bet365 HyperSmash Blog Insider: Ultimate Comic Book Movie Guide We catch the early scoop on the Thor and X-Men sequels.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ultimate Comic Book Movie Guide We catch the early scoop on the Thor and X-Men sequels.

Silver Surfer

Release Date: Unknown
Development Status: A Silver Surfer movie has been rumored for years, even predating the recent Fantastic Four films. With Surfer now established in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, 20th Century Fox have indicated they would like to go forward with a spinoff a la X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For a while, it appeared that the Surfer movie would take precedence over a third FF film. J. Michael Straczynski was brought in to write a script, and Doug Jones' contract allowed for two more appearances as Silver Surfer.

However, it was more recently announced that 20th Century Fox hope to reboot the FF franchise. Will the company still be interested in a Silver Surfer spinoff at the same time? According to a recent interview with screenwriter and author of Silver Surfer: Requiem JMS, it looks like the Surfer's been put in mothballs, thanks to the under-performance (read: crapfest) of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Currently, it seems that the only high-profile Marvel properties that are priorities for Fox are: Wolverine 2, the FF reboot under Akiva Goldsman's lead and X-Men: First Class. Unless Xavier's school can make room for a Surfer cameo, fans of the character may have to wait a long time for his standalone movie to arrive.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Release Dates: July 3, 2012
Development Status: Wow. Just wow. That best describes our reaction to the news that Sony has scrapped plans for a Spidey 4 with Sam Raimi at the helm and Tobey Maguire in the mask, and instead rebooting the franchise altogether. In 3D, no less. Maybe they can call it The Amazing Spider-Man Jumps on the Bandwagon? (Zing!)

Luckily, the filmmakers have found their new Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) is replacing Maguire and donning the signature red-and-blue tights. At 27 years old, hopefully Garfield can portray a convincing high schooler, unless of course the rumor about this reboot's Pete starting off at college becomes true.

This new Peter Parker will be joined by Gwen Stacy rather than Mary Jane Watson this time. Emma Stone (Easy A) will play the role of Gwen, though her current red-dyed hair naturally led fans to first assume she would play MJ. In truth, MJ won't appear in this reboot, and apparently was never intended to.

Meanwhile, Rhys Ifans has signed to play the villain, The Lizard. In addition, there's a new rumor out there that Sony suits want to reboot (re: crowbar) Venom into the new Spidey reboot. Also from the Rumor Mill: Mad Men's John Slattery might be up for the role of J. Jonah Jameson. Slattery is no stranger to the Marvel U, having played Tony Stark's dad in Iron Man 2. Sam Elliot is also under consideration for the role, which is proving to be a tough one to cast according to reports.

More casting news? About villains? You bet! Heat Vision is reporting that Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire) will be playing a villain named Van Atter in the soon-to-be-shooting Spider-Man film. Rhys Ifans, of course, has already been cast as the Lizard, with the Lizard being the film's main villain. Expect to see Spidey vs. Lizard atop the Manhattan Bridge, as the plot centers on the city not sure what to make of the Webcrawler - Friend or not-so-friend.

Finally, Martin Sheen (The West Wing) and Sally Field (Forrest Gump) have been cast as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, respectively. These are interesting casting choices, as both are surprisingly high-profile actors for what are presumably limited roles. Sheen and Field's ages suggest the filmmakers are striving for the sort of younger, hipper portrayals seen in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Finally finally? C. Thomas Howell will play a construction worker named Ray, whose son is saved by Spidey during the Lizard fight. Ray will play a key role toward the end of the film, to pay Spidey back for saving Ray's son. (Phew.)

There is life before, and life after, this news.

Garfield recently spoke about the early stages of filming during a press junket for The Social Network's DVD release. "The first week was full of stunts, and I've never felt happier in my whole life," he said. "I'm all bruised and scratched up, and it feels really good. It's just me throwing myself up against walls, which is incredibly fun and painful and testing my manhood."

Sony recently released the first official shot of Garfield in the new suit, which you can see below:

- Columbia Pictures

Clearly some modifications were made to the familiar design. Eagle-eyed fans can also spot twin mechanical webshooters attached to Peter's wrists, suggesting that the reboot will be more faithful to the comics in at least one respect.

So why didn't it work out with Team Raimi? The director said he couldn't make the original May 2011 release date and apparently once he said "I can't make your date. I can't go forward creatively," Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal and Columbia Pictures' Matt Tolmach decided to reboot the franchise from the top down - no Maguire, no Dunst - not one member of the original team that brought billions to Sony Pictures.

So wait a tick - the movie is coming out Summer 2012. One year after the release date Sony wanted Raimi to stick to? Is this basically an "eff you" to the director who gave us a franchise worth caring about to begin with? If Sony is going to wait until 2012, then why can't they keep Raimi onboard?

If the reasoning is just so financial quotas can be met by keeping a release date, then that doesn't bode well for Spidey 4 being creatively better than the third installment.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Oh Hollywood, and your-greenlighting-a-sequel-to-a-movie-before-said-movie-is-released ways…

James Vanderbilt, the writer of Marc Webb's upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man, has been tapped to pen the sequel.

"Vanderbilt had a meeting with the Spider-Man filmmakers and studio execs outlining his take, getting a thumbs up, and will now begin writing," says Heat Vision. He worked on the Spider-Man 4 script (for the Sam Raimi Scenario) before that project collapsed, at which point he segued into the reboot for Sony. Originally, the writer of Zodiac and Basic was chosen for his character-driven approach to the story rather than a focus on special effects and worked on an outline for a trio of films. It remains to be seen how much from his outline will segue into his sequel script.

Amazing Spidey Part I hits theaters July 3, 2012, so expect a sequel to debut around 2014 or 2015.

Thor 2

Release Date: Unknown
Development Status: We know Iron Man 3 will be one of Marvel Studios' first priorities after The Avengers hits in 2012, and work has already begun on a Captain America sequel, so why not Thor as well?

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed a sequel is being considered, at least. "We've got 600 plus issues, we've got a thousand years of mythology, we have other stories we'd like to tell," said Feige. "The audience will tell us whether they want to see those other stories, but we have to be prepared for that if that - if we should get the call." Feige also indicated that screenwriter Don Payne is plotting ideas and that discussions will begin soon with director Kenneth Branagh.

While scripting likely won't begin until late this year, CinemaBlend reports that The Enchantress and Skurge the Executioner are being considered as the villains. In the comics, the Enchantress is a sorceress of Asguard who uses her seductive powers to woo Thor. Skurge is her right hand man and a warrior fierce enough to rival Asgard's best. If Loki returns, it's a safe bet he'll be using his trickery to manipulate the duo against Thor.

Both Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) will be appearing in Avengers next summer, and both are contracted for future Marvel films beyond that. Bringing the Thor cast back together shouldn't be much of a problem, so the only real question is whether or not Branagh will commit to a sequel. And whether Branagh will have the wisdom to bring Beta Ray Bill into the picture.

War Machine

Release Date: Unknown
Development Status: Marvel Studios' post-Avengers plans are still a bit murky. Right now, it's looking as if a War Machine spinoff might be in the cards alongside the inevitable Iron Man 3. War Machine won't be appearing in Avengers itself, so this could be Marvel's way of appeasing fans of James "Rhodey" Rhodes.

The only evidence of this project's existence so far is a rumor report from Pajiba. According to the rumor, screenwriters are being sought and no other cast or crew have been confirmed. But if the project is under development, we imagine Don Cheadle will be ready to suit up and lay waste to his enemies again.

X-Men: First Class

Release Date: June 3, 2011
Development Status: Wolverine will not appaear in Matthew Vaughn's First Class, according to the director himself. And judging by the two new trailers that hit recently, a Logan-less X-Men movie looks pretty awesome.

And here is the film's official synopsis: "First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men."

From this, we also know (thanks to leaked spy photos from the set) that the X-Jet (or Blackbird) crashes on an island during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Shot down by a submarine, according to gossip.) And thanks to more leakage from Johnny OnSet-Spy, we know that each character's costume will be signature to the mutant and their ability. We also know that Mystique plays for Professor X's team during the film, sporting one of these blue and yellow outfits, before going full villain. Beast takes a significant departure from the last time we saw him on the big-screen, and he also has a fight scene with Mystique and the main villain.

Oliver Platt's Men In Black character also plays a key role in teaming Xavier with Magneto. From all of these story points, we also have director Matthew Vaughn's soundbites regarding how the story for First Class will play out, and it sounds like it's kinda sorta inspired by the path taken by the recent Star Trek reboot.

"It's very clever when you see how he has integrated the characters into the time period where the film is set. I'll put it that way. I just don't want to give it away... It's a very clever way of getting these characters involved in recent history, in recent world events."

The story was conceived by former X-Men director Bryan Singer, who recently shared with AICN a very detailed account of what fans can expect.

According to Singer, First Class will be set during the 1960's, when John F. Kennedy was president and the Civil Rights Movement was raging. Both Xavier and Magneto will be in their 20s. This explains, among other things, why so many familiar X-Men are missing from the cast. Singer, in an interview with The LA Times, expressed desire to helm another X-Men movie in the "near future", with the implication being a First Class sequel.

We know that Jennifer Lawrence will play Mystique, but we didn't know how much time the actress will play the character in blue-skin form, until now. According to an interview the actress gave with Jeff Wells, Lawrence implies that the blue scales used in the previous X-Men movies will make a return here, albeit a brief one.

Only 10% of her screentime will be in full-on Mystique mode, according to the interview. "It takes X-Men makeup artists about six hours to transform her into Mystique with the blue skins and the scales," Lawrence added. We'd guess that official photos of her in the Darkholme skin have been taken, but the actress says that the plan is to keep Mystique's look a secret until closer to the movie's release. (Good luck with that one, Fox. Remember when the character designs for Singer's first X-Men movie leaked onto AICN?)

It also appears as if Havok will fill the lead role in place of his brother Cyclops. Only in the movie's continuity, Havok will not be Cyclops' brother, according to Singer. Producer Singer also promised that more new character additions will be revealed down the road. First Class is meant to be "a new beginning" for the franchise, but it appears at this point that it can still function as a prequel to the previous four films with only relatively minor continuity quirks.

And the movie has quite the roster of actors. Damages' Rose Byrne is in talks to play Dr. Moira MacTaggert, a scientist and love interest of Professor X, and actor Jason Fleming will play the teleporting Azazel, Nightcrawler's father. (Whether Azazel will be on Xavier's side or Magneto's has yet to be determined.) 2012 fans rejoice! Oliver Platt has enlisted for First Class duty, playing The Man in Black. No idea who or what that character is, but stay tuned...

About A Boy's Nicholas Hoult will play Beast. And Caleb Landry Jones has been confirmed to play the mutant Banshee. Oh, and mutant Riptide has joined the film as well, played by Alex Gonzalez.The mutant Darwin will also join the cast.

On the plus side, James "Wanted" McAvoy will play the younger version of Professor X in the film, which is all sorts of awesome. Michael Fassbender will play Magneto. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) is set to play Mystique, and Mad Men's January Jones will play Emma Frost. Pics of her in Emma Frost attire hit the interwebs, and she is rocking the 1960s vibe. Mutant Willow may also make her appearance in the film.

Jones recently spoke to <="" a=""> about her role as Frost. "The costumes are insane," Jones said. "It's a lot of very body-conscious stuff. If you look at the comic book, she's barely dressed. She's got quite the bod, which is very intimidating." Jones also indicated that Frost's diamond form will again appear in the film, and that Frost will be participating in numerous fight scenes.

Kevin Bacon will play mutant Sebastian Shaw. Son of Rambow star Bill Milner will play young Magneto, 2012's Morgan Lily has been cast as the Young Mystique, and Zoe Kravitz will play X-Men mutant Tempest.

Vaughn re-teams with Jane Goldman, his co-writer on Kick-Ass, to work on the screenplay. The movie is scheduled for release June 3, 2011. Oh and they are still shooting the movie as of press time. Yeah, good luck with that...

X-Men: First Class 2

Release Date: Unknown
Development Status: We've known Fox and producer Bryan Singer had plans for more than just one First Class film. The upcoming film is meant to serve as the start of a potential trilogy. We haven't heard much about what that trilogy might entail yet, but apparently the door is being kept open for the possible return of Wolverine.

In an exclusive interview with IGN, Singer said, "I think there would definitely be room. I think it would be a very exciting thing. This universe has to establish itself before, but that would be a very interesting and fun thing."

Presumably, much of the main cast would return alongside Wolverine, including James McAvoy's Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Magneto. But will Matthew Vaughn direct again? We don't expect to hear much else about First Class 2 until the first film hits theaters and Fox can judge whether a follow-up is worth pursuing.

The Wolverine

Release Date: 2011
Development Status: Pre-production.

A lot of people saw Wolverine, but not many of them talked about how good it was. Too many mutant cameos distracted from focusing on the titular character, which is something the filmmakers plan to remedy. Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie, who scripted The Usual Suspects and did work on the first X-Men movie, will help tell of Logan's journey to Japan, where he fell in love and learned the ways of the samurai. (The script is based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's story arc in the comics.)

Director Darren Aronofsky left the project, for family reasons, leaving Fox with a release date to meet but no director to meet it with. Fox is gunning for Source Code's Duncan Jones or Twiight Eclipse and Daredevil reboot director David Slade for the job. (Pass on Slade. Go for Jones!)

The project will still be a "one-off" or standalone project, and not a direct sequel to Origins. The story centers on Wolverine's romance with a Japanese woman who's hand in marriage is promised to another man. Wolverine refuses to let her go, and the only thing standing in his way are the woman's father and the samurai under his employ.

Sabretooth himself, Liev Schrieber, revealed that he had dinner with Hugh Jackman, where they discussed the script and the potential for a Sabretooth/Wolverine reunion tour. (Since Creed is not a part of the original Japan storyline, we hope the powers-at-be do not shoehorn the character into the narrative.)

No news yet on who the villain will be, but word 'round the campfire suggests that the demon swordsmith Muramasa will appear, and that Omega Red or Silver Fox are potential candidates. The Japan storyline could work out to be as good as X2, if not better. As long as it doesn't have memory-wiping bullets or a boxing match with Blob, it's already better than the first Wolverine movie.

X-Men 4

Release Date: Unknown
Development Status: X4 is officially a project on our geekdar, and it seems that the director responsible for the first two installments in the mutant franchise is angling for some involvement on the fourth film.

In a recent interview with The LA Times, director Bryan Singer and producer Lauren Shuler-Donner shed light on the project, with the implication being that Singer wants to direct the film. The director is quoted as telling Shuler-Donner to "hold that one off for just a little, I'm fixated on [X-Men: First Class]right now," to which she responds, ""I will, I will ... I'm holding it open with high hopes. It's totally different [from First Class] and it will be so interesting for you."

So what do we make of this, X-Men fans? Looks like the powers-at-be are going the Anti-Ratner route as they plan to launch the next phase of Wolverine and Co.'s live-action plan. And they have the right man for the job. (That sound you hear is the director of Money Talks getting pwned.)

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