The VH Weekly News Round-Up (23/07/2017)

Hello and welcome to VultureHound‘s weekly news round-up, where we bring you the biggest and best news to come out of the film industry every Sunday.

Just like last weekend where we took a look at Disney’s D23 expo, this week, we’ll be looking at another big event; namely San Diego Comic-Con.

And while I’ve taken a trip down to Cornwall to take a brief break from the daily grind, you can be darned sure that when Sunday comes round, we’ll be there to bring you the news – no matter what’s standing in our way. Because here at VultureHound, we’re nothing if not dedicated.

A Spawn of the nineties creeps back to the big screen

Picture courtesy of Image Comics

Spawn was a revered comic-book series that started in the early nineties. Created by Todd McFarlane, the comic featured Al Simmons, a former marine and CIA opperative, who was killed after a hit was put out on him. After being sent to hell, Simmons made a deal with a demon, and was sent back as a ‘hellspawn’, a dark demonic figure. Using his new physiology and abilities, Simmons becomes a brutal anti-hero, after discovering those he once loved have moved on with their lives after his death.

His new career as a vigilante saw him engage a variety of different foes, from simple thugs to warrior angels.

The series enjoyed a lengthy run and several spin-offs, and the popularity of the characters were such that it lead to Todd McFarlane becoming involved in a lawsuit with celebrated writer Neil Gaiman over ownership of some of the prominent characters Gaiman had a hand in co-creating.

Then, in 1997, a film adaptation was released to capitalise on the comic’s success. The film starred Michael Jai White and was the first film to feature an African American actor playing a major comic-book super-hero. It was negatively received and the planned sequel was subsequently cancelled.

A reboot has been planned since 2007, with McFarlane continuously stating over the years that he would see this film; more ‘horror’ than ‘superhero’; made. At one point, Jamie Foxx was said to be ‘aggressively pursuing’ the title role, and former Spawn Michael Jai White also said he would be up for returning.

Now, at Comic-Con International, McFarlane revealed that he had signed a deal with Blumehouse Productions (Paranormal ActivityThe PurgeInsidiousSplit and Get Out) to direct the movie, using a script he completed last year.

The 1997 Spawn is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download now.

 

New casting and story details emerge on Earth’s Mightiest Women

Picture courtesy of Marvel Comics

The women of Marvel are finally getting their due, as new details have been released on both Captain Marvel and Ant-Man & the Wasp.

After the reveal that Samuel L. Jackson would be reprising his role as Nick Fury in the upcoming Captain Marvel, we’ve learnt that his role will see him use both his eyes – because the film would be set back before he donned an eye-patch, back in the nineties. This may be a way of establishing Captain Marvel as one of Marvel’s premiere heroes, despite her introduction so late in the game. It does however, raise the question of how Brie Larson will portray a character that still looks relatively young twenty years after her origin. It’s comic books though, so I’m sure they’ll think up some zany excuse.

One potential option could be that the nineties segment of the film see’s Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel’s predecessor, the alien Mar-Vell / Captain Marvel (seriously, the original Captain Marvel’s name was Mar-Vell) in action, before the female hero takes on the role a few decades later. Whatever the case, the heroine will be seen facing off against the Skrulls, a shape-shifting green alien race who the Chitauri (the aliens from Avengers Assemble) were originally based off in the comic-books.

On top of all that, we also got some very interesting casting announcements on the upcoming Ant-Man & the Wasp. If you think back to 2015’s Ant-Man, you’ll remember that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, gave up his costumed identity after the disappearance of his wife, Janet – his super-heroine partner, the Wasp. After a lot of speculation that Douglas’ real wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones would get the role, we now know that the original Wasp will be portrayed by Michelle Pfieffer.

And if the casting of Michelle Pfieffer wasn’t enough for you (and if that is the case, you need to lower your standards a bit), then there’s more. Joining Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Randall Park and Michelle Pfieffer is Lawrence Fishburne, who will be playing Dr. Bill Foster. In the comics, Foster uses Pym’s shrinking/growing particles to become the hero Giant-Man and later ‘Black’ Goliath.

Giant Lawrence Fishburne? Someone needs to give Marvel Studios’ casting director Sarah Finn a medal.

Ant-Man & the Wasp and Captain Marvel hit cinemas on July 6th 2018 and March 8th 2019, respectively.

 

The Hulk finally speaks as Thor warns of the end times

Chris Hemsworth Mark Ruffalo / Thor: Ragnarok / Picture courtesy of Marvel Studios

On top of the announcements about Captain Marvel and Ant-Man & the Wasp, Marvel’s comic-con presentation also saw the release of a new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. There was also footage from Black Panther that wasn’t released, and although we could write up what happened in that trailer, like we did last week with D23’s Infinity War reveal… truth be told, I don’t want to do that again, so let’s just look at a trailer we can actually see, right now, with our own eyes and not just in our minds:

There’s a lot going on right here, as we have seen, with our own eyes.

The trailer recaps a bit of what we saw in the previous Ragnarok trailer, but this time, gives a greater look at the various characters featured in the film. Thor’s journey is explored more thoroughly, and we catch a glimpse at the end of why Thor deserves the title of the God of Thunder, even without his enchanted hammer Mjolnir.

The Hulk also gets a lot of stand-out moments, smashing Thor, smashing Surtur (the demon ruler of Muspelheim that is glimpsed in the last moments of the trailer) and showing his new ability to speak somewhat cohesively, rather than just muttering things like “Puny god” and “Hulk smash”. This is potentially down to the fact that the Hulk apparently hasn’t transformed back into Bruce Banner since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and, subsequently, has had time to develop during his space-gladiator adventures on the planet Sakaar.

But not only does the Hulk’s speech showcase some interesting character development, it may also reveal why director Taika Waititi is the man for the job – as with his comedic background, he no doubt had a big hand in developing how the jade giant would talk, with humorous effect.

Thor: Ragnarok smashes into cinemas on October 27th 2017.

 

DC release a league of upcoming film titles

Picture courtesy of DC

Some years ago, Warner Bros. and DC released their upcoming film slate in an effort to show fans they were every bit as dedicated as Marvel Studios when it came to crafting a cinematic universe. Back then, the slate was as follows:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (03/25/16)
Suicide Squad (08/05/16)
Wonder Woman (06/23/17)
Justice League Part One (11/17/17)
The Flash (03/23/18)
Aquaman (07/27/18)
Shazam (04/05/19)
Justice League Part Two (06/14/19)
Cyborg (04/03/20)
Green Lantern (06/19/20)

Now, during one of DC’s presentations at comic-con, the revised film slate has been released:

Shazam!
Flashpoint 
Wonder Woman 2
Suicide Squad 2
The Batman
Batgirl
Green Lantern Corps
Justice League Dark

While some of the films remain the same, it’s interesting to see how much has changed in three years and after three films. While we must take into account that DC do have other films planned that they have yet to officially announce, like the Harley Quinn-centric Gotham City Sirens or the Batman spin-off Nightwing, there are still some important things to take away from this. We must also acknowledge that Justice League and Aquaman are probably absent from this list due to the fact that they’re both well into (or post) production.

For one, there are no longer any dates attached to the projects, which hopefully means the folks at DC aren’t just rushing films into production for the sake of making them. As a result, Cyborg has been removed – a film that never seemed to garner that much anticipation for it.

The financial (and critical, in the case of the latter) success of Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman have lead to sequels being green-lit, while Justice League has been condensed into one entry, rather than stretching the story out over several films. Joss Whedon’s Batgirl is also a prominent entry alongside the long gestating Justice League Dark, which will see more magical heroes like John Constantine form a super-hero squad of their own.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the list however, is the re-titling of The Flash movie as Flashpoint. In the comics, the storyline Flashpoint saw Barry Allen run back in time to save his mother from dying, and as a result, the entire universe was changed – mostly for the worst. In an effort to save reality, Barry was forced to undo his mistake, but when he arrived back in the present, things were still different from the world he had left. Could Flashpoint‘s position in DC’s new slate signal a soft reboot for the DC Extended Universe? Only time will tell.

DC’s most recent live-action film, Wonder Woman, is (still) in (some) cinemas now.
(but not that many, unfortunately)

 

Justice League comes together for another epic trailer

Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot & Jason Momoa / Picture courtesy of Warner Bros.

And speaking of DC’s upcoming films, namely Justice League, we’re going to round out our weekly round-up and coverage of San Diego Comic-Con with a look at the latest Justice League trailer. Clocking in at an impressive 4 minutes and eleven seconds long, the trailer sets up what life is like for Leaguers like Wonder Woman before the alien invasion that brings them all together, hints at the heroes who warded the villains off from Earth before, and showcases the members of the Justice League saving the world and kicking ass:

The footage really speaks for itself, but if we’ve learned anything from Dawn of Justice, it’s that you can’t really judge how these films are going to turn out from trailers alone. However, the sheer scope of this movie looks to be impressive if nothing else, and while the tone of the trailer seems a bit chaotic, it seems the film itself will have healthy doses of action, humour and camaraderie and adventure.

And while there’s unfortunately still no sign of Superman, there are hints at potential appearances from other heroes. At one point, Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is seen looking at a hologram of someone wearing a red cape, as the film’s villain, Steppenwolf, counts ‘Kryptonians’ among those who are no longer around to protect the Earth; however, as the hologram’s cape dances in the wind, you can see it’s owner doesn’t seem to be wearing Cavill’s usual Superman costume. In fact, they don’t seem to have anything on their legs at all. Could Supergirl be making an appearance alongside her resurrected cousin?

While that does seem unlikely, the Green Laterns also gets a throwaway mention, so maybe we’ll be seeing some of them at the very least.

Justice League flies into cinemas November 17th 2017.

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