ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie/TV news items. From Marvel to DC and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis.

‘Ant-Man’ and Other Minor Marvel Character Updates

Marvel Studios may be one of the biggest perpetrators of those awful “teasers for trailers” that are all the rage in movie marketing these days, but at least they seem to have a sense of humor about it. With first trailer for ‘Ant-Man’ set to premiere on January 6 during the premiere of ‘Agent Carter,’ Marvel did what most purveyors of blockbuster entertainment do these days: they released a tiny snippet of footage to let people know the trailer was coming. But since this is a movie about a superhero who can change his size, they decided to have some fun and unleashed this upon the unsuspecting nerd population:

Yeah, don’t even try to full screen it. Just enjoy the joke. They also ended up releasing a “human-sized” version a few days later, so just go ahead and watch that one instead:

Marvel knows that they are going to need to make a strong first impression with this one. Amongst the geeks, ‘Ant-Man’ is still the movie that Edgar Wright almost directed before he departed over creative differences. To real people, this is a movie based on a superhero who sounds like a joke. Marvel pulled off the seemingly impossible with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and the combination of Paul Rudd and (the massively underrated) director Peyton Reed is nothing to scoff at. This could be something really special and Marvel needs to be on point with how they sell this thing to both halves of their audience.

Anyway, a piece of promo art also made its way online, giving us a close-up look at the sleek Ant-Man suit as well as our first official glimpse of the villainous Yellowjacket, who will be played by ‘House of Cards’ star Corey Stoll. If past Marvel art is any indication, this should give us an incredibly accurate tease of what they will look like in the finished film.

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While we’re on the subject of C-list superheroes getting their moment in the cinematic spotlight, Vin Diesel recently took to his Facebook and posted some images that will surely raise an eyebrow or two. As you surely remember, Diesel ended up snagging the role of Groot in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ by BS-ing about talking to Marvel on social media, which led to an actual meeting and then his actual casting. Since it worked once, Diesel has been at it again, continuous dropping hints that he’s involved in Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’ movie. Is he really attached? Probably not. Will posting goofy pictures he obviously cooked up on his home computer work again? Who knows? To be fair, Diesel is obviously interested in the role of Black Bolt, the leader of the Inhumans, which is a character who doesn’t speak. So, technically, he could be both Groot and the lead and in ‘Inhumans’ without causing any confusion.

Well played, Diesel. Well played.

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And speaking of movie stars circling (or not circling) future Marvel projects, Emily Blunt was once again asked about her involvement or non-involvement in ‘Captain Marvel’ and she confirmed that everything is just rumor and speculation at this point:

No one’s offered me that officially, so it’s… very unofficial. I think it’s fan-casting, which is always very nice. But nothing official has been offered, for sure.

Interestingly, the same interview delves into her past experience with Marvel Studios, namely how she almost landed the role of Black Widow before Scarlett Johansson and was a frontrunner for Peggy Carter in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’:

Yeah, but it was never the right time, really, and it just didn’t work out scheduling-wise with those two. It’s always a difficult thing to talk about, because it’s not fair to the actresses who ended up playing them, you know? It just wasn’t the right time.

After kicking so much ass in ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ Marvel would be foolish not to cast her in something. Third time’s the charm, right?

‘Avengers 2’ Preps the Marketing Blitz

The new ‘Avengers 2’ trailer will premiere on January 12 during the 2015 College Football National Championship on ESPN. Marvel has even cut a little teaser to help you remember.

Consider this the last time that you will ever forget that Joss Whedon’s new movie arrives on May 1, 2015. Because Marvel and Disney are going to do their damndest to make sure that every single human being with access to a movie theater will see this thing.

But more things happened this week beyond a new trailer announcement! A deluge of promo art from the film arrived online and we’ll take a look at those in a moment. What’s really important is some text that came attached to two of the images, with one paragraph describing the origin of Ultron and the other describing the origin of the android superhero Vision. Possible (minor) spoilers lurk ahead, so feel free to scroll on down if you feel antsy about any of this.

First, here is the text for James Spader’s Ultron. Much of this is already common knowledge, but it sounds like his creation will be closely tied to the Battle of New York from the end of the first ‘Avengers’ film. If you combine that with the images we’ve seen that imply that Loki’s staff will play a significant role in the film, it’s starting to look like this is even more of a direct sequel than we originally thought:

First discovered as a simple computer program hidden among the ruins of the Chitauri invasion of New York, the being known as Ultron soon completed its development into a sophisticated artificial intelligence after some experimentation by Tony Stark. Ultron's first shocking ultimatum upon gaining consciousness was to declare the human race its enemy. Setting out to exterminate all life on the planet, the unstable and emotional Ultron seeks to upgrade its mechanical body to an ultimate, unstoppable form. With an army of robotic drones and the ability to enter and corrupt any computer network, Ultron will stop at nothing to see humanity wiped out.

The text for Paul Bettany’s Vision isn’t quite as detailed, but it does contain one particularly interesting note: the robotic Avenger is the joint-creation of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, which means that everyone’s favorite “science buddies” are about to become fathers in their own peculiar way. Awww:

Programmed by the combined geniuses of Tony Stark & Bruce Banner and imparted with the ability to fly, project intense energy beams and change the density of his form, the Vision has proved himself a worthy hero, aiding the Avengers in their struggle against the evil A.I. Ultron.

And now, the art itself! Most of it looks like posters you’ll soon find at your local Wal-Mart of T-shirts that every 12-year old boy in the world will be wearing come summer, but some of them are fairly interesting. In addition to the best look at Vision yet, there are few nice shots of Iron Man’s “Hulkbuster” armor and a glimpse at a few of Black Widow’s new weapons.

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Before we leave new images behind entirely, Marvel also released a new still from the film. Yep, that’s the party scene from the trailer, but it’s the first time that we see the entire extended cast together in one line-up. Yep, even Colbie Smulders and Don Cheadle!

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And now, we move onto the “future bar trivia” portion of the Comic Strip. According to actor Tim Roth, there were, at one time, rumblings that the Abomination would return for ‘Avengers 2.’ That’s especially interesting since ‘The Incredible Hulk’ is the movie Marvel Studios seems to want to sweep under the rug. Here’s the full quote:

They were going to do it. They did do that. They were thinking, in ‘The Avengers 2' or something. There was a movie we could do that at one point, but way back when. It just kind of got swept under the carpet I guess. That would be hilarious.

Since Tim Roth tends to make everything a little better just by showing up, we wouldn’t mind seeing him show up again in the MCU, even if it’s a little cameo. Make it happen, Kevin Feige!

DC and Marvel and Netflix and TV and Everything In Between

The midseason finale of ‘Arrow’ ended on a huge cliffhanger, leaving fans wondering exactly how the show would pick up from, you know, that. We won’t go into spoilers here, but the first synopsis of the next episode has arrived, so if you want a tease of what to expect, read on:

“Left Behind”

THE TEAM DEALS WITH OLIVER’S DISAPPEARANCE — In the aftermath of Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) fight with Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable), Diggle (David Ramsey) and Arsenal (Colton Haynes) continue to protect the city in the Arrow’s absence. However, after three days without hearing from Oliver, they begin to fear the worst may have happened to their friend. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) refuses to believe that Oliver could be dead until Merlyn (John Barrowman) pays the team a surprise visit. Thea (Willa Holland) suspects there is something more behind Oliver’s disappearance and asks Merlyn for a favor. Meanwhile, Ray (Brandon Routh) tests a part of his new suit and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) takes up the mantle of the Black Canary.

Oh, and here’s a very brief video promo, just in cast that wasn’t enough for you:

Speaking of returning TV shows based on DC Comics characters, ‘Gotham’ has released a new batch of clips from its next episode. Yes, this show is still very, very silly:

Jumping over to Marvel, ABC has released an extremely brief behind-the-scenes look at ‘Agent Carter’:

They’ve also put out a new teaser that compares the show to ‘Alias’ and ‘Scandal,’ which seems just about right:

Meanwhile, over on Netflix, ‘Dardevil’ showrunner Steven DeKnight compared his show to ‘The Wire’ (wut?) and talked all about Vincent D’Onofrio’s take on the Kingpin. We’re skeptical of the former, but the latter sounds like a fresh take on an iconic comic book villain:

Fisk has very many different aspects so it’s not all, ‘I want to conquer the city and make a lot of money.’ In our story, we tell the story of how he met his wife Vanessa and how they fell in love—our antagonist actually has a love story. That’s the love story you’re following, the one you’re invested in, and seeing how that affects him and changes him. I think Vincent just brings such depth to it, his performance is just astounding.

In the same interview, Marvel TV honcho Jeph Loeb went into detail about the role ‘Daredevil’ will play in the larger MCU:

Within the Marvel universe there are thousands of heroes of all shapes and sizes, but The Avengers are here to save the universe and Daredevil is here to save the neighborhood. It’s a very unique look at Hell’s Kitchen in New York, where Matt Murdock grew up and continues to defend it from people who would harm the people that live there.

It does take place in the Marvel cinematic universe. It’s all connected. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we would look up in the sky and see [Iron Man]. It’s just a different part of New York that we have not yet seen in the Marvel movies.

Everything Else

- Sam Raimi is now saying that he agrees with many fans that ‘Spider-Man 3’ is a failure. We think he’s wrong.

- The long-rumored “Rogue cut” of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ should arrive on Blu-ray this summer.

This video shows off just how impressive the visual effects in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ really are.

What happens when LEGO Batman and LEGO Batman duke it out? This fan movie has the answer.