Comic Strip: ‘Batman vs. Superman’ Rumors, Great ‘Arrow’ Casting and One Badass Soundtrack
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, things get weird with 'Batman vs. Superman,' 'Arrow' adds a bunch of new cast members, and 'Guardians of the Galaxy' reveals a badass soundtrack.
'Guardians of the Galaxy' Continues to Impress
'Guardians of the Galaxy' continued saturating the superhero movie news cycle this past week. For starters, director James Gunn kept on teasing shots from the set, including a look at Ronan the Accuser's massive spaceship set and a tiny glimpse at Yondu, the mysterious alien played by his frequent collaborator, Michael Rooker.
And then the viral site for Galaxy Getaways arrived, promising citizens of earth a safe and relaxing way to explore the galaxy. It's all viral marketing of course, but it's clever and occasionally very funny viral marketing that is more than worthy of your time.
Finally, the cover art and track list for the film have been revealed and it's a doozy. First of all, the album cover is just plain inspired, eschewing familiar key art in favor putting Star-Lord's Walkman (and its "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" mix tape) center stage. More importantly, the track list itself is killer, including everything from early David Bowie to The Runaways to Blue Swede. You can listen to the complete soundtrack right over here.
A Baffling Week For 'Batman v Superman'
'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' (yep, that's still the title) is knee-deep in filming at the moment, so Warner Bros. decided to grace the internet with this picture of Henry Cavill as Clark Kent on set:
And then they turned around and released this picture of Henry Cavill as Superman:
And then the internet turned around did this because whey the heck not?
Believe it or not, there were 'Batman vs. Superman' occurrences this week that are actually weirder than that image. Latino Review ran a report claiming that the film will feature three additional villains beyond Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor: Gotham City serial killer Victor Zsasz, public relations sleazeball Morgan Edge, and assassin David Cain. All three of them are established DC comics villains and all three are minor enough to function as supporting characters in a movie like this.
But, is there any truth to this report?
MovieWeb has made the bold claim that the source of the latest 'Batman vs. Superman' rumors is a fake script that was commissioned by Warner Bros. and intentionally leaked to throw everyone off the trail of the actual screenplay. And it gets crazier: they claim that superhero fan and geek icon Kevin Smith was the one hired to write it. If this report holds water, it makes us wonder how much what's been revealed is true in the slightest. Would Warner Bros. really invest in a misdirection campaign this nutty?
Marvel Studios News (AKA, Mark Ruffalo News)
Mark Ruffalo has been making the rounds these past few weeks to promote his new film 'Begin Again.' Which means that the only questions he ever gets asked have to do with Bruce Banner and the Hulk. More specifically, the only questions he ever get asked have to do with a Hulk solo film, more specifically, the long-rumored adaptation of the acclaimed comic series 'Planet Hulk.' Speaking with MTV, Ruffalo hilariously summarized the series before saying that a film version won't be happening:
They launch Bruce Banner into space to try to get rid of him and the Hulk. He ends up freaking out, smashing up the spaceship, and it goes off course and ends up on this planet of gladiator creatures. He falls in love, has a Hulk baby … and then the Avengers nuke the planet ... I don’t think ['Planet Hulk'] is the way to go yet ... I think you need more Banner. The whole thing is just him as Hulk, on a planet, fighting other gladiators.
And Ruffalo is correct, to some extent. Banner is a non-entity in 'Planet Hulk,' with his giant green alter ego taking the spotlight at all times. Considering how much people have fallen in love with the actors behind the Avengers, it's hard to imagine them sidelining Ruffalo for an entire movie. However, a clever writer could easily change a thing or two and make Banner an actual player in a 'Planet Hulk' movie.
But that may not be the case either. New spoilers from 'Avengers 2' have begun to trickle out and they may have the answer everyone is looking for. We won't tread into them here, but if you must know, you can find out all of the nitty gritty details by clicking these words.
While we're on the subject of Ruffalo, he's raising money for the Water Defense charity by auctioning off a visit to the London set of 'Avengers 2.' But you need to pony up some serious bucks: the current bid has topped $100,000.
And since this is technically the Marvel Studios news section and not the Ruffalo section, let's take a sentence or two to note that David Dastmalchian, a character actor most widely recognized as one of the Joker's thugs in 'The Dark Knight,' has joined the cast of 'Ant-Man.' We'll bet good money that he's playing a bad guy there, too.
The CW's DC Universe Keeps On Getting Bigger
Let's turn to the show responsible for the recent renaissance in superhero television: The CW's 'Arrow.' Sure, the show may have began as a fairly straightforward take on the character of Green Arrow, but it's quickly become the place for all of DC Comics' B-listers to congregate. The next season alone looks to be bringing in every single cool character who never has a shot at a movie of his or her own.
First, 'Sin City' star Devon Aoki has signed on to play Tatsu Yamashiro, AKA, Katana, a skilled martial artist and swordswoman (and the star of her own comic book at the moment). Meanwhile, Karl Yune has been cast as Maseo Yamashiro (Katana's husband), who will be Ollie's handler and mentor in season three's Hong Kong flashbacks.
And were you disappointed that iconic Green Arrow villain Count Vertigo bit the dust in season two? Well, prepare to get over that really fast. Peter Stormare will be playing a new version of the character in season three. We have no idea how they'll handle this transition, but if it means getting to see an actor as weird as Stormare ham it up as a comic book villain, bring it on!
And just when you think the 'Arrow' was over, they announce that former Superman Brandon Routh will play Ray Palmer, better known as The Atom to comic book fans. The Atom is pretty much DC's answer to Ant-Man, so it's not surprising in the slightest that they're attempting to beat their rival to punch when it comes to depicting superheroes with size manipulation powers to the screen. And here's some pure speculation: Routh is too good of an actor to be stuck as a recurring guest star, so we wouldn't be surprised if they're setting him up for his own spin-off down the road. Hey, it worked for 'The Flash.'
Speaking of 'The Flash,' two new featurettes on the making of the show have arrived online, so go ahead and dive in:
The Rest of the Superhero TV News
Before we get to all of the modern TV, let's bow our heads and thank the superhero gods that the original '60s 'Batman' series is finally arriving on DVD and Blu-ray, completely remastered and looking absolutely stunning. Check out those colors!
Let's start with some news that may rub serious nerds the wrong way. Director Neil Marshall has confirmed that the TV version of John Constantine will not smoke cigarettes. That may not seem like a huge deal to neophytes, but John's smoking habit has been a vital part of his character for decades (and over 300 comic issues). Here's Marshall's explanation to Collider:
It's the one thing, a compromise I guess. On network, it's the one thing you can't smoke on network. That’s one of his character traits. We're working around that. We're trying to get aspects of it in there as much as possible. We'll see ... The intention is to be as dark and scary as possible with the show. And that was our whole kind of plan going in, to make it scary. So we're going to explore all kinds of things. But the smoking is very frustrating. Who knows where it will go; where the story will go; where the character will go? There's still lots of options.
We can live with a 'Constantine' TV series where the lead doesn't smoke, but we reserve the right to totally grumpy about it.
Meanwhile, 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' star Clark Gregg spoke to IGN about the show's radically different second season, which will roll with the cataclysmic events of 'Captain America: The Winter Solider.'
He’s a very different Coulson than the guy who everyone knew. A lot of people who knew him in the old days say, 'He's different.' I think you would have to be different having gone through that stuff. So I think he's reinventing himself and re-understanding himself as a person anyway, which is probably really necessary to taking in the new environment and figuring out what SHIELD ought to be in a way that it doesn't get rotten again….So we go from having no SHIELD at all, with a director on the run, to a tiny Guerrilla SHIELD with Agent Coulson at its head, and maybe not in his own right head. That sounds fun. That sounds like an interesting Season 2.
Finally, Carol Kane has joined the cast of 'Gotham,' where she'll be playing the mother of Oswald Cobblepot, the man who eventually becomes the crime lord known as The Penguin. And that's all that's fit to print.
Bryan Singer Offers the First Tease of 'X-Men: Apocalypse'
Throughout the filming of 'X-Men: Days of Future Past,' director Bryan Singer continuously took to social media to tease the film and make official announcements. He had fans wrapped around his finger, making his Twitter and Instagram feeds the best source for X-Men movie news.
And he's starting early for 'X-Men: Apocalypse.'
Yep, that's a shot of the first page of the film's treatment. For those of you unfamiliar with the screenwriting process, a treatment is a rough outline of the movie that is submitted prior to a full script being written, giving a basic outline of the story and what goes down. If this paragraph is any indication, 'X-Men: Apocalypse' will begin where the post-credits tease of 'Days of Future Past' ended: with the introduction of the powerful villain Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in Ancient Egypt.
Toys For Kids and Adults Alike
Just when you thought Disney Infinity 2.0 couldn't be more jam-packed with Marvel superheroes, they've gone and announced a special Star-Lord and Gamora play set. Surely a Rocket Raccoon and Groot set is on the way, right? Right?!
If you like your toys a little more detailed (and a heckuva lot more expensive), Hot Toys has revealed three gorgeous new figures that you're probably going to want to have on your shelf. First, how about this Joker?
And while we're taking a look back at Christopher Nolan's 'Dark Knight' trilogy, here's their model of The Bat from 'The Dark Knight Rises.'
Now let's jump over the aisle and give Marvel some love. That's the "Python" armor from 'Iron Man 3,' which you should remember from that film's big "House Party Protocol" climax.