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, Michelle MacLaren officially signs on to ‘Wonder Woman,’ Frank Grillo talks about the return of Crossbones in 'Captain America 3', and Batman battles Darth the death!

Michelle MacLaren Confirmed For ‘Wonder Woman’ (and Other DC Movie News)

After a few weeks of speculation and rumors, it’s official: Michelle MacLaren has officially signed on to direct the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie for Warner Bros. We’ve already talked about why this veteran TV director making her first jump into the feature film realm is exciting, but it really cannot be overstated. This lady has got serious chops behind the camera and we’d be excited for any movie she decided to make. The fact that she’s brining DC’s Amazonian warrior to the big screen (and overseeing the writing of the film’s screenplay) is just icing on the cake.

Interestingly, the news of her hiring also revealed that Jennifer Kent (the director of the exceptional horror film ‘The Babadook’) and ‘Homeland’ director and executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter were also in the running for the gig. Considering how talented they are, surely Warner Bros. will toss them another movie or two. After all, a woman can direct an ‘Aquaman’ movie as well as any man. Right, WB? Right?!

In less surefire news, the great Guillermo del Toro says that the screenplay for his ‘Dark Universe’ project has been officially turned in and that he’s simply waiting to hear back from the studio. Overseen by del Toro and written by a mystery screenwriter, the script stars darker, mystical DC comics characters (like John Constantine and Swamp Thing) in an adventure that would be completely unconnected to the larger DC movie universe. This project sounds intriguing enough to have us crossing our fingers, but we have no idea when the incredibly busy del Toro would even get around to making this thing if it gets a thumbs up, especially since he’s already hard at work on ‘Pacific Rim 2.’ Still, the idea of a filmmaker as in tune with these characters as him making what’s essentially a ‘Justice League Dark’ movie is exciting stuff. Under his watch, this could actually be the first time Hollywood really gets Constantine right.

Meanwhile, ‘Batman vs. Superman’ has wrapped production in Detroit and Chicago and has moved into the deserts of New Mexico. We still don’t know what scenes they are filming and we still have no idea what that massive set they built down there represents but the local news was on the case! And by “on the case,” we mean they interviewed a bunch of oddball locals about taking selfies with Henry Cavill (Ben Affleck is seemingly not involved in this section of the shoot). Imagine a town so small and tranquil that Cavill stopping by a local Mexican restaurant is front page news! Yeah, there’s nothing particularly interesting revealed about this production, which a reporter mistakenly calls ‘Superman v Batman,’ but there is plenty of charming local color.

Superhero Movie Casting and Speculation

Despite limited screen time and the lack of his trademark costume, Frank Grillo made a strong impression as the villainous Crossbones in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.’ So it’s good news that he’s officially back for ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ a movie that seems preposterously overstuffed with intriguing ideas and villains. Here’s what Grillo had to say about returning to the part:

[Winter Soldier] was only a taste of what’s to come with the next film, and I couldn’t be more humbled and excited. They just kind of called and said, ‘What kind of shape are you in? We’re going to need a body scan.’ They scan your body so that whatever you wear fits you like a glove….We all know what Crossbones represents in his world, so when they called me and said we gotta do the body scan, I was like ‘Okay!’

The only reason they’d need to do a “body scan” would be to prepare a new costume, which makes it wound like Grillo is finally going to put on Crossbones’ iconic outfit for his second bout with Steve Rogers. That’s exciting news. We still have no idea how Crossbones, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Daniel Bruhl’s mystery villain will all function alongside each other in this movie, but we can’t wait to find out.

From a returning character, let’s move onto a brand new character: the wonderful Oscar Isaac has officially signed on to play the title villain in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse,’ a piece of casting that no one saw coming. Ah, those Idris Elba rumors from last week now seem so quaint and silly...

Isaac is the phenomenal actor best known for his work in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ but a lot more people are going to know his name and face when ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opens next year. Director Bryan Singer has a habit getting people on the cusp of stardom into his movies. When ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ actually opens in a few years, he‘s going to have a big star playing his villain.

To be honest, we’re having a hard time picturing the slight Isaac playing this hulking villain, but that means one of two things: Either Singer is re-imagining the character (which we’d welcome because he’s not exactly a great character on the page) or Isaac is going to be half CGI. In any case, this is now a superhero movie starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Oscar Isaac. That’s very cool.

Now, let’s take a moment to address a character that we will not be seeing any time soon. According to director James Gunn, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ will not feature Nova, a character who inhabited the earliest drafts of the first film and who everyone assumed would pop up in the sequel. And Gunn has a good reason for excluding him:

I don’t want Nova right now because I think Quill being the only earthling is important. That serves the entire movie going audience and not just the handful of Nova fans… I have nothing against Nova in future movies, but it doesn’t serve the movie right this moment.

That makes a ton of sense, really. Besides, Nova is probably going to get his own movie at some point down the line. 2022, perhaps? 2037 at the latest, surely.

And now: here’s an actress learning about a character in the midst of an interview and deciding that she wants to play her! In ScreenCrush’s interview with Emily Blunt, the ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ star learned about the existence of Captain Marvel and decided that she wanted to play the part. Considering how close she came to playing Black Widow back in the day, this kind of casting feels like a genuine possibility.

And finally, Christian Bale revealed that he’s actually really jealous that Ben Affleck has taken up the Batman mantle. So if Affleck ends up mysterious dead or missing in the next few weeks, we have suspect number one right here. Never underestimate Bale-rage.

Current Events in DC Television

It could be the proximity talking, but the upcoming ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ crossover/team-up feels so much more exciting and vital than ‘Batman vs. Superman.’ This is the kind of huge event that feels earned. It’s not an excuse to introduce new characters or lead to a larger franchise, it’s just two characters we already know and love getting the chance to go on an adventure together.

Anyway, here’s the latest trailer for the big event:

And while we’re on the subject of ‘The Flash,’ the voice of Gideon, the supercomputer used by Tom Cavanagh’s Dr. Wells, has been revealed! If you thought it sounded familiar, you’re probably familiar with ‘Firefly’ and ‘Homeland’ star Morena Baccarin, who is officially lending out her voice for the role.

And while we‘re on the subject of DC comic book shows on The CW that share a connected universe, an upcoming profile on ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’ mastermind Greg Berlanti suggests that his upcoming ‘Supergirl’ series will also exist in the same world. Actually, it would be crazy for it to not happen in the world considering the success of these shows so far. He are the details:

Later in the afternoon at his other office on the Warner Bros. lot, Berlanti meets with fellow producer Ali Adler and Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood to go over looks for their upcoming revamp of Supergirl. The show will follow 24-year-old Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, and with a twist that that could melt fanboy brains, Berlanti says it’s possible this Supergirl could enter the worlds of Arrow and The Flash.

In more dour news, NBC has decided to halt production of ‘Constantine’ after 13 episodes while the network decides how to proceed. The show has stumbled through much of its first season (and kind of botched its title character), but there has been plenty of promise so far. NBC may ultimately choose to cancel the series, but this is a great opportunity for an extensive retooling. This could be a really good show if everyone puts their heads together and, well, actually makes a show based on the ‘Hellblazer’ comics and not someone’s idea of the ‘Hellblazer’ comics.

Checking in With ‘Agent Carter’

We were already in the bag for ‘Agent Carter’ and the latest trailer does nothing to change our minds. Looking more like a proper Marvel Studios production than the first season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ this new footage looks action-packed and, more importantly, really charming and funny. This looks like a fun show. This looks like the anti-‘Gotham.’

A second trailer also popped up a few days after the first and it’s almost identical. However, it does feature our first glimpse at ‘Boardwalk Empire’ star Shea Whigham as Peggy’s boss and character actor extraordinaire Ray Wise as a mystery character (who, naturally, underestimates Peggy the moment he sees her). Hopefully, Wise is just the tip of the secret casting iceberg on this one.

Everything Else

You've probably seen 'Guardians of the Galaxy' enough to know everything about the movie, but how much do you know about the comics the movie is based on?

What would happen if Batman and Darth Vader fought to the death? The conclusion is surely controversial.

Yep, someone has made a sweded version of the ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ trailer. If you enjoy creative uses of cardboard, this is for you.

And finally, a new featurette explores Stan Lee’s cameo in ‘Big Hero 6,’ because even totally unofficial Marvel movies need a Stan Lee Cameo.