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, an Oscar nominee is targeted for the new Joker, Marvel reveals 'Ant-Man' snippets, and a dead 'Spider-Man' character may return.

Jared Leto Could be the New Joker and Other DC Business

'Batman vs. Superman' may be the next movie in DC and Warner Bros.' ambitious slate of superhero movies, but it's 'Suicide Squad' that has our attention. An adaptation of a comic series about a government program that offers supervillains a pardon if they go on (you guessed it) suicide missions, the film is an opportunity for director David Ayer to bring his macho perspective to the comic book movie genre. The last time we heard from this production, there were rumblings that Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor will be a member of this team. Now, it seems that the other Big Gun of the DC villain rogue's gallery will be a member of the ensemble.

Yep, the Joker is apparently a member of the team and Jared Leto is in the running to play him.

Leto is fresh off an Oscar win for 'Dallas Buyer's Club' and he's apparently very, very interested in getting a new franchise to call his own. The Joker may not be a character who will be getting his own solo movie any time soon, but he's guaranteed to be a player in the larger DC movie universe. Of course, any actor who takes the part will immediately be acting in the shadow of Heath Ledger's iconic take on the character, but Leto is a very, very different actor.

Interestingly, it seems that Warner Bros. was pursuing Ryan Gosling for this part, but he ended up turning down the part. Now that would have been some crazy casting.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see how the Joker functions in a team like this. A lot of psychopathic wild cards have been members of the Suicide Squad, but Batman's arch-nemesis is a special brand of volatile. And while we're speculating, which villain do they want Tom Hardy to take on? He seems like a great fit for a straightforward baddie like Deadshot, who would be a great foil for a psychotic madman like the Joker.

But let's take a step back and take a look at the latest news from the 'Batman vs. Superman' front. It seems that Hans Zimmer, who previously took on music duties for Christopher Nolan's 'Dark Knight' films and 'Man of Steel,' is officially returning for the next film in the series. But he's not alone! He's brought along Junkie XL, who will compose all of Batman's music while Zimmer takes on Superman's score. Zimmer explained his reasoning, saying that he didn't want to risk repeating the Batman score he already wrote:

I have agonized over it. I agonized over it, so much so that finally, I went, I don’t want to betray what Chris, James Newton Howard and I did. And so I asked Zack [Snyder] if it would be OK if I called a friend in. And I’m going to be working with Junkie XL, who really is a great friend. He just finished the Mad Max score. I said to him, ‘You take care of Batman. I’ll do the other guy.’ And Zack loved that idea. It’s a way out.

This is a very cool concept. If Superman and Batman have two very different scores, the clash between the two heroes can be taken to a whole new level. Imagine meeting both heroes with their own theme music and for those themes to clash and mingle and intertwine when punches start to get thrown. It was a missed opportunity for Marvel to not give each of its heroes a unique and instantly identifiable theme. Hopefully, Warner Bros. won't make that mistake.

And finally, let's take a quick look at one of the silliest controversies of the week. In an exhaustive profile on Christopher Nolan, the beloved director is quoted as saying that a "real movie" wouldn't have a post-credits scene, explaining the lack of one for 'Man of Steel' while simultaneously bashing Marvel Studios. Nolan later claimed the quote was taken out of context, but the damage was done: the increasingly mean-spirited war between Warner Bros. and Marvel/Disney was taken to the next level.

One on level, this showdown is great. It's grab-some-popcorn style entertainment, with both companies spending hundreds of millions of dollars to battle for the love of the increasingly large geek audience. On the other level, it's just as silly as two nerds arguing the merits of the Big Two in the aisle of their local comic shop. Can't we all just get along?

Nah. *Chews Popcorn*

A First Look at 'Ant-Man' Villain Yellowjacket and Other Marvel Business

In lieu of a new episode of 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' Marvel played an hour-long commercial for itself this past week. Although most of the special was the company patting itself on the back, it all became worth it when a few precious seconds of 'Avengers 2' and 'Ant-Man' popped up. The Avengers stuff is fairly standard (the one new cool shot is Scarlet Witch doing her thing and kicking ass), but the 'Ant-Man' snippets supply our first look at the controversial film.

And it looks fine! It's not much, but we do get to see Michael Douglas as the genius scientist Hank Pym (he has a goattee and a labcoat and everything) as well as a shot of Paul Rudd seeing his superhero outfit for the first time.

Speaking of 'Ant-Man,' our first possible look at the villain of the film has supposedly emerged. We know that 'House of Cards' and 'The Strain' actor Corey Stoll is playing Yellowjacket for director Peyton Reed, but could this be his costume? It certainly looks threatening enough and it definitely fits the Marvel aesthetic.

And the 'Ant-Man' news doesn't end there! We had previously reported the rumor that the film will feature a flashback sequence with a young Hank Pym meeting up with Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter and Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark, but now we practically have confirmation. According to an Atlanta-area casting call (where 'Ant-Man' is shooting), a production is seeking a double for Atwell. If you happen to be her type and live in the area, here's what they want:

Casting directors are looking for an actor to work as a stand-in for the actor Haley Atwell. Haley Attwell is 31, 5’7 and 112 pounds. She is best known for her work in stage productions such as A View from the Bridge, and in films such as Cassandra’s Dream, The Duchess, The Pillars of the Earth, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In addition, casting directors are looking for a body double that meets certain requirements.

Speaking of strong Marvel ladies, comic book writer Nathan Edmonson, who is currently working on Black Widow's solo series, thinks that Scarlett Johannson's super-spy deserves her own movie. To prove his point, he went and wrote the first six pages of a potential film. Here's a snippet:

A priest leaves the confessional. He folds his stoth as he
crosses the church and disappears. A few tourists in jackets
and scarves shuffle around nave. Their whispers echo
through the space like the fluttering of unseen birds.
An old woman prays with shaking, gloved hands near the front,
a shawl over her shoulders.
The bell rings, sounding the turn of the hour. The old woman
sits back. She grabs a TRASH BAG full of her belongings and
shuffles off toward the ALTAR, making a turn back into a
restricted hallway…
The old woman picks up pace. The bag she carries seems
filled with just blankets, swinging lightly, until she sets
it on the floor with a THUD. It’s heavy. Very heavy.
And she’s not old.
She removes her tattered hair and cap to reveal tight red
locks. The shawl falls off to reveal a WHITE AND GRAY snow
camouflage jacket, tailored to fit. Her “face” comes off
with a pull as a translucent film of spots and wrinkles
crumples away into her hand.
Beneath is NATASHA ROMANOFF. Strong face, deep eyes full of
mystery; she’s beautiful, but all business.
She opens the trash bag to reveal A DUFFEL BAG with straps.
She looks up a small, spiraling stairwell to see a WINDOW.
Natasha, now in ALL WHITE CAMO, SCALES the cathedral, the
window now thirty feet beneath her. A WHITE BAG is strapped
to her back.
She’s ON HER STOMACH, the white case open beside her as she

It's too bad Marvel couldn't find room in Phase Three for this, right?

And while we're on the subject of Marvel superheroines, 'Interstellar' star Jessica Chastain revealed that she has engaged in talks about playing a taking on a role in the MCU. She doesn't say much but here's the quote:

We’ve talked about aligning our forces in the future. There was a thing…I don’t want to say too much – but there was one thing, there was a possibility in the future of the character becoming… And I was like, “I understand that, but I want to do it now!

Naturally, everyone immediately assumed that she was talking about 'Captain Marvel' and everyone got really excited. Chastain would make for one terrific Carol Danvers, after all. Naturally, Chastain denied these rumors and claimed that they were talking about something else, but Marvel actors are contractually obligated to lie. Since we know that Captain Marvel was, at one point, going to make a brief appearance in 'Avengers 2,' it would make sense that she would have entered talks about appearing as the character. Keep your eye on this story, folks.

Let's now shift to Marvel actors who are actually confirmed and can openly talk about what's going on. It seems that Chadwick Boseman, the new 'Black Panther,' really appreciates the positive response to his casting:

The reaction on stage at the El Capitan Theater was, like, amazing. Just to be there — the way that Marvel set it up and wanted to surprise people with it, it was one of the best surprises that I’ve ever been a part of….I’ve heard from a lot of my friends, and a lot of people I don’t know have congratulated me — but I’ve actually not heard a lot from other people because I went away. I tried to get away from everything just to ground myself. But it’s been amazing. I’m so excited! I’m ready to start right now, and they’re telling me, ‘Slow down a little bit!’

Then again, Boseman may change his mind about things when he starts filming. 'Thor' actor Idris Elba (AKA, Heimdall) recently came under fire for being waaay too honest about what it's like to act in a superhero movie:

I’d just done eight months in South Africa [filming 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom']. I came to England and the day I came back I had to do reshoots on Thor 2. And in the actual scene my hair was different, my…[sighs]. I was like, ‘This is torture, man. I don’t want to do this.’ My agent said: ‘You have to, it’s part of the deal.’ ... I’m actually falling down from a spaceship, so they had to put me in harness in this green-screen studio. And in between takes I was stuck there, fake hair stuck on to my head with glue, this f—ing helmet, while they reset. And I’m thinking: ’24 hours ago, I was Mandela’…I was literally walking in this man’s boots. [Within] six months, the crew, we were all so in love with this film we had made. I was Mandela, practically. Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out.

Ouch. If Heimdall gets killed off in 'Thor: Ragnarok,' we now know why. And Elba better be careful -- Marvel doesn't tolerate dissent well. They may have reacted to the big 'Avengers 2' trailer leak from a few weeks back with a few jokey tweets, but they're actively pursuing whoever pasted in online and plan to take legal action. Watch your back, trailer-leaking guy.

But let's end this section on a positive note! How about this video that recuts 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' as an '80s action movie. Pretty cool, right?

'Agent Carter' Reveals New Clips and Cast Members

With 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' finding new life in its much-improved second season, all eyes are on 'Agent Carter,' which will run for a few months while the flagship series takes a break. The show is still putting its final pieces into place, but the latest piece should prove very interesting to die hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 'The Americans' star Costa Ronin has been cast as Anton Vanko, the father of 'Iron Man 2' villain Ivan Vanko (who you may remember as Mickey Rourke in techno-bondage gear). We know from that film's exposition that the Vanko family clashed with the Stark family, so expect to see Ronin clash with Dominic Cooper during this series. In any case, this is the MCU's chance to help make up for how lousy 'Iron Man 2' is by repainting these characters in a new light.

The series has also cast Bridget Regan as Dottie, Peggy's neighbor. We can safely assume that she'll get dragged into whatever shenanigans our heroine gets involved in.

The first clip and first full trailer for the series also arrived and it looks like a lot of fun. The period setting instantly sets it apart from from 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' and the chance to see the direct origins of the Marvel universe should be pretty exciting. Check 'em out for yourself.

'Agent Carter' will premiere on January 6, 2015, so set your DVRs now.

The Latest and Greatest in DC TV

'Arrow' has become our go-to place to see the best (and sometimes worst) C-list characters in the DC universe come to life, so the fact that the new trailer features Cupid, Wildcat and Captain Boomerang should make your heart soar. This show, man.

And speaking of awesome C-listers getting their due, Brandon Routh teased his work on the series, where he'll be playing Ray Palmer, aka the Atom. It looks like someone is getting his superhero outfit this season:

And because 'The Flash' follows 'Arrow' around like a little brother, here's a clip from the next episode of the instantly beloved spin-off series:

Let's jump over to Fox, where 'Gotham' continues to be, well, an eye-rolling embarrassment. To be fair, it took 'Arrow' half a season to get really good, but this thing seems dead on arrival. What good is a series that takes place before anything interesting actually happens? This problem is personified in the form of the new Harvey Dent, who you can take a first look at below. It's hard to care about this guy when we know he won't become a character worth following until years after the series concludes.


And now it looks like the series will introduce baby Scarecrow. Grrreat.

Speaking of first looks at characters from series that have been grave disappointments, here's our first look at Michael James Shaw as Papa Midnight in NBC's 'Constantine.' Will they both him as badly as they botch every other character? Probably!


The Gwen Stacy Rumor That Wouldn't Fit Anywhere Else

Just how lost is Sony when it comes to their Spider-Man movies? They're apparently considering bringing Gwen Stacy back from the dead after just killing her off in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2.'

Just give it up, guys. Seriously.