In theaters May 4th
Real Heroes. Not Actual Size.
In theaters July 6th
Tidbits: Daredevil and Krypton cast; Ready Player One date; The Greatest American Hero pilot; Nightflyers boost
I am once again trying to play catch up, so here is a rundown of the last several days worth of news…
On the casting side, Syfy’s Superman prequel Krypton has signed Hannah Waddingham (How to Lose Friends & Alienate People) as Jax-Ur, once one of Kypton’s eminent scientists turned leader of the terrorist group Black Zero. An interesting choice, as the character has traditionally been portrayed as a male.
On the opposite side of the comic world, Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil added Joanne Whalley (Willow), in an unspecified role. However, the finale of The Defenders made mention of a “Maggie” who is believed to be Sister Maggie, a character in the comic series who is in fact Matt Murdock’s mother who left her family to become a nun, and return to nurse her son back to health.
The much anticipated Ready Player One will open a day earlier than originally scheduled. Instead of opening on Good Friday, March 30th, of the Easter weekend it will now open on the Thursday, March 29th. Thursday openings for big movies is becoming more common…based on the 2011 SF novel, the story is set in a near-future dystopian society, in which teenager Wade Watts enters a virtual reality game to look for the game’s “easter egg” which could net him wealth – but there are those willing to kill to stop him.
ABC has ordered a pilot for the remake of The Greatest American Hero with a put commitment (ABC will at a minimum air the pilot as a special/TV movie, or pay a penalty). This version centers around a tequila and karaoke-loving 30-year-old Indian-American woman who becomes entrusted with a suit that gives her the power to protect the planet – but it doesn’t work out so well. Cast has yet to be named. This is the first collaboration between 20th Century Fox Studios and ABC, who are set to become siblings. Fox and ABC studios are co-producing with Fresh Off the Boat‘s Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan’s Fierce Baby.
Lastly, the Irish Film Board just gave a huge boost to the production of George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers, which will be filming at Troy Studios in Limerick, Ireland. The board granted €850,000 (about $1.1 million) to the production, which is the largest such award in the current funding cycle. Syfy ordered the 10-episode series earlier this month from Universal Cable Productions, with Netflix on board for international distribution.
You may have heard about this tiny little deal in the entertainment world…Disney has agreed to purchase assets from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Studios, in a deal worth over $54 billion! Disney gets all of the film and television assets except the broadcast network (they already own ABC), sports and news divisions, which will be retained by Fox. Although this doesn’t include the broadcast network, it seems to leave the network without a TV production studio as a sibling, which the other major networks have.
Disney will also get the rights to all the upcoming Avatar movies, which isn’t surprising since the Mouse House has already incorporated the franchise into its Animal Kingdom theme park.
But one of the biggest ramifications everyone has been talking about is what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fox has owned the rights to the X-Men for some time, which as a result has left the X-Men out of the MCU, even for cameos. In fact, we ended up with two different versions of Quicksilver. In fact, both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch where at the center of a battle between the two studios – Fox claimed they were part of the X-Men universe, while Disney wanted to use them in the Avengers. The studios came to an agreement to allow both to use the characters, so long as neither mentioned the other in either way. Fox never used Scarlet Witch, but Quicksilver first appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and then in his MCU version in Avengers: Age of Ultron alongside Scarlet Witch.
Now with the acquisition, that line gets blurred and the X-Men could easily be included in the MCU going forward, if so desired. In fact, Hugh Jackman, who said he was retiring from playing Wolverine after Logan, left the door open if he could appear in an Avengers movie. So maybe Wolverine isn’t quite done yet.
Another Marvel rights property related to the acquisition is the Fantastic Four, but the rights issues are a little murkier. Fox did not own them outright but rather were in a partnership with the original optioner, Constantin Films. The rights and productions have an interesting history on its own, but rather than regurgitate it here Screen Rant has an excellent write-up. So the status of that property is perhaps less clear, although Disney mentioned them in their press release:
Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe. Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
So Disney at least believes they are back in the fold.
Oh, and what of Deadpool, the R-rated superhero? Disney isn’t known for going after the R-rated audience, but Deadpool broke all the rules and was a massive success. Well, Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned that specifically while addressing shareholders: “[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
So there you have it. It might be a while before we see the rewards on screen, but I think I can hear the gears of MCU master Kevin Feige’s brain turning now…
A couple of renewal-related items…Netflix sure does love their slate of Marvel programs, as it gave a second season renewal for The Punisher. The show, starring Jon Bernthal as former soldier turned vigilante Frank Castle, debuted just last month and it now joins its brethren (Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage) is getting a second season (with Daredevil getting a third already).
For vigilantes of a more financial nature, USA Network series Mr. Robot – which concludes its third season tonight – has received a fourth season order from the network, according to creator Sam Esmail on Instagram:
You’ve seen this already, haven’t you? No? Well, now you can…Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters May 4th
In an interesting development, Disney’s Freeform channel has elected not to move forward with Marvel’s New Warriors – a series that the channel had picked up in a straight-to-series order back in July. The series would have been Marvel’s first live action comedy series, which follows six young people with powers living and working together. Not quite super, not yet heroes and with powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Avengers, the New Warriors want to make a difference in the world, even if the world isn’t ready. The series is about the entry into adulthood when you feel like you can do everything and nothing at once – except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.
Marvel and ABC Studios plan to shop the show elsewhere.
HostShot Trailers: NYCC – Justice League, Replicas, Electric Dreams, Dirk Gently, Marvel’s The Runaways
New York Comic Con is dropping lots of trailers, teasers and sneak peeks – here are a bunch for your perusal!
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Marvel’s The Runaways
Netflix released a teaser entitled “Demolition” for the next Marvel series to release on the streaming platform, Marvel’s The Punisher. Netflix is still coy on when exactly it will be released, only mentioning “2017” with the rest obscured…
We have to report the sad news that a stuntwoman working on the set of Deadpool 2 unfortunately was killed during a motorcycle stunt this morning on location in Vancouver near near Jack Poole Plaza. The cause is under investigation.
According to witnesses, the stunt had been rehearsed a couple times, but on the last attempt the motorcycle appeared to accelerate instead of slowing down at the end of some ramps and went out of view, but she apparently jumped a curb and crashed into the plate glass windows of the Shaw Tower. Emergency responders arrived quickly and treated the woman but she died at the scene.
Ryan Reynolds tweeted, “Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming Deadpool. We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated… but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment. My heart pours out to them — along with each and every person she touched in this world.”