Remember that lawsuit filed almost two years ago which claimed that Marvel Studios ripped off elements from a comic called Radix for their modern take on Iron Man? Well, it hasn’t gone away just yet – it’s just transformed.
Early last year the court in Massachusetts denied the case based on jurisdiction, but the plaintiffs, brothers Ben and Ray Lai, owners of Horizon Comics Productions, refiled on April 4th, 2016 in New York. On Monday, U.s District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken issued a ruling on Marvel’s motion to dismiss the suit, dismissing portions of the complaint but allowing others to proceed.
In the ruling, Judge Oetken notes that several parts of the complaint revolve around elements that Marvel called “unprotectable” under copyright, and the court agreed. A “highly mechanized suit of armor” was one, as it was too vague, as was the “three point landing” pose that was common between a poster for Iron Man 3 and some Radix promotional artwork. The pose, frankly, is so utterly common it’s now a cliché and is even referred to as “scènes à faire” or an obligatory scene in the ruling, and despite the plaintiffs assertions that Iron Man originally wore spandex and minimal armor, he wore power armor well before Radix existed, and even when he first debuted in 1963. As those elements are unprotectable, they cannot be considered as part of the test for “substantial similarity” for the case.
Some elements, however, may be protectable in comparing the images, notably things like hairstyles, style of the suit, the use of blue lights in the suit, etc. and Judge Oetken will allow the complaint to proceed “in part”. However, with what seems to remain in the complaint to press on, it still looks like an uphill battle that got even steeper for the plaintiffs.
After almost 13 years in Hollywood purgatory, a feature film based on J. Michael Straczynski’s maxi-series comic Rising Stars may finally move forward.
We last heard about a movie based on the comic in 2003, when we learned that everything was on hold due to a dispute between writer JMS and Top Cow Productions, the comic producer, over rewrites that possibly violated WGA rules (and common courtesy) and radically changed the story, and even halted the production of the comic, with the final 3 issues not being released for a couple years.
Now it seems that things are on the movie again with MGM optioning the rights for a feature film, with JMS writing a new script and Atlas Entertainment’s Alex Gartner and Richard Suckle producing, along with JMS under his Studio JMS shingle.
Rising Stars is the story about 113 people born after the appearance of a mysterious comet. These people, dubbed “Specials”, are born with unique abilities. The story explores how society reacts to the Specials, and the Specials to society – and themselves.
LNL Partners, whose proprietary Cinematic Graphic Novels™ was introduced this past summer with William Shatner’s Man O’ War, has launched a special William Shatner imprint entitled Shatner Singularity. In addition to publishing works authored by William Shatner in LNL’s Cinematic Graphic Novel™ format, Shatner Singularity will also offer the latest graphic novel from comic book legend Stan Lee and his company POW! Entertainment.
The specific individual titles from William Shatner and Stan Lee will be revealed during a much-anticipated panel presentation featuring the two pop culture giants to be held at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo on Sunday, November 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“We are thrilled to unveil the Shatner Singularity imprint and its debut releases from William Shatner and Stan Lee at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. The team at LNL Partners has enjoyed the privilege of working directly with these two legendary industry icons to deliver to fans worldwide Cinematic Graphic Novels, a new and innovative way to enjoy comic book entertainment. Publishing Stan Lee and his newest literary work under the imprint adds yet another level of tremendous excitement to the Shatner Singularity brand,” said Mariano Nicieza, LNL Partners Co-Owner.
“With its Cinematic Graphic Novels™ LNL Partners has created a unique new genre. After proving to be a powerful and compelling platform for Man O’ War, I am delighted to have the format serve to showcase other works under the Shatner Singularity imprint. It is a particular joy and honor for my imprint to host work from my friend Stan Lee. As Stan himself is fond of saying, ‘nuff said’!” said Shatner.
“I’m thrilled to be working with my friend William Shatner’s new imprint. I look forward to sharing details of my new project at Comikaze Expo!” said Lee.
Jointly developed by LNL and Panelfly, the Cinematic Graphic Novel format delivers a groundbreaking form of digital comics that combines moving panels, a new stylistic dimension in animation, in-story sound effects and a music soundtrack to usher in an enhanced reading experience.
Warner Bros TV are teaming up with Jerry Bruckheimer to adapt the DC Comics limited series Global Frequency, which has received a pilot commitment from Fox. Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape, Defiance) will pen the script.
Global Frequency was a limited series comic from Warren Ellis about an underground organization led by a former intelligence agent who calls herself Miranda Zero, who connects with a thousand members of the Global Frequency, chosen for their varied specialties, via specially modified phones to deal with any number of different crises. Although existence of the organization is known it’s members are not, even to each other, until they are called in for a particular case. The only constant characters are Zero and her dispatch coordinator, named Aleph.
This will actually be WBTV’s third attempt at a series for the title. in 2005 a Mark Burnett-led pilot starring Michelle Forbes (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Killing) as Zero and Aimee Garcia (Dexter) as Aleph, along with Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town), and looked promising (J. Michael Straczynski was already lined up to be showrunner) but ultimately was not picked up to series. Another script was floated for the CW several years ago but a pilot was never commissioned.
The leak of the trailer last week may have squelched the intended debut of the trailer on Marve’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night a bit, but Marvel did give us a bonus – a scene clip, originally shown at SDCC, that leads us into the trailer…
Marvel is staking out its claim for dates as much as 5 years out, setting release dates for more sequels and the Phase 3 titles. This includes a third Avengers movie, which will be split into two.
Here is a quick rundown [The initial version of this article neglected to list Captain Marvel due to an editing error]:
- May 6th: Captain America 3: Civil War, which will introduce Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman (42)
- November 4th: Doctor Strange
- November 3rd: Black Panther
- May 4th: Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1
- June 8th: Captain Marvel, Marvel’s first female-lead superhero movie, based on the Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers version
- November 8th: The Inhumans
- May 3rd: Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2
As Disney/Marvel continue to mine the comic giant’s deep field of characters, next up in the production slate of “Phase 2” (outside the Avengers set) is Doctor Strange, and most recently the lead actor being talked to was Joaquin Phoenix. That died earlier this month, so it was back to the drawing board – and Deadline now reports that their choice for the role is none other than everyone’s pick for every role, Benedict Cumberbatch (who honestly seems like a much better fit to us anyways.) Negotiations are expected to start soon.
The character of Doctor Strange is a former egotistical neurosurgeon who after becoming severely injured in a car crash to the point he could no longer conduct surgery and falls into bankruptcy trying to repair his hands, finds his way tho a hermit known only as the Ancient One – who after a selfless act by Strange teaches him the mystic arts. Strange then becomes the Sorcerer Supreme — the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats.
In case you haven’t seen it yet…oh my…but why do I feel depressed?
Metal Hurlant Chronicles, an anthology series that has had two limited runs and was recently aired on Syfy in the U.S., will get a reboot of sorts as they change format to an arc-based serial series, telling a story over the course of a season.
The first two seasons were of independent stories, loosely (and I mean VERY loosely) tied together with an asteroid called the Metal Hurlant that passed by the planet on which they story was taking place, changing the lives of those that it encountered. It based on the Metal Hurlant anthology comic/magazine series.
The idea behind the format switch is to allow time for the audience and characters to connect, “and where we could explore the mythology of the Métal Hurlant,” according to creator/producer Guillaume Lubrano.
In an anthology series, like with The Outer Limits, there is the very limited time to get the audience interested in what they are seeing. It requires strong stories and actors who can engage with the audience quickly. But there is also the regret that if you do make that connection, the audience might regret that they won’t see those characters again (unless there is the rare sequel story, or even rarer spin-off to a series.) In addition, you have a very limited time to tell the story. By switching to the arc format, recently successful with the American Horror Story series, you have more time to develop depth in the characters and weave a more interesting story.
Jamie Mathieson (Being Human, Doctor Who) will write the script, which will be a co-production between Atlantique Productions and the producers of the original series, WE Productions.
DC getting movie engine running; to set slate including Justice League, Shazam, Wonder Woman, and a Flash/Green Lantern crossover
DC finally appears to be gearing up to go head to head with Marvel. According to the returning Nikke Finke, DC has set a release plan that explains the delay of Batman vs. Superman – to better launch the upcoming Justice League, DC’s answer to The Avengers. It also includes a few new items, such as Shazam (a.k.a. Captain Marvel), the long-gestating Wonder Woman, and a Flash/Green Lantern crossover that reportedly will NOT feature Ryan Reynolds (honestly, I think it gets a bad rap…I enjoyed it) and not sure how it will deal with the upcoming WB series.
The reported schedule is:
May 2016 – Batman vs. Superman
July 2016 – Shazam
Xmas 2016 – Sandman
May 2017 – Justice League
July 2017 – Wonder Woman
Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2
In addition, Justice League will feature cameos that will launch further standalone movies, but those are still being negotiated with potential stars.