Comic Strip: Warner Bros. Announces A Slew of Superhero Movies While Marvel Plots a Civil War
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. makes big superhero plans, Marvel wants to start a Civil War, and a certain actress may be playing a certain character in 'Batman vs. Superman.'
Warner Bros. Officially Announces Their Massive DC Movie Slate
It may have been the least graceful announcement in the history of superhero movie news, but at least it's official now: Warner Bros. is really moving forward with their big DC comic book movie universe. The head of the studio announced a slate of films through 2020 on an investor's call, revealing a slate that look like this:
‘Suicide Squad’ – 08/05/16
‘Justice League’ – 06/23/17
‘Wonder Woman’ – 11/17/17
‘The Flash’ or ‘Aquaman’ – 03/23/18
‘The Flash’ or ‘Aquaman’ – 07/27/18
‘Shazam’ – 04/05/19
‘Justice League 2′ – 06/14/19
Untitled DC Film – 04/03/20
Untitled DC Film – 06/19/20
The fact that this informations was revealed to investors and not to an excited New York Comic-Con crowd speaks volumes about how Warner Bros. views these films. This is a long-term investment in a market that is showing no signs of slowing down. But hey, at least we're finally getting a female-led superhero movie with 'Wonder Woman,' right?
The other big news to come out of that schedule is that Ezra Miller, that creepy kid from 'We Need to Talk About Kevin,' has been officially cast as the Flash and will appear in the first 'Justice League' movie before getting his own spin-off film. And speaking of 'Justice League,' Zack Snyder has officially signed on to direct the film and it's sequel, which will film simultaneously and take place directly after the events of part one. And speaking of superhero teams, it's nice to see some rock-solid confirmation that David Ayer's 'Suicide Squad' is indeed something that actually exists (and we'll talk about that more in a bit).
As for those untitled movies set for 2020, current buzz suggests that they may be 'Green Lantern' and 'Cyborg,' both of which will be spun off from the 'Justice League' movies.
Although Warner Bros. and DC have a lot of catching up to do, you've got to admire their gumption. This is an awfully big plan and things could go horribly wrong at any moment. Then again, they couldn't just sit idly by while Marvel and Fox continued to clean up at the superhero game. Still, Marvel Studios' game plan has always felt organic, like it could evolve if necessary. This plan could be a house of cards -- impressive for sure, but how long can it stand up?
Captain America and Iron Man Are Going to a 'Civil War'
The other big, crazy huge news of the week came from across the aisle. It seems that Marvel Studios isn't content to let 'Captain America 3' be just another sequel. Oh, no. In fact, it looks like it's going to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's take on the famous 'Civil War' event from a few years back.
In the pages of the comics, 'Civil War' followed the creation of the "Superhero Registration Act," which required costumed adventurers and crime fighters to submit their secret identity to the government and report for training before they could continue doing what they do. Tony Stark was for it. Steve Rogers was against it. It came to blows and a lot of bad things happened.
Although the film adaptation will surely make significant changes to make everything fit within the Marvel movie universe, it all boils down to this: 'Captain America 3' will be a Captain America vs. Iron Man movie. No wonder the film refused to back down when 'Batman v. Superman' wanted the same release date. This is going to be an event.
Although no title has been announced yet, early rumors suggest that it could be called 'Captain America: Civil War' or 'Captain America: Fallen Son,' the latter of which may very well clue Marvel fans in on another huge event that occurs in the plot.
'X-Men: Apocalypse' Wants Tom Hardy
Marvel and DC may be going to war for the souls of moviegoers all over the world, but Fox just keeps on pumping out those X-Men movies. And yes, they're taking a cue from Marvel, too. From here on out, the movies will be more tightly interwoven (which has actually been a serious problem for this series in the past. If you think that means that the upcoming 'Deadpool' movie will somehow tie into 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' you'd be right. Here's franchise mastermind Simon Kinberg on the matter:
I guess I would say it’s part of certainly an overall timeline and thought process that goes into these films, some of which is inspired by the comics and some which is inspired by seeing what Marvel’s done with telling a larger tapestry and linking all those movies together, even as they stand independently as well. The same kind of thought is going to go into these X-Men movies at Fox.
And speaking of 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' the studio is apparently courting Tom Hardy for the title role, an ancient, evil Mutant with incredible powers who has a nasty habit of wreaking havoc across the X-Men comic line whenever he rears his ugly head. Hardy is not above saying yes to comic book villain roles (Remember Bane? Because Bane remembers you!), but considering that he's under consideration for leading roles in 'Doctor Strange' and 'Suicide Squad,' he may just wait around until he gets a superhero franchise of his own rather than appear as a one-off villain.
We're not going to say that he'll turn it down, but his decision will definitely paint a picture of his future intentions in the comic book genre.
Is Jena Malone Playing Robin in 'Batman vs. Superman'?
Now, let's tackle the really weirdo casting news of the week, shall we?
It all began when an anonymous extra on the set of 'Batman vs. Superman' through his contract to the wind and spilled the beans on the plot of the film to a local Detroit news station. He revealed two things of note.
The first is rather disposable but interesting: the film will feature a set piece at the grand reopening of the Metropolis Public Library, which Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has helped rebuild after Superman's battle with Zod leveled the city. The scene will supposedly feature a fight between Luthor and Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne, but it's currently unknown if he'll be wearing a bat costume at the time.
And that brings us to the big news: Robin is in the movie, Robin will be a girl, that girl will be Carrie Kelley and Carrie Kelley will be played by Jena Malone, who you will probably remember from 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.' At this point, it has been confirmed that Malone has joined the cast (although she did so in secret), but everyone is remaining mum on the Robin thing. However, it makes sense. Director Zack Snyder hasn't been shy about his love for Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns,' which introduced Kelley as the new sidekick for the aging, bitter Caped Crusader. It all makes sense!
Then there's just the fact that Malone as Affleck's partner-in-crimefighting just sounds badass.
And yes, there was, somehow, a little more 'Batman vs. Superman' news to go around. No one knows exactly what this massive set being built in New Mexico is, but it's already got everyone making all kinds of crazy guesses. Some say it's a fortress on Wonder Woman's Paradise Island. Some say that it's Aquaman's kingdom of Atlantis and it'll get an aquatic makeover in post-production. Heck, it could simply be one of Lex Luthor's many secret headquarters for all we know.
And finally, the producer of 'Batman vs Superman' confirmed that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman will be based on the recently retooled version of the character, who was born after her mother had a tryst with Zeus himself. It lacks the charm of being created out of clay, but hey, it's 2014. A superpowered affair probably seems more agreeable to audiences than flat-out magic.
'Suicide Squad' Really Wants a Cast of Movie Stars
It may be a great comic book concept, but 'Suicide Squad' is an odd choice for such an early entry in Warner Bros.' new shared universe. It's a great pitch: super-villains are given a chance at redemption (and a pardon) if they agree to participate in extremely deadly black-ops missions for the government. The chances of their survival, as their team name suggests, are slim to none. The joy of the team has always been in watching the roster change as various B-list and C-list bad guys showed up and were forced to work alongside others for the first time in their lives. It's a volatile bunch of genuinely rotten people, which gives them a very distinct tone. These aren't the goody-goods of the Justice League.
So David Ayer, one of the modern masterminds of trashy, ultra-masculine cinema, is a great choice for this property. But who do get to play all of those second-tier villains? Movie stars, of course.
According to the latest news from the front, the production has already reached out to Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie for roles. It's unlikely that everyone (or even anyone) will say yes, but this wish list tells us what Warner Bros. and Ayer want for this movie. They want an ensemble of bonafide movie stars. After all Deadshot may not pack a house, but Will Smith as Deadshot will fill the seats.
However, the biggest problem with this plan is that some of those actors are under consideration for another major comic book movie...
Even More 'Doctor Strange' Casting Nonsense
No, they still haven't cast 'Doctor Strange' and no, we're not going to sit here and lie to you about there being a frontrunner, because it seems like every leading man in Hollywood is being considered for the part. The chronology is a little busted, but here goes:
First, Joaquin Phoenix officially turned down the part, sending Marvel Studios and director Scott Derrickson on a desperate hunt for a new actor. That's when Ewan McGregor's name came up as a possible replacement.
But it turned out that he was only one name on a list and that list also included Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Oscar Isaac, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke. Also back in the conversation: Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Justin Theroux, each of whom was rumored prior to Phoenix.
And then word broke that 'Suicide Squad' and 'Doctor Strange' were both courting Ryan Gosling.
Finally, to add one final cherry on top of this pile of casting craziness, Colin Farrell's name entered the mix. Oh, and so did Joaquin Phoenix. Again.
So no, we do not know who is playing 'Doctor Strange.' And Marvel doesn't either.
Here's Channing Tatum offering a total non-update on that 'Gambit' movie he's supposedly going to star in.
Finally, did you know that Paul Rudd helped Adam McKay rewrite 'Ant-Man'? Because Paul Rudd totally helped Adam McKay rewrite 'Ant-Man':
I’ve always known Paul Rudd’s a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good—he’s really great with dialogue. So the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff.