ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie news items. From Marvel to D.C. and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic-book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, believe it or not, we’re still recuperating from Comic-Con 2013, and the seismic shockwaves resulting from the bombastic announcements that Superman will fight Batman, and the Avengers will tackle Ultron. Let’s sort through the biggest superhero stories from the previous week.

‘The Avengers 2’


News regarding ‘Age of Ultron’ arrived in dribs and drabs following Joss Whedon’s Hall H reveal of the title of his planned ‘Avengers’ sequel. For instance, we learned that the movie won’t follow the plot of the comic series from which it borrows its name. We’re told that Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson will NOT be back for the sequel, though Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) will have larger roles.

And Loki likely won’t be back, which Tom Hiddleston tells Empire is basically OK by him:

I think it's great for the film that I'm not going to be in it. Because I'm so proud of the first one. Joss and I, there were so many things that we both love about it and in a way if I was in it we'd be chasing those moments, we'd be chasing that again. The Avengers need a new bad guy to fight, they need new things to do...but for the film I'll be waving them off and saying 'Good luck, have fun' and I'll be in the front row when it comes out.


- At the same time, Marvel basically admitted that their recent Comic-Con information drop was going to be it for a while, putting a cap (no pun intended) on the flow of Phase 3 news so that movies like ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ can hold the spotlight.

To that end, Marvel revealed that the next full trailer for Alan Taylor’s ‘Thor’ sequel will arrive on Aug. 7, during YouTube’s “Geek Week” of programming. We’ll post it here as soon as it’s live! It’s possible that the new ‘Thor’ trailer will end with … well, something bad happening to our hero. If you want to hear Chris Hemsworth’s reaction to the very spoilery footage – and the state in which it leaves his demi-God character – check out this interview with I give them a hand [hint, hint] for asking such bold questions.

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’


Did you see ‘The Wolverine’ over the weekend? Several of you did, as the standalone adventure earned an impressive $55M in its debut frame.

But, did you stay through the end credits? Comic-book movie fans have been trained (largely by Marvel) to linger in the theaters until the lights come back on, as there’s usually a tease for the next chapter in the unfolding story. And when it comes to Logan (Hugh Jackman), his mid-credits stinger set up Bryan Singer’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’ Did you catch it? I’m waiting for it to show up online. Until then, here’s what happens. Skip the next block quote if you’re prefer to remain unspoiled:

Wolverine has departed Japan with the warrior Yukio (Rila Fukushima) at his side. After half the credits roll, the screen goes dark, then comes up on Logan in an airport. He approaches the metal detector and tells the guard he’ll opt for the pat down. Wolverine looks down at the materials going through the security-checkpoint conveyor belt and sees coins mysteriously floating in the air. Deducing it’s Magneto, Wolvie unsheathes his claws and spins around to see the dark mutant (Sir Ian McKellen). Before they can tussle, they are approached by another familiar figure from Wolverine’s past: Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Logan is stunned. He saw Xavier die. When he asks Prof. X how this is possible, the mind-reader simply states, “You are not the only one with gifts.”

The ‘Wolverine’ tease sets up next summer’s ‘Future Past,’ which Singer recently brought to Comic-Con and continues to film in Montreal. The director has been quiet on Twitter since the Con. I wonder if Fox will cut together some of that Hall H footage into a teaser trailer, now that ‘Wolverine’ is helping generate headlines and buzz for next summer’s ‘X-Men’ sequel?

Until then, check out the new ‘Future Past’ posters that dropped. I love how they blend Singer’s original actors with their ‘First Class’ counterparts.

‘The Secret Service’

Matthew Vaughn’s name was associated with the ‘X-Men’ franchise for years. He helmed ‘X-Men: First Class,’ and almost took a stab at ‘Days of Future Past’ before handing that film over to Singer.

Instead, Vaughn is directing ‘The Secret Service,’ a thriller based on Mark Millar’s graphic novel (they previously collaborated on ‘Kick-Ass’), and the casting process for that film is getting underway.

Icon Comics

SlashFIlm says that Michael Caine has been confirmed for a role in the film, joining the already announced Colin Firth. Caine will play the head of a spy organization. Firth will be under him, tasked with training a hood rat to become a secret agent. “It’s ‘My Fair Lady’ meets James Bond,” Millar calls it.

Who will play the street urchin trained to be a spy? Variety is hearing that newcomer Taron Egerton is close to landing the coveted role. The movie begins shooting in August, aiming for a November 14, 2014 release.

‘The Fantastic Four’


Personally, I was shocked that Fox made it out of Comic-Con without any major reveals regarding its ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot. Granted, the studio’s Hall H panel was massive, introducing the entire ‘Days of Future Past’ cast. But Josh Trank’s reboot is due in theaters in March 2015, so the gears have to begin turning soon, right?

Well, now The Wrap reports that Trank (‘Chronicle’) will start shooting the anticipated movie in Louisiana in September. It’s damn near impossible to film a superhero movie without a cast, so expect Fox to announce the actors playing Reed Richards, Sue Richards, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm soon.

Batman and Superman


While screenwriter David S. Goyer discusses possible titles for the upcoming Batman-Superman stand off, and location scouts contemplate filming in Toronto, online speculation runs rampant as to who should play the Dark Knight now that it’s assumed Christian Bale will not step back into the role of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.

Virtually every Web site wrote some feature dream casting the Batman role. Our eight suggestions for a new Caped Crusader ranged from Karl Urban to Joel Edgerton. Ryan Gosling’s name made the rounds on several sites. Over on CinemaBlend, there's an impassioned plea to give George Clooney a second chance in the cape and cowl.

The wildest rumor, floated by Cosmic Book News, links 'Teen Wolf' star Tyler Hoechlin to the coveted part. The site says he’ll screen test with ‘Man of Steel’ star Henry Cavill soon. In addition, the site quotes a source as saying there are multiple villains being considered for the Batman-Superman movie, with Lex Luthor and The Joker being top of mind. The site goes so far as to say that Luthor is all but confirmed, but take it ALL with a grain of salt.

As for the movie’s plot, Cosmic Book says:

The sequel is set a year after ‘Man of Steel,’ and the world is still getting used to having this powerful god on the planet who isn't fully trusted by everybody. Batman certainly doesn't trust Superman. Superman doesn't trust Batman; either of which causes the two to clash when they initially meet. They do however pair up to defeat the villains (not 100% confirmed who the villains are). COULD be Luthor and Joker, but only a select few really know that. Luthor is definitely in the sequel and he doesn't like Superman, believing him a threat to the planet.

All of that could have been inferred by anyone who watched the end of ‘Man of Steel.’ But with Zack Snyder looking to film in 2014, expect Warner to move on a Batman hiring soon.


Finally, Jamie Foxx’s work on Marc Webb’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ must have him in a comic-book mood, as the Oscar winner has been spreading the word that he’s “aggressively pursuing” the role of Spawn in a potential reboot. He tells that Spawn and Mike Tyson are “two roles I would just love to do.” Todd MacFarlane’s demonic hero spawned a disappointing adaptation back in 1997. Could Foxx’s interest get a new movie on the fast track? We shall see.