MARVELOUS DA7E: Infinity War Develops
Welcome back to Marvelous Da7e, where I speculate about the newest superhero movie and television news and rumors in a sometimes verified and other times irresponsibly geeky way. It’s been awhile since we’ve last touched base, we had Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange both released while the column was on hiatus, Sony Spider-Man stuff is going down and Avengers: Infinity War is about to start filming!
Back to 2016…
The less said about Suicide Squad, the better, I’d say. Then again, I don’t want to not mention Suicide Squad at all because the DC/Warner Bros film partnership has thus far churned out some profitable if not puzzling portrayals of their banner characters and supporting villains. It seems to be working out for them with Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Man of Steel sitting in the numbers 3-5 spots on the most profitable DC branded movies of all time list (top two are still Nolanverse). If Dawn of Justice had a few sequences I liked with heroes fighting (and the amazing Wonder Woman theme), Suicide Squad had mere moments I liked, chopped up and blended into a bland smoothie.
Maybe there’s a version of Suicide Squad where David Ayer was allowed to direct a coherent story that had some consequences for the characters involved, but all of that seems to be relegated to a few trailer shots that never even made deleted scenes and Jared Leto’s insistence that he shot an entirely different film’s worth of material as The Joker. Much like The Adventures of Josh Trank: Sign of the Fantastic Four and Star Wars Rewrites Episode VII: Harrison Ford’s Knee Injury, we may have to wait years for the details about what the original Suicide Squad was supposed to be.
Doctor Strange, on the Marvel side, was quite enjoyable. It didn’t have much connection to the movements of the greater MCU outside of an Infinity Stone mention and the end credits revealing Strange’s involvement in Thor: Ragnarok. Between leaked Thor set photos and my long held theory that Doctor Strange would unveil the Time Stone, there weren’t a ton of surprises in Strange’s plot. What was a surprise was how it looked. Director Scott Derrickson really pulled off a unique looking Marvel film, which is turning out to be not as easy as anyone guessed.
After being very sure that Captain America was going to bite it in Civil War and then having NO ONE die in Civil War (well, no major hero) was a bit of a confidence blow to the whole “tracking a theory for months” way of “entertainment reporting.” Doctor Strange got me back into the swing of things, and so far there hasn’t been a ton of surprising plot news about Thor: Ragnarok aka backdoor Planet Hulk. Which, as I learned with Doctor Strange, is very different from actually seeing the movie. Damn you, November, get here faster!
Animated Franchise Reclamation
Between now and Thor: Ragnarok, we have a couple different comic book movies hitting theaters, but none are as interesting to me as Sony’s attempts to reboot their Spider-Man franchise by giving the live action version over to Marvel Studios storylines. The Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer was notable for feeling like a third Marvel installment next year when it’s really a Sony co-production. Now, the new announcement coming in this week that the Phil Lord and Chris Miller developed animated Spider-Man movie is: a) still a thing! and b) will be featuring a Miles Morales Spider-Man not the Tom Holland Peter Parker version!
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) January 18, 2017
And it’s coming in December 2018!
Experience the upcoming stand-alone animated SPIDER-MAN feature, directed by Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey, in theaters 12/21/18. 🕷️
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) January 18, 2017
Granted, it’s a stand alone film, but did you really expect Sony to give up all the Spider-Man goods in a Marvel Studios gambit (ugh, now I thought about Fox’s Gambit, what a mess)? Sony splitting off Miles means they’re much more likely to try another split down the line as the Tom Holland era threatens to merge into the post-Infinity War MCU. Namely, if they have the balls to do a Miles animated stand alone, those old rumors of a solo Venom franchise might not be as far fetched.
Oh, right, Infinity War is going to start production down in Atlanta soon, that’s why there are confirmations flying around about which characters will or will not be appearing, plus some new Peter Dinklage rumors to buzz about. I don’t know anything more than the average internet Joe at the moment when it comes to Dinklage’s casting, but the writers of Infinity War have said in previous interviews that they’d love to write Modok into the MCU and have Dinklage play him. That seems like a good enough reason for me to get my hopes minorly up. That plus this Bosslogic fan art:
— We Got This Covered (@wgtc_site) January 15, 2017
Infinity War and Avengers 4 are still filming back-to-back even though they aren’t going to share “Part 1” and “Part 2” titles anymore. That would seem to indicate that the Thanos threat is going to be spread over a mini cliffhanger, or a re-contextualizing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Way back before Avengers: Age of Ultron, there was speculation that a wave of Avengers had to die then come back to life to “assemble” the big Marvel Team-Up that we’ve been waiting for since 2008. Now that might not be the case, just because of the rapid expansion the MCU is poised to make in 2017.
To Infinity War: Spaced Out
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor: Ragnarok are both space movies at the very least and multi-dimensional movies at the most. Strange being involved in Thor is just as odd to an Earth-bound MCU character as a living planet making himself a body that looks like Kurt Russell. The Ayesha character’s presence in Guardians 2 suggests we could get a grander Cosmic Marvel set of stakes, but James Gunn has also said that he doesn’t have to deal with floaty chair Thanos anymore. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Mad Titan claim that he’d “do it himself” in Avengers: Age Of Ultron’s credits. Is it possible that Guardians 2 can layer on some more Cosmic Marvel for Thor: Ragnarok to pick up later in the year? Is it too much to hope for a Jeff Goldblum cameo in Guardians? Could he tell Star Lord about chaos theory?
Outside of Dinklage, Infinity War also looks like the movie where the Guardians of the Galaxy meet up with the Avengers, at least the main group and Nebula (Karen Gillan) have all confirmed. There’s a casting call that suggests Brie Larson is going to debut as Captain Marvel in Infinity War, though if you ask me, it seems likely that she’ll receive a part origin story only to emerge as a full hero by the end of the movie. I’m not sure she’ll emerge fully with powers or if the crazy theory that she’s the lighting-struck patient mentioned in Doctor Strange will end up being true, but I’d guess Captain Marvel is out pivot character who will come to hero-dom through a big Avengers cross-over movie then attempt to lure audiences to a solo movie. Like, you know, Wonder Woman’s trying right now.
Last little tidbit before we go: I’m absolutely clueless as to what Fox thinks it is doing with the X-Men universe. Deadpool’s success didn’t entirely sustain excitement through X-Men: Apocalypse and Logan looks good, but isn’t exactly in a great place in the X-Men canon (at the end? Again?). Honestly, I’m sad we got all these Hugh Jackman as Wolverine movies and never saw him in the black and yellow costume with a face mask. We all know he’s Hugh Jackman under there, imagine how badass it’d look.
Anyway, otherwise, Fox looks like it’s putting Gambit on hold and casting The New Mutants while other sources insist they’re still pushing forward with another go-around on the Dark Phoenix Saga, but for realsies this time, guys.
On the New Mutants front, The Hashtag Show has a good, concise video about casting frontrunners, and they all seem young…which must mean I’m old now.