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, new details about 'Avengers 2' are spilled, new rumors about 'Batman vs. Superman' arise, and 'Arrow' casts a bunch of new actors.

Guardians of the Galaxy' is Now the Highest Grossing Film of 2014

It happened: one month into its theatrical run, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' has become the highest grossing film of 2014, overtaking 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' with $272 million at the domestic box office. At this rate, there's no reason why it won't hit $300 million, making it the first Marvel movie not featuring Iron Man to do so. This is noteworthy because the beginning of the summer was full of discussions about whether or not this thing was going to be Marvel's first full-fledged box-office bomb. Yes, Marvel studios sold the world on a movie based on a comic book that the vast majority of the human race has never heard about before the adaption. They're looking pretty invincible.

Heck, even Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., got in on the love-fest, admitting that 'Guardians' is the cream of the Marvel crop:

Galaxy in some ways is the best Marvel movie ever. And it’s odd for someone with — on occasion — an ego the size of mine to actually say that!

Greenlighting 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' before the first one came out is now looking like the smartest thing Marvel has ever done.

'Avengers 2' and the Ultimate Fate of Hawkeye

Is Hawkeye going to die in 'Avengers 2'? The internet certain thinks so. Despite knowing nothing about the finished film, a certain portion of superhero movie fans have decided that the kill-happy Joss Whedon will probably axe a major character or two during the course of the highly anticipated sequel and that Clint Barton, who remains the least beloved of the team, has a big target on his chest.

But Jeremy Renner says he's going to stick around for some time and maybe even appear in 'Captain America 3.' So Hawkeye is either going to make it to the end credits of the 'Avengers' sequel or he's lying to us. Does the Hawkeye doth protest too much?

However, the real big 'Avengers' scoop this week came over at Badass Digest, where it was revealed that the film (supposedly) ends with...

(Spoilers, of course.)

Captain America assembling a brand new team of heroes following the main team falling apart during the course of the film. This new team will include faces and names familiar to comic fans, including Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel:

At the end of Age of Ultron Cap will assemble a team that is a mix of familiar and new faces, leading forward into Phase Three. It's an exciting mission statement for Marvel Studios, letting audiences know that the Avengers team is more than just the guys who were in the first film. The make-up of that team is, technically, up in the air until that scene is shot (I suspect it's being saved for either scheduled reshoots or will be snuck into the schedule of Captain America 3, which goes before cameras early next year), but Joss Whedon's script did indicate who would be on that team. I won't reveal all the names - and some have changed in between drafts, by the way - but one character who has always been in this new team is Captain Marvel.

It's a tricky move, especially since people downright love the current line-up. However, this will be the key to the franchise's longevity. If the team can survive shake-ups like this, they can make 'Avengers' movies forever and ever and ever.

Anyway, let's wrap this section up with a trio of new photos from the set, showcasing a few  familiar faces, a few new faces, and Joss Whedon showing Hawkeye how to shoot a bow.


Joaquin Phoenix is Still Doctor Strange, Maybe

About a month ago, we heard that Joaquin Phoenix was being courted to star in 'Doctor Strange.' And then we heard nothing. Had the notoriously moody Oscar nominee (and one of the best actors working today) decided to drop out?

Apparently not. According to Collider, Phoenix is this close to signing on the dotted line to play Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme them. According to this report, the delays came because Phoenix wanted to ensure that his Marvel contract wasn't going to keep him from making other movies in between superhero gigs:

Despite rumors to the contrary, we’re hearing that Phoenix is absolutely still in line to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel adaptation, with our source telling us that his contract is essentially at the 1 yard line, about to pass into the endzone.  Though some believed the length of time it’s taken for Phoenix to finalized his deal was a sign that things might have gone south, it makes sense that an actor of Phoenix’s caliber and temperament would want to ensure that his Marvel contract doesn’t restrict his creative freedom to take on other projects outside the MCU.

Another report sheds more light on the situation, saying that Phoenix is wary of starring in an effects-driven superhero movie because he's not sure he has the proper skill sets to make it work:

He's a great actor, and he can play the role. But the Marvel Studios blockbuster machine is full of pre-viz and fight-viz and green screen and massive reshoots. It's not a world that's as comfortable for him, and he's just not certain he can do it. And I kind of think this is a terrific piece of self-awareness, and a piece of self-awareness that might keep the deal from closing. If Marvel can get past any issues Phoenix has with the larger contract they still have to get over the doubt this terrific actor has about working in this larger environment.

In any case, we should be hearing a confirmation of this sooner rather than later. If Phoenix is our Dr. Stephen Strange, we'll know before September is over for sure.

'Batman vs Superman' Reveals New Photos and New Scoot McNairy Rumors

We don't have anything truly solid on 'Batman vs. Superman' this week, so let's just dive into the laundry list of maybes and possibilities headfirst, okay?

First of all, one site claims that those images of Scoot McNairy wearing green screen socks don't depict him as the Flash, as preciously reported. According to this scoop (and this place has no track record at all, so get your salt ready), McNairy is actually playing Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen ... and Jimmy Olsen lost his legs during the events of 'Man of Steel.' Yikes:

The extra states it like this: "Scoot is playing Jimmy Olsen, but with a bit of a twist. Jimmy was injured during the battle of Zod vs Superman. His legs where pinned under falling building rubble and that caused him to lose the legs. He now walks with the use of two prosthetic legs."  The source goes on to add "He doesn't blame Superman for it [his loss of legs]. He feels grateful that Superman saved the world."

We're open to the idea of a handicapped Jimmy Olsen, but there's something slighty, well, weird about this concept if it's true. It feels like overcompensation for the backlash against the climax of 'Man of Steel,' like the new Olsen will exist solely to silence the people put of by the amount of destruction caused in the film.

But, you know, grain of salt!

Meanwhile, Jesse Eisenberg spoke about playing Lex Luthor and while he didn't have much to say, there are few interesting choices of words here:

I got to know one of the writers Chris Terrio, and we were able to discuss things at length and figure out who this person is to create a real psychology behind what is, perhaps, in a comic book, a less than totally modern psychology. I can only say I’ve been asked to play an interesting role. A complicated, challenging person… There are some indications of how the character should behave based on the script, and then an actor makes it his or her own.

The best versions of Lex Luthor have been "complicated" and and "challenging," often depicting him as a villain with shockingly noble intentions. The best Luthor is often the Luthor who truly thinks he's doing the right thing for humanity by killing Superman.

And what's this? Is that Henry Cavill as Clark Kent visiting the Gotham City jail for some reason? If is, indeed.

And here's a close-up of the jail itself. Since it's Gotham, you just know it's a busy place.

And finally, because you demanded it, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams did the ice bucket challenge while on set ... and while in costume.

'Arrow' and 'The Flash' Cast Half of Hollywood

Although The CW's 'Arrow' already has a Ra's Al Ghul to call its own, Liam Neeson says he'd be more than happy to revisit his 'Batman Begins' baddie on the small screen. MTV asked the 'Taken' star he'd ever been approached about reprising the character for TV and he responded with:

No, I haven’t, I haven’t at all. I would, in a heartbeat, if it came my way, yeah, very much so.

Since the absolute last thing we need is 'Arrow' and the 'Dark Knight' films taking place in the same universe, consider this talk and nothing more. Neeson knew this would get him (and his new film, 'A Walk Among the Tombstones') a headline and it worked. Canny, he is.

Meanwhile, the show's third season added a bunch of other people who aren't Liam Neeson. First of all, Devon Aoki dropped out of the role of Katana, but things are okay since 'The Wolverine' star Rila Fukushima has picked up the part (and that's nothing to complain about).

Meanwhile, 'Glee' star Nolan Funk has joined the show, playing the exciting and heroic role of ... Felicity's ex-boyfriend. He may not be playing a superhero, but he will figure prominently in the season's Felicity origin episode, playing a hacker of some kind.

And finally, Amy Gumenick has signed on to play the villainous Cupid, a former soldier who develops a dangerous obsession with Green Arrow. That brings the villain count of 'Arrow' season 3 to approximate 1,142.

But enough casting! How about this brand new promo for the third season?

And while we're on the subject of promos, how about this new trailer for the spin-off series, 'The Flash'? We like how this show definitely takes place in the same universe as 'Arrow,' but it really seems to have its own totally unique personality.

Oh, and let's wrap things up with this new poster, which showcases the Flash sacrificing efficient running for cool running.

The CW

'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and 'Agent Carter' Reveal New Promos and Cast Members

Did you think 'Agent Carter' was just going to sit idly by while 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' scooped up every available actor? Of course not! The first season of Marvel's ABC series has cast Enver Gjokaj and Chad Michael Murray as two characters created specifically for the the series. We imagine that they'll probably underestimate Hayley Atwell's title character, only for her to prove herself and make them question their natural born sexism and what-no.

Meanwhile, ABC's other Marvel show, 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' has released two new promos for its second season.

But more importantly, they've released an image of the great Lucy Lawless as Agent Isabelle Hartley, a character tasked with helping Agent Coulson rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier.'


And the Rest...

With a bunch of new DC superhero movies on the horizon, Six Flags parks across the country are taking advantage of their comic book licenses and prepping new rides and attractions. Prepare accordingly, thrill-seekers.

He may have only popped up briefly in the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' post-credits scene, but Howard the Duck is getting his own Pop figure.


An finally, Joss Whedon took to Twitter to spill the bean about the rest of Marvel's top secret movie slate!