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Articles on this Page
- 03/23/17--12:40: _Indie Theaters to S...
- 03/23/17--14:00: _Justice League Trai...
- 03/15/17--22:46: _Secret Empire: What...
- 03/16/17--02:26: _Hap and Leonard Sea...
- 03/24/17--13:15: _The Legend of the S...
- 03/25/17--13:15: _Power Rangers Movie...
- 03/25/17--14:09: _Batman v Superman: ...
- 03/25/17--14:24: _Justice League Movi...
- 03/25/17--15:48: _Justice League New ...
- 03/26/17--01:55: _Justice League: Mor...
- 03/26/17--02:20: _The Flash Movie: Ev...
- 03/26/17--15:40: _The Flash: Who is A...
- 03/27/17--09:10: _Venom Movie Will Sh...
- 03/27/17--12:59: _Shannara Chronicles...
- 03/27/17--17:31: _Archer & Armstrong ...
- 03/27/17--20:24: _Complete DC Comics ...
- 03/28/17--09:17: _Venom Movie Will La...
- 03/28/17--10:30: _It Trailer, Release...
- 03/28/17--15:38: _The Flash: David Da...
- 03/30/17--09:47: _The Original Teenag...
- 03/23/17--12:40: Indie Theaters to Screen 1984 in Trump Protest
- 03/23/17--14:00: Justice League Trailer Arrives Saturday, Plus 2 Posters Have Dropped
- 03/15/17--22:46: Secret Empire: What We Know About Marvel's Next Event
- 03/16/17--02:26: Hap and Leonard Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Mucho Mojo
- 03/24/17--13:15: The Legend of the Stephen King Dollar Baby
- 03/25/17--13:15: Power Rangers Movie Gets Graphic Novel Sequel
- 03/25/17--14:24: Justice League Movie Set Visit: New Gods & A New Tone
- 03/25/17--15:48: Justice League New Trailer Breakdown
- 03/26/17--01:55: Justice League: Mortal - The DC Superhero Movie You Never Saw
- 03/26/17--02:20: The Flash Movie: Everything We Know So Far
- 03/26/17--15:40: The Flash: Who is Abra Kadabra?
- 03/27/17--09:10: Venom Movie Will Shoot This Fall
- 03/27/17--12:59: Shannara Chronicles Season 2: Release Date, Cast, Trailer
- 03/27/17--17:31: Archer & Armstrong Movie Gets Zombieland Director
- 03/27/17--20:24: Complete DC Comics Superhero Movie Release Calendar
- 03/28/17--09:17: Venom Movie Will Launch Sony's Marvel Universe
- 03/28/17--10:30: It Trailer, Release Date, Cast, Photos, & Everything Else We Know
- 03/28/17--15:38: The Flash: David Dastmalchian on Abra Kadabra's Magic Tricks
- 03/30/17--09:47: The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Is Still Amazing
'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,' because there will be a movie showing.
It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. When fake news is dictated by alternative facts and President Donald Trump tweets his own brand of newspeak jargon, like bigly, it's time to call in the thought police. If only to make sure there are any going in to it. Well, on a bright cold day in April, when the clocks strike thirteen, 90 independent theaters will counter the memes of two-minute hate with showings of 1984.
Begun under a coordinated effort by the Art House Convergence and United State of Cinema organizations, 90 independent movie theaters (79 cities in 34 American states, including three theaters in Canada) will screen Michael Radford’s 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell 1949 novel 1984 on April 4. The United States of Cinema picked the date because that was the day Winston Smith, played by John Hurt in the film, started his diary.
The movie didn’t make a lot of money when it first came out. It only grossed $8 million in its initial run, so it could be classified as a loser, but that’s just a lot of doublethink. Nearly 200,000 copies of the book 1984 have been sold since Election Day.
“When you think about threats to democracy, threats to personal liberty, 1984is one of those key texts that you refer to," UCLA Film and TV Archive programmer Paul Malcolm, said in a statement encouraging “theaters to take a stand for our most basic values: freedom of speech, respect for our fellow human beings, and the simple truth that there are no such things as ‘alternative facts.'"
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever and the first face underfoot the National Endowment for the Arts.
"Thematically, the event was structured around bringing an awareness to, specifically, the threat and challenges the Trump administration presents to NEA and NEH funding," Malcolm said in a statement.
The Art House Convergence began as a small exhibitor gathering at the Sundance Film Festival and now is a growing force in independent cinema. The film will screen at the Billy Wilder theater at the Hammer Museum, which houses UCLA's Film & TV archive, and the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in West Hollywood.
"The first email went out in February," Paul Malcolm, programmer for the UCLA Film & TV Archive, told The Hollywood Reporter of plans to screen the film. "One of the things that we did was check our collection to see if we had a print here. [We] found out that we had a 35 mm print of 1984, which just made it that much more interesting for us to participate."
The theaters will donate a some of the proceeds to local charities. Moviegoers at some theaters are asked to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union.
In 1984, England is called Airstrip One and is ruled by the Inner Party. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, which is more than a misnomer. He does his job very well, because Big Brother is watching. Smith won’t even share a coworker’s appreciation of the newspeak language they are creating.
"I think George Orwell and the book itself are so emblematic and iconic of the dangers a dictatorship could pose. When you think about threats to democracy, threats to personal liberty, 1984 is one of those key texts that you refer to in order to describe what that threat even is," Malcolm said.
Michael Anderson first adapted 1984 to film in 1956. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment had an adaptation planned in 2012. Orwell’s 1984 will also be adapted into a Broadway show this June.
Oh and David Bowie's Diamond Dogs album began as a vinyl interpretation of the book.
We're finally going to get a new Justice League trailer this weekend! And we have Justice League posters right now too.
This article contains some Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers.
This is the one that the DC Extended Universe is building towards. Five years after The Avengers showed us that it was possible to pull off a non-mutant superhero team on the big screen, we'll finally see a JusticeLeaguemovie. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder has wrapped filming on Justice League, from a script by Batman v Superman's Chris Terrio.
Justice League Trailer
There's a brand new trailer on the way on Saturday, and here's a sneak peek at what to expect:
They sure are pushing Aquaman in this, aren't they? Recently, Zack Snyder took to Twitter with a look at Aquaman underwater special effects. Check it out...
Working on my birthday %uD83C%uDF89 pic.twitter.com/tLidlUrcyn
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) March 2, 2017
This looks considerably better than the "Jason Momoa holding his breath in a water tank" sequence from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In that vein, we also got our first two Justice League posters, and one is very much Jason Momoa as Aquaman.
Here's also a look at the first footage that arrived at SDCC 2016! This was our first glimpse of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman working together on the big screen.
Check out the trailer below:
You can see some other footage in this video from director Zack Snyder, who posted this awesome behind-the-scenes video which has lots of new looks at the characters in action.
It also looks like we're due to get another Justice League trailer very soon, too.
Justice League Movie Release Date
Justice League is scheduled for a November 17th, 2017 release, with a sequel to follow on June 14th, 2019. The complete DC superhero movie release calendar can be found here.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) October 7, 2016
Justice League Movie Villain
In order for the Justice League to form, they need a threat with power levels that only a team of heroes could take down, right?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made it pretty explicit that Darkseid is on his way to this world, and there were several visual cues for those who are interested. We broke those down (along with lots more comic references in the movie) right here. But he isn't the villain of the Justice League movie. A deleted scene from Batman v Superman released online offered a look at a monstrous creature on a Kryptonian ship, who turned out to be another Fourth World related despot (and Jack Kirby creation), Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf is basically Darkseid's cousin, a powerful warrior from Apokolips who wields a pretty crazy energy axe.
The Wrap broke the news that Ciaran Hinds (you may know him as Mance Rayder on Game of Thrones which makes him a particularly cool choice for this part if it's true) has been cast as Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf will be done via motion capture, and his casting has apparently been kept under wraps throughout the production, which recently wrapped principal photography.
We have reached out to representatives for comment or confirmation, and will update this if we hear anything.
Here's what Steppenwolf looked like in that Batman v Superman deleted scene:
And here's Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder. You may start your Photoshop engines accordingly...
It's still inevitable that we'll see Darkseid in these movies, and he'll probably still be a presence in the first one. DC Comics used him as the catalyst for the formation of the Justice League in the current comic book series. He's a pretty big gun to burn this early, though, so holding him back for Justice League Part Two sound about as logical as anything else we've heard.
Lex Luthor is now confirmed to appear, as well. Luthor was last seen at the end of Batman v Superman raving about a villain on the way. Whether he was talking about Steppenwolf or Darkseid remains to be seen, but given that deleted scene, it's probably Steppenwolf.
It looks like maybe, just maybe, Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke will turn up in Justice League after all. Zack Snyder just posted a cryptic image of himself (wearing a Batman gauntlet) and working on storyboards for a scene that do indeed appear to contain Slade Wilson. See for yourself...
Imagine if an evil organization took control of our entire government and...nah, it's just too far-fetched.
Marvel's next big event, Secret Empire, is rapidly approaching, and they've been pushing out a bunch of details to get you excited about it.
Marvel released a batch of information, from teaser images to a press release, announcing the new crossover. The first image announcing the event can be seen in the header, and has been confirmed by Marvel: the heroes of the Marvel Universe will be coming together to fight Nazi Alt-Right Captain America and his Secret Empire. Captain America: Steve Rogers writer Nick Spencer will work with Steve McNiven (the surprisingly good Monsters Unleashed), Andrea Sorrentino (the unsurprisingly good Old Man Logan) and Leinil Yu (the arc of Star Wars with the Rebel prison skimming the surface of a sun - so cool) to bring the story to stands.
The original Secret Empire was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Tales to Astonish in 1966. Their composition and makeup seem to be drawn at random, as if Stan and Jack said "you know, Hydra and A.I.M. are cool, but their org charts make too much sense. What can we do with the number 9 that is gibberish by the second word of the explaination?"
Seriously: they're a bunch of numbered people, ruled by a Council of Nine, who hire mercenaries and run false-flag UFO missions. They were started with Hydra funding, they occasionally kidnap mutants, and their secret headquarters was in Cincinnatti. The Secret Empire had their most famous moment in the 1970s during the Nixon administration when Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Sal Buscema strongly implied that Richard Nixon was actually a Secret Empire operative/plant. The timing of their re-emergence now is, we're sure, purely coincidental.
Reemerging in the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers,the new Secret Empire's guiding design principle is "What would Twitter look like if Captain America were really a Nazi," making them the most terrifying villains ever created in comics. I bet they've even got their own publishing house, like Simonov and Sapojnik or something.
Marvel followed this initial image up with a series of modifications seeming to indicate additional tie-ins to the crossover - "The Secret Empire will amaze you;""The Secret Empire will guard you;""The Secret Empire will avenge you," and so on. That was followed by a new image:
The teaser images taken as a whole seem to indicate two things: that we'll be getting Secret Empire versions of all of Marvel's teams (the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Champions, the Defenders, the Avengers, the Extraordinary X-Men); and that by pairing Captain Marvel with Nazi Captain America hot on her Civil War 2 heel turn that was so egregious it ruined her solo book, Marvel isn't quite done with Carol yet.
And speaking of hot on the heel turns of Civil War 2, we have Civil War 2: The Oath, which laid out the whole plan. Steve gets sworn in as head of SHIELD with new "emergency powers" that the galactic senate is sure he'll give back once the crisis is over. Meanwhile, Steve's been baiting the Chitauri into invading since pretty much when his solo series kicked off, and they're about to come to Earth in force.
Remember that vision Ulysses had in the pages of Civil War 2 where Miles Morales was standing over the dead body of Captain America on the steps of the capital? Of course you don't, why would you have read that dreck. I assure you it happened, though, because Captain America has been having similar visions, only instead of him lying dead in an alternate universe Spider Man's hands, it's of him leading a Hydra army as they represent the United States thanks to his fancy emergency powers. So there you go: Hydra is out in the open as an American military force, turning the entire country into some facist hellhole in many on-the-nose ways.
The official start of the event comes in mid-April with Secret Empire #0. Spencer is joined by Daniel Acuña and Rod Reis (so good) to show Hydra's first move, and they've released some unlettered preview pages to get you excited.
Secret Empire #1 is due out on May 3rd. Stay with Den of Geek for updates on this and other, more exciting crossovers.
SundanceTV's acclaimed noir show Hap and Leonard returns with mojo to spare.
This Hap and Leonard review contains spoilers.
Hap and Leonard: Season 2, Episode 1
You don’t have to be familiar with author Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard novels to appreciate SundanceTV’s eponymous series. But it’s reassuring to know that Lansdale’s involvement in the show continues with season two. It’s also nice to have James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams back in the titular roles of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Lifelong friends, these two have weathered their share of hijinks and heartbreak, brutality and brotherhood.
Christina Hendricks’s femme fatale Trudy Faust aside, the careworn heart of season one belonged to Hap and Leonard. But speaking of Trudy, she manages to return for season two’s premiere, “Mucho Mojo.” And what a premiere it is, kicking the season off with a dead body, a literal pissing match, and stolen remains, in that order -- and all within the first 15 minutes. In other words, this new season means a new set of woes for our hapless heroes.
And it all begins with Leonard’s discovery of a dead body beneath the crumbling floorboards of Uncle Chester’s ramshackle house. (This is the same body cleverly served up by the show in the first season’s closing seconds.) You would think this alone would be enough to drive “Mucho Mojo,” but the show is quick to remind us that Hap is still coming to grips with Trudy’s death. That he would be mourning his ex-wife feels right for his character. Like the show itself, Hap can’t help but wear his heart on his dusty sleeve. He also can’t let go of his past, literally and figuratively. Why else would he tote around Trudy’s ashes? He wants to do right by her, even if she didn’t always do right by him.
Leonard isn’t quite as sentimental -- about Trudy or anyone else. The world has done him few favors, leaving him wary and defensive. The first episode already has him facing off with a pissing crack dealer and a pious reverend, who both had issue with Uncle Chester. This same discourtesy extends to Leonard, who does himself no favors by antagonizing both men. But this is what we love about Leonard, his prickliness. It makes his unexpected moments of generosity stand out all the more. We see a bit of this in “Mucho Mojo,” when he reluctantly takes young Ivan (newcomer Olaniyan Thurmon) under his wing. Sure, he may be guilted into being a good Samaritan, but he comes to understand that Ivan could just as easily wind up on the side of a milk carton -- or under someone’s floorboards.
So where does this leave us? While local law enforcement is quick to pin the dead body on a dead man, Leonard doesn’t believe his uncle is guilty of the crime. This puts him at odds with investigators, and by hour’s end, Leonard is led away in cuffs, much to his neighborhood’s collective bemusement. Hap and Leonard being steeped in noir such as it is, we know this mystery is far from being solved. Who’s the man in the van? Is he the person who dumped the boy’s body in the water, or is he Uncle Chester’s “associate”?
As for Hap, he’s finally able to lay Trudy to rest, even if it’s not the way he intended. Drifting downriver, covered in his ex-wife’s ashes, is a fitting farewell from a man who can barely keep his troubled life afloat. Plus, it’s clear that Leonard’s lawyer Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack) has put an unexpected twinkle back in Hap’s eye. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this way lies trouble -- not because Grange is this season’s femme fatale (she’s not), but because trouble has a way of finding Hap.
Overall, “Mucho Mojo” is a strong start. Six episodes may not seem like enough, but the first season covered a lot of ground in only six hours. I’m expecting more of the same this time around. And while I may be missing Christina Hendricks, this episode certainly doesn’t suffer from her absence. What matters is that Purefoy and Williams continue to work so well together.
Some closing thoughts:
It’s obvious from Hap’s junker of a car that money is still an ongoing concern for him, making his sacrifice in last season's final episode all the more poignant. That his car is falling apart is especially ironic, considering that Hap is a mechanic. He’s getting by, but just barely.
Crime shows like Hap and Leonard may truck in violence, but a lot of their success also resides in humorous beats. There are some genuinely funny moments between Hap and Leonard, but Irma P. Hall’s elderly matriarch MeMaw is a real scene-stealer. She may laugh off Leonard pissing in drug dealer Melton’s face (as does much of the neighborhood), but she won’t suffer raunchy talk at her breakfast table.
Want to make a short film based on one of Stephen King's stories? Chances are that it'll only cost you a dollar...
In case you didn't know, Stephen King is a bit prolific. With over 50 novels, 6 nonfiction books, and 200 short stories to his name (or Richard Bachman's), King has one of the hardest-working pens/typewriters/laptops in the writing world. And best of all, when it comes to King's work, quantity DOES equal quality.
That's probably why Hollywood is constantly optioning his countless works for big blockbuster film adaptations. Guys like Frank Darabont, Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick, George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Lawrence Kasdan, and Robert Reiner have all taken stabs (no pun intended) at his work. Many of them are even great films that hold their own, which is very rare in the novel-to-film adaptation business, especially when the source material is as high-profile as King's.
But for every Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Carrie, IT, and Shining we see, there is a secret sector of King films that have never seen the light of day beyond a classroom and/or film festivals. They're called Dollar Babies.
The Dollar Baby is a term coined by King himself, and is the author's humble attempt to share his work with film students and aspiring filmmakers who are trying to make a name for themselves in the industry. For $1, these young filmmakers can adapt his stories as long as they never commercially distribute the films (yes, that includes uploading them to the internet...sorry!). They also have to send King a finished copy of the film, which is pretty nerve-racking if you ask me. What if Uncle Stevie hates your film more than Kubrick's?!
Although the Dollar Baby goes as far back as 1982, King first publicly acknowledged the "dollar deal policy" in 1996 in the introduction for The Shawshank Redemption: The Shooting Script. Despite all the oogie-boogies, creepy crawlies, and generally undead/paranormal things chewing on your flesh, King is a pretty nice guy:
Around 1977 or so, when I started having some popular success, I saw a way to give back a little of the joy the movies had given me...'77 was the year young filmmakers - college students, for the most part - started writing me about the stories I'd published (first in Night Shift, later in Skeleton Crew), wanting to make short films out of them. Over the objections of my accountant, who saw all sorts of possible legal problems, I established a policy which still holds today. I will grant any student filmmaker the right to make a movie out of any short story I have written (not the novels, that would be ridiculous), so long as the film rights are still mine to assign. I ask them to sign a paper promising that no resulting film will be exhibited commercially without approval, and that they send me a videotape of the finished work. For this one-time right I ask a dollar. I have made the dollar deal, as I call it, over my accountant's moans and head-clutching protests sixteen or seventeen times as of this writing .
King, who is a lifelong fan of film (if you read his non-fiction work Danse Macabre, you'll see just how much he loves the creature features of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff), has shared many short stories with Dollar Baby filmmakers over the years. And it's no accident that he revealed his dollar deal policy in the intro to The Shawshank Redemption's published script, since Frank Darabont was one of the first directors to take advantage of the dollar deal.
Although Jeff Schiro's 1982 "The Boogeyman" (Night Shift) was the first Dollar Baby, it was Darabont who really capitalized on this deal. He wrote and directed an adaptation of "The Woman in the Room" (Night Shift), which King became so fond of that he allowed Darabont to commercially distribute the short film along with Schiro's as the Nightshift Collection (you can still find this baby on Amazon).
In an interview in 2007, Darabont spoke to Lilja's Library, THE Stephen King fan site, about his experience with the Dollar Baby:
I wrote Steve King my letter, he said yes, and it took me three years to make The Woman in the Room. It took a while to raise enough money (from some kindly investors in Iowa) to shoot the movie and get it in the can. But then I had to personally earn the rest of the money needed to put the film through post-production: editing the film, doing the sound, paying for the lab work, etc. By 1983 I was working as a prop assistant on TV commercials -- not great money, but it was enough to get my movie finished. I earned $11,000 dollars that year and spent $7,000 of it finishing my movie -- how I survived on $4,000 that year is something I still can't explain; to this day I have no idea how I did it. (The IRS was also quite curious...that was the only year I've ever gotten audited for taxes, because they couldn't believe anybody could survive on $4,000 a year.) All I can say is, my rent was cheap and I lived very frugally. I spent that entire year with a borrowed Moviola in my bedroom, editing the film. I had heaps of 16mm film piled all over the place. At night, I had to move all the piles of film off my bed onto the floor so I could go to sleep. In the morning, I'd have to move the piles of film from the floor back onto my bed so I could walk to the bathroom. Very glamorous!
Darabont was certainly rewarded for his efforts and sacrifice, though, as 1994 saw the release of The Shawshank Redemption, an Academy Award-nominated film adaptation of another King short story. Almost universally considered one of the best films born from King's work, it is now considered a cinematic classic (it was a box office flop in its first theatrical run). And it is that first Dollar Baby that sparked the collaborative efforts between King and Darabont for Shawshank as well as blockbusters such as 1999's The Green Mile (also Oscar-nominated) and 2007's The Mist.
King's been honest, of course: since most of these films are very low-budget and made by inexperienced filmmakers, many of them are hard to watch twice. Still, for many broke artists, this is a great first shot. Others, like Darabont, have taken a good crack at it.
2000's "Paranoid" by Jay Holben is an 8-minute adaptation of a poem of the same name, which was published in Skeleton Crew. The short film premiered on the internet (with King's permission, of course) for a limited run of 8 months. You can still find the film archived on the web if you look hard enough...
Something to note about Dollar Babies: there does seem to be a give and take. Although the aspiring filmmakers do get the better end of the deal (Hollywood/TV pays REAL good money for King's stuff), these films do give a lot of King's lesser known works some time on the big/small/computer screen. And when the films are good, all the better.
Until I started researching for this article, I had no idea anyone had dared to adapt King's 100-line poem about a paranoid schizophrenic man (a woman in the Dollar Baby) who may or may not be stalked by King supervillain Randall Flagg (see: The Dark Tower series, Hearts in Atlantis, The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon). It's kind of difficult to adapt a poem for the movies, isn't it? Unless it's something epic with swords, of course.
But that's the kind of creativity these Dollar Babies nurture. Give a buck and put your all into adapting a story you love. In my opinion, that's what being a Constant Reader is all about: enjoying the stories and then making them part of your life in a meaningful way. This article, for example, is my way of sharing with you, Less Constant Reader, my love of short films based on King's work.
When asked by Lilja's Library why he chose to adapt King's poem, Holben said:
I've been a Constant Reader (for those non-fans read: constant Stephen King fan) for many years - ever since my brother handed me a copy of Thinnersometime around 1985. Paranoid: A Chant has always been a quiet favorite. It's a great piece of writing that is often overlooked and forgotten. So many people quickly label King as a "Horror Writer," but I think he's much more of a sociologist. He has an extraordinary gift for capturing the souls of people and putting them down on paper. It is his characterizations and expressions of humanity that keep me coming back to King's words time and time again. Paranoid is a great example of how he gets you inside a person's head in a short, concise and powerful way.
Some of these guys just get it, and that's what makes these Dollar Babies such a great expansion of King's work -- like his secret Expanded Universe that you have to be cool enough to be there for.
To this day, King still encourages the Dollar Baby. If you visit King's official site, you'll find a long list of short stories waiting for the Dollar Baby treatment. The stories on the list come from the author's major short story collections, spanning much of King's life and his growth/change as a writer. From classic boogeyman stories such as "I Am the Doorway" (Night Shift) to later stories with a more literay approach such as "The Things They Left Behind" (Just After Sunset), which is now being adapted for TV, there is something for every young filmmaker to sick their teeth into (pun intended).
Even "The Woman in the Room" is still available for a dollar deal. Think you can top Darabont's version? (You can find his short film on the internet, as well, in case you want to compare notes.) Take your shot for a dollar.
This article was first published on Oct. 22, 2014.
The big budget update of the famous franchise is already creating an expanded universe.
The Power Rangersmovie is already out but the story doesn't stop there! Releasing on March 29th, 2017 the graphic novel tie-in, Power Rangers: Aftershock takes place immediately after the events of the movie and will follow Zack, Kimberly, Billy, Trini, and Jason in a new adventure.
Thanks to preview pages provided by Boom! Comics we know part of the comics plot will deal with the aftermath of Rita's attack on the city. Some sort of secret group has infilitrated the recovery efforts to find out what exactly happened. There's also some new monsters in play, along with Zack questioning his ability to protect people.
An interesting tidbit is that Jason and Kim are clearly flirting in the preview pages. In the film itself they had a few small moments but their actual kiss was cut from the final film after being seen in the trailers. Was this graphic novel's story written before that scene had been excised from the movie? We'll have to wait and see.
Below we've got two covers for the comics. The illustrated cover will only be available through comic book shops.
Saban's Power Rangers: Aftershock
Original graphic novel
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Lucas Werneck
Illustrated Cover: Greg Smallwood
Format: 96 pages, full color, softcover
On sale: March 29, 2017
Synopsis: From the publisher of the critically acclaimed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series comes an original story set in the universe of the upcoming Power Rangers feature film. This explosive, all-new tale picks up immediately after the events of Lionsgate’s highly anticipated movie, in theaters March 24, 2017. See the film, then deep dive into the continued adventures of Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Zack, and Billy! Written by Ryan Parrott (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Batman: Gates of Gotham) and illustrated by artist Lucas Werneck. Features an exclusive Previews cover edition by Greg Smallwood (Moon Knight) available only through your local comic book shop!
Ryan Parrot is known for his work on Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Batman: Gates of Gotham.
BOOM! is the current publisher for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book series that has received rave reviews from hardcore fans of the show. They’ve also published Power Rangers: Pink, a series following the original Pink Ranger, Kimberly.
Want to know all the easter eggs in the Power Rangers movie? We've got you covered.
Shamus Kelley is feeling stronger than before. Follow him on Twitter!
Your complete guide to DC Comics references, Justice League movie hints, and DCEU Easter eggs in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!
This article contains nothing but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you probably don't want to read this. Now that the movie is on HBO, this can be your handy guide.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the second movie in the DC Extended Universe series, which began with Man of Steel, and will lead to the Wonder Woman movie, the Justice League movie, and more. As a result, it's positively packed with references to DC Comics, and hints about the future of the DC Extended Universe.
Here's our complete and spoiler-filled breakdown of everything you might have missed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Just as Man of Steel opened with Superman's origin (his literal birth, in fact), so does Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice open with Batman's origin story. Thank heavens for that, because if we don't see what motivated young Bruce Wayne to become the Batman, we might never know! That is, of course, a joke.
While Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, we didn't see his actual origin until a two-page segment in Detective Comics #33. To make up for that six month gap, DC Comics and their media partners are now contractually obligated to re-tell Batman's origin in some form, whether it's in the comics, on the screen, or via finger puppets, every six months in perpetuity. That's not true, but it sometimes feels that way.
The visual inspiration for this origin sequence is, like many things in the film, taken from Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley's seminal The Dark KnightReturns, which was first published in 1986. Things like the mustachioed Thomas Wayne and the string of pearls caught on the barrell of the gun are right out of there, as well as the (dream?) sequence where young Bruce is surrounded by bats after accidentally discovering the bat cave.
The Waynes leave the movie theater after a revival screening of the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro starring Tyrone Power. That particular Zorro film holds up really well, is a great watch, and feels like a superhero movie before there was ever really any such thing. Totally worth your time. I also believe that The Dark Knight Returns was where it was first revealed that this was the film the Waynes saw on that fateful night.
You can also spot Excaliburon the marquee, which is John Boorman's highly stylized, overly serious 140-minute take on the King Arthur legend (sounds like another movie we know), here to help illustrate that this sequence takes place in 1981. Excaliburfeels like a very long film at 140 minutes. Batman v Superman, on the other hand, feels even longer than its 153 minute run time.
We wrote lots more on John Boorman's Excaliburright here, if you want to learn more about this crazy movie.
I owe a special thanks to Peter in the comments for catching this next little detail, Excalibur is listed as "coming next Wednesday." Now, aside from the fact that the movie actually opened on Friday, April 10th, 1981, "coming next Wednesday" is still pretty significant. First of all, new comic books come out every Wednesday, so this is a nod to that.
Peter also kindly reminded me that the Justice League can be seen as a modern day Knights of the Round Table. Couple that with the fact that the Excaliburmovie is "coming soon" (and on a Wednesday, no less!) it's kind of an in-joke about how the Justice League movie is next on the schedule. That's pretty cool.
There's more on Excaliburcoming down below, just be patient...
- Visible in the Wayne graveyard is the name "Solomon." Solomon Wayne was Bruce's Great, Great, Great Grandfather. When the Batman comics decided they wanted their Gotham City to look a little bit more like Anton Furst's Gotham designs from Tim Burton's Batman movies, a story was crafted to make it happen, and Solomon Wayne was part of that.
- It's also worth noting that this movie marks the first time we've seen Bill Finger's name in the opening credits of a Batman movie. That's a huge deal, as Finger was a major creative driving force behind Batman and his supporting cast, but for years, Bob Kane took all the credit. We have a little bit more about Bill Finger's bat-legacy right here.
- Anatoli Knyazev is known to comic book fans as (wait for it) the KGBeast, because he was created in 1988 when that was what you named these kinds of villains. Anatoli has appeared in non-beastly form on a number of episodes of Arrow, as well. He first appeared in a story called "Ten Nights of the Beast" which is a pretty cool read if you can track it down.
- So, this is faintly ridiculous. The photographer who is apparently working for the CIA during Lois' misadventure in the desert is played by Argo's Michael Cassidy. He is credited as "Jimmy Olsen." Because Zack Snyder hates concepts like loyalty and friendship, "Superman's Pal" is brutally murdered. So, yeah, you can forget about that little piece of Superman mythology in the DC Extended Universe, as well. Read more about Mr. Snyder's comments on the matter here.
- Clark bringing Lois flowers and groceries is faintly reminiscent of their brief shot at domestic bliss in Superman II where Superman famously cooked Lois a souflee using heat vision, and flew around the world to get her some nice tropical flowers. This scene also illustrates the age old Supes/Lois problem, where she knows that he "belongs to the world" and not to her.
- Alfred Pennyworth first appeared in 1943's Batman#16. Like most enduring Batman characters, he was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. Alfred cut a rather different figure in his early appearances, and through the years he has become more of an aggressively badass figure.
- Lex Luthor has been around since Action Comics#23 in 1940, and as we see here, he had lustrous red hair. Later appearances alternately identified Lex as a shortening of Alexander or Alexei, and even later appearances revealed he was a childhood friend of Clark Kent, before a lab accident stole his luscious locks.
The Lex of this film is "Alexander Luthor, Jr." Which means his father's name isn't "Lionel" as it was in the Smallville TV series or a handful of the comics that followed. Something tells me that Alex Sr. didn't die of natural causes.
Luthor has been something of a jerk-of-all-trades during his career, from straight mad scientist to captain of industry to President of the United States. I wrote much more about that stuff right here.
Mercy Graves is Lex Luthor's bodyguard, a super strong badass, although you don't see any of that in this movie. Mercy was first introduced in Superman: The Animated Series where she had considerably more to do than she does in this film.
- It appears that the Metropolis News channel, Channel 8, is indeed a GBS/Galaxy Broadcasting affiliate station. You can also spot a GBS microphone during a press conference later on, which is perhaps representative of their cable outlet or something similar.
Speaking of news stuff...
The news montage (which, rather surprisingly, features a cameo by Andrew Sullivan!) is another nod to The Dark Knight Returns, which helped set up its near-future vision of the DCU via TV news clips. You may recognize some of the anti-superhero sentiment from these, as well.
Let's get into a few notes about Kryptonite...
- It's amazing that Man of Steelwent an entire movie without going down the Kryptonite road, but we do finally get it here. Kryptonite was actually a creation of the (awesome) Adventures of Superman radio show, a necessary plot device so that original Man of Steel Bud Collyer could take a vacation from the radio show's punishing, almost daily schedule. For weeks, Superman was played by another actor, who was only required to groan in agony while Supes was at the mercy of the alien mineral.
- Here's something I never would have noticed (thanks to JACS in the comments!). Ralph Lister is credited as Emmett Vale, and he isn't the guy who finds the hunk of Kryptonite in the Indian Ocean as I initially thought, but he appears in Lex Luthor's laboratory. Dr. Vale is the creator of Metallo, the cyborg with the Kryptonite heart who would be a great choice to give Superman a headache if we were ever going to get another Superman solo movie, but since we're not, well...forget it.
The way Kryptonite looks in this movie is a little like how it was shown in Superman: The Movie. Later in that film, when Supes is debilitated by the effects of Batman's Kryptonite spear, Lois chucks it in the water to get it away from him. That kinda' reminds me of the Supes/Miss Teschmacher exchange from the end of that movie, too.
Speaking of that Kryptonite spear, wireman (cool handle, by the way) in the comments found this little gem from the comics, that I wasn't aware of:
- Pery White refers to Clark as "Smallville" more than once in the film. That was Lois Lane's affectionate/condescending nickname for Clark on Superman: The Animated Series, which is an excellent way to spend your time, I might add.
Later, while admonishing Clark for actually, y'know, wanting to be a reporter and tell the truth, Perry says, "It's not 1938 anymore." 1938 is, of course, the year that Action Comics#1, the first appearance of Superman, was published. In other words, here's Perry White speaking for Zack Snyder, telling fans to stop whining over the fact that Superman doesn't behave very much like Superman in these movies.
In The Dark Knight Returns, a comic which obviously has influenced this movie quite heavily, when Batman first returns to action he lends a hand to two cops in pursuit of suspects, one who isn't old enough to remember Batman in action, and one veteran who advises him to chill out and enjoy the show.
The rookie cop and the veteran cop, who Batman encounters while out whupping ass, remind me a little bit of this pair from Dark Knight Returns:
It can also be noted that this exchange played out much the same way in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises when Christian Bale's Batman first returns from retirement, much like in the iconic Frank Miller graphic novel.
By the way, the two officers in question are named "Officer Rucka" and "Officer Mazzucchelli." Greg Rucka was the writer of the excellent Gotham Central comic, and David Mazzucchelli was the artist on Frank Miller's other great Batman story, Batman: Year One. (Thanks for the catch, Jacs!)
- Alfred's quote about "the next generation of Waynes" facing "an empty wine cellar" is lifted straight out of The Dark Knight Returns. You're going to read words very much like that a lot in the course of this article.
While most Batman costumes are fairly similar in essence, the proportions and lines on this particular version are also right out Frank Miller's artwork:
Speaking of costumes...
Needless to say, there's only one character who would have spray painted that on Robin's body, so this mirrors the events of the 1988 Batman comic event, "A Death in the Family," which allowed readers to decide (via a 1-900 number... those were different times) whether the second Robin would survive a brutal beating (with a crowbar) at the hands of the Joker and a subsequent warehouse explosion.
It's tough to really see the colors on this, and they're certainly muted, but the basic design seems to mirror that of the first Tim Drake Robin costume, which also happened to be the first one in the main DC Universe continuity that looked genuinely badass.
It was designed by legendary Bat-artist Neal Adams and first brought to comics by Norm Breyfogle (thanks to our very own JL Bell for keeping me honest here!) and remains one of my favorite costume designs of all time. You can see Jason Todd's Robin costume in a similar glass case in the above image, as well.
It's never made clear which Robin this is supposed to be in the movie, but it's almost certainly Jason Todd. You just know WB wants to make a Dick Grayson/Nightwing movie, and they can't do that if he's dead, right?
Zack Snyder recently clarified that whoever this Robin is, he died about ten years ago. Since we know that this version of Batman has been active for at least 15 years, there's a good chance there's enough time for this to line up with the Jason Todd version of the character.
The bit with Batman sighting a rifle atop a tower calls to mind still more stuff from Dark Knight Returns, albeit there it was a "grappling hook" gun, while here it's to fire a tracer.
- Also, I don't suppose that I need to explain Bruce's "freaks dressed like clowns" joke, right? Of course I don't.
The shot of Superman lifting the Russian rocket (numbered 300of course) over his head has a hint of this page from The Dark Knight Returns to it...
- When Senator Finch asks "Must there be a Superman" well, that's a reference to a classic Superman tale. Not just any classic Superman story, either. The first published Superman story by Supes-writer extraordinaire, Elliott S! Maggin (that's not a typo) in Superman #247 from 1972. That story is far more nuanced and interesting in its 24 pages than this movie in its two and a half hours, and it's 100 percent worth reading.
For reference, here's what they look like when drawn by Jim Lee in the New 52 Justice League re-launch, which featured Darkseid as the team's first big threat, and which was clearly meant to inform their film efforts...
Also, the sharp-eyed JACS (who is quickly becoming the MVP of the comments on this thing) pointed out the similarities to Batman's Mad Max garb here and the nightmarish future Batman that Damian Wayne becomes during Grant Morrison's run as writer on the character.
- So, in case you cannot tell because he's almost unrecognizable, the lightning tornado dream sequence echo voice thing is the DC Extended Universe version of The Flash (and that's Ezra Miller in the role). The Flash appearing in mysterious form, kind of like a dream, and possibly from a different point in time, is very much a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths where Flash was appearing to various heroes trying to warn them of what was to come while he was busy dying later in the story fighting the very same threat.
Flash also seems to be teasing something about Lois Lane being "the key." If Bruce is right about Superman, that means Flash is speaking to Bruce from a time in the future where Superman has become a threat, perhaps because of the death of Lois Lane...or maybe Lois is the key to turning him good again, or bringing him back to life.
This could be a reference to the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and comics, which features a morally compromised DC Universe where heroes fight each other and Superman is a terrible person. So, you know, that sounds awfully familiar all of a sudden, doesn't it?
We wrote more about the Injusticecomics right here, if you're interested. I'm saving some more about the implications of this for another article, too.
- Bruce Wayne's "one percent chance" logic is childish and horrifying, and sounds like something Donald Trump would say about immigrants. It certainly was the logic that Dick Cheney used to condone "enhanced interrogation techniques."
- You can spot "Nicholson Terminal," which the Batmobile obliterates. Maybe this is a nod to Jack Nicholson's iconic take on the Joker. Maybe it isn't. Does this movie really ever make sense?
- Ma Kent's "you don't owe this world a thing" speech marks the return of evil, dystopian, Hunger Games Smallville logic to the series. For real, is it any wonder that the DCEU's Clark Kent is such a brooding mope? Between stuff like this and hallucination Pa Kent telling Clark about the time he drowned a bunch of horses by accident, it's a miracle that Superman isn't just snapping necks like... oh, wait, he already did that.
- Hey, remember when the internet said that Scoot McNairy was playing Hal Jordan/Jimmy Olsen/Ted Kord/Morgan Edge/Che Guevara/Spider-Man/Ad Nauseum? Yeah. That didn't happen. He's Wallace Keefe, a character we've never heard of. The only Keef I give a damn about is Richards.
- Lex Luthor in Zod's old ship, talking to the AI, feels similar to Lex's infiltration of the Fortress of Solitude in Superman II.
-Luthor using the ship to turn Zod's body into Doomsday is also quite reminiscent (intentionally or not) of Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor using Kryptonian crystals to make a giant Kryptonite continent in Superman Returns.
Also, when Lex is talking to Zod's corpse (oofah), he says "you flew too close to the sun." This is a reference to the myth of Icarus, which doesn't remotely seem to apply to anything regarding Zod's arc. Unless he means "you flew too close to the son," as in "The Last Son of Krypton," but somehow I don't think that much thought went into this scene.
- Lex didn't create Doomsday in the comics, but in many recent versions of the story, Lex did create Bizarro, notably as an imperfect Kryptonian duplicate. There's a little bit of a similarity to that here. Bizarro is, of course, not in the movie, despite some hilariously inaccurate rumors.
- Ma Kent is now working at Rolli's Diner. Now, there's two smaller Lex Luthor stories from the comics that Rolli's ties into. Superman#9 (1987) featured a backup story called "Metropolis, 900 miles" which dealt with Lex Luthor offering a kind of "indecent proposal" to a waitress at Rolli's.
Lex's kidnapping of Martha Kent is also kinda' like a story from Superman#2 (1987) where he kidnapped Lana Lang after he figured out that young Superman had ties to Smallville. He ended up figuring out that Superman was Clark Kent but refused to believe it.
- I'm sure you all realized that was Jason Momoa as Aquaman during the underwater sequence, right? His look here is reminiscent of how he appeared on the excellent Justice League animated series and his mid-90s makeover.
- The weird horror movie/RoboCop sequence is the origin of Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, who will make his next real appearance in Justice League Part Onebefore he gets his own movie on April 3, 2020.
One cool thing about that scene is that the weird cube thing that apparently makes the Cyborg project successful is a Mother Box, which makes this the film's second overt Jack Kirby reference, and further proof that Darkseid is eventually on his way to the DCEU, although his first emmissary will be Steppenwolf. We wrote more about Darkseid right here.
- Batman's opening gambit in his fight with Superman is to hit him with a sonic blast, this (again) is straight out of Dark Knight Returns. Same with the Kryptonite dust/gas projectile.
There are lots of other direct similarities to the comics in that battle, too...
Look familiar? Check out that first panel on the left!
That armor looks pretty familiar too:
You get the idea, I'm sure.
- In the background during these scenes there's a prominent piece of question mark graffiti, which may or may not be a reference to the Riddler. But tell me... did anyone spot "Who Watches the Watchmen?" graffiti? (I don't mean in this image) Because I thought I did, but I couldn't be sure.
- Lois boards a red helicopter on the Daily Planet rooftop, which reminds me of the best scene in the best Superman movie, the immortal Superman: TheMovie. This helicopter has call numbers N12OEC. I don't recall what they were in STM, but I know it starts with an "N."
CORRECTION! It has been kindly pointed out to me by Mr. Michael Colley that all general aviation numbers begin with "N." So, let's just leave it at "red helicopter" is cool, shall we?
- By the way, Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941, but the Wonder Woman in this movie is even older than that. Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman garb is reminiscent of how artists like Alex Ross drew her in Kingdom Come and Darwyn Cooke did in New Frontier to make her look more like the warrior princess she's traditionally depicted as.
You can also spot Chris Pine as Steve Trevor in that photo from 1918. I'm not sure who the other folks are supposed to be, but if any of you have any ideas, I'm listening!
- When Batman shows up to take out the KGBeast, the action comes right out of the first chapter of (say it with me now, kids!) The Dark Knight Returns. Batman bursts up out of the floor to whup ass. Batman bursts through the wall to take a giant honkin' gun from some dude. Batman says "I believe you" after armed asshat says "believe me, I'll kill her" and then takes him out. All from DKR. Just change the names of the goons.
- Doomsday was created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern in 1992 with the express purpose of killing Superman dead and driving up sales. He succeeded in all possible respects in Superman#75.
Doomsday's Kryptonian origins weren't revealed until much later, although he was never a Frankenstein's Monster version of Zod, nor did he have Lex Luthor's DNA, nor did he... ummm... you get the point. But the idea of Doomsday as a highly evolved/continuously evolving killing machine came right out of the comics, as does the "he grows more spikes as he takes damage" thing.
During the Doomsday battle, complete with lightning bolts, we get a recreation of the cover of The Dark Knight Returns #1. No, seriously, check it out...
- When Superman and Doomsday take their battle to Stryker's Island, we're told it's uninhabited. In the comics, Stryker's Island is the home of a massive Metropolis penitentiary. Clearly that isn't the case here...unless in the bleak moral universe of the DCEU, the inhabitants of a prison are completely expendable forms of human life.
- Superman getting caught in a nuclear explosion, becoming a weird zombified thing, and then charging up/healing via the power of the sun comes straight out of a particular Batman story that has been referenced numerous times throughout this article... you have three guesses. Go ahead. Guess.
-Superman flying to almost certain death while carrying a Kryptonian object (albeit a much smaller one) also calls back to mind a similar storytelling beat from the end of Superman Returns.
A few notes about the "death" of Superman...
I have to admit, this is really cool. Remember all the Excaliburstuff up top? It's back! A few of you sharp-eyed folks pointed out the similarities to this scene in Boorman's flick, and they are undeniable...
- When you see his body cradled by Lois Lane, it's a nod to Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding's art from Superman #75.
- Lex Luthor's prison garb has the prisoner number of 16-TK421. TK421 is a reference to Star Wars when Luke and Han took on Stormtrooper disguises. You know, "TK421, why aren't you at your post?" Batman v Superman and The Force Awakens were tweaking each other with little social media crossovers during filming, but it appears this is the only one of those in-jokes made it to film.
Also, while orange prison jumpsuits certainly aren't just a DC Universe thing, Lex was looking a bit like Frank Quitely's vision of the character from All-StarSupermanin this scene.
- Ending on "Amazing Grace" and an ambiguous/hopeful note is more than a little reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which featured the death of Spock. Superman has somehow managed to show even less emotion and seemed even more alien than Spock ever did in this franchise so far, so it's really, really appropriate.
- You can see the weird little telekinetic effect that was used to show that Superman's powers were about to manifest in Man of Steel. So, y'know, of course he's not dead. After all, there's a Justice League movie coming on Nov. 17, 2017.
- Superman's coffin is black with a silver "S" logo. When Superman returned from the dead during the Death and Return of Superman story in the '90s, he wore a black suit with a silver "S" on it.
- By the way, it's worth noting that Warner Bros. has been trying to kill Superman on screen since at least 1995. Virtually every draft of every Superman movie of the last twenty years featured some form of Superman getting croaked (occasionally at the hands of Doomsday), while most others at least teased, it, too...including Superman Returns.
- To bring things full circle, I should also bring up the fact that The Dark Knight Returns also ends a "death" albeit Batman's (he isn't really dead, either). That hopeful ending involves Superman overhearing Bruce's heartbeat. Samuel in the comments claims that he heard a heartbeat as we zoom in on Clark's coffin, but I didn't notice one myself.
However, enough of you are now verifying that there is indeed an audible heartbeat in the coffin as the music swells, so I'm willing to believe you. So there's your final DKRreference!
Did I miss anything? Shout it out in the comments below or holler at me on Twitter!
We were on the set of the Justice League movie with Zack Snyder Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and more to discuss the DCEU epic!
This article will will contain some minor Justice League movie spoilers.
He stands alone on the rooftop waiting, always waiting, in a context that should be as familiar to moviegoers as the blinding floodlight behind him, which shines its bat-shaped insignia into perpetual darkness. His name is James Gordon and he has been here before, hat and moustache in hand, patiently anticipating that distant thunder to finally roll up in the shape of a Dark Knight. Yet, something is different about this scene, for as the lightning cracks ever closer, it becomes apparent that he awaits not one superhero but four who manifest in a flash of light.
Suddenly, the police commissioner is face-to-face with three fabulously costumed do-gooders he’s never met before. It is in this moment that Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Cyborg are at last working together in what appears to be near the end of their film’s first act. And lest the vision of rain-soaked rooftops and lightning-illuminated sets remind you too much of last March’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and its ominous tones, this Justice League sequence immediately lets observers know they’re playing a whole different ballgame.
After all, when Gordon becomes confused by Wonder Woman uttering the word “Parademon,” Batman explains with perfect deadpan, “Flying Monkeys.” Just like that, you know you’re no longer in the DCEU’s version of Kansas.
Of course, this is not actually on a rooftop at all, but rather one of the many soundstages devoted to Zack Snyder’s Justice League at Warner Brothers’ Leavesden Studios in England. It’s day 31 of a 111-day shoot, as well as the first time J.K. Simmons has been onset with a moustache, trench coat, and fedora that appears to have been loaned out by a Detective Comics panel. And this is simply one of the many eye-catching things that I and a few other journalists were allowed to spy in an instant this Friday afternoon in June.
Certainly more gothic than anything seen in Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham, the GCPD rooftop is surrounded by a sea of green screen that will undoubtedly be replaced with cityscapes every bit as operatic as the gargoyles that hang out above the cast from a rounded terrace in the center of the building made of glass and rusted steel. Appearing as almost like a lighthouse shipwrecked on top of the building, it is the entrance to a steam-filled exterior that has the surreal combination of Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher all in-character and in-costume (or in Fisher’s case, a gray bodysuit that accompanies the red lights glowing from one of his eyes and chest).
During this scene, Gordon has called in Batman to help with the disappearance of eight missing scientists in Gotham and Metropolis that have all been kidnapped by creatures from another world. Actually, make that nine scientists, as Fisher’s Cyborg reveals when materializing separately from the other three heroes, much to Wonder Woman’s surprise and delight. He mentions a ninth disappeared PhD of obvious personal importance since he was stolen from S.T.A.R. Labs. In this moment, Wonder Woman knows well about the insectoid beasts responsible, and the Jack Kirby-styled MacGuffins that they seek: Mother Boxes.
With four heroes now on a quest to stop the Parademons from discovering these items’ location, three of the heroes do the full-Batman and vanish on Gordon while his back is turned. When the police commissioner whirls around, however, the Flash lingers as equally perplexed as Gordon about his colleagues’ absence. “What, they just left?” Miller’s superhero smirks. “That’s rude.”
It might be, but the line is one of the many moments that would appear to signal the DCEU’s new temperament.
“There’s definitely room for more humor,” Ben Affleck tells us between set-ups. Coming over to the journalists unprompted and happy to chat, the Oscar winning filmmaker still has on much of his Batsuit and the black raccoon eyes that appear when the mask comes off. He does still remark though that his multiple pounds of leather makes him envy Fisher’s “silk pajamas.”
On his original point, Affleck continues, “DC movies are, I think, by their nature still a little more gothic, or a little bit more mythic, rather, than some comic book movies are. But [BvS] was a heavy, dark movie, because it was really rooted in Dark Knight Returns, which is a heavy, dark book. This [movie] is not that… it’s about multilateralism and it’s about hope, and it’s about working together, and the kind of conflicts you have trying to work with others.”
Indeed. If there seemed to be one theme reiterated again and again during our incredibly detailed set visit, by talent both in front of and behind the camera, it is that Justice League is about turning a page from the darkness of the last DCEU picture, and finally bringing this franchise out into a sun as shiny as the Flash’s new red costume.
A Tonal Shift That Comes in a Flash
Prior to this set visit, Justice League has been at the epicenter of an online culture obsessed with rumor and innuendo. While Batman v Superman broke March box office records by earning $166 million in its first weekend, this follow-up has seen some behind-the-scenes changes that have caused the internet to speculate about similar transitions in the film. However, from top-to-bottom, the Justice League team presents the picture of a movie that was always naturally progressing towards a lighter, more optimistic tone—elements that were perhaps then doubled down upon after this past spring’s critical reception.
For his part, director Zack Snyder seemed at ease with the process of blockbuster moviemaking, if exhausted at the end of a long day’s shoot, when he addressed a room full of reporters with a mojito in hand.
“I’m like, obsessed with tone in the movies,” Snyder says when considering the creative and perhaps commercial choices made in producing Justice League. “Tone has always been like the main thing that I go after with a movie. And I really wanted the tone of the three movies to be different chapters and not be like the same note that you strike… I really wanted that and I do believe that since Batman v Superman came out, and we really wrapped our heads around what Justice League would be, I did think that the tone has—because of what fans have said and how it was perceived by some—that we have really put the screws to what we thought the tone would be, and I feel like just crushed it that even little bit closer.”
For Snyder, this is exemplified in how he sees this film as being about creating a team from disparate personalities who offer different qualities and cinematic flavors than we have previously seen in the DCEU. Comparing his film to The Magnificent Seven, the director insists that he always intended the story to be a very different animal. In this go-round, Batman gathers a team of superheroes together, as opposed to trying to tear another one down. Consider that while Bruce Wayne wanted to kill Superman in BvS, in Justice League he remarks to Jim Gordon that there are now not enough of them around in the world.
On that very note, Zack Snyder, as well as producers Deborah Snyder and Chuck Roven, presented at the end of the day a newly edited together scene of Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne meeting Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen.
The sequence itself plays like almost a distant cousin of that time when Tony Stark introduced himself to Peter Parker. In this new sequence, Ezra Miller’s Barry (with a newly shorn haircut after BvS) comes home to a decrepit warehouse that has been retrofitted into some kind of loft with his homemade Flash costume hanging on display with its own mini-spotlight. Michael Wilkinson, who also designed Henry Cavill and Affleck’s previous superhero suits, took special pride in how un-slick it appears with its multiple pieces (148 in total). It is also fascinatingly wrapped in conduit wires that will light up with electricity when Flash gets up to his true high speeds.
Still, at the moment, it is hanging from a wall in full-display for Bruce Wayne, who sits in Allen’s chair expectantly. “I do ice dancing,” Barry demurs as Bruce studies the design. Eventually, the increasingly graying billionaire loses his patience and throws a batarang at Barry’s head, which the young superhero admires as the world slows to a crawl and the bat-weapon drifts by; he then plucks it out of the air, just as in shock at the revelation that Bruce Wayne is Batman as Bruce is at confirmation that Barry is the fast kid he’d previously seen on a CCTV feed.
Having apparently been burned by some “noes” before this moment about building a team, a truly in awe Bruce Wayne reluctantly begins his sales pitch: “I’m putting together a team, people with special abilities. You see, I believe enemies are coming—”
Bruce isn’t able to finish his second sentence before Barry blurts out, “Stop right there. I’m in.” Now even more confused by this kid’s existence, Bruce persists, “Are you sure, just like that?!” But Barry shrugs. He needs friends.
The scene might seem basic in print, but so much of it works based on how pitch perfect Ezra Miller’s delivery is both on-camera and off. In fact, it is easy to see that the filmmakers already know they have Justice League’s scene-stealer on their hands, and this little scene goes a long way towards already being more fun than anything in this past Easter weekend’s superhero extravaganza.
For his part, Ben Affleck is open to comparisons between his Batman and Miller’s Flash with the natural chemistry between dour Batman and fun-loving Robin in the comics.
“There’s an element of that to it,” Affleck says. “There’s a quality to really what Ezra does that is young and fun, and full of life and excited about what they’re doing that’s so in contrast to who Batman is. It’s a little bit of that natural yin and yang to playing scenes with him. So, there’s not the ward aspect to it, but there is kind of a little bit of the mentor.” Perhaps that is why a cardboard cutout of Flash’s shinier, more metallic final costume left out, accidentally revealed to us that Bruce Wayne and Alfred will later design a costume upgrade for Barry (the costume’s image has a “Wayne Tech” logo).
Indeed, Deborah Snyder spoke to us separately about how she thinks both Miller’s Flash and Fisher’s Cyborg will open Justice League up to younger audiences that might not have found as much to enjoy in Batman v Superman, particularly those that did not care for that film's the deconstructionist approach.
“We hear what everyone has to say because we care what the fans say,” she reflects about that latter film’s reception. “At the same time, each story that we’re telling is a completely different story, and I think what’s really great is where we’re going is kind of what the audiences wanted. We just had to take the characters from somewhere to bring them up to where they are. That was kind of our journey.”
Building a Bigger DC Universe
And to continue that journey, Deborah Snyder and Chuck Roven also introduced us to an office filled with a bounty of concept art, as well as more than a few props (on a personal aside, it is a pretty geeky thrill to hold Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth or fail to comprehend the ancient Greek lettering on her new sword and shield). In this setting, the basics of the plot were laid bare.
Slated to take place a few months after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the death of Superman has left Batman in a place of soul-searching. Whereas he began the last film at the end of his career, he and Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince have a renewed purpose of putting together a team to honor Kal-El’s memory… which might not be a moment too soon since Roven and Snyder confirmed that the DC comics fiend Steppenwolf would be the villain of the piece, though he has yet to be cast.
Hardly a surprise since the evil alien’s digital silhouette appeared in a deleted BvS scene, the inclusion of Steppenwolf confirms that Jack Kirby’s New Gods and planet Apokolips (the intergalactic hellscape synonymous with Darkseid) will play prominent roles in Justice League. Indeed, Deborah Snyder referred to the Mother Box technology as “Apokoliptian” and dating back further than just the events in the last several films.
At some point in Justice League, there will be a flashback to what Roven calls the time “before history.” In this sequence, which if effective would appear to resemble the prologue from Fellowship of the Ring, the races of mankind, the Amazonians, and the Atlanteans will gather to divide the Mother Boxes amongst themselves. The red one will go into the possession of the Amazonians, the silver Mother Box will belong to the Atlanteans, and finally the black Mother Box will be left with humanity, as we saw glimpsed in the found footage origin of Cyborg in Batman v Superman.
It is the location of these Mother Boxes which leads the Parademons to kidnap the scientists as mentioned in the aforementioned GCPD scene. However, their presence will go to some much stranger places if the concept art is to be believed. In the flashback, ancient Atlanteans and Amazonians will be gleaned, including Zeus, the Greek god who is the father of Wonder Woman (at least in recent DC Comics). The Amazonians themselves look fiercely feral with simple leathers and cloths hiding little skin—or their blades and arrows. But more daunting in its ambition is the concept art glimpsed from Atlantis.
Justice League will be going under the sea, and by the looks of the images provided, filmmakers are planning to explore more than a simple half-crustacean band down where it’s wetter. One especially grandiose piece depicts Jason Momoa’s Aquaman controlling a shimmering Mother Box in his Secret Grotto while his Atlantean guards look on—mermen guards to be exact.
Also, we were able to glimpse the actual costumes Momoa will wear as Aquaman, Amber Heard (who according to concept art will have red hair) will don as Queen Mera, and finally the silvery aesthetic intended to garb Willem Dafoe, who costume designer Michael Wilkinson revealed would be playing Vulko, an ancient Atlantean adviser to Aquaman and Mera. All have a translucent and elastic armor of different colors that when backlit glow like the gnarliest fish living in the Mariana Trench.
In one piece of concept art, it is revealed Aquaman eventually joins the Justice League team by entering Batman’s Flying Fox (an aircraft vessel big enough to house the Batmobile) as it emerges from underneath the lake outside of Wayne Manor.
Yet, the most curious discovery amongst all of these images is the lack of Superman in action with the team. In fact, not even director Zack Snyder could confirm that we would see Henry Cavill’s Superman, even though he spoke about how important it was to build to this film where Superman could become more like the character fans love.
“I wanted to get to a Superman that had a reason to be Superman, you know?” Zack Snyder says while explaining his reasoning for the Man of Steel being so morose in previous films. “Like a reason to feel the way he felt about humanity or the way that we all understand from the comic books, as far as his moral compass goes, he’s pretty much [been]. But I feel like he had to go through something to be that.” Snyder then stops himself to add with a laugh, “And I’m not saying he shows up in this movie.”
Perhaps not, but the filmmaker also went on to compare his two most recent movies by saying, “Death is darker than, say, resurrection or team-building.” So, make of that what you will.
The Flying Fox and the Knightcrawler
Yet, in the absence of a man who you might believe can fly, there will be plenty of other airborne spectacles. Of particular delight will probably be the Flying Fox, which according to concept art will look more like a flying tank, similar to Zack Snyder and production designer Patrick Tatopoulos’ Batmobile from Batman v Superman, only bigger and with wings.
“The funny thing about this is it is [similar] to a B-52,” Tatopoulos says when remarking on its massive size. “A bomber usually has a cockpit in the front, you have a long cargo. So the first design I did for it, the cockpit was in the front, so it looked like a bomber. And it just didn’t really work, and I took the cockpit and slid it all the way to the back. And suddenly, it became like the Batmobile.”
He adds, “Pushing everything back and making it look like knuckles, it’s not a slick plane, it’s just a massive Batman plane like the car.”
According to the concept art, it will be more lethal than knuckles as well. Big enough to store the Batmobile in its mid-section while still having room for troops beneath the cargo hold, and a bridge on top of that, the front of the Flying Fox also has a gun turret that would not look out of place in a Star Wars movie. Presumably, it will be a useful weapon if flying Parademons attack.
While most of the Flying Fox has yet to be built, whether on a stage or in a computer, we did visit the set of Bruce Wayne’s new hangar in the film that will store this massive Spruce Goose. As a reference for the set, Tatopoulos used submarine factories and bunkers from the First World War. Likewise, the production designer imagines the space to be a mixture “of modern and ancient technology together.” Filling in the slanted walls is a black, industrial aesthetic every bit as aggressive as any piece of metal on Batman’s car. Small water pits also punctuate the floor in the center of the room, near grading and a work table.
Unconnected to the Batcave, this location may yet serve as Bruce Wayne’s new base of operations in the film with a bank of computers sprawled in one corner, each playing in loop the video origins of the other Justice League members teased in Batman v Superman; there is also a Batmobile sitting comfortably next to the sloping metal walls. The bottom of the Flying Fox dangles above the main work table, apparently controlled by futuristic tech that will be added (along with the rest of the jet) in post by CGI. Around the set, there are curious nuggets of Bruce and Alfred’s latest obsessions, including ancient parchments with foreign texts and drawings devoted to sea creatures hidden deep beneath the waves.
But as impressive as the set is, it is dwarfed by the one Tatopoulos designed for the tunnels below Stryker’s Island.
Previously appearing for half a second in Batman v Superman as the landmass situated directly in the center of Gotham City and Metropolis’ shared bay (it’s where Doomsday landed after falling from space in the third act), it will play an even more pivotal role in Justice League. As it turns out, there is a decrepit brick and mortar tunnel that serves as a byzantine monument to the art deco style underneath these dark waters. It was a tunnel meant to connect Gotham and Metropolis that began construction in 1929 before being abandoned for mysterious reasons in the 1930s.
This is also the location of a massive action sequence since Parademons have set up a nest down in this subterranean labyrinth. It’s Tatopoulos’ favorite set, and he showed off several immersive parts of it. The first is a ventilation tower, made of crumbling brick and shattered, dusty glass. Climbing up the steps and reaching a cement floor that feels suspiciously like rubber, it is not hard to imagine an action sequence taking place in this area, which is several floors below what would be a giant fan. A hole in one of the brick walls is also a curiosity.
Further, the set includes a massive tunnel with abandoned and unfinished subway tracks that are submerged in their gravel. One wall is also of brick, and the other is to be finished by computers, but the tunnel is just wide enough to drive a Knightcrawler through.
The Knightcrawler will be Batman’s other new toy that unlike the Batmobile can go underground and make its own tunnels since it consists of a cockpit large enough to hold four superheroes, as well as four massive crab-like arms that will be perfect for punching through walls. While I was only able to study the cockpit in-person (the arms will be added in post-production), plenty of concept art exists that shows Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Cyborg in the vehicle as it climbs through tunnels that look, perhaps not so coincidentally, like the sets we visited.
In this sequence, there are striking images of Wonder Woman exiting the Knightcrawler to slaughter a Parademon with a sword while inside a ventilation tower, the Knightcrawler roasting another Parademon with a flamethrower, and all four heroes escaping the Knightcrawler as it drowns in a flooded tunnel.
Instantly, it becomes clear that we might have walked into the climax of either the first or second act: Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest meet on a GCPD rooftop to figure out that Parademons are kidnapping scientists and hiding in the tunnels beneath Stryker’s Island. Upon Cyborg’s arrival, Flash quips, “Now that he’s here, I don’t think we can all fit in the car.” Batman responds, “I’ve got something bigger.”
But what happens after that Knightcrawler falls beneath the flooded tunnels? I imagine the Flash could suggest they need a water guy (or a bigger boat). But as it stands, the scope and ambition of the film’s new style is an intentional world away from what has come before, and the DCEU is definitely growing.
As Snyder explains it, “I think that the nice thing about working on Justice League is it is an opportunity to kind of really blow the doors off of the sort of scale, and the bad guys, and team-building, and all this stuff that I think I can justify as [being] a big, modern sort of comic book movie.”
In terms of scale, Snyder and Warner Bros. are definitely already there.
Justice League hits theates on Nov. 17, 2017. This article was first published on June 21, 2016.
There's so much DC superhero stuff hidden in the new Justice League movie trailer that we broke it all down for you.
Well, it sure took them long enough, didn't it? We've been waiting since last July for an "official" trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League movie. At SDCC 2016, Warner Bros. unveiled a reel of footage, but it wasn't what they were officially calling a trailer. But this one is something different, and it reveals lots more about what's actually happening in the movie than that initial footage.
So the first thing you should do before I start overanalyzing every piece of this thing, is you should watch the trailer yourself if you haven't seen it yet.
Here it is...
The biggest thing to note here is that they're still aggressively pushing a very different tone (if not look) from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But the other thing is, to nobody's surprise, the alien invasion elements are unmistakeable.
The broad strokes of this movie seem to be based on Justice League: Origin, the comic book story that revamped the team's initial team-up for a new generation, and one which swapped alien baddie Starro for the Jack Kirby created Darkseid and his army of Parademon drones.
While Darkseid is nowhere to be found in this trailer, and from what we understand, he won't be around in the movie either. Instead, the general of this invasion is another Jack Kirby creation, Steppenwolf...who is also nowhere to be found in this trailer. We probably won't get more Justice League movie footage until San Diego Comic-Con in July, and that's probably when they'll reveal more vilalin details.
One important note about this trailer analysis: I'm not going shot by shot in order. Instead, I'm trying to make connections between things that happen in different parts, and grouping them as I think is most appropriate.
We're going to start with a lot of the Cyborg-centric stuff in this trailer, because this character is probably the most important to the overall story.
This is Dr. Silas Stone, who we saw briefly in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Batman was watching videos of all the other superhumans in the DCEU. He's Vic "Cyborg" Stone's father, and a leading mind at STAR Labs. This scene, which features a Parademon looming behind him, hints at one of the story points of the movie: the soldiers from Apokolips are kidnapping prominent scientific minds for their own ends. OR...
Maybe they're just after this Mother Box. The Mother Box is the unifying piece of technology of the Jack Kirby Fourth World. Think of a Mother Box as an alien smartphone that can do anything from heal the injured to teleport you across time and space.
We also know that Vic Stone played for a Gotham City team, and those are his trophies piled up around this all-important piece of technology.
This is probably our best look at Cyborg overall. I'm not necessarily sold on this design. Also, is he carrying a Mother Box here? That's a little bigger than I normally expect those to be.
Cyborg is clearly deploying his famous sound cannon from the comics here.
So, when Cyborg goes to the "full face mask" mode here, the similarities to the Parademons become unavoidable. It will be interesting to see how much of this they decide to play with in terms of whether the Parademon/Apokolips tech is trying to take him over in the course of the movie.
Also, and this is just kind of a bonus...
This bit with Cyborg breaking through the clouds under the light of a full moon kind of reminds me of that famous Batwing shot in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie.
Let's talk about Aquaman, since he gets the most screen time in this trailer, and it's pretty clear that Warner Bros. are pretty hot on the character at the moment.
They sure are pushing Aquaman as the League's badass/Wolverine type character in this, aren't they? I'm totally OK with that.
Since Zack Snyder sure loves his Biblical imagery, here's Aquaman using his trident to, essentially, "part the sea." OK, it's probably just a garden variety flood of some kind, but you just know they had some Ten Commandments ambitions here.
Two things to note here. The first is that the Aquaman armor is really cool.
But also, the bit where he spears two Parademons with his trident feels like a nod to Justice League: Origin, where the above panel was a key part of his introduction.
Here's Amber Heard as Queen Mera, flanked by some Atlantean guards. She probably doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to do in this flick, but she'll be a major player in the upcoming Aquaman movie directed by James Wan.
I'm totally sold on the Aquaman costume. This is a terrific design, and it's cool that it includes the traditional "A" belt buckle. Although, are we going to have a repeat of the old Man of Steel "it's not an S" dialogue in some form with Aquaman?
Anyway, his whole attitude throughout this trailer kind of reminds me of a more "badass" version of how the character was portrayed on the excellent Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series, where Aquaman was kind of a dude looking for a good time who loved to fight. I think that's a nice dynamic to add to the DCEU, to be honest, and one that it needs.
Did...did Batman actually smile during this exchange with Aquaman?
This seems like a reasonable way to transition to talking about Batman for a minute.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was heavily influenced by The Dark Knight Returns comic. But one thing we never got to see in that was any kind of homage to that famous panel of Batman charging on horseback. Whether it's intentional or not, having Bruce Wayne on a black steed in the snow here feels kind of like one last nod to DKR before we move on with the rest of the story.
Fun bonus fact! Early drafts of the 1989 Batman movie did indeed feature a scene with Batman riding a black horse as an homage to this very moment from the comics!
This vehicle is actually, I kid you not, called the Knightcrawler. We have a little more info on this and some of Bruce Wayne's other new toys, right here.
Despite the fact that Bruce is taking on a Parademon here, this shot is a pretty obvious homage to the cover of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman.
Kind of like the Dark Knight Returns #1 shot from Batman v Superman.
Here's Batman's latest series of upgrades to the Batmurdermobile. The good news is, unlike the dozens of thugs massacred in Batman v Superman, the Parademons are pretty much the equivalent of robots, so there's no shortage of Batcannon fodder here, with fewer potential moral or ethical issues.
We finally get to meet JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. This looks like a great piece of casting. And just in case you've forgotten, they're in Gotham City, but what you're seeing across the river there is Metropolis. Anyone who has ever stood on the high ground in Hoboken or Jersey City and looked across at Manhattan is familiar with a view very much like this.
Also, Gordon's line about seeing Batman "playing well with others" is a fun reference to how Bats is basically less of a dick when he has friends. It was heavily hinted at in Batman v Superman that one of the things that pushed ol' pointy head over into fascism was the death of the Jason Todd version of Robin at the hands of the Joker. With Chris McKay currently working on a Nightwing movie, the dynamic of Batman working with others is bound to be explored further in the DCEU, and that's something we haven't had enough of in modern times on screen (no, the Schumacher movies do not count).
Barry Allen's nerdy, hi-tech HQ is kinda cool, but I appreciate Bruce Wayne in plainclothes spookily appearing like Batman in this kid's home. It's less threatening than if he was in Batman gear, and it seems to indicate his overall, more friendly approach to the other heroes in the DCEU.
I've been on the fence about Flash's costume design from the start. On the one hand, it's certainly recognizable as a Flash costume, but the extra hi-tech nature and segmented armor bits are things I haven't exactly loved. But the more I see it in action, the more comfortable I get with it, and I think aesthetically, it's a good fit for the world being built here. Plus, the above is just an extraordinarily cool image.
Here's Flash taking on a Parademon. This shot is more notable because it's our best look at what I believe is an actual human in a Parademon costume rather than a CGI character. I could be wrong, though.
So far, the DCEU version of the Flash has been steering aggressivly clear of obvious parallels to the TV series, but here we have one. That's Billy Crudup as Dr. Henry Allen, Barry's father, who is (wrongfully) in prison for the murder of Barry's mother. The whole "hands on the glass" thing was done quite a bit between the TV versions of these characters, played by Grant Gustin and the great John Wesley Shipp. Mr. Crudup was cast as Henry for the upcoming Flash solo movie, which is in between directors and scripts, and is somewhat in limbo right now.
But there's one other similarity worth pointing out...
Henry is rocking the Jay Garrick look with the grey hair at the temples thing. With recent developments on The Flash TV series, this could also be an indicator of how things will be handled in the DCEU. I wrote lots more about Jay Garrick, one of my favorite characters, right here.
Whether this is just standard Flash super speed FX or the DCEU visual representation of the overall Speed Force, I have to confess, this is a pretty cool shot.
So, Wonder Woman doesn't get a whole lot to do in this trailer, although she's clearly central to Bruce Wayne's redemption and mission. The lack of too much Wonder Woman in this particular trailer is probably by design, as we're getting plenty of her in the promotional stuff for her upcoming solo movie.
We're clearly inside some kind of Apokoliptan/Parademon ship or headquarters here. The design isn't really all that overwhelming, as it just seems kind of like your typical post-Geiger "alien" blockbuster look, and there's little of the kind of the wild creativity you'd expect from something originally created by comics-as-you-know-them architect, Jack Kirby.
I imagine that this shot is something of a follow up to what we saw before, as Aquaman and Wonder Woman still appear to be within some kind of Parademon base. I could be wrong, and they might just be underground. Regardless, though, dig Diana's bracelets here!
But this next part is noteworthy...
And this is flat out great...
Check out the Amazons taking on an army of Parademons! This is pretty badass. I guess the only question here is whether this is happening in the present while the Justice League are elsewhere taking on the invasion, or if it represents an earlier invasion from the distant past.
Hey, look! It's Amy Adams as Lois Lane! Remember when Superman was part of the Justice League? He sure has been conspicuously absent from all of the footage and most of the promotional materials so far. But remember, according to Flash's warnings from Batman v Superman, Lois is the key to Superman's resurrection. Or maybe she's the key to his redemption.
See, I'm still worried that when Superman is first brought back to life, he's not going to be on the side of the Justice League. I wrote more on what the ending of Batman v Superman might mean for the big guy right here.
Spot anything that I missed? Shout it out in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
We take a closer look at the Justice League movie that almost was... George Miller's Justice League: Mortal.
Mad Max: Fury Roaddirector, George Miller, was once set to helm a Justice League movie nearly a decade ago. The project was known as Justice League: Mortal and it was far more than an unproduced script. A full cast was in place, sets and costumes were in production from Weta Workshop, and filming was all set to begin in Australia before things got...complicated.
It's a shame, too. Based on the script I read, Justice League: Mortal would have been a fairly impressive, very recognizable representation of DC's flagship super team. It also would have beaten The Avengers to the big screen by at least a couple of years.
I took a careful look at the Justice League: Mortal script and rounded up some of the other available information out there. We even spoke with George Miller about what it was like to have the plug pulled on a $250 million superhero movie just days before shooting was scheduled to begin.
Let's get going...
Justice League Mortal Script
Michele and Kiernan Mulroney (who went on to pen Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadowsafter this movie failed to materialize) wrote the Justice League: Mortalscript, and all things considered, it's a fun, breezy read. The script was handed over to Warner Bros. in June of 2007 and received a positive response from executives, and it's easy to see why.
The characters are in costume and in action on virtually every single page from the get-go, and there's plenty of opportunity for merchandising between the heroes and the endless array of robotic bad guys they square off with. Everyone (yes, even Aquaman) gets a chance to shine, and the idea of introducing a new DC cinematic universe with all of the characters together and then spinning them off into their own films certainly must have seemed attractive, even in those pre-Marvel Studios days.
While it's refreshing to see these characters presented pretty much exactly as you would want to see them, with little in the way in deconstructionism or even soul-searching on display, it does make the proceedings feel a little lightweight. Justice League: Mortal sometimes reads more like an extended episode of the Justice League Unlimited animated series. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but things move along a little too easily considering how many characters need to be introduced.
The film is bookended with a funeral sequence for a hero, although we don't find out who it's for until the end. Once that shocking opening is out of the way, it's made clear that superheroes are already well-established on Earth. In fact, they're so well-established that Wonder Woman is addressing the UN to discuss the fact that humanity (with the help of their superpowered protectors) appears to have achieved world peace. Even Bruce Wayne's faithful aide, Alfred, tells Bruce that crime in Gotham City has been reduced to a "nuisance."
It's an interesting opening gambit, almost like a far-reaching, optimistic version of Watchmen, but it's glossed over so quickly (Wonder Woman's speech to the UN is broadcasting on a TV in the background of a restaurant where Barry Allen and Iris West are eating), and referred to so infrequently afterwards, that it's almost inconsequential. It makes for a nice change of pace from the origin story addiction on display in most superhero movies, and the novelty is more in how these characters get together and interact rather than how they came to be in the first place.
It's never made quite clear how long superheroes have been operating, but I figure five years is a safe bet, especially for Batman, who has probably been operating longer than any of them. The world's superhumans have never teamed up on a large scale, but some of them appear to have met before.
The Flash functions as the POV character of the film. Despite his great power, he's the joking everyman, constantly in awe of the other heroes around him. It's not necessarily the most in tune with traditional depictions of Barry Allen (although one could argue that Grant Gustin's version of the character could slot right in here), and Barry's sense of humor is similar to how the Flash of the Justice League animated series (although on that show, he's Wally West) was presented. The fact that a 17 year old Wally West is also hanging around makes things a little distracting, as his personality is almost indistinguishable from that of his Uncle's.
Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is the most "outgoing" member of the team. I mean that inasmuch as she has apparently already met/worked with Superman (they're on a first name, not codename basis), Aquaman (who she has some romantic tension with), and possibly Martian Manhunter. She's also the public voice of the metahuman community. When we first meet her, she's addressing the United Nations in that television broadcast, which is a nice way to set up Diana as an ambassador, although little is made of her Amazon background. It's safe to assume that's all in place, though.
In short order we're introduced to the rest of the team once the Martian Manhunter finds himself the victim of a mysterious attack that leaves him in the uncomfortable position of bursting into flames whenever he's exposed to oxygen. As each member of the team goes to his rescue, they each find themselves compromised by nanotechnology that exploits their weaknesses.
Why is this happening? Because Batman's been hacked, and his files on how to take out assorted superhumans if they ever got out of line are now being exploited by Bruce Wayne's buddy Maxwell Lord, who is also playing around with the government's super secret OMAC technology.
How did this happen? Because Talia al Ghul slipped some tracking tech into Batman's shorts during one of their romantic interludes.
Why is that happening? Because Maxwell Lord wants revenge on the world for horrible experiments done to him as a child as part of the OMAC Project, which left him with some low-level psychic abilities. Simple, right?
Eventually, everyone gets back on their feet, they make their peace with Batman despite the fact that he's a pointy-headed, paranoid, fascist dick, and get ready to take on Maxwell Lord and the OMAC cyborgs...who unfortunately have innocent people inside them. In the course of this, Superman ends up mind-controlled and the team has to deal with a Kryptonian running amok on top of everything else.
Remember what I said about Flash getting the most screen time? Well, he also gets the most dramatic moment. See...remember how I said this is bookended with a funeral?
Barry Allen sacrifices himself to get rid of Maxwell Lord (who has become a cybernetic doomsday device) by basically running so fast he merges with the Speed Force and sucks the giant OMAC into oblivion with him. Ummmm...it actually reads a lot better than I make it sound. Wally West then takes up his Uncle's heroic mantle and joins the team at the end. All the Flash stuff is handled really well throughout the movie, from representations of how Barry sees the world when he's moving at full speed to his relationship with Iris West. His death definitely would have hit an unspoiled audience pretty hard, since he's by far the most likeable character in the movie.
The Comic Book Influences
What's remarkable about Justice League: Mortal is how utterly faithful to the source material it is. It's not just an unashamed representation of the DC superheroes that make up the team's roster, it's almost slavishly devoted to the Justice League stories of the early 21st century.
The core team consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman (complete with his prosthetic "water hand"), Green Lantern (John Stewart), and J'onn J'onzz (The Martian Manhunter), with an assist from Wally West. If the team sounds familiar, that's because it's virtually identical to the core team that made up the (still excellent and well worth your time) Justice League animated series. All you have to do is swap Wally West's Flash for Barry Allen's, and try and get Hawkgirl in the mix somewhere.
Comic fans who read my (admittedly kinda perfunctory) summation of the script's events will probably recognize a bunch of story elements from Justice League comics of the era, too.
The first is JLA: Tower of Babelby Mark Waid and Howard Porter. This is the now infamous tale where the Justice League are defeated because someone gets a hold of Batman's files on everybody's weakness. It's a great comic, although an early symptom of the "with enough prep time, Batman could defeat god" problem. In the hands of less talented writers it's an irritating trope that cheapens everyone involved. Tower of Babel, incidentally, was adapted as a truly awful DC Animated Universe film called Justice League: Doomed. While many of those DCAU movies are a really good time, avoid that one.
The other is The OMAC Project by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz. This was another matter of Batman's good/bad intentions backfiring, as a satellite of his ("Brother Eye") that was built to monitor the Justice League ends up activating cybernetic sleeper agents all over the world (OMACs), at the behest of Maxwell Lord. In the comics, Wonder Woman decides that Maxwell Lord is too dangerous to live and snaps his neck as assuredly as lazy writing in a modern Superman movie, whereas in Justice League: Mortal, Superman and Wonder Woman refuse to do the deed, but Batman, ever the douchebag, is happy to.
The funeral sequence that bookends the film is reminiscent of Identity Crisis (although it wasn't the same character taking the dirt nap in that one). And since that funeral is for the Flash (and, for real, this movie isn't ever getting made, so please don't yell at me about spoilers), his death sequence is quite similar to how he exited our realm in Crisis on Infinite Earths, right down to the empty costume fluttering to the ground once he vanishes.
It also packs enough DC Comics Easter eggs per page to make even a Marvel Studios exec say "you might want to take that down a notch." In the course of its 128 pages we're treated to references to offscreen DC supervillains like Scarecrow, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, and Catwoman, Batman love-interests like Julie Madison, Silver St. Cloud, and Vicki Vale, plus DC landmarks like Arkham Asylum, The Slab, and Stryker's Island prison. Even the "Planet Krypton" restaurant chain from DC's post-Kingdom Comeexperiments with the continuity altering "hypertime" plot device shows up a few times, and there's a reference to a "Hal Jordan Memorial Park" that Green Lantern John Stewart is designing in his day job as an architect.
There's a fun closing sequence with the newly-formed team rushing off to fight Starro, the intergalactic menace that brought the original Justice League together in the first place in the Brave and the Bold #28 way the hell back in 1960.
Justice League Mortal Cast
Justice League: Mortal had an ensemble cast that would have consisted of Adam Brody (The Flash), Armie Hammer (Batman), Common (Green Lantern), DJ Cotrona (Superman), Megan Gale (Wonder Woman), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Martian Manhunter), Santiago Cabrera (Aquaman), with Zoe Kasan as Iris Allen. On the villainous side we had Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord and Teresa Palmer as Talia al Ghul.
The above cast photo by the way, is (according to the good folks at Comics Alliance who pointed it out to us) "Hammer in the back row, Cotrona directly in front of him, Cabrera, Brody, Palmer, Van Borssum and Osborne in the second row from the front, and Miller, Baruchel, and Keays-Byrne in front. The woman to the left of Cotrona may be Wonder Woman actress Megan Gale. The man to the right of Cotrona has not been identified."
There are still some fun superhero connections to be made here, too...
Armie Hammer (sort of) got to play a superhero in Disney's ill-fated The Lone Rangermovie and his name did briefly resurface in connection with Batman once Christian Bale hung up the pointy cowl. DJ Cotrona never got to play Superman, but he did play Flint in GI Joe: Retaliation. Common recently spoke about the possibility of giving Green Lantern another go before taking on a mystery role in the Suicide Squad movie. Megan Gale, by the way, can be seen in Mad Max: Fury Roadas the Valkyrie along with Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe.
Why Didn't it Happen?
There are several reasons, some are creative, while others are just a question of beauracracy and economics. Timing was definitely a factor.
By some accounts, Justice League: Mortal was mere days away from filming, with Weta having built nearly everything from sets to props and costumes, with special effects pre-vis already set to go. I've exhausted myself trying to track down images of the costumes that Weta designed for this film, but there's very little out there other than some concept art which you can see below. By all accounts, they were rather remarkable. There's a fun video of Armie Hammer freaking out a little bit over how cool his Batman costume "with all the carbon fiber and mechanics and springs and pistons" on it (there's an appropriate story purpose for that stuff, by the way, Batman is injured and is wearing high tech arm and knee braces) would have looked.
Adam Brody remembers trying on an early version of the Flash costume. He told MTV that “It was kinda what you’d think, without [certain features]; it was the first, rough-draft version...We were in Australia for some table reads and fittings and whatnot for a few weeks with George Miller and his camp, and that was a great experience. I don’t regret a second of it; I had a really good time and a lot of positive things came from that.”
Our own Don Kaye had a chance to ask George Miller about why Justice League: Mortal had its plug pulled at the last minute. "Well," he began, "it's weird." We don't doubt it.
He did clarify things, though:
"There was a writers strike. There was some legislation with a tax rebate to make it in Australia. It was the first film that came up, and there was a debate about whether it was Australian content even though I was driving it. It didn’t have to be Australian content, but Australian control. But there was a board that no longer exists that the government cobbled together from people who knew nothing about the film industry. And they voted -- they struck it down by one vote. We were all ready. Once that happened and then the writers’ strike happened…it fell apart."
But there's always the lingering issue of whether Warner Bros. was comfortable having different versions of its own characters competing with each other for audience dollars. Superman Returns had opened in 2006 with Brandon Routh in the title role, and while it underperformed at the box office, a sequel had been penciled in for 2009. Smallvillewas in the middle of some of its most successful seasons. DJ Cotrona would have made the third live-action Superman vying for attention at the same time.
Adam Brody believed that Warner Bros. "just didn’t want to cross their streams with a whole bunch of Batmans in the universe and all the other reasons they didn’t make it." Justice League: Mortal would have been in production while the promotional machine for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was in full gear, and with the third film in that Batman trilogy on the horizon, an "unassociated" Batman might not have been welcome. Meanwhile, the big screen Batman of the era, Christian Bale, seemed less than enthused by the whole affair, saying "It’d be better if it doesn’t tread on the toes of what we’re doing," and "it would be better if it comes out after Batman 3."
I also have to wonder how Christopher Nolan felt about the whole thing. By the time "Batman 3" (which we know as The Dark Knight Risesthese days) was in production, Warner Bros. was already making impatient noises about competing with Marvel Studios' shared universe model, and that was a game that Mr. Nolan wasn't at all interested in playing with his Batman films.
So, now that the world has had a good dose of Mad Max: Fury Road, which appears antithetical to many of the traditional CGI-laden superhero movie aesthetics we've become accustomed to over the last few years, the question remains: would George Miller ever want to try again?
"I mean I’m a DC man," Mr. Miller told us. "Like a lot of these things, of course, they're deeply rooted in Greek mythology, and I’m very into mythology and so on. But I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate and not enough time to do it. If it was something I’d be interested in…If I could do it so it felt fresh, that’s my biggest thing."
We suspect he could. Too bad he didn't get his chance with Justice League: Mortal.
Justice League: Mortal Concept Art
There are some folks making the documentary about George Miller's Justice League movie (apparently called Miller's Justice League: Mortal) and they gave fans our first taste of what they might have in store for everyone, via Twitter. Check out some concept art and costume designs from the movie...
The above image comes from around the film's climax.
Get a look at Aquaman right here. It's a more traditional take than what we're seeing with Jason Momoa in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Note his "water hand."
And then here's one more image of Wonder Woman to close things out. If we see more, we'll post them here!
Mike Cecchini has read more unproduced superhero scripts than your average studio executive. Make fun of him on Twitter.
This article originally ran on May 29th, 2015.
The Flash movie is supposed to come out after Justice League, but it has hit some delays.
This article contains a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoiler. You've been warned.
The Flash movie was supposed to go into production soon, but after losing its director late in 2016, that is now in doubt. Rick Famuyiwa, who replaced previous director Seth Grahame-Smith back in June left the project, apparently over the old, reliable "creative differences." Famuyiwa did a revision of the script that Grahame-Smith had written after work by Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Whew. You got all that?
But with Famuyiwa gone, it's time for another pass on that script, and Variety reported in January that Joby Harold, who worked on the upcoming King Arthur: Legend Of The Swordfor Warner Bros., is taking a shot at a draft. And not just any shot, he's apparently doing the dreaded "page one rewrite."
The previous draft that Famuyiwa worked on had a role for Ray Fisher as Vic Stone/Cyborg, possibly as a significant piece of the movie. It's not clear if that will still be the case with Harold's draft. At this point, it's all but certain that we can kiss that March 2018 release date goodbye.
The Flash Movie Release Date
The Flash is currently scheduled to open on March 16, 2018. While Warner Bros. hasn't officially moved that yet, they're going to. There's no way this one makes it to that particular finish line.
The Flash Movie Cast
Ezra Miller will play Barry Allen in The Flash movie, and he made his first appearance as the character in two brief sequences in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and another in an equally brief scene in Suicide Squad.
Kiersey Clemons (Dope) will play Iris West.
Billy Crudup (you may know him as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen if you're looking for more comic book-centric roles) will play Barry Allen's father, Dr. Henry Allen.
The above image comes from the Justice League trailer, and it indicates that they're taking a similar approach to the Barry/Henry relationship as what we saw explored on The Flash TV series.
As for whether Ray Fisher will still be in the movie as Cyborg, DC Extended Universe executive producer Deborah Snyder may have revealed a little about that during an interview with Forbes a while back.
"As you can imagine, when we get to the Flash movie, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher — who plays Cyborg — are kind of our youngest characters, and they have a really nice comradery with each other," Ms. Snyder said. "Ezra is super funny, so the tone of that film will be very different than the rest of them."
It's not clear if she's talking specifically about The Flash movie or if she's just referring to the room for different tones and points of view within the DC superhero movies. Teaming Flash and Cyborg would not only help set up Cyborg's solo movie, but might help set the film apart from some other superhero movies, too.
The Flash Movie Story
As for what form the movie might take, there are no real details available yet, but Ezra Miller seems to have given it some thought. "Barry Allen is the hero of the Silver Age, who follows a lot of really interesting discoveries in physics", he said. "It's like, where he comes from, we've figured out the event horizon was there, and then he was the character that was created through our mythos machine of comic books to break that event horizon so we could explore in fantasy. I think that's an interesting idea - and also what the fuck does that do to someone?"
One thing we know for sure, it won't have anything to do with The Flash TV series, so you can set that out of your mind. Miller commented on that a little a while back, saying "I think it's awesome! Come on, we're The Flash! It's parallel universes! Grant Gustin is The Flash and I'm The Flash - don't you see? It's the Event Horizon, we crossed it baby!"
There was a hint of the parallel universe angle (or certainly time travel) in the character's brief appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Flash Movie Costume
As you can see from the above image from the Justice League teaser, this is a more technologically-based costume than the one we see on the television series. There are indications he'll have a more low-tech version when we meet him in Justice League, before Bruce Wayne helps him get the new one together.
We'll update this with more official info as we get it.
One of the greatest Flash villains you haven't heard of yet is coming to TV this week. So who is Abra Kadabra, anyway?
The ability of the writers and the producers of CW’s The Flash to bring classic comic book villains to life has been truly magical since the series began. And with Abra Kadabra coming to DC TV, "magical" isn't just a clever turn of phrase. Who is this magical malcontent, you ask? Sit back and let’s go for a mystical ride back to the Silver Age of comics...
When writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino first introduced Abra Kadabra in The Flash#128 (1962), he stood apart from the villainous pack. After all, up until that point, most Flash villains were either strange aliens or career criminals enhanced by improbably hi-tech weaponry. But Abra Kadabra, with his jaunty cape and mustachioed visage, was anachronistic when compared to the eye popping Silver Age designs of villains like Captain Boomerang or Captain Cold. Abra Kadabra looked like he belonged fighting Doctor Fate or Sargon the Sorcerer back in the Golden Age of comics, but there he was, wand, mustache, and all, battling the Scarlet Speedster.
Most of Flash’s villains were technology enhanced or science based (well, except for the ones that were giant evil psychic gorilla dictators), and surprisingly, under the surface, Abra Kadabra wasn't much different. He wasn't a classic evil sorcerer, not really, he was a citizen of the 64th century. Citizen Abra was a stage magician who longed for accolades and applause but people living in an advanced civilization where time travel was possible weren't really impressed with magic hats or some mustachioed nutjob pulling handkerchiefs out of his mouth. So Abra did what any insane, narcissistic futuristic stage magician would do, he stole a time machine and traveled back to the 20th century where people would be awestruck by his tricks.
Now, let’s stop here and let this sink in. Abra Kadabra abandoned a time period where there was no disease, war, or famine to come to the 20th century so people would clap for him. That’s pretty messed up.
And when Abra got to the past, he didn’t even really use magic, he just used technology from his era to make people think he was using magic. That’s like me going back to 1654 with a flip phone and saying I was a wizard. People didn’t know what to make of the gaudily dressed egoist and kind of just watched his shenanigans with mouths agape. But Abra Kadabra would have his applause, oh yes. He used his super tech to force people to applaud. Try as he might, Abra Kadabra couldn't get people interested in his showmanship, but he was in Central City where the greatest celebrities were the Flash and his motley assortment of villains, so like any sensible magician, he turned to crime.
In their first encounter, Abra defeated Flash by using his futuristic clap inducing technology (ahem). There was Barry Allen, clapping his hands and stomping his feet with such verve that he couldn’t stop Abra Kadabra. Later, Abra Kadabra attempted his greatest trick by making the Flash disappear. All that was left of Flash was his uniform as he was shot off into space. Flash used his speed to race back to Earth and easily defeated Abra Kadabra, but a very different type of rogue was born, one who committed crimes not for material gain, but to feed his own ego.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some of the more magical moments of Abra Kadabra’s career...
The Greatest Moment in the History of Western Fiction
In The Flash #133 (1962) by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, something happens that is so awesomely improbable, it remains one of the wackiest, most awesome bits of comic book weirdness ever rendered on a comic book page. After Abra Kadabra escapes from prison, he sets up a puppet show (as one does). He uses his new found puppet glory to ruin Flash’s reputation. He builds a Flash puppet and humiliates it.
That's kind of silly, but things soon take a glorious turn. Abra Kadabra uses his 64th century tech to set up a trap that turns Flash into a freakin’ puppet! Yes, Abra Kadabra transforms Barry Allen into a marionette, and Barry doesn’t even seem that phased by it. On the cover of this infamous issue, Flash is proclaiming, “I’ve got the strangest feeling I’m being turned into a puppet.”
Now what does that feel like? Does it feel like you’re limbs get really stiff, or is it one of those weird feelings when you have to poop but not really? Does it feel like Jim Henson is whispering in your ear, or does it feel like you need a moment alone with Shari Lewis and Lambchop? Does you Kukla feel all Fran and Ollied? We want to know!
Whatever the case, Flash was a puppet but somehow uses super speed to not be a puppet (I guess he vibrates at the opposite frequency of a puppet?) and defeats Abra Kadabra. But this moment of glory will forever define the endless insanity of Flash’s Silver Age adventures.
Psst, Greg Berlanti, psst, Geoff Johns, pssst, Andrew Kreisberg. Gather ‘round, I need to talk to you. Yeah, let’s huddle. Please have Abra Kadabra turn Barry into a puppet on TV. Please, the universe needs this to happen. Thanks, you guys.
Abra Kadabra fights Barry Allen many times in the Silver and Bronze Ages, yet unlike other famed Flash foes, Abra always fought alone. The magician’s immense ego doesn’t allow him to play well with others.
Abra Kadabra returned again and again in order to achieve the glory of defeating the Flash, but in all that time, no creator really delved into Abra Kadabra’s world of the 64th century...until the great Mark Waid that is. In The Flash #67-68 (1992), Waid and artist Greg Larocque present “Future Tense,” a tale in which Abra returns to his own timeline. The wrinkle they add to the Abra Kadabra legend is that in the future, certain malcontents and rebels worship the magician. They honor his non-conformist view of the world and form a sort of Cult of Kadabra. The rest of society wants Abra Kadabra dead and Wally West (who took over from Barry Allen after Crisis on Infinite Earths) must race to the future to save Barry’s magical mortal enemy. Wally saves Abra Kadabra and destroys the method by which the evil techo-wizard travels through time. So now, Abra Kadabra is stuck in the 20th century, far from the 64th rebellion that so honors him.
Ironically, Abra Kadabra finds himself in a world where that applause he so desired is waiting for him...44 centuries in the future. Abra Kadabra dedicates himself to destroy Wally West as the magician now no longer wants plaudits for defeating Flash, he wants revenge. Abra Kadabra became a much more bitter enemy of Wally West than he ever was of Barry Allen and became one of Wally’s most obsessed and terrifying rogues. One wonders if CW’s Flash will follow suit and cast Abra Kadabra as more of a rival to Wally than Barry.
His Greatest Trick
In order to achieve his bloody goal of destroying Wally West, Abra Kadabra turns to the devil himself. In the 1995 Underworld Unleashed storyline by Mark Waid and Howard Porter, Abra Kadabra makes a deal with the demonic entity known as Neron. Neron had the penchant for upping the power levels of DC villains who sold their souls to the demonic entity. But Abra Kadabra’s ego was too huge to sell his own soul, so Abra Kadabra did the unthinkable and sold the souls of five of Flash’s rogues (Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, and Captain Cold) to the devil.
After this act that proved there is no honor among thieves, Abra Kadabra became Neron’s chief lieutenant. Not bad, from a puppet obsessed egocentric stage magician to the right hand man of the devil hisownself. Wally West and the heroes of the DCU would defeat Neron and save the rogues but now, Abra Kadabra had legit magical powers thanks to his Faustian deal. Abra Kadabra was finally a true wizard and ready to take his hatred of Wally West to the next level.
And Now I’ll Make This Woman, Disappear
With his new found devil enhanced magic, Abra Kadabra would soon commit his greatest atrocity. In 2000, in a storyline written by Waid and Brian Augustyn and drawn by Paul Pelletier, Abra Kadabra would go after reporter Linda Park, Wally West’s greatest love. Linda was Flash’s anchor to reality and whenever Wally got lost in time or space, Linda would be his beacon home.
Yeah, on TV, Park was a sports reporter that had a brief fling with Barry Allen and then disguised herself as Doctor Light, but in the 90s, in the pages of DC Comics, Linda Park was a pretty damn big deal. That’s why it was so shocking when Abra Kadabra made Linda Park disappear from all of reality. Not only was Linda gone, no one remembered her. Abra Kadabra committed the ultimate act of revenge by magically robbing Wally West of his greatest love and his true purpose. With this one spell, all of a sudden, puppets, applause, and the wonderful silliness of the Silver Age was forgotten as Abra Kadabra took the stage as Wally’s greatest foe.
Thankfully, Park was actually only shunted off into another dimension and the power of Wally and Linda’s love eventually reunited the couple. There was a whole thing with Wally’s twin from another dimension and more time and space shenanigans than you can shake a magic wand at, but the takeaway here is this, Abra Kadabra almost pulled off his greatest trick, making the love of his arch enemy’s life disappear.
As many Flash fans know, after the comic book version of Flashpoint, Wally West himself disappeared. When Wally West returned in the pages of 2016’s DC Universe: Rebirth, a great mystery followed. Where was the former Flash, why was he gone so long and how did he return after so many years? Well, in the world of The Flash, when someone disappears, you can bet that Abra Kadabra had something to do with it.
In the pages of Titans by writer Dan Abnett and Brett Booth, it was revealed that Abra Kadabra kidnapped Linda Park and the members of the Titans. He forced Wally West to travel so fast in the Speed Force to save his friends that Wally disappeared from reality. But in Rebirth, Wally returned and with him, a sense of hope and wonder returned to the DC Universe. The reemerged West and the reunited classic Titans defeated Abra Kadabra and restored Wally and the Titans to DCU prominence.
But hey, Abra Kadabra was so damn powerful, he not only robbed the DC Universe of Wally West, he robed all of reality- including ours!- of the beloved hero. Think about that next time your laughing at the puppet stuff.
And there you go, Abra Kadabra 101. If Abra Kadabra follows the same pattern of coolness and creative quality that so many other classic Flash Rogues have achieved on the CW, we’re sure Abra Kadabra will finally receive that standing ovation he’s always desired.
The Venom spin-off movie at Sony is definitely happening with an October 2018 release, but Alex Kurtzman is not directing.
It looks like a larger shared Spider-Man universe, whether it’s with Spidey or not, is back on at Sony Pictures. Everyone’s favorite symbiote anti-hero, Venom, will be swinging into theaters sooner than expected on Oct. 5, 2018.
The news, which was first broken by The Wrap, points to Sony Pictures continuing to have big plans for their Spider-Man license that extends beyond the new series of films starring Tom Holland, who is also appearing in Disney/Marvel Studios’ Avengers crossover events. The Venom movie will take on many of the characteristics of how the spin-off was originally conceived at Sony back when it would have dovetailed into Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man films. At the time Alex Kurtzman was set to direct. Currently, Kurtzman is busy in post-production on Universal Pictures’ The Mummy reboot, which is due out in June. A separate source close to Kurtzman appeared surprised about reports he was back in the picture to direct, and told us that Kurtzman is right now focused on getting The Mummy completed and that they have heard nothing about his involvement in a Venom movie.
Venom, a character best known for his original Eddie Brock alter-ego, first appeared in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man #299 and was created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane in 1988. And while he often has been a foil and antagonist to Spider-Man, The Wrap suggests that the Venom movie and any subsequent sequels would be separate and unrelated to the movies that are being co-produced by Marvel Studios. Again, sources have not confirmed the veracity of this. However, it certainly would be an excuse to take Venom to some darker places away from the MCU, much like the highly successful R-rated superhero films recently released by 20th Century Fox with Deadpool and Logan.
There was a Venom screenplay written by Dante Harper (Alien: Covenant) but it now appears that Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg are working on the current version. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing. Venom was previously played by Topher Grace in 2007’s Spider-Man 3.
Venom Movie Release Date
Currently, we have had the movie's October 5th, 2018 release date confirmed by Sony, which is also moving Fede Alvarez's The Girl in the Spider's Web to Oct. 19, 2018. A report on My Entertainment World indicates that it's scheduled to shoot this Fall, which would make sense if it's going to make that October 2018 release date.
Everything we know about the second season of MTV's The Shannara Chronicles...
Good news, fantasy lovers! MTV's The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 has started production in New Zealand, and has announced a whole bunch of new cast members to join the series.
The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 will pick up a year after the events of Season 1, and finds The Four Lands in chaos, with an organization called The Crimson is intent on hunting down magic users.
Amidst the unrest, Will, still mourning the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical healer destiny. Meanwhile, Bandon has turned super evil and is on a mission to resurrect The Warlock Lord. (No, The Warlock Lord is not a nice guy.)
Enter a whole host of new characters...
According to MTV News, Malese Jow (The Flash, The Vampire Diaries) has joined the Shannara Chronicles Season 2 cast as Mareth, a "volatile and unpredictable" young woman with magical powers who will help Wil find his way back to his friends and escape The Crimson. "Sharp, brash, and independent to a fault," Mareth knows how to get what she wants.
Also joining the cast is Vanessa Morgan (Finding Carter) as Lyria, a young woman romatically linked to Eretria. Nice to see Eretria getting some love, especially amongst all of the danger and mayhem it sounds like we're in for in Season 2.
Gentry White (UnReal) will play Garet, the "wise-cracking Weapons Master of the Four Lands." Garet is a bounty hunter, "skilled, sly, and charismatic," it sounds like Garet could add some comedic elements to Season 2.
Caaroline Chikezie (Everly) will play Queen Tamlin, "the powerful and cunning ruler of Leah," and the only human kingdom in The Four Lands. Queen Tamlin is a ruthless weapons manufacturer who uses her royal clout to make a political alliance with the elves. Ambitious lady.
Desmond Chiam (Bones) has been added to the Shannara Chronicles cast as General Riga, the leader of the extremist soldier group The Crimson. On a mission to wipe out all magic in the Four Lands, Rigam used to be a top dog in Eventine's army, but has had a major change of heart after watching his people slaughtered in the War of the Races and fighting the Dagda Mor in the War of the Forbidding. This guy does not like magic.
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Cast
In the first season, The Shannara Chronicles starred Arrow's Manu Bennett, Pan's Labyrinth's Ivana Basquero, The Carrie Diaries' Austin Butler (also know as Thea Queen's DJ assassin boyfriend), and relative newcomer Poppy Drayton. Of course, the fate of Drayton's Amberle was very much in-the-air come the season one finale.
Returning for Season 2 from the original Season 1 cast will be: Austin Butler (Wil), Ivana Baquero (Eretria), Manu Bennett (Allanon), Aaron Jakubenko (Ander) and Marcus Vanco (Bandon). Interestingly, Drayton's Amberle isn't on that list, but we're not ready to give up hope on her character's non-tree-form return just yet...
Speaking to SciFiNow about the possible return of Amberle, Brooks teased:
Yeah, actually, although you might wonder how, and I won’t tell you, but we gave some serious thought to that, and there was a lot of talk about bringing her back out of the tree and so forth, but I said 'No, she’s a tree [laughs], you can’t bring her back, that’s terrible storytelling, you have to find a different way.' So then I told them how they could do it, so we’ll see.
But yeah, I think she’s signed on for another season or so, and she’ll back for that. I know that she probably wishes she’d gotten a different role, because she really liked the series, but her life was finite in that particular storyline.
More recently, Brooks told Just Jared Jr. about a possible Amberle (or at least Poppy Drayton) return:
I will say that once a chosen becomes the ellcrys tree, they are always the tree. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens...
Brooks also spoke about what season 2 might look like, particularly if the season will pick up where season 1 ends versus jumping ahead to the events of The Wishsong of Shannara...
This is an interesting debate that’s ongoing. When I first saw this I thought, 'Well, we should just move on and do a whole new season that involves the next book and forget about this season.' But of course MTV said, 'Are you crazy? We’re building fan support for these actors, we can’t boot them out of there and bring all-new people in!' And I said, 'Well, they could be the same characters, just the children or whatever…' that didn’t work.
It became clear that they were going to build the story around the actors they have right now, and that was going to be the thrust of the story no matter what. But they are free to remove elements from other books, and I think they will do that. They’ve already been talking about Wishsong and using bits and pieces or large chunks of that storyline and building around the characters they already have, which isn’t too difficult to do. So that’s what they will do. What shows tend to do when adapting books is do the first season and then go off in different directions, so I forsee my duty as being to help them get there in the best way possible.
— Shannara on MTV (@Shannara) April 20, 2016
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Release Date
MTV has stayed impressively tight-lipped about Shannara Chronicles season 2 of their fantasy drama, but (hopeful) speculation tends to place its release date in summer 2017. Again, though, that's just a guess.
The first season debuted in January 2016, but we are obviously not going to get a January debut for season two. But, hey, at least production has started!
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Synopsis
MTV also released an official synopsis for the new season of The Shannara Chronicles...
A year after the events of last season, The Four Lands is in chaos. The re-emergence of magic has the populace terrified, and an organization called The Crimson is hunting down magic users, using fear and intimidation to sow discord among the races.
Wil, scarred by the loss of Amberle and his separation from Eretria, has turned his back on his magical destiny to become a healer. But when a mysterious woman named Mareth saves Wil from a Crimson attack, he is forced to rejoin the fight.
After reuniting with Eretria, Wil and Mareth seek out Allanon, only to learn that the Druid’s former protégé, Bandon, is on a mission to resurrect a creature of darkest evil: The Warlock Lord. Together, our heroes must band together to take down The Crimson and prevent Bandon from unleashing an even greater threat upon the Four Lands, before it’s too late.
Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Trailer
As of yet, we have seen no footage from The Shannara Chronicles season two, but we'll be sure to update this page when a teaser or trailer drops.
The world will finally get to know the superhero buddy comic Archer & Armstrong on the big screen.
Get used to the words "Valiant Cinematic Universe." Following word that Sony is developing Bloodshot and Harbinger movies, and with the Russo Brothers working on a Quantum & Woody TV series, now Valiant's Archer & Armstrong are coming to the big screen.
The big news is that Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer is likely to direct, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Terry Rossio is writing the Archer & Armstrong screenplay and Fleischer, Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, and Dinsesh Shamdasani will produce.
Archer & Armstrong is an ongoing series about a drunken, disillusioned immortal and his adventures with an idealistic (which is putting it mildly) young man. The characters have been around since the early '90s, but the current incarnation of the series from the resurgent Valiant Entertainment has been an absolute blast.
And of course, the next logical step from Archer & Armstrong would be the Eternal Warrior. After all, if you're gonna have Aram Anni-Pada, how far behind can Gilad Anni-Pada be? Yes, yes...we know. One thing at a time. To complicate things further, this is apparently separate from the five movie deal in place at Sony that's bringing Bloodshot and Harbinger to theaters, so Archer & Armstrong will be shopped on its own to studios. We're not sure how that's supposed to work either.
From the Wonder Woman movie to Justice League and the Batman solo movie, here's the full DC superhero movie schedule!
Updated with new information on The Batman solo movie, Shazam!, Black Adam, Green Lantern Corps, and more!
Now that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have both come and gone, the DC Extended Universe is in full swing. The Wonder Woman movie is next up in June, and it's all leading up to the Justice League movie in November of 2017.
So, it's time to take a look at all of the DC superhero movies that will be released over the next few years. And trust us, there are a ton of them on the way, and we expect more details will be announced as we go forward.
We have all the release dates for every one of 'em right here, as well as official details, the most interesting rumors, and suggestions for further reading where appropriate.
Click the blue links to go to articles containing everything you need to know about the movies!
The fact that it has taken this long to get us to a Wonder Woman solo movie is almost beyond belief. We don't have time to get into the rampant short-sightedness that is keeping women from taking marquee roles in superhero movies at the moment (and that's bound to change one of these days, especially given how their fortunes have changed on TV), but just know that Gal Gadot did some serious Amazonian ass-kicking in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then we get her solo movie on June 2nd, 2017, and then she's back again in Justice League (more on that down below).
Patty Jenkins (Monster) is directing, from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns. Chris Pine will appear as Wonder Woman's love interest, Steve Trevor.
Zack Snyder will direct Justice League, and BvS co-writer Chris Terrio is back. The villain of this one is Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid's relatives, and it focuses on Batman building a team to confront him.
Here's the official synopsis:
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
This one will also introduce Aquaman's Queen Mera (played by Amber Heard), which would make sense considering that the Aquamanmovie will follow the next fall.
At this point, it's a safe bet that this isn't going to make that March release date. After losing two directors/writers in Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) wrote a screenplay, and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) this one needs some work. The latest is that it's being completely rewritten by Joby Harold. Meanwhile, no replacement director has been found.
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Madame Bovary) is playing Barry Allen, but probably a very different Barry Allen than the one we currently love on TV. Billy Crudup will play Dr. Henry Allen, with Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. Ray Fisher (Cyborg in Batman v Superman and Justice League) will also appear.
Now, about that release date change...there's now an empty space in July that Warner had previously reserved for a different DC superhero movie...
July 27th, 2018 - Unknown
This was formerly the date occupied by the Aquaman movie, but that was bumped to October. At one point we thought this could end up being the debut of Ben Affleck's Batmansolo movie but that film has just hit its own production problems, with Mr. Affleck bowing out as director, Matt Reeves coming on board, and perhaps a complete rewrite of the script looming.
Maybe The Flash, which is likely about to hit some production delays will just get a few months of breathing room? Or will Warner Bros. just use this for something else entirely that has nothing to do with superheroes? We'll probably find out very soon.
Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman. There's no doubt that they've been taking Aquaman very seriously. Amber Heard will also appear as Queen Mera. There are reports that Black Manta is the film's villain.
James Wan (Furious 7) will direct from a script by Kurt Johnstad (300: Rise of an Empire).
April 5th, 2019 - Shazam
Shazamhas both a writer (Henry Gayden, of Earth to Echo fame) and a star (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the villainous Black Adam) announced. If we end up getting to see Henry Cavill's Superman fight Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam some day, it's tough to imagine anyone would complain. Lights Out director David F. Sandberg is in the mix to direct this one, but hasn't been confirmed yet.
But like other projects on this calendar, this doesn't seem to be on the fast track, and with a recently announced Black Adam solo movie with Dwayne Johnson now in development (more on that in a bit), it's not clear what that means for the immediate future of Shazam.
June 14th, 2019 - Unknown
This was long ago announced as the Justice League 2 release date, but this is apparently about to change. Director Zack Snyder would like to take on another project, and there are recent indications that Warner Bros is prioritizing the Batmansolo movie over this, and that this could end up being that film's date instead.
It's also possible that this could end up being David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens movie, and we have more on that down below.
November 1st, 2019 - Untitled DC Film
No information has yet been given as to the story or what characters will be featured in the film. Man of Steel 2is back in active development at the studio. Could this be it? It's yet another potential landing date for Ben Affleck's Batman solo movie, too.
There's one interesting possibility: could this be that Lobomovie that was recently announced? This space-faring bounty hunter would certainly arrive sooner than expected, but isn't that what bounty hunters do?
November is a safer month for high profile releases than October, and this could be where the now-rescheduled Justice League 2 ends up, although we suspect it will be a bit longer than that.
The truth is that we just don't know what DC has planned for Nov. 2019, so we'll just have to wait and see.
April 3rd, 2020 - Cyborg
And this one is the biggest surprise of them all. Ray Fisher made his first (very brief) appearance as Vic Stone/Cyborg in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will clearly have a crucial role to play in both Justice League films if they're grooming him for a solo film. He's going to feature in The Flash solo movie, too.
No other details are presently available, and there are also rumors that this one might be reworked into a movie that would introduce the Teen Titans to the big screen.
Fairly or unfairly, Green Lantern has the most working against him. The 2011 film failed to kickstart the DC Universe as planned, and received a lukewarm (at best) critical and box-office reception. There are, of course, ways around this.
One way is to simply not make Hal Jordan the central Green Lantern of the movie. It was revealed at SDCC 2015 that the Green Lantern movie is now called Green Lantern Corps, and this one may focus on as many as three Green Lanterns, likely with John Stewart as the main Green Lantern of Sector 2814. David Goyer and Justin Rhodes are writing the script, but there's no director in place yet.
We've heard bits and pieces indicating that Green Lantern won't even show up until the end of Justice League, or possibly even Justice League 2. By the time 2020 rolls around, a decade will have passed, and by then the character won't be considered so radioactive by studio execs.
And then there are the missing pieces that are either unconfirmed or simply don't have release dates yet...
Justice League 2
Don't be fooled by the fact that this lost its 2019 release date, Warner Bros. is still planning a second installment, since the first one is bound to make all kinds of bank.
Gotham City Sirens
Harley Quinn isn't just for the Suicide Squad. Warner Bros. has tapped David Ayer to direct Gotham City Sirens, which will team Harley Quinn up with other female DC villain, most likely including Poison Ivy and Catwoman. It's not totally clear if this is replacing a Harley Quinn solo movie, which we have a few details on here.
This one is on the fast-track, so it could take over that June 14th, 2019 release date vacated by Justice League 2.
Shazam doesn't have a director or a star to play its title character yet, but it sure does have a villain. And that villain, who will be played by Dwayne Johnson, is certainly strong enough to sustain his own movie. There's no release date set for the Black Adammovie, and this is the kind of thing that could work as a nifty prequel to set up the mystical world of Shazam if they choose to go that route. We're currently on the lookout for more info.
Booster Gold (and maybe Blue Beetle)
Flash and Arrow executive producer Greg Berlanti is going to executive produce and possibly direct a Booster Gold movie. Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class, a recent episode of CW's The Flash TV series) will write the script.
Early reports described this as a "superhero buddy cop movie" that would involve Blue Beetle. We'll get you more updates on this as they become available.
Warner Bros. knows they have one of the biggest stars in the world already in costume, so they're reportedly considering a Deadshotsolo movie, as well.
Suicide Squad 2
While the critical response to the first film wasn't so hot, the box office was blazing, so Warner Bros. isn't taking Suicide Squad 2 off the table. David Ayer is likely going to be too busy with Gotham City Sirens until further notice, though, so no word on when we'll see this.
Back on the schedule after years of being dormant, the Lobo movie may attempt to be the DCEU equivalent of Deadpool. Jason Fuchs must have impressed Warner Bros. with his work on Wonder Woman, because he's on board to write the script for this one.
We'll update this with more information as we get it, but it should be a fun ride.
Sandmanisn't a superhero movie, so the fact that he wasn't involved in an announcement that primarily focused on high-profile franchises (along with the superhero slate, Warner Bros. focused on Lego movies and Harry Potter spinoffs). It isn't a DC Universe movie that will have any bearing on future Justice League films. But it is one of the most successful, enduring comics of all time.
The latest news on this isn't encouraging, though. It appears to be a dead project.
Dark Universe might be more familiar to comic book fans under its comic name, Justice League Dark. This one will feature the supernatural characters from the DC Universe. Characters like Swamp Thing, Demon, Deadman, Zatanna, and possibly even John Constantine.
Guillermo del Toro was attached to this one for quite some time, but had to leave the project. Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) will now direct.
Legion of Super-Heroes
This one came as a big surprise when the rumor surfaced via Latino Review. The word is that Warner Bros., perhaps inspired by the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy, is looking to put together their own superheroic space opera.
Nobody has been hired. Warner Bros. have simply placed this one on the table as a DC property potentially worth developing, and are inviting writers to make pitches. To be fair, it's likely that nearly every major DC property is open for something like this, but this is the first rumbling we've ever heard about a Legion of Super-Heroes movie. It's worth paying attention to, but it's tough to imagine, even under the best of circumstances, that we'll see this before 2018...assuming it's true at all.
That being said, if it were true, it's hard to imagine a cooler way to cement the WB/DC Cinematic Universe than with a 31st Century space-opera. While Marvel-esque crossovers probably aren't going to be the order of the day with these movies, the concept of showing how the Justice League (and specifically, Superman) influenced society 1,000 years in the future is plenty unique, and adds immediate gravitas to the other superhero movies on the calendar.
Let's just say, we really hope this one is true.
Perhaps the longest of the long-shots, the Metal Men movie is something that's been in discussion as far back as 2007. It's the most bizarre concept of the bunch, involving a mad scientist and his group of sentient elemental robots, but like Suicide Squadand Legion of Super-Heroes, perhaps that uniqueness is what makes this one so appealing. Warner Bros. can't be seen to copy the Marvel model too closely, so veering away from solo outings for traditional heroes and into this kind of territory might be the very best thing they can do for the brand.
The Metal Men have also just received a New 52 facelift at the hands of writer Geoff Johns, executive producer of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justiceand The Flash TV series. If they're a favorite of DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, it would be wrong to count the Metal Men out, even if there's been no public movement on this project in recent memory.
It's worth noting that the same Wall Street Journal article where WB officially announced the Justice League movie also mentioned Shazam(at a time when everyone thought the project was dead and buried) and...Metal Men. Don't sleep on this one.
The Venom movie is aiming for an R-rating. That's not surprising. What is surprising is the plans for Sony's Marvel Universe.
It seems like ancient history now, but there was a time when Sony saw their Amazing Spider-Man franchise as ground zero for an entire Marvel Cinematic Universe of their own. You can certainly see the seeds planted in the much-maligned and overstuffed The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which did everything in its power to make you believe that there was cinematic life beyond Peter Parker. From the hints about the life of intrigue his parents lived to the introduction of Felicity Jones as the mysterious Felicia Hardy (known to comic book fans as the Black Cat), that movie had big plans.
And in the wake of The Amazing Spider-Man 2's release, Sony announced that not only were they planning two additional Spidey movies, but that the villains would get their day in the sun, too. Films for Venom and The Sinister Six were floated (the latter even had a release date and a director), as well as a mysterious "solo female project" which some tried to speculate involved Aunt May, but in reality was a Black Cat and/or Silver Sable movie.
Now the recent news that not only are those Black Cat/Silver Sable and Venom movies back on, but Venom has already landed an October 5, 2018 release date, would seem to indicate that Sony's Spider-Man Cinematic Universe is alive and well again.
Collider now reports that, unsurprisingly, Venom is targeting an R-rating, and Sony envisions this to be their Logan or Deadpool moment. Expect something that has little or no connection to the Spider-Man world we're about to see in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and has a more horror/sci-fi tone. So while we get to see Tom Holland's Spidey hanging around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the events of Silver Sable/Black Cat and Venom won't have anything to do with what's happening at Marvel Studios. How all this is going to work without Spider-Man remains to be seen.
What you need to know about the Stephen King It remake, including latest news, release date, cast, photos, and more!
The first It trailer will arrive this Wednesday. Until then, WB has dropped a teaser for the trailer. Check it out below:
Three new images from the film arrived as well, and they're absolutely terrifying. Check them out below:
Oh, and here's a new poster, too:
It Release Date
It will arrive on on September 8, 2017.
Producer Dan Lin confirmed to Collider that this film is the first installment in a planned two-parter. If this movie, which tells the story from the point of view of the Losers Club when they were kids, is successful, the plan is to make the second film about the Losers Club as adults and their final showdown with Pennywise.
The It movie will be rated R, confirmed producer Dan Lin while speaking with Collider. Said the producer about how the film earned its R rating:
It is a rated-R movie. If you’re going to make a “Rated-R movie”, you have to fully embrace what it is, and you have to embrace the source material. It is a scary clown that’s trying to kill kids. So of course that’s going to be a rated-R movie. The kids are amazing. You very much get a Stand by Me vibe as far as their camaraderie and the way they joke with each other and that they really care for each other. They do have a scary crown that’s taken over the town of Derry, so it’s going to be rated R.
Here's the official synopsis from WB:
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids is faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove) will take over killer clown duties from Will Poulter (We're the Millers), who departed the project shortly after director Cary Fukunaga.
Pennywise the Clown is one of the most terrifying and evil characters King has ever created. Taking the shape of a clown named Pennywise, it eats little children and manipulates them into doing his bidding. It's been around for centuries, returning every three decades to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine—one of King's favorite places to have everyone murdered. Let's hope Mr. Skarsgard can live up to Curry, King's original novel, and fan expectation.
Skarsgard joins Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), Wyatt Oleff (Stanley Uris), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Nicholas Hamilton (Henry Bowers), Owen Teague (Patrick Hockstetter), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh), Steven Williams (Leroy Hanlon), Stephen Bogaert (Al Marsh), Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie), Pip Dwyer (Sharon Denbrough), Logan Thompson (Victor Criss), and Jake Sim (Belch Huggins).
Richard "Richie" Tozier will be played by Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. The funny member of the Losers' Club with the scotch-taped glasses apparently got lost on July 4th. Young Tozier was played by Seth Green on the 1990 TV adaptation of It. Harry Anderson played him as an adult.
Owen Teague, who plays the son of Ben Mendelsohn on Bloodline at Netflix, will play Patrick Hocksetter, one of the bullies who torment the Losers Club. Hocketter is a psycho who falls under the sway of the evil clown without even looking at the deadlights. His fridge is filled with animals he’s killed.
It Director & Writer
Andres Muschietti (Mama) is directing. He took over the struggling pre-production from True Detective season one's Cary Fukunaga. Gary Dauberman (Annabelle) has written the current screenplay adaptation of Stephen King's novel.
There are few things more impressive in the horror genre than earning the approval of the King of Horror himself. Stephen King has seen a cut of Muschietti's adaptation of It and gave it a thumbs up. Said King on his Facebook page:
Not a bad review of Mr. Muschietti. The rest of us will have to wait a few more months to watch the film. The second half of It - the one about the adult Losers Club - is said to start filming very soon.
Barbara Muschietti has released a new picture of Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier. It's pretty retro and cool. Check it out:
Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise the Clown is preparing to terrorize the children of Derry in 2017. His version of Stephen King's infamous monster looks a bit less party-friendly than Tim Curry's version, in fact. Check out Pennywise hanging out in the sewers in this new photo from EW:
It has officially finished filming. A new picture to commemorate the end of filming appeard on producer Barbara Muschietti's Instagram. Check it out below:
EW revealed the first full look at Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise the Clown. As you might expect, the costume is quite terrifying, guarranteed to terrify a whole new generation of children. Check it out if you dare:
The costume was created by award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant (Mad Men). Says Bryant of the costume, "The costume definitely incorporates all these otherworldly past lives, if you will. He is definitely a clown from a different time," revealing that the costume takes inspiration from the Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras.
"There is almost a doll-like quality to the costume," Bryant says. "The pants being short, the high waistline of the jacket, and the fit of the costume is a very important element. It gives the character a child-like quality."
Child-like is not the word I would use...
Here's the first picture of the actors who will make up the Losers Club:
Here's the very first picture of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown:
We talked to David Dastmalchian about his turn as iconic villain Abra Kadabra on The Flash...
You may recognize this week's The Flash guest star David Dastmalchian from some of his previous on-screen comic book adaptation appearances. Dastmalchian played one of the Joker's henchmen in The Dark Knight. More recently, he had a memorable turn as Dwight, one of Jerome's most fanatic followers on Gotham.
Now, he's adding to his DC Comics cred with a guest starring role as villain Abra Kadabra on this week's episode of The Flash...
We had a chance to chat with Dastmalchian about his role as Abra on The Flash...
The Flash's Abra is very similar to his comic book character.
In his comic book introduction, Abra Kadabra had quite the comic book set-up. A citizen of the 64th century, Abra longed to have an audience that would appreciate his magic tricks. Thus, he traveled back in time to use future technology to convince audiences of his "magic" tricks. When the accolades from a regular old magic show weren't enough, Abra turned to a life of crime. We wrote more about his comic book history here.
How similar to comic book canon is Abra Kadabra? Very similar, says Dastmalchian, who started reading comic books himself when he was just a kid. When he got the script for The Flash, he happened to be reading DC Rebirth's Titans, which features an incarnation of Abra Kadabra as its villain.
Dastmalchian said of The Flash's Abra Kadabra: "The manifestation that we conjured for the show is, hopefully, pleasing for the audience because I feel like we take the history from the DC mythology ... and bring all of that into the world of this show."
Things are going to get bad for Barry.
Similar to what Oliver is currently dealing with over on Arrow, villains are at their scariest when they know what a hero personally values. For Barry, that is saving Iris' life (among other things). As we see in the promo, Kadabra knows the identity of Savitar, the dude destined to kill Iris in front of Barry's eyes (unless he can change the future). And Abra is making considerable use of that future-knowledge and he's not here "ruffling feathers," but rather to punish Barry for dashing his dreams in the future.
Knowing what Barry cares about is "part of my bag of tricks," Dastmalchian teased, because using his knowledge about Barry's fate is "what makes the show enjoyable — and by 'show,' I mean my magic tricks." Abra could keep Barry in a cage or even kill him, says Dastmalchian, but what would be the point of that for a showman like Abra Kadabra? Abra's knowledge, paired with his desire to put on a show, "only makes [him] more powerful."
"And that’s the great thing about working in this medium, one of the many fun things about movies and television shows inspired by comic books, is that they don't always end with our heroes winning," said Dastmalchian, adding: "With what I know, all I’ll say is that things are gonna get real bad for Barry."
Dastmalchian is interested in expanding the character.
Abra Kadabra is a recurring villain in The Flash comic book canon. Might Dastmalchian be interested in continuing on with the character after tonight's episode?
Dastmalchian said he had a lot of fun playing Abra Kadabra on The Flash and would love to come back to The Flash, but that "a magician never reveals his tricks." (Well played, sir.) For now, he hopes his Abra Kadabra in tonight's episode stands on its own.
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is a wonder of practical effects and surprising martial arts action.
In 1990 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the absolute peak of their popularity. With an animated series bringing in millions of viewers entering its third season, the most popular boys’ toy line on the market, breakfast cereals, frozen pizzas, video games...the world belonged to the TMNT. Their final frontier was live action, something which seemed more than a little ambitious considering the limitations of special effects technology of the day.
Watching the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie today, over 25 years after its release, and in the wake of two blockbuster movies that are considerably more expensive than the modest $13 million that the original cost, there are a few amazing details worth pointing out.
It's extraordinarily faithful to the original comics.
So much so that I wrote an entire article about exactly that. Here's the short version, though.
Despite the fact that the TMNT were winning fans on a daily basis at this point with an animated series and toy line that were both impossible to escape, the movie chose to go back to the original source material for its story inspiration. This may not seem like much of a big deal, but keep in mind that the early black and white TMNT comics were fairly bleak, violent affairs.
While the movie Turtles display considerably more regard for human life than their comic book counterparts, they also were able to deploy their martial arts skills and weapons a little more effectively than their animated brethren.
Which brings us to...
It's surprisingly dark.
The animated Turtles weren't permitted to use their martial arts skills or their weapons to actually hit anyone. That's anyone, not anything. The show's sensible solution was to turn the Foot Clan into robots. The movie stuck to flesh-and-blood (and decidedly non-mutated) adversaries. In fact, the Foot were mostly comprised of teenagers who had fallen under the sway of the Shredder, who runs their hideout like its Pleasure Island in Pinocchio.
Basically, the Turtles are mostly whupping the asses of misguided juvenile delinquents in the movie, although I figure that the ones who were actually bad enough to wear the full Foot Clan uniform were probably fairly hardened criminals by that point.
Director Steve Barron (probably best known for A-Ha's memorable "Take on Me" live-action/animation hybrid video) and cinematographer John Fenner opted for a grainy, low-budget look for much of the film, while also not shying away from natural daylight and outdoor shots. It couldn't possibly look less like the hyper-stylized worlds of comic book movie contemporaries Batmanor Dick Tracy, or the CGI-assisted blockbuster sheen of the 2014 reboot or this summer's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Despite the film’s gritty New York City setting, it was (with a few exceptions) shot on soundstages in North Carolina. It’s a very different New York than what you’ll see if you visit nowadays, particularly April O’Neil’s run down “Bleecker St” residence. I presume the Turtles' sewer home is a little further east of that, but these days, neither neighborhood remotely resembles the idealized urban wasteland on display in the film.
The Jim Henson Creature Shop Did Spectacular Work
As for the Turtles and Splinter, they are remarkable, brought to life in impressive fashion by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. There were two versions of the suits, “Stunt Turtles” and “Hero Turtles.” The “Hero Turtles” are the ones on display for most of the film, while the “Stunt Turtles” were designed with the film’s Hong Kong stuntmen in mind, who, as Brian Henson recalled “were quite wild - in a good way...they were very good martial artists, even though they were wearing a huge amount of foam rubber on them. But the foam actually acted as padding, so in some ways that worked really well.” ***
It’s true. The fights and stunts in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are genuinely exciting, made all the more remarkable by the fact that they’re mostly being done by guys in 50 pounds of foam rubber. Perhaps the most impressive sequence in the entire film begins with Raphael blowing off some steam on a rooftop before finding himself outnumbered by dozens of Foot Clan members. Until recently (thanks, Netflix!), this little sequence felt as close as we ever came to seeing some of Frank Miller’s Daredevil comic work properly realized on screen, and this calls back to the Turtles' roots as part Miller/Daredevil pastiche. The brawl then spills over into April’s apartment and the Second Time Around gift shop, and once the other Turtles join the fight, the work of the Henson Creature Shop becomes all the more impressive.
While the Stunt Turtles allow for some authentic Hong Kong action to move the action scenes along, the Hero Turtles, the versions of the suits with the more detailed and expressive animatronic heads are equally important. On my most recent viewing, I was struck by the scene where Raphael wakes up from his coma (a direct result of the beating he received from the Foot Clan) and reconciles with Leonardo, with whom he has had a rocky relationship. The two share a moment of brotherly tenderness and an embrace.
There’s absolutely no reason this scene should work on any level, but it does. You have two actors in 50 pound Turtle suits, two other actors providing their dialogue, and puppeteers in charge of their faces. Compare this scene with the uncomfortably ridiculous scenes in the far more well-regarded Spider-Man(2002), where a fully masked Spider-Man has a rooftop dialogue with a fully-masked Green Goblin. You’ll find that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlescomes off better.
The Action is Terrific
With production company Golden Harvest (famous for bringing all manner of martial arts films, notably many of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan's films to the US) on board, there is no shortage of martial arts action. Remember how I said that the Turtles were originally inspired by Frank Miller's 1980s Daredevil work? Well, the scene with Raphael taking on an army of Foot ninjas on a "West Village" rooftop, if you took the Turtle element out of it, would have fit right into a late '80s Daredevil movie. That sequence, where Raph gets his shell handed to him is followed by a terrific martial arts/comedy brawl that rolls from the roof, through April's apartment, and into the antique shop downstairs. You really get to see everything the Turtle suits (and the Hong Kong stuntment inside them) are capable of.
In fact, if there's anything disappointing about the action sequences, it's that by the time we get to the climactic battle with the Shredder, there's not much left to showcase. Shredder kicks each of their asses in turn, before getting taken out in rather chill fashion by Splinter. But throughout the rest of the movie, whenever you're watching Turtles somersaulting, cartwheeling, and delivering flying kicks, try not to forget that these are actual stuntmen in suits that weigh 50 pounds (or more once they're full of sweat) doing the ass-kicking.
You can see some of this on display in the original theatrical trailer:
Considering all of the merchandising issues at play, as well as the fact that the Turtles’ greatest success had come via an all-ages animated series, the dark, grainy look of the film and a surprising amount of violence (the majority of which is still non-lethal) made some executives nervous. Brian Henson recalled how “in post-production, it was pulled together largely without (director) Steve Barron, while editor Sally Menke (who two years later would edit Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, not to mention Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Death Proof, and Inglorious Basterds), was “asked to leave the project because Golden Harvest didn’t love her editing.” ***
I can’t help but wonder if somewhere, there’s another cut of this movie sitting in a vault.
Jim Henson's son Brian Henson oversaw the construction of the Turtle costumes and the impressive Splinter puppet. Splinter was voiced by master puppeteer (and the man who came to define the impossibly popular Elmo), Kevin Clash. Yes, that's former GoonieCorey Feldman as the voice of Donatello. Blink and you might miss a 21-year-old Sam Rockwell as the "Head Thug" of the Foot Clan.
Oh, and if you can forgive the fact that no New York City resident would even consider ordering a pizza from either of these establishments, you may find this amusing. Pizza Hut didn't think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a worthy enough franchise for a product placement, so the boys had to order Domino's to their sewer lair. While the expected product placement from a major pizza chain is, of course, inevitable and inescapable, the idea that four teenagers living in downtown NYC would ever call Domino’s for their pizza needs is, in fact, harder to swallow than the idea that there are mutant turtles living in the sewers in the first place.
Needless to say, Pizza Hut saw the error of their ways by the time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze rolled around. However, much like chain restaurant pizza, the less said about the sequels to this movie, the better off everyone probably is.
*** I owe a thank you to Andrew Farago's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual Guide for being an invaluable resource in composing this article, which is where I pulled the Brian Henson quote from. The book is gorgeous and absolutely essential for any TMNT fan. It's available on Amazon. ***
Michelangelo Cecchini is a party dude, but only on Twitter.
This article originally ran on August 20th, 2014. It has been lightly updated.