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. This week, Ant-Man reshoots have resulted in a very interesting change, Harley Quinn details are revealed, and Captain America: Civil War details begin to leak.


Ant-Man Reshoots and Improv

Things have been awfully quiet on the Ant-Man front since that first trailer dropped. So we were bound for a deluge of news. Well, deluge may be a strong word, but we did get our first wave of information about this troubled production in quite some time.

First, let’s note an interview with the delightful Bobby Cannavale, who is playing a supporting role in the film. When not complaining about acting in front of a blue screen, Cannavale discussed the tone on the set, which he compared to an indie movie. More importantly, he talked about how funny everyone was and how open director Peyton Reed and Marvel were to improv:

The actual work, the scenes with me and Paul Rudd, and Judy Greer and Michael Pena, felt like an indie film. It felt like fun. Peyton Reed [and the studio], they weren't mercurial about the script. They weren't mercurial about the humor, at all. They let us be in charge of that. We improvised a lot. Judy Greer's very funny. Paul's very funny, he's a great improviser.

The rewrite of the script that Paul did with McKay, and I've worked with McKay before, lent itself to that. You could see that there's a funny scene and we could actually riff off of that, and that felt impressive to me in this big huge blockbuster film. It made me feel kind of good, that it felt like Marvel was going for something different. It didn't feel like Thor. It felt more like Guardians of the Galaxy, which I really enjoyed and I thought brought a certain levity to a superhero movie that I had never seen before.

And that makes sense! What is the point of hiring someone as funny as Paul Rudd to star in your superhero movie if you’re not going to let him riff? And Cannavale’s comments on Rudd and Adam McKay’s rewritten script jive with previous McKay films, where scenes were crafted to allow actors plenty of room to improvise and experiment. We will never not be bummed that Edgar Wright felt the need to leave this project, but it’s these kinds of details that give us faith.

Speaking of Wright, it seems that Marvel has decided (in tragic retrospect) that his vision for the film was the right approach. According to the folks at Badass Digest, Ant-Man has recently undergone a series of reshoots, standard practice on any movie. More specifically, these reshoots have reversed one of the contentious areas that forced Wright to depart. Rudd’s Scott Lang, who was softened against Wright’s will, is once again a hardened criminal when the movie opens:

...I've been hearing that the movie evolved (especially in reshoots) to come back to a place closer to where Wright had it, with Scott Lang as more of a crook when the film opens. I think that pre-Guardians Marvel was freaking out about the roguishness of the character. Post-Guardians it's clear that the lead being a rogue does not hurt these movies.

Lang’s journey in the pages of the Marvel comics has always been about how a criminal evolves into a superhero, so it’s kinda crazy that this is one of the points Wright had to fight for. At least Marvel now realizes Wright was right. Why not give your hero a massive emotional journey where he is forced to change his entire life and become a better person for the good of the world? Somewhere, Wright is shaking his head, glad that Marvel saw the light on this particular subject but annoyed that they were about a year too late getting there.


The Ladies of the DC Movie Universe

Gal Gadot, AKA, the new Wonder Woman, recently sat down for an interview in her home nation of Israel. The translated version runs the gamut on subject matter, with the Fast and Furious star discussing everything from the grueling process of earning to the role to the critics who say her breasts aren’t large enough to play Wonder Woman (to which she responds that the Amazons of legend cut off one breast to better their archery skills).

Ultimately, the interview arrived at the question that she is going to be answering for the foreseeable future: What does it mean to be Wonder Woman? Her answer is pretty much on the money:

Playing Wonder Woman is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t describe to you how much I wanted to play this character without even knowing I wanted to play her. I met a lot of people from the industry in LA for meetings. They always asked me ‘what’s your dream role?’, and I never could define it. I always answered that I wanted to play a women that is strong and will be a source for women empowerment. I don’t want to play a damsel in distress that needs to be saved. I don’t like it when women in the movies are shown as the victims. I always thought that if I could send out a massage I want to show the strong side of a woman and how she can handle tough situations.

She was also asked about Wonder Woman’s powers and nothing about her answer should surprise you:

She has unbelievable endurance. She is exceptionally strong. She can jump really high and practically fly. She know tons of martial arts styles. She is a strong and serious woman.

The only thing to note there is that her Wonder Woman can’t fly (a power she seems to have off-and-on in the comics). But hey, who needs to fly when you can leap from place to place?

Now, let’s journey to the dark side of the DC comic book world. Latino Review’s El Mayimbe (he of the massive comic book movie scoops) shared some Suicide Squad details on his Instagram page, revealing a few interesting tidbits about Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Fans of the animated series will be pleased to know that her prison uniform will recall her classic original costume, but it won’t be her only outfit in the movie.

Oh, and she and the Joker have pet hyenas. Of course Harley Quinn and the Joker have pet hyenas. Here’s his original post:

And that brings us to Jai Courtney, who really doesn’t belong in a subsection about women in the DC movie universe, but give us an opportunity to make fun of Jai Courtney and we will leap it at like rabid hyenas. Anyway, everyone’s favorite “How Does He Get Cast In Everything?” actor talked about playing Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad and he promises that the film will be very different from the standard superhero movie:

I’ve had a few fittings, but the costume is in development as we speak. It’s not going to look like anything that’s been done before, and I think this whole world will look a lot different than anything else.

We want to learn to like Courtney (it will make him being cast in everything easier to take) and if anything is going to make us like him, it will be playing a C-list villain whose power is throwing boomerangs. Embrace the lunacy, Mr. Courtney.


What Will the Marvel Universe Look Like After Avengers: Age of Ultron?

First, the official synopsis for Captain America: Civil War arrived, looking exactly like everyone expected it to look. Yep, zero surprises in this paragraph:

Following the events of Age of Ultron, the collective governments of the world pass an act designed to regulate all superhuman activity. This polarizes opinion amongst the Avengers, causing two factions to side with Iron Man or Captain America, which causes an epic battle between former allies.

But from that synopsis, a steady trickle of new details began to emerge across the internet, all of them dealing with not only Civil War, but the state of the Marvel cinematic universe after Avengers: Age of Ultron. We knew things where going to get shaken up, but it really sounds like the events of Age of Ultron will break the MCU in ways that won’t be easy to fix.

So let’s start with the least-spoilery details and work our way up to most spoilery. If you don’t want to know anything about the future of the MCU, this is your chance to back out. Seriously. There will be no quarters with the spoilers after this paragraph.

According to a report over at Bleeding Cool, Civil War will feature more superheroes than we initially expected. The first paragraph below consists of names that are 100% confirmed, but the rest are new to us:

So, Captain America: Civil War. It will feature Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Black Panther.

It will also feature Hulk, Thor, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, and a fourteen year old Peter Parker, Spider-Man.

Some of that certainly sounds enticing. Wasp? A teenage Spider-Man? Those would certainly be welcome additions to the MCU. But how much truth is here? Badass Digest claims that, unless things have been drastically changed, this isn’t quite accurate, especially when it comes to Hulk and Thor. Here be the big spoilers:

I am familiar with a couple of drafts of the script (one pre-ScarJo pregnancy, one post) and I can tell you that in both drafts the movie ends with the original Avengers splitting up and going their separate ways. Captain America and Nick Fury put together a new team, missing most of the big solo guns. Iron Man is done, Hulk is missing and Thor has returned to Asgard to deal with the events leading up to Thor: Ragnarok. Those last two are vital - my sources tell me they're sitting out Infinity War Part I as well, which means Marvel wants to take them off the shared universe board until they (along with Captain America) return in Part II. Bringing Thor right back for Civil War makes no sense. Bringing Hulk back makes even less sense, as his disappearance is a pretty big deal at the end of Ultron, and undoing that immediately seems silly.

Could these characters cameo? Sure, anything is possible. War Machine and Scarlet Witch are Avengers now, so their appearance in Civil War makes strong sense. Peter Parker? Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath on him having a major role. Ant-Man and The Wasp? Could be! There will be a Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But here's the thing about this rumor: it's just listing all the characters who have been in the movies. On some level I get that Civil War would bring in a lot of cameos (it was being called Avengers 2.5 in-house), but since the plan for Infinity War is so specific - a lot of the name brand Avengers will not be in Part I - I don't see Marvel just shoehorning everybody in here.

All of that aligns with what we have heard before. Thor will be dead (or at least as dead as gods can be) at the end of his third movie. Hulk will be shot into space (where he may get to meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy). Captain America will begin his third film with a new Avengers team consisting of newbies, with nary an Iron Man in sight. The apparent plan is for phase three to tear the MCU into tiny pieces and scatter the remnants to winds, leaving the remaining heroes (Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, etc) to face Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1...only for the big guns to return in Part 2. It’s ambitious, to say the least. And it will mean seeing the veteran heroes of the MCU endure a lot of hardship over the next few movies.

And throughout all of this, where is the Winter Soldier? And how does Baron Zemo fit into Civil War? Even with all of these spoilers, we still don’t have all of the answers.


Everything Else

In a new interview, Miles Teller pretty much admitted that Fantastic Four is more of a science fiction film than a superhero movie (and that this may change in sequels):

I mean, the more superhero stuff you get to do, the cooler it is. We'll see what happens, but yes, absolutely, as the thing evolves they should start to materialize to the Fantastic Four people more readily associate with.

When asked if Black Adam will pop up in Justice League, Dwayne Johnson gave a great non-answer: