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, ‘Wonder Woman’ goes after an incredible director, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ casts an incredible actor, and ‘Suicide Squad’ finds a Harley Quinn who may be (you guessed it) incredible.


‘Captain America: Civil War’ Casts One Hell of an Actor

Marvel has a knack for casting actors that everyone loves, often before they even know they love them. They were on the Robert Downey Jr. train before his comeback, they saw the action hero potential in Chris Pratt, and they realized there was more to Chris Evans than what he had previously been playing. However, they may have topped themselves this time: they’ve gone and cast Daniel Bruhl in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’

You may remember Bruhl from ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ where he played an unsettling piece of Nazi scum. You may also remember him from last year’s ‘Rush,’ where his performance as an obsessive Formula One driver was so good that it elevated an entertaining movie into something truly special. Yeah, this Bruhl guy is something great and Marvel knows it, even if the rest of Hollywood doesn’t.

But who is he playing? Well, we know he’ll be a villain and with that German accent of his, it’s entirely possible that he’ll play a reincarnated Red Skull of some kind. However, a little nerd detective work points us in another direction. Variety reported that Bruhl’s villain will also be the main bad guy in the upcoming ‘Doctor Strange,’ which struck everyone as a little odd. After all, Cap and Strange share no villains who cross over with any regularity. Here’s our assumption: Bruhl is playing longtime Captain America nemesis Baron Zemo and the folks at Variety got him confused with Baron Mordo, who will be the villain in ‘Doctor Strange.’ That’s an innocent-enough mistake for a non-geek to make, right?

Interesting, other sources are saying that Frank Grillo’s Crossbones (who survived the events of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ with grievous injuries) will the main bad guy in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’ That actually makes a lot of sense. Baron Zemo and Crossbones have teamed up to take down Cap before. If they are in fact the baddies manipulating Captain America and Iron Man into conflict, then our excitement for this film somehow just grew. The thought of seeing Bruhl and Grillo share scenes as these characters is good stuff.


‘Suicide Squad’ Goes After Three More Leads

Last week, we learned that Warner Bros.’ upcoming ‘Suicide Squad’ movie was looking into casting Jared Leto as the Joker, an idea that proved controversial (to say the very least) among fans. However, it was followed by news that shouldn’t be controversial at all. It seem that director David Ayer is going after Margot Robbie for the role of Harley Quinn.

Robbie broke into Hollywood with her terrific role in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ playing a character who was simultaneously funny and terrifying. That’s a perfect mixture for Harley, the Joker’s longtime girlfriend and accomplice. Although she began as a character on ‘Batman: The Animated Series,’ she became so popular that she leapt into the comics themselves and never turned back. Now, she stars in her own solo series and commands a strong fan base. The thought of seeing her and the Joker bicker and murder on the big screen feels unreal. With the right script, this could be an iconic role for Robbie and she seems like a perfect fit.

But that wasn’t the only ‘Suicide Squad’ casting to get headlines this week. We knew that Ayer wanted Will Smith for the film, but who expected the role in question to be Captain Boomerang? This is a supervillain whose power is that he’s really, really good at throwing boomerangs. It’s hard to imagine that biggest movie star in the world saying yes to a character who will be overshadowed by his co-stars on the superpowers front, but it would be amazing if Smith says yes. Imagine Will freakin’ Smith as Captain Boomerang. Holy crap.

We also heard that Tom Hardy was being sought for Rick Flag, the son of the founder of the original Suicide Squad, but that seems like a weird fit for Hardy, who should be playing an actual hero or villain these things. Far more likely is the buzz that Jai Courtney is set to play Deadshot, the Suicide Squad mainstay who is known for his pinpoint accuracy with weapons. Courtney is desperately chasing stardom (we’ll see him in ‘Terminator Genisys’ next), but let’s get real: he’s failed to really impress in any role so far. Deadshot isn’t a deep or complex character, but Courtney in the role feels a little underwhelming.

If all of the rumors are true, the know Suicide Squad line-up includes Lex Luthor, the Joker, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Deadshot.


‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Snag Directors

When someone asked Lexi Alexander, the director of the (awesome, crazy, wildly underrated) ‘Punisher: War Zone,’ if she’d be willing to take on the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie, she was brutally honest. According to her, any woman tasked with making this movie is being set up to fail:

Imagine the weight on my shoulders. How many male superhero movies fail? So now, we finally get Wonder Woman with a female director; imagine if it fails. And you have no control over marketing, over budget. So without any control, you carry the f--ing weight of gender equality for both characters and women directors. No way.

And like it or not, she’s right. Female directors already have a tough time in the sexist and prehistoric land known as Hollywood and the failure of a superhero movie with a woman at the helm would only reinforce a number of unfair and inaccurate stereotypes. It’s frightening, especially since so many aspects of a blockbuster movie are beyond the director’s control.

However, if anyone can do this ‘Wonder Woman’ movie right, it would be Michelle MacLaren, who is supposedly in talks to take the gig. You may not know that name off the top of your head, but MacLaren is one of the greatest directors of modern television, having helmed episodes of ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ and ‘The Walking Dead.’ Her episodes are always stand-outs and she has shown a tremendous eye for action, tension and character. She’s ready to make a movie of her own and if anyone can officially prove that women are just as adept at making big movies like this as men, it’s her.

So Warner Bros., do everyone a favor: hire her, keep your distance and just let her do her thing.

While we’re talking about directors, it’s looking more and more likely that Joss Whedon will call it quits with the Marvel cinematic universe after ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and we’re going to miss him. However, if he gets replaced on ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ by Anthony and Joe Russo, the team behind ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ everything should be right as rain. These guys are the real deal.

This buzz has been floating around the internet for months now, but it became a little more official over the weekend. We probably won’t hear an official announcement until next year, after the new ‘Avengers’ movie cleans up at the box office, but you can bet on it happening.

Oh, speaking of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ a slightly extended version of the trailer popped up online. It’s not much, but hey, it’s something.


Bruce Wayne’s Parents Will Probably Die on Camera Again

If you know your Batman history, then you will instantly recognize what’s probably happening in those images from the set of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ below. That’s a theater showing ‘The Mark of Zorro,’ and as any Batfan can tell you, Bruce Wayne’s parents were gunned down after taking a shortcut home after watching that movie. Naturally, Bruce borrowed a page from the hero of that movie when he devised his superhero persona and the rest is fictional history.

So yeah, it looks like ‘Batman v Superman’ will feature a flashback to the death of the Waynes. At this point, we’ve seen these two die so many times that it’s almost cruel to gun them down again, but this is technically a new Batman movie. Director Zack Snyder and his team probably feel the need to reaffirm why Batman is who he is one more time.

Looks great lit up. #BatmanvSuperman #bvschicago

A photo posted by Dan Marcus (@danimalish) onNov 11, 2014 at 12:06pm PST



They are actually using “The Mark of Zorro”! #BatmanvSuperman #bvschicago


A photo posted by Dan Marcus (@danimalish) onNov 11, 2014 at 12:08pm PST

One weird detail: if this is a flashback, why is the film being marketed as in “35mm”? DCP didn’t exist decades ago and 35mm was the standard. Could this be a weird oversight? Or is this a modern scene that everyone is immediately assuming to be a flashback?

And IMAX later confirmed that portions of the film are indeed being shot with those colossally large and difficult cameras that create some of the coolest footage you’ll ever see projected. Shooting select scenes in IMAX is pretty much the norm these days for huge tentpole movies, but unlike 3D, it’s never going to stop being exciting.


20th Century Fox is Still Making Superhero Movies, Too

Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. may grab all of the headlines, but Fox is still very much in the superhero movie game … even though they occasionally make headlines for the wrong reasons. The latest headache for fans comes from that mysterious ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot that’s supposedly coming out next year and it doesn’t sound great. Toby Kebbell, who is taking on the mantel of Doctor Doom this time around, talked about the film’s reinvention of the character and it’s … Well, we’ll just let him tell you:

He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story.  And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that.  The Doom in ours—I’m a programmer.  Very anti-social programmer.  And on blogging sites I’m “Doom”.

We like Kebbell. We like director Josh Trank. We want to remain optimistic for this movie. However, transforming an egocentric dictator with a penchant for mad science and black magic alike into something out of Gamergate is a massive downgrade. Doom is the best villain in the Marvel universe! Why can’t anyone get him right?

Elsewhere, we learned that ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ will feature lots of steamy romantic scenes between Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. Hey, if that means two very talented actors sharing a lot of scenes together, we’ll take it. It certainly sounds more appealing that director Bryan Singer’s promise of tons of destruction and mayhem.


The Latest and Greatest Superhero TV News

If you guessed that ‘Arrow’ star Stephen Amell would take offense at Warner Bros. casting a big screen version of the Flash mere weeks after ‘The Flash’ premiered on The CW, you’d be correct. Amell is taking no prisoners here:

I thought that the way that Warner Bros. announced the slate of DC movies could have been handled better. And I think someone like Grant Gustin, who has just launched an iconic character like the Flash to record-breaking numbers, numbers that far-surpassed Arrow’s numbers, he should have been given a wider berth than two episodes before another actor was announced to play his character. All that being said, that’s because I’m protective of Grant, and that’s because I think producing 23 episodes of superhero television is more difficult than producing a feature film. And it’s 23 episodes again, and again, and again.

Ouch. So much for the TV and movie versions of the DC characters peacefully coexisting. Looks like we all have to pick a side and break out the popcorn. Anyway, Katie Cassidy’s Laurel is about to become the vigilante known as Black Canary on ‘Arrow’ and she’s going to look like this in costume:

The CW

Speaking of ‘Arrow,’ the first details of the upcoming crossover with ‘The Flash’ have been revealed in a pair of synopses for the two episodes. If you don’t mind some minor spoilers, read on. If you want to go in knowing as little as possible, just scroll on past ‘em:

The Flash, Tuesday, December 2 – Flash vs. Arrow

Barry (Grant Gustin) is thrilled when Oliver (guest star Stephen Amell), Felicity (guest star Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (guest star David Ramsey) come to Central City to investigate a case involving a deadly boomerang. Excited about teaming up with his friend, Barry asks Oliver if he’d like to help him stop Ray Bivolo, the meta-human Barry is currently tracking. Bivolo causes people to lose control of their emotions and has been using that skill to rob banks. Unfortunately, the superhero partnership doesn’t go as smoothly as Barry expected. When Oliver tells Barry he still has a lot to learn, Barry sets out to prove him wrong by attempting to stop Bivolo alone. However, when Bivolo infects Barry and sets him on a rage rampage, everyone is in danger, and the only one who can stop him is the Arrow. Meanwhile, Iris (Candice Patton) is furious when Eddie (Rick Cosnett) tries to get a task force to stop The Flash; Joe and Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) agree the Arrow is a bad influence on Barry; and Caitlin and Cisco deal with a new team in S.T.A.R. Labs.

Arrow, Wednesday, December 3 – The Brave and the Bold

Oliver (Stephen Amell), Arsenal (Colton Haynes) and Diggle (David Ramsey) track down the location of a boomerang-wielding killer named Digger Harkness (guest star Nick Tarabay) but are surprised when they come face to face with an A.R.G.U.S. team. Diggle asks Lyla (guest star Audrey Marie Anderson) why A.R.G.U.S. is involved but she defers until Harkness attacks the building, killing several agents and targeting Lyla. The Arrow joins the fight and gets help from an old friend—The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin). Harkness manages to get away and Oliver teams up with Barry again to find him before he can get to Lyla. When Harkness plants five bombs in the city that are timed to explode at the same time, both teams must come together to save the city.

Oh, and ‘The Flash’ revealed a brand new trailer that teases more C-list DC villains than you can possibly hope for:

Hey look! Peggy Carter is returning to ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and here’s some new footage to prove it:

That intense-looking gentleman staring John Constantine down is none other than Emmett Scanlan in the role of Jim Corrigan, who will pop up in an episode of ‘Constantine‘ very soon. As any DC fan knows, Corrigan eventually becomes a superhero known as the Spectre, but his road to that title is a little, uh, bumpy.


And finally, ‘Gotham’ is still teasing the appearance of young Harvey Dent and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’re still mighty bored by the thought of Two-Face showing up before he even gets remotely interesting as a character. Anyway, here’s a clip of Nicholas D’Agosto in the role:

We also learned that the Flying Graysons may show up before the season is over, allowing Dick Grayson/Robin to cameo as an embryo.


Everything Else

There were rumors last week that Sony was hoping to revive the stalled ‘Spider-Man’ franchise by making a spin-off starring a young Aunt May as a globetrotting spy in the ‘60s and hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha—the rumors were quickly denied, though. Thank goodness.

Here’s something we can take seriously: Michael Douglas posed with his longtime stuntman on the set of ‘Ant-Man,’ giving us our best look yet at Hank Pym. More importantly, it gives us a good look at Douglas’ longtime stuntman. The resemblance is uncanny.

Michael Douglas, Facebook

Here’s video of a crazy person who built a working replica of the Batmobile, as seen in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman.’ What does this crazy person do with his insane new ride? He drives around entertaining sick kids. Respect!

Finally, if you want a Batmobile to call your own, an early version of Batman’s car that you didn’t even know existed is going up for auction. Break out your jar of pennies.