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, Warner Bros. reveals an insane ‘Suicide Squad’ cast, Benedict Cumberbatch gets confirmed for ‘Doctor Strange,’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ finally reveals a synopsis.

Warner Bros. Reveals the ’Suicide Squad’ Cast and Other Big DC News

Remember how Warner Bros. and director David Ayer talked about wanting their their ‘Suicide Squad’ movie to be an A-list ensemble affair? They weren’t kidding. When they finally revealed the first wave of casting for the villain-centric men-on-a-mission adventure, jaw all of the internet dropped. It’s rare to see this combination of movie stars, recent Oscar winners, young up-and-comers and, uh, Jai Courtney, in one place. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Jared Leto, The Joker
  • Will Smith, Deadshot
  • Tom Hardy, Rick Flagg
  • Margot Robbie, Harley Quinn
  • Jai Courtney, Captain Boomerang
  • Cara Delevingne, Enchantress

Those are all names that we’ve heard bandied about for the past few months, but the fact that they managed to pull it off is impressive. Although Jared Leto has been getting the most internet ink (say what you want about him, but it takes serious balls to follow Heath Ledger), but how crazy is it that the biggest movie star in the world, Will Smith, is playing a B-list supervillain like Deadshot? That’s just too crazy to comprehend! Robbie and Hardy are also welcome presences in any movies, but Jai Courtney’s casting is admittedly odd. Does anyone like him? He has to be a nice guy. Really. Anyway, Captain Boomerang is actually going to let him use his real Australian accent, which is cool. Oh, and the mere presence of Enchantress suggests that the science-driven new DC movie universe is ready and willing to accept a magic-user. Now that’s interesting.

However, there is one name notably missing from that line-up: Amanda Waller, the tough woman in charge of the entire team. A few weeks ago, we heard a rumor that WB wanted Kerry Washington for the part, but now, a more intriguing idea has emerged. Apparently, Oprah Winfrey is being sought for the part. If they can actually get Oprah to sign on for this thing, it’ll be the biggest coup in superhero movie history. For the record, their rumored back-ups include Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis, who are great choices, too.

Anyway, ‘Suicide Squad’ is setting up shop in Toronto for an April start date. The film itself will open on August 8, 2016.

Meanwhile, according to an Instagram post from cinematographer Larry Fong, ‘Batman vs. Superman’ has finished filming. Now here’s the question for you: does this image actually mean anything or did Fong just take a video of something he liked on set?

That's a wrap.

Un vídeo publicado por Larry Fong, ASC (@unclewow) el

And while we‘re on the subject of ‘Batman vs. Superman’ minutiae, new rumors suggest that the obscure Batman villain KGBeast will be referenced in the film, but he’ll be going by his regular name, Anatoli Knyazev. Don’t expect a proper bad guy. Just be prepared for a fun little easter egg that will only make sense to a few people.

Remember ‘Dark Universe,’ Guillermo del Toro’s movie about the magic and horror-driven characters of the DC comic book world that wouldn’t be connected to the rest of the movies? Well, apparently it’s now part of the larger shared universe. Don’t ask us when that happened. Here’s del Toro:

Right now, the only sort of shared universe project I’m working on is Dark Universe for Warners, you know, for DC, which is Swamp Thing, Demon, Deadman, Zatanna. It’s a very different universe.

Finally, the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie has hired a writer. Let’s not judge poor Jason Fuchs for writing ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift.’ Let’s wait and judge him for the screenplay for the upcoming ‘Pan.’

Updates From the Marvel Studios Front

According to a tweet from director Peyton Reed, principal photography on ‘Ant-Man’ has wrapped, which means that the studio’s Phase 2 is essentially in the can.

But don’t let any warm feelings on ‘Ant-Man’ take over your brain too much! It turns out that star Evangeline Lilly almost quit the project when original director Edgar Wright departed and she was brutally honest about the whole fiasco:

We all, I think, signed on very enthusiastically with Edgar. We were excited to work with Edgar. We were fans of Edgar. So when the split happened, I was in the fortunate position where I had not signed my contract yet. So I had the choice to walk away, and I almost did. Because I thought, ‘Well, if it’s because Marvel are big bullies, and they just want a puppet and not someone with a vision, I’m not interested in being in this movie.’

She also went on to further explain why Wright left the film and it’s exactly what you think it was. Marvel wanted the film to fit into their shared universe model and Wright wanted to create something that could stand alone in every way:

I mean, they’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic [and] a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different. And I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar’s incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn’t have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they’re trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they’ve built.

Meanwhile, members of the ‘Avengers 2’ cast are assembling for a round of reshoots in January, which is perfectly typical for a film of this size (so don’t worry that anything has gone wrong, folks). Interestingly, tabloid speculation claims that Tom Hiddleston will be around for the reshoots, which leads up to believe that the film will plant the seeds for ‘Thor 3’ in a pretty significant way. Other educated speculation suggests that Marvel will be filming the post-credits teaser, which many believe will introduce the new Captain Marvel. If so, this will be a very difficult secret to keep.

Speaking of new Avengers, some promotional art escaped and it gives us our best look yet at Paul Bettany’s take on the android superhero, Vision. Yep, looks like Vision:

Oh, and Stan Lee started talking again, this time about Marvel teaming up with the other studios to create some crossover films. Sadly, Lee knows nothing about what actually goes on at Marvel these days (he’s a mascot!), so don’t believe any of this yet.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds Casting Confirmed

Months after we knew it was happening, Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed for the title role in Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange.’ He’s a good choice for the role and he’ll certainly bring all of the Tumblr fans into the theater. The big question now is whether or not he’ll keep his British accent or adopt an American accent (Strange is from New England, after all).


Months after we knew it was happening, Ryan Reynolds was confirmed for the title role in Fox’s ‘Deadpool.’ He’s a good choice for the role and he’ll certainly bring the same enthusiasm to the film that the brought to that test short we saw earlier this year. The big question now is whether or not he’ll get to wear a costume or if he’ll be created through CGI (like he was in that test film).

Marvel TV Updates

First, ‘Breaking Bad’ actress Krysten Ritter emerged as the frontrunner for Marvel’s Jessica Jones series, with ‘The Following’ star Mike Colter all-but-locking-down the role of Luke Cage, who would go on to get his own series.

And then Ritter was officially cast and with the announcement came the title change. ‘Jessica Jones’ is now ‘AKA Jessica Jones,’ a title that is only weird if you don’t know the character. Since Jones is a former superhero who gives up her costume to become a private investigator after suffering from PTSD, the title is all about how she’s embracing her actual name. It’s a pretty cool title and it’s a little catchier than her name by itself.

Now let’s leap into the land of non-streaming TV...

If Marvel Studios follows their big five year plan, we’ll be getting an ‘Inhumans’ film by the end of the decade. But will they make their first big apperance on ABC’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ first? Signs point to yes.

Oh, and the first episode of ‘Agent Carterhas been increased to two hours, making what was once an eight episode event into a seven episode event. Plan accordingly.

DC TV Updates

As usual, we have a whole bunch of ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ stuff to talk about, so let’s just skip any semblance of an introduction and dive right on in.

First, that’s Oliver Queen facing off against the new Ra’s al Ghul in the midseason finale of the third season of ‘Arrow.’ You can check out more teaser images right over here.

The CW

While we‘re on the subject of ‘Arrow’ villains, Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke is officially set to return in the back half of season three. That means he’ll pop up sometime in 2015, so get comfortable.

Both ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ revealed trailers for their midseason finales, so make sure you  watch both of them and mercilessly pick them apart. After all, they involve Ra’s al Ghul and Reverse Flash. They’re begging you to pick them apart.

Oh, what the heck. Here’s another trailer for the ‘Flash’ midseason finale:

And finally, ‘Vampire Diaries’ star Claire Holt is rumored to be the frontrunner for The CW’s upcoming ‘Supergirl’ series. We’ll have more on this if it becomes official...

A Little Bit on That ‘Fantastic Four’ Movie That Still Exists, Apparently

After nearly a year of fake plot synopses arriving every few weeks, the actual synopsis for the upcoming ‘Fantastic Four‘ reboot showed up online:

THE FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

That sounds very much like the Ultimate Universe version of the characters, which only forces us to put up our guard a little more. Why haven’t we seen anything about this project? And why does everything we do hear put us on edge?

Well, we do know at least one cool thing: movement expert Terry Notary (best known for his work on the last two ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies) was hired to help Jamie Bell learn how to move like The Thing, AKA, a person made entirely out of rocks. He spoke at length about the process:

I was talking to Jamie about it and thought it was just a whiteface character. Everything is pulled out through the soul. There’s very, very little expression in the face, if any at all, so everything has to live through the soul and the eyes. Everything. The subtleties of the physicality when standing there…you’re a rock. You’re made of rock, so you can’t be super subtle but you can be if you sense that emotion coming out through the soul and the eyes.

We had him just holding this neutral expression and just pouring the soul out of his eyes while walking through this space, while obviously being grounded with weight and mass and gravitas that’s so important and does take a lot of work. It’s not something that comes easy. You have to create this sense of thick space and you’re carrying yourself with different parts of your body depending on the emotion of the character and the development of the character.

I mean, he’s a kid trapped in a rock, and so how does that kid become a man after that experience? Through that evolution and that journey he moves from this sort of worried place to his pack that carries him through. It’s figuring that stuff out and Jamie is just such a super-talented actor. He’s so physical and great with his body. He can really articulate emotions through his body well.

That sounds great and all, but could we see an actual image of the character now? Maybe even an image of the entire cast in costume? We want to get excited for this! We really do! Honest!

Everything Else

According to director and potential star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the ‘Sandman’ movie is still alive and kicking. At the moment. For now.

The new trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight offers an extended look at the new Batmobile.

Apparently, a Batman-themed store was originally supposed to show up in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman Returns.’ More images can be found over here.

And finally, here’s the trailer for the latest animated DC superhero movie, ‘Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.’