Sam Flynn’s 7: The Week in Pop Culture – April 11-17

The week is long and hard, that’s why every Friday, you can relax and catch up on everything you need to know in Hollywood and beyond with Sam Flynn’s 7, my breakdown and analysis of the week in film and TV.

1-2. Jumbo Marvel Edition: Age of Ultron press, Ant-Man trailer, Phase 3 updates

Phase 3 as of last fall, prior to Spider-Man’s addition in February

Marvel no longer makes just films – they make events. From Kevin Feige’s Steve Jobs-esque presentation of their Phase 3 slate last October to the current overdose of all things Avengers in anticipation of a global release in May, there is no doubt that marketing is one of the companies’ superpowers. To make it easier on you (and me) I’ve compiled as much of new info that have poured out as possible in bullet points below:

  • Phase 3 updates
    • Speaking with Yahoo, Feige said much of the Phase 3 work will begin after the Avengers press tour. Their 2016 offerings such as Captain America: Civil War is about to begin shooting while Doctor Strange is about to start casting.
    • Speaking with SlashFilm, Feige said 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is currently being written by writer/director James Gunn (who already plans a third) while Drew Goddard (co-creator and writer of the Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil, before leaving to develop a Sinister Six film until The Amazing Spider-Man series was scuttled) is in line to write and direct the new MCU-version of Spider-Man
    • 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok is still being scripted and series star Chris Hemsworth is hounding Feige to get writers Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle to finish the script. No doubt Hemsworth would like to make up for the debacle of Thor: The Dark World and Ragnarok is said to be groundbreaking for Phase 3 in the same way Captain America: The Winter Soldier was for Phase 2.
    • As for their 2018, Black Panther is already casting (Ernie Hudson is rumored for the hero’s father King T’Chaka) and Feige will be meeting with directors in the coming weeks. Feige said they’re ready to announce writers for Captain Marvel (they were revealed Monday to The Hollywood Reporter) while rumors persist that Angelina Jolie is being eyed to direct, though not star.
    • The next Avengers films, Infinity War – Parts 1 & 2, have locked down their directors and writers: Anthony & Joe Russo (Winter Soldier and Civil War helmers) and longtime collaborators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (writers of the Captain America films). Joss Whedon commented on his decision to bow out after Age of Ultron, telling EW, “Every movie I have ever made has been an ensemble piece of increasingly enormous proportions. That many balls in the air, it’s only going to get bigger with Infinity War. I’m not going to be able to give it what I would need to. It’s a young man’s game.”
    • Feige says, despite already being introduced this season on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 2019’s Inhumans film is still “way down the line.”
  • The future of the Hulk
    • Mark Ruffalo revealed to Collider that Marvel doesn’t actually own the rights to solo Hulk films which, after Marvel’s purchase by Disney, makes future adventures for the jolly green giant problematic. Nevertheless, Ruffalo confirmed to IGN (via Badass Digest) interest in a Planet Hulk film, reigniting old rumors that Hulk was held as an ace-in-the-hole should Guardians of the Galaxy have tanked. Obviously, that didn’t happen and now Hulk has gone from ace to wild card. Ruffalo even said, “Sometimes these things happen at the last minute in this world. I really don’t know where I fit in from here on out, and I’m not sure they do.” He confirmed he has four films left on his Marvel contract and is open to more.
  • New Spider-Man details
    • Naturally, the monumental news that Spider-Man was joining the MCU in a partnership between rival studios Disney and Sony was a hot topic for interviewers. Feige confirmed to Collider that their Spider-Man will be Peter Parker and they are looking at 15-16 as the ideal age, also confirming to Crave Online a) high school setting and b) it will not be a origin story (thank Zeus). On why they’re going younger, “We want to play with Spider-Man in the high school years because frankly there’ve been five Spider-Man films and the amazing thing about it is, even though there’ve been five Spider-Man films, there are so many things from the comics that haven’t been done yet.”
  • Ant-Man approaches

Behold! Behind the cacophony of the Avengers, Marvel’s littlest hero is getting ready for the spotlight. Thankfully this second trailer is a million times better than the generic and oddly-humorless first.

Meanwhile, Feige assures that despite the production hiccups and the previous, mediocre trailer, the film is not an afterthought and its role as the final film of Phase 2 is deliberate, acting a palate-cleanser after the hugeness of Age of Ultron and a bridge between it and next year’s Captain America: Civil War.

“It’s not [an after thought],” Feige told SlashFilm. “The truth is the phases mean a lot to me and some people but…Civil War is the start of Phase Three. It just is. And Ant-Man is a different kind of culmination of Phase Two because it very much is in the MCU.”

3. Geek Domination: Batman v Superman trailer teaser and Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer 2

Following up the very geeky above comes the week’s biggest news: the mind-melting second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered Thursday by writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy at the films’ panel during the Star Wars Celebration. Check it out and feel your childhood come flooding back.

Further evidence that geeks are conquering the planet and fuckers who dismiss populist entertainment (I watched Birdman this weekend and, while I respect it, I dislike the shit it takes on superheroes. The Oscars did it too. Fuckers.) is a Batman/Superman team-up film gets lost in translation.

An unfortunate leak yesterday disrupted Warner Bros. plans to tease the trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice until premiering it Monday in special IMAX theaters before throwing it up online Tuesday. This was made even worse by the aforementioned Star Wars trailer and the still-lingering glow the Internet has from its millions of views. I won’t link it here (mostly because I don’t want lawyers telling me to take it down) but suffice to say, tonally, it’s pretty much the opposite of Star Wars. The fact that comparison is being made is hurting the film’s reputation currently. I hope an official release next week can clear up the negativity which Devin Faraci elucidates at Badass Digest. If you can’t wait, a description can be found at DarkHorizons here.

4. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel director musical chairs

Angelina on location directing Unbroken (2014)

 

It was a whirlwind week for female superheroes and the women who, hopefully, will get to make their films. First off, Variety reported acclaimed TV director Michelle MacLaren (who’s worked on Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones) left Wonder Woman, slated for a June 2017 release and starring Gal Gadot, who will be introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not two days later, she was replaced with Patty Jenkins, who directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar in 2003’s Monster and, ironically, was slated to helm Thor: The Dark World before leaving due to the same pesky reason as MacLaren – creative differences. Another Game of Thrones director, Alan Taylor, stepped in and suffered through painful re-shoots and post-production ending in the worst film Marvel has yet offered. Warner Bros. is keen on keeping the film on track for its release date. Shooting is scheduled for the fall.

In the brief days after MacLaren’s departure and before Jenkins’ hiring, Angelina Jolie was rumored by Collider for both that project and Marvel’s 2018 offering, first female-led film Captain Marvel. Mere hours after the rumor hit, Jenkins was announced for Wonder Woman and thus, Jolie has become the focus of speculation for Captain Marvel directorial duties. Early word is she will not star as well and rumors persist that the role is already cast or close to it.

I applaud Marvel and Warner Bros. in particular for being focused on hiring female talent behind the camera. There is a severe shortage of representation on the blockbuster stage and in the whole of the film industry in general. It’s an exciting sign of  progression where a race to representation in our entertainment can grab headlines and studios’ interests.

5. Spoiler-y Terminator Genisys theatrical trailer premieres 

Speaking of Alan Taylor (which we weren’t but he was mentioned above so go with it) he has picked up another franchise’s breadcrumbs with this summer’s Terminator prebootquel, Terminator Genisys (a phrase that applies to X-Men: Days of Future Past and not much else). That film’s trailer dropped this week as well and was notable revealing huge story details. Check out and trailer and see what below.

So a robot/human hybrid John Connor in an alternate timeline where Sarah Connor was trained by an older Terminator model over 30 years waiting for Kyle Reese? Props for balls. Quite frankly, my interest just skyrocketed. I mean, before what even made sense? Talking to EW, John Connor himself Jason Clarke said, “He’s full of possibilities now that he’s not fully machine, not fully human. He’s something else. He’s still evolving. There are still surprises as to what exactly John is ultimately. Is he controllable or not? He’s the last throw of the dice by Skynet and he is something that is a lot more than we’ve ever seen but nobody really knows just where it can go.”

Is this going to be The Amazing Spider-Man of Terminator reboots? It’s possible but the wrinkles here are interesting and it looks like the film will actually have something new to add to the franchise, something the atrocious Terminator Salvation did not. This film just justified its existence to me as something beyond a cash grab. Now it has to hold my attention. We’ll see July 1.

6. My Favorite News of the Week: Cary Fukunga to direct The Alienist

I loved True Detective’s first season and it cemented it and its’ director Cary Fukunga (who helmed all 8 episodes) as a filmmaker to watch. My excitement only heightened when he began work on a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s seminal novel It and exploded when it was announced he would develop to direct a new limited series “The Alienist” based on Caleb Carr’s 1994 novel of the same name.

Per Deadline, it is set in the tenements and mansions of Gilded Age New York City and tells the story of Dr. Laszlo Kreizler who, with the help of newspaper reporter John Moore and police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, uses the emerging discipline of psychology to track down one of New York City’s first serial killers. Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) will executive produce. Hossein Amini (The Two Faces of January) wrote the pilot and will write/exec produce the series.

The series is the first project to come out of a three-year, first-look production deal between Anonymous Content and Paramount TV, which gives them dibs on Anonymous’ TV content across multiple platforms. Fukunga’s next film, child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation starring Idris Elba, will premiere on Netflix later this year.

7. Past to the Future: First official Creed photo released

The first image of Creed, the Rocky spinoff coming in November, features the good, old (emphasis old) Italian Stallion training Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, his friend and rival Apollo Creed’s son, played by Carl Weathers in the first four Rocky films. When I first heard about this, I was a little disgusted that this towel was being wrung yet again after 2006’s Rocky Balboa defied expectations and redeemed the series after the awful Rocky V.

But speaking the power of images and the talent involved, this photo gives me hope that a film giving Rocky the Mickey role and coming from the director and star of the excellent Fruitvale Station will live up to the pedigree and promise. I am hesitantly optimistic. Still, it’ll be tough to beat Southpaw when it comes to boxing films, I feel. I mean, have you SEEN that trailer? It’s a genius short film on its own.

About Sam Flynn

Wasting oxygen since 1992, Sam thanks the gods he doesn't believe in everyday his parents didn't discard him as an infant. It would have been the sensible thing to do.
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