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, Marvel's Netflix series narrows down the search for leads, ‘Suicide Squad’ courts a ‘Scandal’ star, and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ reveals a hilarious alternate ending.

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Looks to Cast a New Cyclops and Jean Grey

X-Men: Days of Future Past’ wasn’t just another sequel/prequel. It was a reset button, a chance to keep this franchise going on indefinitely by erasing all of the previous films in the series through the power of time travel. That means that the upcoming ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ has a clean slate. It can do whatever it wants, utilize any character it wants, and cast any actor as anyone, including certain heroes who have seemingly died onscreen already.

More importantly, it gives director Bryan Singer and his writers and producers the chance to get some characters right years after they were botched so terribly. ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ will feature new, young, rebooted versions of Scott Summers (AKA, Cyclops) and Jean Grey and maybe, just maybe, they’ll actually resemble their comic book counterparts this time around.

For the telepathic Jean Grey, Singer is supposedly looking at a few names you would recognize, including Elle Fanning, Chloe Moretz and Hailee Steinfeld. For Cyclops, he seems to be searching for a young unknown to take up the visor, with newcomers Ben Hardy, Charlie Rowe and Timothee Chalamet being eyed for the part. Mixing familiar faces with promising new talent worked in the original ‘X-Men’ movie (with James Marsden’s Scott Summers being an exception, of course) and for all we know, one of those young guys is the next Hugh Jackman. In any case, this second cinematic interpretation of Cyclops has a real shot at not being terrible. As long as he’s not an ineffectual bore who always plays second fiddle to Wolverine, he‘ll already be an improvement.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence answered her fair share of ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ questions while promoting the new ‘Hunger Games’ movie, but like everyone else, she doesn’t know much at all. When asked where Mystique will be when the film starts, she BS’d this answer:

She’s very complex. She’s a hero to her own race in a way which makes her a villain to her opposite race. I don’t really know where she’s going to go. I’ve had a few conversations about where we’ll find her. She obviously needs to be in hiding somewhere.

Anyway, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ will open on May 18, 2016.

More ‘Suicide Squad’ Rumors Abound!

The casting rumors for Warner Bros. and DC's ‘Suicide Squad’ continued to fly fast and furious this past week. Although few names are officially and publicly attached to David Ayer’s supervillain team-up film, the ensemble of rumored names just keeps on getting crazier.

The latest name thrown into the discussion is ‘Scandal’ and ‘Django Unchained’ star Kerry Washington, who is supposedly being considered for the role of Amanda Waller. Here‘s how we described this character a few days ago:

Waller is traditionally the woman in charge of the Suicide Squad in the comics (although she has her fingers in many pies) and she’s a bit of a badass. With no superpowers at her disposal, Waller is forced to rely on her wits to outmaneuver, manipulate, and bend super-powered heroes and villains to her will. Nothing scares her and nothing surprises her. She’s like a bureaucratic female Batman with fewer morals.

In other words, it’s a role that would play to Washington’s strengths. And yeah, we miss the days when Waller was a heavyset, middle-aged women (which only made her ability to manhandle and manipulate superheroes all the cooler), but if they are going to sexy her up for the big screen, they could do far worse than the tough, morally compromised lead from ‘Scandal.’ If anything, Washington’s potential casting in this role is too obvious!

Meanwhile, Jared Leto addressed the rumors that he’d be the latest actor to take on the role of Joker by completely sidestepping the question. Managing to provide an answer to a question while simultaneously saying nothing of worth is a unique Hollywood skill and Leto is pretty good at it. However, the mere fact that he acknowledges the rumor lends credence to its existence. At the very least, he’s in the discussion. The question now is whether or not he’ll go through with it.

Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ is Close to Finding Its Leading Lady

With Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ Netflix series already deep into filming, we should start hearing about the official cast for ‘Jessica Jones’ seres sooner rather than later. In the meantime, here‘s what we do know.

We do know that Marvel and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg are currently testing a bunch of different actresses for the role of Jones, a retired superhero who starts her own private investigation service. The names being sought for the role include Marin Ireland, Alexandra Daddario, Krysten Ritter, Teresa Palmer and Jessica De Gouw. In other words, they’re going the Charlie Cox route: they want to cast someone who will be recognizable to audiences, but not too recognizable. Of that bunch, Daddario seems like the best fit for the part, but that could be our ‘True Detective’ bias showing.

We also learned that the character of Luke Cage, AKA, Power Man, will play a major role in ‘Jessica Jones,’ appearing in six or seven episodes of the series. This makes sense since the characters fall in love (and eventually have a child together) in the pages of the Marvel comics. Since Cage himself will also be getting his own Netflix series, casting this character is just as important as casting Jones herself. Right now, Marvel is apparently looking at Cleo Anthony, Mike Colter and Lance Goss for the part, continuing the trend of casting people you recognize, but don’t necessarily know.

It wouldn't surprise us at all to hear about who gets cast in these roles before the end of 2014. Keep your eyes and ears open, people.

Here's the First Look at the ‘Arrow’/‘The Flash’ Crossover Episode

Yeah, we‘re excited for ‘Batman vs. Superman,’ but that movie feels like a dream, something so far on the horizon that we can’t even picture it. So forgive us if we’re a little more excited for the upcoming crossover between ‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash,’ which will see the heroes of The CW’s sister shows team up to take down a shared threat.

The first promo for the two-parter, which will begin in one series and conclude in the other, has arrived. It’s not much, but it’ll do.

If those 19 seconds of footage wasn’t enough for you, the images released from the episode may do the trick. Scroll on down to check out the duo of The Flash and Green Arrow side-by-side, as well as a glimpse of their mutual foe, Captain Boomerang:

The CW
The CW
The CW
The CW

For a lot more photos, you can click here and here. At this rate, the small screen DC universe is showing confidence and cohesion that the movies can dream about. Hopefully, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. are quietly taking note of what these shows are doing so very right.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Miscellany

With ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ hitting Blu-ray and DVD early next month, Marvel and director James Gunn have been making a lot of noise, drumming up interest in a movie that already hit the saturation point a few months back when it become the highest grossing film of 2014. And yet, it’s easy to get excited about more ‘Guardians.’ This charming, inventive movie feels endlessly re-watchable and all of the additional press has only reminded us of why we love the film in the first place.

Let's start with this alternate take on the film’s climax, where Lee Pace’s Ronan actually takes Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord up on his offer to decide the fate of the planet in a dance-off. Sure, it’s just the actors fooling around, but you can’t help but wish this was the actual ending:

Elsewhere, Gunn got busy talking about what we may or may not see in the sequel, suggesting that the cosmic, god-like beings known as the Celestials will show up in a major way after only making a few tiny cameos in the first film:

I mean, I love that guy [Eson the Searcher] that we see in the Collector’s lab. I love that character. I think he’s really cool. The visual effects artists did a great job with him, and they were given a pretty big task, to create this character in a short amount of time and put him in there. Yeah, I like that stuff, the Celestials. I like the whole idea that the Guardians are a bunch of mortals playing in the field of gods. It’s really about their mortality in the face of all that stuff that makes it both dramatic and fun.

Gunn also shared the playlist that he made to keep the cast, crew and extras awake and pumped on set, dubbing it Awesome Mix Vol. 0. It probably won’t warm as many hearts as the best-selling Awesome Mix Vol. 1, but if you want an officially sanctioned (and far more modern) follow-up, this will do nicely.

Oh, and here is Groot saying his trademark catchphrase in 15 different languages, each one of them voiced by Vin Diesel:

And let's close this out with some trivia: here are 15 facts about the film you probably didn't know about the film. You‘re welcome!

Everything Else

We‘re sure ‘Batman v Superman’ will have its merits, but there’s no way it will be as good as this LEGO version of the two heroes going at it"

Here are a whole bunch of clips from the midseason finale of ‘Gotham’.

And finally, FOX is looking to adapt Warren Ellis’ beloved 12-issue comic series ‘Global Frequency.’ But that’s easier said than done since this will be the third time in 10 years that a network has ordered a pilot based on this book, so, uh, maybe third time’s the charm? Here’s what it’s about:

Global Frequency is a worldwide rescue organization that offers the last shred of hope when all other options have failed. Manned by 1001 operatives, the Frequency is made up of experts in fields as diverse as bio-weapon engineering and Le Parkour Running. Each agent-equipped with a special mobile vid-phone-is speciffically chosen by Miranda Zero, enigmatic leader of the Global Frequency, based on proximity, expertise, and, in some cases, sheer desperation!

Hey, it can’t be as bad as ‘Gotham,’ right?