ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie news items. From Marvel to D.C. and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic-book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, Sony teases the possibility of ‘Spider-Man’ spinoff films, DC comments on ‘Arrow,’ and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is attached to yet another possible comic-book adaptation.


DC Comics
DC Comics

Some very interesting developments in the DC Cinematic Universe, which seems to be several steps behind Marvel (when it comes to movie adaptations), but is doing what it can to close the gap.

Producer Charles Roven opened up to Variety last week about Zack Snyder’s ‘Batman-Superman’ movie, talking about the sequel’s schedule, and the current state of its valued script.

We started soft prep in June, and we’ll be shooting eight months later. … We felt that we accomplished our goals with ‘Man of Steel.’ Our intention was to bring Superman into the 21st century with a contemporary character and a different kind of superhero than what’s out there right now. We knew we had created a world and we had left Easter eggs in the movie that let people know that in the universe that Zack was creating, there was the possibility of other DC characters besides Clark Kent.

We had a sketch of an idea, the beats of a story that David Goyer worked on with Zack. We have a first draft, and we’re continuing to work with it. Those scripts are never fully finished until the movie is in the theaters. We love the characters — we think that Ben (Affleck) is going to be a really great and interesting Batman.

But don’t think that the movie will be called ‘Batman vs. Superman’ as several have speculated. As we reported earlier, Warner Bros. has registered several domain names for titles that could go to Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ sequel. Do you like ‘Man of Steel: Battle the Knight?’ How about ‘Man of Steel: The Darkness Within?’ They’re not moving my needle, but we’ll see what comes of this.

The CW
The CW

When Roven talks about other DC characters populating Snyder’s new universe, we all start thinking about Wonder Woman, The Flash and, possibly, Green Arrow. Not so fast.

Executive producer Greg Berlanti told Fandango that there are no current discussion to connect the ongoing CW hit ‘Arrow’ to the DC movies.

We haven't had any of those conversations other than to say, what characters are we allowed to use this year and advocate or request certain ones that are of interest to us. And every now and then, they'll say, 'You can't have that guy.' They don't say why, and we figure out why later on.

That doesn’t mean they can’t recast an actor as a silver screen version of Arrow. But it suggests that DC isn’t trying to replicate Marvel’s model of bridging feature-length movies (like ‘Thor: The Dark World’) with ABC television programs like ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Not yet, anyway.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

Warner might not be ready to fill its screens with DC superheroes, but Sony seems eager to expand its current ‘Spider-Man’ universe as Marc Webb readies ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ for a summer release.

During a recent presentation to investors, Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair Amy Pascal said that the studio plans to “access” Marvel’s library of classic Spider-Man characters, so fans should “be on the lookout for new heroes and villains.”


Whom could this mean? Webb wisely populated his ‘Spider-Man’ series with quality actors, from Paul Giamatti as The Rhino to Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn. He also has Felicity Jones lingering on the fringe in a mysterious role for ‘ASM 2,’ with many guessing she might play Black Cat in a future film.

Sony already has staked out claim on future release dates for ‘Amazing Spider-Man 3’ and ‘4.’ We’re unsure how the story will develop once Webb’s second ‘Spider-Man’ movie opens in May 2014, but it’s possible that the fourth Spidey movie can be the first of these spinoff movies. There’s also that lingering Sinister Six rumor that fans keep hearing about.

Until then, we know for sure that we are going to see Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) against Electro (Jamie Foxx) in the upcoming sequel … and the viral site The Daily Bugle might have tipped its hand to the villain’s origins. The article talks about Oscorp Industries’ plans to “flip the switch” on an experimental hydroelectric power plant.

Norman Osborn was unavailable for comment, leaving company spokesman Donald Menken to succinctly sum up the announcement, ‘Oscorp’s patented “free-flow” power grid design will power the entire city for the next 20 years,’ the site reported.

Think that project might lead to the creation of this dude?

‘The Wolverine 2’

James Mangold did press in preparation for the Dec. 3 release of his ‘Wolverine’ sequel, opening up to various outlets about the “extended” cut of his film (which reportedly is more brutal and feral than the theatrical cut) and his vague plans for the recently announced sequel.

But this interests me more than anything else.

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

That’s a shot of the classic Wolverine costume, which is featured in an alternate ending that Mangold but ultimately decided not to use. In the scene, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) boards a plane with Yukio (Rila Fukushima), heading for unknown adventures. That part, you saw. But in the extended cut, Wolvie opens a box … and sees his brilliant yellow and blue costume.

Why did Mangold cut it? He talked to SuperHeroHype about it, saying:

I think the studio felt strongly that I was kind of handing a hot potato to whatever films followed, in the sense that it's one [promise] they couldn't fulfill … or one that we didn't know if they could fulfill since we hadn't even scripted them yet. So this implication that he would be wearing them in the next film, which I couldn't guarantee since I didn't even know where I -- or who or what would be making one. And I certainly didn't want to burden Bryan (Singer, director of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’) with suddenly, based upon the last six seconds of the film, throwing a wrench in the works of what he was up to.[Also], when we screened it, and we did with that ending on, it was very interesting that 60% of the audience didn't understand what was in the box. So you also have the fact that you're going to be ending a movie with a moment where a huge majority of the audience was going to be going, ‘Huh?’ That definitely wasn't a feeling I wanted, but I was very torn about it [because I] thought it worked.”

I’d argue that casual fans need to be educated on Wolverine’s costume, because it is the one aspect of Jackman’s otherwise entertaining portrayal of Logan on screen over the years.

We won’t see Wolvie in Singer’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past.’ But with Mangold on the ticket for a ‘Wolverine’ sequel, his comments make me believe we are going to see Jackman in the legendary suit … eventually.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Traditional Marvel news has been quiet, even as ‘Thor’ soars past the $500 million mark worldwide. The studio’s ‘Captain America’ sequel will be up next, but it’s the co-stars of James Gunn’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ who have been doing the most talking as of late.

Zoe Saldana was promoting ‘Out of the Furnace’ last week, but talked to MTV about ‘Guardians,’ and the fact that Gunn is building a team of misfit, outcast Robin Hood types.

Meanwhile, Saldana’s co-star, Chris Pratt, was busy promoting ‘Delivery Man’ over the weekend, and opened up to Fandango about playing Star-Lord in Gunn’s superhero movie.

I was signed up to do the movie before I was even allowed to read a script, so it wasn't like something about this particular character that got me to do it. The fact that it was a Marvel movie is what got me to do it. Granted, once I did read it, there were so many things about the character that I love, and one thing is that he's very much a kid at heart. He's like a man-child. And I like the idea that he's got a false sense of bravado. Deep down inside, he's lonely and desperate. But on the outside he walks around like he's big and tough, and I don't think he does a great job of convincing everybody that he's not just a scared little child.”

‘Guardians’ storms into theaters on Aug. 1, 2014.



Thanks to ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ specifically the end, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s name has been (and will continue to be) attached to EVERY single comic-book property moving forward. He might be ‘Ant-Man.’ He might play Nightwing in ‘Batman-Superman.’ He might play Doctor Strange!

And now, according to Badass Digest, JGL may play Morpheus in a big-0screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ books. David Goyer reportedly pitched a version of ‘Sandman’ to Warner Bros., and they really liked what he had to say. At the same time, the site admits that this project could head to the small screen, where it has more time (and room) to expand and develop.

Right now, this project is in the very early stages. But if Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ sees the light of day, do you think Gordon-Levitt is the right choice to lead the way?