If you missed Part 1 of Bennett’s Touch ‘Em All with DC updates you can catch that here.
I struggled my way through a DC article without throwing in too many unnecessarily bitter digs, so the boss men granted me another post in this series, and the focus in on one thing: MARVEL! I do not try to hide my bias, so take this with a grain of Kryptonian ash (too soon?), but I think Marvel is continuing to pave the way towards what large-scale success will look like in the rapidly growing superhero genre. It’s been a while since we looked at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), so there’s tons to cover.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Disney, Marvel, Joss Whedon, and Kevin Feige – in all of their abounding wisdom and love for their fans – have given us a brief peek into what to expect next summer from the movie that will undoubtedly break records by the boatload. They released a brief synopsis of the general story of the new movie, and it reveals more about the history of the new Ultron origin than what we ever expected to get this soon. SPOILER ALERT AND STUFF, BUT THIS IS PRETTY BASIC, SO DON’T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A WAD OVER IT. THANKS.
Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. when Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
So, most of this is Marvel saying, “Hey, remember that cool movie that made so much money? We are doing another one, and it is going to be even cooler. We might just introduce Namor soon, because we need help from drowning in so much money.” BUT, there is one big piece of info that is dropped by this announcement. It says Tony Stark is jump-starting a program, presumably the program that leads to Ultron’s creation. To give a brief history of Ultron, he was created by Hank Pym (a.k.a. the first Ant-Man) in the comics. Pym won’t be introduced until the Ant-Man movie that comes out after Avengers: AoU, but Pym is being played by Michael Douglas who will be mentoring Scott Lang played by Paul Rudd. My prediction is that Pym may have a role in AoU after all. We have seen flashbacks and references to Tony’s father before, and having him work with Pym to created AI peacekeeping technology in the past would be a brilliant set up that would maintain some adherence to the comics. Feige continues to be his brilliant self, and I have 100% faith in what he will do with Ultron, Pym and the rest of the crowd.
Agents of SHIELD
The first Marvel TV offering continues for its second season in five days. This is a pretty niche part of the Marvel universe as it struggled through a first season. For those who stuck with it, the show became a very rewarding complement to events that were occurring within the Cinematic Universe, most notably the tie-in with Winter Soldier. The chaos that rippled throughout SHIELD in the aftermath of Captain America’s second solo project was handled brilliantly by the creators. Look for more tie-ins this season and a more familiar set of faces as AoS picks up the pieces left by some of the movies’ world altering impacts.
There is not a ton of stuff out about Ant-Man right now, simply because people are nervous. Just like people were worried about the performance of Guardians of the Galaxy and its 1980’s space-opera tone, people doubt once more. The director, Peyton Reed, has described the tone of this movie as a 1970’s heist thriller, giving Ant-Man a starkly different tone than any of the other movies that populate the MCU. While others worry, I am very excited. I love how each of the characters/teams are sculpting their own unique feel, just like the comics. Besides, this movie has Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Corey Stoll. This is by far one of the most interesting casts that Marvel has assembled, and I am really excited to see where they go with it.
Daredevil and other Netflix Projects
As if anyone doubted that Marvel is way ahead of the pack, they are set to release this 13-episode Netflix series in 2015. Getting a redo on the unfortunate event that was Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the character is refreshing, and I am excited to see how this show will be able to capture one of the darkest and most interesting characters that Marvel has on its roster. The man with the plan is Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus, Smallville), and he is ready to bring a new grit to the Marvel Universe.
…we wanted it to be grounded, gritty, as realistic as we could portray… He’s not super strong. He’s not invulnerable. In every aspect, he’s a man that’s just pushed himself to the limits, he just has senses that are better than a normal humans… There are two sides to this character. He’s literally one bad day away from becoming The Punisher!… He’s not going to tie them up with his webs! He’ll come close to killing somebody. And it’s that fine edge — Why doesn’t he go all the way?
A man with this understanding of the character is a man I trust. I am very excited about the future of this character.
However, it does not end with Daredevil. Shortly after, Netflix will produce and release similar series for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the Iron Fist, all culminating in either a mini-series or a movie version of The Defenders. If all of this proves successful, we will begin to see a more full and diverse cast for Avengers that will hopefully make Marvel Civil War as successful as possible.
Captain America 3
A title hasn’t been announced yet, but the whole crew is expected to be back, with much more involvement from Hawkeye. Getting a better glimpse into the character played by Jeremy Renner is long overdue, and with the future of Chris Evans as Captain America being so shaky, this movie has the opportunity to grapple with death, an area in which the previous movie did a very poor job.
Marvel announced filming will begin in around May of 2015. While talks with Joaquin Phoenix have intensified since my last speculative post, nothing has been officially announced. My guess is that a solid script has not been presented yet, since Marvel has decided to scrap the typical origin story formula, and Phoenix is just waiting to make sure it is something that he likes.
Dear friend, Stan Lee, let the cat out of the bag that Black Panther is currently in production at Marvel. This is still a far way off, and casting decisions are far from being made. The only two names I have heard seriously are Djimon Hounsou and Idris Elba. Unfortunately, both of these men already have characters within the MCU, so I don’t see that happening. Interestingly enough, Denzel Washington has also expressed interest in bringing the role to life, but ole’ Coach Boone might be a little too old for the role. Seeing no end in sight of the Disney v. Sony/Fox dispute, Jamie Foxx could play the role, but I don’t see it happening. I think their best options at this point are Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up), or John Boyega (Attack the Block, Star Wars: Episode VII). Of the three, Boyega has the best shot I think. He has gone on record that it is the role of his dreams, and he is about to get really big when the new Star Wars movie drops in 2015, right in time to start working on another project set to release in 2017. Dreams do come true.
Now, Time for Me to Speculate
With the crazy success of Guardians of the Galaxy, I think Marvel is going to establish an even bigger team dynamic movie that isn’t Avengers. With X-Men off the table for an indefinite amount of time, Disney can move on to the next biggest superteam on Marvel’s roster. I explained this group dynamic in an older post, but there has been some recent development of the project. Feige has been pretty open about loving the team and looking forward to putting them together, and we may just have the casting for our first member. Vin Diesel has been hinting for some time that he is in talks with Marvel to bring a voice to the keeper of the Terrigen Mists, the king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt. Although, he is also voicing Groot on the Guardians team, neither character says a whole lot, so it could actually work. Such a creative marriage of two brands is what is putting Marvel head and shoulders above any conceivable competition.
This project has been floating around the rumor mill for some time now. No real big speculation other than, Marvel needs a female lead solo movie. It is either going to be Captain Marvel or Black Widow. I am fine with either, this is just my hunch.
Incredible Hulk TV Series
I almost didn’t include this, because I don’t see it happening. But when Lou Ferrigno talks about the Hulk, I guess we kinda have to listen. He said it, doesn’t make sense to me. Don’t get your hopes up.
I have done literally zero research to substantiate this claim, but I think that the Vision is going to be a huge hit in Avengers: AoU. I think people will fall in love with the character and demand a movie, much like they have done with Mark Ruffalo and the Hulk since Avengers. That’s a bracket buster, so we will see what happens.
It was revealed in the Winter Soldier bonus material that the crazy use of the Penske truck was not an incident, but perhaps a tease at a potential Punisher project. The rights reverted back from Fox to Marvel in 2012, and doing a really dark movie would be an interesting step for the universe. I struggle to see it fitting in with the current universe, but anything could happen at this point.
You Thought I Forgot about the Stepchildren…
With Amazing Spider-Man 3, Sinister Six, and Venom all on the docket, Sony is making a push to show that they can do this superhero thing too. The critical failure of ASM2 says otherwise, and they better get their crap together if they want to compete at all. Here is a projection of how the Venom movie will perform (based off of the critical success of the director, Alex Kurtzman), courtesy the always entertaining Kyle Norton. See how good we are at modelizing?
The Fantastic Four reboot is leading one of the worst marketing efforts I have ever seen in my life. Some cool pictures have leaked of what the Thing and Doctor Doom might look like, but they have underwhelmed fans at every turn. Might be a great movie, but it won’t make the kind of money that Fox is going to need to establish a successful universe of characters. They will just hold on to X-Men (which will continue to be amazing), hold on to Deadpool (which will continue to be infuriating), and make us wonder why Disney hasn’t already bought these fools yet. (Author’s note – there used to be some pretty dope pictures here of the leaked images of the Thing and Doctor Doom. While these pictures were not confirmed before, the cease and desist letter from Fox’s legal representatives might suggest otherwise. Thanks for the contribution Fox!)
Well, that wraps up my analysisizing of all things Superhero. This has been an exhausting, but absolutely enthralling project to work on, and I am now more excited than ever for the growing presence of superheroes within the American psyche. And now, for the faithful who have stuck with me, enjoy…