Comic Strip: The ‘Avengers 2′ Trailer, a ‘Suicide Squad’ Scoop and a DC Superhero Multiverse
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, the 'Avengers 2' trailer arrives, Jesse Eisenberg may join a very interesting DC movie, and the other superheroes of the Justice League offer updates on their movies.
'Avengers 2' Reveals Its First Trailer, Breaks the Internet
It began innocently enough. Marvel announced that the trailer for 'Avengers 2' would make its grand debut after the next episode of 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' (because corporate synergy!). Heck, they even teased the trailer with some very enticing snippets of footage. Then, someone said "Screw the rules!" and uploaded the trailer a week in advance, forcing Marvel's hand. Marvel conceded quickly, posting a proper, HD version of the trailer only an hour or two after the initial leak.
The trailer smashed all of Marvel's previous records to trailer views, with fans watching the preview over 30 million times within its first 24 hours of release. The leak could have been embarrassing, but it only led to the company once again winning the collective hearts and minds of the internet. Most importantly, it's actually a really good trailer, showcasing a scope and tone that's entirely unlike the first film. And then there's Iron Man's Hulkbuster armor. Oh, man. That Hulkbuster armor.
Now, Marvel is promising to reveal even more new footage after this week's 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' which is their way of not admitting defeat. They're going to get more people to watch the episode, come hell or high water! The exact nature of the additional footage is unknown, but many suspect it will be additional scenes that were screened at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
Naturally, the arrival of the trailer meant that fans started picking apart every single shot in an attempt to figure out all of the film's secrets in advance. Easily the most interesting of them involved Andy Serkis' character, who pops up for a fraction of a second in the new preview. Still, that was enough for everyone to decide that he is playing the Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw and, believe it or not, there's actually more compelling evidence available than you'd think:
Believe it or not, there’s a surprising amount of evidence packed into the trailer despite the fact that Serkis (who is also overseeing motion capture for the film) is only in one brief shot of the trailer. First of all, with his unique chin-strap beard and odd haircut, he looks like the spitting image of his comic book counterpart. And then there’s the fact that Serkis’ character appears to be on a freighter with “Zanzibar” written on its side, which isn’t far from Black Panther’s fictional African nation of Wakanda.
And that brings us to the titular villain, the psychotic robot known as Ultron. The great James Spader, who voices him and provided a motion capture performance, was asked all about his character, who makes quite a first impression in the trailer. It turns out that this is no ordinary killer A.I., but rather a particularly evil and particularly crazy killer A.I.:
There’s a humorous aspect to him, which is something that drew me in from the very first conversation I had with Joss [Whedon]. In many ways he’s a child, this character, because he’s a brand new being who’s just come to be. And yet, through artificial intelligence, he has an incredible capacity for knowledge. So he’s a very powerful, smart child.
Considering that 'The Avengers: Age of Ultron' will feature more visual effects shots than any Marvel movie so far, we expect to see a whole bunch of Ultron-led craziness.
The Really Cool Connection Between 'Batman vs. Superman' and 'Suicide Squad'
We knew that director David Ayer was on board to make a movie based on DC's 'Suicide Squad' comic series, but the first real details of the project started to make themselves known this past week. When asked about the (which will feature incarcerated supervillains getting a shot at freedom if they do the government's dirty work), Ayer said all of the right things:
I can say that it’s a Dirty Dozen with supervillains. Then I can ask the question, ‘Does a movie really need good guys?’ ... I think there’s something incredible about the comic genre and technology has finally caught up with pen and ink to render these fantastic worlds in a way that feels believable and visceral to audiences. It’s a secular religion in that regards. The mythology that these characters represent – the idea of them as fallen gods on Earth – is intriguing to me. I can’t wait to start exploring those corridors.
And then, a particularly cool rumor emerged. It seems that Warner Bros. really wants Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, who will debut in 'Batman vs. Superman' to be in the film. When we wrote about this rumor previously, here's what we had to say:
Although Luthor doesn’t have a direct connection to the Suicide Squad team in the comic book world, it’s a decision that makes perfect sense in the cinematic one. After all, Luthor is often written as being a guy with a strong (and occasionally even noble) point of view, making him a compelling character and an even more compelling leader. Heck, a recent plot twist in the ‘Justice League’ comics saw him taking over the team from Superman and saving the world for a few issues. Getting to see Luthor command a team of other DC villains could make for great superhero cinema.
While we still don't know the exact nature of Eisenberg's potential presence in the film, this is a smart choice in just about every way. First of all, it gives the Suicide Squad team an A-list leader, which could be important since the comic version of the group is generally filled with second string villains like Deadshot. More importantly, it gives the film a direct connection to 'Batman vs. Superman' and 'Justice League,' giving audiences an actual reason to care about a movie based on a comic book that most normal people have never heard of.
However, there's one lingering question: is Eisenberg's Luthor even worth getting excited about? We certainly hope and think so, but maybe we'll learn more when the first teaser trailer arrives sooner than expected.
Updates on Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg Movies
We are truly entering a brave new world of DC superhero movies. After all, the future of this new shared cinematic universe is in completely fresh hands. Just ask Jonathan Nolan, who confirmed that him and his brother, Christopher Nolan (you prrrobably know about him) are no longer involved in future DC movies:
I love those guys and my brother was involved in ‘Man of Steel’ with Zack [Snyder] and David [Goyer]. I kind of feel like that chapter for us is closed.
While that will surely bum some fans out, we're going to look on the bright side of things. Free of any baggage held over from 'The Dark Knight' and other movies, the new films are free to be their own entities. The sky is the limit! Nothing is impossible! Warner Bros. can actually hire a female director to make 'Wonder Woman'! In fact, hiring a woman to helm the first big lady-led superhero movie in ages will put DC a few steps ahead of Marvel on the cultural relevancy path, so it's not surprising that they're considering it.
And Warner Bros. isn't going to stop there. Although Marvel has a few black superheroes, DC has already announced the first comic book movie to be completely centered around a black leading character. Although newcomer Ray Fisher will make a cameo in 'Batman vs. Superman' and play a huge role in the 'Justice League' movies before getting his own movie, it's still a big deal. In a recent interview, Fisher confirmed that he's already finished his work on 'Batman vs. Superman' (it'll be a cameo) and that he's already met most of his fellow superheroes:
I met everyone in the Justice League except Henry Cavill and Ezra Miller. It was surreal. You get this idea of going to work on a Hollywood set as being really stressful and nerve-wracking. But it blew that stereotype away. If they did have stressful times, it wasn’t while I was there.
Meanwhile, after a year of not being allowed to talk about his casting in public, Jason Momoa was finally allowed to be honest about playing Aquaman, who will also get his own solo film after 'Justice League.' It turns out that he's taking this part very seriously and that he actually has a deeper connection to this potentially silly character than you'd think:
I’ve rode some dolphins before, so I can pull on that. I did go to school for Marine Biology, but the cool thing is… the greatest thing for me is that Polynesians, our gods, Kahoali, Maui, all these water gods, so it’s really cool and a honor to be playing a [water] character. And there’s not too many brown superheroes, so I’m really looking forward to representing the Polynesians, the natives… My family are some of the greatest water men on earth. I’m not, but I’m going to go train with them. But it’s really an honor just being a Polynesian. And water is the most important thing in this world and we all know it. It’s cool be a part of DC’s universe. I’m really excited to be with Warner Bros., and hopefully everyone likes it. And Zack Snyder’s a genius, so I’m really excited to be hanging out with him.
And if that wasn't enough, Warner Bros. went ahead and announced a web series based on the comic book 'Static Shock.' Hopefully, you like DC superheroes as much as Marvel because they're going to be hanging around for a good long time.
The Big Marvel News Grab-Bag
There was a lot of crazy, weird and interesting Marvel news revealed in the past week and there are only so many hours in the day. So let's try to run this down as quickly as we can. Okay? Ready? Go!
Adam McKay, the mad genius behind 'Anchorman' and 'Step Brothers,' helped rewrite the screenplay for 'Ant-Man' and almost say in the director's chair. Now, he's confirmed that he's talked to Marvel about taking on another project for them. He doesn't give any details, but man, McKay would kill if given the chance to make a 'She-Hulk' movie.
And then Robert Downey Jr. gave this exclusive, groundbreaking, downright scintillating quote about his involvement in 'Captain America 3':
Yeah, that sounds very exciting. If I do, I’ll just regret it… It’s gonna be huge, whatever it is.
Shocking, we know. Anyway, it turns out that the man who is Iron Man is powerful enough to have massive, unwieldy props given to him just because he jokingly asks about them. In fact, he now owns the big "A" that was left hanging off of Stark Tower at the end of 'The Avengers':
On the last Avengers, there’s this scene where there’s this ‘A’ which is probably 30 feet tall and I’m looking at it, and we’re shooting in England, and I go, ‘I need that in my office in Venice.’ About two weeks ago, a wheeler showed up, I’m like, ‘What the heck is this doing here?!’ And they go, ‘This is the ‘A’ you asked for.’ And I go, ‘They brought it?!’ So now we have a massive Avengers ‘A’ that will be prominently placed.
Let's jump over the the world of Fox and the X-Men for a moment. Evan Peters, who stole 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' right from under his movie star co-stars' noses, has confirmed that he'll get to work on 'X-Men: Apocalypse' very soon. And, presumably to spite Marvel and their version of the same character, he may get his own solo film soon after that:
They want me to start pretty soon, on the storyboarding and stuff. I’ll be working on the next X-Men for the next month or so part-time, and by the end of the year it’ll be full-time … There will be another Quicksilver scene, which I’m looking forward to. That’ll be fun. We talked about Quicksilver before. I’d love to do Quicksilver as a solo film because there’s a lot to enjoy with that character.
On the small screen. Lyndsy Foresca has been cast on ABC's 'Agent Carter' as Angie Martinelli, who will apparently play the completely normal voice of reason in Peggy Carter's insane, secret agent life. Here's how Marvel describes the character:
And outside of the agency, there’s Angie Martinelli. Working as an automat waitress, Angie dreams of being a singer. She’s a tough, compassionate young woman who is smart and loyal and seems set to be Peggy’s anchor to the world away from SHIELD.
And while we're hanging out with Marvel characters on ABC, why don't you check out a new clip from the next episode of 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'?
Heck, while we're here, why don't you also take a look at Adrianne Palicki in full costume as Bobbi Morse, AKA, Mockingbird, AKA, one of the first proper Marvel heroes to become a real fixture on the series.
The Big DC TV News Grab-Bag
A great many nerds (us included) have been scratching our heads over the decision to completely segregate all of the new DC movies from the DC television shows. We know it's probably a business decision -- why muddy the waters between brands that can stand on their own (and sell on their own)? However it turns out that Warner Bros. and DC actually have an awesomely dork excuse as well. DC honcho Geoff Johns confirmed that 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' won't co-exist with 'Batman vs. Superman' and 'Justice League' because of the Multiverse. Duh:
We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it’s about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world.
Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through. I think the characters are iconic enough. I like [Marvel’s Agents of] S.H.I.E.L.D. a lot. I love what Marvel does. I’m a huge fan. It’s just a different approach … You have to have conversations about what’s happening in TV and film between everybody because you don’t want to do the same thing.
After all, that's why Matt Nable's Ra's al Ghul looks nothing like Liam Neeson in a new 'Arrow' trailer teasing his character's first appearance:
Speaking of DC villains popping up in 'Arrow,' the ever-imposing Vinnie Jones will pop up on the series as the Z-list villain known as Brick. We've joked before about how 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' will soon feature every obscure comic book villain ever created, so we have no reason to repeat that joke again.
Meanwhile, 'The Flash' has officially received a full season order from The CW and if ratings and reviews remain as strong as they've been, a second season is inevitable at this point. Since an upcoming episode will introduce the famous villain Captain Cold and feature an appearance from 'Arrow's own Felicity Smoak, we expect ratings and reviews to be just fine for awhile:
Over at FOX, 'Firefly' star Morena Baccarin has joined the cast of 'Gotham,' playing Dr. Leslie Thompkins. A friend of the Wayne family and a psychiatrist at Arkhan Asylum, Thompkins is yet another potentially interesting character who would actually be more interesting if Batman was, you know, around.
And speaking of characters who are showing up on the show years before they have the potential to be even remotely interesting, we recently got our first look at Nicholas D'Agosto as Harvey Dent:
Oh, and here are two new promos for the show. Believe it or not, we really, really want this thing to get better.
Mondo's new Batman gallery show began last week and it's pretty spectacular. However, this tribute to Frank Miller's 'Batman: Year One' by Jock deserves special mention:
With 'Big Hero 6' just about to enter theaters directors Don Hall and Chris Williams teased some easter eggs that will make Marvel fans very happy:
Williams: Well, I will say we generally have a lot of Easter eggs in this movie to the point that we had to really tell our artists to knock it off. Because, you know, everyone wants to place stuff. We grew up loving Marvel movies. We, of course, grew up loving animated movies. And now we have a potential to sort of place these things. But it got to the point where Don and I are feeling like this is getting to be too much, too distracting. So we stopped them and then actually pulled a couple things out.
Hall: Marvel was actually pretty cool and gave us like the, you know, the nod to put a few…
Williams: Very obscure.
Hall: I would say Z level characters in the movie. As little Easter eggs. And they’re in Fred’s room. So it might be a good place to look.
And finally, Dan Gilroy has been making the rounds to promote his new film 'Nightcrawler' (no relation to Kurt), but in one interview, he dropped some fairly tantalizing information about his involvement in the infamously cancelled 'Superman Lives':
Tim had the idea, which was really the driving force of the movie, that Jor-el didn't have the chance to tell Kal-el when he put him in the little spaceship meteorite where he came from or who he was. So poor little Kal-el grew up on Earth having no idea where these powers came from or who he was, and I always thought that was a really inverted, deconstructionist element to bring to the story. I loved it and working with Tim we tried to explore it as much as possible. I'd love to see it happen some day. I'm a big Tim Burton fan.