbo. It's assumed that Marvel might put resources towards a Ms Marvel/Captain Marvel movie first.
Scarlett has proven herself as a box office draw this summer with Lucy opening number one (beating Dwayne Johnson's Hercules which opened the same weekend), and her character appearing in huge box office installments are definitely helping awareness/demand. The character's mysterious past concerning the events in Budapest and Osaka could be fun to explore, but being left as a mystery might be better too. Also, Scarlett's recent pregnancy could slow-down her action roles for next little while.
While we'd prefer a female director handling the female hero films at Marvel Studios, I don't think we should automatically dismiss Neil from the running. Considering a majority of his films are female-positive and has given solid roles to women in his previous work. He could also be the next Russo Brothers or even James Gunn, with a little help from Marvel. Plus, we already know that the studio people are fans of Game of Thrones, since they ended-up hiring Alan Taylor to direct Thor: The Dark World.
August 19, 2014
Agents of SHIELD isn't the greatest thing to come from Marvel Studios, but they are at least trying their best for it's second season. They've added an impressive new lineup of actors which include comedian Patton Oswalt, Lucy Lawless (Xena, Battlestar Galactica) and Kyle MacLachlan (Dune, Twin Peaks). Another addition has been announced via THR, and it's kinda of a big deal. As Marvel has hired actress and former Wonder Woman, Adrianne Palicki to play super-spy Bobbi Morse, better known as Marvel heroine and SHIELD agent Mockingbird.
The big deal is that Mockingbird is the sometimes partner/love-interest to Clint Barton (Hawkeye), and actually has worked alongside the Avengers as a full-fledged member. It's possible the role could be just guest starring role for the television show, to give fans a solid character from the comics. I have to assume she might show-up in future films including Captain America 3 or Avengers installments. Since Mockingbird taking a role in the third Captain America film would make things a bit more diverse.
This is an interesting turn of events, considering Palicki had been in the running for role in Guardians of The Galaxy (rumored to be Gamora).
It looks like we all missed-out on the coolest tidbit of information about Marvel's upcoming projects, that Marvel's Kevin Feige briefly mentioned to IGN at SDCC. He was asked point-blank about Black Panther and Captain Marvel movies. In which Kevin replied in a much more positive way, than previously when asked about the projects. It's the first time Feige has confirmed development on a Captain Marvel film, which I've been talking about being in development for months now.
"There both characters that we like..development work has been done on it, and it continues to be done on...and certainly the public.. It's the question I get asked more than anything else...More than Iron Man 4, more than Avengers 3, and that's sort of the first-time that's ever happened to us...So I think that makes a difference, I think that's something we have to pay attention to."
He was asked if public opinion or online demands fuel Marvel's choices to what to make next. Kevin reaffirmed that they have their plans set out in advanced (likely by phases), and that fans attitudes change frequently. While stating Black Panther and Captain Marvel might be exceptions to this. It's also extremely possible that Marvel has been keeping plans in-house for the moment, and wanted to see Guardians success before moving forward with similar "risky" projects.
"But in this particular case, I think it's a groundswell, and I think it means something substantial."
It's sort of a big-deal for this to happen, considering we have Marvel about to release their 11th film in May. None of the films have included female or non-white solo leads. Having Marvel's most recognizable female and black superheroes in theatres is something fans have been demanding since Avengers. It could change the landscape of the genre, and open-doors to actors/characters which might have been ignored for tentpole potential.
I have a feeling we'll see a bit of diversity casting when it comes to Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. However, making the jump to the big-screen, might ruffle the feathers of the studio dinosaurs, who have been blocking the change-up. Warner Bros. has both Aquaman and possible Wonder Woman films in development, which won't have the typical white-male lead. Sony is actually the first of the new wave to announce development on a female-driven Spider-Man spin-off coming in 2017. The likelyhood is that film will focus on Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat. Kevin might be saying it's fan demand, but it's also pressure coming from competing studios.
As it stands now Marvel has two in-house scripts for both Panther and Captain Marvel. Both characters are expected to be hinted-to in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not unlike Doctor Strange's Stephen Strange in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The former project has a draft by Mark Bailey, which Marvel seemingly likes but could eventually get extensive rewrites. The latter has a script, which is rumored to have been written by Guardians of The Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman.
It was told to me that the Captain Marvel script was written in-house (as usual), and by someone who has already produced scripts for the studio. Nicole also wrote an updated draft for the Black Widow script while being apart of Marvel's screenwriting program. It's actually unknown how many scripts Marvel had her working on, because Marvel hasn't made that information public. Considering both Guardians and Widow are female-heavy scripts, it would make sense that Perlman would at least get a shot at Captain Marvel. Perlman is also one of the best known writers from the program, and one of the few that has actually earned writing credit for her work.
Speaking of casting, we haven't heard much in the way of T'Challa, since LatinoReview first revealed Chadwick Boseman (Gods of Egypt, 42, Get On Up) as a strong candidate back in May 2013. Boseman himself has been coy, but recently stated.."Ahhh, I don’t know anything about that…Until the contract is signed, I don’t know". It's not definitive, but sounds like the usual runaround answers actors talking with Marvel would be expected to say. Chadwick is charismatic and charming as hell, and would make one hell of a Black Panther.
The only source concerning the casting of Captain Marvel goes all the back to October 2012, which comes from the DailyMail (usually right when it comes to Bond news). They said that both Emily Blunt (Looper, Edge of Tomorrow) and Ruth Wilson (Lone Ranger, Luther) were the main candidates for the role of Ms Marvel, at the time was linked for Avengers 2. Since then, we've got confirmation that Ms Marvel indeed appears in the Age of Ultron script, and could make a cameo in the sequel. Interesting enough, Joss Whedon confirmed to HeyUGuys a fourth major female lead in Age of Ultron, which some have assume is actually Ms Marvel/Captain Marvel.
It would make sense that Emily Blunt would be in the mix for this role, considering she was forced out of the Black Widow role in Iron Man 2, because of a contract with 20th Century Fox. She's been since linked to a few other Marvel roles including Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger. I assume that she could become Marvel's go-to actress to head-up this franchise. We've seen her play badasses in both Looper and Edge of Tomorrow, which the latter seemed like a test-reel for a campaign to play Captain Marvel. I wouldn't rule out Ruth Wilson considering she's closely worked with both Thor alumni Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba, but Blunt is currently my favorite for the role.
If I had to guess release dates, I would place Black Panther for either May or November 2017 (since we don't have a non-sequel announced for 2017, but have a cosmic one with GOTG2 and Thor 3 will take the Avengers-era spot), and Captain Marvel for a release in 2018 (since that year doesn't have either a cosmic film or new character). We can't be sure what Marvel's ultimate plan is until they make it official, but it sounds like Captain Marvel could be our next cosmic franchise and Panther our next new Earthbound hero.
August 18, 2014
Marvel has announced that cameras has begun to roll-on Ant-Man in San Francisco, which is directed by Payton Reed. Our primary cast consists of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, Evangeline Lily as Hope Van Dyne (daughter of Pym) and Corey Stoll as the main villain Darren Cross aka Yellow Jacket.
The new additions mentioned in the press release include Michael Pena (finally confirmed by Marvel), Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Blue Jasmine), Judy Greer (Archer, Descendants, Jurassic World, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes), John Slatterty, David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight, Prisoners), Abby Ryder Fortson, Gregg Turkington, and for some reason rapper T.I. (Takers).
John Slattery's (Mad Men) addition might be the confirmation we've been waiting for, as he played the original 60's version of Howard Stark in Iron Man 2. Bringing him back, gives us the impression that S.H.I.E.L.D. and Howard Stark will indeed play a role in the film. It's unknown what the actual timeline of the film will be, but it's expected we would see a younger version of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) kicking-ass as Ant-Man in the 1960s, possibly for S.H.I.E.L.D. We've been hearing that the rewrites were happening to include Pym's connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and place Ant-Man into the greater lineage of the MCU.
There is talk from BadassDigest that Judy Greer will play the ex-wife of Lang (Rudd) and Bobby Cannavale might be replacing Patrick Wilson as her new husband, a cop that also arrested Lang. I have to assume that child-actor Abby Ryder Fortson will be playing Cassie Lang, the daughter of Scott. Cassie had been rumored since Edgar Wright's involvement, and seems to be a role that could develop in the future.
A few comic book movie tropes are starting to fade-away, cheesy one-liners, horrible costumes and poorly done special effects. When it comes to revealing new heroes, we tend to see the classic "origin story" used. The main hero is normal (usually the first act or 20-30s of the film), but undergoes a massive transformation that finally gives us the hero in-action.
Marvel has been known to overlook this recent origin trope, by using exposition and flashbacks. We first saw this with the interesting flashbacks used in the opening sequence for The Incredible Hulk. Instead of rehashing Bruce Banner's origin in the reboot, we see him already on-the-run and hiding-out in Brazil. We kind of also saw this with Thor, as the god of thunder had previous adventures and is already wielding mjolnir. Again, this was done extremely well with Guardians as the trouble-makers were are already causing problems in the galaxy, just not as a group. Leaving a little mystery to the origins of our characters isn't always a bad thing, either.
According to Devin of BadassDigest, Marvel is finished with origin stories. This will likely effect Ant-Man as well, which will have the established hero (Pym) played by Michael Douglas hand-over the mantle to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). A great way to skip a bulk of the movie just setting-up sequels (where we see the hero in full-form) and the final action piece.
He goes on to mention that we'll see Stephen Strange already the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange and that we won't have to spend a large portion of the film without him playing the hero. Along with screenwriter Jon Spaihts' (Prometheus) extensive page-one rewrite of the entire script. Meaning, that the original draft that was circling a while back, is getting completely scrapped from the project.
We still haven't had Marvel announce who will actually play our Stephen Strange. The actors who are reportedly in the mix include Benedict Cumberbatch (seemingly out of the running because of a play in London), Tom Hardy (Mad Max Fury Road, Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Bronson, Warrior, The Drop), Oscar winner Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club, Fight Club, Lord of War, Requiem For A Dream, American Psycho) and more recently three-time Oscar nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Her, The Immigrant, The Master, Inherent Vice, Walk The Line). I'm personally rooting for Hardy and Phoenix to get the role, since they have an extremely strong body of work.
The production start of Doctor Strange will begin in Spring 2015, with a release date of July 8th, 2016. Casting announcements are bound to begin very soon, as pre-production starts ramping-up.
August 17, 2014
According to Collider, it seems like The Inhumans are apart of Marvel's next exploration of their expanding cosmic universe. The studio has a script by Joe Robert Cole, who is apart of Marvel's screenwriting program (Guardians' co-writer Nicole Perlman was also apart of that program). The situation sounds very similar to when Guardians landed in the lap of James Gunn, after the script was developed in-house at Marvel. Also, Doctor Strange went-out to filmmakers before Scott Derrickson was announced as it's director, and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) was hired to do a page-one rewrite of the script. We could see another complete overhaul on the existing material. Apparently, the film/script is going out to filmmakers and might need a strong visionary to further develop it.
We previously heard that Marvel was developing the property for a feature-film, but a writer was never named. The last word was, Inhumans was one of three candidates competing for a release spot (Guardians and Black Panther being the other two), which Guardians of The Galaxy would ultimately get. The project was being described as Game of Thrones meets X-Men, as superpowered royal families fight over galactic thrones. Inhumans is such an interesting property, as we've heard this could be a way Marvel is able to develop their own type of "mutants" (owned by Fox) within the MCU.
Recently, Vin Diesel teased fans that he could be "Inhuman" for Marvel. This could be another misdirection by Diesel, or a way to push his own agenda to gain another role at Marvel. Many believe this might mean we might see Vin as the voice of Groot and the body of king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt. Black Bolt's voice is beyond destructive, which means he doesn't speak and would allow Diesel to play two roles within the cosmic universe.
Could we see another creative/unexpected voice like Gunn spearheading our cinematic introduction to The Inhumans? I'd love to see someone unique like Ben Wheatly (A Field In England, Sightseers, High-Rise, Kill List), who I've been dying to see show-up on one of Marvel's director wish-lists. Given that Marvel went with someone a bit more rebellious like Gunn, someone like Ben (known for bizarre/dramatic projects) might be another winning combo. Ben is currently shooting his thriller High-Rise with Loki himself Tom Hiddleston, and has recently directed an episode of Doctor Who. He also wrote his darker films A Field In England and Kill List.
August 11, 2014
James Gunn is already beginning work on the script for Guardians of The Galaxy 2, as the director confirmed he's begun writing the sequel. The second installment already has a release date set for July 2017. We kind have an idea that Nova and Cosmo will likely have a part to play in the next movie. Yet, there are a few other Marvel cosmic characters we'd like to see used in the sequel as well.
ADAM WARLOCK: We had heard Warlock was going to have some sort of cameo in the film, but that likely was written-out or removed from the final cut. The assumption was that his cocoon in The Collectors' chambers would be involved in the film at some point, that didn't end-up happening. Warlock has worked alongside the Guardians for ages, and eventually becomes a member. He's crossed paths with Thanos on many occasions and is a major character connected to the Infinity stories. Having one of the infinity stones embedded in his forehead (soul gem), he's a sure-bet for the sequel. If, indeed Thanos will have most of the infinity stones by Avengers 3.
BLACKJACK O'HARE: It's likely a lock that Rocket's otter and walrus companions will have some role in the next installment, but I'd love to see the rabbit mercenary Blackjack O'Hare get his onscreen debut. He's a prime character to be a fellow bounty-hunter, antagonist to Rocket or just roaming around Knowhere as a hired-gun. Plus, a blue rabbit wise-cracking with Bradley Cooper's Rocket would be super-fun to watch. I'd honestly take him over Howard The Duck, but that's just my opinion.
THE INHUMANS: We've finally had the Kree Empire referenced in the films, and the success of Guardians could mean that Marvel will push-forward with their Inhumans movie. An ancient group of aliens experimented on by the Kree, are revealed to have superpowers when exposed to a mist. In the recent comics, Black Bolt releases this mist on the entire population of Earth. Which in-turn, creates a larger population of Inhumans on the planet. Some believe this is Marvel's way of creating another version of mutants for their film universe. Time-will-tell, but with a potential project that would end-up looking like X-Men meets Game of Thrones, it's a strong bet they'll have a film soon. Including them in small cameos, or at least introducing them in next Guardians film would make sense, if they are planning on expanding upon their existing cosmic universe.
HEPZIBAH: This skunk-humanoid would actually be a very interesting character visually, and could easily be one of Yondu's Ravagers (we've already heard James Gunn mention exploring the Ravagers a bit more). The space-pirate and member of the Starjammers, might actually be another shared X-Men character (similar to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch). Since she's an alien (not mutant), and was included in her own series alongside the rest of the original Starjammers lineup.
I've also noticed neither Fox or Marvel have commented on the rights concerning the Starjammers. The only one of the group I believe Fox could claim is Cyclops' father Cosair. Starjammers will likely become something discussed between Lauren Shuler Donner and Fox, post-Guardians. Since, we've never had aliens referenced in the X-Men film franchise, I'm possibly leaning towards they don't have the rights to the entire lineup/name. If they do, they'll possibly combine them into the world they are creating for the new Fantastic Four. Considering, Fox has control of rest of Marvel's cosmic catalog of characters and alien races.
MAR-VELL: We've already mentioned the Kree, and our first introduction to them wasn't great with Ronan. They aren't all that bad, case-in-point Kree hero Mar-Vell, also known as Captain Marvel (which I assume the title will be given to Danvers). I'm not sure Mar-Vell would become a straight-up Guardian (like I assume Nova would just work with them for the common good), but he'll likely have conflicts with the Kree Empire. Which could lead him to leave their ranks and look elsewhere to do good. I'd also like to give a shout-out to Wraith, another Kree who is banished but becomes a hero in the Infinity saga.
CAROL DANVERS: Speaking of Captain Marvel, wouldn't it be great if we saw the origin of Carol Danvers' powers in Guardians 2? I know the rumors say that she'll appear in Age of Ultron, but we don't know if she'll even have her powers in the film. Perhaps, as a pilot she's testing-out a new spacecraft for Stark or S.W.O.R.D. and is either captured by aliens, or is brought into the cosmic world. Leading to her to be exposed to the Kree technology, with the accident that grants her superpowers.
ANGELA: One of the newest additions to the Marvel universe, and acquired from Image Comics/Todd Mcfarlane. This lady is another badass outsider, that screams Guardian. She actually worked with the team recently in the comics, and is also revealed to be the daughter of Odin (sister to Loki/Thor). She could be a bridge for the Guardians to go to Asgard, leading them to meet Thor (a solid way to lead to their team-up in Avengers 3) and The Avengers, warning them that Thanos is coming to Earth.
CORVUS GLAIVE AND THE BLACK ORDER: Ronan and Nebula were okay as the villains of the film, but they didn't have the greatest motivation. Well it just happens that they aren't the only henchmen Thanos has doing his dirty work. He has his own group of supervillains, which are named The Black Order. This group are his generals and take-out worlds for the Mad Titan. They seem like worthy adversaries for the Guardians and The Nova Corps for an upcoming sequel. A great one to focus-on would be Corvus Glaive, an antagonist of a majority of the cosmic universe (including Earth and the Inhumans).
August 4, 2014
Lisa Joy Nolan Will Pen Female-Driven SPIDER-MAN Spin-Off Coming In 2017, Is This A BLACK CAT Movie?
Deadline is reporting that Sony is looking to rollout another Amazing Spider-Man spin-off, on the heels of announcing the release date for Sinister Six. They say that, Sony is eyeing a 2017 release date for an untitled spin-off that would focus on an unnamed female character. A script will be penned by Christopher Nolan's screenwriting sister-in-law Lisa Joy Nolan (Burn Notice, Pushing Daises).
Lisa Joy Nolan ico-wrote HBO's upcoming Westworld series with her husband Jonathan Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight). She also recently sold an original spec-script to Legendary Pictures after a bidding-war.
The studio apparently has the rights to use Marvel characters such as Silver Sable, Spider-Woman (all of the different characters) and Spider-Girl. However, Felicia Hardy played by Felicity Jones was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 2. Hardy eventually dons a mask, becoming the burglar turned Spidey ally The Black Cat. We are assuming that Black Cat is indeed the character that Sony will be trying to spin-off, since she is the most recognizable female character from the Spider-Man comics.
Hardy could also play a role in the Sinister Six film, which could lead to her branching out from villain to hero within that installment.
Sam Raimi tried to include Black Cat in his failed attempt to make Spider-Man 4, which had Anne Hathaway cast in the role. Anne would eventually leave the project, and take the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman instead in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Hathway's performance turning-out to be the highlight of the film.
We've been hearing (from Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson) for years that a Black Widow solo spin-off movie was coming in the future. More recently, Guardians of The Galaxy's Nicole Perlman had scripted a new draft for the resurrected project (originally given the axe by Lionsgate back in 2008). I've also been hearing from fellow bloggers that Carol Danvers (Ms Marvel/Captain Marvel) will indeed appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Joss Whedon confirmed to HeyUGuys that we would see a fourth female lead in Age of Ultron. So, where is our announcement concerning a female superhero film from Marvel?
Marvel's Kevin Feige has finally come out and commented on the status of a female-driven movie at the studio. The statements via ComicBookResources includes the realization of the demand, but also points-out they might not be ready for that film to be put into production. Feige mentions other new franchises being their current focus, but they might have something else up their sleeves.
“I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story. I very much believe in doing it. I very much believe that it’s unfair to say, ‘People don’t want to see movies with female heroes,’ then list five movies that were not very good, therefore, people didn’t go to the movies because they weren’t good movies, versus [because] they were female leads. And they don’t mention ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Divergent.’ You can go back to ‘Kill Bill’ or ‘Aliens.’ These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later.”
“But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have — which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that’s because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don’t know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we’re playing right now.”
We've seen a large upswing in female casting in recent Marvel films, so we should also point that out as well. Guardians, Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3 and Age of Ultron have a great number of female leads/supporting characters, who are more than just love-interests or eye-candy. Finally giving us a taste of female villains, mentors and fellow heroes. Feige sites hugely-successful female-led projects like Frozen, Aliens, Hunger Games and Kill Bill, as examples of successes, but also mentions the stigma from previous unsuccessful comic book adaptations. He gives the impression that they understand the demand, but just don't have anything to put out in theatres. This could be another reason why the studio didn't make title announcements for a majority of the new release dates. Because, they are still mulling-over which "new" franchises should come next. Inhumans (another cosmic team film with two major female leads) and possibly Black Panther are on-deck for the studio.
The level of development for both Black Widow and Ms Marvel, have never been made public. Trades have sited that the studio is working a Ms Marvel script, but it's writer and it's stage of development hasn't been revealed (it could still be in the extremely early stages). They could still be trying to outline stories for these characters, for their own feature films.
It's extremely difficult for writers of Widow, since they keep using her as secondary leads in films like Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron and likely Captain America 3. Adding updates from other scripts that feature her, mean that rewrites would be needed on a regular basis. Making it a very complex problem to give her own film, when she's getting strong character development and exposure as a supporting character/secondary lead. A prequel sounds like a way to break away from the tropes of the recent/future films.
Another reason for delaying a Black Widow film, is that Marvel could be thinking of killing-off Natasha in Age of Ultron or future films. In the Ultimate comics (MCU is inspired by these stories), she is revealed to be a traitor and is killed by Hawkeye, when it's revealed she was also responsible for the death of Barton's family. They've well-established her as a character with a dark-streak, and Whedon is known for manipulating are feelings for characters. Joss has teased that major characters could get bumped-off in the sequel.
They could be delaying for another reason, they want to focus on a superpowered heroine. Widow is great, but Carol Danvers (or Kamala Khan) has actual powers and could have more spectacle in a solo outing. Not to mention involving the cosmic-side of the MCU, something that could come in waves post-Guardians. First, placing her in Age of Ultron (I assume giving her origin there), then having larger roles in future films (Guardians 2?), leading to her own spin-off. A similar way Marvel ramped-up Natasha's role in the MCU.
The studio will be upping the yearly releases to three starting in 2017, so this could lead to more new films getting released. This move could lead to projects like a female-driven film fast-tracked.
July 26, 2014
While we're are assured that Marvel will be announcing a slew of titles today at Comic-Con. One is already being confirmed by a screenwriter from Marvel's writers program. Nicole Perlman, who originally wrote the first draft of Guardians of The Galaxy, confirmed to TheWrap in a video interview that James Gunn would be returning to write-direct the sequel. Perlman also wrote an updated script for a solo Black Widow film (and is rumored/unconfirmed to be involved with the Ms Marvel script as well).
Gunn went even further while speaking with FilmDivider and revealed what we could see in the next installment, which hinted to focusing on Peter Quill's father and his role as a member of an intergalactic royal family.
Not to mention seeing more of the world of Yondu and the Ravagers (group of thieves/smugglers).
July 25, 2014
Deadline reports that Sony's Matt Tolmach (Amazing Spider-Man 1-2) has tapped Edgar Wright (Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, World's End) to direct the film adaptation of Andrew Smith's novel Grasshopper Jungle. It's a big move for Edgar Wright, who just parted-ways with Marvel Studios over Ant-Man rewrites. A project he had been working on for almost a decade. Grasshopper Jungle sounds interesting enough of a concept, and seems like familiar ground for Wright.
"Grasshopper Jungle, which is best described as Stand By Me meets Attack The Block, seems right in Wright’s wheelhouse. It’s a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen trying to come to grips with his own raging hormones and sexual feelings as he and his cohorts cause a deadly genetically engineered plague that unleashes an army of 6-foot-tall praying mantises. Those bugs live the life these guys wish for, acting on an insatiable appetite for fighting, food, and fornicating."
It's also noted that his next film will indeed be his self-scripted Baby Driver. An action flick which would be something a bit more action genre-forward, and less comedic focused. Sounds like Edgar might be choosing his projects a bit more carefully from now on.
Production on Marvel's Ant-Man is about to begin, but they'll have to do it without Patrick Wilson and a few others. The Watchmen actor was cast in an unnamed role (rumored to be a young Hank Pym or the secondary villain), but seemed a bit upset when production delays began after the departure of director Edgar Wright. Payton Reed has stepped-in to direct and Adam McKay will make rewrites to the script.
There were rumors that other actors, hand-picked by Edgar could also walk from the project. It seems like that is coming true as Matt Gerard (Avatar) and Kevin Weisman (Alias) are also exiting, they are stating that their characters have been removed from the newly updated script. Considering that Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd have been the only two actors Marvel would confirm in recent press releases, it's likely we could be seeing more casting shake-ups. Deadline also mentions that Evangeline Lily (Hobbit, Real Steel, Lost, Hurt Locker) will indeed be in attendance for the panel, but her character hasn't been confirmed.
Ant-Man is set to released on July 15th, 2015.
TheWrap reports another big name in the running for the role of Stephen Strange in Marvel's next franchise Doctor Strange. Three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, Her, The Immigrant, Walk The Line, is being linked for talks. You might remember Phoenix was linked for the role of Bruce Banner, just before Comic-Con 2011. Only, to have Mark Ruffalo announced as the new Banner on stage with his Avengers co-stars. This could be a giant misdirection, or we might actually see Joaquin join the MCU. Other actors linked for the role recently included Jared Leto, Tom Hardy and fan-favorite Benedict Cumberbatch. The latter has stated his engagement for Hamlet on the London stage, might be a giant conflict.
Jeff also believes that Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy won't be taking the gig. This sort of makes sense, since the pair are extremely busy with a steady stream of other fruitful projects. Nothing says they can't take other roles though, or even villainous ones down the line.
Last we heard, before the script rewrites from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), villains Baron Mordo and Dormammu would be featured in the film. Considering Dormmannu will likely be another CGI motion capture hybrid character, either Hardy or Cumberbatch could end-up voicing the flame-headed baddie during the film's post-production process.
It's expected that Marvel will announce more information concerning Doctor Strange at Comic-Con, including it's release date and possibly it's lead actor as well. Since it's expected to begin shooting next spring, most likely in the UK.
Comic-Con is in full swing which means that casting and production news are about to make massive waves. One coming out of the event is that Sam Raimi will produce Sony's The Last of Us film adaptation. The project is based on Naughty Dog's widely popular Playstation game, which features a monstrous end of days in a mostly abandon urban environment reclaimed by nature (think Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, but with zombie-like creatures). Producers mentioned during their panel that Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams has met with them about the key-role of Ellie.