With apparently no appearances of Superman planned in the DC film universe, especially after the very underwhelming response for Justice League, the news has been flying that Henry Cavill will be hanging up the cape. However, there doesn’t seem to be a lot in the way of official statements from Cavill’s camp, and Warner Bros released a statement earlier today stating that “We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”
Warner Bros has been thinking about their DC focus a lot lately as they have yet to find a formula to compete with the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wonder Woman was the most successful in the franchise so far, which was led by a female actress and director, unlike the other films, which were directed by Zack Snyder. Currently they are still moving forward with Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman, and Shazam! opens next April, but a sequel to Justice League seems to be dead and Ben Affleck appears to be on the outside looking in while the look at a Batman reboot. It appears that WB/DC may next focus on a Supergirl film, perhaps leading to a female-lead franchise. So as far as Cavill is concerned, he may just not be reprising the role simply because there is no film in which for him to do it.
I don’t know exactly what is wrong with the DC films, so I don’t know exactly how to fix it, but I think one of the main reasons at least to me is the failure to make the characters interesting. The the MCU we were introduced to likeable characters (who weren’t the “top tier” necessarily) in several films who were later assembled (yes, I said it) to form the megamovie. DC appeared to be running on the assumption we’d like the characters because we always have by taking their flagship character, give him a film, then immediately start folding in other characters and conflicts, without really letting us get to liking them. Nothing about it felt interesting with the exception of Wonder Woman. Parts of Justice League just seemed nonsensical. So maybe a refocus is warranted…
Actress Margot Kidder, best known for playing the role of Lois Lane in 1978’s Superman and three sequels opposite Christopher Reeve and perhaps the best remembered version of the character, passed away yesterday at her home in Montana, her manager confirmed. A cause of death was not given.
In addition to her Superman role, she also starred in The Amityville Horror in 1979. Those two roles propelled her to stardom in movies and TV shows. However in the 1990s she was diagnosed with mental health issues, and in 1996 made headlines when she disappeared for four days during a manic episode. She later got control of it and advocated for better mental health options. She most recently appeared in 2017’s The Neighborhood and had been making convention appearances.
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.
Weekend catchup: Doctor Who companion; Shannara renewed; Iron Man meets Spider-Man; Krypton series; Grimm; Inhumans delayed
Sorry for the lack of updates lately…we had to attend to a family emergency this past week and returned home late last night, and we have a lot of decompressing to do while attending to an event this week with its own bit of drama attached…but here is a bit of catch up for this past week…
The big news yesterday is that we know who the next companion is on Doctor Who. West End stage actress Pearl Mackie, most recently appearing in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time for the National Theatre, will play a character named Bill in the 10th season, which will not air until 2017. This will be Mackie’s first major role on television.
While we await renewals for a few shows (notably Supergirl), some others did get the nod this week. Grimm will return for a sixth season on NBC, but the network ordered a base of 13 episodes instead of 22 – but that could still increase. NBC has a lot of shows competing for the schedule next Fall, several of which are serials done in 13-episode chunks, and the shorter order will allow them to have more options in scheduling them. If things don’t work out for one of the other shows, Grimm could see the order increase. Also on the renewed list is MTV’s freshman fantasy series Shannara Chronicles, which had so-so live ratings, but picked up heavily in the L+3 and L+7 rating plus lots of social media buzz and digital downloads making it their best new show.
Syfy has given a green light for a pilot for the long-in-development David S. Goyer project Krypton. The series intends to see what life was like on Superman’s home planet years before its destruction, and follow the house of El and in particular Kal-El’s grandfather who seeks to bring hope and equality to a planet in disarray.
And finally moving from the small screen to the large one with a couple of Marvel tidbits…it appears that Iron Man/Tony Stark will be making an appearance in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film starring Tom Holland as the webslinger in Sony’s reboot of the franchise. Whether this is an attempt to bring Spider-Man closer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following his upcoming appearance in Captain America: Civil War, or it is just a courtesy crossover for Sony allowing Spidey in the Avengers universe, who knows. But it can only be a plus.
And lastly, Marvel’s Inhumans film, planned for 2019, has been taken off the release slate – at least temporarily. While this could put the production in doubt, it may just be a scheduling matter – the new Indiana Jones movie was scheduled to release just a week later which would have a Disney/Lucasfilm likely overshadowing a Disney/Marvel film. Plans are still in place for the movie, but they just don’t have a release window picked out yet.
This leaked out via a lousy cell phone video, so Warner Bros. Pictures has released the official teaser now for Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck taking over as Batman.
We still have to wait 11 months for the movie, which opens March 25th, 2016.
We’ve seen several version of what happened to the planet Krypton when Jor-El sent his only son Kal-El to Earth to escape its destruction…but we’ve seen little about what got them there.
Syfy and Warner Horizon Television announced today they are developing a one-hour drama series project Krypton, which will reveal a chapter of the DC Comics universe that has rarely been told.
Years before the Superman legend we know, the House of El was shamed and ostracized. This series follows The Man of Steel’s grandfather as he brings hope and equality to Krypton, turning a planet in disarray into one worthy of giving birth to the greatest Super Hero ever known.
Krypton is being executive produced by David S. Goyer (Constantine, Da Vinci’s Demons, Man of Steel, The Dark Knight trilogy, upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time, FlashForward) for Warner Horizon Television.
Goldberg is writing the pilot teleplay, based on a story conceived by Goyer & Goldberg.
Warner Bros is very busy the next several years, announcing today it’s release slate. And it features both dipping back in the well that works as well as trying to out-superhero Marvel.
Warner Bros.’ Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara spoke at the Time Warner shareholder’s meeting and laid out a lot of their studio plans for 2016-2020.
First up is the expected Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which is currently being set at three separate films, set to release in 2016, 2018, and 2020.
Next, after the HUGE success of The LEGO Movie, the already-announced sequel has been set for 2018, but it will be preceded by two others: Ninjago (2016), based on the Cartoon Network series, and The LEGO Movie: Batman (2017), a spin-off that follows the rather stuck-up (and not to mention, blocky) take on the character from the first movie.
And then there is the world of DC Comics…we’re already waiting for Batman vs. Superman (2016) and Justice League (2017), but Wonder Woman will indeed get her own standalone movie before Justice League (starring Gal Gadot, who will be introduced in BvS), 2018 will see The Flash (starring Ezra Miller, and apparently not connected at all to the just-started TV series) and Aquaman (with Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones Jason Momoa finally confirmed).
2019 will give us Shazam and a second Justice League movie, and in 2020 Warner Bros will try and get Green Lantern off to Oa again with a reboot after the disappointing Ryan Reynolds effort.
Shuffled in are two other titles, Suicide Squad in 2016 and Cyborg in 2020. And apparently this isn’t even ALL of the planned DC movies. Yikes!
And you thought Ben Affleck as Batman seemed odd at first…but Jesse Eisenberg, best know for playing the geek who turned “The Facebook” into the web page no one seems to do without, has signed on to play megalomaniac and Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman flick. But perhaps a younger Luthor isn’t so surprising – Eisenberg and Henry Cavill are both 30, and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) is 28. Affleck is actually the senior member of the comic superheroes/villains at 41, with Amy Adams (Lois Lane) at a very lovely 39. So it appears the whole DC Universe is being skewed younger.
Following that shift, Alfred, the butler/background mentor for Bruce Wayne/Batman, makes a similar shift with Jeremy Irons at 65 taking over the role last played by Michael Caine, who is 15 years his senior, and the late Michael Gough (the only real constant in the original Batman films in the 90s) was 73 when he first played the role. However, Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the original 1960s camp series, was only 63 when he took the role.
Lawsuits seem to never end in Hollywood, but these might be on life support…
In the never-ending battle between the estate of Joe Shuster and Warner Bros. over rights to the character of Superman, it may have finally reached a conclusion (barring an escalation to the Supreme Court) after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied petitions by the estate for a rehearing and a rehearing en banc (by the whole court instead of a panel of judges), which essentially marks the end of the road for appeals, and a top court challenge seems unlikely.
While Avatar hasn’t been around nearly as long as Superman, it seems to make up for the long line of people suing James Cameron claiming it lifted their ideas, although one by one they get tossed aside (here is the most recent one we reported on.) Now another one gets tossed aside. Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit against Cameron, 20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment was dismissed in summary judgement yesterday. The court said that while “certain limited commonalities” existed between Avatar and Moore’s screenplays he says were submitted to Cameron’s Lightstorm in 1993 and 1994, Cameron provided “a comprehensive declaration that specifically addresses Moore’s allegations and points to past projects and other sources of inspiration from which he drew in writing Avatar.”
We know Henry Cavill will be back as Superman. And we know that Ben Affleck has been tapped for the Caped Crusader…but now we know who is playing Wonder Woman – not that we knew Wonder Woman was going to be in Batman vs. Superman – well, at least I didn’t.
Warner Bros. has decided on Gal Gadot, who has starred in three of the Fast & Furious films and Knight and Day, to play the top female comic book hero in the film. It is felt that the appearance of Wonder Woman is helping plant additional characters for the future Justice League film, trying to compete with The Avengers for superhero organization supremacy.